Tag:Daryl Washington
Posted on: November 30, 2011 4:08 pm

Keep an Eye on: Week 13's finer points

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Saints vs. Lions
A good over/under on total passing yards for this game is 700. Both teams have gun-slinging quarterbacks and depth at receiver. What’s interesting is the way that receiving talent is used.

Calvin Johnson is the most physically gifted wideout (if not player) in the NFL. He’s the fulcrum of the Lions’ attack. That’s actually part of the reason why Detroit’s offense is at the 300 level while New Orleans’ is at the 500. Johnson is not fundamentally refined. He runs only mediocre routes and does not always read complex coverages well. Hence, he hasn’t always been great against committed double-teams.

Fortunately for Johnson, his weaknesses are drastically mitigated by the magnitude of his strengths. In short, his lack of refinement hasn’t mattered a whole lot because he can outrun and out-jump everyone anyway. This may in fact be part of the reason he’s unrefined – it hasn’t been necessary for coaches to waste time and energy teaching him fundamentals.

It might be a different story if Johnson were a Saint, though. Sean Payton’s offense is very layered and malleable. Receivers must be able to precisely run a litany of routes from a litany of different spots on the field. If they can’t, they won’t play, no matter how high they’re drafted (just ask Robert Meachem or Devery Henderson, two high-round picks who often rode the pine early in their careers). Johnson would certainly have been a No. 1 receiver for the Saints from day one, but he would have been asked to learn more, too.

Certainly, there are other factors that go into the making of the Lions’ and Saints’ offense. Drew Brees is a wiser quarterback than Matthew Stafford at this point, plus the Saints have a better interior offensive line and more complete run game. But in terms of week-to-week sustainability, the fundamental soundness of the Saints receivers trumps the insane athleticism of Calvin Johnson. A defense can drastically alter the Lions passing game by taking away just one player. Against the Saints, a defense must take away three or four players.

Cardinals vs. Cowboys
It’s been a good year for inside linebackers in the NFC. A lot of attention has been paid to the duo in San Francisco (Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman), and rightfully so. Brian Urlacher has been tremendous (as usual) in Chicago.

He’s not talked about often, but Minnesota’s E.J. Henderson has been nearly as good as Urlacher (at least against the run). And from this matchup, Dallas’ Sean Lee has received plaudits for his work in coverage (Lee’s attack speed against the run is also superb).

There’s another NFC linebacker in this elite class that few know about: Arizona’s Daryl Washington. The 230-pounder from TCU was in and out of the lineup as a second-round rookie last season. This season, he’s been in and out of opposing backfields. Washington leads the Cardinals with 59 solo tackles (Paris Lenon leads the team with 68 total tackles). He also has eight tackles for loss and three sacks.

Each week Washington jumps out resoundingly on film, showing sideline-to-sideline speed and a downhill burst that can make the other 21 players look sluggish in comparison. Speed is only relevant if it’s taking you in the right direction, though. What has set Washington apart is his improved recognition.

He identifies run concepts and angles to the ball with preternatural instincts (they have to be preternatural because such sharp instincts can’t be cultivated in just one-and-a-half seasons). Those instincts apply in coverage, as well, evidenced by Washington’s two interceptions and six passes defensed this season.

Redskins vs. Jets
Does it seem harsh to start comparing Mark Sanchez to Rex Grossman? The third-year quarterback has not quite fallen to that level in terms of turnovers and bonehead mistakes, but the clock management and decision-making gaffes, not to mention the 11 interceptions and five turnovers returned for touchdowns, are hard to overlook.

Rich Gannon – who is quickly becoming one of the premiere color commentators in the business and, it’s worth noting, briefly tutored Sanchez a few years ago – recently made a few very astute observations about the ex-Trojan. One was that when Sanchez misses, he tends to miss behind his receiver. Gannon suspects this is because Sanchez is routinely late with his eyes; he’s not a quick field-scanner or anticipator.

More concerning is Sanchez’s jitteriness in the pocket. He perceives pass-rush pressure before it arrives (a crippling weakness that usually lands a player out of the league or in a career backup role). He’s overly concerned about getting hit, which causes him to tuck the ball, flee the pocket or make ill-advised throws.

These were things scouts worried about with Sanchez coming out of USC, where he had the uncommon luxury of always throwing from a clean pocket. Sanchez showed these weaknesses as a rookie, which was fine. But it’s not fine that he’s still showing them after nearly 50 professional starts.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 12 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:13 pm

Former Bengals player might be in trouble

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s never a good thing when the guys over at Yahoo! Sports have you in their investigative journalistic sites.

