Tag:Matt Schaub
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:51 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Tight End Rankings

Shiancoe leads what is a fairly unimpressive group of free agent tight ends. (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 tight ends.

Originally for this post, I listed Jermichael Finley for the No. 1 spot on this list. Obviously, he was an easy call, because he was so obviously the best tight end on the market. Now, though, he’s a signed a two-year deal with the Packers worth about $7.5 million per season, and therefore, the free agent tight end class of 2012 suddenly has grown awfully weak (let’s face it, it wasn’t all that great with Finley on top either).

The best tight ends in the game -- guys like New England’s Rob Gronkowski, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis and Finley -- are safely secure with their respective teams, and those teams who actually are looking for tight ends will have to draw on a list with very few, if any, top-line playmakers. Considering Gronkowski and Graham are helping to redefine the position, that’s not great news. Nevertheless, here we go.

1. Visanthe Shiancoe

Breakdown: Since catching 56 passes for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns when Brett Favre was throwing to him, Shiancoe’s production has decreased the past two seasons, especially in 2011 when he caught 36 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns. Since he made $4.5 million last season, it doesn’t seem likely the Vikings will re-sign him. Especially since the Vikings seem high on Kyle Rudolph. But unless Favre is planning to return for another season (and let’s face it, we can never rule out this option), the value of Shiancoe isn’t as high as it once was.

Potential Landing Spots: Giants, Browns

2. Martellus Bennett


Breakdown: Though Bennett doesn’t have impressive receiving numbers, that’s not what he’s called upon to do. Instead, he’ll be one of the more valuable tight ends in free agency because he’s top-notch run blocker. Bennett oftentimes is overshadowed by his teammate Jason Witten, but his worth to the Cowboys is evident every time Bennett steps on the field (it also seems evident, though, that Bennett’s time in Dallas is finished). But in order to get paid tons of money, he needs to show he can catch the ball, and that’s something missing from his arsenal at this point.

Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Jets, Bengals

3. Joel Dreessen


Breakdown: Dreessen is a solid tight end, and he’s been an important cog for the Texans as quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster have turned Houston into a consistent top-10 offense in the past three years. He’s not a big-time pass catcher, but he’s a solid run-blocker (as Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward likely would attest). The Texans would like to keep their two tight end set, but assuming Owen Daniels can stay healthy, Dreessen becomes a little more expendable in Houston.
Fred Davis
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Giants, Texans, Redskins

4. Fred Davis

Breakdown: He’s actually a pretty good candidate to be franchise-tagged by the Redskins (safety LaRon Landry (and his muscles!) is another candidate), and considering he caught 59 passes for 796 yards in 12 games last year in the best season of his career, Davis is a potential emerging star. Unfortunately for Davis, he was suspended for the final four games of the season for a failed drug test, and if he happens to fail another one, he’d be suspended for a year. So, there’s a little bit of a gray cloud following him around, and teams that need a tight end might shy away from a potential off-the-field problem like that.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

5. Jeremy Shockey


Breakdown: It was only four years ago when Shockey was considered an elite tight end, good for about 60 catches, 600 yards and six touchdowns per season from 2004-07. He’s been hurt (literally) by injuries, and after the Saints released him in 2010, he was solid enough  last season in Charlotte (though the team did like the toughness he brought to the squad). Shockey has talked about wanting to play in Miami -- he’s also talked apparently about retiring, though it seems like everybody is denying it at that point -- but with Anthony Fasano already entrenched as the Dolphins tight end, Shockey probably would have to be content to play as the No. 2 tight end. He made $4 million last season, and in order to return to the Panthers to play with tight end Greg Olsen, he’d probably have to take a paycut.

Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Giants, Panthers
Shockey

6. John Carlson


Breakdown: Carlson missed the entire season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, so there will be plenty of caution surrounding him, even though he’s caught at least 50 passes in two of his first three seasons in the league. Making matters worse, Carlson said in January that he’s not completely healed, estimating that he was only at 90 percent. “Obviously missing the season is not ideal,” he told the Tacoma News Tribune. “But that was the situation I was in. I feel really good. I didn’t beat my body up over the course of the season and my shoulder is repaired.” Carlson is also a solid run-blocker, and he seems like one of those guys who could move into the top-10 of tight ends around the league.

