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Tag:Chad Greenway
Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Draft needs

A. Luck should be a No. 1 selection in next year's draft. Who will select him, though (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

As we enter the final weekend of the season, a number of squads are just playing out the string, hoping to put a solid performance on film, ready to clean out their lockers and look ahead to next year. While only four games on this week’s schedule mean absolutely nothing in terms of the postseason, quite a few of those teams are just looking to play spoiler.

And looking to the 2012 draft, where they can begin to rebuild their team or shore up that one position that could put them over the hump for next season. That’s why we’re taking the 10-worst teams in the league this year and finding one major flaw that needs to be fixed from April 26-28 in New York City’s Radio Music Hall.

For these teams -- and their fans -- the time has come to salivate at the prospects of landing the exact right guy that could change their fortunes for years to come.

10. Bills: Defensive line -- I didn’t like the Ryan Fitzpatrick $59 million extension earlier this year, and I hate it now. But I think Buffalo has other concerns for the moment, and they come on defense. For one, Buffalo has a tough time stopping the run. First-round pick Marcell Dareus has been a bit inconsistent at the nose tackle, but he also has the ability to play like a monster. The 3-4  ends, though, need to be better. Injured tackle Kyle Williams obviously will help when he returns next season, but the ability to rush the passer once in a while also would help (Buffalo’s 25 sacks ranks 30th in the league).

9. Dolphins: Quarterback -- Look, the Dolphins have some talent. They proved that when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, and they started winning games. They proved it by nearly beating Tom Brady, and they proved it by nearly beating Tim Tebow (that last point was a joke). While Matt Moore has been much better than expected after taking over for Chad Henne, he’s a Band-Aid. I think most of us would agree that Henne isn’t the answer as the starter, and perhaps, he and Moore could have a battle to see who could back-up a legit starting quarterback. Reggie Bush established himself as a 1,000-yard rusher, and with a talented quarterback like Robert Griffin III (if he lasts that long in the draft), the Dolphins could begin pushing for AFC East crowns.

8. Browns: Pass rushers -- Cleveland got two defensive linemen early last year (tackle Phil Taylor in the first round and end Jabaal Sheard in the second), and they’ve done a nice job on the left side of the defensive line. But the defense ranks 25th in the league in sacks, and defensive end Jayme Mitchell hasn’t had a great season. Marcus Benard, coming off a solid rookie season last year, is on IR, and if the Browns could get one more high-end rusher in the draft, they’d have talent and depth.

7. Redskins: Quarterback -- It’s probably time for Mike Shanahan to come to the realization that his quarterback picks the past two years have been disastrous (Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck). He said the other day that the rebuild of this franchise has taken more time than he thought, but a standout quarterback obviously would help that process along. Shanahan also said that there was no question in his mind that he’d be back next season, but unless he finds a way to invigorate his offense, that might be a different story this time next year.

6. Chiefs: Right tackle -- Looking across Kansas City’s depth chart, there’s not one position group that so obviously needs to be overhauled. The Chiefs have talent, even if some of those positions don’t have much depth. But right tackle Barry Richardson has badly struggled this season. According Pro Football Focus, Richardson is the worst-rated offensive tackle in the league (the decision to cut Jared Gaither near the end of the season was a bad one). Left tackle Branden Albert is solid, but the right side of the line needs to be reworked.

Minnesota's secondary has been a big concern this year (US Presswire).5. Buccaneers: Run defenders -- The Buccaneers tried to shore up their defensive end spots last draft, taking Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da’Quan Bowers in the second round. Considering Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, the experiment hasn’t paid off immediate dividends. But the Buccaneers are also terrible against the run, and even though tackle Albert Haynesworth has played better than most of us had a right to expect, there are still huge holes to fill in the lineup.

