Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Charles Woodson
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 11:33 am
 

Report: Jets 'unlikely' to chase after Asomugha

Posted by Will Brinson

When news broke Sunday that Nnamdi Asomugha was becoming a free agent thanks to a bizarre clause in his contract (which became less bizarre when we realized that the Raiders save a ton of money thanks to it), football fans everywhere freaked out.

Then football fans everywhere wondered "OMG, can my team get him???" The Jets were one of the teams mentioned there, mainly because the prospect of letting Antonio Cromartie go, signing Asomugha and then never letting another wide receiver catch a ball against the Rex Ryan's defense seemed intriguing. Oh, and because Nnamdi mentioned that he and he Revis had talked about playing together.

However, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Jets are "unlikely" to make a move for Asomugha and will focus more on bringing in their own players, but that it wasn't safe to eliminate them (ever) because, well, they're the Jets.

Additionally, remember that Revis' holdout and recent contract extension was substantially affected by Asomugha's deal -- Revis wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the league. But guess who else wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the league? Yup, Nnamdi. Both have a decent claim to the title and having both players on team, particularly once a salary cap's reinstated, could be tough work.

However, David White of the San Francisco Chronicle continually tweeted yesterday that either the Jets or the Packers would end up with Nnamdi, primarily because he's more concerned with winning than with making money. Additionally, White noted that Asomugha and Charles Woodson are good friends and that the Asomugha would relish playing for Rex Ryan after getting to play for Rob Ryan in Oakland.

If that's the case, don't bother ruling out anyone just yet.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: January 9, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2011 9:35 pm
 

Packers have (gasp) a running game (VIDEO)

J. Starks had a breakout game vs. Philadelphia (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With their win vs. the Bears in Week 17, the Packers established themselves as the “non division winner nobody in the NFC wants to face in the playoffs.” Tonight, they showed you why.

Aaron Rodgers continued to establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league – if you had to pick between Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning to lead your offense, that would be a tough choice at this point – and the Packers are tough on defense (Clay Matthews, Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, et al).

But here’s the scariest part about Green Bay. The Packers now apparently have a running game. And with a running game, they very well might be the best team in the NFC.

Funny, they haven’t had one of those for most of the year. After Ryan Grant was lost in the season-opener, Packers fans have been subject to watching Brandon Jackson be rather mediocre and John Kuhn try to convert himself from a fullback into more of a tailback (Kuhn has been pretty decent, actually).

But with the emergence of rookie RB James Starks, the Packers become that much more dangerous, because they take less pressure off Rodgers and because they make the play-action pass that much more effective.

Here's Rodgers talking about his running game:



Against the Eagles, Starks carried 23 times for 127 yards, including a key first down late in the fourth quarter that kept Green Bay’s last drive alive for another three plays, and behind that performance, Rodgers threw for three touchdowns. And think about this: Starks only played THREE games in the regular season (he was on the physically unable to perform list for much of the year). Most notably, he had 18 carries for 73 yards in Week 13 vs. the 49ers, but then he only played once in the next three games.

After tonight, I doubt he will be absent again.

So why hasn’t he been playing lately? Well, there have been whispers about his practice habits. Not necessarily his work ethic, but about what he actually accomplishes while at practice.

"Keep in mind this is a young kid who is still continuing to grow and continuing to develop," Packers running backs coach Edgar Bennett told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week. "Each and every one of our backs, they have a role and when their number is called they'll jump in and respond. He certainly has all the capabilities of being (an every-down back). He's talented."

Yes, we saw that tonight.

And now the Falcons have to figure out a way to stop him. The last time these two squads faced off – in Week 12 with Atlanta needing a last-second field goal to pull out the victory – Green Bay’s running game was obsolete. Jackson carried the ball 10 times for 26 yards (actually, Rodgers led all rushers with 51 yards), and the Packers passing game was what led them to their near win.

Now, Green Bay has Starks, and he might just be the difference.

