NFL Nation: Brett Romberg

Brent Grimes out for Falcons

January, 8, 2012
1/08/12
11:56
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes will miss Sunday’s playoff game with the New York Giants due to a knee injury.

Grimes had been listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis. But the team elected to make him inactive Sunday morning.

Dominique Franks will start in Grimes’ place and Christopher Owens will be the third cornerback.

Starting linebacker Stephen Nicholas also will miss the game. That was expected because Nicholas was listed as doubtful with a toe injury and did not practice at all during the week. Spencer Adkins will start in his place.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback John Parker Wilson, center Brett Romberg, offensive lineman Kirk Chambers, receiver Kerry Meier and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Grimes, Nicholas out for Falcons

January, 1, 2012
1/01/12
2:54
PM ET
ATLANTA -- The Falcons will be without injured cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Both players have been declared inactive. Dominique Franks is expected to start in Grimes’ place. Spencer Adkins likely will start in Nicholas’ spot.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback John Parker Wilson, center Brett Romberg, offensive lineman Kirk Chambers, receiver Kerry Meier and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Nicholas, Hayden out for Falcons

December, 26, 2011
12/26/11
7:16
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS — No big surprise here, but the Atlanta Falcons will be without two injured defenders in their “Monday Night Football’’ game with the New Orleans Saints.

Linebacker Stephen Nicholas (groin) and nickel back Kelvin Hayden have been declared inactive. Veteran Mike Peterson likely will start in Nicholas’ place. Dominique Franks likely will be Atlanta’s nickel back.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback John Parker Wilson, center Brett Romberg, tackle Kirk Chambers, receiver Kerry Meier and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

I’ll be back with the inactives for the Saints as soon as I get them.

Falcons sitting three defenders

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
11:51
AM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Atlanta Falcons will be without three key defensive players Sunday in their game against the Carolina Panthers.

Cornerbacks Brent Grimes (knee) and Kelvin Hayden (toe) are inactive. So is linebacker Stephen Nicholas (quadriceps). Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks will get playing time at cornerback along with Dunta Robinson.

Also inactive for the Falcons are quarterback John Parker Wilson, offensive linemen Brett Romberg and Kirk Chambers and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Inactives for the Falcons

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
3:09
PM ET
ATLANTA -- In addition to rookie receiver Julio Jones, who is sitting out with a hamstring injury, the Falcons have announced their other six inactives for Sunday’s game with Tennessee.

They are tackle Sam Baker, safety William Moore, cornerback Darrin Walls, center Brett Romberg, defensive tackle Carlton Powell and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Inactives for the Falcons

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
3:01
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. – Here are the inactives for the Atlanta Falcons and there’s a bit of a surprise.

Starting linebacker Stephen Nicholas is out with a calf injury. Veteran Mike Peterson likely will take his place. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden, cornerback Darrin Walls, center Brett Romberg, offensive lineman Mike Johnson, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and defensive end Cliff Matthews are inactive.

Center Todd McClure is active and expected to start after missing the first two games with a knee injury.

We’ll be back with the inactives for the Bucs in just a few minutes.

Also, a quick weather report. It’s been raining hard in Tampa for the last 30 minutes or so. The University of South Florida played a game here Saturday night, so it could be interesting to see how the field holds up. Also, there's been some lightning in the area. If that continues, a delayed start is possible.

Atlanta Falcons cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
5:49
PM ET
Check here for a complete list of the Atlanta Falcons’ roster moves.

Surprise move: The Falcons waived quarterback John Parker Wilson, meaning they’ll go with only starter Matt Ryan and backup Chris Redman. There’s been talk that more teams will carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster because teams don’t have to declare an inactive third quarterback anymore.

Wilson could end up back on the practice squad, but this move shows the Falcons aren’t all that high on him. They might be better off looking for a developmental prospect to put on the practice squad. Ryan’s secure as the starter for a long time, but Redman is nothing more than a career backup. It might be time for the Falcons to start developing a new backup.

