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Tag:Jim Washburn
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: December 27, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Could Steve Spagnuolo join Andy Reid in Philly?

Spags was a defensive assistant under Reid from 1999-2003. (Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Come Monday, there will be plenty of teams looking for head coaches. The Dolphins, Chiefs and Jaguars have already parted ways with Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Jack Del Rio, and the Rams, Colts, Chargers and Buccaneers could pink-slip their respective coaches by next week.

So it won't come as a surprise if St. Louis decides to move on from Steve Spagnuolo. In three seasons, Spags has gone 1-15, 7-9 and is 2-13 as the Rams enter Week 17. In fact, there's the distinct possibility that St. Louis could have the first overall pick for the second time in three years.

On Monday night, the San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee reported that Jon Gruden might be tabbed to replace Spagnuolo in St. Louis, and CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirmed through two sources and Gruden indeed was looking to get back into the NFL.

Overlooked in Acee's story: Spagnuolo could be reunited with Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

"League sources also said this week that it is all but certain that Spagnuolo will join Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator."

That means curtains for Juan Castillo, the longtime offensive assistant hired as the defensive coordinator prior to the season. There were reports earlier this month that Reid's future in Philly was contingent on parting ways with Castillo. (Reid later denied it.)  Of course, Castillo could return to coaching the offensive line, a position he held from 1998-2010 in Philly. As for Spags' imminent arrival, there are some logistics to take care of first.

He's certainly qualified for the job -- Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator when they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl four years ago -- but the Eagles also have Jim Washburn as their defensive line coach. Washburn came to Philly from Tennessee and he brought the "wide nine" with him. It's a scheme built on getting pressure from the front four and involves little blitzing. Spags was a zone-blitzing maniac during his DC days.

As Philly.com's Sheil Kapadia points out, there's also the matter of Spags being available (likely), the Eagles willing to move on from Castillo (also likely), and Spags' interest in the defensive coordinator's gig in light of other potential offers. And then we can begin the Dream Team talk in earnest (that's a joke).

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:05 am
 

Report: Eagles assistants had to be separated

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As if things couldn’t get any worse in Philadelphia, there were reports after the Eagles 38-20 loss to the Patriots that assistant coaches Marty Mornhinweg and Jim Washburn got into a verbal confrontation on the sideline and actually had to be separated before it got physical.

Week 12 in review
And it actually occurred when Philadelphia was still leading New England.

According to CSN Philly, the two have not had problems with each other before, and while there’s been no official word on why the two went after each other on the sideline Sunday, the Philadelphia Daily News speculated that Washburn -- the defensive line coach -- didn’t appreciate the play-calling of Mornhinweg, the offensive coordinator.

Particularly during the second quarter when the Patriots were in the middle of a 17-point spree and Mornhinweg continued calling for pass after pass (you’ll note that Vince Young threw for 400 yards but LeSean McCoy only recorded 10 carries). At one point, the Eagles went three-and-out on three incomplete passes, not giving Philadelphia’s defense enough time to rest.

Which might have contributed to a terrible second quarter for the Eagles defense. Not to mention an upset Washburn.

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Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Haynesworth had a nice first week in Tampa

A. Haynesworth had a nice first week in Tampa Bay (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’ve poked  plenty of fun at Albert Haynesworth’s expense since the Eye on Football blog came into being, because No. 1, that’s what we do and No. 2, Haynesworth has made it so easy.

So, we should point out the positive impact made by Haynesworth in his first week in Tampa Bay because No. 1, we want to be fair and balanced in our coverage of him and No. 2, it’ll be nearly impossible for those good vibes to last.

We know Haynesworth has been lazy and money-hungry and an unwilling team player. But he’s trying to change, because, really, how many chances does he expect to get now that the Redskins and Patriots made a show of wiping their hands of him?

And he actually played well for the Buccaneers last week, making five tackles and blocking an extra point (the latter, especially, requires the sort of effort we rarely see from Haynesworth).

"I wouldn't say it did anything for my confidence because I know what kind of player I was,'' Haynesworth said, via the Tampa Tribune. "When I looked at the film, I saw things I've got to improve on, but playing in this system is almost like getting back to what I did at Tennessee.”

