Lemme see ya reply to all of these Homer.
July 14, 2003
Sources say Saints WR Donté Stallworth has been so impressive in workouts that they believe he has the opportunity to become New Orleans’ go-to guy if veteran Joe Horn starts to fall off in the next year or two.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith on the impressive build of WR David Boston: “He looks like he’s got shoulder pads on when he’s got a T-shirt on. He’s done a real good job in the offseason and worked hard, and we’re just staring at him, even the players who know about him.”
Whether he starts or not, the Ravens want WR Marcus Robinson to stretch the field and keep defenses honest. “I’ve talked to him, Coach Billick’s talked to him about whatever the number of catches you’ve got, we need big plays out of you,” Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh told PFW. Going into training camp, Travis Taylor and Frank Sanders are Baltimore’s first-string wide receivers.
In a recent interview with WHB Radio in Kansas City, Priest Holmes requested the 50 Cent song “In Da Club,” joking, “that’s where I’ll be,” if he doesn’t receive a new deal by the Sept. 7 opener.
Don’t be shocked if Redskins C Larry Moore is pushed out of the starting lineup by rookie Derrick Dockery or veteran Lennie Friedman. Those players are strictly guards, so projected OLG Dave Fiore (whose preference is to play at left guard) would then move to center.
Cowboys FS Roy Williams’ duties in the secondary likely will resemble that of a true free safety. Williams started last season a bit slowly but came on as he followed SS Darren Woodson’s guidance. Now that he is acclimated to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s scheme, Williams should be very active and gamble more.
The Giants coaches reportedly love the team’s fifth-round pick, OG Dave Diehl, and are grooming him for a starting spot in the near future, perhaps as soon as the middle of this season.
In another example of their offseason commitment to special teams, the Giants drafted sixth-round WR David Tyree strictly as a gunner on kick-coverage teams. And after watching Tyree in minicamp, they are confident he can make the team in that role and as an emergency, developmental receiver.
Cowboys coaches could be on the lookout for one or two more veterans during training camp, notably at cornerback and on the defensive line. Although roster spots are tight, it is believed head coach Bill Parcells would like a little more experience on his defense.
The Bears’ interest in supplemental draft pick Tony Hollings was another not-so-subtle reminder that management isn’t building a shrine to starting RB Anthony Thomas. General manager Jerry Angelo may never stop hearing his declaration that Thomas was “not special,” but most scouts agree that the third-year back is more vanilla than twist. Hollings would have given the team the gamebreaking threat it longs for without forcing head coach Dick Jauron to stray from his preferred — well, vanilla — game plan. The Bears do have interest in free-agent RB Jamal Anderson, but Anderson hasn’t played since Week Three of the 2001 season and may be too great a risk. Plus, adding Anderson would take carries away from second-year back Adrian Peterson, whom the coaching staff wants to get touches.
It’s not that SS Marques Anderson didn’t perform at times as a rookie or that the Packers don’t like Antuan Edwards, but Green Bay continues to search for veteran help at the position. A veteran such as Blaine Bishop could join the team during training camp, especially if defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and head coach-general manager Mike Sherman sour further on Anderson, Edwards and the other SS candidates on the roster.
The four-game suspension slapped on LB Torrance Marshall by the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy is simply the latest in a series of setbacks since the Packers used a third-round pick on the Oklahoma standout in 2001. Marshall has struggled with the mental aspect of the game to the degree that he is a liability on the field, even as a reserve, and the Packers have used him in mainly special-teams coverage roles. The Packers maintain they will support Marshall in his recovery, but don’t be surprised if his next misstep is his last with Green Bay.
A Week One knee injury knocked Vikings TE Byron Chamberlain off course last season. He never recovered from the injury but was to be a key cog in the Minnesota offense this season. Because a reliable No. 2 receiver has yet to be uncovered, Chamberlain and TE Jim Kleinsasser were used in two-TE sets to draw safeties away from WR Randy Moss and prevent double-coverage on the Pro Bowl receiver. With Chamberlain out the first four games, after testing positive for ephedra, Minnesota may scrap the “jumbo” set and go with multiple wide receivers on first and second downs.
The Buccaneers have been impressed with the play of FS Dwight Smith in workouts and don’t think he will have any problem replacing Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson in the starting lineup.
More than a few in the Bucs’ organization began worrying that new QB Jim Miller still is as fragile as ever after he began complaining of pain in his ankles following a few workouts. Miller, who is coming off surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, has yet to throw a pass for the Buccaneers.