Potential Landing Spots:Seahawks, Rams

7. Jacob Tamme


Breakdown: Like most everybody inside the Indianapolis franchise, Tamme suffered without Peyton Manning around. Playing in place of the injured Dallas Clark, Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Last year, those numbers dropped to 19 for 177 and one. Which obviously is not the kind of season you want to have in a contract year, but it reflects Tamme’s position on the team and, probably, in the league. He’s a solid backup, the No. 2 tight end in a two-tight end set. He has talent, but it’s unclear how much of that was reflected off Manning. He could be a low-risk, somewhat-high reward guy for the right team.

Potential Landing Spots: Colts, Dolphins, Broncos, Bengals

8. Honorable Mention


Unrestricted free agents: Scott Chandler, Reggie Kelly, Daniel Fells
Restricted free agents: None

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 3:25 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Bum: Wade had tumor 'the size of a volleyball'

By Will Brinson

The Texans haven't revealed much about Wade Phillips health issue that left him sidelined for two of the team's final three games of the regular season, requesting that everyone respect Wade and his family's privacy. Well, Wade's family -- or, more specifically, his father Bum Phillips -- disclosed some details of Wade's condition recently.

According to Bob West of the Port Arther News, Bum, speaking at a Texas Bowl Gridirons Legend induction on Saturday, said that Wade had "a tumor the size of a volleyball that encompassed his kidney and his gall bladder, so he had them all taken out. He’s got a scar about this long."

Bum then, according to West, held up his hands "about a foot apart."

Bum's a friend of the old blog, so I'm not going to sit here and doubt whether or not his medical recollection is accurate. But I've sat here holding my arms in the shape of a volleyball up to my stomach and, well, it's bigger than me.

So is Wade, of course, and West writes that he's lost a lot of weight.

If Bum's description of Wade's condition is accurate -- or even close to accurate -- it's a good thing he had the surgery when he did, and it's kind of insane/impressive/terrifying that Wade's already back to coaching.


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Posted on: December 24, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: December 24, 2011 10:09 am
 

Kubiak sticking with T.J. Yates as Texans starter

Yates will keep on starting for Houston despite his struggles. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson


Follow all the Week 16 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

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T.J. Yates was a heck of a story -- a rookie quarterback, drafted in the fifth round, the only Carolina quarterback to start an NFL game -- for a few weeks when the Texans were winning. Now, after two straight losses to the Panthers and Colts, he's the chief concern for the people of Houston.

But Gary Kubiak is riding out the rookie and said Friday that he's going to continue to start Yates over either Jake Delhomme or Jeff Garcia, both of whom were signed when Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart went down.

"Oh yeah, he’s done a lot of good things," Kubiak said when asked point-blank if Yates was starting. "I think T.J. continues to do some good things. I think he continues to get better, and like I said, for where we're heading here, he needs to continue to get better, and we just got to trust him and move forward."

The issue isn't so much Yates as it is the defense, however. The Texans have scored just 29 points in the last two games, but they've allowed 47 points after a stretch of seven-straight games where they didn't allow a team to score more than 20 points.

It shouldn't be considered a coincidence that this happened right after defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took a leave of absence (hey, maybe we should vote him for MVP!).

Yates' decision making needs to improve -- he fumbled against the Colts -- but it's not like he's making a pile of mistakes. Two interceptions against the Panthers were quite costly, but the Texans were losing and he still completed well over 50 percent of his passes. Against the Colts, Yates was 13 of 16.

The offense is more limited because a rookie quarterback's under center, but that's a pretty basic fact of life when you plug a young guy like Yates in with just a few weeks left in the season. The Texans wouldn't become an aerial assault team just because Delhomme or Garcia started taking snaps.

A simpler solution that would've kept these issues from surfacing? Stopping Dan Orlavsky from driving 78 yards in less than two minutes.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Wade Phillips takes 'medical leave of absence'

By Will Brinson

The Texans remarkable defensive turnaround in 2011 has a lot of people talking about Wade Phillips and how he deserves another head coaching chance. Unfortunately, people are talking about Phillips on Wednesday for a different reason, as Texans defensive coordinator will miss the next few weeks for as he undergoes surgery for what the team describes a kidney condition.

According to the Texans, Phillips "will take a medical leave of absence due to a scheduled surgical procedure later this week." Houston's press release also states that Phillips "is expected to return later this season."

"It's not life-threatening," Phillips said Wednesday. "There's no chemotherapy involved ... I don't want to get into it. It's not a vasectomy, in case you wondered."

The Texans made ridiculous strides defensively this season, going from the league's worst defense in 2010 to a top-five unit in 2011. Rightfully so, Philips gets most of the credit for that success.

