Tag:Cleveland Browns
Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:11 pm
 

Eric Wright will keep his starting job

Posted by Andy Benoit
E. Wright (US Presswire)
Browns fans won’t like this: on Tuesday, Eric Mangini said cornerback Eric Wright will remain in the starting lineup. Wright had a horrible game against the Ravens, giving up three touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and having that “cornerback lost on an island look” that quarterbacks lot spotting.

"Eric didn't have a good day and when you don't have a good day against a really, really good player [Anquan Boldin], it ends up being a bad day," said Mangini, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I can tell you this, that Eric Wright has played a lot of good football for us all throughout last year, matching up the against the best receivers, doing an outstanding job. He was disappointed and my expectation is he'll play a lot better next week."

Again, fans won’t like Mangini’s decision, especially with No. 7 overall pick Joe Haden behind Wright on the depth chart. But this is the right call (or the “Wright” call, if you’re into that kind of humor). Wright is by no means a star, but he has good quickness and fluid hips. He’s also a fundamentally-sound tackler.

Mangini is essentially trusting Wright’s body of work and honoring the fact that the former second-round pick improved in each of his first three seasons. That shouldn’t be undone by one bad outing.

Wright has a tall order this week. The Browns face the Bengals on Sunday, meaning Wright will be matched up on either Chad Ochocinco or Terrell Owens.

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

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Wither Trent Edwards?

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park .

Posted by Will Brinson


The Buffalo Bills, probably the most quarterback-desperate team in the NFL over the past 10 or so years, made the surprising decision to cut Trent Edwards yesterday. He is jobless and homeless right now, but -- thank goodness for that Stanford education! -- certainly not unemployable.

Still, don't feel that sorry for him. After all, by 4:00 PM EST today, when the NFL process all the waiver claims on Edwards , he's going to have a new job and it will likely be in a place that is less like Buffalo potentially more productive for his future.

That's the beauty of getting kicked out of Buffalo: the grass is always greener, even once you've been on the other side for 10 years. Of course, if you're Edwards, you have to be disappointed that the gig didn't work out -- after all, he was drafted by the Bills out of Stanford and given plenty of opportunities to win the starting job and resurrect the franchise. Clearly, that didn't happen.

So knowing that he'll end up somewhere, the question becomes "Where does he get his second chance?"

According to the NFL, the teams with the worst record this year will have priority on waiver claims, and assuming that multiple teams with the same record make a claim on Edwards, a tie will be broken "based on current strength-of-schedule of the involved clubs or by lot if a tie still exists."

Let's say that all the 0-3 teams make a claim as well as the Vikings, Seahawks and Jets. The order would be thus: 49ers/Browns (7-2 opponent record), Lions/Bills (6-3), Panthers (5-4), Jaguars (4-5), Vikings (4-5), Jets (6-3) and Seahawks (2-7).

According to Jason LaCanfora , though, "no winless teams" made a claim on Edwards, thereby eliminating six teams from consideration and wasting about 15 minutes of my time, primarily because I'm horribly bad at math.

Out of those teams, the 49ers are most surprising (see below), but, considering that LaCanfora has a knack for being correct and also happens to work for a media outlet owned by the organization who takes the waiver claims in from the teams, it seems that one fo the 26 other squads will be going after the former team captain in Buffalo.

The Vikings haven't been rumored insofar as I can tell but they still make sense, especially if you buy into the theory that Brett Favre might get hurt. (Oh, and the theory that everyone's scared of having to put Tavaris Jackson into the game.)

The Jets are considered a team that would be heavily interested in having Edwards on board -- but probably only to steal secrets from the Bills in anticipation of their upcoming ... HAHAHAHA, sorry. Okay, actually because they'd prefer to have someone more lively than Mark Brunell to step in if Mark Sanchez is injured or falters.

And the Seahawks make absolute sense because Edwards is a cheap third option when should Matt Hasselbeck suffer an injury and they realize that Charlie Whitehurst isn't cut out to run their offense.

