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Tag:Takeo Spikes
Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Bucs should have advantage with early trip

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Last year when the 49ers met the Broncos in London, it was clear to then-San Francisco linebacker Takeo Spikes that arriving in England a few days before Denver made a big difference.

“I think it helped (to leave early),” he told me in a Five Questions (or more) interview. “To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time. … I talked to them when they got off the plane on Thursday, and they said they felt fine. But damn, it must have been tough.”

Apparently, Bears coach Lovie Smith still believes the Broncos approach can work for his squad. Although the Buccaneers, who play Chicago this Sunday in London, left for the UK on Monday, Chicago won’t hop on a plane until Thursday, arriving in London on Friday. That means the Bears will have only two days to get their bodies acclimated before playing Sunday.

Smith doesn’t see a potential problem.

“For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing,” he said, via the Tampa Tribune. “As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

Tampa Bay has tried to have a normal work week as well. The Buccaneers took Tuesday off, like they normally would, to sight-see around London and then got ready to have normal practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Getting our players here early and getting them acclimated to the city, letting them have the day off here (on Tuesday) to do whatever they want kind of takes the angst away from coming in at the end of the week,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris said from England.

Another key reason for the early travel schedule. Getting the team acclimated to the Wembley Stadium turf.

"That's why we came here on Monday,” Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. “Because the Wembley field is just like that. It's slipperier than what you expect, so it's important for our guys to be able to practice on it and with the right cleats on.''

The Buccaneers tried the Smith approach two years ago, and they were easily beaten by the Patriots 35-7. New England had arrived 17 hours before Tampa Bay -- which, granted, isn’t a big difference, but it is something. And with the 49ers easily beating the Broncos last season -- when San Francisco got to town three days earlier -- you’d think the Bears would be paying attention to the mini-trend.

But you’d be wrong.

"You can get as much rest as you need," Smith said. "We're going to end up playing the game at 12 o'clock, Chicago time. I don't think that's an issue at all. I think normally when you go overseas, I think the best football team normally wins. It's as simple as that. That's what will happen this time around."

Maybe, or perhaps jet lag will play a big part in a Tampa Bay win.



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Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:20 am
 

Report: NFL wants TWO games in London

The NFL says it wants to hold two games in London next year (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For those NFL teams who hate giving up a home game in order to fly overseas and play a tilt in front of European fans, it sounds like they’re going to be twice as disappointed next season.

Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reports that commissioner Roger Goodell told him that the NFL would like to play two games next season in Europe. According to Kaplan, he believes both games would be in London.

For Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, that probably doesn’t sound like a good idea, considering he said this in June when asked about playing in London this season:

"No, I'm not excited to go to London,” he said. “I don't understand why they do that. ... I am not excited to go to London, I will say that. I can't imagine many players would be, considering the travel involved and disruption to their weekly schedule.”

Last year, when I spoke to Takeo Spikes about it, he described the difficulty of adjusting to a time zone that is five hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast and eight hours ahead of the West. Though he said he enjoyed the trip, it wasn’t easy on his sleep patterns.

From my Five Questions (or more) with him:

CBS: You guys went straight from Carolina to London, while Denver spent a couple extra days at home. Do you think it helped that the 49ers flew out early to let your bodies adjust?

Spikes: I think it helped. To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time.


But there obviously is big money to be made in Europe and the NFL feels it needs to continue pushing its global brand. And really, what would a team like the Bengals rather have? Playing in front of an excited, sold-out crowd in Wembley Stadium or a half-full stadium of Cincinnatians who are apathetic about the product in front of them?

Maybe the former.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:23 pm
 

Takeo Spikes agrees to terms with Chargers

SpikesPosted by Josh Katzowitz

After three seasons in San Francisco, free agent LB Takeo Spikes has a new destination. The Chargers announced Tuesday night that Spikes and San Diego have agreed to terms on a three-year deal.

