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Tag:Scott Fujita
Posted on: March 6, 2012 9:55 pm
 

More nuggets on Saints' bounties come to light

Gregg Williams wasn't the only one to get hooked by the NFL on the bounty pools in New Orleans.  (AP)
By Josh Katzowitz

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has an interesting story on the NFL’s investigation into the pay-for-performance ring* instigated by about two dozen Saints players and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and some of the details that are unearthed are worth noting because it’s the first we’ve heard of them.

*I will not call it Bounty-gate. I will not call it Bounty-gate. I will not call it Bounty-gate. 

First off, read the first two paragraphs of the story, because it paints a tremendous picture of how the rewards were distributed in front of the entire defense and how, sometimes, the Saints would urge the honoree to put the money back into the pool instead of accepting it.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Aside from that chilling color, here are few more nuggets reported by King.

-During the 2009 NFC title game vs. the Vikings -- played in January 2010 -- in which New Orleans defensive linemen Bobby McCray and Remi Ayodel high-lowed Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre and badly spraining his ankle, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, after Favre temporarily left the game, excitedly proclaimed “Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!”

As King also writes, “An on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, ‘Pay me my money!’”

-As we know, the investigation was halted for lack of evidence -- because everybody involved basically denied the bounty pool’s existence -- but it’s interesting to note how the NFL began looking into it in the first place. After the Vikings playoff game, Minnesota officials informed the league that it had information that a bounty had been placed on Favre and a bounty had been placed on Kurt Warner the week before.

Williams, Hargrove and assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt all denied the allegations, and apparently, the investigators told Saints general manager Mickey Loomis to make sure there was no bound program. Loomis said he would.

Obviously, he didn’t. Which means he not only apparently lied to his boss but he also apparently lied to NFL officials. When the investigation started up again in last season’s playoffs, Saints owner Tom Benson told the NFL he would contact Loomis to make sure there was no bounty program.

-King also talked to Scott Fujita, who’s been very active on the player safety front. And who happened to be a big-time contributor (between $2,000-$10,000) to the bounty pool in New Orleans.

"Over the years I've paid out a lot of money for big plays like interceptions, sacks and special teams tackles inside the 20,” Fujita told King. “But I've never made a payment for intentionally injuring another player."

Still, paying into a bounty like that sort of clouds the message of player safety, doesn't it?

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Posted on: October 16, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 7:09 pm
 

Report: Campbell's dislocated shoulder ends year

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 7:06 p.m. ET: According to NFL.com, Campbell will miss the rest of the season with his dislocated shoulder.

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Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has been knocked out of the Oakland-Cleveland game with about 4 minutes left in the second quarter, and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, he's dislocated his shoulder.  After gaining seven yards on a run, Cleveland’s Scott Fujita tackled him, and Campbell stayed on the turf until Oakland trainers could reach him.

As he slowly walked off the field, Campbell -- who was 6 of 9 for 52 yards and had helped the Raiders to a 14-7 lead against the Browns -- Campbell, in obvious pain, held his arm close to abdomen. Kyle Boller is in to replace Campbell, and on his first play in the game, a fourth and 1 from the Raiders 34, the team went for it and Boller gained the first down on a sneak.

If Boller were to go down, Terrelle Pryor -- who is not on the active roster -- would not play. Instead, the Raiders emergency third quarterback is punter Shane Lechler.

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Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:37 am
 

Keep an Eye On: Week 6's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Raiders vs. Browns
Keep an eye on: Raiders passing game
The Raiders are a run-first team, no doubt. That shouldn’t change against the Browns.

Cleveland can stop the run well enough, especially if middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson stays clean from blockers. But at some point, Jason Campbell will have to make a play or two through the air. Expect Darren McFadden to be the primary receiving weapon out of the backfield.

Throws to McFadden have easy, defined reads for Campbell (who often flounders late in his progressions and when his pocket gets too crowded for him to take a full step into his throw) and they should be available given the way Cleveland’s linebackers have struggled in underneath coverage. Most of those struggles have come against athletic tight ends.

The Raiders, however, are more inclined to run tight end Kevin Boss down the seam and swing McFadden underneath. The Browns will likely commit a safety (perhaps T.J. Ward) to tight end coverage and allow Scott Fujita to cover McFadden (expect zone principles since Fujita doesn’t have a prayer at running with McFadden in man coverage).

This isn’t to say Campbell won’t go to his wide receivers. He’s been attacking deep more in October than he did in September. That’s a response to the new speedy duo of Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Both are raw but potentially lethal. (No. 3 receiver Jacoby Ford is also a burner.) They’re not a potent one-two punch yet, though. Moore’s only big game came against the Bills, when Heyward-Bey was out of the lineup.

