Tag:Deion Branch
Posted on: December 3, 2010 11:53 pm
 

What will the Jets do with Revis Monday night?

Posted by Andy Benoit

When the Jets and Patriots met back in Week 2, the decision for what to do with Darrelle Revis was simple: stick him on Randy Moss. Revis on Moss meant no vertical passing game for the then-downfield-attack-oriented Patriots.

Obviously, things are different this time around. Revis is still a shutdown corner (he’s been arguably better this season than last season) but the Patriots no longer have their dangerous big-play slouch outside. An offense that was once built around Moss is now built around a consortium of mid-range weapons: Wes WD. Revis (US Presswire)elker, Brandon Tate, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez.

So which one of these four will the Jets glue Revis to Monday night? The name that immediately comes to mind is Welker, New England’s leading receiver. However, so many of Welker’s routes are underneath and drags, which are nearly impossible to take away. Sacrificing your shutdown corner to prevent a bunch of five-to-eight-yard receptions that might not be preventable anyway doesn’t seem worthwhile.
Style-wise, Revis on Tate would make the most sense. But Tate has just 18 receptions on the season. If he’s taken away, there’s no guarantee Tom Brady would even notice.

This leaves Hernandez and Branch. Hernandez is a tight end, though a lithe tight end whom Revis could certainly handle from a size and strength standpoint. But what does New York do when Hernandez leaves the slot and lines up directly beside an offensive tackle? (There’s a reason you don’t see shutdown corners shadow tight ends.)

So does this mean the Jets will put Revis on Branch? He doesn’t quite have his old explosiveness, but the recently-reacquired veteran still leads the Patriots with 61.9 yards per game. Those aren’t Calvin or Andre Johnson numbers, though.

Revis and the Jets aren’t saying what they’ll do. Here’s an idea: instead of having Revis shadow one player (and if they do choose a player, the guess here is they’ll choose Branch), why not move him around? That would make Tom Brady’s job more difficult, particularly in the presnap phase. It would also allow New York more chances to disguise coverages and help prevent the Patriots from getting in the type of aerial rhythm they enjoyed during the second half at Detroit.

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Posted on: November 25, 2010 3:53 pm
 

At the end of the day, no surprises in Detroit

Posted by Andy Benoit

Well, the Lions at least gave us a half a game on Thanksgiving. At Fords Field Thursday we saw a simpleT. Brady (US Presswire) contrast between a team that knows how to win and a team that knows how to lose. Detroit’s defensive line was dynamic in the first half, with Ndamukong Suh getting an early sack on Tom Brady and Kyle Vanden Bosch delivering a pair of crushing quarterback hits. That effort was matched by an impressively efficient Lions offense (who knew Maurice Morris still had some wheels?). But it only lasted two quarters.

Brady and the Pats offense turned in a masterful – perhaps even perfect – second half. Deion Branch made Alphonso Smith his turkey (sorry). Rob Gronkowski took advantage of Detroit’s tentative safeties. And, late in the fourth, BenJarvus Green-Ellis exhibited the downhill running prowess that has blossomed him into a bona fide feature back. Pretty simple.

Phil Simms made a fantastic point about the Lions: they don’t play for 60 minutes. Effort isn’t the issue so much as simple know-how. Detroit’s lack of depth becomes startling noticeable late in the second of games. It’s all part of the rebuilding process (the never-ending rebuilding process).

As for the Patriots, the story of this game was Brady taking a firm lead in the NFL MVP race, no?

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Posted on: November 7, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: November 7, 2010 12:04 pm
 

AFC Inactives, Week 9

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The following are ACTIVE for today’s game: Ravens WR Donte Stallworth, Patriots G Logan Mankins

The following are INACTIVE:

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: Opposing defenses can’t bring him down, but apparently a bad case of plantar fasciitis is enough to knock Gates out of the game. If Gates could have played today, he would have been Superman. As it is, he’s still a TE superhero.

Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: He continues to struggle with injuries this season. Daniels played last week, catching one pass for eight yard, but he’s having multiple leg problems. A bad hamstring will keep him out this week.

Ryan Wendell, G, Patriots: The big casualty of the Logan Mankins re-signing is Wendell. He had been starting in Mankins’ place, but now that Mankins is back, Wendell is back to the bench.

Deion Branch, WR, Patriots:
Bothered by a hamstring, Branch - who's found new life in New England - won't play today. He hadn't practiced all week, so the news shouldn't be that surprising. Um, just kidding. He's active.

Jake Delhomme/Seneca Wallace, QB, Browns:
This means that, once again, Colt McCoy will start at QB for Cleveland.

Shawne Merriman, LB, Bills: Not a surprise, because of how late Merriman reported to his new team once he was claimed off waivers from San Diego. Expect him to be ready for next week's game.

Malcom Floyd/Legedu Naanee, WR, Chargers:
And somewhere, Philip Rivers is weeping. At least Antonio Gates is acti ... oh, never mind.

Patrick Chung, CB, Patriots:
He's been bothered by a knee injury, and he'll miss his second-straight game. It's unfortunate for New England, because Chung is a tackling machine.

