Tag:Green Bay Packers
Posted on: September 10, 2010 11:10 pm
 

Data says Cowboys are still America's team

Posted by Andy Benoit

For all of you who hate hearing the Dallas Cowboys referred to as “America’s Team”…sorry, but Nielsen’s numbers seem to back up the epithet. The Cowboys are the most popular team in the United States – by far.
 
Here’s how Nielsen explains its scores:Dallas

The Nielsen Sports Media Exposure Index measured all 32 NFL teams in four categories during the 2009 regular season: local team ratings, gross national TV audience, online buzz volume, and monthly unique audiences to official team websites. Teams in each category were assigned a score, with the top rank worth 100 points and each subsequent ranking assigned a lower weighted score based its distance from the top. Final team rankings were calculated using the sum of scores across all four categories, and then indexed with the highest total equaling 100.

The Cowboys were the most-followed team on national television and their website was the most-visited. The Saints were the most popular team on a local television basis (in other words, percentage-wise, fans in New Orleans watched their home team on TV more than fans in any other NFL market watched their home team.)

The overall top 10 most popular teams in the NFL last season were as follows:

1. Cowboys
2. Steelers
3. Giants
4t. Bears
4t. Packers
4t. Vikings
7. Eagles
8t. Colts
8t. Saints
10. Patriots

It shows the power of the NFL that a team from a mid-sized western Pennsylvania market and a team from a tiny Wisconsin market can both rank in the top five in popularity. Also, you may notice that 7 of the top 10 teams last year were from the NFC. Good thing Fox pays more than CBS for broadcast rights (even if that is only a result of the NFC having an overall larger market than the AFC).

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Brandon Graham gets scolded by coach

Posted by Andy Benoit

From the “not really news, but still, sort of interesting” department, we’ll pass along this story of Eagles rookie defensive end Brandon Graham getting scolded by head coach Andy Reid.

Jeff McClane, the Eagles beat writer from the Philadelphia Inquirer , writes:

On Monday, Graham wrote on Twitter: "Its time to get ready for them Green Boys this week! I cant wait to whisper something in Aaron Rodgers ear.....SACK!!!!!!"

Reid "didn't like it," Graham said. "I was only trying to have some fun. But I learned my lesson."

Graham said that he wasn't punished and that he's still slated to start Sunday.

Rodgers, during a Wednesday conference call with Philadelphia reporters, was told of Graham's tweet.
"What's he going to whisper in my ear?" Rodgers asked.

Told that Graham wrote, "sack," Rodgers replied, "Is he?"


Graham, who was sensational in training camp and the preseason, will be making his NFL debut Sunday. If he does get to Rodgers, let’s hope Fox cameras zoom in on his celebration.

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:46 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 3:18 pm
 

Another superstar cornerback gets a new deal

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Packers announced that they have signed cornerback Charles Woodson to a contract extension through 2014. No C. Woodson (US Presswire) word yet on the renumeration. We'll pass along details as soon as they're available.

News of Woodson’s extension sneaks up on everyone (these days, we’re not used to a superstar cornerback getting a new contract without first staging a dramatic, over-publicized holdout). Woodson signed a seven-year, $52 million deal in 2006, which means he had three years remaining on his deal (sound familiar?) That deal was scheduled to pay Woodson $7.5 million in 2010, $5.5 million in ’11 and $6.5 million in ’12.

It’s rare to see a cornerback rework his contract and (we assume) get a pay increase one month before his 34th birthday. Usually by this age, a corner is either moving to safety or adjusting to retired life. Woodson, however, has only improved with age.

Part of the improvements stem from the fact that Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has used Woodson more as a jack-of-all-trades (think Troy Polamalu) than pure cover corner. That jack-of-all-trades role has made the former Heisman winner even more valuable – which Packers general manager Ted Thompson seems to have acknowledged.


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Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Hot Routes 9.7.10 priming for Week 1

Posted by Andy Benoit

With Johnathan Casillas on Injured Reserve (foot), the Saints are trying to figure out who to start at weakside linebacker.

The Ravens aren’t sure who will be available at right tackle against the Jets on Monday. Top option Jared Gaither has been battling back problems; backup Oniel Cousins is still recovering from a concussion.

