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Tag:Derrick Ward
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:51 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Tight End Rankings

Shiancoe leads what is a fairly unimpressive group of free agent tight ends. (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 tight ends.

Originally for this post, I listed Jermichael Finley for the No. 1 spot on this list. Obviously, he was an easy call, because he was so obviously the best tight end on the market. Now, though, he’s a signed a two-year deal with the Packers worth about $7.5 million per season, and therefore, the free agent tight end class of 2012 suddenly has grown awfully weak (let’s face it, it wasn’t all that great with Finley on top either).

The best tight ends in the game -- guys like New England’s Rob Gronkowski, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis and Finley -- are safely secure with their respective teams, and those teams who actually are looking for tight ends will have to draw on a list with very few, if any, top-line playmakers. Considering Gronkowski and Graham are helping to redefine the position, that’s not great news. Nevertheless, here we go.

1. Visanthe Shiancoe

Breakdown: Since catching 56 passes for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns when Brett Favre was throwing to him, Shiancoe’s production has decreased the past two seasons, especially in 2011 when he caught 36 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns. Since he made $4.5 million last season, it doesn’t seem likely the Vikings will re-sign him. Especially since the Vikings seem high on Kyle Rudolph. But unless Favre is planning to return for another season (and let’s face it, we can never rule out this option), the value of Shiancoe isn’t as high as it once was.

Potential Landing Spots: Giants, Browns

2. Martellus Bennett


Breakdown: Though Bennett doesn’t have impressive receiving numbers, that’s not what he’s called upon to do. Instead, he’ll be one of the more valuable tight ends in free agency because he’s top-notch run blocker. Bennett oftentimes is overshadowed by his teammate Jason Witten, but his worth to the Cowboys is evident every time Bennett steps on the field (it also seems evident, though, that Bennett’s time in Dallas is finished). But in order to get paid tons of money, he needs to show he can catch the ball, and that’s something missing from his arsenal at this point.

Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Jets, Bengals

3. Joel Dreessen


Breakdown: Dreessen is a solid tight end, and he’s been an important cog for the Texans as quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster have turned Houston into a consistent top-10 offense in the past three years. He’s not a big-time pass catcher, but he’s a solid run-blocker (as Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward likely would attest). The Texans would like to keep their two tight end set, but assuming Owen Daniels can stay healthy, Dreessen becomes a little more expendable in Houston.
Fred Davis
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Giants, Texans, Redskins

4. Fred Davis

Breakdown: He’s actually a pretty good candidate to be franchise-tagged by the Redskins (safety LaRon Landry (and his muscles!) is another candidate), and considering he caught 59 passes for 796 yards in 12 games last year in the best season of his career, Davis is a potential emerging star. Unfortunately for Davis, he was suspended for the final four games of the season for a failed drug test, and if he happens to fail another one, he’d be suspended for a year. So, there’s a little bit of a gray cloud following him around, and teams that need a tight end might shy away from a potential off-the-field problem like that.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

5. Jeremy Shockey


Breakdown: It was only four years ago when Shockey was considered an elite tight end, good for about 60 catches, 600 yards and six touchdowns per season from 2004-07. He’s been hurt (literally) by injuries, and after the Saints released him in 2010, he was solid enough  last season in Charlotte (though the team did like the toughness he brought to the squad). Shockey has talked about wanting to play in Miami -- he’s also talked apparently about retiring, though it seems like everybody is denying it at that point -- but with Anthony Fasano already entrenched as the Dolphins tight end, Shockey probably would have to be content to play as the No. 2 tight end. He made $4 million last season, and in order to return to the Panthers to play with tight end Greg Olsen, he’d probably have to take a paycut.

Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Giants, Panthers
Shockey

6. John Carlson


Breakdown: Carlson missed the entire season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, so there will be plenty of caution surrounding him, even though he’s caught at least 50 passes in two of his first three seasons in the league. Making matters worse, Carlson said in January that he’s not completely healed, estimating that he was only at 90 percent. “Obviously missing the season is not ideal,” he told the Tacoma News Tribune. “But that was the situation I was in. I feel really good. I didn’t beat my body up over the course of the season and my shoulder is repaired.” Carlson is also a solid run-blocker, and he seems like one of those guys who could move into the top-10 of tight ends around the league.

