Tag:Thomas Jones
Posted on: September 16, 2010 10:16 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 11:34 pm
 

So, what's the deal with Jerome Harrison?

J. Harrison only got nine carries last week against Tampa Bay (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Perfectly encapsulated in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi’s lede in his story this evening is what Will was saying earlier today.

Writes Grossi: “Sometimes it seems like the Browns lose Jerome Harrison's number.”

Writes Will Brinson: … “He's (apparently) done something evil to Eric Mangini's family, because there's no other way to explain how a guy who put up a season's worth of rushing yards in the last three games of 2009 is still splitting carries with fumble-machine Peyton Hillis and only getting carries when the team is backed into its own end zone.”

It’s actually hard to believe Harrison didn’t play more last Sunday. So, let’s try to figure this out logically. Why didn’t the Browns give Harrison more than nine carries last week? After all, Harrison averaged more than five yards a carry, and the Browns were winning most of the game. What’s the problem?

My theories:

Maybe it’s because Harrison isn’t known as a great pass blocker. Maybe it’s because the three teams he dominated last year for a combined 561 yards finished No. 31 (Kansas City), No. 29 (Oakland) and No. 19 (Jacksonville) in the NFL in run defense. Maybe it’s because the week before he started that unreal three-game stretch, he gained nine yards on seven carries against Pittsburgh – the third-best running defense in the league. Plus, he’s small (5-foot-9, 205 pounds).

All of those are possibilities, I suppose.

But the man the team took in the second round of the 2010 Draft, Montario Hardesty, who blew out his knee in the preseason, was known to have knee problems coming out of Tennessee, and Peyton Hillis only had 13 carries last year and was known as a short-yardage back. Harrison has more experience – and more success – than either of those players. So, yeah, it makes all the sense in the world that Hillis started instead of Harrison.

I’m just kidding about that. Despite all I wrote in the two paragraphs above this one, I have no idea why the Browns didn’t give Harrison more carries Sunday. I’m not sure I can figure out this one logically, because it doesn’t seem like a logical move (I’m sure it’s logical to the Browns coaches, though).

Now, the Browns will face Kansas City. You know what happened last time Cleveland played the Chiefs? Harrison rushed for 286 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries. Which means he’ll probably get 10 carries Sunday. 

And since I began this post with Grossi’s lede, I’ll leave with you his kicker as well.

Coincidentally, the only player in the NFL who had more rushing yards than Harrison over the last month of the season last year was Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs. Charles finished with 1,120 yards in 10 starts; Harrison had 862 in seven.

And look what the Chiefs did. They went out and signed veteran rusher Thomas Jones as a free agent. When the Chiefs took the field for their first play on offense Monday night against San Diego, Charles was on the bench.

"Lets you know it happens everywhere, huh?" Harrison said.


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Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:20 am
 

Hot Routes 09.10.10: Still too much cursing

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- Good news for the Rams: QB A.J. Feeley is feeling healthy. Oh wait, that doesn’t matter. He’s not going to start any way. Not with Sam Bradford feeling good. "I've said all along, it was going to be his job — it was just a matter of when." Feeley told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "It was kind of predicated on when he was ready. And he's ready.”

- Cowboys LG Kyle Kosier and RT Marc Colombo continue not to practice in Dallas. It’s becoming less and less likely that they’ll play the team’s season opener against Washington.

- Another offensive line story, this one out of Jets headquarters. Matt Slauson has beat out second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse for the starting left guard spot heading into Monday night’s game vs. the Ravens. I’m sure Slauson will be welcomed warmly by Baltimore’s defensive linemen, namely Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata.

- Roger Goodell recently said he wants a new labor deal to be done in March. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith countered that by saying he wants a new agreement signed by November. NFL.com has the full story.

- Good lord, Tony Dungy just won’t let go of this Rex-Ryan-curses-too-much storyline. Enough already, man.

- When Keith Bulluck signed with the Giants in the offseason, it was thought he would replace Jonathan Goff at the middle linebacker spot. But Goff had a good training camp, and now, New York is rewarding him by making him the starter (and moving Bulluck to the outside). Goff seems honored.

