Tag:2011 NFL Preseason
Posted on: September 11, 2011 5:34 pm
 

X-Rays negative on Andy Dalton's injured wrist

Posted by Will Brinson

The Andy Dalton Era in Cincinnati started out pretty well -- the rookie quarterback went 10 of 15 for 81 yards and a touchdown. Then, on the Bengals last offensive play of the first half, Dalton got jacked up by Browns rookie Phil Taylor and left the game with a wrist injury.

There's still no confirmation on exactly what the extent of Dalton's injury is, but according to head coach Marvin Lewis, x-rays on Dalton's wrist came back negative and he'll be probable for the second week's game.

"It's fine," Dalton said after the game, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I couldn't have gripped the ball like I wanted to. The plan is to play next week."

Bruce Gradkowski stepped up in Dalton's place and didn't played pretty poorly, going 5 of 12 for 92 yards, but he found made up for it by finding rookie A.J. Green for the go-ahead touchdown. Or, at least, well enough to help the Bengals win 27-17 over division rival Cleveland.

And that's good news should Dalton be forced to miss any time as a result of the injury. Perhaps the best news, though, is early indications are that Cincy seems to have done pretty well with its first two selections of the 2011 NFL Draft.



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Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:01 am
 

Daniel Thomas continues to need work

D. Thomas has many improvements he needs to make to his game (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One issue we really haven’t discussed when we’ve written about the Dolphins trading for and giving a two-year deal to Reggie Bush or when we’ve talked about Tiki Barber trying out for Miami or the addition of retread Larry Johnson is how the team feels about second-round pick Daniel Thomas.

Well, when the most exciting thing you’ve done since you were drafted was to have your name attached to a porn event, that pretty much says it all. In other words, Thomas hasn’t done much in training camp.

As told by the Miami Herald, Thomas is having a tough time transitioning to the pro game, as evidenced by the grocery list of improvements Thomas needs to make. That includes being more physical, running with more explosion, being less tentative, keeping his legs churning, getting his pad level lower and keeping his shoulders squared.

"I would say that's about right," Thomas told the paper. "I've just got to lower my pads and trust my blocks and everything like that and I'm trying to get better here at practice and carry it into the next game."

And when Chad Henne and coach Tony Sparano are imploring you -- or, you know, yelling at you -- to hit the hole harder, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

That’s one big reason Thomas played tonight in the Dolphins preseason finale vs. the Cowboys, writes the Palm Beach Post. What Sparano wanted to see the most: improvement by Thomas -- who carried the ball eight times for 36 yards -- on his pass-blocking.

“In the beginning it was overwhelming a little bit,” Sparano said, via the Post. “But (running backs coach Jeff Nixon) has brought him along and he stepped in there pretty good three or four times today.

“This is something new to him, (but) he’s doing it and having success doing it and he knows that’s really going to be what, at the end of this thing, gets him on the field too,” Sparano said. “You know you’ve got to be able to protect the quarterback and I think he’s done a really good job doing that.”

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 12:01 am
 

Gonzalez in danger of being a Colts cut

GonzalezPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In his first two seasons in the NFL, Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez caught a combined 94 passes for 1,240 yards and seven touchdowns, and while he didn’t seem like he necessarily was on his way to stardom, he was certainly en route to a solid pro career catching passes from Peyton Manning.

But since the 2008 season, he’s suffered back-to-back season-ending knee injuries, and in the past two years, he’s totaled five catches for 68 yards. Now, he’s dealing with a hamstring issue, but he’s also dealing with an even scarier reality.

Gonzalez is in danger of not making the team at all.

"I understand it's a realistic possibility, probably more so this year than ever before," Gonzalez told the Indianapolis Star. “It's just that I've got this little hamstring injury and they tend to linger for receiver.”

The Colts are at 80 players, but they have to get to 53 by Saturday. Gonzalez doesn’t make much money -- he’ll earn $1.1 million in base salary this season if he makes the team -- but if the Colts can’t expect any production from him, there’s not much point continuing to keep him around.

