Tag:Elvis Dumervil
Posted on: February 28, 2012 8:20 pm
 

Marcus Vick, expected in jail, fails to show

An arrest warrant has been issued for former Miami WR/QB Marcus Vick. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Marcus Vick, who’s spent his entire football career in the shadow of his immensely-more successful brother, Michael Vick, is, once again, in trouble with the law.

As the Newport News (Va.) Daily News reports, a circuit court judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday morning for Marcus Vick after he failed to turn himself into jail. He was supposed to report to Newport News City jail by Monday evening for a 10-day stay on a contempt of court charge, but he never showed up.

Which shouldn’t be surprising, because the reason Vick was in contempt of court in the first place was because he twice failed to appear on a charge of driving on a suspended license.

This stems all the way back to an incident in January 2010 when he was pulled over in his car and accused of driving on a suspended license for the second time. Clearly, though, Vick has a tough time keeping up with his schedule.

The paper tries to dissect the timeline:
(Vick) failed to show up for a hearing in Newport News General District Court on Feb. 26, 2010. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, he turned himself in on April 5, 2010. He was released on a $2,500 bond and a promise to appear in court on April 23, 2010.

Again he failed to show for his court date, and another arrest warrant was issued. After several delays in the case, Vick was in court on Aug. 5, 2011, to answer the original charge of driving on a suspended license for the second time, as well as two misdemeanor failure to appear counts.

At that hearing, General District Judge Al Masters sentenced Vick to 60 days in jail on the charge of driving on a suspended license -- with all 60 days suspended. He also suspended his license for 90 days, ordered him to perform 80 hours of community service, and ordered him to pay $286 in fines and costs.

You might recall Vick from his glory days at Virginia Tech when he was suspended the entire 2004 season for a variety of criminal problems and then, in 2005, stomped on the leg of Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil. He was kicked off the Virginia Tech squad the next season and wasn’t selected in the 2006 NFL draft.

He eventually signed as a free agent with the Dolphins, where he was listed as a quarterback/receiver. He spent much of his time on the practice squad in 2006, but he did play in one game as a receiver. He did not make a catch.

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:32 am
 

Film Room: Broncos vs. Steelers wild-card preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


It hardly seems fair that a 12-win team has to go on the road to face an eight-win team, but the NFL’s playoff seeding system is designed to reward division champions. That includes the rare division champion that enters the postseason on a three-game losing streak.

Here’s a breakdown of what many expect to be a massacre.


1. Broncos offense has no prayer
We covered everything there is to know about the Broncos’ offense last week in preparation for their Week 17 bout with the Chiefs. Nothing has changed. It’s clear that press-man coverage can overwhelm Denver’s passing attack, as the receivers don’t have the quickness to separate and Tim Tebow doesn’t have the mechanics, timing or confidence to fit balls into tight windows.

It’s rare to see the zone-based Steelers play press-man coverage, though they did so with great success against the Patriots in Week 8. Usually, shutdown corner Ike Taylor (yes, SHUTDOWN corner) plays press coverage against the opposing team’s top wideout (in this case, Demaryius Thomas), while William Gay, Keenan Lewis and/or Bryant McFadden play a variation of zone on the other side.

If Dick LeBeau wants to bait Tebow into interceptions, the Steelers may still stick with their traditional approach:

This shot from Super Bowl XLV illustrates the Steelers’ traditional approach to coverage: Ike Taylor playing press-man against the opposing team’s top receiver (Greg Jennings) on one side, with the rest of the secondary playing zone on the other (you can tell it’s zone by how cornerback Bryant McFadden is lined up off the line and with his body open slightly towards the inside).

The Broncos don’t have a threatening tight end, so Tebow would be throwing into heavy zones against athletic corners. If LeBeau wants to pressure Tebow with James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley and bait him into the usual slew of incompletions, he can play man-to-man. Whatever LeBeau chooses will work; we’re talking about the league’s top-ranked pass defense against the league’s most inept passing quarterback.

