NFL news and notes
Let’s take a look around the league…
The Ravens made headlines when they signed veteran QB Marc Bulger this week—but what does that mean for former Heisman winner Troy Smith? There are already rumors of the Ravens trying to send Smith to Buffalo, but from what I am hearing, the club will look to get him some playing time this August during the preseason to drive up his market value. The former Buckeye has a strong enough arm to throw the route tree in any NFL playbook and does have some ability to make plays with his feet, but even if the Ravens can find a team who shows interest in Smith, they shouldn’t expect great value in return. Late round pick is what I was told.
Dexter McCluster of the Chiefs has the opportunity to become an impact rookie for the club as a situational player. According to KCChiefs.com, the Ole Miss star is expected to align in a variety of positions—including the wildcat—along with his primary role on the Chiefs special teams units. After he was drafted in the second round back in April, there were some in the league who thought McCluster went too high, but I don’t agree with that. Why? Because when you can find a player who is as dynamic as McCluster, can cause mismatches and brings creativity to your offense—you scoop him up. A player who will operate inside of the numbers, but a player who can be explosive and flip the field.
The reports on Michael Vick from Friday and his birthday party caused plenty of headlines. We can’t say what, if any, repercussions the Eagles QB is going to face from the NFL or the club, but when we factor in his past, it is hard not to ask questions. Nothing is going to be easy for Vick in his attempt to gain a starting role again in this league.
Colts safety Bob Sanders has had injury issues the last couple of seasons, but don’t let that discount the impact he can still have at the safety position. Sanders participated in the Colts' offseason OTA practices, and I still don’t see a better “in the box” safety in the league. The Colts did make a run to the Super Bowl in 2009 without Sanders, but when we look at their scheme and the way they play defense, he is still an ideal fit for Indy—especially when they rotate the safety down into the run front in their Cover 3 and Cover 1 schemes. Sanders could be an added bonus for Jim Caldwell’s team in 2010.
More news from Indy… According to the Indianapolis Star, the coaching staff has assured WR Anthony Gonzalez that he will be able to compete with Pierre Garcon for the No.2 role opposite Reggie Wayne. Caldwell will want competition in camp at every position, but when you look at the way the Colts run their offense with Peyton Manning in their three-WR sets, Gonzalez still is the best option inside of the numbers. He can make more plays against a nickel corner and when we talk about the number of route combinations that the Colts run out of their top offensive personnel groupings, Gonzales will make a bigger impact for this team as the No.3 behind Wayne and Garcon.
Texans’ QB Matt Schaub had some positive comments on rookie RB Ben Tate this week and we shouldn’t be surprised. The Texans have been looking for that ideal power back that can get downhill in the off-tackle game. But, don’t discount the rookie from Auburn’s speed. He can press the edge of the defense and should compete for serious minutes with Arian Foster and Steve Slaton in camp.
DE Leonard Little wants to play in 2010, according to Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com, and I am curious to see if he gets some interest this summer. The former Ram has 87