That's what the Eagles will tell you, anyway.

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

Posted on: January 3, 2011 2:05 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 10:19 am
 

10 Wild Card stories worth your attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1.) Momentum schmo-mentum

When a columnist or analyst starts talking about the momentum a team has or doesn’t have heading into the playoffs, really what they’re telling you is they don’t have anything to say about that particular team. Citing a team’s momentum is like citing a quarterback’s moxie or a head coach’s energy: it’s meaningless drivel.

The 2007 New York Giants lost two of their final three regular seasons games. How did momentum work out for them? Or what about the 2008 Arizona  Cardinals? They lost four of their last six regular season games, with three of those four losses by 21 points or more. They lacked momentum…heading into their Super Bowl run. Or there’s always the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who entered the playoffs on a three-game losing streak. If only they’d had momentum…they could have blown out the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, rather than beat them by a mere two touchdowns.

Momentum is relevant DURING games (we saw that early at rowdy Qwest Field in the Seahawks-Rams contest). But it’s not relevant week-to-week. It’s only logical that “momentum” would disappear after the game. After all, there are six days between games. And – just a guess – but the do-or-die scenario of an NFL playoff game changes the mood in the locker room over the course of those six days.

So here’s a promise: these next eight stories about the eight Wild Card teams will have nothing to do with “momentum”. The only references to what’s happened in recent weeks will pertain to actual events and tangible data – not that mythical force that lazy sportswriters have been allowed to pretend is real.



New Orleans Saints (No. 5 seed; 11-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (No. 4 seed; 7-9)   Saturday, 4:30, NBC


2.) Seahawks: undeserving

On Sunday night, many people saw the Seahawks play for the first time this season. Give them credit – thP. Carroll (US Presswire)ey deserved that win more than the Rams. The Seahawks got a solid game out of backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. In the second half they discovered their long-missing rushing attack, registering 141 yards (their third highest total on the season) They stifled the fruitless St. Louis passing attack and used the famous Qwest Field buzz to their advantage.

Now, let’s hope America doesn’t get short-sighted and say, “Sure, the Seahawks are only 7-9, but they actually looked pretty good Sunday night; maybe they deserve to be in the playoffs after all.”

Make no mistake: it is an embarrassment that this club is in the postseason tournament. The Bucs and Giants were both three games better than Seattle. Yes, it is an honor to win your division…but the old-timers who say winning a division warrants an automatic playoff spot are just plain wrong. Division titles meant more back in the five-team division format. But since realignment in 2002, a team now just has to beat out three other teams to win a division. The problem is, the NFL’s current playoff format was in place long before the 2002 realignment. A division title should warrant an automatic playoff bid…just as long as the division winner is ABOVE .500. Yes, there have only been three instances where a team with a .500 record or worse reached the postseason. But two of those instances have come since realignment. And in both of those instances, the outdated playoff system screwed over playoff caliber teams.

This time, it’s also screwing over NBC. The network pays the NFL $1.1 billion a year to cover the NFL. You think Dick Ebersol likes getting stuck with a losing team on the Sunday Night Football regular season finale? How about having to broadcast that losing team again the next week in the Wild Card opener?

If you’re wondering why the NFL would stick the Seahawks on NBC for a second consecutive week (not to mention give the Seahawks a short week after making them play late on Sunday), it’s because of the way the playoff television format shakes out. Here’s how it works (based on observation): the NFL views the Saturday night late game as the premier television slot and alternates between using an AFC and NFC game in that slot. Last year the league took the Philly-Dallas matchup from FOX and put it in NBC’s Saturday night slot. This year, it was CBS’s turn to give up its premium game. Thus, you get Colts-Jets (the NFL’s most marketable player against the biggest market team). Because the Colts-Jets is a 3 seed vs. 6 seed, the NFL chose the NFC’s 4 seed vs. 5 seed matchup to fill the other Saturday slot. D. Brees (US Presswire)

Why are we discussing the logistics of the broadcasting schedule rather than the Seahawks themselves here? Because this article is designated for true playoff teams.