Lately, Denver’s read-option run game has still produced yardage, though only because of the high volume of carries. If the Broncos couldn’t muster more than three points by running against Kansas City’s 3-4, they can’t be expected to muster ANY points running against Pittsburgh’s.

A key to Denver’s run game is getting offensive linemen clean to inside linebackers. No three-man defensive line does a better job at protecting its inside linebackers than Pittsburgh’s. That’s why Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior are able to play with their ears pinned back.

2. A roll of the dice
Because it feels a little too simplistic to declare the Broncos’ chances at moving the ball to be zero (even if they are), we’ll use this section to present creative ideas for how the Broncos might – MIGHT – manage to muster a semblance of offense on Sunday.

The first idea is to just throw deep and hope luck tilts your way (a cornerback falls down, a ref calls pass interference, two Steelers collide while going after the same easy interception, etc.). Don’t count on Denver doing this, though. It goes against everything John Fox has stood for since turning to Tebow, and it also requires that, you know, Tebow actually throw downfield accurately.

Another idea is to draw up trick plays. Lots of trick plays. Problem is, a defense as experienced and disciplined as Pittsburgh’s is not going to bite. You might make chance-taker Troy Polamalu pay for a gamble once or twice, but more likely he’ll make YOU pay even more for YOUR gamble.

A third (and stronger) idea is to run the ball outside. In the past, outside running was guaranteed to fail against the Steelers. This season, however, Timmons and Farrior have not been as sharp in lateral run defense. That’s why Pittsburgh has struggled a bit against zone teams. The Broncos no longer have a zone run game (it left shortly after Shanahan departed), but it might not be crazy to hastily install one given that their usual approach will not work anyway.

Denver’s lack of running back speed is an issue here, but again: their usual approach will not work anyway!

3. Pittsburgh’s passing attack
As lopsided as this matchup seems, the final score could be tight given that Pittsburgh’s offense might have trouble against John Fox’s and Dennis Allen’s defense. Don’t be surprised if the Steelers come out throwing in an effort to build a quick lead that forces the Broncos to go to the air early.
 
Against the Browns last week, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians chose to spread the field with 3 x 2 empty backfield sets on passing downs. This may have been to get the ball out quickly so that Ben Roethlisberger would not have to make plays on his bum ankle. Though Roethlisberger has gotten much better in his presnap reads and sudden decision making, his natural inclination is still to extend the play. Thus, Big Ben still held the ball plenty long last week.

He won’t be able to do that this week, though – not under the same gameplan, anyway. Offensive tackles Max Starks and Marcus Gilbert may have been be able to handle Browns defensive ends Jayme Mitchell and Jabaal Sheard on an island (Sheard just barely, actually), but they won’t have a snowball’s chance against Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.

If Roethlisberger is to buy time for his receivers downfield, his offensive tackles will need running backs and tight ends to chip-block, if not stay in completely and double-team. Something else to keep in mind: Miller, D.J. Williams and Brian Dawkins all excel as inside blitzers. Blitz pickup is an area in which the Steelers interior line, particularly left guard Chris Kemoeatu, struggles.

Brown's emerged as one of Pittsburgh's best receiving options. (Getty Images)

4. The passing matchups
Even though protection could be a problem, it’s possible the Steelers will still spread the field and let Roethlisberger run around and make plays. We’ve seen them before give up piles of sacks this way but make up for it with big plays.

The Broncos have a good secondary now that undrafted rookie Chris Harris has blossomed at nickel corner, but they’re thin and inexperienced at safety and vulnerable with Jonathan Wilhite at dime corner.

If the Broncos decide to eliminate Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh’s new No. 1 receiver) with Champ Bailey, there will be big-play opportunities for Mike Wallace against the limited-ranged safeties. If Bailey defends Wallace, Andre Goodman can spar with Brown but probably not for as long as Roethlisberger can extend the play. Chris Harris will be tested by Emmanuel Sanders’ speed, and Wilhite will have fits trying to defend Jerricho Cotchery underneath.

