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Tag:Steve Smith
Posted on: September 18, 2011 5:06 pm
 

Cam Newton breaks more rookie passing records

Posted by Will Brinson

The Carolina Panthers are 0-2 after their home loss to Green Bay Sunday, but there's reason for optimism in Charlotte these days, and it's all because of Cam Newton.

Following up on his record-breaking performance in Phoenix last week, Newton put on another impressive show against the Packers, throwing for 432 yards and adding two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air.

Newton also threw three interceptions, so everything wasn't sunshine and roses, but his second big game managed to break some more records and put him in impressive company.

The Panthers rookie became just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games. (Read that again, please.)

Newton is also the second- and third-youngest player to record 400-yard passing games. And he's the only rookie to throw for consecutive 400-yard passing games to start a career.

Additionally, his 432 yards broke the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie, previously held by Matthew Stafford and ... Cam Newton. From last week.

This isn't to say that Newton is the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and I'll have much more on the subject for Sorting the Sunday Pile on Monday morning, and it's absolutely worth noting that Newton picked up some serious junk-time yardage against the Packers.

He also made some indefensible -- well, "being a rookie" is an OK defense, but still -- throws against the Packers that resulted in the three picks.

But the reality is that this is not some sort of mirage, and it is not an accident that he's succeeding at the NFL level. Newton is the real deal, and so are the numbers.

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Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:41 am
 

Tramon Williams out Sunday against Panthers

Posted by Will Brinson


Cam Newton broke out in a big way during his debut, throwing for a first-game rookie-record 422 yards against Arizona. He's getting a slightly tougher test in Week 2, though, as the Panthers welcome the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and their slew of dangerous defensive backs.

Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields are, arguably, the best trifecta in the league. Good news for Newton (and Panthers fans) then, as Williams is inactive for the Packers, thanks to a shoulder bruise he suffered against New Orleans in the NFL opener last week.

Shields and Woodson are still a nasty combo -- and the Packers have announced that Shields will start -- but the Panthers, who are double-digit dogs at home, should consider themselves at least a little lucky that Williams isn't playing.

Running back Alex Green, cornerback Davon House, tackle Derek Sherrod, defensive end Mike Neal and linebackers Vic So'oto and Frank Zombo are also inactive for Green Bay on Sunday.

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: September 14, 2011 10:43 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Comeback players

M. Stafford, if he stays healthy, could be a candidate for comeback player of the year (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Some had disappointing seasons last year only to find themselves in a brand-new setting this year. Some had worn out their welcome in one city and were rewarded with a new home in a new part of the country. Some were injured, and some just flat-out stunk.

But this is a new season, and it’s never too early to make predictions about the 2011 comeback player of the year, especially since two-time winner Chad Pennington is out for the season and won’t be eligible for his third award until 2012.

You won’t find Albert Haynesworth on this list, because a man who duped one organization out of tens of millions dollars only to find himself holding a golden parachute to the league’s most respected franchise doesn’t need another reward if he potentially plays well (or, unlike in Washington, plays at all). But pretty much everybody else is eligible for a spot on our latest Top Ten with a Twist: Potential Comeback Players of the Year.

10. Kevin Kolb: I originally wasn’t going to put him on this list, because simply put, I’m not entirely sure he’s going to live up to his $63 million ($20 million guaranteed) contract in Arizona. But after his 18 of 27, 309-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Cardinals win against the Panthers (all while getting sucked into the “Cam Newton is awesome” maelstrom), it’s at least a possibility Kolb will play like Arizona believes he can. Kolb supporters point to an impressive two-game stretch he had in 2009 for why he’s worth all that money. I’m more interested in his 130 quarterback rating from Sunday and where he can go from there.

9. Chris Johnson: You might not know this, but last year, Johnson had a disastrous season. When you compare him to 2009, his performance declined by more than 600 yards and he scored three less rushing touchdowns. If that’s not the sign of a guy who has already become much less effective … wait, what’s that? Johnson still rushed for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns last season? Oh, never mind. But here’s the thing with Johnson. He keeps proclaiming that he’s going to rush for 2,000 yards, and while he did it in 2009, he fell woefully short last year. And yes, he won’t make it 2,000 in 2011 either. But he’ll also be better than last year, particularly since he now should be completely happy with the money he’s making.

