Archive for category Philadelphia Eagles

Around the NFL – Vick/Kolb, Vincent Jackson, Braylon Edwards

Hey folks, been a while since I last did a plain old, normal blog post but felt like with so much going on around the league the last day or so, I should pontificate.

To Vick or not to Vick?

Well, Andy Reid made his bed and he’ll lie in it – messy as it is. I’m not saying it’s a bad decision, if he thinks he will win more games with Vick than Kolb. Remember, Kolb looked pretty brutal in the preseason as well as that one half of concussion-free football in Week 1.

Vick looks better than he ever did – we’ll see if he fares as well against a defense preparing for him.

But can Reid go back to Kolb if Vick flops? I’m not saying I want him to flop, I think a success story for Vick could be something special. But if he does flop – what will the locker room think? What does it think now?

And I wouldn’t have batted an eye if we were in Week 5. Or even Week 3, if Kolb had choked for two weeks straight? But now?

If you were in ‘win-now’ mode either you keep McNabb or start Vick from the get-go.

Michael David Smith (writer on Fanhouse.com) put it best when he said:

Lesson NFL players will take from Kolb-Vick switch: “If I get a concussion, no way I leave the game and let my backup take my job”

You have to wonder if guys who normally wanted to get back in there will hide a bad hit even more.

Rumor has it that the Cleveland Browns called the Eagles about Kolb and were turned away.

FREE VINCENT JACKSON!

The AJ Smith/Vincent Jackson staring contest is now officially ridiculous. By the time you read this maybe a trade has happened but you know what?

I wouldn’t be a damn bit shocked if it hasn’t.

The Rams have reportedly dropped out, The Vikings allegedly have a deal in place with VJack, but won’t toss a 3rd round pick in with a 2nd they already offered.

What’s Smith doing? Does he think Jackson will get with the program if he shoves being a Charger down his throat? When does this become less about ego and more about getting something for a player who will not happily play on your team again?

Smith never blinks but I think this time he’s over his head. I could be wrong.

Sidenote: Is a team willing to put two picks on a guy one bad decision away from a year long suspension?

Speaking of bad decisions….

Braylon Edwards is a dumbass

Sorry, he is. Especially when there are programs designed to pick a player up and get him home safe AND I”ve heard some of those programs have a second guy show up to drive your car home.

But Bomani Jones put it perfectly on The Morning Jones today.

What was your plan Braylon? You knew you were getting tipsy tonight so…. you drove? Did you think ahead to 5am and what shape you might be in? (Let’s not point out that practice after a 5am return home….. yeah not pleasant I imagine)

At what point were you thinking at all?

I mean, you just had one of your better games as a Jet in a huge win on a team you want a big contract from…. and you Plaxico yourself?

The next good decision Edwards makes could very well be his first.

On the flip side, I’m wondering what exactly is the source of the ’suspend him’ crowd in the media.

Listen, I think drunk driving is pretty stupid and we can all thank whatever God you worship nobody was hurt here and we didn’t have another Donte Stallworth incident.

I’m not sure that it’s instantaneously suspension-worthy. Other players have had a DUI (or DWI if you’re in another part of the country) and I never heard a call for their heads.

Why this reaction and why Braylon? (is it the Beard? It is rather intimidating.)

I don’t have an answer for that, maybe you do. If so, leave it in the comments. But honestly more than Edwards making a dumb choice (yet again), the media reaction in NYC has been almost as harsh as the traffic.

And if you’ve listened to the show at all since I moved here, you know how bad I think that is.

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NFL Late Hits

I’ve been throwing out my thoughts on Monday mornings on Twitter and will probably continue to do so, but felt like a proper article makes a ton of sense.

With that in mind, welcome to NFL Late Hits, my new Monday article here at The Thundering Blurb. It won’t cover everything that happens in the NFL on a Sunday, just the stuff that for whatever reason sticks in my brain by day’s end.

