Tag:Bob Sanders
Posted on: October 3, 2010 12:30 pm

Bob Sanders could miss rest of season

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

On ESPN this morning, Adam Schefter reported Colts S Bob Sanders – out with a biceps injury – might not return until December and might possibly miss the postseason.

Sanders, you’ll recall, injured himself in Indianapolis’ season opener. Assuming he misses the rest of the regular season, he will have played in only 48 of the possible Colts 112 regular-season contests since he entered the league in 2004.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: September 15, 2010 9:55 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 11:11 pm

Colts are just fine without Bob Sanders

B. Sanders breaks up a pass before sustaining his injury (US Presswire). Posted by Andy Benoit

Bob Sanders underwent surgery for a torn biceps Wednesday. Colts president Bill Polian is hopeful the strong safety can get back on the field sometime this season. Biceps tears, however, are rarely a quick recovery.

We hear all the time that the Colts are a different defense with Bob Sanders. That’s true – the Colts defense is more explosive with Sanders. In 2006, when Sanders missed all but four regular season games, the Colts had the league’s worst run defense (by far). When Sanders returned for the postseason, that 32nd-ranked run defense came to life and stymied the Chiefs (in the height of the Larry Johnson era), Ravens (Jamal Lewis era), Patriots and Bears (granted, the Bears rushed for 111 yards in that Super Bowl, but Sanders had a huge interception and also forced a fumble that game).

So, yes, it’s true that the Colts are a better defense with Sanders. But what’s also true is that the Colts have shown they can win without Sanders. Case in point: last season. Indy was 12-0 in meaningful regular season games without Sanders, and they went all the way to the Super Bowl, where they slowed Drew Brees and the Saints offense for the better part of three quarters.

Because Sanders has actually missed more games than he’s played in his career, backup strong safety Melvin Bullitt has had an opportunity to develop into a quality starter. Bullitt, an undrafted fourth-year pro, is extremely quick in attacking the football (especially in space). And he understands the intricacies of Indy’s zone scheme. In other words, he’s a poor man’s Sanders – and that’s enough.
Part of the reason Bullitt thrives is because rangy free safety Antoine Bethea almost never makes a mistake. Bethea is one of the best open-field tacklers in the NFL, and he’s become more of a playmaker in each of his five seasons in the league. In fact, it’s fair to say that Bethea is actually Indy’s most valuable defensive back.

If you’re looking for a doomsday angle on the Colts D, don’t look at Sanders. Instead, look at Bethea and the defensive ends. The Colts would have trouble surviving without Bethea, and they’d almost certainly flounder without Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Take away the speed-rushers off the edge and the four-man pass-rush that propels Indy’s zone scheme would cease to exist. That’s something the Colts could not overcome. Bill Polian knows this – why do you think he spent over $100 million on Freeney’s and Mathis’ contracts in past years? And why do you think he invested a first-round pick in Jerry Hughes this past April?

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Posted on: September 14, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2010 3:45 pm

Week 2 Top Ten with a Twist: biggest letdowns

The NYJ provided us with the biggest letdown of the week (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We all heard the hype before the first week of games was complete. We heard the boasts and the proclamations and the Super Bowl aspirations in the offseason and in training camp. Yet, this past weekend, we found out that some who had so much confidence perhaps shouldn’t have been so forthright about their thoughts.

Sure, some of us – many of us – bought into so much of the hype. And now we know better. Without further ado, here’s the top-ten list with a twist entering the second week of games.

Top 10 Biggest Letdowns After So Much Offseason Buildup

10. Kevin Kolb: It’s not really fair to completely dismiss the Eagles starting QB after he played just one bad half of football (that, unfortunately for him, came with a side of concussion). But after so much discussion about how Philadelphia made the right move by trading Donovan McNabb to the Redskins – who naturally won with McNabb on Sunday night – and giving the job to Kolb, this move fell flat with his 5-for-10, 24-yard performance. Now, there’s another quarterback controversy in Philadelphia.

9. Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian: I was on the bandwagon with the Vikings receiving corps, even after Sidney Rice underwent hip surgery that’s supposed to keep him out half the season. I had called Minnesota’s receivers one of the best units in the league. I might have been wrong about that – or, at the very least, underestimated the impact of Rice’s absence. Harvin and Berrian combined for two catches for 15 yards Thursday. That’s two freakin’ catches for 15 freakin’ yards.

8. Jake Delhomme:
Many of us figured Delhomme was nearing the end of his career – he was going to CLEVELAND after all – but he certainly had to be considered an upgrade over the awful Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn combination from last year. And besides, he couldn’t possibly be as bad as his last year in Carolina (eight touchdowns, 18 interceptions), right? Well, he might just be that bad. For a veteran QB, he made a terrible throw that was picked near the end of the first half that killed any momentum the Browns had when they led 14-3. Delhomme still is an upgrade from last year, but man oh man, he needs to play smarter.

Stafford 7. Matthew Stafford: Is it possible the 6-foot-3, 230-pound quarterback is brittle? Last year, he suffered a shoulder injury, though he showed huge guts by returning against the Browns to throw a game-winning TD pass (if you’ve got 6:27 to kill, check out Stafford’s killer Mic’d Up segment from that game – it’s cool as hell). On Sunday, he apparently suffered a Grade 2 separation of his right (throwing) shoulder that could keep him out 4-6 weeks. Considering how poor backup Shaun Hill played, some of that preseason Lions optimism has leaked away.

6. 49ers:
They were supposed to win what should be a very weak NFC West. And then they get blown out by a Seahawks team that shouldn’t have played as well as it did. But you know, coach Mike Singletary said Monday he was excited about QB Alex Smith, so that has to be comforting/horrifying to San Francisco’s fans. Perhaps the 49ers are vastly overrated. Or perhaps Seattle RB Leon Washington was inspired by our Five Questions (Or More) segment we did last week.

5. Terrell Owens:
Was he upset, already acting like a diva? Were his shoes bothering him? Was he getting himself checked out by a team doctor? These are the theories that have been bandied about since Owens, along with teammate Chad Ochocinco, left the field before the Bengals attempted a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half. Any which way, Owens didn’t endear himself to Cincinnati fans after a smooth preseason. He had seven catches for 53 yards, but he certainly wasn’t the dominant force he and Ochocinco predicted he could be. Lucky Cincinnati got him cheap.

4. Bob Sanders: Sanders had been annoyed this preseason about all the questions he’s faced about his durability, and he was excited to be fully healthy for the start of the season. But he's torn a biceps tendon and could be out for the season. Again, his durability will take a huge hit, and once again, the Colts will have to find a way to win without him – something they couldn’t do against the Texans.

3. Concussions in Philly: remember all the talk about how the NFL was really serious – no, no, really, really SERIOUS – about concussions and keeping players from returning to the field too soon after a brain injury? Yeah, neither does the person(s) who somehow thought it was OK for Eagles LB Stewart Bradley and QB Kevin Kolb to return to the game after suffering concussions. Coach Andy Reid explained it like this: “They were fine. All of the questions that they answered with the doctors registered well, but as it went on, they weren’t feeling well, so we took them out.” Yep, Bradley really looked fine after stumbling around the field like Trevor Berbick after facing Mike Tyson. That’s a scary, disturbing scene.

2. Tim Tebow: Two measly carries for two measly yards. That was Tebow’s stat line from Denver’s loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. Of course, he is a backup QB playing his first NFL game, so we shouldn’t expect the moon from Tebow (I could echo those sentiments for the rest of the season, in fact). But for the amount of hype we got, doubly so because Tebow was opening his career in his hometown, it wasn’t much of a payoff. Unless you like your hype short-lived and ineffective.

