Tag:Terence Newman
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:58 am
Edited on: January 9, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Coach Killers, Week 17: Say no to team captains

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

With the regular season in the books, the coaching axe has fallen on several unfortunate souls around the league. Raheem Morris and Steve Spagnuolo joined Todd Haley, Tony Sparano and Jack Del Rio among the ranks of former head coaches now looking for jobs. We won't address them here. Instead, we'll look at those performances from the final week of the regular season that could cost still-employed coaches their gigs at some point in the future.

Santonio Holmes - Jets

Your New York Jets team captain, everybody!
A brief history: the Steelers traded Holmes to the Jets just before the 2010 NFL Draft for a fifth-round pick. At the time, Pittsburgh fans were apoplectic because Holmes had been a first-rounder in 2006, and oh, right, he was the Super Bowl MVP in February 2009.

To send him packing for what amounted to a draft-day afterthought was, well, insane. Turns out, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is a lot smarter than any of us, just in case we needed reminding. Not only did he unload his problem on the Jets, that fifth-round pick he got in return? Colbert sent that to the Cardinals for cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick, which Pittsburgh used to take -- wait for it -- Antonio Brown. So, yes, things worked out just fine for the Steelers.

The Jets, meanwhile, are an unmitigated disaster. Head coach Rex Ryan named Holmes team captain in August, which might have been his most egregious coaching decision all year. (We don't say that lightly, though Ryan admitted at Monday's press conference that naming team captains was a mistake.) Everything came to a head Sunday in Miami, when Holmes was benched.

"Let's just say there were guys in the huddle that were unhappy with Tone's demeanor," veteran running back LaDainian Tomlinson said of Holmes after the game. "When you have a group that's fighting their butts off, and one guy, for whatever reason, their demeanor's not with them, you're going to get some guys to say something to him and tell them how they feel. That's what you got today."

Again: that's the Jets team captain. There's more (of course there is). On Monday, after Holmes refused to talk to the media, there were reports that he and Mark Sanchez "feuded" in a team meeting in the days leading up to the Dolphins game.

"He went back and forth with Mark at the meeting," the source told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. "He was saying stuff like, "What am I even here for?" Then he blew off Mark by not even showing up the next day."

Another player called Holmes "a cancer" adding that "it's like dealing with a 10-year-old." And then, on Sunday, Holmes got into a shouting match with Sanchez in the huddle on two consecutive plays which prompted one player to tell him to "Go home, go to the sidelines."

As CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco pointed out Sunday, this is all Mike Tannebaum and Rex Ryan's doing. It's all fun and games until a grown man cries in an end-of-year team meeting. Then reality sets in. The Jets are a mess.

There is a bright spot to all this, however: Holmes' antics have temporarily taken the white-hot interrogation lamp off Sanchez.

Terence Newman - Cowboys

Head-coaching material? Jason Garrett thinks so.
The Ryan family had quite a day Sunday. Rex's Jets team self-destructed and Rob, the defensive coordinator in Dallas, did his part to make sure the Cowboys missed the playoffs. Cornerback Terence Newman wasn't the only issue against a Giants offense that moved the ball at will all night, but his performance was indicative of a larger problem facing this defense: it's not much of a defense at all.

Newman has probably played his last game in Dallas, something that almost happened during training camp. ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon recounts the weirdness:
It was quite a surreal scene: a giddy Jerry Jones handing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan his cellphone on the Alamodome sideline during practice, hoping Ryan could close the Cowboys' recruiting campaign on All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, a conversation that happened about 10 yards away from where Newman and the other defensive backs ran drills.
That worked out.

Now it's fair to ask if Ryan will be back, too. Like his brother, Rob is never at a loss for words. The difference: Rex has been to two AFC Championship games in the last three seasons. It's easier to tolerate the gum-flapping when the team is winning. Rob's claim to fame, as best we can tell, is that his dad is Buddy and that he once was a position coach under Bill Belichick.

Rob's career as a defensive coordinator includes stints with the Raiders (2004-2008), Browns (2009-2010) and Cowboys (2011). The results, according to Football Outsiders' metrics:

2004: 26th-ranked defense
2005: 20th
2006: 8th
2007: 22nd
2008: 19th
2009: 30th
2010: 17th
2011: 17th

Not the type of numbers that should lead to a lot of bluster. Yet Rob still talks. And he very well may have talked himself out of not only head-coaching opportunities in 2012, but maybe even another defensive coordinator's gig should the Cowboys decide to move on.

