NFL Nation: Tory Humphrey
As expected, injured receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) and back up tight end John Gilmore (toe) are out.
The other inactives for the Saints are cornerback Leigh Torrence, linebacker Nate Bussey, tight end Tory Humphrey and offensive lineman Eric Olsen.
With veteran defensive end Will Smith possibly facing a four-game suspension to start the season, Jordan has a shot to be in the starting lineup on opening day. But he has some catching up to do after missing all the offseason work due to the lockout and the first few days of training camp.
But Jordan, a University of California product, has all sorts of potential. In 50 college games (33 starts), Jordan produced 16.5 sacks, five pass deflections, four forced fumbles and was known as a strong run defender.
The Saints also announced a few other moves. The team has agreed to terms that will keep offensive lineman Zach Strief with the team. The Saints also signed linebacker Clint Ingram, tight end Tory Humphrey and defensive back Terrail Lambert. The Saints also waived rookie cornerback Josh Gatlin and rookie guard Carl Johnson.
The biggest surprise among the inactives is rookie cornerback Patrick Robinson. The Saints’ first-round draft pick, Robinson has spent most of the season as a backup, but did get some starts when Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter were hurt early in the year. Robinson hasn’t been much of a factor recently. Safety Usama Young also is a bit of a surprise on the inactive list. Young usually plays on special teams and he wasn’t on the injury report this week.
The other inactives for the Saints are: running back Julius Jones, linebacker Ramon Humber, offensive tackle Charles Brown, tight end Tory Humphrey, defensive end Junior Galette and linebacker Kawika Mitchell.
As expected, injured cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer and running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are not active.
Rookie Patrick Robinson and Leigh Torrence are expected to start as the cornerbacks and Chris Ivory is expected to start at running back. The other inactives for the Saints are linebacker Anthony Waters, tackle Charles Brown, tight end Tory Humphrey and defensive end Junior Galette.
The Saints have said Ladell Betts will start in place of Thomas. The Saints also are without injured running back Reggie Bush, and that means Chris Ivory and DeShawn Wynn likely will share carries with Betts.
The Saints also will be without starting strong safety Roman Harper. Pierson Prioleau will start in his place. John Carney will handle place-kicking duties as Garrett Hartley is inactive after missing a short kick in overtime last week.
Also inactive for the Saints are linebacker Anthony Waters, offensive lineman Charles Brown, tight end Tory Humphrey and defensive end Junior Galette.
Chris Ivory, who missed the first two games with an injury, is active today. So is recently signed Ladell Betts. They likely will share carries with starter Pierre Thomas.
Rookie cornerback Patrick Robinson also is active today after being inactive Monday night. Robinson could get some time in the nickel and dime packages with Randall Gay out with a concussion.
Along with Gay and Bush, the rest of New Orleans’ inactive list includes safety Usama Young, linebacker Anthony Waters, offensive lineman Charles Brown, tight end Tory Humphrey, receiver Adrian Arrington and defensive end Junior Galette.
- New Orleans dropped more passes than you’d expect from a defending Super Bowl champ, which made life easier on rookie corner Kareem Jackson in seven-on-seven work than it should have been.
- In a team period I saw Jackson break well on a ball aimed for Lance Moore and he made it difficult for the receiver to pull in the 12-yard pass which wound up on the turf.
- The other most notable pass play I saw exposed an area that I see as a great concern -- depth at free safety. Dominique Barber went for a sideline pick against tight end Tory Humphrey, whiffed and allowed the reception and significant yards after the catch.
- Trindon Holliday’s had some issues, but looked very comfortable to me fielding punts. His lateral movement and ability to skip and hop into space can be hard to believe. I hope he can earn the role so we can see some of this in a meaningful setting.
- Joel Dreessen made a great leaping catch of a John David Booty throw in a seam between four defenders, but it probably wasn’t as good as it looked since Chip Vaughn fell down.
I talked with Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton as well as Jacoby Jones for a project you’ll see down the road. They’ll practice again Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned for more from Metairie.
McAllister was signed yesterday after sitting out all season. He’s expected to lead the Saints onto the field as a ceremonial gesture. Defensive back Chris Reis, linebacker Anthony Waters, guard Jamar Nesbit, tight end Darnell Dinkins, tight end Tory Humphrey and defensive end Paul Spicer also are inactive to the Saints. Chase Daniel is the third quarterback.