3.) Saints: Unable to march in?

Last season the New Orleans Saints ranked sixth in the league in rushing. This season they ranked 28th. The Saints come into the postseason averaging just 68.3 yards per game on the ground over their last three outings. They have barely even bothered with establishing the run in any of those outings.

Injuries have likely factored into Sean Payton’s thinking here. Until this past Sunday, leading rusher Chris Ivory had been out with a bum hamstring. No. 1 running back Pierre Thomas has battled a bad ankle all season. Veteran midseason pickup Julius Jones is too inconsistent to feature, while Reggie Bush has stolen about $8 million from the team this season (Bush has often looked sluggish because he hasn’t been processing information well).

The lack of a run game is part of the reason Drew Brees threw 22 interceptions this year (Brees finished the season with a 12-game interception streak, the longest the NFL has seen since Jon Kitna in 2006).

Is this play-calling unbalance a major problem? Meh; there are worse things than relying heavily on the reigning Super Bowl MVP and his litany of receiving targets. But make no mistake: this is NOT the formula New Orleans used in its Super Bowl run last postseason.



New York Jets (No. 6 seed; 11-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (No. 3 seed; 10-6)   Saturday, 8:00, NBC

4.) Jets: Surprisingly under-hyped?

At least the New York Jets didn’t sneak into the postseason through the backdoor like last year. Though the 11-5 Jets are two games better than they were in ’09, and though the offense has opened up considerably in Mark Sanchez’s second season, no one seems to consider this club on the verge of taking that next step. Except their head coach, of course. “I think we’re going to win it [all] this year,” Rex Ryan said after his team’s easy Week 17 victory over the Bills.

Because the Jets gave up 45 points in primetime to the Patriots and 38 points on a widely-watched Sunday afternoon game against the Bears, there is the perception that Ryan’s defense has dropped off from a year ago. But look at the numbers:

2009 Jets
98.6 rush yards allowed per game (8th in the NFL)
153.7 pass yards allowed per game (1st)D. Revis (US Presswire)
51.7 percent completion given up (1st)
32 total sacks (tied 18th)

2010 Jets:
90.9 rush yards allowed per game (3rd in the NFL)
200.6 pass yards allowed per game (6th)
50.7 percent completion given up (1st)
40 total sacks (8th)

All in all, the numbers between the two years are nearly identical. And the ’09 Jets forced just one more turnover than the ’10 Jets. The major difference between the ’09 Jets and ’10 Jets is that the ’09 Jets were not on Hard Knocks, were not playing on national television every other week and were not filling the tabloids with stories about harassment of a female supermodel reporter or foot fetishes.

A more important difference between the two is that the ’09 Jets could control games with their rushing attack (which always buttresses a good defense) while the ’10 Jets cannot. Expected breakout running back Shonn Greene has come close to topping his Wild Card performance against the Bengals last season. Thus, the ’10 Jets are still relying heavily on 31-year-old LaDainian Tomlinson, who has not rushed for more than 55 yards in a game since Week 5.



5.) Colts: Peeking at the right time

Okay, so the Titans gave the Colts a tighter Week 17 contest at Lucas Oil Field than anticipated. Defensively, ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were neutralized by the stellar Tennessee tackles (Michael Roos and David Stewart). Offensively, Peyton Manning and company were held to just 23 points.
D. Rhodes (US Presswire)
Fine – go ahead and bet against Indy’s pass-rush and passing attack. A lot of you did earlier in the season (you know, when Manning showed he might be washed up by throwing 11 bad passes over a three-week stretch).

It’s easy to say these 10-6 Colts are not their usual dangerous selves. But the Colts failed to earn a bye in 2006, when they went on to win Super Bowl XLI. The Colts didn’t find momentum in the’06 playoffs – they found their run defense. That was the postseason in which Bob Sanders returned after playing just four regular season games.