Ah, Tennessee, the place for which he’s apparently longed since he left to sign a gargantuan deal with the Redskins.
Haynesworth's New Home
It was in Tennessee that Haynesworth had his greatest success, in part because of his defensive line coach Jim Washburn. But after he left, Haynesworth has fallen on hard times (on the field and in the legal system).

But now it seems -- and remember, it’s still extremely early in his Tampa Bay tenure -- he’s taken on more of a mentor role.

"Albert's a great guy, almost like a coach around here,'' defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said. "He comes and tells me little things in my ear to try to make me a better player. Everyone seems to think he has a negative attitude, but I haven't seen it. Hopefully, he stays positive and I think he will.''

So, that’s great news for the Buccaneers organization. But is anybody going to be surprised when this deal begins to go south and Haynesworth stops caring and stops putting forth an effort? No. In fact, we’d be more surprised if it doesn’t go south by the end of the season, because No. 1 and No. 2, we’ve seen this show before.



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Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 6:32 am
 

Patriots release Albert Haynesworth

It only took eight games for New England to give up on Haynesworth. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Patriots acquired Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth before the season, both for late-round draft picks. At the time it appeared to be another case of the rich getting richer; four years earlier, New England took Randy Moss off the Raiders' hands for a fourth-rounder and he went on to have one of the best pass-catching seasons in NFL history.

There will be no such story of redemption for Haynesworth, at least not in Foxboro: the Patriots released him Tuesday, his agent confirmed.

"He was told it just wasn't a good fit and they wanted to end it now," a source told NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

Haynesworth's career has been a roller coaster of dominating performances punctuated by questionable work habits, and marred by behavioral issues and off-field incidents.

In August, he stood trial on sex-abuse charges (he pleaded no contest), and is probably best known for stomping on then-Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head during a 2006 game

Days before the start of the regular season, Haynesworth called New England a "career-saving place for me to come … I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here."  This was after he had signed a $100 million deal with the Redskins prior the 2009 season (including $41 million in guarantees), and proceeded to do absolutely nothing for two years before ending up in Foxboro for his next last chance.

Now, eight games into the 2011 season, the Pats have seen enough of Haynesworth to know he's not worth the trouble. He played sparingly in Sunday's loss to the Giants, and didn't see the field for most of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter.

The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Haynesorth's playing time had nothing to do with a heated sideline conversation with a Pats assistant. Instead, head coach Bill Belichick called it "rotation-related."
Yet, sources described an animated conversation between defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and Haynesworth following that play, with shouting back and forth. It’s not clear what was said, but Haynesworth was not on the field afterward.

On the play, Haynesworth stood up and attempted a swim move inside on Jacobs’ run, which took him out of the hole and allowed guard David Diehl to block him effectively. Haynesworth realized his error and owned up to it to Belichick.

Yet, when Johnson approached, it grew heated, sources said. Similar conversations happen on sidelines throughout the NFL. The fact that it was Haynesworth, who drew a holding penalty earlier in the game, created attention.
This is the latest personnel misstep to befall the Patriots and Belichick, and it comes on a unit in dire need of playmakers. The secondary is in shambles after Belichick released Deon Butler, Brandon Meriweather and Leigh Bodden and replaced them with waiver-wire signings -- players none of the 31 other teams wanted.

As for Haynesworth, he's still talented enough to find work elsewhere. Before he was traded to New England, there were reports that the Eagles were interested in his services. Philadelphia defensive line coach Jim Washburn was with Haynesworth in Tennessee. Before the season, sources told Yahoo.com that Washburn was "convinced he can get the most out of Haynesworth," and that "he wants him badly."

Now he may get that chance.

First, he'll have to clear waivers. Teams will have 24 hours to claim him, and Haynesworth would be owed roughly $750,000 of his $1.5 million base salary if claimed by Wednesday afternoon. 

Haynesworth restructured his contract to come to the Patriots but was due $7 million next season.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 9:56 pm
 

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

Juan Castillo has struggled to get Philadelphia's defense playing well this year (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It still boggles the mind that after firing defensive coordinator Sean McDermott after last season, Eagles coach Andy Reid moved offensive line coach Juan Castillo to McDermott’s old spot. And it’s been kind of fun to point out the inadequacy (so far) of that move, considering Philadelphia’s defense -- even with highly-regarded new acquisitions like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- has been underwhelming this year.

