Archive for August, 2006

Thursday News – Camp Battles for Moore, Lay, Lee and Jemison

August 31, 2006

Just another quick series of notes found around the web about Panthers that are fighting for jobs in the last preseason games…

This is the first I’ve heard of Dave Moore being in a battle for a job with the Bucs:

The situation is similar at tight end. The Bucs likely will keep three players there, but whether the third is Mark Anelli, Tim Massaquoi or Dave Moore may have to do with their special teams skills.

All preseason it’s been pretty widely accepted that he would make the team because of his long-snapping skills. This note also seems to say that will be the determining factor. As he’s handled almost all of the long-snapping in the preseason, I really can’t see him not making the team.

Josh Lay is fighting for his job with the Saints tonight against Anwar Phillips. Hopefully he doesn’t get raped:

CORNERBACKS: One rookie likely will make the team behind veterans Mike McKenzie, Fred Thomas and Jason Craft. Right now, it looks like Anwar Phillips will win the job over Lay. The Saints will keep an eye on the waiver wire here, too.

Mike Jemison, who all of New York thought was cut on Monday, is now fighting for a practice squad spot with the Giants:

While the nine offensive line spots on the active roster are filled, several rookies including versatile Na’Shan Goddard, guard Matt Lentz and center Todd Londot will be competing for practice squad spots. The same is true for running backs James Sims and Mike Jemison unless Derrick Ward’s ankle injury lands him on injured reserve, opening up a roster spot.

In the on-going battle Andy Lee is in for his punting job, this note from sfgate.com’s 49er notebook:

Andy Lee hit the best punt of the day, a cloud-scraping 50-plus yarder. He’s in contention with Tom Rouen for the punting job

Curtis Martin, unable to perform physically

August 31, 2006

Curtis Martin

Just didn’t have time to get to this story yesterday…The Jets have officially placed Curtis Martin on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. This wasn’t unexpected, as it was pretty apparent through training camp that he wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season. He continued to state that was his goal, but everyone knew that was pretty much impossible.

There were a ton of articles around the web on this yesterday, so there’s really not much to report here that we haven’t already covered.

This is the basic breakdown of the PUP list for the uninformed, from Newsday.com:

Under NFL rules, Curtis Martin cannot participate in team practices or be activated until after Week 6. Then there is a 21-day window through Week 9, during which a decision can be reached about adding him to the roster. There is a similar 21-day window after Week 9. Translation: He can be activated between Week 6 and Week 12.

The surgery that led to Martin being held out of camp this year actually took place last December:

…he reported to training camp last month and was immediately put on the PUP list because he had not recovered from surgery on his right knee in December. That development did what tacklers couldn’t do for the past 11 seasons: shut down the dogged running back who has gained 14,101 yards.

“The hardest thing for me this year was not going out there the first day of camp. That was like a total perspective shift,” Martin said. “That’s never happened to me, but that prepared me in case I wasn’t able to go out for the first game. The way I work, I kind of deal with things initially and then I’m OK with them.”

Martin remains optimistic, and pretty much refuses to talk about retirement:

Martin, 33, refused to disclose details about his knee, as per Mangini’s team-wide policy of not discussing injuries, and he wouldn’t confirm reports that he has the dreaded bone-on-bone condition. He also refused to be pessimistic about his prospects of playing for the Jets again.

“You expect the best, and that’s the way I approach everything,” he said. “I’ve been confident a long time.”

Has he considered that his long career might be over?

“Retirement is one of those things. It happens when it happens,” Martin said. “My mind is just not there. What keeps me going more than anything is the commitment that I have to the team. I don’t know a plainer way to say that.”

We’re all hoping Martin somehow comes out of this and is able to get those 899 yards he needs to hit 15,000. If he does, he’s going to have to do it in a considerably shortened season on a pretty bad Jets team. If he really wants to play again, the best option might be to just take this year off and do whatever it is he needs to do to get the knee healthy for one more season. His team may be better next year, and he’d have a full season to run at the 15k mark.

New Wrap – Polite, Spencer, Goings

August 30, 2006

Just a couple short notes from around the web…

Lousaka Polite is Dallas‘ only fullback and he’s gotten some touches and good PT in the preseason, so it’s been widely assumed that he was a lock to make the team. This notebook type article is the first mention of “if” I’ve seen associated with Lou making the squad:

Parcells now views Lousaka Polite, who played fullback last year, as a utility player capable of 15-18 plays on offense and on special teams if he makes the final roster.

I assume that means Parcells doesn’t want to go with a real fullback. If I remember his other teams I don’t think he uses the FB much. Lousaka is considered one of the better young FB’s around the league, but a lot of temas don’t even use the FB anymore and very few carry more than one.

