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Category:NFL
Posted on: November 18, 2009 9:03 pm
 

Bengals RB coach Jim Anderson talks L.J.


Larry Johnson is a Cincinnati Bengal. It was obvious that he'd land on his feet after the Chiefs cut him, but the expectation was that he'd have a decent-sized role. Not a starting job, but at least something where he'd get 10 touches a game.

Head coach Marvin Lewis threw water on that the day before he signed but eased a little on Johnson being "a fourth running back" with "a chance to be active" the day after he signed. 

It's understandable for the Bengals to put Johnson behind Cedric Benson, but behind Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard? A veteran running back with some gas in the tank riding behind a rookie who's returning kickoffs and a third-down back known more for his hands and shoulders than his feet?

It might not make sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to the Bengals.

"The guys who have been here, we can't underestimate them," said Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson in an exclusive Q&A with CBSSports.com. "Bernard Scott did a heck of a job, Brian Leonard has done an exceptional job for us on third downs. Jeremi Johnson's done a good job blocking for us. So we can't underestimate those guys, the focus can't go totally on Larry. He's coming in and helping us and it's our job to get him ready and prepared so that he can do the very best so that he can help us."

Anderson called the Bengals' offense "a different language" and stressed to CBSSports.com that it will take time for Johnson to not only understand the playbook but to "be exact in what situations we put him in to be successful."

It's not like Fantasy Football -- the Bengals simply can't put him on their lineup, hit the submit button and expect him to play well. When asked when and how Johnson will contribute, Anderson was vague.

"Only time will tell," he said.

But this doesn't mean the Bengals don't know what they have in him. Obviously they know his strengths and do have expectations on when he'll be a contributor.

"He's a veteran player. He's got skins on the wall and he's played this game, and he's a big guy," Anderson said. "And when the weather breaks here in the north, it's a plus for us to have a big guy."

Of course, Benson is no twig, either. Anderson said he doesn't expect his role to change and that he's not scared of opening Benson up to injury by continuing to feed him the ball so many times per game. That includes Benson's hip injury that forced him to take mental reps in practice on Wednesday.

"I don't think you get scared. Sometimes it's all about the tempo of the game and how you perceive the tempo of the game," Anderson said. "He doesn't take the whole workload, it just appears that way in regards to running the football and some other things. But other guys are sharing the load and that takes a little bit of the burden off of him.

"It's not how many times you carry it, it's what you do when you do carry it."

Anderson had a bright outlook on rookie Bernard Scott's future. It was Scott who took over for Benson in Week 10 at Pittsburgh. While his numbers playing on offense weren't anything to write home about, 33 yards rushing on 13 carries with a 21-yard catch, Anderson sees his athleticism and desire to play any way he can.

"He knows how to play the game and he was a highly productive guy in college. We know he can bring those things to us in every phase," Anderson said. "And the big thing with Bernard, like he showed, is that he wants the opportunity to play. He wants to make the most of it."

Does this mean that Scott will either start or see relevant playing time this week at Oakland?

"You can't just put your finger on those opportunities. You don't know when they're going to happen," Anderson said. "But that's the whole thing about this game: It's best to be prepared and not to be called on than to be called on and not be prepared."

And that's advice that applies to Larry Johnson as well.

"We had a good first day [with Johnson] and we're just looking towards what we're going to put in for the rest of the game plan and take that and digest that and take that to the practice field and execute," Anderson said. "All the little things you've got to put together, and we'll see how it all turns out."

Week 11 should give us some indication.

Posted on: October 9, 2009 11:22 am
 

On The Record: Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer

After Braylon Edwards was acquired by the Jets from the Browns, many of us had questions about when he'd be a regular part of the New York offense. While a receiver traded at mid-season typically does not produce big numbers right away, Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer believes that his new offensive weapon will be a factor sooner than later.

As provided to the media by the Jets, here is a transcript of Schottenheimer's media session following the Edwards trade.


On what Braylon Edwards will be able to do in Monday Night's game ...

It is interesting because he has a pretty good grasp of what we're doing. It's probably a unique situation. The coordinator two years ago in Cleveland, Rob Chudzinski, comes from San Diego. We were in San Diego together. A lot of the terminology, some of it is identical; a lot of it is close. With (Cleveland offensive coordinator) Brian Daboll leaving here and going to Cleveland, he kept some of the things. It is amazing, even in the walk-thru, going through some things with Braylon (Edwards) and Mark (Sanchez), little code words and tags like, 'Hey, you want to me to poster this?' It was like, wow, he knows that. Really sharp guy. He's ahead just because when we call things, he's heard it called before. It's not 100 percent, but there is quite a bit of carryover.