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 1:34 pm
 

Week 9 injury report analysis Part I

Posted by Andy Benoit

Jets @ Lions

Everyone is healthy and had full practice participation this week for the Jets. (How often does that happen for a team in November?) The only starter missing from the Lions this Sunday will be safety C.C. Brown. Third-round rookie Amari Spievey (a converted corner) will make his first NFL start in Brown’s place.
D. Stallworth (US Presswire)
Detroit’s two most athletic offensive players, Calvin Johnson (shoulder) and Jahvid Best (knee) are both probable. So are the two most athletic defensive players, LB DeAndre Levy (ankle) and S Louis Delmas (ankle).

Dolphins @ Ravens

Veteran safety Yeremiah Bell, one of the sounder open-field tacklers in the NFL outside the numbers, is questionable with a toe injury. If he can’t play, either Tyrone Culver or Reshad Jones will start.

The Ravens will be missing a safety of their own – Tom Zbikowski (out with a foot). Fortunately, they recently got Ed Reed – the 88th best player of all-time, according to the NFL Films Top 100 – back. Making his season debut for Baltimore will be wideout Donte’ Stallworth, who has been out with a foot. Of course, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh having come aboard, it’s hard to imagine Stallworth getting many balls thrown his way.

Patriots @ Browns

Are there two coaches more deceptive with injury news than Belichick and Mangini? Belichick is telling us this week that S Patrick Chung (knee) and WR Deion Branch (hamstring) are both questionable. He told us the same thing last week. Chung sat in Week 8 while Branch played. Both guys were in full pads for Friday’s practice.

LB Brandon Spikes was limited in practice with a knee injury, though he’s probable. Spikes has been a very solid first and second down player in his first NFL season thus far. RB Fred Taylor (toe) and S Jarrad Page (calf) are both out again.

Both of Mangini’s veteran quarterbacks continue to nurse high ankle sprains (Seneca Wallace is questionable; Jake Delhomme is doubtful). Three of the team’s best run-defending front seven players were limited in practice and are questionable: LB Matt Roth (hamstring), DL Shaun Rogers (ankle) and DE Kenyon Coleman (knee).

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Posted on: October 30, 2010 10:25 pm
 

Week 8 injury report analysis Part IV

Posted by Andy Benoit

Vikings @ Patriots

You may have heard that there is some question as to whether Brett Favre will play on his fractured ankle. With the exception of a few limited drills on Friday, Favre did not practice all week. But he expects to play. The only other Vikings who are classified as anything worse than “probable” are CB Lito Sheppard and G Chris DeGeare. But nobody cares about either of those guys because they’re not Brett Favre.

Read into the Patriots injury report what you will. RB Fred Taylor (toe) and S Jarrad Page (calf) are both out. WR Deion Branch (hamstring), S Patrick Chung (knee) and DE Mike Wright (knee) are questionable. Expect Branch and Chung to play. Also, in true Patriot spirit, QB Tom Brady is probable with a right shoulder.

Seahawks @ Raiders

Five of Seattle’s questionable players did not participate in practice: OT Russell Okung (ankle), CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring), DT Brandon Mebane (calf), RB Michael Robinson (hamstring) and CB Walter Thurmond (head). The Jennings and Thurmond injuries catch your eye because it could mean Seattle has to rely heavily on undrafted second-year pros Roy Lewis and Nate Ness. Expect backup safety Jordan Babineaux to get work at corner (Babineaux has been very effective in this role before).

The injuries at cornerback may actually be offset by Oakland’s injuries at wide receiver. Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) are both out. Backup wideout Nick Miller (ankle) and go-to guy Zach Miller are also questionable (foot). Both were limited in practice this week. The man in charge of throwing these players the ball, QB Bruce Gradkowski, is questionable with the shoulder problem that has sidelined him the past few weeks.

Steelers @ Saints

Saints running backs Reggie Bush (fibula) and Pierre Thomas (ankle) are both out. Both players are frustrated, as they originally expected to be back by now. An X-ray last.

Saturday revealed that Bush’s fibula still had a visible fracture; Thomas is currently on crutches.

The Saints do not expect to get star cornerback Jabari Greer back this week. He’s listed as doubtful after sitting out Week 7 with a shoulder injury. The good news is No. 2 corner Tracy Porter IS expected to return after missing the last three games with a knee injury.
Aside from starting defensive ends Brett Keisel (hamstring) and Aaron Smith (triceps), the Steelers are healthy. Keisel and Smith may not be household names, but they’re significant pieces in Dick LeBeau’s defense. This will be the first time that Pittsburgh truly leans on first-round pick Ziggy Hood.

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:41 pm
 

F&R NFL Approval Matrix Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson

Our affinity for graphs and charts and purty pictures knows no bounds, so (with a nod to the smartypants at NY Mag), we present the NFL approval matrix. Suggestions, complaints and intellecutual property lawsuits may be directed to us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).

Click to embiggen.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:09 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 5:15 pm
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Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:17 pm
 

NFL Week 6 Podcast Review

Posted by Will Brinson

Week 6 of the NFL is almost in the books and Sunday provided some pretty big storylines.

For instance: who's more desperate, the Chargers or the Cowboys? Does the NFL need to do something about all the ridiculously violent and dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits taking place?

What do we make of Kevin Kolb's sudden ability to throw the deep ball? Is there any really dangerous team in the NFC? Are the Jets or the Steelers the best team in the NFL? How big of an impact did Deion Branch have on the Patriots?

Okay, so those are questions, and not storylines, but the answers provide the stories, and that's what Andy Benoit and I provide in our weekly podcast review.

Click play below and don't forget to subscribe via iTune

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