NFL Nation: Kevin Curtis

As we await word, cut questions ...

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
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Cut questions as we wait for news on who’s in and who’s out …

Houston Texans

I’ve confirmed outside linebacker Xavier Adibi will be released, which is a surprise. The Texans are going younger at the spot, which could mean good things for undrafted Bryan Braman. He is raw and probably best suited for the practice squad, but may have done too much to risk cutting first. Can Steve Slaton stick? Odds are against him as he ranks as the team’s fourth back, at best. But he’s got to be a hard guy to let go even after a preseason limited by injury. He’ll be scooped up for sure by a team in need at the position. And he likely still qualifies as one of the team’s best 53 players.

Indianapolis Colts

I know a lot of fans want to see the end for players like Donald Brown, Jerry Hughes and Anthony Gonzalez. But we must ask who are the better options? I’m not sure about Gonzalez, but I suspect that Brown and Hughes are on this team. One guy we presume to have made it who might not is veteran defensive tackle Tommie Harris. One guy we presume not to have made it who might is undrafted rookie tight end Mike McNeill.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Former sixth-round pick Scotty McGee, a return specialist, was among the cuts we learned of Friday. They also included undrafted receivers Armon Binns and Dontrelle Inman. Does that mean another receiver, Jamar Newsome, separated himself and will make it? A team that loves to keep an undrafted guy or two may not this time around. Larry Hart, a 2010 fifth-round defensive end, is probably in trouble.

Tennessee Titans

There looks to be a battle for a backup safety slot between Vincent Fuller, Robert Johnson and Anthony Smith. I wish I had a better feel and could pick a favorite there, but I can’t. It’s a tough call to whittle down from seven receivers, too. Can recent addition Kevin Curtis dislodge Justin Gage and does the team still have patience for Lavelle Hawkins? I can’t see Gage getting cut, even though he is due $3.5 million. Linebacker Rennie Curran sounded like a goner in Mike Munchak’s news conference Friday.

Preseason finale storylines

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
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The big storyline or two for the AFC South preseason finales, all of which will be played tonight…

Colts at Bengals

It would be silly for Kerry Collins not to start, and Jim Caldwell has said the new quarterback will play “a lot.” They should give him a reasonable amount of time with the starting line and the weapons he needs to sync up with if he’s starting on Sept. 11 in Houston. That would stray from the typical philosophy in the fourth game, but the change of circumstances dictates a change in approach. Unfortunately, Collins won’t have a chance to work with Austin Collie (foot) or Anthony Gonzalez (hamstring).

Titans at Saints

Depth decisions are the big story for Tennessee at this point. It’s a big night for wideouts Lavelle Hawkins and Kevin Curtis, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, offensive tackles Mike Otto, Troy Kropog and Pat McQuistan, linebackers Rennie Curran and Patrick Bailey and safeties Vincent Fuller, Robert Johnson and Anthony Smith. Jake Locker should see significant time and it would be nice to see him cap the preseason with a performance that shows his growth since the starts of camp.

Rams at Jaguars

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive end Aaron Kampman are both coming back from knee injuries and they will see their first action of the preseason. Odds are we don’t get great reads on either, but it’s a significant thing for them to be involved in a bit of live action. A sack, at any time, by anyone, would really help in dealing with pass rush concerns. David Garrard will only get a series or two. He can do a lot for himself and the team but putting together an effort that helps create confidence.

Texans at Vikings

We’ll see some kids play a lot, a whole game in some instances. Matt Leinart will have a big chance to show why Gary Kubiak is so high on him, and it would be good if he could connect some with newcomer Bryant Johnson. Like the Texans, the Vikings are expected to have a bunch of guys in street clothes. So while I’d like to see guys who’ve shined for Houston in a great preseason -- like Xavier Adibi, Jesse Nading, Troy Nolan -- fare well early in this game, it won't mean much more than them faring well a bit later in previous games.

My plan

From AFC South blog HQ, I expect to watch the first hour of the Colts and the first hour of the Titans and post something on those two games when they are over. The Jaguars and Texans may need to wait until morning depending on how things unfold. Odds are against me seeing all four games start-to-finish by the time I post some thoughts on them. And by "odds are against," I mean it can't happen.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans got good news about Kenny Britt: he’s not suspended.