On if it will be a limited package for Edwards on Monday ...

No. As of today, we still need to add a few more plays for the red zone stuff tomorrow. Where he is at today, there is nothing that we have to worry about. There will be some things, I'm sure, during the course of games and that is where the other guys will help him.

On if Edwards makes his job easier ...
 
Anytime you have a receiver of his quality, a guy with the type of size and agility he has, it's another weapon. Even when he (looks) covered, it doesn't mean he is covered. They were doing some one-on-ones today. I looked down there and there were some deep balls and the guy kind of draped all over him and he was able to elevate and make the play. He's a guy that has instant credibility because he has produced in the league, with the (16) touchdowns he had two years ago. A number of 80-plus catch years. It's somebody else that they have to be mindful of when they're scouting us.

On if Edwards gives the Jets a chance to throw more fade routes ...

I think so. There are a lot of things that we can do with him, but that is something that I think he has a great ability to do, just elevate above people. That shows up on the film when you look at it.

On how this changes how defenses will defend against the team ...

They will take Braylon into account. He's earned that. I do think people look at the Jets offense and say, 'Ok, we want to stop the running game and get after Mark.' I think people will take it into consideration but if everybody changes the way they play, I think that remains to be seen. He's a guy that they'll be aware of where he is at. 'Ok, he's in the game, he's not in the game.' That helps you.

On Edwards' dropped passes ...

I looked at his catches from last year, I believe. As far as the dropped passes, I have no idea. I haven't studied or looked at it.

On how Edwards looked [Wednesday] and if he dropped any passes ...

He did really good. I think there was one (dropped pass) but it was a little high. If you ask Braylon, he'll say he should have caught it. If you ask Mark, he'd probably say he should have thrown it a little lower. He did a really have good day. We're excited about it.

On how rare it is for someone like Edwards to be traded in Week 4 ...

Nothing surprises me anymore in this business. We were in a situation in San Diego where we acquired Keenan McCardell, a very established receiver, around week four or five. We were playing Carolina. It was a similar thing. I don't know if we had an injury or not, but we brought him in and he went out and had five or six catches in the first game. In this business, nothing surprises you. There have been situations similar to this, not identical, that had great results.



Posted on: August 10, 2009 5:11 pm
 

Bills-Titans preseason notes

Not many notes from the Hall of Fame game, as it should be since the game is pretty much meaningless. But here's what stood out to me.

- The Bills' O-line. Awful. Deserves the rating I gave it. Andy Levitre might be highlighted as the weak link but he's far from their only problem. The Haynesworth-less Titans pushed around their line all game long, including when the first-team was in there.

- Trent Edwards would be better behind a better O-line. Same for Marshawn Lynch. Remember, last year's line included LT Jason Peters and LG Derrick Dockery.
- T.O. is still slow. Not the same guy from two years before. Still has solid hands obviously, but it still looks more and more like he took a pay day from the Bills this year instead of going for a Super Bowl ring.

- I like how Nate Washington was used in the short area. He never had that much work in Pittsburgh because he was buried on the depth chart. But he's solid and could be a real surprise this year. I'll watch him in the Titans' next preseason game.

- Kerry Collins was OK. Not great, not awful. Vince Young? Not great, quite awful. Patrick Ramsey is clearly gunning for the backup job.

- That fake punt play was cool!




Posted on: July 3, 2009 4:48 pm
 

Mock Draftacular: July 3

Here are the results of the mock draft I did with 11 equally enthusiastic Fantasy Football owners earlier today. My picks are listed first below -- I picked 12th and took on the WR-WR draft strategy with my first two picks.

