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Tag:San Diego Chargers
Posted on: September 27, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Would Gates consider retiring with bad foot?

GatesPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In the first game of the 2011 season, Antonio Gates put up the kind of stat line we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him throughout his career: eight catches and 74 yards in a San Diego victory. But even though he played in Week 2, it was clear something wasn’t right with his foot, and for now, he’s out of the Chargers equation.

On Tuesday, Kevin Acee from the San Diego Union Tribune asks a pertinent question about the state of Gates’ career. Writes Acee: “But now, as the man who has proven his toughness again and again is again out for an indefinite period, we must consider the highly uncomfortable, almost unthinkable possibility: Is this the beginning of the end?”

Gates obviously doesn’t think so.

“No,” he said. “I think physically you get an idea about where you’re at by going out and playing and running around. Prior to the Patriots game, I felt like I could still be who I am. … Practice wise, I’m running around, I feel fast. So, to me, I just always, you know, I’ve always been optimistic on everything.”

Gates proved his toughness last year when playing much of the season with the painful foot condition known as plantar fasciitis. Gates said his foot isn’t feeling quite that bad this season. But he also planned to see a foot specialist today to determine where he can go from here.

“It gets frustrating,” Gates said. “… (Seeing more specialists) I think I get the satisfaction of knowing that it’s not anything that would hinder me from my career. … Rest can definitely help, but it’s a combination of, at what point is the worst-case scenario for me? Is it going to be a situation where if I rest it ain’t going to make a difference if I come back and run, because you have to get through the scar tissue?

“It’s always up to me and how much pain I can tolerate. And I think to me, that’s the most deceiving thing about MRI, because they tell you how you (are) structurally. But they can’t, no one can just tell you how you feel.”

For now, it looks like Gates could rest his foot for another three to five weeks and then try to return, although a doctor interviewed by Acee for his story isn’t sure rest is going to help much. He’s not quite there yet, but at some point soon, Gates might face a crossroads between playing in pain, resting his foot for a longer period of time or just flat-out retiring.

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: September 23, 2011 9:16 am
 

Brock, Garay fined $15K, Morgan $7.5K for QB hits

Posted by Will Brinson

On Sunday, both Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger took some terrifying hits to the knee -- Roethlisberger's was more serious, but Brady's was reminiscent of the Bernard Pollard hit in 2008 that ended Brady's season.

The gentlemen responsible for those hits -- Antonio Garay and Raheem Brock, respectively -- were fined $15,000 each by the NFL on Thursday. Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the fines.

"I'm glad I had a knee brace on," Brady said earlier this week on the Dennis and Callahan show on WEEI, via the Boston Herald. "That’s scary when you’ve been through those before. It got me in a good spot, and I’m glad the knee brace took the brunt of the force. Why I never wore a knee brace before, I have no idea. Why every quarterback doesn’t wear one on their left knee, I have no idea, to be able to withstand those."

Brady called the knee injury "The Carson Palmer Rule" -- he pointed out that he has his own rule, which involves tucking and should never be mentioned while touring around the city of Oakland -- as Palmer was knocked out for the year by the Steelers with a knee injury in the playoffs way back in 2005.

It was Pittsburgh's Roethlisberger, though, who appeared to suffer a similar fate Sunday. Ben was hit from behind by Brock and lay on the ground in pain, eventually returning to the game before limping to the locker room at halftime.

Apparently Roethlisberger is fine, and will require no knee brace this Sunday.

Derrick Morgan got nailed with a $7,500 fine for a late hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco Sunday -- Morgan was flagged for unnecessary roughness at the time, after Flacco fumbled the ball, recovered it on the ground and was touched by a different Titans player just before Morgan hit Flacco.

The defensive end plans to appeal the fine and said that a Ravens offensive lineman even told him the penalty was a bit much. Don't expect anything similar for Brock or Garay, who put the season of two of the NFL's most-popular quarterbacks in jeopardy.