8. Bob Sanders: We all know Bob Sanders can’t stay healthy. Not after missing 64 of 112 career games with the Colts. And because we’ve barely seen the guy (only nine times in the past three seasons) we always seem to lose sight of the fact that Sanders was once a premier safety threat  mentioned in the same breathe as Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed. One good sign for Sanders’ return to respectability: he didn’t have to spend this offseason rehabbing an old injury. But Sanders also is 30 now, where the aches and pains increase rather than diminish. In his first game with San Diego, he accumulated six tackles. But at least he didn’t leave the game with an injury. Which, with Sanders, is pretty good news.

7. Tim Hightower: You’ll recall that Hightower had a bit of a fumbling problem as the No. 2 running back behind Beanie Wells in Arizona -- he had eight lost fumbles combined in the past two seasons -- and though Hightower had good production in place of the injured Wells, the Cardinals decided they’d rather have Wells than Hightower. The Redskins, who were saying goodbye to Clinton Portis, went after him, and their interest was rewarded this week when Hightower looked solid, rushing 25 times for 72 yards and a score. Just as important, though, is his pass protection and his versatility (he’s a pretty good receiver as well). Just as long as he doesn’t fumble, he could be a really good addition for Washington.

6. Steve Smith (Eagles version): We still don’t know how healthy Smith is, but the fact that he was active for the first game -- much to the chagrin of the Giants, I imagine -- is awfully impressive, considering he was coming off microfracture surgery on his knee. He wasn’t targeted by Michael Vick, and he didn’t play all that much. But the fact he was out there at all was pretty ridiculous. Smith probably won’t be healthy enough to produce the stats that would give him a legit shot at the comeback player of the year, but he’s already gone to extraordinary lengths to return this soon, so why not?

Henne5. Steve Smith (Panthers version): Aside from all those Panthers fans who now have hope, receiver Steve Smith has to be one of the biggest Cam Newton fans around. For a guy who wanted out of Carolina as soon as possible (and as receiver, why would he want to try to field passes from Jimmy Clausen?), the infusion of Newton into this offense was the main reason Smith exploded for eight catches, 178 yards and two touchdowns. Considering he only accumulated 46 catches for 554 yards and two (!) scores in 2010, a little Newton in his life apparently has gone a long way.

4. Chad Henne: Despite Miami fans chanting that they wanted Kyle Orton (who now has to hear the chants of “We want Tebow” in Denver) in the preseason, the popular storyline out of south Florida is that Henne finally will turn himself into a legit starting quarterback. Henne was a major storyline in the offseason -- coach Tony Sparano said “we’ll see” about Henne’s chances of starting and receiver Brandon Marshall laid out in detail why Tyler Thigpen was a better player until Henne began to make believers out of his teammates, who voted him offensive captain. It’ll continue to be a storyline as long as Henne plays the way he did against the Patriots (30 of 49 for 416 yards, two touchdowns and a garbage-time interception) in one of the best performances of his pro career.

3. Rex Grossman: Based on the way he played against the Giants on Sunday, I thought about putting Grossman higher on the list. But I just don’t see him as a top-15 quarterback -- this season or any other. Maybe if he got to play against the Giants shell of a defense every week. But until that happens, I don’t see him taking home the hardware. That said, Grossman surprised many people this week -- including, I imagine, John Beck -- and didn’t look like the same quarterback who was Donovan McNabb’s two-minute offense replacement. At least, he played like a legitimate starting quarterback.

2. Bryant McKinnie: Surely, McKinnie would be the first comeback player of the year award winner to have weighed 400 pounds (allegedly) and gotten released from his old team for it (not to mention earning $75,000 for getting down to a trim 372). But McKinnie, as the new left tackle for the Ravens, helped set the tone last Sunday when, on the first play of the first Ravens drive, he dispatched Steelers linebackers James Farrior and James Harrison, allowing Baltimore running back Ray Rice a 36-yard gain. Baltimore ended up beating Pittsburgh by four touchdowns, and don’t think McKinnie wasn’t a big reason for that. If he keeps it up, perhaps McKinnie can make history as the first offensive line ever to win the award.