Even though Spikes will turn 35 in December, he’s coming off a standout year in which he combined for 109 tackles, his biggest number since 2003, and recorded three interceptions. Though it’s understandable why the 49ers wouldn’t want to give him a long-term contract -- though one of the San Francisco beat writers earlier this year said signing Spikes was a “no brainer” -- Spikes clearly still has value.

Even better for Spikes, his old defensive coordinator in San Francisco, Greg Manusky, is now in San Diego.

And maybe for Spikes, it’ll be nice to play for a team that has a pretty good chance to win. From my Five Questions (or More) with him last November:

4. CBS: You know, your career is fascinating to me. You’ve played at such a high level for so long, but you’ve only been on one team that’s finished with a winning record. After 12 years in the league …

Spikes: Thirteen years.

CBS: After 13 years, how do you still get excited about football, even when the teams you’ve played on haven’t been so good?

Spikes: I walk on faith. I think that’s the bottom line. Back in the day, early in my career, you don’t know anything about how a team is supposed to feel, and not understanding the reasons why we’re paying quarterbacks $10-12 million per year. If you have a good quarterback, you’re able to go out and compete no matter how bad your defense is. That’s a fact. Earlier in my career, I didn’t understand that. I thought the defense could do it all. But you still need help. Now, how do I keep myself going? I’m surrounded by a great group of guys, and it’s an even push. They push me all the time. I know what we can be. I see us working toward that as a defense.

- In other former Bills LB news, Paul Posluszny has agreed to a six-year deal with the Jaguars, according to NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora.

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Aldon Smith could take Manny Lawson's job

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Last year, Andy and I engaged in a war of words when discussing 49ers LB Manny Lawson. I called him one of the top-five 3-4 LBs in the league, and Andy tried to lambast me (though I parried most of his attempts and struck back effectively).

Anyway, with the 49ers drafting Aldon Smith in the first round of last week’s draft, you have to wonder what happens with Lawson (pictured at right) in 20Lawson 11. Especially since he’s not under contract at this point (though, if the 2010 rules are put into place for 2011, Lawson would, once again, be a restricted free agent).

According to Comcast Sports Net, Lawson still could play a big role with San Francisco if he returns to the club.

But it seems like, eventually, Smith will take over the starting role (which is a perfectly appropriate goal for a man taken with the No. 7 pick overall), because he’s about 25 pounds heavier than Lawson and stronger (though I doubt his pass coverage skills are as good as Lawson’s).

But as Will pointed out in his 49ers Offseason Checkup, San Francisco’s LB corps, with Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes is still pretty darn impressive. Even if Lawson isn’t retained.

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Posted by Will Brinson



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



The 49ers were doomed almost from the very start of last season. After all, check out their schedule for the first five games – the Seahawks, the Saints, the Chiefs, the Falcons and the Eagles (all made the playoffs and combined for a 51-29 record while knocking off the 49ers) – but two weeks after running through that gauntlet, San Francisco fell to the Panthers also. So, that’s not too good.

Neither, for that matter, was coach Mike Singletary, who was fired after Week 16, and neither was much of anybody else. The offense ranked 24th in the league – almost a miracle considering Alex Smith and Troy Smith traded off starting QB spots and RB Frank Gore missed the last five games because of a fractured hip – and though the defense was actually slightly better than average, San Francisco just couldn’t put it together under Singletary’s leadership.




Quarterback Issues

When Singletary named Troy Smith as his starting QB midway through the season, you knew neither of them were long for their respective jobs. When Singletary replaced andinjured Alex Smith with Troy Smith in Week 10 and then switched back to Alex the next week (and then continued to switch the two throughout the rest of the year), there was almost no chance San Francisco would win consistently.

Actually, the trouble began earlier in the season during that infamous Sundayy Night Football game when the San Francisco fans booed Alex Smith and demanding to see the backup QB, and Singletary thought hard about replacing him with David Carr. Smith then led a near comeback attempt vs. the Eagles. Still, not a great sequence for San Francisco.


1. Patient History
We gave the patient history of this position in the section above, so now, let’s figure out what the 49ers will do about it. They actually could keep Alex Smith – they’ve already offered him a one-year contract – but it’s unclear whether Smith will sign it. But yeah, it might make sense for San Francisco to look for quarterbacks in the draft. And remember, Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb are still out there as well.