Two huge plays yesterday have caused some chaos in the NFL media and Fantasy Football community – one was the 4-2 call to go for it by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, the other, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one to milk the clock in the Jets game.

Let’s start with the call by Belichick. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when it happened.

I did discover a new food allergy so, you know, win!

Instead, I went over the hightlites and looked over the game info at NFL.com. I can’t say I thought it was the best call, but I’m not sure it’s the worst ever.

Say what you will, but Belichick goes on fourth pretty often and it works out for him more than most coaches. I may be remembering wrong, but on NFLN last night, I believe Mariucci said it worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 78% of the time for him.

It’s not a bad percentage – on the other end of the field.

Look, Belichick has forgotten more about football in the time it took me to type this sentence out than I know now. So I’m sure he had all the facts, figures and percentages in his head when he made the call.

I just don’t know why you risk giving Peyton Manning the ball on your side of the field.

A great coach rolls the dice. Sometimes you hit the point, sometimes you crap out. Like The Hoodie said in his press conference, people will question you anyway.

I think it was a bad call. I also think the media shouldn’t be pulling their hair out over it.

Especially since, had the Pats made it, we would have had another round of ‘This is the kind of GENIUS which has made him so successful’.

A little perspective please.

Speaking of perspective – ok, so if you lost your Fantasy Matchup because Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee on the one yard line, you might want to skip a few paragraphs to where I chat about Brian Westbrook.

This was the right call. Could Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee have biffed the extra point kick? Sure. It happens less than 2% of the time, but like the man said ’so you’re saying there’s a chance?’.

Listen, when people say Fantasy Football is ruining enjoyment of the game, it’s because of reactions like this.

Scobee – shaky though he has been – wasn’t missing that kick. A short, high, kick is very hard to block. I know it cheeses you off not to get the 6 points but the Jags needed to milk the clock.

Whether reports are true that Head Coach Jack Del Rio called for a knee prior to the play or not, it was the right decision.

Seemingly overlooked in the ‘DAMMIT MJD YOU COST ME MY GAME’ shouting was the fact that Jones-Drew picked up the first down. That game was done. They could burn the clock all the way to the wire (which they did) and kick a ‘gimme’ field goal (which they also did).

It’s a no brainer. Sure, like Belichick’s call above if something bizarre had happened and the Jets had gotten the ball back and won, it would look foolish.

But the best way to finish a game and win is to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense’s hands. They did that. As much as I don’t love the thought of Mark Sanchez having to lead his team 80 yards to a win, all it would have taken was a missed tackle and the Jets could have walked away with a win.

Why take that chance? Keep the ball in your hands as long as you can. Milk the clock. Kick the field goal.

It’s maddeningly simple to me, as it was when Brian Westbrook did it previously.

Hell, MJD even apologized to you which he really didn’t need to. Of course he admitted he had himself and screwed himself too, but also pointed out that hey ‘you play to win the game’.

Side note: With players owning themselves and other players in leagues that often deal with pots of prize money, is the league going to come down on this as gambling?  I know the arguement has been Fantasy isn’t gambling, but you have to wonder if the NFL worries.

Things didn’t go all that well for the guy who last took a knee at the line either. Brian Wesbtrook suffered his second concussion in less than a month yesterday and you have to start thinking we’re seeing the end of him in the NFL.

Listen, I’m no doctor – in fact I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night – but twice in a month is bad. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s awful.

The more often you get them, the more easy it is to get them. More than one player can testify to that and with the recent discussion in the media and NFL circles about head injuries and their long term effects I cannot imagine the Eagles rushing him back out there.

Especially not with LeSean McCoy there. I mean, isn’t this what you picked him for?

Maybe not, if you run a grand total of 13 times.  The Eagles only threw to the backs a total of five times as well.

Sure, they were down and yes they moved the ball through the air effectively in the fourth quarter. Still, there was never a threat that they were running the ball – I wonder if the success moving the chains via air freight than on the ground says more about deficiencies in the Chargers secondary than the Eagles pass attack

Either way, one hopes the Eagles – and Westbrook himself – are very cautious this time out.