Dave Richard - Dave  
Player Position Round Drafted
Matt Cassel QB 7
Kevin Smith RB 4
Jonathan Stewart RB 5
Larry Fitzgerald WR 1
Andre Johnson WR 2
Kevin Boss TE 12
Wes Welker RB-WR 3
Garrett Hartley K 14
Dolphins DST 13
Kyle Orton QB 9
Donald Brown RB 6
Jerious Norwood RB 10
Darren Sproles RB 8
Maurice Morris RB-WR 11
   
  
shockers - josh  
Player Position Round Drafted
Tom Brady QB 2
Brandon Jacobs RB 3
Adrian Peterson RB 1
Laveranues Coles WR 6
Chad Ochocinco WR 5
Jason Witten TE 4
Cedric Benson RB-WR 7
Shayne Graham K 14
Ravens DST 10
Ben Roethlisberger QB 8
LeRon McClain RB 13
Willis McGahee RB 9
Plaxico Burress RB-WR 12
Michael Crabtree RB-WR 11
   
  
Team Kimmy - Kim  
Player Position Round Drafted
Donovan McNabb QB 6
Chris Johnson RB 1
Darren McFadden RB 4
Calvin Johnson WR 2
Brandon Marshall WR 3
Visanthe Shiancoe TE 12
Knowshon Moreno RB-WR 5
Neil Rackers K 14
Cowboys DST 13
Ahmad Bradshaw RB 10
Jerome Harrison RB 11
Fred Jackson RB 7
Devin Hester RB-WR 8
Kevin Walter RB-WR 9
   
  
banged up - John  
Player Position Round Drafted
Tony Romo QB 3
Frank Gore RB 1
Derrick Ward RB 5
Dwayne Bowe WR 4
Randy Moss WR 2
Owen Daniels TE 9
Lee Evans RB-WR 6
Ryan Longwell K 13
Eagles DST 10
Trent Edwards QB 12
Michael Bush RB 11
Ray Rice RB 7
Anthony Gonzalez RB-WR 8
Jeremy Maclin RB-WR 14
   
  
ADONIS PIMP - Brian  
Player Position Round Drafted
Jay Cutler QB 6
Reggie Bush RB 4
Michael Turner RB 1
Marques Colston WR 3
Steve Smith WR 2
Antonio Gates TE 5
Julius Jones RB-WR 8
David Akers K 14
Jets DST 13
Matt Ryan QB 7
Shonn Greene RB 9
Fred Taylor RB 12
Donnie Avery RB-WR 10
Torry Holt RB-WR 11
   
  
hitman - arthur  
Player Position Round Drafted
Peyton Manning QB 2
Larry Johnson RB 4
Steve Slaton RB 1
Bernard Berrian WR 6
Anquan Boldin WR 3
Greg Olsen TE 7
Thomas Jones RB-WR 5
Stephen Gostkowski K 9
Vikings DST 8
Chester Taylor RB 11
Nate Burleson RB-WR 12
Patrick Crayton RB-WR 13
Derrick Mason RB-WR 10
Brian Robiskie RB-WR 14
   
  
Gryphons - Tony  
Player Position Round Drafted
Aaron Rodgers QB 3
Matt Forte RB 1
Pierre Thomas RB 2
Eddie Royal WR 6
Hines Ward WR 7
Dallas Clark TE 5
Marshawn Lynch RB-WR 4
Mason Crosby K 9
Giants DST 8
T.J. Duckett RB 14
Sammy Morris RB 12
Ricky Williams RB 13
Ted Ginn Jr. RB-WR 11
Santana Moss RB-WR 10
   
  
JBs All Whites - John  
Player Position Round Drafted
Matt Schaub QB 4
Maurice Jones-Drew RB 1
Clinton Portis RB 2
Santonio Holmes WR 5
Roddy White WR 3
Zach Miller TE 11
DeSean Jackson RB-WR 6
Nick Folk K 14
Panthers DST 13
Matt Hasselbeck QB 9
Ladell Betts RB 12
Felix Jones RB 7
Rashard Mendenhall RB 10
Jerricho Cotchery RB-WR 8
   
  
Bush 25 - Sead  
Player Position Round Drafted
Philip Rivers QB 3
Brian Westbrook RB 2
DeAngelo Williams RB 1
Steve Breaston WR 7
Roy E. Williams WR 4
Tony Gonzalez TE 6
Joseph Addai RB-WR 5
Rob Bironas K 9
Steelers DST 8
Jamaal Charles RB 13
Chris Chambers RB-WR 14
Lance Moore RB-WR 10
Steve Smith RB-WR 12
Nate Washington RB-WR 11
   
  
Tay's Team - mark  
Player Position Round Drafted
Drew Brees QB 1
Ryan Grant RB 3
Willie Parker RB 5
Terrell Owens WR 4
Reggie Wayne WR 2
Chris Cooley TE 9
Braylon Edwards RB-WR 6
Matt Bryant K 14
Patriots DST 12
Eli Manning QB 11
Earnest Graham RB 7
Tim Hightower RB 10
Jeremy Shockey TE 13
Donald Driver RB-WR 8
   