Charles Spencer will be one of the few starting linemen to play at all in the Texans‘ last preseason game Thursday, according to head coach Gary Kubiak:

Charles Spencer will definitely play, he’s a young kid and needs some time. He needs to get on the field, so he will definitely play.

Nick Goings was mentioned as one of Michael Smith’s reasons the Panthers are the deepest team in the NFL on ESPN.com:

With the selection of DeAngelo Williams in the first round, they shouldn’t find themselves shorthanded at running back again this year. Brad Hoover, Jamal Robertson and Nick Goings all have performed well subbing for starter DeShaun Foster.

Making the case for Andy Lee

August 30, 2006

To follow up on yesterday’s post, I found this article on realfootball365.com that is making the case for Andy Lee to stay as San Francisco‘s punter over veteran Tom Rouen.

The case isn’t made that Lee is the better punter, but that Lee is better for the 49ers in the long run:

…in the 49ers’ weekend loss to the Cowboys, Rouen outperformed Lee in a big way.

Rouen nailed three consecutive punts, controlling them inside the 20-yard line. His performance made Nolan take notice, leaving the coach with a difficult decision to make. Nolan must decide between a young, up-and-coming punter and a polished veteran that may not have much left in his leg beyond this season.

Even after Rouen’s performance, Lee should probably still be the 49ers’ punter. Although there is great value in Rouen’s ability to pin the opposition inside its 10-yard line, it’s fair to say that the 49ers are not a playoff contender this year. Keeping Rouen would mean cutting Lee, and Lee could still be around when the 49ers do become a winning team. Rouen likely won’t be.

He also makes the case that Lee has improved on a good season last year, and the future looks bright for the former Panther, no matter what team he ends up punting for:

The two punters were neck and neck, with Lee having significantly improved from his strong 2005 form.

Prior to Lee’s arrival, the 49ers struggled with finding a punter. The emergence of Lee has given the 49ers much needed stability at the position. Despite Rouen outperforming Lee in his ability to pin the opposition deep, the future of the team would most certainly be in better hands (make that feet) with Lee as the punter.

The competition has certainly brought out the best in both players, and hopefully Lee will be able to learn the art of controlling the ball inside the 10-yard line. In the meantime, although Rouen appears to be the better player now, the 49ers would be well-suited to make Lee their punter for the third consecutive year, and for years to come.

Hopefully Hitler (Head Coach Mike Nolan) sees it the same way. If not, Andy shouldn’t have much trouble finding work elsewhere in the NFL.

Jemison NOT cut from Giants, out for personal reasons

August 30, 2006

We reported here yesterday that Mike Jemison was cut by the New York Giants. Actually, New York papers assumed he was the last roster cut made, because he wasn’t at practice. Coach Tom Coughlin cleared that up yesterday:

Q: Mike Jemison wasn’t at practice yesterday.

A: He had something he had to do personally.

No word on what the personal issue was. NJ.com also had to make the correction today:

The Giants also officially cut 13 players from their roster, including QB Rob Johnson and TE Boo Williams. RB Mike Jemison, who was believed to have been cut when he was not at practice two days ago, was back. Coughlin said Jemison he had to attend to a personal matter on Monday.

Instead of Jemison, WR Harry Williams was waived.

This is obviously good for Jemison, hopefully he survives the next round as well and stays on as the Giants 3rd running back.

Petitti – swing tackle, trade bait or roster casualty?

August 30, 2006

PetittiThis could be one of the more confusing stories of the preseason regarding a Panther in the NFL. Rob Petitti has gone from the 16 game starter last season for the Dallas Cowboys to starting the preseason as the starting right tackle, to the backup at left tackle, to the swing tackle. According to different articles on the Cowboys’ official site today he could now be either the swing tackle, trade bait or just cut by the end of the week.

First, this article by Mickey Spagnola has Petitti as the swing tackle or trade bait:

At tackle he has Colombo or Fabini or Petitti, and now this McQuistan kid who he basically put on the roster here Tuesday during his media briefing.

Lastly, there are those five offensive tackles. This one is a hard call to make. Obviously Adams is one, and at the other end of the spectrum, McQuistan is two. After that, well, it’s the Tackle Tre, Colombo-Petitti-Fabini. Two would stay for sure, but three? Or might the Cowboys go looking for another?

“Based on the calls were getting on offensive linemen wanting some of ours,” Parcells said, “I’m not expecting too much to be out there.”

Wanting some of ours? Could someone want Marc Colombo, who has started the past two preseason games but has played little the past two years, or possibly Rob Petitti, who started 16 games last year but is working as the swing guy this year?

He is speaking of Bill Parcells there, who has been getting calls about multiple offensive linemen from other teams. This is suddenly an option for Rob, and it looks like if he does end up cut by Dallas he would have no problem finding another team.

