NFL Rumors: Latest Updates for Every Team
In the post-2012 NFL draft world, pro football never really takes a backseat during the summer.
With rookie minicamps underway and OTAs around the corner, training camp will begin sooner than later. To that end, let's see what has been going on around the league since the draft concluded in late April.
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Needing to continue improving their defense heading into 2012, the Arizona Cardinals took Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming in Round 2 of the draft.
The Cardinals now have an abundance of talent in the secondary, and Fleming's addition only increases expectations for the upcoming season. And according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals secondary will be intense:
At least four cornerbacks, including [Greg] Toler and Fleming, have a legitimate shot at starting at left cornerback.
At least two factors motivated the Cardinals to sign [William] Gay and draft Fleming: Coaches didn't think the team was good enough at that cornerback spot last season, and they believe there is no such thing as having too many cornerbacks.
With that much talent behind the front seven, the Cardinals right now appear almost impossible to throw the ball on. The good news, though, is that with Michael Floyd opposite of Larry Fitzgerald at receiver, the offense will be more explosive.
This, in turn, will force opponents to try and keep pace with Arizona and throw more against its upgraded secondary. That then creates more turnover opportunities and quicker development of the younger players.
Because of this, watch out for Arizona to contend for the division title, as it remains a few steps ahead of Seattle and St. Louis.
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After cornerback Asante Samuel was signed by the Falcons on Wednesday, the team had just over $1 million of salary-cap space. On Monday [April 30], the team had $4,068,441 million in salary-cap room for 2012, reflecting the increase from the Vick credit.
Although the Falcons haven been rather quiet since then, it wouldn't be surprising to see Atlanta add another free agent before the 2012 season kicks off.
Running back Michael Turner could use a more reliable No. 2 ball-carrier in the backfield to challenge Jacquizz Rodgers, or a player who's strictly a return man to fill the void left over by Eric Weems.
Doing so would make the Falcons much more well-equipped to win the NFC South and make a deep postseason run.
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2011 was a solid year for receiver Jacoby Jones, as he caught 31 passes for 512 yards and scored two touchdowns. In addition, Jones returned 49 punts for 518 yards and scored one touchdown.
The season unfortunately ended horrifically, as he fumbled twice in the AFC Divisional game at Baltimore. Well, now it appears Jones may end up with the Ravens after all. According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, Jones was in Baltimore over the weekend:
As for Baltimore, this isn't a bad look because the Ravens need depth at the receiver position. With just two standout players in Torrey Smith and the 31-year old (turning 32 this season) Anquan Boldin, the Ravens can find a spot for Jones.
He's been consistent the past three seasons and brings impressive return skills to the table. Provided that Jones can remained poised in clutch situations, Baltimore would be getting a great add to fill a big need on punt returns.
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Before his 2011 season was unfortunately cut short, Fred Jackson was in the midst of one impressive season.
Through the first nine games, Jackson was averaged 145 total yards per game and had scored six touchdowns. Then the Bills and Jackson were hit by injuries, and the season took a nosedive.
Still, Jackson remains one of the league's better ball-carriers, and Buffalo must retain him for the long-run. According to Joe Buscaglia of the Bills Beat Blog on WGR 550, the wheels seem in motion for a new deal:
When reached over the weekend for an answer to the question, "Has there been any progress between you and the Bills," Jackson's agent Ron Raccuia responded quickly and succinctly:
"Check back with me in a couple of days."
Now, this can be taken any number of ways, but Jackson has undoubtedly proven his value to the team throughout his career. If Buffalo wants to contend for the AFC East and potentially an AFC title, getting Jackson for the long haul is imperative.
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Last season the Carolina Panthers defense was one of the worst in the game. They couldn't stop the run or pass, and only defensive end Charles Johnson stepped up the whole season.
With nine sacks, 40 tackles and four passes defended, Johnson was easily Carolina's most consistently reliable defender. And although the Panthers haven't had any recent rumors swirling around, Johnson did have to undergo surgery.
Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson had arthroscopic surgery Friday to relieve swelling in his right knee, general manager Marty Hurney said.
Johnson’s status for offseason organized team activities is uncertain. But he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in July.
For Johnson's and Carolina's sake, let's hope he is ready for training camp because the Panthers made significant improvements to the defense via the draft to contend for a playoff spot in 2012.
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If there's one thing the Chicago Bears need to do on defense, it's get younger.