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2009 NFL Running Back Battles to Watch: Part 2

Welcome to part two of the 2009 NFL Running Back Battles To Watch. Yesterday we looked at a bunch of great backs including – but not limited to – the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and the Carolina Panthers.

Today we’ll be looking at some more interesting backfield situations and seeing what they might mean for their respective teams.

We’ll start off with a team that has a clear-cut number one back but also some questions as to what to do if he cannot carry the full load over the course of the 2009 season.

Jacksonville
We all think Maurice Jones-Drew aka ‘The Human Bowling Ball’ aka ‘The Bad Little Man’ will be the bell cow here and get most if not all the work. The man can do it all and despite his size, usually stays healthy. With no Fred Taylor, he should get every carry Freddy used to get, right?

Well, yes and no. While MJD is a stud and the offensive line is much healthier and better than 2008’s version, the Jaguars will by no means risk burning out Jones-Drew before the playoffs. I expect one of the backs behind him to get a fair share of carries as well.

Note that I am not saying they will cut significantly into his totes – but that it will factor in and probably in a good way.

Former USC tailback Chauncey Washington patiently waited for his shot, but now has to hold off former Liberty stud Rashad Jennings a guy who improbably fell to the Jags in the seventh round – something I still can’t figure out.

Both players have the ability to fill in for MJD but despite being a USC Homer, I like Jennings better. He can catch, he can slide into holes but he has decent size. Matt Waldman of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio and footballguys.com said it best; ‘what you should know about Jennings is that he’s a bigger back with finesse’.

That size combined with the skills Waldman alludes to make him a very attractive compliment to Jones-Drew and a guy to watch for long term on his own as well.

Jennings has some issues finishing a run and will need to improve that if he wants to catch Washington.

And lest we forget, Greg Jones has been occasionally stud-like when he has had a shot in the past and is a great 3rd down back. Jones has never quite been the same since a knee injury and is often hurt.

Who ends up spelling MJD could have some real value for fantasy owners and Jags fans. It should be a horse race between these three.

New Orleans
Will Reggie Bush stay healthy? Will Pierre Thomas? Who gets the ball on third downs and at the goal line?

Big questions for an offense which needs to improve it’s run game to take some pressure off the pass game. It looks like Thomas has the between-the-tackles work locked down while Bush will continue to play scat-back.

But both have some injury questions (Bush his legs and Thomas’ wrist) so the Saints have journeyman Mike Bell, second year player Lynell Hamilton, and undrafted free agents P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson.

Mike Bell has played well in camp so far but don’t discount the rookies. The Saints went hard into the street free agent market post-draft so they clearly have some concerns with the tailback position.

Bell has played well before and then faltered. Hill has some serious character concerns but seems to realize he screwed up and is motivated to prove he has the ability and maturity to make an impact. All three are big backs, something the Saints lost when they let Deuce McAllister go.

It will be interesting to see if any can make ground on Thomas and given the injury issues (for both Thomas and Bush) and Thomas’ size, one of these guys could see action this season.

Philadelphia
With Brian Westbrook banged up again (What? Stop lying Garda! NEVER!) every Eagles fan – and many, MANY fantasy football owners – want to know who to grab for this year’s version of Westbrook Insurance.

Aside: Should Westbrook and/or the Iggles talk to Geico about a sponsorship? I mean, in these troubled economic times, shouldn’t a club be looking for cash wherever they can?

I’m not saying, but I am just saying is all.

But all shenanigans aside who backs Westy up resonates hard an long amongst the NFL community of fans and it goes beyond fantasy football folks. As much as I like the receivers and the passing offense this year, they need the run game hitting on all cylinders.

With the very real possibility that the last two years of 15 games might have been an illusion in terms Westy’s health the Eagles need to know they can throw another guy in there and crank out the yards effectively.

Which leaves you with this question: LeSean McCoy or Lorenzo Booker?

