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Old 05-04-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
lamberts-lost-tooth
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Default PFW Whispers May 3, 2008

PFW Whispers
May 3, 2008



The Browns’ biggest surprise on the draft’s second day was their decision to trade up in Round Four for Missouri TE Martin Rucker. That trade, which required the Browns to give up their 2009 third-round selection, is a hedge against the uncertainty surrounding TE Kellen Winslow on a couple of fronts, the way we hear it. Winslow had another knee surgery in the offseason, and he would like a new contract. Savage told Cleveland reporters he’s been in contact with Winslow’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, but no deal is imminent. “We’ve kept open lines of communication in terms of talking through some things,” Savage said. “You’re talking about a player that has three years left on his deal, one year was added after the motorcycle accident, so I guess that would be up for discussion, but there’s no real indication one way or the other. We’re in the offseason, several months away from the real season, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Word is the Browns see Wisconsin WR Paul Hubbard as a potential replacement for veteran Joe Jurevicius, who is nearing the end of his career. The 6-2, 221-pound Hubbard is a very good leaper, but he has struggled with drops.

The Bengals are expected to give rookie WR Andre Caldwell a look on kickoff returns as they look for a spark on special teams.

Ex-Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander will visit the Bengals early next week, but the team’s interest in the former Seattle star is tough to gauge at this time, the way we hear it. It’s believed the Bengals would be unwilling to spend too much for a back whose production has dropped in each of the last two seasons.

Texans owner Bob McNair recently told PFW that CB Dunta Robinson, who suffered knee and hamstring injuries last November, is likely to be out until midseason.

Given the lack of electricity in the return game, many initially saw the Colts’ selection of WR Pierre Garcon as being primarily to benefit special teams. However, we’re hearing that the coaches are firmly committed to the raw Division III product first developing as a receiver before they ask him to return punts and kickoffs.

Word out of New England is that the drafting of CBs Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite puts to rest the notion that S Brandon Meriweather will be moved to cornerback.

We’re hearing that behind closed doors, the Dolphins’ coaching staff is just as excited, if not more so, about the potential of third-round DE Kendall Langford as it is about second-round DE Phillip Merling. Langford is bigger and perhaps a little faster than the former Clemson star, and executive V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells has always been enamored with physical tools. That being said, Merling, from Clemson, is far more polished than the former Hampton star and will likely make more of an immediate impact.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the playoffs, told the San Diego Union-Tribune he expects to be 100 percent by training camp but that he might have limited participation for precautionary reasons. He also said he’ll be wearing a brace this season.

Reports this week revealed that Broncos QB Jay Cutler had been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which is the most serious form of the disease. It means that Cutler, 25, is insulin-dependent. He showed symptoms of diabetes last season when he experienced a significant weight loss. All indications are that Cutler’s play will not be affected, should he properly watch his diet and blood sugar levels.

Word out of Oakland is that rookie CB Tyvon Branch is the front-runner to become the team’s kick returner in a wide-open race for the position. It’s likely that the squad will bring in another free-agent returner before training camp.


We keep hearing that the more Niners offensive coordinator Mike Martz works with QB Alex Smith, the more excited he gets. Martz apparently has told some of his confidantes that Smith could be the best quarterback he’s worked with on the pro level.

If there was a concern about the Cardinals’ draft, team insiders tell us it would have to be the lack of speed possessed by both skill-position selections — third-round WR Early Doucet and fifth-round RB Tim Hightower, who both have ordinary 40-times. That said, word is Doucet is considered a definite upgrade for the No. 3 WR role over any of the other candidates currently on the roster. As for Hightower, we hear the Cardinals — particularly RB coach Maurice Carthon — think enough of him to increase the likelihood that either Marcel Shipp or J.J. Arrington (but not both) could be released.

We hear Rams first-round draft pick Chris Long was wowed by the fact that both QB Marc Bulger and veteran DT La’Roi Glover took the time to give him a special “welcome” call the weekend of the draft.

Although Rams third-round draft pick John Greco is expected to initially be the backup tackle behind starters Orlando Pace and Alex Barron, team insiders believe the Toledo product will eventually become a guard at the pro level.

Look for Rams head coach Scott Linehan to sign another young quarterback to compete with Brock Berlin for the No. 3 spot behind Marc Bulger and Trent Green.

Our Niners insiders doubt there will be any repercussions for backup CB Donald Strickland resulting from his April 13 arrest on suspicion of public intoxication and resisting arrest in downtown San Jose, Calif. Strickland, we’re told, is held in high esteem on the roster, and this one-time incident is unlikely to be held against him.

One reason why the Seahawks selected a defensive tackle in the fourth round (Red Bryant) and added veteran Larry Tripplett off the waiver wire is the increased concern about the future of former first-round draft pick Marcus Tubbs, who has sat out much of the past two seasons with knee injuries. Head coach Mike Holmgren disclosed earlier in the week that Tubbs recently had additional surgery on his right knee that could prevent him from participating in training camp.

We hear Panthers rookie TE Gary Barnidge has a very good shot of unseating Jeff King, who wasn’t overly impressive last season, as the team’s starter if he’s able to grasp the offense quickly. Barnidge would help himself by adding some weight to his frame in the next few months and improving as a blocker.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden hinted that rookie CB Aqib Talib could be a factor on offense this season. Talib doubled as a receiver last year at Kansas and has the tools to give Tampa’s offense, which has been lacking a versatile, athletic playmaker, the shot of invigoration it needs.

The addition of second-round pick ILB Curtis Lofton gives the Falcons some flexibility in their LB corps. He is perceived as the heir apparent to Keith Brooking at middle linebacker but could also back up Michael Boley on the strong side, where he played for part of his career at Oklahoma.

For now, Miles Austin is penciled in as the primary kickoff returner for the Cowboys, and he’ll certainly get a chance to keep that job, but he could face serious competition from rookies Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins, as well as the recently acquired Pacman Jones, if the league lifts his suspension.

The Redskins feel confident that rookie P Durant Brooks will unseat Derrick Frost in training camp. Special-teams coordinator Danny Smith fell in love with Brooks at the Senior Bowl and thinks he’ll be a Pro Bowler eventually.

We hear whoever ends up looking better between Bears undrafted rookie QBs Nick Hill (Southern Illinois) and Caleb Hanie (Colorado State) has an excellent shot of becoming the team’s No. 3 QB, with the other signalcaller landing on the practice squad — unless the Bears suddenly decide to go after one of the many quarterbacks the Buccaneers seem to have at their disposal.

With 13 wideouts on the Packers’ 80-man roster, we hear there may not be room anymore for veteran Koren Robinson, who has a bone-on-bone knee problem that figures to get worse before it gets better.

There had been a slim chance that unrestricted free-agent DE Darrion Scott would return to the Vikings, but not any longer following his latest felony assault charge earlier this week.

http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW...pers050308.htm
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: PFW Whispers May 3, 2008

The cleveland browns news does not suprise me at all. I think though that every team has to worry about injured players from the past. He must really be struggling to come back from the surgery if that is what happened. This guy has all the talent in the world, but if he isnt 100% then the browns must protect themselves.
Nice post and good info as usual Lambert..
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