Arizona’s inactives are quarterback Brian St. Pierre, fullback Nehemiah Broughton, safety Rashad Johnson, linebacker Gerald Hayes, offensive lineman Herman Johnson, defensive end Jeremy Clark, receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Stephen Spach.
Receiver Anquan Boldin, linebacker Gerald Hayes, fullback Nehemiah Broughton, safety Rashad Johnson, tackle Herman Johnson, defensive end Jeremy Clark and tight end Stephen Spach are inactive for the Cardinals. Brian St. Pierre is the third quarterback. If he plays, starter Kurt Warner and backup Matt Leinart cannot enter the game.
Inactive for the Saints: running back Deuce McAllister, safety Chris Reis, linebacker Anthony Waters, guard Jamar Nesbit, tight end Darnell Dinkins, tight end Tory Humphrey and defensive end Paul Spicer. Chase Daniel is the third quarterback.
The pressbox announcer just referred to Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt as "Ken Wizenhunt" -- another indication which team is the visitor for this divisional-round game.
Chicago remains abuzz about the Bears' prospects for adding a veteran receiver to go along with new quarterback Jay Cutler.
Coach Lovie Smith didn't rule out the possibility of pursuing Torry Holt or Plaxico Burress, although the agent for Holt recently told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times that he doubted Holt will visit the Bears. Holt played for St. Louis when Smith was the Rams' defensive coordinator, and Smith told reporters Tuesday that Holt is a "great player, great guy." His comments on Burress were less expansive, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Smith: "Would we like to get another receiver? Possibly. As for how we'll get it, free agency or the draft, we really don't know."
The Tribune's David Haugh suggests the Bears back off any interest in Burress: "Burress coming to town would be bad for everybody around here, except possibly bail bondsmen."
The Bears continue to seem more likely to pursue a receiver in the draft. According to the Sun-Times, receivers coach Darryl Drake put Oklahoma receiver Juaquin Iglesias through a private workout Tuesday. Drake is scheduled to work out Georgia receiver Mohamed Massaquoi on Wednesday. Both players are candidates for the Bears' second-round selection.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette names defensive end as the Packers' greatest position of need: "'Desperate' is not too strong a word to use when describing this position."
- Tight end Tory Humphrey's one-year contract with the Packers is worth $460,000, according to the Press-Gazette's Rob Demovsky.
- Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson reiterated he wants to gain 12 pounds during the Vikings' offseason strength and conditioning program, according to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. Peterson: "God willing [I will get to] 225, 230 just to see how it feels. Before the season starts I look forward to having my weight up so I will be able to see how it is when I run and cut and do different things like that."
- Detroit is scheduled to host Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin, according to Scout.com via John Niyo of the Detroit News.
- Lions safety Gerald Alexander, who suffered a fractured vertebra last season, is on the mend. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press has the story.
As it turns out, Monday was the first official day of Chicago's offseason strength and conditioning program. It proved fortuitous timing for the Bears, who last Thursday acquired quarterback Jay Cutler from Denver in exchange for Kyle Orton and three draft picks.
(Chicago had its minicamp March 17-19, but players and coaches have mostly been off since then.)
Cutler was on hand Monday and began meeting with offensive coordinator Ron Turner to learn the Bears' offense. In an interview with ChicagoBears.com, Turner said he is beginning the work of identifying the parts of his offense that best fit Cutler's skills.
Turner: "We're going to run our offense We've got everything in our offense to take advantage of his capabilities. It's just a matter of the emphasis. We'll change some things there with him. That's one thing as a coach that you always try to do and I'm always trying to do is maximize the talents of our players, not just the quarterback but [tight end] Greg Olsen, the wide receivers, the running backs with [Matt] Forte and the things he can do, and we'll do the same thing with Jay. We'll run our offense, but we'll emphasize the things that he can do really well."
It will be interesting to see how that task plays out. The Bears' offense under Turner has traditionally been a run-first scheme that asks quarterbacks to manage the game with quick-read passing. Cutler's big arm is a rare commodity. How will the Bears use it? We'll start to learn more next month, when the Bears are scheduled to begin their on-field Organized Training Activities.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at some of the receivers Chicago might consider with its second-round pick.