No-brainers: At the start of camp, there was some uncertainty that seventh-round draft pick Cliff Matthews would stick because the team was deep at defensive end and there was a lot of uncertainty that undrafted cornerback Darrin Walls would have a shot at a roster spot. Both made it. But those moves don’t really come as surprises because Matthews and Davis were excellent in camp and the preseason. They probably won’t get a lot of playing time right away, but Matthews has the potential to challenge Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury for a spot in the rotation eventually. Walls might get a shot on special teams right off the bat, but the team must think he has upside as a cornerback. The Falcons still aren’t sure about Chris Owens and Dominique Franks in the long term and that’s probably why the decision was made to keep Walls.

What’s next: The team already reinforced the secondary by signing cornerback Kelvin Hayden and safety James Sanders. There’s really not much more work to be done. Perhaps the most encouraging sign was that the team released center Brett Romberg. That might be a sign that the injury to veteran starter Todd McClure isn’t that serious. The team already has said McClure would miss the season opener, and second-year pro Joe Hawley is expected to start in his place. The Falcons also have Rob Bruggeman as a backup, but they wouldn’t have let Romberg go if McClure’s injury were going to keep him out for a long period.

Falcons make roster moves

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
5:17
PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons were the first NFC South team to officially announce their roster moves to get down to 53 players.

They released center Brett Romberg and waived safety Rafael Bush, wide receiver Kevin Cone, wide receiver Drew Davis, guard Andrew Jackson, linebacker Robert James, defense end Emmanuel Stephens, tackle Jose Valdez and quarterback John Parker Wilson. The Falcons reached an injury settlement with tight end Ryan Winterswyk.

I’ll be back in a bit with an analysis of Atlanta’s roster.
Some around here thought John Greco was more than ready to assume a starting role on the St. Louis Rams' offensive line.

"John Greco is much better than anyone realizes and will be a starting-caliber guard if they give him a chance," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said during a May discussion. "They should be excited about him. He doesn't have a discernible trait where he is a real masher or a wonderful technician or a great athlete, but he is good at all of the above and he really has a nasty streak to him. He is somebody to keep an eye on."

I don't think the Rams saw that nasty streak.

After landing Harvey Dahl in free agency and finding a way to keep Jacob Bell amid salary concerns, the team traded Greco to the Cleveland Browns. Adam Goldberg, the starting right guard in 2010, could still return in a backup role. But with Dahl in and Greco out, the line has undergone a massive overhaul since Steve Spagnuolo's arrival as head coach for the 2009 season.

Orlando Pace, Goldberg, Brett Romberg, Greco and Alex Barron were the starters in the final game before Spagnuolo's hiring. Cory Withrow and Roy Schuening were backups in that game. Bell, Richie Incognito and Anthony Davis were listed among inactive players. Bell is the only one of those 10 players still with the team.

The projected starting five this season -- Rodger Saffold, Bell, Jason Brown, Dahl and Jason Smith -- each started all 16 regular-season games last season (Dahl was with Atlanta).

Atlanta Falcons cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
2:55
PM ET
Check here for a full list of Atlanta ’s roster moves.

Biggest surprise: There really are no major surprises here. But cornerback Chevis Jackson is a guy that once was viewed as having a lot of potential, and he’s fallen by the wayside. Consider that a sign of how much the Falcons think they’ve upgraded their cornerback group by drafting cornerback Christopher Owens last year and Dominique Franks this year, and the signing of free-agent Dunta Robinson. Jackson also had some special-teams ability, but Franks can fill that role. Jackson still has practice-squad eligibility, but there’s a decent chance he might get picked up by another team.

No-brainer: The release of center Brett Romberg comes as no surprise. His days were numbered as soon as the Falcons drafted Mike Johnson and Joe Hawley. Those two might not play immediately, but they’re versatile and the Falcons have a bunch of offensive linemen that could become free agents next year. Romberg was a veteran with no upside. Johnson and Hawley can start off as backups, but they’ll eventually be starters.

What’s next: There really is not much left to do with this roster. The Falcons are pretty healthy and have no glaring holes. Adding a receiver that comes free from another team might be a possibility. The Falcons also are carrying only one fullback -- Ovie Mughelli. He’s pretty durable and tailback Jason Snelling also can play that spot. But Atlanta also could look for an extra fullback.

