Tag:Will Brinson
Posted on: August 13, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 1:19 pm

Dalton's first start 'wasn't a total debacle'

Posted by Will Brinson

Andy Dalton took his first in-game snaps as an NFL quarterback on Friday night, and things did not go as well as Ryan and I predicted they might in our recent AFC North preview.

In fact, they went quite poorly -- Dalton (under)threw a terrible interception on his first pass of the night, managed to have Ndamukong Suh -- literally -- pop his helmet off, and generally looked lost despite finishing with an 11-for-15 line that produced 69 yards.

But, hey, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said it wasn't a "total debacle" for the rook!

"The game wasn’t a total debacle on his part," Gruden said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He can get better as can everyone else. The good thing is there isn’t anyone that can say 'Hey, I'm awesome.' Everybody can say they have a lot of improvement to do."

Gruden also pointed out that Cincy's offense "has a long way to go" and pointed to the early interception as the team trying "to take a shot to A.J. [Green]" only to have Suh storm up the middle and pressure Dalton.

Said pressure might have been mitigated by waiting a little while for said shot, but, hey, whatever. He's the boss. (Well, not the boss. The boss is the guy who refuses to trade Carson Palmer and try to help Dalton down the line. But you get the point.)

And it's the first preseason game for the Bengals in a shortened year, and the first start in Dalton's career. So the "everyone has lots of improvement" argument does hold some water.

However, when you start throwing around the phrase "wasn't a total debacle" it makes you kind of sound like General Custer's publicist or something.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 8:48 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 9:02 pm

Verdict in on Falcons Julio Jones: 'Outstanding'

Posted by Will Brinson

The Falcons made a bold move on draft day when they jumped 21 spots -- in a massive deal with Cleveland -- to land Julio Jones out of Alabama. At the time, we wrote that he "better be a home run" to justify the move, and we still stand by that.

Fortunately, the early results are in and Jones looks like a pretty solid draft pick for Atlanta. Granted, Friday night's loss against Miami was only one game of the preseason, but he drew some nice compliments from usually reserved Falcons coach Mike Smith.

"I think Julio got indoctrinated into what the NFL is about and in terms of the plays he made, I think they were outstanding," Smith said, per Jay Adams of the team's official website. "I think all three touches were for first downs. He showed some skills that we saw when he was playing at the University of Alabama, and we'll watch the tape I think we'll find some things that we've got to correct.

"We all made mistakes, starting with me in terms of the game management and all of that. I really thought that Julio did some good things."

He did indeed. Jones looked extremely explosive in the early going, catching two balls for 43 yards and taking a reverse around the right side for 12 yards.

Jones was targeted four times in total during the first three series that spanned about 12 minutes of the first quarter -- the Falcons first two offensive plays of the preseason targeted Jones but Matt Ryan missed the first throw and Vontae Davis was draped on Jones during the second one.

Yeah, it's safe to say that they wanted to not just establish Jones but their "new" identity as an explosive offensive team early on. It didn't work -- at first.

During the next two series, the Falcons marched down the field and punched it in the end zone, once with a Michael Turner score and then again when Harry Douglas made a fantastic catch on an even better throw from Ryan.

Those two possessions featured Jones being integrated much more seamlessly, particularly when Jones was able to take short passes from Ryan for big gains.

It's the explosive playmaking that Atlanta wanted to add this season and if Jones first few series are any indication of his ability, it certainly will be outstanding.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:19 pm

AFC West Podcast Preview

Posted by Will Brinson

The podcast tour makes a stop in the AFC West today, where Ryan and I wonder if the Chargers can regain their rightful spot as the best team in the division.

Oh yes, we also talk about the division champion Chiefs and their ability to overcome the loss of Charlie Weis, who left the team for Florida. We debate the upgrades they made and whether or not they have a shot at repeating. We also talk -- surprise, surprise! -- about Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton and the Broncos.

Oh yes -- life in Oakland after Nnamdi Asomugha! Per usual, we rank the quarterbacks, make our predictions for the division finish and guess the over/unders on games won for each team.

All that -- and much, much, more -- by clicking the play button below. Also, SUBSCRIBE VIA ITUNES.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:25 pm

John Fox on Tim Tebow: 'A work in progress'

Posted by Will Brinson

The quarterback stats from Thursday night's tilt in Dallas between the Cowboys and Broncos could lead you to believe that Tim Tebow is working his way up the depth chart and into the veteran-favoring heart of John Fox.

Not so fast my friend -- Fox quickly dismissed any notion that Kyle Orton wasn't running the show in Denver by calling Tebow a "work in progress."

"Quarterbacking-wise, I thought Kyle was sharp and I thought Tim is a work in progress," Fox said, per the Denver Post. "[Tebow] made some things happen. He's learning, and I thought Brady [Quinn] stepped in and did a decent job, scored some points to take the lead."

As Ryan and I note in our AFC West podcast preview, when you're being compared to unfavorably to Brady Quinn, well, things aren't going as well as the stats might indicate.

And as I've said over and over again, this is John Fox team. He's not exactly inclined to start younger quarterbacks, because he prefers not to see ridiculous mistakes that put his defense in a bad position.