This is the time of year where quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan usually latches on with a new team. This year, he chose the Chargers. This is O’Sullivan’s ninth different team in the past nine years.


Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens have joined forces for a reality show on Versus. They both had shows on VH1 that recently came to a close.

If, by chance, you care about a bunch of low-level Bronco players getting new jersey numbers, then click here.

Mike McCarthy is willing to use his starters on special teams this season. He must have watched the ’09 Steelers closely. (Most notable starter on special teams: cornerback Tramon Williams, who will be returning punts.)

Nice story here: Dolphins CB Sean Smith reunited with his sisters after 14 years.

Vikings CB Cedric Griffin is ahead of schedule on his ACL recovery and could play against the Saints. Griffin tore his ACL in the NFC Championship game. With Wes Welker and Jamaal Jackson returning, as well, it’s time to reexamine the way we view ACL injuries.

The Jaguars avoided a blackout for their season opener. (The Broncos are coming to town; the Tebow factor?)


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Posted on: September 6, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Green Bay has no depth at RB

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A weird bit of rosterology here. After all their cuts – many of whom were claimed off waivers by other teams – the Packers retained only two running backs (Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson) on their roster heading into Week 1. That includes the 53-man roster and the eight-man practice squad roster.

Strange, eh?

RB Kregg Lumpkin was claimed off waivers by the Buccaneers, leaving only Grant and Jackson behind, though James Starks, placed on the PUP list, could be back after Week 6.

The Packers, however, do have plenty of fullbacks – Korey Hall, John Kuhn and Quinn Johnson. That means Green Bay has more blockers for running backs than actual running backs.

But as Rapid Reporter Greg A. Bedard writes, Kuhn’s ability to double as a RB also led the Packers to make that decision.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines why in an article that discusses Green Bay’s roster as a whole.

Writes Bedard:

In the case of each player who was claimed, Thompson decided to keep a player who is green as grass but arguably has more potential.

Even if Thompson dismissed that line of thinking Sunday.

"Potential is overrated," he said. "We want to win. We want to win now. (Potential) doesn't factor in as much as you might think."


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Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: September 4, 2010 9:23 pm
 

NFL cut day: updating the latest noteworthy moves

Posted by Andy Benoit & Josh Katzowitz

On this NFL cut day, we're monitoring all the media outlets and waiver wire action like a hawk so that you can make this is your one-stop shop for instant news and analysis on all the latest noteworthy cuts. Stay with us throughout the day.

Troy Williamson, WR, Jaguars
This isn't a hugely surpising move, because it never seemed that Williamson had a chance to make this team. The Jaguars are stocked with talented young receivers, and in the end, there wasn't a need for a former first-round pick who's had such a disappointing career (eight catched in the past two years with Jacksonville).

Dre Bly, CB, Lions
The Lions secondary has been brutal the past few years, and Bly was signed in the offseason to add a veteran presence. Bly wasn't that bad last year with San Francisco, but if he can't make a Detroit squad that's still in need of secondary help, that's not a real good sign for the health of his career.

Justin Hartwig, C, Steelers
He'd been the starter the previous two seasons in Pittsburgh, but along came rookie Maurkice Pouncey and took away his starting spot. Now, Hartwig's spot on the roster is gone. The team apparently had been trying to work out a trade for him but obviously failed to do so.

Spencer Havner, TE, Packers
Perhaps you haven't heard of Havner, who has recorded only seven catches in his two-year career. But reporters close to the team expressed surprise that Havner was sent packing, mostly because of his versatility and because he was decent-to-pretty good in so many different areas (receiving, blocking, special teams).

Max Jean-Gilles, OG, Eagles
This was an interesting transaction and didn't have much to do with his performance in the preseason. Since the Stacy Andrews trade occured after the 6 p.m. cutdown deadline, the Eagles had to cut Jean-Gilles to complete the 53-man roster. The Eagles are expected to sign him Sunday - Jean-Gilles is a vested veteran that doesn't have to clear waivers. Unless, that is, somebody else comes to him with a better offer.

