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Tag:2011 NFL Preseason
Posted on: August 27, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2011 5:37 pm
 

When will Rivera name Cam Newton the starter?

NewtonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Finally we have our answer. Finally, it’s been put to rest. Cam Newton is officially the Panthers starting quarterback … for the fourth preseason game.

That’s according to Rapid Reporter Steve Reed, who also writes that Carolina coach Ron Rivera still hasn’t said whether Newton will start the season-opener vs. the Cardinals.

Yet, Reed -- like most everyone else who follows the NFL -- appears to know what eventually will happen. He writes: “Newton will start the season opener at Arizona although, quite frankly, he’s still raw and not really ready. But he’s a better option than (Jimmy) Clausen, who still hasn’t shown the ability to make plays and is slow getting the ball out.”

Newton vs. Clausen
It seems pretty clear that Newton, who will start Thursday night’s preseason game vs. the Steelers, would have to suffer some kind of major meltdown in order to lose his hold on the starting job. And considering Clausen’s knee is banged up at the moment, Newton’s only other competition is Derek Anderson.* Now, all Newton has to do is throw a touchdown pass or, you know, convert a third down attempt (neither has occurred yet this preseason).

*Wouldn’t you rather watch Newton flounder around out there than be forced to watch Anderson do anything?

Which leads us to the conclusion that eventually (probably before the season opener), Rivera will be forced to tap Newton as the starting quarterback. But a word of caution. As ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas points out, Newton would be the first Carolina opening-day rookie starter since Chris Weinke in 2001.

And we all remember how well his career went after that.

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Posted on: August 27, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Ravens move Oher to make room for McKinnie

McKinniePosted by Josh Katzowitz

Ever since the Ravens pulled tackle Bryant McKinnie off the free agent scrapheap, we’ve speculated about the immediate future of Michael Oher as the guardian of Joe Flacco’s blind side.

With Baltimore’s failure to re-sign Jared Gaither, it seemed clear that the team was banking on Oher at the left tackle spot. Until, that is the Ravens signed McKinnie -- formerly the Vikings left tackle. Now, it’s been made clear that Oher, who struggled mightily at times on the left side last year and helped contribute to an offensive line that allowed 40 sacks, will move to the right tackle spot to make room for McKinnie.

“If you give Joe time in the pocket he’s going to make the throws you need,” Oher said today, via Rapid Reporter Jason Butt. “It’s really not that hard. You were left, now you’re right. You just have to switch it.”

Oher, you’ll recall, began his career at right tackle, and now that the Ravens have moved him back, it seems clear that Oher might have found a permanent position (it would be a bit crazy for Oher’s fundamentals if he got moved back to left tackle again).

But this has turned out to be a great day for McKinnie, who says he’s down to 370 pounds (he was rumored to weigh close to 400 pounds before the Vikings released him). He also said he eventually wants to weigh 355.

"There's some things I can do as a veteran," McKinnie said, via the Carroll County Times. "I'm here to help everybody get better. I'm not real vocal, but I will pull people aside and give them tips."

He also claims he’s different than the way he’s been portrayed (apparent $100,000 bar tab notwithstanding).

"Actually, I'm more quiet and laid-back than what people think," McKinnie said. "Little things here and there used to pop up in my past, but it was kind of in my younger days."

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Posted on: August 27, 2011 2:58 pm
 

It's official: there are no Palmers left in Cincy

J. Palmer, C. PalmerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In a move that shouldn’t have surprised anybody, the Bengals officially have made themselves 100 percent Palmer-free. That’s because the team announced today that it’s waived backup quarterback Jordan Palmer -- who you might know better as Carson’s brother.

Jordan Palmer, who had been the No. 3 quarterback in Cincinnati since signing with the team in 2008 until last season, became Carson’s backup last year, and in four regular-season appearances during his Bengals career, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 59 yards and three interceptions.

But with the drafting of Andy Dalton in the second round and with the signing of Bruce Gradkowski -- not to mention all the offseason drama between the Bengals and Carson -- it seemed pretty clear Jordan’s days in Cincinnati were coming to a close.

