Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Kyle Williams
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Buffalo Bills

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

S. Johnson had some good moments last year for Buffalo (US Presswire).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups . Also, check out our checkup podcast:




Although the Bills went 4-12 last season and were never in contention for any kind of postseason berth, there was reason for optimism at the end of last year. Against all previous indications, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t half-bad, young faces like RB C.J. Spiller and WR Steve Johnson showed potential, and the team took the Steelers, Chiefs and Ravens into overtime before eventually losing.

The head coaching abilities of Chan Gailey – in college or in the NFL – have never been that impressive to me, but I’d be an idiot if I didn’t say that he is making progress in Buffalo. Progress enough to compete with the rest of the AFC East? Not yet. But any kind of progress is good.




Very little elite talent

This obviously is a problem, because, aside from NT Kyle Williams – who’s a top-five interior defensive lineman – the Bills don’t feature any elite players (maybe S Jairus Byrd can get there at some point). With the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft, that should change (you’d like to think so at least, if you’re a Bills fan). But remember, Buffalo went with Aaron Maybin with the No. 11 pick in 2009 and Leodis McKelvin with the No. 11 pick in 2008. Apparently, this franchise doesn’t always know how to pick the elite guys.



1. QUARTERBACK
While Fitzpatrick did a decent enough job at the starting spot last year, after Trent Edwards thoroughly failed at it and Brian Brohm didn’t do enough to win it, Fitzpatrick doesn’t scream, “FUTURE FRANCHISE QB.” Since the Bills have the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft, it makes sense for them to take somebody who could make that claim. Considering GM Buddy Nix said that now is the perfect time to draft a QB, Buffalo might just do it.

2. LINEBACKERS
Buffalo needs to shore up its 3-4 defense in a big way and procure players who can figure out how to get to the opposing quarterback. The Bills – who were tied for 27th in sacks last year – already have Shawne Merriman and Aaron Maybin at OLB, but it’s unclear if the former can stay healthy and the latter has been a big draft bust thus far in his career. Von Miller’s elite speed certainly would help in the linebacker corps.

3. DEFENSIVE LINE
The Bills were the worst team in football at stopping the run, so this spot obviously is in need of an upgrade. The line itself seems to be OK with Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards, but a Da’Quan Bowers pick wouldn’t be shocking (though many experts are predicting Miller).




The Bills are still nowhere near making a bid for the playoffs, but there’s no reason they can’t improve on last year’s record. I think 8-8 would be a stretch – especially if Fitzpatrick is back at the QB spot – but 6-10 or 7-9 wouldn’t be out of the question. And it would be a sign of more progress.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: January 7, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Hot Routes 1.7.10 KC, CLE & SEA provide humor

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Bears GM Gerry Angelo is politely saying “told you so!” to the Bears’ plethora of preseason critics.


Great headline from The Onion: “Seattle coach Pete Carroll: Seahawks only needs three losses to reach the Super Bowl.”


Because Richard Seymour is hurt, Bills NT Kyle Williams is getting the Pro Bowl nod that so many thought he deserved.


The Chiefs, worried about a possible flu outbreak (Dwayne Bowe missed practice Wednesday due to an illness), are requiring players to wash their hands all week. They’re calling it “Kindergarten Rules”.


Lovie Smith is rooting for his assistant coaches to get head coaching consideration. (The man already has three former head coaches on staff.)


Check out this letter the Cleveland Browns wrote to one of their whiny season ticket holders back in 1974.


Do the Browns need to be worried about Colt McCoy’s questionable play in bad weather?

Maurice Jones-Drew’s knee surgery was a success.


As expected, offensive coordinator Dan Henning has left the Dolphins. (The team has probably been secretly interviewing replacements since October.)


If the Jets win on Sunday, the Chargers will get New York’s second-round pick as part of the Antonio Cromartie trade. If the Jets lose, the pick remains a third-rounder (unless the Jets sign Cromartie to a long-term contract…which is likely but complicated because of the CBA). That make sense?


Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo decided not to renew the contract of Todd Hewitt, the team’s 43-year-long equipment manager. (Had a decent joke to go here, but felt kinda bad after learning the guy had been there four decades-plus.)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: December 28, 2010 7:36 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2010 7:38 pm
 

Dissecting the Pro Bowl snubs

Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFL has announced the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters. Snubs are an inevitable part of the equation each year. Below are the key names left out, with an explanation for why.
A. Rodgers (US Presswire)

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

A simple case of too much talent at one position in the NFC. Vick, Ryan and Brees all play for teams with better records.


Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

Same story as Rodgers: MJD has been an MVP caliber contributor for the Jags, Arian Foster is the league’s leading rusher and Jamaal Charles is to the Chiefs what Johnson is to the Titans (the only difference is the Chiefs have won this year and the Titans haven’t).