Steve Johnson - Bills

Oh, Stevie Johnson. You seem like such a well-meaning dude. It's just that you can't stay out of your own way. Johnson wasn't the reason the Bills blew a 21-point lead against the Patriots Sunday, but his inability to avoid silly end zone-celebration penalties defy common sense.

Johnson found his name on this list back in Week 12, when his Plaxico Burress "I just shot myself" interpretive touchdown dance was predictably flagged. It got worse: later in that game against the Jets, Johnson dropped what could've been the go-ahead touchdown. Here's what we wrote at the time: "Johnson's TD dance: hilarious. Getting a 15-yard penalty: not hilarious. Dropping a perfect pass from Fitzpatrick on the Bills' last drive, one that would've given the Bills the lead: unacceptable, especially if you're going to mock the opposition."

Gailey says he still wants Johnson back.
And here's what Johnson said at the time: "I was just having fun, and part of having fun ended up being a penalty and a touchdown for the Jets," he said. "It was a stupid decision by myself." Lesson learned, right? Uh, no. Johnson scored in the first quarter Sunday and pulled up his jersey to reveal the words "Happy New Year 2012!!!" scribbled on his t-shirt. About as benign a "celebration" we can think of but it's still a penalty.

On Sunday, Bills coach Chan Gailey benched Johnson for the rest of the game and Buffalo went on to lose, 49-21.

Here's Johnson afterwards:

"I didn’t know it was going to draw a penalty. At the end of the day, what I did was what I did, and I am going to try and bring in the New Year. Ultimately, it hurt my teammates and that is the thing that is hurting me the most. The fact is that it hurt my team.

"The coach told me I was out of the game. He said for the rest of the game and I have to respect his decision. He made it and that is what it is. I can’t complain about it or whine or pout. He made his decision and I am going with it. It really doesn’t matter why or how it happened at the end of the day, what I did hurt my teammates and I have to take that and I will."

Gailey pointed out that Johnson had relayed a message via t-shirt last year without incident, which makes the NFL rules on the matter unclear (shocking, we know).

"I am disappointed," Gaily said. "What happens is, it happened last year, he put a message on his shirt, showed his shirt and didn’t get a flag. And he does it this year, and he gets a flag. Which one is it, you know? It puts me in a bind because I make the statement and if I say it, I’m going to [punish players who hurt our team]. So, I could not argue the gray area of that. So, yeah, I’m disappointed and if it hurts the team, then I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do."

Defense - Raiders

Raiders head coach Hue Jackson is responsible for giving up a first- and second-round pick to land Carson Palmer and it blew up in his face. Yes, you can argue that the Raiders have Palmer going forward, but that wasn't a "looking to the future" transaction. The plan was for Oakland to make their playoff run now.

It didn't happen for any number of reasons, Palmer's play and an inconsistent defense among them. After Sunday's loss to the Chargers that eliminated the Raiders from the playoffs, Jackson told the media that he was "pissed at my team." (He should also be pissed at himself; now Oakland doesn't have a first-round pick in April.)

“I’m going to take a stronger hand in this whole team, in this whole organization,” Jackson said. “There ain’t no way that I’m going to feel like I feel today a year from now. I promise you that."

Duly noted, Hue. He wasn't done.

“There’s no question. Defensively, offensively and special teams. I ain’t feeling like this no more. This is a joke. To have a chance at home to beat a football team that is reeling after being beaten by Detroit, is one of your rivals, and come in and beat us like that . . . yeah, I’m going to take a hand in everything that goes on here.”

But it's the defense that appears to be the true focus of his ire.

"I think (defensive coordinator) Chuck (Bresnahan) knows how I feel,'' Jackson said while not commenting directly on Bresnahan's status for next season. "I'm disappointed over there. I have been. It's not like we haven't had conversations. Chuck knows what I feel, and it's not good enough.''

The Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald writes that the Raiders "ended the season allowing 433 points, the second most in franchise history, an average of 27.1 points per game. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers' three touchdown passes brought the total to 31 against the Raiders this season, the most in club history."

