NFL Nation: Jarius Wynn

Rod Marinelli a difference-maker

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
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IRVING, Texas -- In Rod Marinelli, the Dallas Cowboys believe they have one of the best assistant coaches in the NFL.

He might be a pretty good recruiter, too.

The Cowboys' ability to land free-agent defensive tackle Henry Melton was a lot about the contract, a lot about Melton possibly wanting to play at home and a lot about Marinelli.

Marinelli
Melton
"I'm excited to come back home and work with Rod [Marinelli] and get back to my Pro Bowl form," Melton told ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins.

Melton developed into a Pro Bowl defensive tackle under Marinelli with the Chicago Bears from 2010-12. Melton had 15.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl after a six-sack season in 2012. He also had 71 tackles and nine tackles for loss with Marinelli as his mentor.

He might talk softly, but Marinelli has a way of forging relationships with defensive linemen. He did it with Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did it with Melton and Julius Peppers with the Bears. He did it with Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys were forced to use 20 defensive linemen in 2013 and were one game away from making the playoffs. Marinelli was able to make it work to a certain degree with guys such as George Selvie, Nick Hayden, Jarius Wynn, Corvey Irvin and Frank Kearse.

He never had Jay Ratliff or Tyrone Crawford. He had Anthony Spencer for 34 snaps in one game. He was without Ware for three games and Hatcher for one.

Melton becomes the third defensive linemen to join the Cowboys as a free agent. Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain signed with the Cowboys last week.

Mincey was unable to meet face to face with Marinelli because of the coach’s schedule, but they were able to talk on the phone. Mincey was coached with the Jacksonville Jaguars by Joe Cullen, who coached under Marinelli with the Detroit Lions.

"Genuine and a believer," Mincey said last week. "He believes in what I believe: going out there and giving your all and trusting the process and seeing what happens. You never know what’s going to happen, especially with a bunch of guys who are hungry, who are dedicated and motivated for a larger purpose."

The job is not over. The Cowboys concluded a visit with Jared Allen on Tuesday, and the veteran could be the next one added to the Marinelli mix.

Free-agency primer: Cowboys

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
11:00
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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer, Brian Waters, Danny McCray, Ernie Sims, Jarius Wynn

Where they stand: After finishing with the worst-ranked defense in the NFL in 2013, the Cowboys need help everywhere, but mostly on the defensive line. The need could be even greater if the Cowboys are unable to come up with a new deal for DeMarcus Ware, who is set to make $12.25 million in 2014 and count $16.003 million against the cap. Coming off an 11-sack season, Hatcher is likely to command more money from another team that will make it unlikely for the Cowboys to match, but they will not close the door on keeping him. Spencer is rehabbing from knee surgery and could be had on a short-term deal that will not involve a lot of money. The rest of their free agents are more fill-in types who will be allowed to test the market if not allowed to leave altogether.

What to expect: Not much. Last year the Cowboys added safety Will Allen and linebacker Justin Durant in free agency on short-term, low-money deals. The approach will be more that way than setting the market on a player as they did in 2012 for cornerback Brandon Carr (five years, $50 million). Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys can be "efficient" spenders in free agency. The Cowboys will have to create space under the cap to sign players to modest deals. The best bet is for them to look for low-cost help on players on the line looking to rebound from down years or injuries. They also could look at safety, though Jerry Jones said at the NFL scouting combine that they liked their young safeties such as J.J. Wilcox. Whatever money the Cowboys do have is more likely to be set aside for Tyron Smith and/or Dez Bryant.

2014 Cowboys free agents: Jarius Wynn

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
1:00
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Jarius Wynn
Position: Defensive end
Type: Unrestricted
2013 salary: $715,000

Summary: He was signed on Oct. 15 and played Oct. 20 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He started one game – at defensive tackle – and finished the season with 12 tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and six pressures. He started the year with the San Diego Chargers, making three tackles and a sack in five games.

Why keep him: Depth, depth and more depth. Wynn wasn’t bad as a rotation player and he offered some position flexibility by being able to move inside if needed. While that is not his strong suit, he can get a defense through a game. His six pressures tied for sixth on the defense.

Why let him go: Not to be cavalier about a position that held the Cowboys back in 2013, but they can do better. Perhaps Ben Bass, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, can provide the depth they want from their defensive linemen and have more pass-rush ability. Plus, the Cowboys figure to address the position in the draft as well.

Best guess: He will be allowed to look around and if the Cowboys find themselves in a pinch later in free agency, they can give him a call.

Super XLV: Where are they now?

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
6:30
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Exactly three years ago -- on Feb. 6, 2011 -- the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV.

Since then, much has happened to the 53 players who were on the roster for that 31-25 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arlington, Texas.

Free agency, injuries, retirement and declining performance cause roster turnover.

