One Thing We Learned About Each NFL Team from OTAs
NFL OTAs have come and gone and with most NFL teams finished with their minicamps, it's time to take a look back and recap on some things that we learned.
For some teams, they had tons of storylines that were filled with interesting aspects, while some teams had a pretty dry and boring camp, but that's not always a bad thing.
In that spirit, let's take a look at one thing we learned about each NFL team from OTAs.
Chan Gailey predicts that we'll see the "old" Shawne Merriman this season.
Well, wouldn't this be nice for the Buffalo Bills? If Shawne Merriman can bounce back into his prime form and turn back into one of the most dominant pass-rushers in the NFL—Buffalo would love to see that.
Many probably believe that Gailey is on some sort of drug, well figuratively speaking, but Merriman did just turn 28 years old and has only five sacks since the 2009 season. I just don't see it happening. He's well out of his prime.
Perhaps Gailey is right, and Merriman does perform at a high level and makes us all look like morons, but I say it's time to put the "lights out" on Merriman's career.
Newly signed wide receiver Chad Ochocinco will wear No. 85 with the Miami Dolphins.
Yes, that's how dry Miami Dolphins camp has been.
For a team that will be featured on this year's version of HBO's Hard Knocks, they simply don't have too much going on that will appeal to casual fans out there.
New England Patriots
Despite signing Rob Gronkowski to a massive six-year $54 million contract extension, the New England Patriots still have yet to make any progress in contract discussions.
With Gronkowski already being taken care of, many believe that New England would turn all of their focus on Welker, but that hasn't been the case according to the report linked in above.
As of right now, Welker will be playing on his one-year franchise tag tender that's worth $9.5 million.
New York Jets
Rex Ryan says there's no quarterback controversy with the New York Jets.
Despite common belief, and my own belief, Rex Ryan has publicly come out to say that there's no quarterback controversy with the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez is the starter and Tim Tebow is the backup.
However, the fact that Ryan has to come out and publicly say that makes me believe even more that there is a controversy in New York.
For starters, why would the Jets trade for Tebow? Why would anyone want Tebow on their roster just to be a backup? He brings far too much attention for a backup. Not to mention, he fits exactly what the Jets want to do, and that's run the football.
I'm still sticking to my guns and say that Tebow will be the starter at some point in the 2012 season for the Jets.
Morris Claiborne is the only rookie not to sign a contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
There have been no reports regarding Morris Claiborne's contract situation with the Dallas Cowboys.
Let's just say that OTAs have been rather dry for the Cowboys; not much has been going on.
It's not a bad thing that Claiborne and the Cowboys haven't agreed to a new deal, but it certainly isn't a good thing. It's just something to take note of.
New York Giants
The New York Giants gambled with Jake Ballard and lost to the New England Patriots, and Tom Coughlin is bothered.
The New York Giants thought that they could pull a fast one on the league by placing tight end Jake Ballard on waivers and then ultimately place him on the reserve and the physically unable to perform list.
But the New England Patriots blocked the move and got somewhat of a revenge for the team's loss in Super Bowl XLVI—but not really.
Ballard, who is recovering from major knee surgery this past February, will be on New England's 90-man roster until the first wave of cuts in late August and then will be placed on injured reserve.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was ranked as the 70th best player in the NFL on NFL Network's Top 100, and I actually think that's being pretty fair.
Vick wasn't all that efficient in 2011 as he played in just 13 games while finishing with an 84.9 quarterback rating while tossing 18 touchdowns and turning the ball over as many times.
2011 was a pretty mediocre year for Vick, but it's good to see Vick dedicated to turning it around in 2012.
Robert Griffin III is learning the Washington Redskins' offense very quickly.
Well, we're certainly off to a great start in the Robert Griffin III era with the Washington Redskins.
I actually am predicting that RG3 will win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and will produce similar numbers to what Cam Newton did this past season, but will be more efficient in the passing game.
Terrell Suggs insists that he'll play in 2012.
Terrell Suggs simply "balled too hard" while playing basketball this offseason as he tore his Achilles tendon, but insists that he'll play in 2012.
To be honest with you, I think Suggs is talking out of his you-know-what.
