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Tag:Geno Hayes
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:28 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Linebacker Rankings

Fletcher, at 37, might not have many options other than returning to Washington. (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 linebackers.

While there are a ton of free agent linebackers about to come on the market -- I’ve counted approximately 80 -- there doesn’t seem to be many surefire game-changers in the bunch. London Fletcher, vastly underrated in Washington, is one such player, but other than him, you’ve mostly got solid guys who can be contributors to whichever team signs them.

Some of the better free agent linebackers have been taken off the board already, as D’Qwell Jackson has re-signed with Cleveland while Ahmad Brooks agreed to return to San Francisco. Here are the rest of those who probably will try out their fortunes on the market.

1a. Mario Williams


Breakdown: Though we have Williams as the No. 1 defensive end available, we have to give him some love on the linebacker list, as well. Simply because in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, Williams was an outside linebacker. He only played five games for the Texans last year before tearing his pectoral muscle, but with five sacks, he also proved he can be successful in a 3-4 defense, meaning every team in the league should be thinking about Williams' worth. We thought he might struggle to find his balance in the first year of Phillips' scheme, but, as a linebacker, Williams is pretty damn good also.

Possible Landing Spots: Texans, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans

1b. London Fletcher


Breakdown: Fletcher is one of those players who, unless you’re paying close attention, somehow seems to rack up the tackle numbers -- and you’re not really sure how. And before you know it, he’s leading the league with 166 takedowns, like last year.  In fact, Fletcher has recorded at least 116 tackles every year since 2001, and he’s started 224-straight games. The problem with Fletcher is that he’s 37, and you have to wonder how long his durability will hold up -- as well as his penchant for making scores of tackles every season. That shouldn’t matter, however, because it sounds like he wants to return to Washington and that the Redskins feel the same way. “We want our captain back,” Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said earlier this month. The feeling apparently is mutual.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

Tulloch might be a good fit in Philadelphia because he knows how to play in the wide nine. (US Presswire)

2. Stephen Tulloch


Breakdown: After a solid 2008-10 with the Titans (the dude had 160 tackles in 2010), Tennessee let the Lions take away Stephen Tulloch for 2011. After recording 111 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended last year, Detroit would like to keep him. It’ll likely cost the Lions much more than the one-year, $3.25 million deal they paid Tulloch last year. More importantly for the Lions, though, is locking up defensive end Cliff Avril, and you have to wonder if the Lions will want to shell out that much money to two defensive players. One good option for Tulloch might be the Eagles. Considering Tulloch played for years with Jim Washburn, who installed the wide nine scheme in Philadelphia last year, Tulloch would be comfortable in that system. Besides, the Eagles linebackers last year were pretty horrible, and Tulloch would be a big upgrade. Wherever he lands, one can only hope that Tulloch gets another chance to Tebow in front of Tebow.

Possible Landing Spots: Lions, Buccaneers, Eagles

3. Anthony Spencer


Breakdown: He’s pretty much the definition of one of those solid linebackers I wrote about before, and the Cowboys don’t fancy losing him to free agency. There has been speculation that the team could place the franchise tag on him, but if not, at least one Dallas reporter has speculated that Spencer could land a Chris Canty-like deal (a six-year, $42 million contract signed in 2009). The Cowboys might be averse to giving him such a long deal, because he hasn’t necessarily lived up to his first-round draft pick expectations. Spencer’s representatives and the Cowboys were scheduled to meet at the scouting combine, and if they can’t come to a long-term agreement, Dallas might just have to grit its teeth and tag him.

Possible Landing Spots:Cowboys, Dolphins

4. Curtis Lofton


Breakdown: For the past three years, Lofton has been a tackling machine, accumulating at least 118 (including 147 in 2011), and it’s clear the Falcons want to re-sign him. But when Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff says that negotiations between the team and Lofton are “amicable,” it strikes kind of a weird tone (or is that just me?). And maybe the Falcons won’t be terrified if Lofton leaves. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote last week, “There’s growing sentiment that he’s a liability against the pass. The question thus becomes: Would you pay $8 million a year for a two-down linebacker?” Lofton might want more than that. Reportedly, Lofton is asking or a four-year deal worth $36 million.