Andrew Whitworth, OT, Bengals

Cincy’s left tackle was the surprise leader in fan voting at his position, but clearly players and coaches did not think as highly of the former guard/right tackle. No surprise – offensive linemen from bad teams generally don’t become first-time Pro Bowlers.


Ben Grubbs, G, Ravens

How in the world does Logan Mankins make it when he’s only played eight games? (Keep in mind, when fan voting closed last week, he had only played seven games). Mankins has been the best guard in football when he’s been on the field, but that hasn’t been often enough this season.


Olin Kreutz, C, Bears / Scott Wells, C, Packers

Kreutz has not been dynamic this season, but the man who got his Pro Bowl slot is Shaun O’Hara. O’Hara has played in just six games. SIX! And the last two weeks have indicated that the Giants are actually worse with him in the lineup New York’s rushing attack was rolling with Rich Seubert at center, but it stalled once O’Hara returned.


Kyle Williams, NT, Bills

A lot of people have been trumpeting the undersized but energetic fifth-year pro, but the harsh reality is you can’t honor any member of a Bills defense that ranks a distant 32nd against the run and 27th in total sacks. And there’s absolutely no arguing that Williams is better than Wilfork, Seymour or Ngata anyway.


Jonathan Babineaux, DT, Falcons

The defensive tackle position in the NFC was a case of a player from a high profile team (Jay Ratliff, Cowboys) getting recognized ahead of a more deserving player from a lower profile team. Babineaux has been a beast for a Falcons defense that relies heavily on big plays from its front four. Ratliff has had his worst season in three years. St. Louis’ Fred Robbins also got snubbed here.


Tamba Hali, OLB, Chiefs

LaMarr Woodley and Shaun Phillips got snubbed, too. But what are you going to do? We knew there would be this issue with the OLB position in the AFC – there are simply too many stars this year. The Pro Bowlers at this spot, Harrison, Wake and Suggs, are all deserving.


Lawrence Timmons, ILB, Steelers

Steeler coaches said he was the best linebacker on the team this season. The best linebacker in Pittsburgh rarely gets overlooked, especially when the team is a Super Bowl contender. But it’s hard to edge out Ray Lewis. And the AFC’s other ILB, Jerod Mayo, has been spectacular in New England.


Brent Grimes, CB, Falcons

DeAngelo Hall had one amazing second half earlier in the season against the Bears…and that was all it took to get him to Hawaii. Four of Hall’s six picks on the year came in that game. For the rest of the season, when he wasn’t making his two interceptions, Hall was missing tackles and giving up completions in man coverage. Grimes, on the other hand, has been a playmaker (five interceptions) AND a stopper. Heading into Week 16, opponents had completed just 47 percent of passes thrown against Grimes.


Roman Harper, SS, Saints

Harper is the key to many of Gregg Williams’ blitz packages. The NFC’s Pro Bowl strong safety, Adrian Wilson, is a big-name player but very limited cover artist.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: December 28, 2010 3:26 pm
 

Your candidates for the All-Screwed team

M. Cassel could very well be left off the Pro Bowl team (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Tonight, the NFL will announce which players will get to travel to Hawaii to play the Pro Bowl on the Sunday before the Super Bowl (yes, it’s back in Honolulu once again). I’m sure many deserving players will be elected to the rosters by their colleagues, their coaches and their fans. I’m sure some non-deserving players will get to pack their bags, as well.

And I’m sure there will be a number of players who will ask themselves how in the hell they didn’t get selected. Earlier today, I asked in a Twitter poll which players were the best candidates that absolutely would get screwed in the voting.

Running as an easy No. 1 was Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (who garnered 19.2 percent of the vote on all ballots cast). It’s easy to remember that Cassel looked pretty awful earlier in the season – it seemed that the Chiefs were winning early games in spite of Cassel and not because of him – but overall, Cassel has had an impressive season (3,001 yards, 27 TDs, 5 INTs) in leading Kansas City to the top of the AFC West.

But yeah, he’s not going to make the Pro Bowl ahead of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.

Following Cassel is Bills NT Kyle Williams, who was named on 11.5 percent of the ballots. Williams has 75 total tackles – second-best among defensive linemen – and he’s accumulated 5.5 sacks. On a Bills defense that has very little to brag about, Williams is it. He’s just not a well-known name, and he might very well be left off.

Other players who got more than one vote: Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman, Saints DB Malcolm Jenkins and Packers G Josh Sitton.

