Tag:D'Qwell Jackson
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:28 pm

2012 NFL Free Agency: Linebacker Rankings

Fletcher, at 37, might not have many options other than returning to Washington. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the linebackers.

While there are a ton of free agent linebackers about to come on the market -- I’ve counted approximately 80 -- there doesn’t seem to be many surefire game-changers in the bunch. London Fletcher, vastly underrated in Washington, is one such player, but other than him, you’ve mostly got solid guys who can be contributors to whichever team signs them.

Some of the better free agent linebackers have been taken off the board already, as D’Qwell Jackson has re-signed with Cleveland while Ahmad Brooks agreed to return to San Francisco. Here are the rest of those who probably will try out their fortunes on the market.

1a. Mario Williams

Breakdown: Though we have Williams as the No. 1 defensive end available, we have to give him some love on the linebacker list, as well. Simply because in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, Williams was an outside linebacker. He only played five games for the Texans last year before tearing his pectoral muscle, but with five sacks, he also proved he can be successful in a 3-4 defense, meaning every team in the league should be thinking about Williams' worth. We thought he might struggle to find his balance in the first year of Phillips' scheme, but, as a linebacker, Williams is pretty damn good also.

Possible Landing Spots: Texans, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans

1b. London Fletcher

Breakdown: Fletcher is one of those players who, unless you’re paying close attention, somehow seems to rack up the tackle numbers -- and you’re not really sure how. And before you know it, he’s leading the league with 166 takedowns, like last year.  In fact, Fletcher has recorded at least 116 tackles every year since 2001, and he’s started 224-straight games. The problem with Fletcher is that he’s 37, and you have to wonder how long his durability will hold up -- as well as his penchant for making scores of tackles every season. That shouldn’t matter, however, because it sounds like he wants to return to Washington and that the Redskins feel the same way. “We want our captain back,” Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said earlier this month. The feeling apparently is mutual.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

Tulloch might be a good fit in Philadelphia because he knows how to play in the wide nine. (US Presswire)

2. Stephen Tulloch

Breakdown: After a solid 2008-10 with the Titans (the dude had 160 tackles in 2010), Tennessee let the Lions take away Stephen Tulloch for 2011. After recording 111 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended last year, Detroit would like to keep him. It’ll likely cost the Lions much more than the one-year, $3.25 million deal they paid Tulloch last year. More importantly for the Lions, though, is locking up defensive end Cliff Avril, and you have to wonder if the Lions will want to shell out that much money to two defensive players. One good option for Tulloch might be the Eagles. Considering Tulloch played for years with Jim Washburn, who installed the wide nine scheme in Philadelphia last year, Tulloch would be comfortable in that system. Besides, the Eagles linebackers last year were pretty horrible, and Tulloch would be a big upgrade. Wherever he lands, one can only hope that Tulloch gets another chance to Tebow in front of Tebow.

Possible Landing Spots: Lions, Buccaneers, Eagles

3. Anthony Spencer

Breakdown: He’s pretty much the definition of one of those solid linebackers I wrote about before, and the Cowboys don’t fancy losing him to free agency. There has been speculation that the team could place the franchise tag on him, but if not, at least one Dallas reporter has speculated that Spencer could land a Chris Canty-like deal (a six-year, $42 million contract signed in 2009). The Cowboys might be averse to giving him such a long deal, because he hasn’t necessarily lived up to his first-round draft pick expectations. Spencer’s representatives and the Cowboys were scheduled to meet at the scouting combine, and if they can’t come to a long-term agreement, Dallas might just have to grit its teeth and tag him.

Possible Landing Spots:Cowboys, Dolphins

4. Curtis Lofton

Breakdown: For the past three years, Lofton has been a tackling machine, accumulating at least 118 (including 147 in 2011), and it’s clear the Falcons want to re-sign him. But when Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff says that negotiations between the team and Lofton are “amicable,” it strikes kind of a weird tone (or is that just me?). And maybe the Falcons won’t be terrified if Lofton leaves. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote last week, “There’s growing sentiment that he’s a liability against the pass. The question thus becomes: Would you pay $8 million a year for a two-down linebacker?” Lofton might want more than that. Reportedly, Lofton is asking or a four-year deal worth $36 million.

