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Tag:Larry Johnson
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Five questions (or more) with Fred Jackson

F. Jackson has helped lead Buffalo to a 3-0 record (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Fred Jackson rushed for 1,000-plus yards in 2009, but he still had to convince Bills management that he was better than Marshawn Lynch and the newly-drafted C.J. Spiller last year. He eventually won the starting job, and this year, he’s been one of the league’s hottest running backs, ranking fourth in the league with 303 rushing yards (6.4 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns.

But a journey to NFL stardom was not easy for Jackson. He spent four years at Division III Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and after graduation, he spent one season apiece in the National Indoor Football League, the United Indoor Football League and NFL Europe. A half-decade later, he’s one of the major reasons the Bills are 3-0 and in first place by themselves in the AFC East.

We caught up with Jackson on Wednesday, and we talked about his journey through Division III football and the minor leagues, what the Bills learned from last season and how Jackson is bucking the stereotype of the 30-year-old running back who’s got nothing left in the tank.

Previous Five Questions (or more):

Sept. 16: Actor/former Patriots DB Brian White

1.CBSSports.com: So, what the hell is going on in Buffalo?

Fred Jackson: You know, everybody is just preparing, doing what we expected. We had a lot of confidence coming back from the offseason. We had confidence in what we were capable of doing, because we were in a lot of close games last year, a lot of overtime games. We felt like should have won more games than we did.

CBS: But how do you have confidence when you weren’t winning those games? Isn’t there a difference between the confidence of knowing you have won games and the confidence of thinking you should have won games?

Jackson: We felt like we gave away games. We let some chances slip away from us. We knew we weren’t going to let that happen again this year. We were preparing to go out and finish those games.

CBS: But if you’ve never won those games, how do you know how to do it?

Jackson: It’s through experience. Being able to make catches when you need to, make the blocks when you need to, being in the right spots. This is (Ryan Fitzpatrick's) second year in this offense, and now he’s getting comfortable getting people in the right spots. As long as we have him standing on his feet, we can pick defenses apart. The offensive line are in their second year in this system, and they know where they’re supposed to be.

2. CBS: Beating the Patriots last week, that’s a huge statement. I think a lot of people -- myself included -- thought the Bills were a nice 2-0 story but would get smashed by New England. But with that win, how big of a hump was that for the Bills to get over?

Jackson: It’s definitely a big hump when you have to beat them to win this division. But it is just our third win of the season. We still have a lot of work to do. We’ve been down early to two good teams, and we can’t continue to play like that. There’s a lot of learning we can take from the last few weeks. But it’s definitely a big win, because it puts us one up on them in the division and it puts them own down to us. 

Jackson3. CBS: Your path to the NFL wasn’t exactly orthodox. I think if you mentioned Coe College to most people, they wouldn’t have a clue as to what you were talking about. How did you end up there?

Jackson: It was one of those things where my middle school coach, Wayne Phillips, used to be the head coach at Coe College. I had a great relationship with him, and he told me about it. I was a little guy coming out of high school. It was one of three opportunities I had, all Division III schools. I have a twin brother named Patrick, who started as a receiver and then became a DB, and it was a dream for us to play college ball together. Coe was that opportunity. And coach (Marv) Levy was an alum and I got to meet him and build that bridge. When he got a chance to come back and be the GM in Buffalo, he gave me a workout. I was fortunate enough to come in and take advantage of that. But yeah, there were not a lot of scouts hanging out at Coe.

CBS: You weren’t on the NFL’s radar screen after Coe, so you went to a couple of indoor leagues and NFL Europe. How did you finally attract Buffalo’s attention?

Jackson: I was fortunate to do three workouts when I came out of college for the Bears, the Broncos and the Packers. The guy with the Packers came out and told me, “We think you can play football, but we’re not willing to stick out our neck for a guy from a DIII school." He told me to continue to get film and to keep playing in these smaller leagues. That’s what I did. After hearing they thought I did have the talent, that lit that fuse. The two years I played in the indoor leagues, I kept in touch with coach Levy. He kept saying if he could give me a chance, he would.

