Volume 6, Issue 39 (Friday, May 27th)
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Tonight's Update brought to you by the WCOFF
If you want to compete in the biggest fantasy football event in the
world, here's a heads' up... My friend Lenny Pappano from the World
Championship of Fantasy Football told me recently that they expect to
be sold out within the next 60 days. If you want to compete for the
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pre-register. You can get all the details on how to reserve your spot
with a deposit of only $100. I was at the WCOFF last year, and I it
was a great event. Go to wcoff.com for the details.
Hope you're having a fun and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend. Throw a
few burgers or brats on the grill for me. Thanks to our Chris Smith
for rounding up these stories today. Let's jump to it.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
1. CLE - LT Verba Holding Out For New Contract
2. MIA - Dolphins Offensive Line Is Ready For Redemption
3. NE - RB Dillon Still Hungry
4. KC - WR Parker Looking To Make Impact in 2005
5. CHI - Improved WR Berrian Fills Offense's Need For Speed
6. PHI - Rookie WR Reggie Brown Faces Pressure To Contribute Immediately
7. PHI - RB Moats Feeling At Home: Veteran RB Buckhalter Takes Rookie Under
8. DEN - WR Rice Keeps Playing For The Love Of The Game
9. CLE - TE Winslow Apologizes To Fans
10. PHI - The Changing Of The Guard In Philadelphia
11. KC - Q&A With QB Trent Green
12. TEN - Young RB Payton Continues To Impress Over In Europe
13. IDP: WAS - S Taylor Not In Coach Gibb's Doghouse
CLE - LT Verba Holding Out For New Contract
Clipped from: Plain Dealer article by Mary Kay Cabot
Starting left tackle Ross Verba is boycotting the Browns voluntary
passing camp and said Thursday he'll hold out of minicamp, training
camp and the 2005 season if he doesn't get a new contract.
"I played last year for nothing and I just want to be treated fairly,"
Verba said by phone. "If not, I'm not coming into camp and I won't
play the season."
Verba, a ninth-year pro, is under contract in 2005 and 2006 at $2.925
million a year, but wants to be paid like one of the top left tackles.
For comparison's sake, St. Louis' Orlando Pace and Seattle's Walter
Jones make about $7.5 million a year. Verba indicated that he's asking
for a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of five years, $38.5 million.
"I don't want to cause problems, but I had a handshake deal with the
Browns and I upheld my part," he said. "I want them to do the same."
Verba, 31, signed with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent out of
Green Bay in 2001. At the time, Butch Davis' regime gave him a
four-year deal worth about $16 million. But in 2003, Verba suffered a
ruptured right biceps tendon and sat out the season. Last season, in
the final year of his deal, Verba was set to make $4.6 million. But
because he was coming off the injury and because his cap number would
have been $6.2 million, the Browns asked him to restructure. He signed
a three-year extension through 2006 that included a $2.75 million
signing bonus. He received a base salary of $535,000 in 2004 and then
$2.925 million in each of the next two years.
"I really only wanted a one-year deal, but they wanted me to sign the
three-year so my cap number would've been even lower," he said. "I
agreed. But they told me if I played last year for $535,000, they'd
take care of me. That's what I want them to do."
"I was the lowest-paid left tackle in the NFL last season but I still
had the best year of my career," Verba said. "I gave up less than
sacks. You can look at the film." Verba, originally a first-round pick
of the Packers out of Iowa, said the Browns asked him on Monday where
he stood. On Tuesday, he faxed them a four-page letter outlining his
"I haven't heard back from them," said Verba. "What I want is
call saying, 'We want to get you re-signed.' I'd like to have it done
in the next month."
Since then, he's been lifting weights at the facility, but not
practicing with the team. He said he'll skip the mandatory minicamp
June 13-15 if nothing's been done.
"I don't want to hold out," he said. "I want to play. My friend
[guard] Joe Andruzzi is here and I'm looking forward to playing with
him. I'm looking forward to playing with Trent Dilfer. . . . But I
told myself when I came into the league that I'd be treated fairly."
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
There's a little more to this story with the "handshake" deal.
Although those kinds of deals are often remembered differently by the
two sides later. Despite his beliefs, he isn't one of the best left
tackles in the NFL but he certainly is very good and puts forth 100%
effort on every play. He is an important part of the Browns offensive
attack and they need him happy and ready to go by the start of the
season. Since he was promised last year he would be compensated if he
helped the team with the cap situation, that should be honored but not
to the tune of 7+ million per season. He'll likely slot into a $4.5
to 5 million per season, multi-year deal which is fair to both himself
and the Browns organization. Pay close attention to this situation as
the Browns will miss his talents if he isn't there to start the
MIA - Dolphins Offensive Line Is Ready For Redemption
Clipped from: Sun-Sentinel article by Harvey Fialkov
While it might pale in comparison to past guarantees made by the likes
of Joe Namath, Mark Messier and Alonzo Mourning, Dolphins center Seth
McKinney vowed that last season's porous offensive line would show a
dramatic improvement this year.