Well, Chicago did just that via the draft with Shea McClellin and Brandon Hardin, and, despite durability concerns, defensive tackle Trey Lewis is getting an opportunity as well.
The Bears were one of the teams to scout him most heavily when he came out of Washburn University in 2007. The Atlanta Falcons selected Lewis in the sixth round when Phil Emery served as their director of college scouting.
This isn't a bad move by the Bears considering Emery already knew of Lewis' potential. However, there's still a lot of proving for Lewis, as he has only played in one game the past two seasons.
Chicago needs to get younger in the trenches though, even if that means taking a gamble on a guy with significant durability flags.
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With an improved offense and defense this offseason, it's reasonable to consider the Cincinnati Bengals as legitimate AFC North and AFC title contenders.
After making the postseason under a rookie quarterback and with a rookie No. 1 receiver, the Bengals only enhanced with the addition of Dre Kirkpatrick on defense. In an article by Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Senior Bowl director Phil Savage spoke highly of Kirkpatrick:
"Dre will be a very good player in time. He started the last two years and I see him as an outside corner," Savage said. "His advantages are he is a really tall corner and he can really press and run."
Now, the Bengals do already have two veteran corners in Nate Clements and Leon Hall, so Kirkpatrick's role may be limited early on. Still, Cincinnati needed the talent and depth in the secondary, and Kirkpatrick's ability to defend the perimeter ground game and contribute as a nickel/dime back will pay dividends.
Cincinnati had an excellent offseason, so it'll be interesting to see how the young Bengals perform against a rough schedule.
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The Cleveland Browns have a solid defense led by Joe Haden and D'Qwell Jackson. Last season the offense was the main issue, and Cleveland clearly addressed that this offseason.
After getting Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden in Round 1 of the 2012 draft, the Browns also added Miami Hurricanes receiver Travis Benjamin who, though undersized, is expected to contribute this season.
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal, the head coach has a high standard for Benjamin:
"He is extremely fast, and when you put speed on the field, it changes things," coach Pat Shurmur said. "We felt like he was going to add that element to our receiving corps."
This comes as no surprise since Cleveland still lacks a dominant receiving corps. But with Haden and the defense slowing opponents down for Richardson and Weeden on offense, Benjamin will see single-coverage situations to make plays.
After all, the man did average over 16 yards per catch throughout his college career.
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If there's one thing that's impressive about Tony Romo, it's that he can put up solid numbers with any group of receivers out wide.
He did it with Terrell Owens and Co. before Miles Austin and Dez Bryant came along, plus he made Laurent Robinson produce well when the Cowboys were depleted at the position. Well, another receiver joins the mix and appears to have a legitimate shot at contributing this season.
Dallas has a handful of candidates for the job, including Coale.
“He's in the mix,” coach Jason Garrett said.
Coale is the perfect fit for Big D as well because he's excellent at being a reliable playmaker downfield. With an average of over 18 yards per catch the past three seasons, Coale will develop quite well in the slot, as Bryant and Austin work the outside.
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Since trading out of Round 1 in the 2012 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos haven't made much (if any) news or rumor noise.
What we can anticipate, though, is rookie defensive tackle Derek Wolfe being an immediate contributor. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, the Ravens add former Broncos tackle Ryan McBean on Tuesday:
The Ravens continued to add depth to their defensive line, reaching a one-year agreement today with former Denver Broncos nose tackle Ryan McBean.
McBean, 28, spent the previous three seasons with the Broncos and had has best year in 2011 with 33 total tackles and four sacks while playing in all 16 regular-season games.
Therefore, with Wolfe being a second-round selection and having the versatility to play tackle and end, the Broncos will need him to make a quick impact. Stopping the interior run game cost Denver in 2011, and the team also lacked an inside pass rush.
Wolfe possesses the explosion to draw a double-team, so expect a big year from Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil off the edge.
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Courtesy of an impressive passing game, the Detroit Lions only need to field an average running game to present a balanced offense.
Running back Ryan Grant is scheduled to visit the Lions on Monday, his agent Alan Herman said in a text message to the Free Press. The sides have had contract talks and are within striking distance of a deal.
This would be a big signing by the Lions, as Grant is an every-down back. He's reliable on the ground game when healthy (two 1,200-plus yard seasons with Green Bay) and is an underrated receiver.
