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Tag:LaDainian Tomlinson
Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:47 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 9:48 am
 

If Tomlinson's out, it's more pressure on Sanchez

Tomlinson could miss his second straight game. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

LaDainian Tomlinson missed the Jets' last game with a knee injury -- a loss to the Broncos 10 days ago -- and it looks like he won't play Sunday against the Bills, either. With Shonn Greene coming off a rib injury, that leaves very little depth at running back for New York in their get-together with the Bills.

That very lack of depth crippled the offense in Denver, where quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled to put the team on his shoulders and take over when the Jets needed him. Instead, he threw a third-quarter pick-six and looked uncomfortable in the pocket for most of the evening.

So no what? Well, the Jets, 5-5, might be on a two-game losing streak and need to win out to get into the playoff conversation, but the Bills are in much worse shape. They may share the same 5-5 record, but in three weeks Buffalo has gone from one of the AFC's best teams to one of its worst.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, clear on where things stand 11 weeks into the season, gave some of the first-team practice reps to backup Mark Brunell earlier this week, presumably in an effort to motivate Sanchez. It's something Ryan has done before and Sanchez responded by playing well down.

NFL Network's Albert Breer reported Sunday morning that Sanchez looked good in practice in recent days, which is a positive sign for the Jets. Whether it's enough to make up for the lack of depth in the backfield, or to reel off six games in a row remains to be seen.


After a tough loss to the Broncos last week, the New York Jets hope to bounce back as they prepare to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz have the preview. Watch the game on CBS at 1 PM ET.

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Posted on: November 26, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Jets think they can go 6-0, make playoffs

Can New York win out and make it to the postseason? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Jets last played nine days ago against the Broncos, in a game just about everybody had them winning. But that was when we were still underestimating the awesome power of Tim Tebow. (Truthfully, that win had more to do with Von Miller and Denver's defense but who wants to talk about that? Oh, right: us!)

New York's now 5-5, two games back of New England in a division they have little chance of winning, and they're facing long odds of earning a wild-card berth, too.

The road to playoffs starts Sunday against the Bills, a team they demolished three weeks ago, 27-11. After that, it's at Washington, Kansas City, at Philly, New York Giants, and at Miami. Not the easiest slate of games, but also short of impossibly difficult. Which is good because the Jets will probably have to win out to have a shot at qualifying for the playoffs.

The news gets better: that's exactly what they intend to do.

“Six-and-0,” linebacker Calvin Pace said, according to the New York Daily News. “Sometimes when you get caught losing to teams you’re not supposed to lose to, you end up kicking yourself in the butt saying, ‘Man, we put ourselves behind the eight-ball. These are games we should win.’ ”

There's been a lot of self-flagellation through 11 weeks for the Jets then. The Pats whipped up on New York four days before the Broncos loss. And the Jets dropped three straight games to Oakland, Baltimore and New England after beginning the season 2-0.

“I feel like we do have to win these last six games,” said LaDainian Tomlinson. “That would put us at 11-5; that should be enough to get us in. You look at 10-6 and I don’t know if that is enough.”

In most years, 11 wins guarantees you a wild-card spot, and sometimes even a division title. But as it stands, the Jets are ninth in the AFC, and behind three teams for the sixth and final playoff slot. That said, they're only one game out of the No. 6 spot (Cincinnati is 6-4).

But it's still November. A lot can change in the next six weeks. We're just not sure if part of that change includes the Jets going on a six-game winning streak.


After a tough loss to the Broncos last week, the New York Jets hope to bounce back as they prepare to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz have the preview. Watch the game on CBS at 1 PM ET.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:09 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Shonn Greene (ribs) questionable to return

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Without LaDainian Tomlinson dressed for the game , it was imperative that Jets running back Shonn Greene stay effective and stay healthy. For now, the latter might keep him from accomplishing the former.

After making a four-yard reception late in the first quarter in which he was hit by two Broncos defenders, Greene was shaken up and eventually slowly walked off the field. After he was examined by trainers on the sideline, Greene was taken to the locker room. He is now questionable to return with a ribs injury.

Joe McKnight has taken his place in the Jets offensive backfield, and Bilal Powell also is available.

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Report: Tomlinson won't play against Broncos

Tomlinson suffered a sprained MCL last week and he may not play in Denver Thursday. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It looks like LaDainian Tomlinson, one half of the Jets' "Ground and Pound" running game, won't play Thursday against the Broncos. He didn't practice Tuesday and head coach Rex Ryan confirmed that Tomlinson sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee late in Sunday night's loss to the Patriots.

