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Tag:Houston Texans
Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.10.11: Getting it (not) right



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The Eagle-Tribune, a small newspaper in Massachusetts, reported Thursday that the lockout was over (the linked story, BTW, has been amended). The Internet quickly poo-poo’d that report, though. Even NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted a Yogi Berra reference (It’s not over ‘til it’s over). I think it’d be great if the Eagle-Tribune actually was the media outlet which broke the lockout-is-over news. In fact, if it can’t be us here at CBSSports.com, I’m rooting for the E-T to be the ones leading this story. Go get ‘em, boys.
  • CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman explores how NFL players are talking trash about LeBron James on their Twitter accounts.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 12, 2011 5:31 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.12.11: Chris Harris is just awesome

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Chris Harris of the Chicago Bears is a pretty chill dude, from what I know about him on Twitter. (Also, he was a Panther for a few years, so I was always a fan.) He seems to "get it" when it comes to online interaction, and if you hit him up on Twitter, he'll usually hit you back. Anyway, what he did for a Alex of Cheesehead.TV's father is pretty ridiculous. As you might guess, Alex is not a Bears fan. But his dad is, and via Twitter, page/GB">Packers+Lounge)">Alex was able to get Harris to ring up his dad on the old man's birthday.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Is Wade Phillips moving Mario Williams to OLB?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the Texans hired Wade Phillips to be the team’s defensive coordinator – and, in the process, switched from the 4-3 to the 3-4 scheme – some of us wondered what would happen to 4-3 DE Mario Williams.

In fact, less than two months ago, Phillips addressed the issue himself, saying he didn’t envision Williams’ role changing much, particularly since he wasn’t all that effective when trying to rush the quarterback from the standing position.

Super Mario
Perhaps Phillips has changed his mind.

As the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain writes in a recent online chat (via Pro Football Talk) , the Texans will move Williams to the outside linebacker spot.

Now this doesn’t mean Williams won’t get down in his three-point stance, because he most likely will at some point. But that also means Williams also will playing standing up quite a bit more than he normally would.

And now Houston’s first-round pick of DE J.J. Watt actually makes more sense. Assuming Watt can play the defensive end spot, that would allow Williams to jump right into his new position and figure out how to be effective.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 9:37 am
 

Herzlich taken with 51st overall in UFL Draft

Posted by Will Brinson

When the Houston Texans picked Mr. Irrelevant on the final day of the NFL Draft, I'm willing to bet I wasn't the only one hoping Mark Herzlich would get selected as the most memorable final pick in draft history.

Alas, the Texans drafted someone ... less relevant. And Herzlich, the one-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year, went undrafted. Until Monday night, anyway, when he was the 51st overall UFL selection.

I'm sure you watched the draft live, but in case you didn't, you can check the results at the UFL's site; they're pretty fascinating, from a PR-mixed-with-football perspective.

For instance, Ryan Sims, the sixth-overall pick in 2002, was taken in the second round (ninth overall) by the Virginia Destroyers. He's a big name and a former talent, but there's a reason why he's not already signed by an NFL team despite being a Top-10 pick just a few years ago.

Jerrod Johnson, a former duel-threat QB for Texas A&M, who was taken with the first-overall selection last night, is actually more of a "football" pick, because he has the chance to light up a league like the UFL.

Whereas the Destroyers' decision to draft "the other Adrian Peterson" (formerly of the Bears) is probably just a move to trick people into buying AP jerseys.

I'd like to think that the Omaha Nighthawks decision to draft Herzlich with the 51st overall pick is all about football -- the dude can play, after all -- but given that they lead his blurb with the line "best stories in all of college football in 2010," it's hard to imagine that they're really into Herzlich just for his ball-hawking skills.

