Category Archives: NFL

Injury holding Beanie Wells back again

An NFL comeback for former Ohio State running back Beanie Wells is on hold. Injury, again, is holding Wells back.

According to an ESPN.com report, Wells suffered a torn Achilles while working out for the Baltimore Ravens last week. The report states that the injury is bad enough to keep Wells away from further workouts and out of the NFL for the rest of 201.

A first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, Wells had one very good season and three others with mixed success and injury issues. He ran for 1,047 yards in 2011 but was limited to eight games by a turf toe injury last season. His contract expired, and though several teams — including the Bengals and Steelers — took a look at Wells last offseason, he had a knee injury that kept him unsigned and out of training camp and the early part of this season.

Wells tweeted earlier this month that his knee was better and he was ready to return to action.

An Akron native, Wells averaged 5.8 yards per carry and ran for 23 touchdowns in his final two Ohio State seasons.

Getting value for Gordon will be difficult

Right now, an hour before the Browns play at Kansas City and the last weekend of games before the NFL’s annual trade deadline begins, I don’t think the Browns will trade Josh Gordon.

I don’t know. No one knows.

The rumor mill is churning. We don’t know who’s keeping it going, but deadlines spur both action and speculation. And just about anybody in any front office leaguewide — with a variety of different motivations — can plant and/or feed a new rumor at just about anytime.

This is the Twitter world. This, too, is business in the NFL.

In Gordon, the Browns have a talented player with plenty of upside on the field. Off the field, he’s essentially down to his last strike. The Browns are building for the future and have to look two years ahead, when Gordon — if he’s clean and producing — will command big money. Or, maybe it will go the other way, which is why the thought of getting anything for him now fits with a team that’s going to need new players at every offensive skill position (except probably tight end) next year.

One thing the Browns won’t do under Joe Banner is blink. They’ll explore every option and every scenario, but Banner’s willingness to do these kinds of deals doesn’t mean he’s going to do one (or two) just to do it.

The most complicated issue for both the Browns and interested teams is that Gordon’s potential greatly outweighs his production thus far. In addition to that lingering last strike in the substance abuse program, will he do all the necessary work to reach his ceiling? Will whatever team employs him get maximum effort all the time? Based both on how he got here and what he’s done in 15 months in the NFL, those are fair questions.

The Gordon who played in Minnesota in his first game back looked like a certain tall, dangerous and sometimes-troubled receiver who came to Minnesota 15 years ago. The Gordon who played last week in Green Bay could get a general manager fired for trading for him.

No team is giving a first-rounder for Gordon. Maybe some team will give a second. Not likely, but maybe. The 49ers are going to have an extra second-rounder. Those are the picks the Patriots covet. Each team probably values Gordon differently.

Do the Browns really want to trade Gordon for a third-rounder — and likely a late third considering a contender would be making the trade? Or two fourth-rounders? Or, say, a conditional third and a low-level player? That’s not value.

The Browns will get value or they’ll move on.

Today’s games can change outlooks and needs, and one phone call between now and Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline could change the Browns line of thinking. I wouldn’t count on the Browns moving Gordon.

At least not until March.

Lewis effusive with praise for D’Qwell

Marvin Lewis isn’t much for hyperbole, so what the Bengals coach said this week about Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson carries some serious weight.

And Lewis said a lot.

During his scheduled conference call with the Cleveland media ahead of Sunday’s Bengals-Browns game, Lewis was asked what makes the Browns defensive front seven so good.

“Explosive pass rushers, it starts there,” Lewis said. “And they have No. 52. He keeps playing. The guy has played in how many different defensive schelmes but the one thing that’s consistent is how great D’Qwell plays. He’s fun to watch on tape and he really has done an excellent job as a linebacker in the NFL.”

A second-round pick of the Browns in 2006, Jackson started immediately in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense. Eric Mangini employed a similar 3-4 style in 2009-10, but injuries limited Jackson to six starts in those two seasons. The change to Pat Shurmur marked a change to 4-3 base defense in 2011-12, and now the Browns are back to a 3-4.

Jackson has been around so long that he’s changed numbers, from 58 to 52. He was starting when new Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski was in his second Browns stint as an assistant in 2007-08. With Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Phil Dawson and Joshua Cribbs gone from their teams, Lewis, Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger and Haloti Ngata would rank among the AFC North’s most grizzled vets and longest-tenured men with their respective teams.

“D’Qwell is probably one of the more unheralded great players in the league,” Lewis said. “You have to be over in this division and watch him week in and week out to know how good he is. He makes so many plays in the run game.”

Richardson: They gave up on me

Trent Richardson did the conference call with the Jacksonville media today in advance of the Colts-Jaguars game Sunday.

Almost all of the questions for Richardson were about last week’s trade from the Browns — and Richardson had some interesting things to say, including that he sees “people enjoying their jobs” with the Colts and that the Browns coaches had promised him more carries before the surprising trade.

Below is the transcript of the call distributed by the Colts, picking up three questions in.

How different is the atmosphere? Cleveland where they’re rebuilding and Indy is coming off a playoff berth – can you tell in the locker room?

“Yeah and the atmosphere here with the players is way different. It’s much cooler, much family vibe, people actually come to work and are just ready to work and have fun. People are enjoying their jobs. I don’t think it’s one guy. I can look to my left and to my right and say that this guy is not trying as hard or he’s not giving it all to him because these guys will get onto you about that and make sure you’re working.”

Were some guys in Cleveland not giving their all?

