|04-24-2005, 10:36 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Nfl Report Sunday
Nick Saban still wants Ricky Williams to return to the Dolphins despite picking running back Ronnie Brown in the first round Saturday. There are increasing signs that Williams would like to return or at least seriously consider it. The Dolphins filled a pressing need by picking Auburn's Brown, but Saban said that would not mean his interest in Williams has diminished. ''No,'' Saban said. ``Why would it? Two [running backs] are better than one and [Brown] played -- and I think his team went undefeated -- with two significant players in the same backfield.'' Saban was referring to Auburn's 13-0 record last year, but he could also look into Miami history and see the Dolphins went undefeated with Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris gaining 1,000 each. After initially ignoring Saban's calls, Williams now has spoken with the Miami coach on several occasions, according to a source close to Williams, who believes that indicates Williams' increasing desire to play again.
Do the math -- it doesn't add up for Az-Zahir Hakim. With the addition of Mike Williams, Hakim has slipped to No. 5 on the depth chart at wide receiver but there's nothing to suggest the Lions will need or go with that many. There's also the matter of Hakim's $2.3 million base salary for 2005, a luxury for any player that far down the depth chart. Kevin Johnson, signed as a free agent Thursday, joins the top three -- the Williamses and Rogers. Millen acknowledged as much when he said, "You go with Kevin Johnson, you go four wide." The third or fourth wideout role used to belong to Hakim, but there was no mention of him Saturday.
LB Tedy Bruschi has alerted his fellow Pats players, both in person and via text message, that he has consulted doctors and that the Patriots will be seeing more of him at Gillette in the near future. Bruschi suffered a mild stroke Feb. 16, and he reportedly had surgery to repair a hole in his heart last month. Neither Bruschi nor the Patriots have commented on the linebacker's status for this upcoming season. That's because the bottom line with Bruschi hasn't really changed: His status for 2005 remains an open question.
The Bills were unable to subtract one very big problem, Henry, who lost his starting job last year to Willis McGahee and has stated he will not return for the final year of his contract. Donahoe said the Bills worked the phones all day but were not presented with much to consider for Henry and will try again today, probably to land a future pick. They would've taken a third-rounder for the former Pro Bowler but nobody offered it. Three teams the Bills were talking with all wound up picking running backs instead: Tampa Bay (Auburn's Carnell Williams at No. 5), Arizona (Cal's J.J. Arrington at No. 44) and Philadelphia (Louisiana Tech's Ryan Moats at No. 77). "We've been very aggressive trying to see if we could find something that made sense and we really weren't presented with anything that made sense," GM Tom Donahoe said. "We'll see what happens (today). There were backs taken today and that impacted the situation. We're trying to be fair with Travis and fair to the Bills."
Anquan Boldin has been working out on his own so far this offseason. The question is whether the Cardinal receiver’s contract situation will keep him from doing any of his work at the team’s Tempe complex. With agent Drew Rosenhaus still pushing hard for a new contract for his client — Boldin’s current deal has two years left — there is a chance Boldin will not show up for voluntary team organized workouts early next week and possibly skip the team’s mandatory minicamp next weekend.
Will Shields marched into Dick Vermeil's office last week and, in his typical style, made a simple statement to the Chiefs' head coach. Shields, a 10-time Pro Bowl guard, told Vermeil he would play for the Chiefs again this season. “It was very low-key,” Vermeil said. “It was not a big verbal blast.” Shields was considering retirement and had gone as far as to stay away from the Chiefs' offseason conditioning program as he made his decision.
Packrs GM Ted Thompson said he had not had any discussions with agent Drew Rosenhaus about wide receiver Javon Walker's plans to participate in the minicamp that opens at mid-week. Walker said in a television interview last week that he hoped the Packers would be interested in giving him a new contract. He has two years remaining on his original contract.
Corey Simon, who has been to the Pro Bowl himself as recently as 2003, is on a one-year franchise tender at $5.1 million for this season. The Eagles have not even offered a long-term deal and are not poised to at any time in the future. For that matter they tried to trade him to Baltimore for a couple of draft picks and would have if the Ravens could have gotten a deal done. "I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm not the direction they are going in right now. I mean they have Darwin (Walker) signed to a long-term deal. They just gave Sam (Rayburn) a long-term deal. Hollis (Thomas) is under contract. He's not happy with his contract, but he's under contract. And I'm on a one-year tender." Simon thinks the selection of Mike Patterson, a 5-11, 292-pound run stopper who can also get to the quarterback, will affect Thomas as much if not more than it will him. Thomas, who took a paycut before the 2004 season, is upset with his current contract status. He's coming off a good season and feels he deserves to get some of the money he gave up back.