"We do have a lot to prove," McKinney said. "We were looked
everywhere, and we're going to turn it around. I could guarantee we're
going to turn it around."
McKinney and offensive lineman Wade Smith are excited about the
teachings of new offensive line coach Hudson Houck.
"Everybody is buying in [to the system], and everyone has a new
attitude how to do things, the techniques we're learning," said Smith,
who was replaced at left tackle by Damion McIntosh after last season's
second game. It's showing up when we're out there practicing. That
it's working gives the guys confidence."
Smith, who is competing with McKinney for time at center as well as
learning every other position on the line, is ready for some payback.
"I wouldn't say we owe something, but as far as anger, there's
definitely a chip on our shoulder ... about a lot of stuff that went
down in the past, so that's stuff we have on our minds," Smith said.
McKinney started all 16 games last season as part of a beleaguered
line that allowed 52 sacks. He's not ready to surrender his starting
"I expect [to start] completely," McKinney said. "That's what
working toward. Who wouldn't?"
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
Ronnie Brown' falling on a few boards because of how bad Miami's line
has been. This could change this year as the Dolphins may have not
only a serviceable line in 2005, but a good one. There is a
surprising amount of talent littered throughout this deep group of
lineman and the addition of offensive line guru, Hudson Houck should
result in this unit firing on all cylinders this year. If Ronnie
Brown struggles this season it almost certainly won't be the fault of
the guys playing up front.
NE - RB Dillon Still Hungry
Clipped from: Boston Herald article by Michael Felger
Corey Dillon got out of Cincinnati. He got his ring. He got his
contract. What's left for the man who's got everything? How about a
bigger jewelry box?
``I only got one ring,'' the Patriots record-setting running back said
between workouts at passing camp yesterday. ``What does that (one
Super Bowl) mean? That doesn't mean anything right now. I need a
couple more. I need two or three like the rest of these guys. If
you're wondering if I'm still hungry, don't even bother. I'm hungry.
A good sign of that hunger lies in the fact that Dillon is in Foxboro
taking part in non-mandatory workouts, knocking the rust off his game
and getting in sync with the Pats' new offensive coordinator (Bill
Belichick). Certainly, Dillon is in a different place than he was at
this point last year, when he arrived at Gillette Stadium with a
tainted reputation and looking to prove he belonged in a
team-oriented, championship locker room. It didn't take long for
Dillon and the Pats to find their comfort-level, and now the former
bad boy is just another good guy in the locker room.
``I'm definitely more relaxed, more comfortable,'' said Dillon. ``It's
a big leap from last year.''
As for what Dillon is working on, he said ``everything.'' It's hard
to imagine he could be much better than last year, when he ran for a
team-record 1,635 yards with a 4.7-yard average and 12 touchdowns.
Everyone knows that 30 is a tough age for NFL running backs. But the
Pats have seen firsthand what Curtis Martin has done with the Jets,
and Dillon, who turns 31 in October, fancies himself as that kind of
``I did what I did when I was 30, so I don't see why it will change
now that I'm going to be (31),'' Dillon said. ``But I definitely do
things differently than I used to - almost everything. Just how I
train, how I eat, how I rest. I'm not that young stud anymore. I'm an
old stud. I have to do the extras.''
The Pats believe Dillon has more in the tank because they rewarded
him with a five-year, $25 million extension in April.
``Going into the offseason, it wasn't something that I was necessarily
looking for,'' said Dillon. ``But they and my agent got together and
they came up with something that was fair. Obviously it was fair, or
else I wouldn't have signed it. And now I'll probably be here for the
rest of my career, and that's what I wanted.''
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
Yes Corey Dillon is indeed over the dreaded 30-year old mark but he is
in great shape, in great spirits and wants to keep playing at a high
level. There is no reason to expect a dip this season solely due to
age reasons as he is in peak condition and happy with his situation.
He may not rush for 1,635 yards once again in 2005 but I also wouldn't
bet against him reaching that mark again. Talent wise, Dillon has
always been one of the more gifted players in the game and now that
he's happy and satisfied he can simply let his game to the talking.