They got mixed news on Nate Washington: he settled in and made a couple catches. He and Matt Hasselbeck fixed one early mistake and made it into a play that worked.

They got bad news on Damian Williams: he had two drops and no catches until the Titans targeted him a sixth time.


Receivers are always an issue for Tennessee, and they still have a lot to sort out. They were flat in a 14-13 preseason win over the Chicago Bears at LP Field Saturday night, winning on the strength of a 90-yard interception return by rookie corner Tommie Campbell off a gift-wrapped throw from Caleb Hanie.

Britt found out early in the evening he won’t be suspended for his chain of issues with police during the lockout. He said after the game he was pleased. When camp started, he’d said he needed to get out of New Jersey where most of his problems have occurred. His wife and daughter are now with him in Nashville, he said, and he intends to be a Tennessean going forward.

He said he hoped never to hear from Roger Goodell again unless it was to convey a message of "good job on the field."

Britt has dealt with a hamstring issue since the start of camp, has been limited in practices and has yet to play in a game.

“One of my hopes is that he can get out there and start taking reps with the offense instead of taking reps with the scout team,” Hasselbeck said. “We didn’t have an offseason, we didn’t have OTAs and now we really didn’t have training camp together. So it would be great to get on the same page. You saw tonight, there was a lot of sloppy play in the passing game. Mixed reads and mixed signals and just some missed opportunities. We need to get that cleaned up.

Among the missed opportunities: Two throws intended for Washington on the Titans' first possession. Washington didn’t seem to me to go hard enough after the first pass up the right side. The second pass up the left side was overthrown.

“We missed a seam route on the second play of the game,” Hasselbeck said. “I thought he was going to do this and he did that. We talked about it on the sideline, [offensive coordinator Chris Palmer] came over, we talked about it and said, ‘Next time we’re going to do this.’

“And later in the game we had a similar thing going the other direction. It was tighter coverage, it was a tougher throw, it was a tougher catch and he did it great, I think that was the [21]-yard catch that he had.”

Williams, meanwhile, is a guy I’ve been pushing. I’ve bemoaned why the team won’t give him every opportunity to work ahead of Justin Gage.

He had his chances against the Bears, and didn’t do a lot with them. Hasselbeck said the team started working Williams at Britt's split end spot five or six days ago looking to expand things for him, and praised the second-year man's solid camp. But he dropped two passes and was a non-factor in five targets before a 13-yard reception.

“I think it was just a bad game,” Williams said. “Fortunately they haven’t seen any of those from me other than today. We’ll go back and watch the film and we’ll correct it.”

Britt’s presence eases the pressure on the rest of the crew provided his hamstring is sound.

Newly added Kevin Curtis didn’t play. A guy the Titans courted in 2007, when he was a coveted free agent who chose Philadelphia, has since beaten testicular cancer and dealt with knee problems.

“It’s kind of on me,” he said of his chance. “We’ve got one game left, the window is kind of small. I’ve got one game to show them that I can help them out.”
I've taken the NFL's official free-agent list and worked it into a useful Excel file for your tracking and projecting pleasure.

This lets you slice, dice and sort information by team, player, classification, position and more.

The chart lists street free agents (FA), franchise players, restricted free agents (RFA), players who negotiated rights of first refusal (Kevin Curtis is the only one) and unrestricted free agents (UFA).

I was expecting to see more franchise players listed. Phil Dawson, Tamba Hali, Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson were the only franchise players listed in the official league release. This is a fluid situation with lots of surprises. I'll seek answers and report back when I get them.

Non-rookies without contracts for 2011 cannot practice until Aug. 4, even if they sign before then. Teams with lots of roster spots to fill will have a harder time practicing effectively before then.


The ignorance and fear of testicular cancer

April, 6, 2011
4/06/11
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Kevin CurtisMark Zerof/US PresswireKevin Curtis, diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010, came back from surgery to play last season.
Kevin Curtis knew for a couple of years he was at greater risk than most men. In an otherwise routine free-agent physical, a Minnesota Vikings doctor noticed something unusual. Nothing to be alarmed about at the time, just something for Curtis to monitor.

Curtis checked in with doctors periodically but went about his business as an emerging wide receiver. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 and had his greatest season: 77 receptions, 1,110 yards, six touchdowns.

His production slipped the next couple of years. Injuries dogged him. A sports hernia, a calf strain, left knee surgery. He played only 12 games in 2008 and 2009. The Eagles cut him.

