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Friday, May 30, 2008

Rudi Johnson: Added back 13Lbs of muscle this offseason

The Enquirer - New slogans could help: "WEIGHT: This is to remind running back Rudi Johnson to keep the 13 pounds of muscle he added this offseason so he can again be effective running between the tackles like he was before cutting weight last season, when he ran for a scant 497 yards in 11 games and averaged a puny 2.9 yards per carry"

Jay Ratliff: Still something to prove

NT Jay Ratliff's relentless drive played a major role in earning the former seventh-round pick an $8 million signing bonus. Don't expect his motor to slow down just because his bank account has added a zero.

"Matter of fact, it makes me hungrier," Ratliff said during a break from teaching high school players swim and rip moves at a Reebok STACK Elite Tour clinic Thursday evening. "I came in with a chip on my shoulder, trying to prove that I belong in this league. Now it's pretty much the same thing, but I'm trying to prove that [the contract] wasn't a mistake."

The 6-4, 298-pound Ratliff, who moved from DE when Jason Ferguson went down with a season-ending injury in the opener, doesn't have a prototypical frame for a 3-4 nose tackle. But he's a good fit in Wade Phillips' one-gap scheme, which requires linemen to use their quickness to disrupt plays instead of simply occupying blockers. That was clear before Tank Johnson played a down for Dallas.

The proof is in Ratliff's performance. He anchored a run defense that ranked sixth in the league, made three sacks and led the team's defensive linemen in QB pressures (15), passes defensed (four) and fumble recoveries (two).

Oh, and he's probably the best nose tackle in the league at dropping back into pass coverage (and the only one who played safety in high school). Crazy as it sounds, Ratliff's ability to cover underneath zones is a valuable tool in Phillips' blitz packages.

Ratliff's combination of athleticism and attitude -- he lives by the motto his minister father hammered into his head: "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might" -- convinced Jerry to ensure that he'd be a key cog in the Cowboys' defense for years.

Becoming a multimillionaire didn't change Ratliff as a person, other than giving him the means to really spoil his two daughters. But it did alter his motivation.

He's answered the questions about whether he could play in the NFL. Now he's determined to prove that it wasn't a fluke

Dallas Morning News:

Jay Ratliff: Undisputed First Teamer -War Eagle Jay! OTA Notes & Observations (PART I): "LINE UP! There weren’t any surprises in the personnel on the first-team offensive and defensive lines. On offense, the starting five remained the same quintet that started last year: LT Flozell Adams, LG Kyle Kosier, C Andre Gurode, RG Leonard Davis and RT Marc Colombo. The second unit had LT Doug Free, LG James Marten, C Cory Proctor, RG Joe Berger and RT Pat McQuistan. On defense, the first-team unit was as expected: LE Marcus Spears, NT Jay Ratliff and RE Chris Canty"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tommy/TJ Jackson: Battling in Chiefs camp to get on the field in '08

Maurice Murray looks to make inroads at Kansas City Chiefs camp - Las Cruces Sun-News: "Jackson, acquired as an undrafted free agent in 2007, didn't see the field. Lokey, like Murray and Jackson, was picked up via the free agent route"

Anthony Mix: Coach wants him to lose 15lbs

Hog Heaven | MVN - Most Valuable Network » Blog Archive » Vinny Cerrato to Anthony Mix: lose 15 pounds: "Redskins chief honcho Vinny Cerrato said that wide receiver Anthony Mix needs to lose about 15 pounds to boost his speed. Cerrato made the statement on Redskins Radio broadcast on Comcast Sports Network yesterday.
Mix is listed on the Redskins roster at 6-5, 235 pounds, but Cerrato said Mix reported to mini-camp at 245 pounds.
The Redskins said they had to get taller at wide receiver to implement Jim Zorn’s West Coast offense. They did that quick with Mix and draftees Devin Thomas, 6-1, and Malcolm Kelly, 6-3.
Isn’t it interesting that, while the Skins want taller receivers, Zorn wants QB Jason Campbell, 6-5, to play smaller in the pocket?"

Jonathan Wilhite: Minicamp update

5 mini-camp observations - Reiss' Pieces - "4) Two-way players -- Matthew Slater and Ray Ventrone. Fifth-round draft choice Matthew Slater continues to alternate between safety and receiver. He wore a blue pinnie over his white No. 18 jersey when playing safety, and then shed the pinnie when it was time to go on offense. Slater could not corral one would-be interception (we also saw drops from CB Jonathan Wilhite and WR Sam Aiken). Meanwhile, safety Ray Ventone is making the switch to offense and was in a white No. 41 jersey for the entire practice. Ventrone spoke after practice about making the move, saying it's the first time he's played receiver since his sophomore year of high school, although he did get some work there as a scout-team player with the Patriots"

Heath Evans: Opinion on Pats' Spygate controversy

Backup QB Might Be In Final Year With Pats -- -- "It's Behind Them
The players did not have much reaction to the way Spygate played out.

'I think it's all old news, to be honest with you,' left tackle Matt Light said. 'I'm not sure anybody's paying attention to that at this point, especially at the player level.'

Count fullback Heath Evans among those not interested. He said he didn't follow the developments in the videotape controversy.

'This is going to sound crazy but we don't have cable in our home during the offseason,' Evans said. 'So I focus on my wife and my family and my daughters. I don't get the newspaper, either.'

The affable Evans was asked how he gets his news.

'I don't need it. Most of it is trash,' Evans said. 'No offense to you all.'

But he wasn't sure whether Spygate would ever go away.

'It's up to you guys, probably,' Evans said, laughing. 'It didn't have an effect on us last year. It won't have an effect on us this year.' ..."

TJ Jackson: Looking Impressive at Kansas City OTAs Tuesday OTA recap: "DT T.J. Jackson - The free agent from Auburn was impressive Tuesday. He was quick off the ball and spent a considerable amount of time in the offensive backfield. I don’t know much about Jackson past what I saw today, but he was far better than Derek Lokey or starter Ron Edwards. He was not as good as Tank Tyler or first-round pick Glenn Dorsey, but stood out"

Will Herring: Seattle's linebacker coach Zerick Rollins comments

In an effort to get some insight into the depth behind Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson and Leroy Hill, I spoke with linebackers coach Zerick Rollins:

How are the players behind the main guys going to shape up? “I think it is still too early to tell. I think we have some guys who are looking good right now. Wesly Mallard has done some things, I think Will Herring is a good player. And Lance Laury, this is his third season, it is time for him to grow up and be a player for us. He has all the potential to be able to do that. We are counting on him as well.”