Of course, a UFL team happening to recognize that Herzlich's story makes him a fantastic late-round flier -- especially in a time when fans are becoming a little disconcerted with the "other" league -- really only makes that team smarter than 32 other NFL squads.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 10:57 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 12:05 am
 

NFL Draft day 2: Winners and losers

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- Well, the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft are under wraps. The lights are off at Radio City Music Hall, the boos and screams have subsided, and now we make knee-jerk reactions about who did well and who did poorly on Friday.



WINNERS

Ryan Mallett: Unbelievably, while in the middle of living out a Tom Petty song, Mallett caught a miracle branch extended by Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and now finds himself in the only situation in the NFL that could really get people excited about his potential.

Washington Redskins: Dan Snyder must have been hogtied before this draft started, because the ‘Skins actually traded down during the second day of the draft. Four fifth- AND seventh-rounders won’t win you a Super Bowl tomorrow but it’ll help strengthen a roster.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos took advantage of San Francisco’s desperate hankering to nab Colin Kaepernick, moved back and picked up a bunch of draft picks. Then they got a guy who will be one of the biggest steals of the draft in Nate Irving, added Rahim Moore at safety and picked up Orlando Franklin to help the line.

Buffalo Bills: They drafted defense in the first round. And then they drafted defense in the second round. And then they drafted defense in the third round. There’s really no reason to stop until the seventh ends.
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Cincinnati Bengals: They called Carson Palmer’s bluff for the second-straight day, and they did so in a way that could be teachable for some other first-round reachers, like the Titans and the Vikings: let the arguably-indistinguishable quarterbacks like Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker fall.

Cleveland Browns: They’re stacked with picks for the next two years and they’re making great selections all over the place. Greg Little gives Colt McCoy a weapon and Jabaal Sheard can slot into their new 4-3 as an end.

Houston Texans: They jump back on the good side during the second day after grabbing a linebacker who can help out in the 3-4 shift in Brooks Reed and then trading back up to into the second to grab the talented Brandon Harris from Miami.

Randall Cobb: Cobb had to hang around for the entire second round in New York City, but it was worth it, since he went to the Packers (he actually said he would have waited ‘til the seventh to end up there). Just a case of Ted Thompson looking far enough ahead. Again.

New England Patriots: I don’t know why Colin Cowherd is stealing my line about the Patriots owning every single first-rounder in the 2030, but it might not matter if it actually happens -- Pats already have two first- and second-rounders in next year’s draft.

Sam Bradford: The Rams went defense in the first round when Julio Jones and A.J. Green didn’t fall, but went out and got their franchise QB some nice weapons with great hands in TE Lance Kendricks and WR Austin Pettis.

LOSERS

The NFL: It was the second day of the draft and in the middle of the league trotting out veterans -- both of the league and the military -- and a score of fans to announce draft picks and huge new NFL players, the Court of Appeals ruled that the lockout was back on. It just felt dirty.

Ryan Mallett: He plummeted in the draft, falling all the way to the middle of the third round. And it looked like he was going to fall out of the third, with no one really expressing interest in the Arkansas quarterback. Then Belichick came calling.

Carolina Panthers: Said it before the round started, but it remains to be repeated, because they had no second-rounder. Hard to win on Friday without one of those. On the bright side, they took their medicine and used their two third-rounders on defensive tackles.



Da’Quan Bowers: Don’t get me wrong -- I like his spot in Tampa, and they’ve got a shot to hit an absolute home run with him late in the second round. But there’s no denying his health cost him a big old pile of money.

Atlanta Falcons: The Browns, using a pick obtained in the first-day trade for Julio Jones, grabbed Greg Little one pick after Torrey Smith went. Neither’s better -- or even close to better -- than Jones, but is Jones five draft picks-worth better than either of them? I’m not sure about that.

Marion Barber: The Cowboys drafted DeMarco Murray and it looks like Barber’s book is just about closed in Dallas.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Sssshhhhh. Do NOT tell Jacksonville, but they actually were horrible on defense in 2010. Actually, no, wait, tell them, because they’re only drafting offense for some reason.

