Category:NFL
Posted on: June 16, 2010 9:48 am
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Falling further behind

CINCINNATI – For Bengals rookie long snapper Mike Windt, his entrance onto the practice fields Tuesday was the first time he’d worked out with his teammates in a month. He hadn’t been around for any of the team’s OTA practices, and for a free agent who’s competing with an established LS and an incumbent starter in Clark Harris, Windt’s absence couldn’t have been a comforting feeling for the rookie.

It wasn’t his fault, though.

Because the academic schedule of the college he attended, the University of Cincinnati, remains on the quarter system and since a rookie can’t practice with his new team until his class has gone through graduation ceremonies, Windt hadn’t been on the field since rookie camp in May.

Windt, of course, isn’t the only one.

Titans RB LeGarrette Blount (Oregon) and CB Alterraun Verner (UCLA) couldn’t practice until Monday, and Chargers LB Donald Butler also didn’t take the field until Monday.

Yet, Windt  doesn’t feel he’s at a disadvantage.

“The quarter system screws us over,” Windt told me Tuesday after Cincinnati’s morning practice. “But I don’t feel I’m behind the team. I’m caught up with everything I need to learn. During rookie camp, (special teams coach Darrin Simmons) taught me everything I needed to learn that I’d miss at OTAs. The only day they had without me was the day I got back here on June 10. I feel right, but there are little details you’re rusty on when you don’t do it for a month.”

Windt doesn’t have the same luxury of former and current teammate, punter Kevin Huber. Last year, Huber – who also played at the University of Cincinnati and is now a second-year kicker for the Bengals – couldn’t start until late. The difference, though, is that Huber didn’t have any competition for the punter spot.

“Yeah, but competition brings out the best in everybody,” Windt said. “I’m happy that I’m competing. If I wasn’t competing, I’m not saying I wouldn’t put my 100 percent out. But when you’re competing, you’re putting out 120 percent instead of 100.”

Since he couldn’t practice, Butler spent his time studying the playbook in order to keep his mind fresh.

“My guys have been down here working hard and it’s been killing me that I haven’t been able to work with them,” Butler was quoted as saying on the blog, Chargers Gab . “The biggest thing is, you’ve got  to open your eyes and ears more at this level, because if you don’t hear something, you’re going to be a step behind and then you’re out of the play.”

Blount, meanwhile, simply tried to keep himself in the best physical shape as possible.

“I know I’m further behind,’’ Blount told the Tennessean . “I was just hoping to be in good enough shape to at least maintain the first few days, and I am. The only thing is that the sun drains the energy quick.”

Although it might seem like Windt would have fallen behind the more-experienced Harris, that’s not how he’s approaching the rest of mini-camp.

“I don’t think there’s an advantage or a disadvantage,” he said. “I learned the same stuff he’s learned. It was just a different timeline. When I learned it, he wasn’t here. When he learned it, I wasn’t there. Now, it’s just play football. Snap the damn ball and see what you’ve got in you.”


--Josh Katzowitz

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 11:39 pm
 

Winslow says his knee willl be fine

Though he’s missed all of Tampa Bay’s offseason workouts and this week’s Buccaneers mini-camp, TE Kellen Winslow, coming off right knee surgery, said he’d be ready for training camp.

Although Winslow declined to say exactly why he had another surgery – the St. Petersburg Times speculated that it was to clean out scar tissue from his five (5!) previous knee surgeries – he also proclaimed that he couldn’t be stopped.

"It feels good. It's just something I deal with every day,'' Winslow told reporters Monday. "I'm not going to let these guys down, though ... It's an every day thing. It really is. It's not easy, by any means necessary. But I've been through worse and I'll be back and I'll do my job and my thing.''


--Josh Katzowitz

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

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:58 pm
 

Haley making nice with his players

Todd Haley had a rough season last year. Sure, he was named Kansas City Chiefs head coach in February, but Kansas City lost the first five regular-season games of his tenure (not to mention all four preseason contests). Then, the Chiefs lost seven of their last 11.