- Speaking of the Giants, things are not going well between RB Brandon Jacobs, who just lost his starting spot to Ahmad Bradshaw, and the front office. In effect, Bradshaw says, Jacobs is feuding with team management. Jacobs, though, says everything is cool between him and Bradshaw – who, it should be noted, has started just one time in his four-year career.

- Ask around the Bengals locker room, and in some players’ eyes, there’s no question. They’d rather have Carson Palmer at quarterback than anybody else in the league. Of course, what would you expect them to say? That they’d rather have Tom Brady leading their team? Of course not.

-Panthers linebacker Thomas Jones hasn’t given up on playing this season, despite suffering his second ACL tear within a seven-month period. Jones said he’s on course to be back by mid-season.

-Even when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti called on his quarterback to be even better this year, that hardly fazed Joe Flacco. Why is that? Maybe, the nickname the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston has bestowed upon him can give you an idea: Joe Cool.

- Champ Bailey and the Broncos are talking about a four-year contract extension.

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Posted on: September 6, 2010 1:55 am
Edited on: September 6, 2010 2:02 am
 

Now, the Jets truly are Super Bowl contenders

D. Revis, shown here intercepting a pass vs. Oakland, ended a 36-day holdout and should be ready for the season-opener against Baltimore on Sept. 13 (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The signing of Darrelle Revis changes the entire dynamic of the Jets season.

Now that I’ve read that sentence again, I realize that’s a pretty bold statement, because it’s hard to imagine one defensive player affecting his team in that way. But in the case of Revis, it’s true.

With Brett Favre, it’s true. With Peyton Manning, of course it’s true. Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson, etc., it’s true.

Revis is the only defensive player in the league who can compare.

Without Revis – the No. 1 defender in the NFL – the Jets were good. Potentially very good. Sure, Mark Sanchez would have to improve on his rookie season. RB Shonn Greene would have to prove right the front office – which allowed Thomas Jones (331 carries, 1,402 yards and 14 TDs last season) to walk – and 31-year-old LaDainian Tomlinson would have to keep rediscovering his 27-year-old speed and arsenal of moves.

WR Braylon Edwards would have to keep making those impressive catches, and two of the best offensive linemen in the NFL – LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold – would have to keep opening holes while keeping Sanchez off his backside.

In fact, after watching the Jets first-team offense blast the Giants first-team defense in the preseason opener, I wrote I thought Rex Ryan’s squad could compete for the Super Bowl.

A quick passage from that blog post:

Ugh, I hate myself for writing something like that based on one measly preseason game in which the team I’m touting lost by 15 points. But the first-team offense, for the most part, looked very good – except when the Jets got to the red zone – and the defense, like last year, looked pretty nasty. They looked like a team that still could be playing in February.

If ….

If, that is, they get back Darrelle Revis. Because without Revis, New York might not be the Super Bowl team coach Rex Ryan thinks they can be. A virtual unknown WR named Victor Cruz made that pretty clear tonight during the Giants 31-16 win against the Jets.


Now, the Jets have their “If” back. And with their “If” in the mix, this team becomes one of the best in the league.

The Jets front seven remains unchanged. Which, when you’re talking about NT Kris Jenkins and Vernon Gholston (who has had a strong preseason) and LB Bart Scott and LB David Harris (sadly, the only one of the Core Four who won’t receive a new contract) is a good thing.

Without Revis, though, the secondary looked awfully thin. Antonio Cromartie is solid No. 2, but Cromartie is no Revis when he's being counted on to be the shutdown CB. Kyle Wilson, a first-round pick out of Boise State who now has lost his starting job, was inexperienced, and the rest of the secondary was the kind of secondary who would allow Victor Cruz, an undrafted rookie free agent playing in his first NFL action, to have a breakout game and catch three touchdown passes.

Now, the question becomes: what kind of shape will Revis be in when he flies to New York on Monday to sign his new contract and begin practice in preparation for the Sept. 13 season-opener against the Ravens?

According to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, Revis spent part of his 36-day holdout in South Florida working out with former CB Ty Law. He should be in pretty good shape.