Detroit Lions: I actually like the guys they got in the second day -- Titus Young and Mike LeShoure will help make the offense more potent -- but who’s going to protect Matt Stafford? If Jim Schwartz thinks the guys he’s got can do the job, they’ll be fine. But if not, 2011, meet 2010 and 2009.

Derek Jeter: Not football-related, but a certain sportswriter who was monitoring the Yankees game during the draft tells me he’s “terrible.” What? It was a theme!

Marvin Austin: The big fella out of Carolina was taken by the Giants, which would be fine, if the Giants didn’t play in New York City. The guy who single-handedly unearthed an agent and academic scandal at Carolina (still ongoing!) via his own Twitter account doesn’t need the bright lights of the Big Apple.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:23 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:17 am
 

First-round NFL Draft winners and losers

Posted by Will Brinson



WINNERS
Cam Newton: Not like it was a surprise to see him go No. 1 overall or anything, but now he gets his wish, and gets to become an entertainer and an icon in a city that needs reviving.

Von Miller: Everyone knew he could go high, but it was still surprising seeing him at No. 2. It's a great deal for both sides and he could be really dangerous in John Fox's scheme. He's produced a few good linebackers in his day.

Cleveland Browns: Holy freaking haul, Batman. The Browns could have really used a field-stretching wide receiver like Julio Jones (and Colt McCoy wanted one), but maybe Atlanta knew that, and it's why they gave up FIVE picks for the rights to grab Jones.

Nick Fairley: He fell, as everyone predicted. But as almost no one predicted (except Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News) he fell to the Lions. Which means unless he's traded, he'll never see a double team in his life playing next to Ndamukong Suh.

New Orleans Saints: Like the aggressiveness to come back and get Mark Ingram. Adios, Reggie Bush.

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Detroit Lions: See above. They needed a cornerback, but my goodness their defensive line is going to be absolutely ridiculous. Jim Schwartz can coach Fairley up and Suh can mentor him.

Indianapolis Colts: Bill Polian didn't have to do any magic. All he had to do was sit back and wait and let the tackle he needs to protect Peyton Manning's final years fall on down.

LOSERS:
Houston Texans: I can definitely see why they like JJ Watt. He's quite good. But Prince Amakamura was on the board and the Texans secondary makes swiss cheese look opaque. How they decided to pass on him is beyond me.

Carolina Panthers: Newton's either a home run or a total bust. There's no in-between with him. And that makes the pick difficult.

Atlanta Falcons: They gave up way too much in order to jump up and get Julio Jones. He's not a quarterback who changes every play with his presence, even though he'll help.

Minnesota Vikings: They drafted Christian Ponder ... because he helps them now? And they did it at the 12-spot?

Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker was a reach. Plain and simple.

Carson Palmer: Bluff. Called. (For now at least -- Andy Dalton in the second could change that.)

San Francisco 49ers: Unless they are actually trading for Kevin Kolb, anyway.

Da'Quan Bowers: Unless he magically got drafted and I missed that.

Chicago Bears: Just for causing the Ravens to miss their pick. For shame, Jerry Angelo.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:56 am
 

Three spicy draft rumors for you

Posted by Andy Benoit

A person can go crazy trying to keep up with all the various draft rumors with the first round now less than 36 hours away. That said, here are three very credible NFL reporters who have gotten involved in the hoopla. We’ll pass along their tidbits:

*John McClain of the Houston Chronicle believes the Texans want to trade up to snag either Von Miller or Patrick Peterson.

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*Peter King of Sports Illustrated reports that the Falcons are trying to trade up to get either A.J. Green or Julio Jones. (King says it’s unlikely they’ll succeed.)

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network says the Steelers “will exhaust all possible scenarios to trade up” and get Mike Pouncey (which would obviously extend their current league-high for Pouncey’s on the roster from one to two).

Make what you want of this information. Or, just do the sane thing and wait a few hours for the first round of the draft to actually play out.

