Tag:Wes Welker
Posted on: September 9, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 12:06 pm
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Matchup Focus: Bengals DB vs. Patriots WR

Posted by Andy Benoit

It will be strength on strength when the Bengals corners line up against the Patriots wideouts (Sunday, 1:00, CBS).

First, understand something: New England’s receiving corps features the same two stars as 2007 (Wes Welker and Randy Moss), but it does not feature the same explosiveness.
R. Moss (US Presswire)
At 33, Moss has dissolved into strictly a straight-line receiver. This isn’t the end of the world – we’re talking about arguably the greatest deep threat of all time. Moss doesn’t quite have the wheels he had in Minnesota, but his speed still ranks in the NFL’s upper 20 percentile. More importantly, he’s a master at tracking a deep ball and disguising his intentions when exerting for a catch. That’s why he was still able to post 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

The problem is, Moss is no longer a premium threat when changing directions. He has stiff hips and limited agility. Thus, instead of running any route on the tree, he now only shines running the 9 Route (fly pattern). Moss has never been a good route runner, but he at least used to be dangerous enough to command safety help simply by being on the field. Now, if the Patriots want Moss to command safety help, they have to design plays specifically for him to do so. This ultimately limits the rest of their offense (just a bit).

The Bengals will likely play a safety over the top against Moss, though in cornerback Johnathan Joseph, they have perhaps the best deep-ball man-defender in the AFC not named Revis. Joseph has excellent catch-up speed and a keen sense for timing his attack on a hanging ball. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie is the best deep-ball man-defender in the NFC.)

More concerning to the Bengals should be Wes Welker. (We’ll assume Welker, in his first meaningful game back from ACL surgery, will be his usual self. A big assumption? Perhaps. But the man looked sharp throughout training camp and the preseason.)
J. Joseph (US Presswire)
Welker, obviously, thrives as an underneath receiver. Leon Hall is a Pro Bowl caliber corner, but he’s not a press corner (neither is Joseph). That’s virtually a moot point, though, because the Patriots almost always line Welker up in the slot or flanker position (two yards off the line of scrimmage). Still, Hall must be physical with Welker early in his route. Hall is usually tremendous in this capacity, but he’s also a tad inconsistent.

The key to Cincy’s defense will be whether Hall can control Welker in the five-to eight-yard range. Fortunately, Hall is an adequate tackler. But for preventing Welker from even catching the ball to begin with, the Bengals may want to have weakside linebacker Keith Rivers patrolling the underneath flats (stopping Welker in motion over the middle is nearly impossible). By committing Rivers to the flats, Cincy would be gambling with Chris Crocker against athletic tight end Rob Gronkowski in coverage – but at least that matchups pits an intelligent eighth-year veteran against a first-game rookie. Plus, if Rivers is in zone coverage in the flats, he can combat Kevin Faulk’s receiving prowess out of the backfield.

If we’re to follow this train of thought, then it all comes back to whether Joseph can handle Moss. If Joseph can’t, then Crocker will be needed in deep coverage, which means the Bengals would likely end up counting on Roy Williams to cover in the box. Just the idea of Williams in any sort of coverage gives defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer nightmares.

What to expect: a modest day for Moss (say in the neighborhood of five catches, 65 yards), a solid day for Welker (eight or nine catches, 100 yards) but the contest ultimately decided by whether the Patriots can find a third weapon in the passing game.

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Posted on: September 5, 2010 10:21 am
 

Hot Routes 9.5.10: The day after cut day ...

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

... Which means that the Sunday before the regular season begins should give us a nice respite before the craziness truly begins.

- Cleveland delivered some good news by activating DL Shaun Rogers off the Physically Unable to Play list. Rogers missed the final five games of last season with a leg injury, and he missed the entire Cleveland preseason.

- I feel compelled to bring you this news story, though, in reality, there’s isn’t too much news contained inside. Jets GM Mark Tannenbaum says the team is ready to play without CB Darrelle Revis. Of course, he’d feel a lot better if Revis was actually with his teammates.

- Giants rookie WR Victor Cruz, to whom you were introduced when he caught three TD passes against the Jets in the preseason, said he would cry if he made the team. He did, and he did.

- Wes Welker can play, but he knows he’s not going to be 100 percent when the Patriots open their season. He admits he doesn’t feel the same as last year.

- Jonathan Casillas was placed on the IR list for the Saints with a foot injury, meaning he’ll miss the entire season. You might remember him for recovering the onside kick to open the second half of last season’s Super Bowl.

- In a non-surprising move, the Chiefs shipped S Jarrad Page away from Kansas City in a trade with New England for a draft pick. Page and coach Todd Haley didn’t get along, and ultimately, Page got what he wanted – a ticket out of Missouri. The Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb has some thoughts on his Twitter page.

- Just for the record, Jarrad Page has no hard feelings for Kansas City, writing on his Twitter page, “Jus (sic) wanted to say to the kc fans that stood by me, this was never personal I love kc for giving me a great first 4yrs of my NFL career”

- An interesting story here about the Oakland Raiders Saturday saga with safeties Stevie Brown and Mike Mitchell. Sounds like somebody frigged something up.

