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Tag:LeSean McCoy
Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: September 15, 2011 3:30 pm
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The uniquely compelling storylines surrounding this game pertain to off-field matters.

But those storylines wouldn’t exist if not for the action taking place on-field. (The reason you don’t know the names of the 17 people arrested in the dogfighting sting in Pass Christian, Mississippi on April 24, 2007 is because none of those 17 people had ever juked and jived 50-plus yards for a touchdown in an NFL game.)

Here’s an on-field breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons’ upcoming match up against their former quarterback.

1. Has he really changed?
As a leader and student of the game, Michael Vick has clearly grown since his days in Atlanta. But his recent growth as a pocket passer has been overstated. Vick is a sounder technician and smarter decision-maker than he was as a Falcon, but that’s not unlike saying Leonardo DiCaprio is a better actor now than he was on Growing Pains.

Of course he’s better now – he’s older and had nowhere to go but up.

Vick still doesn’t diagnose defenses with great acuity. He struggles to identify blitzes and relies too much on sandlot tactics. To be clear, those sandlot tactics are incomparably spectacular; few quarterbacks make as many plays as Vick. But few also leave as many plays on the field.


2. Speed Factor
The most significant resource Vick has in Philadelphia that he didn’t have in Atlanta is speed around him. Vick’s own speed can give defensive coordinators nightmares. Vick’s speed coupled with the speed of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy make for night terrors.

It’s the type of speed that can kill – not just quickly, but also slowly. Defensive backs on both sides of the field must play with a meaty cushion against Eagle wideouts, which makes it easier for Vick to identify coverages and throwing lanes. Teams also must keep their safeties over the top, which puts added responsibility on linebackers to cover crossing patterns inside, thus opening up the flats for McCoy out of the backfield (McCoy’s 79 receptions easily led all running backs last season).

Vick’s speed also makes life easier on his offensive tackles, as defensive ends are often instructed to keep him in the pocket by rushing with less vigorous containment tactics. Because opposing pass-rushes can be naturally tentative, the Eagles don’t need to bother with play-action.

3. Zoning
It’s foolish to play man coverage against the Eagles. For starters, few teams have two corners fast enough to consistently run with Jackson and Maclin. What’s more, in man coverage, the defenders turn their backs to the ball and run away from the action by following receivers, which creates enormous outside running lanes for a quarterback to exploit if he gets outside the pocket (this is how Vick killed the Giants in Week 15 last season).

Fortunately, the Falcons are a zone-oriented defense, so they won’t have to adjust their scheme much for this game. But they will have to adjust their execution. Last Sunday against Chicago, the Bears used downfield route combinations that stretched the Falcon safeties over the top and created gaping voids in the deep-intermediate sectors of the zone. It was problematic.
 
Philly’s outside speed will only exacerbate this problem Sunday night – especially given that Falcon corners Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson prefer to play off coverage at the line of scrimmage rather than delivering a jam.

4. The Solution
To prevent the Eagles from stretching the zone coverage, the Falcons must force Vick to get rid of the ball quickly. Doing this will also put the onus on Vick’s presnap reads and prevent him from extending the play and conjuring his sandlot magic. Mike Smith and Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder should tell their men again and again that the earlier Vick gets rid of the ball Sunday night, the better.

Atlanta is capable of bringing heat. As we talked about last week, Smith has adopted a more aggressive philosophy than he had as the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville. The zone blitz out of a 4-3 base or nickel package has become a staple in the Falcons’ scheme.

With pressuring Vick being so important, and with the Eagles having a makeshift, incohesive interior line, it’s as viable a tactic as ever.

5. Control Clock
For as much hoopla as there’s been about the addition of Julio Jones, the Falcons are still a power-run team (their unbalanced play-calling against Chicago was a function of the lopsided score). Michael Turner is a bruising high-volume runner and the offensive line is an unathletic but well-sized group.

The Falcons, working out of a Mike Mularkey playbook that’s rich with two-back and two-tight end formations, are already built to mount long drives. They’ll be wise to shorten the game and avoid a shootout with the Eagles.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games.


Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 6:30 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 1

Posted by Will Brinson



Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 1 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.



