Tag:Ray Lewis
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:02 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 11:10 pm
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Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

Posted by Will Brinson

That's the question NBA blogger Matt Moore (what, even the Panthers quarterback needs a hobby) and I set out to answer in a series of emails Thursday night when Brandon Marshall announced he was heading to the NBA if the NFL lockout actually occurs. These are those emails.

Brinson : So, Brandon Marshall wants to play in the NBA when/if the NFL gets locked out. Unfortunately, there's not enough roster spots to go around for my NFL peeps to just make the jump (not to mention 75% of them couldn't make it in the L), but it kind of brings up an interesting question: which guys from the NFL could ball it up in the NBA?

I think at some point we've discussed crossing over the other way (Bron would be an epic tight end and Allen Iverson's high school tapes still make me drool) but who the hell is your first pick from the NFL pool if you're creating a basketball team? Or, alternately, could Marshall make it? At 6'4", 230 he at least has the body, if not the game.

Moore: As I said in my post (SYNERGY, BABY), he's got a combo-guard's body, but a small forward's skillset. Maybe with his soft hands and awareness, his handle would actually be pretty good. Wait, why does it sound like I'm building his Match.com profile? Anyway, his athleticism would transfer, and that's really the big determining factor. Athleticism is at a premium in the NBA. Work ethic and focus are much more important in the NFL, and that's why guys like Wes Welker likely wouldn't translate well. But Marshall is kind of an ideal candidate.

I'd be interested to see some of the taller, slimmer defensive ends at power forward and center. But even then, most would be too small. Julius Peppers is 6-7 and 283. That's small forward height with power forward weight. As a comparison, Josh Smith is 6-9 and 234. That weight differential is what would probably make the most awkward translation. Then again, most NBA players would likely be destroyed by the sheer physical nature of these guys.

Brinson: I love that you thought of Wes Welker, who's barely taller than me . (Although, hey, Earl Watson, Muggsy and Spud made it ...) But you're right -- Marshall would be a good candidate to shift leagues.

As would Peppers, who, I'm sure you know, played ball at Carolina. So he's got a pedigree, not to mention being a freakish athlete. Size would be an issue, though: you almost never see NFL players even sniff the high end of six feet.

Also, think about guys like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates (who also played basketball). Gates is 6'4", 260 and fast, which makes him an unbelievable tight end prospect. But in the NBA? He'd be a fat shooting guard. (Or, so Gates doesn't beat me up next time I see him, how about "stocky"?)

Moore: I mean, that's really the issue. It's not a matter of the NBA guys being more athletic, it's that they're athletic at the things which make them good at basketball. How's that for some obvious analysis? Essentially, all those high flying catches you see in the NFL? That's an average NBA jump. That's "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter" in the NBA.

Now, the explosiveness would probably translate. The way tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers, running backs, and receivers come out of their breaks? That would work well on the perimeter, provided they could dribble. Of course, they'd have to be able to finish at the rim, but then you'd think the hyper aggression might get them there.

Hey here's an idea. Ray Lewis versus Kevin Garnett. I know they're both past their primes, but think of the insanity on the floor.

Brinson: Yeah, I'm pretty confident that Gates can dunk without any real issue, but he's not going to be going against six-foot-tall DBs when he's attacking the hoop or boxing out people on the block. Or as you put it "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter," a.k.a. a "Vince Carter Rebound."

Here's the other problem -- how many shots is Gates going to get off with J-Smoove guarding him? Like 10 out of every 20 with a lot fadeaways mixed in?

How about instead, we just bring Tractor Traylor out of retirement and have he and Andre Smith go NBA Jam style with Garnett and Ray-Ray? Fat AND crazy -- that's something I can get behind.

Moore: Bringing it back home, if Marshall can shoot, then I think he could conceivably make a roster. I mean, how many guys at the end of a bench are there only for their athleticism? I think that the size differential between NFL (shorter and more muscle) and NBA (longer and lankier) means it's going to be difficult for anyone, but Marshall's receiver-to-combo-guard may be the model.

You know, if we can't get Tractor Traylor back.

Do you think Marshall could ball in the NBA? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @cbssportsnfl and @cbssportsnba .

Posted on: July 7, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2010 12:37 pm
 

Position rankings: inside linebackers

P. Willis celebrates (US Presswire) Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on inside linebackers.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Jonathan Vilma, Saints

4. London Fletcher, Redskins

3. Ray Lewis, Ravens

2. Brian Urlacher, Bears

1. Patrick Willis, 49ers


Unlike our 3-4 and 4-3 outside linebackers list – which, frankly, weren’t easy to put together, because there just aren’t many stars at those positions – we’ve hit a motherload of talent at the inside linebackers spot. 

Willis seems pretty clear cut to me. He has the phenomenal statistics, he’s proven he can play the run and the pass equally well, and he’s still only 25. He’s going to be a dominant linebacker years into the future. It’s hard to believe Urlacher has been in the league since 2000. His 2008 season was unimpressive (by his standards), and he didn’t play most of last year. But is he still a top-two ILB? Yes.

