Tag:Bruce allen
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:28 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Linebacker Rankings

Fletcher, at 37, might not have many options other than returning to Washington. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

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 linebackers.

While there are a ton of free agent linebackers about to come on the market -- I’ve counted approximately 80 -- there doesn’t seem to be many surefire game-changers in the bunch. London Fletcher, vastly underrated in Washington, is one such player, but other than him, you’ve mostly got solid guys who can be contributors to whichever team signs them.

Some of the better free agent linebackers have been taken off the board already, as D’Qwell Jackson has re-signed with Cleveland while Ahmad Brooks agreed to return to San Francisco. Here are the rest of those who probably will try out their fortunes on the market.

1a. Mario Williams


Breakdown: Though we have Williams as the No. 1 defensive end available, we have to give him some love on the linebacker list, as well. Simply because in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, Williams was an outside linebacker. He only played five games for the Texans last year before tearing his pectoral muscle, but with five sacks, he also proved he can be successful in a 3-4 defense, meaning every team in the league should be thinking about Williams' worth. We thought he might struggle to find his balance in the first year of Phillips' scheme, but, as a linebacker, Williams is pretty damn good also.

Possible Landing Spots: Texans, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans

1b. London Fletcher


Breakdown: Fletcher is one of those players who, unless you’re paying close attention, somehow seems to rack up the tackle numbers -- and you’re not really sure how. And before you know it, he’s leading the league with 166 takedowns, like last year.  In fact, Fletcher has recorded at least 116 tackles every year since 2001, and he’s started 224-straight games. The problem with Fletcher is that he’s 37, and you have to wonder how long his durability will hold up -- as well as his penchant for making scores of tackles every season. That shouldn’t matter, however, because it sounds like he wants to return to Washington and that the Redskins feel the same way. “We want our captain back,” Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said earlier this month. The feeling apparently is mutual.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

Tulloch might be a good fit in Philadelphia because he knows how to play in the wide nine. (US Presswire)

2. Stephen Tulloch


Breakdown: After a solid 2008-10 with the Titans (the dude had 160 tackles in 2010), Tennessee let the Lions take away Stephen Tulloch for 2011. After recording 111 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended last year, Detroit would like to keep him. It’ll likely cost the Lions much more than the one-year, $3.25 million deal they paid Tulloch last year. More importantly for the Lions, though, is locking up defensive end Cliff Avril, and you have to wonder if the Lions will want to shell out that much money to two defensive players. One good option for Tulloch might be the Eagles. Considering Tulloch played for years with Jim Washburn, who installed the wide nine scheme in Philadelphia last year, Tulloch would be comfortable in that system. Besides, the Eagles linebackers last year were pretty horrible, and Tulloch would be a big upgrade. Wherever he lands, one can only hope that Tulloch gets another chance to Tebow in front of Tebow.

Possible Landing Spots: Lions, Buccaneers, Eagles

3. Anthony Spencer


Breakdown: He’s pretty much the definition of one of those solid linebackers I wrote about before, and the Cowboys don’t fancy losing him to free agency. There has been speculation that the team could place the franchise tag on him, but if not, at least one Dallas reporter has speculated that Spencer could land a Chris Canty-like deal (a six-year, $42 million contract signed in 2009). The Cowboys might be averse to giving him such a long deal, because he hasn’t necessarily lived up to his first-round draft pick expectations. Spencer’s representatives and the Cowboys were scheduled to meet at the scouting combine, and if they can’t come to a long-term agreement, Dallas might just have to grit its teeth and tag him.

Possible Landing Spots:Cowboys, Dolphins

4. Curtis Lofton


Breakdown: For the past three years, Lofton has been a tackling machine, accumulating at least 118 (including 147 in 2011), and it’s clear the Falcons want to re-sign him. But when Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff says that negotiations between the team and Lofton are “amicable,” it strikes kind of a weird tone (or is that just me?). And maybe the Falcons won’t be terrified if Lofton leaves. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote last week, “There’s growing sentiment that he’s a liability against the pass. The question thus becomes: Would you pay $8 million a year for a two-down linebacker?” Lofton might want more than that. Reportedly, Lofton is asking or a four-year deal worth $36 million.

