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Tag:Ryan Torain
Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:31 am
 

Hot Routes: Could Devin Hester play quarterback?


Posted by Will Brinson 

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  • Todd Collins is starting and Caleb Hanie is the backup for the Bears on Sunday, but they also have a super-secret "emergency" plan, and will list someone as a third quarterback in the event that both those guys are sucked into the concussion vacuum that is the Bears' offensive line. "I'll just say without going into that and giving away too much more about our game plan, we have a guy in mind, maybe a couple of guys in mind, if we get down to No. 3," Lovie Smith said. So who is it, you wonder?  Apparently either Devin Hester or Matt Forte, which is actually way scarier than Collins or Hanie -- either/or would play the wildcat the entire game
  • Could Aaron Hernandez lead the Pats in the receiving the rest of the way? Sure -- Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston notes that only 36 percent of the Patriots snaps this season have been in "pure three- or four-receiver packages," whereas they ran nearly 56 percent in those sets last year. In other words, the team was moving towards utilizing their young tight ends even before trading Moss.
  • What one word would you use to describe Danny Amendola? (Note: please don't say "Welker.") Because the rest of the Rams would say stuff like "fiesty," "electric," "quick," "tenacious," and "energetic." David Eckstein is a huge fan, duh.
  • It's 2010 and athletes announce stuff on Twitter, so it should be no surprise that Chad Hall dropped his promotion off the Eagles practice squad vis-a-vis social media.
Posted on: October 6, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 6:16 pm
 

Is Clinton Portis done in Washington?

Posted by Andy Benoit

Clinton Portis is out 4-6 weeks with a groin injury. Jason Reid of The Washington Post is suggesting that he could be out forever (as a Redskin, that is).

Reid writes: C. Portis (US Presswire)

Could Portis eventually return to the lineup after rehabbing from a third-degree separation of his left groin? Sure. Anything is possible. The Redskins are hopeful he will be back in four to six weeks. There is also a chance, however, that Portis has played his last game for Washington.

The reality is that Coach Mike Shanahan must continue the roster overhaul that began during the offseason if he hopes to lead the Redskins to a Super Bowl. Washington must get younger in the backfield, and bringing back Portis next season would seem as unlikely as the renegotiated contract he received in March of 2008.

Reid points out that many in the organization questioned the rationale of paying an aging, dilapidated Portis a $7.2 million base salary in which $6.4 million was guaranteed. Part of the concern centered around the fact that the 28-year-old has never had great offseason work habits.

However, in private NFL circles, word is Portis and Dan Snyder are extremely close. The running back has long known he has unyielding power in that organization. Of course, whispers about this derive from the Jim Zorn era. It’s doubtful Portis’ power would trump Mike Shanahan’s. (Heck, Albert Haynesworth, who essentially cost three times what Portis cost this season, can’t even crack Shanahan’s starting lineup.)

Portis’ last game in Washington is all but a formality at this point. Whether it has already happened or will happen come January is almost beside the point. Even if Portis makes it back in a month or so, it’s very likely that Ryan Torain will be Washington’s featured back by then. Torain is quicker, bigger and, of course, livelier than Portis. And, though inexperienced, the young ex-Bronco is well-versed in Shanahan’s zone running scheme. He should be able to beat out the old ex-Bronco.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 3:13 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 3:15 pm
 

Portis will be out 4-6 weeks with groin injury

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan dropped a surprise in our laps at his news conference this afternoon. He told reporters, including Washington radio personality Chris Russell, that RB Clinton Portis has a third degree of separation of his groin and will be out 4-6 weeks.

That means Ryan Torain officially becomes the starter, and Shanahan said Chad Simpson will move to the No. 2 spot.

On Monday, Portis said his groin was stiff and bothering him but he didn’t reveal the extent of the damage.

Torain looked to be making a move to secure Portis’ starting position anyway. In the two games he’s played, Torain has rushed for 116 yards and a score on 25 carries.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 5:23 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: The Old Hanging Chad(s)

Posted by Will Brinson

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park .


As late as Monday afternoon, this column had the potential to be BOR-ING. But bless you both, Chad Henne and Buddy Nix, for your beautiful run of incompetence -- Chad Henne decided to get his interception on against the Patriots in a Monday night South Beach slaughtering and Nix shipped Marshawn Lynch out to Seattle on Tuesday afternoon for a fourth round pick, totally changing the landscape of people fighting for jobs in the NFL.