***
Why the Niners didn't make a claim is beyond me -- they're a team who needs to find an offensive identity, having been continually perplexed by the inconsistency of Alex Smith, who looked to have "arrived" during a close loss to the Saints in Week 2, only to have "checked out for the duration" against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Oh, and they're the only 0-3 team,

Edwards would provide them an option that's not David Carr to either push or replace Alex Smith. And look, Mike Singletary just fired his offensive coordinator only a few days after publicly defending him and acting outraged that anyone would question whether Raye knew what he was doing (um, he didn't, duh).

Plus, they could've claimed Edwards and Singletary could have done the whole "just for depth" and "Alex is our starter" dance, only to put him in the game after Smith's second interception in the first quarter against the Falcons in Week 4.

***
The Cleveland Browns decision not to pursue Edwards isn't as odd, I suppose, although Jake Delhomme hasn't looked great when he's been healthy, and while Seneca Wallace is a Mike Holmgren favorite, outside of tossing a bomb past an out-of-place Eric Berry, he hasn't been that great (370 yards, two TDs and a pick in two games).

But the decision not to spend a roster spot on adding a potentially gimpy donkey to their stable of already ugly horses is understandable, except that unless Delhomme can stay healthy, Cleveland's one bad break away from putting McCoy under center and really slapping a postage stamp to the season.

***
An argument could be made that the Panthers need to at least make a run at Edwards as well, but he's really nothing more than Matt Moore sans familiarity with the team and coaching staff.

The bigger problem for Carolina might be that John Fox already regrets his blatantly panicked decision to put Jimmy Clausen under center after an 0-2 start that only got uglier in a home loss to Cincinnati.

The good news is that the Saints -- as shown by Atlanta plowing through them in the Bayou -- are vulnerable against the run, and if there's one thing the Panthers should do well, it's pound the rock. They haven't been great about it thus far, but that's because they're staring down stacked boxes on nearly every play as teams refuse to respect whoever's under center.

That could change this weekend -- weather won't be a factor (see: three fumbles by Jim-Jim), and if Clausen can take his progression blinders off, quit staring down his receiver every play, the Panthers could be primed for a "where did that come from oh right it's the matchup" upset. You heard it here first.

***
The Jaguars would actually be an ideal situation, at least for Edwards. He'd face relatively limited competition -- by all accounts, Jack Del Rio wants to replace David Garrard in the starting lineup, he just doesn't have the bodies to do it after Luke McCown went down with an injury ... immediately after replacing David Garrard .

And let's face it, that offensive line has been putrid thus far; putting Todd Bouman, who is either 18 or 45 years old and who has backed up big names like Kyle Boller, Jamie Martin, Gus Frerotte and Quinn Gray en route to being signed by the Jaguars FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES , won't end well.

***
The notion that Ben Roethlisberger might not start when he returns from suspension following the Steelers' bye in Week 5 has been tossed around in the media. Like, kind of a lot.

And Charlie Batch has been very good in replacing Ben, at least, you know, relative to what everyone expected from Charlie Freaking Batch. But let's not lose our minds just because we (read: you) kind of want to see Roethlisberger punished by karma and riding the pine. He's by far and away the best quarterback option for Pittsburgh, and Mike Tomlin is going to start him as soon as he's allowed to.

If the Steelers happen to be undefeated at that point in time, well, watch out NFL.

***
Quickly ...

- Peyton Hillis didn't just put the whole "Eric Mangini hates  Jerome Harrison" conspiracy theory to bed, he shoved about 15 Ambien in its mouth and then wrapped it in a Snuggie.

- Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, as much as I'd like to think so, aren't in a battle for a job. They're just two running backs with different style co-existing in a system that just so happens to make one of them less valuable. And the less valuable guy just happens to be Charles, who's more talented.

