Posted on: June 22, 2010 2:37 pm
 

An Shrewd Take on 18-game Schedule and CBA

Former Packers executive and current National Football Post writer Andrew Brandt made an interesting point about the “enhanced season” and labor negotiations:

“I think this changes the game and gives hope for a new agreement. Here’s why: the owners have asked for a rollback of – depending on whom you believe – anywhere from nine to eighteen percent from the current CBA. Playing a couple of extra games, if accepted by the NFLPA, could be a tradeoff to the owners to bring the shared-revenue equation back to at or near where it is today.
In other words, say the owners agree to not ask for any reduction in the share of revenues that the players receiving. In return, the union would agree to playing the extra two games. There will be posturing for now, with players like Tom Brady and Ray Lewis trotted out to explain the physical strain of playing more games, but money has a way of soothing those aches. Sources on both sides of the bargaining table tell me this issue could be the one that breaks the thaw in negotiations.”
--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 22, 2010 2:00 pm
 

Position Change for Cullen Jenkins?

What you’re about to read contains no typos or errors: according to Rob Demovsky of PackersNews.com, Green Bay defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins has been getting reps at outside linebacker. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has taken some heat from Jenkins in the past for not always using his playmakers enough. (Jenkins, by the way, looks foolish with this gripe, as Green Bay’s D ranked second in yardage, first in interceptions and 11th in sacks last season.)

Now Jenkins, a strong but agile athlete with fantastic lateral mobility, has a chance to operate in the ultimate playmaking position: 3-4 outside linebacker. Demovsky writes:

A 295-pound linebacker isn’t unheard of. Remember Pittsburgh’s Levon Kirkland? (Of course, Kirkland was an inside linebacker.) Given their depth along the defensive line, the Packers can afford to move Jenkins around. Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett are major contributors at end (assuming Jolly isn’t in prison for felony drug charges), former first-round pick Justin Harrell may finally be healthy and second-round rookie Mike Neal is coming aboard.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

“Jenkins still played his share of snaps as a defensive end in the base 3-4 defense, but in several drills today in which Capers employed his nickel package, Jenkins was at LOLB. And it wasn’t exclusively rushing the quarterback. He dropped into coverage on several plays, and the 6-foot-2, 305-pounder said he felt comfortable doing so.

He said he hopes to shed a few more pounds and play this season at between 295 and 300 pounds. Other than a handful of snaps standing up last season, he hasn’t played off the line of scrimmage since his freshman year at Central Michigan.”

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 22, 2010 1:15 pm
 

Bears Linebackers Rip Brian Cushing

Outspoken Bears linebacker Lance Briggs didn’t hold back when talking to the Tribune’s Vaughn McClure about Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. Referring to the Defensive Rookie of the Year’s positive performance enhancing drug test, Briggs said, "Cheaters rarely prosper. I don't know what the whole deal was, but I just know he did things you ain't supposed to do."

Part of Briggs’s beef might relate to the fact that Cushing originally took his spot on the All Pro Second Team. Briggs’s teammate, Brian Urlacher, had some pointed comments about that in a Q and A with McClure earlier.

"Lance should have been All-Pro in the first place,” Urlacher said. “It's a touchy subject, with the way they test for everything. Now, you've got to know what you're putting in your body. I will say this: How do you play the whole season when you test positive the first month of the season? That's not fair to me. It doesn't make any sense."

Briggs was re-voted to the All-Pro Second Team after Cushing’s suspension.

"Five years from now, 10 years from now, all they're going to see for me is All-Pro," Briggs said. "Yeah, it makes me feel good.”

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 22, 2010 12:34 pm
 

Jay Ratliff even more amazing than he seems

Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff is remarkable. Weighing not quite 300 pounds, the 2007 fifth-round draft choice has become a Pro Bowler operating out of what is traditionally a two-gap position. Ratliff doesn’t have the girth to clog the middle, so instead, he dominates with initial quickness and penetrating leverage. No nose tackle in this era has gotten in the backfield with the consistency and ferocity that Ratliff has.