1. Matthew Stafford: The Lions quarterback scared the daylights out of just about everybody when he hobbled to the sideline with an apparent injury in Detroit’s season-opening win against the Buccaneers. For a guy who’s missed 19 games the past two years with various ailments, that was not a moment for the weak at the heart. But it was only cramps, and during Detroit’s victory, Stafford showed that he still has the talent to be a top-five quarterback. And considering most of the comeback players of the year happen to be quarterbacks, that doesn’t hurt his chances either.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Gurode to visit NE; what would Haynesworth think?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the Cowboys released center Andre Gurode, we should have known he’d eventually earn a visit with the Patriots. After all, New England has been the epicenter of the NFL’s revitalization clinic. And why not? As Albert Haynesworth says, New England is the greatest place on earth!!!.

Aside from Haynesworth, the Patriots have thrown a lifeline to Chad Ochocinco and tried out Clinton Portis and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (those last two obviously didn’t work out).

Now, it’s Gurode’s turn to visit the New England coaches, as reported by the Boston Herald.

And if you thought that Steve Smith-LeSean McCoy was, um, slightly awkward, what will happen if Gurode and Haynesworth are playing on the same team? Click the video below to refresh your memory. I imagine it wouldn't be a happy reunion.



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Posted on: August 27, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Maclin, Steve Smith return to Eagles practice

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A week after receiver Jeremy Maclin returned to Eagles camp following his health scare, he finally has begun practicing today.

More good news for Philadelphia: as the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, newly-acquired receiver Steve Smith, still recovering from micro-fracture surgery on his knee, was taken off the physically unable to perform list and has begun practicing as well.

Smith, Maclin Return
That means the Eagles must feel like he can contribute early in the season, and it means the Giants, in letting Smith go to their arch-rival, might have made a big mistake.

Including DeSean Jackson, the top-three Eagles receivers are now practicing together for the first time.

For now, coach Andy Reid will play it safe with Maclin and Smith and evaluate them on a daily basis to see when both can take the field for a game.

"If they make it through (Saturday) evening fine, without any problems or setbacks, then we'll add some more onto it (on Sunday)," Reid told reporters. "And then we'll just keep on going from there and see what happens. But really, I can't tell you the date right now on either one when they'll be ready to play."

For what it's worth, Smith -- who says he won't be 100 percent healthy for a few more weeks -- and Maclin expect to be ready by the Sept. 11 season opener.

"I was kind of getting my feet back under me a little bit," Maclin said, via the AP. "Over the next few days, we're going to manage my reps and let me get used to it. I feel alright, conditioning-wise. It's just being out there, running routes. I haven't done that in a while, so there's definitely some work I need to do.

 "Like I said, I think I'll get back to my normal self pretty soon."

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Reid: Maclin is back, will return to practice

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin hasn’t practiced this season while he’s dealt with a mysterious illness that he hasn’t wanted to talk about publicly. He’s returned to St. Louis for tests, and it’s been proven that he doesn’t have cancer.

But good news today, as Andy Reid told the media, including the Philadelphia Daily News that Maclin has returned to the team. Now, he’ll spend the next week or so working to get back in shape before he returns to practice.

Assuming that Maclin is ready to go early in the regular season -- and Reid says there's no doubt Maclin will be prepared to play in the season opener -- the Eagles WR corps of DeSean Jackson, Maclin, Steve Smith and Jason Avant will be a tough one for opposing defenses to stop. But now it seems that Maclin is getting healthy, and really, that’s the most important news of all.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Smith-McCoy meeting didn't go all that well

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You might recall that, after hearing Giants DE Osi Umenyiora wanted out of New York, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy basically laughed at him, tweeting that Umenyiora was soft and the third-best DE on the team. You can see that graphic right here:

Umenyiora and McCoy

In response, Umenyiora referred to McCoy as a “she” and said that the Giants defense referred to McCoy as the cute and colorful nicknames of “Chihuahua” and “Lady Gaga.” To be fair, McCoy gained 175 yards in two games against New York last year and averaged 7.29 yards per carry, so he was pretty darn good against Philadelphia. Maybe not Lady Gaga great, but pretty decent nonetheless.

Then, WR Steve Smith jumped into the fray, posting a picture of an empty Eagles trophy case and another action shot of Smith celebrating the Giants Super Bowl title.