- The only awesome thing about drafting Kevin Kolb in fantasy leagues is that you had to pick up Michael Vick. That's worked out quite well.

- I really thought that Chan Gailey was trying to showcase Marshawn Lynch to increase his trade value. And even if he was, in the process, Lynch has just become the best running back in Buffalo (once again).

- Kevin Smith returns this week and Jahvid Best is injured ... it shouldn't matter, but that's what Wally Pip probably said too.

- Yeah, I'm really pumped about the "Garrett Hartley versus John Carney" lede in this column next week too, thanks for asking.

Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:00 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 11:56 am
 

2010 records determine waiver order for Edwards

Posted by Will Brinson

Don't laugh, but NFL teams will be lining up for Trent Edwards' services this afternoon, just a few days after the Buffalo Bills decided to release him from their roster . Or, more accurately, they may have already lined up and are shuffling around trying to figure out who might be in front of them for his services.

See, if a player is dumped in the first three weeks of the NFL season, the prior season's records determine the waiver order. If it's after the first three weeks, the current season's records determine the order. Edwards was dumped on Monday, after the third Sunday of the season but not before the entire week was completed.

However, according to the NFL's clarifying statement to Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk , 2010 records will matter in this instance, because Edwards' contract is being awarded on Tuesday (which is today and which is after Week 3, obviously).

A quick glance at the standings reveals a few teams that stink this season, primarily because of quarterback problems: the Panthers, the Jaguars, the 49ers, the Browns and the Lions are all 0-3 and have either a) had a quarterback get injured, b) replaced their starting quarterback for poor performance at some point this season or c) been fooled for the 500th time by Alex Smith playing well in one game.

Oh yes, and the Bills. But it's at least "improbable" that they would release him and then claim him. ("Impossible" seems like a stretch, given the absurdity of releasing him this early in the season without even seeking some sort of trade with a quarterback needy team.)

Also in the mix -- according to Chris Mortensen -- are the Seahawks, Chiefs and Jets, although it seems pretty unlikely that, given their back-of-the-line status, any of those three would have a shot at landing Edwards.

But yeah, Trent Edwards is really popular, which is why it makes absolutely no sense that the Bills just cut him outright.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 10:28 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 11:14 am
 

The ugly accusations against Shaun Smith

Posted by Andy Benoit

Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith developed a reputation for being a loafer while in Cleveland (his game film was behind that). Somehow, the sixth-year pro has managed to take his reputation even lower. 

Smith now has S. Smitha reputation as – what shall we call this? – a grabber. As in, he’s been accused of grabbing opponents…you know, down there.

49ers rookie right tackle Anthony Davis was flagged for a personal foul for going after Smith in the third quarter Sunday. Afterwards, Davis told Matt Maiocco of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, “He tried to feel me. That’s weird, right?”

Yes, Anthony, that is weird. And it was brave of you to talk about it. You did nothing wrong. (Except maybe get the personal foul flag on a crucial third down while trailing 10-3, but even your fiery coach defended you afterwards.)

This is the second week in a row that Smith has been accused of this sort of behavior. Last week, Browns center Alex Mack spoke up. "I don't think he should be able to do that," Mack told The Associated Press the day after the game. "I'm still fired up about it."

Wish we had video or the proper photo here, but in stories like these, the media usually has to settle with a face shot of the accused. Smith at least did us a favor by sort of looking the part.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .
Posted on: September 27, 2010 4:10 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 2:33 pm
 

10 Sunday stories deserving your attention Wk 3

Posted by Andy Benoit

1.) Cowboys justify the hype

It’s disappointing not to have two weeks of Wade Phillips Hot Seat chatter to look forward to. (What can you say? The guy is fun to dump on.) But at least we have reason to believe the Cowboys will be in the thick of the NFC East race now. Even if you’re not a fan of America’s Team (and Mexico’s Team), you have to admit, because their NFL-high five primetime games left (counting Thanksgiving), football is more exciting with the Cowboys being relevant.