Too bad the Raiders can't address their defensive needs in the first round of the 2012 draft.

Tim Tebow - Broncos

Tebow makes back-to-back appearances in Coach Killers after taking an 11-week break while the Broncos went from 1-4 to 8-5. Last week we wrote "the big issue is if defenses have figured out how to stop Denver's option attack and whether the offense has an answer to it."

Yes, it appears so. Tebow was just 6 of 22 for 60 yards (0 TDs, 1 INT) but head coach John Fox says the passing woes don't fall solely on the quarterback. (No idea if Fox actually believes this.)

Has Tebow performed his last miracle?
"There's a lot of moving parts to the pass game," Fox told reporters Monday. "You've got protection, route, timing. You have to throw the ball sometimes to tight windows. We've had had our moments this season. We'll just continue to try to improve. It's not just the quarterback."

Fox continued: "He's trying to do the best he can to help us win. He had a little bit of a struggle yesterday throwing the ball. That happens sometimes. You have to give credit to the Kansas City Chiefs. They've got a pretty good defense. They made a pretty good Green Bay Packer offense have some struggles. We're onto next week and trying to get better."

And the Broncos will need to get better because they're facing one of the league's best defenses when the Steelers come to town.

Last week, Broncos executive vice president John Elway said that Tebow would be the team's quarterback in 2012.

"Tim Tebow's not going anywhere," Elway told the Associated Press. "I mean, he's going to be a Bronco and we're going to do everything we can and hopefully he's that guy."

That proclamation may have been written in pencil, however. On Monday, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman had this: "While I'm sure Elway wasn't lying I'm told by several league and team officials that Elway continues to have significant concerns about whether or not Tebow can be a franchise quarterback despite Elway's public protestations to the contrary."

If the Broncos lose to the Steelers to drop their fourth game in a row we should expect those rumors to intensify.

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Film Room: Jets vs. Cowboys preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The Ryan Brothers are about more than oversized mouths and midsections. They’re two of the craftiest defensive scientists in today’s NFL.

Rob, in his first season as Dallas’ defensive coordinator, is hoping to build the same type of confounding defense that his brother has constructed in New York.

That’s a tall order.

The Jets have had two full years of experience in The Ryan System; the Cowboys, thanks to the lockout, have not quite had two months. The Jets also have the luxury of designing coverages around Darrelle Revis, the best shutdown corner since Deion Sanders.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, are just hoping that Terence Newman, who showed signs of decline last season, can recover from a groin injury in time to play. Whether he does or not, the Cowboy corners figure to need safety help Sunday night.

The Cowboys defense will improve under Rob Ryan, but it’s a question of when. The Jets defense, we already know, is ready to go. For this reason, we’ll focus our five key points on Cowboys O vs. Jets D – a matchup that, as you’ll see, drastically favors Gang Green.

1. Selling Out
What Rex Ryan does as well as any coach in football is attack tendencies. In other words, for simplicity sake, say that on second-and-10, data shows that the opposing offense uses play action 75 percent of the time. The Jets, on second-and-10, will employ a defensive tactic that goes all-out towards stopping play action.

This might seem like an obvious move. But a majority of NFL coaches are hindered by fear about that 25 percent chance of getting burned by a non-play action call. Not Ryan. He always looks to feast on an offense’s predictability. That’s one reason his players love him. Worth noting is that last season, the Cowboys often clang to basic personnel formations and had a tendency to be predictable.



2. The Disguise
While it’s true the Jets are one of football’s blitz-happiest teams (especially on third down), it’s a myth that their playbook is thick with myriad blitz designs. In actuality, the Jets use a relatively modest collection of blitz packages. The difference is that they execute these blitzes with a wide variety of personnel. Insiders call this "cross training", when a team has multiple players from multiple positions performing the same techniques. The Jets have nearly mastered it. This versatility is why defenders can roam around before the snap and disguise their looks.

3. The Execution
A lot of Ryan’s pass-rush designs look like blitzes but actually involve only four pass-rushers. Often, the pass-rushers are overloaded to one side. For example, the Jets might place seven defenders on the line of scrimmage (say four to left and three to right).