Grant's backfield presence will help set up the passing game, and his pass-blocking skills will create more threatening screens to open up the playbook. Now, if the Lions can improve defensively, then the Motor City has a legitimate shot at contending for the NFC title.
Adding Grant would be a big add for Detroit, and his total package is a great complement to Calvin Johnson out wide.
Green Bay Packers
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Fielding the NFL's worst defense in 2011, the Green Bay Packers used their first six picks of the 2012 draft on defensive players.
USC's Nick Perry was the team's first-round selection, and his complete skill set at defending the run and providing a pass rush is the perfect complement to Clay Matthews. And in an article by Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers learned quite well of Perry's development beforehand:
“When I was first getting into the business, I was at N.C. State when we had Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and John McCargo, who all were first-round picks,” [Shawn] Howe [Perry's defensive line coach at USC] said. “When you see Nick, you’re like, ‘This is one of those guys.’ He’s a Mario-type guy. He’s a freak.”
Green Bay got just what it needed to add reliability to the league's work defense, and it's reasonable to suspect that Perry will make a significant impact in 2012.
He's a well-versed player who displays excellent assignment discipline and reads/reacts fast to the developing play. The Packers needed a dependable player like Perry, and Titletown simply increased Super Bowl odds with his selection.
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Since his arrival to Houston, coach Gary Kubiak has gradually turned the Texans' franchise around.
After going just 37-43 through his first six seasons, Houston returned to the postseason in 2011 by going 10-6 and almost upsetting the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round. To that end, Kubiak may get a contract extension before the 2012 season begins.
“I think they’ve done a great job,” McNair said. “I’m very pleased with them. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t be extending them.”
This is simply a great move by McNair because Houston has AFC title implications in 2012 and will be in the mix for years to come. With a strong defense and complete offense, the Texans under Kubiak will be a consistent force out of the AFC South and have strong Super Bowl odds heading into each season.
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With the Andrew Luck-era beginning, the Indianapolis Colts need to get his weapons developed quickly so success can happen sooner.
The Patriots have agreed to a contract with former Colts running back Joseph Addai, according to a league source.
Terms were not disclosed.
It's obvious that Indianapolis is virtually starting over across the board, and although the Colts have two promising running backs in Donald Brown and rookie Vick Ballard, losing a veteran does hurt.
To that end, even with another ball-carrier in Delone Carter, it wouldn't be surprising to see Indy add a veteran back before training camp. A guy such as Cedric Benson would be a solid add to help with the rookies' development and for a more experienced backfield.
The worst-case scenario would increase the competition for a roster spot, thus getting more out of each young player through camp and a better evaluation before the season. The Colts' ground game suffered in 2011, and Benson is coming off his third straight 1,000-yard campaign.
At the very least, he's worth considering.
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Now finally possessing an improved offense, the Jacksonville Jaguars can expect to be in more scoring positions this season.
The Jaguars placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Scobee in March, but he hasn’t signed it. The team has said it would like to sign Scobee to a long-term deal and was disappointed it didn’t before the franchising deadline.
“I’m confident that will happen in time,” Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said during the NFL Draft. “We want Josh Scobee here.”
The Jaguars desperately need Scobee suiting up as well because he's coming off his best season with a 92 percent field-goal percentage (23-of-25), and 14 of his kicks were good from 40-plus yards out.
Scobee was also perfect for a second straight season on extra points, so with the upgraded offense, the Jaguars will get him more opportunities to put up points. Not getting the kicker a new deal will significantly hurt their chances of winning those important close games.
Kansas City Chiefs
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Plagued by injuries early in 2011, the Kansas City Chiefs still managed to finish 7-9 and go 3-3 in the AFC West.
Provided that they remain healthy throughout all of 2012, the Chiefs can be one dangerously sneaky team this year. One possible addition that would significantly help is tight end Dallas Clark.
Tight end Dallas Clark, who caught 427 passes from Manning and the Colts over the past nine years, was to visit with the Chiefs as a free agent on Tuesday night.
Clark, who turns 33 in June, has drawn surprisingly little interest since his release by Indianapolis in March.
The tight end position is one area of need for the Chiefs because since Tony Gonzalez left, K.C. hasn't had a consistently reliable tight end that can make plays downfield.
Well, despite his durability concerns, Clark's veteran leadership and experience would help spread the field and widen a defense to complement the ground game. Kansas City is a run-first team, but the addition of Clark would draw attention underneath to keep Steve Breaston in single-coverage situations.
