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Tag:Percy Harvin
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:13 am
 

Hot Routes 8.12.10: injuries, absences and morons

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USA Today reports that people living in the New York and New England area will get a chance to see the September 2 Patriots-Giants preseason game in 3D. No word on when fans will get a chance to see NFL starters in 3D.

Bills fourth-round rookie receiver Marcus Easley will indeed need knee surgery. Easley's 2010 season is over. Also, wideout James Hardy is out 7-10 due to injury. This likely means that Steve Johnson will capture Buffalo’s No. 2 receiver job.


Something people need to realize about the story of the fan who was told to remove his McNabb jersey at Eagles camp: that “fan” had a guest to be at practice. Team-issued credentials usually carry the unwritten – though sometimes written – rule of not wearing NFL apparel with them. And, the fan gladly removed his jersey and bought a Kevin Kolb jersey later in the day. In other words, this whole thing is no big deal.


Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis had this to say about super talented right tackle Andre Smith: “Andre’s doing OK. That’s not a well, that’s not a jumping jack. That’s not a backflip, he’s doing OK."


Michael Crabtree strained his neck in yesterday’s practice. It happened when Crabtree went up for a ball and came down hard on his back. No word yet on the severity.

Brad Childress still doesn’t know when Percy Harvin will return.

Since we’re on the Vikings, we’ll just get this over with for today: Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre…undecided.

Ladies and gentleman….Martellus Bennett: "What really counts is the season,” Bennett, who is sitting out with an injury, recently told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. “S***, I had a hell of a preseason last year. That s*** didn’t mean nothing. I had 300 yards or whatever in three games, but that doesn’t mean nothing. But what really counts is the season, not the preseason or whatever. I just want to get to the season and do my job."

Former Cowboys first-round pick Bobby Carpenter can’t even keep a starting job in St. Louis. Larry Grant has supplanted Carpenter at weakside linebacker.

Posted on: August 10, 2010 10:50 am
 

The curious case of Sidney Rice

S. Rice's hip has not allowed him to practice yet this season (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We told you the latest with Percy Harvin’s possible migraine headaches , but perhaps a bigger unknown is what’s going on with Vikings WR Sidney Rice’s hip.

The Minnesota Star-Tribune today calls the Rice issue “a curious case.”

People don’t doubt that Rice’s hip is injured, but you also have to remember that, after an extraordinary year (83 catches, 1,312 yards, eight TDs) and a big improvement on his first two seasons in the NFL, he’s making a $550,000 base salary this year. Perhaps that’s part of the reason Rice has yet to practice during training camp.

Here’s where the Star-Trib gets suspicious:

Rice and the Vikings have declined to reveal the exact nature of the problem - no one outside of the organization knew he was hurt until Rice's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, tweeted about it last month - and there appears to be no timetable for his return. In fact, coach Brad Childress said last week that Rice was "a ways away from returning."

The situation is so vague that it has led to a growing feeling that Rice isn't rushing back in part because of a contract … with no escalators. Rice is in the last season of his four-year rookie deal that averages less than $1 million per year.

Rice, who has been doing dry-land training and rehab as his teammates go through practices, only stopped long enough Monday to say that anything involving his contract is between the team and Rosenhaus.

Without Harvin and Rice in the lineup – if this scenario were to occur – the Vikings would go from one of the best WR corps in the league to having to use Jaymar Johnson (one catch last year) and Greg Lewis (eight catches) more than they’d like. Bernard Berrian obviously is one of the top receivers in the NFC North, but without Rice and Harvin around, opponents could shut him down with double-teams and force a relative unknown WR to try to beat them.

And we STILL don’t know anything about Brett Favre.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 8:44 am
Edited on: August 10, 2010 8:45 am
 

Vikings taking it slow with Harvin

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You might remember, if you’re a Vikings fan or a Vikings hater, that coach Brad Childress hasn’t always seemed so sympathetic to the sufferings of his players.