Dallas’ 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter against Houston – capped by a Marion Barber one-yard touchdown burst – was the type of drive that turns a season around. It was also a microcosm of Sunday’s game. On the drive, Tony Romo completed three different third downs of nine yards or longer. He bought himself time in the pocket and worked deep into his progressions on several throws, hitting four different receivers on the drive, including Roy Williams three times. T. Romo (US Presswire)

We should probably give Williams a week off from his whipping boy duties. The former Texas Longhorn was tremendous in catching a game-high five passes for 117 yards and two scores. Williams consistently won battles at the line of scrimmage, and he showed commendable fluidity making catches on the move. The key was that Jason Garrett played to Williams’ strengths by asking him to run straight-line patterns, as opposed to direction-changing routes.

The Cowboy defense was equally impressive. DeMarcus Ware posted three sacks, and it wasn’t simply a case of him feasting on backup left tackle Rashad Butler (Butler actually wasn’t bad this game). Ware benefitted from having excellent man coverage behind him.

As glad as we all should be to see the Cowboys avoid the irrelevance that generally awaits an 0-3 team, let’s hope Jerry Jones’ men don’t turn in too many more performances like this. Otherwise, we’ll once again get the nonstop reminders that the Super Bowl is in Cowboys Stadium this year, and that Jones REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wants to have the first true home field advantage in the game’s history.

2.) Hold your horses, Texans fans

On Houston’s side of things, that secondary that gave up over 400 yards passing to both the Colts and Redskins – you know, the secondary we all conveniently overlooked these past two weeks while hastily editing our preseason picks and branding Gary Kubiak’s club as the breakout club of 2010? – is officially porous.

Romo, in completing 23 of 30 passes for 284 yards, exposed Houston’s flaws at cornerback. First-round rookie Kareem Jackson struggles early in coverage. If it’s zone, Jackson’s not always sure how long to carry the receiver. If it’s man, he doesn’t always deliver an effective jam (no rhyme intended). Opposite Jackson, second-year pro Brice McCain had trouble when Cowboy receivers redirected late in their route.

Both young corners have the talent to improve. It’d help if safeties Eugene Wilson and Bernard Pollard – especially Pollard – flashed the same big-play prowess they flashed late last season. And it would also help if superstar Mario Williams (and “superstar” is not an appellation to be used lightly) broke his habit of vanishing every few weeks. Williams was a nonfactor this game despite facing single blocking most of the afternoon.

3.) Saints get marched on

No need for a “What’s wrong with the Saints?” piece – it’s just one loss. And let’s refrain from chalking up the home loss to the absence of Reggie Bush. Heck, we talked in the Week 2 Preview Podcast about how whenever Bush goes down, Lance Moore steps up. Sunday, the unheralded fifth-year veteran caught six balls for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He also set up a first quarter touchdown by returning a punt 72 yards. M. Turner (US Presswire)

The Saints still lost, of course. Why? The Falcons’ rushing attack. Michael Turner, Jason Snelling and lead-blocking fullback Ovie Mughelli confirmed what we already knew: the way to beat the good-but-certainly-not-great New Orleans defensive front seven is to run right at it. Not only does a power run game keep Drew Brees off the field while allowing a team to control tempo and tone, but it also minimizes the creativity and aggressiveness of Gregg Williams’ blitzes. This brings to mind that brilliant Mike Tyson axiom (and yes, those last four words really did just show up in that order): everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. The Saints defense is crafty…until it gets hit in the mouth.

The Falcons hit the Saints in the mouth in the form of 50 runs for 202 yards Sunday. Turner, looking every bit like the 244-pound bowling ball he is, ran 30 times for 114 yards. Snelling, a more upright runner with comparable downhill power, had 14 carries for 62 yards. And Mughelli – well, he basically punched his ticket to Hawaii simply because he is a fullback and his name has now been mentioned twice on a mainstream website.