The teams will be announced tonight, and frankly, the anticipation is killing me.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: December 27, 2010 1:18 am
Edited on: December 27, 2010 1:19 am
 

10 stories worth your attention Week 16

Posted by Andy Benoit

1. The NFC’s new most dangerous team?

It took a little over three hours for the Green Bay Packers to become the favorites in the running for this year’s “Wild-Card team that nobody wants to face” moniker. Their 45-17 dismantling of the New York Giants was a showcase of explosion, bA. Rodgers (US Presswire)oth offensively and defensively. Aaron Rodgers completed passes of 36, 26 and 24 yards to Greg Jennings. He lasered an 80-yard catch-and-run score to Jordy Nelson (safety Deon Grant’s lack of burst helped the play) and later found the lanky slot receiver for a 38-yarder. Rodgers also found Donald Driver for a 33-yarder against cornerback Terrell Thomas, who was targeted all afternoon.

The Packers did not run particularly well. Brandon Jackson managed just 39 yards on 18 attempts; the rest of the team combined for a more-respectable 80 yards on 17 attempts. However, perhaps building off their rushing success from last Sunday at New England, the Packer offense at least showed balance early on, running on 10 of its first 20 plays and having 18 rush attempts vs. 23 pass attempts at halftime. (By the way, in what was perhaps the emptiest quote of the year, Mike McCarthy told FOX sideline reporter Pam Oliver at halftime that he’d like his team to have better run/pass balance in the second half).

At the end of the day, Rodgers sealed the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award with 404 yards and four touchdowns. Numbers half that good would have gotten a win considering Green Bay’s defense forced five turnovers. FORCED is the operative word here; Ahmad Bradshaw’s fumble was bad, but the story of that play was Charles Woodson getting in the backfield and punching the ball out. And Woodson’s punch out wasn’t as fierce as the one Clay Matthews had on Brandon Jacobs two possessions later.

Aside from a few uncharacteristic deep coverage blunders in man-to-man by cornerback Tramon Williams, Dom Capers’ unit was excellent. Injuries have left the Pack D with a few deficiencies this season, but as the ’09 Saints showed, personnel deficiencies can be masked with big plays generated by an aggressive, complex scheme.



2. A Giant meltdown unfolding?

The New York papers on Monday aren’t going to characterize Sunday’s game as a “Packers win” – they’ll characterize it as a “Giants loss”. And that will be accurate. The Giants were as sloppy as the Packers were great. Eli Manning tossed four interceptions, bringing his league-leading total to 24 on the season. If interceptions weren’t automatically credited to the quarterback but, instead, charged to culpable players the same way errors are charged in baseball, Manning’s pick total would be somewhere around 15 this season. No passer has been shafted by his receivers in the turnovers department quite like Manning this season. And it’s not just the tipped balls; improper route running as a result of bad reads have become a specialty with this group (Hakeem Nicks illustrated this on more than one occasion Sunday).
A. Bradshaw (US Presswire)
The Giants have also struggled to run the ball these past two weeks. You can’t help but wonder if the re-insertion of Shaun O’Hara at center is to blame. O’Hara is one of the best veteran blockers in the game, but the Giants found a rhythm when he was hurt and guard Rich Seubert was filling-in in the middle. That rhythm has been nonexistent in the two weeks since O’Hara returned.

Also non-existent is New York’s pass-rush – at least on paper. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck were able to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers, but only once did that pressure result in a sack. Rodgers’ mobility and natural playmaking prowess took over this game. A week ago, it was Michael Vick’s mobility and natural playmaking prowess taking over. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has concocted two good gameplans the past two weeks, but given the breakdowns from his defense, it’s possible he’s now questioning whether his back seven is talented enough to handle the heavy doses of man coverage.

The New York media is going to turn all of these issues into a “Tom Coughlin hot seat” discussion, which is understandable but nevertheless silly. The Giants’ problems have not been schematic or strategic, they’ve been mental. And those mental problems have not been continuous like the problems we saw in Dallas or are currently seeing in San Francisco. Rather, the mental mistakes have just been of the spectacular variety. The Giants are fine for nine plays, but on the 10th, they’ll make the grand blunder. It’s easy for a columnist to chalk this up to Coughlin losing the team, but players don’t do things like fumble, miss tackles against amazing offensive athletes or punt the ball to the wrong spot because they’ve stopped listening to their coach. Coaching changes come about when teams stop playing hard. If anything, the Giants are playing too hard and pressing. Nevertheless, this rationale will hold little water in the Big Apple this week, as Coughlin’s seat is warming with his team now needings serious outside help just to reach the postseason.



3. As for that other New York squad…

No playoff worries for the Jets – they’re in. They have David Garrard to thank. The Jaguars quarterback gave the Redskins excellent field position with his overthrown interception to Carlos Rogers in the first quarter, leading to a Rex Grossman one-yard touchdown pass. Then, in overtime, Garrard did it again, only this time he went with an underthrow to complete the pick (cornerback Kevin Barnes as the lucky recipient). Barnes’ interception set up Graham Gano’s third successful overtime field goal on the season, which dropped the Jaguars to 8-7 and eliminated them as New York’s only chaser the AFC Wild Card race.