1. Jets: I knew that if I kept talking about the possibility of the Jets winning the Super Bowl, they’d make me look like an idiot. And so they have. Still, there’s little doubt that with a defense like that, New York could (should?) make a run in the playoffs (though losing NT Kris Jenkins for the season with an ACL tear could complicate those plans). The problem, of course, is the offense. QB Mark Sanchez went 10 for 21 for 74 yards, and starting RB Shonn Greene had five carries for 18 yards (plus a tough time holding onto the ball). With an offense that plays that poorly, the Jets have no chance for the Super Bowl. And maybe not even the playoffs. 

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Posted on: September 14, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2010 2:38 pm

Report: Bob Sanders out indefinitely

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

According to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, Colts S Bob Sanders is out indefinitely, if not for the season, with a torn biceps tendon.

It is yet another bad blow for Sanders – who’s played only 27 games (out of 64 possible in the regular season) the past four seasons. 

UPDATE (2:34 p.m.): Strangely, Sanders participated in the Colts walk through practice Monday.

It appears that Marvin Bullitt, who did a nice job replacing Sanders last year at the SS spot, will return to the starting lineup in that role.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: September 13, 2010 8:50 am
Edited on: September 13, 2010 1:28 pm

Injury news: Eagles nailed; Bob Sanders done?

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are rumors swirling that Colts safety Bob Sanders suffered another torn biceps injury Sunday. If that’s the case, then Sanders is out for the season (again). Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, “What we know for now is that no one is saying anything yet. The team is quiet and the player is quiet. Indeed, the player is so quiet that some folks with whom he ordinarily would be communicating have yet to hear from him.”

Sanders left the game against Houston with what was described as an “elbow” injury.

In what seems like a terrible omen for Colts fans, Eagles center Jamaal Jackson left Sunday’s game with an elbow injury, and his injury did turn out to be a season-ending triceps tear. This is a heartbreaking turn of events for Jackson, who spent this entire past offseason recovering from a December torn ACL. Jackson is now out for the year.

Jackson’s not the only Eagle who went down for the year Sunday. Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver tore his ACL when his knee got bent the wrong way in a pile (it was a gruesome looking injury).

UPDATE 12:04 ET: Sources tell Fox Sports that Weaver suffered three ligament tears plus nerve damage.

UPDATE 1:30 ET: Bob Sanders will have an MRI Monday.

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Posted on: July 19, 2010 5:07 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 5:56 pm

Bob Sanders career over?

B. Sanders (US Presswire)
Michael Lombardi wrote on NFL.com today that Colts safety Bob Sanders might never play football again. Apparently, Sanders's rehab for the shoulder and bicep issues that limited him to just two games last season has been very slow. From afar, Sanders appears to be one of the slowest healers in the NFL. In 2006, he spent seemingly the entire season on the cusp of returning from a knee injury, but in the end, he wound up only playing four games (though he was on the field in the playoffs for the Colts’ Super Bowl run).

In addition to missing 14 games in ’09, Sanders was on the shelf for 10 contests in ’08 (high ankle sprain). The one full season he has played in the last four years (15 games in 2007), he was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Sanders’s diminutive size (5’8”, 206) and reckless style of play make him susceptible to injury, though many of his problems have not resulted from on-field collisions.

UPDATE: In June, Bob Sanders said he felt great. A Colts team spokesman tells the Indy Star that nothing has changed since then.

-- Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 30, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 3:31 pm

Positional rankings: Safeties

As we wave goodbye to offseason news and as we wait for the regular season to begin – or, at the very least, training camp and the preseason – we fill our days with thoughts of the abstract, and we ponder questions that can never be truly answered. Who are the best players in the NFL at their position? What separates the top man at his spot from No. 4 and No. 5?

Well, we’re attempting to answer that in June and July. Andy and Josh will explore each position on the field and debate the merits and flaws
of each player. Clearly, it’s reasonable for smart men to disagree, and these arguments during the next few weeks will only reinforce that notion. Even as we watch film, talk to NFL insiders and conduct our own painstaking research, our top-five lists, though they’ll likely bear some similarities, will disagree. Which makes this whole endeavor worthwhile.   

Today, we debate the top safeties – both free safeties and strong safeties.