It's rather unfair to the rest of the NFL to expect a legitimate follow-up to the Thursday night spectacular that was New Orleans and Green Bay. To the extent that folks wanted drama, the most spine-tingling moments came before the action on Sunday, as the NFL and the nation honored the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

Fantastic job all around by the NFL and the various broadcast partners and the players and Reebok and everyone involved for really making Sunday a touching tribute to one of America's greatest tragedies. Can you really imagine what would have happened if there hadn't been football on the anniversary because of the lockout?

Obviously the nation would have moved on -- it's just sports. But the public relations hit would have been 100-percent inverse of the boost the league received on Sunday.

Not that it matters. There was football. And it was good and there were lots of stories. Many of whom we'll break down below. In the words of Jay-Z, "let's rock."

1. Yes We Cam
What did you expect from Cam Newton in his first start as an NFL player?

Because, no offense, but it doesn't really matter -- Newton set the world on fire en route to throwing for 422 yards and two touchdowns, plus rushing for another score.

Carolina still lost to Arizona in a close game, but that's not really important, as they're not a Super Bowl contender right now. What's important is that they appear to have finally gotten their franchise quarterback. And that makes one guy -- Steve Smith -- pretty happy.

"He was everything everybody didn't expect him to be," Smith said after the game. "He was on point, he made some great runs, he made some great reads, made some fantastic throws. He made some throws out there that honestly as a receiver it made it easy to catch them."

In case you missed it, Smith wanted out of Carolina all of last year while catching (or, if you prefer not catching) passes from Jimmy Clausen but after the Panthers drafted Newton, Smith eventually got back on board with staying in Carolina over the long(ish) haul.

It worked out pretty well for him on Sunday, because he caught eight passes for a 178 yards, numbers which should have the same effect on Smith as Newton's totals have on fans: obscuring the win-loss column.

As we noted on Sunday, Newton's 422 yards was the highest passing yardage total by a rookie, in their season opener, in NFL history. It's tied for the highest total for a rookie in any game, with Matthew Stafford's 422 in 2009 against the Browns.

And perhaps most crazy of all, it's the fifth-highest season opener total in NFL history. Not rookie history -- NFL history. Damn impressive stuff is what it was -- maybe Bo Jackson was right after all.

Newton, by the way, is already 11th on the Panthers all-time passing yards list.

2. Most Valuable Peyton

In a brutal twist of irony, while Kerry Collins was starting his first game as a Colt, stinking up the joint and causing Colts fans to start researching Stanford's schedule in 2011, he somehow managed to pass Joe Montana for the 10th-most passing yards in NFL history. That Collins did so was the lone bright spot for a Colts team that got absolutely drubbed by the Texans in the first game without Peyton Manning at the helm since 1998.

Sunday was just the second time since Indy drafted Manning that they trailed 17-0 after the first quarter, and the 34-0 halftime deficit for Indy was the largest in franchise history.

Look, everyone knows that Peyton is really good. And everyone knows that Peyton meant more to this team over the past few years than anyone could possibly imagine, and that the Colts wouldn't have won as many games as they have without him.

But is it possible to give someone an MVP award when they don't even play for an entire season simply based on how poorly their team plays without him? Of course not. If it was, though, Manning would warrant consideration in 2011 just based off what we saw in Week 1.

As for the long-term issue of Manning's health, it's really hard to imagine that the Colts would even consider trying to bring him back in 2011. There's a very good chance that by the time we get halfway through his aggressive rehab schedule the Colts are 0-4.

At that point, the season's over for all reasonable intents and purposes. By Week 8, when Peyton might be ready? Yeah, there's a good chance Indy's done then. And if they are, there's little-to-no sense in bringing him back at the risk of busting up his career to try and ruin a good shot at landing Andrew Luck.

3. The Steelers are terrible
Just kidding. But I really wanted to make sure we make at least one absolutely incorrect knee-jerk decision in this column. The Ravens might have been favored by a field goal against the Steelers on Sunday, but the consensus amongst all the experts was that the Steelers are a significantly better team, though because of the rivalry factor things would come down to a field goal in a close, bloody game.

Whoops on all counts.

Well, except the blood -- Pittsburgh strolled into M&T Bank Stadium and got absolutely stuck in the face by their rival and then spent all afternoon trying to figure out how to make the gushing stop, only it never did.

