Texans claim Grimes, drop Alexander

The Houston Texans have claimed running back Jonathan Grimes off waivers from the New York Jets as insurance due to Ben Tate's injury, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Grimes was with the Texans in training camp and was let go Tuesday by the Jets. To make room on the roster, the Texans waived backup linebacker Mister Alexander.

Follow me on Twitter @TerryMc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

5 reasons why great prospects are undervalued on draft day

I have a player I am prospecting this year who is rated by National Football Scouting (NFS) as a late round to undrafted free agent. However, from what I can see, what his coach has told me and what scouts are saying is that he has talent that merits a second round grade. He still has a chance to be drafted in the 2nd round but I doubt he will because of some flaws in the scouting system.

James HarrisonICONJames Harrison may have warranted a higher grade.

Why potential draftees don’t always get the respect they may deserve:

1) The initial Combine and Blesto grade NFS is an independent scouting service, which NFL teams currently belong. They are the people that run the Combine in Indianapolis. The group is responsible for assigning grades to players and capturing height, weight, speed stats, personal and medicals in the spring prior to their senior year. The majority of Combine scouts are also young and inexperienced.

Its member teams then use the list as a starting point to scout players. Sometimes when a Combine scout gives a player a non-draftable or late round grade, individual team scouts can easily overlook him. Especially in the case when a player may be the only prospect at that particular school as some teams may never visit the school to evaluate him. Conversely, the scouts who do discover that these players are way better than their Combine grade would prefer to keep that player a secret and get him at a discount on draft day. That initial grade can influence young inexperienced area scouts as well. In addition, those players with late round or undraftable grades don’t get on the radar screen of all-star games. And of course, may not get invited to the Combine itself. If a player is not invited to the Combine he automatically gets a huge discount because all teams think the other team won’t draft him. Thus the initial NFS grade can really hurt a player’s chance of being fairly evaluated.

2) The player’s school is hard to get to: If the school of a talented prospect is out of the way or it takes two layovers for a director, HC or GM to get there, the player may never be personally evaluated by a decision maker. If they never see him he will have a huge discount. An area scout only has so much power on influencing a team’s draft board. Even schools like San Diego State in my backyard seem to be overlooked heavily by east coast directors and GMs. Kabeer Gbaja Biamila, Adam Timmerman, La’Roi Glover, Az Hakim, Kassim Osgood, Robert Griffith, Brian Russell, Ephraim Salaam, Will Demps, and most recently Miles Burris and Vincent Brown all seemed to have merited higher draft grades. Some of these players weren’t drafted at all. I believe that if these players had similar college careers at “must visit” schools like Michigan or Oklahoma they most likely would have been drafted higher.

Some smaller schools with NFL prospects don’t even send their tapes to the NFL clearing house to be accessed by all 32 teams. Some determined scouts would covertly make copies of DVD’s to bring back to their bosses.

I also believe scouting departments are underfunded and undermanned.


Penn State commit has raised over $100K for ALS research

Good news off of the field has been in short supply at Penn State, but one prospective Nittany Lion player has made an impact that would make every college football fan proud.

This past July, Adam Breneman — one of the best tight ends in the nation — was inspired by a family friend's battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), so the Class of 2013 recruit set a goal to raise $20,000 by November 2 to help fight the disease. The deadline is now two days away, and Breneman announced Tuesday afternoon that this goal had been met.

In fact, he far surpassed it.

Breneman, whose senior season has been missed due to an ACL injury suffered last June, announced his partnership with Project ALS and has nearly tripled the original goal thus far. And Pennsylvania-based Cleveland Brothers Equipment Company has pledged to match the November 2 total, so the final donation for the fundraiser will be at well over $100,000.

College football often doesn't get enough positive publicity, so it's certainly worthwhile to commend the efforts of a player who has yet to even begin classes in State College.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

DeAngelo Williams: 'I've never really thought about leaving'

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams has been rumored to be a big name on the trade market and it makes sense with the money the club now has tied up in the position and the fact that Jonathan Stewart is the starter now.