Lewis is still very, very good. But he’s lost a step, and he’s not quite as feared by offensive coordinators as he once was. Notice the “not quite.” He can still rush a passer, and he still clogs up the middle of the Ravens defense, but he’s not a machine anymore and he has a tougher time in pass coverage. Though Fletcher is 35, he’s coming off one of his better seasons and he finally made his first Pro Bowl last year. Vilma racks up the statistics, in part because he’s easily the best LB on the team. But without him, the Saints might not have won the Super Bowl.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. DeMeco Ryans, Texans

4. London Fletcher, Redskins

3. Ray Lewis, Ravens

2. Brian Urlacher, Bears

1. Patrick Willis, 49ers


I figure our editors wouldn’t appreciate me responding to your top five with a simple “ditto," but what more can be said? I’d love to debate you about Urlacher – I’m sure more than a few readers will disagree with us – but I think his instincts are second to none. I’ve heard of a few players around the league privately criticizing Urlacher’s toughness – word is he’d would rather side-step a lead blocker than attack him square on – but I simply haven’t seen that on film.

I have no problem with Vilma being top five. I chose to go with Ryans because I thought he finally made more tackles near the line of scrimmage last season. Of course, I realize Ryans had better players around him and didn’t lead his defense to the postseason.

What’s most impressive about Willis is the way he’s improved in coverage. That was a weakness for him as a rookie. He also made more big plays in the backfield last year.

Fletcher and Lewis are machines. It’s remarkable the way they make their teammates better.

Since we’re in agreement here, want to expand to top eight? My next three ILB’s are: 6. Jerod Mayo (struggled with injuries last season but was, in my opinion, the best inside linebacker in all of football as a rookie in ’08) 7. Bart Scott (arguably the most versatile inside ‘backer in the game) and 8. David Harris (a thumper against the run). I’d put Vilma at 10, though again, tell me he’s five and you won’t get a very passionate debate.

Josh’s rebuttal

I really don’t see how one can argue at this point that Urlacher is better than Willis. Urlacher is on the downside while Willis continues to climb. The only question I have: will Willis consistently reach the level at which Ray Lewis has played for so many years as one of the best middle linebackers of all time? Time will tell. I accept your top eight challenge. 6. Ryans (I like him too, especially because his physical tools aren’t that great – he’s not big, and he’s not all that fast. He just makes plays). 7. Barrett Ruud (he disrupts plays in the middle of the field and has consecutive 135-plus tackle seasons). No. 8 Curtis Lofton (He has a chance to be a star, and the foundation for the Falcons defense. He hits hard and does well vs. the run and the pass.) I’ll reserve judgment for Mayo until after this season, but I agree that he’s a top-10 guy.

Andy’s final word

Okay good, we’ll get a debate here after all. I’m sick of everyone cramming Barrett Ruud down our throats. Ruud is nothing more than an average player (and I hesitate to even honor him with that distinction). He isn’t physical at the point of contact, he lacks ideal speed and agility, and his instincts are good but not great. I don’t understand how the middle linebacker for the league’s worst run defense (Tampa Bay allowed 158.2 yards per game on the ground last year) can get so much love. Yes, Ruud makes tackles, but most of them are miles downfield. There’s a reason the Bucs haven’t given him a long-term contract.

Feel free to argue back (we got away with going past the “final word” in the 3-4 outside linebackers debate, we can push the envelope again). I’m curious what kind of specifics a Ruud supporter can drum up.

Josh’s rebuttal to the final word


Your criticism of Ruud not doing much more than tackling runners downfield is not a new one. Ruud hears it as well. From a recent St. Petersburg Times story: "I read that I make all of my tackles seven yards downfield. But a lot of times, a tackle seven yards downfield is a great tackle, because you can keep a guy from going 60 yards. When I evaluate the great linebackers of the NFL, I see a lot of guys making tackles seven yards down the field. They're making a great play when a guy looks like he's about to break it outside.''

You might say that’s a cop-out, but he tells the truth there. Sometimes, it’s not about making the fabulous play that will get you on a highlight show. Sometimes, it’s about stopping the other guy from doing so.

The argument of not giving him a long-term deal holds no water with me, because of the impending lockout and the fact that hardly anybody is getting long-term deals this year. And now that the Buccaneers have made a commitment to their defense by drafting DT Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, that only will help Ruud – who, as I said, does a nice job causing havoc in the middle of the field even without the help of a defensive line who can disrupt a play up front. Plus, coach Raheem Morris calls him “The General.” That’s a pretty sweet nickname.

Andy’s final, final word

If Ruud is “The General”, he’s a lot more McChrystal than Petraeus. The Bucs denied Ruud’s contract request last year, even though they were well under the salary cap and focusing on securing young building blocks. Sure, a tackle downfield is certainly better than no tackle at all. But the reality is this topic never comes up with the Ray Lewis’s, Brian Urlachers, Patrick Willis’s and perhaps even James Farriors of the world. Again, the Buc run defense that Ruud spearheaded last season ranked dead last.

(Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker )

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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


Posted on: June 23, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 5:18 pm
 

More player reaction on an 18-game sked

In our neverending quest to find an NFL player – any NFL player – who will say they think playing an 18-game schedule is a great idea, we turn to SI.com’s Ross Tucker , who conducted a round table discussion to, well, discuss the possibility of enhancing the ledger.