Ben Roethlisberger threw three picks and fumbled twice and the Steelers committed a whopping eight turnovers as they generally looked like a boxer against the ropes getting continually pummeled.

"That playoff taste, now it's over," Rice said. "Now we’ve got that burden off our shoulders, boom! We’re one up on them right now.”

The two biggest concerns for the Ravens coming into this season were the offensive line and the secondary.

The Ravens were mocked for their desperation in signing Bryant McKinnie shortly before the season began, mostly because McKinnie was reportedly clocking in around 400 pounds. (As reported Sunday, he's now making more money for weighing less. So that's nice.)

But he was a tremendous difference for Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, as he provided stability at the left tackle position and made some key blocks. He wasn't perfect, of course, but that's OK.

Especially because the most important benefit he provides Ravens is the ability to slot their offensive lineman in correct positions. If he's motivated, he could be a difference maker.

4. Falcons get mauled
Mea culpa time I guess: the Bears probably won't finish in last place in the NFC North. Ha. Yeah, I predicted that. They still could, and as long as that offensive line is as porous as it was against the Falcons, I'll stick by that prediction.

After all, New Orleans and Green Bay -- Chicago's next two opponents -- are not only good but they're not shy about blitzing heavily. That could mean plenty of Cutler getting tattooed six-and-a-half steps into his drops. If that.

And if Caleb Hanie has to play, the Bears will struggle mightily. But they'll have their defense which, well, yeah, per usual it's the reason the Bears are dominating.

"We still have to play up to the defense's level," Cutler said. "They're still carrying us."

Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, in particular, were beasts on Sunday. Peppers picked up two sacks, recovered a fumble and forced another fumble that Urlacher scooped and took the house. And Urlacher himself looked particularly spry, picking up an impressively athletic interception.

I'd still argue that the Bears have the makings of the third-best team in their division, but they are the defending champs and for some reason they will just not go away. Which should mean one or two angry comments from Bears fans every week. Sigh.

5. Living the dream
Many a writer ruthlessly mocked the Eagles this offseason for hogging the headlines, particularly when backup quarterback Vince Young decided to refer to Philly's squad as "The Dream Team."

It's still a stretch and I remain adamant that the metaphor is largely irrelevant for the game of football. (Case: in point, Philly's linebacking corps wouldn't exactly be starting for most other NFL teams.)

But my goodness -- the Eagles are just as explosive as last season, aren't they? LeSean McCoy is so sneakily fast for an every-down back that you don't realize it until re-watching him take the ball around the corner, past a defender and into the end zone.

The defensive line will swarm opposing quarterbacks and obviously the combo of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson gives the Eagles the ability to score from anywhere. Seeing how Andy Reid operates in a close game going forward will be interesting though -- I saw some chatter about the Eagles running the ball immediately after Vick would get touched.

That pretty clearly, um, is a tell. And even if it's not something the Eagles are going to do every single series, it's something they have think about doing, because exposing Vick to multiple shots in back-to-back instances during games simply won't work if the Eagles want to dominate the way Vince Young expects them to.



6. These are your brother's Cowboys
They are not your father's Cowboys. And they're not even your uncle's Cowboys. These Cowboys like to score frequently and play quite well for about three and a half quarters.

And then things get tight and they choke.

The most disturbing thing about the way that Tony Romo handed the game to the Jets -- a pass intended for a gimpy Dez Bryant that Jessica Simpson could have intercepted, much less Darrelle Revis -- in typical, um, Tony Romo fashion.

As my man Mike Freeman wrote, it's precisely the kind of late-game debacling that causes people to think that Romo can't win big games or even close little games for the Cowboys.

"We win that football game if I don't do what I did," Romo said afterwards.

You simply can't fumble on the one-yard line (when a score would all but guarantee you victory) and then proceed to gift wrap a turnover for the other team when there's less than a minute remaining on the clock and the score is tied.

Going into what eventually turned out to be the final drive, Jason Garrett and Romo need to be on the same page regarding a few things. One, nothing stupid. Two, if you're going to force a pass, then you need to force the pass deep so the Jets don't get a free field goal. And three, nothing stupid.