I’ve never really thought about leaving, so the thought of staying a Panther never really crossed my mind because the thought of leaving never crossed my mind,” Williams said today, according to the Charlotte Observer, in his first comments since rumors began swirling. “In my mind, I’m going to continue being a Panther until told otherwise. So those thoughts aren’t there.”

Does Williams want to stay put where he is now second fiddle behind Stewart?

“Do I want to stay here? What kind of question is that? They gave me my opportunity,” he said. “Does it look like I want to be somewhere else? I’ll let you guys (the media) answer that.”

The guess here is if Williams continues to get a few carries here and there as the backup, yes, he will be seeking a new home.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

How LSU can upset Alabama

Not a lot of people are giving LSU a chance this Saturday night against Alabama in Baton Rouge. And that certainly makes some sense because of the way the Crimson Tide has been dominant this fall and the fact that Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger has not been the most accurate quarterback in the nation, rendering the LSU offense more one-dimensional than Tiger fans would like.

Zach Mettenberger US PRESSWIREZach Mettenberger will need to have his best game as a Tiger if LSU is to knock off Alabama.

However, the Bayou Bengals should not be overlooked in this SEC West showdown, especially because the game will be played under the lights in Death Valley. The fans will be rabid. And the fans will be, well, lit up by something other than excitement and anticipation.

We know that John Chavis is one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, so the Tigers are hopeful that they'll be able to create turnovers and put the Tide in a lot of uncomfortable third-down situations. Alabama has strong rushing and passing attacks, so making Doug Nussmeier's offense unbalanced will certainly be a chore for the LSU defense. If you hear the names of defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo as well as linebacker Kevin Minter a lot on Saturday night, that is good news for the LSU defense.

Offensively, the Tigers don't have the luxury of using the speed option against 'Bama, so perhaps we'll see a little Wildcat with Spencer Ware. The other thing LSU might want to do is throw more on first down to keep the Tide defense off balance. But can Mettenberger deliver his best performance in a Tigers uniform, which is what he will have to do if LSU has any chance at winning this game?

The junior-college transfer ranks ninth in the SEC at 177.4 yards per game and has just seven touchdown passes. And while this will always be a run-first offense, Mettenberger was unable to deliver through the air when he needed to in the team's lone loss to Florida early in the year. And he struggled against Texas A&M in the team's last game as well. While it's true that he has been let down by average offensive line play and subpar play at receiver at times, Mettenberger just hasn't been able to deliver under pressure and offer a necessary vertical attack. Can that really change as we enter the tenth week of the season against one of the nation's best defenses?

LSU was heavily criticized for its conservative game plan in its title-game loss to Alabama last year — and rightfully so. If Les Miles and his offensive staff don't try to or can't stretch the field in this one, it could be a long night. But if the Tigers are able to move the football and get into the red zone against this stout Tide defense, cashing in more often than not with touchdowns and not field goals is essential.

A special teams score would also be a huge boost for the Tigers, though they don't have the luxury of having a dynamic returner such as Tyrann Mathieu running back kicks and punts. Can Odell Beckham Jr. channel his inner “Honey Badger?”

A lot will be made of the revenge factor for LSU, which went undefeated in 2011 until its awful BCS title game performance against Nick Saban's squad. We'll also hear a lot about Alabama wanting to prove itself against arguably the second-best team in the SEC. And don't forget about the Tigers being 9.5-point underdogs for a night home game. But none of that will matter Saturday night when two of the top programs in the nation square off in a matchup that has significant BCS title game ramifications.

Can the Tigers deliver the Tide their first loss and most likely knock them out of the national championship race?

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Week 10 college football betting primer

Despite USC’s botching of the Arizona game last week, Saturday night still offers college football fans two of the biggest games of the season. If you don’t plan on heading out to watch the action, we highly recommend investing in some fresh batteries for your remote.

