Posted on: September 5, 2009 7:27 pm

Brian Brohm among the surprise QB cuts

With the NFL cut-down today, there are literally hundreds of once-highly-touted prospects now available on the open market. Quarterbacks, as the saying goes, get the most credit when things are going right and the most blame when things are going wrong. For three big name quarterbacks, things went too wrong this preseason, apparently.

Veteran Jeff Garcia was a surprise signing by Oakland this year. Though one could make the argument that the Raiders might win more games with the former Pro Bowler leading the ship this season, for the long-term success of the franchise, it is difficult to argue that JaMarcus Russell will feel more comfortable with his position as the unquestioned starter with the ultra-competitive Garcia off the team.

There had been plenty of speculation that the Vikings would attempt to trade Tarvaris Jackson or perhaps Sage Rosenfels with Brett Favre now in the fold, but instead the club elected to drop former USC standout John David Booty, who insiders had suggested had improved considerably over his time with the Vikings. Don't expect Booty to be on the waiver wire for long.

Few, however, come with any more of a pedigree than former Green Bay Packer Brian Brohm, released today despite being the team's second round choice only two years ago.

Brohm, who some had suggested would have been the first overall pick of the 2007 draft had he left after his junior season, failed to impress the coaching staff despite several opportunities during the preseason. Former LSU standout, drafted by the Packers three rounds later than Brohm in the 2008 draft, made the team and apparently will be Green Bay's primary backup to young star Aaron Rodgers.

League sources had previously expressed to me how impressed the Packers had been with Flynn's development (and unimpressed with Brohm's). There was some belief throughout the league, in fact, that at least some of the reason why GM Ted Thompson was so adamant that Brett Favre's either remain retired or move on to a team other than the Vikings (remember that?) prior to the 2008 season was that he simply would not carry four quarterbacks on the Green Bay roster and liked the upside of Rodgers, Brohm and Flynn too much to allow one of the young passers to leave.
Posted on: September 5, 2009 1:55 pm

Alabama's Deaderick, shot Monday, Playing Today?

As crazy as it sounds, Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick has been cleared to play in the opener tonight against Virginia Tech, despite being shot in a robbery attempt Monday night. According to head coach Nick Saban during his weekly radio address Thursday night,

“Brandon is doing extremely well. He actually practiced today. It’s a little unbelievable to me. The first thing I do is talk to our medical staff, they actually say he’ll do no damage to himself. These things are actually being treated like a puncture wound because he had no damage to any nerves, no damage to any bone in either wound. It’s like stepping on a nail, when it heals up he can play. “We’re going to take it day-to-day. He really wants to play. I’ll talk to him and defer to him because he’s been cleared by the medical staff. I’ve met with his parents and talked with them. We want to do what’s best for him and we never want to do something that would be detrimental to his future career or even our season if he played before he’s ready.”
The bullet, which went through the flesh in his forearm and re-entered his body near his hip and left by his groin, did not come in contact with any bones, major arteries or nerves.

Deaderick started all 14 games last season for the Tide, coming through with more tackles(36), tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (4) last season than All-American nose guard Terrence Cody (24, 4.5, 0.5).

Sources close to the team tell me that Deaderick isn't likely to actually play tonight, but just the fact that he has been cleared, is traveling with the team and will be on the sideline is sure to provide the Tide with an emotional boost.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 5, 2009 12:50 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2009 12:52 pm

Minnesota-Syracuse, Ohio State-Navy prospects

The first Saturday of the season and the morning begins with two interesting inter-conference matchups with plenty of potential NFL talent.

The key players to watch in the Minnesota-Syracuse game currently on ESPN is Gopher wide receiver Eric Decker and Orange defensive tackle Arther Jones and wideout Mike Williams

Jones, (#97) is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. Despite missing some of the off-season conditioning due to a torn pectoral muscle, he enters the season as a legitimate first round prospect.

