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Tag:Andrew Whitworth
Posted on: December 28, 2010 7:36 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2010 7:38 pm
 

Dissecting the Pro Bowl snubs

Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFL has announced the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters. Snubs are an inevitable part of the equation each year. Below are the key names left out, with an explanation for why.
A. Rodgers (US Presswire)

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

A simple case of too much talent at one position in the NFC. Vick, Ryan and Brees all play for teams with better records.


Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

Same story as Rodgers: MJD has been an MVP caliber contributor for the Jags, Arian Foster is the league’s leading rusher and Jamaal Charles is to the Chiefs what Johnson is to the Titans (the only difference is the Chiefs have won this year and the Titans haven’t).


Andrew Whitworth, OT, Bengals

Cincy’s left tackle was the surprise leader in fan voting at his position, but clearly players and coaches did not think as highly of the former guard/right tackle. No surprise – offensive linemen from bad teams generally don’t become first-time Pro Bowlers.


Ben Grubbs, G, Ravens

How in the world does Logan Mankins make it when he’s only played eight games? (Keep in mind, when fan voting closed last week, he had only played seven games). Mankins has been the best guard in football when he’s been on the field, but that hasn’t been often enough this season.


Olin Kreutz, C, Bears / Scott Wells, C, Packers

Kreutz has not been dynamic this season, but the man who got his Pro Bowl slot is Shaun O’Hara. O’Hara has played in just six games. SIX! And the last two weeks have indicated that the Giants are actually worse with him in the lineup New York’s rushing attack was rolling with Rich Seubert at center, but it stalled once O’Hara returned.


Kyle Williams, NT, Bills

A lot of people have been trumpeting the undersized but energetic fifth-year pro, but the harsh reality is you can’t honor any member of a Bills defense that ranks a distant 32nd against the run and 27th in total sacks. And there’s absolutely no arguing that Williams is better than Wilfork, Seymour or Ngata anyway.


Jonathan Babineaux, DT, Falcons

The defensive tackle position in the NFC was a case of a player from a high profile team (Jay Ratliff, Cowboys) getting recognized ahead of a more deserving player from a lower profile team. Babineaux has been a beast for a Falcons defense that relies heavily on big plays from its front four. Ratliff has had his worst season in three years. St. Louis’ Fred Robbins also got snubbed here.


Tamba Hali, OLB, Chiefs

LaMarr Woodley and Shaun Phillips got snubbed, too. But what are you going to do? We knew there would be this issue with the OLB position in the AFC – there are simply too many stars this year. The Pro Bowlers at this spot, Harrison, Wake and Suggs, are all deserving.


Lawrence Timmons, ILB, Steelers

Steeler coaches said he was the best linebacker on the team this season. The best linebacker in Pittsburgh rarely gets overlooked, especially when the team is a Super Bowl contender. But it’s hard to edge out Ray Lewis. And the AFC’s other ILB, Jerod Mayo, has been spectacular in New England.


Brent Grimes, CB, Falcons

DeAngelo Hall had one amazing second half earlier in the season against the Bears…and that was all it took to get him to Hawaii. Four of Hall’s six picks on the year came in that game. For the rest of the season, when he wasn’t making his two interceptions, Hall was missing tackles and giving up completions in man coverage. Grimes, on the other hand, has been a playmaker (five interceptions) AND a stopper. Heading into Week 16, opponents had completed just 47 percent of passes thrown against Grimes.


Roman Harper, SS, Saints

Harper is the key to many of Gregg Williams’ blitz packages. The NFC’s Pro Bowl strong safety, Adrian Wilson, is a big-name player but very limited cover artist.


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Posted on: July 8, 2010 9:20 pm
 

Cam Cleeland's fate

Cam Cleeland before he retired (Getty) A fascinating read today by Alex Marvez of foxsports.com . It’s another effects-of-multiple-concussions story – in my opinion, there can’t be enough of these types of stories – and he talks to former TE Cam Cleeland.

