Tag:Leon Washington
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Pete Carroll thinks ref blew call, cost 'Hawks TD

The Seahawks' biggest play against the Browns was called back, but should it have been? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We'll be honest: we didn't watch every play of the Seattle-Cleveland game -- that's the type of punishment reserved for Gitmo detainees. In case you missed it (and we imagine you did), the Browns won the war of attrition, 6-3.

But if you ask Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, his team had a touchdown taken off the board and it probably cost them the game. Midway through the third quarter, with the Browns leading 3-0, Leon Washington returned a punt 81 yards to give Seattle the lead. Except that Kennard Cox was flagged for an illegal block, nullifying the score. Replays showed that Cox got his hand on the back of a Browns' player, though it would've been hard to argue if the officials hadn't thrown a flag at all. (Judge for yourself below. The play in question starts around the 1:05 mark.)


"I didn't think that was a call that should have been made," Carroll said Monday. "That was unfortunate. … There's a lot of calls that happen at light speed out there that are challenging to call, and that was one," he continued. "Unfortunately it was the play of the game for us. It was our touchdown in this game, and it got away from us, you know."

That's the saddest part to all this: it was the play of the game for the Seahawks. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, filling in for Tarvaris Jackson, looked incapable of executing anything beyond a hand-off, and it makes you wonder why Carroll traded a second-round pick for him prior to the 2010 season.

And unlike last year, when the NFC West was up for grabs from for 17 weeks, the 49ers have already run away with the division. And barring an epic collapse by every other NFC wild-card team (or perhaps more likely, an asteroid strike), Seattle's season is just above done.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule



Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's one thing for kick returners to bemoan their plight regarding the new kickoff rule that now has balls sailing into the end zone roughly a third of the time, but they're not the only people complaining. CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz wrote Wednesday that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick thinks the NFL wants to squash kickoffs altogether (the league disagrees with that assessment).

The Browns' Josh Cribbs, the NFL record-holder for career kickoff-return touchdowns with eight, has been understandably outspoken on the rules change. After tweeting over the weekend that kicking off from the 35-yard line has turned preseason games into a "scrimmage," he told FoxSportsOhio.com's Pat McManamon on Wednesday that "I'm entitled to my opinion."

As is often the case, player safety prompted the rules change. Saints coach Sean Payton called the kickoff return “the highest risk of injury play.”

Cribbs isn't buying it. “If that’s what the issue was, there are no stats to back it up,” he said. “The intentions are good, but the stats aren’t there.”

Football is inherently dangerous, and it's not inconceivable to think that kickoffs might be more hazardous than a typical play. But Cribbs is right -- the rules committee needs to do more than just proclaim kickoffs dangerous; they should give players the numbers to back it up. It's certainly a lot easier to sell a wholesale change that redefines one of the most exciting plays in football when you can point to a chart that shows, for example, the increased likelihood of a concussion resulting from an 11-on-11 full-speed head-on collision.

Under the new rule, the kickoff team can line up no more than five yards behind the 35-yard line in an effort to keep players from reaching full speed as they race down the field.

This makes sense and most reasonable people would agree that it should decrease injuries. But again, it would be nice if there were stats backing this up. Because following this logic, the NFL should also consider modifying punts, too. It sounds extreme, yes, but so does the thought of making guys like Cribbs and Leon Washington suddenly obsolete.

“I want somebody to come chase my record,” Cribbs said. “I want to chase it as well. I feel like rules like (this) will take it out of proportion. At the same time it’s an obstacle to get over and I’m looking forward to getting over it.”

You know who we haven't heard much from on this issue? The Steelers, a team that has struggled to cover kicks and punts in recent years. They may disagree in principle with the change, but we're pretty sure they won't put up too big a fuss given what Cribbs has done to them.


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Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:48 am
 

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

BelichickPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the new NFL rules stating that kickoffs are to be taken from the 35-yard line instead of the 30 -- though the Bears didn’t feel they needed to follow that rule, since apparently they wanted to work on their kickoff coverage -- it seems pretty clear the NFL wants to reduce the number of returns that can be taken.

In fact, as we wrote last March, the reason the rules competition committee wanted to make the change in the first place was because of safety concerns. But according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the league has an ulterior motive for making the change to kickoff placement.

The NFL wants to eliminate kickoffs entirely.

During a session with the media Tuesday, one questioner, according to CSN’s Tom E. Curran, began a query this way: “If the intention of the NFL is eliminate kickoffs …” Belichick quickly interrupted.

"That's what they told us," Belichick said. "I'm not speaking for anyone else. That's what they told us, that they want to eliminate the play."