Mercury News also has Parcells deciding whether or not to cut Petitti:

Marc Colombo appears to be the starter at right tackle and Flozell Adams at left tackle, when he’s healthy. Pat McQuistan is on the team, and Parcells isn’t sure whether he wants to cut Rob Petitti, an intelligent player who has physical limitations, or nine-year veteran Jason Fabini, who makes Parcells comfortable because he knows exactly what he’ll give him.

“I’m wrestling with that position,” Parcells said. “Wrestling with the numbers on the offensive line.”

Another article on the Cowboys’ official site has Petitti as the swing tackle for now. Parcells says that he only wants to dress three tackles for a game though, two starting and one “swing” tackle. Apparently he favors McQuistain to back up left tackle, but it doesn’t mention if he thinks that McQuistain can be a “swing tackle”:

The right tackle position isn’t exactly settled, either. In fact, Parcells has yet to announce a starter while Marc Colombo and Jason Fabini continue to battle for the job. Rob Petitti, who started all 16 games last season, began training camp as the first-team right tackle but moved to the left side, where his playing time has been limited in the first three preseason games.

All along, Parcells has suggested Petitti could be used as the “swing tackle,” able to back up both sides. Monday, Parcells said Petitti is working in that role and called it a good thing.

Parcells said he only expects to dress three offensive tackles in a regular-season game and since he hasn’t seen McQuistan play the right side, it’s unlikely the rookie would be active for a game, especially early in the season.

But on Tuesday, the coach was singing a slightly different tune, stating that McQuistan might have a chance now to back up Adams.

BUT Petitti isn’t really battling McQuistain, who Parcells said will be on the roster:

Parcells solidified his spot on the 53-man roster on Monday, stating other teams “would be on him like panthers” if the Cowboys waived him with hopes of re-signing him to the practice squad.

“Don’t worry, he’s staying,” Parcells said of McQuistan, who started last Saturday’s game at left tackle and is expected to start Thursday against an imposing Vikings defensive line. “He’s got that (defensive end) Erasmus James, so that’ll be a big test for him.”

So Petitti is battling Jason Fabini for the fourth tackle spot, which most likely won’t dress for most games this season. I’d have to think being traded or being released and catching on with another team would be best for Rob. It’s not that Parcell’s doesn’t like Petitti, it just seems he is enamored with McQuistain, a guy he drafted (See Kevan Barlow-Frank Gore-Mike Nolan), and coaches love to get guys they drafted to work in their systems.

Like I said…confusing. Will be interesting watching this one play out in the next week.

Andy Lee still battling for his job

August 29, 2006

Andy LeeFormer Panther punter Andy Lee has been in a battle all of training camp for his job as the 49ers punter. Even though they brought in veteran Tom Rouen to compete for the job, it was always Andy’s job to lose. Nothing has been done to lose the job, but Rouen may have changed the terms of battle on Saturday when he placed all three of his punts inside the 20, and Lee put neither of his attempts there.

InsideBayArea.com has a feature article on Rouen and his competition with Lee today:

Trent Dilfer was walking through the 49ers locker room Monday when he saw a crowd of reporters surrounding punter Tom Rouen.”Two words,” Dilfer called out to his former Seattle Seahawks teammate. “On fire.”

It was a perfect description of Rouen’s three-punt performance two nights earlier in Dallas.

On Rouen’s first punt, the Cowboys’ Skyler Green fielded the ball at the 4-yard line and was immediately tackled by Taylor Jacobs. On the second, the ball landed at the 2 and bounced out of bounds. Rouen’s third punt was downed at the 4 by Maurice Hicks.

Rouen’s night might have changed more than field position. It might have swung the pendulum for the 14-year veteran in his competition for the punting job with third-year incumbent Andy Lee, who punted the ball out of the end zone from the Cowboys’ 37 on Saturday.

Of Rouen’s performance, Lee said, “I can’t worry about that. I can’t focus on that.”

Rouen, 38, was released in June by the Seahawks, who were looking to get younger. The 49ers signed him to provide a challenge to Lee, and indeed, this is the most serious threat Lee has faced since he arrived with the 49ers as a sixth-round draft choice in 2004.

Last year, Lee had a 36.3-yard net average, with 15 of his 107 attempts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Rouen punted 61 times for the Seahawks, with a 35.0 net average and 20 inside the 20.

Lee said, “I am the one who is going to win this job for myself or lose this job for myself. I can’t worry about what he’s doing.”

An AP article added coach Mike Nolan’s (Hail Hitler!) reaction to Rouen’s performance:

“I will just say it got my attention every time,” Nolan said of Rouen’s three impressive kicks in Dallas. “He did a nice job. It’s a pretty good competition going on. Andy is a better punter this year than he was last year. I think that has to do with the competition.”