Don’t forget about cantankerous RB Larry Johnson, who publicly questioned Haley’s credentials on Twitter. Something about how Johnson’s father had played for the coach of “Remember the Titans” and then went on to a brief career with the Redskins and that Haley had played … golf.

(In fact, the week of the Bengals-Chiefs game – Johnson had been released by the Chiefs and picked up by the Bengals – when the Cincinnati beat writers talk to the opposing coach and a player on teleconference, it was all we could do not to ask Haley about his golf game. We figured that would not have gone well.)

Last year, Haley recently told the Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb , was a lonely experience. Before he took over Herm Edwards’ job, he had no idea how much burden the head coach actually takes on his own shoulders following a loss.

“There was no possible way to recreate the circumstances that I was going to be in,” Haley told the Star. “You have to live it. No matter how many mentors and guys I could call and talk to who would help me, there was no way to recreate being a head coach and all the things that came with it.”

So, how have things changed in Haley’s second year? Well, basically, he’s stopped being such a hard-ass. He’s stopped being so much like his mentor, Bill Parcells.

From Babb’s story:

Haley is more polished now, more comfortable in his own skin. The profanity-laced outbursts that in part defined Haley’s first season have, at least for now, quieted. The tightness that followed his first discipline-fueled months has eased.

Players smile now, and Haley smiles back at them. When quarterback Matt Cassel performed a perfect read and pass Saturday, checking off covered receivers to his left before finding an open Dwayne Bowe running toward the right corner of the end zone, Haley jogged toward Cassel and high-fived him.


But perhaps the best part of Haley’s new attitude – at least in the short term? He cut short the last practice of mini-camp, and then he canceled the final OTA of the offseason.

“I cut it short because of the progress we made this weekend, the fact that some of it was going to be review and as much as these guys have put in here over the last few months, I thought it was worth giving something back to them which I think they appreciated,” Haley told the team’s official web site .

The Chiefs don’t return to the field until the first day of training camp on July 30 where Haley likely will welcome back his squad with bear-hugs and an assortment of baked goods.


--Josh Katzowitz

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:02 pm
 

Lynch returns to practice

Bills RB Marshawn Lynch participated in practice today for the first team this offseason, and after he was asked what had taken him so long to pull on a uniform, he told reporters he was having too delightful of a time not wearing pads. It’s not that Lynch – who might not be any higher than third on Buffalo’s depth chart behind Fred Jackson and first-round pick C.J. Spiller – wants to be traded. Nope, he was just chilling out.

"I was just enjoying, what they call it, the offseason,” said Lynch, who finally met with new coach Chan Gailey on Monday for the first time. “Kicked back at home, but still getting in the necessary work for me to come back and be able to produce.''

I guess, we’ll see about that last part. If Lynch even makes the 53-man roster, he might have a tough time convincing the coaches he should have the chance to produce.
 
--Josh Katzowitz

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

Posted on: June 15, 2010 9:18 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2010 9:23 pm
 

Sigh: Sports writers foiled again

When you’ve got a controversy brewing on the team you cover and if the recipient of that controversy isn’t around – or isn’t talking – the next step as a beat reporter is to ask the opinions of his colleagues.

For instance, “So and so isn’t here, but what do you think about his a) desire to not play for your team this season; b) positive drug test; or c) run-in at the local strip club?” More often than not, you’ll get answers, and even if they’re the generic “We support our teammate and we don’t know much more than what’s in the police report” statements, that’s enough to write what we in the business call “a folo.”

The Boston Herald tried to do that today in regards to Patriots Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins and his desire not to sign his restricted free agent tender. But, as the title of the Herald's blog post says, “Ho, hum, nothing to see here.”

Obviously, New England coach Bill Belichick decided not to give his opinion on the matter, but we had two other beautiful side-steps of the issue. One player, guard Stephen Neal, said he didn’t know much about the situation, because he doesn’t have cable TV or the Internet. Read that part again. No cable TV, no Internet, no comment. Another, NT Vince Wilfork, seemed to grow agitated at the repeated attempts of questioners.

“What don’t you understand?” Wilfork said. “I’m not going to touch that. If you’re going to sit here and talk about that all day, I’m outta here. I’m not going to touch that.”

