Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Cary Williams
Posted on: March 1, 2012 8:12 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 10:21 am
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Cornerback rankings

Follow all our 2012 free-agent rankings here (Getty Images)

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 cornerbacks.

The NFL is a passing league, which puts a premium on quarterbacks and wide receivers on offense, and pass rushers and cornerbacks on defense. Incidentally, these positions are among the league's highest paid, too. Go figure.

1. Cortland Finnegan

Breakdown: The former seventh-round pick out of Samford has turned a draft-day oversight into a career fueled by motivation. Finnegan's on-field skills are sometimes overlooked by his trash-talking and knack for playing just past the whistle. But there's no disputing his ability. And if the Titans don't re-sign him (the two sides were reportedly far apart on a deal earlier this week), expect a CB-needy team to pony up. Like, say, the Cowboys.

Possible landing spots: Cowboys, Titans, Texans (for the sheer Andre Johnson/Kevin Walter awkwardness)

2. Brent Grimes

UPDATE: The Falcons franchised Grimes Friday

Breakdown:
Another small-school player who has emerged as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. The Falcons are working to re-sign Grimes (worst case: they'll franchise him), who played opposite Dunta Robinson in recent seasons. ProFootballFocus ranks Grimes as their No. 1 free-agent CB, noting that he allowed just 258 total receiving yards in 2011.

Possible landing spots: Falcons

3. Carlos Rogers

Breakdown: Perhaps it's coincidence that Rogers' breakout performance came a year after he left the Redskins, the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2005. In Washington, he was considered a bust, a cornerback who got beat too often and dropped too many should-be interceptions. In San Francisco, he looked like the player the Skins envisioned they were getting on draft day. Rogers recorded six interceptions (he had eight in six previous seasons) and 18 passes defended in 2011, and said recently that he hopes to get a deal down with the 49ers before free agency. If not, he's a candidate for the franchise tag, assuming that honor doesn't go to safety Dashon Goldson

Possible landing spots: 49ers, Cowboys

4. Brandon Carr

Breakdown: Carr was taken in the fifth round of the 2008 draft as a Cover-2 cornerback. In three years, he's emerged as one of the Chiefs' best defenders and if he doesn't return to K.C. (the organization hopes to keep him), the Cowboys have grand plans of bringing him to Dallas (yes, just like Finnegan). Kansas City signed Stanford Routt in February but GM Scott Pioli said during a recent radio interview that "The signing of Stanford Routt does not impact where we’re at with Brandon Carr. As a matter of fact, Romeo and I both reached out to Brandon yesterday as this was unfolding and talked to him."

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Cowboys

5. Lardarius Webb

                                                                            (Getty Images)
Breakdown: After a solid rookie campaign in 2009, Webb regressed in Year 2 only to have his best NFL season in 2011. The Ravens appear set to tender him as a restricted free agent and have him play opposite 2011 first-rounder Jimmy Williams. According to PFF, he didn't allow a single touchdown last season. Webb is also a capable return man.

Possible landing spots: Ravens

6. Terrell Thomas

Breakdown: Thomas suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason but the Giants could choose to re-sign him and let former first-rounder Aaron Ross walk. Thomas' 2010 season can kindly be described as disastrous, but he played well in 2009and at 27, he has plenty of upside. CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan tweeted Thursday that the Giants and Thomas are closing in on a deal.

Possible landing spots: Giants

7. Tracy Porter

Breakdown: Porter is best known as "that guy who was on the receiving end of the Peyton Manning Super Bowl gift," but he hasn't lived up to expectations as a former second-round pick. That's not to say he's been a disappointment just that he hasn't been a breakout player. In his top-50 free-agent rankings, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco offers an apt description: "He is a good, solid starting corner, and those guys get paid. The Saints probably won't be able to keep him. He turns 26 in August."

Possible landing spots: Lions

8. Aaron Ross

Breakdown: Ross, like former teammate Thomas, has been plagued by injuries. He's also one of the six Giants cornerbacks set to hit free agency. But unlike Thomas, the former first-rounder may have played his last down in New York. As the New York Daily News noted earlier this week, "(Thomas) was the starter over Ross before he tore his ACL in August. The Giants had even expressed an interest in extending his contract last summer before he got hurt." Still, like we said at the outset: this is a passing league, which means that even mediocre cornerbacks won't have trouble finding work. If Ross can stay healthy, he'll have a job.