Possible Landing Spots: Falcons, Eagles, Browns

5. David Hawthorne

Breakdown: With Hawthorne, you pretty much know what you’re getting. He’s good for about 110 tackles a season, five passes defended or so, and an interception or three. But it sounds like the Seahawks have a higher priority to sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant than inking Hawthorne to a new deal. Hawthorne is only 26 years old, and he’s solid across the board. But maybe more than most of the other linebackers on the list, there’s not a great chance for him to return to his old team. The one caveat to that: now that Leroy Hill is facing another drug charge, that might open up Seattle’s interest in Hawthorne again.

Possible Landing Spots: Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks

6. Jarret Johnson

Breakdown: The Ravens, at some point soon, might have to make a choice between whether they want Johnson or Jameel McClain (see below) to return to Baltimore for 2012. General manager Ozzie Newsome had said he wants to keep both, but that will be tough for the club to accomplish. So, if you’re Newsome, who is the priority between Johnson and McClain? Well, McClain had more tackles (84-56) last season  but less sacks (Johnson had 2.5 to McClain’s 1), and the Baltimore Sun predicts the Ravens have a better chance of retaining Johnson. He is, though, four years older, which might mean Baltimore will actually go harder after McClain. “I’d like to fit in again here,” Johnson said last month, via the team’s official website. “But unfortunately this is a business and sometimes business decisions [have] got to be made. I hope to be back. I’d love to retire a Raven, but we’ll see.”

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts

7. Jameel McClain

Breakdown: At 26, McClain is a young talent who likely will command a large salary (moreso than Jarret Johnson (see above)). It doesn’t sound like there’s a great chance for the Ravens to keep him.

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts, Eagles

8. Honorable Mentions

Unrestricted: Barrett Ruud, Chase Blackburn, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, Andra Davis, Manny Lawson, Geno Hayes, Wesley Woodyard, Dan Connor

Restricted: Dannell Ellerbe, Aaron Maybin

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:52 am

Report: Browns 'unlikely' to tag Peyton Hillis

Hillis isn't likely a candidate for a franchise tag. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

When the Browns went out and signed D'Qwell Jackson to a new five-year deal last week, it seemed like a good indication that they'd use their franchise tag elsewhere. Perhaps running back Peyton Hillis would be a target.

But that doesn't appear to be the case. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that the Browns are "unlikely" to use the tag on Hillis, but may still attempt to re-sign the running back before free agency begins on March 13.

The price for tagging a running back is $7.7 million, all of which is guaranteed, so it shouldn't be shocking that the Browns will avoid using that on Hillis. Not only would that be overpaying for his 2012 production, but it would be giving Hillis too high a number for baseline negotiations going forward.

Hills struggled badly in 2012, after a breakout 2011 season that landed him on the Madden cover. He played in just 10 games last year, ran for just 587 yards and saw his rushing yards per attempt dip nearly a full yard, from 4.4 in 2010 to 3.6 last season. He found the end zone just three times in 2011 after 13 total touchdowns in 2010. And he had reported issues with his contract off the field as well.

A more likely candidate for the Browns tag? Their kicker, Phil Dawson. Cabot writes that it's "doubtful" the Browns use the tag at all. If Dawson, who turned 37 in January, were to get the tag from the Browns, he'd be guaranteed $3.8 million.

While that's not outrageous, there's something about "using a franchise tag on a 37-year-old kicker" that just screams "we won't contend this year."

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:11 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:15 pm

Report: D'Qwell Jackson gets $42.5 mil extension

Jackson wanted a five-year extension, and that's exactly what he got. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

D’Qwell Jackson was one of the best comeback stories of 2011. Though Matthew Stafford took home the AP comeback player of the year award, Jackson was as good a candidate for that honor as anybody.

After missing two seasons because of pectoral injuries, Jackson returned as a force in 2011, leading the AFC with 158 tackles (second-best in the NFL), recording a career-high 3.5 sacks and recovering three fumbles (tied for best in the AFC)*.

Now, the Browns are rewarding him, as they’ve announced they’ve signed him to a multiyear contract extension. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the deal is for five years and $42.5 million (including $19 million in guarantees and bonuses).

*Obviously, the hyperbaric chamber he loves so much was one reason he was so successful. At least in his mind.

The news obviously is great for Jackson, who wanted a five-year extension, but it’s also a positive step for the Browns, who were thinking about placing the franchise tag on Jackson at about $8.8 million for 2012.