Falcons: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
7:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


Biggest surprise: Wide receiver Eric Weems seemed to have no chance to make the roster at the start of camp. But this former practice-squad player made the most of every chance he got. When Harry Douglas went down early in camp with a knee injury, the Falcons were scrambling for depth at wide receiver while Roddy White was going through a contract holdout. The Falcons brought in veteran Marty Booker and he’s made the team. Booker and Brian Finneran give the Falcons experience behind White and Michael Jenkins. But Weems gives them some young legs and some potential as a return man.

No-brainer: Quarterback D.J. Shockley might have been a local hero, but that didn’t help him when it came to make a decision on his future. Shockley got hopes up with a good performance in the offseason program, but his progress stalled there. Shockley was hugely disappointing when he got playing time in the preseason. That’s why the Falcons elected to go with undrafted rookie John Parker Wilson behind Matt Ryan and Chris Redman.

What’s next: Atlanta has a solid starting offensive line, but the depth is still a bit shaky with Brett Romberg, Will Svitek and Quinn Ojinnaka as the only backup linemen on the roster. The Falcons could look to add one more veteran to give them some flexibility. Even after trading for cornerback Tye Hill earlier this week, the Falcons still could look to upgrade their secondary.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Arizona Cardinals

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Camp battles: AFC | NFC

Schedule: Training camp dates
Training camp site: Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Ariz.)

Campfires: Coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't afraid to make first-round draft choices earn their starting jobs. He benched Matt Leinart coming out of camp last season, then made talented rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wait until near midseason before becoming a full-time starter. The trend could continue this summer as rookie first-round choice Beanie Wells practices with the Cardinals for the first time.

Wells projects as the long-term replacement for Edgerrin James at running back, but Ohio State's late graduation prevented him from participating in minicamps and organized team activities. That means the adjustment period for Wells could take a little longer. Expect Tim Hightower to enter camp as the tentative starter.

Meanwhile, the situation at tight end remains a mystery. Arizona is carrying six tight ends on its roster, one behind the league high. Ben Patrick, the player coaches have tried to develop as a player versatile enough to help as a receiver and blocker, faces a four-game suspension to start the season. That could open the door for Anthony Becht, Leonard Pope or Stephen Spach to seize the starting job. I don't see a clear favorite, particularly with Patrick serving a suspension and Spach coming off knee surgery.

 
  Jeff Mills/Icon SMI
  Will Beanie Wells be able to avoid the injuries that plagued him in college?

Camp will be a downer if ... Wells doesn't immediately prove he can avoid the long list of injuries that affected him in college. Arizona needs a more dynamic runner to run its offense the way Whisenhunt and offensive line coach/running game coordinator Russ Grimm want to run it. Wells has the physical ability to provide that missing element. Can he stay on the field and will he fight through some of the ailments that await every running back in the NFL?

The preferred scenario would include Wells breaking a few long runs during the preseason, setting up the play-action passing game that worked so well for Arizona when the team showed more balance in the playoffs last season.

Camp will be a success if ... the reconfigured coaching staff takes control of the team and helps Arizona build on the momentum from its Super Bowl season.

Whisenhunt has stressed continuity during the first two years of his tenure. He kept the same five starters on the offensive line even though right guard Deuce Lutui had penalty problems and center Lyle Sendlein sometimes struggled while playing through a shoulder injury. While the approach worked, continuity wasn't an option for the coaching staff once the Chiefs hired offensive coordinator Todd Haley head coach.

Whisenhunt's decision to fire quarterbacks coach Jeff Rutledge and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast shook up the staff considerably more.

Warner will miss the rapport he enjoyed with Haley. The two appeared inseparable at times and the relationship seemed to benefit Warner on the field. Can the newly configured staff fill the void or otherwise find ways to keep Warner and the offense rolling?

Money men: Key players Karlos Dansby, Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett want lucrative long-term deals.

Franchise player rules will force Dansby to wait, and he should be content "settling" for a one-year franchise deal worth nearly $9.7 million. The volatile Dockett has also committed to letting his play do the talking, a good sign for the team.

While Boldin put aside his concerns to produce last season, his situation bears monitoring. Another year without a new contract probably equates to a higher frustration level. Boldin, generally the consummate pro, might have a harder time dealing with the situation -- particularly if the team fails to meet expectations.


San Francisco 49ers
Training camp site: 49ers headquarters (Santa Clara, Calif.)
 