Even stranger? Just about every football writer knows that if you need good, solid, smart, thoughtful quotes from players who rarely say no to an interview request, you go to the offensive line. It's a double shot to the stomach when the guards, tackles and centers blow off your questions.

Mankins touched on the issue briefly Monday when he told ESPN Boston that there was “no way” he would sign his tender offer of $3.26 million.

--Josh Katzowitz

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



Posted on: June 15, 2010 8:36 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2010 9:25 pm
 

Haynesworth wants out of Washington

It seems like a $100 million in guaranteed money is not enough motivation for Redskins DL Albert Haynesworth to play nose tackle.

According to Jason Reid of the Washington Post , Haynesworth will sit out this week’s Redskins mini-camp and will ask to be traded.

“The Redskins are trying to establish a new regime with new schemes at Redskins Park, and it is not an organization that Albert would have ever been attracted to just a short year ago - regardless of the money," agent Chad Speck told Reid in a phone interview Tuesday night. "He has made it clear to me that he does not want to play for the Washington Redskins. … It's probably in everyone's best interests for the Redskins to make a deal and trade Albert."

 In the Redskins new 3-4 defensive scheme under head coach Mike Shanahan, Haynesworth probably would have to anchor the middle of the defensive line. He also skipped all of Washington’s voluntary workouts this offseason.

Haynesworth – a 6-foot-6, 350-pounder – has said in the past that he wasn’t interested in playing nose tackle because he doesn’t think he has the right body type for it.

"You look at all the nose tackles in the NFL, they're all the same type guys,” Haynesworth said on Sirius NFL Radio in March. “Most of those guys are short, stubbier, pretty much stump-type guys.”

Thing is, Haynesworth is right about that. And with $41 million of guaranteed money on the table, he must really be confident that he can’t play the position. Which leads us back to this quote he made when he initially signed his contract in March of 2009.

"You're not going to remember Albert Haynesworth as a bust," he said.

UPDATE (9:22 p.m. ET): Just to show that I'm not crazy for thinking Albert Haynesworth should be willing to play anywhere on the field for $100 million, here's what Arizona DT Darnell Dockett just tweeted: Did I just hear this correctly "Albert Haynesworth" will not be Mandatory minicamp? And he wants a trade, After signing 100millon dollar contract?

--Josh Katzowitz

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




Posted on: June 15, 2010 7:43 pm
 

Bad start for a new stadium

Not such a great start for the New Meadowlands Stadium.

As the Giants took to their new field for the first time today to practice, WR Domenik Hixon injured his right leg. Hixon was working on return drills when his cleat stuck in the turf. He later walked to the bench, where he sat with a sizable wrap on his right knee.

The severity of the injury is unclear at this point.


--Josh Katzowitz

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


Category: NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2010 7:15 pm
 

The latest with Revis, Mangold

Last weekend, Jets CB Darrelle Revis traveled to Cincinnati to participate in former Bengals DT John Thornton’s Bowling for Autism event, and afterward, he talked with a couple of my buddies. He told them basically the same thing he declared today: basically, he wants to be a Jet forever .

He also said today he wants to meet with Jets coach Rex Ryan.

“We’re going to try to see eye to eye and make sure this thing doesn’t get out of hand,” Revis told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “I don’t want this to go negative. But negotiations do get crazy sometimes. We’re trying to stop it before it gets to that point.”

Meanwhile, C Nick Mangold, another of New York’s “Core Four” who wants a contract extension, isn’t pleased with the negotiations. Before this week, he said he was 50-50 about whether to show for mini-camp but ultimately decided it would be unprofessional not to fulfill his obligations.

“It’s deeply disappointing that we are where we are,” Mangold told reporters. “I’ve tried to do the right things on and off the field, and I feel it’s the Jets’ turn. Not having that security of an extension is bothersome."

As Bart Hubbach of the NY Post points out, the Jets really could upset Mangold – and protect their own interests – by not giving him a contract extension this year and then placing the franchise tag on him next season, meaning he still wouldn’t get the security of a long-term deal.

Neither Revis nor Mangold said they had thought about demanding a trade.

--Josh Katzowitz

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

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com