As a result of Monday night's performance, there's all kinds of wild conjecture flying that the Dolphins will consider looking to Tyler Thigpen (you may recall him from mop-up duty last night) or Chad Pennington.

In part, the latter makes sense -- Pennington led the original 'Fins revival a few years ago. The reluctance to bail on Henne stems from the fact that he has "all the tools" (as the old saying goes) and Miami invested a second-rounder in him

And the fact that bailing from Henne, regardless of how robotic some of his throws look, is a knee-jerk mistake.

Look, again, some of his decisions in the pocket were beyond embarrassing, but if you take away the three picks (it's okay, I'm laughing while I write it too), he went 29 of 36 for 302 yards and two teeters, and that's the type of game that will win most of the time.

Now as to why we so willingly yanked out all the mistakes from his line, well, look no further than the special teams issues on Monday night -- when the third branch of your team coughs up 20-plus points, it changes your gameplan entirely. In the case of the Dolphins, it switched them from a run-heavy/run-often team looking to keep the ball out of Tom Brady's hands into a team that was forced to pass more than it wanted to.

Or, as Tony Sparano said, it "puts a lot of stress on the position."

Panic is inevitable in South Beach -- the Dolphins fired their special teams coach within 12 hours of the Pats loss -- and that's okay. But they're 2-2 headed into the bye, just a game (plus tiebreakers) back of the Pats and Jets and firmly in a convoluted playoff race just a quarter of the way into the season.

Giving up on Henne now would be overkill -- especially when games against Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore after the bye will give them plenty of opportunity to make a move.

****
"Beast Mode" should end up starting for the Seahawks -- Julius Jones was released after Seattle acquired Lynch, Leon Washington is best used in situational running and special teams, and Justin Forsett just hasn't looked like a feature back.

As has been bandied about many a time between Andy and I, Lynch isn't exactly an elite running back. But he does possess some traits -- most notably an ability to actually be physical when running -- that the rest of the Seattle backs just don't have. Add in Pete Carroll's disappointment with the running game following the loss to the Rams, a bye week to prep Marshawn for the team's system and there's no reason to think he couldn't garner the majority of carries right off the bat.

The fascinating subplot of this job fight is that Lynch was in Forsett's wedding recently -- the two were roommates at Cal, which means it should at least be congenial.

****
Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb just WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE. Stupid Vick had to go and get his stupid ribs stuck in between two stupid Redskins on a stupid run near the stupid goal line (why yes, I do own him in like four fantasy leagues, why do you ask?) and now Kolb takes the reigns as starter.

Again.

The Eagles get the 49ers on national television this week and then get a bye, so it's unlikely that Kolb could perform so well in two weeks to warrant Andy Reid changing starters for the rest of the season. But I'm fairly certain I've said that like twelve times this season already.

****
Jake Delhomme is healthy which means we can just move on past that whole Mini-Seneca Wallace Era that featured a win and ... oh, I see. We can't move on? There's some sort of controversy in Cleveland? NO!

Okay, there's not a controversy, per se, but Eric Mangini did say that starting Delhomme wasn't "a knock on Seneca" because he'd, after all, "decreased the amount of turnovers the last couple of games." Translated from Coach on the Hot Seat Speak, that means that if Jake throws more than one interception in the first half next week, he's getting yanked.

****
Cadillac Williams actually acknowledged that he might not be Tampa Bay's feature back for much longer; presumably that means that LeGarrette Blount makes a play for the starter's role, which, by the way, is bat-s insane.

And also just kind of gross from a karma perspective, considering that it should definitely be Stafon Johnson starting somewhere. But whatever -- Cadillac has been awful this year, and if he can't average more than three yards per carry, you certainly can't blame the Bucs for putting some fresher legs in there.

****
Ryan Torain could be stealing a job, too. Clinton Portis, always a charming interview, hopped on the radio Tuesday and gave Mike Wise an on-air scoop (yes, the same one, irony alert, thanks) when he told him that he didn't think he'd play this week.

Torain's been a better runner, a more physical runner, is healthier, doesn't fall down randomly when running in the middle of the open field, has fresher legs and has more to prove. Plus, this is Mike Shanahan we're talking about -- it wouldn't be appropriate for him not to have a random dude come storming up from the practice squad to rush for 1,000 yards in his system.

****
Quickly ...

- Forgot to mention the Bills whole RB situation, but the presumptive notion has to be that Fred Jackson will see some carries and C.J. Spiller will get a much-increased role.

- The Jags dumped Todd Bouman which means Trent Edwards gets promoted which means that David Garrard slightly thinner ice than Jack Del Rio.