Last week: 2-3

Season: 26-28 (.481)

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (5-3, 3-1 road) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-2, 2-1 home)

When: Thursday, 9:15pm ET
Open: Western Kentucky -10
Current: Western Kentucky -9

Analysis: This clearly isn’t the sharpest of handicapping strategies, but we’ve been cashing on Willie Taggart’s Hilltoppers all season and see no reason to buck the trend on Thursday night. Middle Tennessee State is 0-4 ATS over their last four games played in the month of November and 1-6 ATS over their last seven contests against teams with a winning record. Meanwhile, WKU is 10-1 ATS over their last 11 November games and 21-5 ATS over their last 26 games overall. Might as well ride the hot hand once again.

Take note: Middle Tennessee State is 0-5 ATS over their last five Thursday games while Western Kentucky is 4-0 ATS over their last four Thursday games.

Pick: Western Kentucky (-9)

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 3-0 road) at #5 LSU Tigers (7-1, 5-0 home)

When: Saturday, 8:00pm ET
Open: O/U 42.5
Current: O/U 42

Nick SabanNick Saban and the nation's top-ranked scoring defense head to Baton Rouge on Saturday night.

Analysis: The Crimson Tide bring the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense (8.1 pts/gm) to Baton Rouge on Saturday night for an SEC showdown with the LSU Tigers, who currently rank ninth in the country in scoring defense (14.6 pts/gm). Three of the last four games between Alabama and LSU have seen a combined 39 or fewer points scored, with a grand total of just 36 points scored in two meetings between these schools last season. In addition, the under is 13-5-1 in Alabama’s last 19 games played in the month of November and 4-1 in LSU’s last five conference games.

Take note: The under is 4-1 in Alabama’s last five road games and 4-1 in LSU’s last five games coming off a bye week.

Pick: Under (42)

#4 Oregon Ducks (8-0, 2-0 road) at #17 USC Trojans (6-2, 3-0 home)

When: Saturday, 7:00pm ET
Open: Oregon -5.5
Currently: Oregon -7

Analysis: It’s time to wake up and realize that this USC team is not who we thought they were back in August. You need to be disciplined if you want a shot at beating a team like the Oregon Ducks. And if there is one thing that USC is not, it’s disciplined. Lane Kiffin’s squad is averaging an embarrassing 10.4 penalties per game this season to go along with their 2.2 turnovers per game. The Trojans’ national championship hopes were decimated one week before a team playing the revenge card comes to town looking to finish the job for good. Matt Barkley hasn’t lived up to the hype and the USC defense looks lost. Throw in the fact that Kiffin is incapable of out-coaching anybody and you can see why we’re heavy on Oregon for this one.

Take note: Oregon is 5-1 ATS over their last six road games while USC is just 2-6 ATS over their last eight games overall.

Pick: Oregon (we bought it at -6 earlier in the week, but will play it at -7 as well)

Vanderbilt Commodores (4-4, 1-2 road) at Kentucky Wildcats (1-8, 1-4 home)

When: Saturday, 12:00pm ET
Open: Vanderbilt -8
Current: Vanderbilt -7

Analysis: The Commodores are two wins shy of becoming bowl eligible, so there’s still plenty of motivation on the Vanderbilt sideline to come out and get the job done. The same thing can’t be said for the Wildcats, who have dropped seven straight and go on the bye next week, meaning these kids could be ready to pack it in before the end of the first quarter on Saturday. Keep in mind that Kentucky is just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.

Take note: The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these two teams while Kentucky is 1-5 ATS over their last six conference games.

Pick: Vanderbilt (-7)

SMU Mustangs (4-4, 1-2 road) at Central Florida Knights (6-2, 3-1 home)

When: Saturday, 7:00pm ET
Open: Central Florida -10
Current: Central Florida -12

Analysis: Just before kickoff of last Saturday’s showdown at Marshall, Central Florida got the word that their appeal over a one-year bowl ban that was handed down this past summer would not be heard until after the season. That meant the Knights would be eligible for postseason play this year, which prompted the team to put a 54-17 ass-kicking on the Thundering Herd. With plenty to play for, look for another solid effort from UCF on Saturday in a game in which the favorite is 3-0-1 ATS over the last four meetings.

Take note: SMU is 2-5 ATS over their last seven road games while Central Florida is 12-5 ATS over their last 17 games after allowing less than 20 points in the previous matchup.