Then came the truly bad news. That lump discovered way back in Minnesota had become something else.

"I don't think any man likes to hear the news," Curtis said. "The word cancer is scary enough. When part of the answer is removing the testicle, it was, like, boom."

Curtis was lucky to be in a profession that includes regular medical examinations. He bounced back from surgery in August and signed with the Miami Dolphins in December.

Testicular cancer frequently is detected by happenstance because men are too ignorant or too intimidated to bother paying mind.

There's a good chance testicular cancer will go undetected for a considerable time unless you're looking for it, or, more importantly, know what you're looking for.

"A lot of times when you do find out," Curtis said, "it's already too late."

April is testicular cancer awareness month. American Cancer Society data states about one in every 270 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer, a highly treatable condition when detected early. About 8,480 new cases were diagnosed in 2010, while there were roughly 350 associated deaths.

By comparison, nearly 218,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed and over 32,000 deaths last year.

But testicular cancer still is the most common form of cancer found in men between 15 and 34 years old, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Among the notable testicular cancer survivors are champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong; ice skater Scott Hamilton; baseball players John Kruk, Mike Lowell and Scott Schoeneweis; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel; and former New York Jets punter Louie Aguiar.

[+] EnlargeBrian Piccolo
AP PhotoBears running back Brian Piccolo died at 27 from a rare disease related to testicular cancer.
Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo, immortalized in the film "Brian's Song," was 27 when he died in 1970 from a rare disease related to testicular cancer. Dan Turk, a 15-year offensive lineman and long snapper for five NFL teams, was 38 when died in 2000, just eight months after being diagnosed.

So often, testicular cancer reveals itself merely by accident. That makes awareness campaigns even more important.

Aguiar might not have realized the tumor without fortuitously striking himself while doing yard work in the 1998 offseason. Persistent pain sent him to the doctor two weeks later.

Hamilton's cancer wasn't detected until it had spread to his abdomen. Kruk's tumor was detected in part because pitcher Mitch Williams' pickoff attempt nailed him there 10 months earlier, causing an injury he and doctors kept a close eye on.

Jets executive vice president of business operations Matt Higgins did experience pain, but the hard-charging former press secretary for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks didn't visit the urologist until his wife Michele forced him.

"If I hadn't been such an ignoramus, I definitely would have detected it," Higgins said. "Once you become familiar with your own body, you realize any change in your testicles is cause for concern. It can only be a few reasons.

"It's unfortunate that as guys we prefer to be blissfully ignorant sometimes, and that can be a fatal decision. If it hadn't hurt, I don't know if I'd be here today."

Broaching a subject as delicate as testicular cancer to young men and convincing them simply to consider self-examinations is critical to raising awareness. Canisius College has been successful with a campaign that captured their students' attention with insight and irreverence.

The Check Yo Nutz campaign began as a student project for a graduate communication course, but it became an effective campus cause now being handled by Canisius undergrads. It has been introduced to several high schools in the Buffalo area.

The program's name and mascot, ("Sammy the Squirrel knows the importance of checking his nutz"), can be disarming. But the cheeky approach is similar to other testicular cancer education programs such as the Orchid Cancer Appeal (British celebrities and sports stars deliver the slogan "Know your balls ... Check 'em out!"), Testicular Cancer Awareness Week ("Get a Grip!") and CarpeTestes.org.

Canisius communications professor and Check Yo Nutz faculty adviser Dr. Melissa Wanzer admitted being concerned initially when a student introduced the concept of Sammy the Squirrel. But mascots can be funny, and they're certainly popular when it comes to sports.

"These messages were made with young males in mind," Wanzer said. "We want materials they'll look at rather than be offended by.

"Thirty percent of advertising uses humor because it effectively calls attention to the message, but the other reason was because humor might make young males more receptive to it and to desensitize people and allow them to discuss this topic. We had to be creative to get people to pay attention."

As videos of student interviews prove at CheckYoNutz.org, young men essentially know nothing about testicular cancer compared to women's encyclopedic knowledge of breast cancer. Girls are educated about breast cancer at an early age. Focus groups at Canisius indicated testicular cancer detection simply isn't discussed at home -- or anywhere else.

