NFL Nation: Mat Jones
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
Anthony from Mamaroneck, N.Y., wants to know if Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons will remain in sub packages this year now that he's a full-time starter.
James Walker: Good question, Anthony. Without seeing the Steelers in a game-type scenario for 2009, my inclination is Timmons will remain a fixture in sub packages for obvious passing downs. He has done it almost exclusively for a full year so there is no reason to change just because he is a first-year starter. Timmons' athleticism should make him a three-down linebacker in Pittsburgh moving forward.
John Wesson from Hartford, Conn., asks what are the chances of Bill Cowher returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers in an executive role when he's finished with broadcasting.
James Walker: Not good, John. I would say almost zero. For starters, Cowher eventually wants to return to coaching. That's what he does best. Cowher probably will have enough leverage where he has say in personnel decisions, as well, but that will be determined by which franchise he goes to. Plus, there is a train of thought in NFL circles that Cowher would prefer to rebuild a franchise from the ground up to cement his legacy. Cowher's credentials likely are already good enough for the Hall of Fame. But perhaps the only knock is he went to the league's most stable franchise and won just one Super Bowl in 15 seasons. If Cowher is able to start his own program from scratch and win another Super Bowl coaching another team, he would have nothing left to prove.
SGT Monahan currently in Afghanistan is curious whether the Baltimore Ravens have a chance to talk receiver Derrick Mason out of his recent retirement.
James Walker: SGT Monahan, thank you again for your service and taking the time overseas to read the AFC North blog. I think there is a chance the Ravens can talk Mason out of retirement, but it's difficult to measure the degree. According to Mason's recent comments, he is 99 percent sure of his decision. Yet, when you talk to the Ravens they don't seem as convinced. Baltimore is expected to meet with Mason, possibly as early as this week, so everyone will have an answer sooner rather than later. But Baltimore already began searching for outside candidates in the event Mason stays retired.
Raven Rhino from Richmond, Va., writes: With Mason's playing possibilities up in the air, does it make sense for Baltimore to go for a younger receiver like Matt Jones for a one-year contract instead of Marvin Harrison?
James Walker: Not necessarily. Production is more important than age in this particular situation. As you mentioned, Raven Rhino, the Ravens are not going to negotiate a four-year deal with Matt Jones, Marvin Harrison or any other receiver off the scrap heap in July. So the age of the receiver is not vital in a one-year scenario. So if Harrison can be the most productive receiver for Baltimore in 2009, he should be the target. By the way, the team expects to work out D.J. Hackett and Drew Bennett on Friday.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Team needs: Receiver, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, defensive back
|AP Photo/Michael Conroy|
|It's unlikely that Boston College defensive lineman B.J. Raji will still be on the board at No 8, but if he is, expect the Jaguars to jump.|
Plan B: The Jaguars have lots of holes and if they can't address one directly with No. 8, the way Smith has talked of building through the draft, it's hard to imagine he wouldn't want to bump back to gather extra picks. Maybe the Jaguars are really interested in USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. But they struggled to sign Harvey last season. It would surely be harder to strike a deal with a top 10 quarterback who they don't expect to start this year. Perhaps they want someone else who's interested to come up and get Sanchez here. The Jaguars traded into this pick last year, so teams will have a good sense of what it would take to make a deal.
Scouts Inc. take: "After signing Tra Thomas, the Jaguars are now able to draft a project offensive tackle later in the draft as opposed to reaching in the first round for Andre Smith or Michael Oher. But, the Jaguars are not deficient in terms of glaring needs and wide receiver ranks right at the very top of that list. Michael Crabtree would be the ideal selection and in my opinion, as getting the best player in the draft at number eight would be a complete steal. Still, chances are that Crabtree doesn't make it that far. Is Jeremy Maclin worth that pick for Jacksonville? He certainly could be considering the position he plays and his big play ability, but overall, he isn't polished enough to come in an immediately be a go-to option. Two defensive players to keep an eye on are B.J. Raji, who is also unlikely to still be available but would be a tremendous get for the Jags, and Malcolm Jenkins, who could be exactly what Jacksonville needs to sure up their ailing and thin secondary. Mark Sanchez has been mentioned here, but I just don't see that happening." -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.
Who has final say: Jack Del Rio's desires will certainly be heard, but Smith made it clear when he took the post that he's got the final say on both draft picks and the roster.
On the Clock: Oakland Raiders, April 10.
The maitre-d is accepting reservations for Thursday's chat. Expected to be the biggest of the year, it will take place here.
Comments? Complaints? Compliments? You can get those and Christmas gifts of any size to me through the mailbag.
Onto some headlines...
- Getting to .500 again would be big, but the Titans are a big obstacle, writes Megan Manfull.
- John McClain says three more wins and 9-7 are improbable, but not impossible.
- Replay McClain's chat.
- Gijon Robinson relished his big day and the Colts sign running back Najeh Davenport, writes Phillip B. Wilson.
- What has to happen for the Colts to get a playoff spot, from Mike Chappell.
- Wilson's preview page for the Lions game.
1:00 PM ET Indianapolis Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET Atlanta Green Bay 1:00 PM ET Cleveland New England 1:00 PM ET Oakland New York 1:00 PM ET Detroit Philadelphia 1:00 PM ET Miami Pittsburgh 1:00 PM ET Buffalo Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET Kansas City Washington 1:00 PM ET Minnesota Baltimore 4:05 PM ET Tennessee Denver 4:25 PM ET St. Louis Arizona 4:25 PM ET New York San Diego 4:25 PM ET Seattle San Francisco 8:30 PM ET Carolina New Orleans