"My No. 1 goal coming into camp was not missing practice or a game,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously, that hasn't happened. That's been pretty disappointing."

It also might cost him a roster spot.

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Ochocinco still struggling to feel comfortable

OchocincoPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Chad Ochocinco hasn’t had a good preseason with the Patriots.

There have been whispers that he, along with Albert Haynesworth, might be on the chopping block, and the most significant act of his first month in a New England uniform has been to offer to pay the fine of a guy who smacked him in a helmet-to-helmet hit and caused an incompletion.

Either that or the time he offered to live with a Patriots fan as long as that fan had an Xbox.

The part of the preseason, though, that has been flummoxing is that Ochocinco has been slow to catch on to the Patriots offense. You’ll recall Ochocinco grew comfortable in his previous 10 seasons with the Bengals, mainly because he was the star receiver for much of that time and because the offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski, ran the offense the entire time he was there.

But with the Patriots, Ochocinco is far behind the likes of Wes Welker and Deion Branch.

Even so, Ochocinco remains positive. And while there are many reasons to rip Ochocinco at any given time, his work ethic is certainly not in question. He works hard, maybe harder than you think.

Ochocinco in New England
“The transition has been good,” Ochocinco told reporters, via the Boston Herald. "It’s been fun. I’ve heard small little rumblings I haven’t caught on yet, but I’m just fine. … You have to think of, coming from any place where you’ve been someplace for 10 years, to come here and learn the verbiage, and learn as much I’ve learned in the past few weeks, I’ve done extremely well.

“I think it’s my third week. Let’s be realistic. It’s the highest levels of football. It’s not easy.”

If Ochocinco was to rate his comfort level on a scale of 1-10, he said he’d be about a seven right now. It is interesting to watch Ochocinco in relation to his new quarterback. With Carson Palmer, Ochocinco would get into shouting matches with him or pout (not just with Palmer, but with the coaching staff as well) on the sidelines of games.

But with Tom Brady, Ochocinco lets him talk as much as he needs to talk. Ochocinco listens to Brady and thinks over what he’s saying. Even if he’s not on the chopping block -- and I’m not convinced he is -- he knows he needs to be much better than he’s been so far.

I’m just nowhere near where I want to be,” Ochocinco said. “I’m my biggest critic anyway. Regardless of what you write, what you guys see, I’m the first to judge myself. I’m always aiming for perfection. One of the things about being here, one of the things about being in an organization like this that prides itself on perfection and excellence, I’m sort of putting the pressure on myself to be right and be perfect now. Not later. I’m trying to squeeze everything within a short time frame, and it’s somewhat impossible. But if I can aim to be as perfect as possible, I think I can get up to speed.”

Of course, if Ochocinco gets too sad, all he has to do is look at the fish that surround his head when he sleeps. That should make him feel better.

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 6:34 pm
 

49ers take Michael Crabtree off PUP list

CrabtreePosted by Josh Katzowitz

A day after the 49ers nearly practiced receiver Michael Crabtree -- a no-no when you’re on the physically unable to perform list -- San Francisco on Tuesday yanked him off the PUP list altogether.

That’s the word from CSN Bay Area, which also writes that Crabtree didn’t actually practice today. Instead, he spent about 10 minutes warming up and catching passes from quarterbacks before removing his jersey and heading to the sidelines to continue rehabbing his foot injury while his teammates practiced.

Which is absolutely fine for a player who’s not on the PUP list. But Crabtree performed the same activities Monday when he was on the PUP list. It prompted San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke to visit the practice field to give coach Jim Harbaugh an on-field review of what it means to be on the list (namely, no field participation for said player).

Baalke then called the NFL to report the violation, and perhaps not so shockingly, the 49ers removed him from the list today.

Crabtree is not expected to play in Thursday’s preseason finale, but he should be well enough to suit up for the Sept. 11 season-opener vs. the Seahawks.

Which continues an excellent streak for Crabtree -- the third-year player who’s never participated in a preseason game.