Possible landing spots: Lions, Cowboys

9. Tim Jennings

                                                                            (Getty Images)
Breakdown: At first glance, Jennings is undersized and outmatched. That explains why the Colts parted ways with him in 2009, four years after they drafted him in the second round. It's with some irony then that Jennings' performed well in the Bears' defense. As PFF points out, Jennings is primarily a Cover-2 cornerback, a potential limitation given that teams are moving away from that scheme. Even though he was benched last year, Jennings didn't allow a touchdown. While he's not a starter, he provides quality depth in the right system.

Possible landing spots: Cover-2 teams looking for a nickel or dime back

10. William Gay

Breakdown: Gay, like most names at the bottom of this list, isn't an NFL starter. The Steelers tried that in 2010 with disastrous results. But Gay is a pretty good nickel back who can serve as a spot starter. Given that Pittsburgh has invested five years into him learning Dick LeBeau's scheme, they might try to bring him back. If not, he won't have any issues landing with another team.

Possible landing spots: Steelers, Lions

Honorable Mention

Richard Marshall, Eric Wright, Rashean Mathis, Ronde Barber, Marcus Trufant, Phillip Buchanon, Jason Allen, Kelly Jennings, Adam Jones, Antwaun Molden, Cary Williams (RFA), Jacob Lacey (RFA), Keenan Lewis (RFA)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:58 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 15: Max meets Aldon

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

Max Starks - Steelers

To be fair to Max, the Steelers cut him during the summer, something about him being out of shape. And then, a month into the season, after it was abundantly clear that Jonathan Scott wasn't a capable NFL starting left tackle, Pittsburgh re-signed Starks, promptly inserted him into the lineup, and the offensive line immediately improved.

And given how well the Steelers had been playing in the two and a half months since Starks returned to the team, it's hard to quibble with one performance. But hey, that's what we do here.

Rookie Aldon Smith, a situational pass rusher at this stage of his career, treated Starks like a 350-pound rag doll Monday night. Any shortcomings along the offensive line are usually mitigated by Ben Roethlisberger's mobility in the pocket, but the Steelers quarterback was playing on bum ankle that so hobble him that we're pretty sure Tommy Maddox could've beat him in a foot race.


Aldon Smith puts on a clinic as he takes down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger on 2.5 sacks Monday night, setting the 49ers' rookie record at 13 with two games left in the season.

Starks held his own in the first half, primarily because the close score meant that Pittsburgh's rushing attack was still part of the game plan. But after the 49ers went up 13-3 in the second half it was, as they say, on like Donkey Kong. To paraphrase Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football, if the game had gone on much longer, Smith would've earned a trip to Canton on that singular performance. (The only thing missing: the wind spring sack dance.)

A healthy Big Ben and a soft schedule over the final two weeks (Rams, at Browns) should mean more consistent play throughout the offense. Also not hurting: getting Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey back. He missed the 49ers game with a high-ankle sprain of his own.

Cary Williams, Jimmy Smith - Ravens

Heading into the season, the Ravens secondary -- particularly cornerback -- was thought to be a liability. Former practice-squad player Cary Williams has started 14 games this season and for the most part he's been solid. Against the Chargers, he spent the evening chasing after whichever target Philip Rivers just found wide open streaking across the field.

And you could argue Jimmy Smith's night was worse. Chargers head coach Norv Turner identified the rookie first-round pick as a target and Norv was true to his word. Rivers ended the night completing 74 percent of his throws for 270 yards and a touchdown. More than that: he wasn't touched all game. That's right, the team with more offensive line issues than the Steelers, and who were working on their third left tackle of the season, kept Rivers clean against one of the NFL's most ferocious pass rushes.

Put differently: Baltimore's shortcomings don't all fall to Williams and Smith. The front seven didn't do their job and if we really want to point fingers, Joe Flacco played like, well, crap. The lesson: don't take Tim Tebow's name in vain. Nothing good will come of it.

