NFL Nation: Hiram Eugene

AFC West labor impact

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
6:48
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NFC labor impact: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A team-by-team look at how a continued labor impasse and extended NFL freeze on transactions would affect the division:

Denver Broncos: A long labor impasse would stunt the development of second-year quarterback Tim Tebow. Like all young quarterbacks, Tebow needs time in the offseason to work with his coaches, study the playbook and work with teammates in the system. If Tebow missed an entire offseason, he would have a difficult time catching up once training camp starts, seriously damaging his chances to be the opening day starter.

New Denver coach John Fox is not going to be comfortable going with Tebow as his starting quarterback unless he gets ample time to see him perform in the offseason. If the impasse extends well into the summer, Denver may be forced to take a look at Kyle Orton instead of trading him. If there is a quick resolution before the draft, Denver could be tempted to move Orton.

Kansas City Chiefs: The biggest key in Kansas City is Matt Cassel’s continued development. He flourished in 2010 under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. However, Weis is now at the University of Florida. Cassel struggled in the two games after it was disclosed that Weis was leaving.

Kansas City promoted offensive line coach Bill Muir to offensive coordinator. But in addition to head coach Todd Haley, Cassel will work closely with new quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, a former NFL quarterback and head coach. He has a strong reputation for working with quarterbacks.

Cassel and Zorn need time to work together. The two won’t be able to communicate during the labor impasse. It will be troublesome for the two to miss months of study time. This would put Cassel behind. He’d have to cram to learn Zorn’s ways. That could hurt the entire offense.

Oakland Raiders: A lengthy labor impasse would keep Oakland from knowing exactly what this team will look like. The Raiders have locked up defensive players Richard Seymour, Stanford Routt, Kamerion Wimbley and John Henderson in addition to special-teams player Rock Cartwright. They also have re-signed reserves Kyle Boller, Hiram Eugene and Daniel Loper. But Oakland still has many free agents to deal with, including star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, tight end Zach Miller, safety Michael Huff, running back Michael Bush and guard Robert Gallery. Gallery said he is not planning to return to Oakland. Oakland gave tenders to Bush and Miller, but they could end up being unrestricted free agents in a new CBA.

The Raiders have created some risk for themselves with their aggressive strategy of re-signing free agents. If there is a salary cap in the new CBA, they don't know how high or low it will be. So it's possible they have have painted themselves into a corner by giving out too many contracts.

Also, if the draft occurs before the impasse is resolved, the Raiders will have to make some tough decisions, based on the uncertainty of their remaining free-agent class.

San Diego Chargers: Like Oakland, San Diego has a lot of free-agent uncertainty. The Chargers didn’t enter the offseason with as many high-profile free agents as Oakland, but they have key players to deal with. Unlike Oakland, though, the Chargers haven’t been aggressive with their free agents during this uncertain time. The only way San Diego addressed free agency was by giving receiver Vincent Jackson the franchise tag. Keeping Jackson is key.

There are other issues. San Diego needs to figure out what to do with safety Eric Weddle and receiver Malcom Floyd . They put restricted free-agent tenders on them, but there is a chance they could be unrestricted free agents in a new CBA. They are two key players.

The Chargers have a good roster, but it does need to be enhanced. A long impasse will keep the Chargers from fully knowing exactly what their roster will look like. That could create some anxiety for a team that thinks it can make a Super Bowl push with the right moves. However, adding former defensive player of the year Bob Sanders was a sign that when free agency does begin, this team could be active on the open market, which hasn't been the case in recent years.

Special teams kills San Diego again

October, 10, 2010
10/10/10
4:47
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OAKLAND -- Once again, the San Diego Chargers' special teams are killing them.

Oakland jumped out to a 12-0 lead with more than 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter because of two blocked punts.

Yes, two blocked punts in two possessions.

The first blocked punt went out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Then, after San Diego’s second possession, Oakland’s Hiram Eugene returned the block for a touchdown.

San Diego entered the game allowing three returns for touchdowns in its two losses. It allowed a punt blocked earlier in the season.

The Chargers entered Sunday’s game with the No. 1-ranked offense and No. 2-ranked defense in the NFL, but special-teams mistakes are bringing this team down.

Rams won't have to worry about Seymour

September, 19, 2010
9/19/10
3:03
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The St. Louis Rams might be catching a break in Week 2.

Starters Robert Gallery, Michael Bush and Richard Seymour will not play for the Oakland Raiders. Gallery's absence weakens an already suspect offensive line. Bush, who would share time with Darren McFadden, remains sidelined. Seymour is the most established player on the Raiders' defensive line.

The Rams will be without starting defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who did not make the trip after experiencing migraine headaches.

Inactive for Oakland: Walter McFadden, Hiram Eugene, Travis Goethel, Chaz Schilens, Seymour, Gallery and Bush. Former Rams backup Kyle Boller is the third quarterback.

The Rams released third quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to help them juggle injury issues in the secondary. Cornerbacks Justin King and Kevin Dockery are inactive, as are Fendi Onobun, Chris Chamberlain, Brandon Gibson, John Greco, Michael Hoomanawanui and Ryan.

