Coach Del Rio's chair is more uncomfortable than a 110 degree Florida day in August

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The pressure is on Jack Del Rio to win or find a good real estate agent. Jacksonville has the bad luck of playing in the same division with two perennial powerhouse teams in the AFC South. But the time for excuses is over. Win now or …

The offense has struggled for the last several years and the off season moves have not helped. QB David Garrard has to produce this season to improve the record and get into the playoffs. He has to win to keep his job as well. Garrard has lost more weapons that he got in return in the off season. Fred Taylor is gone along with his top 3 receivers from last years team. For the OTA’s, Del Rio bought three cases of “Hello My name is” labels.

Garrard was a 80-83 passer rating QB throwing about as many TDs as picks until 2007. That year he burned up defenses with a rating of 102.2 with 18 TDs and only 3 picks. After getting back from an injury in week 11 he threw 12 TDs in 6 games but was out again week 17. There was great anticipation for his 08 season but the golden coach turned back into a pumpkin and he ended up with a rating of 81.1 with 15 TDs and 11 picks.

His familiar targets are gone. Former 1st round picks Matt Jones and Reggie Williams were busts and ex Brown Dennis Northcutt had a breakout season and left as a FA. His new receivers will include Torry Holt, who has to trim his beard so he won’t trip over it, and a bunch of no names. That list includes the significantly underachiever Troy Williamson and Mike Walker, Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillard, Tiquan Underwood, Nate Hughes, Maurice Dupree, and Todd Peterson. Garrard will have to depend on TE Marcedes Lewis because I see a lot of drops in the list of WRs.

The running game is totally in the hands of Maurice Jones-Drew. The super-sub is going to have to prove he can carry the big load. But as he has gotten more carries in his three years, his average has gone from 5.7 in 06 to 4.6 in 07 to 4.2 in 08 with 197 carries. At 5-7 208, you have to wonder if he can take the pounding from a 275 carry season. He is an above average receiver. The ex-RB now FB Greg Jones will use his 254 lbs to clear the way for MJD and will get more than the 2 carries he got last year.

The Offensive line last year was—well offensive. The starters will be totally different this year. There is talent there and it had better come together quickly. Both projected starting guards Maurice Williams and Vince Manuwai are coming back from injuries that cost them the entire 08 season. They are both talented but have to prove they are ready to contribute again. Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton were the teams first 2 picks. Monroe should start at LT with Britton being a key reserve. C Brad Meester is excellent but RT Tony Pashos will be pushed by ex-Eagle UFA Tra Thomas.

Everyone on the D line is going to have to step it up. The group of DEs Derrick Harvey and Reggie Hayward and DTs John Henderson and Derek Landri are projected to start. Henderson was outstanding when his running mate was Marcus Stroud and gets a lot more double teams without him. Hayward is coming off a season ending injury. The line must generate more sacks and pressures if the D is going to get back to the top of the league. Chances are they will not.

The linebacking is shaky at best and there is no quality depth. Daryl Smith will play outside this season and Justin Durant will be in the middle. Both are changes from last year. The jury is out on how this configuration will perform.

The D backfield will undergo another shakeup this season after a below average 08. CB Rashean Mathis is the only proven player and was not as good last season as in 07. SS FA Sean Considine has a lock on the position but I think he is over rated. FS Reggie Nelson is athletic but very inconsistent. The rest are just the rest and nothing special.

OVERALL: Jacksonville will at best be 3rd in the division and unfortunately have a new coach in 2010.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Jacksonville,Jaguars,Del Rio,Garrard,Northcutt,Holt,Jones-Drew,Jones,Manuwai,Meester,Britton,Pashos,Thomas,Stroud,Henderson

The Ravens will be different but will they be better?

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There is no question that the window for the Ravens to win another Super Bowl is closing. The D is getting older and there are still questions on O. The Ravens will be different but there is serious doubt that they will be better or worse than in 08.

The D will be a little younger. The Ravens jettisoned their expensive and injury prone pro bowl CB Chris McAlister and brought in FA Domonique Foxworth. He had better work out because they are spending 27 million for the next 4 years with over 16 mil guaranteed. The other corner will be ex Raider Fabian Washington. Samari Rolle who was a starter came back on a backup contract and will be the key replacement. FS Ed Reed is older than dirt but played at a high level last year. He had better be just as good this season. The SS spot is up in the air. The Ravens have their fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed that Dawan Landry can come back after missing all but 2 games from a neck injury last year. There isn’t much behind him so he had better get well soon.