Chase Coffman, TE, Bengals
The 2009 third round pick of the Bengals didn't see any playing time last year, because even though he was a strong receiver, he had tons to learn on how to block (he never really had to do it in college at Missouri). Though we didn't know it at the time, the first-round selection of Jermaine Gresham this year and the comeback by Reggie Kelly probably sealed Coffman's fate

Sam Aiken, WR, Patriots
He was the special teams captain for New England, and it appeared he had landed one of the final WR spots. But apparently his deficiencies as a WR were too much for the Patriots to handle. Plus, he lost his gunner job on special teams earlier in the preseason.

Derrick Burgess, LB, Patriots
He had a league-leading 16 sacks in 2005, and he was a Pro Bowler that year and the next. But his skills have steadily declined since then, and against the Giants in New England's final preseason game Thursdasy, Burgess was terrible. He couldn't defend the run or rush the passer. And if you can't do either, New England - which will struggle to rush the passer this season - doesn't want you.

Trent Guy, WR, Panthers
Not a big-name guy, but he's got a great story. In July 2008, Guy was shot in the back while leaving a nightclub, and he barely escaped paralysis and/or death. Read the complete story here on the Charlotte Observer web site. Alas, he'll likely end up on Carolina's practice squad.

Troy Smith, QB, Ravens
After signing Marc Bulger in the offseason, the Ravens shipped away John Beck and now have released Smith. The former Heisman Trophy winner had wanted a trade in the offseason, but the Ravens never got around to it. But who would take him? He's got speed but his accuracy is questionable, and he doesn't appear to have the tools to be an NFL starter. The Ravens will keep only two QBs on the roster for now.

Chad Jackson, WR, Bills

Thought to have first-round potential, Jackson was picked in the second round of the 2006 Draft by the Patriots. So far in his career, he's made exactly 14 catches. Jackson was out of football in 2009, and that's exactly where he's going in 2010 as well.

Kraig Urbik, OG, Steelers
A third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009, Pittsburgh expected big things out of the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder. But he had a rough preseason last year, and he struggled while adjusting to the NFL speed. He eventually lost his backup spot, and apparently, the Steelers - who even tried him out at center in the offseason - have no use for him anymore.

Tank Tyler, DT, Panthers
The Panthers gave up a fifth-round pick to get Tyler last season. He had his moments but, as was the case in Kansas City, he never put it all together.


James Hardy, WR, Bills
The 6’5”, high-leaping ’08 second-round pick has not been the same since blowing out his knee. The Bills were hoping he could capture the starting job vacated by Terrell Owens.


Rhys Lloyd, K, Vikings
He was brought in to be a kickoff specialist. Vikings likely decided he wasn’t worth the extra cost (perhaps because they’re already paying a little extra to that old guy playing quarterback). Ryan Longwell will be pleased – he didn’t want to give up the kickoff duties in the first place.

Jay Richardson, DE, Raiders
He was a starter a few years ago but has tailed off as of late. Teams should take a look at him, though. At his best, he’s one of the more impressive run-defending ends in football.


Will Blackmon, CB, Packers
The athletic but oft-injured cornerback/return specialist reached an injury settlement with the team.

Pierre Woods, LB, Patriots
We mention Woods only because the Patriots spent four years waiting for him to come around. Most non-achievers don’t last four months in New England. In the end, Woods never did come around. He was given an opportunity to work with the first unit last season, but in five starts he recorded zero sacks. (In fact, in four years total, he recorded just one sack.)


Chris Simms, QB, Titans
Known more for his name than anything. Would have been nothing more than the third-string option in Tennessee. Recent legal problems certainly could not have helped his cause. Titans will likely keep sixth-round rookie Rusty Smith as the No. 3.

Chevis Jackson, CB, Falcons
The competition for the starting cornerback job opposite Dunta Robinson has been so fierce that you forget about any Falcon corners being on the roster bubble. This explains the mild sense of astonishment we’re all feeling when we hear that Jackson, a third-round pick in 2008, has been waived. In his two years with Atlanta, Jackson mostly competed for reps at the nickel position. Jackson was never awful for Mike Smith; it’s a virtual guarantee that some team will quickly snatch him up.