As much as the Broncos might like their secondary, they can’t expect it to be the league’s first unit that sustains coverage against the Steelers’ prolonged improvisational plays. Thus, when the Broncos do blitz, don’t be surprised if they bring the kitchen sink to ensure that Roethlisberger goes down or throws hot.

5. Steelers run game
Rashard Mendenhall will be missed, but the Steelers can tread water with Isaac Redman. The third-year running back doesn’t have Mendenhall’s corner-turning speed and acceleration, but in confined areas he shows looser hips than you’d guess. Where Pittsburgh’s backfield woes will really show up is in the pass game. Mewelde Moore’s absence (foot injury) leaves them without a prominent openfield dumpoff receiver.

But this is a relatively minor issue. The primary job of the Steelers’ backfield is to pound the rock when called upon, which Redman and straight-line back John Clay are capable of doing. Also, Pittsburgh’s offensive line, especially with the superb pull-blocking skills of Kemoeatu, is capable of moving the pile down the stretch.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the wild-card games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Film Room: Broncos vs. Chiefs preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


Reputations will be on the line in Denver this Sunday. A Broncos win keeps the Tim Tebow mania alive, as it means the Mile High City will host a playoff games for the first time in six years. John Elway would almost certainly be compelled to keep his promise of bringing Tebow back in 2012, and the Broncos might start building around their unconventional quarterback.

A Broncos loss, however, jeopardizes the Tebow mania, as the unskilled passer who does nothing but win would have finished the season on a three-game losing streak. The fallout would be even worse for Elway given that the loss will have come at the hands of Kyle Orton, the veteran quarterback whom Denver allowed Kansas City to claim scot-free. Here’s the breakdown of Sunday’s matchup:

Last time
1. The Week 10 matchup
When these teams met back in Week 10, the Broncos completed just two passes (total!). One of those passes happened to be a 56-yard touchdown to Eric Decker, which, mixed with 244 yards on 55 rushing attempts, was enough for a Broncos victory.

Schematically, the Chiefs were prepared to stop the Broncos’ freshly unwrapped read-option run game; they had athletic inside linebacker Derrick Johnson spy Tebow, brought safeties into the box and had outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston stay home on the edge.

Physically, however, the Chiefs defensive line got manhandled. Their lack of penetration allowed the Broncos to continuously pick up three and four yards on banal inside carries. Tebow registered two big runs off the read-option, isolating end Glenn Dorsey on one run and Lawrence Jackson on the other. Because those two former first-round picks were neutralized by one-on-one blocking, Denver’s interior linemen consistently got bodies on Kansas City’s linebackers.

On the other side, Denver’s pass-rush got to Matt Cassel and their back seven defenders simply “out-athleted” Kansas City’s skill players.

This time
2. Chiefs D vs. Broncos run game
Some of the sizzle has naturally left the read-option, but that isn’t to say it’s not still an effective approach. The read-option forces a defense to play ultra-sharp, assignment-based football. As we saw early in the Week 15 Patriots game at Denver, when defenders fail to take on blocks at proper angles or keep the action from going outside, they get gouged.

Expect the Chiefs to be better against the read-option this time around. Hali and Houston have been excellent edge run-defenders in recent weeks.  Dorsey and Jackson are still hit or miss, but they’re more likely to “hit” when they can play finesse and attack gaps or work down the line of scrimmage. Their misses pile up when they’re forced to play with power in a phone booth.

The Chiefs know this and now know how to gameplan accordingly. They just watched the Bills defensive linemen last week attack gaps to eliminate some of the running lanes for Bronco ballcarriers. Those defensive linemen did not make the tackle or even always occupy multiple blockers, but by taking some of the “options” out of the read-option, they made the ballcarrier hesitant and, thus, predictable. That translated to minimal gains against an eight-man box.

3. Kansas City manning-up in pass defense
The Bills were able to be aggressive with their eighth box defender because they knew they could stop the Bronco passing game with man coverage. That’s a great defensive tactic against Denver’s offense, as possession type receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are best handled that way.

