No Schiano, no problem as Hamilton commits to Rutgers

Greg Schiano's departure isn't crippling Rutgers on the recruiting trail after all.

The school landed one of its biggest commitments yet as stud defensive lineman Darius Hamilton elected to play his college football at the school on Tuesday night.

The Don Bosco Prep end and son of former New York Giants defensive lineman Keith Hamilton is an instinctive pass rusher who has a quick first step and will be ready to play early situationally.

New Scarlet Knights head coach Kyle Flood was able to get Hamilton to stay in-state instead of opting to play for Al Golden at Miami or Will Muschamp at Florida. Many Rutgers fans worried that the departure of Schiano to the NFL would negatively affect the team's sterling haul of recruits, but so far the program has only lost tight end Mike Giacone (St. Peter's Prep; Jersey City, NJ) to Boston College. He decommitted from the Scarlet Knights just a day after dual-threat quarterback Devin Fuller ended up choosing UCLA over a handful of programs, including Rutgers, on Sunday.

Many high school coaches in New Jersey were happy that the Scarlet Knights promoted Flood because of their relationship with him when he served as offensive line/assistant head coach and the fact that it will maintain continuity on the recruiting trail for the program.

Email or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Players All-Star Classic Practice Notes

North practice notes…

Nevada DL Brett Roy is the definition of a tweener. He’s 6-3, 273-pounds, possesses good athleticism for his size and some natural power on contact. Honestly, he reminds me a little bit of former Miami DL Allen Bailey last year, whereas he has the ability to add some weight and maybe play a little five-technique. But, is also athletic/rangy enough to stand-up and rush off the edge or play inside as a jack backer. Either way he’s a natural football player who should be able to make an NFL roster and find a way to contribute.

There’s definitely some talent to the game of Monmouth QB Alex Tanney. The 6-3, 217-pound signal caller displays quick feet when asked to set and when he balances his lower half and snaps though the hips he can really spin the football. At times he gets upright and rolls toward his target negating his velocity, but he’s a raw piece of clay that can certainly be molded.

Cal-State Sacramento OLB Zack Nash impressed as a pass rusher today. He doesn’t have a ton of experience standing up. But, he exhibits a good first step, can change directions off his speed rush and used his hands well to keep himself clean. He’s got a burst to his game with the size (6023, 252-pounds) to intrigue.

SmithICONSmith was impressive on day one.

I liked the game of Utah State RB Michael Smith. He’s a powerfully built kid who runs low to the ground, displays good short areas quickness and has a burst when asked to get up the field. He looked explosive pressing space Tuesday and accelerating toward daylight, could be a nice late round value.

South practice notes…

Northwestern State CB Jeremy Lane was one of the few prospects down here flashing an explosive first step and obvious change of pace to his game. He showcased a quick/balanced drop, was able to stay low out of his breaks and routinely created a burst when asked to close. He isn’t the most natural of players and at times had a tough time feeling/recognizing routes/tells off the line. Nevertheless, he’s a talented kid with some growth potential to his game.

I liked what I saw from Abilene Christian DE Aston Whiteside Tuesday. The 6-2, 265-ponder was able to create a burst off the edge, counter off his speed rush and keep his pad level down while changing directions. He also displayed some violence when asked to shed with his hands and was a tough block off one-on-one.

On the other hand, Nebraska OT Jermarcus Hardrick had a tough time keeping his pad level down throughout in pass protection and failed to gain much leverage on his punch. He’s a big kid at 6-5, 325, but doesn’t play with much natural bend.

Finally, I came away impressed with the overall intelligence, feel and attitude of Clemson CB Coty Sensabaugh. He’s got good size at 5-11, 187, recognizes routes well pre-snap and can read and react quickly in coverage. He will get a bit choppy and upright out of his breaks. However, he was physical off the line and showcases the ability to turn and run. I don’t know if he’s worth a draft pick. But because of his “plus” smarts, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the guy ends up making an NFL roster.

Follow me on twitter: @WesBunting

Check out the NFP Draft Page here…

Marshall lobbies for 'elite' QB in Miami

Brandon Marshall, fresh off a Pro Bowl MVP performance with six catches for 176 yards and four touchdowns, liked the quarterbacks who threw him the football in Honolulu. He liked them so much, he wants one like that for his very own with the Dolphins.

Marshall caught a TD each from Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers and two more from Bengals rookie Andy Dalton in the all-star game. And while none of those guys will be available this off-season the Dolphins to acquire, Marshall wants someone of that ilk in Miami, says the Miami Herald.

“Down in Miami, getting a feel for different quarterbacks, had three or four of them,” Marshall said. “Quarterbacks make it easier for me. You have these elite quarterbacks and it’s all on them. They put [the ball] in the right spot to make it easy for me to make the catch. It’s all the quarterbacks.”

Marshall didn't want to belittle his current guy, Matt Moore, but there have been reports that he has reached out to soon-to-be free agent Matt Flynn, and the Dolphins could get into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes if and when the Colts release him.