Possible Landing Spots: Falcons, Eagles, Browns

5. David Hawthorne

Breakdown: With Hawthorne, you pretty much know what you’re getting. He’s good for about 110 tackles a season, five passes defended or so, and an interception or three. But it sounds like the Seahawks have a higher priority to sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant than inking Hawthorne to a new deal. Hawthorne is only 26 years old, and he’s solid across the board. But maybe more than most of the other linebackers on the list, there’s not a great chance for him to return to his old team. The one caveat to that: now that Leroy Hill is facing another drug charge, that might open up Seattle’s interest in Hawthorne again.

Possible Landing Spots: Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks

6. Jarret Johnson


Breakdown: The Ravens, at some point soon, might have to make a choice between whether they want Johnson or Jameel McClain (see below) to return to Baltimore for 2012. General manager Ozzie Newsome had said he wants to keep both, but that will be tough for the club to accomplish. So, if you’re Newsome, who is the priority between Johnson and McClain? Well, McClain had more tackles (84-56) last season  but less sacks (Johnson had 2.5 to McClain’s 1), and the Baltimore Sun predicts the Ravens have a better chance of retaining Johnson. He is, though, four years older, which might mean Baltimore will actually go harder after McClain. “I’d like to fit in again here,” Johnson said last month, via the team’s official website. “But unfortunately this is a business and sometimes business decisions [have] got to be made. I hope to be back. I’d love to retire a Raven, but we’ll see.”

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts

7. Jameel McClain


Breakdown: At 26, McClain is a young talent who likely will command a large salary (moreso than Jarret Johnson (see above)). It doesn’t sound like there’s a great chance for the Ravens to keep him.

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts, Eagles

8. Honorable Mentions

Unrestricted: Barrett Ruud, Chase Blackburn, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, Andra Davis, Manny Lawson, Geno Hayes, Wesley Woodyard, Dan Connor

Restricted: Dannell Ellerbe, Aaron Maybin

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Keep an Eye On: Week 7's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Saints vs. Colts
New Orleans’ two new weapons
The Saints have redefined their passing attack. It now runs through Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Graham has been far and away the best tight end in football this season. All onlookers could observe last season that the former Hurricanes power forward possessed considerable raw talent, but few could have predicted he’d polish it this quickly.

Graham has a natural feel for gaining positioning against pass defenders (insert obligatory “like a rebounder” comment here) and, best of all, he’s a hands-catcher who snags the ball away from his body. This makes him nearly impossible to defend, given his size and elevation abilities. Helping the cause is that the Saints align Graham all over the formation, which gives defenses fits in deciding what personnel package to use (most, including the Bucs this past week, have been going with nickel and treating Graham like a slot receiver).

Graham is Brees’s go-to guy. Sproles might be Sean Payton’s.

When the Saints are trying to dictate the tempo of a drive, they often look to get Sproles the ball underneath. The key is putting him in positions to run after the catch. This could mean screens, though often it has meant short outs and ins on spread plays where wideouts run deep to lift the coverage. Sproles has remarkable quickness and elusiveness, amplified by a rare-found ability to start and stop. He’s been much better in this offense than Reggie Bush ever was.

So how will the Colts defend the two new weapons? They’re a zone-based defense with fast linebackers. That helps against Sproles, but it does little for containing Graham. If the Saints can find ways to pass protect long enough to run vertical routes outside, that’ll prevent the Colts safeties from running under and over Graham’s routes. This would spell a fifth-straight 100-yard game for the rising star.



Dolphins vs. Broncos
Tebow’s limited resources
You couldn’t ask for more favorable conditions for a new starting young quarterback: two weeks to prepare, a game at Miami (where the weather is nice and the crowd is irrelevant) and facing a defense that, even with a beast like Cameron Wake, has for some reason completely forgotten how to rush the passer.

Trading your No. 1 receiver just days before the game might not seem favorable to a young quarterback, but that receiver was unenthused about playing with Tebow and hadn’t been getting open in Denver’s new ball-control offense anyway. Plus, he was liable to leave after the season, and his spot is ready to be filled by a now-healthy (hopefully) Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas is a possession target, whereas Brandon Lloyd was more of a vertical threat (though not a burner). The Broncos already have a litany of possession targets, such as Eric Decker, Matt Willis and, when healthy, Eddie Royal. This lack of vertical speed compresses the field and narrows throwing lanes, which isn’t good with a slow-reading young quarterback who has a long windup and prefers to improvise outside the pocket.

The Dolphins are healthy at cornerback again; with no downfield threats to worry about, don’t be surprised if this is the week they finally figure out how to reach the quarterback.