The linebacking will get new look as well. Tavares Gooden replaces Bart Scott inside next to Ray Lewis. He needs to be more physical than he has shown up to now. Lewis is older than rock but got it done last year. He is on the down side of a Hall of Fame career. Jarret Johnson is unknown but has started for 2 years and is getting better with every game. Terrell Suggs wanted to be paid like a DE but got top OB money—63 mil over 6 years. The Ravens hope he plays with as much abandon as he did in his contract year.

On offense, TE Todd Heap will get a heap of passes thrown his way. The WR situation went from critical to life support when their only consistent receiver Derrick Mason announced his retirement. If he doesn’t come back, they are going to have to find another starting quality WR. Mark Clayton starts on the other side but has caught over 50 passes only once in the last 4 years.

Joe Flacco has developed nicely. He will yield to Troy Smith for more wild cat type O than they used last year. The RB will be by committee. Last year starter Willis McGahee and the versatile Ray Rice will split carries. Rice may start over McGahee who is coming back from injury again.

The O line is physical and nasty. All pro FA Matt Birk takes over at C and gives the team real leadership. The left side is solid with LT Jared Gaither and LG Ben Grubbs. Both are young and talented. They will only get better. The right side is a question mark. Rookie Michael Oher and vet Adam Terry will battle for the RT spot. Oher should win. They hope that RG Marshal Yanda has recovered from his knee injury. If not, that will be a trouble spot for the Ravens.

Overall—The Ravens have enough to be a playoff team but unless they get all the right answers from those coming back from injury and find a solution to the WR spot, they will be second again looking over their shoulder at the Bengals coming on hard from behind.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Ravens,Bengals,Super Bowl,Lewis,Suggs,Flacco,Heap,McGahee,Birk,Johnson,Rolle
  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 1st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Mangini has only 3 problems with the Browns—Offense, Defense and special teams.

Mangini has only 3 problems with the Browns—Offense, Defense and special teams.

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Browns

Eric Mangini takes over a team that has sniffed a winning record seldom since the team returned in 1999. He has problems all over the field in all three areas of the team. We will discuss the D and ST tomorrow.

Offense:

Line:

The line was a problem last year. LT Joe Thomas had a down year after being a rock in 07. Mangini and whoever plays QB will hold their collective breaths that Thomas says healthy because his backup, Rams et. al. castoff John St. Clair, is a turnstile and practitioner of the “look out” block. After making a look out block, the OL turns around to the QB and yells “look out!” LG Eric Steinbach is solid and RG prospect Floyd Womack has potential. The C position will be contested between last year starter Hank Fraley and new comer Alex Mack. If Mack and Womack can help the rest can protect the passer, the O may move the ball.

Backfield:

The QB position took the punishment for the lack of pass protection last year. The Browns were down to their 3 starter due to injury. This year the hope is that either Derek Anderson comes back to his probowl level of play or Brady Quinn turns potential into production. The second is more likely than the first. Anderson has the stronger arm and the better long ball but Quinn seems to have the inside track on the position.

The team signed Jamal Lewis to carry the ball again this year. The team has no full time starter insurance if he goes down. Fortunately for the fans of the Browns, Lewis seems durable. Backup Jerome Harrison is at best a 3rd down and change of pace back. Lawrence Vickers is versatile out of the backfield and is a capable lead blocker.

Receivers:

More than any other part of the O, this will determine how many points the O scores. All pro in 07 and top pass dropper in 08 Braylon Edwards is back. The team wanted to trade him but could not get the 1st and 3rd they were looking for. That is good because behind him there is not much experience. Rookie Bryan Robiskie and veteran FA Mike Furry will battle for the flanker position to work inside patterns. Unless last year 4th round pick Martin Rucker develops at TE, don’t expect much yardage from the position. The most likely starter at TE is vet Steve Heiden a fair blocker with good hands but no speed. Rucker or Robert Royal will be the backup.