Stanford Routt, Rolando McClain, Raiders

Obviously, this honor should go to head coach Hue Jackson for his inexplicable decision to not triple and quadruple-team Calvin Johnson during the last drive of Sunday's game, one that proved to be the difference. (But this is 'Coach Killers.' Presumably, Jackson's into self-preservation even if his coaching decisions scream otherwise.) Instead, Jackson blamed execution not play-calling for Johnson getting open, even though one play call had linebacker Rolando McClain responsible for covering Johnson 40 yards down the field.

“Yeah, that’s called the Tampa-2," Jackson said. "That’s what the middle linebacker does — he runs right down the middle of the field. They made the play and we didn’t.”

We don't know much about football strategizing, but that seems like a recipe for losing.

Oakland likes to play a lot of man-to-man and cornerback Stanford Routt was burdened with covering Johnson for most of the game. He had a costly pass interference penalty that gave Detroit the ball at the Raiders six-yard line with 48 seconds to go. Wondering how that ended? Yep, a Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The goal post was the closet object in coverage on the play.


See how Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson led the Lions on a seven-play, 98-yard drive to defeat the Raiders in Oakland.

“It isn’t a scheme issue. The ball’s laying up in the air. You gotta go make that play. Their guy made it and we didn’t. So they won the game." Jackson said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore.

Well, it is a scheme issue when the scheme doesn't have anyone in Johnson's vicinity.

Santonio Holmes - Jets

You have to wonder what goes through a player's mind when he makes the conscious decision to do something stupid. The Bills' Stevie Johnson had to know that as soon as he went to the ground during his "I shot myself in the leg" homage to Plaxico Burress touchdown dance in Week 12 that he was going to get a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty.

On Sunday, with the Jets trailing 28-9, Holmes finally held onto the ball long enough to get into the end zone (he already had a fumble and caused an interception by misplaying a Mark Sanchez pass).

Hand the ball to the official, head to the sidelines and try to figure out how get back in this game.

That should've been the thought that ran through Holmes' mind. Nope. Instead, he put the ball on the ground, stepped on it, and pretended to fly. Like an eagle. Um, yeah, using the ball as a prop? That's a 15-yard penalty.


Good news: Holmes scores. Bad news: he gets a stupid celebration penalty.

In the scheme of things it didn't matter; the Eagles blew the doors off the Jets and 15 yards here or there wasn't going to be the difference. But the penalty is symptomatic of something larger: Rex Ryan's inability to control his locker room. Holmes is a six-year veteran and a team captain. He's also one of New York's best players. But there's a chance he will be one of New York's best players sitting on the couch in January.

Ryan, for his part, nailed the role of the enabling parent.

“He apologized for that to me but I’ll say this about Santonio and every other player on this team: They have my 100 percent support and we’re in this thing together. … Are we perfect? No. None of us are perfect, but I'm just saying that you wish that thing never happened," Ryan said. "I don't think it will happen again, but again, I have his back, he has mine and this whole team is that way. We just have to come out and fight for each other, we know it was a mistake and we'll learn from it."

In two weeks, the Jets might have plenty of time to replay all the mistakes from the past season.

Marc Mariani - Titans

We were all set to blame Chris Johnson for the Titans' loss to the Colts, but pointing the finger at one of the league's worst running backs has become unoriginal 15 weeks into the season. And while Mariani had very little to do with Tennessee getting steamrolled by an 0-13 team, this play perfectly embodies the Titans' Sunday afternoon experience at Lucas Oil Stadium.

With the Colts leading 17-6, Mariani, Tennessee's return man, misplayed a kickoff in the end zone. No big deal -- it happens all the time … except that Mariani accidentally drop-kicked the ball out of bounds at about the six-inch line.

“I botched my responsibility,” Mariani said. “Their kicker (Pat McAfee) line-drived that one and I was trying to make a play, but it was all over the place and took an unbelievable bounce.”

The miscue proved to be harmless; the Titans gained a few first downs before eventually punting.

As for the real culprits Sunday, take your pick: Johnson (15 rushes, 55 yards); Matt Hasselbeck (a pick-six -- including the first interception by a Colts cornerback all season -- and another pick in the Colts end zone); Jared Cook (huge fumble in Indy territory); and the entire Titans defense for getting Donald Brown'd in the fourth quarter with Indy leading just 20-13. And perhaps more embarrassingly, giving Dan Orlovsky his first career victory. (Orolovsky had been 0-7 with the 2008 Lions and 0-2 with the Colts in 2011.)