“Obviously, [Matt Moore] had a great year. You don't want to take anything away from Matt, but I think we really need to bring in somebody who can compete and make the team better,” Marshall said.

In other words, Marshall wants an upgrade.

Follow me on Twitter @TitanInsider247 and @terrymc13

Terry McCormick covers the

Who is Phil Emery?

Just like a few weeks ago when the Indianapolis Colts named Ryan Grigson as their new general manager, the Chicago Bears have named a person who may not be well known as far as the media goes, but in the scouting world he carries a big name.

Phil Emery is an excellent choice to lead the Bears. He has been a scout and a Scouting Director in the NFL since 1998. He started with the Bears in 1998 and worked there until after the 2004 Draft when he was hired by Atlanta to be the Director of College Scouting under general manager Rich McKay. He then went to Kansas City as the College Scouting Director under Scott Pioli.

In his years in the league he has been able to learn the philosophies of Mark Hatley, Rich McKay, Jerry Angelo and of course Pioli, who formed his philosophy working in New England with Bill Belichick. That afforded him the opportunity to learn from some fairly good football people.

Phil EmeryPhil Emery has been a scout and a Scouting Director in the NFL since 1998.

Before becoming a scout, Emery was a strength coach at the Naval Academy for seven years and before that he was the strength coach at Tennessee. While a strength coach, Emery was known as a coach who was very scientific and innovative in his approach and the results were awesome. At Navy you don’t get 4 and 5 star recruits to work with, you get special people who are there preparing to serve their country and not make millions as a pro. Emery was able to help develop these kids into players who would compete from beginning to end. With scouting his approach was much the same way.

When I came to Chicago in 2001 I was lucky enough to have Phil work with me as one of my area scouts. Phil’s area of responsibility was the southeast, easily the most productive area in the country. In the three years Phil worked with me we drafted nine players from his area, many if which had very good careers with the Bears. The players included defensive end Alex Brown, quarterback Rex Grossman, guard Terrance Metcalf, defensive tackle Ian Scott and running back/special teams player Adrian Peterson. While none of these players attained Pro Bowl status they all played an integral part in our success. Not only did he provide excellent information on players we drafted, but he also helped us make difficult decisions on players we didn’t draft.

One thing I learned quickly about him was that he was a tireless worker. He left no stone unturned. He quickly grasped our system and gave us pertinent information and more. He knows how to find talent. There are many scouts who can grade tape and tell you if a prospect can play, but few do the in-depth work needed to find out about the intangibles and football character. I have written about football character before and it’s not the same as personal character. A prospect could be the greatest kid in the world but if he doesn’t possess great football character he will bust. Emery was and is excellent at differentiating between the two and finding players who will excel.

I found Phil to be the leader of our scouts and he was highly respected by all his associates. He had two different nicknames that I know of, one was he was referred to by the other Bears scouts as “Doc.” This name came about because of the attention to detail that Phil paid to every assignment given. His other nickname was “Satan.” This nickname was given to him by some midshipmen who found Phil waiting for them at 5:30 a.m. for workouts during a snow storm. As the story goes, the Annapolis area was hit by a severe late winter storm. It was so severe that the Academy basically shut down and classes were canceled, something that rarely happens at the Naval Academy. Storm or not Phil felt an obligation to be at the training facility at the prescribed time. Emery lived close to 40 miles from the Academy so he left plenty early to be there on time. The midshipmen, thinking that there was no way Emery would be there, sent a couple of “scouts” to see if in fact the weight room was open. What they found was Emery sitting in his car having a cup of coffee waiting for his players. When they saw Phil waiting, they quickly informed the others that “Satan” was indeed there, the storm didn’t stop him! That’s being a leader. You don’t let obstacles hold you back.

Having worked with Phil for the better part of three years, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. When I saw the list of candidates the Bears were going to interview for the position, I knew he was by far the best choice. That’s not to say the other candidates weren’t well qualified — they were — it’s just that Emery is the right man at the right time to take the Bears to a championship.

I have been in the scouting business for 30 years now and I know few who have the work ethic, character and talent of Phil Emery. In short, he “gets it.” Bears CEO Ted Phillips did an excellent job in the search process. He found a group of well-qualified individuals and then picked the best man. I have heard and read some snide remarks in the Chicago media since the hiring of Emery and frankly they are baseless, unfounded and uneducated remarks. Many in the media wanted the Bears to hire the “big” name similar to the Chicago Cubs hiring Theo Epstein as GM. One thing I know holds true in football: the biggest name isn’t always the best name. Phil Emery has spent a lifetime preparing for this situation and he will succeed.

If it's really about revenge, the Patriots are doing a good job of hiding it

INDIANAPOLIS—I’m not sure there’s any way to figure this out, but I would love to know how many times the word “revenge” was brought up during the Patriots’ 60-minute Media Day session at Lucas Oil Stadium on Tuesday. I’d venture to say you couldn’t go more than five minutes without hearing a reporter ask one of the players a variation of the question, “How much does the idea of revenge play a factor for you heading into this game?”

