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Tag:Cameron Jordan
Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 11:49 am
 

Film Room: 49ers vs. Saints divisional preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

The league’s No. 2 scoring offense meets the No. 2 scoring defense at Candlestick on Saturday.

Neither side has faced this tall of an order this season. Here’s the breakdown.


1. Niners inside ‘backers on Saints stars
NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis are the reason San Francisco had the league’s best all-around defense in 2011. Both are smart, supremely athletic and adept in traffic and space. Thus, both can play run or pass at the highest of levels, which is why neither comes off the field much.

All season long, defenses have tried to figure out not just how to stop Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles, but how to simply line up against them. Do you use safeties on Graham and linebackers on Sproles? Vice Versa? Do you go with cornerbacks for both and risk getting run on?

The Niners might be the first team that doesn’t have to worry about personnel packages against these two, as they may put one First Team All-Pro linebacker on Graham and the other First Team All-Pro linebacker on Sproles. Whether the Niners can win those matchups is another discussion, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is extremely fortunate to be able to even consider it.

Instead of having his players focus on new strategies, he can have them focus on execution.

2. Handling the rest of New Orleans’ passing attack
The 49ers generally play zone out of their base defense and man when they go nickel or dime. Because Graham is like a third wide receiver, the Saints can stay predominantly in their base personnel if they’re more comfortable facing zone coverage. That should be the case Saturday, as San Fran’s cornerbacking trio of Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver outside and Carlos Rogers inside has been tremendous in man-to-man.

Those three are capable of matching up with Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Marques Colston – especially if safeties Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson are providing help as free roamers over the top.

Whitner is somewhat limited in coverage (his success tends to come when linebackers are blitzing, which defines the routes quickly and makes them easier to jump). Goldson, on the other hand, is very rangy.

Both players must be careful not to overreact to the subtle fakes and body language of Drew Brees. No quarterback manipulates deep safeties better than the new single season passing yards record holder.

Pressuring Brees is critical to stopping New Orleans. (Getty Images)

3. Pressuring Brees
San Francisco is willing to blitz but often doesn’t have to, thanks to the speed of edge-rushers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Smith works extremely well with All-Pro defensive end/tackle Justin Smith on the left side when it comes to twists and stunts. That’s something the Saints left offensive line has struggled with over the years.

This season, however, athletic left tackle Jermon Bushrod has finally polished his pass-blocking mechanics and perennial Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks has ironed out the kinks he had in lateral pass-blocking movement. Nicks is also great at picking up Bushrod’s slack as a help-blocker.

The real key will be whether the right side of the Saints’ line can keep Brees clean. This Saints started clicking after their loss to the Rams, when Sean Payton tweaked the protections to give his tackles help with chip blocks from backs and tight ends. That’s the only way the Saints could survive the slow feet of right tackle Zach Strief.

If Ahmad Brooks draws even one true solo matchup against Strief on third-and-long, it means something has gone terribly wrong. (Or, it means the Niners will have gambled with an overload pass-rush on that side, which is plausible given that Bowman and Willis are both excellent blitzers.)

4. Niners run game against Saints D
The Niners make no bones about it: they’re going to win with Frank Gore, not Alex Smith. They’re a power-run offense – literally. Most of their offense derives from power plays, with left guard Mike Iupati pulling and fullback Bruce Miller or H-back Delanie Walker lead-blocking. The Saints have the personnel to stop this.

Former Niners tackle Aubrayo Franklin is a clogger inside and, when he shows up, veteran Shaun Rogers is a destroyer off the bench behind the generally incognito Sedrick Ellis. Also, defensive ends Will Smith and Cameron Jordan might not have dazzling sack numbers (Jordan, this year’s first round pick, recorded all of one), but both are superb at crashing inside or sliding down the line of scrimmage.

At the second level, Jonathan Vilma is regarded as the star (and rightfully so – he calls the signals and patrols sideline-to-sideline), but strong safety Roman Harper might be the deciding character on Saturday. Harper’s presence is what makes the Saints’ front seven so fast.