But even if Suggs does return this season, I don't think he will be as effective as we're accustom to as his Achilles is certainly going to affect his explosiveness of his first step at the snap of the ball.
This could be the start of the downfall for "T-Sizzle."
The Cincinnati Bengals will start using iPads for playbooks.
Let's just say that there hasn't been much going on with the Cincinnati Bengals over the past few weeks, so I suppose this is one thing that we've learned.
I actually think that this is really cool, as I'm a high school football coach and have been exploring all the different uses of technologies for football purposes.
Well, the Cleveland Browns really want Colt McCoy out of town, according to this report by Evan Silva of Pro Football Talk. According to Silva, they will look for not much in return in a trade.
It's clear that Brandon Weeden is the future of this franchise, as the Browns took him with the 22nd overall pick in this year's draft and have already listed him as their starter on their depth chart. Now it's just time to move the former starter, McCoy.
Pittsburgh Steelers will likely place Rashard Mendenhall and Casey Hampton on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
With Rashard Mendenhall and Casey Hampton recovering from serious knee injuries, the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be forced to place them on the PUP list, as it's highly unlikely that they'll be able to suit it up anytime soon.
With Matt Forte's future up in the air with the Chicago Bears as he's yet to sign his franchise tag tender and with his failed attendance to OTAs and minicamp, the team's coaching staff is not concerned.
I'm not too sure why they wouldn't be concerned—it's a new offense with Mike Tice taking the reins as offensive coordinator while Mike Martz walks out the exit door.
I'd definitely want my star running back on the field learning the changes in the offensive system.
Cliff Avril was not present at Detroit Lions OTAs or minicamp.
Despite having the franchise tag placed on him, Cliff Avril has yet to sign it and decided to skip OTAs and minicamp.
According to ESPN, Avril brings up a good point and said, "It's mandatory if you're signed."
Well, is Avril signed? Nope. So, it's not mandatory.
Green Bay Packers
This should definitely bother Mike McCarthy, as the Green Bay Packers went 15-1 in the regular season but failed to win a single playoff game—it was a wasted season if you ask me.
McCarthy will have his Packers ready to go in 2012. Don't be surprised if this team is as dominant as it was a year ago, but we'll have to see how they fare in the postseason—that's if they even make it there.
Leber might not have been with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011 as he was with the St. Louis Rams, but he was a member of the Vikings for five out of his 10 seasons in the NFL.
In those five seasons, Leber recorded 205 tackles and 12 sacks for Minnesota.
For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans made the playoffs this past season.
For finally getting the job done, the Texans rewarded head coach Gary Kubiak with a two-year contract extension that extends through the 2014 season.
Mario Williams did it a year ago with the Houston Texans, so why not Dwight Freeney?
The only exception is that Freeney isn't all that young, but still Freeney is standing up as an outside linebacker and embracing his new role with the team.
Maurice Jones-Drew failed to attend the team's minicamp and is getting himself prepared for a very long holdout.
With that being said, the Jacksonville Jaguars are fully capable of fining Jones-Drew up to $63,000, which would reduce his $4.45 million salary for 2012 down to $4.387 million
We'll just have to wait and see if Jones-Drew gets his new contract and pay raise. This situation could develop into something much like Chris Johnson's did a year ago with the Tennessee Titans.
The veteran vs. the future star of the franchise—who do you think will win the starting job come Week 1 of the regular season?
If you ask me, I am predicting that Locker will get the job as he's more than NFL-ready and should have been the starter a year ago. But perhaps sitting on the bench all of last year was a good thing, as he likely gained much needed experience.
Not much has gone on with the Atlanta Falcons through OTAs.
The biggest news is that the team has signed all of their draft picks, which is most definitely a good thing, as it's something that the team no longer has to worry about.
This is certainly an interesting story, as I projected Kuechly to be a weak-side linebacker at the next level, but apparently the Carolina Panthers think otherwise.
With that being said, Kuechly will stay at middle linebacker which will cause Jon Beason to likely move over to weak-side linebacker.
New Orleans Saints
Luckily, Chase Daniel will be ready for training camp, but this is just an indication that the New Orleans Saints need to hurry up and get Drew Brees signed to a contract.