Ian Johnson, RB, Vikings
By no means a big-name NFL player. But remember the Boise State running back who proposed to the cheerleader after scoring the winning touchdown against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl? This is him.


Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals
What a disaster this whole saga turned out to be. Leinart is officially a first-round BUST. For more, click here .

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seahawks
Given that his $7 million salary was already guaranteed, the Seahawks basically said they simply didn't want the veteran wideout around. You have to figure attitude played a part . What else could result in the sudden release of a surefire 70-plus catch weapon?


Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos

He was everyone’s favorite “scrappy slot receiver” before Wes Welker. But at 34 and having caught only 19 passes last season, he’s expendable. The Broncos have been impressed with Brandon Lloyd, and they figure to develop high-drafted rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
Note: Stokley has a groin injury and, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, is still working out an injury settlement with the club. He's been placed on Injured Reserve, but when that's healed, he'll be released.


Jarron Gilbert, DT, Bears
Remember the San Jose State draft prospect who jumped straight out of a swimming pool last year? That’s about all the athletic defensive lineman is known for. Gilbert was drafted in the third round last season but hardly got on the field.

Allen Barbre, OL, Packers
Barbre, a fourth-round pick in 2007, showed up dripping with raw talent. However, things never materialized. Barber was victimized as a starter early last season and was never much of a factor in the ongoing job competition at guard.

Myron Rolle, S, Titans
The sixth-round rookie Rhodes Scholar was a favorite of the coaches. However, he lacked the necessary athleticism to thrive in the NFL. If he wants to continue with football, he could probably sneak on to a practice squad somewhere.


Jarvis Green, DE, Broncos
Seriously!? Green signed a four-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Broncos in March. He was a key contributor for eight years as a versatile downlineman in New England’s 3-4 scheme. But in Denver, Green eventually lost his starting job to Ryan McBean; the Broncos must have felt he was too expensive to be a backup (Green wound up walking away $3.225 million). With Ty Warren out for the season, the Patriots may want to consider bringing Green back.

Michael Clayton, WR, Buccaneers
Clayton has had one of the most enigmatic careers in recent NFL memory. He caught 80 balls for 1,193 yards as a rookie but has failed to top 38 receptions or 484 yards in the five seasons since. Injuries have never been a factor. Coaches say Clayton is the most impressive player in practice each week, but on Sundays, he pulls a Houdini. Bucs GM Mark Dominik must watch a lot of practice, as he gave Clatyon a new contract with $10 million in guarantees just last year.


Pat White, QB, Dolphins
The biggest name to get the ax (or is it axe?...why hasn’t society agreed on one spelling yet? ) thus far. Talk about wasting a second-round pick. White suffered a bad concussion late last season and was rumored to be questioning his football future earlier this summer. He wound up competing in camp, but the Dolphins no longer had a need for him after retaining Chad Pennington and bringing in Tyler Thigpen. Running back Ronnie Brown can continue to be the wild cat ace.

Josh Reed, WR, Chargers
This was to be expected after the trade for Patrick Crayton. Both are underneath possession receivers; Crayton, however, is a bit quicker and has been more productive in recent years.

Dave Rayner, K, Bengals
This means Mike Nugent has won Cincy’s kicking job.

Shayne Graham, K, Ravens
The longtime Bengal was expected to beat out Billy Cundiff for the Ravens kicking job. Apparently he didn’t. Cundiff has the stronger leg.


Donald Thomas, G, Dolphins
Arguably the most surprising cut thus far today – not because Thomas is a particularly good player (he’s not), but because he’s a third-year pro who started 12 games last season. Thomas badly struggled with his footwork and was too much of a plodder at times. The Dolphins signed Richie Incognito and drafted John Jerry to fill the guard spots over the offseason. Looks like Cory Proctor will wind up being the top backup inside now.


Darrell Reid, OLB, Broncos
The veteran special teams ace was on PUP all preseason with a bad knee. Even with Elvis Dumervil on IR, Denver still saw fit to move on. This tells you Reid probably had little chance of physically being ready to play anytime soon. The coaches also really like soaring newcomer Jason Hunter.


Travis Fisher, CB, Ravens
Fisher’s NFL career has been hanging by a threat the past few seasons. The former Ram is an experienced veteran, but the Ravens saw no place for him after trading for Josh Wilson.