Still, it’s eye-opening that from the group that suited up for the Packers’ last championship, only 12 players (just 22.6 percent) remain under contract with the team for 2014. Another 11 are still officially members of the Packers, but have contracts that expire next month. There are 13 players with other NFL teams, and 17 are out of football -- perhaps for good.

Here’s a look at the status of every player who was on the active roster three years ago today at Super Bowl XLV:

Under contract for 2014

  • [+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
    Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesThree years after being named MVP of Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers is still leading the Packers.
    QB Aaron Rodgers: Threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on the way to winning the Super Bowl XLV MVP, then won the NFL MVP award the next season. Signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension last April.
  • G Josh Sitton: Started Super Bowl XLV at right guard, but moved to left guard in 2013 and was a second-team, All-Pro selection. Signed a five-year contract extension on Sept. 2, 2011 that averages $6.75 million per season.
  • T Bryan Bulaga: Started at right tackle, but moved to left tackle last offseason. A training camp knee injury ended his 2013 season, and he now enters the final year of his rookie contract.
  • G: T.J. Lang: Served as a backup, but became the starting left guard the next season. Signed a four-year contract extension on Aug. 14, 2012 that averages $5.2 million per season. Moved to right guard last season.
  • WR Jordy Nelson: Caught nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and went on to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of the next three years. Entering the final year of his contract in 2014.
  • OLB Clay Matthews: Forced a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that the Packers recovered and turned into a touchdown to pad the lead. Four-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension last April.
  • LB A.J. Hawk: Started and made seven tackles in the Super Bowl. Was released two months later, only to re-sign a more salary-cap friendly deal. Is under contract through 2015.
  • CB Tramon Williams: Broke up three passes in the Super Bowl, including the one that sealed the game on fourth-and-5 from the Steelers’ 33-yard line in the final minute. Entering the final year of his contract. Scheduled to make $7.5 million in 2014, and could be a candidate to be released or restructured despite a strong finish to last season.
  • K Mason Crosby: Made a 23-yard field goal in the game and signed a five-year, $14.75 million contract on July 29, 2011. Struggled in 2012, but bounced back last year to post his best season.
  • P Tim Masthay: Capped his first season with the Packers by averaging 40.5 yards and allowing the Steelers just 5 yards on punt returns in the game. Signed a four-year, $5.465 million contract extension on July 26, 2012.
  • LS Brett Goode: Has been the long snapper since 2008 and signed a three-year, $2.715 million contract extension on Oct. 13, 2012.
  • CB Jarrett Bush: Special teams player who was pressed into defensive duty in the game after injuries to Sam Shields and Charles Woodson, and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the second quarter. Signed a three-year, $5.25 million contract on March 26, 2012.
Headed for free agency next month

  • RB James Starks: Started the Super Bowl and rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries. Battled injuries most of his career, and might not be re-signed.
  • WR James Jones: Caught five passes for 50 yards in the game, and signed a three-year, $9.6 million contract on Aug. 2, 2011. Caught 59 passes for a career-high 817 yards in 2013, and could be a re-signed despite his age (will turn 30 next month).
  • DT Ryan Pickett: Started the game, made two tackles and was in on the play in which Matthews forced Rashard Mendehall's fourth-quarter fumble. Played in all 16 games last season with a base salary of $5.4 million, but might be at the age (34) where the Packers let him walk.
  • DT B.J. Raji: Capped a strong 2010 postseason with a pair of tackles in the game. Finished his rookie contract in 2013, and reportedly turned down an $8 million-per-year offer last season.
  • DE C.J. Wilson: Started the game, but played only 14 snaps. Biggest impact came the night before the game, when he kept things loose in the team hotel by playing piano and leading a team sign-along. Finished his rookie contract in 2013.
  • FB John Kuhn: Played on both offense and special teams in the game. Signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract on Aug. 1, 2011.
  • CB Sam Shields: Suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the game. Had his best season in 2013 while playing under the restricted free agent tender of $2.023 million. Will command a big contract either from the Packers or another team in free agency.
  • LB Robert Francois: Went back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster throughout the 2010 season, and played on special teams in the game. Played last season under a one-year, $725,000 deal, but tore his Achilles tendon on Oct. 6.
  • TE Andrew Quarless: Caught one pass for 5 yards in the game. Suffered a major knee injury the next season and missed all of 2012. Returned last season to catch 32 passes for 312 yards (both career highs) in the final year of his rookie deal.
  • QB Matt Flynn: Served as Rodgers’ backup but did not play in the Super Bowl. Left after the 2011 season as a free agent, and after stints with Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, he returned to the Packers last season for a one-year minimum deal and played in five games after Rodgers broke his collarbone.
  • C Evan Dietrich-Smith: Was inactive for the Super Bowl. Became a starter late in 2012 and for all of 2013, when he played under the restricted free agent tender of $1.323 million deal.
With other teams