2. Jim Harbaugh
He’s got zero NFL head coaching experience, but 49ers fans have to be excited about the possibilities (considering his success at Stanford and because his brother, John, has done such a bang-up job with the Ravens), and considering he’s getting paid $25 million over five years, he’d BETTER have more success than Singletary. And don’t forget: San Francisco also hired Trent Baalke as GM in the offseason. So, the 49ers are kind of starting over.

3. Cornerback
Nate Clements is fine at one CB spot, but Shawntae Spencer didn’t have a great year last season. Which is why it makes sense for San Francisco to grab either LSU’s Patrick Peterson or Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara with the No. 7 pick in the draft.




The defense is good enough to compete. The 49ers LB corps with Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes (and maybe Manny Lawson) is pretty darn good, and the defensive line, led by Justin Smith, does a nice job as well. The problem here is offense, and not just at QB either.

Gore is coming off a bad injury, and WR Michael Crabtree still hasn’t broken out in a big way. Assuming Harbaugh can get the respect of his team right away – something Singletary struggled with last season – San Francisco could get back to 8-8. Which means the 49ers could contend for the NFC West crown.

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.6.10: box score tidbits Week 13

Posted by Andy Benoit

Hot Routes
  • The Steelers and Ravens both converted four third downs, went 1/2 in the red zone and committed nine penalties Sunday night.
  • Rashard Mendenhall carried the ball 19 times (45 yards) after handling the rock a whopping 36 times the previous week at Buffalo.
  • Anquan Boldin had five catches for 118 yards, seemingly all of them on the game’s final drive.
  • The Saints were just 1/8 on third down against the Bengals. They won because they generated 248 yards on their five biggest plays.
  • Roman Harper led the Saints with 10 tackles, a sack (on the final play) and two tackles for a loss.
  • Jay Cutler was 21/26 for 234 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. Cutler also went “interception-less” for the fifth time this season. On the year, he has a passer rating of 92.8.
  • Earl Bennett is quietly becoming a go-to receiver for the Bears. The possession target had seven catches for 104 yards.
  • Cliff Avril had three sacks for Detroit. That’s seven on the year and six in Avril’s last four games.
  • Troy Smith completed just 10/25 passes against Green Bay. His limitations in reading the field from the pocket were obvious at times.
  • For the second straight week, Tennessee had fewer than 50 plays offensively. They’ve now gone a franchise-record 12 quarters without a touchdown.
  • Dexter McCluster had five carries(11 yards) and two receptions (25 yards) in his first game back from a high ankle sprain. (He also had a fumble.)
  • Turnovers once again doomed Miami. They were minus-three against the Browns.
  • Browns tight end Ben Watson exploded for 100 yards on 10 catches.
  • Sidney Rice looks to be in top form. He had 105 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
  • The Redskins did not convert once in the red zone against the Giants Sunday. Reason being, they were never in the red zone.
  • Derek Hagan led the Giants with seven receptions. No one else caught more than two passes for New York.
  • Jason Campbell was just 10/16 passing in Oakland’s surprising win at San Diego.
  • The Chargers fell behind early and ran the ball just eight times. The Raiders ran the ball 52 times (for 251 yards).
  • Peyton Manning completed 36/48 for 365 yards on what everyone agreed was one of his worst games as a pro.
  • The Cardinals had three different quarterbacks attempt passes Sunday. All completed 50 percent or fewer of their attempts.
  • Carolina’s Steve Smith had 39 of his 54 yards receiving come on one play. It was Smith’s longest catch of the season.
  • Marshawn Lynch punched in three touchdowns (and had 83 yards rushing) for Seattle.
  • One of Matt Ryan’s two interceptions was a result of the receiver slipping on bad turf. The Falcons turned the ball over for the first time in nearly five games Sunday.
  • Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes had an interceptions and six pass breakups.