Despite the assertions of TV analysts, Minnesota WR Eric Decker (#7) is not currently viewed as a likely first round caliber prospect. He is, however, a valuable possession receiver with size (6-3, 215) and very good hands. He already has one long reception in this game and could be on the verge of a big season.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch, however, is Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams (#1). Williams was suspended last year due to academics, but scouts will quickly disregard that if he can prove his eye-popping athleticism remains. The 6-2, 215 pound receiver enters today's game with a streak of receiving touchdowns in 9 consecutive games... And with 32 seconds to go in the first quarter, he just extended that streak, catching much ballyhooed QB/PG Greg Paulus' first touchdown pass of his NCAA career.

On ESPN, a "slightly" less competitive game is being shown between Ohio State and Navy. Navy, as you might expect, doesn't offer much in terms of NFL prospects, though the Buckeyes more than make up for them.

Many of Ohio State's top prospects are underclassmen but their talented secondary is led by senior safety Anderson Russell (#21) and Kurt Coleman (#4). The Buckeyes seemingly always have talent along the defensive line and DE Lawrence Wilson (#87) has an opportunity for a breakout campaign after missing the second half of last year with a torn ACL. Playing opposite junior rising star Cameron Heyward (son of the late NFL standout Craig "Ironhead" Heyward). Versatile offensive lineman Jim Cordle (#64) is one to watch, as well.

Posted on: September 4, 2009 12:35 pm

Blount's behavior inexcusable, undraftable

By now, most college football fans have already seen Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount's tirade after the Ducks' loss to Boise State last night. For those that haven't, I've pasted the URL for the YouTube video below.

Once the initial shock of Blount's inexcusable behavior wears off, NFL scouts will still need to determine if his skills translate to the NFL. Blount, roughly 6-1, 250 pounds, is a questionable fit in Oregon's spread offense and struggled to find holes yesterday against the Broncos, but in an I-back formation, the power back with surprising speed could be effective and many NFL teams will consider him.

His character grade, however, took a massive hit (sorry, couldn't resist) with the cheapshot, however. So much so that when placing this latest infraction with the multitude of others that have come in the past (suspended for grades over the summer, showed up overweight, etc.), Blount may have fallen from a potential Top 50 selection all the way out of the draft with his behavior.

How he answers questions about his lack of control to scouts and the media at the Combine (asssuming he's invited) will ultimately go a long way in determining whether he's given an opportunity in the NFL. More so, in fact, than any yardage and touchdown production he might put forth this season.
Posted on: September 1, 2009 9:11 pm

Deaderick a significant loss to Tide

Shot in the arm during an attempted robbery in Tuscaloosa last night, Brandon Deaderick will miss an as-yet-undetermined number of games this season for the Tide.
Though he doesn't get the publicity, the 14-game starter at defensive end recorded more tackles (36), tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (4) last season than All-American nose guard Terrence Cody (24, 4.5, 0.5).

The 6-4, 305 pound Deaderick plays with good strength at the point of attack and is a respected prospect with the skills to translate inside as a 4-3 defensive tackle or remain outside as an end in the 3-4 alignment.

Though Deaderick has since been released from the hospital, head coach Nick Saban refused to provide a timeline as to when Deaderick might return to the field. His loss could be significant in this week's opener against 7th ranked Virginia Tech. 
Posted on: August 31, 2009 1:23 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2009 1:26 pm

Signed, but starting soon "impossible" for Smith

The Bengals and sixth overall pick Andre Smith are rightly excited to have finally agreed to terms. The 31 day holdout, however, is going to need considerable time before he can positively impact the Bengals' offensive line. Offensive line coach Paul Alexander was quoted by Geoff Hobson of about Smith's potential to earn back his starting spot at right tackle immediately.