Bears vs. Buccaneers (London)
Forces up front
When playing well, these teams offer two of the faster defensive front sevens in football. The Bucs defensive ends – vastly improved Michael Bennett and explosive rookie Adrian Clayborn – feasted on the shoddy Saints tackles last week and should be licking their chops for J’Marcus Webb and Lance Louis (a guard by trade who has taken over for the overwhelmed Frank Omiyale on the right side).

Linebacker Geno Hayes played with instincts and speed against the Saints, which hasn’t always been the case this season. He’ll have a big say in whether the Bucs can contain Mr. Do It All, Matt Forte.

For Chicago, the mission will be attacking right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. Julius Peppers, bum knee and all, is a force who can matchup with Donald Penn on the left side. Same goes for underrated Israel Idonije. But over the years, when it’s rained on Trueblood, it’s poured. He’s the guy to go after.
The Bucs don’t have a backfield star like Matt Forte to build around, though Earnest Graham is a productive receiver who, as he showed last week, can add a dimension of surprising (though subtle) inside quickness and elusiveness.

Don’t be stunned if Graham becomes a bigger component in the run game even after LeGarrette Blount gets healthy. Graham, however, is facing a much greater challenge this week than he faced last week; Chicago’s linebackers are just as fast as New Orleans’ but a lot more physical.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 7 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: April 4, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 7:02 pm
 

Geno Hayes no criminal punishment for Dec. arrest

Posted by Andy BenoitG. Hayes

Geno Hayes is in the clear. The Buccaneers linebackers was headed to court for his December arrest in which he was tasered outside of Tampa’s Blue Martini Nightclub (he reportedly became defiant when asked to leave the place).

Hayes had been charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. But his attorney told Stephen Holder of the Tampa Tribune that Hayes reached a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded no contest to trespassing and had the disorderly conduct charge dropped. Hayes punishment? A $265 tab for court fees.


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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 8, 2011 9:55 am
 

'Tis the season for base salary increases

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Mac’s Football Blog has an interesting chart on its website today which tells of each of the NFL players whose performances in 2010 triggered, through their specific contracts, base salary increases for 2011 (assuming, of course, there is a 2011).

Some interesting players/salaries listed here. For instance:

- Falcons QB Matt Ryan gets a $1 million raise to $11.25 million, while Ravens QB Joe Flacco will increase his salary $1.7 million to $4.485 million. Did you realize that Ryan makes nearly three times as much as Flacco? I did not.

- Browns WR Joshua Cribbs will see his base salary increase to $957,000. Which is about three times less than Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will make ($3.195 million). Also, Cleveland CB Joe Haden, who will enter his second season, will earn about $2.55 million.

- Lions WR Calvin Johnson will lose about $1.5 million in base salary.
 
- Did you know that Dolphins tackle Jake Long will make $11.2 million next season? Did you know that OT Jason Smith (I believe he plays for the Rams) will earn $8.5 million next season?

- Finally, Buccaneers LB Geno Hayes ($1.04 million) will earn slightly more than franchise QB Josh Freeman ($940,000).

Are those figures cool with everyone? Because I think few of them are a little out of whack.

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 2:57 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.27.10 playoff pushes

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Packers were 5/6 in the red zone Sunday. The Giants did not even reach the red zone.

Eli Manning became the first Giants quarterback since YA Tittle 71 years ago to have 30 touchdown passes in a season.

217 of New England’s 348 yards at Buffalo came on the ground.

How’s this for turnover differential: Patriots 0 turnovers, Bills 7. That’s not points off turnovers, that’s just turnovers.

Rookie free agent Kyle Love started at NT for the Pats. He recorded a sack and two tackles.

Chicago’s Johnny Knox had four catches for 92 yards against the Jets. He needs just 40 yards to reach 1,000 on the season.

Chris Harris recovered a fumble, snatched a game-clinching interception and led the Bears with 11 tackles. He also broke up a pass and registered a tackle for a loss.

The Ravens netted just 97 yards passing against the Browns.

The Browns’ only touchdown pass Sunday came from wideout Mohammad Massaquoi.

Time of possession continued to be a problem for the Titans. They controlled the ball for only 20:56 against the Chiefs.

Super talented but equally raw tight end Jared Cook led Tennessee with 96 yards on five receptions. Randy Moss was not even targeted.

With the running game stalled much of the afternoon, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford stepped up and completed 28/37 for 292 against the 49ers.

Michael Crabtree had six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. It was just Crabtree’s second 100-yard game season and only the third time he’s gone over 60 yards this year.

