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NFL - Whispers 1/17/05

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NFL - Whispers 1/17/05

Postby TTTBone » Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:30 pm

With the playoffs set to peak soon, now is the time to start examining the off-season. For your reading pleasure, Pro Football Weekly's "Whispers" for 1/17/2005.

PFW wrote:Team observers aren't 100 percent convinced RB Edgerrin James will be in Indianapolis for the 2005 season. The Colts have said they plan to keep James, but the option to use the team's franchise designation and trade James remains a possibility. Remember, Colts president Bill Polian traded Marshall Faulk for draft picks.

The Bills have given Travis Henry and his agent, Hadley Engelhard, permission to discuss a potential trade with other teams who might be interested in a 26-year-old back who has rushed for 1,300-plus yards twice in his young career, though he is coming off a leg injury that kept him out of the final five games of last season.

With Seahawks RB Maurice Morris not considered heir-apparent material, word is the Hawks will seriously consider trading for a running back (Travis Henry? Reuben Droughns?) or signing one in free agency should Shaun Alexander depart. At presstime, our sources put the odds on Alexander leaving at 60-40.

Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks says he misses former teammates Warren Sapp and John Lynch ? two guys from the days of the Bucs' old "creamsicle" uniforms ? but he vows to turn things around next season. "I look at Simeon (Rice), Ronde Barber, (Mike) Alstott," Brooks told PFW. "I'm still looking to have those guys back to keep us away from the days of those orange uniforms. Two losing seasons in a row. That's pitiful. But we accept that. That's one thing that this team does well. We don't make excuses. We're going to rise again ? next year."

Expect Louisiana governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to hold Saints owner Tom Benson to his vow to pay at least $40 million toward any new arena deal, be it a renovation of the Superdome or a new stadium.

Buccaneers DE Simeon Rice says that his relationship with head coach Jon Gruden has never been stronger despite his criticism late in the season that the team lacked discipline. "I talked to Jon," Rice told PFW. "I was like, 'Listen, I'm not trying to get you fired. I like you.' In fact, I like him more now than I ever liked him before. I like him now because we understand each other, and we understand the lines of communication. I was like, 'Bro, if I can't state the obvious, it lets you know how bad this is.' "

Word is that the fact Saints owner Tom Benson has a good personal relationship with head coach Jim Haslett is one of the biggest reasons Haslett not only was retained for next season, but also given a two-year extension.

Soon-to-be free-agent WR Muhsin Muhammad has said he won't give Carolina a big home-team discount to assist the team's effort to keep him in town.

We're told Panthers head coach John Fox looks at the interest that has been shown from other teams in his assistants, including TE coach Dave Magazu, as a compliment for the way the team turned its season around.

Sources in Kansas City feel strongly that the Chiefs must select a cornerback with one of their first two picks in the draft, regardless of what happens in free agency. And the general consensus is they should shy away from their history of selecting college safeties and trying to transform them into pro corners.

Word out of Oakland is that embattled defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is staying put for at least another year. Warren Sapp, despite rumors, isn't expected to be going anywhere either. Out of position for much of the year at defensive end in the 3-4, the Raiders would like to have him play inside more next season with a rush linebacker to his outside.

Veteran DE Marco Coleman, who retired briefly in June before coming back to play a key role with Trevor Pryce out, is taking a few months to decide whether he'll return for another go-around. With Reggie Hayward facing free agency and a lack of depth at the position, the Broncos would like to have Coleman back. "If I come back, it will be with the Broncos," he said. "They know how to treat veterans better than any team I've seen."

Broncos WR Rod Smith had a productive year but will be 35 by the time training camp rolls around, and Darius Watts' inconsistency likely means he can't be relied on for another year or two. As a result, the Broncos could be looking for a capable third receiver in the free-agent market.

Look for the Broncos to try to pump some life into their return game during the offseason. Ideally, they'd like to avoid using RB Reuben Droughns on kickoffs and WR Rod Smith on punts, but they have little explosiveness or reliability elsewhere on the roster.

There is a strong possibility Redskins MLB Mike Barrow's career could be over. As Washington's director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer recently said, Barrow's age, the severity of his knee injury and being out all season are indicators that his playing days could be in jeopardy.

The Titans might be forced not only to cut some high-profile veterans, but their chances of re-signing their own free agents appear very slim. And for the second straight season, you might see the team sign no significant outside free agents before training camp.