As the Plain Dealer wrote earlier this month, the Browns also were thinking about tagging kicker Phil Dawson. That would cost them about $3.8 million since they also tagged him last season. Running back Peyton Hillis also remains an option to be tagged.

"Do I want to be back? This is where I started," Jackson told the paper in mid-February. "That's not even an afterthought to me. Yes, I want to be with the Browns, no question about it. I'm here in this locker room and I like the guys I'm playing with right now. That's all that matters."

"They indicated they wanted me back when they gave me an opportunity to come back after an injury; that was enough for me. That told me that they wanted me back. I was out for 26 games and they could've easily gone in a different direction, but they didn't. I owe it to them in a sense."

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:05 am

D'Qwell Jackson a fan of his hyperbaric chamber

By Josh Katzowitz

If you ever wanted to know why an athlete would want to sleep in a machine that looks like a big duffel bag, check out this NFL.com video of Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and his hyperbaric chamber. He is, without a doubt, a firm believer in its merits.

“A lot of guys don’t really know how well this works,” said Jackson, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle that kept him out of 26-straight games but has responded with a comeback player of the year award type season. “It’s like anything else. You have to use something enough to understand if it’s for you or if it’s not for you. It’s definitely for me.”

Jackson isn’t the first player to use the chamber -- Maurice Jones-Drew and James Harrison also are big believers -- and the people who use it extol the contraption’s ability to circulate the blood flow throughout the body that helps energize the player and keep injuries at bay.

Claustrophobics, beware. This video is not for those who fear being buried alive.

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Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:37 am

Keep an Eye On: Week 6's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Raiders vs. Browns
Keep an eye on: Raiders passing game
The Raiders are a run-first team, no doubt. That shouldn’t change against the Browns.

Cleveland can stop the run well enough, especially if middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson stays clean from blockers. But at some point, Jason Campbell will have to make a play or two through the air. Expect Darren McFadden to be the primary receiving weapon out of the backfield.

Throws to McFadden have easy, defined reads for Campbell (who often flounders late in his progressions and when his pocket gets too crowded for him to take a full step into his throw) and they should be available given the way Cleveland’s linebackers have struggled in underneath coverage. Most of those struggles have come against athletic tight ends.

The Raiders, however, are more inclined to run tight end Kevin Boss down the seam and swing McFadden underneath. The Browns will likely commit a safety (perhaps T.J. Ward) to tight end coverage and allow Scott Fujita to cover McFadden (expect zone principles since Fujita doesn’t have a prayer at running with McFadden in man coverage).

This isn’t to say Campbell won’t go to his wide receivers. He’s been attacking deep more in October than he did in September. That’s a response to the new speedy duo of Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Both are raw but potentially lethal. (No. 3 receiver Jacoby Ford is also a burner.) They’re not a potent one-two punch yet, though. Moore’s only big game came against the Bills, when Heyward-Bey was out of the lineup.

We may find out which receiver the Raiders like better this Sunday. Campbell has avoided throwing at top-flight corners this season (he hardly looked to Darrelle Revis’ side in Week 3 and rarely challenged Houston’s Johnathan Joseph in Week 5). Browns second-year sensation Joe Haden is most definitely a top-flight corner (he may have the most natural change-of-direction ability of any defensive player in football).

If Haden returns from his sprained knee, he’ll likely line up on the defensive left side. Whoever Oakland puts on the offensive left side (i.e. away from Haden) figures to be the go-to target. That could tell you what wide receiver pecking order the Raiders prefer.

Ravens vs. Texans
Keep an eye on: Brian Cushing
The third-year pro has been arguably the best inside linebacker in the AFC this season. That’s significant considering how mightily Cushing struggled as the middle linebacker in Houston’s 4-3 scheme last season.

But the inside duties are different in Wade Phillips’ new 3-4. With less field to cover, Cushing has been able to be more of an attacker than a reader-and-reactor. That’s a style best suited for his speed and ferocity.
Cushing hunts down outside runs extremely well and shows vigor when tasked with clearing out a lead-blocker. Both are critical traits for containing a Ravens ground game featuring a dynamic B-and C-gap runner like Ray Rice and a fullback like Vontae Leach.