The selection of Aaron Rodgers is sure to raise many questions, including what effect it will have on starter Brett Favre, who is 35 and entering his 15th NFL season. There undoubtedly will be speculation that Favre might interpret this as a sign that the Packers don’t want him to play past this season, or at least that he can leave the team after 2005 with a clear conscience that a candidate to succeed is in place. But there’s no knowing how long Favre will play, and both publicly and privately, the Packers are saying they wouldn’t be surprised if he plays beyond 2005. “Brett Favre’s the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers,” Thompson said at his press conference after selecting Rodgers. “Draft choices are the way you try to build the core of your team. You make draft choices and draft-day decisions based on long-term best interests of your organization. That’s what we did today.”
The drop cost Aaron Rodgers millions. Last year, Eli Manning, the first pick, got a six-year, $45 million contract from the Giants that included $20 million guaranteed. By comparison, quarterback J.P. Losman, picked No. 22 by the Bills, signed a five-year $7.7 million deal that included $5.6 million guaranteed. Just in guaranteed money, Rodgers lost about $14 million. "It doesn't change his life at all," said Rodgers' agent, Mike Sullivan. "It affects his portfolio, which he's not going to spend 10 seconds thinking about for the next several years."
Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he does not expect to trade wide receiver Rod Gardner this weekend and will speak with him tomorrow to assess his future with the club. Gibbs said he has spoken to Gardner's agent recently, and, after requesting a trade at the end of the season and spending months of being available on the trading block, the former first-round pick could be back in Washington. Gardner has one year left on his contract and has not been training with the team. . . .
All signs point to the addition of Demarcus Ware, along with No. 20 selection defensive end Marcus Spears of LSU and second-round pick linebacker Kevin Burnett of Tennessee, as being the latest steps in Parcells' march to playing the 3-4 defense next season. "Oh, yes, it's definitely a possibility," Parcells said, when asked about switching from the 4-3. "I didn't say probable, but possible." Neither Parcells nor Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was willing to say the team will use a 3-4 defense. They do not want to start the debate that inevitably will come about as to what happens to defensive tackle La'Roi Glover and defensive end Greg Ellis. They did not have to. Not yet. They've told the principals.
Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson slipped because teams looked past his gaudy statistics, his tremendous size (6 feet 3, 243 pounds), uncanny athleticism, lightning speed (sub-4.7), crowded trophy case, big-play capability and instead concentrated on what he didn't show in college. He never demonstrated a consistent willingness to take on blockers at the line of scrimmage. The knock on Johnson is that he's an undisciplined, finesse linebacker. He cherry picks and sidesteps, looking for highlight hits and turnovers. To a degree, Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil acknowledged, Johnson was “coached that way” at Texas.
The Lions drafted wide receiver Mike Williams in the first round. What does that say? Two words: Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have been winners -- but not champions -- by loading up on offense. The Colts' offense is made up of high draft picks. Quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne and running back Edgerrin James are first-round draft picks. The Colts built a contender on one side of the ball. It looks as if the Lions are trying to follow the same blueprint -- dominate on one side, if they can.
Safety Sean Taylor has switched numbers, ending a long, strange process. Taylor wore No. 36 in his rookie season, and last month team officials believed he had changed to No. 21, the number previously worn by Fred Smoot. Although the Redskins began selling those jerseys, Taylor had not changed his number, and the team offered refunds to those who had purchased a No. 21 jersey. Carlos Rogers said today that he hoped to wear that number but was informed Taylor will be wearing it. Taylor has not been at Redskins Park this spring and is not taking part in voluntary offseason workouts. His absence, according to Gibbs, is related to a desire to renegotiate his contract.
Don't expect the Pats to have the same problem with this year's first-rounder, offensive lineman Logan Mankins. The Fresno State product is represented by Frank Bauer, a low-key, California-based agent with a good relationship with the Pats and a reputation for getting deals done. In recent years, the Pats have demanded long-term deals from their draft picks, with the first-rounders being forced to accept six-year contracts. That demand won't be met with a great deal of enthusiasm by the Mankins camp, but it's also not likely to result in acrimony as it did with Condon. Bauer wouldn't comment on any specifics related to Mankins last night. In general, however, Bauer does not philosophically oppose six-year contracts as Condon did. Bauer believes everything is negotiable. That's an encouraging sign for Mankins' availability for the start of training camp.