Ryan didn't rule Tomlinson out during his Tuesday press conference, but sources tell the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta that Tomlinson was a no-go for Denver. Tomlinson suffered a similar injury in the playoffs following the 2007 season, when he was with the Chargers. Reporters questioned Tomlinson's toughness at the time, and that led to a testy Norv Turner providing some frank answers.

Recapping Week 10

"That's the stupidest thing you could ask," he said. "The guy wasn't able to go. The doctors and trainers said he couldn't go."

It didn't help that San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers played through a sprained knee. It prompted teammate Luis Castillo to call Rivers "the most courageous teammate I've ever had and the most courageous man I've ever seen."

Following practice Tuesday, Tomlinson said the injury was to the same knee that sidelined him nearly four years ago.

“It’s not as serious as the one in the playoff game," he said. "The one in the playoff game was pretty significant. This one is not as bad. If the game was Sunday, for sure I know I’d be able to play. Since it’s on Thursday, I can’t say that I’m going to be able to make it.”

Tomlinson added that he didn't suffer a setback Tuesday and might lobby to travel with the team to Denver.

“I would love to," he said, "but the problem is when you start the game-planning… you kind of think one way: 'Well, he’s not out here. He’s not going to make it,'" Tomlinson said. "Then they move forward with the game plan. Then, all of a sudden, 'Oh he’s going to play.' It makes it tough. At the same time, I want to play. But I don’t want to hurt the team in trying to play (if I) can’t do anything.”

The Broncos lost their two top running backs, Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, in the first quarter of Sunday's Chiefs game and all Denver did was run the ball 55 times. Whether the Jets show that kind of dedication remains to be seen, though we expect that Ryan will have a plan for slowing Tim Tebow and the read-option that currently has the Broncos on a two-game winning streak.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 9:17 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 9:23 am
 

LT: Rivers 'distracted' due to being 'the guy'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Philip Rivers is struggling right now, no question about it. Statistically, he's way off his production from the past two season in 2011. And the Chargers final play of regulation in a tough loss to Kansas City Monday, in which Rivers fumbled a snap before taking a knee, sums it up succinctly.

No one's precisely sure what's wrong with Rivers, but there are multiple theories -- a hidden injury, offensive injuries, Antonio Gates' health -- as to why he's not performing up to par. Rivers' former teammate, LaDainian Tomlinson, has his own idea, and it involves leadership.

"I don't know what Philip may be going through right now. But I will say, to me, he seems distracted for some reason," Tomlinson said to the media recently. "It just seems like he's distracted. I always said this: It's hard to be the guy on the team. When they say this is your team. It's hard to be that guy now. Because you get all the questions of what's wrong and what's right.

"Then, you get your teammates that expect certain things from you. When that doesn't happen, you get strange looks in the locker room. So it's hard to be that guy when it's your team. So that may have a little bit to do with what's going on."

I'm not so sure this rings true. Rivers played all of 2010 without Tomlinson, and though the Chargers didn't make the playoffs, he had a monster statistical year and kept the Bolts afloat despite more injuries than they suffered so far this year.



It sounds like A.J. Smith, Chargers GM, probably agrees with me. Or just doesn't like Tomlinson sticking his beak in someone else's business.

"I agree with what LT said about it’s hard being the guy," Smith said, via the San Diego Union-Tribune. "But I think it’s a lot harder when it’s no longer your team, and you’re not the guy."

Annnnd, burn. Oh right, but Rivers had a comment as well.

"Based on what you told me," Rivers said. "He has to be speaking from experience. I don’t feel that burden, nor has it had anything to do with the struggles.

"People say, 'It's your team.' I’ve never bought into that."

Naturally, Smith and Rivers are referencing the fact that Tomlinson wasn't exactly a leader in his final year with the Chargers. As you may recall, before the 2010 season began, Rivers expressed that there was "a little bit of relief" in San Diego with Tomlinson gone.

This went over really well with Tomlinson, who ripped back at Rivers and Gates, so to say he's not biased on this subject is silly.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 11:27 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: New Faces

J. Harbaugh has been the best new face in the league this year (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every year, NFL teams make terrible calls. They draft the wrong player, they make ridiculous free agent signings, they let somebody quite valuable go to another team, they make their fan base collectively scratch their head.