- Cutler was hoping the Bears would draft him in 2006, writes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com notes there is nothing in the NFL rule book that prevents the Lions from passing on the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. I'll have more on that topic later Tuesday.
- Green Bay wanted tight end Tory Humphrey back on its roster for his blocking, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Oakland's signing of ex-Minnesota offensive lineman Marcus Johnson closes the book on the Vikings' 2005 draft. None of the seven players drafted are with the team, as Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune points out.
Let's catch up on a busier-than-expected news day here in the Black and Blue:
- We'll start with Green Bay, where earlier Monday, the Packers re-signed tight end Tory Humphrey and released linebacker Kenny Pettway. Humphrey was scheduled to be a restricted free agent, but the Packers declined to tender him a contract in February. As Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette points out, the maneuver allows the Packers to re-sign Humphrey at a price lower than the minimum offer sheet value of $1.01 million for restricted free agents.
- Minnesota defensive tackle Fred Evans signed his restricted free agent tender, allowing him to participate in the start of the Vikings' offseason strength and conditioning program. The deal will pay Evans $1.545 million in 2009. Evans is a leading candidate to start the first four games of the season if Kevin Williams and/or Pat Williams is forced to serve an NFL suspension.
- Detroit re-signed offensive lineman George Foster and also signed free agent lineman Dylan Gandy. Foster opened last season at right tackle but lost his job to first-round pick Gosder Cherilus. The Lions also hosted free-agent offensive lineman Ephraim Salaam, but Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press suggests nothing will materialize on that front until after the draft. For now, Jeff Backus remains at left tackle.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson found the appropriate word Sunday to describe his feelings after botching a fourth-quarter play he had lobbied hard for.
"Sick," Peterson said.
Then he found the appropriate qualifier.
|Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire|
|Vikings running back Adrian Peterson scored the game-winning touchdown against Green Bay.|
"I was sick for the moment."
Indeed, the illness didn't last long. Inspired by his earlier failure, Peterson single-handedly carried the Vikings to the winning touchdown in their 28-27 victory over Green Bay. Peterson touched the ball on five of Minnesota's six plays on its final drive, finishing with a 29-yard touchdown run that put his team ahead for good with 2:30 remaining.
A few minutes earlier, Peterson had sprinted toward Vikings coach Brad Childress during a timeout. Trailing 24-21 at the 9:31 mark, the Vikings faced a fourth-and-1 from their 41-yard line. Childress initially sent out punter Chris Kluwe -- a reasonable decision, considering the line of scrimmage and the time remaining -- but pulled him back after Peterson implored him to go for it.
Peterson, however, fumbled on the ensuing carry, leaving the Packers in position for a field goal that gave them a six-point lead.
"It was tough," Peterson said. "First of all, talking coach into going for it. And then actually having the first down. And then fumbling. ... But we made big plays when we needed to, and that's what it came down to."
But Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell never thought twice about entrusting Peterson with the ball on the final drive. His score pulled the Vikings (5-4) into a first-place tie with Chicago in the NFC North while handing the Packers (4-5) their fifth loss in seven games.
"The one thing that's great about Adrian is he is a competitive son of a gun," Bevell said. "You can tell from the way he runs."
Peterson finished the game with 225 all-purpose yards, including 192 in the ground, and now leads the NFL with 1,015 yards on the season.
"He's always got the eye of the tiger," Childress said. "It doesn't make any difference. That's what you love about him. You talk about corners having short-term memory and we grind on him. ... But he's so hyper-competitive. It kills him. [He] drops the ball on the ground, but you just know you're going to get it from him every time you hand it to him. And he wants to win, badly. He doesn't care how."
The Vikings were in position for Peterson's heroics in part because of a remarkable display from defensive end Jared Allen. Playing with a restrictive harness on his right shoulder and a pain-killing injection coursing through his body, Allen sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a safety and inspired a dominant pass rush that limited Green Bay to 110 net yards passing.
Allen was considered doubtful for the game as late as Saturday, but he woke up Sunday with limited swelling and a strong desire to test out the shoulder in pre-game warmups. The injury is considered a third-degree sprain, the most serious category.
