We hear the Rams believe 2003 No. 1 pick Jimmy Kennedy is currently 25 to 30 percent stronger than he was last year at this time as a result of being a weight-room regular at Rams Park since early February.
Sources say head coach Jon Gruden’s opinion — not general manager Bruce Allen’s opinion — on players was the deciding factor in setting the Buccaneers’ draft board.
The Redskins have found little market for MLB Jeremiah Trotter, who is expendable with the signing of Micheal Barrow. Unless some team steps up with an offer, Trotter likely will be let go after June 1.
Expect to see a lot of rotating among Oakland’s defensive linemen this season, regardless of whether they’re in a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment. John Parrella, Warren Sapp and Chris Cooper all figure to play a mix of tackle and end in Rob Ryan’s new scheme, and DE-LB hybrid Sam Williams, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, could be the wild card for the defensive line.
The Bears used Bobby Gray with the first-team defense in minicamp over Mike Green, who has been bothered by a groin injury since October. While Green continues to do limited work, Gray has made a strong impression on the coaching staff, especially defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. Gray is bigger and more physical than Green.
DLE Joe Johnson will be released by the Packers after June 1. Johnson has played sparingly in two years in Green Bay after signing a six-year, $33 million contract in 2002. Johnson is being held out of minicamp and training sessions to avoid injury.
The Lions have danced around questions about the SS position. The signing of FS Brock Marion leaves second-year impact player Terrence Holt without a position. Team observers expect Marion and Holt will share the safety spots in a scheme that makes their positions interchangeable. Holt lacks the size and skills of an in-the-box safety.
The Jaguars had an interest in WLB Ian Gold, perhaps the top free agent left on the market, but Jacksonville negotiator Paul Vance and Gold’s agent, Carl Poston, have rarely been on the same page.
Unlike ex-Bills CB Antoine Winfield, who couldn’t wait to leave Buffalo, we hear that CB Nate Clements loves Buffalo and will definitely listen to the Bills when it comes time to extend his contract. Clements has two years left on his initial NFL deal. Agent Neil Cornrich would not confirm or deny that talks had opened with Buffalo.
After an early April motorcycle accident in Atlanta had left him in critical condition with severe head trauma, Jets CB Jamie Henderson has reportedly begun walking and is on the road to recovery. However, we hear that it’s highly unlikely that Henderson will play in 2004, and his future beyond that remains very much in doubt.
Though Jets WR Wayne Chrebet agreed to a reduced salary for 2004 (down from $2.8 million to $2 million) after missing the final eight games last season with post-concussion syndrome, we hear that he has the opportunity to earn back the difference by reaching performance incentives. The deal also would be reduced to a guaranteed $500,000 if Chrebet sustains a season-ending concussion.
The word from Cleveland is second-year LB Chaun Thompson will get every chance to be the team’s starter on the weak side. Thompson was a disappointment as a rookie but doesn’t lack for potential.
We hear Texans ROLB Charlie Clemons, who struggled last season, is a candidate to be a post-June 1 cut.
The Ravens are expected to add a veteran wideout via free agency and are most interested in former Jets WR Curtis Conway, according to a source. The Ravens also hope the bumper crop of rookie wideouts pushes some capable veteran targets onto the market.
Although the Falcons aren’t certain if DT Ellis Johnson, who flirts with retirement on an annual basis, will be back with the team next season, they are proceeding as if Johnson will not be back for a 10th NFL season.
We’re told the coaching staff in New Orleans isn’t thrilled it likely will face next season without veteran C Jerry Fontenot, who served as a security blanket for head coach Jim Haslett, but the front office is pleased that the Saints appear to be ready to take a step into the future with new C LeCharles Bentley.
The Panthers convinced DE Mike Rucker to restructure his contract to open more room under the salary cap this season, and we hear the fact that he didn’t demand more money from the team in exchange for shaking up his deal has general manager Marty Hurney pleased that Rucker hasn’t lost his focus on doing what is best for the team.