UPDATE 12:41 p.m. EST: Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls the idea of Mike Pouncey being a Steeler "a fantasy".

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .


Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:57 am
 

Ranking the NFL's 32 final draft decision makers

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are many ways a person could rank the top draft decision makers for each NFL team. Among those criteria: team history of success; number of first-rounders who have panned out; the number of late-round gems discovered; consistency of the players developed within the organization.

But without a scientific formula, sometimes the best rankings can derive from a standard eyeball/smell/gut test. Thus, here is a ranking of all 32 “final draft decision makers” in the NFL.

Lists like these tend to attract criticism and rebuttals. Have at it -- this is meant to be a discussion starter.

1. Bill Polian, ColtsB. Polian (US Presswire0
Sticks unwaverlingly to his formula: invest in a small handful of elite skill position players on offense and playmakers on defense, and then surround them with low cost youngsters who fit your scheme. In the 2000s he led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl win and annual division titles. In the '90s he ushered in the most successful expansion franchise in NFL history (Carolina Panthers) and oversaw the four-time AFC Champion Buffalo Bills.

2. Kevin Colbert, Steelers
Doesn't get much attention because A) he rarely does interviews; B) the Steelers are often drafting late in the first round and C) he's almost always looking two or three years ahead when drafting players, which minimizes the hype of Pittsburgh's rookie class. These methods have brought in guys like LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons, Mike Wallace and Maurkice Pouncey to name five.

3. Ted Thompson, Packers
It took major intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger on Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was still on the roster and many believed the 2005 Packers were in position to "win now." Virtually the entire Packers Super Bowl roster this past year was comprised of players who were drafted by the organization and in their prime. That's perfect planning paying off.

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4. Bill Belichick, Patriots
The best trader of picks the NFL has seen since Jimmy Johnson. Like an alchemist, he regularly turns one late first-round selection into two or three solid contributors who fit the Patriots' ever-changing system.

5. Mickey Loomis, Saints
Is batting about .750 with his high-round draft picks, and has managed to snag several small-school gems in middle to late rounds (See: Jahri Evans, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, who was primarily a basketball player at Miami).

6. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens
Simply has a knack for connecting on stars. His latest include Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and (maybe) Michael Oher and Joe Flacco. Because of good mid-round drafting, depth is generally a plus for this club. The only true black eye on Newsome’s resume is the Kyle Boller pick, for which Brian Billick shares equal blame.

7. A.J. Smith, Chargers
Supposedly not the most likeable guy in the room, but that's in part because he has a gift for ruthlessly getting the most out of his resources. Part of that is replacing players a year too soon rather than a year too late.

8. Andy Reid, Eagles
Aside from Green Bay, Philadelphia is the only NFC team that has consistently drafted for the future first and the present second. Because of that, the Eagles are able to stay afloat when they do miss on a high-round pick.

9. Mike Holmgren, Browns
Jury is still out in Cleveland, obviously. But a person's track record has to count for something, right? And Holmgren's is pretty good.

10. Mike Tannenbaum, Jets
Home runs (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis -- who was a grand slam -- and possibly Mark Sanchez) outnumber strikeouts (Kellen Clemens, Vernon Gholston). Willing to be aggressive and trade up to get his guy. So far, it's worked well.

11. Jerry Reese, Giants
Has done a superb job building off the foundation that Ernie Accorsi put in place.

12. Thomas Dimitroff, FalconsT. Dimitroff (US Presswire)
Ex-New England front office executive instantly turned the rudderless post-Vick Falcons around by nailing the Matt Ryan pick. Has since retooled the offense with solid role players and upgraded the speed on defense.

13. Mark Dominik, Buccaneers
Made the bold commitment for the Bucs to get younger on both sides of the ball. Already, those young players have turned out a 10-6 record, putting the team a year or two ahead of schedule. The decision to draft Josh Freeman one day could lead to a Lombardi Trophy.