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Posted on: November 13, 2010 11:40 am
 

Week 10 injury news and analysis, part I

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Chiefs at Broncos

Right now, it’s unclear what will happen with Denver LB D.J. Williams, who was charged early Friday morning with a DUI – his second alcohol-related charge since 2005. He didn’t practice Friday, and coach Josh McDaniels expressed disappointment with Williams – who’s been one of the best defenders on the squad this season.

He could play this Sunday, but he’s looking at discipline from the NFL at some point and probably from the Broncos as well. That said, he very well could be out there this weekend. You’ll remember that when Braylon Edwards was charged with DWI in September, he played the very next week.

Kansas City rookie WR Dexter McCluster – who’s missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain – is listed as questionable and will be a gametime decision. He was limited at practice all week, and if he could play Sunday, he’d be a big boon to the Chiefs. Aside from McCluster, OG Brian Waters, S Kendrick Lewis and S Jon McGraw are questionable.

Cowboys at Giants

The big blow for the Giants will be that WR Steve Smith won’t play because of a partially torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Thursday’s practice (luckily for him and his team, it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending injury). His team will miss his production, and Hakeem Nicks will miss Smith’s ability to take some of the opposing secondary’s attention off him. Mario Manningham should get more playing time in place of Smith.

We also could see the return of T Will Beatty, who’s been out since mid-September with a broken foot. This week, he started doing agility and footwork drills for the first time since his surgery, and he’s listed as questionable on the injury report. RB Brandon Jacobs, who missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness, is probable.

For Dallas, CB Terence Newman hasn’t been himself since he hurt his ribs three weeks ago, and he’s been burned for big gains and big touchdowns because he’s having a tough time accelerating. Considering the Cowboys are thin in the secondary, Newman likely will continue to play. He had full participation in practice all week and is probable.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Arizona RB Beanie Wells just cannot seem to get healthy. Once again, he’s listed as questionable this week after missing practices Wednesday and Thursday (he was limited Friday) with continued swelling in his knee. It’s not just the fact he’s hurt. He’s also missing valuable practice time, and that combination does not bode well for him. He played last week, but carried just once for minus-two yards. Until he’s healthy, Tim Hightower will get the bulk of the carries.

DL Darnell Dockett, one of the Cardinals most important defenders, suffered a shoulder stinger in last week’s loss to Minnesota, and he’s questionable. He practiced all week (albeit in a limited fashion), but he seems likely to play. LB Paris Lenon, who aggravated an ankle injury last week, also is questionable to play. But he progressed well this week, and he very well could play as well.

Seattle, once again, could miss first-round pick LT Russell Okung, who’s been battling injuries all season. Now, he’s dealing with an ankle injury, and the Seahawks listed him as questionable to play. Without him, the Seahawks likely will start G Chester Pitts in his place.

Rams at 49ers

Obviously, the big absence for San Francisco is starting QB Alex Smith, who is out with a left shoulder injury. Troy Smith will get the start in his place. Considering he helped lead San Francisco to a big win against the Broncos two weeks ago in London, Troy Smith deserves another shot this week against San Francisco. Plus, as LB Takeo Spikes told me recently in Five Questions (or More), Smith’s presence in the pocket was a comfort to the team.

Of the 11 Rams who are on this week’s injury report, two (WR Danario Alexander and S James Butler) are out, one (TE Fendi Onobun) is doubtful and everybody else is probable.

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Posted on: November 12, 2010 11:37 am
 

Five Questions (or More) with Takeo Spikes

T. Spikes has had an outstanding career, but his teams haven't fared so well (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Takeo Spikes, the 49ers veteran LB, has been hugely effective in this league for more than a decade, mostly playing on teams that couldn’t break the .500 mark. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler, but he’s never been to the playoffs.

Though the 49ers are coming off their bye week with a 2-6 record, there’s reason for hope in San Francisco. The team is coming off a big win against the Broncos in London two weeks ago, and Spikes still feels like the team has a chance to compete in the NFC West.

We caught up with Spikes, and we discussed his worldliness, the team’s quarterback situation and how he continues to motivate himself.

