Tag:Eric Wright
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)

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:01 am
 

Film Room: Lions vs. Chargers preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

The Lions were that Feel Good team of 2011. Then they started shoving coaches after the game, hitting quarterbacks after the throw, fighting opponents after the play, stomping linemen after the whistle and meekly apologizing for it all after the fact. Thus, they’re now the team everybody wants to see get its comeuppance.

In some ways, they’re like the Chargers – a team that, over the years, has mastered the art of irritating casual onlookers. They haven’t done it with reckless hostility, but rather, perplexing underachievement. If the NFL were like college basketball, where Final Four appearances and division titles mattered, the Chargers would be a dynasty.


Instead, they’re the club that always falls on its face but somehow manages to sneak into the postseason…only to fall on its face again. At least during the regular season they get hot at the right time – this year looking like no exception.

Let’s breakdown these two irritating clubs.

1. Motion
The Chargers offense is perhaps the best in football at using presnap motion to dissect a defense and create favorable matchups. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan recently took a page out of Norv Turner’s playbook.

After operating out of static formations virtually all season, the Lions created glaring mismatches by motioning Calvin Johnson into the slot against the Raiders last week. The results were extraordinary: Johnson, often working against Oakland’s backup safeties, had a career-high 214 yards receiving. Matthew Stafford threw for 391, with four touchdowns and no turnovers.

It might reason that the Lions will use more presnap motions this week, but that’s not a sure thing. If creating big-play opportunities were as simple as putting players in motion, Linehan would have had his players doing that long ago. But when you change your formation, the defense changes. When the defense is playing man, the changes are easy to read. But when the defense is playing zone, things become more complex.

With an inexperienced quarterback (Stafford will be making only his 28th start Sunday), fairly young tight end (Brandon Pettigrew), rookie wide receiver (Titus Young) and athletic but somewhat unrefined superstar (Johnson), Linehan may once again prefer to keep the Chargers defense – which usually plays to the situation, meaning zone on early downs and man on third down – as static as possible. The drawback with a static offense is it’s obviously easier for the defense to decipher, as there are fewer complexities in route combinations.

2. The running backs
Ryan Mathews has improved throughout his second season. He has the quickness, lateral agility and tempo-changing ability to create his own space or turn the corner. Physicality, down-to-down consistency, ball security and durability remain issues. In a pinch, the Chargers know they can fall back on the powerful, surprisingly versatile Mike Tolbert.

The Lions’ run game became an afterthought when rookie Mikel Leshoure’s Achilles tore in August. Statistically, things actually picked up on the ground for Detroit after receiving-oriented Jahvid Best went out with a concussion.

When healthy, Best’s replacement, Kevin Smith, has shown some suddenness and shiftiness, which makes him a good fit for this shotgun system. But overall, Detroit is unquestionably a pass-first team (28th in rushing yards, 31st in rushing attempts). That’s fine – as their 28 points per game (fourth best in NFL) attest.

3. Chargers O-line vs. Lions D-line
Figure San Diego must score 30 points to beat Detroit. That would have been dicey a few weeks ago when left tackle Marcus McNeill and left guard Kris Dielman first went down with injuries. But with left tackle Jared Gaither coming aboard and relieving helpless backup Brandyn Dombrowski, the front five has stabilized. Dielman’s replacement, Tyronne Green, has settled down in pass protection, and center Nick Hardwick has looked like his former Pro Bowl self.

Philip Rivers is arguably the best in the business at stepping into throws with defenders bearing down. He doesn’t need a clean pocket – just protection that can hold up for a seven-stop drop. The Chargers are up to the task, even if they’re facing the Lions’ high-octane front four. Last week, that front four was actually neutralized by a middle-tier Raiders bunch that had struggled mightily in prior weeks.

4. Rivers and his receivers
If Rivers is not under duress, he’ll throw for at least 325 yards Sunday. The Lions play some of the most basic Cover 2 and Cover 3 zones in football and simply don’t have the personnel to stay with Vincent Jackson or Malcom Floyd – especially with starting free safety Louis Delmas out.