Coaching:

One key question is will the Browns have an offensive personality. Mangenius said he wants to be “game plan specific” meaning he will run against teams weak in the line and pass on teams weak in the backfield. That is coach-speak for “I’m not sure if we can do either effectively.”

Winning in the AFC North is simple. Run the ball and stop the run. Last year, the Browns struggled at both and had a disastrous season. We will see if things change this year.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Browns,Mangini,Steinbach,probowl,Lewis,Thomas,Heiden
  • Author:
  • Published: Feb 17th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on NFL prepares for free agency and some cuts go deep.

NFL prepares for free agency and some cuts go deep.

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Fryingpan Sports

NFL prepares for free agency and some cuts go deep.

By Bill Smith

Franchise Tags

Giants

The Giants had to put the franchise tag on RB Brandon Jacobs. It was a good move because RB Ahmad Bradshaw is in jail in Virginia from a probation violation and the top backup to Jacobs, Derrick Ward is a free agent as well. The Giants front office screwed up by allowing both top RBs to become FA in the same year. It will cost them because Jacobs will be the average of the top 5 RB salaries which should be around 7.5 million dollars.

It will also cost them to resign Ward. He fired his agent and hired Drew Rosenhaus who is famous for getting the max for his players. When the agent is wearing a mask and carrying a gun, you know the deal is going to be costly.

Ravens

The Ravens have franchised DELB Terrell Suggs. That means that Ray Lewis will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA). Lewis has already said that while he would like to continue to play in Baltimore he would not give the team a “home town discount.” If Lewis moves to another team it will take a couple of years for the D to get back to where it was in 08. It is well documented that Lewis is the heart and soul of the D but there is more to the issue. He is also the brains and the enforcer.

It is the enforcer role that the D will miss most. When a Raven is not playing up to expectations in either a game or practice, it is Lewis that gets on him and challenges him to change gears. A team like the Vikings, Redskins, Dolphins or Cowboys would benefit greatly from signing Lewis. Each team has an above average D lineup but each has not produced on the field up to expectations. Lewis would straighten out the kinks in the D and get them producing.

Bengals

The Bungles are at it again. Instead of franchising their one offensive weapon WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, they franchised their kicker. Now it looks like the Bengals will be without both starting WRs because Chad Johnson is also rumored to be on his way out. The Bungles will probably pick up a WR or two in the 09 Draft. While PK Shayne Graham is valuable, the punter Kyle Larson is on the field more than Graham. Mikey Brown, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!

Cuts:

New Orleans cut RB Deuce McAllister. If they think that Reggie Bush can carry the load of 250+ carries, they are wrong. Bush will be on IR by the 4th game.

The Jaguars released RB Fred Taylor after 11 years of service. Taylor was disappointed but expected the news. Taylor is 33. Expect the Jags to sign RB Maurice Jones-Drew to an 8 million a year deal. Former FB Greg Jones will be the backup.

The Buccaneers will not try to resign FA QB Jeff Garcia who started for them for the last 3 years. The team signed Luke McCown to a 2 year contract. That is not good news for a very good defense that is aging. The team is capable of winning now and McCown is not capable of managing the offense to wins at this level.

The Ravens cut about 8 mil off their payroll by releasing CB Chris McAlister. McAlister has been one of the top CBs in the league when he was healthy. Unfortunately that was not very often. McAlister will only be 32 by the start of the 09 season and should be able to find work.

The Broncos released DL Dewayne Robertson on Monday, Feb. 16. Robertson was one of the huge mistakes in FA signings that cost those involved their jobs. He was scheduled to make 16 million this season. That would have been about 4 mill per sack.

The Broncos also released DL John Engelberger, LB Niko Koutouvides, SS Marquand Manuel, and LB Jamie Winborn from a D that couldn’t buy its way off the field.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Giants, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Ward, Rosenhaus, Ravens, Suggs, Lewis, Free agent, NFL FOOTBALL, NFL Draft, Vikings, Redskins, Dolphins, Cowboys, Bengals, Browns, Houshmandzadeh, Johsson, Graham, Larson, McAllister, Bush, Taylor, Jones-Drew, Garcia, Jones, McCown, McAlister, Duce, Broncos, Robertson, Engelberger, LB Niko Koutouvides, SS Marquand Manuel, and LB Jamie Winborn

30 Year Old Running Backs FOR SALE—CHEAP!

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Fryingpan Sports

30 Year Old Running Backs FOR SALE—CHEAP!

By Bill Smith

I have found the perfect back—I’ll use my first pick for;

He fast, can catch, and best of all 240 and 6-4.

