Tag:Aubrayo Franklin
Posted on: February 28, 2012 12:00 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 11:17 am
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Defensive tackle rankings

Follow all our 2012 free-agent rankings (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the defensive tackles.

Unlike our previous free-agent breakdowns, the defensive tackles lack big names and depth; but that doesn't mean their roles have diminished. Getting into the backfield is more important now than ever, and while sacks aren't necessarily a hallmark of the position, disrupting what the offense wants to do certainly is. And that's where some of the names below excel.

1. Paul Soliai

Breakdown: Soliai spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Dolphins. They thought so much of him that they franchised him before the 2011 season. The two sides have yet to agree on a long-term deal, although it isn't from a lack of trying. With the Dolphins likely switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, the nose tackle looks to be headed for free agency. Six-four, 355-pound space-eaters seldom have trouble finding work and we suspect that'll be the case for Soliai, too.

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Chargers, other 3-4 teams with cap room and a need for a nose tackle.

2. Sione Pouha

Breakdown: The Jets' defense wasn't the reason the team imploded down the stretch last season, but the unit wasn't as good as it had been during Rex Ryan's first two seasons in New York. Luckily, the Mark Sanchez-Santonio Holmes afterschool special obscured all that. But locker-room catfights aside, the Jets' defense has to get better in 2012 and that starts up the middle. Pouha is a run-stuffing nose tackle who at 33 shows no signs of slowing down. Because of the Jets' precarious salary-cap situation, they have no plans to tag Pouha, but as the Newark Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas noted last week, "Pouha is coming off a strong season and also has leverage because Kenrick Ellis, last year's third-round draft pick, is not yet ready for the role."

Possible landing spots: Patriots, Chargers, Chiefs.

3. Jason Jones

Breakdown: Jones is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the NFL. At 6-5, 276, he might appear undersized for the tackle position but he had 12.5 sacks playing primarily inside during his first three seasons. But under a new coaching staff in 2011, Jones played both tackle and end and saw his numbers slip (he had just three sacks). Following the season, he admitted that how the Titans plan to use him could determine the likelihood he re-signs. Earlier this month, Titans head coach Mike Munchak said (via the Tennessean) “We’re going to use him whatever way we think is best to win football games. Obviously, if we felt leaving him at defensive tackle for every snap was the way to go, we would have done that. We didn’t do that. So now it’s just a matter of us having the right mix and having him feel good about it."

The Titans and Jones have begun contract talks but he appears headed for free agency.

Possible landing spots: Eagles, Broncos, Colts.
                                                                          (US PRESSWIRE)

4. Antonio Garay

Breakdown: Word on the street is that the Chargers will release defensive end Luis Castillo and hope to re-sign Garay and Tommie Harris (though both will be allowed to test free agency). At 32, Garay's best days may be behind him, but at the right price he makes a lot of sense. Pro Football Weekly noted several weeks ago that "Many believe Garay wore down at the end of the year, as he was not used to playing three downs for an entire season. With a capable backup in place, a better rotation would allow the lineman to stay fresh for the entire grind of the year."

The nose tackle rotation would include 2010 fifth-rounder Cam Thomas.

Possible landing spots: Defenses running the 3-4 and looking for a savvy, reasonably priced, two-down veteran. Patriots, Steelers, Cardinals.

5. Brodrick Bunkley

Breakdown: Bunkley washed out as the Eagles' 2006 first-round pick but experienced a rebirth of sorts in Denver last season. "There was at least some injury concern when Bunkley went to the Broncos," the Denver Post's Jeff Legwold wrote earlier this month, "but once he arrived, he didn't miss a practice on the way to playing in every game in the 2011 season. His statistics were modest on the surface — 43 tackles and no sacks — but his teammates, particularly the ones who have been with the Broncos for a while, say he was a key part of any improvement the team made defensively over 2010."

Team president John Elway, taking a break from talking Tim Tebow, offered this. "He really played well. Like all of our free agents, we would like to get them back in the building and consider (re-signing them)."

Possible landing spots: Broncos, cash-strapped teams looking for affordable depth.

6. Aubrayo Franklin

Breakdown: New Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have to decide whether Franklin is worth re-signing but if not, Franklin could have a future as a nose tackle. "The nine-year veteran signed just a one-year, $4 million contract with New Orleans in '11, playing tackle in the 4-3 after the 3-4 market never really developed for him," Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli wrote in mid-February. "Two personnel directors at the Super Bowl last week mentioned Franklin as a possible 'sleeper' at the position." Which means Franklin could be in demand with 3-4 teams, or teams looking to move to the 3-4.