Booker was a guy who I had high hopes for coming to Philadelphia last season after being virtually ignored by Miami previously. With his ability to catch the ball and his general shifty running style, I thought Lo-Book was going to get some traction finally but sadly that didn’t happen.

Booker barely saw the field and then the team went and drafted LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy who is plays very similarly to Westbrook’s game. And while a tad undersized, McCoy plays tough and isn’t afraid of contact.

It will be a battle in the most literal sense and no other fracas may impact the whole offense of a team like this one. If they cannot move the ball on the ground – and lack a player at the RB spot who can catch the ball as effectively as Westy – defenses could key heavily on the pass game.

San Francisco
I spent a lot of time the past few months looking oer the 49ers and there are a ton of questions surrounding this run game and what it could be.

New offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye keeps saying this will not be a run heavy playbook, but if you look at his resume, he’s definitely developed some very strong rushing attacks. So does that mean Raye is tossing some disinformation out there?

Maybe not.

The 49ers often run a game where a strong rushing attack sets up a vertical passing attack. It hasn’t worked well for many reasons – not the least of which is the lack of a permanent solution at quarterback.

So it isn’t far fetched that Raye is being truthful – a rarity in today’s NFL it seems. With the weapons at both running back and wide receiver, the Niners are set up to have an effective attack from either direction.

We know Frank Gore is the stud-bell cow-big dawg-whatever you call it in the backfield. But he cannot do it alone as we saw when he wore down last season.

So who is the backup who could share in his carries? A great question as the backs behind him all have questions.

Michael Robinson has functioned more as a fullback and special-teamer and while Thomas Clayton tends to shine in preseason games, he hasn’t played worth a tinker’s damn during the season. Neither of them have quite been able to give the team a consistent and safe backup to Gore in the past few years.

Two rookies – third round pick Glenn Coffee and street free agent Kory Sheets – have a shot at spelling Gore. Coffee is a solid one cut runner with great vision, who can aggressively attack the hole. He’s a powerful runner who could help the short yardage game, something that occasionally struggled in 2008.

Sheets has great acceleration and burst and is a very good receiver out of the backfield. He can be very elusive and shows patience behind the line with good vision and instincts. I think he could emerge as a nice compliment to Gore in the vein of a Leon Washington or Reggie Bush.

Adding Sheets as an extra weapon is nice, but ultimately the 49ers need to get someone to consistently and reliably spell Gore to save him for a potential run at a playoff spot this year.

Seattle
Somehow the Seahawks ended the draft without a replacement for the long departed Shaun Alexander, instead relying on Julius Jones and TJ Duckett for a solution at the running back position.

I can’t say I am enthusiastic about that, however I am cautiously optimistic.

With a healthy pass game – which they lacked from the get-go last season – the Hawks could find themselves in possession of a consistent though not spectacular rushing attack.

Julius Jones has shown some skills in the past and will probably make a good two-down runner for the team, getting a lift from a new zone-blocking scheme which he fits into well. However, even though he was the top running back for Seattle last season, he was pretty inconsistent and has to correct that if the team is to depend upon him.

People keep talking each season about how this is TJ Duckett’s time to shine, but I haven’t heard a lot of that yet this off-season. Maybe that bodes well for the former Falcon/Redskin/Lion. He has always possessed a nose for the end zone and he’ll get most of the redzone/end zone looks in my opinion – at least when the team isn’t throwing the ball to Houshmandzadeh or second year tight end John Carlson.

The question – aside from will Edgerrin James or Duece McAllister sign prior to the season – I am asking is where do guys like Justin Forsett end up? If Duckett is more suited to the short yardage/goal line role, will Forsett a second year man out of California, end up as Jones’ backup? Or will he be relegated to special teams?

I want to watch this battle closely as teams all know the Seahawks are gearing up to throw the ball a lot. So who ends up running the ball is of paramount importance. If they cannot move the ball on the ground, the wide receivers may find it very tough to get room to work in the secondary.