  • [+] EnlargeMcCarthy
    Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCoach Mike McCarthy and the Packers have seen a lot of roster turnover since winning Super Bowl XLV.
    WR Greg Jennings: Started and became just the third player in team history to catch multiple touchdowns in a Super Bowl by recording touchdowns of 21 and 8 yards. Signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings last March.
  • G Daryn Colledge: Started at left guard, but left in free agency a few months later to sign a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Cardinals. Has started every game for the Cardinals since.
  • C Scott Wells: Started at center and remained with the Packers through the 2011 season before signing a four-year, $24 million contract with the Rams. Has missed 13 games over the past two seasons because of injuries.
  • LB Desmond Bishop: Became a starter earlier in 2010 after Nick Barnett's wrist injury and made nine tackles in the Super Bowl. Also recovered the fumble that Matthews forced. Signed a four-year, $19 million contract in 2011, but was released after missing the entire 2012 season because of a hamstring injury. Signed with the Vikings last offseason, but appeared in only four games.
  • OLB Frank Zombo: Started the game and had the Packers’ only sack of Roethlisberger but battled injuries the next two years and was released. Signed with the Chiefs last year and appeared in all 16 games.
  • CB Charles Woodson: Started at cornerback, but broke his collarbone late in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the game. Played two more seasons with the Packers, who released him last year. Returned to his old team, the Raiders, and played in all 16 games last season.
  • DE Cullen Jenkins: Played 36 snaps and had a pair of quarterback pressures. Left in free agency the following year and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Eagles, who released him after two years. Signed a three-year, $8 million contract with the Giants last season.
  • TE Tom Crabtree: Played on both offense and special teams in the Super Bowl, catching one pass. Left last year to sign with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent, but was limited to seven games because of injuries.
  • CB Josh Gordy: Was inactive for the game, and the next season was signed off the practice squad the by the Rams. Spent the past two seasons with the Colts.
  • G Nick McDonald: Was inactive for the game, like he was for every game that season. Was released in training camp the next year, and spent parts of the next two seasons with the Patriots. Did not play in 2013, but was recently signed by the Chargers.
  • OLB Erik Walden: Was inactive after suffering an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game. Played the next two seasons before signing a four-year, $16 million contract with the Colts last year.
  • DE: Jarius Wynn: Was active but did not play. Played in Green Bay through 2011, and with the Titans and Chargers before landing with the Cowboys last season.
  • FB Quinn Johnson: Inactive for the game. Was traded to the Titans in 2011. Has played in 24 games for the Titans over the past three years.
Out of football

  • T Chad Clifton: Started at left tackle, but his long career with the Packers ended when they released him after he played in only six games in 2011. Was never signed by another team.
  • WR Donald Driver: Started the game and caught two passes for 28 yards before leaving with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Retired after the 2012 season as the team’s all-time leading receiver.
  • S Nick Collins: Started and made a key early play when he returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Suffered a neck injury in Week 2 of 2011 and hasn’t played since.
  • DT Howard Green: Claimed off waivers earlier that season and started the game. His hit on Roethlisberger led to Collins’ interception return for a touchdown. Returned in 2011 and played in all 16 games, but has not played since.
  • WR Brett Swain: Posted a team-high four special teams tackles. Was released the following season and played briefly with the 49ers. Was cut in training camp last season by the Seahawks.
  • S Atari Bigby: Played on special teams. Signed with the Seahawks the following season and played in 15 games. Played in eight games with the Chargers in 2012, but did not play in 2013.
  • CB Pat Lee: Special teams player who saw action on defense after injuries to Woodson and Shields. Played one more season in Green Bay before splitting time in 2012 between the Lions and Raiders. Did not play in 2013.
  • RB Brandon Jackson: Played as the third-down back, but did not have any carries in the game. Caught one pass for 14 yards. Signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Browns in 2011, but missed all of that season and played in only two games in 2012.
  • FB Korey Hall: Caught one pass for 2 yards and made one special teams tackle in the game. He played in 13 games with the Saints in 2011, and retired after going to camp with the Cardinals in 2012.
  • S Charlie Peprah: Led the Packers with 10 tackles (including nine solo stops). Returned as a starter in 2011, when he had five interceptions, but was released shortly before training camp in 2012. Played in five games for the Cowboys in 2012.
  • LB Diyral Briggs: Made one special teams tackle in the game, but never played in another NFL game.
  • LB Matt Wilhelm: Made two special teams tackles, but seven-year career ended after that game.
  • G Jason Spitz: Played on special teams. Left in free agency the next year and signed a three-year, $4.05 million contract with the Jaguars, who released him in training camp last summer. He signed with the Seahawks, but was released on Oct. 12.
  • TE Donald Lee: Played in the game, but did not have a catch and was released two months later. Played in nine games for the Bengals in 2001.
  • QB Graham Harrell: Inactive for the game. Remained with the Packers until he was released in training camp last summer. Also spent time briefly with the Jets before being released.
  • RB Dimitri Nance: Inactive for the game. Was released by the Packers the following summer and never played in another NFL game.
  • CB Brandon Underwood: Inactive for the game. Was released in 2011. Went to camp with the Raiders in 2012 and Cowboys in 2013, but did not make either team.
IRVING, Texas -- In this copycat league that is the NFL, all of a sudden everybody needs tall and long conerbacks like Seattle’s Richard Sherman. One problem, there aren’t that many of those kinds of guys around.

