Tag:C.J. Spiller
Posted on: October 21, 2010 10:17 pm
 

Thurman Thomas talks Bills, Spiller, big hits

Posted by Will Brinson

Thurman Thomas, former Bill superstar and NFL Hall of Famer, joined the CBSSports.com Football Podcast on Thursday to talk about the Bills' current situation (it can't be summed up any differently, although Thomas provides some nice insight into how early the Bills might draft a quarterback in 2011 -- hint: EARLY), as well as the possibility that C.J. Spiller could be Buffalo's next feature back.

While we had him on the line, we also discussed the NFL's new policy on big hits (he's got a fairly amusing take on why we should blame quarterbacks too), LaDainian Tomlinson's change of scenery (you may recall Thomas played a season with the Dolphins before retiring) and the big crop of running backs up for vote in Canton during the next induction (Thomas is also working with FansChoice.com, where fans can give input into a voting process that typically excludes the layman).

Hit play below to check it out and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

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 24, 2010 1:36 pm
 

Gailey says Marshawn Lynch will 'play a lot'

Posted by Will Brinson

Oh, Chan Gailey. You fickle son of a gun, you.

Before the season started, Gailey named rookie C.J. Spiller his starter. Hence, he got most of the carries early. But then the Packers got really interested in acquiring a running back Spiller didn't play so well and suddenly Marshawn Lynch was the Week 2 starter who got most of the carries for the Bills.

And he did so well that Gailey wants to keep showcasing him for a trade making sure he gets his best back the most carries, so surprise, it's Beast Mode time again this week .

"He started last week and he’ll play a lot this week," Gailey said. "He ran the ball pretty good. You could tell he was rusty from last year not having played a ton and getting back into it this year. He didn’t play in the preseason as well, so he’s just now getting back into it and as most everybody knows you can never have enough quality running backs in this league."

Gailey also discussed Spiller's status, saying that it was "probably unfair to throw him in there" as the starter that early into his career.

He added that Spiller is "still going to be a dynamic player and he's going to make a lot of big plays for us in the future."

Just not until, you know, he can get Marshawn's value cranked up to about that of a second-rounder and ship him out of town for something worthwhile in the future.

And yeah, I realize that he keeps saying he's not going to trade Lynch and that it makes sense to hold onto a talented player who doesn't cost a ton of money, but when NFL coaches get really loud about really denying something, that's a classic case of smoke/fire.

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:03 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:05 am
 

Hot Routes 9.22.10: It's a dog-eat-dog world

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • The Philadelphia Daily News , even amid a Phillies playoff push, is most concerned with reminding you about Michael Vick's past (see: right). Because, as Mike Florio points out , everyone needs to remember that Vick is getting a second chance! DO NOT FORGET THAT HE DID SOMETHING EVIL AND NOW IS GOOD. Otherwise this whole "he's starting now and the Eagles are winning" thing isn't any fun.
  • Chan Gailey is apparently exactly like Mike Shanahan -- because of his hatred for fantasy football players and use of as many running backs as possible -- except for the fact that his teams and running backs aren't worth playing/owning/using. To sum up: he's refusing to name a starter but he may or may not give C.J. Spiller more touches.
  • Pete Carroll, however, is all business, yo. You play like poop and he's gonna let you know. Optimistically, of course, but he'll let you know. In fact, he called out his main bro Matt Hasselbeck for playing so poorly against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
  • Derek Anderson shouldn't worry about getting yelled at. Well, maybe he could get yelled at, but he won't be benched immediately, as the Arizona Republic reports the team will be "patient" with him. That's probably because they don't have another choice.
  • John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes that the rivalry between the Cowboys and the Texans is just "a figment of fans' imagination." I've only been to Texas like once or twice, so I can't say for sure, but something tells me that if the Texans beat the Cowboys and push them to 0-3, they will be talking a lot. And something else tells me that if the Texans represent the state at Jerry Bowl 2K11, a certain Cowboys owner and his fans will not be very happy.
  • With Luke McCown out for the year, Todd Bouman is the winner in the "David Garrard Replacement" sweepstakes. Guess we can take him out of the controversies column now.
  • And we'll close with awesome news for the always awesome Hines Ward, who was sworn into President Barack Obama's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Tuesday.
Posted on: September 16, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 1:17 pm
 

Bills say no change on stance of trading Marshawn

Posted by Will Brinson

Yesterday, Andy wrote an excellent post regarding the possibility of Marshawn Lynch getting traded to the Green Bay Packers. There wasn't any speculation that it was going to happen -- after all, no sources have indicated any sort of discussion between the Bills and Pack -- just that it makes a ton of sense for everyone involved.