J.P. Losman, QB, Seahawks
Could be back to the UFL for the underachieving former first-round pick.


Willie Parker, RB, Redskins
It’s common knowledge that running backs hit a wall around age 30. Parker hit his last year at 29. Parker’s yards per carry had decreased every season in his career until 2009 (when he had very few touches with the Steelers). He was hoping for a resurgence behind Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but with his speed diminished and body dinged up (injuries have hounded Parker the past few years), he couldn’t climb out from the fourth spot on the depth chart.

Brandon McDonald, CB, Browns
McDonald is best known for his disgraceful tweet about Terrell Owens earlier this offseason. Looks like his reputation will remain there for a while. McDonald’s playing career in Cleveland is over. He struggled mightily in man coverage as the Browns starting cornerback last season and was benched on more than one occasion. Throw in his flashy, irritating attitude and he became an easy player for Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren to dump.

William Joseph, DT, Raiders
The 2003 first-round pick of the Giants could be on done for good. Joseph is 31 and has never achieved consistent success at the pro level. Then again, he’s been shuffled on and off the Raiders roster since 2008 – maybe this is just another shuffle. He was fifth on the depth chart at defensive tackle. The news here is that Joseph’s release could mean John Henderson makes the final roster. We’ll find out.

Matt Jones, WR, Bengals
The only thing he had going for him was a history of legal problems (which seems to be an attribute Bengals owner Mike Brown covets in a player). Jones is too lethargic off the line to be a quality NFL receiver. The Bengals found that out.

Patrick Turner, WR, Dolphins
Turner was a third-round pick just one year ago. The Dolphins thought they’d found the next Marques Colston. Instead, they found the next Joe Nobody. Turner never earned the respect of coaches and teammates.

Jon Jansen, OL, Lions
No surprise here. Jansen is a sagacious veteran, but at 34, he has reached his physical end. He was a major liability wherever he lined up last season.

Bear Pascoe, TE, Giants
Thanks to injuries to starter Kevin Boss, Pascoe spent a great deal of the offseason working with the Giants first team offense. Because Pascoe played in only four games as a rookie last season, he is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.


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Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: September 4, 2010 9:23 pm
 

NFL cut day: updating the latest noteworthy moves

Posted by Andy Benoit & Josh Katzowitz

On this NFL cut day, we're monitoring all the media outlets and waiver wire action like a hawk so that you can make this is your one-stop shop for instant news and analysis on all the latest noteworthy cuts. Stay with us throughout the day.

Troy Williamson, WR, Jaguars
This isn't a hugely surpising move, because it never seemed that Williamson had a chance to make this team. The Jaguars are stocked with talented young receivers, and in the end, there wasn't a need for a former first-round pick who's had such a disappointing career (eight catched in the past two years with Jacksonville).

Dre Bly, CB, Lions
The Lions secondary has been brutal the past few years, and Bly was signed in the offseason to add a veteran presence. Bly wasn't that bad last year with San Francisco, but if he can't make a Detroit squad that's still in need of secondary help, that's not a real good sign for the health of his career.

Justin Hartwig, C, Steelers
He'd been the starter the previous two seasons in Pittsburgh, but along came rookie Maurkice Pouncey and took away his starting spot. Now, Hartwig's spot on the roster is gone. The team apparently had been trying to work out a trade for him but obviously failed to do so.

Spencer Havner, TE, Packers
Perhaps you haven't heard of Havner, who has recorded only seven catches in his two-year career. But reporters close to the team expressed surprise that Havner was sent packing, mostly because of his versatility and because he was decent-to-pretty good in so many different areas (receiving, blocking, special teams).

Max Jean-Gilles, OG, Eagles
This was an interesting transaction and didn't have much to do with his performance in the preseason. Since the Stacy Andrews trade occured after the 6 p.m. cutdown deadline, the Eagles had to cut Jean-Gilles to complete the 53-man roster. The Eagles are expected to sign him Sunday - Jean-Gilles is a vested veteran that doesn't have to clear waivers. Unless, that is, somebody else comes to him with a better offer.

