NFL Nation: Tony Moll

Ravens-Buccaneers halftime notes

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
5:53
PM ET
BALTIMORE, Md.--The Ravens lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-3, at intermission.

Here are some notes at halftime.

  • Baltimore took control of the game on an easy read and throw by quarterback Joe Flacco to a wide open Todd Heap for a 65-yard touchdown. Tampa Bay had a blown coverage and left Heap streaking down the seam for what turned out to be the longest catch of his career. It was also Baltimore's longest play from scrimmage this season.
  • After last week's sideline altercation, it appears Flacco is making a concerted effort to get Derrick Mason the football. Mason has a team-high seven receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Flacco and Mason had a heated exchange in the win over the Carolina Panthers but both players said this week they've moved past it.
  • Baltimore safety Ed Reed appears to be getting healthy. He nearly had two interceptions in the first half on a pair of tipped balls. Reed has been all over the field and has five pass defenses already in the first two quarters.
  • A key inactive for Baltimore was starting guard Chris Chester. Backup Tony Moll filled in for Chester at right guard and hasn't had many issues in the first half.

Seven-step drop

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
12:39
PM ET
With the preseason coming to a close this week, here are seven notes and observations on the AFC North:

  • Are the Pittsburgh Steelers lacking discipline? Their first-team defense uncharacteristically had four personal fouls Sunday in a 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Two were by second-year cornerback Keenan Lewis, who was subsequently benched and earned a spot in coach Mike Tomlin's doghouse. Lewis also made a bad situation worse by reportedly punching through a glass sign after the game. If you add cornerback Ike Taylor's fight last week against the New York Giants that cost him $10,000, Pittsburgh is having problems keeping its cool lately.
  • [+] EnlargeFarrior
    Ron Chenoy/US PresswireJames Farrior lost his helmet during a play in Sunday night's game.

  • I'm noticing an unusual amount of players losing their helmets this preseason. The two most high-profile occurrences were with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Sunday with Steelers linebacker James Farrior. Both players suffered cuts to the head and were knocked out of the game. These are not isolated incidents. I've seen several preseason games this summer where helmets are dangerously flying off at an alarming rate.
  • Baltimore's pass protection is not as sharp as expected. The Giants recorded five total sacks against the Ravens Saturday and the pocket overall wasn't consistently solid. At times, it was miscommunications. Other times New York simply outplayed Baltimore up front. We're not convinced Tony Moll is the answer at right tackle. Giants defensive end Justin Tuck had his way with Moll on several occasions. Baltimore tackles Oniel Cousins and/or Jared Gaither need to get healthy quickly.
  • We liked what we saw from Haruki Nakamura covering receivers in the slot. For a safety, he has pretty quick feet to keep up with receivers and make plays on the ball. Nakamura is considered an experiment in the slot until Baltimore's secondary gets healthy. But based on his performance, it's looking pretty good so far.
  • The Cleveland Browns have an update on safety Nick Sorensen. The bad news is he suffered a concussion Saturday against the Detroit Lions. But the good news is he is improving. Sorensen was not at practice Monday, and according to Browns coach Eric Mangini he will be resting for "a while."
  • Speaking of Mangini, this will be his first year putting together a 53-man roster with new president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert. Cleveland currently has a mix of players leftover from the previous Mangini-George Kokinis regime and the new Holmgren-Heckert regime, setting up an interesting dynamic this week. Mangini will have his input and opinion on who stays and who goes, but Heckert and Holmgren will have the final say.
  • Cincinnati's receiver position is somewhat clearer now with Antonio Bryant's release. Cincinnati has a lot of depth at receiver, where six (maybe seven) could make the team. Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwell are four locks. But at least two roster spots remain open for receivers Quan Cosby, Jerome Simpson, Matt Jones and Dezmon Briscoe. An educated guess is Cosby is in, making it a three-way tossup between Simpson, Jones and Briscoe.

AFC North: Free-agency primer

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
9:49
AM ET
Baltimore Ravens

Potential unrestricted free agents: DL Justin Bannan, DL Dwan Edwards, CB Corey Ivy, WR Derrick Mason, TE L.J. Smith, WR David Tyree, CB Frank Walker, WR Kelley Washington

Potential restricted free agents: OT Jared Gaither, K Billy Cundiff, S Dawan Landry, CB Fabian Washington, P Sam Koch, OG Chris Chester, QB John Beck, QB Troy Smith, OT Tony Moll, FB Le'Ron McClain, LB Prescott Burgess, WR Mark Clayton, WR Demetrius Williams

Franchise tag: None

What to expect: The Ravens have a ton of quality free agents. It will be interesting because Baltimore is the only division team which has to abide by the "Final Eight Plan" for making the divisional playoffs. This will restrict Baltimore from making a lot of moves. Therefore, expect the team to keep most of its key restricted free agents while trying to explore the trade market. On the unrestricted side, the Ravens are negotiating with receiver Derrick Mason and are expected to keep him. But two players who could get some interest in the open market are defensive linemen Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan. Baltimore likes both players but could lose at least one.