Despite the inspired play of Giants MLB Kevin Lewis this season, the team will look to upgrade their LB corps from the inside out. Keep an eye on the team's interest in re-signing WLB Nick Greisen; he played awfully well down the stretch and could actually get some attention if he hits the open market.

The guy everyone expects to take over for retired director of college and pro scouting Larry Lacewell is Jeff Ireland, who has been the Cowboys' national scout the past three years. But Lacewell's departure indicates just how much head coach Bill Parcells is running the show these days. There are many in Dallas' front office who aren't thrilled with move and believe assistant director of college scouting Tom Ciskowski was more deserving of the promotion.

The Eagles' decision to start Keith Adams in the base defense in place of injured WLB Mark Simoneau over a healthy Nate Wayne likely means that Wayne has no future with the club. Linebacker ? for depth, anyway ? could be an offseason area of need.

The Colts practiced indoors almost exclusively during the stretch run and into the playoffs. Head coach Tony Dungy's thinking was not to change the routine and felt the team would get the most out of practice sessions in the controlled environment.

New Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner won't bring back the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach some anticipate. Turner emphasizes controlled passing and balance with the running game. He has made no secret of his feeling that the team needs to seriously upgrade its offensive line.

In the offseason, the Vikings may consider switching to the 3-4 defense under Ted Cottrell, who ran the scheme successfully in Buffalo. Minnesota believes Kenechi Udeze and Kevin Williams would fit at end, but they would need LB depth and a hefty nose tackle.

The Lions aren't looking at a surplus of cap space as a reason to overspend in the offseason. Head coach Steve Mariucci said there may not be a Damien Woody- or Dre' Bly-sized contract in the offing. The Lions have interest in a handful of free agents, but most of them are veterans who don't figure to break the bank.

In the Seahawks' quest to keep much of their core intact ? nine starters become free agents on March 2 ? don't be surprised if they attempt to restructure more than a few high-priced contracts. Four defenders who we hear could fill that bill are OLB Chad Brown, DRE Grant Wistrom, OLB Anthony Simmons and CB Bobby Taylor. We hear Taylor, who missed Seattle's last eight games with a knee injury, might not be back.

Word is once the draft is over at the end of April, Niners player personnel director Bill Rees is a good bet to become new Browns GM Phil Savage's right-hand man in Cleveland as vice president-player personnel.

We hear the Texans will look to acquire a No. 2 wide receiver in the offseason to pair with Andre Johnson.

A source close to the Texans doesn't expect any coaching staff changes in Houston now that DL coach Todd Grantham reportedly is out of the mix for the Dolphins' defensive coordinator vacancy. The Dolphins also requested permission to interview Texans OL coach Joe Pendry for their offensive coordinator job, but they were denied by the club.

We're told the Ravens have made re-signing CB Gary Baxter a priority, and that talks between both sides have occurred. Baxter is due to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

The Ravens are not allowing DL coach Rex Ryan to interview for defensive coordinator vacancies. Word is, Ryan would replace defensive coordinator Mike Nolan if Nolan were to take a head-coaching job.

A source close to the Steelers believes the team could address the TE position in the offseason with an eye on adding a young pass catcher.

We hear there's a good chance CB Ty Law will not be back with the Patriots in 2005. With a salary approaching $10 million and a $12.5 million cap hit in the last year of his contract, he will have to drastically restructure his deal or get cut. Oakland has been rumored as a possible destination. One note of caution regarding Law (who will be 31 in February) is the fact that he is coming off a season in which he missed nine-plus games after breaking his left foot and landed on the injured-reserve list. He is reportedly planning surgery for his injured foot.

After exiting the season finale in Baltimore with what looked to be a serious shoulder injury, DE Jason Taylor has been told that no serious damage was done to his shoulder, clearing him to play in the Pro Bowl. However, we hear that the Dolphins may ask him not to play as a preventative measure.
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Postby Bennett4prez » Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:47 pm

In the offseason, the Vikings may consider switching to the 3-4 defense under Ted Cottrell, who ran the scheme successfully in Buffalo. Minnesota believes Kenechi Udeze and Kevin Williams would fit at end, but they would need LB depth and a hefty nose tackle.


I'm so proud I reported this earlier. I got laughed at. }:-)
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Postby Free Bagel » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:11 pm

With Seahawks RB Maurice Morris not considered heir-apparent material, word is the Hawks will seriously consider trading for a running back (Travis Henry? Reuben Droughns?) or signing one in free agency should Shaun Alexander depart. At presstime, our sources put the odds on Alexander leaving at 60-40.


