04-25-2005, 05:46 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Antonio, TX
Whispers around the NFL
Whispers from around the NFLPro Football Weekly
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Several observers at Giants headquarters have been thrilled with the apparent boost in leadership shown by QB Eli Manning, who has been a regular at the team's facility during the offseason and even called TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Plaxico Burress to implore them to join him so they can get their timing together.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Saints CB Mike McKenzie already has been a no-show in offseason workouts and could continue to stay away from the team until he gets a long-term extension.
TaylorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Don't be surprised if Seahawks CB Bobby Taylor, who hasn't provided much bang for the bucks he's getting from the team because of injuries, follows in the footsteps of Chad Brown and is deemed a cap casualty.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢A source close to the Browns says there has been a more positive attitude around Browns headquarters since the arrival of general manager Phil Savage. The team's scouts are "rejuvenated," according to the source.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The Panthers decided to move OT Jordan Gross from the left side back to the right, where he played as a rookie, because nobody was comfortable with Gross' progress at left tackle, including Gross himself.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢According to QB Trent Green, WR Marc Boerigter has been looking sharp in his comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that cost him all of 2004. "He's running and doing drills and changing directions well," Green told PFW in April. "I told him he's so far ahead of other guys I've seen. I keep telling him to slow down. I don't want him doing too much too soon."
WallsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢This is considered a big year for Broncos CB Lenny Walls, who will become an unrestricted free agent in 2006. The team loves his potential and decided to keep him over fellow restricted free-agent CB Kelly Herndon this offseason, but he will have to prove he can stay healthy and hold off a young crop of cover men in Denver.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said he understood the decision but was crushed to see reserve LB and special-teams ace Monty Beisel sign with the Patriots as a free agent. The loss is significant, considering that starting OLBs Shawn Barber and Scott Fujita are coming off knee and ankle surgeries, respectively. "I understand his decision. They told him he might be a starter," Vermeil said. "But we invested four years with the kid and converted him [from defensive end] and made him into a player at another position or else he's probably not even in the league. Then, all of a sudden, we get him to the point where maybe you can get even more miles out of him, and he's gone. I miss him already."
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Some worries arose over the future of OG Will Shields when the 10-time Pro Bowler failed to show up for the Chiefs' recent voluntary workouts. Shields' agent has said his client is discussing retirement with his family, but GM Carl Peterson and sources close to the team believe Shields is all but certain to return for another go-around.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ After initial concerns, Chiefs LB Scott Fujita is now expected to be ready for the start of training camp after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur in his ankle in early April.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The Broncos wouldn't mind finding an upgrade at the ORG spot over Cooper Carlisle, considered primarily a backup until starting the final four games last season in place of since-departed Dan Neil. The fear is that Carlisle, while a valuable reserve because of his versatility, might be exposed with extended playing time.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢With OLB-DE DeLawrence Grant re-signed and Oakland looking to use more 4-3 looks, Tyler Brayton and Derrick Burgess could be used more as pure defensive ends in 2005, which would play more to their strengths, according to league scouts.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Look for former Cardinal Renaldo Hill to hold an early advantage over Nnamdi Asomugha and Denard Walker for the CB job opposite Charles Woodson in Oakland now that Phillip Buchanon has been traded. Walker struggled mightily at times last year, and Asomugha's lack of significant progress despite having plenty of skills is troubling.
HarringtonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The Lions are pleased with the way Joey Harrington responded to the team adding competition in the form of Jeff Garcia. Harrington has been adamant he is the starter and is approaching the 2005 season with renewed energy. The team admits, as does Harrington, that he has flaws and must improve. What pleases the Lions most is that Harrington's actions have done the talking.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Lions CB Fernando Bryant is under the gun after a disappointing first season with the team. Detroit invested $25 million over the span of the contract to sign Bryant in 2004, but he was slowed by injuries and could have competition for his starting spot.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Packers C Mike Flanagan has recovered from surgery he underwent in October to clear the patellar tendinitis from the knee joint. But even with his renewed health, Flanagan already has voiced some concern about the Packers' offensive line, which lost OGs Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle in free agency.
LawÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The Colts haven't ruled out signing ex-Patriots CB Ty Law. Law, recovering from a foot injury suffered on Halloween, isn't expected to be ready to take a physical or be put through a workout until the end of May. At that point, the Colts will re-evaluate Law. They expect competition to come from the Jets, Steelers and, yes, the Patriots. Given their cap situation, the Colts cannot afford "market value" for Law. Five cornerbacks on the free-agent market signed contracts that included signing bonuses of at least $10 million.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Bills QB coach Sam Wyche told PFW that he and head coach Mike Mularkey were on the same page in signing Kelly Holcomb to be J.P. Losman's backup this season. "The fact that Mike and I both knew him from Tampa [was a plus]. We did a full study of all the quarterbacks available in free agency, and independently both of us listed him No. 1 as the best fit for us. That was the tiebreaker, too."