Potential Landing Spots:Seahawks, Rams

7. Jacob Tamme


Breakdown: Like most everybody inside the Indianapolis franchise, Tamme suffered without Peyton Manning around. Playing in place of the injured Dallas Clark, Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Last year, those numbers dropped to 19 for 177 and one. Which obviously is not the kind of season you want to have in a contract year, but it reflects Tamme’s position on the team and, probably, in the league. He’s a solid backup, the No. 2 tight end in a two-tight end set. He has talent, but it’s unclear how much of that was reflected off Manning. He could be a low-risk, somewhat-high reward guy for the right team.

Potential Landing Spots: Colts, Dolphins, Broncos, Bengals

8. Honorable Mention


Unrestricted free agents: Scott Chandler, Reggie Kelly, Daniel Fells
Restricted free agents: None

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Hillis, Andre Johnson to make their returns today

Hillis

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Peyton Hillis hasn’t played since Week 6, and he’s only competed in four games this year because of a hamstring injury or strep throat or because his agent, eyeing a potential big payday, told him not to suit up and to go home instead.

His five-game streak of not playing, though, will end today, because he’s on the Browns active list against the Bengals along with running backs Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya and is expected to see action. His carries probably will be limited, but just having him back could spark the Browns against their in-state rival. [UPDATE 12:54 p.m. ET:] According to multiple reports, Hardesty tightened up during warmups, and now, it appears Hillis will start.

JohnsonWhile Hillis somehow has become less important to his team after his monster year last season, the Texans best offensive player not named Arian Foster also will return. Andre Johnson, out for the past seven games with a hamstring injury, will return to the starting lineup Sunday.

The return of Johnson, who seemingly has been week-to-week since hurting himself in Week 4, couldn’t come at a better time for Houston. As the Texans look to stay in front for the AFC South title and their first-ever playoff appearance, they’re forced to start quarterback Matt Leinart with Matt Schaub out for the rest of the season.

And while Houston’s run game is one of the best in the league, Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward also will be much less effective if their opponents can keep eight defenders in the box. Having Johnson back, making up for some of Leinart’s deficiencies, could make the Texans more two-dimensional, which will be a key component in order for Houston to land in the postseason.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 11:25 am
 

With Thomas out, Slaton will get a chance

SlatonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas out with a bad hamstring for today’s game in San Diego, it seems like some pretty good foresight from Miami to have signed the recently-released Texans running back Steve Slaton. Though Slaton was done in Houston, stuck behind Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward, he still has promise.

In his 2008 rookie season, he rushed for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns, and though he’s been limited the past few seasons because of injuries (and because of Foster’s production in Houston), the Dolphins obviously saw something they liked in Thomas (perhaps to the detriment of current Dolphins back Reggie Bush?).

What they liked, well, coach Tony Sparano isn’t sure yet. He’s only seen him practice twice, after all.

“I see a young player that has good upside and I think that’s a good quality to have here at that position," Sparano said, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

After a slow start to the season -- he missed the season opener because of the same hamstring injury -- Thomas has rushed for 202 yards in the past two games, and he’s shown why Miami thought highly enough of him to take him in the second round of the 2011 draft. Sparano has said Bush is still his No. 1 guy, but Slaton, if he’s feeling healthy, could make a mark as well.

"Since my rookie year," Slaton said. "I feel about the same."

By that, he means he feels good. But with the absence of Thomas and cornerback Vontae Davis, who will miss his second-straight game with a hamstring injury, the Dolphins will have a tough time traveling to San Diego to face the Chargers. Even with a newly-charged Slaton in the lineup.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 4:36 pm
 

Texans waive Steve Slaton

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The man most lost in the shuffle in the Texans running back room will no longer have to worry about trying to beat out Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward for playing time.

SlatonThat’s because, as the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain reports, Steve Slaton has been waived.

On the season, Slaton had seven carries for 20 yards, and despite injuries to Foster and Ward, the Texans didn’t feel it was necessary to play their fourth-string running back. Although Slaton had a tremendous rookie year in 2008 (268 carries for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns), he’s fought injury problems and neck surgery.