And it does: with Ryan Grant now officially out for the season and with Green Bay only having one more running back (Brandon Jackson) on their roster and with Marshawn being the odd man out in a three-headed backfield monster in Buffalo, the logical move for the Bills here is to trade Lynch and recoup something that will help the franchise in the future.

But apparently, they don't feel the same way and have not, according to the Bills' official blog , changed the way they feel about dealing Beast Mode. (Random aside: I'm currently drinking out of a "Beast Mode" coffee cup; it's my favorite bizarre NFL swag item of all-time.)

Chris Brown points out Buddy Nix's comments at the draft ("our intention is for Marshawn Lynch to be [in Buffalo]") and then notes Chan Gailey's comments as well, before pointing out that in the first preseason game, the Bills lost both Lynch and Fred Jackson to injury, which "further strengthened" the team's belief that you can't have too many good backs.

That's an absolutely valid point -- if Jackson is reinjured, the Bills would need Lynch on the roster to help provide support for C.J. Spiller. But here's the problem: the Bills are not going to contend for the playoffs this year -- they just aren't.

And therefor the logical, forward-thinking move is to take Lynch, while his value is maximized, and get something that will help the franchise grow in the future. In fact, the single most problematic part with drafting Spiller in the past year's first round was (and still "is" by the way) is that having a bunch of good running backs is only nice if you have other parts on the team that can help them succeed.

The Bills don't have that right now, but by dealing Lynch to someone like the Packers for, hypothetically, a second-rounder or a third plus a player, they would immediately bolster the team's future. And that should matter more right now than stubbornly trying to hold onto a low-salary, high-talent player that the organization gave up on without actually admitting that they did.

Update: Marshawn himself talked about the possibility of being traded and whether it affects him.

“No, because if it’s going to happen then it’s going to happen,” Lynch said. ”What will I be able to do about it? If they say I’ve got to go then what am I going to do, tell them no? If they say I’m going to stay, I’m here, if they say I’m not going nowhere then let’s continue to build on this thing and get better.”

He also made a fairly provocative comment about the Bills' rushing attack against the Dolphins on Sunday. Or, at least a reasonable one for a team with the passing "weapons" that the Bills have.

“It wasn’t what us as a group wanted it to be,” said Lynch. ”The most carries by a back I believe was seven. That’s not good for any running back to get a feel for it. I’m not saying what should’ve been done or could’ve been done. All I know is we’ve just got to do something to get on track with it.”

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Posted on: September 15, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Hot Routes 9.15.10: The Backpack Boys

Hot Routes are late today -- I apologize but it was unavoidable. (Things happened, and I did a Facebook chat. If you missed it, you should go back and check it out now .)

Also, if you'd like to submit something for consideration for the links below, follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • Steve Breaston is part of a group of Arizona Cardinals called the "Backpack Boys." This isn't -- as I hoped -- because they were part of an awkward boy band on the side. It's because Adrian Wilson (High Point, represent!) named them that when they carried book bags around. And apparently, they just "make plays."
  • Rhys Lloyd is now offically back with the Panthers . This is a good thing for Carolina because a) Lloyd is hysterical, b) he plays lots of golf with Matt Moore and surely Matt Moore needs something good in his life right now and c) if John Kasay had to handle kickoff duty, his arthritis would really kick in.
  • Chad Ochocinco and Willis McGahee are involved a Twitter war leading up to the Cincinnati - Baltimore game this Sunday. I know it sounds crazy to say this, but this is the least shocking development of Week 2 in the NFL. I'm not sure whether that's a good or a bad thing for the world we live in, but it's something.
  • DeJuan Morgan has signed on with the Colts to help replace Bob Sanders. Obviously he can't do that entirely, but Morgan's a heck of a player and has plenty of talent, so he'll at least help.
  • Pretty cool shirt designed by the NFLPA to help raise money to fight concussions. Er, to benefit concussion/traumatic brain injury anyway. (Fighting concussions is kind of silly -- really only awareness can do that.)
Posted on: September 15, 2010 11:05 am
 

C.J. Spiller has his own song already?