Previous Five Questions (or More):

Nov. 5: former WR, current NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson

Oct. 29: Chargers LS Mike Windt

Oct. 22: Bengals WR coach Mike Sheppard

Oct. 15: Redskins WR Anthony Armstrong

Oct. 8:
Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich

Oct. 1: Kent Babb of the KC Star

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington


1. CBSSports.com:
So, you got back from London before the bye week. Aside from the big win, how was the UK?

Takeo Spikes:
London was cool. I like it because it breaks up the monotony of the season. I’ve never been to Europe before. I’ve been to other places, but not to Europe. To go over there and see a different culture was cool. I’m a people person. I went to different restaurants and to see the different sights that you learn about in school when you’re in social studies. It was a great experience.

CBS:
I’ve been to your hometown of Sandersville, Ga., and I know it’s a small town. When you were growing up there, did you ever think about exploring the world? Did you think the NFL could help you do that?

Spikes: I always knew that I wanted to go places. But I never knew I’d go as many places as I’ve been. Football has allowed me to experience much more than I could have even fathomed.

2. CBS: Let’s talk about the win against Denver. How big was that?

Spikes: It was a great win for us. Knowing what we’ve been through during the entire eight games. Just looking back at the last couple weeks, we’ve noticed a lot of improvement. We’ve gone out the last three games, and if you look at the film, we’ve gotten better. We got a much-needed spark with Troy (Smith at QB) coming in. To be able to display what we displayed in London in Wembley Stadium, it was great. The fans were unbelievable. A lot of guys figured it was like playing in college again because there were 85,000 people there.

CBS: You guys went straight from Carolina to London, while Denver spent a couple extra days at home. Do you think it helped that the 49ers flew out early to let your bodies adjust?

Spikes:
I think it helped. To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time.

CBS:
Could you tell during game that Denver wasn’t as well-rested?

Spikes:
That, I don’t know. I had good intention to ask those guys. I talked to them when they got off the plane on Thursday, and they said they felt fine. But damn, it must have been tough.

3. CBS: What did Troy Smith give you? I know quarterback has been a problem area. You could really see it in that Monday Night game against the Saints when the crowd started chanting for David Carr. But now you go with Troy Smith, and suddenly, it clicks. Why?

Spik
es: Just with Troy’s presence. He’s a guy who’s not only confident in his abilities but he makes everybody feel confident about themselves and what he’s about to do when we step on the field. I know it’s only one game. But if he’s going to continue to be the quarterback, I liked his performance. He made plays down the line when we needed plays to be made. That’s big for us, because as a defensive unit, we know you can only hold up for so long.

CBS:
I think it was surprising because Smith had never shown that before when he was in Baltimore.

Spikes:
It’s about timing and opportunity. When you get the timing and the opportunity, you have to take advantage of it.

4. CBS: You know, your career is fascinating to me. You’ve played at such a high level for so long, but you’ve only been on one team that’s finished with a winning record. After 12 years in the league …

Spikes:
Thirteen years.

CBS: After 13 years, how do you still get excited about football, even when the teams you’ve played on haven’t been so good?

Spikes:
I walk on faith. I think that’s the bottom line. Back in the day, early in my career, you don’t know anything about how a team is supposed to feel, and not understanding the reasons why we’re paying quarterbacks $10-12 million per year. If you have a good quarterback, you’re able to go out and compete no matter how bad your defense is. That’s a fact. Earlier in my career, I didn’t understand that. I thought the defense could do it all. But you still need help. Now, how do I keep myself going? I’m surrounded by a great group of guys, and it’s an even push. They push me all the time. I know what we can be. I see us working toward that as a defense.

5. CBS:
You guys must feel the NFC West is still ripe for the taking. 

Spikes: No doubt about it. This division is still ripe for the taking. We finished the first hard part of our schedule. All the time in this league if you start the season off good, you’re going to go through adversity at some point. The true test is how you come out of it. We have a shot, and it’s no pressure on us. Nobody is expecting anything from us anyway.

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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