"We're playing good defense all over," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said recently. "Of course it feels good, to be able to get out there and stop some people. You're definitely not worried about people scoring on you because you know everybody is being accountable. Everybody's holding up their end and knowing what they're supposed to do, so you're comfortable when you're out there."

There's no mention of what type of surgical procedure Phillips will have, but the timing of this is surprising to say the least -- the Texans clinched the playoffs last week and welcome the Panthers to Houston Sunday for their first of three remaining games.

Linebackers coach Reggie Herring will take over the defense while Phillips is gone.

"This is a system," Herring said Wednesday. "I've been raised under Wade Phillips for the last 4 years. "I feel very confident about this. We have a lot of things to finish. We have a lot to play for."

"We've got to make sure Wade's health comes first and get this taken care of so we can move forward," Kubiak told Panthers reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning.

For as much as the Texans have been through in 2011 -- losing Mario Williams, dealing with an Arian Foster injury, dealing with an Andre Johnson injury, losing Matt Schaub and then Matt Leinart, for starters -- having Phillips sidelined might be the most debilitating loss of them all. He's been critical in turning around the Texans defense in 2011 and if there was an award for top assistant in the NFL, a sure-fire lock to win.

Hopefully he'll be healthy when the playoffs role around.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Texans cut Kellen Clemens, will sign Jeff Garcia

The Houston rookie QB is suddenly surrounded by old-timers. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

In the span of a few weeks, the Houston Texans have gone from having a top-10 quarterback and a quality veteran backup, to starting a rookie and signing former players in various stages of retirement to provide depth behind him.

The latest in the Texans' geriatric version of musical wheelchairs, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Brandon Williams: "Quarterback Kellen Clemens was waived (and the team) plans to sign QB Jeff Garcia, the Houston Chronicle reports. Garcia last appeared in the NFL with the Eagles in 2009 and has since played with Omaha in the UFL. Garcia will be the third quarterback behind rookie T.J. Yates and Jake Delhomme." 

The Texans had plenty of questions heading into the season, chief among them how Wade Phillips would fix one of the league's worst defenses. An area that no one was worried about: quarterback.

Matt Schaub, entering his fifth year in Houston, had quietly entered the elite QB conversation. He threw for at least 4,300 yards in 2009 and 2010, completing at least 64 percent of his passes over that time (including 53 TDs, 27 INTs). And then, 10 games into 2011, Schaub suffered a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve.

No problem, though; veteran backup Matt Leinart, a former Heisman winner and first-round pick, would lean heavily on the running game and the Texans' defense would do the rest. Except that Leinart didn't make it to halftime of his first start before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

So now it's the T.J. Yates show, with understudies Delhomme (36) and Garcia (41), who have a combined 22 seasons of experience between them. Both players came into the NFL in 1999; Delhomme led the Panthers to the Super Bowl following the 2003 season, and Garcia took two teams to the playoffs on four occasions (2000-02 49ers, 2007 Bucs).

In Week 13, Yates became the first University of North Carolina alum to start an NFL game at quarterback and he helped the Texans beat the Falcons. The plan, at least for now, is for Yates to continue to play with Delhomme and Garcia backing him up, in that order.  

The Texans weren't done signing old-timers; with punter Brett Hartmann on injured reserve with an ACL injury, Houston inked Matt Turk, 43, who was a fan favorite during a previous stint with the team from 2007-10.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:53 am
 

Report: Texans to sign QB Jake Delhomme

Delhomme could be Houston's newest quarterback. (Getty Images/AP/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Texans placed quarterback Matt Schaub on injured reserve last week. On Sunday, they lost backup Matt Leinart to a broken collarbone. Instead of going through the rest of the season with backup to the backup, T.J. Yates, Houston will signed veteran Jake Delhomme after a Tuesday workout, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports.

The Texans had already signed former Jets second-round pick Kellen Clemens after losing Schaub for the season. Delhomme becomes the latest addition to the new-look Houston quarterbacks now that they're without Leinart (who also appears headed for injured reserve).

Delhomme spent seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers and led them to the 2003 Super Bowl (they lost to the Patriots) and the 2008 NFC Divisional game (another loss, this time to the Cardinals). The Browns signed Delhomme to be their starter in 2010, but injuries and an unwieldy contract led to his release after the season.

There was some speculation that he might be in demand as a mentor, perhaps reuniting with John Fox in Denver to help groom Tim Tebow (turns out, Tebow doesn't need any help).

And earlier this season, the Dolphins were reportedly interested in signing Delhomme (he passed).

