Tag:Frank Walker
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:45 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: NFC East preview

Can Jerry get Tony enough help in 2012? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas 2011 season reeked of redemption for a lost 2010 season much of the way through. Despite close (and awkward) losses to the Patriots, Jets and Lions, the Cowboys rolled into December on a four-game winning streak, with a shot at closing out the NFC East. Then things absolutely fell apart: Jason Garrett iced his own kicker in an overtime loss to Arizona, Tony Romo overthrew Miles Austin in a tight Week 14 loss to the Giants, Romo was injured the next week in a meaningless game against the Eagles and Dallas got pounded by the eventual Super Bowl champs on New Years Day. Then Jerry Jones team had to watch the 9-7 Giants march to a Super Bowl victory. Not a fun couple of months for them. And though most of the blame usually finds its way onto Romo or Garrett, significant upgrades on the offensive line and secondary could go a long way towards fixing the Cowboys problems and making them a legit contender.

Free Agents of Note
Linebacker Anthony Spencer was tagged on Monday by Dallas, so he'll be back at least one more year and could get a longer deal ... Tight end Martellus Bennett is a good blocker but hasn't panned out the way Dallas wanted ... Linebacker Keith Brooking is 36 but has drawn interest from Dallas to return in 2012 ... FB Tony Fiammetta is an RFA and needs to be retained, especially given the work he did for DeMarco Murray last year ... Linebacker Bradie James is 31 and could be gone ... Wide receiver Laurent Robinson really clicked with Tony Romo in 2012 and would be a big re-addition ... Punter Mat McBriar could be done in Dallas if the 'Boys want to move forward with Chris Jones.

Needs
Secondary
: Terence Newman, 33, could be a cap/age casualty and Abram Elam, Frank Walker and Alan Ball are free agents. If Dallas plans on remaining as aggressive as defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants them to be, they'll need to drastically improve the secondary.
Guard
: Tyron Smith and Doug Free flipped sides and are locked in at tackle, but the interior of the line needs improvement.

Targets
Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan would be an ideal target for Dallas as longer-term options. Neither is expected to remain with their respective teams. But if the Cowboys can't get Carr, they'll need to pursue some shorter-term options like Carlos Rogers. Guard is deep in free agency too, and it would behoove the Cowboys to invest in a stud like Carl Nicks. Getting Spencer signed to a long-term deal, rather than give him $9 million in 2012, would do a lot for their cap space.

New York Giants

It's crazy to think that the Super Bowl champion Giants looked DOA by the start of the regular season; an almost unbelievable (were it not true) string of injuries hit the team before the season began. The Giants looked even worse off in the middle of a late-season swoon that featured some of the toughest

Free Agents of Note:
Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham is going to get overpaid somewhere else based on his postseason performance ... Secret Super Bowl hero Steve Weatherford got the franchise tag Monday, so he'll be back in 2012 ... Wideout Domenik Hixon's already been re-signed ... Cornerback Aaron Ross says he wants to return but won't commit to a "hometown" discount ... Terrell Thomas was lost in the preseason but is closing in on a deal with the Giants ... Deon Grant is scheduled for free agency as well ... Both Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe tore their ACLs in the Super Bowl, so the Giants have to sign someone to play tight end ... Kareem McKenzie is 32-years-old and the Giants could be ready to move on after he struggled last season.

Needs
Tight End: This seems like a classic "address it at the end of the first round" issue, since the Giants could have their pick of Cody Fleener, Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen at No. 32. If not, they'll need to get someone from a not-so-attractive free agent pile.
Offensive Line: This is a unit that's getting older quickly. David Deihl can work anywhere on the line, but he's 31.
Secondary: If the Giants get Thomas, they could be fine here, as they've already got Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle. But last year proved how important depth really is, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them beef up the position.

Targets
The Giants are tight up against the salary cap this offseason, but are also coming off a year where they won the Super Bowl. The pressure isn't too intense on them to make a big splash with outside guys in free agency (nor should it be). If they can find value in a some cheaper offensive line options with a little upside (Geoff Schwartz anyone?) that would make the most sense in terms of an outside pick up.