  
Norris Commandos - Bob  
Player Position Round Drafted
Carson Palmer QB 6
Ronnie Brown RB 3
Steven Jackson RB 1
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR 4
Greg Jennings WR 2
John Carlson TE 7
Beanie Wells RB-WR 5
Nate Kaeding K 14
Chargers DST 13
Shaun Hill QB 10
LeSean McCoy RB 8
Leon Washington RB 9
Davone Bess RB-WR 12
Percy Harvin RB-WR 11
   
  
Browns '08 - Eric  
Player Position Round Drafted
Kurt Warner QB 3
Marion Barber RB 2
LaDainian Tomlinson RB 1
Antonio Bryant WR 6
Vincent Jackson WR 4
Dustin Keller TE 7
LenDale White RB-WR 5
Jason Elam K 11
Titans DST 10
Joe Flacco QB 13
Jamal Lewis RB 8
Kellen Winslow TE 9
Isaac Bruce RB-WR 12
Muhsin Muhammad RB-WR 14

Who do you think has the best team? Respond below or send me an email at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com
Posted on: June 3, 2009 4:49 pm
 

Mock Draftacular -- June 3

I held my first mock draft of the summer (summer being used loosely) with Fantasy fans using our Mock Draft tool.

Here are the results: http://mockdraft.1.football.cbsspor
ts.com/mockdraft/results/rosters/41
8738

And here's the rationale behind my picks

Round 1: Frank Gore No brainer.

Round 2: Andre Johnson See Frank Gore.

Round 3: Marshawn Lynch I like Lynch as a value pick in late Round 3. The only problem is saving a pick for Fred Jackson later on. He went to the top of my queue just to remind myself that I needed to pick him later.

Round 4: Marques Colston The knee injury kind of bothers me, but he should be fine. Best receiver in the Saints' pass-happy offense.

Round 5: Donovan McNabb
I wanted to have a quality quarterback and didn't want McNabb to slip past me here in late Round 5.

Round 6: Eddie Royal One of my favorite sleepers for this season. 100-catch potential.

Round 7: Felix Jones

Round 8: Ray Rice

Round 9: Leon Washington


I liked nabbing all three of these "upside" running backs. They will all start the year splitting time, but at least one of them should pan out into being a quality Fantasy back. I really like this approach and might try it again in future drafts.

Round 10: Fred Jackson I had to get him

Round 11: Michael Bush Another "upside" running back.

Round 12: Tony Scheffler Needed a tight end.

Round 13: Titans DST
Needed a DST.

Round 14: Garrett Hartley
Needed a kicker. Someone in the mock draft actually typed that he was angry I took his guy here. That's always a good feeling.

Feedback? Criticisms? Complaints that I took your kicker in Round 14? Email me: dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com
Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
 

Fantasy Huddle: Tom Brady

Tom Brady has been the focus of many Fantasy owners since ... well, really, since 2001. But more recently, since Week 1 of last season when he tore his ACL and MCL and missed all but the first quarter or so of the NFL season. Since then, he's had multiple surgeries (one to clean a staph infection) and rumored to be behind in his schedule, only to actually be ahead of schedule.

The Patriots held a late-May minicamp, and Brady was not only in attendance but working with the first-team offense. Though he admits to being a little rusty, he's optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the 2009 season. He met with a huge throng of reporters, and the club was gracious enough to send out a full transcript. We went ahead and edited out the questions regarding his model wife and bicycling hobby and give you the meat and potatoes of what he had to say about his knee, his teammates, and his outlook on this upcoming year.

How are you feeling? Do you want to give us an update on the progress of your knee from the last two months or so?

Yeah. I've been feeling really positive. You know, getting back into the football stuff - it's a little different than the training you do - working out normally in the offseason, so it's good to come out on the field. There is obviously a lot of rust by all of us being off for four months. We're working hard to make the improvements we need to make. Thank God the season is a few months away, but we need the work and I need the work. I think everybody realizes when you come out after four months off there is a lot of work for us to do.

Do you have to learn how to throw again with the knee the way it is?

The throwing is not the problem at all. At this point it's just about getting back to the football activity. I am doing the football activities not for my leg, but for the rest of me - my everything. My body feels really good. My arm feels good. I'm not completing as many passes as I want, but we haven't been out here very long. I think it's just about getting better every day. If you can do that, and you can make continuous improvements over the course of weeks and months, you'll be a better player.