Remember in 2007, he fined former WR Troy Williamson a week’s paycheck after Williamson left the team to deal with the death of grandmother (Childress eventually changed his mind, after he took major heat from his initial decision). Now that WR Percy Harvin is in a similar circumstance – his grandmother died in late July – it’s clear Childress is taking a different tact.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that Harvin, obviously through no fault of his own, has the Vikings in a strange position. The second-year player coming off a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie season is vital to Minnesota for his offensive skills and his abilities on special teams. But now it’s thought he might be suffering from stress-induced migraine headaches – which frankly puts the early part of his season in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the team doesn’t know when Harvin will return.

"I'm kind of flying in the dark a little bit," Childress told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune . "I'll let you know when I know something."

As the paper points out, Childress is taking a different approach to Harvin than he did to Williamson. From the Star-Trib:

Fast forward to the Harvin situation and it's pretty clear Childress is trying to be fair. There is little question, however, he would like the player back at camp. Obviously, the migraine issue throws a curveball into the situation because there were times last season when Harvin had to completely shut it down due to the headaches.

"The thing that I've learned is that everybody grieves differently," Childress said Monday. "That's just the fact of it. You've got to be able to respect that and appreciate that."


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Posted on: August 5, 2010 5:21 pm
 

Tarvaris Jackson a different player now, he says

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

T. Jackson (far right) will start for Minnesota if B. Favre doesn't return. S. Rosenfels (left) and J. Webb (center) also will be at the position (AP). I was on the Around the League video segment with Lauren Shehadi this afternoon, and we talked about what would happen if the Vikings had to play with Tarvaris Jackson as their quarterback.

I said I thought he was a decent-enough player but the fact that Minnesota was trying so hard to woo Brett Favre back to the team was a pretty good indication of what the front office thinks about Jackson (upon reflection, this might not be a completely fair statement. After all, Favre is a first-ballot Hall of Famer coming off an amazing season. Of course , the Vikings would do all they can to get Favre back on the field.)

Yet, the Vikings have shown they don’t fully trust Jackson. True, he led the squad to an 8-4 record when he started during the 2007 season, but he didn’t look particularly impressive while doing it (he completed about 58 percent of his passes, threw for less than 2,000 yards and completed 12 interceptions against nine touchdowns).

I don’t think Jackson is a great solution, though my impression was formed during 2007. Jackson tells KFAN in Minneapolis (via sportsradiointerviews.com ), though, he’s a different player now than he was three seasons ago.

“I know I have grown a lot since then,” he said. “I feel like whenever I get my chance to go out there and play, I will prove it. It is easy for me to say it, I just got to go out there and show everyone. I understand the situation with everyone (who doesn’t) think I can do it, but it don’t really bother me a lot. As long as my teammates believe in me, I believe in myself. That is the big thing. If I believe in myself and stay confident and even-keel like I am, I will be fine.”

What works in Jackson’s favor is the number of outstanding skill players he has around him now. In 2007, he could count on running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns that season, but his best receiver was Bobby Wade. This year, the Vikings boast one of the best WR trios in the NFL with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian. That’s quite a large difference in talent from three years ago.

“I feel like our offense has grown and we have just grown as a team,” Jackson said. “Our offense is together now and I feel like if I get a chance to go out there and play now, I feel like I would be a lot better.”

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Posted on: August 3, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: August 3, 2010 12:12 pm
 

What happens to Minnesota without Favre?

T. Jackson likely would take over for Minnesota if B. Favre retires (Getty). If, as is being reported all over the place (and on the Facts & Rumors blog), Brett Favre does retire – and there’s some healthy skepticism that he will, no matter what he says – what happens with the Vikings offense?

Obviously, they’ve still got some of the best young wide receivers in the game with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. WR Bernard Berrian is solid and dangerous as a deep threat. Those guys will make a mediocre quarterback look better than he actually is. And running backs? Two words: Adrian Peterson. Meanwhile, second-round pick Toby GerhartChester Taylor’s replacement – is a Doak Walker Award winner who will take a few of Peterson’s carries, especially when Minnesota needs a physical inside runner.

