NFL Nation: Kevin Haslam

Detroit Lions cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
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Most significant move: There were no surprises for the Detroit Lions and, really, there were few big decisions. We noted earlier that the team decided to preserve a roster spot for No. 3 quarterback Kellen Moore, so the most significant move they did make was placing rookie tight end Michael Williams on injured reserve. The Lions had substantial plans for Williams this season as the third tight end in the jumbo package that lineman Riley Reiff filled last season. They also hoped to develop his receiving skills as veterans Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler enter contract years. Williams had surgery last week to repair a hand injury, and though coach Jim Schwartz said the team had no long-term injuries, Williams is in fact lost for the season. (NFL teams can't start placing players on short-term injured reserve until next week.) As a result, rookie Joseph Fauria -- a much better receiver but less of a blocker than Williams -- is on the 53-man roster with Pettigrew and Scheffler.

The dominoes: The Lions apparently chose veteran Michael Spurlock as their kick returner, necessitating the release of rookie Steven Miller, who could return on the practice squad. Spurlock is also a receiver, and for the now he is one of six on the roster, presumably because of Ryan Broyles' sore knees. The release of veteran Matt Willis means Kris Durham is the sixth receiver. You wonder if the Lions would change directions soon in that regard. The Lions sifted through their big group of veteran defensive backups by tapping Rashean Mathis as a swing cornerback/safety and Rocky McIntosh as a backup linebacker while releasing the rest. John Wendling and Don Carey are the backup safeties for now.

What's next: According to multiple reports, the Lions will place running back Montell Owens on short-term injured reserve. That can't happen until next week, so for now he is part of the 53-man roster. He must miss at least six weeks of the regular season. You would think the Lions will bring back a number of the players they cut Saturday for their practice squad, and it's worth remembering that they are No. 5 in priority for NFL waiver claims. Sunday could be a busy day.

List of players cut: WR: Corey Fuller, Matt Willis. RB: Steven Miller, Shaun Chapas. OL: Rodney Austin, Kevin Haslam, Darren Keyton, Jake Scott. DL: Andre Fluellen, Ogemdi Nwagbuo, Xavier Proctor, Jimmy Sadler-McQueen. LB: Brandon Hepburn, Jon Morgan (waived/injured) Chris White. CB: Ron Bartell, Chris Greenwood. S: Amari Spievey, Tyrell Johnson, Martavius Neloms (waived/injured) P: Blake Clingan.

Practice report: Day 3 in Philly

August, 8, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Patriots and Eagles wrapped up their week of joint practices on Thursday, conducting a light workout in helmets and shells with a focus on special teams and situational work.

It was the third joint practice of the week, an experience that both teams seemed to view as productive.

From an attendance standpoint, second-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard left the field early with strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash. He eventually returned alongside Nash, though he did not participate in drills from that point on. It is unclear the nature of the issue he is dealing with.

The following players were not spotted during the workout: receivers Michael Jenkins and Mark Harrison, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, safety Nate Ebner, tight ends Brandon Ford and Rob Gronkowski, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Markus Zusevics, Tyronne Green and Kevin Haslam, and defensive linemen Jermaine Cunningham and Armond Armstead.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday, the first exhibition game for both teams.
The San Diego Chargers, whose already faint playoff hopes took a hit Thursday night when the Bengals beat the Eagles, got some good news when rookie left tackle Mike Harris was listed as probable.

That means the Chargers will play Sunday against Carolina likely with just two starting offensive linemen out. Right tackle Jeromey Clary (knee) and guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) are listed as doubtful to play Sunday. Harris, Clary and Green all missed last week’s win at Pittsburgh. Rex Hadnot will play for Green and Kevin Haslam will play for Clary.

Linebackers Donald Butler (groin) and running back Ronnie Brown (hamstring) are listed as doubtful and linebacker Demorrio Williams (ankle) is out for Sunday’s game.

In other AFC West news:

Denver guard Chris Kuper (ankle) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (ankle) are listed as questionable to play at Baltimore on Sunday. Both players missed last week’s game at Denver and both were limited all week in practice.

Kansas City offensive linemen Ryan Lilja (knee) and Branden Albert (back) are questionable and safety Abram Elam (quad) is doubtful to play at Oakland on Sunday.

For Oakland, safety Tyvon Branch (neck) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) were limited Friday and both are listed as questionable to play Sunday. They will be game-time decisions.