"It's easy to think that if it happened to you, you would notice the change right away," Higgins said. "But I ask guys all the time: Do you examine your testicles? They'll say 'No,' or 'Not as much as I should.' And the more important question is 'Would you be able to detect a change if it was happening?' Most men, if they're being honest, say that they wouldn't."

Testicular tumors generally are painless, hard, inconsistently shaped and affect only one side. That makes any irregularity easy to compare to the other testicle. Risk factors include family history, an undescended testicle and race. White men are at five times the risk of black men and three times the risk of Asian or Native American men.

Detection is pretty easy -- if the young man knows that he's supposed to check.

Education materials at Canisius include postcards, brochures and shower hangers that residence life staffers report seeing on display in the dorms long after they're distributed.

Canisius research showed their male students were 29 percent more knowledgeable about testicular cancer symptoms, 22 percent more knowledgeable about how to conduct a self-exam, 37 percent more likely to perform a self-exam and 24 percent more likely to discuss testicular cancer with a friend or family member than they would've been before being exposed to the Check Yo Nutz campaign.

"Our males were significantly more informed about testicular cancer than the comparison group from another campus and were more likely to conduct self-exams," Wanzer said. "The effects of campaigns like this are very small. They might have a 10 percent increase to be considered decent. We had large changes, way bigger than average."

Treatment often requires the testicle be removed. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy also might be necessary, depending on how early the cancer is detected. Aguiar, for instance, underwent 15 radiation treatments before he returned to the Kansas City Chiefs, while Curtis has chosen repeat checkups over radiation.

Higgins does both. He had radiation treatment and visits the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center every six months. To be safe, Higgins planned ahead before radiation so that Michele could be artificially inseminated. Their daughter, Collette, is 2 years old. Matthew Jr., conceived naturally, is 4.

Higgins, a big fan of the Check Yo Nutz campaign, is just as irreverent in his attitude. He often wears a dog tag -- a gift from Michele -- that reads: "Half the balls, twice the man."

"Having a complete set isn't what defines you as being a man," Higgins said. "It's a message of defiance. I'm not going to let this knock me down.

"There's no shame in having that. Part of what makes guys reluctant to come forward when there's something wrong is embarrassment. For me, it's a message that certainly your body doesn't define you."

Curtis admitted his only knowledge of testicular cancer at the time of his diagnosis was that Armstrong won the Tour de France after conquering it.

Curtis will be 32 years old in July and a free agent whenever the lockout ends. He lasted only two games with the Dolphins but latched on with the Chiefs for the playoffs and expects to play again in 2011.

But he's not going to take anything for granted.

"I don't mean to overdramatize this because I didn't have to deal with chemo or more surgeries," Curtis said. "It was a small battle, but it became a beautiful process to me.

"I embraced it. It's my deal. You just accept that it's yours. In a lot of ways, I'm grateful for it, I guess. The whole process takes you to some places I don't know I would have gone without it. News out of nowhere -- and I don't think I ever was in danger of dying -- but it made me really think about things, what matters most, perspective on how you're living your life.

"You just never know what's around the corner."
In the hours leading up to Miami's acquisition of receiver Brandon Marshall, @jasherrera lashed out via Twitter:
@espn_nfcnblog Y wldnt Smith/Angelo trade 2011 1st rd 4 Marshall? Both r fired if they dnt win THIS year anyway, that content w/ WRs we got?

To translate from Twitter-ese: Please explain why the Bears didn't get involved with the sweepstakes for Marshall, who rose to Pro Bowl status while playing with current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and would provide a legitimate No. 1 receiver to a group known mostly for its potential. If the gambit didn't work, the resulting damage would almost certainly be the problem of Chicago's next general manager and coach. Do general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith really have that much faith in the Bears' current group of pass-catchers?

Let's work through those issues as systematically as we can.

  1. Without a first- or second-round pick in 2010, the Bears didn't have the firepower in this year's draft to complete a trade. If they were really desperate, it's possible they could have swung a multi-team deal to get the Broncos a second-round pick this year. Or, they could have offered a package that included their No. 1 pick in 2011, a scenario that would have diminished their draft for a third consecutive year. That deficit would be tough for any franchise to overcome.
  2. Miami is poised to make Marshall the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. That would mean a deal that averages at least $10 million per season. While there is no salary cap this season, every team has the internal limitations of a cash budget. The Bears added three premium contracts to their payroll last month in signing defensive end Julius Peppers, running back Chester Taylor and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna. Just a guess, but I'm thinking their budget is about tapped out.
  3. At every opportunity, the Bears' actions have demonstrated a strong level of confidence in their current group of receivers. Not only have they sat out trade talks for Marshall and Anquan Boldin, but they've also expressed no known interest in a list of available veterans that includes Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis. In and interview on the Bears' Web site, Angelo said he have investigated some free agent offensive linemen and at least one veteran safety, but made no mention of receivers.