What is he going to be able to do for you? What are his strengths? “His strengths are he can run, he is fast, he can make plays. His biggest thing is youth. He hasn’t played much. He needs experience. He will get more playing time in the preseason, and we will see.”

What did you think when you saw Niko (Koutouvides) and (Kevin) Bentley depart? “It was tough, but the thing that made the transition a little easier is we got D.D. Lewis back. He is a seasoned vet. He started in the Super Bowl for us. And so I felt like he replaced at least one of those two guys. He replaced Niko. And then you have Lance Laury who is coming, he is in his third year, he will be fine. And then you have a young guy in Will Herring, who will be fine.”

How much will those guys be required to do special teams? “Oh, if you are a backup linebacker, that is your number one role, special teams. That is very important

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kendall Simmons: Steeler watching Stapleton fill his RG role

Steelers Notes: Anthony Smith Showboats, Stapleton Impresses, and Some Kid You've Never Heard of from Wake Forest Makes the Most of His Chance - Behind the Steel Curtain: "* Chris Kemoeatu was back doing work at LG, with Sean Mahan getting reps at C. Kendall Simmons, who was present but not participating, watched Darnell Stapelton fill his role at RG. Simmons might want to hustle back and be ready to go when he does, because Lolley is reporting that the coaching staff is quite high on Stapleton"

Spencer Johnson: Buffalo camp update

OTA Notes: Red Zone Emphasis - Buffalo Bills: "For a second straight day defensive lineman Spencer Johnson did not participate"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rob Bironas: Critical role in taking Titans into the playoffs last season - Your expert source for NFL Football stats, scores, standings, blogs and fantasy news from NFL Football columnists: "The Titans made the playoffs last season, and Young has shown leadership qualities that motivate teammates, plus an ability to make game-winning plays with his arm and legs. But Young is coming off a season in which he threw nine touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. The Titans ranked 22nd in the NFL in scoring, and there is a reason their kicker, Rob Bironas, went to the Pro Bowl. Once the Titans reached the red zone, they had trouble reaching the end zone."

Ronnie Brown: Knee rehab update

Notes and quotes from Dolphins coach Tony Sparano: "On a progress report on Ronnie Brown's rehabilitation from his knee injury and his thoughts on Ronnie: 'I just know what I see, and what I see is that Ronnie is no different than Joey Porter, Vonnie Holliday and those people right now. From a training standpoint, he's done a wonderful job in the offseason program and really has done a great job with Kevin O'Neill (Head Athletic Trainer) and his people here from a medical standpoint. He's out there, he's getting a little bit of work in right now and we're going to take it easy with him and see where it goes"

Ben Grubbs: Awesome off-season for Ravens' best blocker

Dan Pompei's Scout Talk -- -- "The Ravens are moving Ben Grubbs from right guard to left—where he played at Auburn. They subsequently expect him to hit his stride. Grubbs, a 2007 first-round pick, has had a tremendous off-season and one scout rates him as the Ravens' best blocker"

Chris Gray: 121 Consecutive starts & still going! Gray's New Role Part of Larger Line Changes: "Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chris Gray, who holds the club record with 121 consecutive starts at either center or right guard, said he considered retirement after last season. But coach Mike Holmgren asked the 15-year NFL veteran to come back in a reduced role.

'You always think about retirement,' Gray said. 'You just have to make sure you are ready to come back in and give it all the work and effort that goes into the whole season. It is not something you take lightly. You have to put in the work, and it is tough both mentally and physically. I just felt like I have a little bit left. I am not quite ready to hang it up.'

Because starting center Chris Spencer had offseason surgery on both his thumb and shoulder, Gray has been the starting center during the team's May minicamp -- and likely will fill the same role when the Seahawks hold two June minicamps.

However, in the regular season, he is likely to serve as Spencer's backup"

Monday, May 26, 2008

Devin Aromashodu: Vying for Colt's 5th WR Slot

Fantasy Football Breaking News - "Roy Hall has been running as the Colts' No. 2 split end behind Reggie Wayne at offseason practices.
He appears to be the No. 4 receiver behind Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, and Marvin Harrison. Devin Aromashodu, rookie Pierre Garcon, and Courtney Roby are vying for the fifth slot. Since Hall can play the slot, he'll have a chance at playing time this year if Harrison's knee continues to be a problem"

Josh Thompson: Draft Guys TV Overview & Interview

Joshua Thompson made plenty of big plays for Auburn during his career. Most interior defensive tackles don't rack up the tackle numbers he has, and that's a testament to how hard Thompson works on every play. Thompson's a 300-pounder, but his height makes scouts wonder how he'll manage in the pros. Draftguys TV will show you the heart of a lion in Thompson; will it help him beat the odds?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Quentin Groves: High expectations for immediate success Jaguars Youth Movement: "It would be nice if expectations were tempered for Harvey and Groves, but that isn’t the case. These two players were selected with a specific purpose in mind, to take the Jaguars defense over the top and supply a pass rush, something they couldn’t do consistently a year ago.

“We impressed upon them the importance of doing the right things on the field and in the community,” said Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. “We have a really good football team, the community is excited, and we want them to do their part.”

Fortunately for the two Jaguars top draft picks, defensive end is a much better position to learn and contribute right away that a position such as quarterback or the secondary. Jack Del Rio expects them to settle in right away--

“It will be at little easier for Harvey and Groves to line up at defensive end and give us a presence off the edge as opposed to trying to play quarterback.”

Whereas the Jaguars rookies are just getting acquainted to everything right now in their first days of OTA’s, they will get caught up to speed quickly. “I’m going to put in my work like everyone else is putting in their work,” said Jaguars rookie defensive end Quentin Groves. “It feels like my freshman year (at Auburn) all over again, I have to feel around, I have to learn where to go, where we’re supposed to be, how we’re supposed to practice.”