There's no adjustment with having to wear a brace on your leg and getting used to that?

No. You don't even really notice it. I would rather not wear, but [Head Athletic Trainer] Jim [Whalen] is forcing me to wear it, so I have to listen to him.

You said last year was the halftime of your career. What did you mean by that?

Well, I think we all have goals that we set for ourselves and how long you want to play. Fortunately for a quarterback, you can play for a long time because you don't get hit very often. I hope I have the opportunity to play for a long time. I think when you sit on the sidelines for an entire year you realize how much you love it. Not that you need that to happen to be grateful to play, but you experience things in a much different way and a way that I never experienced as an athlete. I love being out here. I love participating and being around these guys. We're working for some big goals we set, so we just have to, like Coach Belichick says, come out here and work hard every day and do our job.

You used the word rust. Getting back out here does it feel like a long time? What are your emotions?

I've been playing football for a long time so you don't have to relearn how to do anything, you just have to go out and try to be sharp. I don't think I've been very sharp the last three days in practice. It takes a lot of reps and a lot of throwing. You see the defense and you make the throws and there are adjustments you have to make on the field. The football part and understanding our offense - I mean, obviously, I have a good understanding of that - it's just a matter of putting it together at a different speed than you can go out and practice in the bubble in March and April. It's nice when team activities are on the field and there's blitzes and you can signal guys and something happens and a guy slips on a route and now you have to throw to a different player. Those are the things that you've got to sharpen up. There's a lot of training camp practices. There's probably 50 training camp practices that we'll have and I think each one of those will be valuable for all of us. I'm looking forward to those because I haven't had the opportunity to do that in quite awhile.

I would imagine your rehab is probably 75 percent done and I would think you probably still have some limitations. You don't feel like you are 100 percent yet, do you?

I feel as good as I could possibly feel. I don't think about it. It doesn't bother me doing anything. It's feeling really good and it's about as good as I can say. I'm real happy with where I'm at and I come out to these workouts happy to participate in them. That was something that was a big goal for me to be able to do.

If the opening game would be two months away do you think you'd be ready or do you think you need four months?

I will take every day that I have. Believe me, I'll take every day. We have a lot of work [to do] and there are a lot of new faces and new coaches. There's been a lot of change for us this year and we have to use it to our advantage.

Naturally a lot of people are comparing this offense to 2007 - you have some new tools in Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis. What are your expectations and do you think it will be better?

Well, we have guys that are experienced players. Obviously, Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] at receiver and we've added some tight ends and Joey and Greg are here as well. There's a lot of work that we need to do to get on the same page. I know the kind of effort we put in in 2007 and we need to match that, and in 2008 as well - we worked hard that offseason. It didn't work out for us in the end, but I think this year is another bit of excitement, it's a new challenge and that's why we are out here practicing. I don't think you overlook anything out here. Every rep we are trying to complete is for a reason. There are signals [to learn]. We're walking through the two-minute drill today. We're trying to all get on the same page and that's going to carry over into training camp and training camp carries over to the season. We have a lot of tough opponents this year. We have a challenging schedule and we are going to need the work that we have. I think the new guys - they are a bit overwhelmed with the offense and the terminology and the speed of how I'm spitting things out in the huddle and how I'm changing things at the line. We are all trying to get used to that.

What's been the biggest surprise for you over the last two days?

This is a hard game and it's one of those things that if you're not doing it every day and you're competing at this level, you always think it's going to get easier as you get older and you are going to complete more balls. That's not the way it works. You've got to come out every day and put the work in. You can't take anything for granted and you can't think that because you completed it last year a certain way that that's the way it's going to be this year. We've got a group of hard working guys and I'm very appreciative of that as a member of the team because I don't have to motivate those guys. They are really self-motivating and they're willing to work and we are willing to put the time in together. I think we're going to need all that hard work and commitment from everybody to make it a successful season.

Aside from the knee, how rusty do you feel?

I feel like it's springtime - 50 degrees and rainy in Boston. It's the start of a new year. I wish we'd come out and throw 90 percent completions out here every day and [have] everyone on the same page and [have] no mental errors, but because we are so new to this there are a lot of mistakes we are making. We have to try to make those improvements every day. We go in, watch our film and listen to Coach and hopefully we can build on each day. So like I said, we can look back two months from now and know that we're prepared for training camp.

