Tag:2011 NFL Training Camps
Posted on: September 9, 2011 10:53 am
 

Jimmy Clausen to be inactive on Sunday?

Posted by Will Brinson

Things haven't gone well for Jimmy Clausen this offseason. The Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall and promptly handed him the keys to the proverbial jalopy car in Charlotte.

There was chatter that Clausen ended up falling as far as third on the depth chart -- he's like a homeless man's Tim Tebow! -- and according to our Panthers Rapid Reporter Steve Reed, it's "possible" that the Panthers only activate two quarterbacks for Sunday's game in Arizona.

The idea here is that the Panthers could simply use someone like Armanti Edwards (a quarterback in college) as the third quarterback in the total nightmare scenario where both Newton and would-be backup Derek Anderson are knocked out of the game.

"We have options to look at and I'm not going to tell you," Rivera said.

Well, at least Rivera's being blunt with his secrecy. That's better than coach talk.

Randomly, while we're talking about the Panthers, here's something that I find interesting that might not be interesting: the last time Newton came to Arizona, he was in Glendale for the BCS Championship. He played OK there. (In fact, he won all the Tostitos.)

I guess the potential, but-not-really relevance there is that Newton has traveled a couple time zones for a football game and done just fine.

And, hell, more people watched that game anyway.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 4:32 pm
 

A DeSean Jackson extension doable? Eagles say yes

Posted by Will Brinson

The Eagles recently gave Michael Vick a big old pile of money to be their quarterback for at least the next six years. That made everyone happy, except perhaps wideout DeSean Jackson, who still wants more money from Philadelphia.

So where does this contract leave Jackson? Well, it's pretty interesting, actually, apparently the Eagles still have enough money left to extend Jackson, according to team president Joe Banner.

"It is possible. Is that what you're asking me, to extend another player?" Banner said of Jackson, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It is possible. If you're asking me a mathematical question, I say yes."

I love this answer. Like, a lot -- Banner's admitting that the Eagles could extend Jackson. But he's not saying anything about whether or not they will extend Jackson.

Perhaps most terrifying for Jackson is the fact that the Eagles, having given Vick all that money, now have their franchise tag open for 2012. And while that would surely result in Jackson making many more millions of dollars than he's making right now, it would also result in the wide receiver playing on a one-year contract.

He's made it clear that he'd like a little more long-term security from Philadelphia, so that could escalate things between he and the team leading up to next year.

But, then again, it's entirely possible that they could extend him before that ever becomes an issue. The math says so anyway.

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 11:37 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 11:40 pm
 

Tim Tebow talk sparks Broncos PR campaign

Posted by Will Brinson

In case the rock that was squatting on you just feel asleep and you rolled out from under it, there's been a lot of speculation this offseason about the future of Tim Tebow within the Broncos organization.

On Tuesday, a report emerged that Tebow had fallen to not just the third, but fourth-best quarterback in Denver's organization. Asked specifically about the report on Wednesday, head coach John Fox didn't sound so pleased.

"First of all, I would like to say that nobody in this building that is in the decision-making process -- coach, official, or I don’t know, maybe they heard it from the cook ... I’m not sure, but we hold Tim in high regard," Fox said Wednesday, regarding the report from Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports. "I think he’s got a bright future in this game. He’s playing maybe the hardest position I know in the NFL there is to play, and maybe in all of sports. He’s progressing fine."

So that's good. But Mike Silver's not a guy off the street who randomly grabs team employees and uses them as sources, particularly high-up in a feature piece about Tebow's struggles. The dude has chops. But that opinion might not be shared amongst the members of Denver's front office.

"I don’t think, if you read it correctly, that it said anybody in the organization," Fox said when asked about the nature of Silver's source. "It just said a knowledgeable football person -- that could have been a wide range.

Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

Things got much more awkward than Fox's jokes, though. (And by "jokes" I don't mean that he's joking on Silver, just that he's making light of the situation.)

Jim Saccomano, VP of Public Relations for the Broncos, cut loose on a Twitter tirade about the current state of media in today's world.

"All media, all types and levels, desperate for headlines that will move product ... great pressure for headlines, and sometimes the tabloid mentality overtakes objectivity, at expense of some great journalists," Saccomano tweeted Wednesday night. "[A] recent story in NYTimes says 24 of 25 top dailies have experienced record decline in circulation -- Wall Street [Journal] the one exception.

"A serious concern for teams is granting access to outlets that provide incentives to writers based on page clicks. That is a problem."