"You can't make a grade three any worse," Childress said.
So Childress gave him the go-ahead to try, and Allen -- who signed a six-year, $74 million contract in the offseason -- said he felt a strong sense of obligation to play against a division rival.
"This is what I love to do," Allen said. "I think it's more of a pride issue [when you think of] some old-time players. Guys like Jack Youngblood playing with a broken leg, guys with busted noses and arms and shoulders, and I kind of think of myself as an old-school player.
"That's really the reason I [did] it. Hopefully one day, I'll inspire somebody: 'He toughed through it and played and stuff like that.' And to show people that we're not all about the money. At least I [am that way]. I do this because I love to go out there, I love to compete, play my guts out there and have games like this, this feeling."
The injury was particularly uncomfortable at the start of the game, Allen said, and Childress asked him on several occasions if he wanted to continue. Eventually, he said, "adrenaline kicked in." But by my count, there were at least at least two plays when Allen was unable to extend his right arm when he was otherwise in position to tackle Green Bay tailback Ryan Grant.
Afterward, I asked Allen how high he could lift his right arm. Demonstrating with the left -- apparently soreness had set in on the right -- he raised it parallel with his shoulder.
"Hey, if I sack them, I don't have to worry about batting balls down," Allen said, laughing.
Allen's shoulder certainly didn't affect his speed, and on the safety he simply sprinted past Packers left tackle Chad Clifton. Overall, Allen was credited with a sack, a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and one quarterback hurry. Film review might ultimately give him partial credit this week for another sack on a play where he and teammate Brian Robison simultaneously converged on Rodgers.
Clifton and the Packers had shut down the Vikings' pass rush in the team's Sept. 8 season opener, allowing Rodgers to complete 18 of 22 passes. Sunday, however, the Vikings rattled Rodgers from the start, sacking him four times and hurrying him on six other plays. Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier blitzed his linebackers extensively, getting sacks from Chad Greenway and Napoleon Harris.
Rodgers acknowledged he "took some shots" after throwing for a season-low 142 yards.
"Today was probably a combination of us not doing our fundamentals the way we know how to," Rodgers said, "and me probably holding the ball too long. They did a great job, and you have to give them credit."
Rodgers looked uncharacteristically rattled for large stretches of the game, most notably when he fumbled into the end zone in the second quarter. Rodgers grabbed the ball, but instead of trying to run the ball to safety, he wildly threw the ball toward the sideline.
Although tight end Tory Humphrey was in the vicinity, officials ruled intentional grounding -- for the first of two safeties on the afternoon -- because of what they termed an "unnatural" throwing motion.
"With us getting a couple of safeties on him, I think we did rattle him," Vikings safety Darren Sharper said. "The one thing about that is that he's the kind of quarterback that even if he does get rattled, he finds a way to bounce back. He made some good throws. Good thing we kept the pressure on him all day long."
The Packers nevertheless had a chance to win after taking over possession at their 41-yard line with 2:15 remaining. But after narrowly missing an interception on their first play, the Packers called consecutive running plays while allowing the clock to wind down.
Ultimately, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy left himself with a 52-yard field goal attempt for place-kicker Mason Crosby. Although Crosby had converted two of three attempts this season from at least 50 yards, he was wide right on Sunday's attempt.
Afterward, McCarthy faced a series of questions about the decision to let the clock wind down without pushing farther downfield. Ultimately, it seemed McCarthy did not want to risk a sack pushing him out of field goal position altogether. On a third-down-and-7 before the field goal attempt, Rodgers checked down to receiver Donald Driver for a three-yard reception.
Even Childress said he was "surprised" to see Packers run the ball and added: "I like my chances with my run defense when people get into two tight ends and want to pound the ball for positioning."
Said McCarthy: "I was fine from the distance that we kicked it from. We were being smart there with our play selection but still we were trying to get the first down."