At this point what could stop you from being ready for the season opener?

I said anything that could stop anybody. There're a lot of things that could happen in two months. I have to drive home this afternoon in Boston traffic, you never know what could happen. Knock on wood please. We're out here preparing and I don't anticipate anything. I hope there's not. We'll deal with something if something does… lighting striking, I don't know.

Randy Moss and Wes Welker talked about how their experience in the offense is really going to help what you guys had in 2007. What do you think about that showing up now and going into the year?

Those two work extremely hard. They were pretty good two years ago when they got here and they were great last year. I expect them to be great this year and there isn't any reason why they shouldn't be. They work hard. They know the offense. They're accountable and they're great leaders. They need to play well. If they don't play well then obviously we're not going to have a very good football team. When your best players are guys that are the hardest workers - I know Coach Belichick loves that. I think all the players look up to those guys and their leadership ability.

What's the adjustment without Josh McDaniels out here?

You know Josh and I had a great relationship. As a part of the NFL, things change every year. There're 13 new head coaches and he's one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him, and we've already started that process. It doesn't stop for anybody around here. You leave and someone else fills your spot and they're anxious for the opportunity. We have to work hard to get up to speed on everything and the coaches that are in that role are doing that.

Was there ever a point in your recovery that you thought you might not be ready?

No, I think part of surgery and rehab is that you have setbacks and you just deal with them. It doesn't always go as you plan it. Life doesn't go how you plan it. It's a matter of dealing with it [and] understanding, what do I have to do to get back on the right track. It didn't really set me back for very long, probably just long enough from keeping me from really hurting myself.

Have you lost weight? Are you at your playing weight?

I think I'm a little more than my playing weight. I try to work on my strength a lot. There're different things you try to find [to make] improvements on. I'll be right back to where I need to be in a few months. I need some warm weather.

Are there things you would like to do but you are holding back a little bit?

I always try to do as much as I can do. I'm never a person that does not enough because I'd regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more. I probably go too far and have to reel myself back in, which works in some things and other things it doesn't work. I think as far as I'm concerned now, coming out here, I'm trying to do everything I can do and I'm trying to do everything in the offseason program since it started. It's been good because now I come out here and there's nothing I'm worried about. I just try to play better, which I didn't do very well today.

What do you think about Joey Galloway and Fred Taylor and the new weapons on offense?

I think it's great. I love having veteran players come onto this team because they have the experience. They know football and they know the language and terminology and the learning curve is so much accelerated for them. It's challenging in our offense for a young player because there's a lot that we do. It changes every week. Especially as a receiver, you might be in one spot one day and the next spot the other [day] and the route we are calling – there are three different variations to the route based on the coverage. It's tough, so when you have a veteran player, he's – ok yeah, I get that, I did that. When you get a rookie, he's trying to make sure he gets out to practice on time. When you have Fred who's excited to run the plays and now he has to learn our terminology versus the terminology he's known… He's excited, he feels excited to be here. That youth comes out in him, so I think hopefully we are going to get the best out of both he and Joey and Greg Lewis. I don't know if you saw that catch he [Greg] made today, but that was ridiculous. I told him that was the one he caught in the Super Bowl – that weasel.

How confident are you that you can be the same player that you were before the injury?

We'll see. Like I said, talk is cheap. I could sit here and tell you guys that I'm going to play until I'm 80, but that doesn't matter. I'm going to do the best that I can do and I'm going to try to be the best leader and the best teammate and supporter of the guys on my team – it's something I've always enjoyed doing. Like I said, I'm grateful to have that chance and to be out here today. I can't wait to get out and start playing games.

Posted on: May 27, 2009 2:27 pm
 

Fantasy Huddle: Trent Edwards

I thought it was time for another transcript, and the Bills obliged with one from starting quarterback Trent Edwards. Following a minicamp practice, Edwards worked with starting receivers Terrell Owens and Lee Evans some more as the trio try to build as much chemistry and rapport as possible. Edwards is a sleeper for Fantasy this year and offers some nice insight here, including a nugget on what he thinks offensive coordinator Turk Schonert might lean on during the season.