Plus from a Dallas Cowboys’ perspective, they have already allocated their cornerback resources in Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. So scratch that possible remodel.

Where the Cowboys can attempt to emulate the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks is with their defensive line.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Ware has reached double-digit sacks for seven consecutive seasons, but he'll need four sacks in the final three games to keep the streak alive.
AP Photo/James D. SmithFor years, Dallas has relied on DeMarcus Ware to provide a pass rush. Adding depth to the defensive line could be a priority this offseason.
The Seahawks do what Rod Marinelli wants to do with the Cowboys. He just did not have enough quality players, rolling through 20 defensive linemen in 2013 because of injuries and poor play.

Seattle’s defensive line accounted for 33.5 sacks from eight players. The Cowboys defensive line had 28 sacks from six players.

Michael Bennett led the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks. Fellow free-agent pickup, Cliff Avril, was second with eight. Clinton McDonald had 5.5, and Chris Clemons had 4.5

Jason Hatcher led the Cowboys with 11, followed by George Selvie with seven and DeMarcus Ware with six. Kyle Wilber had two sacks from his defensive end spot before he was switched to outside linebacker later in the season. Everette Brown and and Jarius Wynn each had one sack.

The Cowboys want to rotate defensive linemen as much as possible to keep them fresh. That is a great approach when you have players worthy of being in the rotation. In the Super Bowl win against the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks had four linemen take at least 41 of 69 snaps, led by Bennett, who played 47. In the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, they had four linemen take at least 31 of 55 snaps. In the divisional-round win against the New Orleans Saints, they had five linemen take at least 43 snaps.

That rotation kept opposing quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees under pressure. The pressure could come from the inside or the outside. And it would come with mostly just four rushers, which allowed that back seven to be even more aggressive.

For far too long the Cowboys’ pass rush has been Ware and nobody else. This past season it was Hatcher, and sometimes Selvie and Ware. The Cowboys hope Tyrone Crawford can develop after missing last season with an Achilles injury, but the defensive line needs a ton of help.

For the Cowboys to make a jump in the defensive rankings -- forget being a top-five or 10 unit -- they need a better pass rush. For a better pass rush, they need better players. To get better players in free agency they need to hope the defensive line market is as slow as it was in 2013 when Bennett received a one-year, $5 million deal, and Avril received two years and $15 million from the Seahawks. That could allow Dallas to either keep Hatcher (unlikely), or get lucky with some other prove-it type deals. The easier way to get better players is the draft, but will the right players be available at the right time?

If the Cowboys get a better pass rush, their secondary will look a lot better.

Bruce Carter says he's ready for Sunday

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
4:18
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IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter declared himself ready to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins after taking part in a limited portion of Wednesday’s practice.

Carter
Carter
“I’ll be fine,” said Carter, who did not play last week against the Green Bay Packers because of a hamstring issue. “Really got to run a lot, explode a little bit, come out of some cuts and whatnot, so everything felt good.”

The Cowboys need Carter more than ever before. With Sean Lee expected to miss his second straight game with a neck injury, Ernie Sims battling a groin injury and Justin Durant on injured reserve, Carter will be the most experienced linebacker.

“My job is to try to lead the defense to a victory and just play as good as we can, when things get out of hand try to get everybody to calm down and just try to get back to our game plan and play sound,” Carter said. “I’m up for the challenge. I know what’s ahead of me and we just got to go out there and execute.”

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (stinger) and defensive end Jarius Wynn (chest) were also limited in practice.

Defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie did not practice because of sore backs. Sims and Lee did not practice, and neither did cornerback Morris Claiborne and wide receivers Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris, who have hamstring injuries.

Need a semi to stop Rod Marinelli

November, 15, 2013
11/15/13
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IRVING, Texas -- So far it has been a trying season for the Dallas Cowboys' defense. They have allowed more 400-yard passers than any defense in history. They have allowed more first downs in a game than any in NFL history. They have allowed more yards in a game than any defense in Cowboys history.

Confidence might be an issue for some, but not defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

[+] EnlargeDallas' Rod Marinelli
Casey Sapio/USA TODAY Sports"I think if you have a belief and it's tested and you crack with that, then it's not a belief. You better get a big old semi to run over me and it better be three times because it ain't changing," Rod Marinelli said on how he coaches.
“I believe in what I do so hard and so well. I’ll tell you when I was in Detroit that was a great experience for me because it’s what I believed in and it didn’t work and I never lost confidence,” said Marinelli, whose Lions were 0-16 in 2008. “I never lost faith. I went to Chicago and I kept working. I think if you have a belief and it’s tested and you crack with that, then it’s not a belief. You better get a big old semi to run over me and it better be three times because it ain’t changing.”