Ah, but occasionally, these squads get it right. They draft the right guy, they sign the free agent that’s on the cusp of blowing up, they take somebody valuable from another team, they give their fan base a reason to smile and cheer.

Last year, I recounted the Top Ten new faces, and among the group were Terrell Owens, a combination of Thomas Jones/Ryan Torain/Peyton Hills, and LaDainian Tomlinson. All those guys played well last year, but it just goes to show that this list has less than a one-year expiration.

That said, here are the best pickups thus far in 2011. As I wrote last year, "All of the following have impacted their new teams in many ways and all have made the front offices who signed them seem clairvoyant in the process (though, in the case of a couple players, the decision to add them wasn’t exactly brain surgery). So, here’s to those who have found a new lease on life (or a new burgeoning career) with their new team."

10. Paul Posluszny: Though we could argue about whether the fact the Jaguars stole Posluszny away from the Bills by signing him to a six-year, $42 million contract ($15 million guaranteed) will help the team during the long haul -- Jacksonville, after all, is 1-5 and most likely will lose its head coach sooner rather than later -- but Posluszny has been a tackling machine. As the middle linebacker, he helped hold the Steelers to 55 yards of offense and no points in the second half of Pittsburgh’s 17-13 escape last Sunday while piling up a game-high 16 tackles. The Jaguars have a myriad of problems, but acquiring Posluszny, whatever the cost, was still a solid move.

9. Carson Palmer: OK, he’s been a member of the Oakland organization for less than 48 hours. He’s practiced exactly one time. It’s still unclear whether he’ll start this week (though I imagine he will), and I think there’s a better he doesn’t play well than him actually playing well. But the fact is: the Raiders are making solid moves, and they’re doing all they can to win today. Sure, giving up two first-round draft picks will hurt, but you have to admire the attitude that says, “Screw it, we’re going for it all this year.” And if Palmer plays well and leads Oakland to the postseason, the Raiders will have completely flipped the script.

8. Daniel Thomas: When the Dolphins failed to re-sign Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, that put the onus on the second-round pick to step into a featured back role and immediately contribute. With Reggie Bush around to take some of his load, Thomas has done that, ranking 10th in the league with 249 yards despite a hamstring problem, and he’s averaging a solid 4.4 yards per carry. He hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, but then again, the Dolphins might be the worst team in the league, so not many touchdowns have been scored by that squad. That doesn't take away from the strides Thomas has made early in his career.

7. Victor Cruz: Technically, he’s not a newcomer, since he made the Giants squad as an undrafted free agent in 2010, but considering he was placed on IR early in the season before he had accumulated any stats, I’ll forgive myself. Cruz has become a player who makes outstanding, circus-type catches and then makes silly mistakes. But he’s also caught 21 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns, and behind Hakeem Nicks, Cruz has developed into a solid No. 2 receiver for a team that still should contend for an NFC East crown.

6. Johnathan Joseph: He was considered the poor man’s Nnamdi Asomugha in the offseason, signing with the Texans for the reasonable cost of $48.75 million over five years. But he’s been better than Asomugha this year, collecting three interceptions and nine passes defended for an improved Houston defense that ranks 10th in the league. Joseph, though he’s flirted with injuries early on, was the right call for Houston.

Babin5. Ryan Kerrigan/Aldon Smith: These two rookie linebackers are some of the most exciting new players in the league. For the Redskins and 49ers, respectively, the two have combined for 33 tackles, 7 ½ sacks, six passes defended, one interception and three forced fumbles. Forget about Von Miller and Nick Fairley as the two most important defensive rookies emerging from last year’s draft. Kerrigan and Smith, so far, are the two best defensive freshmen in the league.

4. Jason Babin: I had Babin at No. 10 on this list last year, and with the Titans in 2010 -- in his only year with the Titans, it turns out -- he accumulated 12.5 sacks and 58 tackles. This year, he’s been even better, and he’s the new guy who’s done the most damage with the Eagles defense. He ranks tied for third in the league with seven sacks, and though the rest of Philadelphia’s squad has been disappointing, Babin has been a monster. With some scary tattoos.
 
3. Andy Dalton/A.J. Green: So much of the time, Bengals owner Mike Brown comes off as clueless (or maybe he’s just ingenious). Like the time he said, “I don’t apologize for our scouting. It’s an easy target. But if you look at the real facts, you’ll see it different” when it’s clearly evident that many of Cincinnati’s drafts have absolutely stunk. But Brown, also the general manager, hit a home run with Green in the first round of the 2011 draft and Dalton in the second. Green has made some incredible catches, and Dalton has played better than expected. Cincinnati is 4-2, and Green and Dalton deserve some of the credit. As does Brown.