On getting to know Terrell Owens:

It's been great so far, and I think those sessions afterwards were, you're seeing a guy running a route, you're seeing him come out of his break and as a quarterback, that's what you need to do over and over again in order to be comfortable with someone. Any extra practice we can get, on top of these OTAs is beneficial to all of us and Lee (Evans) and Terrell (Owens) and myself are really communicating well. We have a majority of the offense in, so we're trying to get that all nailed down and trying to figure out the routes and the concepts figured out and I think things are going well so far.

On what brought about the extra practice:

I'm not trying to run those guys into the ground. I've told them they've put in a lot of work and they're running a lot of deeper routes now. At the end of practice, I kind of missed a couple throws that you want to make and you want to fix. I mentioned something to those guys and if they're still not too tired from practice, usually you can get something done afterwards. There were a couple of throws that Lee wanted me to look at him and I wasn't looking his way. He wanted to get a couple of those routes in, and that's fine by me, that's what I want. I need all of the work I can get, and I know he does too.

On throwing the same routes to different receivers:

It's hard to describe to you guys, but there's definitely a difference. Now, the best way to describe that is different guys have different stride lengths and different heights and run routes differently. They understand concepts differently and they see things differently and defenses, so as a quarterback, it's really just a feel. It's really hard to describe, but like you asked, every one of those players runs a route differently. On film and when you guys are sitting there watching on the sidelines, you probably are saying they all look the same to you, but it's different behind center.

On if the offense knew the defense was going to put in its blitzes today:

We didn't. We had our normal meetings this morning and put in our normal plays and they came out and blitzed us. I felt like every period we had, Donte (Whitner) and Bryan (Scott) and Ko (Simpson) and George (Wilson) were all coming every single play. That's tough on an offense when you have a down the field pass called and you have to adjust to it. I think that's great. I know Perry's (Fewell) doing some great things on defense over there and he's coaching those guys very well, and that's something that we need. We need a good defense to go up against us every day, and that's what we're getting right now.

On if he prefers not to know the blitz is coming:

Absolutely. It gets frustrated, because you're sitting there dinking and dunking underneath and throwing hot routes when it's not exciting football, but that's something we're going to face and I have to be able to adjust to it, much like the 10 other guys have to adjust to it.

On the differences to the offense this year:

Right now, I fell like Turk (Schonert) is one of those crossing-routes types of coordinators and likes those and I feel like I throw those really well, and I feel like we're kind of getting on the same page with what I like and with what he likes. This may not answer your question directly, but the thing I do like that's changed this OTAs versus last OTAs is that I can work with two of my starting wide receivers after practices, where last OTAs, it was Lee was hurt, Terrell wasn't here and I was trying to work with James (Hardy) and Josh (Reed) a little bit afterwards, but right now, I feel like we're ahead of where we were last year because those guys are here, they're working out and that's nice for a quarterback, where I can see guys. It's not when we show up in Rochester at the end of July, this isn't the first time I've thrown to these guys, much like it kind of was last season.

On if working with Owens is different because of the amount of experience he has:

Yeah, you can tell that he's been around and you can tell that he's worked with some good quarterbacks. We might have a player concept in and he's run it on a bunch of different teams for a bunch of different coordinators, he's been coached that a bunch of different ways, but he understands the offense, he understands concepts, he understands routes and he's doing a good job of telling me he wants certain ways he wants certain balls to him and I feel like I'm comfortable enough to tell him I want him to run certain routes certain ways, so I fell like that level comes with his experience, and that level is something that I need to get to. And that's something I want to get to with him, it's just kind of having an unspoken bond where something doesn't need to be said, but we can see things before it actually happens.

On getting Roscoe Parrish involved in the offense:

He's one of best slot receivers we have. It's just a matter of putting him in a position to win and putting him in a position where he's comfortable and he understands what he's supposed to do. And that comes with practice, that comes with getting him his reps in practice, and then actually performing in the game. Sometimes we put other guys in there that we feel like can do the job better, but as you can tell, when he returns a punt or returns a kick, he's one of the most exciting guys on our team, so we need to find a way to get the ball in his hands, and I'm working with Turk, I'm working with Alex (Van Pelt) to try to come up with ways we can do that. That's definitely a weapon we need to take advantage of.

Posted on: May 19, 2009 4:47 pm
 

Fantasy Huddle: Frank Gore

It might be spring, and it might be in the middle of a minicamp in which little is decided over how much a player will play over the course of a season, but it's still a good time to get quotes from football players.