Pick: Central Florida (-12)

#24 Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2, 1-1 road) at #2 Kansas State Wildcats (8-0, 5-0 home)

When: Saturday, 8:00pm ET
Open: Kansas State -8
Current: Kansas State -9.5

Collin KleinUS PRESSWIRECollin Klein looks to make another Heisman statement Saturday against the Cowboys.

Analysis: Kansas State has covered the number in four of their last five matchups and needs to keep the gas pedal to the floor if they want to hold off Oregon and Notre Dame for that coveted spot in the BCS Championship game. In addition, the Wildcats are 21-6-1 ATS over their last 28 conference games while Oklahoma State is just 1-4 ATS over their last five games following an ATS win. If we have to lay a big number, we’ve got no problem doing so with Bill Snyder as our head coach.

Take note: Oklahoma State is 2-6 ATS over their last eight games against Kansas State.

Pick: Kansas State (-9.5)


Tannehill limited in Wednesday practice

Matt Moore took the starter's reps for the Miami Dolphins in Wednesday's practice, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Regular starter Ryan Tannehill was limited to individual work because of knee and quad injuries suffered in Sunday's win over the New York Jets.

The Dolphins face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @TerryMc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

Fantasy live chat today at 2:30pm eastern

The playoff push for the 2012 fantasy football season is officially underway. Whether you're 7-1 or 3-5, the time is now to begin upgrading your rosters for the championship stretch.

Join the NFP's Joe Fortenbaugh Wednesday afternoon beginning at 2:30pm eastern for a 30-minute live fantasy chat dedicated to preparations for Week 9 and beyond. We'll be talking trade bait, starts & sits, injury updates, early line movements and more.

To join the chat, CLICK HERE.

See you at 2:30pm!

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Enter the Wednesday fantasy live chat here!

Join the NFP's Joe Fortenbaugh for a 30-minute fantasy live chat that kicks off at 2:30pm eastern on Wednesday. We'll be talking Starts & Sits, injury updates, early line movements and more!

Scout Talk: Trade bait

With the trade deadline approaching Thursday, let’s look at the four big name players whose names have been bandied about, through the eyes of pro scouts.

LaGarette BlountICONTampa's LaGarrette Blount.

LeGarrette Blount, Bucs RB: Here is the problem with Blount, according to one team executive. “He is a one dimensional power back who has not been effective in short yardage or on the goal line.” That explains why a former 1,000 yard back might be available and why his trade value is limited. Blount is effective between the tackles, and can be physical and difficult to bring down. But he needs a running lane. He is not very explosive and he struggles to create momentum in traffic. He also has had ball security issues.

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs WR: Of all the players who are rumored to be available, front office men find him the most intriguing because they believe Bowe could be capable of becoming a better player. At 28, Bowe still is on top of his game. He never has played with an elite quarterback. And his combination of size (6-2, 221) and athleticism is pretty rare. “He creates mismatches with his reach and athleticism,” one front office man said. “He has high point ability and is physical. He doesn’t have great speed, but he runs well enough.” Bowe comes with a buyer beware, however. He has been an inconsistent producer, in part because he has a history of sometimes being out of shape and not always committed. If a team thinks it can motivate Bowe and put him in a good situation, he might be worth taking a risk if the trade compensation and contract situation can be worked out.

Steven Jackson, Rams RB: For a 29-year old runner with a physical running style, Jackson still is an effective power back with some explosion. His average per carry is down a bit this year, but he still is running well. He is big, strong and difficult to take down. Jackson isn’t much of a home run threat, and his long run this season is only 23 yards. Jackson is best between the tackles. He doesn’t offer a lot in the passing game or on perimeter runs. He can help a team this season, but given his age Jackson can’t be looked upon as a long term solution. That limits his trade appeal.

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers RB: At 29, Williams could be in decline. “I don’t see the burst and explosion I saw in the past,” one scout said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he doesn’t look the same.” Williams has not had a good season since 2009, and he has a pretty extensive medical history. He hasn’t had many opportunities and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. Williams is a short, compact runner who has made a living on his quickness through the hole and speed for outside runs. His contract likely will be an impediment to any potential trade.

Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com