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Patriots, Steelers, Redskins.

7. Shaun Rogers

Breakdown: Remember when Rogers did this? (Tebow never lets that happen, by the way.) After stints in Cleveland and New Orleans, Rogers had developed a reputation for taking plays off. In 2011, he got off to a slow start with the Saints but improved as the season progressed. New Orleans could choose to give him a short-term deal, but it's just as likely that Rogers is headed for free agency. 

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Saints.

8. Amobi Okoye

Breakdown: Okoye was 19 years old when the Texans took him out of Louisville in the first round of the 2007 draft (10th overall). He never lived up to expectations in Houston, and Chicago signed him to a one-year deal before the 2011 season. He played in 16 games for the Bears and had 18 tackles and four sacks. Last week, head coach Lovie Smith said "Amobi had a heck of a year," and sounded like the organization would make a real effort to keep him. On Sunday, CSNChicago.com's John Mullin wrote that "the Bears had contract talks late last season (with Okoye) and likely will have re-signed before the outset of free agency."

Possible landing spots: Chicago.

9. Albert Haynesworth

                                                                          (US PRESSWIRE)
Breakdown: Haynesworth makes the list on reputation alone. And we mean his pre-Redskins reputation, when Jim Washburn got the most out of the man now known as one of the biggest free-agent busts in recent years. Not even Bill Belichick could revive Haynesworth's career, cutting him midway through last season.

The Bucs signed him only to release him a few weeks ago. Maybe his career is over, but then again, coaches and GMs are seduced by potential. And Haynesworth certainly has plenty of that.

Possible landing spots: Realistically, Haynesworth's probably done. That said, we wouldn't be shocked if the Redskins signed him to another $100 million deal.

10. Tommie Harris

Breakdown: Injuries derailed a great career in the making for the Bears' former first-round pick. Chicago released Harris before the 2011 season, and after a brief stopover with the Colts, he made a home in San Diego. He played so well, in fact, that the Chargers are hoping to re-sign him and Garay to provide depth for a crop of young defensive linemen.

Possible landing spots: Teams looking for depth.

Honorable mention

Rocky Bernard, Kelly Gregg (possible retirement), Pat Sims, Jimmy Kennedy, Kyle Love (RFA), Trevor Laws

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 11:49 am
 

Film Room: 49ers vs. Saints divisional preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

The league’s No. 2 scoring offense meets the No. 2 scoring defense at Candlestick on Saturday.

Neither side has faced this tall of an order this season. Here’s the breakdown.


1. Niners inside ‘backers on Saints stars
NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis are the reason San Francisco had the league’s best all-around defense in 2011. Both are smart, supremely athletic and adept in traffic and space. Thus, both can play run or pass at the highest of levels, which is why neither comes off the field much.

All season long, defenses have tried to figure out not just how to stop Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles, but how to simply line up against them. Do you use safeties on Graham and linebackers on Sproles? Vice Versa? Do you go with cornerbacks for both and risk getting run on?

The Niners might be the first team that doesn’t have to worry about personnel packages against these two, as they may put one First Team All-Pro linebacker on Graham and the other First Team All-Pro linebacker on Sproles. Whether the Niners can win those matchups is another discussion, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is extremely fortunate to be able to even consider it.

Instead of having his players focus on new strategies, he can have them focus on execution.

2. Handling the rest of New Orleans’ passing attack
The 49ers generally play zone out of their base defense and man when they go nickel or dime. Because Graham is like a third wide receiver, the Saints can stay predominantly in their base personnel if they’re more comfortable facing zone coverage. That should be the case Saturday, as San Fran’s cornerbacking trio of Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver outside and Carlos Rogers inside has been tremendous in man-to-man.

Those three are capable of matching up with Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Marques Colston – especially if safeties Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson are providing help as free roamers over the top.

Whitner is somewhat limited in coverage (his success tends to come when linebackers are blitzing, which defines the routes quickly and makes them easier to jump). Goldson, on the other hand, is very rangy.

Both players must be careful not to overreact to the subtle fakes and body language of Drew Brees. No quarterback manipulates deep safeties better than the new single season passing yards record holder.

Pressuring Brees is critical to stopping New Orleans. (Getty Images)

3. Pressuring Brees
San Francisco is willing to blitz but often doesn’t have to, thanks to the speed of edge-rushers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Smith works extremely well with All-Pro defensive end/tackle Justin Smith on the left side when it comes to twists and stunts. That’s something the Saints left offensive line has struggled with over the years.