As a group, the Bears' receivers showed flashes last season. And a number of football people I respect have offered positive evaluations of the group. But it's simply a fact to note that analysis is based on potential, not necessarily prior production. Let's close with a look at the career catches of the Bears' receiving corps, a list I think should include tight end Greg Olsen:

Greg Olsen: 153
Devin Hester: 128
Rashied Davis: 79
Earl Bennett: 54
Johnny Knox: 45
Devin Aromashodu: 31
Juaquin Iglesias: 0
Eric Peterman:
0

Cowboys-Eagles inactives: Vick the backup

January, 9, 2010
1/09/10
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- As we've already told you, Michael Vick is active for tonight's game and I would expect for him to play a fairly significant role in the game plan. The Cowboys spent more time in the film room preparing for Vick this week because they felt like the Eagles would be in more of a desperation mode in this game. Now let's take a look at the inactives for both teams:

Cowboys: QB Stephen McGee, S Pat Watkins, CB Cletis Gordon, LB Jason Williams, G Montrae Holland, C/G Duke Preston, T Pat McQuistan, LB Curtis Johnson

Eagles: QB Kevin Kolb, CB Geoffrey Pope, FS Quintin Demps, T King Dunlap, C Dallas Reynolds, WR Kevin Curtis, TE Martin Rucker, DT Trevor Laws

Vick suits up as emergency QB

December, 27, 2009
12/27/09
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PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (quad) will serve as the emergency quarterback today against the Broncos. Kevin Kolb will replace Vick as the backup to Donovan McNabb.

The rest of the Eagles' inactives: CB Geoffrey Pope, S Quintin Demps, G/T Stacy Andrews, G Mike McGlynn, WR Kevin Curtis, TE Martin Rucker, DE Trevor Laws

Broncos inactives: Emergency QB Tom Brandstater, WR Eddie Royal, CB Ty Law, RB LaMont Jordan, S Vernon Fox, ILB/FB Spencer Larsen, G Seth Olsen, DL Chris Baker

Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins will be introduced last for the Broncos. I'm sure there will be a huge roar from the crowd, but the Eagles haven't planned any formal ceremony to honor their former star.
 
  Getty Images/Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE
  Brian Orakpo (Washington), Hakeem Nicks (N.Y. Giants) and Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia) drew complimentary marks from our panel.

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Something tells me you've just about had it with draft grades, so let's go in a different direction today. I've spent the last 24 hours on the phone with national draft gurus, college scouting directors and two assistant coaches in an effort to determine which draft class in the Beast will make the most immediate impact.

NFC East Draft Picks
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

I avoided talking to NFC East scouts, in part, because it's rare to find a scout who says something like, "Well, we pretty much blew it" four days after the draft. The consensus is that the Eagles scored highest on in our High-Impact rankings. I granted our experts anonymity in exchange for their honesty -- and job security. They were asked to provide a number between 1-10, with 1 representing an "incredibly low impact" and 10 being a "stunningly high impact."

If you disagree with something that's said in this column, feel free to utilize the "comments" section. We discourage foul language in most cases:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

If the Eagles are able to complete a trade with Buffalo for left tackle Jason Peters, I think it's a significant upgrade. Not to take anything away from Tra Thomas, but Peters is an elite player who has a chance to become the best left tackle in the game.

There's a tradition in the NFL of college tight ends becoming effective offensive tackles. Cowboys Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright comes to mind. Peters and the much-improved Todd Herremans should form one of the best left sides in the league. And now the Eagles have filled both offensive tackle spots, don't be surprised to see them go after a center in the draft. Head coach Andy Reid dropped some hints in that direction during the NFC coaches' breakfast last month.