This is a typical response from the Fuhrer, in his grand scheme to exterminate all Pitt players from his roster. He has already traded Kevan Barlow and torn Shawntae Spencer’s hamstring. After Lee is dealt with, only Antonio Bryant will stand in Nolan’s way.

All kidding aside, this has taken a turn for the worse, and Andy really needs to step it up on Friday in the preseason finale against San Diego. Let’s hope he gets the majority of the opportunities and does well with them.

First Cuts: Postell, Jemison and Ramon Walker released

August 29, 2006

The first cuts of the presason will be made official today, and three more Panthers are going to be camp casualties.  This brings the total cut in this round to four. We reported last week that Matt Morgan was released by Buffalo in anticipation of these cuts. We also reported yesterday that Malcom Postell was cut by the Steelers.

Two more are on the block today, these will be made official later in the day.

Mike Jemison will be cut by the Giants, per the Journal News and NJ.com:

The cut to 75 will be made official today, but it is believed running back Mike Jemison was added to the list of 13 others Tom Coughlin made Sunday.

The Giants did not announce their first cuts yesterday, but RB Mike Jemison was not at practice. He is likely the 14th player released in addition to a group of 13 players absent from Sunday’s practice

Ramon Walker was also release by the Texans according to The Houston Chronicle:

Receiver Derick Armstrong and safety Ramon Walker, two backup players with a combined seven years of experience with the Texans, were among the 13 players who were placed on waivers Monday.

Ramon Walker was a fifth-round pick in the Texans’ first draft.

Postell released by Steelers

August 28, 2006

Malcolm Postell was the first Panther casualty in the first round of cuts, as the Steelers released eight players Monday:

The Steelers released eight players today, as they reduced their roster to 75, according to the team’s Web site.

The Steelers released: fullback Doug Easlick, center/long snapper Kyle Andrews, linebacker Malcolm Postell, wide receiver Isaac West, safety Zach Baker, kicker Mark Brubaker, offensive tackle Nick Hagemann and offensive guard Grayling Love.

This wasn’t a surprise at all, given the Steelers depth at linebacker and the limited time Malcolm had gotten in the preseason. Hopefully he can catch on with another team’s practice squad.

Charles Spencer featured on HoustonTexans.com

August 28, 2006

Charles SpencerThe Texans official website has a feature article and some video of their new starting left tackle Charles Spencer. I don’t know how many times in the video/interview coach Gary Kubiak used the word “massive”, but he is definitely impressed with Spencer’s size and his speed at that massive size.

Here’s a link to the article and video, although you have to register for a free “insiders” account to view them. Takes a few seconds.

And some excerpts for those who aren’t on the inside with the Houston Texans:

Whatever he does, Spencer will do it with flare. The former University of Pittsburgh standout burst into the Texans training camp and made an immediate splash with the coaches. Coach Gary Kubiak especially likes Spencer’s aggressive attitude.

“Yeah, he’s pretty nasty,” Kubiak said. “I was teasing with him one day last week. I said, ‘I can watch you get into your stance, and I can tell when you are fixing to win, just by your attitude. I need you in that stance every snap.’

“I’ve told you guys (the media) that he has the ability to play in this league, and play very fast. The key is conditioning, and then mentally, catching up on what’s going on. It’s funny – lights just go on for some of these players when they’re young. You watch this kid every day, and he’s getting better. He’s massive, and he’s strong.

“It’s just a matter of when he’ll be able to do it down-in, down-out, and we’re working in that direction.”

Spencer admits this pro football hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been a lot different than I expected,” he said. “The NFL is a lot faster than college and it’s more physical. It’s definitely been hard.

“I would say adjusting to the heat has been the biggest thing for me. Coming from where I’m coming from, the heat has definitely been a factor. Every day I’m trying to get myself in shape.

“I think I’ve done pretty well, but I think there’s a lot of things I need help on. My footwork, my hand placement. Just the little things that count most for offensive linemen.”

Spencer played well in the Texans’ first preseason game against Kansas City, and started the second game at St. Louis. But he struggled more in the second game.

“I think we’re still searching,” Kubiak said. “I think we saw what we felt like was going to happen to Spencer. He did some good things, but he struggled getting off the ball. He was late off the ball in a foreign stadium like that, not in his comfort zone.

And of course Spencer is his own personal PR machine. This is the second or third article I’ve seen him put himself into the rookie of the year race:

“My ultimate goal is to get wins, to help the team win,” Spencer said with an easy smile. “But personal goals? Rookie of the Year, that’s my goal. It’s real tough and I’ve got some good competition even on this team in Mario Williams.”

No offensive lineman, or for that matter, no lineman, has ever won NFL Rookie of the Year, but Spencer is undaunted by the past.

“I just have to take care of business and play the best I can play,” he said. “That’s how offensive linemen get recognized, protecting the quarterback and getting the running back some yards.”