Expect Dillon to have another solid season in 2005. We're currently
projecting him as our #7 RB http://footballguys.com/currentproj-rb.htm
KC - WR Parker Looking To Make Impact in 2005
Clipped from: Warpaint Illustrated article via Seahawks.net by Tom Casale
After battling injuries for most of the 2004 NFL season, Oregon wide
receiver Samie Parker found his way onto the field the last four games
and started to show what that track speed could produce on the
football field. Thus far in the OTA's, Parker has been the star of the
offense and the Chiefs hope that effort continues in September when
the games really count.
No one is really worried about the Chiefs' offense entering the 2005
season. The unit has ranked near the top of the NFL standings in total
offense ever since offensive coordinator Al Saunders arrived in Kansas
City. With all the footballs that have been flying around Arrowhead
Stadium recently, is there actually a chance that the Chiefs' offense
could be even more explosive this season? If the recent mini-camps are
any indicator, it just might be.
Despite all their success in recent years, the Chiefs have lacked a
speed receiver who can stretch defenses. Saunders makes up for the
liability with innovative game plans and exploiting match ups but
think of what Saunders can come up with if the Chiefs add a speed
receiver into the mix. Someone to challenge defenses vertically and
help keep defenders from ganging up on Tony Gonzalez and Eddie
Kennison. That someone could very well be second-year receiver Samie
Parker's late season success in 2004 prompted optimism for the
upcoming season. As Warpaint Illustrated's Nick Athan has been
reporting from Chiefs camp, the Chiefs do have reason to be optimistic
about Parker's prospects for the 2005 season. According to Athan,
Parker has been the offensive star in Chiefs' camp so far making
acrobatic catches and using his speed to separate from cornerbacks.
With the expected release of Johnnie Morton next week, Parker is
making his case to be the starter opposite Kennison when the season
If you look at the receivers on the Chiefs' roster, it appears that
Parker has a good chance to nail down the starting job. Dante Hall can
score any time he touches the ball but he is inconsistent as a
receiver and far more valuable to the Chiefs as a return man. After
showing promise two years ago, Marc Boerigter has been a
disappointment in Kansas City. Boerigter doesn't appear to be a good
fit as a starting wide receiver. A lot of people are high on rookie
Craphonso Thorpe but it is unlikely that Thorpe is going to be in the
starting lineup when the season begins. Thorpe has talent but rarely
do rookie receivers come in and make a huge impact. With a year of
training camp and off-season workouts under his belt, Parker is
further along than Thorpe is and that will be to his advantage. Chris
Horn is another possibility but again, he doesn't seem to have the
overall skills to be a starter in the NFL. If you look at all the
options currently on the Chiefs' roster, Parker has a good chance of
starting if he continues to play well in training camp and the
Of course no one is saying that those will be the only receivers on
the Chiefs' roster when training camp starts. There is a possibility
that the Chiefs could bring in a receiver who gets cut after June 1st.
Some of the bigger name players who may be let go include Peerless
Price, Rod Gardner, Koren Robinson and Joey Galloway. If one of those
players is available for the right price and the Chiefs bring them
aboard, Parker's chances of being a starter will most likely be gone
but that doesn't mean he won't be a big part of the offense. Whether
he starts or not, Parker has the speed and big-play ability to be
productive for the Chiefs.
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
Don't look now but the already explosive Chiefs' offense is looking
stronger with the addition of young, talented receivers. Samie Parker
is a name that both football and fantasy fans alike may know well in
the very near future. With the expected release of veteran Johnnie
Morton, Parker has an opportunity to become a real option in the
Chiefs dynamic offensive attack. The starting job will likely go to
Parker although rookie Craphonso Thorpe could surprise with a great
camp. If Parker does get the nod to start for the Chiefs, expect him
to put up numbers at least a little better than Morton did over the
last couple of seasons and his upside is high. Just what the Chiefs
needed was more offensive weapons.
CHI - Improved WR Berrian Fills Offense's Need For Speed
Clipped from: ChicagoBears.com article by Larry Mayer
He didn't switch teams like Muhsin Muhammad or uniform numbers like
Justin Gage, but Bernard Berrian isn't the same receiver he was as a
rookie. More refined as a pass catcher and more comfortable with his
veteran teammates in his second season, Berrian displayed big-play
ability and soft hands at last weekend's minicamp.
"I think I'm a lot better technique-wise and also being able to see
more things happen during the course of a play," said Berrian, who had
15 receptions for 225 yards and 2 TDs as a rookie.
Berrian produced the highlight of last Sunday's practice by hauling in
a Chad Hutchinson pass deep down the right sideline for a touchdown.
Berrian made the play after utilizing his blazing speed to gain
separation from rookie cornerback Talib Wise.
"He's got the speed, the burst and the big-play capabilities," said
first-year offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "That's huge; you've got
to have that.