That’s it for now – if you don’t hear from me in a few days, have someone send a cop to check on me. I might be buried under an avalanche of moving boxes.

Thanksgiving Day Games – AZ @ PHI

Along with dessert (pumpkin pie or ice cream – why not both?) here comes what might end up being the best game all day. Or maybe not. The Cardinals do not travel well and Philly is probably too banged up to know they have visitors. But there is still plenty of Fantasy Value for the nightcap.

Of course, you can catch the up to date, latest info version on the Fantasy Sports Channel at BlogtalkRadio.com at 7:30amPST/10:30amEST tomorrow. Also you can read the Titan/Lion breakdown by scrolling down the page or clicking HERE, and the Seahaks/Cowboy game HERE.

Here is the breakdown for the Cardinals and the Eagles in NFLN’s own version of ‘The Birds’ as of Wednesday night.

CARDINALS

Kurt Warner
It may be that you have no other QB to throw in there and you may need to start him. If Warner was picked as your backup and you have another stud you kept and didn’t trade, I would be tempted to start someone else. Philly blitzes VERY well and Warner struggles with pressure. He did a good job VS the Giants but Philly’s blitz is another thing entirely. They have the most sacks in the league with 39, so the pressure will be there. They don’t have a ton of INTs – tied for 18th with just 9. So,Warner may get a ton of pressure, but not turn the ball over. Warner is likely your biggest stud of your QBs so you roll him out there. But I am a little concerned with the pressure this D will bring, the short week and the east-coast trip.

Tim Hightower
Hightower is unlikely to get those short yard TDs every week. He is a good strong back and can be fast but he does not overpower defenders and doesn’t make them miss. He is a true boom or bust this week and I am concerned that they may throw short and have him block to save Warner from being laid out. Like his rookie bretheren, Forte, Slaton and Johnson, he has captured the starting job but unlike them, he isn’t quite consistent enough to risk in an important week for most fantasy teams.

Anquan Boldin
Not only is Boldin a solid yardage WR, he gets a ton of Redzone targets. I think he could be in for a big week this week, even if Warner falters. The corners are not fantastic in Philly and he and the other Wrs should be able to get separation. We’ll see if Warner can get them the ball.

Larry Fitzgerald
As with Boldin, you just start this guy. Both can be top 5-10 WRs every week. Fitz gets the yards while Boldin tends to get TDs – so he can be streaky points-wise. But Fitz will get a ton of looks and like Boldin, will be able to overcome the Philly secondary.

Steven Breaston
I am most worried about Breaston out of the three Wrs and as such, I am most likely to bench him. He is a decent #3 or 4 so at most you lose a depth slot tomorrow. I would avoid him if I could.

EAGLES

Donovan McNabb
Weirdest thing about the benching? Kolb had had NO snaps in practice as a starter. None. Makes the yank even more bizarre in my mind. While the DMac is back and starting, but is that a good or bad thing? The Cards give up a lot of TDs (22 so far) and are better than average, though not by much, in the turnover category. The Cards do not travel well and got beat up pretty well by the Giants. McNabb will likely finish the game (Reid can’t yank him twice – it wouldn’t just cut McNabb’s throat but his own) and has a chance to put up good points this week as he will have to score and the Cards can be thrown on. Not a great start – but probably a fairly safe one.

Brian Westbrook
I really wish I could just say ‘roll Westbrook’. I mean, sure he looked terrible last week but it was against the Ravens. But he’s been so banged up this year, he’s really got his owners worried. It is unlikely that you have a stud to lean on in his stead. If you are in a PPR league, there is a good chance he will catch enough balls to get you 10+ points. If he isn’t, I might be a little more concerned. He faces a D that is ranked 8th vs the run, with just an average of 89.5 yds allowed per game and only 8 TDs against. You may survive him (and may need to) but I’m not wholly confident and there are much safer guys to roll with tomorrow and this Sunday.