This season, however, athletic left tackle Jermon Bushrod has finally polished his pass-blocking mechanics and perennial Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks has ironed out the kinks he had in lateral pass-blocking movement. Nicks is also great at picking up Bushrod’s slack as a help-blocker.

The real key will be whether the right side of the Saints’ line can keep Brees clean. This Saints started clicking after their loss to the Rams, when Sean Payton tweaked the protections to give his tackles help with chip blocks from backs and tight ends. That’s the only way the Saints could survive the slow feet of right tackle Zach Strief.

If Ahmad Brooks draws even one true solo matchup against Strief on third-and-long, it means something has gone terribly wrong. (Or, it means the Niners will have gambled with an overload pass-rush on that side, which is plausible given that Bowman and Willis are both excellent blitzers.)

4. Niners run game against Saints D
The Niners make no bones about it: they’re going to win with Frank Gore, not Alex Smith. They’re a power-run offense – literally. Most of their offense derives from power plays, with left guard Mike Iupati pulling and fullback Bruce Miller or H-back Delanie Walker lead-blocking. The Saints have the personnel to stop this.

Former Niners tackle Aubrayo Franklin is a clogger inside and, when he shows up, veteran Shaun Rogers is a destroyer off the bench behind the generally incognito Sedrick Ellis. Also, defensive ends Will Smith and Cameron Jordan might not have dazzling sack numbers (Jordan, this year’s first round pick, recorded all of one), but both are superb at crashing inside or sliding down the line of scrimmage.

At the second level, Jonathan Vilma is regarded as the star (and rightfully so – he calls the signals and patrols sideline-to-sideline), but strong safety Roman Harper might be the deciding character on Saturday. Harper’s presence is what makes the Saints’ front seven so fast.

That will be especially important when backup running back Kendall Hunter, an underrated tempo-changer with better quickness and burst than Frank Gore, is in the game.

5. Niners big pass plays vs. Saints secondary
Jim Harbaugh is masterful at installing simple wrinkles in his offense each week that take advantage of the opponent’s greatest weakness. This week that means building a few downfield shot-plays into the passing game.

The Saints led the league in 40-plus-yard pass plays allowed during the regular season. The Niners know that if they keep extra blockers in for pass protection help (which their O-line needs, especially at tackle, where Joe Staley is very average on the left side and Anthony Davis, despite getting an embarrassingly nonsensical All-Pro vote, is very inconsistent on the right side), the Saints, with their green-dog heavy blitz packages, will bring the house:

In case you missed it, in last Saturday night’s broadcast, Cris Collinsworth did a great job explaining a green dog blitz. A green-dog blitz is when a defender in man coverage rushes the quarterback after he sees that his man has stayed in to block. Thanks to the speed and aggression of their linebackers, the Saints green-dog blitz as effectively as any team in football.

Thus, there are one-on-one matchups to be had downfield. Though San Francisco’s offense has been Gingrich-level conservative this season, downfield shots off play-action, particularly when the ball’s just inside midfield, have actually been a consistent element in their gameplans.

The Niners have to intentionally design their big plays because, other than maybe tight end Vernon Davis, they don’t have anyone who can conjure them naturally.

Michael Crabtree has great body control but “inexplosive” speed. Kyle Williams is quick out of the slot but not over the top. Ted Ginn has playmaking POTENTIAL but isn’t consistent enough to be considered an actual PLAYMAKER.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the Divisional Round games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 8:52 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:11 am
 

Redskins need to consider life after Haynesworth

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A new labor deal may or may not be on the horizon, but when the owners and players come to an agreement, there will likely be an accelerated free-agency period followed by training camp and the regular season.

By that point, everything should be back to normal, which includes Albert Haynesworth making life difficult for some poor coach who thought he would be the one to motivate a man seemingly incapable of being motivated. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was never under such illusions when he arrived in Washington last year. By the preseason it was clear they couldn't co-exist.

Just chalk it up as another one of Dan Snyder's high-priced personnel mistakes. (The 'Skins gave Haynesworth a $100 million deal in February 2009, including $41 million in guarantees.)

And now, even though Washington desperately needs some help along the defensive line, the rebuilding process won't include Haynesworth. NFL Network's Jason La Canfora figures "Aubrayo Franklin and Cullen Jenkins [will] get a good long look [from the 'Skins]," adding that “I think they’d trade (Haynesworth) for a seventh-round pick somewhere outside the division before they dealt him to the Eagles."

(La Canfora mentioned Philadelphia because Jim Washburn, Haynesworth's former defensive line coach in Tennessee, now coaches the Eagles' defensive line.) 