So how much better are the Eagles with Peters at left tackle? Well, I think having an elite left tackle is one of the greatest luxuries a team could have. Thomas certainly did a nice job, but Peters is a much more dominant (and younger) player. He's athletic enough to block some of the division's top pass rushers such as DeMarcus Ware, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. If there's a better left tackle currently playing in the Beast, feel free to provide a name. Here's how I would rank them: 1. Peters 2. David Diehl 3. Chris Samuels 4. Flozell Adams.

Under the Tony Sparano (offensive line) regime, Adams played like an elite left tackle at times. Now he appears to have trouble getting out of his stance. On Wednesday, I looked over the Eagles' schedule and predicted 10 wins. With Peters, I'm willing to give them another win -- and perhaps two.

The Eagles can now focus on landing a tight end and a running back (and perhaps a center) in next weekend's draft. A lot of folks seem convinced the Eagles will take a running back with that No. 21 pick. I've never been convinced of that -- and today's news hasn't changed my opinion. There's a better chance of the Eagles going after Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew than one of the top running backs.

So what about Anquan Boldin? I think the chances of him landing in Philly are pretty remote at this point. And that's not something Eagles fans should be all that upset about. DeSean Jackson's already an impact player, and now he should be more consistent. Kevin Curtis should be healthy and Jason Avant has become a lot more reliable as a third-down receiver. If someone like Brian Robiskie's hanging around in the second round, that's certainly a possibility.

Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann agrees that this trade is quite a coup for the Eagles. The Eagles have always built from the lines out -- so I guess this move shouldn't come as a surprise. It's so rare to find a 27-year-old Pro Bowler at one of the most important positions in the game. I need to revisit the NFC Beast schedules now.

Keep hitting "refresh" for more opinions on this trade.

Friday Beastlines

April, 17, 2009
4/17/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Cowboys

Eagles

Giants

Redskins

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

By this time next Thursday (it's officially 3 p.m. ET), I'll be boarding a flight to New York for the NFL draft. Through the magic of live-blogging, my plan is to take you to Radio City Music Hall with me. With that in mind, it's time to address Five Burning Draft Questions in The Beast:

1. Will Redskins owner Dan Snyder select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez?

Sanchez
Mosley: With the 13th pick overall, the Redskins should only take Sanchez if they've truly given up on Jason Campbell. And based on their recent attempt to land Jay Cutler, some of you probably think Washington has already turned its back on Campbell. Well, I think we have a split vote on that one at Redskins Park. And unfortunately for Campbell backers (me), head coach Jim Zorn can't win a contest against the formidable duo of Snyder and Vinny Cerrato. It was Zorn who moved quickly to reassure Campbell even while desperate attempts were being made to land Cutler several doors down.

Snyder and Cerrato met with Campbell, but that was simply window dressing. The club decided to take Campbell's trade value for a spin -- and it didn't like the results. After investing all this time (and a first-round pick) in Campbell, it's looking like the Redskins are ready to start all over with Sanchez, who dazzled scouts and innocent bystanders at his recent pro day. I think Snyder-Cerrato are suffering from a condition we're calling "RyanFlacconitis," which has caused front office types around the league to mistakenly think that pretty much any rookie quarterback with a solid background (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco) can lead them to the playoffs. The best result for Redskins fans would be for Sanchez to go off the board before No. 13. I may be in the minority (shocker), but I'd love to see what Campbell could do in his second season with Zorn. Who knows? Maybe the Redskins let Sanchez learn for a season behind Campbell. On second thought, that will never happen.

2. What will the Giants and Eagles do at wide receiver?

Boldin
Wouldn't you like to know? I thought the timing of Ken Whisenhunt's "we're all ears on Anquan Boldin" comment was pretty interesting. Did it just happen to immediately follow a report that a Braylon Edwards to the Giants trade was imminent? I think not. If the Browns truly want to move Edwards, they may have lost a little leverage. Now that the Cardinals have gone public, Giants general manager Jerry Reese could play their situation against any potential Browns' offers. As Scouts Inc. stalwart Matt Williamson pointed out Wednesday on the NFC West blog, the Eagles appear to be a better fit for Boldin than the Giants. Boldin would the perfect complement to speedsters DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis. In New York, he might not be quite as effective. But if Reese thinks he can get a better deal from the Cards, then more power to him. Heard Boldin do a local radio show in Dallas recently and he indicated once again that he loves his teammates, he just doesn't care for management. If the Giants end up with Edwards and the Eagles trade for Boldin, I might have to redo my NFL schedule analysis. Surely no one wants that to happen.

