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Tag:Matt Spaeth
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Bears sign Matt Spaeth, put Greg Olsen on block

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone knows that Mike Martz' offense doesn't really benefit tight ends all that much, but there's still some pretty surprising news coming out of Chicago on Thursday that involves the shifting of bodies on the depth chart.

First, there's the news that the Bears are shopping Olsen to anyone that might be interested. And they don't even want that much! At least that's according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus, who penned an note to all the other NFL teams on Wednesday night.

"The Bears have granted me permission to seek a trade for Greg Olsen," Rosenhaus wrote in an email obtained by the Chicago Tribune. "Please let me know if interested.

"Sounds like the Bears will be very reasonable on the compensation in return for Greg."

However, Rosenhaus backtracked about 15 minutes later, writing, "Please disregard my previous email regarding Greg Olsen."

That's a nice sentiment and all, but as Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Know this: the Bears are indeed shopping Olsen."

Want more proof? The Bears signed Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth on Thursday too, per Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Spaeth is a much better blocker and a bigger benefit to the Bears in the running game than Olsen, even if he's not even close to the receiving weapon that Olsen presents.

So where to for Olsen? Well, how about the Panthers who just so happen to employ Rod Chudzinksi as an offensive coordinator, who just so happens to have worked with Olsen in college at Miami and who just so happens to have had some success with tight ends in the past. (You may have heard of Antonio Gates.)

Jensen noted, in fact, that an NFC exec believes the Panthers would be "a good fit" but also reports that the Bears "will not just give Greg Olsen away to the highest bidder."

There's also the matter of Olsen not sounding too thrilled at the prospect -- NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski cites a "source close to" Olsen who says the tight end is "not happy at all [with the] trade talk" because he "wants to play his entire career in Chicago."

Unfortunately for Olsen, that may not be an option the way things are unfolding.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Matchup breakdown: Steelers O vs. Packers D

R. Mendenhall (US Presswire)

Posted by Andy Benoit

In the AFC Championship, the Steelers surprised everyone by coming out running against the Jets. On paper, Pittsburgh’s banged-up offensive line was overmatched against New York’s third-ranked run defense. But on the field, the opposite proved true.

With Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey possibly out this Sunday (ankle/foot), one might think Pittsburgh would be inclined to come out throwing. After all, backup Doug Legursky has a noticeable lack of power, while Green Bay’s nose tackle B.J. Raji has a noticeable abundance of it.
 
But despite the Legursky-Raji mismatch, don’t be surprised if the Steelers once again rely on Rashard Mendenhall early on. Running the ball shortens the game and keeps Aaron Rodgers off the field. More than that, it decreases the number of times lumbering right tackle Flozell Adams has to fend off lightning pass-rusher Clay Matthews (Adams vs. Matthews is a mismatch that makes every member of the Steeler organization shudder; it’s hard to imagine the Steelers won’t concoct some form of tight end help for Adams.)

Early in the season, the Steeler offensive line and third down back Mewelde Moore struggled mightily with blitz identification. They got the pass-blocking issues in order down the stretch, but with two weeks to prepare, you have to figure Dom Capers will design at least a few new complicated zone exchanges and delayed A-gap blitzes.

What’s more, whether he’s blitzing or feigning a blitz, slot cornerback/rover Charles Woodson is the key to Green Bay’s pressure schemes. If it’s Woodson vs. Ben Roethlisberger in a presnap chess match, Steelers lose.

Super Bowl experience will have a pretty huge impact on this game as well. Here's Hines Ward on that subject:


Running the ball would ameliorate those unfavorable passing game matchups for the Steelers. But more than that, the Steelers may very well feel that they have an advantage against the Packer run defense anyway. Yes, Doug Legursky, left tackle Jonathan Scott and right guard Ramon Foster all lack the power necessary to generate downhill movement as run-blockers. But left guard Chris Kemoeatu doesn’t.

Kemoeatu is one of the most mobile blockers in football. When he gets to the second level and faces linebackers, he’s frighteningly nasty .The Packer defense did an excellent job at keeping inside linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk clean from blockers this season. (Why do you think the inexperienced Bishop and resoundingly average Hawk were the only two Packers to record 100-plus tackles?)

But the Steelers, who run two-tight end base personnel, could give those inside linebackers problems by shifting to three-receiver personnel (which would involve replacing Matt Spaeth with wideout Emmanuel Sanders). The Packers almost always use a 2-4-5 alignment in nickel defense. With only two downlinemen, Kemoeatu would have a clear path to Bishop or Hawk (and remember, in nickel, one of those inside ‘backers will be off the field). In that case, Mendenhall could run inside, or, if he’s lucky, get isolated on the edges against outside linebacker Erik Walden (an impressive athlete but very callow run-stopper).

Roethlisberger is Pittsburgh’s best playmaker, but the run game could very well be Pittsburgh’s best chance at a seventh Lombardi trophy.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: February 3, 2011 8:46 am
 

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive roster breakdown

Posted by Will Brinson & Andy Benoit

Perhaps the most fascinating thing if you look (at a glance anyway) at Pittsburgh and Green Bay is that they've built their teams "properly." (AKA "the opposite of Dan Snyder.) They draft smart, and they sign smarter. At least that's what we're lead to believe, right?

Andy and I set out to check the roster breakdown for both teams. En route, we* managed to figure out not only where they're coming from, but what they'll do for their respective teams in the Super Bowl.