  Kyle Terada/US Presswire
  Can Shaun Hill distinguish himself to claim the starting QB job?

Campfires: The 49ers have quite a few position battles for a team that finished strong and feels good about its chances for contending within the division.

The quarterback race will rightfully command the most attention. Coach Mike Singletary said the players will know whether Shaun Hill or Alex Smith should be the starter, at which point Singletary will merely affirm what they know. That means Smith's status as the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2005 will not afford him any advantage in the competition. Hill's 7-3 record as the 49ers' starter over the last two seasons gives him the edge.

On defense, Dashon Goldson would have to flop or suffer another injury for the older and less athletic Mark Roman to take back his job at free safety. Dre Bly has the edge over Tarell Brown at right corner. Kentwan Balmer, the 49ers' first-round choice in 2008, could push for a starting job at left defensive end.

Camp will be a downer if ... both quarterbacks flounder and veteran Damon Huard appears to be the best option. Unlikely? Perhaps. But the scenario isn't as laughable as it should be. Neither Hill nor Smith distinguished himself during the competition a year ago. Even if Mike Martz was playing favorites when he installed J.T. O'Sullivan as the starter, the fact remains that O'Sullivan enjoyed the strongest preseason of the three.

The new offensive system should better suit Hill in particular, and the 49ers have declared this quarterback race a two-man affair, ruling out Huard as a contender. Still, after years of backing up Trent Green, Tom Brady and Dan Marino, Huard wound up starting three of the first five games in Kansas City last season when the unaccomplished Brodie Croyle and Tyler Thigpen were his primary competitors.

Camp will be a success if ... Hill validates his 7-3 record as the 49ers' starter, right tackle Marvel Smith makes it through training camp healthy and the push toward a full-time 3-4 defense validates Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson as promising pass-rushers.

Hitting on all three of those might be asking a bit much, but getting two of them right might be enough, particularly if the 49ers feel good about the quarterback situation.

On the receiving end: It's a little surprising to see the 49ers emerge with their deepest group of receivers in years after committing to Singletary's smashmouth approach. The change to Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was all about making smarter use of the players general manager Scot McCloughan and former coach Mike Nolan had acquired in recent years.

That meant -- and still means -- forging an identity in the ground game. Yet, while receivers Michael Crabtree, Isaac Bruce, Brandon Jones and Josh Morgan will not be battling Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin for Pro Bowl berths this season, they do give the 49ers better potential than they've enjoyed recently.

Singletary's smashmouth roots should not and likely will not dissuade the 49ers from making frequent use of those receivers.


Seattle Seahawks

 
  Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US Presswire
  The Seahawks must get Matt Hasselbeck through training camp unscathed.

Training camp site: Seahawks headquarters (Renton, Wash.)

Campfires: The Seahawks weren't going to pretend that first-round choice Aaron Curry would have to prove himself in camp to earn a starting job. They put the fourth overall choice in the lineup from the beginning. No suspense there.

Most positions in Seattle appear settled. The situation at receiver should produce intrigue with Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and rookie burner Deon Butler fighting to get on the field with T.J. Houshmandzadeh and tight end John Carlson. Injuries will probably help sort out the situation. Burleson is returning from ACL surgery. Branch is entering his first full season since undergoing his own ACL procedure.

Don't be surprised if rookie second-round choice Max Unger pushes for playing time somewhere in the interior of the offensive line. He projects as the long-term starter at center if Chris Spencer plays out his contract and leaves following this season.
If Spencer holds the job, Unger figures to find his way onto the field in one of the guard spots, perhaps this year.

Camp will be a downer if  ... quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's back injury flares up at any point along the way. Hasselbeck and the Seahawks say the quarterback has long since overcome the problems that helped limit him to seven starts last season. They didn't know the extent of the problem a year ago when they assured fans that Hasselbeck would be fine for the regular season. The issue is under control now, they say, but the very nature of back injuries should raise at least some concern heading into a pivotal season for the organization. 

Camp will be a success if ... Hasselbeck, left tackle Walter Jones and defensive end Patrick Kerney put to rest concerns about their long-term health. Beyond the obvious injury storylines, this camp becomes a success for Seattle if Curry validates coach Jim Mora's opinion that the linebacker's pass-rushing abilities are indeed far stronger than anticipated on draft day.