4. Vikings: Secondary -- The Vikings rank as the 31st-worst defense in the NFL, but in reality, their front seven has talent (for instance, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway). Minnesota lost Antoine Winfield (its best corner) early in the year, Chris Cook has legal troubles, safety Jamarca  Sanford has struggled badly and the rest of the safeties have been ravaged by injuries. It’s no  wonder opposing quarterbacks dominate the Vikings defensive backs. On the season, Minnesota has recorded seven interceptions, worst in the NFL. The Vikings need to find somebody who can force turnovers in order to improve this unit.

3. Jaguars: Receivers – Oh, how they need receivers. Yes, Blaine Gabbert has been, by far, the worst rookie quarterback to play this year, but Jacksonville, even with new ownership and a new coach, probably needs to give him more than a season to see if he’s a quarterback of the future. He also needs somebody who can catch his passes. Here are Jacksonville’s top-three receivers: Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard, and yeah, nobody else. In fact, there’s a good chance running back Maurice Jones-Drew will end up as the team’s leading pass-catcher this season. Hard to blame Gabbert completely when his receiving corps is so bad.

2. Colts: Running backs -- Assuming Peyton Manning returns healthy next season -- admittedly, a huge assumption -- his receivers should continue to be fine (this, of course, depends on what happens with free agents Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon). But we’ve seen this year that without a running game, a Manning-less Colts squad has very little chance of doing anything (mostly because Manning makes up for SO many team deficiencies). Joseph Addai, who’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry and probably won’t get to 500 rushing yards on the season for the second year in a row, might be released into free agency, and Donald Brown, while improved, isn’t a legit No. 1 running back. The Colts obviously have a big decision to make regarding Manning and Andrew Luck, but taking a running back probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

1.Rams: Offensive linemen -- There’s been talk that maybe the Rams should grab Luck if they end up with the No. 1 pick. Which, with Sam Bradford on the team, would be ludicrous. Instead, St. Louis should be focused on how to put together an offensive line that doesn’t lead the league in sacks allowed. The biggest problem, not including injuries to Jason Smith and Jacob Bell that have hurt the unit, has been the line’s interior. Linemen aren’t the sexiest position, but damn, St. Louis needs to find some that can stay healthy and keep Bradford and Steven Jackson out of danger.

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Vikings blow a big halftime lead -- again

Minnesota blew a second-half lead for the third-straight game (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz


The Vikings had a 20-point lead at halftime -- they had completely shut down the Lions defense while Adrian Peterson had a big impact on offense -- and this time (THIS TIME, dammit!), they weren’t going to blow a big lead.

Already, Minnesota had coughed up a 10-point halftime lead to the Chargers, allowing San Diego 17 unanswered points in the final two quarters in Week 1. And the next week vs. the Buccaneers, they blew a 17-point advantage going into intermission and then let Tampa Bay score 24 points in the second to walk off with a three-point win.

But this time Minnesota was not going to squander its biggest halftime lead of the season. Until, of course, the Vikings did exactly that.

Once again, Minnesota could barely do anything right in the second half, and behind Matthew Stafford (32 of 46, 378 yards, two touchdowns), the combination of Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson (a combined 18 catches for 220 yards and two touchdowns), and kicker Jason Hanson (4 of 4 on field goals, including a 50-yarder and a game-winning 32-yarder in overtime), the Lions stunned the Vikings 26-23 in overtime.

It wasn’t only a heartbreaking result for the Vikings, whose season is completely unraveling not even a 1/5 of the way through the year. It was a punch to the gut, a slap in the face and a poke in the eye. That’s what happens when your combined second-half score is 64-6.

“I don’t think there was any variation from the first half to the second, other than they scored points and we just couldn’t get off the field,” said LB Chad Greenway, who failed to acknowledge that what he said is, actually, a pretty big variation from one half to the next.

One of the biggest plays of the game that might get lost in the maelstrom of seasickness that surrounds the team was coach Leslie Frazier’s decision to forgo the field goal on fourth and 1 on the Lions 17-yard line and his team leading 20-17 with less than 12 minutes to go. Originally, kicker Ryan Longwell started to run on the field to attempt the field goal, but Peterson waved him away and the offense stayed on the field.