The Cowboys have run through a ton of defensive linemen. Corvey Irvin is the latest this week. Marinelli takes them off the assembly line, coaches them and has them ready in a matter of days.

“I’m the source of energy for them, OK?” Marinelli said. “And I’m the source of all the energy in that room and I’ve got to set the tempo and the tone and the standards in that room. I don’t care where you came from you now have to rise to my level. And they’re trying.”

George Selvie has responded with six sacks. Nick Hayden has been mostly decent. Drake Nevis has filled in nicely. Jarius Wynn and Everette Brown have been able to provide some pressure. Jason Hatcher should return Nov. 24 against the New York Giants after missing the loss to the New Orleans Saints with a stinger. DeMarcus Ware should be healthier after missing three of the past four games with a quadriceps strain.

“You look at yourself first,” Marinelli said. “Coaching better and the details. I don’t care who’s out there, if you’re asking him to do something you’re coaching him and he’s not doing it, you always look at yourself. I guess I always look at the positive. I am, that’s just me. I believe we keep this kind of group coming together right now we’ll have a chance to keep improving. All we have to do is just make steps, keep making steps each week and then if we do that we’ll get better and better. We get Hatch, who’s got a chance, DeMarcus, you’ve got two impact guys and you can fill around those guys pretty good.”

'Next man up' makes plays for Cowboys

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- A week ago Everette Brown was at the Dallas Cowboys' Valley Ranch facility preparing for a workout. On Sunday, Brown played a big role on the defensive line in the 27-23 win against the Minnesota Vikings.

Brown
Brown had a strip sack of quarterback Christian Ponder on the final drive of the game and was credited with two tackles and a quarterback hurry.

“We’ve had a little sequence here where we bring them in on Wednesday and they play on Sunday,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ve been doing that for about eight weeks. I think one of those guys we brought in Wednesday (for practice) had a sack for us, so the ‘next man up,’ philosophy is alive and well with our football team and certainly our defensive line.”

Brown wasn’t the only new face. Jarius Wynn, who signed with the Cowboys on Oct. 15, started in place of Kyle Wilber, who had replaced DeMarcus Ware for two games. Wynn had one tackle and a hellacious hit on Ponder on Nick Hayden's fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Drake Nevis played a ton with Marvin Austin knocked out in pre-game warmups because of a back strain and Jason Hatcher and Hayden knocked out in the game because of a stinger and back injuries. Nevis signed on Sept. 24. Austin signed on Oct. 21.

“Just going out there, working hard, listening to the coaches and really just diving in and knowing what to do when that time comes,” Wynn said.

Upon Further Review: Eagles Week 2

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
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PHILADELPHIA -- An examination of four hot issues a day after the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers:

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly
AP Photo/Brian GarfinkelChip Kelly said he made some mistakes during his first regular-season loss as an NFL head coach.
Crash course in the NFL rulebook: Football coaches don’t like to admit mistakes, but Chip Kelly acknowledged he didn’t know he could keep Michael Vick in the game by calling time out after Vick was nicked on the Eagles’ pivotal final possession.

“That’s on me,” Kelly said Monday. If he had known, he said, he would have used one of his three timeouts at that point.

Vick was slow to get up after being hit by San Diego’s Jarius Wynn on first down at the Chargers 14. Referee Terry McAuley blew his whistle for an injury timeout, meaning Vick had to leave the field for at least one play -- unless Kelly called time himself. Nick Foles came in for one play, an incomplete pass to DeSean Jackson.

“I made mistakes,” Kelly said. “No one coaches a perfect game, no one plays a perfect game.”

Kelly's time management also questionable: Kelly also said he should have bled time off the clock on that same possession, but his thought process was a little clearer.

The Eagles got the ball on their own 29, trailing 30-27, with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter. After throwing an incompletion, Vick completed three passes for 46 yards and scrambled once for 11. The Eagles moved to the San Diego 14 in 56 seconds. Kelly chose to keep the gas pedal to the floor.

“We were throwing the ball and it was working,” Kelly said. He said it wouldn’t have been “difficult” to shift gears and take more time in that final sequence. Instead, the Eagles kicked a game-tying field goal and left the Chargers 1:51 for their game-winning drive.

“We should have run the clock,” Kelly said. “That’s my decision.”

Philip Rivers wasn’t just standing around: Kelly mocked ball-control offenses last month, saying time of possession only showed which offense was better at “standing around.” In college, though, you don’t face 10-year veterans playing their 118th NFL game.

Rivers continually ran the play clock down. But he was using the time to diagnose the Eagles' defense and change the Chargers’ offensive calls.

“They basically put the game in his hands,” Kelly said. “He was making a lot of checks up at the line of scrimmage.”