Chargers star RB LaDainian Tomlinson on his team’s frugal approach in free agency this offseason: “I think in the past, they’ve taken losses with signing big free agents and then guys not producing or getting hurt or what have you and just really not living up to what the Chargers thought they would. So they’re kind of taking a different avenue. They want to put quality players on the field but not rush into anything. Build the team through the draft and a little in free agency and have solid players, kind of like the Patriots are doing.”
QB Steve Beuerlein is not expected to return for another season with the Broncos, who will go into camp with Danny Kanell and Mike Quinn likely competing for the backup job to Jake Plummer. The return of Broncos OLB John Mobley from a serious neck injury that cost him the final eight games of the 2003 season has to be considered a long shot, according to sources close to the team.
Word out of Oakland is that the Raiders would like one of their newcomers in the secondary — Ray Buchanan, Ike Charlton or Denard Walker — to really push third-year player Phillip Buchanon for his starting job in training camp, in part to see how the talented but inconsistent corner responds.
After losing out in the Corey Dillon sweepstakes, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Raiders continue to comb the market for another running back, as there are some concerns about Tyrone Wheatley’s ability to carry a heavy workload and Justin Fargas’ ball protection.
Redskins H-back Mike Sellers could be a player to watch this season. The team missed him after his first tour of duty, and he has the skills to play the position for Joe Gibbs.
If the Titans do not think OL Marico Portis can handle a top reserve spot, they might look to add a veteran — or bring back OG-C Tom Ackerman — in August.
Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi likely will look to add a veteran inside linebacker in the weeks following the draft because the team does not appear thrilled with Nick Greisen’s potential as a starter.
We hear there are rumblings in the Cardinals’ organization that injury-prone LB Levar Fisher, a second-round pick two seasons ago, could be a wasted draft pick. Fisher has been slow to recover from offseason knee injury, and there are some who believe a higher pain threshold certainly wouldn’t hurt his recovery process.
Don’t be surprised if Cardinals RB Damien Anderson, who suffered liver, spleen and facial damage in a rollover automobile accident in early January, is on shaky ground in the Valley. Anderson was a big favorite of departed head coach Dave McGinnis, but when new head coach Dennis Green was recently asked about the backup RB situation behind Marcel Shipp and Emmitt Smith, he mentioned Josh Scobey but not Anderson. Cardinals LB Raynoch Thompson has been moved to the weak side to take better advantage of his skills as a pass rusher.
Although the Rams were quite pleased that they were able to double their 2004 draft class with four compensatory picks, word is the team was upset at receiving a No. 4 pick instead of a No. 3 for losing CB Dre’ Bly, who had a Pro Bowl campaign with the Lions last season.
Even though he played much better last year after a disappointing first year in a Rams uniform, we hear LB Jamie Duncan remains a good bet to be released after June 1. Word around the Titans’ facility is that DT Albert Haynesworth is as much as 30 pounds overweight and there is serious concern about his conditioning.
Now that the Seahawks have signed QB Brock Huard for a second go-around in Seattle, don’t be surprised if second-year project Seneca Wallace is released.
The Bears have been encouraged by R.W. McQuarters' dedication in the offseason program. Team observers say McQuarters is in fine shape and is among leaders in head coach Lovie Smith's new get-slim, get-fast program.
Don't expect offseason acquisition David Loverne to start at right guard for the Lions. Loverne is currently tops on the Lions' depth chart at the position, but sources inside the organization continue to insist they will "find someone" to play with the regulars. One option is 41-year-old Ray Brown, who played OK at guard in 2003.
Last edited by slowkidz on Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thanks again for the great read, Slow.
Is there a better team guy than LDT? In an era where snot-nosed silverspoon fed dorks like E-cry belly-aching about how what they deserve, it is refreshing to see a player that can see the bigger picture and try to work with a program rather that whine about it. I hope the Chargers are on the right track, and that the Giants continue on what seems to be a path to the bottom.
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