Derrick Blaylock maybe?? Outside shot?

There is a strong possibility Redskins MLB Mike Barrow's career could be over. As Washington's director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer recently said, Barrow's age, the severity of his knee injury and being out all season are indicators that his playing days could be in jeopardy.


What's that? A high priced free agent going to Washington to die? Never...

In the offseason, the Vikings may consider switching to the 3-4 defense under Ted Cottrell, who ran the scheme successfully in Buffalo. Minnesota believes Kenechi Udeze and Kevin Williams would fit at end, but they would need LB depth and a hefty nose tackle.


Isn't the Vikings biggest problem their LB core? Good solution, rely even more on your weakest position... [/sacrasm]

We hear there's a good chance CB Ty Law will not be back with the Patriots in 2005. With a salary approaching $10 million and a $12.5 million cap hit in the last year of his contract, he will have to drastically restructure his deal or get cut. Oakland has been rumored as a possible destination. One note of caution regarding Law (who will be 31 in February) is the fact that he is coming off a season in which he missed nine-plus games after breaking his left foot and landed on the injured-reserve list. He is reportedly planning surgery for his injured foot.


Makes sense to me. They're 15-2 this year and he's hardly played, may as well save $12.5 million.
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Postby eaglesfan » Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:00 am

I could see Blaylock in Seattle or maybe Miami.
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Postby maddog60 » Tue Jan 18, 2005 4:24 am

Texans acquiring a #2 WR makes sense. The Vikings going to a 3-4 makes no sense (though it would make a lot more sense if they traded Randy Moss to Baltimore for say some good picks and Suggs).

With all the good RB prospects out there this year, I can't see the Seahawks sticking with Morris. If the Colts are smart, they have to let go of or deal James to someone. They need to acquire a defense player by either freeing up cap room or trading via James.

Ty Law isn't returning as a Pat, he barely did this year. THe Broncos are started to get screwed with age. They need another DE, a WR, oh and finding a better than average QB might help too.

Barrow's career with the Skins isnt over due to injury, its over due to Antonio Pierce. Best FA rookie pickup of the year.

I am surprised the Bears OC thinks they need to upgrade the O-line. I would have immediately pointed to the lack of talent at WR and failure to have any semblence of a backup QB as the biggest offensive problems.

Steelers with a good young TE would be even scarier (provided Cowher loosens the reigns a bit as Big Ben matures).
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Postby OwenTheBlonde » Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:15 am

Seattle won't go for Blaylock and anyone who does will be disappointed. Blaylock's performance was virtually entirely dependent on KC's dominant O-line. When they couldn't get blocks he lacked instinct and ability to bounce outside or find tiny holes or cutbacks. Priest and LJ are feature backs, Blaylock is not. Seattle will go after Henry or Rudi or a Davenport-level guy. Seattle doesn't have a lot of money to work with.
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Postby kevinoc81 » Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:37 pm

maddog60 wrote:With all the good RB prospects out there this year, I can't see the Seahawks sticking with Morris. If the Colts are smart, they have to let go of or deal James to someone. They need to acquire a defense player by either freeing up cap room or trading via James.


I was thinking the exact same thing. They obviously need to get some defense if they plan on ever winning a Super Bowl and James would free up a lot of salary.

maddog60 wrote:I am surprised the Bears OC thinks they need to upgrade the O-line. I would have immediately pointed to the lack of talent at WR and failure to have any semblence of a backup QB as the biggest offensive problems.


Believe me, Turner definately wants an upgrade at WR and has expressed this numerous times in Chicago newspaper interviews.

Lovie Smith seems to think Hutchinson is good enough to have as back-up QB. I don't know?
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Postby OwenTheBlonde » Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:44 pm

Bears would be putting next season too much at risk by having Hutch as #2. Grossman now being considered injury-prone justifies a more reliable backup. They'll get a WR, draft probably and I don't think the O-line needs too much more help. They just need a healthy, balanced O on the field together for awhile is all.
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Postby Free Bagel » Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:45 pm

OwenTheBlonde wrote:Seattle won't go for Blaylock and anyone who does will be disappointed. Blaylock's performance was virtually entirely dependent on KC's dominant O-line. When they couldn't get blocks he lacked instinct and ability to bounce outside or find tiny holes or cutbacks.


Sounds like someone else I know. *cough* Alexander *cough*
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Postby ljthockey » Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:59 pm

Hmm Ty Law a FA.......Kansas city here you come
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