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The NFL may be a passing league, but two-back systems have taken over to keep defenses off balance. And according to Dave George of the Palm Beach Post, the Dolphins could use Miller a variety of ways:
"There's a couple pictures of him being spread out," said (head coach Joe) Philbin, who devoured every frame of Miller's UM career along with Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland.
"There's a chance down the road, as Lamar gets acclimated, that he might be able to spread himself a ways as a receiver to a certain degree. I'm not saying make a full position change, but I think there's some flexibility with what you can do with the guy."
Miami certainly must try everything to utilize Miller, as he displays excellent athleticism to make plays anywhere on the field. The Dolphins also need as much raw talent to produce at running back and receiver because regardless of who's under center, the quarterbacks have a lot of proving to do.
That said, Matt Moore's or Ryan Tannehill's development will display more potential with a guy like Miller in the slot, backfield or sitting on the wing connected to the line of scrimmage.
In the much-improved AFC East, the Dolphins have a lot of ground to make up anyway.
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If there's one area the Minnesota Vikings needed to address after getting Matt Kalil in Round 1, it was the pass defense.
Considering that the NFC North is so explosive offensively, the Vikings did themselves a favor by taking three defensive backs, one of which was Central Florida's Josh Robinson. In an article by Mark Craig and Dan Wiederer of the Star-Tribune, Robinson stole the show and is expected to get a shot to start on defense:
"We'll keep throwing things at him and watch him compete for a job," [Leslie] Frazier said. "Not just the nickel position. We want him to compete for a starting job."
Minnesota needs an explosive player like Robinson in the secondary because constantly defending the pass is the way to compete in the NFC North.
Not to mention that in three seasons at UCF, Robinson defended 46 passes, recorded 10 picks and took two back for scores.
Robinson will have numerous opportunities in 2012 provided that he continues to develop as a zone coverage defender.
New England Patriots
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Since the 2012 draft, the New England Patriots have been in the news quite often (not so much rumors). For starters, long-time protector of Tom Brady's blindside Matt Light retired, according to Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports.
Light's retirement opens a big void in the Patriots offensive line, as he was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (one was as an alternate) and was part of all five of New England's Super Bowl appearances.
As for Gaffney, it's going to be interesting to see where he fits, as the Pats already have an array of weapons for Brady to target. Getting Warren back, however, was a major boost, as New England keeps experienced talent to control the trenches.
Once again, expect the Pats to be the AFC favorites provided that one of the youngsters at offensive tackle steps up big time in place of Light.
New Orleans Saints
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All of the New Orleans Saints' bounty concerns aside, the defense still failed to play well and ultimately was the reason why their season ended early.
As for the offense, it was the reason the Saints won the NFC South, but at the moment 2012 looks like it may be a season to forget.
For one, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter last week, the Saints and quarterback Drew Bress aren't anywhere near agreement:
The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are not any closer to a contract extension and have made little progress on a long-term deal, a person familiar with the negotiations told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
That's a big issue for the Saints, as they'll finish below .500 without Brees at the helm. In addition, running back Mark Ingram will be out for a little while. According to Schefter, Ingram had surgery last week:
Ingram is not expected to be available for the Saints minicamps later this month, but the team does expect him to be recovered in time for training camp.
For Ingram's sake let's hope he's 100 percent before camp because not having him in the backfield only hurts New Orleans' offensive dynamics even more.
New York Giants
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Despite having dealt with injuries throughout the year, the Giants collected 48 sacks last season and simply hit a stride in January. Osi Umenyiora was a big part of that, but it remains to be seen whether he'll continue with the Giants.
This past Saturday, Reese said “all options are open with respect to that’’ when asked if the Giants explored trading Umenyiora during the NFL Draft. What got under Umenyiora’s skin was when Reese added, “Osi has been offered an extension two years in a row now. So we would still like to make it work.’’
Now, although not having Umenyiora wouldn't crush the Giants' hopes in 2012, it would be a big blow to the NFL's best defensive line. Not many defenses can get through a season with a number of injuries, and yet Big Blue had the talent and depth to perform well even when not healthy.
If the Giants manage to retain Umenyiora, though, watch out for New York this season provided it remains durable.
New York Jets
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Despite needing to improve offensively, the New York Jets still present one of the league's best defenses, and Darrelle Revis remains the NFL's best cover corner.