Well, for starters, no one's questioning that the newspaper industry is in big trouble. But Silver isn't exactly a "newspaper journalist" these days, and I'm not sure that working for Yahoo has him sweating the number of clicks he gets on his stories.

But he wasn't exactly pumped about Saccomano's tweets which, one has to assume, related to Silver's story and the resulting (negative?) publicity for the Broncos.

"I remember the days when, if a respected [public relations] man had something to say to me, he'd pick up the phone instead of taking to the twittersphere," Silver tweeted Wednesday.

It's a different world indeed.

You don't have to look any further than the coverage that Tebow gets. Is it weird that a backup quarterback who was drafted in the late first round gets this much attention? Yeah, it's weird.

But Tebow ranked fifth in terms of jerseys sold in the NFL in 2010; the downside of having your backup quarterback sell millions of jerseys is that lots of people are concerned with his future and his status with the team.

Along with the new-world media comes the possibility of having a PR person tweet at you instead of hitting the landline up. It's the same reason I can get DirecTV service and rebuttals of my reports via Twitter. And the same reason John Elway announces the Broncos moves on social media.

Really, the only way to succinctly sum up the situation is by (datedly) quoting Franck Eggelhoffer: "Welcome to the 90s, Mr. Banks."

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 3:47 pm
 

Tim Tebow the *fourth* best QB in Denver now?

Posted by Will Brinson

My poor colleague Ryan Wilson -- determined to see whether or not Tim Tebow could take over the top spot on the Broncos depth chart at quarterback, he fired up the "Tebow Tracker" for all of Denver's preseason games. It's turned out to be an exercise in futility, as Tebow quickly lost out on the starting job to Kyle Orton.

That's not the full extent of the bad news for Tebow, either. John Fox called the Florida product a "work in progress" and it seems as if he's getting beat out for the second-string spot by Brady Quinn. (You probably knew that, but read the sentence again anyway.)

But wait -- there's more! According to Yahoo Sports Mike Silver, Tebow might not even be the third best quarterback in Denver right now.

"If everything was totally equal, and this were a competition based only on performance at this camp, Tebow would probably be the fourth-string guy," a highly knowledgable member of the Broncos organization told Silver on Monday. "Kyle is far and away the best, and Tebow’s way behind Quinn, too.

"And I’m telling you, Adam Weber is flat-out better right now."
Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

Adam Weber, for those that don't know, is the former quarterback of the Minnesota Golden Gophers who was signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent once the lockout ended. He is also pictured above, right.

He's the all-time leader for touchdowns passes in Golden Gopher football history and he passed for more than 2,500 yards in each of his four seasons with Minnesota. He compiled 72 touchdowns over that time to 51 interceptions.

On the other hand, Weber did not win the Heisman Trophy, nor did he win a BCS Championship. And he was not reached for in the first round of the NFL Draft just two years ago.

That's precisely why things are not "totally equal" -- Tebow cost the Broncos too much for them to relegate him to the practice squad, even if Fox feels like the most controversial quarterback in the NFL these days can't become a legitimate NFL quarterback.

Somewhere, though, Merrill Hoge is smiling.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 7:58 pm
 

Jeremy Maclin medically cleared post cancer scare

Posted by Will Brinson

Jeremy Maclin's absence -- and his "mysterious illness" -- has hovered above Eagles camp. Good news was expected on Tuesday, but it wasn't until Wednesday evening when the wide receiver revealed that he's dealt with a "cancer scare" for the past few weeks.

The scare began on May 11 when a scan -- designed to follow up on heavy weight loss among other symptoms -- found "enlarged and hot" lymph nodes. Now, the receiver is cleared, based on what he told Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com Wednesday.

"That's first and foremost, I want everyone to know I'm fine, I'm healthy," Maclin said. "I was tested for everything, and every single test came back negative. I don't have mono, I don't have AIDS, leukemia — all the things people were guessing on, there was nothing. I was being tested for lymphoma and thank God everything has come back negative."

Maclin also noted the precise reason why he kept any news about his health out of the public -- he wanted privacy as he dealt with the possibility of a very serious disease and the battery of tests that accompanied such a fear. He also noted how the Eagles treated him less like an employee during the process, and more like a son.

"I wanted to keep it private until I knew for sure what was going on, and the Eagles were amazing," Maclin said. "They were one of the only ones who knew. My relationship with them is more than professional. They were like family during this."

Eagles Offseason

Wednesday, doctors called him and informed him that the tests had cleared him of any illness -- Maclin told Glazer that the scare was "all caused by an inflammatory virus."