14. Marty Hurney, Panthers
For the most part, Panthers have been consistently competitive for 10 years despite the absence of a star quarterback. How? Solid offensive line (Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil were successful high draft picks), good running game (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were two more successful high picks) and a staunch defense (Jon Beason has more than lived up to first-round billing).

15. Scott Pioli, Chiefs
Was an integral part of the Patriots dynasty and is showing a knack for finding players who fit the Chiefs’ scheme.

16. Billy Devaney, Rams
Has not been at the helm long; will soar up this list if his 2011 draft class turns out to be anything like his 2010 class.

17. Mike Shanahan, Redskins
A nod to experience more than anything. Shanahan The GM has never been as good as Shanahan The Coach. But Shanahan The GM has still been around the block a time or two and knows exactly what he wants. Having Bruce Allen handle some of the technical GM duties is helpful.

18. Ken Whisenhunt/Rod Graves, Cardinals
Only one player they've taken in the first three rounds has not contributed (Cody Brown). The rest all have been part of a club that has won postseason games two of the past three seasons.

19. Jerry Angelo, Bears
Seems to have a slightly better feel for the veteran market than the rookie market, but we're nitpicking. Has done a fine job finding players who fit Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 defense. Offensively, he’s building around Jay Cutler (for whom he traded significant picks to get).

20. Mike Reinfeldt, Titans
The assumption is he occasionally has to cater to the demands of Bud Adams, which could be a challenging wrinkle to his job. Overall, has constructed a deep roster and seen a few gambles pay off (notably Chris Johnson in 2007).M. Reinfeldt (US Presswire)

21. Rick Spielman, Vikings
Too many busts early in his tenure, though some of that was beyond Minnesota's control (Kenechi Udeze's health issues, Erasmus James' injuries). While forcing a few picks into the lineup, the Vikings also have gotten their money's worth from top picks Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Adrian Peterson (considered a risk because of injury problems at Oklahoma).

22. Jerry Jones, Cowboys
Yes, the Cowboys have a talented group. But a bulk of that talent was acquired when Bill Parcells was around.

23. Martin Mayhew, Lions
Still waiting to see what becomes of the major investments on offense (outlook appears good but still not certain).

24. Jeff Ireland, Dolphins
Brand new in his role as top decision maker. It wouldn't be fair to judge him based on what his former boss (Parcells) did.

25. Gene Smith, Jaguars
In two years has shown willingness to rebuild in bunches by using back-to-back draft picks on the same position. In that time, not a lot has changed in Jacksonville's bottom line, though there is legitimate optimism about this franchise's direction.

26. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
It's way too early to judge. His first draft class looks like it could turn out to be spectacular at the top (Russell Okung has star traits, Earl Thomas has shown flashes and many like Walter Thurmond) but very few men have successfully worn the GM hat while coaching.

27. Trent Baalke, 49ers
The Niners' draft record during his two years as VP of Player Personnel was iffy, but he wasn't the final decision-maker then. His first draft class will likely prove to have produced long-term starters with the first four picks (Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Taylor Mays and NaVorro Bowman). Iupati, in fact, seems destined to be a perennial Pro Bowler.T. Baalke (US Presswire)

28. Buddy Nix, Bills
Bills are full of overachievers, but part of overachieving is not being very talented. The Aaron Maybin air ball in 2009 puts a damper on what was otherwise a solid draft class. But Nix, a national scout at the time, wasn't fully responsible for that draft class. His 2010 draft class is off to a slow start but its still in the judgment phase.

29. Rick Smith, Texans
Houston is overhauling its defensive scheme after spending five years investing first-round picks on players who were supposed to fit that scheme.

30. Mike Brown, Bengals
He would be a great fantasy drafter because he always takes the best player. Problem is, in the real draft, team chemistry needs to factor into your decisions. Those "best players" Brown takes are often available because of character red flags.

31. John Elway, Broncos
No track record to evaluate.

32. Al Davis, Raiders
One apparently solid draft (2010) does not erase years of atrocious ones.

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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