Interestingly enough, Gang Green got Tim Tebow this offseason, and his dynamics do give the Jets a creative opportunity on offense. Even more interesting, the Jets may put Tebow on special teams.
Special teams coach Mike Westhoff told the Daily News he will use Tebow on his unit. Westhoff has already discussed his vision with Tebow, who was amenable and eager to contribute on special teams, according to the coach.
Although Westhoff didn’t reveal his exact plan, he called Tebow a “more potent Brad Smith” with an ability to make a difference on special teams.
Now, relating Tebow to Brad Smith is a bit of a stretch, as Smith was a receiver and a return man in addition to his quarterback duties. Tebow certainly is relatable in regards to versatility, but expect the roles to be drastically different.
Nonetheless, it's an intriguing move by the Jets to include Tebow on special team. But then again, why not?
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Last season the Oakland Raiders were horrendous on defense by ranking No. 27 against the rush and pass. Then cornerback Stanford Routt left, and Oakland's secondary depleted even more.
Fortunately, safety Tyvon Branch is still around, and according to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, Branch is expected to sign the franchise tag on Monday:
Raiders S Tyvon Branch will sign his franchise tender today and report to team. Still very much seeking long-term deal
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 7, 2012
It's a fortunate decision for the Raiders, as Branch is one of the more underrated players in the game. With over 100 tackles each of the past three seasons, Branch has been the most consistent player currently on Oakland's defense.
In an offensively improved AFC West, the Raiders desperately need Branch on the field in 2012.
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After closing out the 2011 season on a four-game win streak, the Philadelphia Eagles clearly had built momentum going into the 2012 offseason.
That's not to mention that Philly went 5-1 in the NFC East and made some significant additions via the draft last month. In the post-draft world, though, the Eagles didn't stop making solid additions, and getting Washington Huskies' running back Chris Polk was a big move.
According to CBS Sports and the Sports Xchange, Polk signed right after the draft:
After being passed over in the NFL Draft, prolific University of Washington running back Chris Polk has signed a rookie free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
This was a big move by Philly, as No. 1 ball-carrier LeSean McCoy needs that No. 2 back to slam the trenches on short-yard situations. Polk is a more dynamic back than he's given credit for, and now Philadelphia can open up the playbook even more.
With the upgraded defense, the Eagles are under-the-radar NFC title contenders in 2012.
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It was surprising to see last season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers defense lacked consistency, which cost the team the AFC North title and a deep run in the postseason.
Now, the Steelers did make some strong moves in the offseason to quickly rebuild, and a new member of the defense is eager to make an impact. According to Mark Kaboly of the Tribune-Review, Myron Rolle expects to make the team this season:
Rolle was on the field Friday at the team’s minicamp for the first time since he signed with the Steelers in January.
“I think I have a decent shot if I do what I have to do,” Rolle said. “If I meet the standard of what Coach (Mike) Tomlin and the Steelers’ organization requires, I think I can put myself in position to earn a spot.”
At the safety position alone, Pittsburgh could use some youth. Troy Polamalu is 31 years old, and Ryan Clark will be 33 this season. Cornerback Ike Taylor is 32 years old, while the majority of the rest of the youngsters lack experience.
Rolle has the cerebral approach to quickly develop, so anticipate him making the team and an impact in 2012.
San Diego Chargers
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Much like recent history, we have to anticipate the San Diego Chargers offense being explosive to try to outscore everyone they face.
Running back Ryan Mathews is poised for a breakout year on the ground and will see more carries as well. Additionally, tight end Antonio Gates appears to be ready to rock. According to Michael Gehlken of the Union-Tribune last week, Gates feels pumped for the season:
San Francisco 49ers
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The passing game is what ultimately cost the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.
With the NFL's best defense backing it up, the 'Niners brought in veteran receiver Randy Moss, who is 35 years old, to help stretch defenses.
Well, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Moss may not even make the team:
Unlike [Ted] Ginn, [Kyle] Williams and [Brett] Swain, Moss doesn't offer any special-teams value. And he's coming off a year during which he didn't play any football.
He will have to get up to speed fast. Barring injuries in front of him, Moss will have a difficult time just making the 49ers
This honestly wouldn't be surprising, as San Francisco has other solid receivers in Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree. Not having played last season really hurts Moss, as does his age and lack of offensive dynamics.
All he's there to do is stretch defenses and open up the middle underneath for Vernon Davis among others.