- Darren McFadden, who's been pretty daggum good this year, could miss Week 5. If he does, Michael Bush gets to really make a power play for the starter job in Oakland (although they'll still split carries when McFadden's healthy); Bush looked better against Houston and was considered a distinct possibility to begin the season as starter before a hand injury.

- Poor Garrett Hartley. That's like having your dad beat you in basketball. When you're 29.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 11:50 am
 

Portis says he's not likely to play on Sunday

Posted by Will Brinson

Clinton Portis isn't shy about making his opinion known on local DC radio -- on Monday, he actually gave 106.7 The Fan a little bit of an injury scoop, letting them know that he didn't expect to play on Sunday against the Packers.

"I don't think the team would even let me attempt to go on Sunday," Portis said, via Mike Jones at TBD . "But who knows. I think I'm a speedy recoverer, so who knows."

Portis also said that his groin was "stiff" and that it was "bothering" him; as well, he mentioned that he's "waiting to hear from the doctors" and will "take his time."

There's no freaking way that this will make Mike Shanahan happy. After all, Shanny came out and said last week that he likes to use the injury report's "questionable" status to his advantage. If his players are making their status publicly known, that takes away his "edge."

There's also no way to tell for sure if Portis' statement is 100 percent accurate -- notice that he never states that he's simply "out," not that he could even know at this point.

All that being said, though, ever since the Redskins brought Ryan Torain back, he's been a more effective (25 carries, 116 yards, 1 TD versus Portis' 18 carries, 99 yards and no teeters over the last two games) and more physical (did you see that touchdown against the Eagles?) runner, so trying to push Portis back onto the field before he's fully healthy might be pointless anyway.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 6:41 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Curse of Wally Pipp

P. Hillis has taken over the Cleveland running game (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re a quarter of the way into the season, and some players who were originally slated to be backups suddenly have emerged as starters. Maybe it was through an injury to the former starter. Maybe it was because the starter wasn’t as good as the team thought and the backup was better. Maybe it was because – and Wally Pipp could relate to this – somebody just needed an off-day.

In fairness to the old-time Yankees first baseman, who was replaced one day (permanently, it turned out) in 1925 by a guy named Lou Gehrig because Pipp had a headache, that story might not be true exactly. Instead, he might have been benched because manager Miller Huggins simply wanted to shake up the lineup. Either way, Gehrig played the next 2,130 games, and Pipp ended up in … Cincinnati (and apparently, he was also one of Sports Illustrated’s first writing hires, one of those cool but useless facts).

Anyway, there have been some impact players to emerge this season so far, simply because they, like Gehrig, were given that chance to shine. Some have won a starting position. Some are just holding it until the real starter returns. But they’re all making a (mostly good) impression. It sounds like the perfect Top Ten With a Twist list to me.

10. Lance Moore, WR/PR, Saints: The story of Moore’s career. A Saints starts gets injured. Moore steps in and makes plays. Remember in 2008 when Moore caught a team-high 79 passes for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns after Marques Colston was hurt? Obviously, when Reggie Bush returns from his broken leg, Moore will fade back into the background – maybe. But man, he looked electric against the Falcons (six catches, 149 yards, two touchdowns), and he’s become a big target for New Orleans when it’s in the red zone.

9. Max Hall, QB, Cardinals: Look, we all know Derek Anderson isn’t a very good quarterback. But I didn’t think he would have a chance to lose his job this early. Hall, meanwhile, was a 2010 undrafted free agent (seriously, how poor is Anderson to lose to an undrafted free agent?). Not that Hall was great when he replaced Anderson on Sunday, because he wasn’t, but he might be Arizona’s best option at this point. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, meanwhile, isn’t talking. “I think we're going to go without [a quarterback) this week,” he joked Monday. “I think we're going to go with all Wildcat."

8. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots: He averaged about eight carries per game his rookie year in 2008, but with Kevin Faulk lost for the season – and Fred Taylor unavailable for the Miami game Monday – Green-Ellis (47 carries this year for 215 yards) has already nearly doubled his attempts from last year. He had his breakout in Week 3 against Buffalo when he carried the ball 16 times for 98 yards and a score, and vs. the Dolphins, he was impressive with a 16-carry, 78-yard, one-touchdown performance.