One last note: Falcons head coach Mike Smith went for it three times on fourth down, including twice on fourth-and-two in a first-half series. The Falcons reached the end zone after being successful on both of those fourth-and-two attempts. They later failed on a fourth-and-six inside the final four minutes of regulation, and the Saints promptly capitalized on by matriculating downfield for a game-tying field goal. But credit Smith for sticking to his plan and playing to win.

4.) Killer kickers

Those of us who shrewdly picked the Falcons to be serious contenders in the NFC South this year (and there actually wound up being quite a few of us) can thank Saints kicker Garrett Hartley for those satisfying feelings of smugness we’re all enjoying. Hartley badly missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime (actually, no need to say “badly missed” – the only way to miss from 29 yards is “badly”), prompting Sean Payton and the front office to schedule a tryout for kickers on Monday.

A kicker tryout? That’s like the Saints and Hartley dating for three years, getting into a fight and the Saints deciding to go home with a stripper the same night. The Saints will regret acting on their anger in the morning.

Hartley is the same kicker who booted three 40-plus-yard field goals in Super Bowl XLIV (by the way, let’s lose the Roman Numerals on the Super Bowls now – they’re a pain to decipher). He’s the same kicker who nailed a 40-yard game-winner in the NFC Championship two weeks before that. Oh, and he’s also the same kicker who booted the game winner just last week at San Francisco!

Yes, Hartley is 4/7 on the season. But do three misses in the regular season really trump four huge makes in the postseason? Besides, the only kickers out there who are any good are Dave Rayner and Kris Brown, and they’re out there only because, lately, they’ve gotten quite good at doing what Hartley just did against the Falcons.

Hartley wasn’t even the worst kicker in football Sunday. That distinction went to Oakland’s $16 million man, Sebastian Janikowski. The Polish Whatever His Nickname Is These Days missed three field goals in the Raiders loss at Arizona, including the would-be game-winner from 32 yards. If Janikowski weren’t an Al Davis favorite, the Raiders would be competing with the Saints for bum kickers to bring in. You just hope Janikowski’s awful day doesn’t stay with him and create a Mike Vanderjagt-like fall from grace.

5.) The lost fumble that’s not a turnover

One more note from the Saints-Falcons game, then we’ll move on. In the third quarter, the Saints gave the ball to backup running back Chris Ivory on a fourth-and-one play. Ivory fumbled and Atlanta recovered. The play goes in the books as a turnover. But it shouldn’t.

Technically, there was no turnover of possession by the fumble because the play yielded the same result as if Ivory had been held short of the first down (which, by the way, he would have been if he’d held onto the ball). The point of the turnover statistic is to reflect sudden changes in possession. This was not a sudden change of possession.

An interception or lost fumble on fourth down or on the final play of a half should not be classified as a turnover. Just like we don’t classify red-zone field goals as red-zone scores.
This, coincidentally (or not), is a perfect segue to…

6.) The Denver Broncos

Have we ever seen a team play as well on offense as the Broncos did Sunday and score only 13 points? It’s amazing what zero touchdowns on five red zone trips will do to a bottom line. The Broncos racked up 519 yards, including 476 passing from Kyle Orton. Remarkably, Orton did not set a franchise record for single game passing yards. Even more remarkable is that the man who holds that record is not named John Elway. (Jake Plummer has the mark at 499.)

There are two ways to look at the Broncos after Week 3. K. Orton (US Presswire)

One: Josh McDaniels has an ingenious system and four excellent receivers to execute it (a willowy, speedy, budding star in first-round rookie Demaryius Thomas, a silky smooth role player in Jabar Gaffney, a shifty underneath threat in Eddie Royal and a highlight reel wizard in Brandon Lloyd, who leads the NFL with six catches of 25-plus yards this season). The Broncos showed they can dominate with this system and talent – they just need to do a better job at finishing drives.