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Brad Blank, the agent for Patriots WR David Givens, told PFW that several teams were interested in trading for the restricted free agent but that the Patriots were firm in requiring a first-round draft pick for Givens and no team was willing to pay such a steep price for the emerging fourth-year player.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Although coach Jon Gruden has had a couple of situations where his comments about his players have raised eyebrows, we're told there isn't any animosity because Gruden is the undisputed king at One Buccaneer Place and is in control of everything with the team.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Saints head coach Jim Haslett still hasn't signed the announced contract extension he was given earlier this offseason, and we're told he likely won't get around to it until just before training camp.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢We hear the Panthers might be preparing for life without LB Mark Fields, who missed the 2003 season battling cancer and has opted not to sign a new contract with the team until after he undergoes medical tests in May.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Falcons head coach Jim Mora says he is pleased with his current group of offensive linemen and isn't in the market to try to make a major upgrade at any position unless he is blown away in training camp.
WarrickÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢A source close to the Bengals says WR Peter Warrick will make the roster if he's healthy. Warrick missed much of last season with a leg injury, and there has been speculation -- which the receiver himself has addressed -- that he could be released.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢We hear there's a chance the Steelers could bring back UFA QB Charlie Batch to compete for one of the backup roles. Batch is said to be well-liked in the team's front office.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The way we hear it, Ravens OLB Peter Boulware will have to restructure his contract to remain with the team. Boulware missed the 2004 season with a knee injury.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The Ravens are said to be confident in the abilities of DTs Dwan Edwards and Maake Kemoeatu to hold up in the 4-3 defense, and they reportedly do not believe that depth at the position is a pressing issue.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢While Melvin Fowler could push for Browns C Jeff Faine's starting spot in training camp, we're hearing Faine is held in higher regard by the new coaching staff and will get every chance to keep the job.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Ravens RB Chester Taylor could have a bigger role in the offense this season, one team observer suggests, particularly if offensive coordinator Jim Fassel employs a more aggressive attack.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢The Giants are quietly content with former Jaguar Chris Luzar as their blocking tight end. Luzar could find himself on the field quite a bit along with Jeremy Shockey, especially if disappointing Visanthe Shiancoe doesn't improve.
StrahanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ This could be Giants DE Michael Strahan's final season with the team. A team source believes that Strahan's salary numbers could exceed his value after this year and that the team could cut the popular but controversial veteran, who turns 34 in November. Embroiled in a nasty divorce with his wife, Strahan could face an ugly split with the Giants, as well.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Sources say new Eagles QB Mike McMahon likely will open the season as the No. 3, partly because of backup Koy Detmer's familiarity with the offense and partly because of his ability to hold for PK David Akers. However, if Donovan McNabb were to go down for any stretch of time, McMahon likely would take over.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Folks in Washington are telling us that RS-RB Chad Morton and PK John Hall could be cut after June 1.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Despite the fact Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack did a solid job replacing Chris Terry at right tackle down the stretch for the Seahawks last season, we hear that the team will give youngsters Sean Locklear and Wayne Hunter every opportunity to earn the ORT job and that Womack currently figures in the mix as much as a guard as he does as a tackle.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Word is Cardinals DTs Kenny King and Wendell Bryant have been working very hard in an effort to make their presences felt as part of the team's tackle rotation this coming season. King, we're told, has put on 22 pounds (from 270 to 292) and looks a lot more buffed after missing last season with a wrist injury.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢We hear Dennis Green and the Cardinals continue to be intrigued by the conversion from defensive end to offensive tackle of Fred Wakefield, who has added 20 pounds to his 6-foot-7 frame and now tips the scales at about 312 pounds. Green, who loves projects, is said to envision Wakefield as another David Dixon.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Our Niners sources tell us that WRs Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle weren't all that impressed with the passes thrown to them by Utah's Alex Smith in an early-April private workout in Salt Lake City. According to both receivers, Niners QB Tim Rattay has a better arm than Smith.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢Look for the Niners to move Eric Heitmann from left guard to right guard and Justin Smiley from right guard to left guard. Such a move, we're told, will assure that Heitmann, Smiley and 2003 first-round pick Kwame Harris (who has moved to right tackle from left tackle, which is now manned by free-agent addition Jonas Jennings) will be playing their more natural positions this coming season.
Some interesting points. I posted an article that said McKenzie did attend some workouts after initially staying away. So now I am wondering who is right. Anyone hear anything else about this? I still maintain he will be at mandatory workouts, but would like to know the truth.
We see why we may not have gone after Fujita.
Strahan's last year in NY? Howard anyone?
Jordan Gross going back to RT cause they didn't get Brown?
No Mark Fields? Hope he's okay. Maybe this is why they went with Thomas Davis?
Bobby Taylor opposite McKenzie?
Just thought these were intesting from ESPN Insider and Pro Football weekly.