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 3:59 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 4:13 pm
 

Haloti Ngata, Ravens reach five-year deal

Posted by Will Brinson

We mentioned earlier that the deadline to extend players given the franchise tag was rapidly approaching -- we also mentioned a report that the Ravens and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata were closing in on a "blockbuster" deal. That deal is done and the two sides have reached a five-year deal.

"It just feels awesome," Ngata in a statement released by the team.  "I won’t have to worry about my family, my kids, with money problems.  Hopefully, I can continue to do well for the Ravens now and it’s a good deal for them."

It's a better deal for Ngata -- Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that the contract will pay Ngata $40 million in guaranteed money over the first two years of the deal, which is absolutely stunning, even for an impact defensive player of Ngataga's standards.

"Haloti’s re-signing is significant as we push to win consistently and battle for championships," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Tuesday.

The Ravens and Ngata had reportedly been working on a deal for some time now, but the talks cooled until Tuesday, when negotiations between the two sides picked up serious steam and eventually resulted in the deal.

"We've been talking, but didn’t want it to be real public and in the media," said Ngata. "We just wanted to make sure we don’t put too much emotion into it and make sure we got the right deal."

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 2

Posted by Will Brinson


Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 2 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Romo Wilfork Cromartie  Belichick
Judge  Brady Cromartie  Hanson  Munchak
Prisco  Romo Cromartie  Kasay  Munchak
Brinson Stafford Wilfork  Bailey  Munchak
Katzowitz Jackson Woodson  Akers  Gailey
Wilson  Britt Wilfork  Bailey  Gailey
Week 2's wrapped up now and we saw one of the most interesting two-week swings in NFL history. That's right -- the public perception of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. He was a choker after Week 1 and now he's suddenly become one of the toughest guys in the NFL. Whether those two are mutually exclusive or not doesn't matter -- Romo wins the Eye on Offense Award for Week 2. It's a well-deserved win considering his willingness to play with a punctured lung (!) may have saved the Cowboys season.

Dan Bailey, the Cowboys rookie kicker, deserves some love too, for punching in a pair of field goals that eventually gave the Cowboys the win over the 49ers. And he got it, as he's the Eye on Special Teams Award winner for Week 2.

Perhaps the flashiest move of Week 2, though, was Vince Wilfork's interception of Philip Rivers shortly before halftime in the Patriots win over the Chargers. Wilfork tipped the ball, made a fantastic grab and nearly found the end zone. It was enough for him to squeak by Antonio Cromartie as our Eye on Defense Award winner this week. (And it also makes for an amazing replay.)