2. Cam Newton: Unfortunately for Newton and the Panthers, we’ve begun to see him play a little more like a rookie recently (he hasn’t even broken the 300-yard mark in the past two weeks!), but there’s no denying that Newton is a special talent. No matter the amount of negativity and doubt Newton received before he took his first snap, he threw for 420-plus yards in his first two outings and then for 374 yards in Week 4. The Panthers aren’t winning, but at least they’re relevant these days. And exciting.

1. Jim Harbaugh: Forgive the guy for showing his belly, jumping up and down like he had just won tickets to see Justin Bieber, and giving Jim Schwartz a hearty handshake and a friendly tap on the back last week. He should be excited. The 49ers, through six games, are running away with the division, and the former Stanford coach in his first season in the NFL has been a huge reason why. Is Harbaugh the sole reason Alex Smith has played well or that the defense is ranked second in the NFL in points allowed? No, but is Harbaugh getting his team to play like Mike Singletary only could have dreamed about? Yes.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 12:45 am
 

Nick Mangold inactive Sunday with ankle injury

Posted by Will Brinson



Nick Mangold suffered an ankle injury during Week 3's trouncing of the Jaguars and initial indications showed that the Jets center would miss two to three weeks.

But Mangold, one of the toughest guys in football, wanted to get back on the field for Sunday night's game in Baltimore. However, according to Rachel Nichols of ESPN, Mangold's pre-game workout didn't go well enough, and he'll be inactive for Sunday night's game against the Ravens.

Mangold's absence could make for some tough sledding for the Jets offense -- he's the anchor of that line, and Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson have already struggled enough to push the ball between the tackles.

Both have less than a four yards per carry average thus far on the season, and against a viscous Baltimore front seven that ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing at 84 yards per game, it's unlikely that we'll see that average go up.

Especially since Mangold won't be there to help fortify the line. Rookie Colin Baxter will likely get the start, and he's got some big shoes to fill.

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 11:49 am
 

Film Room: Ravens vs. Jets preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Ever since Rex Ryan left Baltimore to become New York’s head coach, we’ve viewed these two teams as mirror images of one another – and understandably so. Both have young quarterbacks. Both have running backs entering their primes who are backed up by a sage veteran. Both feature an aggressive and deceptive 3-4 defensive scheme. And both talk abundant trash even though their respective rivals – the Patriots and Steelers – have all the rings.

Let’s take a closer look at these teams’ similarities.

1. Young quarterbacks
Something that stood out in Week 3 was how the Ravens and Jets heavily utilized play-action early on, but for different reasons.

The Ravens referred to it to allow time for downfield routes to unfold. They wanted to take advantage of a depleted Rams secondary that was starting undrafted second-year nobody Darian Stewart at safety and disintegrating Al Harris at nickel corner outside. (They succeeded, by the way).

The Jets referred to play action because they wanted to prolong the time that Raiders’ defensive backs had to hold up in man coverage. They also wanted to coax the Raider linebackers into running out of position. (They succeeded, but only in the first half.)

Same offensive tactic, but with vastly different inspirations. The Ravens were trying to showcase their young quarterback, while the Jets were trying to simply make life easier for theirs (nothing wrong with that). This makes sense. Flacco has been around a year longer than Sanchez and is clearly a year ahead of him development-wise. He has a stronger arm and, as of late, more refined tools. He has really improved his pocket movement, becoming more consistent in resetting his feet before he throws.

The Jets are working with Sanchez in this realm. Entering this season, the USC star had a habit of bringing the ball down while eluding rushers in the pocket. This compelled him to reset both his feet AND throwing mechanics, which is too slow of a motion for the NFL.

For what it’s worth, don’t expect such a heavy dose of play-action in this game. Both defenses have savvy linebackers and are too likely to blitz. Instead, the key will be which young quarterback does the best job at diagnosing coverages and pass-rushing attacks prior to the snap.


2. The running backs
Let’s get one thing clear: Ray Rice is a better football player than Shonn Greene. It’s not even close. If Rice were a Friday night, Greene would be, at best, a Wednesday afternoon. Rice runs with superb balance and strength, and his lateral agility is second to none (especially when he gets to the second level). What’s more, he’s a demon in the passing game, both as a receiver and blocker.