We may find out which receiver the Raiders like better this Sunday. Campbell has avoided throwing at top-flight corners this season (he hardly looked to Darrelle Revis’ side in Week 3 and rarely challenged Houston’s Johnathan Joseph in Week 5). Browns second-year sensation Joe Haden is most definitely a top-flight corner (he may have the most natural change-of-direction ability of any defensive player in football).

If Haden returns from his sprained knee, he’ll likely line up on the defensive left side. Whoever Oakland puts on the offensive left side (i.e. away from Haden) figures to be the go-to target. That could tell you what wide receiver pecking order the Raiders prefer.



Ravens vs. Texans
Keep an eye on: Brian Cushing
The third-year pro has been arguably the best inside linebacker in the AFC this season. That’s significant considering how mightily Cushing struggled as the middle linebacker in Houston’s 4-3 scheme last season.

But the inside duties are different in Wade Phillips’ new 3-4. With less field to cover, Cushing has been able to be more of an attacker than a reader-and-reactor. That’s a style best suited for his speed and ferocity.
 
Cushing hunts down outside runs extremely well and shows vigor when tasked with clearing out a lead-blocker. Both are critical traits for containing a Ravens ground game featuring a dynamic B-and C-gap runner like Ray Rice and a fullback like Vontae Leach.

Cushing is also noteworthy because of what he means to Houston’s pass-rush. Against the Raiders last week, Phillips resorted to frequent inside blitzes in an effort to instill panic in Oakland’s pass protectors and command one-on-one matchups for the rushers outside. Cushing continuously stood out for timing his blitzes well and executing them with reckless abandon.

With Mario Williams out, Phillips may feel compelled to be even more aggressive with linebacker blitzes. And he’s certainly seen the Week 4 film of Joe Flacco and the Ravens struggling to sort out many of the Jets’ inside blitzes.

Lions vs. 49ers
Keep an eye on: the tight ends
The 49ers and Lions are very different offenses. The Lions run a modern, semi-spread, aerial attacking offense. The 49ers run a 1980s, compact, ground-pounding offense.

That’s primarily a function of the quarterbacks. Though both are former No. 1 overall picks, Matthew Stafford is gun-slinger while Alex Smith is, comparatively, a spitball shooter. (To be fair, Smith did have a terrific game against the Bucs. He diagnosed coverages well and made a few stick throws.)

Though vastly different, both offenses are built around the same base personnel package: two tight ends. The Lions frequently line up with Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew while the Niners often feature Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. The conundrum that two tight end personnel presents for a defense is in deciding what personnel to respond with.

Go with nickel and you risk getting run on (especially when facing the Niners, given that Davis and Walker are both solid run-blockers). Go with a base defense and you risk getting thrown on (especially with the Lions since Scheffler often splits out as a third receiver in the slot).
 
All four tight ends are weapons. For the Lions, Brandon Pettigrew is surprisingly mobile given his 265-pound frame and ’09 knee injury (from which he’s seemingly gained mobility through rehabbing). Scheffler is a swift downfield target.

For the Niners, Vernon Davis is as athletic as they come. No one save for maybe Jermichael Finley is as dangerous down the seams. Delanie Walker is not as good as Bay Area fans think, but he’s versatile in patterns and can block from a standstill position, off of motion or in a lead out of the backfield.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Gleason given Super bowl ring, key to city

GleasonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The other day we told you about the story, written by the New Orleans Times Picayune that revealed that former Saints standout special teams player Steve Gleason had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the age of 34.

While the nasty disease has no known cure and Gleason eventually will lose all control of his body movement, he’s remained optimistic while raising funds and awareness for the malady. The TP story -- and Gleason’s admission -- was cited by the Saints in their comeback victory against the Texans, and evidently, the story touched the city of New Orleans.

That was evident Monday night when the Saints presented Gleason with a Super Bowl XLIV ring and city mayor Mitch Landrieu also gave Gleason a key to the city during a private party, according to the Times Picayune.

"At the beginning of the game, I never knew if we were going to win or lose, but I was always for certain that I was going to walk out of there with my head held high because I got ready, I had the right people around me, and I was going to give it everything I had," Gleason said during a six-minute speech. "It's the same now. We're going to give it everything we've got. I have a calming sense of certainty that we're going to win this thing."

Said Scott Fujita, who attended the event: “This isn't about Steve having ALS. This is about Steve and his contribution to the 2009 team and the championship. He deserved it."

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Pryor's lawyer plans to appeal 5-game suspension

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Thursday, the league declared former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor eligible for the supplemental draft, but with the caveat that he must serve a five-game suspension should he sign with an NFL team. Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, originally backed the decision imposed by commissioner Roger Goodell.

On Friday, Pryor's lawyer, David Cornwell, appearing on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, sounded like someone who had plans to -- you guessed it -- appeal Goodell's decision.