Sanders won’t return again this time (IR, biceps), but that doesn’t mean the Indy run defense won’t progress. The progression is already underway, in fact. This past Sunday, the Colts held Chris Johnson to just 39 yards on 20 carries. The Titans as a whole managed just 51 yards on the ground. The week before, Indy held Oakland’s No. 2 ranked rushing attack to just 80 yards. The week before that, they held Jacksonville’s No. 3 ranked rushing attack to 67 yards.

What’s more, the Colts seem to have rediscovered their own rushing attack. Joseph Addai (who also helps tremendously as a pass-blocker) is back after missing eight games with a neck injury. Addai has rushed for 45 and 44 yards the past two weeks. More impressive has been veteran Dominic Rhodes. The soon-to-be-32-year-old locker room favorite was a member of the UFL’s Florida Tuskers just a few months ago. Since resurfacing in Indy, Rhodes has rushed for 172 yards in three games His quickness and veteran savvy give the offense everything it was missing when first-round bust Donald Brown was starting.

And, of course, the Colts still have Manning. And, while they’re without Austin Collie and Dallas Clark, they still have one of the league’s premier one-two punches at wide receiver in Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon.



Baltimore Ravens (No. 5 seed; 12-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (No. 4 seed; 10-6)   Sunday, 1:00, CBS


6.) Ravens: Joe Flacco to come of age?

Last year in the Wild Card Round, the Ravens went into Foxboro and punched the Patriots in the mouth/nose/throat/gut/groin. They ran the ball 52 times for 234 yards, which is why few people crowed about Joe Flacco’s almost irrelevant performanJ. Flacco (US Presswire)ce. The then-second-year quarterback was 4/10 for 34 yards…on the day. An interception made Flacco’s passer rating an imperfect 10.

We wont’ see another Pop Warner gameplan like this from John Harbaugh’s club. Sure, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will be enticed to attack the Chiefs’ 15th-ranked run defense– especially given that Ray Rice looks fresher than he did early in the season and that Oakland’s Michael Bush gashed the Chiefs for 137 yards in Week 17 (most of those yards came from attacking the undersized defensive ends on off-tackle runs). But the Ravens have been grooming Flacco for this opportunity. His 2010 numbers wound up being nearly identical to his 2009 numbers – just 10 fewer attempts, nine fewer completions and nine more passing yards overall – but the Ravens used less six-man offensive line formations and more spread receiver sets this season. In other words, they put more on Flacco.
This makes sense considering Baltimore traded a small ransom for wideout Anquan Boldin, signed veteran T.J. Houshmandzadeh, signed speedster Donte’ Stallworth and drafted tight end Ed Dickson. The Ravens have more aerial weapons than they’ve ever had, which is why this time they’ll ask their third-year franchise quarterback to be a weapon himself.



7.) Chiefs: Can coaches carry them?

For a man known for being difficult to work with, Todd Haley sure showed admirable humility this past offseason. The second-year head coach and respected offensive guru realized that clearing play-calling duties off his ultra crowded head coaching plate would ultimately help the team. So, Haley welcomed Charlie Weiss to his staff, knowing full-well that the former Patriots offensive coordinator would almost certainly get the lion’s share of the credit if, you know, Matt Cassel went from being a hot seat starter to 27 TD-7 INT passer.

Operating in Weiss’ familiar system (a system Cassel learned primarily from Josh McDaniels in New England), the 28-year-old ex-USC backup has been exactly what a team with the league’s best rushing attack needs: a caretaking quarterback capable of making the occasional big play. Much of the credit for Cassel’s success belongs to Weiss.

Weiss isn’t the only coach who has turned in a masterful season for the Chiefs. Offensive line coach Bill Muir has been fantastic with a callow unit that was originally thought to be very vulnerable at the tackle and center positions, while running backs coach Maurice Carthon has helped Jamaal Charles blossom into a 1,467-yard rusher (a 1,467-yard rusher who primarily comes off the T. Haley (US Presswire)bench, no less).

