Tag:Aaron Kampman
Posted on: September 21, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 3:31 pm
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Film Room: Cowboys vs. Redskins preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



One of the most storied rivalries in pro football is renewed Monday night when the Cowboys welcome the Redskins to Big D for their home opener. Mike Shanahan’s team is a surprising 2-0. The Cowboys, after two close games, are 1-1, ensuring their performance on Monday’s national stage will spark an overreaction from Football America (at 2-1, people will ask if the Cowboys are legit Super Bowl contenders; at 1-2 they’ll ask if Jason Garrett is right for the job).

1. Perpetually Maligned Quarterbacks
Are any other two quarterbacks, fair or unfair, viewed as blunder-prone as Tony Romo and Rex Grossman? If Grossman were a star, he’d be Romo. If Romo were a bum, he’d be Grossman. Their performances this season have been overanalyzed in contrasting extremes.

Everyone took part in National Dump on Romo Week (Sept. 12-18) and pilloried the sixth-year starter for being a “choke artist”. While Romo has made his share of mistakes in crunch time, in reality, prior to the interception he gifted Darrelle Revis in Week 1, the only late-game mistake that 90 percent of fans could instantly identify with Romo was his botched field goal hold in the January ’07 playoff loss at Seattle (a play that had nothing to do with his quarterbacking ability).

Reputations rarely form by accident, though. The truth is, Romo is mistake prone.

He’s mistake prone because he has trouble deciphering defenses before the snap, and he tends to take aggressive action on faulty hunches. This is problematic, especially if Dallas has Super Bowl aspirations. That said, at the end of the day, Romo still has respectable playmaking talent. Hence his 345-yard performance with a fractured rib and punctured lung at San Francisco.

Grossman is on the other end of the spectrum. He’s not a naturally talented playmaker. But he can be functional when properly used. His two performances this season have received mostly positive reviews. He threw for 305 yards against the Giants and 291 against the Cardinals. But he was somewhat inaccurate in Week 1 and benefited from several terrific catches by Redskins receivers.

He also struggled in the face of pocket pressure (fortunately he had just one turnover from it, which didn’t prove to be costly). Grossman came back to earth a bit against Arizona and, given his track record and limited role in Washington’s offense (his reads are defined, his audible powers are minimal), he’ll likely level off over the coming months.


2. Washington’s ground game
The Redskins have shown a commitment to running the ball these first two weeks. After posting lackluster numbers against New York, Tim Hightower was sharp versus Arizona, registering 96 yards on 20 attempts. Hightower is a much better fit for Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme than he was in Ken Whisenhunt’s pounding approach.

Reason being, Hightower does not have great burst when coming from a standstill, but he has proven to be an effective momentum runner.

A zone-blocking scheme allows for a one-cut downhill run, but as the illustration below shows, the nature of the sliding blocks allows a runner to take a few extra steps in the backfield, which a runner like Hightower needs in order to build momentum before breaking through the line of scrimmage.



Hightower – as well as his backup, fourth-round rookie Roy Helu, who runs with good tempo and changes direction fairly well – benefitted from stellar offensive line play last week. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger and left tackle Trent Williams were particularly impressive landing blocks on the move and taking angles that created natural running lanes.

3. Tight ends significant
Washington’s offense makes great use of the tight end, in large part because a tight end crossing pattern is a natural outlet off the rollouts and bootlegs that Shanahan’s scheme uses frequently.

While Chris Cooley has had a modicum impact coming off a knee injury, fourth-year pro Fred Davis has emerged as a fluid target in an elevated role. Davis makes good adjustments to the ball and has the athleticism to be effective in space.
 
For the Cowboys, Jason Witten becomes all the more significant with Miles Austin (hamstring) out and Dez Bryant’s (quad) status in question. Witten is the ultimate safety valve. Generally the beneficiary of mismatches created by others outside, he should be able to create a few of his own mismatches inside, as Redskins linebacker London Fletcher tends to struggle covering elite tight ends.
Week 3 NFL Preview

4. The outside ‘backers
DeMarcus Ware has registered more sacks than anyone in pro football over the past five years, and he appears to be even more potent in Rob Ryan’s scheme (Ryan, like Wade Phillips, has aligned Ware primarily on the weak side of the formation, where one-on-one matchups are easier to come by). Opposite Ware, Anthony Spencer (in a contract year) is a stout playside run defender.

But the Cowboys may soon have the second best outside linebacking corps in the NFC East. Brian Orakpo has made two Pro Bowls his first two seasons and has superb strength to compliment his edge speed.