That’s where former Bengals CB Horace Smith finds himself tonight. According to Charles Robinson of Y!, NFL security is investigating whether Smith attempted to defraud three rookies of more than $350,000.

The first-year players in question are Raiders DT Lamarr Houston, Cardinals LB Daryl Washington and Broncos CB Perrish Cox.

Smith was working as the director of college scouting for Woy & Willis Sports Group, a Dallas-based sports agency but apparently he was fired in February. The agency has since filed a lawsuit against Smith.

From the story:

The suit filed by Woy & Willis states that Smith allegedly took out loans “in excess of $350,000” using the players’ names without their knowledge – many at high rates of interest – then had the money directed into secret accounts with a brokerage firm in New York City, where Smith could access the funds for his own use. The suit also claims Smith engaged in “unauthorized and extravagant expenditures supposedly on behalf of players,” and misused two rental cars tied to the sports agency – one of which remains unaccounted for.

Three sources familiar with the NFLPA and league probes said investigators are also looking into a jewelry deal allegedly brokered by Smith, in which the players were offered custom jewelry at nearly double the appraised value. The items, which allegedly included high end Breitling watches priced at nearly $85,000 each, ultimately were not purchased by the players at the inflated prices.

That’s a brief preview for you. Read the rest of the piece. It’s quite interesting and troubling.

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Posted on: August 14, 2010 10:59 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 12:42 am

Ben Tate done for the season? (UPDATED)

Posted by Will Brinson

Ben Tate, the Texans second-rounder in this past draft, was expected to compete for touches with Steve Slaton and Arien Foster this season.

However, for now he'll have to settle with getting healthy -- Tate was carted off from the Texans-Cardinals game with just over 12 minutes remaining the third quarter.

I went back and looked at the injury -- Tate made a nice rush off the left tackle, bursting through the hole and slicing through a couple defenders for 12 yards before being tackled at his ankles by Daryl Washington.

(Aside: it would have been easier to see exactly what happened if the Arizona play-by-play guys hadn't decided that they needed to interview "Captain Coyote" who apparently is some NHL player, forcing me to check the Texans feed on NFL.com.)

It appeared that Tate, while tackled, banged his knee against the ground in pretty painful fashion before dragging it cross the ground.

Tate lay on the ground for some time, being examined by trainers before being helped off the field and then eventually carted off.

More on the injury as soon as we hear it -- follow us on Twitter for updates on the Tate injury.

Update (12:16): John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes via Twitter that "I think RB Ben Tate ... is done for the year with a broken ankle. We'll find out Sunday."

If that's true, it's obviously a tremendously tough blow for a Texans team in need of backfield help. Not to mention an organization that invested a second-rounder in the kid. Obviously it stings the most for Tate, though, especially considering how explosive he looked early on in the game.

There's also a report, via our always excellent Fantasy News section , from the sports director of KILT-AM in Houston who called it a high ankle sprain. Clearly, everyone hopes it's the latter.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:28 pm

Gerald Hayes back injury poses serious problem

It was apparent that Cardinals inside linebacker Gerald Hayes was not himself late last year. Gone was the explosiveness and downhill quickness that have always masked the veteran’s mediocre instincts. The determination to finish plays and fire into piles wasn’t there either.
G. Hayes (US Presswire)
Now we know why. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that Hayes underwent back surgery over the summer. He is not expected to be ready for training camp. Hayes’s back problems were no secret; the story here is that the severity of those problems is greater than some observers realized.

Somers writes:

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Hayes underwent "a procedure" on his back several weeks ago and will be evaluated next week when players take physicals before reporting to camp in Flagstaff on July 30.

"We’ll determine then what his rehab protocol is," Whisenhunt said.

Hayes’ ongoing problems are troubling to the Cardinals, who are thin at the two inside linebacker positions.

Karlos Dansby departed via free agency this off-season. Paris Lenon is the starter now at Dansby’s spot, although he will be challenged by Daryl Washington, the team’s second-round pick. Reggie Walker and Monty Beisel are the top players behind Hayes.

Washington has upside, but expect the versatile, experienced Beisel to start if Hayes is unavailable. (Beisel, in fact, should be starting ahead of the finesse-based Lenon, regardless of Hayes’s status.) Regardless of the combination of players in the lineup, the Cardinals will be alarming weak at inside linebacker in 2010.

-- Andy Benoit

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