"I wasn't here last year, but from what everyone says he's catching
the ball much more consistently and playing with more confidence right
"He stepped up and had five good (practices) and is competing well.
He's determined to prove that he can be an every-down receiver, that
he's not going to be limited to certain types of routes and I think
he'll be able to do that."
Coaches are working with Berrian to harness his speed and run crisper
pass routes. He's got great speed and he tends to round things a
little bit," Turner said. "That's the biggest thing we're working
right now is just getting him a little more precise in the
Berrian will have a chance in training camp and the preseason to win a
starting job opposite Muhammad.
Justin Gage worked primarily with the first team in minicamp, but it's
too early to declare the 2003 fifth-round pick the winner of the
"He's not a starter right now," Turner said of Gage. "Obviously
is, but other than that we don't have one. He worked mostly with the
first team in minicamp, so he's got an opportunity. But we've got very
good competition going on there, so I wouldn't say we've elevated
anybody to a starting role yet. We've given him a chance to do it and
he had a good minicamp. He did some good things."
Even if Berrian doesn't earn a starting position, that doesn't mean
that the 2004 third-round pick from Fresno State won't have a role on
offense. "We're going to have three or four (receivers) who are going
to play a lot of football for us," Turner said. "Who the starter is
really doesn't matter. It's who those guys are because we'll get them
on the field. We'll do enough three-receiver sets and that will get
them on the field."
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
As is most of the articles at this time of the year, this is about 90%
fluff. Almost always, players look stronger, faster and ready to take
the league by storm in May only to find they're mired in mediocrity
come September. However there is usually a good kernel or two buried
within the stories and this is no exception. It sounds like the Bears
are going to incorporate a lot of three and four receiver sets this
year which will spread out the defenses. With a solid offensive line,
the Bears should be able to run the ball effectively if they can have
any success in getting the ball to the receivers down the field.
Berrian almost certainly will slot in as the # 2 or # 3 receiver and
he has the talent to make some big plays. First though he'll have to
work on getting strong fundamentals and exploding out of his cuts
instead of rounding them off. No receiver at the NFL level can have
success by running sloppy routes.
PHI - Rookie WR Reggie Brown Faces Pressure To Contribute Immediately
Clipped from: Philadelphia Daily News article by Les Bowen
Has any Eagles second-round draft choice ever faced the kind of
scrutiny Reggie Brown will face if Terrell Owens isn't back in the
fold by Aug. 1, the day veterans are supposed to report to training
camp at Lehigh?
It's unfair for anyone to expect Brown, as a rookie, to make up for
the absence of a veteran All-Pro receiver. It might even be unfair for
anyone to expect him to make up for the absence of released slot
receiver Freddie Mitchell, given the steep learning curve wideouts
face coming to terms with Andy Reid's West Coast offense; in the Reid
era, no rookie wideout has surpassed Mitchell's underwhelming total of
21 catches in 2001.
But Brown, taken 35th overall last month, is the new face, the only
likely addition to the returning wideout corps. His athleticism and
potential are probably going to excite more optimistic speculation
than the prospect of expanded roles for emerging third-year former
undrafted free agent Greg Lewis, or little-used third-year former
third-round pick Billy McMullen.
"I try not to focus on that," Brown said yesterday, during a break
from the second day of a 3-day rookie minicamp that concludes today at
the NovaCare Complex. "I try not to dwell on it. Every day, I just try
to get better, learn more of the offense and become more comfortable
with the system. Once I get comfortable with the system and am able to
go out there and just be natural and don't have to think about
everything, then I'll be all right. I'm confident in my ability. I
think I could easily go out there and contribute to the team, if need
"Nobody can put pressure on me like I put on myself."
It isn't as if Brown has never been scrutinized, never been pressed.
He grew up in football-mad Carrollton, Ga., where the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution named him the state's top prospect as a senior.
He also earned four basketball letters and set the state long-jump
record of 24 feet, 9 inches. His college career at Georgia was played
in the shadow of the nonmalignant brain tumor that has kept his
father, Gilbert "Pee-Wee" Brown, from working the past 5 years, Reggie
said. Reggie's first pro contract will be a big deal for his father,
his mother, Bobbie, who works in a Target store, and for Reggie's five
half-brothers and sisters.
At Georgia, Brown was known for how he worked to prepare himself. He
would take 30-, 40- or 50-mile bike rides on the roads around Athens.
