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Tag:Jameel McClain
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: November 18, 2011 8:45 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:25 pm
 

Report: Ray Lewis' toe to keep him out Sunday

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In a big blow to the Ravens defense, the Carroll County Times is reporting that linebacker Ray Lewis will miss Sunday’s game vs. Cincinnati with a toe injury.

Quoth the Ravens
But that’s not all. According to the paper, Lewis might miss more than Sunday’s game as he tries to heal. The last time Lewis didn’t start a contest? That was 57 games ago in 2007.

Lewis reportedly visited a South Florida specialist this week to get a second opinion on the toe he injured during the Seahawks game, and apparently, the news wasn’t good. Unless you’re a Bengals fan, I suppose.

Without Lewis in the middle of the defense, linebacker Jameel McClain, who normally plays on the inside, could shift to middle linebacker or the Ravens could start Dannell Ellerbe in Lewis’ place.

UPDATED (2:25 p.m. ET): The team has listed Lewis as questionable, and he most likely will be a gametime decision.



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Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.14.11: Interest-free loans



Posted by Josh Katzowitz


  • The Panthers will get an up-close look at Ryan Mallett on Tuesday when they conduct a private workout for the Arkansas QB. This obviously is big news because Carolina holds the No. 1 pick.
  • Several teams, according to a report in SI (via the Baltimore Sun) , have dropped the name of Colorado CB Jimmy Smith off their draft boards. Plenty of questions about his character.
  • George Whitfield, who’s coaching Cam Newton these days, tells Chris Russell of ESPN 980 in Washington that Newton is so far from a finished product that it’s scary. He also said Newton’s QB model is that of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.
  • According to Ravens S/prize fighter Tom Zbikowski, his next fight is set for March 26 in Atlantic City against the dreaded TBA. So far, Zbikowski is 2-0 with two first-round knockouts. Chances are good that, in a couple weeks, he’ll be 3-0 with three knockouts.

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 11:00 pm
 

Heath Miller to resume practicing

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Steelers TE Heath Miller, last seen taking a non-flagged, $40,000 beating from Ravens LB Jameel McClain, has passed his post-concussion neurological tests, and he’s set to practice Wednesday.

He’ll probably be a little gun-shy, right? Um, no, he doesn’t think so.

"This is a game I've played my whole life," Miller told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook. "I can't say for sure I won't have any problems going back out there until I do it. I've never had to come back from something like this. It's my first concussion. But I don't anticipate any problems."

An interesting aside from Cook in his column relates to how Miller’s wife, Katie, was reached after McClain knocked him out of the game:

Right after the McClain hit, Katie Miller couldn't have cared less that a flag wasn't thrown. She is Miller's wife and is deep into a pregnancy with their second child. She was watching the game in their North Hills home and, like the rest of us, was horrified by the collision. In those first, few agonizing seconds after it happened, she, too, wondered if Miller would get up.

Steelers security chief Jack Kearney carries the phone numbers of all the players' wives and girlfriends for moments like that. As soon as Miller made it to the sideline with the team doctors, Kearney called Katie Miller and handed his cell phone to team orthopedist, Dr. Jim Bradley, who reassured her that her husband was going to be OK, that he had a concussion but no serious neck injury. Katie Miller immediately called Heath's parents, Earl and Denise, who were watching the game at their home in Swords Creek, Va., and also feared the worst.

"That's one of the negative things that comes with our sport," Miller said. "A lot of people come out to watch the game and have fun. They don't realize that we have a wife and kids and parents who also are watching and keeping their fingers crossed that we get through it OK."


Luckily, Miller, for the most part, did.



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Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:56 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.9.10: Dolphin travel news!!!

Hot Routes

Posted by Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

Another week, another migraine for Vikings WR Percy Harvin.

 
The Lions have to move one of their best defenders, Kyle Vanden Bosch, to the IR list, ending his season.


The Giants are letting the Dolphins practice at their facility Friday and Saturday as Miami prepares to face the Jets. Apparently, this was a big news story in New York. Mara says it must have been a slow news day. (It was.)


Also, the Dolphins will arrive in New York a day early in order to adjust to the climate and, at the request of owner Stephen Ross, see a Broadway show (Lombardi).


Yeah Jameel McClain is going to go ahead and appeal that $40,000 fine for blasting Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller last Sunday.


It doesn’t matter how much pain he has, Chargers TE Antonio Gates said he’s going to play vs. the Chiefs this Sunday.