Look, I get that the Jets used a defense designed to confuse Romo into thinking Dez was in single coverage and therefore force a ball his way. But he has lots of weapons. In fact, I was in the middle of writing how good I felt about my pick of Dallas to the Super Bowl because of their creative defense (Rob Ryan did outstanding work last night with limited manpower) and a high-octane offense so stocked with weapons that Kim Jong-Il is jealous.

All they need is Romo to put it together and stop being the stereotype that people put on him. He was doing all that until the Cowboys got in a position to put a tough road game against another Super Bowl contender on ice and he absolutely melted down.

7. Detroit hope city
Matthew Stafford's been getting pumped up all offseason long -- that he exploded in the preseason didn't help matters much, and that he was overdrafted by most fantasy football players helps even less.

So there were some funny moments in his eventual breakout on Sunday. First there was the early interception -- a pick-six by Aqib Talib -- against Tampa that made everyone realize that there were a lot of eggs in a basket. And no one really knew what the basket was built out of, except that it was probably the most fragile type of straw a man can find.

Then Stafford started going off ... except after his first touchdown pass he began cramping up. (Lots of cramping Sunday in case you didn't notice.) The world collectively held its breath as Stafford was examined on the sideline because, my goodness, it's early to be injured even if you're Stafford.

Instead, the former Georgia standout and No. 1-overall draft pick returned to the game and kept slinging teeters to Calvin Johnson, eventually finishing with 305 yards and three touchdown passes in Detroits 27-20 win over Tampa Bay.

Let's not get out of hand and start giving the Lions a playoff berth quite yet -- they certainly have problems, most notably in the secondary -- but there's reason to be excited for football in Detroit.

As long as Stafford can stay healthy anyway.

8. Rex Grossman is ... not bad?

I know, it's weird, but it might be true. Grossman appeared to be pretty darn competent most of Sunday. He threw for 305 yards on two touchdowns and backed up Mike Shanahan's seemingly inexplicable to name him the starter during the preseason.

It's not that John Beck is such a logical choice, it's just that, well, he's Rex Grossman. It seems to make no sense.

"Any typical kickoff weekend, your emotions are high," Grossman said after the game. "Being it's Sept. 11, 10th anniversary, Colin Powell's in the locker room giving you the pregame speech, and then coming out and the fans are chanting 'U-S-A.' I was overwhelmed. It was a fun day. It's a day I'll never forget."

Let's not get too high on Grossman just quite yet, because the Giants were basically trotting out a practice squad of players on defense after their starting lineup was ravaged by a ridiculous run of injuries during the preseason.

Maybe he is the answer at quarterback and maybe the Redskins could win the NFC East and maybe the Shanahans really are able to turn contaminated water into a Colt 45.

But we've seen Grossman light teams up -- like he did while tossing four touchdowns and 322 yards against Dallas in Week 14 of last year -- and immediately follow it up by laying an absolutely egg. Let's reserve judgment until we see his body of work over the span of a few weeks.

9. Go West, Young Man
We already covered Newton and his impressive rookie performance, but he wasn't the only rookie to have a big impact in Week 1.

Ryan Kerrigan returned an interception for a touchdown to help push the Redskins over the Giants, J.J. Watt terrorized the Colts defensive line, Patrick Peterson returned a punt for a touchdown that proved to be the difference maker against Carolina, A.J. Green caught the go-ahead touchdown pass for the Bengals, Randall Cobb trended on Twitter Thursday night thanks to his holy return, Tyron Smith was big on the line for the Cowboys, and Andy Dalton started out white hot … until Phil Taylor knocked him out of the game.

So yeah, very impressive week -- thus far anyway -- from an impressive group of young NFL players, especially given the shortened time frame they're working on.

10. Injured Rams
Not a great day for Steve Spagnuolo, huh? The Rams were seen by many, including yours truly, as a team on the rise in 2011. They play in a terrible division, they have anchors on both sides of the line, they have a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford and they easily could have been a playoff team in 2010.

But a number of injuries during Week 1 are a quick reminder of how fragile success is in the NFL.

Steven Jackson pulled his quad which has "lingering" stamped all over it, Danny Amendola dislocated his elbow and could likely be done for the year and most terrifyingly, Bradford hurt his finger.

We don't know precisely what will happen to Bradford, but there was discussion of "nerve damage," which is scary as hell. Bradford downplayed the injury after the game.