Finally, big ups to the Titans Mike Munchak who won his first game by barnstorming the Ravens -- he also barnstormed his way to the Eye on Coaching award for Week 2. Even if it isn't as amazing as Chan Gailey nearly winning back-to-back weeks with the Bills, it's still quite impressive.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Tony Romo Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
He showed mental toughness and guts this week two things I didn't think were there in abundance. He played with a punctured lung and broken rib. (Punctured freaking lung?) And perhaps in one moment changed his image from pretty boy stat machine incapable of winning the big one into hardcore player. I don't know if Romo has changed permanently or not. I just know I'll never doubt him again.
Tony RomoTony Romo, QB, Romo
He suffers a cracked rib and a punctured lung, then returns to rally the Cowboys to victory? He shouldn't have been in a game; he should have been in Stanford hospital. This should silence his critics for, oh, maybe one week.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Tom Brady Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Can I retire this award? Two weeks in a row I had to go with Brady. He threw for 423 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Chargers. I wanted to go somewhere else, but where? He might win this thing every week. We know he's the leader in the MVP race already.
Matthew StaffordMatthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Stafford started slow again on Sunday, throwing a pick against the Chiefs. And then he got his evisceration on, helping Detroit roll to a 48-3 redemption beatdown for Gunther Cunningham. Stafford threw for 294 yards and four touchdown passes ... and it might have been more if Detroit hadn't been up by so many points in the second half.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Vincent JacksonVincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
Last week, I selected Cam Newton after he threw for an obscene amount of yards in his NFL debut. This week, he threw for an even obscener amount of yards. But, once again, the Panthers lost so I turn in the direction of Jackson. Though maybe I should have picked Tom Brady last week, Jackson was fantastic against the Patriots, recording 10 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Maybe New England should have tried doubling him every once in a while.
Aaron Rodgers Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
It was easy to make fun of Britt during the lockout because he spent much of his time going from one legal entanglement to another. But when he's on the field and healthy, he's among the best wide receivers in the league. Against the Ravens Sunday, he caught nine passes for 135 yards and a touchdown as the Titans made easy work of the Ravens, 26-13. Also worth noting: Britt inflicted this damage without much help from Chris Johnson, who rushed for 53 yards on 24 carries.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Vince WilforkVince Wilfork, DL, Patriots
If he's under 400 pounds, I'd be stunned. On a light day, he's 3-fiddy. Minimum. Despite that girth, I've said for years that Wilfork, pound for gigantic pound, is the most underrated athlete in the NFL. His blubber hides the fact that he moves far quicker than you'd ever think. This was the case against San Diego when he lept that big ass into the air, picked off a pass and rumbled down the sideline. Easily the best play of the week.
Antonio Cromartie Antonio Cromartie, DB, Jets
So the Jets don't sign Nnamdi Asomugha and get Cromartie as the booby prize. Some booby prize. He has two interceptions, 149 all-purpose yards on five touches and a reason to make Jets' fans think they'll be OK without Nnamdi.
Prisco Brinson
Antonio CromartieAntonio Cromartie, CB, Jets
He had two picks, one almost for a touchdown, against the Jaguars. Not bad for the "other" corner. Cromartie will get a lot of opportunities to make plays playing opposite Darrelle Revis. He made the most of it against Luke McCown Sunday. Of course, it helped that McCown was horrible.
Vince WilforkVince Wilfork, DL, Patriots
Woodson and Cro had great games, but against inferior teams -- Wilfork was the absolutely difference maker on a day when Albert Haynesworth didn't show up. His interception, which (sadly) didn't end in a touchdown, was one of the most athletic moves I've ever seen from a defensive lineman.
Katzowitz Wilson
Charles Woodson Charles Woodson, CB, Packers
It was deemed Heisman on Heisman crime when Woodson intercepted Cam Newton twice (and also recovered a fumble). More importantly, Woodson helped settle Green Bay’s defense after the Panthers jumped out to a 13-0 lead. Playing without Tramon Williams by his side, Woodson continued to impress in the 14th year of his eventual Hall of Fame career. 