CBS: Oh, so even though you were out of school, Levy still gave you that positive reinforcement?

Jackson: My middle school coach and coach Levy are really good friends. Every month I would hear from coach Levy. I thought as long there was a chance, I would keep working.

4. CBS: So, you were with the Bills for a while, and then last year, it seemed like you finally … I don’t want to say “secured” your spot … were in a good spot with the team after Marshawn Lynch went to Seattle and you beat C.J. Spiller out for the starting job. Did you feel that?

Jackson: It was one of those things where I really didn’t know. We did draft C.J. last year. I knew I had to keep working and keep working, even at the beginning of the year when I had my hand broken. I had to keep plugging away at it. I was accustomed to working and seeing how things work out afterward. But C.J. still wants to play, and he still wants to start. That’s what we’re here for. I expect nothing less of him.

5. CBS: So, the saying goes that when a running back hits 30 years old, there’s a huge decline in skills. You’re 30 now, but you obviously haven’t hit that decline. How have you avoided that?

Jackson: It‘s one of those things I pride myself on. I don’t feel there’s any deterioration at all. I feel like I’m just getting better. I’m finally getting that opportunity where I can showcase what I can do. This is one of the first times I’ve been where I’ve been the starting guy. I feel fine. I feel great. I feel like I could play for another seven or eight years. I’m not some 30-year-old back on the downside.

CBS: I’m not asking you to comment on a guy like Larry Johnson, but he’s an example of what can happen when you hit 30 years old. He's pretty much done and now on the tryout circuit. Do you think not taking that NFL pounding when you were 24 or 25 years old is the reason you don’t feel old at 30?

Jackson: I think that has a lot to do that. I didn’t get 300 carries my first three years in the game. I’m getting fresh in it. I’m where a 26- or 27-year-old back usually is.

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Posted on: September 3, 2011 10:47 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 10:15 pm
 

NFL cuts: Teams down to 53 by Saturday evening

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Getting to 53
On Tuesday, teams had to cut their roster size from 90 to 80, and while some interesting names were axed.

Included among them werelong-time San Diego long snapper David Binn, Cowboys center Andre Gurode and draft bust Vernon Gholston), and more are sure to come today.

So keep an eye on this post, where we’ll highlight the biggest names who get pink-slipped; at some point, somebody surprising is going to lose his job.