Defensively, coordinator Romeo Crennel’s system has flourished despite an undersized front seven and inexperienced secondary. That secondary, which has often featured dual rookies at the safety spots (first-rounder Eric Berry and fifth-rounder Kendrick Lewis) plus a rookie in the slot (cornerback Javier Arenas) has benefitted from the tutelage of Hall of Fame defensive back Emmitt Thomas. Finally, give credit to linebackers coach Gary Gibbs, who has overseen a unit that successfully transformed nickel inside ‘backers Derrick Johnson and Javon Belcher into starters. The emergence of the young safeties and those speedy linebackers has infused speed into the interior of Kansas City’s defense.

You could argue that no team maximizes its talent through a variety of personnel packages better than the Chiefs. But is the reliance on coaching a good thing? The Chiefs did not look very well coached in their season finale against the Raiders, particularly on offense. Cassel completed 11 of 33 throws and was under immense pressure the entire afternoon. One can’t help but wonder if the news about Weiss heading to Florida isn’t distracting (especially given that the relationship with Haley likely wound up having something to do with Weiss’ decision).



Green Bay Packers (No. 6 seed; 10-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (No. 3 seed; 10-6)   Sunday, 4:30, FOX


8.) Packers: DE-FENSE! (boom, boom) DE-FENSE! (boom, boom)

Columnists and analysts will be most tempted to fall back on the moment myth when talking about the Green Bay Packers this week. They’re that team that “nobody wants to face heading into the playoffs”. It’s true, Green Bay is hot right now. But the reason isn’t momentum – it’s talent, deception and aggression on the defensive side of the ball.
C. Woodson (US Presswire)
Injuries have ravaged the Packers D, but only in the front seven. Coordinator Dom Capers has still be able to prove what Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams proved last season, and what Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau proved the season before that: you can basically do whatever you want with your front seven as long as you have an elite back four. In the NFL, an elite back four includes: a true cover corner (Tramon Williams, ala Jabari Greer/Ike Taylor), a rangy safety (Nick Collins, ala Darren Sharper/Ryan Clark) and a versatile playmaker (Charles Woodson, ala Roman Harper/Troy Polamalu).

What Capers has that Williams did not have (but that LeBeau certainly had) is a dominant pass-rusher. In fact, Green Bay might suddenly have two. Clay Matthews continues to punish teams with his speed off the edge (by the way, a side note, don’t listen to analysts who simply look at Matthews’ somewhat slender stature and determine he can’t anchor against the run – the guy has been a tremendous playside run defender the past few weeks). In addition to Matthews, undrafted rookie Erik Walden has exploded since filling in for injured Frank Zombo (another undrafted rookie who was filling in for injured Brandon Chillar….who was filling in for injured Brady Poppinga – seriously). Walden led the Packers with 11 tackles and two sacks Sunday against the Bears.

Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback. Or, given that he hasn’t yet won a playoff game, perhaps we have to say he’s a quarterback with great skills. Either way, Rodgers makes Green Bay’s offense capable of greatness. But the absence of an adequate running back also makes Green Bay’s offense vulnerable.

The reason the Packers are in the postseason is because of their defense. It allowed just three points in the make-or-break finale against the Bears, and it forced six turnovers in the make-or-break matchup against the Giants the previous week.



9.) Eagles: A quarterback change?

Hard to believe – maybe even impossible to believe – but according to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio (via Pro Football Talk), Andy Reid may consider benching Michael Vick in Philly’s Wild Card game against Green Bay. The Eagles coaching staff is extremely alarmed by Vick’s inability to recognize presnap blitzes. As ESPN’s NFL Matchup Show pointed out, M. Vick (US Presswire)recognition problems are what led to most of the sacks Vick took against the Vikings in the Tuesday night loss.

