Tag:Chad Clifton
Posted on: November 6, 2010 11:50 pm
 

Week 9 injury report analysis Part IV

Posted by Andy Benoit

Colts @ Eagles
D. Jackson (US Presswire)
These days, it’s almost easier to list which Colts players are NOT injured. Actually, there’s only one that needs to be mentioned: Peyton Manning. He’s fine, so the Colts are fine.

Though if you MUST know more details, Anthony Gonzalez went on IR with a knee, but Austin Collie (finger) could be back this week, so it’s all a wash. Joseph Addai (shoulder) is doubtful; Mike Hart is unavaila nble after not practicing on a bad ankle all week. Cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Justin Tryon did not practice either, due to foot injuries (or would it be feet injury?). LB Clint Session, who deserves serious Pro Bowl consideration, was hoping he could fight through a dislocated elbow and fractured forearm, but he’s out Sunday.

The Eagles have Michael Vick 100 percent healthy now that his rib injury has healed. The hope is that Vick’s favorite target, DeSean Jackson, will be able to return from his Week 6 concussion. Jackson practiced and is probable. LT King Dunlap is out with a knee, but fortunately, the man Dunlap was filling in for, Jason Peters, is back from his own knee injury. No Ellis Hobbs (hip) for Philly, which is crucial because he has always killed the Colts as a return man.

Chiefs @ Raiders

Dexter McCluster was limited in practice for the Chiefs with a high ankle sprain. The rookie did not play last week and it would probably behoove the team to be safe and sit him one more game.

Speaking of ankle sprains, Raiders superstar Nnamdi Asomugha has one. He sat out practice all week and is doubtful. It’s actually amazing Asomugha’s status is even that hopeful; on Monday, speculation was he’d miss about a month. Tight end Zach Miller was on crutches during the week and is doubtful (i.e. 99 percent certain to be out) with a foot injury.

Wideouts Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) remain sidelined. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski’s shoulder is still not 100 percent, which is why Jason Campbell gets the nod. Most people believe the hot-handed Campbell should keep the job anyway. This gives us a chance to pass along this tidbit from Mike Tanier, arguably the funniest football expert in the biz:

“Of course, leave it to Oakland to get stage fright after a two-game winning streak: the team was considering benching Jason Campbell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, generating a quarterback controversy for its own sake. The Raiders ultimately decided to go with Campbell, but have said Gradkowski will return as the starter when healthy. With decisions like these, they’ll be back to punchline status by Thanksgiving.”


Cowboys @ Packers

Does anyone care who plays and doesn’t play for the Cowboys at this point? (Included in that “anyone” are the 53 Cowboys themselves.) Out of principle, we’re going to skip right ahead to the Packers.

For only the second time in a little over six years, the Packers will take the field without wide receiver Donald Driver. The veteran was ineffective the past two games trying to fight through a quad injury. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett will once again test his injured ankle. RT Mark Tauscher remains questionable with a shoulder injury (first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga has started in place of him the past four weeks). Both starting linemen on the left side, T Chad Clifton (hamstring) and G Daryn Colledge (back), are probable. Despite constantly battling for his job, Colledge actually has a 72-game consecutive starts streak that he’s continuing to build on.

Steelers @ Bengals

DE Aaron Smith (out, triceps) is the only Steeler listed on the injury report. The Bengals’ injury report reads like the first string of the defensive depth chart. S Roy Williams, CB Johnathan Joseph, DT Tank Johnson, LB Keith Rivers, S Chinedum Ndukwe, DE Jonathan Fanene and DE Frostee Rucker are all banged up. Their status for Monday night has not yet been declared.

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Posted on: October 29, 2010 9:55 am
 

Week 8 Key Matchup: Jets D vs. Packers O

Posted by Andy Benoit

The New York Jets might be the only team in the NFL where the scheme is more important than the players executing it. At least, this is true for the front seven. (Of course, it’s only true for the front seven because the back four, and specifically cornerback Darrelle Revis, is so dominant. So maybe, at the end of the day, the players are still more important than the scheme. It’s a chicken or egg thing.)

Anyway…about that scheme…R. Ryan

One of the greatest misconceptions in football is that Rex Ryan’s Jets are strictly a blitzing defense. When the Jets bring pressure, it’s not always in the form of a blitz. Often times, the Jets rush only four. But unlike a 4-3 scheme, where the four rushers are downlinemen, a 3-4 scheme allows for a linebacker to rush. The Jets have mastered the art of what scouts call a “zone exchange”, which is to say, the Jets are great at disguising which linebacker will rush. This often creates the illusion of a blitz, as opposing offensive lines struggle to identify assignments and wind up scrambling from out of position.

So why is New York better than other teams in this department? For one, Ryan is fantastic at creating congestion on one side of a line of scrimmage and bringing clean pressure from the other. The Jets will overload on say, the right side of a line. They’ll force an offensive line to slide its protection to the right, but once the ball is snapped, they’ll drop a handful of those would-be rushers back into zone, leaving the offense with four linemen blocking two pass-rushers. Over on the left side, a defensive back or linebacker will rush through what is now an open alley.

