Tag:2011 NFL Training Camp
Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 5:03 pm

Talib ready to move on with season

TalibPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s been quite an interesting offseason for Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib (all of which you can read in our handy related box in the middle of this post). But to sum up, Talib was arrested and faces charges of attempted assault with a deadly weapon, and though many of us assumed Tampa Bay would release Talib the first chance it got, that obviously hasn’t happened.

Since he’s still in a Bucs uniform, Talib says he will focus only on his on-field performance.

"Straight football,'' Talib told the Tampa Tribune. "I'm focused only on the stuff I can control. If I can't control it, I'm not going to focus on it. It's about setting that alarm, waking up, making it to meetings, coming out here on the practice field and making (wide receiver) Mike Williams better. It's about seeing Calvin Johnson early, Sept. 11th, when it all starts.''

Talib's Timeline
That last sentence, of course, assumes that commissioner Roger Goodell won’t suspend Talib for his supposed actions. And as we’re all aware, Goodell isn’t shy about pressing the “suspension” button whether a player has been found guilty or not (ask Ben Roethlisberger if you even need to be INDICTED in order for Goodell to make his decision).

Talib won’t go to trial until next spring, so he won’t miss any football this fall because of the legal system.

He also can count on coach Raheem Morris for support apparently.

"That's my dog,'' said Talib. "If anybody's got the real true story of what happened, Rah does.''

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 8:44 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 5:05 pm

Mason: Jets give me better chance at Super Bowl

D. Mason is now in New York and seemingly happy about it (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Now that 37-year-old WR Derrick Mason is with the Jets instead of the Ravens, he thinks he has a better chance of reaching the Super Bowl with his new team. Well, OF COURSE, he’d say that after Baltimore shocked him by getting rid of him.

"It's the business of football, and I understand it. Was I blindsided? Yeah, I was, and when you're blindsided, yeah, you're upset about it," Mason said, via USA Today.

"If you felt that you were going into a situation where you were on the cusp of something special, and you never thought that you would be released, or fired, or whatnot, you would be a little bit upset. But I had my moment. After that, I understood it's the business of football. It happened to me before, and it happened to me again. It happens to everybody in this business, whether you're great at your position or not.”

Even after the Ravens released him last month, Mason thought hard about re-signing with Baltimore anyway. But when the Jets came along and offered him a one-year deal with a guaranteed salary of $910,000 (the veteran’s minimum), he decided he wanted to rejoin coach Rex Ryan, who was a defensive assistant for many years in Baltimore.

While the Jets WR corps isn’t overly-impressive -- the addition of Mason, still a solid player who caught 61 passes for 802 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and Plaxico Burress doesn’t make up for the loss of Braylon Edwards -- it’s in a better position than the Ravens, who feature Anquan Boldin and a bunch of younger guys who haven’t done anything (or had the chance to do anything) at the pro level.

"When you have someone sitting across from you that understands and knows your work, and knows that you can play this game and still play it at a high level and respects that, that means a lot," said Mason. "That's what Coach Rex basically echoed to me: 'You still can play this game. I've seen tape of you last year. You still can play this game at a high level and you can help us.'

"That's all it took, was someone else believing that you could still play this game. So, like I said, why not come down here with the big fella and try to win a championship?"

At least with the Jets, Mason feels wanted. Which seems like the opposite of how the Ravens felt about him.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:00 pm

Finnegan admits missing camp because of contract

C. Finnegan admitted that he missed practice because he is unhappy with his contract (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Cortland Finnegan seems like a tough guy to figure out. The Titans DB doesn’t have the best reputation among players (he’s considered one of the dirtiest guys out there, and he fought with the usually-calm Andre Johnson last year), but he’s vowed to change his ways and he befriended a high school volleyball player stricken with a rare type of cancer.

But on Monday, he readily showed that, once again, he still has some growing up to do, admitting to reporters, including Rapid Reporter Matt Rybaltowski, that his absence from practice Saturday was because of a contract dispute.

As CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson explained Sunday, Finnegan left Titans camp Saturday, apparently upset at a contract that will pay him $3.7 million this year.

But on Sunday, Finnegan wrote on his Twitter page that, despite coach Mike Munchak saying he didn’t know why Finnegan had left, his absence had nothing to do with a holdout. Instead, it was “a personal matter that Titan officials were aware of … I am grateful for being a Titan … I am also thankful for my current contract and direction of team. It's obvious media had no idea of why my absence took place. … I have spoken with coaches and teammates and will resume all things asked. Sad to see media made this out to be about money when I'm happy."

Also: “Media gets paid to report never knowing but one side of a story. My personal issues needed attention and I will be out there playing ball."

Naturally, all of that was a lie.

“I let the emotions get the best of me,” Finnegan said today after apologizing to his teammates, team management and the media. “I had to take a step back personally, talk to my wife and see what the next step was for me.”

Finnegan also said he wants to retire a member of the Tennessee organization, and he hopes that his short absence doesn’t destroy his chances of landing a long-term contract (Munchak has said it won’t).

So, was it just bad advice from Finnegan’s agent, then?

“Ultimately a player is responsible for his actions and what he decides to do,” Munchak said. “I think it’s hard for us to know.”

Finnegan just doesn’t make it easy for anybody to know what’s going on in his head.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 5:56 am

As expected, Tim Tebow not Denver's starting QB

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Broncos will face the Cowboys on Thursday in both teams’ first preseason game, and since we’re only a few days before kickoff, we get to see the official depth chart. As we expected -- based on the reports that Kyle Orton is playing well above Tim Tebow in practice -- Tebow is not the starting quarterback.

Tebow's journey
Instead, as the Denver Post writes, Tebow sits second on the depth chart behind Orton (but in front of third-stringer Brady Quinn!!).

Somewhere, Merril Hoge has his feet up on a desk, his hands crossed behind his head, and he’s smiling a winner’s smile.

By the way, first-round pick Von Miller is listed as a starting strong-side linebacker.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:31 pm

John Beck is not yet Redskins starter

J. Beck is not yet officially Washington's starter (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With Donovan McNabb off the Redskins radar screen and with Rex Grossman a free agent, it was assumed by just about everybody -- especially by the man himself -- that John Beck was in the position to take over Washington’s starting QB spot.

And by just about everybody, I’m not including Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who told reporters, via the DC Sports Bog, that Beck actually ISN’T the starter right now.

As Dan Steinberg points out, many national reporters have assumed that because Beck said he thought of himself as the starter that he actually was. But until NFL.com asked Shanahan, he hadn’t made a comment on the scenario.

“First of all, I’ve never mentioned a starter,” Shanahan said. “I’ve never even insinuated a starter. I said I had a lot of belief in John Beck, I had a lot of belief in Rex Grossman. We’re going to play the best player at the end of camp, but I do believe in both those guys. I’ve watched them practice. You make decisions based on practice. I’ve watched both these guys for a year, I like what they bring to the table. Now I get a chance to watch them compete on a day-to-day basis.”

Grossman, for the record, has 31 career starts (including three last year) against Beck’s four -- which is less than half as many as the one guy who’s getting no love in this case. That would be nine starts for Kellen Clemens.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:12 pm

Frazier: Cutting McKinnie was best for team

McKinniePosted by Josh Katzowitz

Say this for former Vikings T Bryant McKinnie: if he really was cut because he apparently weighed close to 400 pounds and because of high cholesterol, maybe we should blame Venus Williams.

After all, McKinnie worked out with Williams in the offseason (and took tennis lessons from her) and said at the time that he wanted to cut his weight from 360 to 340. Apparently, she’s not quite as good at being a personal trainer as she is at winning major tennis titles, because McKinnie certainly didn’t report to Vikings camp at 340* (or 360 for that matter).