The Eagles can’t do much to fix their secondary on a short week: Bradley Fletcher, who missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, was cleared to practice Monday. His return will help the Eagles' secondary improve for Thursday night’s game against Andy Reid, Alex Smith and the Chiefs.

Unfortunately for coordinator Bill Davis, Brandon Hughes did not practice because of a hamstring injury. His availability for the Chiefs game is unknown.

As far as the safety situation, Nate Allen likely will start again. Rookie Earl Wolff got plenty of playing time Sunday, but is still making too many mistakes, Kelly said.
The Green Bay Packers achieved Monday's roster cutdown to 75 players mostly by placing injured players on various reserve lists. The full lowdown is on the Packers' website.

Linebacker Desmond Bishop's season officially came to an end when he was placed on injured reserve. There had been some hope that Bishop could return in the second half of the season under a proposed rule that would have created a new injury list for one player per team, but the NFL and NFL Players Association could not agree on the details. As in previous years, players placed on injured reserve must miss the entire season.

Meanwhile, tight end Andrew Quarless and linebacker Frank Zombo will have their stints on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list extended for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. On the plus side, the Packers did not place offensive lineman Derek Sherrod on the PUP list, offering at least some hope that his return could be close after suffering a devastating leg injury last December.

One of two players released outright was defensive end Jarius Wynn, who fell behind C.J. Wilson in the competition to play defensive end in the base defense. He started four games last season.

CampTour'12: Packers Day 2

July, 31, 2012
7/31/12
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- I didn't forget ya. Yes, I realize the Green Bay Packers' practice ended about seven hours ago, but, well, a bunch of things happened in between. Without further ado, let's run through some Tuesday practice thoughts -- if I can remember back that far.
  • Second-year cornerback Davon House took his turn with the starting defense, replacing Jarrett Bush as the outside cornerback in base and nickel on the heels of a strong practice Monday. The Packers have already rotated several players into that role, but House sure seemed to have received at least a temporary promotion. Coach Mike McCarthy spoke after practice about the importance of "stacking success" for young players and ensuring that they maintained confidence gained from a good play or practice.
  • Many of you have asked about the arm of backup quarterback Graham Harrell. Sometimes on-site judgments on him can be unfair because it usually comes after seeing Aaron Rodgers rifle a pass, but Harrell's arm doesn't appear to be an impediment to running the Packers offense. Tuesday, I watched him throw an accurate pass that went about 45 yards downfield but also from one hashmark to the far sideline. That's NFL-caliber.
  • Receiver Randall Cobb put a nifty double move on cornerback Otis Merrill and hauled in a deep pass down the right sideline from Rodgers in 1-on-1 drills. Everything I've seen from Cobb suggests he's ready to take the next step in the Packers' offense.
  • Defensive end Jarius Wynn came out of nowhere to intercept a Rodgers screen pass and return it for a touchdown. Wynn has been pretty quiet in a camp that has featured a number of possible replacements for his job.
  • Receiver Donald Driver had a nice practice, beating House and Bush for touchdowns during team drills to wild applause from the crowd. Afterwards, Driver said he is going to enjoy "proving the critics wrong" this season.
  • On the last play of practice, receiver Tori Gurley made a jumping catch in the corner of the end zone over cornerback Sam Shields.
  • Today's interesting fundamental drill at Packers camp: Offensive linemen practiced diving for loose balls, which a coach tossed onto a padded mat with blocking dummies scattered about to create the sense of players standing at the line of scrimmage.
  • Earlier Tuesday, I posted some thoughts on safety Morgan Burnett, whom the Packers think is a rising star.

NFC North Stock Watch

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
1:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Concern about Ryan Grant's future: The veteran Green Bay Packers running back didn't exactly roar back from his ankle injury in the first two weeks of the season, totaling 65 yards on 15 carries. But against the Chicago Bears this past Sunday, Grant broke through for 92 yards on 17 carries and emerged relatively unscathed from a hit to his ribs. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said: "Ryan was Ryan today for the first time this season. He ran the ball hard. He made the right cuts." I'm sure the Packers aren't going to forget about second-year back James Starks, but Grant's performance was a reminder that this team has two legitimate options in the backfield.

2. Game-day awareness: Two weeks ago, the Bears allowed offensive coordinator Mike Martz to call passing plays more than 80 percent of the time in what was mostly a close game against the New Orleans Saints. Last Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings unintentionally limited tailback Adrian Peterson to a total of five carries in the second half against the Detroit Lions. In each case, Bears coach Lovie Smith and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier expressed regret the next day. You have to wonder about game-day communication when such an obvious trend goes unnoticed, or at least unaddressed, until it's too late.

3. Roy Williams, Bears receiver: Williams returned from a groin injury but continues to look totally out of sync with quarterback Jay Cutler, and it wasn't clear if he was even running at 100 percent because of the injury. Cutler threw four passes toward Williams. Two were intercepted and two fell incomplete. With Earl Bennett sidelined by a chest injury, the Bears really need Williams to step up as an option. But it seems increasingly unlikely that it will happen.