Vick did not practice with the team prior to the meaningless Cowboys game (which he sat out in order to rest his battered 6’0”, 215-pound body). Instead, he spent the week studying Green Bay’s 3-4 defense. Vick torched that defense in his 2010 debut off the bench back in Week 1, but that was only because the Packers had spent the week preparing for quintessential pocket passer Kevin Kolb (whom they destroyed, by the way).

It’d be great to know how much time the Packers spend preparing for Kolb this week. Do they – or anyone – really believe Reid would have the gall to pull the league’s presumed MVP runner up in the playoffs? The backlash Mike Shanahan took for pulling Donovan McNabb in a regular season game at Detroit would be a mere blip compared to the backlash Reid would take for pulling Vick in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Eagles obviously hope it won’t come to this. And it probably won’t. But this Sunday will prove whether Vick has really become a student of the game. No question he’s putting forth the effort to study the film and playbook; the question is whether that effort will pay off.




10.) Quick Hits: The bye week teams

With so much focus on the immediate playoff matchups, it’s always amazing how far off the radar the No. 1 and 2 seed teams drop during Wild Card week. Here’s just a little something to help keep the bye week clubs in the back of your mind.;

**The Patriots finished with an NFL-best 14-2 record. It’s the fourth time in Bill Belichick’s career that he’s reached 14 wins. (Too bad this stat, like virtually all other regular season stats, will be rendered virtually moot in two years when the NFL decides to water down its flourishing product by adding two more games to the regular season).

**The Steelers will be as well rested as a BCS bowl team once they take the field for their Divisional Round matchup. Pittsburgh will have played the hapless Panthers on Thursday night in Week 16, rested for 10 days, played the hapless Browns in Week 17, then rested for another two weeks.

**The Falcons might be the most banal, methodical No. 1 seed in NFL history. Their season has consisted of nothing but 12-play, 77-yard drives capped with a Michael Turner/Tony Gonzalez/Roddy White touchdown.

**Lovie Smith was true to his word: the Bears played to win in Week 17. The Bears didn’t get the win, of course, but no player in that locker room regrets the effort. And doesn’t it just seem like ever since the Giants gave the undefeated Patriots all they could handle on that epic Saturday night contest at the end of the ’07 season, more teams have played to win in their meaningless games?

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

Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:33 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.29.10: Doing good deeds



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- Ever wonder what happens to all the pink wristbands, gloves, cleats and towels that NFL players use during the month of October to raise awareness about breast cancer? The answer is, they’re auctioned off as part of the league’s A Crucial Catch breast cancer awareness campaign. On Tuesday, the NFL announced that the program raised more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

- It wouldn’t be surprising if all Bengals fans wanted to take their team to court for the way it’s played this season. One person actually is, though for alleged injuries. My man, Kimball Perry, writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer, details the lawsuit filed by Rebecca Dunn for injuries suffered in the stands during a 2009 contest.

- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio thinks Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has done a damn good job this season.

- The Buccaneers coaching staff has to feel a little unsettled. That’s because most of the assistants don’t have a contract for next season. Blame the potential 2011 lockout.

-  Bengals LT Andrew Whitworth, snubbed for the Pro Bowl despite winning the fan vote, can’t help but wonder if where a player was selected in the NFL Draft has an impact on his Pro Bowl status, even many years later.

- It seems unlikely Texans WR Andre Johnson will play in the Pro Bowl. Maybe Whitworth can take his spot at wide receiver.

- The Green Bay Press Gazette doesn’t think Packers T Chad Clifton and CB Charles Woodson should have been given Pro Bowl berths.

- Forbes.com writes Redskins owner Daniel Snyder should use a potential lockout as a chance to do some spring cleaning. And hire Bill Parcells.

- The San Diego Union Tribune thinks the Chargers should re-sign WR Vincent Jackson. That would probably be a popular sentiment in San Diego.

- What happened to Cardinals WR Steve Breaston, why isn’t he playing and what is his future in Arizona?