He’ll blast the line, catch the pass and run like a gazelle;

I’ll cut him when he’s 30 if there’s nothing something left to sell.

By B. Smith 2009

No position in the NFL gets old faster than a running back. History shows that the production of even an above average RB falls off a cliff like a lemming after the back turns 30. The problems are the 30+ back is too old, too slow, too expensive and too fragile. Several teams will have to make some difficult choices about their 30 something RBs this year.

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LaDainianTomlinson Chargers:

The biggest name on this list is Tomlinson. He turns 30 in late June and in the last couple of years has spent almost as much time on the bench with injuries as he has on the field. Those that drafted LT with the first pick in their Fantasy league were repeatedly frustrated by his lack of production last year.

The problem was made even more critical because the Chargers allowed his backup, Michael “the burner” Turner, to leave via free agency during the last off season. All Turner did was run for almost 1700 yards with a 4.5 yard average. Tomlinson limped through 16 games but only reached 100 yards once.

The Chargers have only mini-back free agent to be Darren Sproles and last year rookie Jacob Hester behind LT. While Sproles has proven he can be a great change of pace back, he will never survive a 250 carry season. Hester was a high draft choice last year and is a potential 1 back in the Chargers offense. But he has yet to prove he can handle the majority of the work in the NFL.

The question that is keeping Charger front office staff from sleeping is should they trade LT and if they do what could they get. According to reports, he has 2 years left on his contract.

My Advice: There will be some team that suffers an RB loss in free agency or in training camp. Put feelers out and get what you can. Hester can do the job if he gets the chance. Grab the draft choice (probably a mid 2nd round) and run.

T1

Larry Johnson Chiefs:

Johnson does not have as much mileage on him as LT but he too has hit the less than magic age of 30. Johnson did not get much work in the early years of his career. He was buried in the depth chart. With a new GM and coach, the team is in the rebuilding mode and LJ want no part of it. He wants to be traded. Last year LJ missed all or part of 7 games and only ran for 874 yards. The Chiefs have second year back Kolby Smith and last year rookie Jamaal Charles from Texas. Neither have much experience and if LJ is gone, a new back will have to come from free agency or the draft.

My Advice: Johnson has had a number of off the field problems and has gotten the reputation of a prima donna. Try to trade him and take what you can get. He has been a big enough problem in the locker room when the team was doing fairly well. Now is the time. If you can’t trade him, cut him and take the cap hit.

t2

Edgerrin James Cards:

The Cards have a lot of issues on their plate and one of them is Edge. James’ production and yards per attempt fell off and he got benched. While he played a little better in the post season, he is history. He will be traded or cut because the team has his replacement in Tim Hightower. Hightower has more speed and that is good. The question still remains is can he pass protect like James? That is doubtful and if you have a 38 year old Kurt Warner as QB, you might want to give him James blocking.

My Advice: Keep James if he is willing to share the ball. If not, let him go and catch on with another team.

t3

Jamal Lewis Browns:

Lewis will turn 30 before next season. The new head coach of the Browns Eric Mangini said yesterday that he was “impressed” with several players including Lewis. Right now the Browns have nothing behind Lewis.

My Advice: I like how hard Lewis runs. Just don’t give Lewis a long term deal but draft a replacement in the 3rd or 4th round or pick up a younger back in free agency.

t4

Brian Westbrook Eagles:

The injuries to Westbrook this year proved that the O dies when he is out of the lineup. BW turns 30 in September and has already more mileage on him than a 1953 Buick. The Eagles have a few backups but none of them have the versatility of Westbrook. No back in the NFL does.

My Advice: Frankly, the Eagles have no choice but to ride BW as far as they can. Draft a couple of WRs early and a stud RB in 2010 if there is a draft.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: FOR SALE, Cheap, NFL, Football, fantasy, Tomlinson, Chargers, Johnson, Chiefs, Cardinals, Lewis, Browns, Westbrook, Eagles, Draft, free agent, free agency

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