Andy Benoit’s top five

Troy Polamalu (Getty Images)
5. Nick Collins, Packers

4. Brian Dawkins, Broncos

3. Darren Sharper, Saints

2. Ed Reed, Ravens

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers

The safety position has become the lynchpin to so many of the complex defensive schemes we see in today’s NFL. Versatility is key. On that note, Polamalu is the most valuable defensive player in the NFL. He is a thumper against the run, he has fantastic range in coverage and, wherever he is on the field, he’s a first-class playmaker.

Polamalu’s presence is what enables Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to be aggressive in his scheme. We saw last season that when Polamalu is out of the lineup, the Steelers D can be reactionary.

Reed makes the list on the assumption that his bum hip won’t be a major issue come September. He may be the best centerfielder in NFL history. Sharper is an interception machine and, more importantly, a leader. Without his stability in the New Orleans’ secondary last season, we’d have a different defending Super Bowl champ right now. Dawkins turns 35 this season but hasn’t lost a step. Amazing. Collins has become a regular at the Pro Bowl. His instincts have improved every year, plus, he’s not a bad tackler.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Bob Sanders, Colts

4. Bernard Pollard, Texans

3. Brian Dawkins, Broncos

2. Ed Reed, Ravens

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers

Well, it’s hard to argue against Polamalu. He’s the safety who scares every QB in the league, and you could really see the impact on his team when he was injured last season. The frenetic, sideline-to-sideline impact Polamalu made simply wasn’t there.

As long as Ed Reed is healthy and returns to play – he recently said he’s about 35 percent healthy, which doesn’t sound promising – he’s No. 2. Not much to be said about Dawkins – one of the top safeties in NFL history. Pollard flies under the radar because he spent his first couple years in the league with Kansas City and he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler, but he’s amassed 289 tackles in the past three seasons to go with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in just 13 games last year. Was it coincidence that, when Pollard signed with Houston, the Texans’ total defensive yards and defensive rushing yards decreased dramatically? I don’t think so.

Sanders hasn’t played much the past few years because of knee and arm injuries, but, at the age of 29, he’s still in his prime and still has the talent that led him to two Pro Bowls and the 2007 NFL’s defensive player of the year honor. Yes, he’s not healthy very much, but when he is, he’s one of the top guys in the league. I like Nick Collins as well and I think his stock is rising, but I just don’t think he’s a top-five guy yet.

Andy’s rebuttal

I like that you went with Pollard – that shows you’re paying attention. Few people even know about the fifth-year pro. The Texans put Pollard in attack mode last season – as opposed to react mode that Kansas City stuck him in – and he blossomed. Pollard is a formidable run-stopper and underrated playmaker. I want to see him perform at a high level for a 16-game span before giving him the nod, though.

Shortly after writing my list, Texans tight end Owen Daniels told me in a phone interview that Sanders is the best opponent he’s faced. That made me regret not including the former Defensive Player of the Year. Honestly, I love the guy. But the fact of the matter is, Sanders is made of glass and the Colts were 14-2 without him last season.

Someone else we both need to consider is Saints strong safety Roman Harper. He’s the X-factor in Gregg Williams’ aggressive blitz scheme.

Josh’s final word

Yeah, I had reservations about Sanders, because he’s played eight games the past two years, and how can you call a guy a top-five safety when he’s played so little?

You’re right about Harper. The guy can flat-out tackle, he’s a force when he crosses the line of scrimmage and gets into his opponent’s offensive backfield, and he’s coming off a heck of a year.

It’s funny, though. Three guys on my list (Polamalu, Reed and Sanders) are coming off major injuries. Two guys on your list are at least 34 (Sharper and Dawkins), Reed is 31 and Polamalu is 29. Which tells us what exactly? I don’t know. Maybe they just don’t make Hall of Fame safeties like they used to, or maybe the younger safeties are just extremely mediocre. Either way, enjoy the safeties on our list for as long as they’re playing. Some of them won’t be around much longer.

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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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