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Tidbits from around the NFL

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; ESPNs Len Pasquarelli recent collumn featured several different interesting tidbits: __________________________________________________ _____________________ In a league where imitation is typically the sincerest form of flattery, and where the formula used by the defending Super Bowl champion typically becomes every other franchise's ...

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Old 06-02-2004, 12:10 AM   #1
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Tidbits from around the NFL

ESPNs Len Pasquarelli recent collumn featured several different interesting tidbits:
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In a league where imitation is typically the sincerest form of flattery, and where the formula used by the defending Super Bowl champion typically becomes every other franchise's road map to success, the usual copycat mind-set was misplaced. Three months into free agency, the Patriots Path has become The Road to Perdition, it seems.

In a league where imitation is typically the sincerest form of flattery, and where the formula used by the defending Super Bowl champion typically becomes every other franchise's road map to success, the usual copycat mind-set was misplaced. Three months into free agency, the Patriots Path has become The Road to Perdition, it seems.

At last count the Bucs had either signed or claimed on waivers 22 veteran players. The investment includes just $13.82 million in signing bonuses, $26.95 million in total '04 compensation for the players, and only $14.46 million in cap room. The total does not include the $2 million in base salary the Bucs will pay wide receiver Joey Galloway, who was acquired in the trade that sent Keyshawn Johnson to the Dallas Cowboys.

Maybe even more notable is the remaking of the Tampa Bay roster, an infusion that all but rivals the influx of immigrants to the U.S. shores seven decades ago, but which cost the Bucs very little, well, bucks. Everyone knew that when general manager Rich McKay exited the Bucs, coach Jon Gruden, a guy who never met an aging veteran he didn't want to acquire, would be like the little kid set loose in a candy store. But because of the club's cap constraints, Gruden and new general manager Bruce Allen were forced to shop at what we used to call the "penny candy" counter, instead of ogling the pricey chocolate-covered truffles of free agency.

The skeptics, who insist Gruden and Allen invested heavily in the NFL equivalent of the junk-bond market, might ultimately be correct in that assessment. But the Bucs probably gained seven new starters, four of them on the offensive line, and shook up a locker room that had become too staid.

Only four new players got seven-figure signing bonuses. Thirteen of the Bucs additions received $100,000 or less in up-front money and a half-dozen got zero signing bonus cash. Of the 22 imports, just two have 2004 base salaries higher than the league minimum that matches their NFL tenure. The average cap charge for the newcomers is just $657,000.

For sure, Tampa Bay might have gone a tad overboard on some older veterans, such as offensive linemen Todd Steussie and Derrick Deese and tailback Charlie Garner. But landing younger players like linebacker Ian Gold and cornerback Mario Edwards, who will make just $3.5 million between them in '04, was at least a mini-coup.


Make no mistake about it, the Thursday hip surgery on Carolina Panthers offensive linemen Bruce Nelson, which could sideline him up to the start of training camp and perhaps beyond, is a blow to the defending NFC champions. Nelson was a second-round pick from Iowa in the 2003 draft, but nagging injuries limited him to one start. There is no denying, though, the Carolina coaches love Nelson's aggressiveness, and he would certainly have vied this year for a starting spot at guard on a rebuilt unit. The hip surgery, depending on rehabilitation time, could prevent him the chance to start. The current projected starters at guard, not regarded by the Panthers as a priority position but one where they need to replace departed starters Kevin Donnalley and Jeno James, are Doug Brzezinski and Tutan Reyes. The latter has appeared in one regular-season game during his four-year league tenure. Brzezinski, signed last spring as an unrestricted free agent, has 22 starts on his resume, but only six over the last four seasons
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What I take from this is that two teams within our division will have totally revamped offensive lines. Usually lack of continuity in O-Line play would be of at least some concern. However, most of the so called experts have these teams finishing ahead of the saints in the NFC South this year. HMMMMMMMMMM........If these two teams have difficulty in establishing a consistent running game and protection in the passing game it will be very interesting watching Brad Johnson and Jake Delhomme develop into scrambling (for their lives) quarterbacks.

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Connell
Remember former Washington and New Orleans wide receiver Albert Connell, essentially drummed out of the league after being charged with stealing money from the pants and truck of former Saints teammate Deuce McAllister? Well, Connell is in his second training camp with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL, coming off an injury-plagued 2003 campaign. Seems that, even going north of the border, Connell hasn't been able to change his spots. A guy with a hair-trigger temper, and what might kindly be termed an attitude problem, Connell was involved in a pretty nasty practice fight this week. Seems he was the third man into the fray, allegedly protecting fellow wideout Wane McGarity in a heated melee that apparently looked more like a bench-clearing hockey brawl. So much for Connell's alleged rehabilitation
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This is the definition of a "cancer player", a "locker room" problem player on a team.
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Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, by the way, has debunked rumors his team will sign middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter when the two-time Pro Bowl performer is released
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Most sources have indicated the Giants, Seahawks, and Saints will pursue Jeremiah Trotter. Holmgren says no. Mickey Loomis says no. Others say that Coughlins program isn't inviting to free agents. Time will tell.
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For the complete article:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...len&id=1811345




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