Which would fundamentally change the game in a way that is not completely impossible to fathom but which critics could claim also turns the NFL into more of a flag football league. Even if that supposed philosophy never comes to pass, Belichick talked about the current system, in which teams might build rosters differently if kickoff returners won’t make as much of an impact.

"If, instead of covering 60 kickoffs in a year you think you're only going to be covering 30, then is that coverage player as important, or -- on the flip side of it -- is the return game?" Belichick asked (presumably in the rhetorical sort of way). "If you're going to be returning 30 instead of 60, are the guys who block on the kickoff return (as important)?  If you think you're going to be returning more punts than kickoffs (there's a decision to weigh). Usually you're going to be returning more kickoffs than punts but if you think you'll be returning more punts than kickoffs, then maybe you put more of a priority on your punt returner than your kickoff returner."

To be fair, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had this to say to CSN regarding Belichick’s claim that the league wants to squash kickoffs: "(Chairman of the Competition Committee) Rich McKay and (NFL Vice President) Ray Anderson say that’s not accurate. They said the Competition Committee’s position was that they wanted to 'shorten the field' and that the movement of the kickoff line would potentially reduce the number of kickoffs to be returned. They said they are unaware of anyone saying that it was intended to 'eliminate' the kickoff return."

But if that was the case and the NFL really does want to eliminate kickofs, you can bet teams like the Bears (because of KR Devin Hester), Browns (because of Josh Cribbs) and the Seahawks (because of Leon Washington) who are already not pleased with the new rules will be really, really unhappy.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Major rules changes coming for NFL?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When owners convene next week for what seems like their 50th meeting of the year, the NFL’s competition committee has some recommendations for them (hopefully, Jerry Jones won’t tap his fists together and walk out of this meeting).

According to several reporters who were on a teleconference call with Rich McKay, chair of the committee, there are number of potential rules changes. Here they are:

1) The most-impactful proposal is the idea to move the kickoff spot from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, to make the touchback starting point the 25-yard line (instead of the 20) and to eliminate all wedge blocking, including the two-man wedge.

This proposal, says the committee, is because of player safety. Since kickoffs are so potentially dangerous, it’s pretty clear the committee wants to reduce the amount of kickoffs that can be fielded. Even if a place-kicker can’t get the ball out of the end zone from the 35-yard line, returners will be less likely to run back a kick from the middle of the end zone, now that a team would get possession at the 25-yard line on a touchback.

If this rule is adopted, that would, I imagine, lessen the impact of players like Devin Hester and Leon Washington.

The elimination of wedge plays isn’t a surprise, because of how dangerous those blocks are for the person who’s being double-teamed. In fact, McKay said, some teams proposed eliminating kickoffs altogether (how crazy would that be, by the way?).

2) Expect suspensions for those who make dangerous hits on defenseless receivers. This, obviously, also is because of safety, and since the players have had half a season to get used to this new paradigm, I expect the NFL to start actually suspending players. Especially for repeat offenders and for the worst of the worst hits.
Player safety

3) Regarding instant replay, the committee wants to adopt a rule in which all scoring plays would be booth reviews. This would eliminate the coaches’ ability to challenge on a TD (or a field goal, I suppose). This obviously is a move to the college game, though McKay said he’s not willing to go all the way there (meaning all plays are reviewable by the booth).

And a few other news bits:

-Playoff overtime rules will not extend into the regular season. The main reason: there was no playoff overtime games last year, and the committee still wants to see how that situation would play out before making it all-encompassing.

-The possibility was discussed by the committee, but there will be no proposal for playoff reseeding this season. Good news for, ahem, the Seahawks.

-The NFL schedule will be released in mid-April this year. Just like normal.

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Leon Washington, Seahawks agree to 4-year deal

Posted by Will Brinson

Leon Washington's amazing comeback from a horrific leg injury has finally paid off for him, in a literal sense. The running back/return man landed a four-year with the Seattle Seahawks.

The news, first reported by Josina Anderson of Football Pros, was confirmed by his agent, Alvin Keels.

Washington's deal reportedly has a base value of $12.5 million (per Adam Schefter of ESPN), with around $3.5 million in guaranteed money. It can reportedly get as high as $16 million if certain incentives are reached.

Washington's injury, which occurred when he was with the Jets, was an impetus for Darrelle Revis' extended holdout before the 2010 season -- it looked like Washington would never get a shot at big money in the NFL again.

But after providing a tremendous special teams spark for Seattle in 2010 (Washington racked up over 1,400 return yards along with three touchdowns), he finally got a chance to ink a new deal. And he jumped all over it.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: December 24, 2010 2:48 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.24.10: No holiday cheer for MJD



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- For the third-straight day, Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t practice while dealing with a knee injury. It’s not a good sign for Jacksonville, since no player who has missed a Friday practice with the team this year has ended up playing on a Sunday. At the same time, Jones-Drew has never missed a game due to injury. But yeah, it doesn’t look good at this point. He’s listed as doubtful on the injury report, and it'll be surprising if he suits up to play.