That said, the Jets knew they couldn’t go into the season without their best player. You could see the tension in the face of GM Mark Tannenbaum as this weekly saga played out on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Ryan, even though he was kidding when he went door to door in the season’s first episode looking for Revis and begging him to return to the team, knew he needed Revis in his defense. Ryan was being funny in that scene, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t telling the truth.

That’s why Ryan, in a move straight out of Vikings coach Brad Childress’ playbook, flew to South Florida this weekend to saw howdy to Revis and to add a spark to the contract talks.

Even until the end, Tannenbaum – who said he explored trading for other CBs – wasn’t sure the deal would get done.

"I really wasn't optimistic,” he told reporters in an early Monday morning conference call. “Until it was done, I really didn't think he'd be here."

Yet, here he is. The “If” has returned. The best defensive player in the league – the only one who could have this kind of impact on his squad, one way or the other – is back. And the Super Bowl trophy awaits.

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Posted on: September 5, 2010 8:09 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2010 9:18 pm
 

Tony Richardson gets the ax(e)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

T. Richardson was cut today, though he could return to the NYJ after the first week of the season (Getty). If you didn’t know about Jets FB Tony Richardson before Hard Knocks began its latest run, you have learned about him the past month.

You’ve learned about his leadership, about how much he’s loved in the New York organization, about how much respect he’s earned as he was entering his 16th season.

None of that, though, saved the three-time Pro Bowler from getting cut today.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported the news, and as the decision made its way around the Internet, many were left confused. Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised, as Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News writes:

In a bit of eerie foreshadowing, GM Mike Tannenbaum intimidated in last week's episode of HBO's Hard Knocks that Richardson may be on his way out. In an exchange with Ryan, the GM specifically pointed out Richardson, WR Laveranues Coles and LB Lance Laury as three players whose salaries were above the veterans' minimum.

During that conversation, (Rex) Ryan went to bat for Richardson, one of the unquestioned leaders on the team. The coach told Tannenbaum that Richardson was an integral part of the Jets' ground-and-pound philosophy. Ryan pointed out how close the team was to the Super Bowl playing that smash-mouth style of football.

Now, Richardson is gone.

Another interesting point is that Ryan ripped into his team for a lack of leadership. Meanwhile, the Jets had cut ties with veteran leaders Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

The Jets obviously lose another veteran by whacking Richardson.

The Jets could opt to bring him back after Week 1, meaning his salary wouldn’t be guaranteed throughout the season. But that’s not a definite either (another team could want him and sign him, Richardson might decide he’s through with football, the Jets might not want him back, etc.).

Either way, it’s a sad day for the people who got to know Richardson a little bit this past month.

UPDATE (9:16 p.m.): A quote by Tannenbaum on Richardson: “We appreciate Tony’s contributions and leadership over the past two seasons and have nothing but the highest respect for him as a person and as a player.”

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 10:44 am
Edited on: August 24, 2010 10:46 am
 

Hot Routes 8.24.10: Get out of the press box!

Posted by Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

Got links for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or send an email to josh [dot] katzowitz [at] cbsinteractive [dot] com.

-A Giants press box attendant asked Steelers icon Dan Rooney to leave because Rooney’s pass was only valid for the owner’s box . The press box attendant apparently didn’t know it was Dan Rooney. (No excuse, though: any half-witted attendant should know that whoever is important enough to get an owner’s box pass is more than important enough to be in the press box.) Rooney graciously left.

-Of the Jets’ “Big Four” – D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis and David Harris – it looks like Harris will be the odd man out for a new contract this season. The uncapped year’s 30 percent rule appears to be part of the problem. Harris will make less than $1 million this season.

-According to the Boston Herald , OG Logan Mankins doesn’t spend money. Which means he doesn’t have to worry about lost wages if he doesn’t play this year for the Patriots. Which is looking like a real possibility.

-Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is averaging more than twice as many more yards per carry this preseason than new acquisition Thomas Jones (7 yards to 3.1), but Charles isn’t worried about the stats at this point in the preseason.

-All offseason we’ve been writing about how the Bears don’t have enough quality pass-blockers to execute Mike Martz’s system . It’s only the preseason, but because this proves our point, we’ll remind everyone that Jay Cutler was sacked five times against the Raiders Saturday night.