“They should have taken a fifth for him last offseason and ended the circus then,” La Canfora continued. “We shall see. Skins GM Bruce Allen has repeatedly told Haynesworth’s people that if they don’t get ‘real value’ in a trade they won’t move him, but I don’t see them getting anything better than a fifth for him, and they have wanted much more than that.”

Allen's thinking isn't unique to the Redskins. It's prevalent among teams that fork over substantial paydays for big-name free agents only to get in return substandard performances and less salary-cap wiggle room. Instead of cutting bait and moving on, they suffer from what economists call the "sunk cost fallacy." In English, it's simply throwing good money after bad.

Brian Burke of AdvancedNFLStats.com talked about the sunk cost fallacy late in the 2009 season, relating it to JaMarcus Russell.
Russell certainly isn’t the only top pick who was kept under center too long. Just about every team has had a similar experience in recent memory. General managers and coaches are the ones least willing to cut their losses with bad players because they’re the ones most attached to the sunk costs. The importance of responsibility is why it makes some sense to periodically replace senior management, whether at corporation, a government agency, or professional football team. New managers are not beholden to their predecessors’ sunk costs, and are freer to make rational decisions.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, Allen -- who inherited Haynesworth from Vinny Cerrato -- hasn't followed that advice. Presumably because in the back of Allen's mind is the fear that if he cuts Haynesworth, not only does that mean tens of millions of dollars down the drain (sunk cost!), there's the chance that another team will sign him, and worse, he will play well.

To paraphrase an an old saying: "A player is worth what somebody's willing to pay for him." Which is usually muttered right before someone else says, "It only takes one team." The problem: "one team" has historically referred to the Redskins, an outfit renown for paying well over market rates -- either in salary or draft picks -- for locker room malcontents, players on the downside of great careers or both.

Of course, if Allen promptly jettisons Haynesworth when the lockout ends, and Bill Belichick signs him for the league minimum, expect the media to hail the decision as "low-risk" and "genius." It's this thinking that got the Redskins in their current predicament.

On the upside, Washington gets a $41 million paperweight out of it. So there's that.

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Posted on: August 26, 2010 5:49 pm
 

Aubrayo Franklin to report to Niners, sign tender

Posted by Will Brinson

DT Aubrayo Franklin has missed all of the 49ers training camp after being franchised by San Francisco, but will reportedly, um, report to the Niners.

That's according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who says that Franklin will fly to San Francisco to take his physical and sign the $7.003 million tender on Saturday.

Franklin recorded 36 tackles, two sacks and a pick in 2009 -- coupled with his 46 tackle, single sack and two-forced fumble season in 2008 made him a highly-coveted free agent before the Niners franchised him.

It was pretty much assumed , by even Mike Singletary, that Franklin would end up reporting and signing his tender before the season started. Now it appears he will.

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Posted on: July 31, 2010 10:09 pm
 

Franklin's absence at 49ers camp looms large

NT Aubrayo Franklin didn’t report with his 49ers teammates today, and it seems like a pretty good bet he won’t be around when San Francisco officially opens training camp with its first practice Sunday afternoon.

The unsigned Franklin apparently didn’t like the one-year, $7 million tender the 49ers offered, and coach Mike Singletary hasn’t talked to him all offseason. So, what happens now?

Though 49ers observers seem to think a deal will get done in the preseason, it’s hard to tell when he’ll report.

"There's no mistaking about it: Aubrayo is one of a kind," linebacker Patrick Willis told the Press Democrat . "I love playing with Aubrayo. At the same time, I know this is a business and, at the end of the day, we have to work with who we have here. I know everything is going to work itself out and that's out of my control. If I could snap my fingers, and make him be here, I would. But I can't."

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:30 am
 

A Pair of Niners Skipping Minicamp

Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin and outside linebacker Manny Lawson are both skipping the team’s mandatory minicamp. Franklin has not yet signed his franchise tag contract and is technically under no obligation to attend. Lawson is unhappy with his contract. He’s in the final year of his five-year rookie deal. His base salary is $700,000.

Singletary isn’t worried about either player.

"I have heard that Aubrayo will not be here, which does not bother me one bit," the head coach said. "Manny is not here — does not bother me one bit. Those guys are working. They are doing what they need to do. I'll see them when I see them."

Franklin is vital to the Niners’ 3-4 scheme. His presence inside keeps blockers off Patrick Willis and also allows tireless end Justin Smith to exploiting one-on-one matchups. Plus, Franklin himself has great lateral range as a run-stopper.

Lawson is a role player who doesn’t often get to the quarterback but is a fluid pass defender in the flats.

--Andy Benoit

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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