Try tied for 26th in the NFL with 26.4 points allowed per game.

But the Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting theory why Castillo might have been Reid’s only choice: basically, it states that, since Reid was so intent on implementing a new wide-nine* defense, other defensive coordinator candidates who would have had to do Reid’s biding in playing with that defense might have balked at the idea and said no thanks.

*This is the scheme where the defensive ends are split out wide, on the outside of the opponent’s tight end, and their goal is to disrupt the pocket with speed rather than trying to move offensive tackles with strength or footwork.

“What probably happened as the Eagles defensive coordinator search turned farcical was that interviewed candidates balked at the idea of coming aboard with the stipulation that the wide nine would be used here -- take it or leave it,” writes Jeff McLane. “There aren't many coaches that use it, although it has been around in one form or other for many years.

So that left Juan Castillo. And, well, Castillo would do whatever Reid and (defensive line coach Jim) Washburn wanted. He was an offensive line coach wishing to become a defensive coordinator. Castillo would have agreed to the wide nineteen.”

As McLane suggests, Washburn might have been another obstacle. Reid hired the well-respected Washburn away from Tennessee specifically so he could help install the wide-nine. This was before Reid had even hired a defensive coordinator. Considering Washburn was on to stay no matter what, that also would have taken away from a new coordinator’s autonomy in hiring the coaches he wanted.

While Babin and defensive end Trent Cole have performed well split out wide, the linebackers have done a poor job of tackling, leading to the benching of Casey Matthews and safety Kurt Coleman. But the real problem, the newspaper writes, is that Reid has not given Castillo the appropriate parts to play successfully with the wide-nine.

Yet, Reid told reporters this week that he’s sticking with the wide-nine, because he’s saying that it worked. For proof, he points to the second half of last Sunday’s Buffalo game when the Bills were held to a field goal for the rest of the game after starting the second half with an 80-yard touchdown drive.

"You obviously saw it work in the second half very effectively," Reid said. "We've just got to continue to work with it. Listen, anything new you've got to work with and work out the wrinkles and get it right."

"Players, they have to learn it, coaches have to learn it, particularly the new coaches. So it's a joint effort there."

Yes, but if the Eagles don’t improve -- they are, after all, a stunning 1-4 -- it might not be Reid’s call after this season. Because Reid is not 100 percent certain to survive if Philadelphia’s wide-nine doesn’t start producing better results relatively soon.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:41 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 9:53 am
 

Jason Babin back to Eagles on 5-year deal

Posted by Will Brinson

The Eagles had a chance to re-sign Jason Babin after the 2009 season and passed. This time around, they didn't, and Babin is now set to join the team for his second tour of duty in Philadelphia, this time on a five-year deal.

The news, as first reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, makes absolute sense because of the personnel change on Philadelphia's coaching staff.

As CBSSports.com's own Clark Judge notes, the addition of Jim Washburn as Philadelphia's defensive line coach makes Babin -- who played under Washburn in 2010 when he registered 12.5 sacks with the Titans -- a perfect fit for the Eagles.

This leads us to the question that Pete Prisco asked when he ranked Babin 21st on his Top-50 free agent list: "Can he do it again?"

Well, yes, he can. Although he's a little longer in the tooth at this stage, he's clealry got the talent and with Washburn bringing out the best in Babin. Add in the aggressive defense that the Eagles are known for and there's certainly a recipe for continued success.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.11.11: Sounds like Favre's retired



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL)
  • We now have two players in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft. Former University of Georgia running back Caleb King joins Terrelle Pryor in a draft that usually takes place in mid-July but because of the lockout could happen sometime in the coming weeks. According to PFT, King received a grade of 4.9 from National Scouting, the same organization that gave Pryor a 5.1 (which translates into a sixth- or seventh-round pick).
  • Deion Sanders, like everybody else on the planet, is tired of talking about the lockout. So instead, he talks about himself. (To be fair, he was asked, and it's regarding his Hall of Fame enshrinement next month.)
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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