Or, two: the Broncos just played a team that doesn’t mind letting the Denver skill position players “get theirs” because that team knows it can stop this offense when it counts. Of the two scenarios, the second is most likely. Recall that Indy gladly let Brandon Marshall catch 21 passes for 200 yards against them last season. In that game, they still held the Broncos to 16 points.

The Broncos talk about how they accept the fact that Peyton Manning will move the ball up and down the field, and how if they can just bog down in the red zone, they have a serious chance to win. What they don’t realize is that the Colts take the exact same approach to them. The only difference is, the Colts succeed.

Denver does have plenty to be excited about offensively, though. Their front line, despite starting two rookies and untested first-year guard Stanley Daniels, kept the Colts pass-rush in check. (Left tackle Ryan Clady was particularly good against Dwight Freeney.) And Orton’s arm looks stronger than it did last season.
 
But it doesn’t matter in this matchup as long as Manning is on the other side. He loves facing the man coverage scheme of the Broncos, mainly because he’s willing to let Champ Bailey win against Reggie Wayne in order to exploit mismatches elsewhere. Sunday, Manning found Austin Collie 12 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

He also hit practice squad call-up Blair White (most predictable, yet still agreeable, nickname ever: The Blair White Project) for a score.
In case you didn’t know, appearance-wise, White lives up to his last name. And, chances are, you already know what the BYU grad Collie looks like. This begs the question: before today, had any quarterback in NFL history ever thrown touchdown passes to two different white wide receivers in the same game?

7.) Drunk driving = superstar status

Is it just me, or did the mainstream media – and especially NBC during the Sunday night telecast – propel Braylon Edwards into superstar status this week? Last I checked, Edwards is a gifted receiver who often runs slipshod routes and, at times, seemingly plays with oven mitts on. That makes him not a superstar but, at best, a solid No. 1.

But you would have thought the man was Jerry Rice 2.0 the way everyone played up the story of his one quarter suspension. Too bad Edwards couldn’t have gotten busted during the offseason or in a smaller market. That would have made his DUI more forgivable, right?)

Of course, in the end, Edwards was a difference-maker against the Dolphins (two catches, 87 yards and a touchdown, plus sensational run-blocking). So maybe the hype was worth it. The most damning part about this whole ordeal for the NFL is that the Jets are right when they point out that players that have gotten a DUI on other teams have not been disciplined at all. Edwards’ de facto one-quarter suspension was a first.

But why did the Jets announce the one quarter plan before the game? They should have told the players and then kept it quiet. The media would have speculated, sure, but by then, the game would have already been going on. Thus, there would have been no distraction. Instead, the one quarter plan was announced, which is why the Dolphins wisely deferred to the second half after winning the coin toss (they knew that this likely meant one more possession for Edwards to miss).

There has, at least, been some good that has come from this whole mess: Edwards, knowing his image needs serious repair and that the NBC cameras would be all over him, finally shaved his hideous beard.

8.) Who the Hillis?
P. Hillis (US Presswire)
It came in a losing effort, but how about the game Browns running back Peyton Hillis had against the Ravens? The former Broncos fullback who has somehow crept into Cleveland’s starting tailback position carried the ball 22 times for 144 yards and a touchdown against the staunch Ravens D. he also added 36 yards receiving.

The Browns front five dominated a Ravens front seven that came out looking like a group that was thinking about the Steelers (next week, CBS, 1:00). Hillis is a mechanical, if not choppy, runner, but he’s an absolute battering ram once he establishes downhill momentum.

9.) Okay, let’s start learning more of the Chiefs players

The Chiefs are 3-0. Their most recent win was a blowout of a disoriented 49ers club that, on Sunday, showed serious signs of the Tin Man Syndrome. Still, the win legitimized this rising young Kansas City squad enough to warrant a “get to know their names” feature. Disclaimer: this positive attention isn’t to suggest that the Chiefs are a playoff contender – it’s still very, very early. But it is positive attention nonetheless.