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The right to take snaps from under center and hand the rock off to running back Marshawn Lynch has begun.
Tarvaris Jackson took the first snap of Friday's workout.
That this fact is even worth mentioning gives you an idea of just how scrutinized Seattle's quarterback situation is going to be.
Of the three quarterbacks, though, it's not surprising to see Tarvaris Jackson take the first snap. He was, after all, the starter for the large majority of 2011 and did play respectably enough to earn a shot for 2012.
Seattle's performance under center will determine how far the Seahawks go this season, however, because the Cardinals and 49ers both improved upon their weaknesses. Seattle, on the other hand, has three unproven quarterbacks with one barely having any experience (Matt Flynn) and a rookie (Russell Wilson).
Regardless of who's under center to start 2012, the margin for error will be extremely limited.
St. Louis Rams
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Although the St. Louis Rams finished 2-14 last season, it's reasonable to argue that they were much worse than the Indianapolis Colts in 2011.
Fielding an atrocious offense at running and throwing the ball, the Rams only mustered up 12.1 points per game. Even with running back Steve Jackson amassing over 1,000 rushing yards, the Rams didn't have anything else that impressed.
The good news after having a solid draft, however, is that the Rams added a boatload of free agents to examine. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week, the Rams had signed 23 players as of May 1:
Although the Rams have yet to release their list, 23 undrafted rookies have either signed or agreed to terms with the team so far. A few more are expected to be added to the list before the team's rookie minicamp next week.
St. Louis is clearly playing the law of averages card, and rightfully so, because for as much help as the Rams needed in 2011, the odds of finding multiple standout players will pay off via undrafted free agents.
The numbers will obviously dwindle down before the season starts, but St. Louis is on the right track to quickly rebuilding within the next few years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The lone outlier in Tampa Bay, veteran Ronde Barber is now part of an even younger secondary with the Buccaneers having selected Mark Barron and Keith Tandy in the 2012 draft.
Keith Tandy came into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers three-day minicamp on Friday as a cornerback. After today's morning workout, the sixth-round draft pick from West Virginia could be playing safety.
OK, that timetable is probably a little aggressive. But coach Greg Schiano made it clear Saturday that Tandy has the versatility to work either spot and suggested strongly the Bucs will take advantage.
Trying Tandy out at safety in Cover 1 and 3 situations is actually a great idea with Barron rolling down for a blitzing linebacker.
In his final three seasons at West Virginia, Tandy defended 37 passes and recorded 13 picks. The man simply knows how to find the rock, so letting him do just that will pay the most dividends for Tampa.
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In order to keep a balanced offense and running back Chris Johnson relevant, the Tennessee Titans must spread the field in the passing game.
Now, we can definitely expect a sound contribution from rookie Kendall Wright, but return specialist Marc Mariani wants his opportunities as well. According to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, Mariani said he feels he can be an offensive playmaker:
(Wright’s) an explosive player who hopefully is going to help us win football games, and at the end of the day that is all that really matters.
But when it comes down to me, I am just going to keep working and I am going to take advantage of any opportunity I get. Hopefully I’ll make it hard on (coaches) and they’ll end up giving me more to do.
Despite his lack of experience at receiver, Mariani certainly has proved his value to the Titans after compiling almost 3,100 total return yards in just two seasons.
That kind of production in the return game certainly is deserving of a receiver spot, even with Wright and a healthy Kenny Britt. At least in four-wide sets Mariani should get an opportunity since he's such an explosive player.
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"He’s the starter. Period,” Shanahan said Sunday after watching Griffin in five practices over the last three days.
This comes as no surprise considering how much Washington upgraded the receiving corps before the draft and then moving up to No. 2 overall as well. What remains is the uncertainty of running back Tim Hightower.
And in an article by Ben Standig of CSN Washington, the Redskins have yet to make an offer:
Both the Redskins head coach and Tim Hightower expressed a mutual interest in having the free agent back for the 2012 campaign.
Why Hightower and the Redskins have yet to put pen to paper, unclear. What is incredibly obvious is that the other options are hardly interesting, but some veteran will be added.
The Redskins definitely must find a way to bring Hightower back because, when healthy, he's a complete and every-down back. Plus, his dual-threat reliability will help with RG3's transition.
If Washington wants to increase its odds at contending for the NFC East title in 2012, Hightower must be a priority.
John Rozum on Twitter.