Man defense also takes away the surprise factor in the screen game and keeps a spy on Tebow, which limits his scrambling. The irony is that Tebow has shown he’s more inclined to scramble against man coverage. The reason for this is, not being strong-armed or a precision passer, Tebow is uncomfortable fitting the ball into tight areas. To a young quarterback, NFL man coverage makes all areas appear tight. If Tebow’s first read isn’t there, his first instinct is to tuck and run.

The defensive risks in a man coverage approach are linebackers missing their assignments when they bite on a good read-option fake (which Buffalo’s did on Dante Rosario’s 32-yard catch-and-run), or players allowing themselves to be taken out of run defense position by an easy release (which is when a tight end runs a pass route away from the point of attack on a run play, carrying his man-defender with him right out of the picture).

The Chiefs – with two superb press corners in Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers outside, a shifty slot corner in Javier Arenas and athletic linebackers – should eagerly bog down and play man this Sunday. They beat the Packers with this formula two weeks ago and would have beaten the Raiders last week if they had stayed with it the entire game (they went to Tampa 2 a small handful of times and saw their safeties get burned by speedy receivers on two long passes that decided the outcome).

Broncos vs. Chiefs: Orton's revenge? (Getty Images)

4. Kyle Orton
In some ways, the seven-year pro is the consummate system quarterback. Whatever the system calls for, Orton delivers. He can post big numbers in a wide open aerial attack like he did two years ago under Josh McDaniels, or he can move the chains in a ball control scheme like he did two weeks ago under Romeo Crennel. His issues are consistency and playmaking.

Orton managed the game brilliantly against Green Bay two weeks ago and then threw two costly interceptions by failing to read basic safety help last week against Oakland. In Denver, Orton’s limitations showed up when John Fox and Mike McCoy installed a more traditional system to run with only mediocre receivers. Orton was unable to extend plays and improvise, which is why the Broncos offense was lethargic until Tebow replaced him.

Overall, the Chiefs can feel good about who they have under center in this game. Orton is certainly familiar with the opponent. He has terrific ball-handling skills, which allow him to manipulate safeties and execute play-action effectively. And since taking over, he’s made good use of his tight ends and running backs in the passing game.

5. Chiefs base offense
Tight ends and running backs could be prominent in the Chiefs’ passing attack this week given that linebackers Joe Mays and Von Miller aren’t great in coverage out of base defense. The Broncos will spend more time in base defense than they have in recent weeks, as the Crennel-led Chiefs predominantly utilize run-first personnel.

The run formations will keep Miller at strongside linebacker, nullifying his punishing first-step off the edge. Miller doesn’t have to line up at defensive end in order to rush the passer; he’s a great blitzer from the second level. However, teams lately have used a lot of three-and five-step drops against Denver, which completely nullifies a second-level blitzer and significantly softens the impact of pass-rushing ends. That’s the best way to contain Miller and Elvis Dumervil (who has come alive after a slow start).

Against the quick drops, the Broncos should tighten their coverage and force the Chiefs receivers to beat them early in the down. Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin are strong but not savvy enough to outmaneuver veterans like Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman. Steve Breaston is quick and can get early spacing by lining up off the line, but most of his (limited) damage this season has come on deeper crossing patterns, not quick strikes.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 17 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Brady on Dumervil hit: 'I'll feel that one'

By Ryan Wilson

It's not very often that a defender gets a clear shot at Tom Brady. And it's even rarer still that said shot isn't accompanied by a complimentary penalty flag for roughing the face of the NFL. But Sunday against the Broncos, the former took place without the latter and it was one of the best hits of the season (and perfectly legal, which must make Redskins linebacker London Fletcher feel much better).

With the Patriots leading the Broncos, 31-16 early in the fourth quarter, Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil embarrassed right tackle Nate Solder on his way to blowing up Brady on a hit that actually lifted the quarterback off his feet.


A monkey takes the reins during Denver's halftime show, partnering with a dog to treat the fans to some inter-species hijinks.

Brady, to his credit, popped up immediately. Dude's tougher than he looks.

After the game, he admitted that "I'll feel that one in the morning," which is the response you'd expect from just about anybody in that situation.