Philadelphia Eagles

You know what happened here: a dream-team season quickly turned into a nightmare out of the gates, and the Eagles were the laughingstock of the NFL as they fell to 1-4. They finally turned things around with a four-game winning streak to close out at 8-8, giving Philly fans plenty of hope for 2012. (Not to mention helping Andy Reid's job security.) But there are still concerns here, because the Eagles have to get some linebackers and safeties in order to stop the run, manage their high-priced cornerbacks in a more efficient manner and keep Michael Vick from getting tattooed by opposing defenders. It's unlikely that Philly will make the same splash in free agency as they did in 2011, but that could actually be a good thing.

Free Agents: Running back Ronnie Brown might've thrown away (literally) any chance he had of returning to Philly ... DeSean Jackson got the franchise tag, and the team could still sign him long term or seek to trade him ... King Dunlap and Evan Mathis are both free agents on the offensive line; Mathis wants to return and should be priority No. 1 ... Trevor Laws, Juqua Parker and Derek Landri would depart the defensive line's depth if they all left ... Vince Young and Steve Smith, two big-name additions that didn't contribute much in 2011, seem likely to bolt.
Needs
Linebacker: Luke Koechly is the hot name for the Eagles in the draft, but his stock is rising and might not be available. Getting a middle linebacker who can stuff the run is absolutely essential for the Eagles defense in 2012. Adding some help at outside linebacker would be a bonus; acquiring linebackers isn't really Andy Reid's forte though.
Defensive Line Depth: The Eagles still have Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and Trent Cole starting, but as noted above, they're going to need depth to keep those guys fresh throughout the year.

Targets
Linebacker, as noted, is the biggest need. Fortunately for the Eagles, there are some nice names out there. Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton represent pricier, albeit talented, options at middle linebacker. Dan Connor's a name that's been rumored with Philly and he could make sense as a run-stopping specialist who doesn't cost that much.

Washington Redskins

As Clark Judge recently wrote, the Redskins are running out of options for 2012. Either get Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III or prepare to move on from Mike Shanahan. They'll have their chance at each, as Manning will be a free agent soon and the Rams are willing to deal the No. 2 pick in April's draft. And the Redskins success really could come down to the quarterback position: if they can get Manning or RG3 and put suitable weapons around one of those guys (I personally prefer RG3 for them), Washington could net a few more wins and at least challenge for the division title that Rex Grossman guaranteed before 2011 started.

Free Agents
Fred Davis was franchised and remains the team's most explosive offensive weapon but he needs to stay out of trouble ... Tim Hightower fits what Mike Shanahan wants to do but wasn't as effect ... London Fletcher is old but remains effective and the Redskins need him back ... Rex Grossman seems destined to remain with Shanny forever, even if it's just on one-year deals ... Graham Gano was tendered and should be back ... Washington's already re-signed center Will Montgomery ... LaRon Landry can't stay healthy but Washington might gamble on him at a cheap price ... Roy Helu makes Tim Hightower expendable, though Hightower was decent in his five starts before being injured.
Needs
Quarterback: Quite obviously.
Wide Receiver: Jabar Gaffney shouldn't be anyone's No. 1 wideout. If the Skins go with the Manning route, it's entirely possible they can lure other free-agent wideouts into town. Either way, reports indicate they want to get a "high-profile wide receiver" and that's a good thing. Pairing Manning or RG3 with a viable wideout could make this offense explosive in 2012.
Offensive Line: Washington's set at several slots on the front, but could use an upgrade on the right side, where Jamaal Brown in particular has not been as good as they'd hoped.
Targets
Manning's the main target here. If they can't get Peyton, then the Skins have to get RG3. Both are attainable, it's just whether or not the cost is prohibitive. Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston would all qualify as "marquee" wideouts. Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks would be obviously be tremendous adds and allow the Redskins to shift some personnel and improve their line. Evan Mathis would take away from a division opponent as well.

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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.