- Seattle’s Leon Washington and Mike Williams are candidates for the Comeback Player of the Year award. Williams knows who should get it. His teammate.

- Pro Football Talk has an interesting take on why we might not see a league decision regarding Brett Favre for a few more days.

- And speaking of Favre, how about Favre, the linebacker?

- Former Baltimore Colts and Redskins guard Ken Huff already has climbed Mount Kilimanjero once before. Now, he’s going back to do it again to help wounded soldiers.

- If you’d like to relive the topsy-turvy world of the Jets from 2010, here’s your chance to review the season.

- You remember how Ravens LB Terrell Suggs bragged about leaving Patriots QB Tom Brady off his Pro Bowl ballot? Well, Brady responded today, saying he would have voted for Suggs, in part because Suggs is such a nice guy.

- Break up the Browns? Aw, hell no, says defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

- If the Bengals decide to franchise tag Johnathan Joseph, Cincinnati’s CB would be OK with that. Considering he’d likely make $10-13 million, you can understand why.

- Some of the Steelers players will become awfully big Browns fans this weekend. It'll be for a weekend only.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 2:26 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 3:15 pm
 

Report: Seahawks acquire Marshawn, cut J Jones

Posted by Will Brinson

Marshawn Lynch's name has surfaced with a number of teams in possible trade talks (most specifically the Packers and Eagles) but now this afternoon a report surfaced that the Seahawks made a play and acquired the former first round pick for a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

That's according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and if it's true, it is indeed a great move for the 'Hawks.

It's puzzling on a few fronts, though.

First, where did Seattle come from? While they've been involved in seemingly every rumor this offseason (Pete Carroll's just zany like that), it's surprising to see them acquire a running back (although at this price, and more on that in a second, how can you blame them?) when they have Justin Forsett, Leon Washington and Julius Jones already on the roster.

Jones was set to be cut before he restructured his deal, so the move likely ended his tenure in Seattle -- Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported shortly after the Marshawn trade report that, per a league source, Seattle cut Jones.

And Washington is more of a specialist with explosive return ability, a skillset which he's openly said the Seattle staff understands. Forsett, though, seemed to be taking on the role of "feature back" as recently as last week, but it's pretty obvious that Carroll doesn't trust him entirely.

Then again, as mentioned, that's a silly price for Lynch (silly good, that is), considering that the Bills have been essentially stood pat that they wouldn't take less than a second- or third-rounder for the former California Golden Bear. Clearly, they needed to deal Lynch, who was unhappy in Buffalo, after drafting C.J. Spiller in the first round, though.

Which leads us to the Packers -- they clearly didn't think that Lynch was worth anything more than a fourth-rounder, otherwise they could have acquired him earlier than the Seahawks did. In fact, Adam Schefter reports that the Bills and Seahawks had a deal in place last week , with a press release drawn up and everything, but the Bills pulled back.

So, yeah, the winner here is Seattle, because it got a talented running back on the cheap (even if they didn't necessarily need the depth), while the Bills -- for failing to get more than a fourth round pick in exchange for Lynch -- and Packers -- for continuing to stick with Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn -- are the losers.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 9:59 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 5:07 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest problems

Mike Singletary has led his San Francisco squad to an 0-3 start to the season (AP).
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The first game, if your favorite team has a bad day at the office, you can forgive it. “Ah, it’s just one game,” you might say. “My men have plenty of time, and it was the first game of the season. Obviously, they haven’t worked out all the kinks.” You can still sleep at night.

The second game, if your team stinks up the joint again, you can forgive it. With reservations. “OK, it’s only two games. The season is still long. You can still make the playoffs if you start it out 0-2. They’re still figuring things out.” You still sleep at night, though probably not as soundly.

By the third game, though, if your team is still playing really, really poorly, you might have a tough time catching those Z's. By game three, problem teams – and problem players – are becoming more “the trend” and less “just a phase.” Your team might really suck, after all. Your favorite player might officially be over the hill.

You might officially have a problem.

10. Carson Palmer:
I’ve watched Palmer closely the past five or six years, and after the Jets beat Cincinnati in the playoffs last year, I wrote Palmer was no longer an elite quarterback (you can’t be elite, after all, if your stats fall somewhere between Jason Campbell and David Garrard). He’s continued his struggles this year, and though, the Bengals don’t need him quite as much if they have a healthy Cedric Benson, you can close the book on him as one of the best in the game.