AFC West: Free-agency primer

March, 3, 2010
3/03/10
6:19
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Denver

Potential unrestricted free agents: P Mitch Berger, S Vernon Fox, T Brandon Gorin, Nick Greisen, G Ben Hamilton, G Russ Hochstein, DE Vonnie Holliday, CB Ty Law, WR Brandon Lloyd

Potential restricted free agents: LB Elvis Dumervil, OL Chris Kuper, WR Brandon Marshall, QB Kyle Orton, TE Tony Scheffler, DT Le Kevin Smith

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Broncos’ restricted class is talented. That will be the focus. It has been reported that Marshall, Orton, Dumervil, Scheffler and Kuper will all get one-year tenders. Marshall very well could be traded. It wouldn’t be a shock if Dumervil gets some action on the restricted market. Miami could be interested.

Kansas City

Potential unrestricted free agents: OL Andy Alleman, S Mike Brown, WR Chris Chambers, WR Terrance Copper, TE Sean Ryan, C Wade Smith, LB Mike Vrabel, WR Bobby Wade

Potential restricted free agents: RB Jackie Battle, QB Brodie Croyle, LB Derrick Johnson, LB Corey Mays, OL Ikechuku Ndukwe, OL Rudy Niswanger, OL Ryan O'Callaghan, S Jarrad Page

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Chiefs are interested in keeping some of their unrestricted free agents. General manager Scott Pioli said at the combine the team has been in contact with several of their free agents. Chambers is the focus. The team is trying to keep him. Brown and Vrabel could also return with new deals.

Oakland

Potential unrestricted free agents: S Hiram Eugene, G Cornell Green, T Langston Walker, LB Sam Williams

Potential restricted free agents: LB Jon Alston, OL Khalif Barnes, LB Ricky Brown, LB Jon Condo, QB Charlie Frye, QB Bruce Gradkowski, LB Thomas Howard, RB Luke Lawton, OL Chris Morris, LB Kirk Morrison, CB Stanford Routt, RB Gary Russell

Franchise player: DE Richard Seymour.

What to expect: The Raiders franchised Seymour and signed kicker Sebastian Janikowski to a record deal, so they’ve already been busy. It will be interesting to see how they tender Howard and Morrison. The Raiders could use some new life at linebacker and this could be the start of it.

San Diego

Potential unrestricted free agents: DT Alfonso Boone, TE Brandon Manumaleuna, C Dennis Norman, WR Kassim Osgood. T Jon Runyan, DT Ian Scott, TE Kris Wilson

Potential restricted free agents: OL Jeromey Clary, LB Tim Dobbins, WR Malcom Floyd, DT Antonio Garay, OL Eric Ghiaciuc, LB Marques Harris, WR Vincent Jackson, DT Travis Johnson, OL Marcus McNeill, LB Shawne Merriman, RB Darren Sproles, QB Charlie Whitehurst

Franchise player: None

What to expect: The Chargers have their hands full. It’s been reported they will give high tenders to Jackson, Merriman, McNeill and Floyd. Jackson and McNeill could still attract some interest on the restricted market. Sproles is not expected to be tendered, making him a free agent. The Chargers want him back. But if Sproles hits the open market, the multifaceted weapon could be scooped up quickly.

Free agency: AFC West

February, 15, 2010
2/15/10
1:00
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AFC Free Agency: East | West | North | South NFC: East | West | North | South

An early look at the free-agent situation in the AFC West.

Note: These projected lists reflect notable unrestricted free agents for each team. The NFL will not issue an official list of free agents until the signing period begins March 5.

[+] EnlargeChris Chambers
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelKansas City wide receiver Chris Chambers had 608 yards on 36 receptions after being acquired off waivers in November.
Denver Broncos

Unrestricted free agents: P Mitch Berger, S Vernon Fox, T Brandon Gorin, Nick Greisen, G Ben Hamilton, G Russ Hochstein, DE Vonnie Holliday, CB Ty Law, WR Brandon Lloyd.

Key figures: There isn’t much here. The team could bring back Hochstein, Holliday and Law, but they are all complementary pieces. It’s all about the restricted free-agent class in Denver. The Broncos have to figure out what they are going to do with receiver Brandon Marshall, defensive end Elvis Dumervil, quarterback Kyle Orton and tight end Tony Scheffler.

Kansas City Chiefs

Unrestricted free agents: S Mike Brown, WR Chris Chambers, WR Terrance Copper, TE Sean Ryan, C Wade Smith, LB Mike Vrabel, WR Bobby Wade,

Key figures: Chambers will be Kansas City's priority. He gave the Chiefs’ offense a big spark after he was claimed off waivers in November. The team’s brass really likes what Brown and Vrabel bring to the team and both could be back in Kansas City at the right price. Wade also could be brought back.

Oakland Raiders

Unrestricted free agents: Hiram Eugene, G Cornell Green, K Sebastian Janikowski, DE Richard Seymour, T Langston Walker, LB Sam Williams

Key figures: It’s all about Seymour and Janikowski. The Raiders are trying to get long-term deals with both players done. If new deals aren’t struck, watch for Oakland to put the franchise and transition tags on them. Oakland will do anything it can not to lose either player.

San Diego Chargers

Unrestricted free agents: DT Alfonso Boone, TE Brandon Manumaleuna, C Dennis Norman, WR Kassim Osgood. T Jon Runyan, DT Ian Scott, TE Kris Wilson

Key figures: The team would like to bring back Osgood, one of the best special-teams players in the NFL. But Osgood wants a chance to be a receiver and the opportunity might not be in San Diego. The Chargers will spend most of their energy on their restricted class. The priorities are receiver Vincent Jackson, tackle Marcus McNeill, linebacker Shawne Merriman, running back Darren Sproles and receiver Malcom Floyd.

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