The pressure is already on the rookies. The Jaguars are close to being a legitimate contender, and the team was able to improve the secondary in free agency by signing Drayton Florence. The final piece of the puzzle would seem to be defensive end, and the Jaguars rookies have to potential"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pat Sims: Bengals practice update

The Enquirer - Bengals notebook: "ROOKIES BACK: The Bengals had their top draft picks back in action Wednesday, including wide receivers Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell, as well as linebacker Keith Rivers and defensive tackle Pat Sims"

Quentin Groves: Camp update -looks quick

Quick Bytes: OTA News and Notes - Big Cat Country: "Each observer of the OTA's has commented on how quick Quentin Groves is looking so far. Certainly, everyone looks fast when they're in t-shirts and there is no real contact, but it's a very positive sign. Quentin is very excited about being a defensive end, which is also uplifti"

Tim Duckworth: Participating in Saints' camp : Ellis progressing well in practice: "Camp larger than normal - The Saints have more than 60 players participating in this weekend's rookie camp, which is the largest amount of players since Payton has been in New Orleans. Those who spent time on the Saints' practice squad last season or who were on the roster leading up to camp that are participating are cornerback Anwar Phillips, fullback Kevin Dudley, guard Tim Duckworth, wide receiver Titus Ryan, tight end Buck Ortega and cornerback Greg Fassitt"

Takeo Spikes: Joining the Bengals a possibility...

The Bengal Blitz | MVN - Most Valuable Network » Blog Archive » Bengals Cut Odell Thurman For Missing Voluntary Workouts???: "If the team wants to make a positive out of a negative they should pick up the phone and make amends with former Bengal linebacker Takeo Spikes. A spot in the rotation would appear open for Spikes to return as a part-time player. While he is no longer the Pro Bowl player he once was, Spikes would fill the team’s biggest need - an emotional locker room leader. Despite the presence of a young group of linebackers, leadership on defense is in short supply. Last time I checked Spikes was a good character guy as well"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Quentin Groves: First minicamp update

Ultimate Jaguars Newsroom: Rookies get first look at NFL: "But second-round pick Quentin Groves admitted he had some anxiety and didn't sleep well Sunday night.
Coach Jack Del Rio knew how the rookies felt.
'Heads spinning,'' he said. 'They're trying to digest a lot of information.''
Del Rio, though, said that defensive end isn't as complex to learn as, say, quarterback.
'It's a little easier for Harvey and Groves to line up at defensive end and give us some pressure off the edge,'' Del Rio said."

Eric Brock: Signs with Falcons!

Sports Digest- "Falcons sign Auburn's Brock: The Atlanta Falcons signed former Auburn defensive back Eric Brock on Monday. He had 59 tackles for the Tigers last season."

Cole Bennett: Released by Texans

Bengals release troubled Thurman: "The Texans also released Cole Bennett, a rookie tight end out of AuburnThe Texans also released Cole Bennett, a rookie tight end out of Auburn"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Visit AuburnSportsFeeds

An attempt to bring any updating AU sports related news, blog or other feed into one place. Links, searches, videos, etc.

Auburn Football 2008 -Do you want it? (by A96)

Takeo Spikes: 49ers like for Ted LB but no contract yet

Three issues that won't impact 49ers' win-loss record: "1, Ted Linebacker: This is the guy who lines up next to Patrick Willis at strong inside linebacker. It's about the only starting position on defense that is up for grabs. Dontarrious Thomas, Jeff Ulbrich, Brandon Moore and Larry Grant are among the candidates for this job.
The 49ers admit they don't have a true 'ted' linebacker on the roster. This is the spot that Derek Smith played last season. Although Smith struggled last season, the 49ers' run defense still ranked fifth in the NFL in yards-allowed-per-attempt. Smith's shortcomings - mostly his lack of speed - were exposed in pass coverage. Toward the end of the season, he was playing almost exclusively on first downs.
There has been a lot of talk about the 49ers pursuing a 'ted' linebacker, such as Takeo Spikes or Jeremiah Trotter. Both veterans have visited the 49ers. Neither has signed a contract, and the club's preference is Spikes over Trotter. But nothing appears imminent.
The 49ers do not need a big name at this position. This person's job is to take on blockers and make things easier for Willis. This player can do a fine job and remain anonymous. Guys like Larry Foote (Steelers), Matt Wilhelm (Chargers) and Bart Scott (Ravens) help their teams a lot without drawing much attention.
This position is a lot more about mindset than production. Although the 'ted' linebacker will invariably record a lot of tackles in a 3-4 scheme, his main duty is to free up Willis to roam sideline-to-sideline to make tackles.
That's why I believe this position is not a difference-maker. As long as the person who wins the job does not blow his assignments - nor gets too greedy - the 49ers' defense will be just fine."

Stanley McClover: Is Johnson winning race for starting DE?

Fantasy Football Breaking News - "Charles Johnson is the leading candidate to start at left defensive end for the Panthers this season, according to the AP.
Johnson has reportedly looked 'lean and quick' at OTAs and has a slight edge on Tyler Brayton and Stanley McClover. A prospective rotation limits Johnson's IDP upside, but he showed in the SEC that he can rush the passer. May. 14 - 8:33 pm et"

Pat Lee, Jonathan Wilhite: Shared CB duties at Auburn » News » Stories » May 14, 2008: The Odd, Interesting and Curious About The 2008 Draft Picks: "CB Pat Lee, 2nd round, 60th overall
--Lee had just five interceptions in his college career at Auburn, but one of them came last year against his new Green Bay teammate, former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn, whom the Packers drafted in the seventh round. Another of Lee's interceptions came against eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida last year.