That will be especially important when backup running back Kendall Hunter, an underrated tempo-changer with better quickness and burst than Frank Gore, is in the game.

5. Niners big pass plays vs. Saints secondary
Jim Harbaugh is masterful at installing simple wrinkles in his offense each week that take advantage of the opponent’s greatest weakness. This week that means building a few downfield shot-plays into the passing game.

The Saints led the league in 40-plus-yard pass plays allowed during the regular season. The Niners know that if they keep extra blockers in for pass protection help (which their O-line needs, especially at tackle, where Joe Staley is very average on the left side and Anthony Davis, despite getting an embarrassingly nonsensical All-Pro vote, is very inconsistent on the right side), the Saints, with their green-dog heavy blitz packages, will bring the house:

In case you missed it, in last Saturday night’s broadcast, Cris Collinsworth did a great job explaining a green dog blitz. A green-dog blitz is when a defender in man coverage rushes the quarterback after he sees that his man has stayed in to block. Thanks to the speed and aggression of their linebackers, the Saints green-dog blitz as effectively as any team in football.

Thus, there are one-on-one matchups to be had downfield. Though San Francisco’s offense has been Gingrich-level conservative this season, downfield shots off play-action, particularly when the ball’s just inside midfield, have actually been a consistent element in their gameplans.

The Niners have to intentionally design their big plays because, other than maybe tight end Vernon Davis, they don’t have anyone who can conjure them naturally.

Michael Crabtree has great body control but “inexplosive” speed. Kyle Williams is quick out of the slot but not over the top. Ted Ginn has playmaking POTENTIAL but isn’t consistent enough to be considered an actual PLAYMAKER.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the Divisional Round games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:59 am
 

Williams showed Saints Marshawn TD for motivation

Posted by Will Brinson

In the opening round of last season's playoffs, the Saints traveled out west to play the Seahawks in the Wild-Card round. The results were anything but predictable, as Seattle -- double-digit dogs at home in the playoffs and a 7-9 division winner -- shocked New Orleans right out of contention for a Super Bowl repeat.

The most memorable moment of the game? Marshawn Lynch rumbling to the end zone for an earth-shaking (literally!) touchdown.

Clip of Beast Mode's run, which was as embarrassing for the Saints defenders as it was awesome for Lynch and the Seahawks, is now serving as motivational fodder for Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as New Orleans prepares for the season.

"It was classic Gregg Williams," cornerback Tracy Porter told Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports. "He wanted to give us that motivation coming into this year. He didn't want us to come into the season not knowing we had a bad taste in our mouth. He showed that [play], and it definitely put us on edge.

"Now it's time for payback."

Needless to say, the clip of Lynch's run isn't too popular around the Saints training camp -- rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan said that "around here, it's blasphemy" to talk about the run. (Or, more accurately, how he told his Twitter followers to vote for the fellow former California star's run during an awards show.)

And it's unlikely that anyone who played for the Saints in 2010 will ever like to see the highlight of Lynch plowing through an entire defense en route to the end zone.

But if the Saints defense can rebound to their 2009 level as a result of Williams' motivational ploy, it'll probably be a little easier to stomach.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:02 pm
 

NFC South draft truths revealed

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the best things about the draft is that from it we can find out what teams really think about their current players. Excluding examples of teams filling obvious needs, here are some of the more revealing draft picks from 2011, with a quick blurb of what the team was really saying by making this pick.

Atlanta FalconsJ. Jones (US Presswire)

1st round, Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
We’re one playmaker away from being Super Bowl-bound. (And if you couldn’t figure for yourself that this was our reason, you might as well stop following pro football right now.)
 
5th round, Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
We wish Jerious Norwood could stay healthy, but we’ve been disappointed too many times.
 
Carolina Panthers


3rd round, Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida
Derek Landri and Nick Hayden played hard for us last year, and both were decent against the run, but we’re looking for a little more dynamite inside.
 
3rd round, Sione Fua, DT, Stanford
Again, more dynamite.
 
New Orleans Saints

1st round, Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Yeah, we didn’t hardly notice Alex Brown last year either.
 