- One more Raiders note. Rookie C Jared Veldheer, a 6-foot-8 behemoth, beat out returner starter Samson Satele for the right to snap the football to Jason Campbell.

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:03 am
 

Owen Daniels 'officially' returns to Texans

Posted by Will Brinson

The Texans and coach Gary Kubiak announced recently that Owen Daniels would be ready to play at the start of Houston's season .

In all the "WOOO DRAFTED HIM LATE IN FANTASY!" optimism, we forget that he had to actually take a physical. Good news again: he passed and started practicing on Monday.

I felt good," Daniels said. "I was gassed, that's for sure. It's a lot different than just running sprints and catching passes and sprinting up the field. We work on that play clock, that's good, in terms of simulating what it's going to be like in the game. My knee felt really good, but my lungs were hurting."

However, just because he's healthy doesn't mean he'll get any reps against the Bucs in Houston's last preseason game.

"We know what type of player he is," Kubiak said of the 2008 Pro Bowler. "We don't risk that. We get him healthy and get him ready to go. We've got a long way to go."

I like that move -- would anything be worse than Daniels, who's returning from a brutal ACL injury, getting hurt again ... before the season starts? I think not, and I would be that Kubiak agrees with me, which is why you'll apparently see him get 15-20 snaps during the Colts in Week 1. Which, um, isn't as awesome for fantasy as we thought.

But it doesn't make his return any less impressive.

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Posted on: August 25, 2010 5:41 pm
 

Daniels cleared to play for Texans

Posted by Will Brinson

Used to be a time (I vaguely recall something about walking miles uphill in the snow) when a man tore an ACL, a man stayed down for more than a couple months. That time is no longer now -- following on heels of Wes Welker's absolutely amazing recovery , Owen Daniels is back as well.

So sayeth the Houston Texans' website , where we find out that Gary Kubiak got the good news from Dr. James Andrews while running practice.

"Owen's been cleared; totally healthy," Kubiak said on Wednesday. "I was out on the practice field during special teams and he called (head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan) and we talked to Dr. Andrews, and boy, he's fired up. It's great for our team."

Indeed it is -- especially when you consider how nice a morale boost it has to be for a team that just lost rookie Ben Tate for the season.

Daniels, by the way, was on pace for an absolutely monster season in 2009, when he blew out his knee in the eighth game of the year: project his 519 yards, five TDs and 40 receptions across a full season, and you have the makings of a top five tight end season , pretty comfortably.

"He's a fine player," Kubiak said. "He's a good young man. He's what we stand for as a team, and for our players to see what he's been through and then to see how disappointing it was for him to have a setback and now he's still going to be there opening day, (that) just tells you a lot about what he's all about.

"No kid's worked harder to get back."

Welker might have an argument with that, but Daniels' recovery is still pretty darn impressive.

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Posted on: August 23, 2010 9:49 am
 

Hot Routes: No Favre here whatsoever

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Got links for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or send an email to josh [dot] katzowitz [at] cbsinteractive [dot] com.

-Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com has a nice breakdown of how well the 49ersfirst-team offense and first-team defense played in their 15-10 win vs. the Vikings on Sunday. Most impressive on defense was LB Patrick Willis, who had four tackle on just nine snaps played. Most impressive on offense was QB Alex Smith, who completed 5 of 6 passes and completed all three of his third-down attempts on San Francisco’s opening drive.

-The Minneapolis Star Tribune is already looking forward to Saturday’s third preseason game against Seattle. It’s because, like most every team when it heads into the third exhibition of the year, the starters likely will play into the third quarter.

-San Diego allowed disgruntled Vincent Jackson to speak with Seattle’s representatives, but Michael Lombardi of NFL.com thinks that might have been a bad idea.

-With Rams QB A.J. Feeley injured, don’t be surprised if No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford gets the start in the team’s third preseason game Thursday at New England. Feeley is thought to have a sprained thumb, but he underwent an MRI Sunday to better determine the damage.

-With Michael Matthews turning his ankle in practice Sunday, the Bills are down to just one tight end . That lucky man is Jonathan Stupar. Expect Buffalo to take a look at the free agent market.

-Apparently, New York Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson loves playing in the preseason. I mean, he absolutely LOVES it . Which is probably news to everybody in the NFL.

-With the return of Patriots WR Wes Welker and Seahawks RB Leon Washington from gruesome leg injuries, Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated discusses Gale Sayers’ shot knees and the pain tolerance the Bears legendary RB has. Pretty awesome/gruesome stuff there.

-Cowboys S Gerald Sensabaugh will miss the rest of the preseason and his status for Dallas’ season-opener is in question because of a subluxation in his shoulder.

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Posted on: August 23, 2010 12:35 am
 

Recapping the 2010 BFL fantasy draft

You may have seen some of our tweets about 2010 BFL, a fantasy league full of famous bloggers (woo oxymorons), in which I'm repping CBSSports.com and this here blog.