Tennessee goes tackling-optional on Brown's 80-yard TD run.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 3, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: October 3, 2010 11:59 am
 

AFC Week 4 Inactives

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, the notable actives:

Baltimore RB Ray Rice will play today. As will Raiders WR Louis Murphy (that’s very good new for Oakland). Rookie NT Terrence Cody and DL Paul Kruger will make their 2010 debuts for the Ravens. Also, Denver's Tim Tebow is the No. 2 QB today, while Brady Quinn is No. 3. Jets RB Joe McKnight, who's been a big disappointment so far, is active for the first time. Bills CB Marcus Trufant is active as well. And in some great news for Seattle, LT Russell Okung will make his career debut. 

And now the inactives:

Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets:
He’s getting closer to returning, but against the Bills – where the only real receiving threat is Lee Evans – it’s probably unnecessary to play a Revis that’s still not 100 percent. Antonio Cromartie, who’s had mixed results as the No. 1 shutdown corner, should be OK vs. Evans.

Jonathan Fanene, DE, Bengals: This isn’t as big of a loss, considering Antwan Odom will play. Fanene has been bothered by a hamstring injury.

Cory Redding, DL, Ravens: He suffered a concussion last week, and he didn't pass his baseline tests this week. Therefore, he's inactive. It's unfortunate for Baltimore, considering the Ravens will try to slow down Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall, the fourth-leading rusher in the league.

Jake Delhomme, QB, Browns: Seneca Wallace will take over the QB spot for Cleveland for the second straight week as Delhomme tries to recover from an ankle injury. Delhomme was listed as questionable, but he was seen limping around the locker room this week. So this isn't a big surprise.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: We know this would happen, and therefore, it falls to newly-acquired Laurence Maroney to move the ball. Last week, he struggled, gaining just 24 yards on 12 carries. QB Kyle Orton can't be expected to throw for 400-plus yards every week.

Andre' Goodman, CB, Broncos:
Bothered by a quadriceps injury, Goodman is inactive for the second-straight week. His replacement last week, Perrish Cox, gave up the TD pass to unknown Colts rookie Blair White.

Josh Wilson, CB, Ravens: Cary Williams, who missed the first two games of the season with a suspension, takes the place of Wilson. Special teams might have played a factor in this decision.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: September 26, 2010 11:42 am
Edited on: September 26, 2010 12:51 pm
 

AFC inactives, Week 3

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who are active: Texans WR Andre Johnson, who had been questionable with an ankle injury; Patriots LB Brandon Spikes, who was a late add Saturday to New England’s injury report but was listed as probable; WR Joshua Cribbs, who hurt his ankle at practice Wednesday; and Baltimore CB Cary Williams, who has finished serving his two-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Tyson Jackson, Chiefs, DE: This is the second week in a row Jackson has been out, dealing with a knee injury suffered in the first game of the season. This isn’t terrible news for Kansas City. Although he was the No. 3 overall pick last season, Jackson has done next to nothing on the field thus far.

Adam Jones, Bengals, CB: He’s been better than expected this season, but his shoulder is banged up. Expect second-year CB Morgan Trent to get much more playing time as the third CB.

Antwan Odom, Bengals, DE: He was supposed to play today as he appeals his four-game suspension for violating the performance enhancing drug policy. But he’s not on the 45-man gameday roster with a wrist injury.

Jerome Harrison, Browns, RB:
This probably won't phase coach Eric Mangini much, because, for some reason, he doesn't like seeing Harrison, who's got a thigh injury, on the field. But now that Peyton Hillis and James Davis will get the carries, it's hard not to see Cleveland struggle in the running game.

Jake Delhomme, Browns, QB:
This was expected. But it's still important nonetheless. Especially since that means Seneca Wallace will get another start.

Brian Robiskie, Browns, WR: With three important pieces of Cleveland's offense out of today's game, it could get ugly today vs. Baltimore.