Vince Wilfork Vince Wilfork, DL, Patriots
He got the first interception of his NFL career when, just before halftime, he batted a Philip Rivers pass into the air before hauling it in and rumbling 36 yards. With seconds in the 2nd quarter, Tom Brady complete two quick throws to set up a Stephen Gostkowski field goal that gave the Pats a 20-7 lead. The 10-point end-of-half swing sealed San Diego's fate.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Antonio CromartieAntonio Cromartie, CB, Jets
You can tell something great is about to happen with Cromartie. He just looks on the verge of becoming maybe the best return man in football. The Jags may not be the best test since the franchise is hurting right now but on the first play of the game he returned the kickoff 39 yards. That helped the Jets score a first quarter offensive touchdown, the first one in a 16 games.
Jason Hanson Jason Hanson, K, Lions
He played in his 297th game for the Lions, breaking Bruce Matthews' longevity record with one team. What's more, he played all those games with the Lions, a club that makes changes like McDonald's makes burgers.
Prisco Brinson
John KasayJohn Kasay, K, Saints
When the Saints lost Garrett Hartley with an injury, they turned to the 41-year-old Kasay. He is in his 21st season and appeared to have moved on with his life. So what does he do Sunday? He makes three field goals, including one from 53 yards. You have to love the old guys.
Dan BaileyDan Bailey, K, Cowboys
In a week with just one return (Michael Boley's fumble recovery to the house Monday), a kicker needs to win. Dan Bailey, for knocking down the game-tying and game-winning field goals in a crucial victory for Dallas, with the pressure of being a Cowboys kicker AND a rookie, deserves it.
Katzowitz Wilson
David Akers David Akers, K, 49ers
Akers hit three extra points and just one field goal this week. But the field goal was a record-breaker. In the always-tough Candlestick Park Akers nailed a 55-yarder, the longest kick in stadium history. Yeah, San Francisco didn’t win the game, but props to Akers for a record-breaker.
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
The rookie honked a 21-yard field goal on the Cowboys' first drive, but he nailed a 48-yarder as time expired in regulation to tie the game. And he calmly converted a 19-yard chipshot to give Dallas its first win of the season Sunday.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Bill BelichickBill Belichick, Patriots
The best coach of all time again has his Patriots in the mix of the best teams in the NFL. Lots of work needed to fix that defense but he'll get it done. He always does. The best thing about Belichick this week? The show that aired chronicling his daily life. It gave a rare look at a coach few people know well.
Mike Munchak Mike Munchak, Titans
Not only does he score his first pro win; he does it at the expense of a Baltimore team that just obliterated Pittsburgh. I never saw this coming. I bet the Ravens didn't, either.
Prisco Brinson
Mike MunchakMike Munchak, Titans
His team lost the opener, and didn't look very good in doing so, but Munchak made his team bounce back and upset the Ravens in Week 2. The Titans have been a run-centric team, but Munchak let Matt Hasselbeck throw the football to beat the Ravens. It was Munchak's first victory as a head coach.
Mike MunchakMike Munchak, Titans
There's little reason to think the Titans could succeed in a year where change is especially detrimental. Even with RB Chris Johnson stalling out, Munchak got his team prepped enough to pick up his first regular-season win as an NFL head coach by beating down the previously high-flying Ravens.
Katzowitz Wilson
Chan Gailey Chan Gailey, Bills
Just like we all predicted, the Bills are 2-0 after dominating the Chiefs in Week 1 and completing a fantastic comeback victory against the Raiders in Week 2. Gailey, in his second season, continues to turn around a moribund franchise that hasn’t been relevant since Marv Levy. The Bills still probably won’t beat the Patriots and the Jets, but, with Gailey in charge, they’ll certainly have a better chance.
Chan Gailey Chan Gailey, Bills
I was on the Gailey bandwagon and after a come-from-behind win over the Raiders I see no reason to hop off now. Buffalo scored 21 fourth-quarter points to outlast the Raiders by three, and in two weeks, they've scored 79 points (they didn't score that many points until Week 5 of the 2010 season). If the Bills can beat the Patriots this week, I'm running for president of the Chan Gailey fan club.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 2:19 pm
 