--Lee spent 2005 and 2006 at Auburn sharing starting cornerback duties with Jonathan Wilhite. Then Lee became the regular starter in 2007 when his own strong play, and injuries, limited Wilhite primarily to nickel duty. Wilhite ultimately was drafted late in the fourth round by New England with the 129th overall pick, 69 selections after the Packers took Lee"

Friday, May 16, 2008

King Dunlap: Unique perks for an NFL DT

Mosher: AFC scout comes to defense of Jackson | delawareonline | The News Journal: "'They just fit everything on me, and I was gone. I'm not used to going in and them having something for me. I'm used to getting on the Internet or calling and ordering and having to wait a week or two to get it.' -- Eagles seventh-round pick King Dunlap, a 6-8, 310-pound offensive tackle accustomed to having clothes custom-fitted for him, upon his first visit to the NovaCare Complex"

Kenny Irons: Likely to be on PUP list

The Bengal Blitz | MVN - Most Valuable Network » Blog Archive » Welcome Back Chris Perry But Don’t Get Too Comfortable: "If Kenny Irons recovers from his knee injury he will also be in the 3rd running back mix (more likely he will be a PUP candidate)."

Quentin Groves: Patriots chose not to trade up to draft him

Ask PFW: Filling the gaps: "Do you know if the Pats were interested in using any of their three third-rounders to move up to get Quentin Groves? And given what we have going into next year do you think that Adalius Thomas will be a force rushing the passer?
Mike Anderson
It’s pretty tough to know if the Patriots were interested in moving up for sure since Bill Belichick doesn’t normally let us know about all the individual moves that don’t wind up being made. But the Patriots began the day 17 spots away from where Jacksonville picked Groves, which is a pretty sizable gap to close. Clearly with the three third-round picks at their disposal the Patriots had the necessary ammunition to move up, but at what price? Instead they chose to add a pick for next year and moved down, which seems like a pretty solid trade at this point. I really liked Groves on tape and I believe he’ll be a nice addition to the Jags pass rush. But I also think Thomas will be a much more noticeable presence on the pass rush this season while playing almost exclusively on the outside, assuming that’s where he winds up. Thomas has the size and speed to cause a lot of trouble off the edge, as he did in the Super Bowl. With a year in the system under his belt, I expect him to be much more productive.
Paul Perillo"

Takeo Spikes: 49ers Leery of Pro Bowler's recent injury history

Niners in holding pattern with linebackers Trotter, Spikes: "The 49ers visited a while back with Spikes, whom the Eagles released (failed physical) a couple months ago. Spikes, 31, a 10-year veteran, is coming off rotator-cuff surgery after finishing the season on injured reserve. Spikes is listed at 6-2, 242. There are questions whether Spikes can perform the duty of taking on a lot of blockers as part of the job description that comes along with being the strong inside linebacker. Spikes has made two Pro Bowl teams. His last appearance was 2004 with the BillsThe 49ers visited a while back with Spikes, whom the Eagles released (failed physical) a couple months ago. Spikes, 31, a 10-year veteran, is coming off rotator-cuff surgery after finishing the season on injured reserve. Spikes is listed at 6-2, 242. There are questions whether Spikes can perform the duty of taking on a lot of blockers as part of the job description that comes along with being the strong inside linebacker. Spikes has made two Pro Bowl teams. His last appearance was 2004 with the Bills"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Carnell Williams: July decision for training camp practice clearance

Williams Says He'll Be Ready by Training Camp | "'It's not a matter of if I'll be back, but when,' he said. 'I know I'm going to be playing on this field again, and I know I'm going to be productive.'

In the end, it may not be Williams' decision. Tampa Bay has four other running backs under contract, and that doesn't include seventh-round draft choice Cory Boyd and rookie free-agent Clifton Smith.

Still, Williams is working hard to make it a tough decision for the Bucs.

'We're going to make a decision in July,' Williams said of whether he will be cleared to practice or placed on the 'physically unable to perform' list. 'I'm not sure. I'm just going to keep working and see what happens.

'Me personally, once training camp starts, I'll be in training camp,' he said. 'I will be on the field to do some things. I feel by July, I definitely should be ready to play ball.'"

Jason Campbell: Bleache Rpt fantasy QB rating #22 (lack of WRs to throw to)

2008 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks! | Bleacher Report: "22. Jason Campbell. He did get some help on paper in the WR department, but in 2007, we had to wait 10 weeks to see a Washington receiver score a TD, and that was by James Thrash, of all people. If history repeats itself, it may be too late for fantasy owners to make the playoffs."

Jason Campbell: Bleache Rpt fantasy QB rating #22 (lack of WRs to throw to)

2008 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks! | Bleacher Report: "22. Jason Campbell. He did get some help on paper in the WR department, but in 2007, we had to wait 10 weeks to see a Washington receiver score a TD, and that was by James Thrash, of all people. If history repeats itself, it may be too late for fantasy owners to make the playoffs."

David Irons: Excelled on special teams

What Falcons rookies must do | "have to stand out to stick. Showing great ball skills and being steady against the run will work in his favor. He'll need to excel on special teams like David Irons, with whom he will be competing"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brandon Jacobs: Visiting with the troops

Super Bowl running back drops in on Soldiers - Redstone Rocket - "As the commotion wound down, a look of humbleness ran across Jacobs' face as he said his goodbyes to the Soldiers.

'I might not know what each Soldier's job is, but what I do know is their job supports our country and I can't thank them enough for that,' Jacobs said. 'I hope these Soldiers know that they are special people and we care very much for them, but in honesty, I'm the one who is taking something away from this experience. These (Soldiers) are out here giving their all for their country and that's really motivating to me, it's moving.'

Soldiers exited the dining facility, showing off their autographed items to each other and joking about whose NFL team could possibly try to stop Jacobs and New York's running game. At that moment, it really didn't matter.

'I hope he knows this means a lot to us and we really appreciate his support and his time,' O'Connell said. 'This doesn't happen often, so when it does, it's a big deal.'"