"I don't see any way I'm not going to be on the field, to be honest with you," Bradford said.

Well, here's one way: if you're at risk for a bigger injury, the franchise won't let you near the Big Apple, even it's for a matchup against the would-be hapless New York Giants.

Put an APB out for:
Charlie Weis. Because from what I saw of the Chiefs offense on Sunday, they might be missing the guy who turned Matt Cassel into a Pro Bowler, Jamaal Charles into the best running back in the NFL last year, and Dwayne Bowe into a touchdown monster. We've touched on the fact that the Chiefs had a REALLY easy schedule in 2010. That's fine. But the offense has too many weapons to be scoring seven points against the Bills and not consider "If we did X last year and we're doing Z this year and Y isn't there anymore, gee what could be the difference?"

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday ...
... Anyone ever notice that Rex and Rob Ryan really look like George and Oscar Bluth?
... 49ers punter Andy Lee posted the third-highest average for punts in one game, smoking his 59.6 yards per punt.
... How does Joe Torre -- the Yankees coach during 9/11 -- not let baseball players wear NYPD and NYFD hats?
********

Worth 1,000 Words




Hot Seat Tracker

I'm hoping to have my fancy mathematical formula to track who's most likely to get canned up and running by next week, but in the meantime, we can break down coaches in trouble pretty simply. (That's mainly because of all the first-year head coaches -- it's pretty unlikely we see a lot firings between now and next season.)
  • Tom Coughlin -- Coughlin's got a plethora of injuries to fall back on, so maybe he can buy some more time. But the way the Giants lost to the Redskins Sunday, it's hard to imagine New Yorkers won't continue the annual tradition of calling for Coughlin's head.
  • Todd Haley -- What's worse: showing up for work without wearing pants or getting beat by the Bills 41-7 at home? Gotta be the latter.
  • Jack Del Rio -- Yeah, he won, but we need people to add to this list. Plus, he beat the Titans.
  • Jim Caldwell -- The "Manning Factor" for his job will be fascinating to watch this season.
MVP Watch
Peyton! No, but seriously, in the way-too-early glance at the MVP race, I'll go ahead and throw Philip Rivers out there, since he's fourth in passing yardage right now and the Chargers are 1-0. Also: Michael Vick.

And Ryan Fitzpatrick.

What? It's Week 1.

Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Gurode to visit NE; what would Haynesworth think?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the Cowboys released center Andre Gurode, we should have known he’d eventually earn a visit with the Patriots. After all, New England has been the epicenter of the NFL’s revitalization clinic. And why not? As Albert Haynesworth says, New England is the greatest place on earth!!!.

Aside from Haynesworth, the Patriots have thrown a lifeline to Chad Ochocinco and tried out Clinton Portis and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (those last two obviously didn’t work out).

Now, it’s Gurode’s turn to visit the New England coaches, as reported by the Boston Herald.

And if you thought that Steve Smith-LeSean McCoy was, um, slightly awkward, what will happen if Gurode and Haynesworth are playing on the same team? Click the video below to refresh your memory. I imagine it wouldn't be a happy reunion.



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

Posted on: August 15, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Smith-McCoy meeting didn't go all that well

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You might recall that, after hearing Giants DE Osi Umenyiora wanted out of New York, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy basically laughed at him, tweeting that Umenyiora was soft and the third-best DE on the team. You can see that graphic right here:

Umenyiora and McCoy

In response, Umenyiora referred to McCoy as a “she” and said that the Giants defense referred to McCoy as the cute and colorful nicknames of “Chihuahua” and “Lady Gaga.” To be fair, McCoy gained 175 yards in two games against New York last year and averaged 7.29 yards per carry, so he was pretty darn good against Philadelphia. Maybe not Lady Gaga great, but pretty decent nonetheless.

Then, WR Steve Smith jumped into the fray, posting a picture of an empty Eagles trophy case and another action shot of Smith celebrating the Giants Super Bowl title.

All of which was going to make Smith’s signing with the Eagles very, very uncomfortable. Especially because Smith said he was going to give McCoy a hug (no word on whether it was a chest-to-chest hug or one arm-one pat embrace).

