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January 26, 2010

Senior Bowl News and Notes : Monday Practice

Senior Bowl News and Notes 1-26-10: Monday Practice


A few news and notes on the first practice from Monday at the Senior Bowl according to scouts and observers who are on hand in Mobile. I wish I could be there the entire week seeing whats going on but I don't know how well that would go over missing a week of class. Here is whats going on in practice.

North Practice:

The fear every player has to deal with playing in one of these games is getting hurt. An hour into the first practice the terror struck Wisconsin defensive lineman O'Brien Shoefield. Shoefield tore his ACL in his knee. It is terrible news for the pass rushing beast. Shoefield was rumored to be moving to linebacker and had a lot of upside heading into the game. Hopefully he can recover fast.

Central quarterback Dan Lefever looked fluid in his throws the first practice. Scouts seemed to like his ability to move under center after running a spread system at CMU for four years.

Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount ran hard throughout the day, even with no contact drills.

A quarterback who struggled the first practice was Tony Pike of Cincy. A lot of balls were thrown with little weak strength.

Boise State DB Kyle Wilson I guess looked solid throughout the first practice and in drills. Like I said before I think Wilson will prove a lot this week and could drastically improve his draft stock when the week is over.

The vocal leader for the North defense was linebacker Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri.

It is rumored that Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield looked terrible in the first practice Monday.

Missouri wideout Danario Alexander had a bad first day in drills and catching passes.

Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest DB, looked good in one-on-one drills, mostly because he was able to run with anyone on the field.

An impressive receiver the first day for the North was Mardy Gilyard of Cincinnati. Showed good hands in drills. Supposedly had very nice body control and ball skills on poorly thrown passes.

South Practice

The player every scout had their eye on the first day; Tim Tebow. As I've said I don't think Tebow will be able to make the transition to the NFL as a quarterback and Tebow did little in the first day to prove the naysayers wrong. Tebow looked poor in passing drills, with a still long throwing motion. Because Tebow worked mostly out of the shotgun in college, working under center this week will come with a struggle. He fumbled quite a few times on the center/quarterback exchange. On the bright side, Tebow took coaching well and looked like the leader he always was at Florida.

I want to keep an eye on quarterback Jarrett Brown of West Virginia this week. As expected with another spread system quarterback Brown's drop backs weren't impressive, but I think this is a kid with a big upside heading into the week of practice.

Before mentioned UAB wideout Joe Webb is a player to keep an eye on. Webb is a physical player and it showed in the first practice. He was able to beat the jam of a lot of DBs and supposedly threw Alabama corner Javier Arenas to the ground and gave a good slap to USC safety Taylor Mays on an attempted jam. He later made an impressive play on a deep ball for a touchdown. Webb apears to be keeping me honest.

Myron Rolle, FSU DB, had an impressive first practice after being away from football for a year.

Mississippi wideout Dexter McCluster took reps at running back like he did a lot at Ole Miss. Despite his little frame and weight of 179, McCluster is a tough runner, but I don't believe he will be able to take direct hand offs at the next level.

Senior Bowl News and Notes

Senior Bowl News and Notes 1-26-10

The first day of practice has begun for the 2010 Senior Bowl. Scouts of every NFL team are on hand evaluating and taking notes on all players. A few thoughts on the player weigh-ins from the North and South teams. It is basically the first look we get at these prospects after the often exaggerated college roster sizes.

Tim Tebow, Florida...6-2 3/4 236- Came in at about the same weight as expected. Hands measured in at 10 inches - a good size mit for a QB.

Tony Pike, Cincinnati....6-5 5/8 212 - A little on the lean side. Needs to add weight to nearly a 6'-6'' frame.

Running Backs:

Joique Bell, Wayne State....5-10 7/8 223 - A little shorter than expected but weighing in at 223 and a muscular build helps his cause.

LaGarrette Blount, Oregon....6-0 5/8 245 - Was listed at 6-4 on the Oregon game sheet. Obviously came in shorter than expected.

Charles Scott, LSU.....5-11 3/8 239 - Bigger than expected. But a solid build for 239. Good news for Scott. His draft status unfortunately will come down to his straight ahead speed.

Wide Receiver:

Dorin Dickerson, Pittsburgh....6-1 1/4 222 - Played a lot of TE at Pitt. Obviously too short and too light for the position at the next level. Excellent pass catcher will need to prove himself out wide this week.

Jacoby Ford, Clemson....5-8 3/4 181 - A little on the light side but with the speed Ford possesses his size shouldn't be a factor.