3. What will the Cowboys do with the No. 51 pick?

Let's be honest. Not having a first-round pick makes the draft far less interesting. It's also made talk radio in Dallas much more of a challenge. In my Dallas Morning News days, I would've had seven mock drafts by now. But with the proliferation of mock drafts -- my pastor has one -- I've decided to take a year off. But anyway, the Cowboys aren't going to feel pressured to take any specific position at No. 51. The only way they take a quarterback is if Josh Freeman ends up in a free-fall. I'm hearing the Cowboys are in love with Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas, who is one of the best free safeties in this draft. He's 5-11, 202 pounds, but scouts say he plays much bigger than that. He's a tough run defender and his athletic ability (4.5 in the 40 and 37-inch vertical) is pretty impressive. The Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh in free agency, but I think Delmas would be starting by midseason -- if not before. The other safety they really like is Darcel McBath out of Texas Tech. Excellent ball skills (eight interceptions) and he grew up in nearby Gainesville, Texas. Jerry Jones loves the homegrown kids. I'm not saying McBath's going at No. 51, but he's certainly a name to remember. In terms of receivers, the Cowboys think Brian Robiskie could be an effective receiver in the league for the next 10 years. If he's there at No. 51, they'd have a hard time passing him up.

4. Don't the Redskins need a pass-rusher?

Could all this talk about Mark Sanchez be a huge smokescreen? If so, t
he Washington Post has bitten hard. That's why I think there's definitely some interest in Sanchez, but it won't happen in the end. The 'Skins desperately need a right tackle and a defensive end. I certainly respect the work of grizzled veterans such as Phillip Daniels, Andre Carter and the immortal Renaldo Wynn. That said, Redskins fans are suffering from a condition widely known as "Haynesworth fever." There's a thought that you pay the guy $41 million in guaranteed money and he suddenly makes old men young again. Folks, Phil Daniels isn't going to return from a serious knee injury and suddenly have 10 sacks. The Redskins need to surround Haynesworth with talent in order to get their money's worth. That's why Snyder has to forget about a quarterback and find a way to get his hands on Brian Orakpo. Yes, I know some scouts struggle with recommending University of Texas kids because they've been pampered so much, but Orakpo is the real deal. I've been watching him manhandle Big 12 blockers for years. Snyder and Cerrato have to find a way to move up and get him.

5. So what do the Eagles do with those two first-round picks?

Well, you could always send that No. 28 pick over to the Cardinals for Anquan Boldin. I don't think the Cardinals will come close to getting a Roy Williams deal, which is to say they won't get a first- and third-round pick for Boldin. And I think Boldin is much better receiver than Williams. Of course, there's always the chance the Eagles actually make those first-round picks. If Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher is there at No. 21, that's the direction Andy Reid will go. At No. 28, drafting Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew wouldn't surprise me at all. So what about running back, you ask? Well, I don't think the Eagles have to take someone in the first round -- especially when there are guys like Rashad Jennings out there in the second or third rounds. You can find productive backs in later rounds. Ask the Cowboys and Giants about that. And I seem to recall a man by the name of Westbrook who wasn't taken in the first round. This flies in the face of what Philly writers are saying, but you have to go out on a limb every now and then -- or every day for that matter.

If you have questions regarding this column, please feel free to utilize the Mailbag. I'm planning to spend a lot more time reading your mail in the coming days. Thanks for your continued support of The Beast.

 
  US Presswire
  With Plaxico Burress, left, and Terrell Owens gone, the Giants and Cowboys have huge voids to fill at wide receiver.

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Now that the New York Giants have been praised far and wide for releasing troubled wide receiver Plaxico Burress, it's time for the following reality check: The Giants don't have anyone who resembles a No. 1 wide receiver on the roster.

Sure, the eternal optimists among Giants fandom (like my buddy Dan F. from South Orange) look at Mario Manningham and see a budding No. 1, but that's just because he has the team Web site bookmarked. The truth of the matter is the Giants appear to be set at every position except wide receiver, and there are no guarantees when it comes to the draft -- especially when holding the No. 29 overall pick.