But when the ball is snapped, three of the four defenders on the left side drop into coverage, while all three defenders on the right side rush. This creates confusion for offenses in pass protection, which results in pass-rushers getting a clear path to the quarterback or being blocked by an overwhelmed running back.

The Jets make great use of a variety of zone exchanges. As our illustration shows, much of the work is done simply with the presnap alignment.

In this alignment, even if three of the four defenders on the left side of the line retreat back into coverage, they still create a pass-rushing advantage for the defense. The very nature of the pre-snap configuration forces the offense to waste blockers on the left side and also creates one-on-one matchups on the right.

Those one-on-one matchups dictate that the running back pick up the outside linebacker, which is a mismatch favoring the defense. On a related note, the running back also has reason to first look left (1. above) immediately after the snap, which makes him a half-beat slower in identifying his actual assignment on the right (2. above).

4. Cowboys Achilles Heal
Pass protection recognition figures to be a bugaboo for the Cowboys – at least early in the season. Two of Dallas’ starting linemen are rookies: first round right tackle Tyron Smith, who, at 20, is the youngest player in the league, and seventh-round left guard Bill Nagy.

What’s more, new center Phil Costa might not be overweight and overpaid like predecessor Andre Gurode, but he’s also not battle-tested. The undrafted second-year pro has played in four games, with just one start that came at left guard. Front line questions are ominous considering Tony Romo has always had some trouble diagnosing blitzes.

The only saving grace in Week 1 is that with Rob Ryan running the Cowboys D, this callow offensive line has had a chance to practice against some of Rex Ryan’s defensive concepts. But we’re still talking about an untested group coming off a shortened offseason and facing one of the most confounding defenses in all of football.

5. A Scintillating Raw Matchup
The ever-fluid Miles Austin figures to be blanketed by Darrelle Revis Sunday night. Thus, the Dez Bryant-Antonio Cromartie matchup takes center stage.

This will be like watching football’s version of a great impromptu dance-off or pickup street ball game. Both players are unrefined but dripping with natural talent and confidence. Bryant’s inexperience figures to limit his route tree; Cromartie’s refusal to use his hands in press coverage drives Jets coaches crazy. But both players have natural game-changing abilities.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:37 am
 

Texans chasing Nnamdi, 'long shot' to Cowboys?

Posted by Will Brinson

There's little question that, whenever the lockout finally ends, Nnamdi Asomugha will be the most sought-after player on the NFL's free-agent market.

And as more teams jump into the fray for help at the cornerback position, his price will only get higher. There'll likely be many teams chasing his services, but it appears that the Cowboys will not be one of them.

That's according to Matt Mosely of Fox Sports Southwest, who writes that he can "tell you with absolute certainty that Dallas sees Asomugha as a long shot."

Mosely says he's been told "only in our dreams" by folks in the Cowboys organization that such a signing and falls below signing Doug B. Free. (Not to mention it would require that Dallas release Terence Newman.)

Free's going to be pretty pricey, even though the 'Boys will end up moving him to right tackle once Tyron Smith's ready to take over on the left side. And while Dallas could definitely use Asomugha's talent to shut down some of the dangerous NFC East wideouts they face several times a year, they've got plenty of other issues to address.

A team that will have no choice but to chase Asomugha? That would be the Texans, whose pass defense flirted with being historically bad in 2010.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reported Tuesday that Houston is "indeed prepared to be aggressive in free agency … and will be among the teams pursuing" Asomugha.

The bad news for the Texans is that they'll now be chasing a player who will demand more than Dunta Robinson did when he left Houston for the Falcons in free agency a year ago.

The good news is that the new CBA, provided it plays out as everyone believes, should end up pushing several talented cornerbacks (namely Jonathan Joseph) into the free-agent market.

That won't make Asomugha too much cheaper, but it will give teams that don't have the bankroll to say in the hunt with the Dan Snyders of the world a shot at picking u pa viable option anyway.

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 5:53 pm
 

If Cowboys land Asomugha, Newman's likely gone

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Cowboys drafted cornerback Terence Newman fifth overall in 2003. Five years later, and quite happy with his development, the club rewarded him with a six-year extension worth $50.2 million, including $22.5 million guaranteed.

But as often happens, professional athletes reach their physical peak in their late 20s, and their production falls off a cliff once they hit 30. Newman was 29 when he got his new deal; he will be 33 when (if?) the 2011 season starts.