[+] EnlargeJason Hanson
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesJason Hanson came through in a big way for the Lions on Sunday.
RISING

1. Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions place-kicker: It's hard to believe that we spent time this summer discussing whether Hanson was nearing the end of his career. The Lions had a legitimate competitor in Dave Rayner, but Hanson never appeared challenged. This past Sunday, he drilled all four field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder that might have been good from 60. Even at age 41, Hanson appears to have one of the most accurate deep legs in the league. He has converted all eight attempts this season, including two from at least 50 yards, and is tied for fourth in the NFL with 11 touchbacks on kickoffs. The man is in his 20th NFL season.

2. Jarius Wynn, Green Bay Packers defensive tackle: How many of you had Wynn as the Packers' leading pass-rusher after three weeks? I wouldn't have guessed it. Wynn had his way with the Bears' offensive line last Sunday and now has three sacks on the season. The only other Packers player with more than one sack is cornerback Jarrett Bush (1.5). Much as C.J. Wilson did last year, Wynn is taking advantage of Mike Neal's latest injury to establish a permanent role. I can't say I spent a lot of time studying Wynn during the preseason, but on Sunday, he appeared powerful and aggressive and fully capable of capitalizing on attention paid to linebacker Clay Matthews. (And before you ask, the answer is "no." I don't think anyone should have concerns about Matthews' total of one sack this season. I feel like he's still affecting games, especially in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. And Sunday, all three of his tackles were behind the line of scrimmage.)

3. Tight end play: We just saw a glimpse of the kind of tight-end production the NFC North could see on a weekly basis. Our top four tight ends combined for five touchdowns in Week 3. The Packers' Jermichael Finley had three of them, while the Bears' Kellen Davis had a 32-yard score and the Vikings' Visanthe Shiancoe had an 8-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew recorded 11 receptions for 112 yards and is tied for third among all NFL tight ends this season with 16 catches.

Kickoff'11: No Mike Neal for Packers

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
7:35
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers won't have the services of oft-injured defensive end Mike Neal, who was declared inactive for Thursday night's season opener against the New Orleans Saints.

Neal practiced on a limited basis this week but obviously didn't do enough to convince the Packers his sprained knee is ready to go in game action.

Jarius Wynn is the scheduled starter for the Packers if the open in their 3-4 base. The good news for the Packers is they will have an extended preparation time for Week 2 and could get Neal back by then.

Other inactives include cornerback Davon House, safety M.D. Jennings, linebacker Frank Zombo, offensive lineman Derek Sherrod, tight end Ryan Taylor and linebacker Vic So'oto.

With Sherrod inactive, the Packers' backup tackle for this game will be Marshall Newhouse. Their backup center/guard is Evan Dietrich-Smith.

NFC North free-agency breakdown

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
3:33
PM ET
NFC: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South Unrestricted FAs

A look at the free-agent priorities for each NFC North team:

Chicago Bears
  1. Assemble a starting offensive line: As we've noted many times, the Bears have held off any public discussion about their five linemen pending the results of free agency. Well, we're here. It's time for the dominoes to start falling. The first will be whether center Olin Kreutz re-signs. It's generally expected, but nothing is guaranteed. Then, the Bears need to decide whether to pursue any starting-caliber guards or tackles. You would think they'll seek at least one new starter. Will they raid the Atlanta Falcons' glut of linemen? Might they take a flyer on Robert Gallery? We'll know soon enough.
  2. Establish a strongside linebacker: The position has largely been held by Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach over the past two years, but both have expiring contracts. It makes sense to re-sign at least one given the lack of offseason work for a presumptive new starter, and Roach is the younger of the two. If the Bears have another player on the roster they've targeted for this job, it's not readily apparent. While they're at it, the Bears should seek depth at defensive tackle following the release of Tommie Harris. They did draft Stephen Paea, but the Bears might pursue Seattle Seahawks free agent Brandon Mebane as well.
  3. Sift through receivers: From a media perspective, at least, there has been more offseason talk than ever suggesting the Bears will/should/might/ pursue a free-agent receiver. This year's class is deep, from Sidney Rice to Santonio Holmes to Randy Moss, and a number of other veterans could be available via trade. Coach Lovie Smith has said he wouldn't mind a receiver bigger than his current trio of sub 6-footers, and Devin Hester has lobbied publicly to sign Santana Moss. I think the increased discussion is largely a product of lockout boredom, but it wouldn't hurt the Bears to add depth so that Hester can be used more efficiently.
Top five free agents: Center Olin Kreutz, safety Danieal Manning, punter Brad Maynard, linebacker Nick Roach, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa.