1st round, Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
He may have been productive as a rookie, but we’re not buying into Chris Ivory (there’s a reason the guy was undrafted). Also, no way in hell we’re going to pay Reggie Bush a single dime more than he’s worth to us. If Bush is looking to roll major bank, he’d better call his realtor.
 
3rd round, Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
We aren’t disappointed with Randall Gay per se, but we’re not exactly thrilled with him.
 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1st round, Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
2nd round, Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
We’ve told you before: we rebuild our roster in bunches. Two years ago we stunk at defensive tackle and wide receiver. This past year, we stunk at defensive end. Problems solved (we hope).
 
3rd round, Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
We’ll move him to the middle and not re-sign Barrett Ruud. Why? Because the biggest secret in football is Ruud is iffy if not terrible. Why do you think we’re always finishing near the bottom of the league in run defense?

Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.

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

Posted on: May 3, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Browns called the wrong draft pick on Saturday

Posted by Will Brinson

When a team drafts a player, they call him and let him know. You know this, because you've been watching ESPN and the NFL Network ruin the surprise of draft choices for a good five-plus years.

Teams also call players afterwards to get some biographical information about them. This happened to Cameron Jordan, when the Browns rang him up on Saturday.

Unfortunately, as Peter King of Sports Illustrated recounted yesterday, the Browns didn't draft Cameron Jordan ... they drafted Jordan Cameron:
"Hi," said the voice on the other end. "Jordan? This is the Cleveland Browns ... '' The call was for some biographical information.

"Uh, yeah, this is Cameron Jordan,'' he said. "But the Saints already picked me."

There was an awkward pause, and Cameron Jordan said: "I think you mean Jordan Cameron, you're looking for Jordan Cameron. That's not me."
So awesome. And awkward. 

Now, I could be a cynical jerk and point out that this is a perfect microcosm for the Browns organization, and indicates an obvious problem that circulates through the water in Cleveland.

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But that seems a bit over-the-top, especially after they had such a stout draft. They did. I don't care how good Julio Jones is.

And besides, outside of the Peyton Hillis Madden 12 cover, Cleveland's had a rough run, so let's cut them a break and just point and chuckle a little bit.

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 12:56 pm
 

Cam Jordan tries to ignore labor situation

C. Jordan will be OK during the lockout (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – There were times when Saints DE Cameron Jordan’s father, Steve – a 12-year NFL veteran himself who was around for two work stoppages in his career – would try to explain the current labor situation to his son.

Steve would talk and explain, and eventually, Cam would have to excuse himself.

“My dad is trying to throw his advice in there, and it makes my head hurt and I’d rather not deal with it,” said Cam Jordan, taken at No. 24 by the Saints in Thursday’s first round. “I thought it was solved, but it’s not. I’d said, ‘OK? I’m just going to bench press and go run some 40s. All I can focus on is training. That’s what I know is going to be there for sure.”

When I asked Jordan on Friday if he had followed the labor dispute, the lockout was not in effect. Then, a few hours later as I was transcribing his quotes, the lockout had been reinstated. Except that it was an incorrect report, and the lockout actually was NOT on. Now as I write this post, the NFL actually is closed again. 

It’s a confusing time for those of us who follow the NFL, but it’s absolute chaos for this year’s draft picks. In past years, you’re drafted, you travel to your new team to visit the facilities and meet the coaches and front office, you participate in a news conference, and you ready yourself to begin rookie camp (and then OTAs and then mini-camps, etc.).

This year, though, everything changes in the time it takes for a judge to sign an order. The NFL is not open right now, but the lockout might be lifted by this time next week.

“I look at it like this: football will resume eventually,” Cam Jordan said. “Whether that’s today, next week or whenever the court is done with this process, all I can do is keep training. It’s definitely a little murky right now.”

So, how are the new draft picks supposed to act?

