Arizona Cardinals Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you straight from the Valley of the Sun, Cardinals’ vice president of football operations Rod Graves on his plethora of wide receivers.
“I'm optimistic. People talk about the loss of [David] Boston and MarTay Jenkins and us being young, but I feel very good about the talent level of our receivers. As a whole, this group is apt to be more productive than the total group we had last year. It's probably a little deeper than a lot of teams around the league.”
I’m dying to know Rod’s definition of deep. I’m guessing it’s a little broader than mine.
Arizona’s receivers are junk. I’m sorry, but when the best you got is a Penn State rookie who hasn’t signed yet, you’re in serious trouble. (By the way, how typical is it that ‘Zona has a first-round holdout?)
The competition probably will boil down to Bryant Johnson (the aforesaid rookie), Jason McAddley, and Bryan Gilmore. That’s like a feature film, uh, featuring Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, and John Bon Jovi. (Sorry, freaks, but none of those “entertainers” can act. I’ve been catching bits and pieces of Car Wash on HBO and it’s real clear that Dre, along with lame and lamer, need to stick to music.)
I just feel bad for Jeff Blake, who may lead the league in interceptions this year.
Baltimore Ravens With Kyle Boller still unsigned as of this morning, the talk in Baltimore has turned to current starter Chris Redman.
“I've got a great deal of faith in Chris Redman,” head coach Brian Billick told the Baltimore Sun. “We like what we saw in the six games that he was able to participate in. If Chris Redman is going to be the starting quarterback, I'm going to be thrilled to death. We drafted Chris Redman with these expectations.”
Billick added that he has placed a gag order on the organization in terms of talking about the quarterback competition.
Bottom line: If Chris Redman is healthy, Chris Redman is under center in week one.
Chris Redman will keep Todd Heap busy, but you couldn’t pay me to draft Travis Taylor…or Marcus Robinson…or Frank Sanders…or…
Carolina Panthers Carolina’s starting quarterback job is Rodney Peete’s to lose, the Associated Press reported over the weekend.
And to think I thought this team was ready to turn the corner.
Cincinnati Bengals To worry about Corey Dillon showing up late for training camp is to wear naivety on your sleeve.
Cleveland Browns It’s time to start printing playoff tickets in Cleveland.
After coming to terms with fifth-round long-snapper Ryan Pontbriand on Sunday, the Browns signed first-round center Jeff Faine to a five-year deal this afternoon. Faine is expected to start this season, so it was imperative for him to sign as quickly as possible. After a solid offseason, his mini-holdout should not be a big problem.
Two down, five more to go.
Dallas Cowboys Several sources are reporting that new head coach Bill Parcells is warming up to the idea of a backfield-by-committee. Stated differently, Parcells is growing increasingly frustrated with presumed starter Troy Hambrick. In addition to offseason weight problems, Hambrick reportedly drew Parcells ire over the weekend for not running hard enough in practice.
I have not given up on Hambrick as a solid sleeper, but it’s getting tougher to like him with each new report. Regardless, it looks like Michael Wiley, who at least will get third-down duty, is going to get more playing time this year.
Miami Dolphins Echoing what we have been saying since Derrius Thompson signed with the Dolphins in March, Dave Wannstedt has promoted the former Redskin ahead of James McKnight. Thompson has impressed Dolphin coaches and teammates since his first practice, and he will start alongside Chris Chambers.
McKnight, who missed Sunday’s work with a neck injury, will be the third receiver—that is, if he doesn’t fall below fellow veteran Oronde Gadsden.
I’d love to trumpet Thompson as a sexy sleeper, because he’s young, hungry, and athletic as hell. But because offensive coordinator Norv Turner fantasizes about one-yard plunges instead of 50-yard bombs, Thompson will be lucky to catch six TD balls this year.
New England Patriots The NFL’s all-time reception leader among running backs is now a Patriot. Larry Centers agreed to a one-year contract on Monday, giving the Pats another alternative to Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk.
While Centers probably won’t see many carries (he had 11 last season), he could catch 50-70 calls in New England’s dink-and-dunk passing game.
New Orleans Saints First, the good news on Aaron Brooks, who had offseason surgery to repair his right upper arm.
Associated Press reported over the weekend that Brooks is feeling no effects from the surgery early in training camp. Head coach Jim Haslett added that Brooks has been “whistling” the ball in practice, a sign of velocity, which is a byproduct of health.
I am not one bit worried about Brooks, who should be ranked among the top five fantasy quarterbacks.
More good news for Brooks and New Orleans’ passing game, as Donte’ Stallworth told reporters over the weekend a new stretching regimen has helped him put nagging hamstring injuries in the rear-view mirror.
”I've had the worst flexibility of anyone on any team I've ever been on my whole life,” Stallworth admitted to AP. “I could never touch my toes. I couldn't even sit Indian style since I was a little kid. I couldn't cross my legs like that.”
Stallworth is confident the improved flexibility will reduce his chances of suffering muscle pulls. Sounds logical to me.
The 13th overall pick in last year’s draft is a very special offensive talent, and his numbers should puff as long as Brooks proves he can pass. But even if Brooks comes up lame, the Saints have the streaky yet explosive Todd Bouman, who had his moments in relief for the Vikings.
San Francisco 49ers It wouldn’t be a TC Notes without a status report on Jeff Garcia’s back.
The Niners opened camp on Friday and Garcia was able to take part in practice. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Garcia went through all the paces of both practices with no ill effects from the bulging disk in his lower back, but he probably didn't throw as much or as long he normally would have.
I don’t know exactly what to make of Garcia yet. I must admit I’m a little concerned, but not enough to drastically alter my rankings. This is why you don’t draft or auction until late August or early September.
Tennessee Titans It was a case of rookie kicking rookie’s butt on Sunday, as running back Chris Brown reportedly collided with cornerback Andre Woolfolk, injuring his hamstring in the process. Brown, who limped off the practice field, said he heard a “pop.”
Associated Press is reporting that an MRI taken Monday revealed significant damage to the muscle and the rookie will miss at least two weeks.
"It's obviously not going to require surgery. We're going to begin treating him very aggressively now," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "We're looking at a couple of weeks at least. He's not had a hamstring history before. We haven't had him around. We don't know what kind of healer he is."
This is a drag for the Titans, as Brown had been impressive early in camp. He has the potential to be the Titans’ workhorse of the future as well as the primary backup to Eddie George this year. If Brown cannot return to form on the quick, the backup job probably will go to Robert Holcombe, who made some noise last season.
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