Posted by Will Brinson

I firmly believe C.J. Spiller is a great football player and has the talent to be a tremendous success in the NFL. The one concern is that he plays for Buffalo -- the place where offensive players go if they're really desperate to be hated by anyone who plays fantasy football.

Still, even given his talent, it seems a bit premature for someone to write a song dedicated to his skills, no? Sudden Urge, who has apparently been named "Buffalo's Best Rock Band" TWICE, doesn't think so. They wrote a cover of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" that's been Weird-Al'd and renamed "Welcome to Buffalo" to feature the Bills' rookie running back.

You can listen to the song at the band's website (which looks exactly like you think it would ) or hear about them on the local Buffalo news below. Let's just hope that the dudes at "Auto Tune the News" decide to get uber-meta and handle this the right way. (Via MJD at Shutdown Corner .)


Posted on: September 13, 2010 2:35 am
Edited on: September 13, 2010 2:38 am
 

10 Sunday stories that deserve your attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1. The Bears are who we thought they were

For months we’ve been saying that Mike Martz’s system won’t work in Chicago. You can’t ask those mediocre receivers to run slow-developing routes – they just won’t get open consistently, we said. You can’t expect that putrid offensive line to sustain blocks in pass protection long enough for Cutler to take regular seven-stop drops, we said. And Cutler – oh jeez – you can’t ask Cutler to read the entire the field and take chances without making costly mistakes, it’s just not in his DNA (we said). J. Cutler (US Presswire)

Well, after one game, it appears that we were…exactly right.

Sure, Chicago beat Detroit. But teams have beaten Detroit 30 times in just the past two years alone. And had Matthew Stafford not been knocked out prior to halftime, the outcome probably would have been different (the Lions, led by Shaun Hill, scored zero points in the second half). And let’s not forget the controversial Calvin Johnson call at the end.

But all that’s actually beside the point. When the Bears watch the film on Monday, they’ll see an offensive line that gave up four sacks and put Cutler under continuous duress. (Heck, Lions journeyman defensive end Turk McBride – Turk McBride, for crying out loud! – looked like an All-Pro going up against Frank Omiyale in this game.) That same offensive line also failed to help its running backs punch in a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter on four consecutive goal-to-go situations from the one-yard line.

One shudders to think what the Cowboys front seven will do to this group next week…

2. Safety first (if you’re a fan of moronic decisions)

How much disdain must Chan Gailey have for his passing offense to make the ridiculous decision that he made late against the Miami Dolphins? Trailing by three and facing fourth-and-10 on their own one-yard line with under 2:00 to play and two timeouts, the Bills opted not to try to pick up the first down, but instead, to take a safety.

On the surface, taking a safety always seems smart. The reason for this is because it’s such an unconventional move that there’s no way it could ever be as dumb as it sounds (if you explained the concept of taking a safety to someone who never watches football, at some point you’d hear yourself say “and now we’re going to give the other team two points.” Give them two points? What? Why?) In this case, the move was as dumb as it sounds.

The Bills gained nothing in field position by taking the safety because, instead of playing for a field goal (which would mean reaching the 30-yard-line or so), they now had to play for a touchdown (which, Bills fans might not remember these days, would mean reaching the goal-line). Buffalo gave up all their timeouts just to get the ball back with 36 seconds to go at their own 20-yard-line (and had the Dolphins gotten a better punt on the play, the Bills could very well have ended up right back on their goal-line again).

By taking the safety, the Bills were essentially hoping for – nay, planning for – a miracle. Evidently Gailey thought it would take an even bigger miracle for Trent Edwards and those no-name receivers (no-names save for Lee Evans, that is) to gain 10 yards. If you have that little faith in your passing game, you’re officially screwed.