Lions corners Chris Houston and Eric Wright are at their best playing off-coverage, where they can see a route develop in front of them and drive on the ball. The vertical nature of San Diego’s passing game, which is heavy on double moves, can be anathema to that brand of cornerbacking.

Inside, though Detroit’s linebackers can run, and though middle ‘backer Stephen Tulloch can play with depth in zone coverage, the Antonio Gates factor is still a major plus for the Boltz. Gates looks healthier than he has all season.



5. Screen game
Last week the Raiders became the latest team to successfully attack the Lions with screen passes. Because the Lions’ front seven defenders all play with their ears pinned back, offenses frequently use delay and misdirection tactics to coax them out of position. The faster a defender reacts in the wrong direction, the more daunting his recovery task.

San Diego regularly incorporates its running backs in the passing game (Tolbert and Mathews each have 47 receptions on the season). Expect several of the running back’s passes to be screens this week, especially early in the game when the Lions will, as always, will be amped up.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: March 6, 2011 2:38 pm
 

Eric Wright received death threats last season

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Sometimes, people take sports too seriously. Like, way too seriously.

Like the people who actually threatened the life of Browns CB Eric Wright. In today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wright revealed he had received death threats during last season’s struggles.

Wright "I went from people expecting me to be a top cornerback in the league to receiving death threats," Wright told the paper. "It was a lot to deal with."

Wright, though, never went to the police, because, in reality, he said he wasn’t actually afraid for his life. He’s also not mad at Cleveland fans.

"As serious as a death threat may be, I wasn't going to let a few bad apples ruin the whole tree,” he said.

But still, hopefully this incident will remind people this: hey, they’re still sports. It’s not THAT freakin' important.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: October 24, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Three thoughts on the Browns upset of the Saints

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here are the reasons why Cleveland beat the New Orleans 30-17 win today.

1) Browns special teams tricks: Cleveland was aggressive with its special teams calls, and today at least, it worked. Early in the first quarter, when receiving a punt from New Orleans, Joshua Cribbs caught the kick, ran seven yards straight ahead and then lateraled it across the field to Eric Wright, who dashed down the left sideline to the Saints 19. The Browns had to settle for a field goal, but that play set a tone.

In the second quarter, with Cleveland facing a fourth-and-eight, the Browns coaching staff went for more trickery. Punter Reggie Hodges took the snap and ran straight up the middle of the field. There was nobody near him until the Saints brought him down at the 9-yard line. It was stunning – because it was such a brazen play call and because of its effectiveness.

"When you're looking to win, you've got to be aggressive,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, as transcribed by Rapid Reporter Larry Holder. “We failed to recognize and handle that. Those are gutsy calls."

2) Cleveland’s pass defense stymies Drew Brees: The Saints QB had a tough time getting into a rhythm. He finished 37 of 56 for 356 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Yes, four interceptions, and the Browns probably should have had more. At times, Brees was incredibly inaccurate with his throws.

Brees was really hurt by Browns LB David Bowens, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The first one he caught off a deflection from New Orleans G Jahri Evans, and he ran 30 yards for the touchdown. The second one, he plucked the ball out of the air, and he plodded untouched for the 64-yard score. He stopped just before the goal line and then somersaulted into the end zone to celebrate.

3) Maybe the Saints just aren’t very good: The Saints squeaked by the 49ers and the Panthers (two of the worst teams in the NFL) by a combined five points. They lost to the Cardinals who were starting an undrafted free agent rookie for the first time. They made good progress last week in an easy victory against a decent Buccaneers squad, but then were terrible today.

So, what’s the deal, Sean Payton?

"We did all the things you can't do (and still) win a game. If we continue to do that, we'll muddle around, win some, lose some. That's something that will get you beat in this game."