Cincinnati Bengals

Potential unrestricted free agents: K Shayne Graham, FB Jeremi Johnson, RB Larry Johnson, DT Tank Johnson, TE Reggie Kelly, OG Bobbie Williams, S Roy Williams, TE J.P. Foschi

Potential restricted free agents: LB Brandon Johnson, LB Rashad Jeanty, OL Evan Mathis, C Kyle Cook, DE Frostee Rucker, CB David Jones, LB Abdul Hodge, QB Jordan Palmer, TE Daniel Coats, DT Shaun Smith

Franchise tag: None

What to expect: The Bengals have yet to announce their tenders, so this list could change by Thursday evening. But traditionally they are not big spenders in free agency and will stay true to that even with an uncapped year. Cincinnati could make one or two decent outside signings that may help the team. Finding a receiver would be the most likely target. The most interesting in-house name is offensive guard Bobbie Williams, who likely will test the market. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer also would like to keep veteran Roy Williams and Tank Johnson. But the team hasn't made a major push for either player before they're let loose Friday.

Cleveland Browns

Potential unrestricted free agents: WR Mike Furrey, TE Michael Gaines, OG Rex Hadnot, CB Hank Poteat, OL Ryan Tucker, OG Billy Yates

Potential restricted free agents: RB Jerome Harrison, LB D'Qwell Jackson, FB Lawrence Vickers, S Brodney Pool, S Abram Elam, DE Matt Roth

Franchise tag: None

What to expect: Cleveland has the money to spend and the biggest talent deficit. So look for the Browns to attempt to make up ground in free agency. Major names like defensive end Julius Peppers and tailback Thomas Jones have been mentioned as possibilities for Cleveland, but that remains to be seen. Internally, the Browns should be interested in keeping Harrison and Vickers in their backfield. Jackson also has value. None of their unrestricted players are priorities for the team and will be allowed to hit free agency.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Potential unrestricted free agents: QB Charlie Batch, LB Rocky Boiman, S Tyrone Carter, S Ryan Clark, DE Nick Eason, WR Joey Galloway, DE Travis Kirschke, RB Willie Parker, CB Deshea Townsend , FB Carey Davis, OG Darnell Stapleton

Potential restricted free agents: OT Willie Colon, CB William Gay, P Daniel Sepulveda, TE Matt Spaeth

Franchise tag: K Jeff Reed

What to expect: The Steelers are pretty predictable. Pittsburgh intends to keep all of its restricted free agents, get a long-term deal complete with Reed, who has the franchise tag, and let nearly all of their unrestricted free agents test the market. The exception is Clark, who the Steelers targeted as a priority but has yet to reach a long-term extension before Friday's deadline. Negotiations have been ongoing and should go to the final hour to decide whether both sides can come to an agreement or allow Clark to test the market.

Ravens-Colts inactives

January, 16, 2010
1/16/10
7:06
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Here are the players you won’t see in Saturday night's playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens (10-7) and Indianapolis Colts (14-2):

RAVENS

QB John Beck

WR Justin Harper

DB Marcus Paschal

S Keith Fitzhugh

OL David Hale

OL Tony Moll

NT Kelly Talavou

LB/DE Paul Kruger

COLTS

K Adam Vinatieri

WR Sam Giguere

TE Colin Cloherty

DT John Gill

OT Michael Toudouze

OG Mike Pollak

DE Ervin Baldwin

DT Fili Moala

Ravens: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
6:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


Biggest surprise: The Ravens didn’t have any major surprises on Saturday’s cut list. Perhaps the only move that was mildly surprising was releasing receiver Justin Harper, who started training camp and the preseason extremely well but hit a wall as of late. He was once in competition for Baltimore’s No. 3 receiver job, yet by the end of the summer Harper finds himself looking for a job. Receiver and return specialist Yamon Figurs was on the bubble all offseason. So although he has a name people in Baltimore are familiar with, cutting Figurs wasn't a huge shock. Fourth-year cornerback Evan Oglesby made a late push but it wasn’t enough.

No-brainers: The Ravens confirmed what most media members suspected with the release of kicker Graham Gano. By midway through the preseason, it was clear Steven Hauschka was separating himself in the race to take over Baltimore’s kicking duties. But Hauschka cannot breathe easy, because longtime Ravens kicker Matt Stover remains just a phone call away. Therefore, Hauschka needs to continue to make field goals in the regular season to hold his spot on the active roster.