But instead of giving the ball to Peterson (the Vikings $100 million man), McNabb handed the ball to the upback Toby Gerhart, who was stuffed for no gain. Six minutes later, Hanson kicked his 50-yarder to tie the game.

“We made up our minds that we had a good play we could get the first down with,” Frazier said, via Rapid Reporter Joe Oberle. "Based upon what they were doing on defense, we thought we had the play that would be effective for us. It didn’t work out.”

No, it sure didn’t.

Though the Vikings showed some toughness, tying the game at 23-23 later in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, Detroit’s offense made sure Minnesota never got the ball in the extra period.

It was brutal for Minnesota, yet completely expected. So, what now?

“I didn’t think we’d be 0-3 at this point, but I do believe we have the guys on our team that can turn it around,” Frazier said. “I am not ready to throw in the towel.”

Because even if he tried that maneuver, there’s a pretty good chance that the towel would flitter pathetically to the ground once it reached its hallway point.

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Posted on: September 10, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 6:55 pm
 

Adrian Peterson agrees to $100 million deal

Peterson

Posted by Josh Katzowitz


You remember how last week the Titans blew your mind by signing running back Chris Johnson to a four-year deal worth $53.5 million ($30 million guaranteed)? Not surprisingly, the Vikings have gone a step further. Make, that about three steps further.

According to Pro Football Talk, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson will sign a seven-year deal potentially worth as much as $100 million ($36 million guaranteed).

Which is insane money, especially for a running back. But it also means, just like what's happened in Pittsburgh with Troy Polamalu, Peterson now will likely stay in Minnesota for the rest of his career.

Said owner Zygi Wilf: "Adrian’s performances on the field have given fans so much excitement since he first joined us as a rookie. His talent and determination are remarkable and we are proud to have him be a part of the family for years to come. We are excited that in the past week we have been able to lock up Chad Greenway and Adrian for the long term. Both players have come up in our system and are the foundation to the future of the Vikings."

And coach Leslie Frazier: "Adrian is, to me, the best running back in pro football and we’re happy to have him as a part of the organization for the long term. He’s a fan favorite and a great teammate. Adrian’s a guy we lean on when he’s on the field with the ball in his hand and as a leader in the locker room.”

Added Ben Dogra, Peterson's agent, to the AP: "Adrian loves playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Deep inside he wanted to finish his career with the Minnesota Vikings ... He said, 'Look, I'm under contract. I'm just going to play. He never contemplated holding out. He understands the business side of things. He's very smart like that."

Usually, $100 million contracts were reserved for quarterbacks (unless your name is Albert Haynesworth) and definitely not running back. Not anymore apparently, and CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman makes a good point. Writes Freeman: "Is it a risk? Hell, yeah, it is. But it's also a sign. NFL teams, with higher salary cap numbers, awash in cash, and fully aware there will be labor peace for a decade, are willing to take more risks with guaranteed money."

Even for running backs who, almost unanimously, are less effective (or out of football completely) after the age of 30. Peterson, by the way, is 26, so presumably, he has almost another half-decade of productivity left.

And with his new deal, hopefully Peterson is now clear that he's not actually being paid slave wages.

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 4:18 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 4:37 pm
 

Vikings give Chad Greenway 5-year, $20M extension

Posted by Will Brinson

Last year, Chad Greenway did a lot of work, piling up 144 total tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. So it's fitting that the Vikings used Labor Day to reward the linebacker with a five-year, $41 million contract extension that features $20 million in guaranteed money.

Those terms come via Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, as the Vikings who are also believed to be discussing an extension with running back Adrian Peterson, did not disclose terms of the extension.

Greenway originally signed his franchise-tag tender back in March before the lockout began and was scheduled to make more than $10 million this season. But now he's locked in for more than just the 2010 season and, while he's going to cost a lot over the next five years, the Vikings also have a little security at linebacker for the near future.

"I'm very, very thankful knowing he's going to be here for a while," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday after practice.