Given his age, it's no surprise that Newman struggled last season. Sobering details via ProFootballFocus.com:

"After a solid 2009, [Newman] crashed back to earth in a big way. Although he picked off five passes, he also gave up five touchdowns and allowed 65 percent of balls [thrown in his direction] to be completed. His 914 yards allowed ranked sixth worst in the NFL. Compare that to 2009 where he allowed just 740 yards and 57 percent of balls to be complete."

Also not surprising: Should there be free agency this summer, the Cowboys will be in the market for a shutdown corner. The team addressed the position three years ago by drafting Mike Jenkins. After conquering his aversion to contact as a rookie, and a promising 2009 season, Jenkins hit a rough patch in 2010. "His QB-rating-allowed more than doubled [from '09 to '10] (from 54.0 to 122.0), he allowed more touchdowns (two compared to six) and had fewer picks (five compared to one)," PFF's John Breitenbach wrote last month.

Presumably, Dallas isn't yet ready to give up on Jenkins. He has three things teams covet in cornerbacks: youth, athleticism and potential. Newman's tenure in Big D, however, could be nearing an end.

ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins, in a recent mailbag column, was asked about the Cowboys' chances of acquiring CB Nnamdi Asomugha and S Michael Huff in free agency (contingent on a new labor deal). Both players are familiar with new Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan from their time together in Oakland, and Asomugha is the consensus best cornerback in the free-agent class. Waktins' take:

"Of those two names you mentioned, I would say the team would try to sign Asomugha. If it happens, salary cap or not, the team won't keep Terence Newman. I don't see the team keeping two players in the defensive backfield who would command an average of $6 million to $8 million a season. Huff is an interesting choice, but I think Abram Elam and maybe Danieal Manning are better players."

The salary-cap math says that jettisoning Newman makes sense, even if he can somehow summon one more good season. And if Newman isn't with the Cowboys in 2011, he will be somewhere, likely paid well for his services. Demand for cornerbacks always outstrips supply, and franchises desperate to upgrade their secondaries will overpay for a player on the downside of a great career based solely on past performance. It seldom works out for both sides, although Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson are exceptions. Maybe Newman can be too.

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:06 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Dallas Cowboys

Posted by Andy Benoit



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



In terms of disappointment, the 2010 Dallas Cowboys more than lived up to the “Everything’s big in Texas” phrase. The year that was supposed to end with Jerry Jones’ team being the first to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium instead ended in effect before Thanksgiving.

Wade Phillips was no longer the coach at that point and Tony Romo had been sidelined for the past month with what would turn out to be a season-ending fractured clavicle. Can’t blame the face-plant on Romo’s injury, though.

After all, the Cowboys were 1-5 in games their star quarterback started.



Brooking quickly established himself as the defense’s emotional leader when he arrived in 2009. Because he’s been in his 30s since the Bush Administration, everyone has assumed he’s on the cusp of washing up.

That simply hasn’t been true…until now. Last season Brooking showed hints of decline in struggling to get off blocks. He is still a dominant player when pursuing the ball untouched, but in a 3-4, inside linebackers can’t count on regularly being untouched.

Lee, a second-round pick out of Penn Stage last year, overtook Bradie James in nickel packages. Lee has good natural change of direction ability and, in a limited sampling, has shown adequate instincts. As great organizations like the Eagles and Patriots have illustrated over the years, it’s better to replace someone a year too early rather than risk keeping him a year too long.




1. Safety
The game is evolving to where safeties are becoming vital for creating deception and disguise in a defensive scheme. The only experienced safety on Dallas’ roster is Alan Ball, and he just converted from cornerback last year.

2. Offensive Linemen
Right tackle Marc Colombo’s lack of athleticism finally caught up to him last season. Right guard Leonard Davis may have remained benched if backup Montrae Holland had been more reliable. Davis really struggled with lateral movement in pass protection last season. Left guard Kyle Kosier is an unrestricted free agent.

3. Cornerback
It may be time to start grooming Terence Newman’s replacement. Newman will be 33 when (if) this season opens up. He’s no longer quick enough to play man coverage with the cushy buffer zone he prefers. Orlando Scandrick is not the guy to replace Newman long-term. The third-year pro is better equipped to defend the slot and must first bounce back from a difficult sophomore campaign.