Here’s what Tim Tebow had to say about Urban Meyer resigning.


Falcons clinch a playoff berth. (Okay, so we’re already assuming they’ve won this Sunday’s game against Carolina).


The Cardinals have a way of finding talented defensive tackles who can’t quite get their motors running early in their career. Is this year’s first-round pick Dan Williams another one of those guys? Depends how you interpret Ken Whisenhunt’s comments.


The Bucs confirm what we already knew about RT Jeremy Trueblood a few weeks ago.


Two NFL players made Forbes’ “best dressed” list: Tom Brady (of course) and Bengals LB Dhani Jones (a bowtie aficionado).


The Cowboys have had at least four Pro Bowlers every year since 2002. That could change this season.


The Lions could find themselves playing in a road atmosphere at Ford Field this Sunday.


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Posted on: December 6, 2010 7:18 pm
 

McClain fined $40K, Ngata $15K for hits Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

Outside of the super end-of-game series from the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, two plays in particular stood out -- Haloti Ngata's hit on Ben Roethlisberger (that ended up with Ben's nose getting crunked) and Jameel McClain's helmet-to-helmet shot on Heath Miller.

The latter even prompted Greg Aiello to tweet, during the game no less, that it was likely to draw a fine. Well, Aiello's tweeted again, confirming that McClain was fined $40,000 for his shot on Miller, and that Ngata was fined $15,000 for his illegal blow to the head on Roethlisberger.

Josh wrote following the game that the NFL needs more consistency with their flag-tossing when it comes to illegal hits (McClain wasn't even penalized for the hit on Miller, though it was an obvious illegal shot) and that's still true.

But at least give the league credit for making sure that there's some consistency in the money that's coming out of players' pockets, even if it would be nice to make sure that some of the hits that take place on the field are more properly identified by the officials at the time.

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:13 am
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:15 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

H. Miller suffered a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore's J. McClain (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Despite the detailed instructions and the diagrams and the variety of explanations and the tutorials, many of us still don’t understand the newly-reinforced helmet-to-helmet and defenseless receiver rules.

Why are some hits called and not others? What about the helmet-to-chest hits on a quarterback who just threw the ball? Is he defenseless? Can the defender led with his facemask? With the crown of his helmet? What if it’s below the waist?

I suppose some people have a handle on the rules, but there are times when I’m not sure if anybody knows what the hell is supposed to be called. Like, um, the dudes wearing the stripes during tonight’s Ravens-Steelers game.

Last Sunday, I got into a discussion with a Steelers fan on Twitter about why James Harrison was penalized for his illegal hit on Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

He claimed Harrison hit Fitzpatrick in the upper chest, and his helmet slid into Fitzpatrick’s chin. I countered that it was head-to-chin all the way.

He claimed there was a bias against the Steelers. I countered that the officials were giving Harrison more scrutiny – based on his reputation, why wouldn’t they? – but that ultimately Pittsburgh was treated the same as everybody else.

We went back and forth probably 10 or 12 times.

This week, owner Art Rooney II got into the act, saying he thought the NFL looked at the Steelers differently. I still vehemently disagree, even after tonight’s 13-10 Pittsburgh win against the Ravens when Roethlisberger was hit in the helmet twice with no flag thrown.

But what I’ll continue to question is why every game is called differently. And I believe this: if Harrison had destroyed the Ravens TE, instead of Baltimore’s Jameel McClain leveling Steelers TE Heath Miller on what was CLEARLY a helmet-to-helmet hit, Harrison would have been ejected, fined and suspended.

But with McClain, a yellow flag was not thrown. I’ll repeat that: when McClain gave us an absolute clinic on what is an illegal hit – there’s very little doubt this play will show up on the video that officials present to teams during next year’s training camps – and what should be penalized.

Instead, Miller crumpled to the turf in a frightening manner, and he later walked off the field with a concussion. And a 15-yard penalty was not called.

Minutes afterward, while the game was still in the third quarter, word began to leak out. NFL officials made sure to let everyone know that a penalty should have been called and that a mistake had been made. But the flag wasn’t thrown. And frankly, it wasn’t fair.

I understand the argument that players move at warp speed, and they can’t always control how they’re hitting an opponent. Mistakes happen. I get that. But the rule is the rule, and the penalties need to be enforced equally across the board.

I’m sure Harrison would agree.

“It was a hit that should have been penalized,” Harrison told NBC after the game. “Nine times out of 10, if you put me on that hit, a flag goes up and I’m fined.”

At the very least.



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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