  • Though we're unsure what he did, ESPN.com is reporting that free agent running back Dominic Rhodes has been suspended by the commissioner for at least one year.
  • Browns running back Brandon Jackson has been placed on the IR list and will miss the season.
  • Receiver Donnie Avery has announced, via his Twitter page, that he's been released by the Rams. Wrote Avery: "Its been real St.Louis. I had a good 3 years. The feelings were mutual. We both thought I need a fresh start somewhere else. #NoHardFeelings"
  • The Titans have traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Packers for Quinn Johnson. The move is likely in response to the four-game suspension of Tennessee fullback Ahmard Hall.
  • The Jets announce they've traded defensive back Dwight Lowery to the Jaguars for an unconditional draft pick. The Jets also have received guard Caleb Schlauderaff from the Packers for an unconditional draft pick.
  • Apparently, the Texans are planning on scoring a lot this year. They've released Brad Maynard, the only punter on the roster.
  • With the Cowboys shaving their roster to 53, kicker Shayne Graham has had the pleasure of being cut twice this preseason.
  • The Jaguars have placed backup running back Rashad Jennings on the IR list with a knee injury.
  • The Dolphins have cut cornerback Will Allen and running back Larry Johnson, according to the Miami Herald. Allen had restructured his contract and took about a $4 million paycut in base pay for 2010, but still, that wasn't enough to save him a spot on the squad. Miami could bring him back at another reduced rate.
  • According to scout.com, the Raiders have parted ways with cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Walter McFadden.
  • Though numerous reports said the Patriots were trying to trade defensive back Brandon Meriweather, he has been cut by the team. Also, in a bit of a surprise, New England has released receiver Brandon Tate.
  • Bears tight end Desmond Clark has confirmed that he's been released. Writes Clark on his Twitter page: "I played my butt off but sometimes it's more about the business. That's what it boiled down to."
  • The Broncos have announced they've also released receiver David Anderson and defensive tackle Jeremy Jarmon.
  • According to his agent, the Patriots have released veteran running back Sammy Morris.
  • Dan Orlovsky, in contention with Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins, to back up Peyton Manning, has been cut by the Colts.
  • The 49ers have cut quarterback Josh McCown. Here's what he'll do next, according to CSN Bay Area. "I'd love to come back," McCown said. "As for right now, I'm headed home to coach (high school football in North Carolina) and will continue to stay ready."
  • With plenty of personal baggage and a terrible end to the preseason, the Broncos have cut cornerback Perrish Cox, writes Rapid Reporter Lee Rasizer.
  • Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner reports that Cincinnati has cut Max Jean-Gilles. A bit of a surprise considering Jean-Gilles was reportedly competing for a starting job. He simply didn't have a great camp.
  • The Colts have released Tommie Harris. You'll recall the Colts gave him a one-year deal after the Bears cut him in February. Though Harris is a three-time Pro Bowler, his projection has been hurt by numerous injuries in the past few seasons.
  • The Eagles have released receiver Sinorice Moss.
  • A bum hamstring has done in Titans defensive lineman Jacob Ford. He has been waived/injured.
  • New England has released defensive lineman Eric Moore -- who, at one point, seemed a pretty safe bet to make the squad.
  • The San Diego Union Tribune writes that Chargers receivers Laurent Robinson and Kelley Washington are gone.
  • The Newark Star Ledger has declared Steve Weatherford the winner in the Giants punting competition. That means Matt Dodge will be released, despite a solid preseason.
  • According to his agent, Brandon Ghee, a 2010 third-round pick for the Bengals in 2010, has been cut by Cincinnati.
  • The Broncos have released tight end Dante Rosario. He's probably surprised, considering he played the last four years for John Fox in Carolina.
  • The Gronkowski family suffered a double-whammy, as PFT reports that Dan and Chris will be released from the Lions and Cowboys, respectively.
  • Two years ago, the Cowboys gave Igor Olshansky a four-year deal worth $18 million (with $8 million in guarantees). Today, according to ESPN, the Cowboys have released him.
  • According to the Carroll County Times, the Ravens will release linebacker Tavares Gooden, despite holding trade talks with the 49ers at one point.
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, Bears running back Chester Taylor has been informed he’s been cut. Again. For real, this time. We think.
  • With the Saints maintaining a good depth of running backs (Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas), the team has placed Chris Ivory on the physically unable to perform list. After six weeks, when he’s eligible to return, New Orleans will have to make a decision about which running back is most expendable.
  • The Rams have cut 2010 fourth-round pick wide receiver Mardy Gilyard. He obviously wasn’t stellar in St. Louis, but the scribes will miss him because of his immense interview skills. As an example, this is what he tweeted when he found out the news: “Jus got released isshhh is getting real na ugh!!!!”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:01 am
 

Daniel Thomas continues to need work

D. Thomas has many improvements he needs to make to his game (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One issue we really haven’t discussed when we’ve written about the Dolphins trading for and giving a two-year deal to Reggie Bush or when we’ve talked about Tiki Barber trying out for Miami or the addition of retread Larry Johnson is how the team feels about second-round pick Daniel Thomas.

Well, when the most exciting thing you’ve done since you were drafted was to have your name attached to a porn event, that pretty much says it all. In other words, Thomas hasn’t done much in training camp.

As told by the Miami Herald, Thomas is having a tough time transitioning to the pro game, as evidenced by the grocery list of improvements Thomas needs to make. That includes being more physical, running with more explosion, being less tentative, keeping his legs churning, getting his pad level lower and keeping his shoulders squared.

"I would say that's about right," Thomas told the paper. "I've just got to lower my pads and trust my blocks and everything like that and I'm trying to get better here at practice and carry it into the next game."

And when Chad Henne and coach Tony Sparano are imploring you -- or, you know, yelling at you -- to hit the hole harder, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

That’s one big reason Thomas played tonight in the Dolphins preseason finale vs. the Cowboys, writes the Palm Beach Post. What Sparano wanted to see the most: improvement by Thomas -- who carried the ball eight times for 36 yards -- on his pass-blocking.