Then, with the emergence of Foster last season, the need for Slaton to take the majority of the carries was extinguished. According to McClain, Chris Ogbonnaya was signed off the practice squad to take Slaton’s place and Foster should be ready to start this Sunday.

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Posted on: September 11, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Texans manhandling the Colts

K. Collins stares at the scoreboard that says Houston is dominating Indianapolis (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you thought that Peyton Manning not playing today following neck surgery wouldn’t be THAT big a deal and if you thought the Texans making Arian Foster inactive would hurt their offense, let me point you in the direction of this boxscore.

Yes, that would be Houston 34, Indianapolis 0 after two quarters of play -- the worst halftime deficit in Colts history.

Now, obviously, Manning would have no impact on the Colts atrocious defense (Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is 12 of 16 for 162 yards, a touchdown and an interception; Andre Johnson has six catches for 89 yards and a score; and running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward have combined for 100 yards on 21 carries).

But with Kerry Collins in charge of the offense, the Colts have gained 88 yards of total offense. You can almost be assured that Manning would perform better than that, even against Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense.

To make matters worse, Collins injured his finger in the first half, but after getting it popped back into place, he stayed on the field. But even if he remained on the sideline for the second half, it’s not like Curtis Painter could do much worse.

As for the Colts defense, wow … that’s a big problem. And if Manning is out for the season with his neck problem, this first half could be a sign of bad, bad things to come for a franchise that has been so good since drafting Manning.

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Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 11:37 am
 

Arian Foster is inactive vs. Colts

FosterPosted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 11:37 a.m. ET: It's official. Arian Foster is on the inactive list.

----------

If you’ve followed the saga of Arian Foster and his bum hamstring, you probably don’t know what to think about his chances to play today vs. the Colts.

He’s either been day to day or taking big steps forward or, in desperation, praying to the hamstring gods for good fortune.

And now we have seemingly have our answer.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Foster is unlikely to play today, and considering he apparently showed up at work today riding in a golf cart, that’s another indication you won’t see him suit up.

Which obviously means Ben Tate and Derrick Ward will get much of Foster’s workload today.

The move isn’t that big a surprise. It’s still early in the season, and the team doesn’t want to push Foster back from a hamstring injury too soon (those things can just linger all year if you’re not careful). Plus, without Peyton Manning playing for the Colts, Houston probably feels it doesn’t need its biggest offensive weapon in order to have a good shot at beating Indianapolis and establishing an early advantage in the AFC South.

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 6:44 pm
 

Derrick Ward signs with Texans

Posted by Andy Benoit

Derrick Ward has found a home. Pro Football Talk reports that the former Giants running back/Bucs castaway has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans. D. Ward

The Texans were looking for a replacement for injured rookie Ben Tate. Ward gives Houston the physical, pounding running style that Tate offered. Of course, as the Bucs will tell you, “physical, pounding running style” can also be a euphemism for “sluggish, methodical running style”.

Ward may have a tough time finding touches in Houston’s backfield. Arian Foster has the starting job locked up, and third-year pro Steve Slaton is settling into a well-fitting third-down role.

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 12:00 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 12:08 pm
 

Jacobs: NFL is 'cutthroat, backstabbing business'

Posted by Will Brinson

Brandon Jacobs lost the Giants' starting running back roll to Ahmad Bradshaw on Thursday night, and after the game, he wasn't exactly thrilled about the news, even if he does understand the concept that the NFL is a harsh business environment.

"No question," Jacobs told ESPN . "To be in this business, you have to know that. No one's your friend in this business. This is a cutthroat, backstabbing business. That's just the way it goes. It's been like that before me. If you expect anything else out of a business like this, you're crazy."

"It's almost hard to stay positive in a situation like this, but that's what I've got to do," Jacobs said.

He's right -- there's no other option other than to take whatever carries the Giants will give him and make the most out of them. It's still likely he'll get plenty; this is a team that used to sport three "feature backs" in their rotation when Jacobs, Bradshaw and Derrick Ward (pre-Bucs cutting him form) demolished opposing defenses.

The bottom line, though, is this is a smart move by the Giants because Bradshaw deserves the start and if this works out as a motivational tactic for Jacobs, the offense will only be that much more effective.

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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