Since he retired after the 2005 sesaon, he’s suffered through mental fog, bouts of anger, irritability with his children and depression. During his career, he estimated that he suffered at least eight concussions, and he compared playing in the NFL to putting on a bike helmet and running into a concrete wall 40 times a day.

“Fans just see Sundays,” Cleeland told Marvez. “They just see a game, the fun, the millions of dollars, the bling, pretty cars and whatever. We’re paid well. Don’t feel sorry for us. But something is going to be wrong with you after you do this for so many years.”

It’s a really interesting read, so check it out. It also reminded me of a story the Associated Press wrote last year where reporters talked to five players on all 32 teams and asked them to answer a series of questions about their own thoughts and views on concussions. I reported on the Cincinnati Bengals locker room, and I spoke to DE Frostee Rucker, LB Rey Maualuga, LS/TE Clark Harris, LT Andrew Whitworth and QB Jordan Palmer.

None of their quotes made it into the story, but in case you wanted to see what these players had to say, I have the transcription. It’s a longish read, but it’s an interesting one.

Here were the questions I asked:

1. Have you ever sustained a concussion that forced you to miss playing time? If yes, how many and at what level?

2. Do you worry about getting a concussion or not? If so, do you worry about it as much – or more? – than other injuries?

3. Have you ever hidden or downplayed the effects of a concussion?

4. Have you followed the recent developments in the news about concussions and dementia among NFL players, including the recent congressional hearing on the topic? (If so, what are your thoughts?)

5. Do you think the game is significantly safer now than in the past, particularly with regard to the risk of concussions? Or do you think it’s about the same now as it has been? Or is it less safe?


And here were the answers:

Rucker

1. Yes, I had a concussion last preseason, but I didn’t miss a game. It was a minor thing. I got a little dizzy, and that’s about it.

2. No, I really don’t. There are so many other things to worry about. It’s the game of football, and the thing I worry about is making sure I’m in the right spots.

3. No, I can’t say that I have. We’re all aware of it in the locker room, but we know our training staff will take care of it if that ever come up.

4. Yeah, I have. It’s very interesting. You asked me if I’ve hidden things, but some people do hide things. That’s why certain precautions have to be taken. You have to know your business and with life in the NFL, on and off the field. It’s good for everyone to be aware of what’s going on.

5. It’s about the same. We’re still playing a brutal game. Let’s not sugarcoat that at all. Our staff does a good job making sure we have enough air in our helmets and they’re making sure they’re working on safety each game. We do a good job here. I can’t speak for everybody else, but we do a good job here.

Maualuga

1. No, you mean did a concussion made me miss this game or the next game? I’ve had concussions in games, and I wouldn’t know how I got it. I wouldn’t know the play I got it in, but I’d be in there talking gibberish to the other linebackers. Other than that, I never missed any other time. I’ve had four or five in college. I won’t remember anything, but I’ll still be in the game. Or I’ll go out there and talk to the doctor and say, ‘I had a little ding.’ Monday, I’ll do a computer test, and it’d be the same as it was when I did it in camp.

2. It’s something, especially if you play defense, that lingers in the back of your head all the time. We like to be the ones giving the concussions, but sometimes, things happen. The worst thing that could happen would be getting my knees blown out. I worry about that more than I would worry about a concussion.

3. I’ve had one and not told anybody about it. but they’d pretty much know because of the questions I’ll be asking. If I’m supposed to go somewhere and I don’t, they’ll tell me to go and I’ll yell at them, ‘No, you go.’

4. No.

5. I don’t think there’s any difference. Football is football. Football is a contact sport, and everybody is going to be hitting. There has been some safety rules – I don’t know about concussions – as far as the horse-collar tackling and rules on the quarterback and things like that.

Harris

1. No.

2. No, you can’t worry about stuff like that. Maybe sometimes if you get hit in the head, you sit up on the field and worry about it a little bit. But other than that, you can’t worry about getting injured.