For the draft, we traveled to New York City this past Thursday in order to all meet up and create fake teams. The trip seems pointless, until you realize that we drafted in the NFL headquarters. Yes, like where Roger Goodell works. Yes, it was spectacular. Yes, the winner of the league gets some Super Bowl action as well as a large charitable donation to the local charity of their choice. Yes, you will have to suffer occasional posts about how I'm doing (and you can read more about the league here .)

And yes, I'm quite confident I'm winning; after all, look how alert I was just moments before the draft began.



Of course, that didn't stop me from drafting a kick-A fantasy team. Or at least one that I think kicks some A. Before we get to that, though, let's talk about the participants, in draft order:
By the by, you can actually check out the P&G sponsored league , as it's public I belive. So if you care to see the draft results, here they are. If not, I'll tell you about them anyway.

First of all, I heart my team. A lot. I'm totally fine with taking Maurice Jones-Drew second overall, especially after seeing how the Vikings offensive line looked on Sunday. I really, really wanted DeAngelo Williams to fall to 23, but I'll deal with Beanie Wells. DeSean Jackson is a clear No. 1 wideout, so I'll absolutely take him in the third round. Wes Welker in the fourth? Yes, please.

Dwayne Bowe is primed to blow up this year (I like the Chiefs a lot, actually), so having him as a WR3 isn't something I'm unhappy about. Myself and two others waited to draft a quarterback and I think it paid off nicely with a combo of Matt Ryan in the sixth and Matt Cassel in the 11th.

Didn't particularly love my Jerome Harrison pick in the seventh -- although I ended up with Owen Daniels at tight end in the 10th, leaving Tony Gonzalez and Vernon Davis on the board at that point was just stupid. Kenny Britt I like as a solid backup wideout, especially paired with Julian Edelman on the bench; Edelman's insurance if Welker goes down again and Britt can fill in on the bye.

Marion Barber is still starting in Dallas last I checked, no? Okay, thought so. 9th round for him is silly. Levy hosed me on Dexter McCluster in the 12th and I panicked a touch and took Demaryius Thomas, but, again, I think he's a good backup, particularly since someone has to catch passes in Denver. Niners defense, as good as it is, in the next to last round is something I'm thrilled about, insofar as one can be thrilled about drafting a D. Same with Rob Bironas in the last round, I suppose.

It's not worth discussing any other teams. They're clearly inferior to mine. (I do like Bassett, Jerod and Zerkle's teams the best out of the other squads, though, I think. Except that Zerkle decided to draft a sampler platter of running backs for five rounds instead of wideouts.) But I certainly welcome your thoughts on the squad below.

Also, huge, huge tip of the cap to everyone involved at the NFL for making this happen: they couldn't have possibly been kinder to a fairly dangerous looking bunch, or more accommodating in terms of showing us around, peppering us with cool NFL stuff and letting us spin around in Goodell's desk chair until Sebek got sick and threw up.

Just kidding. That last one never happened. But the NFL rules for letting us swing up to the Big Apple and get our geek on in their offices.

So to does P&G -- for the purposes of FTC biz, they helped hook it up.

Posted on: August 20, 2010 12:21 am
 

Welker takes next step of comeback

W. Welker had two catches for 20 yards in an impressive return to the field (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

He didn’t officially start the game, and he didn’t make his way onto the field until the second play (well, officially, it was the first play, because the real first play was a penalty). But Patriots WR Wes Welker made his presence felt immediately.

He caught a six-yard pass, and then he made a nice catch on a pass thrown behind him for 14 yards and the first down. On the next play, Falcons DB Chris Owens blasted him on an incomplete screen attempt. But Welker got right up and was ready for the next play.

It’s just an awesome story. He had ACL surgery in February, and a little more than six months later, he was on the field and playing at a high level. Two catches, 20 yards, one good collision.

Amazing stuff from Welker.

And I was just about to post this when the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain Tweeted this. Just for some perspective: “I watched Texans TE Owen Daniels blow out a knee in the 8th game and he's not ready. I watched Wes Welker do the same in the 16th game.”

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Posted on: August 17, 2010 8:38 pm
 

Brady acknowledges Welker's contract wishes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady added a little fuel to a contract fire in New England – but the fire wasn’t his. In a radio interview with WEEI, Brady made mention of something many people already know: wide receiver Wes Welker is looking for a new deal.

“Every player on the team wants a contract and to be fairly compensated,” Brady said. “Wes doesn’t make a lot of money, but he’s one of (the) best receivers in the league. We all want to be compensated fairly, but we also understand we signed contracts.”

Brady clearly wasn’t criticizing the organization or campaigning for changes – he was merely stating the obvious. Brady himself is hoping for a new deal (he’s in the final year of his contract) but isn’t letting it be a distraction. Of course, by reprinting his words again and again, media outlets like this one do all they can to make things like this a distraction.

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