“That’s going to take a little time. He wasn’t the happiest,” Smith told reporters, including the Philadelphia Sports Daily, after practice Monday. “He said he meant what he said, so it’s all good.”

I bet Umenyiora -- and his Giants teammates -- don’t feel that anything is “all good.”

Especially when Giants DE Justin Tuck said the team would take McCoy’s tweets personally while basically calling McCoy a ‘fraidy cat. “I honestly think social media has made people cowards. Where I’m from, if you had a problem with somebody, you said it to their face. I think now people are hiding behind computers and smart phones to get out something they got on their chest where I’m used to having a problem with a person, you go tell it to their face. You don’t go blast it out so everybody in the world can see about it."

No word on which side Smith will fight on if Umenyiora and McCoy throw down during one of the Eagles-Giants contests.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: August 11, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Responses vary regarding Steve Smith signing

Smith

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The reaction to the Eagles signing of former Giants WR Steve Smith has stirred emotions across the NFC East. We thought it was a strong signing by Philadelphia’s front office, and it was interesting that Smith revealed that the Eagles showed “MUCH more” interest than the Giants did in signing him.

That led to Giants fans lambasting Smith -- coming off microfracture surgery on his knee that could keep him out the early part of the season. Smith wrote Thursday on his Facebook page: "Instead of cursing at me and wishing my family and my knee harm, i wish you could understand that i truly wanted to stay here but that the giants DIDN'T want me here unfortunately.. thank you to my true fans for standing by me and offering your support during this time.”

Steve Smith's Eagles signing
Even some of his old teammates got into the act.

Via the Philadelphia Daily News, Giants CB Terrell Thomas tweeted the following: "Hate to see a [Steve Smith] sign with any team. But glad we get to play against him two times a year and show him the grass ain't GREENER* on the other side.”

*As an aside, I think that tweet would have been more effective if Thomas had put “ain’t” in all caps instead of “greener.” Like this: “But glad we get to play against him two times a year and show him the grass AIN’T greener on the other side.” See what I mean?

Meanwhile, New York coach Tom Coughlin pointed out to reporters that Smith’s surgery was performed by a Giants team doctor, and the New York Post’s Bart Hubbuch tweets that Coughlin sounded betrayed by that notion. Coughlin also said the Giants never had a chance to match the Eagles offer of one year, $4 million ($2 million of that guaranteed) and that Smith’s representation told the Giants they would have a chance to counter. He said it was akin to competing in a race that you didn’t know had started yet (to be fair, though, the Giants had plenty of time to sign him once free agency began).

We have yet to see how Eagles RB LeSean McCoy -- who engaged in a Twitter war with New York DE Osi Umenyiora, which then led to Smith getting involved and posting a pretty sweet picture of him celebrating the Giants Super Bowl victory while featuring an empty Eagles trophy case (as you can see in the above picture) -- reacts to his newest teammate. But Smith is pretty sure everything will be cool between the two.

"Yeah, it’s going to be funny," Smith said Wednesday night during a conference call with reporters. "I’m going to go up to LeSean the first day I see him and just shake his hand and give him a hug and tell him that was all just Twitter beef and it was just all in fun. And you know, it’s just a great rivalry and I’m thankful to be a part of it. And having switched sides it’s a little different but still it will be exciting to see what it’s like on this side.”

The Newark Star Ledger’s Mike Garafolo also had interesting analysis on why the Giants let Smith get away to an intra-divisional rival, writing, “I'm completely baffled on this one. What is going on in the Giants' front office? I mean, seriously, what is going on right now? I'll tell you what's going on: for the first time, Jerry Reese's seat must be getting warm. … How do you let Smith become so discouraged by your efforts to retain him that he goes to see your arch rivals?”

Garofolo then argues that Smith was a potentially valuable asset who the Giants should have squared away (even if Smith had to miss half the season while recovering from his surgery).

Instead, Smith goes to the Eagles, and once he gets his hug from McCoy, he can begin the process of finding a place in a WR corps that includes DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant. The Eagles just got a little bit stronger, while the Giants, competing for the same NFC East title, potentially let a star get away.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Report: NYG give Umenyiora permission for trade

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora ended a brief holdout and reported to training camp Sunday, although he remains unhappy with the team for not coming through on money he insists was promised to him. And now, according to an ESPN report, the Giants have given Umenyiora permission to seek a trade.

