The Seattle Seahawks have a heated quarterback battle on their hands. But, despite many reports to the contrary, Russell Wilson doesn’t appear to be a part of it.
According to Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times, Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson continue to share the majority of the first-team reps in practice. Meanwhile, Wilson continues to work with the second team, and isn’t expected to receive any playing time until the 2nd half of the Seahawks next preseason game.
Pete Carroll insists he is considering all three of his quarterbacks, but evidence points to the contrary. Even if Carroll handed the job to Wilson effective immediately, he would only have three weeks to work with the first unit. That’s not a realistic timetable for a rookie quarterback.
It won’t come as a surprise if Wilson starts at some point this season, but it doesn’t appear as though he’s a realistic option for opening weekend.
Carolina Panthers 5th-round pick Josh Norman has been fairly quiet early this preseason, but he made sure everyone took notice of his performance on Tuesday afternoon. According to the Panthers official twitter feed, Norman picked off four passes, including three in a half-hour span.
While practice stats are even less relevant than preseason numbers, at worst Norman caught the attention of the media and fans. He’s in the midst of a tough battle for the nickel corner job and Tuesday’s performance potentially could give him a slight edge over his closest competitors, R.J. Stanford, Darius Butler and Brandon Hogan.
But this day will quickly be forgotten if he doesn’t follow it up with a solid showing in actual game action when the Panthers take on the Dolphins on Friday night.
Denver Broncos rookie Derek Wolfe has been climbing the depth chart and has been receiving some playing time with the first-team defense, according to the Denver Post.
Wolfe primarily played tackle at Cincinnati, but has been lining up at end in the Broncos 4-3 defense. He would appear to be best suited as a run-stuffing end in their system, but managed to record two sacks in the Broncos preseason opener. While Elvis Dumervil has one starting spot locked up, the other end position is up for grabs, with Wolfe, Jason Hunter and potentially Robert Ayers all still in the mix.
Realistically, I would expect Wolfe to be used as part of the rotation, at least early in the season. Given the Broncos depth at the position, there’s no need to force Wolfe into a full-time role right from the start.
The Pittsburgh Steelers handed the starting left tackle job to 2nd-round pick Mike Adams, but after a shaky debut his job may be on the line.
In a span of just nine plays Adams allowed 2.5 sacks. He then suffered a knee injury which will keep him out of the Steelers next preseason game, preventing him from quick redemption. To make matters worse, the Steelers have activated veteran Max Starks from the PUP list.
While the Steelers haven’t publicly stated that Adams’ job is on the line, this recent series of events certainly doesn’t bode well for him. After all, Adams isn’t a 1st-rounder who entered camp with high expectations. He’s physically gifted, but had a reputation at Ohio State for being lazy and doing just enough to get by on the field. He needs these preseason games to prove he’s matured and can handle the pressure of the NFL.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel broke down each position on the Green Bay Packers roster based on who he believes will survive the final roster cuts. One of the interesting names in his “on the fence” category is rookie linebacker Terrell Manning.
Manning was a personal favorite of mine entering the draft, and many were shocked when he fell to the 5th round. He could have benefited from another year at N.C. State, but his raw athleticism is difficult to ignore. He was a big play waiting to happen in college, but reportedly hasn’t shown that playmaking ability so far in Green Bay.
While he remains an intriguing developmental prospect, the Packers obviously aren’t in a position to keep him around if they believe he will be a liability in the immediate future. The fact that Desmond Bishop appears to be out for the year increases Manning’s chances slightly, but he still needs to hold off former undrafted free agents Rob Francois and Jamari Lattimore.
Andrew Luck was impressive in his preseason debut, there’s no denying that. But Indianapolis Colts fans may be taking their praise a little too far.
According to Derek Schultz, who hosts a radio show on WNDE in Indy, callers have talking about a potential trip to the playoffs in 2012, or even a Super Bowl run.
Needless to say, this is absurd. While rookie quarterbacks have taken teams to the playoffs in recent years, they’ve always been along for the ride more so than driving the truck. The Colts, however, are only going as far as Luck takes them – in 2012 and beyond. No matter how great Luck looks in preseason action, he will make mistakes in the regular season and he will cost them some games.
