Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Posted by Josh Alper on May 29, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT
The biggest debate about Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in recent days has had to do with whether or not he padded his stats by throwing the ball a lot at the end of losses.
Newton hasn’t weighed in on that topic, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t wielding a critical eye when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. The difference between him and Alex Smith is that he’s looking in the mirror when it comes time to level that criticism.
Newton spoke to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports about what he needs to do better in his second NFL season. It had nothing to do with throwing for more yards in the first halves of games, something that wouldn’t actually represent much of a change. Newton thinks he needs to be better about letting go when mistakes happen and that he needs to find a new way to interact with his teammates.
“I was very immature,” Newton said. “I’ll be the first one to tell you, the pouting and the moping, I kind of overdid it. I know that. I was a bad teammate. I shut off to some people who gave unbelievable effort. … That’s where I have to mature.”
Wide receiver Steve Smith, who has had a hard time being the best of teammates in the past, thought Newton was being a bit too hard on himself, but did see places where Newton’s approach could improve. To Smith, Newton tries to put too much on his own shoulders and, going forward, he needs to trust his teammates to make plays more often. That should be easier after a full offseason of working together, although its still a safe bet that Newton will retain his starring role on the Carolina offense.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 6:43 PM
Posted by Josh Alper on May 29, 2012, 2:46 PM EDT
There’s one less veteran on the Patriots depth chart at wide receiver.
The team announced Tuesday that they have released wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez. Gonzalez signed with the team in March as a free agent, but he wasn’t at OTAs last week and clearly didn’t convince anyone that he could be an asset for them this season.
Gonzalez was a first-round pick of the Colts in the 2007 Draft. He caught 94 passes in his first two seasons with Indianapolis, but injuries have limited him to 11 games and five catches over the last three seasons. The career revival he hoped for in New England won’t be happening, leaving the likes of Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch,Jabar Gaffney and Chad Ochocinco to battle for snaps across from Wes Welker.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 6:41 PM
Posted by Josh Alper on May 29, 2012, 10:10 AM EDT
The Vikings went into the offseason knowing that they needed more pieces on offense to help Christian Ponder in 2012.
They signed tight end John Carlson as a free agent in hopes of giving Ponder a reliable option and drafted Matt Kalil to help keep Ponder upright long enough to deliver passes. They also drafted a pair of Arkansas wide receivers — Greg Childs and Jarius Wright— to flesh out a thin position group. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave sounds most excited about wide receiver Jerome Simpson, signed as a free agent after playing out his contract with the Bengals.
“We need somebody with juice like that playing the split end,” Musgrave said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I’m really looking forward to Jerome and our quarterback starting to jell together. We need to be able to count on somebody from our split end position winning consistently versus man coverage. With the way I think we can run the football, defenses are going to try to take away the run. And we want to make them pay for that through the air.”
Simpson had 50 catches for 725 yards last season, numbers that would have made him a solid number two to Percy Harvin last season. Simpson’s ability to get deep and make plays after the catch make him a perfect fit for what the Vikings need.
The only drawback is the three-game suspension Simpson has to serve at the start of the season. That makes it all the more important for Simpson and Ponder to jell together as much as possible over the summer so that they aren’t starting from square one once Simpson is able to get on the field.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 12:03 PM
Posted by Michael David Smith on May 29, 2012, 10:40 AM EDT
A pair of trouble-making second-year players for the Lions are on the field this morning at Organized Team Activities.
Lions receiver Titus Young, who was told to stay home from OTAs after sucker punching teammate Louis Delmas, is back at work. And so is defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who was arrested over the weekend for drunk driving and attempting to elude the police.
Young released a statement through the team, acknowledging that he screwed up.
“My recent actions have not always been up to the standards the Lions expect or the standards that I expect from myself. I am truly sorry for those times when I didn’t meet those standards,” Young said. “My absence from the practice facility and the OTAs last week was necessary for both myself and the team. The time away from the team afforded me the opportunity to reflect and come to the realization that by putting those incidents behind me I will be able to focus on becoming the best teammate and player that I can be.”
Fairley has not spoken publicly since his arrest. Lions coach Jim Schwartz is expected to address the media today.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 12:01 PM
Posted by Josh Alper on May 29, 2012, 9:01 AM EDT
Bills coach Chan Gailey will be looking for howthe team’s rookies fit in as OTAs get underway.
Former Patriots T Matt Light received the Pop Warner Humanitarian Award.
Jets coach Rex Ryan breaks down some of the ways he’ll be more hands-on this season.
Studying for his Bar Mitzvah contributed to Browns rookie T Mitchell Schwartz’s late start in football.
Steelers owner Dan Rooney’s run as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland could be coming to an end.
The Texans continue their OTAs on Monday.
The Titans offense has become much friendlier to wide receivers.
Said Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel of RB/WR Dexter McCluster, “Probably what that will do is open it up for us to be able to use him however and whenever. We need him at whatever position. He’s taken to it really well. He’s been enthusiastic about it, so that is working out pretty well for us.”