The Saints cannot afford to not have their starting quarterback and backup quarterback while missing having their head coach Sean Payton due to the bounty scandal.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Wow...I'm actually laughing right now as I can officially say that Kellen Winslow is the biggest wuss in the world—for lack of a better term.
Winslow apparently wasn't too fond of Schiano's strict coaching style—I guess Winslow was much more accustomed to Raheem Morris, a head coach that lost complete control of his team a year ago.
Peyton Manning is still not 100 percent yet.
This was something that we knew was going to take some time as the four-time NFL MVP is recovering from a year off of football due to a serious neck injury.
I'm not a betting man, but I will say that I guarantee to you that Manning will be ready to go by Week 1 of the regular season and that he is going to lead the Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2012.
2012 will almost be like a redemption season for Manning.
Kansas City Chiefs
This was definitely expected as the Kansas City Chiefs were very thin at nose tackle entering the 2012 NFL draft.
However, I am on record for saying that Dontari Poe will be a bust, and I'm sticking to my guns.
I see Poe as yet another combine warrior, a guy that shows up huge at the scouting combine but falls flat on his face on the football field.
Why can I be so confident? Because I've studied this guy on film, and he has a lot of weaknesses, and that's really alarming considering that he played at Memphis and played against inferior opponents.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootball Talk, DeFilippo has been very impressed with Terrelle Pryor this offseason and believes in him as a quarterback. DeFilippo said of Pryor:
The first thing is, everybody knows how hard he’s working. He’s going to give himself a chance to be a good player in this league, because of his work ethic. He and I are in communication every day. He’s a gym rat here in this building. He loves being here, loves talking football, loves being around, playing the game. He’s getting better everyday.
The fact is, his strides he’s made from his first day here in this offense to where he is now have been good. We’ve just got to keep doing that every day. We’ve got to keep moving him forward and he’ll do that with his work ethic."
This is definitely good news for the second-year quarterback, and in fact in a recent article that I published, I am actually on record for saying that Pryor could surpass Matt Leinart as the team's No. 2 quarterback this preseason.
We'll just have to wait and see.
San Diego Chargers
LaDainian Tomlinson will sign a one-day contract with the San Diego Chargers to retire from the NFL.
After spending two seasons with the New York Jets, running back LaDainian Tomlinson decides to return back to a place where he once dominated to hang up his cleats forever.
Tomlinson played in 11 NFL seasons while finishing with a whopping 13,684 rushing yards and 145 touchdowns.
There's no debate that L.T. is one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game of football.
,this is bad news for John Skelton, as the team's head coach has gone on record for saying that he wants Kevin Kolb to be the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback.
Kolb had a very inconsistent first season with the Cards as he threw just nine touchdowns compared to eight interceptions in nine games in 2011. Kolb was simply not a winner as he posted a 3-6 record as the team's starter while his backup Skelton went 5-2.
Arizona definitely wants Kolb to be their starter, but we'll just have to wait and see if he can perform to the level that his head coach Ken Whisenhunt and the entire team thinks he can.
San Francisco 49ers
Randy Moss has been practicing like it was 1999 and he was back in his prime.
...Or that's at least what Vernon Davis has said. Davis told Trey Wingo of ESPN (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk);
Randy caught a pass the other day, I mean—man, come on. He caught a pass, there were three guys on him in practice, and he went up with two hands, and he looked like the old Randy Moss that I used to watch when I was in high school and college.
If Moss can find the fountain of youth in 2012, then he's going to be an incredible asset to the San Francisco 49ers offense—all Alex Smith will have to do is just throw the ball in his direction. That's how talented Randy Moss is.
This is definitely not good news for the Seattle Seahawks.
Chris Clemons was unexpectedly absent for minicamp and now has gone on record for saying that he will not sign an extension with the team in the 2013 offseason.
Clemons recorded 11 sacks in 2011 while playing in all 16 games and accumulating 51 tackles and three forced fumbles.
St. Louis Rams
I have been waiting for Rocky McIntosh to come off of the free-agent market, as I still believe that he can be a very productive linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
Why not a 3-4 defense? Simply because he struggled to make the transition into Mike Shanahan's 3-4 while with the Washington Redskins.
McIntosh played in 15 games this past season with the Redskins while recording a second-lowest career total of 65 tackles.