It’s “America’s Team”, so there’s always talk of a Lombardi Trophy. But how about having no expectations and just shutting up for a change?

It’s well known the Cowboys have as much talent as any team. What needs changing is the way they manage that talent.

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Posted on: November 20, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Week 11 injury report analysis Part II

Posted by Andy Benoit

Raiders @ Steelers

For Oakland, WR Chaz Schilens is out. That has become as standard as eating lunch after breakfast. Superstar CB Nnamdi Asomugha hopes his speedy recovery from a high ankle sprain will allow him to play. Asomugha participated in parts of practice during the week. The Steelers will have WR Hines Ward back (he missed three quarters with a concussion against New England last week), but the Raiders would probably prefer to put Asomugha on the more explosive Mike Wallace.

Oakland’s passing game might be more limited than usual, as TE Zach Miller (foot) and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) are both questionable. The Steelers vaunted defense is at full strength minus the all-important defensive ends, Aaron Smith (triceps) and Brett Keisel (hamstring).

Browns @ Jaguars

Josh Cribbs is a no-go after dislocating every toe in his right foot except the big one last week against the Jets. That obviously hurts Cleveland’s return game (though rookie Joe Haden is solid running back kickoffs) and it limits the creativity of the already-mundane offense. The offense could be further limited if sensational LG Eric Steinbach (calf) can’t play. He’s questionable – and so is backup Floyd Womack (knee).

Defensively, the Browns could once again be without Shaun Rogers (ankle). They will certainly be without LB Scott Fujita (knee). CB Sheldon Brown is questionable after last week’s shoulder injury. LB Matt Roth got sick and did not practice all week. DE Kenyon Coleman was limited in practice with a knee injury.

Cleveland’s banged-up defense presents the Jaguars with a golden opportunity to get to 6-4 and, remarkably, sneak to the top of the AFC South (that is, if New England beats Indy). The Jags will be near full strength Sunday, as WR Mike Sims-Walker (doubtful, ankle) is the only player listed as anything worse than probable.

Lions @ Cowboys

The Lions listed 17 players on the injury report this week. That’s not good considering they have to play just four days after the conclusion of this game.

The Lions will of course be without QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder). Kicker Jason Hanson (leg) is still out. So is RB Kevin Smith (thumb), which is a problem exacerbated by the fact that Jahvid Best is battling a toe injury (he’ll likely play but at less than 100 percent).

Tony Romo’s injury means we get to see Jon Kitna facing his former team. Somehow this doesn’t quite have the glamour of Favre facing the Packers. Kitna will have his full arsenal of weapons. The only iffy starter for the Cowboys is cornerback Terence Newman (ankle).

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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 2, 2010 8:54 am
 

Wade Phillips hasn't been fired yet

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A couple of different stories in today’s Dallas Morning News deal with Cowboys coach Wade Phillips and what will/could happen to his job.

In the first article, David Moore talked to some of the players who would be affected if Dallas owner Jerry Jones fires Phillips in the middle of this season (it seems like it could happen any day now, doesn't it?).

"It wouldn't do us good at all, not even a little bit," cornerback Terence Newman said. "I think everybody definitely respects Wade. He gets his point across. I don't think trying to change coaches will do us any good, especially when he's not out on the field. We are. We're just not getting it done. I can't put that on him. I put that on us."

Some of what Newman said is a little surprising if it’s true. Phillips doesn’t come off as a coach that’s universally respected in the locker room, though Newman said he does get that respect. He also doesn’t come off as garnering much respect by the front office. But he seems likeable, so he’s got that going for him.

"I just hate it for Wade because his job is so hard now," linebacker Bradie James said. "One thing I can truly say is he's been positive and consistent as far as how he approaches the team meetings with us all together.”

In the second story, Todd Archer explains that making somebody the interim head coach doesn’t always solve a team’s problem. Don Coryell in San Diego in 1978 made it work. So did Bruce Coslet temporarily in Cincinnati in 1986.

But in the past two years, four interim coaches have been hired. Only two, Oakland’s Tom Cable and San Francisco’s Mike Singletary remain with the team that made him an interim, and this very well could be the final season for Singletary.

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