3. No.

4. Yeah, it’s hard not to notice the news about how all of that can lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It’s something I’ve been following a little bit.

5. Well, I get a new helmet every year, and with all the new technology that comes out, I don’t see how it wouldn’t be safer. I look at the old films with guys playing the old-school style with just the two bars going across their face. I think, with these new helmets, it’s got to be safer.

Whitworth

1. No

2. Yeah, I do. But moreso, I worry about guys who don’t understand what a concussion is. I’m more worried about sustaining a head injury that I don’t realize is a concussion. I really don’t know how guys know for sure. But in this game, the realistic part of it is, especially being a linemen, head injuries and feeling pain with a headache is just natural. That’s more my concern. Not knowing if it’s a concussion.

3. No

4. A lot of guys are more conscious about it. They realize that this is something that can affect them later on. It’s something not a lot of guys understand. On this team, you’ve got Ben (Utecht). Not a lot of guys understood what all went into that and what they can expect down the road. I think we’ve learned a little bit from having a guy on our team that went through that.

5. I think it’s the same. You’ve got guys who are playing for their livelihood and for their families. To say that guys aren’t playing through some kind of concussion … guys play through pain every single week – headaches and all that. You just don’t know if guys are entering the field with headaches or head injuries where, if they take the right hit, it could be severe. You just don’t know.

Palmer

1. Yes, I got knocked out my sophomore year in college out of a game. I tried to run the ball, got dazed a little bit and sat out the rest of the game. I was fine to play the next week.

2. I’ve played three preseason games now and I’ve been hit plenty of times. I haven’t really thought about it. If I played more, I don’t think I would think about it much.

3. I think when you get dazed a little bit, you never think you have one. That’s when the doctors come over and say that you do. I think that’s part of it. But I’ve never lied and said, ‘No, no, I didn’t have one last week” when I actually did.

4. I haven’t followed it much.

5. I think it’s the same. In the NFL, I have state of the art cleats and shoulder pads and stuff. But I wear the exact same helmet I wore in Pop Warner. Now, there are other helmets available to me. It’s not the NFL or the Bengals fault, but I wear the same Riddell, filled-up-with-air deal that I wore when I was a kid. It hasn’t changed that much. But then I see Andre Caldwell, who looks like he’s wearing a lacrosse helmet.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 23, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 5:18 pm
 

More player reaction on an 18-game sked

In our neverending quest to find an NFL player – any NFL player – who will say they think playing an 18-game schedule is a great idea, we turn to SI.com’s Ross Tucker , who conducted a round table discussion to, well, discuss the possibility of enhancing the ledger.

We talked to Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth about this last week , and he didn’t like the idea. Patriots QB Tom Brady and Ravens LB Ray Lewis also have given their disapproval. What do you think the chances of us finding a member of the NFLPA who will say something – ANYTHING? – nice about erasing two preseason games and replacing them with real contests?

Here are a few quotes from the players:

“Nope.”

“No thanks.”

“Not interested.”

“No gracias.”

OK, I might be paraphrasing a bit.

Here’s what some of them actually told Tucker.

Derrick Brooks, free agent LB: "The owners can't have it both ways. If they want an 18-game season, then they need to say it. I know they are saying it publicly, but they are not saying it at the bargaining table. They need to tell us what they are going to give up and what we as players are going to get in terms of guaranteed money. We are asking for a certain percentage of the contract to be guaranteed if they want to add 120 or more plays a season."

Larry Izzo, free agent LB: “I think this is simply a diversionary tactic on their part. The owners get the full value of the ticket prices from the preseason games already. I think this entire CBA is a big PR battle and this is one of the league's strategies to win that battle."

Read the full article. Some interesting stuff in there.

And on a completely different topic, Tucker asked if there was any sympathy for Washington’s Albert Haynesworth. Six out of eight players said no.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.