So, who to learn about? You already know Matt Cassel is a caretaker being paid like a superstar. You already know Jamaal Charles is an uncommon home-run threat. You already know Dwayne Bowe is a talented wideout who occasionally lands in Todd Haley’s doghouse. You already know Dexter McCluster is Percy Harvin Sans Migraines. You already know Glenn Dorsey is a former first-round pick who could finally be coming to life as a 3-4 defensive end. You already know that the same goes for Derrick Johnson at inside linebacker.
Okay then, here are two more names to add to the file (we’ll see how this week goes and, if necessary, add even more names down the road).

Tony Moeaki, tight end. The third-round rookie out of Iowa has the strong yet supple frame that coaches covet in a “big, athletic tight end”. He also has long arms and soft hands, which has allowed him to snatch a team-high 12 passes and two touchdowns on the season.

Brandon Flowers, cornerback. The third-year starter is close to being described as the “third-year sensation”. Flowers intercepted a pass for a second straight week Sunday (he ran last week’s pick back for six points). More impressive has been his shutdown ability, which he started to flash in 2009.

10.) Quick Hits

Unable to decide on a final story to create a nice round 10, I’m going to take the easy way out and drop in here some one-liner observations from all the other games.

***Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo looked extremely fast against the Bills, particularly in closing on the ball. Looks like he’s regained his ’08 form.

***Charlie Batch’s pocket presence was close to flawless against the Bucs.

***Jimmy Clausen looked every bit like the unprepared rookie that he is. This isn’t meant as a harsh criticism of the Golden Domer. In just about any other situation, Clausen would still be learning from the bench. But the Panthers realize they have next to no chance with Matt Moore. So, Clausen, fairly or unfairly, is forced to play. He consistently held the ball too long against the Bengals Sunday. That was the crux of his problem. It will be interesting to see how much quicker he can get by next week. (If it’s not dramatically quicker, Carolina is in trouble.)

***It’s strange to see Redskins defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander lining up at outside linebacker, though he wasn’t too bad in this role against the Rams.

***The Seahawks won because they got two kickoff return touchdowns from Leon Washington. Great comeback story, but this is the exact type of game we shouldn’t read too much into. San Diego must get better in special teams coverage; Seattle is dangerous at home. Both true statements. A third true statement: anyone who thinks the Seahawks are better than the Chargers is crazy.

***With Donovan McNabb headed back to Philly in Week 4, I figured you’ll be glad for a break from Eagles quarterback stories this week. Thus, I won’t acknowledge Michael Vick’s magnificent performance in Jacksonville. (Oops.)

***Nnamdi Asomugha won the matchup against Larry Fitzgerald Sunday (two catches, 26 yards), though Asomugha may have gotten some help from Derek Anderson.

***Bears fans, sorry I couldn’t irritate you this week, but your team didn’t play Sunday.

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

Posted on: September 25, 2010 8:59 pm
 

D'Qwell Jackson lands on IR again

Posted by Andy Benoit

For the second straight year, the Cleveland Browns have placed inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson on Injured Reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.
D. Jackson
This move was unexpected, as Jackson was reportedly making progress after suffering the injury in August. This is a particularly painful blow to Jackson, as he is nearing the end of his rookie contract.

When healthy, the undersized former second-round pick is one of the most prolific tacklers in the game.

Wide receiver and special teams standout Sam Aiken was signed to fill Jackson’s spot on the 53-man roster. Eric Barton and Chris Gocong will start at inside linebacker for the Browns.

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

Posted on: September 25, 2010 1:23 pm
 

Week 3 injury news and analysis II

Posted by Andy Benoit

Redskins @ Rams

LaRon Landry is questionable with a wrist injury, but the rangy safety had full participation in practice this week. So did questionable NT Albert Haynesworth, though with him, it’s hard to know what “full participation” means. (We can assume effort and enthusiasm are not factored in.)