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“It’s kind of tough, because it’s a situation of limbo that shouldn’t be a situation of limbo,” said Seahawks G Chester Pitts. “The lockout was lifted Monday, so the doors should have been open Tuesday. It’s one of those things where the NFL wasn’t prepared for that to come down the pike so quickly. For the young guys, my advice is to continue to stay in shape. It’ll be easy to be ready. When they come in, there’s nothing that’s going to be expected of them to flow right in. It won’t be that difficult.”

Perhaps, but many of these new players will need the money that comes from signing bonuses and paychecks. Jordan doesn’t have to worry about that scenario, though.

“All I can say is, ‘Thanks dad.’ I come from a pretty solid support system, anchored by my mother and father,” he said. “So I’ll be OK.”

You mean because your parents are footing your Bills?

“So,” Jordan said with a big smile, “you understood that.”

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:19 am
 

How do rich get richer? The poor reach for QB's

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- You wanna know how the rich keep getting richer? The poor keep reaching for quarterbacks, that's how.

In one of the strangest drags in recent history, four potentially disastrous quarterbacks went in the top-15 picks, as Cam Newton (1), Jake Locker (8), Blaine Gabbert (10) and Christian Ponder (12) were all of the board before we got halfway through the first round.


The fact that quarterbacks went early isn't shocking, because right now the league is quarterback-needy as hell. Lots of people projected a pile of signal-callers coming off respective big boards throughout the first round.

But by pulling trigger on some questionable quarterbacks so early in the draft, a bunch of teams -- who were drafting early for a reason -- ended up allowing a ton of top tier talent to fall down to a bunch of teams who were drafting -- you guessed it -- late for a reason.

The Colts (Anthony Castonzo), the Saints (Cameron Jordan and then Mark Ingram), the Giants (Prince Amukamara) and a number of other teams ended up hitting home runs with their first-round picks because teams who needed quarterbacks couldn't, for lack of a better phrase, keep it in their pants.

Look, the trio of Gabbert/Ponder/Locker could end up working out for these teams. Ponder's NFL-ready and could be an immediate benefit for the Vikings, while Gabbert and Locker have veterans -- David Garrard and Kerry Collins, respectively -- in front of them and will get a year or two to learn and get prepped to take over.

They could certainly end up being successful quarterbacks in the NFL, but they could also certainly be busts.

But the reason why they went so early isn't because they're guaranteed to be big-time successes in the NFL. They went early because 1) teams were limited in maneuvering because of the labor situation and, more importantly, 2) failed to recognize that in this draft, depth was present at positions that are not named quarterback.

There were certainly "lots of quarterbacks" but that has nothing to do with there being "significant depth at the position."

It's something that you expect general managers and the people who run teams to recognize. But for whatever reason, in this draft, they didn't.

Which is why we shouldn't be too shocked if we see a similar draft order in the first round of 2012 as we saw on Thursday night.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 2:34 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: San Diego Chargers

Posted by Will Brinson

 

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



2010 was a weird year for the San Diego Chargers. They had all the tools necessary to contend for a Super Bowl, and in a season when parity reigned supreme, that should have equated with success. It didn't, though, because the San Diego got off to one of its patented slow starts, performed epically horrible on special teams, and couldn't close out inferior teams.

Statistically, though, it was all there. Philip Rivers was a machine on offense, piling up big stats despite throwing to guys like Legadu Naanee, Patrick Crayton, Randy McMichael and Seyi Ajirotutu. Part of what got those A-listers on the top of the Bolts' receiving stats was injuries (well, most was injuries), and part was the holdout of Vincent Jackson. Oh yes, and Mike Tolbert -- just like everyone expected -- was the team's leading rusher.

Defensively, San Diego thrived despite not having an elite pass-rushing presence. In fact, just like on offense, they were the No. 1-ranked team in the league. And yet, again, no playoffs. It's a really odd conundrum, frankly, and it's either a really weird fluke or it's indicative of a bigger problem within the organization. Given the Chargers' typically annual success, the jury's still out on the latter, but another slow start and sloppy manner of missing the playoffs could change that in 2011.



Special Teams, Depth

It's not all that hard to pinpoint the problems for the Chargers in 2010. Pretty clearly, special teams cost them a couple of wins and therefore a shot at the postseason (plus, likely a divisional title). 