In the weight room, he could bench-press 400 pounds, quite a feat for
a stringy, 6-1, 197-pound receiver. He said yesterday he feels he got
his work ethic from his father, a former running back who showed his
son how he used to dash through the woods, dodging trees as if they
Given how heralded a prospect he had been, Brown's early Georgia
career was a little disappointing. He suffered a torn right ACL in
2001 and didn't really hit his stride until 2003, when he first became
a full-time starter. Last season he made first-team all-SEC, catching
53 passes for 860 yards and six TDs. In testing, he recorded a
team-best 43-inch vertical leap and ran a 4.3-second 40, prompting
Georgia quarterback David Greene to describe him as "kind of a
The Eagles obviously haven't seen enough of him yet to make definitive
pronouncements, but they like what they've seen. At the first
minicamp, offensive coordinator Brad Childress said Brown had
"certainly shown an aptitude and the ability to be able to hold his
own against these guys."
This week, Childress said he was encouraged by how quickly Brown
seemed to be learning the offense. Yesterday, backup quarterback Mike
McMahon said Brown's quick mastery also impressed him, as did several
other things about the rookie.
"He's real quick in and out of his cuts, he's got real good hands, and
for him to come in and be able to run the offense as well as he is
right now, I think he's doing an excellent job... some guys are
struggling with where to line up," McMahon said.
Brown said he feels the Eagles' offense "is complex if you don't study
it. You have to look over it at least five, six, seven, eight times a
night to be able to come out here and run through it and be
comfortable and not get confused."
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
Relying on rookie receivers can be a scary proposition in both the NFL
and in fantasy football but so far Reggie Brown has been doing
everything right for the Eagles. Opportunity is always huge for young
receivers and it appears that Brown has a shot to slot in as a # 2 guy
right out of the gate and as the last couple of years has shown
(Michael Clayton, Lee Evans, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin),
rookie receivers can have an impact in the right situation. The one
big red flag when it comes to Brown is his lack of domination at the
collegiate level. He never really put it all together on the field
despite his incredible athleticism and only time will tell if he can
make the mammoth jump from very good collegiate player to professional
star. He is worth keeping an eye on for redraft leagues this season.
PHI - RB Moats Feeling At Home: Veteran RB Buckhalter Takes Rookie Under Wing
Clipped from: News Journal article by Kevin Noonan
Ryan Moats zigged when he should have zagged, and the rookie running
back was upset after he botched the practice play. That's when Correll
Buckhalter quietly came up to him and patiently explained what Moats
had done wrong.
"I was a little surprised at first," Moats said. "I wasn't sure
would be treated by the veterans. I didn't know if they'd be helpful
or not. I didn't know if they would accept me.
"So that made me feel good."
Especially since Moats is trying to take away Buckhalter's job as No.
2 running back with the Eagles. Brian Westbrook is No. 1, but the
Eagles' No. 2 gets plenty of action -- call him No. 1 1/2. "That
really says a lot about the kind of guy Buck is," Moats said during a
break in the NFL team's rookie camp Thursday. "I know a lot of guys
wouldn't go out of their way like he has. And he's a great role model
for me. I'm learning stuff from him every day."
Buckhalter said he's just returning the favor.
"When I first came here, Duce [Staley] took me under his wing and
helped me out, and now it's my turn to do the same," Buckhalter said.
"Duce picked me up when I needed it. He helped me on the field and
off. So, if I can do anything to help the younger guys, I'm willing to
Moats rushed for 1,774 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, both
Louisiana Tech records. He ran for more than 200 yards in five games,
also a school record. And Moats has already been compared to Westbrook
-- they're both under 6-foot tall (5-8 and 5-10, respectively), both
played at small schools and have similar skills.
"He's got that ability to jitterbug and make you miss, if that's what
people are talking about," offensive coordinator Brad Childress said.
"He's put together very well, he's elusive and he can make you miss."
And Childress said Moats uses his size -- or lack of it -- to his advantage.
"He can hide behind those big offensive linemen and come squirting out
of there," Childress said. "And he's fast enough to hit a home run."
But you can't hit a home run unless you get some at-bats. And it
remains to be seen whether Moats can soak up the offense quickly
enough and thoroughly enough to play a major role his rookie season.
"I have a long way to go and I know it," Moats said. "At the
time, I'm confident in my ability and I'm confident that I'll be able
to learn what I need to know."
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
RB Correll Buckhalter is in a fight for his job with rookie running
back sensation, Ryan Moats yet found the time to take the young player
under his wing to help develop his game. That says a lot for
Buckhalter as a person, especially since he'll have a difficult time
seeing the field with two talented, young runners to share time with.
Buckhalter is a very different player than both Moats and Westbrook,
being much larger and more of a grinder. That could certainly help
him see the field with regularity if he is indeed 100% healthy and
ready to go. Moats has unbelievable skills and could develop into a
tremendous pro if he gets an opportunity. The question is whether
he'll get that chance this year or not but once he does get his chance
to shine, he'll almost certainly make the most of it. Big props go
out to Buckhalter for selflessly helping the rookie out.