*Of course, apparently spending $100,000 at a bar in one night doesn’t necessarily imply that you’re on a major health kick either.

Coach Leslie Frazier tried to be diplomatic today while talking to reporters about McKinnie, who figures to draw interest from the rest of the league assuming his health is OK.

"We made a decision for our organization that we thought was the best thing as we're trying to bring a world championship to Minnesota," Frazier said, via ESPN 1500. "In order for us to do that, there are certain things I talked to our team about on that first night, that Sunday night, that we got together as a group and I talked to them about the criteria and what I thought was necessary to win in our league. In order for us to get where we need to go, there are certain things that ha(ve) to happen.

"In Bryant's case, he's been a terrific player for the Vikings. I love him as a person. We've got a great relationship together. But at this point, for all parties involved, I just thought it was the right thing to do, and I'm sure he's going to catch on with a team and he's going to do well. He's a terrific player right now, but for where we are right now and where we're trying to go to, it just wasn't the right fit for the direction that we want to go."

Though Frazier was careful to tip-toe his way through reporters’ questions (he never actually admitted that the sole reason for McKinnie’s release was because of the weight issue), he wanted to make sure that everybody knew he wasn’t trying to send a message to players during his first full season as head coach.

"Not at all,” he said. “I didn't look at it that way at all. The only thing I've tried to do from the moment I stepped in this position, from January and even in the interim basis (last season), is to help shape this team into a championship football team. And none of that means doing this to get people's attention -- just handling every situation independently and that's what I've tried to do."

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 8:27 pm

Report: Tiki Barber works out for Dolphins

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In case you were wondering if you would ever again hear about Tiki Barber’s attempted comeback, wonder no more. Foxsports.com’s Jay Glazer is reporting that Barber had a tryout with the Dolphins on Tuesday.

Tiki Time
Glazer writes that Barber looked good working out, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll catch on with Miami because the Dolphins want to test out their current RBs.

The Dolphins backfield certainly will look new this season after drafting Daniel Thomas in the second round and then dropping Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Then, they acquired Reggie Bush to complement Thomas.

It’s possible Barber could find a place on the squad, but Lex Hilliard and Kory Sheets also are on the Dolphins depth chart, and those two are probably who Miami personnel want to see before they think about making a move on Barber.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 7:36 pm

A sick Jeremy Maclin still not practicing

J. Maclin hasn't practiced yet because of an unknown illness (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In April, we told you that Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin – a member of the so-called Dream Team in Philadelphia – had lost about 15 pounds after dealing with a “mono-like illness” but then had recovered to gain back about half of that weight.

Said Maclin at the time: “It was off and on. I went for a week where I felt good, and then all of a sudden the feeling would be back.”

Which leads us to Wednesday’s report in the Philadelphia Inquirer which states that Maclin hasn’t yet practiced this training camp* because he’s dealing with an unspecified illness.

*As is evident in the picture to the right as Maclin talks to Jason Avant; it’s evident because Maclin is not wearing shoulder pads.

"He's not done with his tests so the doctors are still looking at a few things," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He's up here, he's in good spirits, he looks good. He's able to do some conditioning things. ... From what he's gone through it looks like he's in good shape."

The paper also writes that Maclin is noticeably thinner than he was earlier this offseason when he participated in player-led workouts -- he’s listed, by the way, at 198 pounds. Maclin won’t speak to reporters until he begins practice.

That, according to the paper, might not be very soon.

If you’ll recall, Maclin missed some time last training camp due to a knee injury and then a shoulder problem, which prompted our own Andy Benoit to write, “One criticism of Maclin as a rookie was that he lacked toughness and was hesitant to take on contact.” Though we don’t know what the illness is and how much it’s impacting his ability to practice, Maclin’s inability to stay healthy won’t help that kind of reputation.

That’s probably an unfair indictment on Maclin, but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue.

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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