"I was looking to throw the ball up in the slot and didn't see Elvis coming," Brady said, via ESPNBoston.com. "He got me pretty good, but we really answered the next time we got the ball, which is important. He's a very good player -- Elvis and [linebacker] Von Miller. We talked about them all week. I thought our guys really hung in there."

Dumervil, who has 8.5 sacks this season, admitted he was shocked to see Brady standing there unaware of his impending Doom (see what we did there?).

“I just tried to make a play for the team,” Dumervil said. “I tried to get there, and I wish I would have gotten the ball out, but he is a good quarterback and was able to hold the ball in still. We have a lot of work in a short period of time and need to take care of business against Buffalo.”

"When one of the best pass rushers in the league gets a clean shot it's going to hurt." Brady said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard.  By the time it was over, Brady had thrown for 320 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed for another, and he punctuated that last trip with a Gronkowskian spike.

"I don't get in the end zone very often -- maybe once or twice per season -- so when I do, I get pretty excited," he said. "It's nice to score. It's usually once a year for me."

Brady is now 2-5 against the Broncos, which is all the more impressive given Denver was on a six-game winning streak and Tim Tebow appeared to be nearly unstoppable. But prayer goes both ways.

"Yeah, I Tebowed," Pats nose tackle Vince Wilfork said, via the Boston Globe. "Absolutely. Everybody in the world was hearing about this guy, and he's a very good athlete. I said it last week, he's a winner. You look at his whole resume, and he knows how to win. Every time you speak to a team, or to little kids, about winning, I'm pretty sure his name is going to come up. So, however he do it, he do it."

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 6:26 pm
 

Is Tim Tebow the Denver Broncos' MVP?

Tebow shouldn't be an NFL MVP candidate but he's certainly in the running for team MVP, right? (US PRESSWIRE/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

If Philip Rivers has been one of the league's most disappointing quarterbacks on one of the league's most disappointing teams, Tim Tebow has been just the opposite. What he's done has taken everybody by surprise, including head coach John Fox and Broncos executive VP John Elway.

Yes, Tebow has benefitted from an improved Denver defense, and more importantly, a revamped offensive game plan that predates the forward pass but spotlights Tebow's strengths: running the option (with an emphasis on "running").

Tebow's had so much success in such a short period of time that in two months the conversation has gone from "Might as well let him play, the Broncos are 1-4" to "Holy crap, Denver's 6-1 with Tebow under center!" to "Should Tebow get MVP consideration?"

The MVP talk might sound like the ramblings of a mad man, but it's gained traction in the media. We even brought it up on Monday's Pick-6 Podcast and discussed it again during Wednesday's expert live chat.

And while most folks (us included) don't think Tebow is MVP material, he's certainly worth of team MVP consideration, right? Along with our CBSSports.com colleague Will Brinson, we came up with a short list of Broncos players in the running for the award (in random order):

* Tim Tebow. The Broncos are 6-1 with him. His numbers are forgettable, although he does play better in the fourth quarter than he does in the first three, and his passing has improved marginally in recent weeks. Still, he ranks as one of the league's worst quarterbacks in terms of total value and value per play (as measured by Football Outsiders). But...

His intangibles make up for his physical shortcomings. Namely: the ability to inspire his teammates. Yes, this sounds like some hacky, new-age nonsense, and if we were talking about anyone other than Tebow that's exactly what it would be. But like a lot of things, Tebow's the exception.

* Willis McGahee. The Bills' 2003 first-round pick saw his career stall with the Ravens from 2007-10. In 11 games with the Broncos this season, McGahee is averaging 4.9 yards per attempt and is on pace for 1,200 yards (it would be the first time he eclipsed 1,000 yards in three years). An effective running game sets up everything else the Broncos want to do offensively and McGahee is a big part of that.

* Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller. Going by the raw numbers, the Broncos' defense is mediocre. They're also opportunistic (sorta like Tebow), which has been a big part of their success.

* Eric Decker. On paper, Demaryius Thomas should more valuable, but Decker is Tebow's favorite target as evidenced by his eight touchdown grabs. That's hard to overlook. Also worth noting: his 39 receptions are 21 more than the nearest receiver.

