Tag:Marcus McNeill
Posted on: August 21, 2010 3:00 pm

Tra Thomas retires

Posted by Andy Benoit

Marcus McNeill just got some leverage. Veteran left tackle Tra Thomas has decided to retire. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune broke the story. The Chargers brought Thomas in as a camp body to fill the place of McNeill, who is holding out.

As things stand right now, the Chargers are counting on Brandon Dombrowski at left tackle. Undrafted rookie Brady Bond is now the top backup tackle. Don’t be surprised if San Diego brings in a free agent.

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 9:10 am

Hot Routes 8.19.10: No Favre news here

Posted by Andy Benoit

Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill met with GM A.J. Smith Wednesday. McNeill requested the meeting, but according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune, little progress was made.

Wide receive Brandon Jones signed a five-year, $16.5 million contract with the 49ers last offseason but was released Wednesday. Jones hurt his shoulder in ’09 and fell to the bottom of the depth chart. Speculation is the current coaching staff was never taken with Jones.

Cowboys left guard Kyle Kosier sprained his knee Wednesday and will miss 4-6 weeks. Journeyman Montrae Holland will fill in. Kosier is Dallas’s prime source of mobility inside.

Chargers rookie nose tackle Cam Thomas is impressing some people early on. He seems to have good perspective, too.

The Jets are trying to trade third-string quarterback Kellen Clemens.

Finally! Some good news for the Ravens and their cornerback situation. Fabian Washington, back from last year’s ACL injury, will play against the Redskins Saturday.

With Brent Grimes having a groin injury, the Falcons cornerback competition could be opening up.

Redskins rookie left tackle and No. 4 overall pick, Trent Williams, faces a reckless driving charge from an incident in June.

In either a marketing ploy or a sadly confused effort to beat the summer heat, the Arizona Cardinals will wear black jerseys in their next preseason home game (vs. Redskins). (Perhaps with Kurt Warner retired, the Cardinals are already mourning their 2010 season.)

We knew the Browns were extremely high on strong, athletic outside linebacker Marcus Benard, but is the 2009 undrafted free agent really in line for a starting job?

Maybe the NFL is right when it says fans can’t stand preseason games. Looks like a game featuring two marquee teams, the Chargers and Cowboys, could be blacked out.

Because it’s late in training camp for most teams, there’s probably four or five worthless stories out there about coaches cancelling practice and sending their players to the movies instead. To save you from the temptation of wasting two minutes of your life reading one of these stories, we won’t even provide a link.

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Posted on: August 13, 2010 8:40 pm

Chargers play more hardball with holdouts

Posted by Andy Benoit

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill both plan to sit out the 2010 season. But, just in case they change their minds and decide to play the minimum six games (which would earn them an accredited season), Chargers GM A.J. Smith has flexed some muscle in that realm.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune writes:

League sources said Friday that Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill have received letters informing them of the Chargers' intentions to place them on the Roster Exempt List if they do not sign their tenders by Aug. 20.

A player on the Roster Exempt List is ineligible to play for three games following the day he signs. The Chargers used the tactic with tight end Antonio Gates to end his 2005 holdout.

This forces Jackson and McNeill to sign their RFA tenders three weeks earlier than Week 10 in order to make 2010 an accredited season.

Thus, the Chargers would have the players for three additional weeks of practice.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 2:30 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Chargers should pay V-Jackson; not McNeill

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

An interesting study by Pro Football Focus to determine, once and for all, if the Chargers should pay WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill what they’re demanding or if they should let them sit out most of the season and not let them collect their paychecks.

According to PFF, Jackson ranks as the fourth-best WR of 2009. But it’s more than that. He makes life easier for No. 2 WR Malcom Floyd, and without Jackson in the lineup to take away the pressure of the opponent’s No. 1 CB, it’s a legitimate question of whether Floyd will be as effective if he’s the No. 1 target of that team’s secondary.

And then, even if Floyd is OK as the No. 1 WR, it’s the domino effect. Can a player like Legedu Naanee be helped by Floyd in the same way Floyd was helped by Jackson? Either way, the consensus here is that the Chargers should pay Jackson, even though he’s facing a three-game suspension.

The same cannot be said for McNeill. Although McNeill is a Pro Bowler, PFF writes he’s not a good run-blocker and, actually, he’s not a great pass-protector either. Plus, the LT position as a whole might be more undervalued this year, because the Super Bowl champion Saints feature a LT in Jermon Bushrod who’s not exactly spectacular.

More from PFF:

What’s more, (McNeill) has struggled against the top pass-rushers. Dallas’ dynamic duo of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer had four pressures from 34 pass plays despite McNeill getting tight end help on a third of those plays. And if he opts to play rather than hold out, he’ll be relieved that injured Broncos pass rusher Elvis Dumervil won’t be lined up against him — McNeill lost the battle of “Doom” both times in 2009.

We’d advise the Chargers look at how the Super Bowl champions managed to move on without their similarly overrated franchise left tackle (Jammal Brown). The circumstances may be different, but injury forced the Saints to put blindside protection in the hands of their QB — and the end results were a shiny Vince Lombardi trophy, an increase in draft picks and a lot of money saved.

Not that any of this will change GM A.J. Smith’s mind – Smith has said he’s moved on without Jackson and McNeill – but it must be comforting for him to know that more than one person agrees that he shouldn’t give in to McNeill’s demands.