3. Patriots D looks sharp

This was one of those games where the boxscore lies. The boxscore says that Chad Ochocinco caught 12 passes for 159 yards. It says Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 53 yards. (Batman and Robin? More like ROBIN and batman.) The stars may have put up good numbers, but the truth is, the Patriots secondary outplayed the Bengals’ receivers – especially early on, when Cincy wasn’t throwing out of desperation and the Patriots weren’t protecting a huge lead.

New starting defensive backs Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung were both outstanding. McCourty, the first-round rookie corner whom some are saying is already the best defensive back on the roster, stifled Owens on several deep balls in the first half. Chung led the team with 16 tackles, many of them vicious hits.

Phil Simms made an excellent point about this young Patriots defense: it’s faster. A lot faster. The Patriots have prioritized speed in recent drafts (except for the selection of linebacker Brandon Spikes, who had to have a sex tape leaked in order to make people forget about something even more embarrassing: his 40-time). On Sunday, that speed translated into more big plays.

Note: In a follow-up to that last parenthetical jab at Spikes, it’s only fair to mention that the second-round rookie was very solid in his starting debut at inside linebacker.

4. Devin Hester no longer a star return artist

Back in 2006 and 2007 when we said Devin Hester had already had a legendary career’s worth of touchdown returns, we didn’t mean Hester should call it a career for touchdown returns. But do you realize Hester has not returned a punt for a score in three years?

Sunday was a sobering example of how far Hester has fallen (by the way, his fall ironically coincides with his promotion to a starting receiver role). Six times, the Lions punted from backed up in their own end zone. On the day, Hester had five punt return opportunities – most of them on line-drive balls he caught in the middle of the field. His total return yards? 17. Three years ago, in a game like this, he would have had 17 touchdowns (don’t worry about the math – he would have found a way; Hester was supernatural back then.)

There’s no reason Hester can’t recapture his magic – he’s only 27. But seriously, what’s going on here?

5. Running backs relevant…sorta

It’s a passing league these days. Bu, like all you misguided fantasy players who don’t realize that your fantasy football scoring system is flawed, we’re going to give the running backs some love.
A. Foster (US Presswire)
For the youngsters, it will have to be tough love. The two electrifyingly speedy first-round rookie runners who were supposed to transform their respective offenses failed to get the wheels turning Sunday. C.J. Spiller ran the ball seven times for six yards against the Dolphins. The only part of Spiller that looked truly fast was his mind, which seemed to be spinning out of control at times. He was unusually hesitant on contact.

In Detroit (and can you believe we’ve now fit three Lions-Bears bits in this entire piece?) Jahvid Best got 14 carries but amassed only 20 yards. At least Best found the end zone two times.

No need to worry about either young runner at this point – it’s only one week, after all. They’ll get better.

On to the love…

There’s especially no need to worry about the runners in the AFC South. Maurice Jones-Drew gained a hearty 98 yards on 23 carries against the Broncos. Facing a speedy but diminutive Colts run defense that has decided it will be porous again this year, Arian Foster, I think, became the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 2010. (By the way, Colts fans, no need to worry about your team’s run D– last time the Colts were this bad was 2006, when their SUPER BOWL CHAMPION defense ranked 32nd against the run.) Finally, in Tennessee, Chris Johnson posted 142 yards on 27 carries, which, unfortunately, means he’s behind pace for his ridiculous goal of 2,500 yards rushing on the season.

Most important of all, the teams of these three  running backs all won, creating a huge log-jam atop the AFC South.

6. A star is born

There is a new star in the broadcasting world, and his name is Jim Mora Jr. Thank God Jim Mora Sr.’s son never lead the Seahawks to the PLAYOFFS?! Now we get to listen to Mora call games with Dick Stockton and Charles Davis on Fox each week.

Mora made his television debut in the Falcons-Steelers game. He was extremely intelligent and, for a man ostensibly looking to get back into coaching, he was shockingly blunt. Mora’s best line came during a rant about his friend Bruce Arians calling a pass late in the fourth quarter on second-and-five before the two minute warning. “That play-call was a tragedy”, More said. If you get a chance, tune into a Mora game. You’ll be enlightened and entertained.