Just like it did today.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:11 pm
 

Eric Wright will keep his starting job

Posted by Andy Benoit
E. Wright (US Presswire)
Browns fans won’t like this: on Tuesday, Eric Mangini said cornerback Eric Wright will remain in the starting lineup. Wright had a horrible game against the Ravens, giving up three touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and having that “cornerback lost on an island look” that quarterbacks lot spotting.

"Eric didn't have a good day and when you don't have a good day against a really, really good player [Anquan Boldin], it ends up being a bad day," said Mangini, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I can tell you this, that Eric Wright has played a lot of good football for us all throughout last year, matching up the against the best receivers, doing an outstanding job. He was disappointed and my expectation is he'll play a lot better next week."

Again, fans won’t like Mangini’s decision, especially with No. 7 overall pick Joe Haden behind Wright on the depth chart. But this is the right call (or the “Wright” call, if you’re into that kind of humor). Wright is by no means a star, but he has good quickness and fluid hips. He’s also a fundamentally-sound tackler.

Mangini is essentially trusting Wright’s body of work and honoring the fact that the former second-round pick improved in each of his first three seasons. That shouldn’t be undone by one bad outing.

Wright has a tall order this week. The Browns face the Bengals on Sunday, meaning Wright will be matched up on either Chad Ochocinco or Terrell Owens.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 20, 2010 9:35 am
 

Hot Routes 8.20.10: Positivity everywhere

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Got links for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or send an email to josh [dot] katzowitz [at] cbsinteractive [dot] com.

-Bills QB Brian Brohm, vying for that backup spot behind Trent Edwards, thinks his performance against the Colts on Thursday night went “pretty well.” Coach Chan Gailey counters that by saying Brohm was just OK.

-Despite the 13-point loss toe Bills, Indy Star columnist Bob Kravitz finds some reasons to be positive . Their names are QB Curtis Painter and KR Devin Moore.

-I didn’t watch much of the Patriots-Falcons game beyond looking for how Patriots WR Wes Welker would perform – he did quite well – but I did notice Falcons DE Kroy Biermann. So did coach Mike Smith .

-Something seems a little off about this picture . I actually have some friends who are field turf management guys (albeit for baseball). This would never happen under their watch.

-The Eagles say it’s a different training camp feel with Kevin Kolb as the starting QB instead of Donovan McNabb.

-Dolphins QB Pat White is quickly becoming an afterthought . And man, he was so good at West Virginia.

-Cowboys C Kyle Kosier, who suffered a sprained MCL, is hoping to get back by season opener.

-Joe Haden is pushing Eric Wright for a starting spot in the Cleveland secondary . Wright says he’s fine with the competition. It probably helps that he’s coming off the best season of his career.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 2:03 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 5:59 pm
 

Haden could take Wright's starting spot

CB J. Haden received first-team snaps today after E. Wright left because of an injury (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With Cleveland CB Eric Wright injuring himself in practice today – his status is unclear, but it appears he hurt his right hamstring – first-round pick Joe Haden now could get a chance to prove to the Browns he can handle a starting position.
 
As James Walker of ESPN.com points out, Haden, the team's first-round pick, has been a backup since he arrived in Berea, Ohio, but that could change, depending on the severity of Wright’s injury.

"I'm real excited," Haden said when asked about the possibility of starting Saturday’s preseason opener against Green Bay. "It definitely means a whole lot more playing time, and that's just more time to make plays."

It’s a bit of good news after Haden found himself in trouble with coach Eric Mangini after he Tweeted the news about a player facing a fine because a cell phone went off in a meeting. Here’s what Haden wrote on his page : “These fines ain't no joke! Somebody phone alarm went off in the meeting and all Coach Mangini said was " that will b $1760! #damnfines”

Mangini was asked about it today, and he laughed when he said, “I think our social media is a work in progress.” Mind you, Haden wrote that AFTER Mangini warned the team about being careful with social media.

UPDATE: Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot says that Wright is riding the exercise bike during tonight's practice. That suggests he's banged up but not seriously injured.

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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