Possible Landing Spots: Falcons, Eagles, Browns

5. David Hawthorne

Breakdown: With Hawthorne, you pretty much know what you’re getting. He’s good for about 110 tackles a season, five passes defended or so, and an interception or three. But it sounds like the Seahawks have a higher priority to sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant than inking Hawthorne to a new deal. Hawthorne is only 26 years old, and he’s solid across the board. But maybe more than most of the other linebackers on the list, there’s not a great chance for him to return to his old team. The one caveat to that: now that Leroy Hill is facing another drug charge, that might open up Seattle’s interest in Hawthorne again.

Possible Landing Spots: Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks

6. Jarret Johnson


Breakdown: The Ravens, at some point soon, might have to make a choice between whether they want Johnson or Jameel McClain (see below) to return to Baltimore for 2012. General manager Ozzie Newsome had said he wants to keep both, but that will be tough for the club to accomplish. So, if you’re Newsome, who is the priority between Johnson and McClain? Well, McClain had more tackles (84-56) last season  but less sacks (Johnson had 2.5 to McClain’s 1), and the Baltimore Sun predicts the Ravens have a better chance of retaining Johnson. He is, though, four years older, which might mean Baltimore will actually go harder after McClain. “I’d like to fit in again here,” Johnson said last month, via the team’s official website. “But unfortunately this is a business and sometimes business decisions [have] got to be made. I hope to be back. I’d love to retire a Raven, but we’ll see.”

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts

7. Jameel McClain


Breakdown: At 26, McClain is a young talent who likely will command a large salary (moreso than Jarret Johnson (see above)). It doesn’t sound like there’s a great chance for the Ravens to keep him.

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts, Eagles

8. Honorable Mentions

Unrestricted: Barrett Ruud, Chase Blackburn, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, Andra Davis, Manny Lawson, Geno Hayes, Wesley Woodyard, Dan Connor

Restricted: Dannell Ellerbe, Aaron Maybin

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:38 pm
 

Raiders to interview at least 4, including Tice

TiceBy Josh Katzowitz

While Winston Moss seems to be the favorite to win the Raiders head coaching job because of the Packers assistant head coach’s connection with new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie, the organization is interviewing at least four other candidates for the job.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, the Raiders have asked permission from the Bears to interview new offensive coordinator Mike Tice, and although Chicago just promoted Tice to replace Mike Martz, the team can’t stand in Tice’s way*.

Along with Tice, the Raiders will interview Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, according to Delawareonline.com. Also, the Raiders will take a look at Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Denver defensive coordinator Bruce Allen (hey, if you’re going to fly to Denver anyway, you might as well get two interviews with one stone).

“I think it’s very complimentary to this organization that they’re having that opportunity and to their work,’’ Broncos coach John Fox told the Associated Press. “I think any assistant coach’s aspiration is to be a head coach. It speaks for what this organization has accomplished this season. Time will tell.’’

Latest coaching moves
*This became an issue earlier this week when the Bears refused the Vikings request to interview Chicago secondary coach Jon Hoke for for the Minnesota defensive coordinator job.

Already, the Raiders have interviewed Miami interim coach Todd Bowles.

Moss most likely will receive a call as well. He played for the Raiders in the 1990s, and McKenzie, formerly an executive in Green Bay, and Moss know each other quite well.

“There’s always opportunities to put yourself in the same position as a head coach would and see how you would do things or what you would change or what you would add or what you would take away,’’ Moss said. “So with that being said, I’ve done that, I feel good about the vision, the goals, the beliefs that can be instilled within an organization that would give me the opportunity to be a head coach.’’

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 8:23 pm
 

Raheem Morris lands DB assistant job in WAS

Morris

By Josh Katzowitz

Raheem Morris has found a new job, and he’s had to take a rather large demotion to get it. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, Morris has been hired as the Redskins defensive backs coach, meaning Morris won’t even get to be a coordinator in his first job since the Buccaneers fired him as head coach.

Not that he’s ever been an NFL defensive coordinator before anyway. Three years ago, the Tampa Bay front office was so impressed by Morris’ work as the Buccaneers secondary coach, the ownership elevated him to the head coaching spot.