DEN - WR Rice Keeps Playing For The Love Of The Game
Clipped from: AP article by Eddie Pells
After years in the spotlight, Jerry Rice wants to enjoy the twilight.
More concerned with having fun than trying to live up to the
expectations thrust upon football's greatest receiver, Rice was hungry
for a 21st season.
That's why he signed with the Denver Broncos, who aren't rolling out
the red carpet, but are simply asking him to come in, try to make the
team and, if he does, to help them win a Super Bowl.
"For so many years there was so much pressure on me," Rice said
Thursday in a telephone interview with reporters in Denver. "I had to
set a certain standard and I still carry on that standard. But I had a
lot of weight on my shoulders. I had blinders on. I couldn't hear the
crowd. I couldn't hear them chanting my name and I couldn't see little
kids in the stands. I was so focused on what I had to do."
The last couple of years, though, he has been more of a role player.
"The ball was not coming my way every down and I'm really enjoying the
game and having fun," he said.
Rice, who signed a one-year contract with Denver on Wednesday,
concedes that at 42, he'll never play at the level that made him the
most productive receiver in NFL history. But there are signs things
might not be over. Last year, splitting time between Oakland and
Seattle, he averaged 14.3 yards a catch, which was only a half-yard
less than his career average.
He is still in shape. Can still get open. The legs have lost some of
their zip, but his heart certainly hasn't. Many times during his
engaging, 30-minute long conversation Thursday, he sounded more like
an excited rookie than a grizzled veteran.
"I don't think it really has set in yet," he said. "With everything
that is going on, the excitement, is great. ... I'm not sleeping right
now. I am working out hard. I'm trying to get myself ready and I can
wait to get reacquainted with Mike Shanahan."
[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]
A lot of football fans sound almost angry at times when discussing his
wanting to continue playing. You can hear stuff like "He's washed
up"; "We'll remember him as a bum in Denver" and "He just
when to quit" around water coolers all over North America. But hey,
if a player wants to keep playing, has enough talent to be at least a
serviceable part of a roster, has kept himself in great shape and is
playing because he loves the sport so much, why should we knock the
guy? There is no chance Rice is going to gain even a measure of his
past glory but let's be real, we are always going to remember him as
the unstoppable force of the 49ers offensive attack and not as a
reserve receiver on a different team.
CLE - TE Winslow Apologizes To Fans
Clipped from: AP article by Tom Withers
Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. apologized to fans Thursday for
his reckless use of a motorcycle and said he will miss the upcoming
season because of injuries sustained in the crash.
Winslow tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and
sustained unspecified internal injuries May 1, when he wrecked his
high-powered motorcycle while attempting tricks in a secluded parking
lot near his home.
For the first time since the crash, Winslow confirmed that he will
miss his second season as a pro and acknowledged that it was a mistake
to take up motorcycle riding.
"To those members of the Cleveland Browns family who I have
disappointed by my decision to ride a motorcycle, I humbly apologize,"
Winslow said in the statement. "In hindsight it was unwise to attempt
to learn to ride a motorcycle without a professional instructor in a
"While many of you are disappointed that I will not be on the field
with my teammates for this upcoming season, no one is more
disappointed in this fact than me."
Winslow, who spent nine days at the Cleveland Clinic recovering from
injuries in the crash, has been working out at the Browns' training
facility in Berea. He has taken part in the team's 11-day passing
camp, learning the new playbook and system being installed by
first-year coach Romeo Crennel.
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We all know by now that Winslow Jr. is going to miss his second
consecutive season due to his motorcycle accident. This sounds an
awfully like a PR speech and he didn't seem to have a lot of heart in
it. Although letting Winslow talk from the heart without a scripted
press conference might not be the best idea either. He's done for this
year and on the back burner as we focus on players that will be on the
field in 2005.
PHI - The Changing Of The Guard In Philadelphia
Clipped from: Philadelphia Inquirer article by Bob Brookover
The changing of the guards has already taken place. For the first four
seasons of their current run of five straight playoff appearances, the
Eagles relied on Jermane Mayberry and John Welbourn as their top
guards. Now, those jobs belong to Artis Hicks and Shawn Andrews. The
changing of the tackles probably isn't all that far away.
Right offensive tackle Jon Runyan, 31, is heading into the final year
of his contract and had to accept a pay cut to stick around this year.
Left tackle Tra Thomas is 30 years old and has a blood clot in his leg
that is cause for concern in both the immediate and distant future.