Mardy Gilyard, Cincy....5-11 5/8 179 - Like Ford, a little light, but will need to add a little weight because of his height. A lean frame.

Joe Webb, UAB....6-3 223 - One of my big sleepers for this game. Good size and a 33 3/4 arm length, highest amongst WRs.

Tight Ends:

Garrett Graham, Wisconsin....6-3 1/8 234 - Lighter than expected. Can add weight with his frame though.

Jimmy Graham, Miami (FL)....6-6 3/8 259 - An intriguing ex-basketball prospect. Came in shorter than the expected 6-8. Can add more weight even at 259. 34 3/4 arm length, very impressive.

Offensive Line:

Mike Iupati, Idaho....6-5 1/4 325 - Long arms at 35 inch. Overall good size for the highly regarded prospect.

Jeff Byers, USC....6-3 1/4 299 - Those of you who follow recruiting remember Byers as the No. 1 overall prospect his senior year. Byers has improved as a prospect but will need to add more size.

Ed Wang, Va Tech....6-4 7/8 315 - Wang is a guy I can see moving to guard at the next level because of his overall width. Shorter than first thought.

Defensive Line:

Terrence Cody, Alabama....6-4 370 - Cody is a massive prospect who could afford to lose some weight. 370! Not an every down DT in the NFL at that weight. 11 1/4 hands. Largest of all prospects.

Brandon Graham, Michigan....6-1 263 - Short for a DE, but overall good size at 263.

George Selvie, S. Florida....6-4 1/8 247 - Came in a little under weight, but it was expected of Selvie. May need to move positions or pack on the pounds.

Dan Williams, Tennessee....6-2 1/4 329 - A good size lineman. Could shed a few pounds, 310 would be ideal weight for Williams.


Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri....6-0 7/8 241 - Looks the part of a NFL linebacker. On the short side of what was thought, but plenty big enough.

Darryl Sharpton, Miami (FL)....5-11 3/4 229 - Has the frame to add weight and will need to.

Daryl Washington, TCU....6-1 3/4 226 - I like Washington a lot in the draft. Like Sharpton though will need to add some weight. Shouldn't be a problem by draft time.

O'Brien Shofield, Wisconsin....6-2 1/8 238 - An end at the college level, will bring his hand off the ground in the NFL. Very muscular build. Good size.

Defensive Backs:

Javier Arenas, Bama....5-8 5/8 195 - Obviously shorter than thought. Shouldn't be that big of a problem however.

Taylor Mays, USC....6-3 231 - Amazingly has the frame to add even more weight. Long arms at 33 3/4. Nice looking prospect, may move to 'backer for a team.

Myron Rolle, FSU....6-1 1/2 217 - Remember me? A strong build, good size to go along with obvious smarts (2008 Rhodes Scholarship winner)

Kyle Wilson, Boise State....5-10 190 - Has a chance to prove himself amongst a very solid group of DBs this week. I liked the size though.

Patrick Robinson, FSU....5-11 1/8 190 - Thought he'd come in at a little bigger. Robinson is a guy I feel needs to prove a lot this week.

Syd'Quan Thompson, Cal....5-9 182 - Very, very frail frame. I like how he plays the position but will need to get into the weight room to compete in the NFL.

......I'll have the latest news and notes as well as some experts observations from the first practice later.

January 24, 2010

Game Analysis: NFC Championship Game

I cant believe it....wasn't a buttered ball.

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

With numerous Pro Bowlers and All-Pro players to go around for the Saints, kicker Garret Heartly seemed like the unlikely hero in Sunday's NFC Championship game. However, facing one of the leagues most tenacious defenses in the Vikings, the game was most likely going to come down to a kick with the heroics coming from Heartly.

The 23 year old from Oklahoma booted the 40 yard field goal in overtime sending the Saints into the Super Bowl and the Vikings back to Minnesota. Viewers got what was expected: a high scoring Saints offense, a resilient Brett Favre, an inspired Saints crowd and a fumble or two out of Adrian Peterson.

Peterson, whos fumbles weren't lost, wasn't the only one letting the ball loose for the Vikings. Five turnovers in all plagued the men in purple and white, a statistic no team can win with and no coach can live with. Favre threw two interceptions, and fumbled once. Widouts Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian layed it on the ground each once as well.
A back-and-forth battle all night long it was only fitting it go to overtime. Only because of the sudden death overtime of the NFL did this one actually came to an end. It may have continued on for quite a while, if we were playing college rules; at least until the Vikings next turnover.

All joking aside though, the two played a tremendous game. Brees threw three scores to go along with 197 yards. Peterson ran for 122 tough yards and three scores and the now fully healthy Berrian brought in nine catches for 102 yards.