No deals for Solai, V-Jax, but Ngata blockbuster?

Posted by Will Brinson

Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET is the deadline to extend players who received franchise tags in the offseason. According to CBS Sports Charley Casserly, Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Solai and Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson won't be joining the number of players who were franchise tagged and also received a long-term extension from their respective clubs.

Reports are beginning to circulate that Ngata could receive a "blockbuster" contract, however.

Solai, Jackson, Ngata and Browns kicker Phil Dawson are the only remaining players who received a franchise tag and who were not given long-term deals.

Given the current timeframe for completing a deal -- roughly two hours -- it seems pretty unlikely that any of the players will actually see big money before the offseason.

Dawson, in his late 30's, wouldn't represent good value for the Browns anyway, and is highly unlikely to get a long-term deal.

Ngata is arguably the Ravens best defensive player, and you can be sure that Ravens want to get him signed to a lengthy contract. They're running short on time, but Aaron Wilson of the Cook County Times reports that the Ravens are "on the verge of striking a blockbuster deal" with Ngata before the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday.

Jackson's lack of a deal is the least surprising news, given the discord between he and the Chargers during the past several years as A.J. Smith has steadfastly refused to give Jackson big-time money, and Jackson held out for 10 games in 2010.

Though the players would become unrestricted free agents after this year, they're all still eligible to be franchise-tagged for a second consecutive year.

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Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Pick-6 Podcast: Previewing the Week 2 matchups

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

It's only Week 2, but anytime the Chargers and Patriots get together it's a big game. Need more proof? New England quarterback Tom Brady jokingly told the Gillette Stadium crowd to "get lubed up" for the 4:15 p.m. start. He doesn't make such suggestions when the Bengals are coming to town.

(Worth pointing out: a Pats spokesman later clarified that Brady wasn't, in fact, encouraging people to get drunk on alcoholic beverages but to hydrate properly. Duly noted.)

Vegas likes New England by 7.5, which seems high until you remember that Brady is just back from South Florida where he threw for 517 yards against a pretty good Dolphins defense. The Chargers, meanwhile, struggled at home against a mediocre Vikings outfit, but when you have Philip Rivers throwing to Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, an offensive explosion is always a few plays away.

This is all a longwinded way of saying: we don't know what to expect but it should make for compelling football.

We preview the 15 other Sunday games, too, including the meeting of unlikely 1-0 teams (Oakland vs. Buffalo and Arizona vs. Washington), as well as the Browns-Colts, where Cleveland is favored. (This is not a misprint just very, very sad.)

Finally, we welcome Paul Bessire from PredictionMachine.com to the show. Using nothing more than an abacus and a protractor*, he simulates each game 50,000 times and predicts the outcome. Let's just say he takes his job seriously.

Hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



* fine print: he also uses some pretty powerful computers

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Posted on: September 16, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Be careful buying Pats-Chargers tix

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A quick public service announcement from the Eye on Football blog: counterfeit tickets for Sunday’s Patriots-Chargers game apparently are floating around the Interwebs.

As the Boston Globe reports, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said all the fake tickets he’s heard about were purchased on Craigslist. So, um, be careful out there in the Wild Wild West of Craigslist.

“Buyer beware,” James said. “Craigslist is not the place you want to be buying your ticket. We say that for all those other secondary-market options, but specifically, Craigslist is where we’ve had problems the last two years now.”

And as an aside, don’t ever buy tickets from a scalper while sitting in your running car. A buddy and I, when we were in college, did exactly that. I handed over the money from the passengers’ side front seat. He handed me the tickets. I looked at them. They looked fake. I said, “What’s up?” and the guy snatched back the tickets and took off with our money.

Now, we’re left with a choice. Do we abandon the car and chase the guy and his cohorts -- who, for all we know, have weapons on them -- or do we swallow our pride and hit the ATM to try again? We chose the latter and ended up $150 poorer.

So, to sum up: if you do buy tickets on the secondary market, make sure you bring your ATM card to the game with you. Because here’s a chance you’re going to need it.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Nate Kaeding done for year with torn ACL?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Chargers pulled out a big (and rare) September win Sunday by besting Minnesota 24-17 on the west coast. Unfortunately, it looks like they may have suffered a serious blow to their chances this year, as it's being reported that Nate Kaeding will miss the entire season with a torn ACL.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that the initial diagnosis of Kaeding's left leg is a torn ACL.

The Chargers are planning on having an MRI done Monday morning, but LaCanfora notes they are "not hopeful" that Kaeding will be able to return.

That's a tremendous blow to a team that already struggles with special teams -- Kaeding doesn't have the biggest leg in the game, but he's been tremendously accurate for his entire career, never hitting less than 80 percent of his field goals in a single season.

In fact, his 86.5 percent accuracy for his career is first overall in NFL history.

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