At the skill positions, there’s no question the Vikings have the talent to win the NFC championship. The quarterback position is … well ... a different story.

If Favre retires, they’ll have a couple problem areas. First, Minnesota doesn’t have the greatest run-blocking offensive line – which is a bit surprising, considering the talent the team has on this unit – and without Favre, the Vikings will need to run the ball more effectively to make up for the lack of Favre-ian like talent at the signal-caller position (more on this below).

Favre, at least in my opinion, is still a top-five quarterback , especially considering the season he had last year (68.4 completion percentage, 4,200 yards, 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions), and Minnesota would lose one of the most important players in the game.

So, who would replace him? Most likely, it’d be Tarvaris Jackson – an athletic quarterback who hasn’t figured out how to become a successful NFL quarterback. He started 12 games in 2007, and though the Vikings went 8-4, he wasn’t particularly impressive. His accuracy was mediocre, and his decision-making was questionable. If you’re comparing him to Favre, Jackson is more mobile but not nearly as strong in every other facet in the game.

If not Jackson, the team could turn to Sage Rosenfels. He’s never been a full-time starter, and there’s a pretty good reason for that. In fact, if Favre stays, Rosenfels might be on his way out of town, depending on how rookie Joe Webb is performing in practice. 

Rosenfels is often too aggressive, leading to too many avoidable interceptions. He’s the prototypical backup. He doesn’t look bad on the sidelines while wearing a ballcap. But if you have to throw him in as the starter, that’s not a great thing for your team. Webb, meanwhile, was slated to be a wide receiver, but he’s played well enough in practice for the Vikings to keep him with the quarterbacks. At this point, though, you certainly don’t want Webb starting games for your team.

If Favre doesn’t return, like he’s apparently saying right now, the Vikings wouldn’t face a disaster if Jackson was their man. But if it’s Rosenfels or Webb, there’s no way this team can make a deep run into the playoffs. For their sake, the Vikings have to hope this latest Favre news isn’t true. Otherwise, their Super Bowl hopes have just taken a huge hit.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 16, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Position rankings: wide receivers

A. Johnson makes a TD catch over Chicago's C. Tillman (Getty). Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on wide receivers.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins

4. Calvin Johnson, Lions

3. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

2. Reggie Wayne, Colts

1. Andre Johnson, Texans


I wish we could do top 10 receivers – this position is flooded with talent. A lot of times, a receivers’ success depends on the system he’s in. For example, Miles Austin, with his fluidity and speed, produces like a top five receiver in Dallas’s catch-and-run offense. But could he succeed in a downfield “power-throwing” offense like Vincent Jackson does in San Diego? Probably not.

As you can see, I like receivers with freakish athleticism and size. These five guys can dominate in any system. Shuffle Fitzgerald, Wayne and Andre Johnson in any order you want – just don’t drop Wayne from the Top 3 and tell me it’s because he plays with Peyton Manning. Wayne might be themost fundamentally-sound player in the entire NFL.

Calvin Johnson hasn’t done anything yet, but that’s only because he’s stuck in Detroit. He’s at least 125 percent as gifted as anyone on this list.

I’m willing to have just about any discussion that pertains to the best receiver in the game – just as long as you don’t try to sell me Randy Moss. As a deep threat, Moss is the best ever. As an all-around receiver (route running, blocking, reading coverages, etc.), he’s average.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Calvin Johnson, Lions

4. Wes Welker, Patriots

3. Reggie Wayne, Colts

2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

1. Andre Johnson, Texans


I agree with everything you said about Johnson. He’s the best WR out there today. He seemingly has it all. He runs great routes, he can make the tough catches in traffic, and he has great athleticism.

Fitzgerald has recorded 25 touchdown catches the past two years, more than any other receiver. Plus, his dad is a sportswriter – which bodes pretty well for my children. I like him just a little bit better than Wayne, who’s more experienced but not quite as athletic and who, like you said, has the benefit of catching balls from one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. But I agree with the top-three – which, truth be told, is hard to argue against.