What’s next: The Ravens traded cornerback Derrick Martin Saturday to the Green Bay Packers for guard/tackle Tony Moll. The move adds depth to their offensive line, as Moll has 18 career starts in three seasons. Also look for Baltimore to attempt to reclaim some of its rookie draft picks such as running back Cedric Peerman and tight end Davon Drew. Even Gano may be a solid practice-squad candidate who can keep Hauschka sharp and in a competitive mode during the regular season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

If you're like me and random theme songs pop in your head, you're hearing Europe's "Final Countdown" as Thursday night's showdown between Chicago and New Orleans approaches. (It's very possible that I'm the only one this happens to, but we'll leave it at that).

(By the way, have you ever actually read the exact lyrics of this song? I just looked at them here. Not what I thought. Probably better served for an Odyssey convention or something. Anyways).

Yes, the Bears are in a must-win situation against a team that has the capacity to steamroll them but rarely plays well away from home. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes that we'll find out if the Bears are the "Big Tease" or the "Big Payoff."

Haugh:

Is this going to be the season known for its near-misses or far-flung playoff scenarios coming true? Is this a season in which veteran millionaires failed the Bears or one that hungry rookies saved for them? Will this be the season that peaked in Week 1 with the only real surprise victory of the year over the Colts? Or can the Bears muster enough mental toughness Thursday night to beat a deeper and more talented New Orleans team to keep the pressure on the NFC North-leading Vikings?

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at one of the key players in Thursday night's game, Bears nickel back Danieal Manning. A conversation between Bears safeties coach Gil Byrd helped level Manning's play this season, Biggs writes.

The Bears might spend time obsessing over the Saints' passing game, but they would be remiss to ignore a running game that includes Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.

We'll have more on this game as the day continues and will check in periodically Thursday night. Now, let's continue our morning ride through the division:

  • Minnesota coaches and players will be rooting heavily for the Saints, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. A Bears loss gives the Vikings a chance to clinch the division Sunday.
  • Minnesota defensive lineman Kevin Williams could lose $500,000 in contract escalators if he is suspended and thus ineligible for the Pro Bowl, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. But Williams can re-coup that money if he is named to the Associated Press All-Pro team instead.
  • Dan Orlovsky is the Lions' likely starting quarterback Sunday at Indianapolis, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News. Orlovsky, however, is recovering from a hand injury and issued this alarming quote: "I'm gonna miss some throws because of it, but I'm pretty confident I'll be able to go out and throw and play effectively and play well."
  • Indeed, Orlovsky looked rusty in practice Wednesday, writes David Birkett of the Oakland Press, and the apparent decision speaks to the lack of confidence the team must have in backup Drew Stanton.
  • You can officially call it a lost season for Green Bay defensive tackle Justin Harrell, who has been shut down for a couple days because of a hip injury. Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette hashes through the problems of the Packers' 2007 first-round draft choice.
  • Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at Tony Moll, who will replace the injured Mark Tauscher at right tackle.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

NEW ORLEANS -- Whew. Let me catch my breath and then I'll give you a few first-half observations.

OK. I'm fine now.

  • Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman made a little noise at the end of the second quarter, twice getting into the backfield to force two incompletions from Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The pressure forced New Orleans to settle for a 30-yard field goal at the end of the half.
  • Before that, however, Brees completed 13 consecutive passes. He finished the half 13 of 16 for 194 yards and two touchdowns. And he gets the ball to start the third quarter.
  • The Packers, who entered the weekend with an NFL-high 16 interceptions, didn't get a hand on a pass until Nick Collins made a play on Brees' final pass of the half. Brees really hasn't given them any other opportunities.
  • The Packers offense has been strong but is having to work much harder for its scores. Tailback Ryan Grant has 83 all-purpose yards, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a nice move to squeeze into the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run. (Note that Rodgers landed squarely on his previously-sprained right shoulder. If he was in pain, he didn't show it.)
  • There was one point, earlier in the game, when I wondered if Rodgers' shoulder was bothering him. In the first quarter, he threw low to a wide-open Greg Jennings about 20 yards downfield. But, sometimes a low throw is just a low throw.
  • The Packers are rotating safeties Atari Bigby and Aaron Rouse, as they have done for several games. But before Kampman started getting into the backfield, nothing was working for their pass defense.
  • Tony Moll finished out the first half at right tackle. Given how long starter Mark Tauscher stood on the sidelines, it would be a surprise to see him come back.
  • Someone just walked past me and suggested the team with the ball last will win. Sounds about right to me.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Packers' rebuilt offensive line is having a tough night with the yellow flag.

When stand-in right guard Tony Moll got called for his third penalty of the night, it was a big one. Because he was standing past the line of scrimmage -- we have no idea why -- Moll nullified Aaron Rodgers' beautiful 68-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver.

The play would have given the Packers a 17-6 lead midway through the third quarter. Instead, Green Bay wound up punting three plays later.

I also have left tackle Chad Clifton with three penalties and left guard Daryn Colledge with one.

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