7. Shaun Hill, QB, Lions:
The reason Hill is so low on this list is because there’s no way he’ll take the job from Matthew Stafford. But still, how impressive has Hill looked the past few weeks? After Stafford went out with the shoulder injury in Week 1, Hill was terrible. But the past three weeks, he’s completed 61.9 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and six interceptions (he’s also averaging 301 passing yards per game), and he really impressed me in Detroit’s two-point loss to Green Bay.

6. Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Raiders: It didn’t take long for Raiders coach Tom Cable to figure out that, in order to save his job, he’d take his chances with Gradkowski instead of Jason Campbell. This is not to say Gradkowski is an elite quarterback, because that’s a laughable notion. But he played well at times when he was in Tampa Bay after Chris Simms ruptured his spleen in 2006 (Gradkowski failed to win the starting job in 2007). For now, though, Gradkowski is entrenched as Cable’s guy. As long as Cable is around.

5. Koa Misi, LB, Dolphins: Ikaika Alama-Francis was supposed to be the starter, but the night before the season opener, he caught some kind of illness and he’s been recovering ever since, losing 15-20 pounds in the process. Misi, the team’s second round Draft pick this year, has taken over his starting spot with consistent play and a smooth transition to the pro game. It was originally thought that Misi’s main objective would be as a situational pass-rusher – he was, after all, a defensive end in college – but he’s proven his worth as an every-down back with two sacks and a fumble recovery TD. In the meantime, he’s also Wally Pipp’d Alama-Francis.

4. Taylor Mays, S, 49ers: Mays so Wally Pipp’d former starter Michael Lewis that San Francisco released Lewis Monday, the day after Mays’ huge game against Atlanta. Mays had taken Lewis’ starting job already, and it sounds like Lewis asked for his release, but still, that’s pretty impressive for a rookie. Mays, in case you didn’t see it, had a phenomenal touchdown (both feet down!) after a punt block to give San Francisco a 14-0 lead. He also made 11 tackles.



3. John Carney, K, Saints: Carney, who will turn 65 later this year (I’m kidding, he’s 46), has returned once again to the NFL, and after making three kicks this past week, you have to wonder how much longer Garrett Hartley will stay on the roster – or why he’s on the roster at all at this point. Obviously, Carney isn’t the future kicker in this organization, and maybe the Saints are keeping Hartley around, because they’re hoping he can overcome what’s been a terrible start to the season for him. Otherwise, he’d already have been Pipp’d.

2. Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins:
Torain and Clinton Portis have split carries, but it seems that if this was the 100-meter dash at the Olympics, Torain would be Usain Bolt and Portis would be the other seven guys. Meaning Torain is pulling away and eventually will take Portis’ starting role. It could happen this week actually as Portis hurt his groin Sunday. Let me also briefly mention San Diego’s Mike Tolbert, who replaced first-round pick Ryan Mathews when he was injured and rushed for 255 combined yards the past three games (including a 100-yard performance Sunday when Mathews was in the game). But coach Norv Turner says he’s committed to keeping Mathews as the starter, so Tolbert doesn’t fit on this list all that well.

1. Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: It was supposed to be Montario Hardesty and Jerome Harrison running the ball in Cleveland. Hillis – who was traded from Denver in the Brady Quinn deal this past offseason – was supposed to be just an afterthought. Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs had never heard of the guy until he ripped off 180 total yards (144 on the ground, the most Baltimore has allowed in five years) against the Ravens. With Hardesty out with a season-ending injury and with Harrison failing to make an impression on the Cleveland coaching staff, Hillis has taken advantage, tying the league high with four touchdowns and averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Like Gehrig, it appears that Hillis has no future plans to give up his starting spot.

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Posted on: October 4, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Hot Routes 10.4.10: box score tidbits



Posted by Andy Benoit


The Cardinals managed a paltry 124 yards of total offense against the Chargers. And 124 is also only three times the number of points Arizona gave up.

Antonio Gates was targeted seven times. He finished with seven catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Those are the type of numbers a player puts up when going up against thin air.

The Chargers defense had nine sacks.

Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday started their NFL-record 158th game together. (The previous record of 157 was held by Jim Kelly and Kent Hull.)

Donovan McNabb completed just 8/19 passes in his return to Philly. That’s his lowest completion total in a win since his NFL starting debut (which, coincidentally, came against the Redskins).

Santana Moss had zero catches and was targeted just one time.

Quintin Mikell led the Eagles with seven tackles, though none were dynamic enough to make us forget the one he missed (you know, when Ryan Torain plowed over him for a touchdown run).