ESPN.com columnist Ashley Fox makes the case for Denver linebacker Von Miller winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs will be a game-time decision on whether he will play against Denver on Sunday with a biceps injury.

The forecast for Baltimore for Sunday’s critical AFC game between the Broncos and the Ravens is for rain. Thus, the running games for each team will be paramount. That could give an edge to the home team.

In an Insider piece, Chris Sprow looks at possible free agents in 2013.Insider

Oakland’s home game against Kansas City has been ruled a sellout and it will be shown on local television. It is Oakland’s last home game of the season.

Chargers may get some O-line relief

December, 7, 2012
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The San Diego Chargers entered the week thinking they’d be without three starting offensive linemen Sunday at Pittsburgh. Now, there appears to be a chance one could play.

Left tackle Mike Harris is questionable with an ankle injury, but he is hopeful of playing. Right tackle Jeromey Clary (knee) is out and right guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) is doubtful. If Harris can play, Kevin Haslam will play right tackle. If Harris doesn't play, Haslam will likely play left tackle and Reggie Wells will play right tackle. Haslam and Wells are both newly signed. Rex Hadnot is expected to play for Green.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs are dealing with several injuries. Safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), safety Eric Berry (hand), offensive lineman Branden Albert (back), linebacker Derrick Johnson (hamstring), safety Abram Elam (quad), cornerback Brandon Flowers (hamstring) and guard Jeff Allen (illness) are all questionable to face Cleveland on Sunday.

In other AFC West news:

Denver coach John Fox said he doesn’t think the shoulder injury receiver Demaryius Thomas suffered Thursday appears serious and he hopes Thomas can practice Monday.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen said the ankle aggravated by running back Darren McFadden on Thursday doesn’t appear serious. It was McFadden’s first game back after missing four games with the injury.

D.J. Williams might get start

December, 5, 2012
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It looks like D.J. Williams might get his first start of the season.

His outstanding replacement, Wesley Woodyard, is doubtful to play Thursday at Oakland. Woodyard, who leads the division with 100 tackles, was hurt Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Williams has been active for the past three games after serving a nine-game NFL suspension. Williams was a mainstay of the Denver defense until this season. Also, receiver Brandon Stokley is questionable with hip and wrist injuries. He missed the Tampa Bay game.

For Oakland, defensive tackle Richard Seymour will miss his fifth straight game with knee and hamstring problems. As expected, Oakland coach Dennis Allen returned to the team Wednesday. He left the tem Sunday night to be say his final goodbyes to his father, Grady Allen. Grady died Tuesday at the age of 66.

In other AFC West news:

Here are the Chargers’ tackle options for Sunday at Pittsburgh: Reggie Wells, Kevin Haslam and practice squadder Kevin Hughes. Two will start with starters Jeromey Clary and Mike Harris out. I’d guess Haslam at left tackle, Wells (who was signed Wednesday) at right tackle, and Hughes is promoted and is a backup. Yes, it is going to be a tough, tough situation at Pittsburgh.

In an Insider piece, Pro Football Focus has a look at the NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidacy of Denver linebacker Von Miller.

Elizabeth Merrill’s Hot Read on the tragedy in Kansas City is a must-read. Meanwhile, the Chiefs attended a memorial service for starting linebacker Jovan Belcher on Wednesday. He killed himself at the team facility after killing his girlfriend, Kasandra M. Perkins on Saturday morning.
Nothing personal against Charlie Whitehurst, but the San Diego Chargers might want to think about sending him out at quarterback Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Why subject starter Philip Rivers to such potential punishment given the team's 4-8 record?

The plan is to finish the season with Rivers, but he won’t have much protection Sunday. According to U-T San Diego, the Chargers are likely to be without three starting offensive linemen: Tackles Mike Harris (ankle) and Jeromey Clary (knee) and guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) are not expected to play.

Kevin Haslam replaced Clary and Rex Hadnot replaced Green, but there is no clear replacement for Harris’ spot. The team will work out some linemen this week. Not knowing Rivers’ blind-side protector six days before the game is unsettling to say the least.

Harris replaced Jared Gaither, who is on injured reserve. The Chargers had immense injury issues on the offensive line last season, too. They hoped this year would be different, but this situation is a mess.

Meanwhile, linebacker Donald Butler is expected to miss his second consecutive game with a groin injury.