Smith is "not going to start anytime soon," Alexander said... "It's impossible," Alexander said of getting Smith in there quickly. "I'm not afraid to put rookies in there, but this guy is so far behind, he's got so much work to do ... it's going to be an intense year for him.
Smith had been viewed as the Day One starter at right tackle for the Bengals. His selection cleared the way for the Bengals to let long-time bookend tackles Levi Jones and Willie Anderson go over the off-season. Andrew Whitworth has taken over at left tackle and in Smith's absence, 2008 second round pick Anthony Collins has been starting at right tackle. Though Collins has been a bit inconsistent, coaches have been positive about his improved play in his second season.

It remains to be seen just what kind of shape Andre Smith is in. Alexander sounded concerned about Smith's current weight and his history of allowing it get out of control. Rumors had circulated that Smith's weight had ballooned to over 380 pounds in the past, though at the Combine Smith told the media he had never been over 345. He weighed in at 332 at the Combine and claimed he played at 330 while with the Tide.

Smith worked out with the team in Sunday's afternoon practice, but was limited to mainly conditioning drills. As Hobson noted in his blog posting, Smith started every spring practice, was sent daily notes from the classroom sessions from training camp (as well as tests), and watched the Bengals' first three preseason games while poring over his playbook. 

It will take time for Smith to acclimate. Given the length of his holdout and the relative security the Bengals are feeling with Collins at right tackle, it may not be until midway through the season that Smith begins earning consistent playing time. Eventually, however, his ability to knock defenders off the line of scrimmage in the running game will likely prove to much to keep him off the field. For a Bengals team that struggled running the ball last season and thus far this preseason, Smith's emergence would be welcomed.

Posted on: August 31, 2009 12:55 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2009 12:55 pm

Rookie Review -- Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez's rapid and surprising ascension to the fifth pick overall of the 2009 draft was due in large part to his ability to impress when the lights were brightest. He enjoyed a spectacular game (28 of 35 for 413 yards, 4 TDs and zero INTs) against Penn State to dominate the Rose Bowl. I wasn't overly impressed with Sanchez's Combine workout, but was also on hand for his second workout for scouts at USC's Pro Day and his performance there was as good as any quarterback's I've ever seen -- prospect or veteran. Sanchez's charisma and surprising understanding of the x and o's, considering his relative lack of starting experience, only excited scouts that much more down the stretch. The Jets were intrigued enough to essentially place the franchise's immediate future in his hands, unloading three veterans and two draft picks to move from 17th to 5th to get him. Solid performances throughout camp and in the first two preseason games led head coach Rex Ryan to name Sanchez as the Jets' starter over veterans Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge. As has been Sanchez's forte', with all of the eyes of Gotham and many others throughout the country, he was steady and even brilliant, at times, against an aggressive New York Giants' defense. Sanchez finished 13 of 20 for 149 yards and an impressive 31 yard touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey amid great pressure. He led the Jets to four scoring drives against the largely first-team Giants defense.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets QB, #6 - - Good footwork to gain depth, while keeping his eyes downfield. Fooled, at times, by surprise blitzes, but effectively checked down to secondary options and threw the ball away when necessary. Natural poise in the pocket. Will step up and take a hit to complete the pass. Good zip for short and intermediate targets. Leads the receiver well on deeper passes, consistently placing the ball where his receiver can catch it cleanly and get upfield for extra yardage. Underrated mobility. Escaped the pocket several times, including on his signature play of the night. Escaped the rush from three oncoming Giants, located Stuckey at approximately the twelve yard-line and fired a pass to him just as Osi Umenyiora knocked him back. The throw required a good deal of arm strength, since Sanchez's was unable to step into the throw due to the pressure and didn't have the benefit of a great deal of follow-through with Umenyiora bearing down on him.

Posted on: August 27, 2009 8:39 pm

Or not... Weather delay for ACU-NW Missouri St.

The scheduled kickoff for beginning of the 2009 college football season has been pushed back roughly an hour due to inclement weather involving heavy rain and hail.

Originally scheduled for 8 pm EST on CBS College Sports, the game has now been pushed back to roughly 9:05 PM.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or