Ricky Williams is now a luxury, no longer a necessity. Even if he comes back, Williams is expected to be suspended the first four games of the season after testing positive for marijuana last year. Dolphins coach Nick Saban said taking Ronnie Brown did not eliminate a potential return by Williams. "No. Why would it?" he said. "Two are better than one."
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson yesterday used words that described the team's ideal linebacker when talking about the second of the team's second-round picks, Matt McCoy. Johnson called the San Diego State linebacker tough and quick, saying McCoy is even quicker than Ike Reese, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons in the off-season. "All of a sudden, he just makes a play," Johnson said. "He's a tough football player." The Eagles will likely use the 6-foot, 234-pound McCoy on special teams initially and in some nickel packages. His ideal position, he said, is weakside linebacker. Johnson said he was impressed with McCoy in coverage.
Fashion News: The Giants unveiled a new road uniform at their draft party yesterday. The new shirts are exact replicas of those worn by the 1956 NFL champions -- red numbers with three stripes on the sleeves. The pants feature a thin blue stripe between two red stripes. The uniform also includes red socks, which will match the alternate red jersey. Two other changes were made to both uniforms: the new "NY" logo will replace the word "Giants" on the neck of the jersey and the team will wear black shoes every game.
The key, of course, is Kyle Boller. He has to improve his accuracy on short and mid-range passes and become more consistent with the long ball. It's kind of unfair to put all the pressure on one offensive player, but that's the life of a quarterback. The Ravens gave up a first- and a second-round pick to select Boller with the No. 19 overall pick in 2003. They gave him a five-year contract and $5 million in bonuses. Now, they've given him two good receivers, a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback coach, plus he is surrounded by a Pro Bowl offensive tackle, tight end and running back. There can be no more excuses.
Mike Nolan said the 49ers drafted the player they wanted all along. "There was no three-way tie," he said, referring to Aaron Rodgers and Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards. "We felt that Alex was the one that most fit what we want our team to look like. He brings discipline, competitiveness and intelligence to the table. He is off the charts in all three areas." Nolan pointed to Smith's ability to get off throws outside the pocket, and to his leadership skills and intelligence, as giving him an advantage over Rodgers. The San Francisco offensive coordinator, Mike McCarthy, wanted a prize pupil for his complicated offense. Smith's top score on the Wonderlic exam (40 out of 50) and his football intelligence made the 49ers giddy.
Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams of Auburn became only the third pair of running backs from the same school taken in the first round since 1970. They join Ohio State's Leo Hayden and John Brockington in 1971 and Florida's John L. Williams and Neal Anderson in 1986.
Baltimore got what it wanted: Not only was Mark Clayton was the highest-rated player left on the Ravens' board, he fills a long-standing need for the offense, which ranked 31st in total yards per game in 2004. "I saw a lot of players this fall, and Mark was one of the few guys I saw who I felt was a true Ravens-type player," DeCosta said. "I think he makes [running back] Jamal Lewis better because he's a great blocker, I think he makes [quarterback] Kyle Boller better because he can catch the ball on third downs, inside or outside, and hopefully he'll help us score more points."
Coach Joe Gibbs said the selection of QB Jason Campbell, 23, will have no effect on Patrick Ramsey or veteran backup Mark Brunell, although it all but certainly ends reserve passer Tim Hasselbeck's time in Washington. Still, after studying Campbell closely and meeting him, the team opted not to pass him up. Gibbs said he will meet with Hasselbeck soon to determine what move, including a trade, might be best for his career.
Of the thousands of players selected in the drafts since 1967, only 54 have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Several others, like Jerry Rice, Reggie White, Emmitt Smith and Brett Favre, will surely be elected when they become eligible five years after their last season. But how early, or how late, were those certified Hall of Famers drafted? Of the 54 bronzed in Canton, Ohio, 32 were first-round choices, notably six overall No. 1 choices - quarterbacks Elway and Terry Bradshaw, running backs Earl Campbell and O. J. Simpson, defensive end Lee Roy Selmon and offensive tackle Ron Yary.
Who Knew? Packers quarterback Bart Starr, who was the most valuable player in the first two Super Bowls, wasn't taken until the 17th round.Deacon Jones, a feared pass-rusher, went in the 14th round.
|04-24-2005, 10:38 AM||#2|
Chiefs > Broncos
Join Date: Apr 2004
Shields just couldn't resist coming back to beat up on former Donkey 1st-round bust defensive linemen.