- David Garrard will have surgery on his finger Thursday and won't play in Jacksonville's game Sunday.

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

Posted on: November 27, 2010 6:29 pm
 

Week 12 injury news and analysis, part II

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Vikings at Redskins

Two of Minnesota’s top receivers, Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian, are questionable. It looks like Rice will play, while Berrian will be a gametime decision. Rice returned last week to play in his first game this season, and he didn’t appear to have any complications with his hip. Meanwhile, Berrian has missed the past two weeks with a bad groin, and he missed practice Thursday (he was limited Wednesday and Friday).

Washington will be without RBs Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis – the former is out this week, and the latter was placed on IR this week – so Keiland Williams will get the start and will be backed up by James Davis.

Making matters (potentially) worse, No. 1 WR Santana Moss is questionable with a knee injury. Coach Mike Shanahan held him out of practice Thursday and then said he felt better Friday. He’ll still be a game-time decision, though.

Eagles at Bears

The big loss to Philadelphia is that CB Asante Samuel, who originally was listed as questionable, has been downgraded to out for Sunday’s game. Samuel was trying to shake off a sprained MCL, and earlier in the week, he talked about trying to play. But he missed all three practices this week and was ruled out today. Look for Joselio Hanson to take his place in the starting lineup.

The Bears have nobody listed on their injury report. Which seems kind of amazing. But true.

Packers at Falcons


Atlanta DE John Abraham, after missing last week with a groin injury, is questionable this week. If he doesn’t play, the Falcons should be OK in the run defense game (Atlanta ranks sixth in the NFL, while Green Bay’s running game is No. 21), but Abraham’s pass-rushing ability surely would help against Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Abraham, in his 11th season, is having a solid year, recording eight sacks.

Of the nine Packers on the injury, seven – including WR Donald Driver, LB Clay Matthews and CB Charles Woodson – are probable. Green Bay is a little beat up, though, in the secondary. Atari Bigby is out, and S Anthony Smith is doubtful with an ankle.

Buccaneers at Ravens

G Chris Chester, who missed last week with a bad case of cellulitis, is questionable and still could play. One reason Baltimore might not need to rush him back: Tony Moll was adequate while replacing Chester at right guard last week. Although Chester didn’t practice at all this week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that wouldn’t necessarily preclude him from playing if he’s healthy enough.

Backup S Tom Zbikowski is listed as questionable with a heel, but with Ed Reed healthy, his absence isn’t as big a deal.

Tampa Bay should be relatively healthy. Four of the five players listed on the injury are probable (DE Kyle Moore is definitely out).

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: October 29, 2010 11:03 am
Edited on: October 29, 2010 11:06 am
 

Hot Routes 10.29.10 injured players returning

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Steven Jackson underwent finger surgery this week, but he says he is definitely going to play.


With Roberto Garza’s return to health, the Bears offensive line will once again be tweaked.


Donte’ Stallworth could return to the Ravens November 7th (as if the Ravens need another receiver). Stallworth has been out since the preseason with a foot injury.


Falcons veteran safety Erik Coleman is learning to cope as a backup.


Rex Ryan and Ray Lewis have settled any differences they may have had. They chatted at a banquet dinner on Saturday night.

Here’s one writer already making a case for John Fox to coach the Cowboys.


Here’s another saying it should be Jon Gruden.


Carson Palmer sat out practice for the Bengals on Thursday. He has a sore hip.


The sentiment around Cleveland is that the Browns need to stick with Colt McCoy at quarterback. (Oh, and that LeBron is still a jerk.)


Everyone is talking about how DE Derrick Harvey got benched in Jacksonville. Few headlines have actually mentioned who got promoted. For the record, the new starter is Jeremy Mincey.


Remember Mark Simoneau? He’s a Chief now.


With Charles Woodson and the Packers coming to town this Sunday, Rex Ryan can’t let the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year debate go.