Rudi Johnson: Re-establishing physique for a power running role

The Enquirer - Perry, Rudi together again: "Johnson, the team's featured back who smashed his way to more than 2,900 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns in 2004 and 2005, missed five games last season and finished with just 497 yards because of a hamstring injury.
He had changed his diet and played, he said, at 212 pounds last season, and his running style changed, too.
Johnson, a between-the-tackles bruiser, tried to dance.
Now he's put on 12 to 13 pounds of muscle mass in his chest and shoulders and said he weighs in the neighborhood of 225 pounds - his desired playing weight.
'Last year when I got hurt, it was definitely frustrating for me,' said Johnson, who has worked with strength and conditioning coaches since the end of the 2007 season. 'I wanted to come back stronger, more powerful than I've ever been.'
The Bengals considered drafting a running back - they liked Rashard Mendenhall of Pittsburgh and Jonathan Stewart of Oregon - and they entertained free agent Shaun Alexander on a visit last week. But if Johnson and Perry are healthy, they form a dynamic duo and could help coach Marvin Lewis fulfill his wish of re-establishing a power run game."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cooper Wallace: Trying to make the 49ers

Official Site of the San Francisco 49ers - PR News: "Cooper Wallace, a tight end who spent time on the Titans and Bengals practice squad in 2007 said running alongside his coach served as added pressure.

“I had never seen him run before but you definitely can’t get beat by the coach so I was a little nervous at first,” confessed Wallace. “We are trying to beat times out there and being a new guy, I can’t be last. I’m trying to pull my weight and make the team.”"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dontarrious Thomas, Takeo Spikes: 49ers Update

Strong inside linebacker (ted): Jeff Ulbrich, Dontarrious Thomas and rookie Larry Grant worked at this position during minicamp. But Nolan admits, "I don't know that we have a true 'ted.'" I asked about Brandon Moore, who took Ulbrich's starting job in 2006 and played well. Last year, Moore rarely played. I asked Nolan why Moore isn't at the ted, and he advised that not much should be read into the depth chart at this point. Moore is currently behind Patrick Willis at the "mike" position. I asked about Moore's inability to hold onto the starting job last season, why he didn't replace Derek Smith. Nolan said, "It was closer than I thought after looking back over the season. Derek was out there, and he was just so-so." The 49ers have not completely ruled out the possibility of pursuing veteran free agent Takeo Spikes

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rob Bironas: Pro Bowler Signs 1Yr 1.47M Deal w/Titans

Murfreesboro and Rutherford County news from The Daily News Journal - - Murfreesboro, Tenn.: "Bironas was named to the Pro Bowl last season after making 35 of 39 field goal attempts.Bironas was named to the Pro Bowl last season after making 35 of 39 field goal attempts."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Quentin Groves: Jack Del Rio wants him to play right end Will Groves Uphold Tradition for Jaguars?: "'He can play some end of the line 'Sam' but the way a 3-4 team might use him, you can do some of that if you're going to play a reduction front with that. But we didn't draft him with that in mind,' Del Rio said. 'We drafted him to be a right end, a pass rusher and a guy that if he shows he's capable of stacking the point and fending off tight ends, then we'll put him in position to make plays. We saw enough of that on tape, that he can stack the point. He did do 30 reps on the bench, he does roll his hips and when his hand placement is good, he has plenty of strength at the point.'"

Courtney Taylor: Out with minor injury

Thursday in Hawkville: "Wide receiver Courtney Taylor did not practice for the second consecutive day."

Pat Sims: Coach Lewis likes his hard work

Big tackles eager to please: "It's just that Sims, a third-round draft pick from Auburn University, likely will play sooner than his fifth-round teammate.
'The thing I like about Pat is he has worked extremely hard,' Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. 'He can play with high energy and good burst. He's a big, strong, powerful man, and that's what we're excited about. Pat, for sure, should have an impact right away.'"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Prechae Rodriguez: Chose CFL to play right away - Local Sports - Cat be nimble, but quick-fit?: "The Tampa native played three seasons at Auburn, where he caught 38 passes for 530 yards in 36 NCAA games. The rub is Rodriguez initially went to Auburn as a basketball recruit, so he has only played three football seasons. But the Ticat brass say he was the best receiver who attended the club's recent free-agent camp in Tampa.
So, why isn't he playing in the National Football League?
'A couple of teams tried to sign him as a free agent, but we convinced him he would have a better opportunity here. As a young player, he would get the chance to play right away. We're glad he wants to be here,' O'Billovich explained"

Prechae Rodriguez: Signs with Canadian football league's Hamilton Tiger Cats

Ticats ink four import players from Florida camp: "Rodriguez, a 6-4, 208-pound native of Tampa, Florida played three seasons (2005-07) at Auburn where he recording 38 receptions for 530 yards and two touchdowns in 36 games"

Ben Grubbs: Shift to left guard at minicamp

Carroll County Times: Westminster, Maryland: "Brown took snaps at center, his college position, during last week's minicamp as right tackle Marshal Yanda lined up at center and right guard with Ben Grubbs shifting to his natural left guard spot. If rookie draft pick Oniel Cousins emerges as a potential starter at right tackle, then the flexibility of the line would increase markedly"

Ben sings "War Eagle"

Jason Campbell: Strains hamstring from practicing new stance

Charlotte Sports - Charlotte Bobcats, Charlotte Panthers | Charlotte Observer: "WASHINGTON: Receiver Antwaan Randle El, with crutches under both arms, had arthroscopic surgery Monday on his right knee and said it went as expected. He hopes to return to the field for offseason practices next month.
• Quarterback Jason Campbell strained his hamstring, and running back Clinton Portis sat out with a minor hip flexor strain.
Coach Jim Zorn said Campbell's legs have been feeling the effects of practicing a more compressed stance, something the coach hopes will give the quarterback more maneuverability.
• Wednesday was the last of three offseason practices that supplemented the weekend minicamp."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Josh Thompson: Good shot at Rams' 5th DT spot

WTOC, Savannah, Georgia, news, weather and sports | Josh Thompson ready for mini-camp: "Now he's taking his skills to the next level... going to the St. Louis Rams mini-camp as an undrafted player... just hoping to get a shot at the NFL. 'It's something you dream about growing up through football,' said Thompson. 'I dreamed about it in high school and when I got to college that was one of my main goals was to further my success in football. It's a great opportunity and hopefully I can go up there and make the best of it.'
At 6-feet and 305 pounds... Thompson is a little on the short side for most NFL teams. He hopes to get a shot to make an impression on the rams the way he did on opponents when the played at Statesboro high and Auburn. 'I've got a really good spot up there, they have only 4 D-tackles up there right now on the roster. Hopefully they'll want to add a 5th or get rid of one, but we'll see. It's a good chance, a good opportunity. It could be make-or-break anytime, but right now I think I'm in a good spot.'
The mini camp is mostly a learning process for the new players... but Thompson hopes to make the most of it. 'I talked with my other D-tackle who played at Auburn with me, Pat Sims, and he just went through a mini-camp and he said it was 5 practices in 3 days. They just went at it and watched a lot of films, so I'm expecting to go out there and get after it and hopefully learn a little bit and show off a little bit.'"