He barely played this preseason, and a couple weeks ago, I asked if the Bengals were screwing with Jordan.

Here was my conclusion:

“The question: would the management take out its frustration with Carson on Jordan? My opinion: I kind of doubt it. If the Bengals release Jordan Palmer -- who had designs on winning the starting job in June -- it would probably be because he simply hasn’t shown the team enough since 2008 to qualify for even a third-string QB position. I'd also like to think the Bengals have a little more class than meanly shoving out Jordan just to get back at Carson.”

Part of the reason I asked the question in the first place was because of the rumor that the Bengals wouldn’t give Jordan reps and then would cut him too late for him to sign with another team. Now that the Bengals have cut him to get down to 80 players on the roster with still a little bit of time left in the preseason, meaning it’s not too late for him to sign with somebody else theoretically, it seems the answer to my original question of the Bengals screwing Jordan is “probably not.”

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Posted on: August 27, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Maclin, Steve Smith return to Eagles practice

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A week after receiver Jeremy Maclin returned to Eagles camp following his health scare, he finally has begun practicing today.

More good news for Philadelphia: as the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, newly-acquired receiver Steve Smith, still recovering from micro-fracture surgery on his knee, was taken off the physically unable to perform list and has begun practicing as well.

Smith, Maclin Return
That means the Eagles must feel like he can contribute early in the season, and it means the Giants, in letting Smith go to their arch-rival, might have made a big mistake.

Including DeSean Jackson, the top-three Eagles receivers are now practicing together for the first time.

For now, coach Andy Reid will play it safe with Maclin and Smith and evaluate them on a daily basis to see when both can take the field for a game.

"If they make it through (Saturday) evening fine, without any problems or setbacks, then we'll add some more onto it (on Sunday)," Reid told reporters. "And then we'll just keep on going from there and see what happens. But really, I can't tell you the date right now on either one when they'll be ready to play."

For what it's worth, Smith -- who says he won't be 100 percent healthy for a few more weeks -- and Maclin expect to be ready by the Sept. 11 season opener.

"I was kind of getting my feet back under me a little bit," Maclin said, via the AP. "Over the next few days, we're going to manage my reps and let me get used to it. I feel alright, conditioning-wise. It's just being out there, running routes. I haven't done that in a while, so there's definitely some work I need to do.

 "Like I said, I think I'll get back to my normal self pretty soon."

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Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: August 27, 2011 4:06 pm
 

Doss breaks up knife fight before preseason game

T. Doss broke up a knife fight at a local Baltimore restaurant (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A few hours before the Ravens played the Redskins in their preseason game last Thursday, Baltimore rookie receiver Tandon Doss was hanging out at Five Guys restaurant, presumably filling his intestines with greasy burgers and fries.

But then, Doss saw two men fighting another man, and apparently, he felt like he had to get involved. Even if it was gameday, and even if he didn’t know why the men were fighting each other.

"I mean, it was two dudes on one," Doss told the Baltimore Sun. "I was trying to help the situation out. I broke it up. ... I saw the guy on the ground bleeding, and I saw a guy on top hitting him. So I stopped it."

Doss officially broke the news on his Twitter account, and when someone asked him why he had behaved like a good Samaritan on game day, he responded, “wat day it is I'm not gonna sit there and let someone get jumped. [I don't know] where ur from but we don't do that in Indy."

Doss, though, is lucky. According to police, the two attackers were former employees of the Five Guys, and one of them had a knife and tried to injure the restaurant’s manager. The manager is OK, and the two suspected attackers are being sought.

But we’ll leave you with what Doss wrote in his own words after he played hero for the day that sums up this whole affair. “Jus had to break up a fight at five guys. Baltimore is too ratchet!!!"

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 7:27 pm
 

Eric Steinbach might be lost for the season

E. Steinbach might miss the season with a back injury (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Browns running back corps, while still fairly deep, just got a little more shallow, and one of the anchors of their offensive line is hurt and might miss the season.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, guard Eric Steinbach might miss the season because of a back disc injury, while third-down back Brandon Jackson might be lost for a while because of a toe problem

With Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty already looking to split carries at the running back spot, the loss of Jackson, while certainly not a positive, isn’t devastating. But if Steinbach is gone for good, that would be a big deal.