Lorenzo Booker
I would love to see LoBook get some carries. Having seen him work out this summer and talking to him about the dedication he is showing, I think the guy could be a playmaker. He looks like he has the tools. But for whatever reason, teams haven’t leaned on him at all yet. He should see some more carries this week to keep Westy from disintegrating before season’s end. With Buckhalter out, we should get a chance tomorrow. Not startable, but certainly a guy to watch.

LJ Smith & Brent Celek
Neither is a guy I want to start right now – the offense looks out of synch and these guys seem to be some of the victims.

DeSean Jackson
In a league with return yards, Jackson is a guy to grab. In PPR leagues, he has been able to give you good points and he is a cat who is the most versatile and dynamic player on the squad right now. They desperately want him to get the ball a ton, so he is a good bet to put up points tomorrow as they try to get some momentum going on the offensive side of the ball.

Kevin Curtis
What has happened to Curtis? He’s failed to get into any groove since returning in week 8. He hasn’t bounced back or gathered any momentum and yet he’s only been targeted one less time than DeSean Jackson in that span. McNabb and the Eagles have tried to get him the ball and he’s even catching more of them than Jackson. But he’s not able to do as much with it and isn’t getting the yards per reception Jackson is. Whatever the reason, it’s just not a safe bet he will perform.

Here is where the most fantasy value comes overall. I think Dallas will outscore either team on their own, but there are a ton of Cards worth starting and at least a couple on the Iggles side worth a look as well.

Best of luck to you and I wish you success during one of the biggest weekends in Fantasy Football…..

McNabb to Start Thursday

It looks like the Eagles feel they still have a show at the playoffs – Reid has announced that Donovan McNabb (should I call him beleaguered Eagles QB Donovan McNabb?) will start against the Cardinals Thursday night. FYI.

Buckhalter to start against SF


Correll Buckhalter will start for the Eagles at running back against San Francisco. As I said on the Stampede today and have said for days, gettign Westbrook the rest he needs is paramount to this team’s long term success.

Thank God someone finally listened to me, right?

I think Buckhalter is a fair start against a 49rs D that cannot get off the field often enough. Getting a full load of carries with no fear of Westbrook edging in is good news for owners everywhere.

Last RB article coming, this was just more pressing…..

Westbrook Week 6 Status in doubt

Hey folks,

Thins morning on The Daily Stampede I mentioned Eagle RB Brian Westbrook’s chest injury and reported his ribs were fractured. According to philadelphiaeagles.com , it’s not even that pleasant. Apparently his ribs aren’t fractured – they’re broken and Coach Andy Reid seems to feel his Week 6 is now in doubt.

As much as I love Westbrook and what he can do for your fantasy lineup, I hope they rule him out early this week. The Eagles really need a win against San Fran in week 6 though, so I doubt we’ll be that lucky. They will do all they can to get one of their best weapons in the game.

We saw the offense was much better with Westy than without.

will keep you posted.

Thursday Morning Stampede

Pretty quite here on ‘the big day’ – there will likely be more news as the day goes on, but it’s like the calm before the storm.

Kickoff tonight for the Giants and Redskins is 7PM EST – same as the Drive Block – and we’re off and running for the 2008 season!

Here’s the morning news -

Carolina Panthers
Matt Moore will be out 4-6 weeks with a fractured fibula. He had a nice run last year while there were so many injuries to the QB position, but lost the #2 gig when Josh McCown came by. With a little luck, Delhomme will stay healthy and Moore wouldn’t have been a factor anyway, but the young QB was a guy on many people’s radar this off season.

Kansas City Chiefs
Rookie WR Will Franklin had a great preseason going until he hurt his knee. Many folks thought he was a nice sleeper pick – but between this (he will be questionable to start the season and may not play Sunday), questionable skill at the QB position and an being in the slot in an offense that will probably not go 3 WRs often, Franklin is no more than shaky bench depth right now in Fantasy Leagues.