Chase Coffman, TE, Bengals
The 2009 third round pick of the Bengals didn't see any playing time last year, because even though he was a strong receiver, he had tons to learn on how to block (he never really had to do it in college at Missouri). Though we didn't know it at the time, the first-round selection of Jermaine Gresham this year and the comeback by Reggie Kelly probably sealed Coffman's fate

Sam Aiken, WR, Patriots
He was the special teams captain for New England, and it appeared he had landed one of the final WR spots. But apparently his deficiencies as a WR were too much for the Patriots to handle. Plus, he lost his gunner job on special teams earlier in the preseason.

Derrick Burgess, LB, Patriots
He had a league-leading 16 sacks in 2005, and he was a Pro Bowler that year and the next. But his skills have steadily declined since then, and against the Giants in New England's final preseason game Thursdasy, Burgess was terrible. He couldn't defend the run or rush the passer. And if you can't do either, New England - which will struggle to rush the passer this season - doesn't want you.

Trent Guy, WR, Panthers
Not a big-name guy, but he's got a great story. In July 2008, Guy was shot in the back while leaving a nightclub, and he barely escaped paralysis and/or death. Read the complete story here on the Charlotte Observer web site. Alas, he'll likely end up on Carolina's practice squad.

Troy Smith, QB, Ravens
After signing Marc Bulger in the offseason, the Ravens shipped away John Beck and now have released Smith. The former Heisman Trophy winner had wanted a trade in the offseason, but the Ravens never got around to it. But who would take him? He's got speed but his accuracy is questionable, and he doesn't appear to have the tools to be an NFL starter. The Ravens will keep only two QBs on the roster for now.

Chad Jackson, WR, Bills

Thought to have first-round potential, Jackson was picked in the second round of the 2006 Draft by the Patriots. So far in his career, he's made exactly 14 catches. Jackson was out of football in 2009, and that's exactly where he's going in 2010 as well.

Kraig Urbik, OG, Steelers
A third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009, Pittsburgh expected big things out of the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder. But he had a rough preseason last year, and he struggled while adjusting to the NFL speed. He eventually lost his backup spot, and apparently, the Steelers - who even tried him out at center in the offseason - have no use for him anymore.

Tank Tyler, DT, Panthers
The Panthers gave up a fifth-round pick to get Tyler last season. He had his moments but, as was the case in Kansas City, he never put it all together.


James Hardy, WR, Bills
The 6’5”, high-leaping ’08 second-round pick has not been the same since blowing out his knee. The Bills were hoping he could capture the starting job vacated by Terrell Owens.


Rhys Lloyd, K, Vikings
He was brought in to be a kickoff specialist. Vikings likely decided he wasn’t worth the extra cost (perhaps because they’re already paying a little extra to that old guy playing quarterback). Ryan Longwell will be pleased – he didn’t want to give up the kickoff duties in the first place.

Jay Richardson, DE, Raiders
He was a starter a few years ago but has tailed off as of late. Teams should take a look at him, though. At his best, he’s one of the more impressive run-defending ends in football.


Will Blackmon, CB, Packers
The athletic but oft-injured cornerback/return specialist reached an injury settlement with the team.

Pierre Woods, LB, Patriots
We mention Woods only because the Patriots spent four years waiting for him to come around. Most non-achievers don’t last four months in New England. In the end, Woods never did come around. He was given an opportunity to work with the first unit last season, but in five starts he recorded zero sacks. (In fact, in four years total, he recorded just one sack.)


Chris Simms, QB, Titans
Known more for his name than anything. Would have been nothing more than the third-string option in Tennessee. Recent legal problems certainly could not have helped his cause. Titans will likely keep sixth-round rookie Rusty Smith as the No. 3.

Chevis Jackson, CB, Falcons
The competition for the starting cornerback job opposite Dunta Robinson has been so fierce that you forget about any Falcon corners being on the roster bubble. This explains the mild sense of astonishment we’re all feeling when we hear that Jackson, a third-round pick in 2008, has been waived. In his two years with Atlanta, Jackson mostly competed for reps at the nickel position. Jackson was never awful for Mike Smith; it’s a virtual guarantee that some team will quickly snatch him up.