Posted on: June 18, 2010 9:22 am
Edited on: June 18, 2010 9:36 am
 

More on the expanded schedule

Similar to our interview Thursday with Bengals LT (and NFLPA player rep) Andrew Whitworth – who is rather cool to the idea of an expanded 18-game regular-season schedule unless the players receive increased health care or decreased contact during practices – CBSSports.com senior writer Clark Judge spoke to some New York Giants players Thursday to get their opinions.

Not surprisingly, their thoughts weren’t much different than Whitworth’s.

A sampling of quotes. One from DE Justin Tuck: "You're going to have a lot of disgruntled players if this happens. I don't see how it benefits the NFL. I think it's going to cause more problems than solutions."

And one from C Shaun O’Hara: "It's hard enough to get through 16 (games), and that's our No. 1 concern -- the injury factor. I think everybody knows the injury rate in the NFL is 100 percent. There isn't a player who hasn't been injured. It's not a matter of 'if.' It's a matter of 'when.' So if you tell the players that you're going to increase their opportunities for injury, of course, we're all very hesitant to commit to that."

Even if a change like this doesn’t make sense for the players, it’s not hard to see that this adjustment will be made – perhaps as early as the 2012 season. Yeah, it might suck for the players, who will end up getting concessions from the owners because of the change, while causing more injuries and shortening careers. But it’s a win-win for the fans and the game in general. No matter Tuck’s opinion, an expanded schedule does benefit the game, and that’s probably enough to make it happen.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.











Posted on: June 17, 2010 6:42 pm
 

Whitworth speaks about expanded schedule

OK, I’ve had a chance to read the entire Mark Murphy transcript from Wednesday. Murphy, as you know, is the Packers president, and he’s the one who got the NFL universe buzzing about the expanded schedule, where the NFL would erase two preseason games and give you two extra regular-season games in return. He’s also an eight-year NFL veteran who made a Pro Bowl as a DB.

“I think the real roots of it are that as you look across the NFL and everything that we offer, we really try to provide top-quality value to our fans, whether it’s the regular season, postseason, the draft or the combine,” Murphy said in the conference call. “To me, the one that stands out as being different is the preseason. There just isn’t the same value there. I know from my position with the Packers, I get a lot of complaints (about the preseason). We actually just had focus groups with a number of our season-ticket holders and club-seat holders and had a lot of complaints about the preseason games. It just isn’t the same value there that you have in the regular season. I think there is a real issue there that we need to address.”

OK, but don’t you have to give the players more money if they’re going to play two more real games?

“Under the relationship that we have with the players, they get close to 60 percent of the revenue. If we grow the revenue, they are going to get more. They are currently playing 20 games, and we’re not increasing that. That would be the way that we would approach it. This is an opportunity for us to work together to grow revenue and improve the game.”

Sounds great for the fans who don’t have to pay regular-season prices to watch exhibition games, right? Yes. Sounds great for the scribes who don’t have to report on exhibition games, right? A double yes. But what about the players? Does it sound great for them?

Um, not quite as much. After the Bengals finished their final workout of the offseason today, I spoke to OT Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati’s NFLPA player rep.

The transcript from my interview:

CBSSports.com: Lots of talk today and yesterday about the 18-game schedule. What are your thoughts?

Andrew Whitworth:
We want to do anything to make the game better for the fans. If an 18-game schedule will do that, that would be great. But there’s also some things player-wise and health-wise that might be an issue. We feel like if we’re going to have to do that, there has to be some things that change as far as the offseason and training camp.

CBS:
Are you talking about just the offseason stuff, or are you also talking about increased health care?

AW: You have to do one of two things; you have to improve the situation now with improving the OTAs or during the season where there’s less contact or you’ve got to attack the health-care issue and give the guys better health care when they’re done. Right now, with most players, even if they play 15 years, they only have – at the most – five year of health care. That’s kind of ridiculous what guys go through.

CBS:
Do you think the 18-game schedule will happen?

AW:
I think the owners definitely want it. I know they’ve prepared for it in their future schedules from what I’ve seen. It’s something they’ll go forward with. But there has to be other things that improve for that to happen.


--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.


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