Also in KC, rookie Branden Albert will start at left tackle after he lost most of preseason to a foot injury. That’s a big concern – the guy was already moving postions (he played guard in college) missed a ton of important preseason work and he’s still starting? Let’s hope that learning curve isn’t too steep. This whole offense is a concern, which is why Larry Johnson dropped pretty far in many drafts this year. Shaky, shaky, shaky.

Philadelphia Eagles
We were already assuming this, but it’s a nice confirmation – rookie DeSean Jackson will start on Sunday against the Rams. It’s a decent matchup for the young WR, who while a little undersized, is electrifying with the ball after the catch. Question is, who is the other WR? Curtis is out, Brown has a bum hammy – are we looking at the re-emergence of Hank Baskett, who was a brief Fantasy Darling a few years ago? Keep an eye on it – you know I’m no Reggie Brown fan.

Back to Jackson – keep your expectations checked – he’s a rookie, the Eagles will spread the ball around and Westbrook and TE LJ Smith will get plenty of looks. But Jackson could be a nice #3/4 with upside this weekend.

That’s all for now – we’ll see what news perks up between now and the Daily News Stampede at Noon EST/9am PST.

See you then!

Thursday Camp News

A few things of note post-Favre trade….

Of course, Chad Pennington is to be released by 4pm EST. Could land in Chicago or a few other places. I hope he gets a good fresh start.

Denver rookie WR Eddie Royal was running opposite Brandon Marshall. With Marshall suspended a few games, Royal will see some action, and it looks as though he continues to impress and may get some chances even when Marshall is back.

The Cowboys expect to know about Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones’ suspension by the 30th. If he comes back, he will be a factor in the defense and knock Anthony Henry back a notch.

I mentioned on ‘The Blurb’ last night that Carolina receiver DJ Hackett’s biggest challenge is staying healthy – and the struggle continues as he has spent a lot of time on the injury bike in camp and fighting an ankle problem. Still like him as a sleeper, but am certainly hesitant to tout him as anything more.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to discuss increasing Jerious Norwood’s reps. As Michael Turner will be carrying a lot to keep the offense moving, it makes sense to have more carries for Norwood so he can spell Turner. Norwood is an electrifying player and will compliment Turner well.

At least one stud running back will avoid contract issues – Brian Westbrook and the Eagles should be coming to terms in the next few days.

Thats all for now – more later!

Camp Notes – 7/24

Here’s a few pieces of news from various camps around the NFL – as of this weekend, everyone will have opened camp and we’ll be off and running!

Westbrook and Sheppard Both Show to Camp
Well, the worries of Westy not showing up and possibly causing a ruckus are not coming to fruition – Westbrook is too much of a leader in the clubhouse for that to happen. The Eagles will probably try to make something happen for him this season, but for now, he’ll play ball. Any worry you had for his fantasy value should vaporize. Lito Sheppard is also unhappy with his contract but he showed for two very different reasons – 1) Asante Samuel doesn’t make him expendible but does enable the Iggles to tow a hard line with him and 2) Starting opposite Samuel could make his numbers improve quite a bit, allowing him to make even more bank down the road. I think a lot of IDP owners are looking at Samuel – don’t forget Sheppard. He might be a sneaky guy to target late in your draft or auction. Not huge numbers to come, by any means – but he could get targeted more than Samuel.

LaMont Jordan Countdown Starts….. NOW
Jordan and his agent have been waiting for Davis and Kiffin to dump the once highly touted RB on the roadside for months now, even farther back than the Draft and the arrival of Darren McFadden. Why it’s taken so long for us to see it happen is anyone’s guess – but when it comes to Davis, just be thankful they haven’t hired a guy who runs a bed and breakfast to run the defense. Cause that would be madness. Anyway, Jordan and his agent were threatening to appear at Training Camp and force the team’s hand (if he shows up the Raiders have to allow him to play – or escort him off the field and pretty much release him quickly thereafter). Rumor has it the Saints and Lions could be interested – I like ProFootballTalk’s idea better and it would make for some entertaining TV. Regardless, as PFT points out, Jordan will join a ton of unemployed running backs out there and his fantasy value is only as a long shot hail mary at the end of your draft.