CBSSports.com's Clark Judge reported Saturday that even though Umenyiora agreed to show up for camp, "that doesn't mean anything has been resolved. In fact, nothing has been. Umenyiora, who set a league record last season with 10 forced fumbles, wants a new contract or a trade…"

Now it appears the organization has paved the way for the latter, although Judge warns that it doesn't mean a trade is imminent. "It means the Giants have taken the first step to eliminate a distraction."

Giants general managers Jerry Reese and Umenyiora spoke Saturday and, via ESPN, Reese said that if the team were to trade Umenyiora they would ask for a first-round pick. That's a steep price for a player a team is willing to move because they already have plenty of depth along the defensive line.

Still, Umenyiora, 29, had 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in 2011. If the Giants are serious about trading him, they will likely have to settle for something less than their current asking price.

In the meantime, we eagerly await LeSean McCoy's thoughts on the prospects of not facing Umenyiora this season.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 29, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 7:59 pm
 

Tuck: Giants will take McCoy tweets 'personally'

Posted by Will Brinson

Last week, LeSean McCoy took a shot at Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora, tweeting that Osi was "overrated n soft" and that he was the "3rd best d-line[man]" on New York's roster.

Naturally, this went over really well with Osi, who fired back at McCoy calling him a girl, a "Twitter gangster" and "Chihuahua.".

After that, the feud seemed to simmer a bit. Fortunately, Justin Tuck decided to ramp it back up today.

“Well, two things, yes we will take that personally,” Tuck said to ESPN's Mike and Mike on Wednesday. “And two, he might want to watch some film before he starts talking about a defensive end of Osi’s quality. I don’t know where he would say something of that nature. Obviously Osi’s stats back up the fact that he is a pretty good NFL football player.”

The good news is that such back-and-forth can only lead to more on-field hatred between the Eagles and the Giants. (This is good as long as it doesn't lead to any actual, illegal violence -- rivalries are always beneficial for the game of football.)

The bad news is that Osi's apparently going to hold out once the lockout ends until he gets a new contract, which probably won't give him a whole lot of street cred.

And, considering he's a named plaintiff on the players' antitrust suit, such a dispute isn't necessarily going to just disappear amicably. Fortunately, though, Tuck had some more words for McCoy himself.

"I honestly think social media has made people cowards,” Tuck said. “Where I’m from, if you had a problem with somebody, you said it to their face. I think now people are hiding behind computers and smart phones to get out something they got on their chest where I’m used to having a problem with a person, you go tell it to their face. You don’t go blast it out so everybody in the world can see about it."

So, hey, there's always a shot he and McCoy can just duel it out when the two teams go head-to-head next year.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:00 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 10:13 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.19.11: One way to end Jags blackouts



Posted by Ryan Wilson
  • Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is giving 225 kids the chance to attend football camp -- for free. There's no truth to the rumors that the Bengals will be in attendance, even though owner Mike Brown says "the price is right." (He didn't really say that, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch if he did.)
  • Add it to the list (via the StarTribune.com): "After months of getting rained on, pounded with packed snow and flattened by heavy equipment used to fix the roof, the Metrodome's artificial turf may have to be replaced before the Vikings resume play there in August, Dome officials said Friday." We're blaming Brett Favre.
  • Good news: Aqib Talib's attorney doesn't expect there to be a quick resolution to his client's felony firearm case. In fact, it could drag on beyond the 2011 season. Bad news: Talib will likely still face disciplinary action from the NFL, and you know Roger Goodell can't wait for the lockout to end so he can't get back to randomly handing out punishments.
  • It will probably take three or four years before we know if the Falcons were right to bet the metaphorical farm on Julio Jones, but early returns are encouraging. According to reports, Jones is "way ahead of his game" at informal workouts. It's not much, but it's something.
  • Titans owner Bud Adams parted ways with Jeff Fisher in January, but Fisher says he won't think about returning to the sidelines until after the 2011 season. Hopefully, he can make that $4 million buyout he received from Tennessee stretch for another six months.
  • More former Titans news: One-time Tennessee tight end Erron Kinney is a captain with the St. Andrews Fire Department in Charleston, S.C.
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