We hear the Saints made a conscious effort to clear up any issues surrounding the team, such as contract concerns and shoring up their team with free agents, well before training camp opened to try to eliminate some of the distractions that have hurt the team in the past two seasons.
Insiders say Panthers head coach John Fox is tabbing veteran WR Ricky Proehl as the team’s go-to guy in clutch situations because he doesn’t have enough confidence in Muhsin Muhammad or Steve Smith to make the big catch after last season’s roller-coaster ride.
The way we hear it, the Panthers are frustrated that the league refused to reduce the penalty for players who test positive for ephedra because the team believed last season’s suspensions of DT Brentson Buckner and DE Julius Peppers would be enough to show the punishment for testing positive for the substance to be too severe for the crime.
There is concern in Atlanta that new CB Tod McBride could become a liability if he continues to bite on fakes as hard as he has in offseason workouts.
Although most NFL teams gave their players some time off in recent weeks, Falcons head coach Dan Reeves has squeezed in a couple of mandatory minicamps because he wants to have his players as sharp as possible once training camp begins.
We hear the 49ers have been encouraged by the physical condition of veteran DT Bryant Young, who was limited by a shoulder problem last season. Sources say Young has resurrected his patented “club” move (similar to that of legend Reggie White), which enables him to get increased leverage. Young’s bum shoulder kept him from employing the move much of last season.
Don’t be surprised if the Seahawks sign a punter to challenge newcomer Rodney Williams, who has looked very erratic this offseason. One name being mentioned is veteran P Matt Turk.
We hear OL Floyd Wedderburn, a free agent the Seahawks decided not to re-sign, could be a hot commodity come August when his rehabbed shoulder is expected to be fully healed. The fact that he can play both guard and tackle could make him a quality reserve on more than a few teams — provided he stays healthy.
Word is WR Willie Jackson, who couldn’t cut it in Atlanta or Washington last season after a monster 2001 campaign, could end up in either Jacksonville or Carolina before the summer runs its course.
The Jets don’t seem as worried as many fans and team observers about the offseason losses via free agency. With special-teams coach Mike Westhoff on board, the Jets believe the turnover on special teams won’t be as noticeable as some outside the organization do.
The Patriots are making solid progress in signing their rookies and were expected to intensify contract talks with first-round pick Ty Warren during the week of July 14, now that rookies Ethan Kelley, Asante Samuel and Dan Klecko are under contract.
The Steelers could use WR Antwaan Randle El even more this season, we’re told, particularly on trick or gimmick plays.
We hear Bengals P Travis Dorsch is unlikely to beat out starter Nick Harris. Harris did a good job holding for PK Neil Rackers last season, and the team may be loath to break up that partnership. Dorsch could be traded or cut in the preseason. If this happens, we hear it will be another indication of Marvin Lewis’ influence in Cincinnati. In the past, the Bengals have been reluctant to cut bait on high draft picks that didn’t work out. Dorsch, a fourth-round pick in 2002, looks like he’s going to fall into that category.
We hear the Browns will take it slow with rookie LB Chaun Thompson, with most of his action early likely to come on passing downs.
Third-year Colts WR Reggie Wayne finally was feeling comfortable in the slot last season but will be moved back outside to start opposite Marvin Harrison. Indianapolis had considered leaving Wayne inside with new acquisition Brandon Stokley playing outside, but Stokley has been suffering from a foot injury that kept him out of minicamp and may force him to miss early sessions of training camp.
Colts RB Dominic Rhodes, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, is no lock to return for training camp. He hoped to be back for the Colts’ passing camp in June, but Rhodes wasn’t comfortable with his limited range of motion and soreness caused by scar tissue. Edgerrin James is said to be near 100 percent and is the clear starter, but Rhodes is a candidate, along with James Mungro, to be the team’s No. 2 back.
Insiders believe there is still an outside chance the Raiders will re-sign SS Anthony Dorsett, who was released for salary-cap reasons this offseason. The Raiders typically like to see what they’ve got in camp and then fill the holes they deem necessary a few weeks in.
In other Raiders’ safety news, this already is being viewed as a make-or-break year for SS Derrick Gibson, who assumes Dorsett’s role. The hope for the Silver & Black is that Gibson, a former first-round pick, can show the progress Dorsett did last season while playing alongside veteran Rod Woodson.
Concerns remain about the football future of Raiders DE Tony Bryant. Word is that reports from neck and spine specialists have not been very positive in Bryant’s bid to return from a spinal-cord contusion that sidelined him in Week Nine of last year.