So the Jets are in despite losing 38-34 at Chicago. Not an ideal clinching scenario, of course. Perhaps there is reason to worry about the Jet defense. After all, Jay Cutler had three touchdown passes of 25-plus yards…in the third quarter alone. And Matt Forte needed just 13 carries to become the first player in 21 games to rush for 100 yards against Rex Ryan’s D* (Forte finished with 113 yards on 19 carries). The Jets got no pass-rush Sunday and looked totally unaccustomed to the concept of tackling players in frigid temperatures. But, as you’ll read about in Story 4, there was one factor that could tag a legitimate asterisk on this aspersion of the defense.
D. Keller (US Presswire)
The rest of Story 3 pertains to a Jets offense that posted 27 points (Dwight Lowery’s interception return provided the other seven). In short, it was spectacular. Pretty much everything that was predicted in my Week 16 Key Matchup feature proved to be 180 degrees wrong. Shonn Greene managed 70 yards on 12 carries (by the way, don’t be surprised if Greene once again becomes the featured back in the postseason; LaDainian Tomlinson, who has been a somewhat listless ballcarrier the past two months, had just 28 yards on 13 carries Sunday). Mark Sanchez completed 24/37 by throwing consistently over the middle of the field. His favorite target was Dustin Keller (seven catches, 79 yards).

Credit Brian Schottenheimer for devising one of the shrewdest offensive gameplans we’ve seen this season. Schottenheimer used a host of presnap gyrations and postsnap misdirections to get the speedy Bears linebackers flowing away from the play and to enabled Sanchez to make simple reads and short, comfortable throws. Even most of the plays in which Sanchez went downfield and hit his second or third target were a result of brilliant design (the one that comes to mind is Santonio Holmes’ 23-yard touchdown in which safety Danieal Manning was forced to abandon his deep zone and pick up Keller’s drag route over the middle).

Last Sunday, the Jets got their first offensive touchdown since Thanksgiving. This Sunday, they got their first passing touchdown since Thanksgiving. Even in a losing effort, they’ve all but run out of statistical droughts just in time for the playoffs.
*It was believed that Rashard Mendenhall had 100 yards rushing against the Jets last week. However, the powers that be went back a day after the game and ruled that Mendenhall actually had 99 yards.




4. Soldier Field Quagmire

Here’s a prediction: in an upcoming postseason game the Bears will give up a bunch of big plays and lose at home to a team they’ll believe they were better than. They’ll come away realizing that the atrocious field conditions at Soldier Field will always do what they did in Week 16 against the Jets: create an enormous advantage for the offense. On a sloppy field, pass-rushers can’t get enough traction to fire off the ball (this is part of the reason New York’s athletic but inexperienced right tackle Wayne Hunter singlehandedly shutout Julius Peppers) and defensive backs can’t recover quickly enough to handle a receiver’s double move.

Realizing that they’re still a defensive team even though Jay Cutler has blossomed in Mike Martz’s well-crafted and well-taught system, the Bears will look to ensure that a sloppy field never costs them another Super Bowl run again. Thus, in 2011, out with the mud and sand painted to look like grass and in with the ultra-consistent field turf.

You might be thinking that the Bears should actually enjoy their sloppy field. After all, the field is the same for both teams, and at least the Bears, unlike their opponents, are familiar with it. That’s a valid concept, but in this case, the conditions are so extreme that no team can render an advantage. Only offensive players benefit, and even they would like a more reliable playing surface. This is why the Bear players have been vociferously griping about the field conditions this season.

Of course, the Bears don’t necessarily have to risk learning a tough lesson in the playoffs here. They can install FieldTurf tomorrow if they want. The Patriots did that in the middle of the ’06 season. And the Cowboys replaced their Astroturf with FieldTurf in the middle of the ’02 season.



5. Chargers make us kick ourselves
P. Rivers (US Presswire)
Have you ever found yourself counting on a close friend to come through big for you but doubting that they actually will? Perhaps you are working on an important project together. Or maybe you need the close friend to give you a ride to the airport. Or loan you something of necessity. Or just be a sidekick at a special event. Anyway, as the big moment draws nearer, you have a feeling that your close friend is not going to come through. But because they’re a close friend and because they’ve come through before, you ignore your intuition.

Then, sure enough, when the moment comes, your close friend doesn’t come through and you’re left wondering why you didn’t act when you thought you saw it coming.