Name POS Acquired Scouting Report
Ben Roethlisberger
QB
Drafted 11th overall, 1st Round 2004
The most physically gifted quarterback in all of football (including Mr. Vick). Sandlot style makes him nearly impossible to gameplan against.
Rashard Mendenhall
RB 
Drafted 23rd overall, 1st Round 2008
Can immediately regain his balance and accelerate after bouncing off a defender. That’s a big reason why he’s developed into one of the best fourth quarter closers in the game.
Mewelde Moore
RB2
Drafted 119th overall, 4th Round MIN; FA, 2008
Struggled in pass protection early but settled down late. Good dumpoff target who can eat up ground if given room to generate speed. However, doesn’t have the initial quickness to create his own space.
Jonathan Scott
LT
Drafted 141st overall, 5th Round, DET; FA, 2010
Offers very little power for a man of 6’6”, 318-pound size.
Chris Kemoeatu
LG
Drafted 204th overall, 6th Round 2005
Steelers’ best lineman. Nasty out-in-front blocker who gets to the linebacker level with ease.
Doug Legursky
C
UDFA, 2009
Iffy strength is a major concern given Green Bay’s ravenous defensive linemen.
Ramon Foster
RG
UDFA, 2009
Not powerful enough to move people in the run game, but at least gets OK placement on his blocks.
Flozell Adams
RT
Drafted 28th overall, 2nd Round DAL; FA 2010
At 35, it’s almost painful watching him try to move. But even more painful is watching a helpless defender try to unshackle from his grasp.
Trai Essex
OL
Drafted 93rd overall, 3rd Round 2005
Has monstrous size and is versatile enough to play inside or outside. But doesn’t it tell you something that he’s still coming off the bench despite all the injuries up front?
Mike Wallace
WR
Drafted 84th overall, 3rd Round 2009
The most lethal big-play weapon at wideout in today’s NFL. The difference between DeSean Jackson and him is his acceleration is augmented by an extremely long stride.
Hines Ward
WR
Drafted 93rd overall, Round 1998
These days, runs like he’s wearing boots. But, somehow, he still manages to get open. Everything they say about his blocking is true, by the way.
Emmanuel Sanders
WR
Drafted 82nd overall, 3rd Round 2010
It’s just a matter of time before the third-round rookie takes over as the No. 2 target. Roethlisberger loves to look for him whenever he aligns in the slot of a five-receiver set.
Antonio Brown
WR
Drafted 164th overall, 6th Round 2010
Sixth-round rookie has shown a penchant for big plays.
Heath Miller
TE
Drafted 30th overall, 1st Round 2005
Not the god that Steeler fans insist he is, but soft hands and technically sound blocking are certainly valuable.
Matt Spaeth
TE
Drafted 77th overall, 3rd Round 2007
Heath Miller only with less skill and more size.

*Scouting smarts credited to Benoit. HTML and research credited to Brinson.
Posted on: November 27, 2010 11:43 am
 

Week 12 injury news and analysis, part I

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Jaguars at Giants

Two of Jacksonville’s most important offensive players, WR Mike Sims-Walker and RB Maurice Jones-Drew, are questionable because of an ankle and an abdomen, respectively. Sims-Walker didn’t play last week because of his high ankle sprain, so it’s a bit surprising that he practiced at all this week (high ankle sprains tend to keep players out at least three to four weeks). Sims-Walker was limited Thursday and Friday, which tells us one of two things – either he’s an unbelievably fast healer or coach Jack Del Rio is using a bit of gamesmanship to keep New York guessing.

Jones-Drew has been on fire recently – he’s accumulated 368 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games (he’s also added 123 receiving yards) – and he’s more likely to play than not. If not, look for Rashad Jennings to get more opportunities.

Though he’s been awfully entertaining on his Twitter account since he was admitted to the hospital with back pain (he was released from the hospital Saturday morning), New York G Shawn Andrews is doubtful (Will Beatty will take his place). CB Will Blackmon is questionable with a chest injury.

Steelers at Bills


Once again, LB Shawne Merriman (who still hasn’t played a game since signing with Buffalo) is out with an Achilles tendon injury. RB C.J. Spiller is questionable, but considering Fred Jackson (249 yards, three touchdowns) has been so good the past two games, Spiller’s absence shouldn’t have a huge impact on the offense (special teams might be a different story, though). The team doesn’t want to play Spiller until he’s 100 percent healthy, which he almost surely is not.

Pittsburgh only has four players on the injury report – WR Antonio Brown and DE Aaron Smith are out, TE Matt Spaeth (concussion) is doubtful and S Troy Polamalu (ankle) is questionable. Polamalu most likely will play. He played last week despite the injury, and the Steelers plan was to rest him early in the week and let him play Sunday (he was limited Wednesday and Thursday but had full participation in practice Friday).

Titans at Texans

If you formed a flag football team just out of the players that are listed as probable on Houston’s injury report, you’d have a pretty good chance to win an intramural title. Those players include QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, LB Brian Cushing and DE Mario Williams. Unfortunately for your beer-league dream team, all will be playing NFL football Sunday.

For Tennessee, Randy Moss still isn’t listed on the injury report, which confuses me. If he’s active and playing, how come nobody is throwing him the ball? If he was hurt, then it would make sense. Speaking of players who don’t throw the ball to Moss, backup QB Kerry Collins – who will be the starter once again at some point – is questionable. But rookie Rusty Smith still is slated to the start at QB.

Also for the Titans, DT Jason Jones is questionable with a knee injury. DT Tony Brown (knee) also is questionable, but he’s more likely to play.

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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