“[Goodell] indicated that we have the right to appeal within three days after Terrelle signs an NFL contract, and given some of the developments both in reaching the decision and comments out of the [NFL Players Association] regarding the decision, I think it’s likely that we will file an appeal, and give the Players Association an opportunity to make it’s objections to this on the record,” Cornwell said, according wire reports

This assumes, of course, that Pryor will be drafted on August 22. Surely, someone in Pryor's camp must have those assurances because the timing of Cornwall's announcement could scare off potential suitors (and who knows, it still might).

The bigger issue is (and we seem to be saying this all the time) Goodell's role in all this. As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote Thursday, the league would like to discipline NFL players who run afoul of NCAA rules, and the decision to suspend Pryor for five games was Goodell's way of circumventing the current guidelines that prevent that.

"What Roger Goodell did in suspending Pryor is get the NCAA's back. The NFL and NCAA both feel that players are breaking rules on the college level thinking they can use the NFL as an escape hatch. The NFL wants to stop that mentality. What Goodell did was also send a message to the union. If you won't work with us on this, then I'll use the commissioner power to make the decisions myself."

PFT's Mike Florio echoes many of the sentiments Freeman laid out: "If the NFLPA lets this one slide, then the NFL will try in the future to take similar action when a former college player who has gotten himself in trouble with the NCAA wants to play pro football."

Not surprisingly, the players are concerned, too. "I know players are concerned about the message this sends," said Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the players' executive committee. "Granted, making this 'deal' was an individual decision made by a player with counsel from his agent and lawyer. They have every right to make whatever deal they want for his personal future. That being said, the general concern now is how far into Pandora's box this may go."

And that's the problem.

Next up: seeing which teams are impressed enough with Pryor's workout to draft him. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot writes that the Browns will be on hand for Pryor's Saturday pro day. Also worth mentioning: in June, the Browns were already doing their due dliigence on Pryor. We think it's safe to say that they like him. Just at what cost?

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 8:53 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 9:07 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.25.11: Mike Kafka's 'next step'

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Mike Kafka told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he's ready to "take that next step" and become the Eagles' official backup. Of course, that presumes that Kevin Kolb is traded. Fortunately, Andy Reid's got his back too. I know that Reid's really good at developing quarterbacks and all, but going from Kolb backing up Vick to Kafka backing up Vick is a significantly different proposition.
  • Is it legal for the younger brother of an NFL offensive coordinator to teach that OC's new quarterback the offense? I mean, it's not, right?


Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 3:39 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Another year turned into another rebuilding season for the Browns (it turned out to be the last of three in Eric Mangini’s tenure). Injuries rocked all three mistake-prone quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and third-round rookie Colt McCoy, who performed OK but was limited to a cliff-noted playbook).

It maybe wouldn’t have mattered anyway, given the paucity of quality receiving options (No. 1 wideout Mohammad Massaquoi improved just enough to pass for being a low-end No. 2, while tight end Ben Watson was the go-to guy by default).

Defensively, the young secondary at times seemed overburdened by the volume of sub-packages in Rob Ryan’s complex system. But often, Ryan’s scheme compensated for shabby pass-rushing resources. The Browns were the only team not to give up 30 points in any of their first 15 games. Still, that wasn’t enough to save Ryan from the coaching staff overhaul in January.




Defensive scheme

The task of installing a 4-3 scheme is substantial, especially given this team’s prior commitment to the 3-4.

Linebackers Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita and nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin (who will now play more one-gap techniques) are the only players from last year’s team who are truly equipped to operate in a 4-3.

And Gocong never did blossom in Philadelphia’s 4-3. Restocking the defensive line will be the biggest challenge.




1. Defensive End
Marcus Benard is a fantastic athlete who, as an outside linebacker, often played bigger than his 256-pound size suggested. That doesn’t mean the undrafted third-year pro is ready to start – especially given that he’ll be learning how to play with his hand in the dirt. Jayme Mitchell, another undrafted guy, is penciled in on the other side. What does this tell you? The Browns need at least three, and maybe four, defensive ends.

2. Defensive Tackle
Rubin can be an adequate two-down player, even if he’s not a true Pat Williams-like clogger. Brian Schaefering, however, does not get off blocks well enough to play inside. Even if he did, the Browns would still need more one-gap quickness here.

3. Wide Receiver
Very few quarterbacks could succeed with Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey and Joshua Cribbs as their top four wideouts. Massaquoi is not dynamic enough to create on his own; Robiskie has barely seen the field his first two seasons; Stuckey’s quickness is impressive but best suited for the slot, while Cribbs is simply a gadget player.




Let’s hope new head coach Pat Shurmur is a patient man. The defense that Dick Jauron is installing is not complicated schematically, but it will take at least two years to accumulate the front seven personnel needed to run it.

That’s about how long the offense will take to develop if Shurmur decides that Colt McCoy is indeed the long-term solution for his West Coast system. A third straight 5-11 season seems likely.

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.11.11 kick off week with legal news

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

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