7. Redskins don’t win…Cowboys lose

The nice thing about fumbling away seven points on a meaningless play to end the first half is that it is such a huge mistake that no other mistake you make can possibly feel that bad. No matter what, as mistakes go, you simply can’t top that one. Though credit the Cowboys for trying. Specifically, credit Alex Barron. The former first-round pick showed everyone why he landed in Dallas in the first place. Barron wracked up multiple penalties in the second half, including the game-loser on the final play. After the clock struck 0:00, Cris Colinsworth cleverly shared a “get well soon” wish for Marc Colombo.
T. Romo (US Presswire)
It’s too bad we’re highlighting Barron’s mistakes because the man was not utterly awful the entire game. Of course, the Cowboys clearly didn’t trust their makeshift front five to begin with. Virtually every pass Tony Romo threw came off a three-step drop. There was a litany of one-step drop throws (until the final two minutes, some people probably wondered if Dez Bryant actually knew how to run routes, as the Cowboys kept throwing smoke screens to the first-round wideout).

Dallas’ offensive line issues will get fixed once Kyle Kosier and Marc Colombo are healthy. By the way, all this relates well to our next topic (a bonus topic!)…

7.BONUS. Does preseason matters after all?

Probably not. But it’s worth noting that there were three offenses that looked awful in the preseason: Dallas, Carolina and Chicago. Well, the games count now, but these units still stink. The Dallas offense scored seven points in Week 1. The Carolina offense had five turnovers. The Chicago offense had four turnovers and scored only 19 points against a rebuilding Detroit defense. This isn’t enough evidence to overturn the beloved “preseason doesn’t mean a darn thing” axiom, but the continued struggles of these teams are worth pointing out (which we’re doing here).

8. Lightning strikes, so don’t play football?

The Jaguars-Broncos game was delayed 30 minutes during the third quarter because of lightning. This prompted me to send the following email Greg Aiello, head of the NFL’s public relations department:

Hi Greg, we're going to pose this question in our NFL Facts and Rumors Blog, but thought we'd pose it to you guys first: Why does the NFL stop games because of lightning? All we ever hear is that the odds of getting struck by lightning are about the same as the odds of winning the lottery. So why pause a game because of it? Most of the 70,000 fans in attendance can't leave a stadium and get to safe cover that quickly anyway. Is it really worth the major inconvenience? 

(This email was sent after midnight eastern time, so if the league does have a response, it will come after this is published. We’ll throw it up if they send a response.)

9. Problem in Indy?

This is the perfect game for us media folk to blow way out of proportion. The Colts always beat the Texans…until now. The Colts can’t lose when Peyton Manning is on fire…until now. The Texans fit the description of a team on the rise. Etc.

We must be careful not to get carried away about this outcome. But we also must ask the appropriate alarmist question: is Indy’s offensive line a problem? Left tackle Charlie Johnson wound up playing in this game (he’d been out for about a month with a foot injury), but it didn’t matter. Mario Williams dominated far more than his stats (four tackles, one sack) suggest.

And how about this: did you ever in a million years think Peyton Manning would post 40 completions for 433 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a LOSING effort? What the heck do we make of that?

10. Derek Anderson-Larry Fitzgerald woes

So I decided on Sunday around 6:30 ET to write about how Derek Anderson and Larry Fitzgerald were not on the same page – or not even in the same book, for that matter. Obviously, Fitzgerald’s game-winning 21-yard touchdown reception put a dent in that angle. But not a big enough dent to obliterate it.

I still say the Cardinals have a problem with their passing game. Fitzgerald doesn’t trust Anderson right now – nor should he. Anderson’s accuracy issues were evident several times Sunday. Twelve of the 15 passes thrown Fitzgerald’s way fell incomplete. Fitzgerald’s body language reeked of frustration. And all this was against a hapless Rams secondary.

It’s no surprise the Cardinals begged Kurt Warner to come out of retirement a few days ago.

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