9. Shawne Merriman’s Achilles/Andre Johnson’s ankle: Let’s combine two annoying injuries for players who would do well to stay on the field. Merriman, who missed much of the preseason because of a holdout/Achilles injury, played the last two weeks, but he had to leave Sunday’s contest because of a calf injury. Though he’s not the player he once was, he’s a better option for San Diego than Antwan Applewhite and Brandon Lang. And Johnson’s ankle is self-explanatory. If he’s not on the field – and he’s had to miss part of the past two games – the Texans offense isn’t nearly as potent.

8. David Garrard: I know, I hate putting two QBs on here in the first three picks, but, unlike Palmer, I’m not sure why Garrard is still playing with the first string. I mean, aside from Todd Bouman (hasn’t thrown a pass in five seasons) being his only backup. Coach Jack Del Rio was asked how much longer he could play Garrard, and Del Rio said as long as he was the team’s best option. Meaning he’s the team’s only option. Which is bad news.

7. Ben Roethlisberger’s return:
This isn’t about Roethlisberger necessarily and I assume coach Mike Tomlin will give him back his job when he returns from his four-game suspension, but the Steelers could be 4-0 playing a combination of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Roethlisberger obviously is a better QB than either of those two, but he’ll probably be rusty. What if he struggles against the Browns in his first game? What if Miami’s defense lights him up the week after that? Will Steelers fans be chanting Charlie Batch’s name (probably not, but you never know …)?

6. Brandyn Dombrowski:
So, how soon can Marcus McNeill return for San Diego? Dombrowski, playing LT and trying to protect Philip Rivers’ blindside, had a tough time against Seattle on Sunday, Chris Clemons toasted him a few times to sack Rivers, and on the Chargers’ first attempt to get within two late in the game – the first time Rivers hit TE Antonio Gates – Dombrowski was called for holding. San Diego coach Norv Turner has defended him, but Dombrowski had a rough one in the Chargers loss.

G. Hartley had a rough week for New Orleans last week and is in danger of losing his job (AP). 5. Garrett Hartley: It’s hard to believe how badly Hartley missed his game-winning 29-yard field goal in overtime of the Falcons victory against the Saints. Coach Sean Payton has shown plenty of loyalty to Hartley, but Hartley directly cost New Orleans the game Sunday. How many more games will he negatively impact the Saints before he’s off the team? Maybe, none. John Carney and Matt Stover apparently have tried out for the Saints this week, and at this point, if Hartley lasts the year in New Orleans, it’d be kind of a surprise. 

4. The entire AFC/NFC West: We’ll get into San Francisco’s Mike Singletary in a minute, but man, how inconsistent have these conferences been? Oakland has been terrible (against Tennessee), less terrible (a win against St. Louis), and almost not terrible enough to win again (a 24-23 loss to Arizona). Derek Anderson has worked his anti-magic for the Cardinals. And you still don’t know what you’re going to get when Seattle runs onto the field for the game. I'm still shocked St. Louis beat Washington. These divisions are wide open for the taking, especially when Kansas City starts 3-0 and leads the AFC West.

3. Chargers kick return coverage:
OK, so you saw what Leon Washington did against San Diego on Sunday, returning a kick for 101 yards for the TD and then returning another kick for 99 yards. That was unreal. But don’t forget about Kansas City’s Dexter McCluster, who had a 94-yard punt return in the season opener vs. San Diego. On Monday, several Chargers veterans volunteered for special teams duties in order to help improve that unit. Hey, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

2. Giants discipline:
Remember how Antrel Rolle complained about how much control the coaching staff held over the players? Well, that’s not exactly true, especially when we’re talking about New York’s 11 penalties, including five personal fouls that occurred after the play was over, in its bad loss to Tennessee. Two 15-yarders came courtesy of RT Kareem McKenzie (behavior McKenzie called “despicable” the next day), and Rolle incurred one when he tried to punch Tennessee TE Craig Stevens. With performances like that, you have to wonder what kind of control coach Tom Coughlin actually asserts over his players. And how much longer he’ll be in control of the Giants at all.

1. Mike Singletary:
After the 49ers 31-10 beatdown by the Chiefs, word filtered out that Kansas City’s defenders apparently were calling out San Francisco’s play calls before the plays were actually run. Now, the 49ers are 0-3, and maybe, aside from pulling down his pants to motivate his team, Singletary doesn’t exactly seem like an X’s and O’s guy. He actually was asked after the game if he had been outcoached, and he said, “I would not say ‘outcoached.’ When you have a loss like this, a lot of things look wrong.” Like the offense. And a day after backing his offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and saying he’d be around the rest of the season, Singletary fired him. That means new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson continues the streak of Alex Smith never playing for the same coordinator in back-to-back seasons. I’m sure that will help.

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