This is what watching the 2010 San Diego Chargers has been like. We figured the Chargers would win the AFC West because they always win the AFC West. When they stumbled out of the gates with a 2-5 record, we started to worry. When they rebounded but then suffered an ugly loss to the Raiders a few weeks ago, we got nervous but ultimately assumed everything was still cool.

Then, sure enough, on Sunday, the perennial AFC West champs went to Cincinnati and got pummeled by a Bengals team that, as it turns out, is probably better without its divisive star receivers. The loss dropped San Diego to 8-7 and officially out of the postseason. The team that we worried would let us down but assumed would somehow not let us down wound up letting us down.

It’s shocking that it was THIS Charger team that finally fell short in the end. Yes, the bumbling special teams put the club in a 2-5 hole. And yes, injuries and holdouts pocked the offense. But it’s still an offense that ranks second in total yards. Oh, and by the way, the defense ranks FIRST in total yards. In any year, it would be unusual for a No. 2 offense or a No. 1 defense to miss the postseason. For a No. 2 offense and a No. 1 defense to be of the same team AND miss the postseason? Unbelievable.



6. A head coaching career headed to the Singletary – errr, cemetery

In a small (and rare) victory for justice in the NFC West, the Cardinals beat the Cowboys on an improbable finish Christmas night (as meaningless games go, that one was as entertaining as it gets). The Cardinals’ win makes it possible for the 49ers to finish last in football’s worst division (Arizona just needs to beat San Fran next week).
M. Singletary (US Presswire)
No team deserves a basement finish more than San Francisco. Mike Singletary has been a lame duck since virtually Halloween – and the players have known it. Twice this season Singletary has questioned a quarterback on the sideline only to have the quarterback shout back in his face: Alex Smith in the Sunday night loss against Philadelphia and Troy Smith most recently in the 25-17 loss at St. Louis.
Not long after shouting at Singletary, Troy was benched for Alex. Alex will be remembered this game for showing horrendous pocket awareness on the final fourth quarter drive low-lighted by his second down sack and Ted Ginn’s inexplicable failure to get out of bounds after converting a fourth down in the waning seconds.

It’s not fair to criticize either Smith for shouting at their head coach because we don’t know what was being said. But it IS fair to ask: Can you imagine Belichick/Cowher/Tomlin/Dungy/Parce
lls etc. having a quarterback shout in their face? Sure, it’s a competitive, emotional game. But you just don’t see head coaches get shouted at by quarterbacks. Even when Rich Gannon and Jon Gruden would bicker, all that was was bickering. The Smiths and Singletary haven’t been merely bickering. Neither Smith has a reputation for being an insubordinate guy (though some believe Alex Smith helped run Mike Nolan out of town). On the surface, it looks like not all the Niner players, and not these quarterbacks in particular, truly respect the head coach.

It might not matter, as Singletary is out now. Jed York will likely hire a GM before he hires a new head coach. Too bad Bruce Allen is already locked up in Washington; Allen’s presence wouldn’t hurt San Francisco’s chances at coaxing Jon Gruden back to the Bay Area.
Whoever the new GM is, he’d better have an eye for quarterbacks. That seems to be all the 49ers are truly missing. San Francisco’s defensive front seven is borderline outstanding (just ask the Rams, who managed 60 yards on 28 rushing attempts Sunday). There are playmakers at all the offensive skill positions. And, though the offensive line has struggled, it’s a unit that features two first-round rookies (left guard Mike Iupati and right tackle Anthony Davis).



7. The all-important meaningless games

A side effect that had to be unforeseen when the NFL decided to schedule only divisional matchups for Week 17 is the bizarre scenario of teams still chasing playoff berths but having a meaningless game in Week 16. The Colts and Seahawks both experienced this Sunday. Because the Jaguars lost early to the Redskins, the Colts did not technically need to win at Oakland. All that matters is that they beat the Titans next week. For the Seahawks, the same situation played out at Tampa Bay because of the Niners’ loss to the Rams.

The Seahawks played like a team that fully understood this scenario. The Bucs did whatever they wanted against them. Josh Freeman tossed five touchdowns, which matched the number of incompletions he had on 26 pass attempts. LeGarrette Blount racked up 164 yards on 18 carries. Tampa’s defense held Seattle to 179 yards. Seattle scored only eight points after Matt Hasselbeck left with a non-contact hip injury. The 38-15 loss means the Seahawks’ average D. Rhodes (US Presswire)margin of defeat this season is an astonishing 21 points. The closest of their nine losses was 15 points (Week 11 vs. the Saints).

The Colts, on the other hand, played like a team that had no idea it was partaking in a meaningless game. For starters, they did not roll over and put Curtis Painter on the field. They did, however, put Dominic Rhodes on the field, but only because they think the veteran journeyman might end up being their featured back in the playoffs. Joseph Addai returned after missing eight weeks with a neck injury. The first-round pick of ’06 was brought along fairly slowly, finishing the game with 45 yards on 12 carries.