I’ve got to go with Welker at No. 4. He has sneaky speed, he can read any defense, and his yards-after-contact numbers are extraordinary. Will he be the same receiver after his knee problems? Well, we won’t know that until the regular season begins, but for now, Welker is a top-five guy. I’m interested to hear your take on Welker, Andy. I dropped Johnson to No. 5, because he flubs too many catches.

I thought hard about putting San Diego’s (for now) Vincent Jackson on the list. He has a very high yards-per-catch average, and he’s a very good blocker. But with the three-game suspension and the fact he might hold out for much of the season, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I also thought about Sidney Rice, but one season doesn’t make a career. Where do you stand with those guys?

Andy’s rebuttal

I have no problem with Welker being top five. The numbers are there – 346 catches for 3,368 yards over the last three seasons – and there isn’t a little thing he doesn’t do right. Welker is the sustaining element of New England’s offense. I left him off my list because he’s essentially confined to the slot.

Jackson might be the best deep threat in the NFL right now. And while I’m on numbers, I’ll mention that 58 of Jackson’s 68 receptions last season resulted in a first down. Of everyone you mentioned, Josh, Rice is the only player I never considered. He had a great ’09 campaign, but given his (albeit short) track record, I need to see him do it at least once more.

Josh, you surprised everyone by not taking a principled stand and including a “solid, scrappy (read: white)” backup receiver like Mike Furrey or Austin Collie on your list. Since this made our lists virtually identical, how about we do the top three wide receiver duos in the NFL? But let’s put a wrinkle in it: top three duos, but no member of the duos can be on our top five list (i.e. no Moss-Welker, Wayne-Garcon or Johnson-Walter). Here’s what I have:

1. Donald DriverGreg Jennings, Packers. Perfect fits for Green Bay’s quick-slanting system.

2. Vincent Jackson – Malcolm Floyd, Chargers. Their size and speed creates nightmares for defensive coordinators and allows Antonio Gates to work against safeties and linebackers.

3. DeSean JacksonJeremy Maclin, Eagles. Jackson is fast becoming the best big-play weapon in the game. Maclin, in only his second season, could soon emerge as another version of Jackson.

Josh’s final word

Jeez, Andy, you make it sound like I put backups on my top five lists. Hey, I wasn’t the one who put Chad Greenway on my 4-3 outside linebackers list. That was you.

I’ll play your game, though.

1. Driver – Jennings, Packers. You’re absolutely right about these guys, Andy. Driver has been really good for many years, and though neither of these guys are top 10 by themselves, they help make Aaron Rodgers look really good.

2. Sidney Rice – Percy Harvin, Vikings. These guys are young – 23 and 22, respectively – and with Brett Favre throwing passes their way probably for the next … oh, say … five or 10 years (psst, he’s never going to retire), the Minnesota offense will continue to be very dangerous.

3. Jackson - Floyd, Chargers. We've talked about Jackson, but Floyd was solid last year after the Chargers waived Chris Chambers. He obviously needs to score more touchdowns - he only had one last season - but his 6-foot-5 stature will continue to grab the attention of QB Philip Rivers.

Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle   | Center | Offensive Guard | Tight End )

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.


Posted on: June 24, 2010 9:51 am
 

Rookie Symposium Note

The NFL Rookie Symposium takes place Sunday. Every once in a while, we’ll get some mild drama from the event. In 2008, Aqib Talib and Cory Body, both Buc rookies, got into a fight. In 2004, Sean Taylor was fined $25,000 for skipping part of it.

It was believed that Percy Harvin would have to attend this year’s Symposium since he missed the majority of last year’s battling his ongoing migraine headaches.

But, according to the Star Tribune, “an NFL spokesman said Wednesday in an e-mail that the league will not require Harvin to attend the symposium in Carlsbad, Calif., because ‘he received the appropriate training during the season at the club level through the Vikings' player development department.’”

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

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