Seattle badly needs to restore its pass rush to better compete against the Cardinals' passing game in a broader effort to overtake Arizona in the division. Kerney is the key, but the Seahawks are also counting on pressure from other sources: Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, Lawrence Jackson, Darryl Tapp and possibly Leroy Hill. Significant pass-rush help from Curry would offset Julian Peterson's departure while making it easier for the Seahawks to justify having drafted a linebacker fourth overall.

Learning curve: By all accounts, the two years Mora spent in the background watching Mike Holmgren operate should leave him better prepared to handle his second head-coaching job. The way Holmgren handled everything from players to the media differed quite a bit from the more freewheeling approach Mora displayed with the Falcons.

Lessons learned? Yes, but it will be interesting to see how the Seahawks' leadership -- operating without Holmgren for the first time since 1998 -- will respond under pressure if things go wrong early.


St. Louis Rams
Training camp site: Rams Park (Earth City, Mo.)

 
  G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
  Will Marc Bulger be able to regain his old form behind a revamped offensive line?

Campfires: The Rams need to figure out what they have at receiver, linebacker and left cornerback after overhauling their roster.

Torry Holt, Orlando Pace, Drew Bennett, Trent Green, Anthony Becht, Corey Chavous, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Brian Leonard, Gary Stills, Jason Craft, Ricky Manning, Fakhir Brown, La'Roi Glover, Dane Looker, Travis Minor, Dante Hall, Nick Leckey and Brett Romberg were among the former starters and role players cast aside in the makeover.

None was irreplaceable. Getting rid of them was the easy part. Identifying and developing adequate replacements will take time.

Camp will be a downer if ... top draft choices Jason Smith and James Laurinaitis aren't ready to contribute right away. Coach Steve Spagnuolo has taken it slowly with both rookies, but he likely will not have that luxury once the regular season gets going. Smith and Laurinaitis probably must play and play well for the Rams to avoid trouble.

Laurinaitis' development is critical because the Rams appear so thin at linebacker after releasing Tinoisamoa. Even if Laurinaitis plays well, the Rams' depth at linebacker could betray them. 

Camp will be a success if ... quarterback Marc Bulger finds comfort behind an upgraded offensive line. Bulger can be a highly accurate passer when opposing defensive linemen aren't pounding the confidence out of him. The player who topped 4,300 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions three years ago hasn't resembled even remotely the scared soul seen under center for the Rams too often over the last two seasons.

The Rams' should start to regain some swagger on the line with 320-pounder Jason Brown taking over at center and the personably intense Smith at tackle. Right guard Richie Incognito won't be the only starter with some snarl, in other words. That should help provide improved protection for Bulger and leadership for the offense.

Fantasy spin: Running back Steven Jackson should not hurt for opportunities now that the Rams have landed a 320-pound center (Brown, free agent from the Ravens) and a 258-pound fullback (Mike Karney, late of the Saints). The Rams will try to develop their young receivers, but rarely should any of them represent a more formidable option than Jackson. And if he gets some luck with injuries, look out.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Tracking free-agent visits can become a part-time job during the initial rush of free agency. Now that things have settled, I've put together an unofficial list showing where NFC West free agents have visited and which players the division's teams have visited with.

These visits fall into four basic categories:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Another NFL team has signed one of the Rams' unrestricted free agents for the first time since the current signing period opened Feb. 27.

Center Brett Romberg, whose prospects in St. Louis dimmed even before the team signed Jason Brown from the Ravens, has reached an agreement with the Falcons.

The Rams still have a league-high 15 unrestricted free agents without contracts for 2009. No other team has more than 12 (Seattle). Romberg was a part-time starter for the Rams last season. He appeared best suited to a utility backup role.

Falcons add Romberg

March, 9, 2009
3/09/09
4:42
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Romberg
The Falcons signed free-agent center Brett Romberg on Monday.

This is one of a very few moves the Falcons have made so far and it's probably not going to have a big impact on a starting offensive line that remains intact. But adding Romberg, a five-year veteran adds some solid depth and versatility to a unit that lost some crucial experience when veteran Todd Weiner retired after last season.

Romberg played for the Rams the last three seasons and started six games in 2008. Prior to joining the Rams in 2006, Romberg played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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