All of which was going to make Smith’s signing with the Eagles very, very uncomfortable. Especially because Smith said he was going to give McCoy a hug (no word on whether it was a chest-to-chest hug or one arm-one pat embrace).

“That’s going to take a little time. He wasn’t the happiest,” Smith told reporters, including the Philadelphia Sports Daily, after practice Monday. “He said he meant what he said, so it’s all good.”

I bet Umenyiora -- and his Giants teammates -- don’t feel that anything is “all good.”

Especially when Giants DE Justin Tuck said the team would take McCoy’s tweets personally while basically calling McCoy a ‘fraidy cat. “I honestly think social media has made people cowards. Where I’m from, if you had a problem with somebody, you said it to their face. I think now people are hiding behind computers and smart phones to get out something they got on their chest where I’m used to having a problem with a person, you go tell it to their face. You don’t go blast it out so everybody in the world can see about it."

No word on which side Smith will fight on if Umenyiora and McCoy throw down during one of the Eagles-Giants contests.

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Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: August 11, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Responses vary regarding Steve Smith signing

Smith

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The reaction to the Eagles signing of former Giants WR Steve Smith has stirred emotions across the NFC East. We thought it was a strong signing by Philadelphia’s front office, and it was interesting that Smith revealed that the Eagles showed “MUCH more” interest than the Giants did in signing him.

That led to Giants fans lambasting Smith -- coming off microfracture surgery on his knee that could keep him out the early part of the season. Smith wrote Thursday on his Facebook page: "Instead of cursing at me and wishing my family and my knee harm, i wish you could understand that i truly wanted to stay here but that the giants DIDN'T want me here unfortunately.. thank you to my true fans for standing by me and offering your support during this time.”

Steve Smith's Eagles signing
Even some of his old teammates got into the act.

Via the Philadelphia Daily News, Giants CB Terrell Thomas tweeted the following: "Hate to see a [Steve Smith] sign with any team. But glad we get to play against him two times a year and show him the grass ain't GREENER* on the other side.”

*As an aside, I think that tweet would have been more effective if Thomas had put “ain’t” in all caps instead of “greener.” Like this: “But glad we get to play against him two times a year and show him the grass AIN’T greener on the other side.” See what I mean?

Meanwhile, New York coach Tom Coughlin pointed out to reporters that Smith’s surgery was performed by a Giants team doctor, and the New York Post’s Bart Hubbuch tweets that Coughlin sounded betrayed by that notion. Coughlin also said the Giants never had a chance to match the Eagles offer of one year, $4 million ($2 million of that guaranteed) and that Smith’s representation told the Giants they would have a chance to counter. He said it was akin to competing in a race that you didn’t know had started yet (to be fair, though, the Giants had plenty of time to sign him once free agency began).

We have yet to see how Eagles RB LeSean McCoy -- who engaged in a Twitter war with New York DE Osi Umenyiora, which then led to Smith getting involved and posting a pretty sweet picture of him celebrating the Giants Super Bowl victory while featuring an empty Eagles trophy case (as you can see in the above picture) -- reacts to his newest teammate. But Smith is pretty sure everything will be cool between the two.

"Yeah, it’s going to be funny," Smith said Wednesday night during a conference call with reporters. "I’m going to go up to LeSean the first day I see him and just shake his hand and give him a hug and tell him that was all just Twitter beef and it was just all in fun. And you know, it’s just a great rivalry and I’m thankful to be a part of it. And having switched sides it’s a little different but still it will be exciting to see what it’s like on this side.”

The Newark Star Ledger’s Mike Garafolo also had interesting analysis on why the Giants let Smith get away to an intra-divisional rival, writing, “I'm completely baffled on this one. What is going on in the Giants' front office? I mean, seriously, what is going on right now? I'll tell you what's going on: for the first time, Jerry Reese's seat must be getting warm. … How do you let Smith become so discouraged by your efforts to retain him that he goes to see your arch rivals?”

Garofolo then argues that Smith was a potentially valuable asset who the Giants should have squared away (even if Smith had to miss half the season while recovering from his surgery).

Instead, Smith goes to the Eagles, and once he gets his hug from McCoy, he can begin the process of finding a place in a WR corps that includes DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant. The Eagles just got a little bit stronger, while the Giants, competing for the same NFC East title, potentially let a star get away.

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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