Branden Albert out for Chiefs

November, 25, 2012
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The Kansas City Chiefs will be without left tackle Branden Albert on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, and their dynamic pass-rush.

Albert has a back injury that forced him to leave last week’s game. He was doubtful to play Sunday. Rookie Donald Stephenson will start for Albert and he will have to deal with Denver star pass-rusher Von Miller, who has 13 sacks. The Chiefs did get some good news. Center Ryan Lilja (knee) will play Sunday, after missing last week’s game.

In a less-impactful decision, but an interesting one, receiver Jamar Newsome is active, a day after being promoted from the practice squad. He is active over veteran Steve Breaston, a former key cog in this offense, and fourth-round pick Devon Wylie. The Chiefs cut offensive lineman Rich Ranglin to make room for Newsome.

For Denver, cornerback Tracy Porter is inactive for the sixth straight game. He was probable after practicing this past week, but will not be on the field Sunday.

In other AFC West news:

Oakland backup running back Taiwan Jones, who was questionable with an ankle injury, is active in Cincinnati. Oakland needs Jones because of major injuries at the position.

As expected, the Raiders promoted linebacker Kaelin Burnett from practice squad. He fills spot left open by the release of linebacker Aaron Curry.

Also as expected, San Diego promoted tackle Kevin Haslam from the practice squad. He took the place of left tackle Jared Gaither, who went on the injured reserve Friday.
Once upon a time, left tackle was a position of strength and stability for the San Diego Chargers.

That is no longer the case.

For the second straight season, the Chargers have seen their left tackle have his season end because of an injury. San Diego put Jared Gaither on the injured reserve Friday with a groin injury. Thus, undrafted rookie Mike Harris, who has played six games this season, remains the starter, which won’t help turnover-prone quarterback Philip Rivers, who has not been protected well much of this season.

Gaither, who signed lucrative four-year deal with the Chargers in the offseason, was hampered by back and groin injuries all season. He played just four games. He played well late last season after he was claimed off waivers from Kansas City. In San Diego, Gaither replaced Marcus McNeill, who suffered a career-ending neck injury last season. McNeill was considered a top left tackle early in his career, but health ruined a great career and put the Chargers in a tough spot.

They thought Gaither was the answer, but now they are back to Square One.

The massive 6-foot-9 Gaither is talented, but he has never been able to stay healthy. U-T San Diego reports tackle Kevin Haslam is expected to be promoted from the practice squad this weekend.

Meanwhile, receiver/returner Eddie Royal (hamstring) and linebacker Larry English (calf) are out Sunday against Baltimore. Starting guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) is doubtful, and nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (knee) is questionable.

Final Word: AFC South

November, 26, 2010
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NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:

Heavy heat: The Chargers’ pass rush has produced a league-best 32 sacks. Peyton Manning’s been great at getting rid of the ball, but against a top rushing group there won’t often be a lot of time for things to develop downfield for him. And it appears he will still be missing a top piece of his pass protection, because running back Joseph Addai (neck) is doing only non-contact work in practices this week. The Colts can be super-effective with the short and quick passing game, but if the Chargers can find a big play against it, they could throw Sunday night’s game out of whack. As for deep stuff, Manning has a passer rating of 61.8, and six of his seven interceptions are on balls thrown 15 yards or longer.

[+] EnlargeMario Williams
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesTexans defensive end Mario Williams will be on the mind of Titans rookie QB Rusty Smith.
Watch Williams early: Titans rookie quarterback Rusty Smith has drawn a favorable matchup here, going against the terrible Texans’ pass defense. The Texans simply can’t afford to let Smith find any sort of comfort level early. The best hope for crushing the chance of any building confidence is for Mario Williams to introduce himself with a crushing hit. Deliver a jarring blow early, and Smith might be worrying about the next one for the rest of the game. Allow for good protection early by Michael Roos and the Titans' line, and you allow Smith to scan downfield and find someone, inevitably, running open.

Protecting Garrard: The Jaguars have allowed 24 sacks this season. The Giants have recorded 27. If Jacksonville’s offensive line doesn’t pass protect well, the Jaguars will be in a lot of trouble. Greg Jones and Marcedes Lewis will need to play big roles. It’s a big day for the backups. Either Kevin Haslam or Guy Whimper will play for Eugene Monroe at left tackle. Jordan Black has been the right tackle since Eben Britton went down and will see a lot of Justin Tuck. Fair or not, this game will do a lot for the national perception of the Jaguars. The Giants get as much coverage as anyone in the league and the Jaguars the least. If the Jaguars play well, a lot of people have no choice but to talk about it.