Opposite him, first-round rookie Ryan Kerrigan has flashed monstrous potential through two games. Kerrigan, a high-motored Big Ten player who drew predictable comparisons to Aaron Kampman coming out, has the swiftness to chase plays as a backside run defender and the body control to outmaneuver blockers in the phone booth. He’s a much, much better athlete than many had guessed.

5. Something to keep an eye on ...
The Redskins are a fairly blitz-heavy team, but those blitzes have usually involved safeties. They caught the Cardinals off-guard last week by blitzing their inside linebackers aggressively. Fletcher in particular blitzed with great timing and downhill speed.

His blitzes were done not necessarily in an effort to get sacks, but to make Kevin Kolb move before throwing. Romo is better throwing off movement than Kolb, so perhaps Jim Haslett won’t use this tactic as much in Week 3.

But with the Cowboys having a young offensive line and depleted receiving corps, the reward could be greater than the risk.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games


Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.15.11: Pryor in the first round?!?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • If former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor actually did go in the first round of the NFL supplemental draft, CBSSports.com’s own Rob Rang writes that agent Drew Rosenhaus would really have earned his money.
  • If you like to smoke while watching Bills games in person, you’re going to have to change your habits. The Bills have announced that smoking is banned at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Also, since there is no re-entry policy, you can’t leave to smoke and then return.
  • This was my favorite part of the AP story detailing the Bengals player-led workouts. They even clean up after themselves. Following a full-team practice last week at UC, quarterbacks Jordan Palmer and Andy Dalton filled their arms with water bottles and blocking pads and headed for the storage area. Palmer couldn't recall the last time he's had to put the equipment away. “It's been a while," he said.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.4.11: Snyder not impressing Congress



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s decision to sue Washington City Paper has attracted the attention of at least one member of Congress. Rep. Steve Cohen – a Democrat from Tennessee – will try again to pass a bill through the House of Representatives that prevents people from filing “strategic lawsuits against public participation.” Which basically means that a rich dude can’t file a meritless lawsuit simply for the purpose of obtaining revenge.
  • This, I believe, qualifies as good news. The Bills players are donating $10,000 to support the help efforts being made in Joplin, Mo. Punter Brian Moorman also said the players are uniting with New Era, which will provide 10,000 pieces of clothing. Hopefully, they’re not all Bills hats.
  • If you’re looking for the top ex-con athletes playing pro sports today, it should be no surprise to you that many of them are football players. From Plaxico Burress to Michael Vick, Forbes.com has you covered. Nice to see a jockey and a darts player (thrower?) in there, as well.
  • Among the newsy items in this transcript of Patriots QB Tom Brady from his charity football game Friday: his surgically-repaired foot feels good; his newest haircut looks good; and he’s confident a solution to the lockout is forthcoming.
  • In case you’ve forgotten about the NFL strike of 1987, CBSSports.com’s own Chuck Finder is here to remind you about how crazy it was.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 7:36 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Jacksonville Jaguars

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

 

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



On Dec. 12, 2010, the Jaguars were 8-5, and they were just beginning the week of practices that led to a showdown with the Colts that basically was for the AFC South title, a crown Jacksonville never has won. Indianapolis showed up that night and won by 10 points, and the Jaguars never recovered, losing their final three games and missing the playoffs for the third-straight season.

It was a huge disappointment, and you have to wonder about the future of this organization with this coaching staff in place. That is the No. 1 question facing this franchise heading into next year.




1. Avoid late-season slumps
Do you put this on Del Rio? Do you put this on Jacksonville being a bad cold-weather team? Do you put this on late-season injuries to Garrard and Jones-Drew in 2010? It’s hard to know. But after starting 7-5 in 2009 and 8-5 in 2010, the team went on to lose four games and three games, respectively, to end those years on the sourest of notes. We don’t know the answers to the above questions, but somebody might want to figure it out.

2. Defensive everywhere but DT
Though their 2010 first-round pick of DT Tyson Alualu was deemed a little bizarre at the time, the rookie from California had a pretty good year. He should continue to be an anchor in the middle of the defensive line. Now, just about every other position in Jacksonville’s defense needs to be upgraded. Perhaps most important are the defensive ends, who can help lessen the time the Jaguars unremarkable secondary must cover opposing WRs. Former first round pick Derrick Harvey has been a disaster, Jeremy Mincey is barely passable as a starter and Aaron Kampman has had a couple major knee injuries.