Greene, on the other hand, has been somewhat disappointing. He sits out most passing downs and has 1,440 yards rushing…in 32 career games. One issue is Greene’s more of a momentum runner than explosive runner. He excels on sweeps because those runs naturally allow him to hit the line of scrimmage going downhill. But sweeps don’t work against elite outside linebackers (like, say, Terrell Suggs).

Between the tackles, Greene’s vision and timing are very average. That’s why the Jets made LaDainian Tomlinson a prominent part of their offense last season. Tomlinson is off to a fantastic start as a receiving back this season (12 catches for 196 yards and a touchdown), but that’s in part because he knows how to outwit pass defending linebackers. On film, it’s clear L.T. has lost a lot of his speed and quickness. If the Jets are to go anywhere in 2011, they’ll have to ride Greene.

Same goes for the Ravens and Rice. Rice’s production is not a problem, though the Ravens were wise to bring in a supporting No. 2 back like Ricky Williams.

3. The receivers
Derrick Mason is the X-factor. He was Baltimore’s possession target last year and is now filling that role from the slot in New York. The crafty 15-year veteran is one of the few players in the league who does not need to get separation in order to be open.

Plaxico Burress is another one of those players. He’s been, for the most part, his same old self this season (which is remarkable when you really think about it). His matchup Sunday night against Carry Williams will be worth watching. If you asked God to make a cornerback specifically for defending Burress, you might get Williams. He’s only 6’1”, 185, but long and upright, he plays much bigger than that. He has an intriguing combination of physicality and change-of-direction ability, and if asked to play man coverage, he won’t be shy about using trail position technique (which will compel Burress to use his “speed” more than his strength).

It will be interesting to see what the Jets do with Darrelle Revis. The likely assignment will be Anquan Boldin, though last week, rookie Torrey Smith turned in a jaw-dropping three-touchdown first quarter that had the Rams redirecting their safety help concepts. Smith gets faster at the end of his routes, which is something all great deep threats do. Antonio Cromartie has the speed to run with him, so expect the Jets to trust that matchup. But expect the Ravens to readily go after it.

The weak link of both cornerbacking groups happens to be an ex-Boise State Bronco: Chris Carr for the Ravens and Kyle Wilson for the Jets. If it comes down to these ancillary matchups, the Jets have the overall advantage. Mason, their No. 3, is as reliable as they come. For the Ravens, newcomer Lee Evans (who now figures to be the No. 3 receiver) has not established any sort of a rhythm with Flacco.

4. The defensive lines
The Jets have a unique run-stopping approach with their three-man defensive line. Instead of asking their downlinemen to occupy blockers and fill two gaps, the Jets ask them to focus on physically manhandling the guy in front of them. The idea is this creates congestion through penetration and also defines the inside linebackers’ path to the ball (David Harris and Bart Scott are tasked with reading the defensive linemen’s action and attacking in the opposite direction that it’s drifting. More on that in the next section.)

The Jets are the only 3-4 team in the NFL that plays the run this way.

This unique approach is why general manager Mike Tannenbaum drafted a fist-fighter like Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round. Tannenbaum would probably give his right eye for a chance to have a guy like Haloti Ngata. The Ravens 335-pound defensive end/nose tackle is the most destructive front line force in the NFL today.

Ngata has the power of a tug boat and mobility of a clipper. Truly, he moves like a linebacker. Expect him to spend most of his time at defensive end this season, as last year’s second-round pick, Terrence Cody, has looked great at nose tackle.



5. The inside linebackers
These are the entertainers – the guys NBC cameras will fixate on Sunday night. The sagacious Ray Lewis and loquacious Bart Scott. Both back up their personas. Lewis no longer has elite sideline-to-sideline speed, but he compensates with instincts, ferocity and fundamentals.

He was a demon attacking Rams lead-blockers last week. The Ravens’ defensive style will always allow Lewis to be productive, as so much of their run approach is predicated on his teammates occupying blockers.

Scott, who is as aggressive downhill as any linebacker in the league, has both an easier and tougher job than Lewis. It’s easier in that he has a stellar running mate in David Harris. It’s tougher in that, as mentioned earlier, he must read the defensive linemen’s battles in front of him and pursue the ball accordingly.

The reason other 3-4 defenses don’t take this type of approach is it requires great intelligence and pursuit skills from both inside linebackers. Most defenses don’t have an inside combination like Scott and Harris.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 4 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com