Twelve: At 6-4, the Colts need to win the remainder of their regular-season games to keep their streak of 12-win seasons alive. They’ve won at least a dozen games in seven consecutive years and have quite a lead on the second best streak (Dallas did it four times from 1992-1995). To keep the potential of the streak alive, and more importantly to assure the Colts remain in first place after the weekend, they have to break through against a team that’s been a serious problem recently. Since 2005, San Diego has fared better against Indianapolis than any other team, with a 4-1 record against the Colts, including the playoffs.

Johnson and Foster: The Titans are sure to lean heavily on Chris Johnson in Smith’s debut. If the pass game can be used to supplement a strong run effort, Tennessee won’t have to ask Smith to do too much. On the other side, the Texans have not played their best in the first half of games. The route to faring better there might be getting Arian Foster the ball more. He’s often looked like the best player on the field for Houston, but the Texans have struggled to find the right mix on offense, leaving themselves in position where they’ve had to mount some serious second-half comebacks.
The Jaguars declared Eugene Monroe (concussion) out of Sunday’s game at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Losing a starting left tackle is bad news for anyone.

It’s especially bad news for a team that has not protected especially, is already using its third tackle (Jordan Black) as a fill-in for a starter on injure-reserve (Eben Britton), and is facing a top rushing team.

Undrafted rookie Kevin Haslam and recent addition Guy Whimper are the two replacement candidates.

Marcedes Lewis will probably have fewer chances to run routes as he will have to stay in more to help keep David Garrard upright. Jacksonville quarterbacks have been sacked 27 times this season. The Giants have 27 sacks.

The offense suffers when Lewis can’t get out.

ESPN Stats & Info tells us that Lewis has been especially effective as the lone tight end in three-wide formations this year.

With that personnel on the field, Lewis has 24 receptions on 36 targets with 265 yards and four touchdowns as opposed to 11 receptions, 180 yards and four TDs in all other sets. In three wide, as defenses account for the Jaguars’ additional speed, Lewis has operated well underneath, with 21 of his 23 catches coming on throws of 14 yards or less.

The loss of Monroe suggests the Jaguars won’t be able to spread the field as much as they might like against New York’s rush.

Jaguars at Bills inactives

October, 10, 2010
10/10/10
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here are the scratches from Sunday afternoon's game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium:

Jacksonville Jaguars
Buffalo Bills
SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers just announced their inactive players for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.

Inside linebacker Stephen Cooper is out with a knee injury. He will be replaced by Brandon Siler.

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman is active after being out three-plus weeks with an Achilles injury. However, second-year player Larry English is starting. Merriman has had limited practice time since ending his holdout in mid-August. He was injured shortly after his holdout ended.

Here are the complete inactive lists for both teams:

San Diego
Jacksonville

Jacksonville Jaguars cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
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Check here for a full list of Jacksonville’s roster moves.

Biggest surprises: Three undrafted rookies won spots -- offensive tackle Kevin Haslam, defensive end Aaron Morgan and linebacker Jacob Cutrera. Getting anything for Reggie Nelson was big, and GM Gene Smith managed to send the safety to Cincinnati for David Jones. That’s a surprise. That they also cut another veteran safety, Gerald Alexander, before adding one, also qualifies as a surprise. They seem sure to add someone in the coming days. Right now the starting pairing would come from Anthony Smith, Sean Considine, Tyron Brackenridge and Courtney Greene. I bet Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub endorse that. It’s not clear who the third wide receiver will be with Troy Williamson gone. Atiyyah Ellison was a feel good story a year ago, now he’s gone too. The team has three fullbacks with Greg Jones, Montell Owens and Brock Bolen. Kynan Forney was competing for a starting guard job, lost it and lost his place on the team.

No-brainers: Not a ton. Three linebackers -- Teddy Lehman, Alvin Bowen and Tony Gilbert -- of a weak group of reserves didn’t make it and another (Kyle Bosworth) was placed on IR.

What’s next: Work at safety, first and foremost. The Jaguars will be thorough in their examination and consideration of the waiver wire and free agents. They have room at the back of the roster for upgrades. After safety, look for linebacker to be the spot that gets the most attention as the Jaguars have just five on the roster.

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