Stanley McClover: Can he grab Panther's starting DE job?

Sports: Plenty of questions as the Panthers open minicamp | questions, panthers, lingering : Gaston Gazette: "5. The Panthers had one of the league's worst pass rushes last season and they lost Mike Rucker at right end. So who will take his spot? That job is up for grabs between three men - Stanley McClover, Charles Johnson and Tyler Brayton. I know everyone is high on Johnson, but when all is said and done I like McClover's chances"

Jason Campbell: Responding well to new coach

ESPN - Clayton: Five things we learned from first minicamps - NFL: "New Redskins coach Jim Zorn had the most entertaining minicamp. Jason Campbell seems to be responding to Zorn's unique coaching methods. Clinton Portis, in his best shape as a Redskin, almost beat safety LaRon Landry in a match race. Landry ran a 4.35 40 coming out of college, but Portis wanted to challenge him. Then there was second-round pick Fred Davis. He couldn't sleep Saturday night because his roommate wouldn't shut up. So he went to the desk of the hotel and asked for a different room. He slept until 11 a.m., and the team couldn't find him because he wasn't in the right room. Zorn wants his players alert -- but Fred, tell the roommate to shut up and don't forget the wakeup call."

Greg Carr: Greatness beyond the NFL

Former Auburn linebacker Gregg Carr took the path less traveled to the Hall of Fame - Tracking the Tigers - "Drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carr played for four seasons and could have played longer. But new horizons beckoned.
'When I was in training camp the first year, several ex-Steelers would hang out on the sidelines,' Carr says. 'They had chronic shoulder and knee problems. They were always talking about the good, old days. It was fun to listen to, but I didn't see myself in my mid-30s reminiscing about the way things used to be. I wanted something I could take forward.'
As that season wore on, Carr began thinking about being an orthopedist. In each offseason, he returned to school to take pre-med courses. After his fourth season, he was accepted at the UAB medical school. He gave up the glitz ad glamour of life in the NFL.
'What I'm doing now is something I strived for and wanted to do,' Carr says. 'Just like everything else, it was kind of a goal people thought I'd never accomplish. I certainly didn't get a lot of support from my teammates, who thought I'd flipped my lid.'"

Brandon Jacobs: Silver lining of sharing backfield at AU

Jacobs' journey may end in Huntsville- "Ironically, all of that shared time during college and in his early pro days will likely extend his career for several more seasons"

Against the Cowboys

Carlos Rogers, Rod Hood: SN's ranking of NFC team's CBs - Your expert source for NFL Football stats, scores, standings, blogs and fantasy news from NFL Football columnists: "10. Redskins. Shawn Springs can cover one-on-one, press at the line or drop into a zone. Fred Smoot sometimes gives receivers too much cushion. Carlos Rogers is coming off a devastating knee injury.
11. Cardinals. Rod Hood and Eric Green are solid, but rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will challenge them for a job. Antrel Rolle was moved to safety but could return to his nickel slot, where he has had success"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Draft Class 2009: Introducing the seniors

Arkansas Razorback Sports Network :: 2008 SEC Spring Football Notes: "• Auburn has 16 seniors in the class of 2008, which is the fourth-largest senior class during the Tommy Tuberville era. Other senior class sizes under Tuberville include 17 in 2007, 21 in 2006, 14 in 2005, 18 in 2004, 13 in 2003, 15 in 2002, 10 in 2001, 14 in 2000 and 14 in 1999. The 2008 seniors include: C Jason Bosley, RB Tristan Davis, DL Tez Doolittle, WR Robert Dunn, LB Chris Evans, RB Ryan Hastie, OG Tyronne Green, LB Courtney Harden, LB Merrill Johnson, RB Brad Lester, WR Charles Olatunji, DS Robert Shiver, DB Blake Shrader, WR Rodgeriqus Smith, WR James Swinton and DB Jonathan Vickers"

Auburn Football 2008 -Do you want it? (By A96):

Monday, May 5, 2008

Draft Class 2009: Sen'Derrick Marks is CFN's #1 DT 2009 NFL Draft - Ranking The Def. Tackles: "Going into the 2008 season, here are the top prospects to watch out for. For now, only FBS/D-I players who'll be eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft are listed. The player analysis will come later this summer. Remember, this isn't a ranking of the best college players. Yes, there sometimes is a difference between being a good pro prospect and a productive college football star.

1. Sen’Derrick Marks, Auburn (Junior)
2. Fili Moala, USC
3. Al Woods, LSU (Junior)
4. Vance Walker, Georgia Tech
5. Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (3rd Year Sophomore)
6. Tyson Jackson, LSU (DE)
7. Jeff Owens, Georgia
8. Ricky-Jean Francois, LSU (DE, Junior)
9. Vince Oghobaase, Duke (Junior)
10. Terrance Taylor, Michigan"

NCAA Football Highlights on

Pat Lee: Leaping cars in a single bound!