Terrence Cody, Ravens, NT:
Even though he practiced all week and wasn't on the injury list, Baltimore still decided to deactivate the rookie.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: August 7, 2010 2:20 pm
 

Another Ravens DB bites the dust

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

How much further will injuries deplete the Ravens defense? How much longer until they can’t field 11 players on the field?

We kid, of course, but for the Baltimore defense – particularly its secondary – it’s no laughing matter. The Ravens simply continue to lose players to injury.

According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post , DB Chris Carr injured his hamstring at today’s practice and left the field with a trainer, becoming yet another Baltimore player to seek medical treatment.

That left Cary Williams – who’s suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy – and Travis Fisher, who’s playing for his fourth team in the past five seasons, as the first team corners.

So far, Baltimore’s defense is missing FS Ed Reed (coming off hip surgery), CB Domonique Foxworth (out for the year with a torn ACL), and LB Sergio Kindle (fractured skull). Remember also that CBs Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are coming off season-ending knee injuries from last year.

In the past week, the Ravens signed CB Chris Hawkins and traded QB John Beck for CD Doug Dutch. Those CBs left on the free agent market include former Raven Frank Walker and Fred Smoot.

The severity of Carr’s injury is not yet known.

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




Posted on: July 23, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Weird happenings in Baltimore

E. Reed has had an interesting past few weeks (Getty). The Baltimore Ravens have had a strange week. Let’s review:

-QB Joe Flacco seemed lukewarm to the idea of the Ravens signing Marc Bulger as a backup. Said Flacco to the Baltimore Sun: “Hopefully, we just all get along well. When you have a little bit of tension in the room, it doesn’t lend to playing well. Yeah, he might bring a thing here or there that helps me out. We’ll see. It’s all about going out there, preparing during the week and having a good time doing that. Hopefully, we can do that.”

-S Ed Reed – who has been outspoken about wanting a new contract though he’s almost 32 and coming off major hip surgery – said he might start the season on the physically unable to perform list. Then, he said he didn’t really say that. Then, he said, the Ravens are refusing to send him game film.

-CB Cary Williams was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

So, what in the hell is going on in Baltimore?

With Flacco, it seems pretty clear that he likes backups Troy Smith and John Beck and doesn’t want to see one of them get cut because of Bulger. Of course, I sort of suspect – and I’ve talked to other people who suspect this as well – that Flacco doesn’t want the competition. It’s not like Smith or Beck would unseat him as the starter. A two-time Pro Bowler like Bulger could. That might play a role.

With Reed, it’s hard to say. He’s been one of the best safeties in the NFL for many years, and perhaps he senses his domination is nearing an end. Talking about the game film snafu, Reed told radio station WBAL, via the Carroll County Times : “Don't treat me like that after I gave my blood, sweat and tears for this guy, for this organization. I train my tail off. I'm putting my life on line. But I have to give you an excuse to study tape? When I do give you an excuse, and my excuse is I'm studying tape, that's not a good enough excuse. But Ed is wrong for asking for a new contract.”

The Ravens responded by telling the Baltimore Sun that it all must be a misunderstanding.

Maybe the entire last week in Baltimore has been one misunderstanding. Maybe that’s the real explanation.

--Josh Katzowitz

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

Posted on: July 22, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Cary Williams suspended by NFL for 2 games

More fantastic news out of Baltimore: Cary Williams, a Ravens cornerback, has been suspended for the first two games of the season without pay after violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Williams' violation occurred while he was with the Tennessee Titans, and Ravens' GM Ozzie Newsome acknowledged that, 'We’ve been aware of this since before we signed Cary.'

His agent, Marc Lillibridge told Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times that Williams went through the full appeals process and that, "Although we’re disappointed we did not win the appeal, we respect the league office’s decision. Cary just wants to focus on the training camp with the Ravens and the remaining games in the regular season."

Wililams isn't considered a star in the secondary by any means, although Wilson does point out he's "drawn praise from the coaching staff during offseason minicamps."

The bigger issue is that the Ravens' secondary -- a primary concern heading into training camp , particularly with the health of Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb being a big issue -- is suddenly even weaker, especially with Ed Reed's situation not appearing to near any sort of resolution soon .

-- Will Brinson

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com