It's highly unlikely that Tebow starts the season (dependent on an Orton injury, really) and it's even less likely that he sees meaningful action during the season as long as the Broncos are in contention, regardless of how many six-for-seven, 90-yard games he puts up during the preseason.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:26 pm

Bills trade Lee Evans to Ravens for 4th-rounder

Posted by Will Brinson

Lee Evans, on the trading block for just over 24 hours, has a new home: the Baltimore Ravens.

We speculated earlier that the Panthers, Dolphins, Ravens and Cardinals could be interested in trading for Evans, but Baltimore announced on Friday that they had dealt a 2012 draft pick in exchange for Evans.

"He’s a quality veteran receiver who stretches the field and gives us a significant downfield presence," Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said Friday. "He's the type of person you want on your team. He brings leadership and maturity to the locker room."

Ravens Preseason

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, that draft pick is a fourth-round selection.

It's not a tremendous haul for Buffalo, per se, but they were able to unload a receiver who's underperformed for most of his career in a market that saw a heavy need for wide receivers.

Evans also won't be leaned on in Baltimore the way he was in Buffalo (at least prior to the emergency of our Super Bowl buddy and would-be rapper Stevie Johnson) thanks to the presence of Anquan Boldin, which should make him a much more viable threat.

Plus, despite what Ravens fans think of Joe Flacco, it's pretty clear he's an upgrade over either Trent Edwards or Ryan Fitzpatrick.

For the Ravens, this is a huge move -- it was noted that rookie Torrey Smith struggled during Thursday night's action, and receiver was a clear-cut need for Baltimore as the season nears.

Now they've addressed it, and if Evans can produce, he'll be a tremendous value in exchange for a fourth-rounder.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:10 pm

Okung 'felt something kind of pop' Thursday

Posted by Will Brinson

Seahawks offensive lineman Russell Okung left Thursday night's preseason game with an ankle injury.

The good news? As we noted last night, the X-rays were negative. Now the bad news: Seattle head coach Pete Carroll says Okung felt something "pop" when he suffered the injury.

"Russ has got an ankle sprain," Carroll said, per Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times. "It was non-contact, you know. Just to hear felt something kind of pop in there. X-rays were negative and all that so we'll see what happens. He's real disappointed."

He's clearly disappointed -- when we talked to Okung back in July, he was highly optimistic about taking a step forward in the 2011 season.

And this isn't the first time Okung's suffered a high ankle sprain -- Carroll acknowledged it was "in that area" -- and, as O'Neil notes, the left tackle has started 13 games and left three (!) because of ankle injuries.

Still, Pete Carroll sounded optimistic.

"We're not ruling out the fact we [could] get him back very quickly," Carroll said.

Of course, Carroll being upbeat isn't exactly surprising -- that's just how he rolls. But not ruling out getting someone back soon is eerily similar to when you hear a person "neither confirm or deny" something.

It might not actually be admitting the worst-case scenario, but it's pretty darn close.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: August 12, 2011 11:33 am

VIDEO: Pats fans pitch Ochocinco on moving in

Posted by Will Brinson

As you know, new Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is interested in living with a fan for a few weeks as he tries to find a more permanent residence. So finding out what sort of fans would be interested in housing the Ocho could be a fascinating exercise. Well, start your slow clap for Steve Silva of the Boston Globe for the video he shot at the Patriots preseason opener, in which he canvased the parking lot for potential roommates and found some absolutely outstanding candidates.

"WE GOT TWINKIES! WE GOT DING DONGS! WE GOT DORITOS!" narrowly edges out "We got two cats but they just got over the fleas" and "I'm awesome Chad! It's me! It's me! I'm Tawmy B!" as my favorite quote.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 10:51 am

David Gettis tears ACL, no Lee Evans for Carolina

Posted by Will Brinson

We've speculated here -- and at length on Twitter -- that the Panthers should have been interested in Jerricho Cotchery, who eventually signed with the Steelers, because of their need for veteran wide receiver depth.

That need grew exponentially on Friday, when it was learned that second-year wideout David Gettis would miss the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL.

This is a huge blow for Carolina, and not just because Gettis was primed -- if the Panthers could generate some quarterback play -- to break out in the coming year.

Their depth at wideout is questionable at best, as after Steve Smith (who's already suffering from a serious finger injury) comes Gettis, than Brandon LaFell, followed by Armanti Edwards (!) and the decent-but-not-startable Legedu Naanee/David Clowney combo.

So, yeah, Cotchery would have been nice. So would Buffalo's Lee Evans, whom the Bills are rumored to be interested in dealing.

The problem is that the Bills, according to Panthers Rapid Reporter Steve Reed at the Gaston Gazette, reportedly want a third-rounder for Evans. Reed reports that "there was some initial interest from the Panthers" but that it's highly unlikey the Panthers will pursue the 30-year-old Evans.

That's primarily because of the cost for Evans, even though he'd be a huge upgrade for Carolina heading into 2011. Additionally, there's a solid chance that Buffalo can stir up a little bidding war for the deep-threat wideout.

As our own Ryan Wilson noted yesterday, there are plenty of teams -- the Ravens, the Dolphins, and the Cardinals most notably -- who still need wide receiver help.

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