We could even add John Fox's name to the list. There aren't many coaches who would run a high school offense to fit their personnel. Of course, Fox didn't have much choice; the Broncos were dreadful the first five weeks of the season with Kyle Orton. And the Lions embarrassed Tebow when he tried to run a conventional offense. In evoluationary terms, Fox would have three choices: adapt, migrate or die. He adapted. And now the Broncos appear headed for the playoffs. Which explains why we're even entertaining thoughts of Tim Tebow, NFL MVP.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Keep an Eye on: Week 14's finer points

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Broncos vs. Bears
Perhaps after this Sunday’s game, Tim Tebow can help Bears right tackle Lance Louis pray for quicker feet. After seemingly stabilizing Chicago’s nightmarish right tackle situation over the past month, Louis, a converted guard, completely fell apart in the loss to Kansas City. He was culpable for most of Kansas City’s seven sacks and also had a holding penalty just outside his own goal-line. It was a performance that would have made even Winston Justice circa 2007 cringe.


It’s not like the Chiefs did anything complex against Louis, either. They didn’t stunt defenders near him or feign blitzes in his gaps. They simply lined players up mano-a-mano and won (Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and even lowly Tyson Jackson all got through; by the fourth quarter, Romeo Crennel was putting players on waiting list for reps at left defensive end/outside linebacker).

Things won’t get much easier for Louis this week. His Bears travel to Mile High, where they’ll meet rookie Von Miller, the AFC’s answer to Clay Matthews (assuming Miller returns from the thumb injury that sidelined him against Minnesota). Miller, in fact, has an even better burst than Matthews.

If Miller is unavailable, the matchup in the trenches will be more even but still tilted in Denver’s favor. The Broncos have gotten great play out of their defensive line in recent weeks, particularly inside with active tackles Broderick Bunkley, Marcus Thomas and, on passing downs, Ryan McBean. These three cause congestion that allows the speed of Miller, D.J. Williams, Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers to flourish.

Even with adequate pass-rushing resources, the Broncos are willing to manufacture pressure through design. They blitz Brian Dawkins a few times each game and, on some occasions, have surprised offenses by bringing Miller from the inside. At times, execution and assignment identification have been problematic for the Bears O-line. The Broncos will be eager to exploit that.

Packers vs. Raiders
The Raiders traded a bounty for Carson Palmer so that they could get away from the elementary, run-only offensive gameplans they used early in the year with Jason Campbell. Aside from a putrid outing at Miami last week, where Palmer played jittery in the pocket because of a justified lack of trust in his protection, the ex-Bengal has been much better than his numbers suggest.

That said, the Raiders need to return to a ground-only approach when they travel to Green Bay this Sunday. Their only chance to win the game is to shorten it. For the last two weeks, we’ve focused on how a quality four-man pass-rush in front of good, aggressive coverage could give a defense a chance to stop Aaron Rodgers.

Well, the last two weeks, Rodgers & Co. have had no trouble against the Lions and Giants, owners of arguably the two best four-man pass-rushes in football. It’s wishful to think that the Raiders’ front line, which is remarkably powerful but deprived of genuine edge speed, can dictate the action this Sunday.

It might be wishful to think the same thing about Oakland’s offensive line. That unit, even with frequently used sixth blocker Stephon Heyer, was unable to move Miami’s three-man front last Sunday. But ground-in-pound is Oakland’s best bet against the Pack. And last week was likely an aberration. The Raiders are athletic on the left side up front with tackle Jared Veldheer capable of exploding at the second level and guard Stefan Wisniewski possessing intriguing short-area mobility.

And they have a workhorse in Michael Bush. He was methodical and effective three weeks ago against the stingy Vikings, rushing for 109 yards on 30 carries. The week before, he toted the rock 30 times for 157 yards at San Diego.