He's not the only one who's happy -- Greenway is pretty thrilled at the prospect of his new contract as well. (And you can't really blame him: locking yourself into more than $10 million a year for the next five years is a pretty, pretty good setup.)

"Both sides wanted to get a deal done, so it makes it a little easier to work through that," Greenway said. "Just really happy."

Greenway's deal, as Fowler correctly points out, was tougher to pull off because he's not a sack machine like outside linebackers in 3-4 defenses.

In fact, he has just 6.5 sacks in his career (5.5 coming in 2008), but the tackles don't lie -- he's piled up 463 tackles in just four full years after missing his rookie season with a torn ACL, and hasn't missed a start since returning from that injury.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 8:55 am
 

Chad Greenway signs Vikings franchise tender

Posted by Will Brinson

Chad Greenway signed his free agent tender with the Vikings on Tuesday, the team announced.

That means Greenway, the team's leading tackler in 2010, will make a one-year salary in 2011 of more than $10 million. That's based on the average of the top five salaries at the linebacker position.

Greenway was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2011, and the Vikings are believed to be interested in working out a long-term deal the former Iowa star.

That won't be happening until the NFL and union reach a new labor agreement, however.

Tagging Greenway meant the Vikings couldn't use the franchise tag on wide receiver Sidney Rice -- there's still a good chance that they'll tender him with an RFA tag by the deadline of 3 PM EST on Thursday.

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Vikings place franchise tag on Greenway

Minnesota has franchise-tagged C. Greenway (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Vikings have announced they will franchise tag LB Chad Greenway, leaving the door open for others to court WR Sidney Rice and possibly sign him away.

Greenway is a good choice for Minnesota. He’s led the team in tackles the past three seasons (this year, he had a career-high 144 stops), and he’s played in 64-straight games. He’s durable and talented, and he’d be a good candidate for a long-term deal.

According to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, the Vikings won’t use their transition tag on Rice either, and apparently they believe they can re-sign him on their own. You’ll recall last season that Rice missed 12 games after undergoing hip surgery, and when he returned, he produced pedestrian numbers (17 catches, 280 yards, two touchdowns in six games (five starts)).

[Related: Franchise Tag Tracker]

But it was also pretty obvious that Rice wasn’t happy with his $550,000 salary for 2010, and it’s also clear Minnesota will have to pay him much more in order to keep him.

Of course, it’s not out of the realm of possibility another team swoops in and tries to sign Rice, but that’s the risk the Vikings are willing to take. Instead, they’ll tag Greenway and pay him about $10.2 million for 2011.

"Chad's an important part of our team and his play speaks for itself," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in a statement, via ESPN 1500. "He's productive and has continued to improve each year he has been in the NFL. He's a leader for us in the locker room and on the field."

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Posted on: August 18, 2010 10:24 am
 

How much more $ will Favre make this year?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We haven’t posted anything on Brett Favre in, oh, about 17 hours. Which is a blatant violation of the Facts & Rumors mission statement (the punishment, of course, is having to wear Wranglers out in public for two hours). So, that’s our bad. And to make up for it, here’s a new Favre post even though he hasn’t done anything new since Tuesday.

There’s been some talk about how much more money Favre will receive from the Vikings to play this season. Originally, that number was a $7 million raise from $13 million to $20 million. Now, says Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune , that number might be closer to a $16.5 million base (and another possibility for $3.5 million of incentives thrown into the mix to reach, you guessed it, $20 million).

Of course, Favre says it’s not about the money, and maybe that’s true for him. But it’s not for the rest of his teammates. Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com makes a good point when he writes there are plenty of other Vikings who want a pay increase as well.