Ian Johnson, RB, Vikings
By no means a big-name NFL player. But remember the Boise State running back who proposed to the cheerleader after scoring the winning touchdown against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl? This is him.


Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals
What a disaster this whole saga turned out to be. Leinart is officially a first-round BUST. For more, click here .

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seahawks
Given that his $7 million salary was already guaranteed, the Seahawks basically said they simply didn't want the veteran wideout around. You have to figure attitude played a part . What else could result in the sudden release of a surefire 70-plus catch weapon?


Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos

He was everyone’s favorite “scrappy slot receiver” before Wes Welker. But at 34 and having caught only 19 passes last season, he’s expendable. The Broncos have been impressed with Brandon Lloyd, and they figure to develop high-drafted rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
Note: Stokley has a groin injury and, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, is still working out an injury settlement with the club. He's been placed on Injured Reserve, but when that's healed, he'll be released.


Jarron Gilbert, DT, Bears
Remember the San Jose State draft prospect who jumped straight out of a swimming pool last year? That’s about all the athletic defensive lineman is known for. Gilbert was drafted in the third round last season but hardly got on the field.

Allen Barbre, OL, Packers
Barbre, a fourth-round pick in 2007, showed up dripping with raw talent. However, things never materialized. Barber was victimized as a starter early last season and was never much of a factor in the ongoing job competition at guard.

Myron Rolle, S, Titans
The sixth-round rookie Rhodes Scholar was a favorite of the coaches. However, he lacked the necessary athleticism to thrive in the NFL. If he wants to continue with football, he could probably sneak on to a practice squad somewhere.


Jarvis Green, DE, Broncos
Seriously!? Green signed a four-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Broncos in March. He was a key contributor for eight years as a versatile downlineman in New England’s 3-4 scheme. But in Denver, Green eventually lost his starting job to Ryan McBean; the Broncos must have felt he was too expensive to be a backup (Green wound up walking away $3.225 million). With Ty Warren out for the season, the Patriots may want to consider bringing Green back.

Michael Clayton, WR, Buccaneers
Clayton has had one of the most enigmatic careers in recent NFL memory. He caught 80 balls for 1,193 yards as a rookie but has failed to top 38 receptions or 484 yards in the five seasons since. Injuries have never been a factor. Coaches say Clayton is the most impressive player in practice each week, but on Sundays, he pulls a Houdini. Bucs GM Mark Dominik must watch a lot of practice, as he gave Clatyon a new contract with $10 million in guarantees just last year.


Pat White, QB, Dolphins
The biggest name to get the ax (or is it axe?...why hasn’t society agreed on one spelling yet? ) thus far. Talk about wasting a second-round pick. White suffered a bad concussion late last season and was rumored to be questioning his football future earlier this summer. He wound up competing in camp, but the Dolphins no longer had a need for him after retaining Chad Pennington and bringing in Tyler Thigpen. Running back Ronnie Brown can continue to be the wild cat ace.

Josh Reed, WR, Chargers
This was to be expected after the trade for Patrick Crayton. Both are underneath possession receivers; Crayton, however, is a bit quicker and has been more productive in recent years.

Dave Rayner, K, Bengals
This means Mike Nugent has won Cincy’s kicking job.

Shayne Graham, K, Ravens
The longtime Bengal was expected to beat out Billy Cundiff for the Ravens kicking job. Apparently he didn’t. Cundiff has the stronger leg.


Donald Thomas, G, Dolphins
Arguably the most surprising cut thus far today – not because Thomas is a particularly good player (he’s not), but because he’s a third-year pro who started 12 games last season. Thomas badly struggled with his footwork and was too much of a plodder at times. The Dolphins signed Richie Incognito and drafted John Jerry to fill the guard spots over the offseason. Looks like Cory Proctor will wind up being the top backup inside now.


Darrell Reid, OLB, Broncos
The veteran special teams ace was on PUP all preseason with a bad knee. Even with Elvis Dumervil on IR, Denver still saw fit to move on. This tells you Reid probably had little chance of physically being ready to play anytime soon. The coaches also really like soaring newcomer Jason Hunter.