JS Online: Lee's ready for another big jump: "Dared by a crowd that had to see it to believe it, Lee neared a Volkswagen Beetle with a low, deliberate four-step approach, then sprung off one planted foot - jumping from the driver's side of the car to the passenger's side.
Lee didn't just clear the hood. He cleared the entire car, leaving even his coach wowed by the sight.
'This kid could jump out of the building,' said Merritt. 'He has springs.'
In the Green Bay Packers' rookie orientation camp, which concludes today, there was no knowing how fast the 24-year-old Lee would jump ahead other defensive backs on the depth chart to develop into a nickel or starting cornerback for the Packers. In his very first practice Friday, Lee moved effortlessly through drills and at least on first impression looked the part of an NFL-sized cornerback. He'll certainly face much tougher tests in the coming months.
But this can be said about Lee for sure: In five years at Auburn in the tough Southeastern Conference, Lee endured a variety of experiences and persevered. And besides being athletic, Lee is gifted with a 6-foot, 200-pound frame ideal to play the kind of bump-and-run defense the Packers use so well"

Carl Stewart: Phillip Marshall -most likely free agent to make a NFL roster

Perrilloux's demise at LSU comes as no surprise - Tracking the Tigers - "* Someone asked the other day which of Auburn's free-agent NFL signees I thought was most likely to make a roster. I'd say Carl Stewart would have the best shot because he can do so many things and is so intelligent"

Jonathan Wilhite: Will Develop Under Dom Caper's Tutelage

Capers serious about instruction with the Patriots secondary - The Boston Globe: "Capers's personal touch figures to play a significant role in the development of Wheatley and fourth-round cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, both of whom could help fill the void left by Asante Samuel and Randall Gay.
Wilhite found that out first-hand yesterday after he surrendered a completion to the inside portion of the field during a one-on-one passing drill. Capers immediately pulled Wilhite aside to instruct him on where he went wrong"

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Pat Lee: #3 CB is the 12th man on Packer's defense - Lee strengthens cornerback crop: "In all likelihood, training camp will begin with an open competition for the No. 3 cornerback spot. That's essentially a 12th starter on defense given how much defensive coordinator Bob Sanders employs a nickel alignment with a third cornerback replacing a linebackerIn all likelihood, training camp will begin with an open competition for the No. 3 cornerback spot. That's essentially a 12th starter on defense given how much defensive coordinator Bob Sanders employs a nickel alignment with a third cornerback replacing a linebacker"

Pat Lee: Opportunity for playing time at #3 CB position

Packers draft picks know playing time will be limited -- "Patrick Lee, the third of the Packers' three second-round picks, joins a cornerback group that has Pro Bowl veterans Charles Woodson and Al Harris entrenched as the starters. Beyond that pair is a free-for-all for the No. 3 cornerback job -- a position that's used on about 50 percent of the defensive snaps because of how often the nickel defense is employed"

Interception against LSU

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Jonathan Wilhite: Coach Belichik was looking back to last spring

The News Star - - Monroe, LA: "Wilhite is a kid we saw at Auburn in the spring,” Belichick said in his press conference after the draft. “Actually, Nick (Caserio), Scott (Pioli), and I, Dean (Pees), we were all there. The guy has had good production in the kicking game, good production defensively. (He was) really a three-year starter down there, other than a few games he missed here and there, but he’s been a pretty durable, productive kid.”"

Marquies Gunn, Carl Stewart: Participate in Bucs rookie minicamp

Bucs Take The Field For Rookie Mini-Camp | Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Pewter Report: "In addition, four first-year Bucs players --defensive end Marquies Gunn, cornerback Marcus Hamilton, guard Brian Johnson and wide receiver Charles Spiller - are eligible to practice, giving the Bucs a total of 54 players participating in the rookie mini-camp this weekend. In addition, four first-year Bucs players --defensive end Marquies Gunn, cornerback Marcus Hamilton, guard Brian Johnson and wide receiver Charles Spiller - are eligible to practice, giving the Bucs a total of 54 players participating in the rookie mini-camp this weekend."

Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor: Opportunity Knocks

Seahawks | Seahawks young receivers getting a chance | Seattle Times Newspaper: "Obomanu caught 12 passes last season, his second with the team, and Taylor caught five passes as a rookie"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Anthony Mix: Awesome Catch

Washington Redskins: The Zorn Identity Takes Shape | Bleacher Report: "Zorn's enthusiasm for the game itself and his love for coaching also was on display on the first day of mini-camp: On one play young wide receiver Anthony Mix was thrown a pass in the corner of the end zone, the ball was batted by the DB on the play, but Mix stayed on the ball, and after juggling it a bit, made the catch. He was out of bounds when he finally had control of the ball, but Zorn took off down field, 'like a shot gun', according to Jason Campbell. He was sprinting down field to congratulate Mix on his effort to finish the playZorn's enthusiasm for the game itself and his love for coaching also was on display on the first day of mini-camp: On one play young wide receiver Anthony Mix was thrown a pass in the corner of the end zone, the ball was batted by the DB on the play, but Mix stayed on the ball, and after juggling it a bit, made the catch. He was out of bounds when he finally had control of the ball, but Zorn took off down field, 'like a shot gun', according to Jason Campbell. He was sprinting down field to congratulate Mix on his effort to finish the play"

Jonathan Wilhite: Great plays in Patriots minicamp

Slater proves multi-talented in rookie mini-camp practice | New England Patriots | | The Providence Journal: "Wilhite off to a good start
With the caveat that it is extremely early in the process, fourth-round pick Jonathan Wilhite looked impressive yesterday. The former Auburn Tiger was said to have “stone hands” in at least one online scouting summary, thanks in part to his three interceptions over two seasons.
But Wilhite’s hands weren’t stone inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse. In the morning session, he picked off a pass intended for one of the players on tryout, making a nice play on the ball in the process.
In the afternoon, he broke up a deep pass during a seven-on-seven drill, running step-by-step with his man. Wilhite tipped the ball and fell to the turf, holding the ball above his head as he got up, though it wasn’t clear whether he had actually made the reception"

Jonathan Wilhite: Making a terrific first impression at minicamp

Patriots rookies huddle with Tom Brady - "Defending his spot
One pre-draft scouting report essentially claimed cornerback Jonathan Wilhite had zero ball skills and “stone hands.”
That didn’t seem to be the case during the first session yesterday, as Wilhite broke on a ball, stepping in front of a receiver to pick off a pass. Later in the day, in the second session, he easily made the play of the day. He was marking a tryout receiver during 7-on-7 drills down the left side of the field. As the ball arrived, he perfectly timed his move, tipping the ball away, then apparently catching it while on his back.
Wilhite, however, claims he’s not trying to prove any of his critics wrong.
“I just want to go out and practice hard every day, do what I got to do to help get myself better and help the team any way I can,” he said.
Wilhite is wearing No. 24, which is Ty Law’s old number"

