by Michael Lombardi
May 12, 02010
QUOTE: “There are two things to aim at in life: First, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.” -- Logan Pearsall Smith
More Brian Cushing
The Brian Cushing saga continues with news from AP that he tested positive once for the drug HCG last September then subsequently tested negative several times later. So even though Cushing has taken a lie-detector test and proclaimed his innocence, the facts don’t support him. You cannot debate the test, you cannot debate the levels that caused him to test positive for having HCG in his system -- more than once -- and most of all, you cannot question the appeals process.
All these facts should result in the Texans linebacker losing his AP Rookie of the Year honors, and his Pro Bowl achievement should carry an asterisk. Cushing knows the rules, knows what the testing process was and knew the outcome if he was caught.
Any old, unemployed backs might want to call the ‘Skins
Brian Westbrook had a visit with the Redskins on Tuesday, and you have to wonder how many older backs they might want to collect. Westbrook was once a great player, but now, with his concussion problem to go along with his knee and ankle injuries, his durability is a risk. The ‘Skins already have Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker in their backfield. If they did sign Westbrook, he would be a limited role player -- which he might be able to handle. Injuries limit him from practicing full time, so no team can count on him to be the player he once was.
It appears this year the ‘Skins favor older running backs -- backs who understand how to pass protect and will clearly use a committee mentality this season. Will this strategy work? Durability is critical for running backs, but more than that, the ‘Skins will need to define the roles of each player and make sure they have depth for each role. Portis and Johnson will be the runners to go along with Parker and potentially Westbrook if he signs as the third-down back. None of these runners will strike fear in their opponents, and the greatest concern for all ‘Skins fans will be what their depth chart at running back will look like in late November.
Pacman signing still doesn’t make sense
I still don’t understand why the Bengals keep taking on reclamation projects. What is the benefit in signing Pacman Jones? He’s not a good cover man, although some might say he can be a slot cover man. My reaction: Are you kidding me? Being in the slot requires a corner to have the ability to tackle, to want to tackle and to be a sure tackler -- all things that Jones is not consistent performing.
The Bengals have two excellent starting cover men in Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, so Jones only needs to fit into a role. Yet for me, understanding what role he can actually play is the hardest part. My problem all along with Jones has been his talent level. Add in his off-the-field behavior, and it baffles me that any team would think he could provide a winning performance.
However, as is often the case, the Bengals love to take on these types of problems. I’m looking forward to watching Pacman this summer. My sense is that he will not make the team, but it will be worth watching.
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