The loss was McCarthy's first to the Vikings in five games since he and Childress assumed their respective jobs. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf presented Childress a game ball afterward. Childress would be wise to cut that pigskin in half. One end should go to Peterson and the other to Allen.
|AP Photo/Jack Dempsey|
|Aaron Rodgers silenced the doubters for at least one night.|
Rodgers completed 18 of 22 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' 27-24 victory over the Broncos, and in all Green Bay gained 217 yards and 15 first downs when he was in the game. Coming in the most critical of preseason games, the performance eased concerns about his rusty outings in the previous two games.
"I thought Aaron had a very good night," coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in Denver. "I thought he was sharp. I thought he managed the offense, the tempo, was smart with the football, was very good on third down. I thought it was important for our offense to come out and establish some tempo and have some productivity early in the game. We were able to do that and continue it for four quarters."
Rodgers threw a 35-yard pass to tight end Tory Humphrey on the Packers' first play from scrimmage and it was off to the races from there. The Packers also benefited from the return of receiver Greg Jennings, who had four catches for 42 yards.
The night wasn't a total success at the quarterback position, however. In limited time, backup Brian Brohm did not complete any of his four passes. McCarthy indicated Brohm and No. 3 quarterback Matt Flynn will get extended playing time next Thursday against Tennessee.
Elsewhere around the NFC North:
- The Detroit Lions' key offensive players probably will see only 20-25 snaps Saturday against Cleveland. "Injuries are such a significant part in these preseason games," offensive coordinator Jim Colletto told the Detroit Free Press. "And we can't afford to get anybody hurt."
- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (sprained right knee) did not participate in any 11-on-11 drills during practice this week. He is not expected to play in Saturday's preseason game against Pittsburgh.
- Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is vowing to hold some competitive practices in the wake of his team's defensive breakdown Thursday night against San Francisco. Brandon McGowan and Kevin Payne will continue to compete for the starting strong-safety job.
- 49ers running back Frank Gore was asked how long it had been since his team's offense had felt as good as it did against the Bears: "A long time," Gore said. "A long time. A long time."
We shut things down Thursday night at halftime of the Chicago Bears' third preseason game. But it appears their defense fared no better at the start of the third quarter in a 37-30 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
After a first half in which they allowed 248 yards, the Bears gave up a 62-yard drive to struggling 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Overall, the Chicago defense surrendered 425 yards, including 160 on the ground during a wholly uninspiring night for their defense.
Here's what defensive coordinator Bob Babich said about the display, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:
"Yeah, I'm very disappointed. We're very disappointed in our play tonight. We are a very good defense. We are going to be a dominant defense. We just need to make sure when we go out and play that we play at that level. We need to make sure the guys are in the right spots, and that all starts with me."
The poor defensive showing, however, didn't totally overshadow a promising start from quarterback Kyle Orton three days after he was named the Bears' permanent starter. Orton completed 10 of 17 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a nicely-placed 21-yard strike to receiver Rashied Davis.
Here's how Chicago Tribune beat writer David Haugh put it: "As many questions as the defense raised, Orton answered a bigger one in a convincing manner."
Elsewhere around the NFC North:
- Green Bay Packers safety Aaron Rouse, whose 6-foot-4 frame makes him a pretty scary defensive back, will be relegated to special teams status again this season, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal offers a Packers roster analysis. Among those he considers on the bubble: Running backs Vernand Morency and Noah Herron, tight end Tory Humphrey, defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, defensive tackle Justin Harrell and cornerback Jarrett Bush.
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com provides a similar analysis on the Detroit Lions. His bubble players include running back Tatum Bell, right tackle George Foster and linebacker Buster Davis.
- Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress on how he is handling quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's knee injury: "I do not want to insinuate with him that he's not a tough guy or has to play injured. He has to be able to have some of his faculties. He's got to be able to protect himself."
- Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian is expected to play Saturday night against Pittsburgh after missing the team's last preseason game because of turf toe.
Final Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14 Final Detroit 23 Buffalo 0 Final Indianapolis 7 Cincinnati 35 Final New York 7 Philadelphia 37 Final St. Louis 13 Miami 14 Final Kansas City 14 Green Bay 34 Final Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0 Final New England 13 New York 16 Final Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10 Final Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13 Final Chicago 13 Cleveland 33 Final San Francisco 40 Houston 13 Final Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3 Final Denver 27 Dallas 3 Final Arizona 9 San Diego 12 Final Seattle 31 Oakland 41