Friday, May 2, 2008

Kenny Irons: May have company when he returns from knee rehab

Alexander to visit Bengals: "And Johnson is also coming off an injury plagued season, Perry hasn't played in a game since November of 2006, and Kenny Irons isn't ready to work out in May and June"

Quentin Groves: Draft Pick Video & Jags' Director of Scouting comments > News > Smith confident in draft: "In round two, the Jaguars moved up six spots and selected defensive end Quentin Groves (pictured). The Jags traded with Tampa and moved one spot ahead of the Steelers, who the Jags thought were interested in Groves.
“I was at the Auburn workout and Pittsburgh had their staff there. That was a coveted player for them. We knew that was one of the teams we had to get up in front of,” Smith said.
The Titans had the pick after the Steelers and the Titans selected defensive end Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan.
“You have a chance to address your ability to pressure the quarterback,” Smith said. “Any time you can get an every-downs defensive end you get value. The two of them (Harvey and Groves) can put the quarterback under duress. We feel we got two young defensive ends that can help provide pressure on the quarterback in the future.”
As a top 10 pick whose strength is his premier pass-rush ability, Harvey would logically be expected to play right defensive end, the premier pass-rush position. Groves, however, is a pass-rush specialist who would logically be more of a liability against the run on the left side, which means Harvey may have to play left end to make room for Groves on the right side.
“We thought (Harvey) could play left or right defensive end. I think the way it’s worked out, he’d be best-suited on the left side and Groves on the right side,” Smith said."

Draft Day Pick at 2:50 mark:

Pat Lee: Draft Selection Clip & Solid NFL Player Potential

The Cowboy Roundup | MVN - A Dallas Cowboys blog » Blog Archive » 2008 Draft Studs and Duds: "The next two selections—Patrick Lee and Jermichael Finley—are guys who won’t be asked to star right away but should develop into solid players at the next level."

Pat Lee at 1:35 mark:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

King Dunlap: Philly press hoping he'll mature into a starter

The Bulletin - Philadelphia's Family Newspaper - Hopefully Eagles, Reid Have More Moves Up Their Sleeve: "The King Dunlap selection was a matter of the Eagles hoping this huge young man will mature during his time here in Philly, because he obviously didn't mature enough during his time at AuburnThe King Dunlap selection was a matter of the Eagles hoping this huge young man will mature during his time here in Philly, because he obviously didn't mature enough during his time at Auburn"

Will Herring, Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor: Coaches looking to step-up on special teams

Seahawks to unveil new-look special teams during minicamp practices: "The biggest mystery is who steps up to replace Koutouvides, and even Bentley.
It could be Lewis, who had double-digit tackles on special teams in 2002 and 2003. It could be one of the returning core players -- backup linebackers Will Herring and Lance Laury; backup defensive backs Jordan Babineaux, Mike Green and Josh Wilson; backup receivers Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor and Will Heller.
'There will be guys to replace them, I just don't know who it will be yet,' DeHaven said.
It just needs to be somebody. For the good of the team, as well as DeHaven's peace of mind.
'It's a challenge,' he said. 'But it's also interesting and fun.'"

Quentin Groves: 49ers woulda/coulda/shoulda

NFL Draft: 49ers Don't Address Needs | Bleacher Report: "With their first round pick, the Niners took Kentwan Balmer, a run stopping DT. The Niners desperately needed a DE or outside linebacker to rush the passer, but passed on players like Quentin Groves of Auburn or Phillip Merling of Clemson. The 49ers didn't take a single DE in the whole draft."

Pat Sims: Should improve Bengal's defense

User Blogs - "Cincinnati Bengals: Cinci got much needed help on defense in this draft which is good. Pat Sims and Keith Rivers will be starting this season for the Bengals. They should improve one of the league's worst defenses. I know Marvin Lewis keeps saying he is going to sit Chad Johnson and not trade him so with that in mind they drafted three receivers. Chris Henry is gone and TJH wil assume the No. 1 receiver role. Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson are both good size targets and could give Carson Palmer a few more targets."

Draft Class 2008: Alabama has one thing in common with Duke (no draft picks)

Georgia will have its day in the draft 043008 - The Augusta Chronicle: "110 -- Different colleges with players chosen. That list includes two picks apiece from Division I-AA's Appalachian State and Richmond as well as lone picks from a host of small programs, including Gardner-Webb, Mt. Union, St. Augustine's, Washburn and the first-ever selections from Bentley and Wheaton. It should be emphasized here that none were drafted from Alabama, Ole Miss or Mississippi -- tying Duke's output"

Jason Campbell: Adding WRs & TEs A Good Move

Receiver upgrade earns approval - - Breaking News, Political News & National Security News - The Washington Times: "'I thought we had a really good draft simply because we already had two good receivers with [Antwaan] Randle El and Santana [Moss], two guys who can catch it and make things happen,' Campbell said. 'Now we add two guys and the big tight end, and it's going to make us more dynamic.'

The quarterback was host of the first Jason Campbell Classic at Lowes Island Club yesterday. The tournament, which formerly had Mark Brunell as host, benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society"

Brandon Jacobs: War Eagle to War Hero Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, Team Inspiration

HAIL TO THE GIANTS - "Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, the Giants' inspiration last season for his courage after losing both of his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq, stood with the team on his new prosthetic limbs.
'I'm proud to be on the stage with this man,' President Bush said to the team. 'To me it's a symbol of your respect for our country and your patriotism that you would let Greg Gadson be a part of this team.
'He's got the Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars and now he's got a Super Bowl ring minted for a true giant.'
Earlier in the day, the team showed its patriotism by visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Gadson was a patient and where he now does his rehab.
'What really put things in perspective was going over to Walter Reed,' Coughlin said. '(The patients) wanted to thank us for being there. We just stopped in our tracks and said, 'We want to thank you. That's what we're doing here. You inspire us.''
Of the visit, Gadson said, 'That's a moment I'll always remember because they feel like my teammates and my teammates were there at Walter Reed. I feel like I had a little to do with that.'"

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