“In the beginning it was overwhelming a little bit,” Sparano said, via the Post. “But (running backs coach Jeff Nixon) has brought him along and he stepped in there pretty good three or four times today.

“This is something new to him, (but) he’s doing it and having success doing it and he knows that’s really going to be what, at the end of this thing, gets him on the field too,” Sparano said. “You know you’ve got to be able to protect the quarterback and I think he’s done a really good job doing that.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed</a&gt
Posted on: August 23, 2011 10:44 am
 

Dolphins sign Larry Johnson, dump Kory Sheets

Posted by Will Brinson

The Dolphins signed running back Larry Johnson on Tuesday and released running back Kory Sheets, the team announced Tuesday.

This is a historic moment because Johnson and Reggie Bush may be (unofficially, of course) the two least-talented tweeting running backs in NFL history.

Bush, as you'll remember, sealed his fate with the Saints by tweeting "it's been fun" towards his old team and city when they drafted actual Heisman-possessor Mark Ingram in April. He was promptly shipped to Miami this offseason.

Johnson's social media prowess is much more well-documented: not only has he dropped homophobic slurs on Twitter, but he also called out Todd Haley there, and eventually managed to generate what I believe is the first Twitter-related suspension in sports history.

Of course, that was the middle of 2009, back when Johnson was already considered on the wrong side of relevant -- he was eventually cut by the Chiefs, landed with the Bengals for the remainder of 2009 and then found himself in Washington last season, where he piled up, um, two rushing yards before being released by the Redskins.

So we're a good ways removed from Johnson having any legitimate success. Needless to say, the Dolphins can't be expecting too much from him, especially with Daniel Thomas and Bush already on the roster and expected to get the majority of carries.

Perhaps most importantly from all of this, though, is the fact that Miami was so desperate for running back depth that they were the only team to bring in Tiki Barber for a workout. They did that before signing Johnson ... and still signed Larry Johnson.

Which really should put an end to any "Tiki comeback" rumors.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 10:15 pm
 

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, during player-organized informal workouts, Titans running back Chris Johnson was under the impression rookie QB Jake Locker would head into 2011 as the team's starter.

"Everybody knows [Jake's] going to be the starting quarterback so he needs to be ready come Game 1," Johnson told the media at the time. "So he's just trying to get ready."

Actually, general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said Tennessee will bring in a veteran QB and won't rush Locker onto the field. A sensible strategy, certainly, but even if Locker begins the season under center, there's reason to think he'll be able to handle the gig. Primarily because the offense won't go through him, but much like a situation Christian Ponder could face in Minnesota, the offense will begin with the running back. In the Titans' case, that's Chris Johnson, one of the league's most dynamic players.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Chris Palmer doesn't expect Johnson to slow down anytime soon, although Palmer says he'll monitor the running back's workload.

“Again, it’s something we’ll have to look at,” Palmer told the Tennessean last week. “The good thing is (Titans head coach) Mike Munchak has been with him for a while and knows him pretty good."

But Johnson, who had 316 carries (for 1,364 rushing yards) last season and 358 more (for 2,006 rushing yards) in 2009, thinks the Titans offense needs him more now than ever. “I feel like [Locker] can come in and do some good things, but I think at the start I am going to have to take some pressure off of him,” Johnson said Saturday at his third annual football camp for kids at Battle Ground Academy, according to the Tennessean.

“In order for him [Locker] to be more successful, we’re going to have to get the running game going and not have to rely on him so much, and I know that starts with me," Johnson continued. "I feel like I always put pressure on myself, so I’ll take it.”

History sides with Palmer in that coaches need to keep close tabs on their running backs' workload. In 2005, Larry Johnson racked up 336 carries for 1,750 yards for the Chiefs, and his carries increased to 416 carries (for 1,789 yards) in 2006. Johnson, who was only 27 when the 2007 season began, was never the same after that. He started just 27 games from '07 to '09, and was out of the league by 2010.