Trent Williams had limited participation in practice (knee) and, lC. Portis (US Presswire)ike running back Clinton Portis (wrist), he’s questionable. The Redskins need Portis, given that they have no depth in the backfield.

The Rams will be without DT Darrell Scott (ankle) and likely without DT Clifton Ryan (migraines – aka Percy Harvin Syndrome). That means Gary Gibson and Fred Robbins could see more playing time; will they wear down late?

St. Louis WR Laurent Robinson is also doubtful (foot).

Browns @ Ravens

Two cogs for the Ravens, ILB D’Qwell Jackson and NT Shaun Rogers, sat out the first two games of the season. Jackson, still recovering from a pectoral injury suffered in training camp, is listed as doubtful. Rogers is questionable coming off last year’s lower leg injury. Put these two back in the lineup and the Browns run defense improves tenfold.

For the Ravens, OT Jared Gaither continues to nurse a mysterious back injury. The longer he sits, the more likely it is the Ravens give up and look for a different long-term solution.

Lions @ Vikings

QB Matthew Stafford and WR Nate Burleson are both out. Where is the juice in Detroit’s passing game?

Lions starting OLB Zack Follett is also out, which is a problem because starting MLB DeAndre Levy is questionable with a groin injury. And versatile backup Landon Johnson is questionable with a neck. This could spell a field day for Adrian Peterson.

On the Vikings side, corners Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin, both coming off knee injuries, are expected to make their season debuts. Center John Sullivan’s calf injury seems to be improving – he’s listed as probable. Sullivan has been a major weakness early on playing at less than 100 percent.

Brett Favre is on the injury report with an elbow (probable). Think he’ll play?

Falcons @ Saints

Safety Erik Coleman missed last week’s game and is questionable this week with a bum knee. Coaches love his versatility and open-field tackling. If he can’t play, hard-hitting second-year pro William Moore will get the nod. Whether it’s an ailing Coleman or inexperienced Moore, expect the Saints to spread the field and exploit whoever lines up here.

The Saints will be without nickel corner Randall Gay (concussion). That’s somewhat noteworthy given that Atlanta is getting possession receiver Michael Jenkins back from a shoulder injury.

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

Posted on: September 23, 2010 2:04 pm
 

Analyzing Cleveland's chances without Delhomme

Posted by Andy Benoit

No surprise that Jake Delhomme is likely out against the Ravens after missing practice for the second straight day with a high ankle sprain. The Browns will start mobile ex-Seahawk Seneca Wallace in Delhomme’s place.
J. Cribbs (US Presswire)
This only steepens what was already an uphill climb for the Browns this Sunday. Their sharp offensive line – led by perhaps the best left side trio in football in tackle Joe Thomas, guard Eric Steinbach and center Alex Mack – is capable of handling Baltimore’s blitz packages. But a lack of speed at outside receiver, and Wallace’s wildly inconsistent accuracy, could prove even more problematic than usual. The best way to attack the Ravens is to go after their shorthanded secondary, especially given that, in all likelihood, Cleveland won’t generate big yardage against this D on the ground. But if the receivers aren't fast, Baltimore's corners have a chance to be physical, which plays to their strength (both literally and figuratively).

But Cleveland fans shouldn’t rule out all hope (assuming, of course, that poor sports town still knows how to hope). The Browns have a complex defensive front seven scheme, and their revamped secondary has been solid through two games (particularly cornerback Sheldon Brown). Joe Flacco struggled mightily against the Bengals in Week 2 (four interceptions). In Week 1, the Ravens managed just 10 points against a Rex Ryan-led Jets defense that, schematically, is similar to the Rob Ryan-led Browns defense.

Assuming the über-talented Ravens offense doesn’t get on track this week (granted, that’s not a small assumption), this could be a case of “first team to 10 wins”. That means return genius Joshua Cribbs is once again a critical X-factor.

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