"At this point, he's going through some treatments that we're hoping will get him back, and there's no real final call yet on whether he'll be back  -- or when actually,'' Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. The Plain Dealer writes Steinbach is seeking a second opinion, but if he needs surgery, the team would put him on the injured reserve list. Rookie Jason Pinkston would likely take his place in the starting lineup.

Jackson hurt his toe in the second preseason game vs. the Lions, and he’s been in a cast since then. Shurmur said, though, it could take a while before the team can determine how long Jackson would need to be out. ESPN's Adam Schefter is repoting that Jackson has turf toe and will be out a maximum of six weeks.

Either way, not such great news for a Browns offense that ranked 20th in rushing offense last year.

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Gore frustrated, snapping at coaches

F. Gore is frustrated with his lack of new contract (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While we detail the comings and goings of Chris Johnson -- first he’s in Florida, then he’s in Nashville, then he’s in Florida with no new deal -- a running back who desperately wants a new contract and is nearly as important to his team is actually in 49ers camp. He’s just not very happy. And he’s apparently not very pleasant to be around right now.

One team source told CSN Bay Area that Frank Gore is frustrated and has snapped at some of the team’s assistant coaches as he continues to wait a new contract offer.

Gore is scheduled to make $5 million this season, but after that, he’s a free agent and he wants to get paid. He accumulated four-straight years of 1,000-yard seasons from 2006-09 before missing five games due to a fractured hip last year. Plus, he’s 28 years old, meaning he doesn’t have much time left in his prime as a running back.

Although Gore originally threatened to hold out from training camp -- just like like somebody else we know in Tennessee who actually did it -- he’s been working out and playing in the preseason games.

That’s also a sore point with Gore, because he feels like he’s playing more in the preseason than in years past, and since it’s a contract year, he’s claiming the 49ers are putting him at greater risk for injury. The flip side to that, though, is San Francisco could want to see how his hip is responding to game action.

Gore also has the same problem as Johnson because even if he wants a trade from San Francisco, it’s unlikely to happen, because the cost to another team would be too great. Even if he was traded, his new squad would have to come up with a lucrative new deal. At this point, that’s probably impossible.

Gore's Inconvenient Truth
So, the two sides will continue to meet.*

*Which doesn’t impress CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco. Wrote Prisco on Twitter today: “So Frank Gore will meet with 49ers? Hey, Frank. They ain't paying you. … Gore and Johnson should have a meeting and repeat after me: We are just running backs.”

"The best thing we can say is we're doing everything we can to make Frank a 49er for life and whether that gets accomplished in the near future or not remains to be seen," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said this week.

Well, that doesn’t tell us much, does it? How about it, Frank? What if you don’t get that extension?

“I'd be upset, but I'm still a football player," Gore said. "I want to be here for my whole career. That's up to upstairs, the team. If they want me here, I want to be here. I'm just going to come out every day and practice hard."

And hopefully control his temper with the coaches.

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:26 am
 

Marcell Dareus' injury not thought to be serious

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

This couldn’t have been welcome words for Bills fans to ingest this morning if they picked up a copy of the Buffalo News and read that No. 3 pick Marcell Dareus injured his ankle during Wednesday’s practice and was seen on crutches in the locker room afterward.

DareusBills coach Chan Gailey, speaking before the open locker room session, didn’t make a comment on Dareus, and considering Dareus had played well thus far in the preseason -- he had accumulated two sacks in limited playing time -- his injury was a scary proposition for a rebuilding team.

But not to worry, says WIVB, which reports that Dareus was kicked in the calf during the practice (not the ankle) and that the injury isn’t considered serious.

Dareus had originally hurt his ankle during an Aug. 4 night practice, and a few days later, Gailey said, “"When he gets healthy, I think he can really be something.”

I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out if that’s true.

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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