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Posted on: August 1, 2010 7:43 pm

A.J. Smith is 'done talking' about McNeil, V-Jax

Obviously, the biggest storyline surrounding the San Diego Chargers is the absence of Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson from the team's training camp. Anytime you have two Pro Bowlers missing from your squad, it's something the press wants to know about.

But GM A.J. Smith doesn't care what we want. Because he's "done talking" about the guys who want new deals.
“I’m done talking about Vincent (Jackson) and Marcus (McNeill),” he said. “Our season is under way now. They have made a business decision, along with their agents, to not be a part of the team. They are not pleased with our position, and that is their right. Our total concentration will be on players that are trying to help us win now. If they should ever rejoin us at any time, I will be happy to address the situation with you then.” This fits right in line with Smith's previous stance that he was prepared to lose both Jackson and McNeil. He was also asked about Shawne Merriman (albeit separately) and had a similar answer:
“I’m done talking about Shawne,” Smith said. “Our season is under way. Our total focus will be on players that are here. This camp will go by fast, and the Chiefs game will be on us fast.” So, yeah, Smith is making it pretty clear that he's not even going to PRETEND to play ball with these guys that want new deals.

And at this point, it might be too late for Jackson and McNeil to even bother trying to show up. Sure, they could, but they've likely angered some teammates at this point. Clearly, Smith isn't thrilled about the situation.

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 30, 2010 8:41 pm

Marcus McNeill, Chargers talking contract

Left tackle Marcus McNeill and the San Diego Chargers have re-opened contract negotiations.

NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora writes:

McNeill has yet to sign his reduced restricted free-agent tender, but he'd like to remain a Charger and work out a long-term deal.

McNeill is optimistic that something can be worked out, though these talks have been preliminary. But the dialogue is scheduled to resume through the weekend, according to the source, and could result in a face-to-face session sometime in the next few weeks. Ample time remains before the start of the season to have something done, and the odds of working out a long-term deal with McNeill certainly seem higher than they are with the team's two other unsigned veterans, Shawne Merriman and Vincent Jackson.

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 22, 2010 2:29 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 2:50 pm

Merriman a Charger 'until I am told otherwise'

Shawne Merriman is one of many San Diego Chargers not, um, "thrilled" with his contract status. He joins, most notably, Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill as those steering clear of the Bolts' headquarters ; not to mention rookie Ryan Mathews who's been waffling on holdout chatter this week .

But that doesn't mean Merriman thinks he's done in San Diego. In fact, he was at least mildly enthusiastic about being a Charger when asked about his future on XX Sports Radio in San Diego :
“I am a San Diego Charger until I am told otherwise. The rest of the stuff is just talk to me and until I hear or get a call from someone saying you are not a San Diego Charger anymore, I am a San Diego Charger until I am done playing football. That is the way that I started when I came in and that is the way I am going to keep it until I go out. Until I am told otherwise I am going to continue to do what I am doing. Merriman also touched on a timetable for getting to camp, stating that he had no specific date in mind but would just "be ready when the time comes."

The former Defensive Player of the Year also touched on his upcoming Entourage cameo, but the primary point of the interview seemed to be that Merriman really, really wants to get back on the field and play football for San Diego.

One small problem there: if GM A.J. Smith isn't budging on Jackson and McNeill, why would he cave to Merriman, particularly when he reached for a replacement (Larry English) in the first round last year? He won't -- which means if Merriman wants to play in San Diego this year, it'll be without a long term deal.

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 19, 2010 1:28 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 5:44 pm

Bolts resigned on Jackson/McNeil; say no to Owens

As recently as like three years ago, Terrell Owens would've had a shot at cracking CBS Sports' "Top Five Wide Receivers in the NFL " list.

Now? Child, please; he needs a team first.

The likelihood that he will find one has been narrowed further, provided you believe the comments made by A.J. Smith about Owens to the San Diego Union-Tribune 's Nick Canepa:

“We’re all set right now with our receivers,” says Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith, back from vacation a week before the opening of training camp. “I don’t want to be involved. A lot of people have us targeted [for Owens], but they know I wouldn’t do it.

The Chargers are clearly in a bizarre situation, because while they have a ton of talent on the offensive end, they could be without star wideout Vincent Jackson for a minimum of three weeks (his suspension ) and possibly up to 10 (provided he continues to hold out ).

In fact, Smith acknowledges in the same article, when referring to Jackson and Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill , that, "it's over with ... I think they're going to be here for six games, and then think they're going to be free." Yet, they still have clearly zero interest in the oft-troubled wideout.

All of this lends even more credence to something that our own Mike Freeman wrote recently : that Owens is being pseudo-banished by the NFL.

Think about it -- he's been rejected by the Panthers (Jon Beason, who practically laughed at the notion of TO coming to Carolina in an online chat ), the Redskins , the Bengals (even though Chad Ochocinco was reportedly pleading the brass to ink him), and now the Chargers. All of those teams need help at wideout, and yet, Owens can't find a home.

Adam Schefter tweets that Drew Rosenhaus texted him today to say he's "very confident" that Owens "will have a home within a few weeks," but making the presumption that someone will ink TO -- particularly given all the wideout-needy teams that have passed already -- just based on an agent's PR manuevers seems pretty optimistic.

Of course, injuries happen, even in training camp, and it's likely some team that will get desperate and give Owens a short-term, incentive-laden deal. But, on the bright side, even that doesn't happen, he's always got a future as a reality show sidekick . So there's that.

-- Will Brinson

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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