This concept demands speed from the pass-rusher, which is why that pass-Green Bay (US Presswire)rusher is often a safety or nickelback. Fans automatically assume this is a blitz. But watch closely and you’ll see, often times, the Jets are still only rushing four players. In order for this to work, you need agile, versatile linebackers (like, say, a Jason Taylor or a Bryan Thomas).

This leads us to the next topic: the results. We think of pressuring a quarterback as generating sacks. The Jets think of it as generating incompletions. The Jets recorded a modest 32 sacks in 2009. But they forced opponents into an incomplete pass a league-best 48.3 percent of the time. Their zone exchanges aim to not just reach a quarterback, but make him believe he’s under siege. That way, he’ll hurry his throw.

The Packers have had their fair share of pass protection woes, though their offensive line is far more cohesive than it was at this point a year ago. Left tackle Chad Clifton is playing perhaps the best football of his career. Left guard Daryn Colledge has been more consistent. Center Scott Wells is as steady as a calendar. Right guard Josh Sitton is one of the bright young run-blockers in the game (and he’s been adequate on passing downs). Right tackle Bryan Bulaga has struggled early on, but unlike last year’s struggling right tackle, Allen Barbre, Bulaga at least has first-round talent to fall back on. (That said, the Packers will probably go back to Mark Tauscher once the veteran is healthy.)

Despite these decent offensive line improvements, expect the Packers to spread the field with four-receiver sets against New York, with two of the receivers split outside the hash marks. Doing this will discourage the Jets from overloading in the box and being ultra aggressive with blitzing defensive backs. And, when the Jets decide to overload and bring defensive backs anyway, Rodgers, with four wide targets at his disposal, should have a quickly-defined read. This plays into Green Bay’s offense, as the Packers love the quick-striking passing game.

The onus will be on the Packer receivers to make plays after the catch. Either James Jones or Jordy Nelson will have to be in the 80-90-yard range receiving. And with the Jets putting Revis on Greg Jennings, it’s critical Donald Driver (quad) be effective.

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:53 am
 

Hot Routes 09.29.10: Questionable injury lists

B. Wells gains extra yards against Oakland (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

-Although coach Ken Whisenhunt completely misled everybody not in the Arizona Cardinals locker room regarding the health of running back Beanie Wells’ knee – he said it was a bone bruise when, in actuality, Wells had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus – Whisenhunt said he didn’t use the weekly injury report to his advantage. In the first two games Wells missed, he was listed as questionable.

-At least one 49ers player was excited by the ascension of Mike Johnson to the offensive coordinator position to replace the fired Jimmy Raye. And by excited I mean pumped. That’d be tight end Vernon Davis.

-Suddenly, Bears coach Lovie Smith is holding accountable – in very public ways – some of his team’s top players. If they’re not good enough to play – a la Tommie Harristhey’re simply not going to be on the field. With a 3-0 record, who’s to say Smith is wrong about this?

-The Green Bay Press-Gazette writes that tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are starting to look a little old. After watching Monday night’s game vs. the Bears, I was surprised with some of the mistakes made by Clifton (I didn’t notice Tauscher as much, though he had his fair share), especially with the penalties.

-Apparently nobody seems bothered by Ravens RB Ray Rice’s injured knee. It was not mentioned by anybody – not by coach John Harbaugh, not by radio host Gerry Sandusky, not by any callers – during Harbaugh’s weekly radio show.

-After watching the Dolphins lose 18 yards on eight attempts using the Wildcat formation, Sun Sentinel columnist Ethan Skolnick says Miami might want to dial it down a little. Skolnick calls the Dolphins victims of their own success and says the Wildcat has become rather predictable.

-The Jaguars re-signed S Gerald Alexander a few weeks after cutting him, and Alexander is happy to be employed once again. He said he wasn’t surprised by Jacksonville releasing him. In fact, he said he didn’t deserve to make the team, and he’s surprised he’s been re-signed.

-You might be wondering what’s up with Dolphins LB Ikaika Alama-Francis and why he hasn’t played this year (and subsequently allowed Koa Misi to have a big impact at that position). The answer is that Alama-Francis has been ill and has lost 15-20 pounds.

-Giants S Michael Johnson has been placed on IR with a herniated disc in his back.

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 9:41 am
 

Packers could be making a change at LT

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Packers are paying left tackle Chad Clifton $7.5 million this season. However, that may not deter them from bringing the veteran off the bench.

Clifton was replaced by first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga during the second quarter against the Bills Sunday. The plan all along has been for the young Iowa product to learn the ropes as Clifton’s backup. But Clifton allowed 1.5 sacks against Philadelphia in Week 1 and struggled mightily against Buffalo.

"He has an issue with his knee," Mike McCarthy said, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I felt that he just didn't look like he was fully recovered, so I thought it was important to get Bryan in there.

"He didn't look good today. He didn't look healthy. We'll assess it in the morning and set our plan for next week."

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin believe Bulaga is capable of starting if need be. The Packers travel to Chicago next week in a battle of 2-0 NFC North foes.


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