-Brian Urlacher has a calf injury, but it doesn’t appear to be at all serious .

-The Ravens are upbeat about how Ed Reed’s rehab from hip surgery is going . Some somewhat good news on Sergio Kindle – Baltimore expects him in town by the end of the week .

 -Dallas rookie WR Dez Bryant isn’t scheduled to return in the preseason, but he’s still on track to start the season opener Sept. 12. After suffering a high ankle sprain, he’s lost about 10 pounds.

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Posted on: August 3, 2010 9:58 am
 

Cassel looking for a brighter tomorrow

M. Cassel is looking to build upon last year's tough season with Kansas City (Getty). It certainly wasn’t New England, and it certainly wasn’t what the Chiefs wanted. When Kansas City signed QB Matt Cassel – who was coming off a 10-5 year while replacing the injured Tom Brady – the Chiefs could have expected more than what they received from him. Namely, a 69.9 passer rating to go with 16 interceptions (along with 16 touchdowns and less than 3,000 yards passing) as the club went 4-12.

Not that it was all Cassel’s fault. Not that the talent Kansas City surrounded him with was very good.

The Kansas City Star profiles Cassel today and how he’s trying to build upon last year’s disaster of a season.

From the story:

But they worked in the offseason to surround him with better talent. Cassel has no such excuse for another mediocre season, something he seems to be aware of. Coach Todd Haley told the story of having to kick Cassel out of the practice facility in Kansas City on many nights in the offseason, Cassel often staying late at the office to study video.

“I worked and pushed myself hard physically and mentally this offseason,” Cassel said, “and I know I came into this camp as prepared as I’ve ever been to play well.”


The Chiefs didn’t do Cassel any favors when they fired offensive coordinator Chan Gailey in the preseason last year, and his receivers weren’t very good either, dropping pass after pass after pass.

Since then, though, Kansas City seems determined to help Cassel. Haley hired offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and the team added running back Thomas Jones and receivers Jerheme Urban and Dexter McCluster.

“You learn a lot from a season like that,” Cassel told the newspaper. “At the same time, we’ve turned the page as a team. We got back in April and started working for this year. This is a new season. This is a new team. We’ve got a lot of new coaches and we’re ready to move on.

“I’m more at ease with my surroundings, my teammates. I think they’re more comfortable with me. That’s a nice feeling to have that."

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 6, 2010 9:20 pm
 

Greene is not going to change his RB style

S. Greene (Getty) If you’re a football fan, you have to like the attitude of RB Shonn Greene, as captured in this New York Daily New s blog post. You want me to run out of bounds to preserve my body? You want me to shy away from contact to keep myself healthy? Screw you, buddy.

That’s something fans should love. Owners and coaches? Maybe not so much.

With Thomas Jones, who started all 16 regular-season games for New York and gained 1,402 yards with 14 touchdowns on 331 carries last year, moving to Kansas City, it will fall to Greene (and, to a much lesser extent, LaDainian Tomlinson) to take pressure of QB Mark Sanchez.

In order for that to happen, it’d be wise of Greene to try to stay out of the trainer’s room as much as possible. He’s not interested in that approach.

“We don’t run out of bounds,” Greene told the paper. “I’ve been taught that all my life…. I don’t think that’s going to help the way I play by doing that. If I just go out and do what I do, everything else will take care of itself. That’s what I do. I play the game of football. You can’t worry, ‘Oh, what if I do this? What if I run out of bounds?’ No, that’s not the game of football to me. Football is a hard-nosed game.”

Still, isn’t a long career something to consider? Isn’t making it to the end of the season a plus?

“I like his style,” running backs coach Anthony Lynn said. “I don’t want him to change very much at all. He’s going to take some shots, but he also gave a lot of shots. So, I like that attitude he has running the football. He has great body lean -- the guy’s always falling forward for extra yards. But there are a couple times when you have to take a guy on the edge and maybe not so much down the middle because I do want to get him through 16 games.”

“You just make him aware of it. As guys play and run in this league, they get wiser and more aware. It’s something that they learn over time.”


--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