Morris' Next Move
After a 2010 season in which the Buccaneers finished a surprising 10-6, the team folded into a 4-12 squad this year while seemingly quitting on Morris with about a month left in the season.

But Morris has a previous relationship with Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (the two were assistant coaches together in Tampa Bay from 2004-05) and knows Redskins general manager Bruce Allen well (Allen was the Buccaneers GM at the time).

While the Buccaneers defense last season finished last in points allowed and 30th in yards, the pass defense was only the 12th-worst team in the league of yards given up (what’s not so good is that the team faced the fourth-least amount of passes).

The Redskins, meanwhile, ranked 12th in the league in passing yards allowed, but earlier Wednesday night, the Washington Post reported that the contract of long-time Redskins safeties coach Steve Jackson would not be renewed.

According to the paper, Morris has an understanding with coach Mike Shanahan that if he's offered a defensive coordinator job, he can bail out from Washington. Morris also has interviewed for the Vikings defensive coordinator position.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 9:00 am
 

Report: Raheem Morris spotted with Redskins

MorrisBy Josh Katzowitz

Raheem Morris made his name originally on the defensive side of the ball, and he was so impressive in his two years as the Buccaneers defensive backs coach, Tampa Bay ownership hired him as the head coach three years ago.

Of course, that experiment backfired, as Morris went 17-31 in his three years (including a 10-game losing streak to end his tenure Monday), but that doesn’t mean other teams won’t take a look at Morris’ defensive skills.

According to George Wallace of WTOP radio in Washington, it’s already begun as Morris was spotted dining with “Redskins brass.” Morris and Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan were young assistants together in Tampa Bay in 2004-05, so there is some familiarity there (in fact Shanahan was arrested and charged with misdemeanor intoxication after he and Morris were escorted from an Indianapolis bar). Also, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen was the GM in Tampa Bay during the time both assistants were together.

So, the union could make sense from a former relationship standponit.

The only problem with the Redskins’ apparent pursuit of Morris to shore up a Washington defense that finished 21st in points allowed this year? The Buccaneers defense finished last in the league in points allowed and gave up at least 35 points in seven of the final 12 games of the season.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Haynesworth is extremely happy to be with Pats

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's hard to believe, especially if you don't have any, but apparently money doesn't guarantee happiness. The latest evidence comes courtesy of Albert Haynesworth, the man the Redskins saw fit to sign to a seven-year, $100 million contract (including $41 million in guarantees) prior the 2009 season, only to bench him for most of 2010 before trading him to the Patriots this offseason for a 2013 fifth-round pick.

On Thursday, Haynesworth took the field as a Patriot for the first time all preseason and showed glimpses of what makes him one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in football. After the game he was unusually ebullient, no doubt happy about his great fortune, both financially (thanks, Dan Snyder!) and personally (thanks, Bill Belichick!). 

"To me, it's a career-saving place for me to come," Haynesworth said, according to NESN.com. "I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here."

When asked about the differences between Washington and New England, Haynesworth didn't hesitate.

"You name it." He continued: "You don't have to watch your back or anything like that," he said about playing for the Patriots. "You know everybody is here for you, and I really enjoy that. I know my head coach is for me. I know my owner is for me. I know my players are for me. I feel relaxed. I'm having fun again. I'm having fun playing football again."

You often hear the cliche that "a change of scenery" can be good for a player's career and Haynesworth is living, breathing proof. And it would make for a heartwarming story if not for all the Redskins' fans still bitter about Haynesworth quitting on the team.

Take the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, for example. He has trouble reconciling the new Big Al with the guy who spent two years in DC collecting a paycheck and not much else. He found this quote from Haynesworth particularly irksome.

“Well, you know what, all said and done, hell, I’d give that money back and then come here," he said Thursday night, when talking about signing with the Redskins.

Cue Steinberg:
Sure he would. The man who accepted that 2010 option bonus even when he knew he would subsequently refuse to play the position the Redskins wanted him to play while throwing away a year of his prime would just give back that money to go elsewhere.
If there's a lesson here it's this: Skins owner Dan Snyder must be stopped. Haynesworth is clearly at fault for his no-show performance in DC, but he never should've been signed in the first place. But building the roster like you're playing Madden has been a hallmark of the Snyder era, and predictably, it's been a disaster. Hopefully that changes permanently under general manager Bruce Allen. Either way, the fans have every right to be angry.