The Eagles are expected to release a statement on Wednesday evening and Maclin is expected to return to practice soon, though he said he has to wait a bit longer until he's "healed from the procedure last week."

He'll likely have some catching-up to do, based on the fact that he spent his offseason being tested for life-threatening diseases and undergoing constant medical exams.

But that's okay, because the wide receiver has -- understandably -- a new lease on life.

"Man, I don't wish this on anybody. I look back at my whole life, I've already gone through so much," Maclin said. "I already appreciate where I am and appreciate the game of football. I can't wait to get back out there and just resume my normal life."

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:02 am
 

Rivera to name Panthers starter by Bengals game

Posted by Will Brinson

In the third week of the preseason, the Carolina Panthers will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals. Who'll be starting at quarterback for that game isn't just anyone's guess -- it's everyone's guess.

That's because, according to head coach Ron Rivera, the starter for that game will be the Panthers starter for the regular season.

Some folks are saying it should/will be Cam Newton. Others believe it should/will be Jimmy Clausen. There's a tiny Ron Paul-like contingent screaming for Derek Anderson. (OK, I haven't heard them, but surely they're out there.)

For now, Rivera is staying mum on what he's thinking. But give him credit, because he really does seem to have the "only speak in vagaries" thing that was so popular for head coaches prior to Rex Ryan bursting on the scene.

"It's all the same. We're going to continue to do that until we make that decision," Rivera said, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Panthers Preseason

See? What does that even mean? Nothing is what.

Speaking of meaning nothing, don't read too much into Newton likely starting the second week of the preseason against the Dolphins. I mentioned this yesterday when I hopped on the horn with our friend Bob Haynie of 105.7 the Fan, but you can go ahead and mark Newton to take the field with the first team during the upcoming trip to South Beach.

Rivera's said all along that his intention is to divide the "practice reps" available on a strict 50/50 split between Newton and Clausen; that Clausen started and then Newton saw the majority of playing time against the Giants should be indicative of exactly what will happen in the next game, only in reverse.

Our Panthers Rapid Reporter Steve Reed confirms that Newton is indeed running with the first-teamers in practice, which is a logical lead-in to the fact that he'll start for the Panthers on Friday.

As for who'll take the first offensive snap against the Bengals, well, that's still up in the air.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:33 pm
 

Maclin's brother: WR is 'fine,' update Tuesday

Posted by Will Brinson

Jeremy Maclin has been missing for the duration of the Eagles' training camp with what can only be classified as an "unspecified illness."

There doesn't even seem to be a hunt for information on Maclin's illness (though we know he returned to St. Louis for "more tests" recently) and it's presumably out of respect for the 23-year-old wide receiver.

However, Maclin's older brother said on Monday that there would be information forthcoming about Maclin's status and that the wideout is "fine" and his career is not in jeopardy.

"When I say definitely, we definitely will have some news tomorrow," Andre Maclin told The Sporting News. "That’s when we find out exactly what’s going on and when we will address it and talk."

Yes, this makes the illness only more mysterious, and terrifying, though Andre emphasized that there's nothing seriously wrong with Maclin.

"They kind of have us on a gag order until tomorrow," he said. "But he’s fine, he’s fine. That much I can say."

He also added that he's "confident about that as well" when asked if he believed that the Eagles wide receiver would play in the upcoming season. Which leads us to speculate that the signing of Steve Smith might not have been for Maclin insurance.

But it doesn't really matter either way -- the only important thing here is that Maclin ends up coming out of whatever he's dealing with fully healthy.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 5:27 pm
 

D-Jax says Steve Smith is Jeremy Maclin insurance

Posted by Will Brinson

DeSean Jackson is finally back at training camp, practicing with the Heat Eagles.

And, according to reports out of Bethlehem, he's impressing people with early production in practice, having already torched Asante Samuel twice for a pair of long touchdowns.

He's also chatting about Jeremy Maclin and the Eagles recent addition of former rival wideout Steve Smith, which Jackson says is basically Maclin insurance.

"The reason why they picked him up is they're unsure of Maclin's health," Jackson said Saturday, per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News.

So that should thrill the front office. I mean, we knew that, kind of. I think. Right? Right.

See, Andy Reid made it clear when he signed Smith that it had nothing to do with the state of Maclin's health, which lies somewhere between "mysterious" and "absolutely unknown."

But Maclin's illness has to be the reason the Eagles signed Smith.

Or maybe the Eagles were just thinking along the same lines of Michael Vick when he said that you can "never have enough weapons."

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