For the past two months, another former first-round pick, Donald Brown, has been filling in for Addai. However, the Colts brass may finally be admitting what they’ve likely been grumbling all along: Brown lacks the necessary quickness and vision to be a quality NFL back. Brown got only six carries against the Raiders; Rhodes got 17. But wait! Brown was coming off a career-best 129 yards rushing against the Jaguars! He was snatched off the waiver wires in all my fantasy leagues! He’s a young first-rounder! No way the Colts would choose Rhodes over him!

But that seems to be the case. The reality is the NFL is not a gaping-holes league. What Brown did against Jacksonville was a product of Jacksonville’s poor linebacking and safety play. Rhodes has better shiftiness and awareness than Brown. Rhodes’ return to relevance may end up saving the Colts. Indy rushed for 191 yards against the Raiders. If they can muster even a modest threat running the ball, they’ll be a tough out.



8. A higher power in Denver

Tim Tebow’s second NFL start was a Testament – err, testament to the value of mobility for a young quarterback. John Madden always said that it’s important a young passer be able to move because, inevitably, a young passer is going to panic under duress and be inclined to flee the pocket. Tebow did not show a whole lot of panic facing Houston, owner of the league’s worst pass defense (if not worst defense overall….did you know the Texans have now set an all-time NFL record by allowing 24 points in 14 games this season?).

The first-round rookie threw for 308 yards, completing 16/29 passes. Tebow also scrambled for 27 yards on 10 runs, including his game-winning six-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Lloyd was responsible for 111 of Tebow’s yards. Most enchanting was Lloyd’s spectacular 41-yarder in which he elevated to show off his otherworldly suppleness.

Bronco fans were happy with Tebow, but Panther fans were thrilled. Denver’s win locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft for the lowly Panthers.



9. Business as usual for Baltimore

Ray Lewis vowed that the Ravens would not let Peyton Hillis run over them again. (Hillis rushed for 144 yards against this club in his Week 3 NFL coming out party.) There isn’t a soul alive who didn’t believe all week that Lewis was good for his word here. Which is why there isn’t a soul alive who is the least bit surprised with Baltimore’s matter-of-fact 20-10 win at Cleveland.

Ed Reed had a pair of interceptions in this game (Colt McCoy struggled with accuracy and had too many balls hang up in the air); the Ravens are now 10-0 when Reed has a multi-pick game. Some might say Reed was on fire Sunday. I’d love to, except doing so would, at this point, be a sorry, obvious joke given what happened with Reed’s jacket on the sideline late in the fourth quarter.



10. Quick Hits

**Santonio Holmes vowed to the CBS broadcast crew earlier in the week that he’d never wears sleeves during a game because sleeves caused him to fumble once at Ohio State. Then Holmes wore sleeves against the Bears. And, sure enough, he fumbled early in the first half.

**Hard to believe that the upper bowl at Arrowhead Stadium was only half full fJ. Flacco (US Presswire)or the Chiefs division-clinching win against the Titans. The Chiefs, remember, sold out a record 156 straight games from December 1990 through December 2009.

**I have heard from a few people recently about the outstanding play of Bills NT Kyle Williams. I’ll have to watch the film closer after the season, but on a surface level glance, I have trouble believing any members of the league’s worst run defense is playing very well. Every time I looked over at the Patriots-Bills game Sunday, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead were picking up five yards on runs that should have gone for one or two. It’s been that way all season with the Bills.

**Despite being a game manager his first two seasons as a pro, on Sunday Joe Flacco became just the sixth player in NFL history to throw for 10,000 yards in his first three years.

**Aaron Rodgers debuted his new, safer helmet against the Giants. My question is if the NFL is so concerned about concussions, why aren’t more players, whether they’ve had a concussion or not, being forced to make this helmet switch?

**The Raiders-Colts final score (31-26) was only close because the Raiders got an opening kickoff touchdown return from Jacoby Ford and 59-yard and 54-yard field goals from Sebastian Janikowski.

**The Chargers ought to be worried about first-round rookie Ryan Mathews. Besides being injury prone and inconsistent, the Fresno State product has been downright inexplosive. Mathews’ 24-yard touchdown scamper against the Bengals marked his longest run on the season.

**Will Brinson and I reviewed all of the major Week 16 stories in the CBSSports.com Football Podcast Sunday night. Click here to check it out.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:43 am
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Non-Brady MVP votes

M. Ryan would be the top MVP candidate in the league right now if it wasn't for a guy named T. Brady (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

This week, seemingly everybody is proclaiming Patriots QB Tom Brady as the player who should be named MVP – including his former teammate, Troy Brown, who I talked to for this week’s Five Questions (or more) segment. After watching Brady dissect the Jets on Monday, that’s hard to argue.