The Packers front line is hard to move; B.J. Raji is a beast, and Ryan Pickett and backup Howard Green have nose tackle size at the end positions. But if you CAN move them, you’ll also move the clock. That, along with great special teams (which the Raiders have) might – MIGHT – be enough to sorta maybe kinda have some form of an outside shot at possibly coming close to beating the seemingly unbeatable Packers offense.

Ravens vs. Colts
For many fans, filling out the offensive line section of the Pro Bowl ballot can be challenging. Often it involves just clicking on whatever linemen hail from the best teams. If the running back is good, his offensive linemen must be good as well (so the thinking goes).

This is the kind of misguided logic that sends underachievers like Bryant McKinnie to Hawaii. (McKinnie made the Pro Bowl in 2009, even though he was benched at times down the stretch.)

McKinnie’s first season as a Raven has actually been much better than his last several seasons as a Viking. At 6’7”, 350-something pounds (give or take), the 10th-year veteran would not seem to be a great fit for Baltimore’s movement-oriented zone-blocking scheme. However, as it turns out, the zone-blocking scheme capitalizes on McKinnie’s natural size and also masks his timidity.

McKinnie’s built like a monster but plays like a milquetoast. He’s never exerted the explosive power or vicious hand-punch of an elite lineman. That’s been detrimental to his run-blocking. But in a system that has him move before making contact in the run game, McKinnie can get away with playing soft because his momentum, working with his sheer size, generates natural power. It’s physics.

Don’t vote McKinnie to this season’s Pro Bowl, though. DO, however, vote his teammate, Marshal Yanda. The 27-year-old right guard has drastically elevated his already-impressive game since signing a five-year, $32 million contract in July. In fact, lately, Yanda has been the best guard in all of football. He has great footwork and the rare ability to land multiple well-angled blocks on a single play.

As this week goes, he’s perfectly suited to dominate against a fast but undersized defense like Indy’s.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 14 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 5:40 pm
 

Chiefs place Matt Cassel on injured reserve

Posted by Will Brinson

Last Monday, we noted that Kansas City lost quarterback Matt Cassel to a hand injury that required surgery and would likely knock him out for the season.

Cassel's injury appears to have done just that, as prior to Monday night's game in New England, the Chiefs placed the quarterback on injured reserve Monday afternoon, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Tyler Palko was expected to start for the "foreseeable future" anyway, but now it looks like the Chiefs will ride out the former Pittsburgh Panther (and Steeler) for the entire season, unless they decide to sign an additional veteran.

Interestingly, as my colleague Dan Marino notes in the Monday night preview below, Palko is the reason Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco transferred from Pitt to Delaware. Ergo, he must be capable.

As Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog notes, the Chiefs now have $37.5 million in total cash sitting on Injured Reserve.

Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry going down for the season will do that to you.


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Posted on: November 14, 2011 4:37 pm
 

Cassel needs surgery, Tyler Palko Chiefs starter

Posted by Will Brinson

The 2011 season's been quite the rollercoaster for the Chiefs. But after back-to-back losses to the Dolphins and Broncos, things are going to get worse, as Matt Cassel has a "significant" hand injury, will need surgery and could miss the rest of the year.

That means it's Shane Falco Tyler Palko time in Kansas City -- Todd Haley confirmed the news.

"We feel good about Tyler, or he wouldn’t be our No. 2," Haley said, per our via our Chiefs Rapid Reporter Bob Gretz. "I have belief in Tyler. He has a great understanding of how our offense works and his role in it."

Haley also indicated that Cassel, who injured his hand in the fourth quarter while being sacked by Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller, could end up on injured reserve, depending on how surgery went.

Week 10 Wrapup

"It’s possible, but I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute," Haley said Monday.

The only absolute is that Palko's starting, and Haley said he would do so "for the foreseeable future." Palko went undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2007, but was signed by the Saints. Since then he's bounced in and out of the NFL before landing with the Chiefs over the past two years.

Palko's completed nine of 13 passing attempts over the past two years, including five of seven in replacement duty for Cassel on Sunday.

And now he'll get an interesting little trial by fire as the Chiefs play the Patriots, the Steelers, the Bears, the Jets and the Packers over the next five weeks.


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