There is a silver lining of sorts. Whatever happens, Big Al ain't coming back to Washington. "If God forbid I got cut from this team, yeah, I know I can go out there and play for another team, but I feel like this is going to be my last place that I'm going," he said.

So there's that.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 11:55 am
 

Report: PHI wants Haynesworth, WAS won't cut him

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We mentioned in Tuesday's Hot Routes that Albert Haynesworth had a suitor. New Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn was Haynesworth's position coach in Tennessee and, according to a Yahoo source, Washburn's "convinced he can get the most out of Haynesworth," and that "he wants him badly."

Now, via the Philadelphia Sports Daily's Tim McManus, the feeling's mutual: Haynesworth reportedly wants to come to Philly.

"It would be his greatest chance to rise amongst the elite a final time," McManus wrote Wednesday. "The 6-6, 335-pound tackle would be reunited with defensive line coach Jim Washburn and have a chance to play the type of ball that got him the seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins in the first place. Haynesworth is interested in attacking the quarterback; Washburn wants his linemen to do just that. Their final year together in Tennessee, such harmony resulted in 8½ sacks and three forced fumbles."

And then Haynesworth signed with the Redskins, where careers go to die. That's not to say he's without blame; in fact, you could make the case that the circumstances Haynesworth finds himself are mostly his doing. Still, that doesn't change anything; Washington got virtually nothing for their eight-figure investment, and even though it's clear the two sides would be better off without each other, that might not happen anytime soon, at least not without the Redskins getting something for their trouble.

A source tells McManus that “They are not going to cut [Haynesworth]. If the Eagles or anyone else wants him it is going to have to be by trade. Because if they cut him, that’s giving him his way.”

We wrote last month that the Redskins front office suffers from the sunk cost fallacy, an economic theory that says that GMs and coaches are unwilling to cut their losses with underperforming or overpriced players because they're the ones most attached to the investment (which is now a sunk cost). AdvancedNFLStats.com took it a step further: "New managers are not beholden to their predecessors’ sunk costs, and are freer to make rational decisions."

Which led us to write at the time: "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."

NFL Network's Jason La Canfora said weeks ago that the 'Skins "should have taken a fifth for him last offseason and ended the circus then.”

Of course, this is the same outfit that not only traded within the division for Donovan McNabb and gave him a contract extension during the 2010 season, but benched him nine weeks later for Rex Grossman. As it stands, Washington will be lucky to get a fifth-rounder for McNabb.

The lesson: Don't spend lavishly on players who don't fit your system (this should be obvious, we know). And if you do, you can't be afraid to unload them to the highest bidder, even if it's less than market value. (The very same market, ironically, you inflated by overpaying for said players in the first place.)

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Posted on: June 18, 2011 9:28 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Bruce Allen says McNabb signing wasn't a mistake

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Despite the disaster with Redskins QBs last year – if you don’t remember the horror, check out the breakout box below – Washington GM Bruce Allen told CSN Washington that if he had it to do over again, he would still make the trade with the Eagles to get McNabb.

McNabb's nightmare year
“We would make the move again with Donovan,” Allen said. “The 6-10 record wasn’t what we had dreamed of for the season.”

But Allen also doesn’t blame McNabb for the subpar record. And he says the outside world doesn’t really know what went on inside the locker room.

“When you’re inside the locker room, you have all the facts,” Allen said. “You know the affections and feelings we have for Donovan as a person and player. We’ll let people speculate and create rumors. Hopefully they go off the wrong tracks and that will give us an advantage when we start playing.”

And as far as that little tiff between McNabb and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan?

“I think they jelled very well at times,” Allen said. “It was the first year for everybody with the Washington Redskins, and it takes some time to learn the other person’s desires.”

Unfortunately for McNabb, he most likely won’t get to learn Allen’s desires for Year No. 2. Because, as soon as the lockout is over, McNabb is probably gone from Washington.

So, yeah. Overall, just a great trade.



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