The Giants, though, can take solace knowing that the other three teams in the NFC East could also enter the '09 season with questions at receiver. Say what you will about Terrell Owens and Burress, but they remain two of the most feared players in the game. The Giants and Cowboys are selling the tried and true "addition by subtraction" line to their fan bases, but that campaign only seems to work in the offseason.

With that in mind, let's attempt to figure out what each team in the Beast is thinking as we sprint toward the draft, which by the way, can be viewed on ESPN:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Teams needs: Left tackle, running back, wide receiver

 
  Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
  Georgia's Knowshon Moreno rushed for 1,400 yards in 2008.

Dream scenario: It would be easy to complain about the Eagles' plodding approach to free agency, but don't forget those two picks in the first round. There's a good chance they stay put and select a running back and an offensive lineman at Nos. 21 and 28. But Andy Reid told us Wednesday at the owners' meeting that he already has enough ammunition on the offensive line -- as long as he rotates some players around.

I think there's still an outside chance the Eagles package a couple of picks and take a run at Anquan Boldin. That seems like the dream scenario for most Eagles fans -- and perhaps Donovan McNabb. Boldin would be a nice complement to DeSean Jackson, and Philadelphia could then focus on reinforcing the offensive line with its other first-round pick. If the Eagles stay put at No. 21, don't rule out Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno. The Eagles think he'd be a nice fit in the West Coast offense. In this offense you don't have much need for the so-called big back. In theory, that's what Leonard Weaver's supposed to be.

Plan B: Though he won't admit it, I think Reid knows he needs to bolster his offensive line. He thinks Todd Herremans played at a Pro Bowl level and that Shawn Andrews will return to being an elite player. Why start moving those guys around if you can land a starting left tackle in the draft? Seems as though some tackle (Andre Smith?) always starts falling in the first round. But this team is well aware of the pitfalls of taking the falling star (see Winston Justice). This appears to be a relatively deep draft at that position, and I think Reid's just posturing with all this talk of movement along the line.

Scouts Inc. take: The Philadelphia Eagles' No. 1 concern going into free agency was addressing the wide receiver position, and two weeks into the process, it is still the biggest issue they need resolved. Even though they drafted and got a solid rookie performance in 2008 out of DeSean Jackson, I do not think he is ever going to be a true No. 1. Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett and Jason Avant are never going to be No. 1 receivers.

While the Eagles could opt to draft another receiver early in the process, the wide receiver position is the toughest to develop quickly at the next level. The Eagles' best option right now is to go after Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The Eagles have multiple picks in the first round and while I do not believe Boldin warrants a first-round selection, the Eagles pick at the bottom of the first round, and this has to be looked at as potential trade bait.

The Eagles are a playmaker at wide receiver away from being a legit Super Bowl contender. They can't find a receiver who can have an impact like Boldin would have as a playmaker or in his ability to open up the field for the other receivers I mentioned with their pick at the bottom of the first round. With Donovan McNabb still playing at a high level and many of the pieces in place to make a run in 2009, the Eagles need to make a move for Boldin prior to the draft. -- Jeremy Green, Scouts Inc.

Who has final say? Reid still has the final word, and it's been that way for years.

Now On the Clock: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, March 27.

Previous On the Clock: Minnesota Vikings. The team-by-team series.

Wednesday Beastlines

January, 28, 2009
1/28/09
2:10
PM ET

Dallas Cowboys

  • According to The Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys have had discussions with former NFL coach Dan Reeves about joining the organization as a consultant. But will Jerry Jones listen?
  • Martellus Bennett may be in line for a fine from the team for a rap video he put out earlier this week.

New York Giants

  • Justin Tuck takes a now-and-then look at this year's Super Bowl as a spectator vs. last year as a participant.
  • In Tampa for Super Bowl festivities, Antonio Pierce says the 2008 season was a "missed opportunity" for the Giants.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • A week after losing Pat Shurmur to the St. Louis Rams, the Eagles now must replace Mark Whipple who was named the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami.
  • Cardinals cornerback Rod Hood, preparing for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, talked about the controversial fourth-down play in the NFC Championship Game where he got tangled with Philadelphia receiver Kevin Curtis.

Washington Redskins

  • The Washington Post's Jason La Canfora offers an early analysis of what the Redskins might be looking at come draft time and how the rest of their personnel is shaping up for 2009.
  • In another sign of the times, the Redskins executed their second wave of layoffs this month.

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