(If you're a Titans fan, and depending on how much stock you put into the Curse of 370, this is about the point where you start to worry.)

Chris Johnson has shown no signs of slowing down, but NFL running backs typically don't see their abilities diminish gradually; more often than not, their skills fall off the cliff.

For now, though, Johnson will be integral to any success Tennessee's offense has next season. Just don't expect him to report to training camp before he has a new contract.

You know who else would be a big help to whoever ends up the Titans' starting QB? Kenny Britt. He just needs to stop getting arrested.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 8:39 pm
 

Larry Johnson settles assault case out of court

Posted by Andy Benoit
L. Johnson
Former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson – who, at 32, is essentially out of football after uneventful stints with the Bengals and Redskins – has settled his dispute with Ashley Stewart. Stewart is the name behind the face that Johnson allegedly spat his drink into back in 2008 at a Kansas City nightclub.

Johnson was arrested and charged with non-aggravated assault for the incident. He had been facing trial in Kansas City (a few weeks ago his lawyers argued that there was no way the maligned ex-Chief could get an unbiased jury in that town) but, according to Deadspin, Johnson has instead made an offer of judgment to Stewart that pays her $100,000. Stewart has accepted, and thus, the whole mess has disappeared.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 1, 2011 8:51 am
 

Hot Routes 4.1.11 Bright and early

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

  • Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated says teams are willing to trade a first-round draft pick for Kevin Kolb. But not all teams seem as certain about meeting the 26-year-old quarterback’s contract demands in 2012.

     
  • Thanks to the new screen at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jerry Jones’ ballyhooed screen is about to become the world’s second largest HD display.

     
  • Some are speculating (merely speculating) that Kris Jenkins could return to Carolina.

     
  • It’s not all negative news in the NFL these days.

     
  • Get your Hines Ward Dancing With the Stars update right here. (Or, instead of clicking the link, you can just visit the Bingo room at your nearest community center and ask the senior citizens that make up 99 percent of the show’s audience about the smiley Steelers receiver.)

     
  • NFL players have put a specific number on how much they want the league to pay in punitive damages for revenue that was left on the table from the NFL’s 2009 and 2010 TV deals. That number? It was redacted from court documents. Judge David Doty will hear this issue May 12. 

     
  • Was it cool for DeSean Jackson to appear on NFL Network during the lockout?

     
  • Larry Johnson wants a change of venue for his upcoming lawsuit trial stemming from the 2008 incident where he allegedly spat his drink on a lady. The former Chiefs running back doesn’t believe he can get a fair trial in Kansas City.

     
  • Simeon Rice wants to get back into the NFL, but his movie career (and 37 years of age) might get in the way.

     
  • Citizens of Los Angeles will have a chance to voice their thoughts about AEG’s impending NFL stadium project. (This begs the question: are Los Anglesites capable of thinking about anything NFL-related?).

    For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: March 31, 2011 12:05 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.31.11: Lights, camera, action



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Larry Johnson, set to go on trial for allegedly spitting a drink on a woman at a bar in 2008, thinks he can’t get a fair jury trial in Kansas City. Any place, his attorney said, would be better than Kansas City.
  • Apparently, Ravens S Tom Zbikwoski isn’t the only Ravens player who can handle himself in a fight. Watch how Kelly Gregg (a three-time state wrestling champion in Oklahoma) and Arthur Jones (a two-time state titlist in New York) go after each other in this video. With Ray Lewis on the play-by-play.
  • Washington QB Jake Locker participated in his Pro Day on Wednesday and completed 38 of 40 attempts against the air (his only two misses came on 50-yard passes). But not everybody is convinced he’s going to be a star. Analyst Michael Lombardi thinks Locker is a project and wouldn’t draft him before the third round.
  • ESPN New York reports Giants C Shaun O’Hara underwent his second surgery of the offseason this week to clean out his left ankle and Achilles. Earlier this offseason, he had surgery on his right foot.
  • One of the more interesting storylines of the NFL draft will be about Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, his balky knee and which team will take a chance on him. Some analysts are saying he’s off a couple teams’ draft boards completely because of failed physicals.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com