(It’s) a team that has three starters entering the final years of their contracts: linebackers Chad Greenway and Ben Leber, along with defensive end Ray Edwards. No known discussions are underway with any of those players, nor do the Vikings appear close to deals with another trio of players who have made noise about a possible extension, including running back Adrian Peterson, receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

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Posted on: July 6, 2010 12:08 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 12:19 pm
 

Position rankings: 4-3 outside linebackers

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on 4-3 outside linebackers.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Geno Hayes, BuccaneersB. Cushing (US Presswire)

4. Julian Peterson, Lions

3. Daryl Smith, Jaguars

2. Lance Briggs, Bears

1. Brian Cushing, Texans

Last week, we talked about outside linebackers who play the 3-4. Now, it’s the 4-3 linebackers’ turn. Despite the fact he violated the steroids policy and won’t be around for the first four games of the Texans season – personally, I think the voters should have stripped away his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award as well – Cushing was phenomenal last season. He’s extremely well-rounded – he can rush the passer, play the run and drop into coverage with aplomb – and he’ll be a great foundation for Houston in the years to come. Hopefully, his pituitary gland won’t give him any more problems in the future.

Briggs had another Pro Bowl season, but he missed too many tackles last year. He still plays with speed and strength and is still a top-notch OLB. Smith is coming off a career season (106 tackles) when Jacksonville experimented with a 3-4 scheme, but with the Jaguars going back to the 4-3 and moving Smith to the strong side, it’ll be interesting to see how the change affects him and whether he drops back into the 70-80 tackle range. Peterson is getting older and losing a step, but he’s still more than solid. I’m not sold fully on Hayes, but he had a nice season last year, and Tampa Bay expects big things in his third season.

I thought about adding Keith Bulluck – who’s 33 – but the fact he’s coming off an ACL surgery and that, you know, he hasn’t been claimed off the free agent market dampens my enthusiasm for him.

Andy Benoit's top five

5. Chad Greenway, Minnesota Vikings

4. David Hawthorne, Seattle Seahawks

3 Brian Cushing, Houston Texans

2. Lance Briggs, Chicago Bears

1. Jon Beason, Carolina Panthers

We’re in agreement on Cushing and Briggs. Cushing has been a star since day one. Of course, we’ll have to see how explosive he is now that he’s not juicing (presumably). Lance Briggs has terrific speed, plus he’s strong enough to play in traffic.

My guess is you’re considering Beason a 4-3 MLB. He’s been the best 4-3 MLB in the league the past few years, but it’s looking like the Panthers will foolishly slide him to the weak side to replace the injured Thomas Davis in 2010. I figure Beason will be a demon at weakside linebacker, too – it’s the position he played at Miami. If he’s a WLB in ’10, where do you rank him?

Hayes is up-and-coming, but he needs to learn to get off blocks before I consider him top five. Peterson has been a non-factor in Detroit, which is almost like being dead. Smith is just too plain for me. His tackle numbers were good in part because the players around him stunk. Put Smith next to a Ray Lewis or a Bart Scott and you’d never notice him again.

Regarding the guys rounding out my list…Greenway is a playmaker when he can trust those around him. He’s especially effective in coverage. I’m taking a risk by going with the undrafted Hawthorne, mainly because his NFL experience is at middle linebacker and it’s not a 100 percent guarantee he’ll even start ahead of Leroy Hill in Seattle this year. But I’ve seen enough of Hawthorne on film to feel comfortable here. Hawthorne is instinctive, nimble and punishing at the point of contact. He regularly infiltrated opponents’ backfields last season.

Josh’s rebuttal

You’re absolutely right on Beason. If he does move to the weak side – and it’s still not certain – he automatically moves to No. 2 on my list. I still like Cushing a little bit better, but that could change on next year’s list, because of the chemical questions you mentioned. Greenway, aside from his coverage skills, seems run of the mill to me, and it’s not clear whether Hawthorne, who had a breakout last season, will even start this year – depending on what happens with Leroy Hill. He’s almost the Omar Infante of your list.

Andy’s final word

I didn’t realize how few elite 4-3 OLB’s there are until we did this list. The best athletes used to be weakside linebackers. Now, they’re 3-4 outside linebackers. (Or, sometimes, strong safeties.)


(Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter | Kicker )


--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

 

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