But we’ve still got four weeks of regular-season NFL football, so Brady can’t be named the Most Valuable Players quite yet (I think that’s actually in the rules). That said, there are a number of players who have done quite a bit to help their respective teams this season that also must be in the conversation for MVP. What happens, after all, if Brady throws 10 interceptions in the final four games and the Patriots go 0-4 in that stretch?

Thus, this Top Ten With a Twist pays homage to those who are having hellaciously good years for teams good and bad and could creep into a voter’s conscience (assuming he/she doesn’t simply write Brady’s name in every possible space on the ballot). I’m not saying most of these guys should win; I’m just saying they should be considered.

10. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears: In his first season in Chicago, the defense, ranked as the third-best in the NFL, is a huge reason why the Bears are 9-3, lead the NFC North and own the second-best record in the conference (tied with the Saints). He’s recorded seven sacks and a very strong six passes defended and he’s forced three fumbles. You could also make a case for Brian Urlacher in this spot.

9. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: So many other quarterbacks have made big headlines this season – some for good reasons (we’ll get into those candidates later) and some for bad reasons (ahem, Brett Favre) – and it seems like Brees has been slightly ignored. That’s also because he isn’t the top quarterback in his division at this point and because the Saints are in danger of not winning the NFC South (more on the Falcons below). But the fact is that Brees is statistically the most-accurate quarterback in the league, and the Saints are 9-3 with a chance to return to the Super Bowl. That’s not too shabby.

8. Clay Matthews, LB, Packers: Remember how amazingly fast Matthews started the season, recording six sacks in the first two games? Well, he’s slowed considerably since then, and even Miami’s Cameron Wake has surpassed him for the league lead (Wake has 12 sack to Matthews’ 11.5). Matthews only has one sack in the past three games, but he’s still got a good shot at defensive player of the year (along with Julius Peppers, Steelers LB James Harrison, Eagles DE Trent Cole and Bills NT Kyle Williams), and he’s still having one heck of a year. 

7. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 5.9 yards per rush and finished 2009 with 1,120 yards and seven TDs, Kansas City rewarded him by going out and getting (gulp!) a legitimate RB in Thomas Jones. In his first two games of the season, Charles averaged 11 carries and 70.5 yards per contest, leaving some of us to wonder what was going on in Kansas City. But Charles has been awesome for the resurgent 8-4 Chiefs, averaging a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry while gaining 1,137 yards.

6. James Harrison, LB, Steelers: You’d be forgiven if, the other day when Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was defending Harrison in another laborious discussion about fines, you would have scoffed when Tomlin said Harrison was having an MVP-type season. But look at the plays he’s made and the numbers he’s produced. Harrison is third among linebackers with 10 sacks, he’s defended six passes and produced two interceptions, and he’s forced six fumbles, best among LBs. And he does it for a top-five defense which could help the Steelers to a deep postseason run. He's the MVP of NFL fines, but he might be the MVP overall as well.

5. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: You’ve got Matthews on defense, and now you’ve got Rodgers as the catalyst for an offense ranked in the top-10, despite a dreadful running game. Rodgers has been so impressive (a 65.4 completion percentage, 3,243 yards, 23 TDs and nine INTs) without the benefit of Ryan Grant and having to play with very little support in Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn (they rank 30th and 50th in rushing in the league, respectively). His MVP candidacy obviously will ride on whether he can get Green Bay into the playoffs.

4. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: A week ago, I might have picked Rivers a little bit higher, but he’s coming off a bad, bad home loss to the Raiders that dropped San Diego two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Not that Rivers played poorly, because he wasn’t bad. But it’s tough to get excited about a QB leading a 6-6 squad who very well could miss the playoffs, even if he is the guy who’s led his team to all six of those wins.

M. Jones-Drew has made himself a strong MVP candidate in the past five weeks (US Presswire). 3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: What would you say if I told you that Jones-Drew has rushed for at least 100 yards in his past five games and helped Jacksonville win four of its past five to take over first place in the AFC South? Would you say that man would be an MVP candidate? I would.

2. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: Yes, he’s missed three games because of injury, but other than that, Vick is, bar none, one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s having a career season in a year in which he wasn’t supposed to be the starter (you might have forgotten about a guy named Kevin Kolb). He could, throughout his career, always change the game’s dynamic with his running ability (and he’s got 467 rushing yards, a 6.3 average and six scores this season), but he’s showcased his arm this year as well (63.8 completion percentage, 2,243 yards, 15 TDs, two INTs). He is absolutely a complete quarterback and absolutely an MVP candidate.