After going four weeks without a sack, Rams DE James Hall has now reached the quarterback in back-to-back games. Hall had 1.5 sacks on Sunday.

After losing an NFL-record 26 consecutive road games, the Lions have now won back-to-back contests away from home. Detroit’s win left Miami with a 1-7 record at Sun Life Stadium.

Bobby Carpenter, Nathan Vasher and Lawrence Jackson were Detroit’s top three tacklers Sunday. All were acquired as hugely disappointing castoffs from other teams.

The Redskins and Jaguars both failed to reach the 80-yard rushing mark Sunday.

Mike Thomas has evolved into Jacksonville’s No. 1 receiver. He was the team’s statistical leader once again with 96 yards on six catches. Also, emerging wideout Jason Hill added 77 yards on four receptions.

Hmmmm….maybe Carson Palmer CAN still play after all. Without having to worry about two diva receivers, Palmer spread the ball around against San Diego Sunday, completing 16/21 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns. Jermaine Gresham, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson all had at least four catches and 55-plus yards receiving.

Eric Weddle led the Chargers with 16 tackles…which tells you that top inside linebacker Stephen Cooper wasn’t playing.

With Andre Johnson out of the lineup, Houston wideout Jacoby Jones stepped up with five catches for 115 yards against the Broncos.

In a complete role reversal, the Colts outrushed the Raiders 191-80.

Jacob Tamme caught seven passes, giving him 60 on the season.

The Bucs outgained the Seahawks 439 to 174.

Kellen Winslow had his best game of the season, catching seven passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

Geno Hayes led the Bucs with two sacks.


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Posted on: December 13, 2010 9:13 am
Edited on: December 13, 2010 1:09 pm
 

Bucs linebacker arrested

Posted by Andy Benoit

Pro Football Talk reports that Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct in the early morning hours in Tampa on Monday. The 23-year-old linebacker was released on $750 bail.

The obvious speculation is that Hayes stayed out a little too late celebrating his team’s 17-16 victory at Washington.

UPDATE 1:08 p.m. ET: The Bucs have already decided that Hayes will play this Sunday against the Lions. They will let the league go through its disciplinary process. It's hard to say whether being in the middle of a playoff push and operating with an already shaky front seven influenced the team's decision with Hayes.  

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Category: NFL
Posted on: October 20, 2010 12:16 am
 

Bucs run defense is awful

Posted by Andy Benoit

Just how bad is the Buccaneers run defense these days? Before Sunday’s game, Sean Payton told FOX Sports iC. Ivory (US Presswire)n the broadcast meeting that he’d be irritated if Saints running back Chris Ivory failed to top 100 yards on the ground. Payton surely presented his expectations as confidence in his player rather than disrespect for his opponent. But come on: how often does a coach place such high expectations on an undrafted rookie?

Ivory, of course, lived up to those expectations. Quite easily, in fact. He topped the 100-yard mark on his 10th carry, which came with just under 12 minutes left in the third quarter. Ivory finished the day with 15 carries for 158 yards. And it wasn’t a Barry Sanders-like 158, either. Ivory’s stats weren’t buttressed by one or two breakaway runs; his longest carry went for 33 yards.

Ivory shows some encouraging traits. He’s compact and runs with very good balance. He’s not a burner, but he accelerates well enough. That said, this was a classic case of a good running offense gashing a very poor run defense.

Ivory wasn’t the only Saint who had success on the ground. The box score shows Julius Jones gaining just 32 yards on nine carries. But a lot of those yards came late when New Orleans was running out the clock. When Jones got touches within the flow of regular offense (i.e. when the Bucs couldn’t load up the box and only think about defending the run), he consistently found daylight.

Tampa Bay currently ranks 31st against the run. Last season, it ranked dead last. The Bucs spent their first two draft picks on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. McCoy was a complete non-factor against top-echelon guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks. Price is still coming off the bench behind Roy Miller (who, by the way, was manhandled on more than one occasion Sunday).

As weak as the Bucs are inside, their real problems are outside. If anyone has footage of defensive end Michael Bennett NOT getting stood up and locked by a run-blocker, please send it this way. Playing behind ends that can’t set the edge, finesse-oriented outside linebackers Geno Hayes and Quincy Black are easily exposed as liabilities in traffic.

The Bucs run defense will get better at some point. After all, it’s not uncommon for defensive tackles to struggle as rookies. And Hayes and Black are both capable players when operating in space (at least Hayes is, anyway). But from the looks of things, “some point” won’t come until at least 2011.


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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

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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