We talked to Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth about this last week , and he didn’t like the idea. Patriots QB Tom Brady and Ravens LB Ray Lewis also have given their disapproval. What do you think the chances of us finding a member of the NFLPA who will say something – ANYTHING? – nice about erasing two preseason games and replacing them with real contests?

Here are a few quotes from the players:

“Nope.”

“No thanks.”

“Not interested.”

“No gracias.”

OK, I might be paraphrasing a bit.

Here’s what some of them actually told Tucker.

Derrick Brooks, free agent LB: "The owners can't have it both ways. If they want an 18-game season, then they need to say it. I know they are saying it publicly, but they are not saying it at the bargaining table. They need to tell us what they are going to give up and what we as players are going to get in terms of guaranteed money. We are asking for a certain percentage of the contract to be guaranteed if they want to add 120 or more plays a season."

Larry Izzo, free agent LB: “I think this is simply a diversionary tactic on their part. The owners get the full value of the ticket prices from the preseason games already. I think this entire CBA is a big PR battle and this is one of the league's strategies to win that battle."

Read the full article. Some interesting stuff in there.

And on a completely different topic, Tucker asked if there was any sympathy for Washington’s Albert Haynesworth. Six out of eight players said no.

--Josh Katzowitz

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



Posted on: June 23, 2010 11:22 am
 

Ray Lewis Speaks About Haynesworth

If you’re up for reading Ray Lewis’s really long answer to a question about Albert Haynesworth, here you go. Lewis said this on The Fan 106.7 FM in Washington. (Many thanks to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post for typing all this out and allowing the rest of us to just copy and paste.)

"I mean, I don't have to create a response. The response is, whatever you want me to do coach, let's get it done. If you want to switch the defense because you think it'll work better in a 3-4 -- I played in a 4-3 my whole life, but we switched up to a 3-4.
"Ok, Ray, you're gonna have to take on more guards, you're gonna have to do this and that.

"Ok, coach, I'll adjust. Do I like it? Hmm, nah. But I'll adjust, so let's do it, you know what I'm saying? And through that process, I won the defensive player of the year in the 4-3 in 2000, and in 2003 I came back and won the defensive player of the year in the 3-4. So it don't matter. Bottom line. Bottom line. Football is football, man,...

"No matter what the scheme is, y'all work together as businessmen to get it done. Because that's ultimately what it is, it's a business, so let's come to work and let's work together to figure this out. Ok, what best fits you? Ok, well, let's go to this sometimes, and then sometimes you don't like it, then we'll switch back to a 4-3, so play with that. But all of this? No, too much. Too much."

"Without even going long-winded, the word is, bottom line, respect. The power of respect is never to disrespect. That's it. Just don't ever disrespect the game, because the game will be here, always. Always. All of our time has to pass, and bro, I don't speak down on him at all. I would love to have a conversation with him, to say to [whom] much is given much is required, brother.

"Sometimes you got to do things you ain't want to do to get something you ain't never got. So be ok with it. But you can't always win selfishly. If you always win selfishly, then I don't know what the walk of Jesus ever represented then. You're not winning. You're not winning. And that's the things that I would relate to him. Going back to answer the question, if I was one of the spokesmen or leaders on that team, I would say bro, look, I understand you. But look, let's work this out another way. Let's get pissed of at somebody that we gotta deal with for 16 weeks.

"And whatever it takes for brotherhood to be formed, that's what needs to be done. You can take it off the field and I still preach it to every young man that I speak to: do not try to walk through this life by your self. That's a lonely war. That's a lonely war. And when you find yourself in the midst, in the midst of these peaks and valleys, it's too much to deal with yourself bro. And money blinds all of us. Money ain't the root of all evil, it's the love of it, and these are the things that are being lost."

--Andy Benoit

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

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 17, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Raging Debate Over 18-Game Schedule

The NFL Players Union isn’t thrilled with the PR campaign the NFL has put forth for extending to an 18-game season. After the two sides discussed the issue Wednesday, NFL executives (namely Packers president Mark Murphy) rushed to the media and spoke glowingly about what the league is calling an “enhanced season”.

Murphy said, “Part of it is really providing more value to our fans.”

The NFLPA responded by releasing comments from Ray Lewis and Tom Brady.

“I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don’t like all of them,” said Lewis, “but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games — when players already play hurt — comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”

“I’ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games,” said Brady. “The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented. Look no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care.”

Because the preseason is a time for young fringe players to gain experience, Murphy said the NFL may consider establishing a developmental league to make up for the lost opportunities. (The NFL’s current D-League is known as the NCAA.)

The 18-game season will be a sizzling debate in the coming months. Under the CBA, the league has the right to expand to a 22-game season (18 regular season games; four preseason games). But because Roger Goodell and owners want to shorten the low-quality preseason, the league is pushing for an 18-regular, 2-pre season game format.

Expanding the NFL regular season by two games is the equivalent of expanding the Major League Baseball season by 20 games. The financial repercussions are significant and, as Lewis and Brady iterated, so are the physical ones.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/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