The Raiders don’t rank that high at tight end in the AFC West.
After sticking with the Chargers for another year, coach Norv Turner should be feeling the pressure to win.
The Sporting News calls Giants coach Tom Coughlin the best in the business.
Eagles DE Trent Cole said it took almost the entire year for him to feel comfortable playing under defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
Extending places on the all-time Redskins team to coaches and front office personnel.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News thinks the Lions need to send a message in the wake of DT Nick Fairley’s arrest.
The anti-Vikings stadium forces have been fairly silent.
A look at what the Panthers have at wide receiver.
Said Saints T Jermon Bushrod, “Honestly we really have no choice but to come together and to keep our eyes on the prize. I get asked ‘How are you guys going to do this year’ three, four, maybe ten times a day depending on where I am and I tell them the same thing. We can only go up. We take the situation for what it is, come together, fight a little harder, prepare a little more and at the end of the day, let’s try to do something unheard of.”
Current and former Cardinals were thinking about Memorial Day on Monday.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com is making an early prediction that the 49ers will win the Super Bowl.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 11:59 AM
Posted by Mike Florio on May 28, 2012, 10:34 PM EDT
Running back Justin Forsett isn’t the only veteran free-agent who’ll get a chance to catch the attention of the Houston Texans on Wednesday. Veteran free-agent wideout Mike Sims-Walker will work out on Wednesday for the defending AFC South champions, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Sims-Walker played four games with the Rams last year before being released and returning to Jacksonville last season. After two games back with the Jaguars, a knee injury landed him on injured reserve.
In 2009, Sims-Walker made a big splash with 63 catches for 869 receiving yards and seven touchdowns for the Jaguars. The next season, his production dropped by 20 catches and more than 300 yards, but he added another seven touchdowns.
The Jaguars let him leave via free agency in 2011, opting not to apply a restricted free agency tender.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 7:43 AM
Posted by Mike Florio on May 28, 2012, 11:36 PM EDT
It doesn’t come out until August, so you can strike it from the early phases of your summer reading list. But few football books figure to be more entertaining than Sapp Attack, the first written offering from former NFL lineman Warren Sapp.
Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times recently previewed the 314-page effort, in which Sapp apparently perfectly captures his essence: “[H]e is loud, and he is profane, and he is stepping on a different set of toes every time you turn a page,” Shelton writes. “You may like it, you may hate it, and you may stay up late laughing about it.”
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 7:38 AM
Posted by Mike Florio on May 28, 2012, 9:02 PM EDT
I rarely address a subject that one of the other PFT writers has handled. But sometimes I just can’t keep quiet.
MDS pointed out earlier today the item from Peter King’sMonday Morning Quarterback regarding former Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian’s belief that the proposed extension in 2012 of the trade deadline from Week Six to Week Eight would have helped the Colts improve on their final record of 2-14, given that Polian would have shipped a third-round pick to the Broncos for deposed starter Kyle Orton.
Apart from the simple fact (as MDS noted) that Polian could have had Orton for nothing by simply making a waiver claim for Orton after he was cut in November, the idea that the Colts would have given up such a high pick in the hopes of getting a few more wins — and in turn not having the ability to land their next franchise quarterback — by picking up a guy whose contract was set to expire makes no sense.
Polian has been surprisingly good and informative during his time on the air with ESPN. He comes off as far more likeable than the experiences of plenty of agents and reporters would otherwise suggest, and personally he has become one of the few voices on the network to which I will stop whatever I’m doing and listen. But I don’t want to hear that Polian would have given up a third-round pick for Kyle Orton in the hopes of salvaging a lost season that has helped secure the team’s future.
If Polian is telling the truth, it makes owner Jim Irsay’s decision to move on much more understandable.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 7:34 AM
Posted by Evan Silva on May 28, 2012, 7:56 PM EDT
Ravens third-year nose tackle Terrence Cody’s weight is a constant concern because he’s ballooned to 400 pounds before. The Ravens list him at 349.
Cody trimmed down to 335 last year, but in hindsight doesn’t believe it was the best decision.
“Losing that weight last year kind of made me a little weak because I lost it a little too fast,” Cody said. “But working out with [strength coach] Bob [Rogucki] … I am feeling good. … I feel good, I look good.”
Per Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times, Cody has “restructured his bulk” and lost a significant amount of body fat since his rookie year. Wilson says Cody is “noticeably leaner” at OTAs.
Per Cody, his focus continues to be “Just taking care of my body. Most of all, it’s just eating right and just staying in shape.”
Still just 24 years old, Cody teams with Haloti Ngata to form a nearly 700-pound interior on the Ravens’ defensive line. Baltimore ranked second in the league in run defense last season. If this is the year Cody realizes his potential, the Ravens will make a strong push to unseat San Francisco for the No. 1 spot.
Posted by Tiger Hebert at 7:31 AM