Detroit Lions
  1. Sign a starting cornerback: The Lions' top cornerbacks under contract are Alphonso Smith and Nate Vasher. Chris Houston, who started 15 games last season, is a free agent, so it's possible the Lions will bring Houston back. Or they could seek an outside upgrade, be it Nnamdi Asomugha or Ike Taylor or Johnathan Joseph. Lions Fever would spike if they can land Asomugha, but they would have to use most of their salary-cap space to do it. For several reasons, the odds are against it.
  2. Sort out the linebacker position: DeAndre Levy is the only linebacker assured a 2011 starting job, but even Levy can't be totally sure if he will play outside or in the middle. That answer will come only after the Lions sift through the available free agents. They could pursue one with a background in the middle, perhaps Stephen Tulloch. Or they could seek an outside linebacker to replace the released Julian Peterson. One of their outside positions is likely to be decided by a training camp competition among incumbents.
  3. Evaluate right tackles: Early indications have been that Gosder Cherilus has made progress from microfracture surgery on his knee. If there is any question, however, the Lions might want to bolster their depth. Corey Hilliard did a decent job as Cherilus' replacement late last season. But keeping quarterback Matthew Stafford healthy is at a premium this season. Do the Lions want to face the possibility of opening the year with a backup plan at right tackle?
Top five free agents: Linebacker Bobby Carpenter, cornerback Chris Houston, linebacker Landon Johnson, quarterback Drew Stanton, safety John Wendling.

Green Bay Packers
  1. Stay the course: It's been well-documented that general manager Ted Thompson hasn't participated much in free agency over the past few years, and it's hard to imagine him changing tack dramatically this summer. Thompson's most important decisions will be deciding which of his pending free agents to re-sign and which ones he should allow to depart.
  2. Re-sign place-kicker Mason Crosby: Thompson gave Crosby a second-round tender in February in the event Crosby wound up as a restricted free agent. That move suggested Crosby is in the Packers' future plans and makes re-signing him one of the first orders of business now that he is an unrestricted free agent. Crosby has had some difficulties over the years, but kicking in Green Bay is difficult given the weather and he has made some important adjustments. Concerns about his kickoffs should be minimized by the NFL's decision to move them up 5 yards.
  3. Think twice: The Packers appear set to let defensive end Cullen Jenkins depart. They can do so knowing they have a number of intriguing young players to compete for that job, from Mike Neal to C.J. Wilson to Jarius Wynn. But another player the Packers might lose, Daryn Colledge, doesn't have an obvious replacement. Would the Packers shift T.J. Lang from backup tackle to guard? Would first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod, their projected left tackle of the future, get a crash course on step down? It's something to think about and, given the lack of an offseason, might spur further discussion about re-signing Colledge.
Top five free agents: Guard Daryn Colledge, place-kicker Mason Crosby, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, receiver James Jones, running backs John Kuhn/Brandon Jackson.

Minnesota Vikings
  1. Address receivers: Are the Vikings about to bid farewell to receiver Sidney Rice, a 24-year-old who is one year removed from an 83-catch Pro Bowl season? There is nothing they can do to stop it at this point, and Rice seems intent on at least testing his value on the open market. The Vikings spent most of last season searching for a suitable replacement when Rice was injured, and that job will intensify this summer. They have added an additional pass-catching threat in rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph. But if they lose Rice, the Vikings must either sign or trade for an established veteran to join Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian (if he makes the team).
  2. Find a kicker: The Vikings made no known effort before the lockout to re-sign veteran Ryan Longwell, who has converted 43 of 46 kicks over the past two seasons. It's possible they'll make their move now. But they did not draft a kicker, and if Longwell signs elsewhere, the Vikings will have to scour the always-murky free-agent market. I'm guessing they already have a plan on this issue, but we haven't smoked it out yet.
  3. Establish QB depth: We all know that rookie Christian Ponder eventually will assume the starting job. But are the Vikings comfortable with Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar as their only alternatives should Ponder need some development time? I'm not sure about that. I also wonder if making Webb the No. 2 quarterback would limit his opportunities to contribute in other ways, perhaps as a receiver or a kick returner. For that reason, it would make sense for the Vikings to seek a quarterback with more experience to pair with Ponder.
Top five free agents: Defensive end Ray Edwards, linebacker Ben Leber, place-kicker Ryan Longwell, receiver Sidney Rice, nose tackle Pat Williams.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Greetings from inside Cowboys Stadium, where I hear there will be an event of some sort in a few hours.

(A link to my view, for those who aren’t already jealous.)

We have some fun news already for Green Bay Packers fans, courtesy of ESPN’s Adam Schefter: Packers defensive end Jarius Wynn and his wife, Martavia, welcomed a baby boy Sunday morning in a Dallas-Fort Worth hospital. Wynn got a chance to visit mother and son, named Jarius Jessereel Wynn Jr.

Wynn has seen limited action in two playoff games but was inactive for the NFC Championship Game. It’s not yet clear whether he will be in uniform for Super Bowl XLV. Game-day roster decisions are due at 5 p.m. ET.

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