Center Hank Fraley will turn 28 in September, and there were rumblings
before the draft that the team might select his future replacement.
The point here is that there's a group of young offensive linemen in
the Eagles' rookie camp this week who could soon have their chance to
step in as starting offensive linemen. In the last two seasons, the
Eagles have drafted a total of six offensive linemen, including
Andrews, who opened last season as the starting left guard but was
lost to a season-ending leg injury in the first game.
Todd Herremans, a 6-foot-6, 321-pound offensive tackle out of Division
II Saginaw Valley State in Michigan, was taken this year with the
Eagles' second pick in the fourth round. He's heard all the rumors
about how Runyan and Thomas could be gone after this season.
"I don't look at things that way," Herremans said. "Everybody
talking about how they are on the last year of their contracts, but I
look at it as if they could be here for the next five years."
That, according to Hicks, is a wise move. Rookies and second-year
offensive linemen are best served by learning their craft at these
camps rather than worrying about their futures in the organization.
"You better pay attention to the small things, because everybody is
good at this level," Hicks said. "The thing that separates teams from
being average and good... is the attention they pay to the small
things. That's why these minicamps here are so good, especially for
the young guys.
"You get a chance to see how we do things and a chance to pay
attention to the small things. You get a chance to learn technique. If
you're not technically sound, you're not going to be able to go out
there and be successful."
Herremans, who has alternated between left and right tackle in the
Eagles' two minicamps, said NFL Technique 101 as instructed by
offensive line coach Juan Castillo has been an eye-opening experience.
"I've had to learn an entirely different technique than I used in
college," Herremans said. "I had two great line coaches in college
they taught me what I needed to know to get by in college. The
technique here is totally different. I've had to change where I carry
my hands, my kicks and where I carry my weight."
Right now, Herremans has the same chance as Calvin Armstrong, who was
taken 85 picks after him by the Eagles. He has the same chance as Trey
Darilek, a fourth-round pick from last season. He has the same chance
as Drew Strojny, an offensive tackle out of Duke who is trying to earn
a place on the Eagles' roster after being signed as an undrafted free
agent before last season.
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It is always interesting to read how rookies are adjusting to the
differences of the professional game. Players such as Todd Herremans
are almost certainly going to have no impact in their first seasons
but could become an important part of the offensive success in future
seasons. The Eagles offensive line has a good mix of young and
veteran talent and should continue to play good football for years to
KC - Q&A With QB Trent Green
Clipped from: KCChiefs.com article
Q: How are the young receivers coming along and are any standing out to you?
GREEN: "I think Samie Parker really picked up right where he left off.
He has played real well this spring. I think everyone was encouraged
by the way his season ended a year ago. The fact that he came back and
has been able to stay healthy, get a lot of work, and be out on the
field is great. He has been very impressive."
Q: How can RB Larry Johnson and TE Kris Wilson help this offense?
GREEN: "It is two more weapons. With Priest (Holmes) coming back from
an injury it is great what Larry has been doing. I think everyone has
noticed the approach that Larry is taking and he seems to be much more
focused. I think it is great that Priest is out here from a leadership
standpoint. He has been doing the football thing for awhile now, but
just to get back on the field is great. Even if it is limited reps it
is still great."
Q: What do you think of the offense even though the majority of them
are one year older and you also have to worry about injuries?
GREEN: "I think there is some concern and that is why there is such a
sense of urgency. You know when you look at the guys we brought in on
defense they aren't developmental guys. They aren't going to take a
few years to learn the system. I think it is very clear that the moves
made by the organization in the off-season by getting a veteran
linebacker, a veteran safety, veteran corner, another veteran
defensive end and also the draft picks their intent is clear. I think
there is definitely a sense of urgency realizing the age of everyone
to get it done now."
Q: Can you talk about RB Larry Johnson and RB Priest Holmes being in
the backfield at the same time?
GREEN: "That is going to give us added weapons. There were times last
year when we used Derrick and Priest in the backfield at the same
time. We had packages put together for the two of them based on what
they could do better based on Derrick's ability to catch the ball out
of the backfield. I think we are only going to carry those packages
over with Larry and Priest. I think what it really does is just make
the defense second guess. We do a lot of shifting, moving, and having
guys play multiple positions and having those two backs in there will
just be an advantage."
Q: If WR Johnnie Morton does not come back are you okay having to
throwing to young receivers?
GREEN: "I think most of the guys we have coming back our veteran guys.