Hey, these two teams are so skilled in the art of reciting company lines that reporters have to look for something.

But if revenge truly is on the minds of the Patriots players and coaching staff in anticipation of Sunday’s Super Bowl, they sure as hell aren’t making it public.

In fact, check out the similarities in responses from the following four Patriots:

Vince Wilfork: “Both teams are so different now, so it really doesn’t mean anything. It’s just you have the two same teams that played playing again, but as far as revenge and they’re holding the torch and all, I don’t think it’s anything big there.”

Tom Brady: “I know there is a lot of build-up around the fact that we played these guys five years ago, but those were very different teams five years ago.”

Wes Welker: “It’s just the same organizations are going at each other. It’s different players, really, different teams playing the game. I don’t think there are too many guys who are here from ’07.”

Deion Branch: “No I don’t think so. This is a different year and a different team. It’s really all about the game on Sunday.”

Yeah, it’s a different year and these are different teams. But what members of the Patriots say publicly versus what they say and how they feel behind closed doors is a different matter. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are two very competitive people. And while they’d want to come out on top against any Super Bowl opponent, we’d have to imagine that defeating the Giants on Sunday would taste just a tad bit sweeter.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Aaron Rodgers blasts some NFC Pro Bowl teammates

Aaron Rodgers isn’t happy with his teammates.

No, he’s not upset with fellow players on the Green Bay Packers.

He is disappointed with those who were with him on the NFC Pro Bowl team. The AFC triumphed 59-41 on Sunday in the all-star game in Hawaii and in a game that’s known for players taking it easy, Rodgers believes some guys took it too easy. Way too easy.

“I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn't want to play or when they were in there didn't put any effort into it,” Rodgers said in a visit with ESPN Milwaukee and Jason Wilde this afternoon.

Rodgers went on to say he was “disappointed in the lack of pride” shown by some NFC players in the game.

His coach Mike McCarthy was certainly playing for keeps. The NFC executed a successful onside kick after the opening score of the game. Later, the NFC ran a successful fake punt. But there was plenty of dogging it and the linemen were clearly going through the motions, at least until parts of the fourth quarter.

It’s a little surprising to hear a player speak out about the game like this, but Rodgers has a point and it’s a good one. Fans were booing during portions of the game because of the lack of effort. If they’re going to put pads and helmets on and they’re going to play, then play football.

It's nice that Rodgers spoke up for the fans. If the NFL wants to play the game, it shouldn't be a mockery.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Broncos deny Raiders permission on DC candidate

Dennis Allen is headed from Denver to Oakland as the Raiders new head coach, but it doesn't appear as if anyone else on John Fox's current staff will be going with him.

Allen had apparently wanted linebackers coach Richard Smith to interview for the Raiders defensive coordinator spot, but, according to, permission to speak to Oakland has been denied.

Smith was under consideration to be the Broncos defensive coordinator before Jack Del Rio was hired for the job vacated by Allen. But it's not surprising that the Broncos would block someone from going to a division rival, even if he and Allen are coaching allies from this past season.

Follow me on Twitter @TitanInsider247 and @terrymc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

Andy Reid tried to bring Steve Spagnuolo on board

Andy Reid has spoken for the first time since the Dream Team finished the 2011 season with an 8-8 record.

The Philadelphia Eagles coach was candid, admitting that he did try to bring Steve Spagnuolo back to Philadelphia. He offered the former Eagles assistant a job but Spagnuolo chose to become the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.

Reid, according to Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer, remains confident in Juan Castillo, who went through a rocky first season as the coordinator.

If you could have two great coaches on defense that's better than one,” Reid said. “I saw progress (in the defense under Castillo).”

The Eagles, who bottomed out at 4-8 in early December, won their final four games and statistically the defense wasn’t a disaster. It was a combination of factors that turned the season into a failure.

“If as a coach you had gotten stale, you would never win the last four games,” Reid said. “But you also have to analyze the first five.
“You can take all the stats you want, but the bottom line is we weren't good enough.”

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

What is "The Patriot Way?"

INDIANAPOLIS—Reporters and analysts have tried to describe it. Players buy into it and fans stand behind it.

But what exactly is, “The Patriot Way?”

New England Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was asked that very question during Tuesday’s Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Here’s how he describes it:

Note: You can barely see it at the beginning of the video, but Wilfork has an awesome “Stop Hatin” tattoo on his right arm.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Gronkowski out of walking boot

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was out of his walking boot on Tuesday – at least during the time of media day interviews at Super Bowl XLVI.

Mike Reiss of provides photographic evidence of this, via his Twitter feed.

Of course, no one was trying to tackle Gronkowski, nor he try to run a pass route during media day either. So take the fact that Gronk was out of the boot while answering reporters' questions for what it's worth regarding his ability to play Sunday with a high ankle sprain suffered against Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game.

Follow me on Twitter @TitanInsider247 and @terrymc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for