Now, we learn, there’s been even more of an incline to Ratliff’s uphill battle. Ratliff told fans in an NFL.com chat on Monday that he’s been playing with bone spurts in his elbows the past three years. The elbows feel better now, and he bench-pressed for the first time in two years on Monday.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 22, 2010 12:01 pm
 

Crisis for the Jaguars in Jacksonville

Could the Jacksonville Jaguars be relocating? They seem to be on life support in Duval County. Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com wrote last Friday about the team’s decision to open training camp not to all fans, but only to season ticket holders. Ketchman’s words were approved by the Jaguars in some fashion (he write for the team website).

"At this time, I would like to speak to everyone from my heart. I ask that you, please, read my words carefully and embrace them. Here goes: Folks, this is it. This is save the whale. Forget, for the moment, about kids and growing the fan base for the future. We've been doing that since 1995. Back then, it was about the future. In 2010, it's about the present….

"Ticket sales, not the futures of David Garrard and Jack Del Rio, is the number one issue confronting this team, and it's not about next year's ticket sales or growing the fan base for 2020, it's about selling tickets for this year. This is it….

"This is save the whale and, from my perch on the beach, the whale is struggling to live. I think everyone would do well to understand that the radical nature of this decision underscores the team's desperation to sell tickets. The team knew this decision would be harshly criticized, yet, it went forward with it. Why do you think it did? If your answer is that we have reached the tipping point, then you are a logical person."

There have been rumors in recent years about the Jaguars being for sale and/or being a candidate for relocation. (The NFL would still love to have a team return to Los Angeles.) With the Great Recession hitting Florida especially hard, the Jaguars lost 17,000 season ticket holders in ’09 and averaged under 50,000 fans per home game.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 22, 2010 11:23 am
 

Charges Take a Gamble at Nose Tackle

The top two nose tackles on the Chargers roster at this time last year are now both gone. Veteran Jamal Williams was cut early in the offseason. Williams, 34, missed the ’09 season with a torn triceps. Perhaps more surprising is the news yesterday that Williams’s replacement, Ian Scott, has been released.

Scott did a serviceable job start in Williams’s stead last season. While he’s not the most domineering 315-pounder, Scott has always been able to overcome mediocre strength with textbook leverage and tenacity. He was the only Chargers nose tackle capable of getting any sort of penetration in 2009.

San Diego now heads into training camp with Ogemdi Nwagbuo and fifth-round rookie Cam Thomas manning the interior defensive line. Fourth-year journeyman Antonio Garay, a 320-pounder, could also be in the mix.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 22, 2010 10:38 am
 

Noteworthy Addition to Front Office in Seattle

Mike Sando of ESPN.com is reporting the former 49ers GM Scot McCloughan is expected to be hired to the Seattle Seahawks front office. An announcement could come later this week. McCloughan, 39, had a mysterious departure in San Francisco just weeks before the NFL Draft earlier this year.

Seahawks GM John Schneider does not have final say on personnel decisions – Pete Carroll does – but he oversees the front office. Schneider said, "(Getting McCloughan) is huge for us because Scot is one of the most respected personnel people in the league. He played a critical role in helping the Seahawks become a Super Bowl team (in 2005) and did a great job in rebuilding the 49ers over the last few years."

Schneider is referring to McCloughan’s role as Seattle’s college scouting director, which was the position he held prior to joining the 49ers. Schneider and McCloughan entered the league together in the 90s as part of Ron Wolf’s staff in Green Bay.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 22, 2010 9:58 am
 

Al Harris's Status in Green Bay

Packers cornerback Al Harris has said there’s no doubt in his mind he’ll be ready for the September 12 season opener against the Eagles (Harris’s former team, by the way). The 35-year-old has spent his offseason vigorously rehabbing a torn ACL suffered November 22.

Harris has been documenting his recovery on YouTube to promote the website NationalFootballPost.com, for which it is believed he is a part owner.

Head coach Mike McCarthy, who has closely monitored the situation with team physician Pat McKenzie, is skeptical about Harris’s immediate return. Harris’s knee injury was more than a routine ACL tear.

“The only (person) that we're concerned about would be Al Harris,” McCarthy said, according to Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think Al is going to be definitely challenged to make it at the beginning of training camp. I'm sure Al may tell you something differently, but that's kind of my assessment of the information I've been given”

Athletic fourth-year corner Tramon Williams recently signed his RFA tender and is expected to fill-in as the No. 2 corner opposite Charles Woodson. If Harris makes it back, he may not be competing with Williams for playing time, but rather, with backups Jarrett Bush, Will Blackmon and Pat Lee.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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