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: The “Matty Ice” moniker has already worn thin – unlike the “Pocket Hercules” nickname for Jones-Drew – but there’s no question that it’s reflective of his playing ability. Even when he doesn’t play altogether well – an example would be last week in Tampa Bay – he still somehow finds a way to lead Atlanta to a win. At this point, the Falcons are the best team in the NFC, and Ryan is the biggest reason for that. If Brady falls off in the last month of the year, my vote at this point would go to Ryan.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 20, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Week 11 injury report analysis Part I

Posted by Andy Benoit

Ravens @ Panthers
M. Schaub (US Presswire)
Ravens guard Chris Chester is questionable with a skin infection. If he’s unable to go, utility backup Tony Moll would fill-in. That would be a downgrade in terms of run-blocking mobility, though Baltimore would survive.

The Panthers are without pretty much any offensive player worth watching. QB Jimmy Clausen is out (concussion). RB Jonathan Stewart is also concussed and won’t play. Same goes for rookie WR Brandon LaFell. RB DeAngelo Williams is done for the season with a foot injury. With backup RB Tyrell Sutton also out (ankle), the run game will fall on the shoulders of Mike Goodson. Against this Ravens defense it will be tough for the second-year pro to match his 100-yard output of a week ago.

Texans @ Jets

Matt Schaub is expected to play after being hospitalized midweek with a bursa sac problem. Schaub won’t have Owen Daniels (hamstring) to throw to, though.

The Jets are in a similar situation. QB Mark Sanchez (calf) was less than 100 percent all week but will play. But he won’t have arguably his favorite inside target, WR Jerricho Cotchery (groin). Expect TE Dustin Keller to play a more prominent role, especially given that Houston has no safeties who are adept in coverage and two linebackers who are questionable (Zach Diles, illness; Xavier Adibi, hamstring).

The only other injury of note here is Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery, who is out with a head injury.

Bills @ Bengals

No C.J. Spiller (hamstring) for the Bills, which means they’ll have to find someone else to dance along the outside running lanes and distrust the run-blocking. Hamstring injuries struck Buffalo’s defensive line, with Spencer Johnson out and Kyle Williams having been limited in practice this week.

The Bengals could list half their team as questionable with a bad attitude, but that would only be an admission of their failed personnel moves. Thus, they’ll stick to listing traditional injuries. Included in those injuries are both starting defensive ends being on the shelf (Antwan Odom, wrist; Jonathan Fanene, hamstring), backup DE Frostee Rucker likely joining them (knee, no practice all week) and DT Tank Johnson very doubtful with a bum knee. Slot CB Morgan Trent also has a bum knee and won’t play. If that’s not enough, LB Rey Maualuga (thigh) and S Chris Crocker (calf) were limited in practice and are both questionable.

Of course, we’re talking about two teams with a combined three wins, so really, besides Bills’ and Bengals’ friends and family, is anyone really that concerned about who takes the field Sunday?

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 14, 2010 10:07 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 10:10 am
 

Hot Routes 11.14.10: Too severe a penalty?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes the Broncos penalty on LB D.J. Williams was too severe. Klis talks to a psychologist who suggests Williams might have a sickness – as in an addiction to alcohol perhaps. Maybe so, but that doesn’t excuse Williams allegedly driving drunk and putting everybody on the road at risk.

- It doesn’t appear that Seahawks T Russell Okung will play today because of a left ankle injury. Combine that with the high ankle sprain he suffered before the season began, and you’ve got a first-round pick who’s basically played six quarters this season. That’s probably less than coach Pete Carroll would like.

- You know how Eagles coach Andy Reid is 12-0 in games immediately following a bye week? Well, Saints coach Sean Payton hopes some of that magic can rub off on him.

- Rookie Jets CB Kyle Williams will take over much of the nickel cornerback snaps that had been reserved for Drew Coleman. Considering Wilson was on the bench for much of last week – and the past few games in general – he must have impressed somebody quite a bit.

- Yikes! Browns coach Eric Mangini makes a fat joke regarding Rex Ryan. Ryan kids that he’s been wobbled by the insult. Everybody feels good about themselves, because both Ryan and Mangini are skinnier than they once were.

- It’s been a whirlwind week for CB Jason Allen. First, he lost his starting job to Sean Smith in Miami and then the Dolphins released him. Now, he’s with the Texans, and considering how bad Houston’s pass defense has been, he could get playing time immediately.

- If you have Giants C Shaun O’Hara on your fantasy team – ahem, a fantasy team in which you play individual offensive linemen – it might be wise to bench him for the next few weeks. Because he ain’t playing any time soon.

- What a genius idea. Serving subpoenas by deception and taking advantage of a region’s love for the Steelers.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com