More Raider Problems
As if that isn’t enough, both Javon Walker and Ronald Curry (two fairly important weapons for sophomore QB JaMarcus Russell) are gimpy in camp. Jason Jones’ Sacramento Bee Blog is saying that Walker and Curry will be held to once a day practices as they nurse themselves back to health. I’ve said many times how much I dislike Walker thsi year and everything about him right now. His Vegas troubles, his fatness in the OTAs. As much as I dislike him, I like Curry. I think Walker falls flat and Curry gets a lot of looks. That’s my thought. Apparently, Jones says that Walker has dropped a whole 8 lbs between the OTAs and now. WOW – somebody call Jenny Craig, I have the next big weight loss program!

Both guys are banged up and hopefully the once a day practices will help heal them, but if you have to draft a Raider reciever – and I will be clear here that NOBODY SAYS YOU HAVE TO – I urge you to look at Curry (who looked good in OTAs) and not Walker (who looked fat and bad in OTAs).

This Just In: Anquan Boldin still Disgruntled
The disgruntling is no real news – we’ve been tracking this for weeks. But the fact that – according to The East Valley Tribune – Boldin feels ‘betrayed’ and he’s been lied to. Let’s play He Says/She Says (or Team Says): Boldin says they promised him a new contract. They say – well nothing. Wisely the Cards haven’t really entered into a war of words they can’t win, merely reiterating several times how valuable he is to the offense. As was pointed out by Rotoworld, he’s already on his second contract since he was drafted – he’s already had it altered and extended. They’ll try to make him happy, but at some point, enough is enough. How many tiems do you restructure the same contract only to have more asked for? I know we were aware this would happen when Fitzgerald got his dollars, but you have to wonder what is going through the midns of the Cards and the fans at this point. I don’t think we’ll see a drop off in his play if he is unhappy – he’ll still have good fantasy value and is too much of a pro to sulk ala Moss in Oakland.

Jets Sign Gholston, Discover Yet Another Reason Why Pennington Sucked in ‘07
The Jets have signed Vernon Gholston to what Daily News Blogger Rich Cimini calls a staggering amount for a rookie. I don’t know if Cimini is aware but the guys ahead of Gholston have signed for far more guarenteed. I’m not saying 9 mill is dirt cheap – but compared to $30? It’s dirt cheap. The escalation of rookie guarenteed money is a subject for another day but he does have one point – Gholston had better be good. Mangini is running out of NY of the normally endless patience of the NY fan faithful. Do I have to write /sarcasm or is it obvious?

As for Pennington a blog at the NY Post is saying Pennington played with two torn ligaments in his right ankle last season. Apparently it happened against the Pats during the first game they played. Maybe the Jets can get some video from the Pats to confirm it? No?

As the commentary under the blog post put it – this explains the red zone INTs last season? Well, maybe not. I’ll give Chad this – he’s a tough SOB. But I don’t know he’s the future for this franchise. Unfortunately I don’t know he’s a short term answer either – and the Jets put a lot of money out there in a way that looks like they want to win now. Is Clemens the answer? By the looks of last season, no.

Whatever the answer is the Jets had best figure it out – time is running short for the staff and another horrific season with this team will bring out the sharp knives.

I would say – like the Raiders – nobody is FORCING you to draft a Jets QB. And as much as I love the team, I can’t direct you towards either one. Thomas Jones, behind that revamped Oline might be a nice play but if nobody can get a throw off, 8 men in a box could make for an ugly season there too. Hopefully camp will give us some idea of how bad off this offense is. For now, even Coles and Cotchery are shakier options than they were just a couple of short years ago. They should still get lots of targets – whether it is from Dink’n'Dunk Chad or Clemens with the big arm.

More to come later on…..
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