Of course, fixing special teams is much easier than, say, fixing a giant hole at quarterback, and it's entirely possible that with the right personnel moves, the Chargers will be fine in that area in 2011. In fact, once some veterans were plugged into the special teams unit, San Diego was much better at the third leg of football than it was earlier in the year. (At that point, though, it was just too late.) 

Perhaps the bigger problem for the Chargers in 2011 will be the status of certain players. Vincent Jackson was franchised, but depending on how the CBA shakes out, he could be gone. It seems somewhat reasonable that he's around for one more year. Malcolm Floyd could be out the door as well, meaning the Chargers' depth at wide receiver could be crushed back to late-last-year levels. If Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper, Eric Weddle, Jacques Cesaire, Travis Johnson leave, the defense is going to take a hit too. It's part of the problem with the way A.J. Smith built the team -- if the labor negotiations don't favor the league, San Diego's depth suffers.



1. Defensive End
As might have been said 5,000 times in these previews thus far, it's a pretty good year to need depth at defensive line. So it wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Chargers nab a defensive end with their first-round pick. J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan and Adrian Clayborn are all highly likely/possible picks for San Diego at No. 18.

2. Linebacker
Shaun Phillips had a monster year in 2010, but San Diego needs to beef up their linebacking corps, unless they actually think that Larry English can end up performing to his first-round expectations. (And, speaking of which, not exactly a great last pair of years in the first round for A.J. Smith, huh? Ryan Mathews and Larry English aren't exactly justifying their top-20 status.) English could still justify the selection, but there's some serious talent that would fit San Diego's scheme in guys like Robert Quinn, Akeem Ayers and Ryan Kerrigan, the latter two of whom should fall to 18 pretty easily. Quinn's a guy that would be a steal at 18 and could also be a trade-up target for Smith if hops up the board again in 2011.

3. Wide Receiver
Talk about an up-in-the-air position for the Bolts: if Jackson and Floyd end up leaving, they're going to need some serious help here. Buster Davis isn't going to pan out and while Antonio Gates should technically qualify as "depth" at wideout, having Naanee and Ajirotutu as the top receiving options just isn't going to cut it. Smith and Norv Turner know they can have success with less than elite talent, though, so seeing them take a wideout with an early pick would be a bit surprising.



Look, the Chargers are capable of winning it all in 2011. Statistics don't mean everything (obviously), but if a team is the top offensive AND defensive team, it means there's enough talent on the roster to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. Living up to the lofty expectations this franchise has set for the past few years in 2011 will require two things: not making simple mistakes and actually remembering that football starts in September.

It would help, too, for the Bolts to address some of their defensive needs as well. And for their last two first-rounders -- English and Mathews -- to play up to their potential. Should all of that happen in 2011 and the Chargers don't win the division and/or at least make a run to the playoffs, it's entirely possible that Norv Turner's job could be on the line once again. At this point, there's no viable reason for a team with this much success -- statistically speaking -- not to be converting their high-end performance into more wins.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.16.11: Still #WINNING



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • What do Redskins GM Bruce Allen and Charlie Sheen have in common? WINNING, obviously. As in, “You should know that the current status of the Collective Bargaining Agreement will not disrupt our preparation for the 2011 season or swerve our focus from the Redskins’ objective -- WINNING.” What would have made this even more awesome? If Allen had added the word, “DUH.”
  • A woman has been convicted of killing the pregnant girlfriend of former Bears DB Shaun Gayle. A Lake County, Ill., jury found that Marni Young meticulously planned out an execution of a woman she considered a romantic rival for Gayle. The woman faces a 45-year maximum term. The victim was seven months pregnant with Gayle’s child.
  • Apparently, the Steelers are huge fans of the Pouncey family. As you know, C Maurkice Pouncey established himself as a huge presence for the Pittsburgh offensive line last year, and if Pittsburgh had the choice, it’d take Mike Pouncey in next month’s NFL draft and put him at right guard.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com