3.Quality Wide Recievers
Is Mike Thomas truly a No. 1 guy? He had a nice season last year (66 catches, 820 yards, four TDs) as a second-year player, but how will he fare without Mike Sims-Walker – who simply wasn’t the consistent playmaker the Jaguars needed? That’s a major question for Thomas and WR Jason Hill. If they can’t produce, Jacksonville still has young receivers in Tiquan Underwood and Jarrett Dillard. Jacksonville could feel the need to upgrade this position before next year, but if not, it’s still a talented, albeit mostly unproven, corps at this point.




It seems like nobody can really tell if QB David Garrard is worth keeping around, though he actually played pretty good football last season. Meanwhile, there’s no question Jacksonville will hang on tightly to RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who recorded 1,324 yards in 14 games last season and surpassed Tennessee’s Chris Johnson as the AFC South’s best back (his backup, Rashad Jennings, also is quality), and TE Marcedes Lewis proved himself a valuable commodity.

The offense most likely will continue to play conservatively – in part, because of the strength of Jones-Drew and to mask some of Garrard’s inadequacies – but the real test will be the defense. For Jacksonville, it’s the playoffs or bust, and most likely, we won’t know how good this team – or how safe Del Rio – really is until Week 13-17.

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Posted on: February 16, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Hot Routes 2.16.11 surgeries and squabbles

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

 

Posted on: November 13, 2010 7:54 pm
 

Week 10 injury news and analysis, part III

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Bengals at Colts


Combined, these two teams have a stunning 28 players on their injury lists.

For the Colts, RB Joseph Addai is doubtful with a neck, and though his replacement, Mike Hart, has performed well, he also is on the injury report – questionable with an ankle (he didn’t participate in practice at all this week). He probably won’t play either. Which means that Donald Brown likely will start and get some help from Javarris James.

Another potential problem for Indianapolis is that starting LBs Clint Session and Gary Brackett (toe) are listed as questionable. Session dislocated his elbow a couple weeks ago, but somehow he found a way to play through the rest of the game. Which was pretty amazing. Of course, he hasn’t been seen since, but still.

The Bengals secondary, meanwhile, won’t have much depth. Starting FS Chris Crocker is doubtful with a bad calf, and nickel back Morgan Trent (knee), who originally was listed as questionable, was downgraded today to out. QB Carson Palmer, who didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, is listed as probable with a right shoulder injury.

Texans at Jaguars

Houston WR Andre Johnson, who was listed as questionable and who seems to be fighting injuries every week, apparently will start. Which is nice of him, one supposes. But TE Owen Daniels, battling a bad hamstring, will miss his second-straight game. To replace him, look for Joel Dreessen (five catches for 67 yards last week) to get the start.

For the Jaguars, losing DE Aaron Kampman, who tore his ACL, will give Jacksonville a big void on the defensive line, but other than him, Jacksonville should be relatively healthy. LB Daryl Smith, DE Jeremy Mincey, RB Greg Jones and DT Tyson Alualu are probable.

Vikings at Bears


Now that the Sidney Rice question has been answered – he’s still not recovered from hip surgery and will NOT be active Sunday – we can look to the other two Vikings WRs on the injury list. Namely Percy Harvin, who’s been bothered by migraine headaches this week, and Bernard Berrian, who has a groin issue. Both are listed as questionable. Will Brett Favre have anybody to whom he can throw?

The Vikings secondary doesn’t seem much healthier. CB Asher Allen and S Jamarca Sanford are doubtful, while CB Lito Sheppard (hamstring) and CB Frank Walker (hand) are probable.

Bears C Olin Kreutz is questionable to play with a bad hamstring. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, but he’s expected to play anyway. And Chicago will need him. Minnesota recorded six sacks last week, and the Vikings will be looking to take down Favre as much as possible.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:07 pm
 

Jags' Kampman done for year with torn ACL

Posted by Will Brinson

The Jaguars, looking to continue trying to save their season and Jack Del Rio's job, got a horrible piece of news on Friday, as they found out that defensive lineman Aaron Kampman will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.

Kampman, acquired in the offseason as a free agent, was having a fantastic year, anchoring the Jaguars defensive line and helping keep their secondary just "porous" (as opposed to "completely invisible").

Kampman, who had four sacks and 25 total tackles so far in 2010, apparently suffered the injury on a "non-contact pass rush drill." The injury occurred on the opposite knee from the same season-ending injury he suffered in 2009 with the Green Bay Packers.

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