Dante has been in the system a while and so has Eddie Kennison. The
youngest guy would probably be Samie Parker and if he continues to
progress like he did at the end of the season and does all those
things well we will be fine. He caught the ball in pressure situations
last year, had some key third-down catches, but also with his speed he
bring a vertical passing game. His ability to stretch the field
hopefully can open up things for Tony Gonzalez and some of the
underneath stuff. Sammie looks to be the main contributor in terms of
young receivers. However, if we get Boerigter back healthy and (Chris)
Horn or Richard Smith back healthy they are guys that have been in the
system at some point. From a youth standpoint Samie is really the one
that will have to shoulder that load."
Q: Are you comfortable throwing to those wide receivers and utilizing them?
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While it is often the result of 'rose-colored glasses' I always love
to read about a player's take on how the preseason is going. Trent
Green has been around the block for many seasons and knows his stuff.
The interesting nuggets in this article include the dual running back
formations in place for this season with both Larry Johnson and Priest
Holmes and the maturing of gifted, young receiver Samie Parker whom
the Chiefs hope can replace Johnnie Morton in the starting lineup. It
will be very interesting to see the Chiefs offensive attack with both
gifted running backs on the field at one time. It will be tough to
slow this offense down once again in 2005.
TEN - Young RB Payton Continues To Impress Over In Europe
Clipped from: ABC News article by Joost Kling
Jarrett Payton prefers to skip the comparisons to his father. Besides,
he's already doing a fine impression.
Payton, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton, is a running back
with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe, and he's trying to make it
big on his own merits.
"My dad was the greatest, but I just want to be the guy who can play
the game and not because of my last name," Payton said. "I was born
into this and I've got to take it. I can't go out there and be like
him. I've got to be myself."
The 24-year-old Payton has rushed for 492 yards on 88 carries an
average of 5.6 yards per carry and scored a league-leading seven
touchdowns to help the Admirals to a 5-3 record.
"I have some good yards, but that's not the most important thing. The
biggest thing I'm happy about is that I'm playing consistently,"
The former University of Miami player is hoping to earn a spot with
the Tennessee Titans, the team that allocated him to Amsterdam.
"When I get back I want to have a role on the team. The things that
Tennessee wanted me to do I think I've done those things. As a player
I feel that I can always play," Payton said.
Payton, who spent last season on the Titans' practice squad, will have
to learn offensive coordinator Norm Chow's new system when he returns,
but the Titans only have draft pick Damien Nash and a handful of
rookies currently competing to back up Chris Brown.
"It is important that he is rested for training camp because he has
basically been playing football for a calendar year, so we will ease
him into training camp," said Titans coach Jeff Fisher, a teammate of
Payton's father with the Bears.
"Jarrett will definitely be in the mix at the running back position,
especially after the improvement he has shown with the Admirals this
spring," he said.
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RB Jarrett Payton is certainly a player to watch throughout the
preseason. It appears he has made some significant progress over in
Europe and the back up position to a running back who can't stay
healthy is completely up for grabs. He could be a great late-round
pick that you can always cut if he doesn't pan out.
IDP: WAS - S Taylor Not In Coach Gibb's Doghouse
Clipped from: Redskins.com article by Gary Fitzgerald
Head coach Joe Gibbs said Thursday that he is still excited about
working with Sean Taylor despite the second-year player's absence from
Organized Team Activities at Redskins Park. Taylor has not taken part
in the team's voluntary off-season workouts that started in late March
or the voluntary OTA sessions that began May 17.
"I'm still excited about working with him," Gibbs said. "I'm
trying to get him to join in on what everybody else is doing."
Gibbs called it "disappointing" that Taylor has chosen not to attend
the OTAs. Taylor, the hard-hitting safety who played his collegiate
ball at the University of Miami (Fla.), wrapped up his rookie season
last year with 89 tackles (62 solo), four interceptions, one sack and
two forced fumbles. He was named a first alternate to the Pro Bowl.
"Sean's a gifted player," Gibbs said. "So many times in sports,
matter of, how do you reach a guy? We know he's a great team guy and
we know he loves football. When we were out practicing during the
season last year, he was out there in the mud running and
diving--having a great time playing football.
"He chose not to attend this off-season, I wanted to get the attention
off of one guy and get it on the guys who are here. We have a bunch of
guys here working hard to build a football team.
"I think our job is to try and reach him and try to get him to play
great for us. This is proof of what can happen on a football team. You
don't want it to happen but it can happen."
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Not really much to read in here. Many veteran players decide to blow
off these camps and while I think it is a poor idea for team unity and
all that jazz, I'm sure he'll show up and be 100% in shape at the
start of training camp. Mostly this article is in the update to make
sure I don't get the IDP owners of our fantasy football community
upset that I couldn't find any relevant fantasy news for them to read
today. Thought I better throw you a bone and put something in my
That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great Saturday and we'll see
you tomorrow with the update. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you.