Arian Foster sat out the first quarter against the Raiders for disciplinary reasons. That allowed Derrick Ward to rise from the dead and finish the day with 12 carries for 80 yards. (Interesting that Steve Slaton wouldn’t get more carries in this instance.) Foster still got his, too. He gained 131 yards on 16 carries, including a sensational 74-yard touchdown.

T. Mays celebrates his TD after he blocked an Atlanta punt (AP). Raiders tight end Zach Miller caught 11 passes for 122 yards and a score. On the other side, Texans backup tight end Joel Dreessen led the team with five catches for 73 yards and a score. (Perhaps the bigger news is that Owen Daniels, in a contract year and coming off a serious knee injury, seems to be assuming a backseat role).

Haloti Ngata had 11 tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits against the Steelers. And yes, in just watching the down-to-down action, Ngata was indeed THAT dominant.

The Saints ran 79 plays Sunday. The Panthers ran 47. The Saints had 27 first downs. The Panthers had 10. (The game was close because the Saints were just 1/5 in the red zone and lost two fumbles.)

Panthers linebacker James Anderson had 16 tackles and a sack.

Saints safety Usama Young played well filling in for an injured Roman Harper. Young led the team with six tackles and recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss.

Seahawks running back Justin Forsett looked much better against the Rams than his 19-carry, 65-yards stat line suggests. Forsett showed great initial quickness and lateral agility between the tackles. Credit the Rams linebackers and defensive backs for keeping him in check.

Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons had two sacks for the second straight week.

Kyle Orton threw for 341 yards against the Titans. He also attempted 50 passes for the third time this season (the Broncos are 1-2 when he does).

Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal both went over 100 receiving yards. It was Lloyd’s third 100-yard game of the season. Denver also had two 100-yard receivers against the Colts (Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney).

Chris Johnson’s longest run against the Broncos went for just eight yards. His backup, Javon Ringer, ripped off a 54-yarder. (To be fair, Ringer was ultimately chased down on that run; Johnson would have taken it to the house.)

Dave Ball had 2.5 of Tennessee’s six sacks of Kyle Orton.

The Lions ran 78 total plays; the Packers ran 40. A week after setting a franchise record with penalties 18 penalties for 152 yards, Green Bay benefitted from 13 Detroit penalties totaling 102 yards.

Charles Woodson recorded his 10th interception return for a touchdown, third most in NFL history. (Rod Woodson holds the record with 12; Sharper is next with 11. Deion Sanders had 9.)

Jordy Nelson lost two fumbles for the Packers. (And the lost fumbles never turned up…we think someone from the Lions may have found them.)

Brandon Pettigrew had a career day, catching eight passes for 91 yards. He’s another guy who has successfully bounced back from a late ’09 ACL injury.

Taylor Mays did not just have a spectacular blocked punt touchdown for the 49ers, he also led the team with 11 tackles. Looks like Michael Lewis won’t be getting his starting job back any time soon.

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Posted on: September 30, 2010 8:14 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2010 8:19 pm
 

Shanahan: Portis will start

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan declared today that RB Clinton Portis will start Sunday’s game at Philadelphia.

Shanahan’s decision had been in question because Portis has been suffering from a wrist injury and he saw reduced playing time last week against the Rams (he played on less than half of Washington’s snaps). Plus, he didn’t come off well when he made a quarterback slide at the end of the long first-half gain against the Rams to protect the wrist and to protect himself from fumbling.

He didn’t play at all in the second half, but apparently, Shanahan believes he’s the right man to be in the starting lineup.

That doesn’t mean, though, that Portis will be the No. 1 RB the rest of the season. Ryan Torain – who was signed to the Redskins practice squad earlier this month before moving to the 53-man roster after Larry Johnson was released – was originally drafted by Shanahan (in 2008) when the coach was still in Denver.

Portis was also drafted by Shanahan  (in 2002), but you have to wonder how much mileage Portis has left in his legs and if Shanahan feels Torain is a better fit for the more every-down carries.

 During his first game action last week, Torain had seven carries for 46 yards.

And if you want to have some fun looking at others having fun with Photoshop, click this hogshaven.com link. Some pretty humorous looks of Portis, based on the Getty photo from below.

C. Portis has been battling wrist injuries, but he will start Washington's game this Sunday in Philadelphia (Getty).

For what it's worth, Shanahan was asked about Portis' decision to go down at the end of his first-half run.

From the Redskins official blog: "I don't get into my conversations with players," Shanahan said. "We've talked about that before. But I addressed it at the time, I addressed it with him and felt very comfortable with the explanation; now we go on."

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