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Posted on: August 7, 2010 2:20 pm
 

Another Ravens DB bites the dust

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

How much further will injuries deplete the Ravens defense? How much longer until they can’t field 11 players on the field?

We kid, of course, but for the Baltimore defense – particularly its secondary – it’s no laughing matter. The Ravens simply continue to lose players to injury.

According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post , DB Chris Carr injured his hamstring at today’s practice and left the field with a trainer, becoming yet another Baltimore player to seek medical treatment.

That left Cary Williams – who’s suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy – and Travis Fisher, who’s playing for his fourth team in the past five seasons, as the first team corners.

So far, Baltimore’s defense is missing FS Ed Reed (coming off hip surgery), CB Domonique Foxworth (out for the year with a torn ACL), and LB Sergio Kindle (fractured skull). Remember also that CBs Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are coming off season-ending knee injuries from last year.

In the past week, the Ravens signed CB Chris Hawkins and traded QB John Beck for CD Doug Dutch. Those CBs left on the free agent market include former Raven Frank Walker and Fred Smoot.

The severity of Carr’s injury is not yet known.

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Posted on: August 1, 2010 2:42 pm
 

A whole mess of Ravens news

After missing the first two days of Baltimore’s training camp, TE Todd Heap returned to the practice field today, passed his conditioning test and caught a couple TD passes. He’d been on the non-football illness list with a tonsil virus, but he came back today and performed well.

“I’m not 100 percent. I’m still fighting through it,” Heap said in quotes captured by the Baltimore Sun . “I felt good enough where I (could) go for it this morning. … It knocked me out. There were three or four nights where I couldn’t sleep. It was a battle.”

-After losing Domonique Foxworth to a torn ACL Thursday, drastically impacting the team’s already-thin CB corps, the Sun is reporting the team is having “dialogue” with free agent Frank Walker.

Considering Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington are coming off injuries from last year, Baltimore needs to do something about its secondary. Chris Carr has worked with the first team lately in practice, but there’s a reason he’s much better known as a returner on special teams.

“Sure, Frank would have a shot,” Harbaugh told the paper. “Frank knows our scheme. He’s got some options, some teams he’s talking to right now. But he’s one guy of a lot of guys we’re looking at.

Walker played for Baltimore the previous two seasons, starting six of 29 games and recording two total interceptions.

-OT Jared Gaither hasn’t practice since Friday morning, and nobody seems to know why. Initially, Baltimore said he was suffering from cramps, but today Harbaugh said, “I’d like to be able to tell you what it is. I don’t know. He’s getting bloodwork, and they say they’re going to do some tests on him on Monday, and they’ll tell us what it is. That’s all they’ve told me.”

Gaither, it should be noted, reported at 311 pounds, almost 30 pounds less than where he played last season. Harbaugh said he wasn’t sure why.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 15, 2010 11:32 am
 

Is Cornerback Frank Walker Getting Desperate?

Oft-penalized Ravens nickelback Frank Walker, a serviceable but brash veteran who remains unsigned as a UFA, recently had a tryout with the Houston Texans. The Ravens, though thin at corner (and potentially deathly-thin, given that Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are both coming off major late-season knee injuries) clearly have no interest in retaining Walker. Recently, Baltimore welcomed cornerbacks Walt Harris and Ken Lucas in for a tryout. (Side note: Lucas struggled mightily in all phases as Seattle’s No. 2 corner last year, but it’s still somewhat surprising that the 31-year-old, who was once amongst the highest-paid corners in the league, remains unsigned).

Trying out with the Texans suggests Walker is getting desperate. Houston has fantastic depth at the cornerback position. First-round rookie Kareem Jackson is expected to start opposite last year’s fourth-round pick Glover Quin. Another second-year pro, Bryce McCain, figures to have the inside track on slot duties. That leaves Jacques Reeves (experienced veteran), Antwaun Molden (fluid athlete who’s often injured) and Fred Bennett (gifted but disliked by coaches) competing for No. 4 duties. Even if Walker were offered a contract by the Texans, it’s highly unlikely he’d make the final roster.


--Andy Benoit

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