A day after 49ers head coach Mike Singletary essentially ruled out a big split in reps among his running backs, Frank Gore all but squashed the chances of him sharing the ball on a regular basis with ... well, anyone. Here's the official transcript from the 49ers with some Fantasy notes sprinkled in:

On getting a good feel for Jimmy Raye's new offense:
"Yeah. I like it so far. We're running the ball a lot. We're doing a lot of downhill runs, and that's my type of running style."

On the similarities between Jimmy Raye's offense and Norv Turner's:
"It's about the same. A lot of power counters. Going at them. Don't care what they have in front of us, they just have to stop it."

On whether that offensive style is encouraging given his rushing yards in Norv Turner's system in 2006:
"Yeah because this offense…my type of running style is I like to have my shoulders square. A lot of runs and a lot of running plays are going straight downhill. Just pick your hole and go."

(FANTASY NOTE: This should be very encouraging to everyone out there who has Frank Gore on a rank list. That should be, um, all of you.)

On comparing this running style to last year's:
"More of a lot of finesse runs."

On what he thinks about the team wanting to keep some of the workload off to keep him fresher as the season goes along:
"I haven't heard that we're going to take some of the load off of me. I know the coach has been telling me that I have to be in tip-top shape and I have to be ready to take the load, and that's what I'm going to do."

(FANTASY NOTE: A huge statement by Gore. He's essentially saying that he not only can carry the load for the team all year, but that he's expected to. How many running backs are left out there that will be in such a position?)

On whether he thinks drafting a running back to give him more breaks during the game is needed:

"Well, I feel like the more I'm in the game, the more I touch the ball, the better player I am. The back they've got here is a pretty good back. He's working very hard and he's learning the offense. I like him. Whenever they feel that they want to put him in, get him [inaudible], I feel that he'll be alright to get in the game."

On his thoughts about whether having a rotation will dilute his effectiveness in the second half:
"I don't think that we'll be rotating. But, like I say, my type of style and running the ball and playing, I feel like I get better the more I'm in and the more I touch the ball."

On whether having a backup get more touches could prolong his career:
"Last year it was about the same. We had DeShaun [Foster], we have Mike [Robinson]. They were getting me, coming in on plays the coach had them run. I'm cool with that. As long as I'm in most of the snaps and I'm getting in my rhythm, doing the best I can do to help my team win, I'm fine with it."

On whether his injuries the past two years had to do with being worn down:

"I won't say I was worn down. I couldn't help some, last year fell on my ankle and the year before the same, under power. I felt like I was starting to get stronger the game I did get hurt. I wouldn't say it was because I was worn down. It was just unlucky injuries."

On seeing Glen Coffee and a couple other guys competing to be the backup and whether that pushes him:
"Every time I touch on the field I motivate myself. I feel that every guy wants to be the man. That's what pushes me. I don't doubt any other guy playing the sport. I play because when I was coming out, I felt like I wanted to be the man. So, I push myself."

On whether having a first-round draft pick like WR Michael Crabtree will help him running the ball:
"It will help a whole lot, especially when he comes in and do what he did in college. That would be a big factor to our offense and to our team. Then we'll see more like a seven-man box, than what we've been seeing, eight-, nine-men box. If you can't run against a seven-man box, you shouldn't run the ball at all."

(FANTASY NOTE: Another good point by Gore, and this is something you can apply to every team in the league. If a team has a passing threat that must be accounted for, the easier it will be for a rusher to pick up yardage. However, last year Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner saw a lot of eight-in-the-box and still racked up huge stats. That should speak volumes about their abilities. Gore's done it before, too -- if Crabtree can help right away it will do wonders for his numbers.)

On whether he thought he would get more passes than he ended up getting in last year's offensive scheme:
"I did. I did, but just going [inaudible]. The other running backs we had, but things didn't work out. The quarterback situation, switching quarterbacks, just things didn't work out how we planned it to work."

On how he feels physically:
"I feel good. I feel real good. I feel real good."

On when the ankle started to feel better:
"After, when I came back, I did a mini-camp practice, I started feeling like I got better, then I started to be able to train more, and the more I started training, the better, the stronger my ankle got."

On whether that happened in the April mini-camp:
"Yeah. I felt that when I practiced, that I was alright, that I could move around. So, the more I started training the stronger I got. But, now I feel better."

On whether there was anything different in his offseason training this year:

"I was at home. I was in Miami more than the last couple of years. I would usually be out here first, but I've been in Miami training with my trainer. But, it's been about the same."


 
 
 
 
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