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Eric Steinbach's disc will end his season

SteinbachPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Turns out the back injury that Cleveland worried could keep guard Eric Steinbach out for the season will do exactly that.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur, via Rapid Reporter Marty Gitlin, told reporters today that Steinbach’s disc injury has forced the team to put him on the season-ending injured reserve list.

Even though Steinbach underwent surgery Tuesday and Shurmur said it went well, he won’t be back until next season.

As Gitlin writes, it’s serious blow for a team that now has to replace him at the left guard spot. The Browns could try rookie Jason Pinkston in the role, or they might test out newly-signed Oneil Cousins instead. John Greco also could get a shot.

If none of those players work, Gitlin says, Cleveland will head back into the free agent market to find someone to line up on the inside of tackle Joe Thomas.

“He made the decision yesterday, late in the day, that he was going to have surgery,” Shurmur said, via the team’s official website. “We tried to do some treatments to see if it would rectify itself. It didn’t, so that was the next action.”

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Why Jennings is an important piece for Bengals

K. Jennings was traded from Seattle to Cincinnati (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After losing Johnathan Joseph to Houston in free agency and with Adam Jones battling injuries and potentially about to miss at least the first six games of the season, the Bengals were in need of some help in their secondary.

That’s why Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson calls it a “no brainer” that Cincinnati would trade defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to the Seahawks for cornerback Kelly Jennings. Automatically, Jennings -- a former first-round draft pick -- becomes Leon Hall’s tandem partner as long as Jones isn’t playing.

As Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner Jr., points out, the deal also might be bad news for Brandon Ghee -- who now finds himself squarely up against the 53-man roster bubble, even though he was a 2010 third-round pick. This is what Zimmer had to say about Ghee, who has not played in any preseason games this year, earlier today: “We've got to play him a lot this week and see where he's at. Athletically, we have seen that. It’s about finishing plays and making plays."

It’s the second trade in eight days the Bengals have made to help Cincinnati improve the secondary: already, the Bengals gave up a seventh-round pick in 2013 for former 49ers safety Taylor Mays.

Obviously, Cincinnati has no problem swapping personnel with other NFL teams. And after the Jennings swap, Zimmer intimated the Bengals might not be done making trades. Somewhere in southern California, Carson Palmer gnashes his teeth.

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 5:52 pm
 

Chester Taylor actually NOT cut from Bears

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Earlier today, we wrote about the Bears cutting third-string running back Chester Taylor and how one reason could have been that the organization was tired of Taylor asking for more playing time. That was news to Chicago coach Lovie Smith. Because Taylor, in fact, has not been cut.

Bears RB Problems
"I guess there was a little bit of a misunderstanding on what we talked about," Smith told reporters after practice, via the Chicago Tribune. "Chester Taylor is still a part of the team."

The misunderstanding stems from the conversation Smith and Taylor had when Smith told Taylor he wasn’t in the Bears plans. Taylor thought that meant he was cut (and I can see why he’d think that). But that’s not the case. Not yet, at least.

Hell, maybe the Bears won’t cut Taylor, because general manager Jerry Angelo told Taylor after the misunderstanding that the team actually likes him. Furthermore, Smith said he was talking to Taylor about last Saturday’s game at Tennessee and not necessarily about the future.

It’s all very confusing.

"If a player is released, I will tell him that, 'You're released, thank you,'" Smith said. “That is not the case. Misunderstanding. I talked to him about what happened in the last game in a private conversation. No more than that. As far as what is going to happen later on, we have cuts coming up. We’ll let everyone know who is a part of it then, they’ll know. I don’t talk any more than that. I talked about what happened the last game.

“He was coming up, he wanted to talk to me, but guys talk to me always. I’m the head football coach. Players who are wondering a little bit about what is going on, I want them to come up and talk with me. Thought we had a good conversation. I guess it didn’t go exactly like I thought it did.”

I guess we’ll get our next indication about the Bears plans for Taylor when they face Browns on Thursday. But for now, your guess is as good as anybody’s how much longer Taylor will be a part of the team.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com