Not that this argument really needs to supported by any evidence, but just in case you’re among those taking Luck’s preseason debut a little too seriously, here’s all you need to know. The first line of an AP article on August 10, 1998 read: ”Ryan Leaf didnt look at all like a rattled rookie in his NFL debut. At times, Peyton Manning sure did.”
I rest my case.
By kicking him off the team, the LSU Tigers effectively killed Tyrann Mathieu‘s chances of being a 1st-round pick.
Mathieu has an uphill battle ahead
That may sound like a bold statement, especially this early in the draft process, but it’s the reality of the situation. Positive drug tests don’t always hurt a player’s draft stock. Teams understand that many players experiment with drugs, especially marijuana, during their college (and professional) careers. Most teams will overlook a positive drug test from an elite prospect because the reward greatly outweighs the risk.
But Mathieu isn’t an elite prospect.
A player in Mathieu’s shoes (i.e. a player on the cusp of 1st-round consideration) can’t afford to give teams any reason to drop him on their boards. Whether or not he should be given a 1st-round grade was already going to be a heated discussion in many war rooms, and now Mathieu just gave more ammunition to his detractors.
As a general rule of thumb, any prospect with one downfall can still be considered a potential 1st-round if he is elite in other areas but two eliminates him from consideration. Mathieu now has two significant red flags – size and character – and he will have a difficult time convincing teams to overlook his three positive drug tests.
Realistically, the best decision for Mathieu is to play at the FCS level this year and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. He should still come off the board in the 2nd or 3rd round and be given an opportunity to compete for a job at the next level. But if he wants to elevate his stock, he may need two more trouble-free years to convince teams that he has matured.
New York Giants 3rd-round pick Jayron Hosley has been getting reps with the first-team defense in nickel packages according to Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger.
According to Garafolo, the results have been mixed so far, but this appears to be an ideal spot for Hosley. While he’s slightly undersized, he’s quick enough to stick with nearly any receiver in the NFL. The key to Hosley’s development will be his willingness to listen to coaches and continue to develop his technique, as he often relied on his pure athleticism to get by in college.
Hosley has also been given an opportunity to handle punts, but fumbled one in the Giants preseason opener. He is competing with Jerrel Jernigan, Domenik Hixon and fellow rookie Rueben Randle for the punt return duties.
The Chicago Bears are easing 1st-round pick Shea McClellin into their defensive system, primarily giving him reps with the second team defensive unit. However, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, McClellin has been getting on the field with the first team in nickel packages.
The Bears haven’t publicly acknowledged that McClellin will be their the pass-rush specialist, but this news certainly seems to indicate that he will fill that role. More often than not, the nickel (or dime) package is used in passing situations which will allow McClellin to play to his strengths early in his career. Presuambly, McClellin will step in for Isreal Idonije, creating a formidable pass-rush duo between himself and Julius Peppers.
The Green Bay Packers were Super Bowl favorites for most of the 2011 season, but they still had some glaring holes to fill this offseason.
1st-round pick Nick Perry will be expected to start from day one at outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews. He takes the starting job over from Erik Walden, who struggled throughout the 2011 season, recording just three sacks and proving to be a liability against the run.
Perry wasn’t the most explosive pass rusher in this year’s draft class, but he doesn’t need to be in have an impact in Green Bay. The Packers will rely on Matthews to pressure the quarterback, as they have the past few years, and anything Perry adds will simply be a bonus.
The Packers will notice Perry’s impact most against the run, where he offers a significant upgrade over Walden. According to Pro Football Focus’ grading system, Walden ranked dead last among 3-4 outside linebackers against the run in 2011.
Perry is a more physical player and better suited to hold up at the point of attack, where is Walden is undersized and is better suited to be playing inside in Dom Capers’ defense.
While Perry may not have the statistical impact necessary to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year votes, he will almost certainly be one of top rookies still on the field in January.
Check out our full review of the Packers 2012 draft class.