The only question I'm left with now is where was the Vikings defensive line? One of perhaps the best defensive lines in a decade was seemingly unheard of. All-Pro end Jared Allen was held to just two tackles and no sacks. While the Saints defense played with a mean streak and continually went for the ball while tackling. Every tackle made by New Orleans was delivered with purpose. They were flat out, outhitting the Vikings in this one.

It may be the last time we see the legendary Brett Favre strut his stuff in a Purple and Gold uniform....or Green and Yellow....or Green and White...or, well you get the point. It was one of the first games this year that the 40 year old Favre could do little for his team. Possibly the last pass he'll throw in the NFL was an interception coming at the end of regulation. The pressure and constant hits were too much to overcome. So if it is the last time. Congratulations on an illustrious career old man.

Final: 31-28 OT Saints

It was over when....Kicker Garret Hartley nailed a 40 yard kick in overtime right down the middle of the goal posts. It's never over until the fat lady sings and she was singing after that. Bourbon Street was rocking and Hartley was covered and crushed by teammates in celebration. He even got the post-game interview.

Stat of the Game.....
475-to-257. The Vikings actually out gained the Saints in total offense by 218 yards. It is a game of field position however, and turnovers go a long way in games like this. You don't need to rack up yards when you get the ball inside the 35 yard line.

Hats off to.....
Saints punter, Thomas Morstead. Another 23 year old with a leg for the Saints. A 51.3 average helped the often unnoticed game of field position for the Saints. Morstead blasted seven punts for 359 yards, including 4 inside the 20.

Whats next....
For the Saints, their first ever Super Bowl. A match-up between two of the games best quarterbacks in Manning and Brees in Miami. For the Vikings it's back to the snow, instead of the sun. Perhaps they're in the market for a quarterback as well. Or at least until Favre wants to come back.

Game Analysis: AFC Championship Game

Welcome to the show. Tonight's entertainment; Peyton Manning.

Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets

With two early game sacks on back to back plays by Jets middle linebacker David Harris it looked as if perhaps the Jets could rattle one of the leagues finest single callers the NFL has ever seen. Then I sat back and realized; this was Peyton Manning.

It had been what looked like the Jets destiny so far in the playoffs, literally running through teams with rookie Shonn Greene. With little room for Greene and starter Thomas Jones to run in this one though, too much pressure was placed upon rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.

A ferocious first half defense by the Jets would soon be exposed by Manning. It can take all of one quarter before he will have your game plan figured out. There was no answer for Manning and the Colts offense in the second half, with Peyton putting on a clinic in what resembled a seven-on-seven walk through more than a AFC Championship game.

Manning pasted 377 yards and three scores on the Not-Yet-Jets, a collection of young NFL talent and an up-and coming coach in Rex Ryan. All-Pro cornerback Darrell Revis was able to hold Colts pro bowler Reggie Wayne to just three catches (however fell for one superb juke by Wayne) but it was the rest of the Colts pass catchers who gave the defense a fit. Pierre Garcon brought in a career high 11 catches and toasted the D for 151 yards, while rookie Austin Collie also posted career numbers in his first 100 yard receiving day.

In the end it came down to the Colts having a more polished team, thanks most in part to the speed of the Colts defense and leadership of Manning, Wayne, and veteran lineman Jeff Saturday on offense.

It will be interesting to see this Jets defense and young offense of the future take hold of the AFC in 2010 and beyond with Sanchez, the running back tandem of Greene/Jones, and receivers Braylan Edwards and Dustin Keller. They just so happen to have three pro bowl offensive lineman as well and don't forget about "Revis Island." Lookout next season Colts.

Final: 30-17 Colts

It was over when....Peyton Manning connected with Dallas Clark on a fourth quarter 15 yard touchdown pass with 8:52 left in the game. It put Manning and the Colts up 27-17 and took the wind out of the Jets.

Stat of the game.....86. Yards rushing by the Jets offense. The Jets had been averaging 170 yards in its previous two playoff games with 171 against Cincinnati wild card weekend and 169 against the Chargers last week. The Colts defense knew they had to shut down the run and did just that.

Hats off to.....Howard Mudd the Colts offensive line coach. After Manning was sacked on back to back plays on back to back possessions it looked like a long day. The line, led by Saturday, figured out the problem and held Jets blitzers the rest of the game.

Whats next.....For the Colts its a week off and a trip to Miami for a Super Bowl match-up with the Saints. For the Jets. A quiet plane ride back to New York and a long off season of "what could have beens" racing through their minds.

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