At 8-3, the Texans are the AFC's top team. And despite losing its Nos. 1 and 2 signal callers, should have little trouble making the playoffs. That said, the expectations once they get there were pretty much dashed when Leinart followed Schaub to IR.

The Texans are in their 10th year of existence and have never qualified for the postseason. They're only winning campaign came in 2009 when they went 9-7. Seventh-year head coach Gary Kubiak was in danger of losing his job after last year's disappointing 6-10 effort, but he was retained. And right up until they lost Schaub, Houston was considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 9:51 pm
 

Yates to start, Kubiak won't 'rule out anybody'

Posted by Will Brinson



Earlier Monday we learned that injured Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was fully behind (former) third-string rookie T.J. Yates and his ability to succeed as a starter with the Texans. Even better news came out late Monday afternoon: coach Gary Kubiak is on board with Yates as well.

Kubiak confirmed on Monday that Yates would start for the Texans in Week 13 and also confirmed that Matt Leinart is out for the season.

"We are going with T.J. It’s T.J.’s opportunity and it’s his job and I told him and I told the team that today," Kubiak said after Monday's practice. "But I also told the team that we will bring in somebody else. We’ve got a young quarterback and a backup who’s been here for four days, so we’ve got to find some experience out there, who’s been in a few rodeos, so to speak, and make sure we’re preparing ourselves for down the road."

  Who will that quarterback be? Well, Kubiak also left open the ominous, but unlikely, possibility of a certain retiree joining the Texans roster.

"I don’t think you rule out anybody," Kubiak said when asked if he could eliminate Brett Favre from the discussion. "I know there’s, like I said, a lot of names being mentioned. We’ve got to continue to work through the process. I'm not going to rule out anybody, nor confirm anybody."

On Sunday night, Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported on NBC that he talked with Favre and Texans general manager Rick Smith, and both said there was no mutual interest in a return to the NFL for No. 4, even in a good situation like the Texans offer.

So it seems pretty unlikely that Favre will get a call from Houston, if he would even respond. Favre doesn't really make all that much sense for Houston, given that they're already fully committed to running the ball and shutting teams down defensively. Yes, he's got more experience than Yates (who, as we noted, is already UNC's greatest NFL quarterback, with just over a half's worth of statistics). 

But Favre also brings a pile of drama to the table, with no guarantee for success, and that might be too much of a gamble for the Texans to take.

Of course, if Yates struggles, well, you can't rule anyone out.

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Schaub gives T.J. Yates his seal of approval

T. Yates looks to be Houston's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Now that Matt Leinart is unofficially done for the season after cracking his left collarbone Sunday, it appears the Texans are going to take their chances with fifth-round pick T.J. Yates as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

My colleague Will Brinson wrote a little about him in this week’s Sorting the Sunday Pile, but aside from Yates, who was 8 of 15 for 70 yards in relief of Leinart, holding the title of the best quarterback ever to emerge from UNC, we know very little about his ability to start in the NFL.

But considering the other Texans options, where else could they turn for a starter? Probably not Kellen Clemens, who was signed last week. Probably not Sage Rosenfels, who somehow has become a candidate to be claimed by Houston on waivers despite being placed on the Reserved/Non-Football Illness list with the Dolphins last month. And definitely not tight end Owen Daniels, who was actually the emergency backup to Yates on Sunday after Leinart left the game.

For now, it seems like Yates is the only man standing. And that’s OK by original starter Matt Schaub.

“T.J.’s been with us now for quite a while,” Schaub said on KILT in Houston, via sportsradiointerviews.com. “He’s been in our meetings; he understands our system. Obviously, you don’t want to give him an incredible amount of new stuff. … At the same time, we have enough guys in this locker room that have played enough football and they’re solid players. We’ve got some talent on our team and they’re going to have to pick up their play. We’ve dealt with injuries now all season. It seems like a broken record, but that’s what we’ve done and there’s something special about this team.”

And Yates is the guy that can continue that special season?

“T.J., for being a rookie, he’s probably picked this offense up to the point where he can function in it well, faster than anyone I’ve seen, including myself,” Schaub said. “That’s a big credit to him, because this is not an easy offense to pick up. … I, personally, have a ton of confidence that he’s going to go in there and play very well.”

After the game, Gary Kubiak talked about how Yates plays the game fast and that he has all the starting quarterback characteristics. Yet, Kubiak also acknowledged that he's barely taken any reps. Which means the Texans don’t really know what they have with Yates. For good or for bad.

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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