Cushing is also noteworthy because of what he means to Houston’s pass-rush. Against the Raiders last week, Phillips resorted to frequent inside blitzes in an effort to instill panic in Oakland’s pass protectors and command one-on-one matchups for the rushers outside. Cushing continuously stood out for timing his blitzes well and executing them with reckless abandon.

With Mario Williams out, Phillips may feel compelled to be even more aggressive with linebacker blitzes. And he’s certainly seen the Week 4 film of Joe Flacco and the Ravens struggling to sort out many of the Jets’ inside blitzes.

Lions vs. 49ers
Keep an eye on: the tight ends
The 49ers and Lions are very different offenses. The Lions run a modern, semi-spread, aerial attacking offense. The 49ers run a 1980s, compact, ground-pounding offense.

That’s primarily a function of the quarterbacks. Though both are former No. 1 overall picks, Matthew Stafford is gun-slinger while Alex Smith is, comparatively, a spitball shooter. (To be fair, Smith did have a terrific game against the Bucs. He diagnosed coverages well and made a few stick throws.)

Though vastly different, both offenses are built around the same base personnel package: two tight ends. The Lions frequently line up with Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew while the Niners often feature Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. The conundrum that two tight end personnel presents for a defense is in deciding what personnel to respond with.

Go with nickel and you risk getting run on (especially when facing the Niners, given that Davis and Walker are both solid run-blockers). Go with a base defense and you risk getting thrown on (especially with the Lions since Scheffler often splits out as a third receiver in the slot).
All four tight ends are weapons. For the Lions, Brandon Pettigrew is surprisingly mobile given his 265-pound frame and ’09 knee injury (from which he’s seemingly gained mobility through rehabbing). Scheffler is a swift downfield target.

For the Niners, Vernon Davis is as athletic as they come. No one save for maybe Jermichael Finley is as dangerous down the seams. Delanie Walker is not as good as Bay Area fans think, but he’s versatile in patterns and can block from a standstill position, off of motion or in a lead out of the backfield.

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Posted on: September 25, 2010 8:59 pm

D'Qwell Jackson lands on IR again

Posted by Andy Benoit

For the second straight year, the Cleveland Browns have placed inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson on Injured Reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.
D. Jackson
This move was unexpected, as Jackson was reportedly making progress after suffering the injury in August. This is a particularly painful blow to Jackson, as he is nearing the end of his rookie contract.

When healthy, the undersized former second-round pick is one of the most prolific tacklers in the game.

Wide receiver and special teams standout Sam Aiken was signed to fill Jackson’s spot on the 53-man roster. Eric Barton and Chris Gocong will start at inside linebacker for the Browns.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 8:28 pm

Browns could lose LB D'Qwell Jackson again

Posted by Andy Benoit

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson may have suffered another pectoral injury. Jackson sat out practice Tuesday night and, reportedly, was being consoled by teammates. The Browns are yet to comment.

Jackson missed the final 10 games last season with a pectoral injury. He is playing for a new contract in 2010.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 14, 2010 5:22 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2010 5:28 pm

Linebackers Giving In, Signing Tenders

As expected, more restricted free agents have chosen to sign for what they believe is “less than fair market value” today. Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, Redskins inside linebacker Rocky McIntosh, Titans middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson all signed tenders. It was an obvious choice, given that their other option was to hold out and risk signing for “far, far less than fair market value” later. At midnight, teams can reduce their original tenders to restricted free agents, leaving players with two options: sign for just 110 percent of their ’09 base salary or sit out the season and get nothing.

There has been speculation that Dumervil, the AFC’s sack leader in ’09 and Denver’s only bona fide pass-rusher, could be in line for a long-term deal. However, the Broncos have been quiet on that front.

McIntosh, while presumably pining for a long-term contract, could break an even bigger bank in 2011. The fifth-year pro is coming off a career season. Given his continuously improving run-stopping abilities, McIntosh should be even more productive (read: more valuable) in Washington’s new 3-4 scheme. Plus, London Fletcher is 35. Fletcher has yet to show any hint of decline, but if he hits a wall in ’10, McIntosh’s value to the Redskins becomes even greater.

Tulloch’s presence is critical for Tennessee given the absence of injured veterans Keith Bulluck (currently a free agent) and David Thornton (likely to be released). Jackson, one of the league’s most productive tacklers (statistically speaking), is looking to bounce back after an injury-riddled ’09 campaign.

---Andy Benoit

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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