Russ Grimm will be trying to beat his son’s team when the Bucs face the Cardinals this Sunday.

Posted on: October 4, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Hot Routes 10.4.10: box score tidbits



Posted by Andy Benoit


The Cardinals managed a paltry 124 yards of total offense against the Chargers. And 124 is also only three times the number of points Arizona gave up.

Antonio Gates was targeted seven times. He finished with seven catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Those are the type of numbers a player puts up when going up against thin air.

The Chargers defense had nine sacks.

Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday started their NFL-record 158th game together. (The previous record of 157 was held by Jim Kelly and Kent Hull.)

Donovan McNabb completed just 8/19 passes in his return to Philly. That’s his lowest completion total in a win since his NFL starting debut (which, coincidentally, came against the Redskins).

Santana Moss had zero catches and was targeted just one time.

Quintin Mikell led the Eagles with seven tackles, though none were dynamic enough to make us forget the one he missed (you know, when Ryan Torain plowed over him for a touchdown run).

Arian Foster sat out the first quarter against the Raiders for disciplinary reasons. That allowed Derrick Ward to rise from the dead and finish the day with 12 carries for 80 yards. (Interesting that Steve Slaton wouldn’t get more carries in this instance.) Foster still got his, too. He gained 131 yards on 16 carries, including a sensational 74-yard touchdown.

T. Mays celebrates his TD after he blocked an Atlanta punt (AP). Raiders tight end Zach Miller caught 11 passes for 122 yards and a score. On the other side, Texans backup tight end Joel Dreessen led the team with five catches for 73 yards and a score. (Perhaps the bigger news is that Owen Daniels, in a contract year and coming off a serious knee injury, seems to be assuming a backseat role).

Haloti Ngata had 11 tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits against the Steelers. And yes, in just watching the down-to-down action, Ngata was indeed THAT dominant.

The Saints ran 79 plays Sunday. The Panthers ran 47. The Saints had 27 first downs. The Panthers had 10. (The game was close because the Saints were just 1/5 in the red zone and lost two fumbles.)

Panthers linebacker James Anderson had 16 tackles and a sack.

Saints safety Usama Young played well filling in for an injured Roman Harper. Young led the team with six tackles and recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss.

Seahawks running back Justin Forsett looked much better against the Rams than his 19-carry, 65-yards stat line suggests. Forsett showed great initial quickness and lateral agility between the tackles. Credit the Rams linebackers and defensive backs for keeping him in check.

Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons had two sacks for the second straight week.

Kyle Orton threw for 341 yards against the Titans. He also attempted 50 passes for the third time this season (the Broncos are 1-2 when he does).

Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal both went over 100 receiving yards. It was Lloyd’s third 100-yard game of the season. Denver also had two 100-yard receivers against the Colts (Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney).

Chris Johnson’s longest run against the Broncos went for just eight yards. His backup, Javon Ringer, ripped off a 54-yarder. (To be fair, Ringer was ultimately chased down on that run; Johnson would have taken it to the house.)

Dave Ball had 2.5 of Tennessee’s six sacks of Kyle Orton.

The Lions ran 78 total plays; the Packers ran 40. A week after setting a franchise record with penalties 18 penalties for 152 yards, Green Bay benefitted from 13 Detroit penalties totaling 102 yards.

Charles Woodson recorded his 10th interception return for a touchdown, third most in NFL history. (Rod Woodson holds the record with 12; Sharper is next with 11. Deion Sanders had 9.)

Jordy Nelson lost two fumbles for the Packers. (And the lost fumbles never turned up…we think someone from the Lions may have found them.)

Brandon Pettigrew had a career day, catching eight passes for 91 yards. He’s another guy who has successfully bounced back from a late ’09 ACL injury.

Taylor Mays did not just have a spectacular blocked punt touchdown for the 49ers, he also led the team with 11 tackles. Looks like Michael Lewis won’t be getting his starting job back any time soon.

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



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.


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





 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com