Travis Fisher, CB, Ravens
Fisher’s NFL career has been hanging by a threat the past few seasons. The former Ram is an experienced veteran, but the Ravens saw no place for him after trading for Josh Wilson.

J.P. Losman, QB, Seahawks
Could be back to the UFL for the underachieving former first-round pick.


Willie Parker, RB, Redskins
It’s common knowledge that running backs hit a wall around age 30. Parker hit his last year at 29. Parker’s yards per carry had decreased every season in his career until 2009 (when he had very few touches with the Steelers). He was hoping for a resurgence behind Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but with his speed diminished and body dinged up (injuries have hounded Parker the past few years), he couldn’t climb out from the fourth spot on the depth chart.

Brandon McDonald, CB, Browns
McDonald is best known for his disgraceful tweet about Terrell Owens earlier this offseason. Looks like his reputation will remain there for a while. McDonald’s playing career in Cleveland is over. He struggled mightily in man coverage as the Browns starting cornerback last season and was benched on more than one occasion. Throw in his flashy, irritating attitude and he became an easy player for Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren to dump.

William Joseph, DT, Raiders
The 2003 first-round pick of the Giants could be on done for good. Joseph is 31 and has never achieved consistent success at the pro level. Then again, he’s been shuffled on and off the Raiders roster since 2008 – maybe this is just another shuffle. He was fifth on the depth chart at defensive tackle. The news here is that Joseph’s release could mean John Henderson makes the final roster. We’ll find out.

Matt Jones, WR, Bengals
The only thing he had going for him was a history of legal problems (which seems to be an attribute Bengals owner Mike Brown covets in a player). Jones is too lethargic off the line to be a quality NFL receiver. The Bengals found that out.

Patrick Turner, WR, Dolphins
Turner was a third-round pick just one year ago. The Dolphins thought they’d found the next Marques Colston. Instead, they found the next Joe Nobody. Turner never earned the respect of coaches and teammates.

Jon Jansen, OL, Lions
No surprise here. Jansen is a sagacious veteran, but at 34, he has reached his physical end. He was a major liability wherever he lined up last season.

Bear Pascoe, TE, Giants
Thanks to injuries to starter Kevin Boss, Pascoe spent a great deal of the offseason working with the Giants first team offense. Because Pascoe played in only four games as a rookie last season, he is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.


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Posted on: September 2, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2010 2:45 pm
 

Madden '11 simulates the entire NFL season

Posted by Will Brinson



Putting too much stock into an EA Sports simulation of Madden 11 is pretty aggressive -- I won't fault you for not doing it. But that doesn't make the simulation any less interesting, does it? Exactly, and since you already I enjoy the super cool world of virtual sports based on my review of the game , here's a quick breakdown.

Last year, Madden had the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl, with Tom Brady garnering MVP honors. Other playoff "teams" included Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego, Philadelphia, Arizona, Atlanta and Chicago (who all won their division) and the Colts, Ravens, Giants and Panthers sneaking in as wild cards.

To recap quickly: whoops.

Anyway, Aaron Rodgers is the star to watch, as he wins MVP and gets the Packers homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Same deal with the Ravens, who win the AFC North. New England, Indianapolis and San Diego are the other AFC division winners, while the 49ers, Cowboys and Saints win the other NFC division spots.

In terms of the wild card, Minnesota (who actually ties with Green Bay for the best record in the NFC at 12-4) and Atlanta are the winners in the NFC, while the Texans and Jets secure wild card spots from the AFC side.

In other words, nothing crazier than what a lot of people are thinking.

Terrell Suggs takes home Defensive Player of the Year, Joe Haden wins Defensive Rookie of the Year and Jermaine Gresham wins Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Some interesting individual performances that people might care about include Greg Jennings having a MONSTER year (102 catches, 1438 yards, 13 TDs), Owen Daniels finishing as the second-best TE in the league, Jerome Harrison rushing for 1235 yards and 9 TDs and Darrelle Revis snaring seven interceptions.

Of course, EA doesn't have teams dealing with holdouts or players struggling back from injuries (like Daniels).

Still, that shouldn't stop you from putting the deed to your house on an "Aaron Rodgers for MVP" prop bet in Vegas.

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