Tuesday, September 4, 2012

McKinnie takes a pay cut to stay in Baltimore


Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore RavensGetty Images
Bryant McKinnie isn’t gone from Baltimore after all.
Just hours after McKinnie wrote “I’m gone” on Twitter amid reports that the Ravens told him to take a pay cut or get cut, McKinnie agreed to restructure his contract after all.
McKinnie’s agent, Michael George, told Jason LaCanfora of CBS that “Bryant really wanted to remain a Raven” and wanted to play for a winning team, so he agreed to lower his salary to stay in Baltimore. McKinnie will become a free agent in 2013.
So McKinnie will remain the Ravens’ starting left tackle, and Baltimore will not have to scramble its offensive line just days before the opener.

Ratliff out, Witten doubtful for Wednesday night


Jay+Ratliff+Dallas+Cowboys+v+Arizona+Cardinals+1B_lKdEmXxWlGetty Images
The Cowboys won’t have Jay Ratliff in the lineup when they try to buck recent trends and knock off the Giants in the Meadowlands on Wednesday night.
The team announced that Ratliff has been ruled out of the game because of a high ankle sprain suffered in the preseason game against the Rams. It’s a big blow for the Cowboys defense, which would have its hands plenty full with Eli Manning and company even if Ratliff was able to get on the field. Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore will try to replace as much of Ratliff’s production from nose tackle as they can.
Hope still exists for tight end Jason Witten, however. Witten has been listed as doubtful because of his lacerated spleen, but he’ll make the trip to New Jersey with the rest of the team so the possibility that he’ll be on the field still lingers. Witten is seeing a doctor Tuesday and a final decision will probably follow that appointment. With Miles Austin and Dez Bryant both looking healthy, the Cowboys would have an easier time dealing with Witten’s absence than they’ll have making do without Ratliff in the middle of the defensive line.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins is questionable after missing the entire offseason while recovering from shoulder surgery. Special teamer Danny McCray is doubtful thanks to a stinger.

Ryan Clark will not play Sunday


Ryan+Clark+Cleveland+Browns+v+Pittsburgh+Steelers+6EQygTHevxilGetty Images
When the Steelers 2011 season ended in Denver, safety Ryan Clark wasn’t on the field.
It doesn’t look like he’ll be on the field when they kick off the 2012 campaign either. Stephania Bell of ESPN.com reports that Clark will not play on Sunday night against the Broncos because of the health risks involved with playing at high altitude. Clark will reportedly travel with the team, as he did in January, but will not dress for the game.
Clark carries the sickle cell trait, which affects his red blood cells. When he played against the Broncos in Denver in 2007, Clark wound up hospitalized as a result of the altitude’s impact on his body. He ultimately needed to have his spleen and gall bladder removed and wound up missing the rest of the season. It’s not surprising that the Steelers would want to avoid a similar outcome this time around.
Ryan Mundy will likely start again in Clark’s place, which worked out fairly well for the Steelers in January. Mundy forced a pair of fumbles in that loss, although he was no more able to stop the Broncos on their game-winning pass to Demaryius Thomas than any of his teammates.
UPDATE: Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that Clark won’t play.

Trent Richardson on track to start Sunday


Scott Fujita, Trent RichardsonAP
Browns running back Trent Richardson is looking ready to play in Cleveland’s opener against the Eagles on Sunday.
Richardson practiced on Monday for the first time since August 6, and he did so without pain in the knee that has had him sidelined since arthroscopic surgery on August 9. Richardson worked with the first-string offense, and afterward Browns coach Pat Shurmur sounded optimistic that Richardson would be the team’s starting running back on Sunday.
Trent looked healthy running around today,” Shurmur said. “All along, I’ve been hopeful he’ll be there. If he’s ready to go, he’ll be our starter.”
Richardson didn’t talk to reporters after practice but teammates said he looked every bit as good as he did before surgery. From all indications, Richardson will play against the Eagles.

Is Your Team's Quarterback At Risk For Injury In 2012?

Matt Schaub on Crutches

Most experts regard the quarterback position as the most important in all of sports. If your team has a great quarterback, a trip to the playoffs is likely. However, a great quarterback does nothing for the team while wearing a sling. Which quarterbacks need to prove that they can stay healthy in 2012?

Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos

Manning has never been chronically injured. However, he did miss all 16 games last season in his final year with the Indianapolis Colts. At the age of 36, he is entering a phase of his career when even a nagging injury will take longer to heal. Considering that he needed three neck fusion surgeries (there was a fourth procedure that went unreported) to get back into playing shape, he may be one hit away from missing all of this season as well. If that happens, the Broncos may be toast. No one thinks Caleb Hanie or Brock Osweiler can lead a team to the playoffs.

Matt Schaub - Houston Texans

Matt Schaub has played in 11 or fewer games in three out of his five seasons with the Texans. Last season, Houston was forced to finish the season with rookie T.J Yates at the quarterback position. He fared OK for a rookie, but Schaub is clearly the type of player at quarterback that the Texans need to lead a balanced attack. In his absence, the Texans have been forced to put more of the burden on running backs Adrian Foster and Ben Tate. If healthy, Schaub has the ability to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season without much effort.

Mike Vick - Philadelphia Eagles

Vick has missed seven games over the last two seasons due to various injuries. In 2003, he missed 11 games after suffering an injury in the preseason. He suffered a rib injury in a preseason game against New England a couple of weeks ago. Vick has not played since then. While he will be ready to go for the first game of the season, it has to be disconcerting to know that he refuses to stay in the pocket. The majority of his injuries have come from scrambling while trying to extend plays. If he goes down, the Eagles will have to rely on rookie Nick Foles or Trent Edwards.

Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was among a handful of quarterbacks who threw for over 5,000 yards last season. However, he has also missed 19 of a possible 48 starts in his NFL career. If he goes down, the Lions season could go down with him. Shaun Hill is a nice player, but he is not likely to be the guy who could lead you to the playoffs. This is because the Lions defense is mediocre at best once you get past Suh and Tulloch.

Sam Bradford - St. Louis

While with Oklahoma, Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending shoulder injury just three games into his senior season. Last season with the Rams, Bradford started in only 10 games. He has had issues with his shoulder as well as other various injuries. It doesn't help that he plays behind a poor offensive line that constantly gives up sacks.

For fans of these teams, it is critical that the starting quarterback stays upright for the entire season. If they don't, it can be a long season for fans in Denver, Philly, Detroit, Houston and St. Louis. As Manning showed last season, a good quarterback can mask a lot of weaknesses. It can be the difference between a playoff team and a 2-14 team.