“I can’t say that they weren’t giving their all but there were times that it was a Wednesday or it’s a Monday or something like that. Sometimes you have a mindset saying you don’t want to go to work today or something like that. I’m not saying these guys don’t get a day off but here you can just hear the different vibe with the family and the brotherly love here.”

How has the transition been for you personally? Did you have a house in Cleveland?

“Yeah, I had a house in Cleveland. It’s tough. I’ve got a family and a house in Cleveland so I’ve got to put my house on the market and I’ve got a find somewhere to stay here even if I’m just going to lease for a year.  With the process of moving and stuff like that and the kids and their school was the biggest concern to me because anywhere I go I know I can play football. It doesn’t matter. It’s a process with the kids. I’ve got a first and kindergartener and I’ve got a son that’s going to be a year next week. With saying that I’m not there and we’re planning a birthday party for him for the big “one” and it’s difficult trying to see them at the same time. For the first two games that I have here are two away games. I actually had a (luxury) box in Cleveland too so getting all of that stuff cancelled out for the rest of the year and I can’t get a box here because they’re all sold out. It’s been difficult.”

Were you disappointed with the way you found out that you had been traded? That’s weird having a friend call you?

“Yeah it was weird. I was very surprised and disappointed. At first it felt like they just really gave up on me. I thought I was doing all I could to be a Cleveland Brown and I get traded. I heard that and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ One of my friends called and I was like I’m not getting traded, what are you talking about? Then when I turned up the radio it was breaking news that ‘Trent Richardson has been traded to the Colts.’ I’m just leaving a complex and just got done ice bath and stuff like that and trying to take care of my body and getting ready for the next week. Later that night I was flying to Indy to do my physical the next morning and get ready to be a on the practice field.”

You never saw it coming in Cleveland?

“No, none of that. I was pretty good people there with everybody and everybody was always turned to me when it was coming to games on the line or needed advice on certain stuff. I thought I had built up enough chemistry with the players that we had enough respect for each other that they could come to me and say anything. I was on a leadership group, a captain group, whatever they called it. The coaches and I were good and they were telling me that we are going to get it done and we will get you the ball more. I was just telling the coaches it didn’t matter, let’s just win and get that win first. It doesn’t matter about the carries. I just want to win, that was the big issue and the big point of emphasis I tried to make every week.”

Do you feel like you went to a place that’s closer to winning?

“Oh yeah. It’s funny because the rebuilding year was last year and we still have a young group. We have our vets and stuff too. Our vets lead like no other leaders. They do a tremendous job with it but here you’ve got Luck and me and then you’ve got guys like Dwayne and you have our other tight end. We’ve got young guys and a young coach here. People don’t realize how much Indy has been a Pro Bowl system with the backfield when you’ve got Marshall Faulk coming from the same system, the same program, you’ve got Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, so Peyton Manning always had a good running back.”

I know going to the Colts worked out well but it hurt your pride that a year later Cleveland doesn’t want you?

“I look at it as this, as far as me having a chip on my shoulder and saying with that I kind of felt like they gave up on me. They hurt my pride because I know I can play football and that’s always been my dream. I’m going to keep my head up high and put that behind me. Now, they asked me if I would ever go back to Cleveland? That’s tough to come about but I figured on an up and coming basis that I would be there longer and I would have been there longer. It played like it played and it’s probably the best move ever for me. I don’t know about on their end. It might be, but on our end I think it’s one of the best moves ever that they would make for me.”

Because you went to a winning team?

“Yeah, a winning team with a winning coach. Ahmad Bradshaw took a big load off of me. Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, the offensive line, it’s a big load being taken off of me. When you don’t have to play behind you can really get the touches that you really want to to fill out the game. We’ve got a two headed monster like me and Ahmad. It’s crazy. Ahmad had been blessed to be with a team like he was at the Giants with a two headed monster when him and Brandon Jacobs were running the ball.”

Do you feel you have anything to prove because the casual fans across the country wonder why Cleveland would trade you a year later? Is there a problem?

“I think I’ve got a lot to prove because I never want to have that taste in my mouth again. No matter if it’s a good one or a bad one I want to be committed to a team and want the team to be committed to me. On that end I think I’ve got a lot to prove because I was the third pick of the draft, it was a year ago and being a player that I was last year playing with broken ribs and two knee surgeries, so I thought that the harder I went out there they would have stuck by me a little bit longer. I never caused any problems. It’s a business and at the same time with that business trip they just had, I’ve just got to put that behind me and say this never happen again, nothing that I don’t know about.”

It sounds like they were committed to you then this happens.

“I don’t think Norv Turner had anything to do with that. And Chilly probably had nothing to do with that either. A lot of stuff can come from up top and you don’t know why they do stuff. When that stuff happens it just happens. One thing Coach Saban always taught me when I was in Alabama he said, ‘It’s nothing personal, it’s a business.’”

Now you want to be a long term member of the Colts?

“Oh yeah, most definitely. This place here is where I think I want to be home as far as playing in my NFL career. I don’t want to be on another squad, I want to be here for the long run.”

Any particular goals, like leading the league in rushing, Pro Bowl?

“That’s down the line. That stuff is a goal every year. It’s going to come, I know it’s going to come. When it comes it’s going to come big and saying with that it’s a lot of team goals I still have for this team here. A lot of personal goals and at the end of the year I’m going to look at my tablet and see that I reach most of it, and I set my expectations high so if I reach just most of it or at least half of it I’m going to have a pretty successful year.”

How old are your kids?

“Seven, five and one next week.”

Two girls and a boy?

“Yeah.”

They’re still in Cleveland?

“Yeah, they’re still in Cleveland.”

They must have been shocked too?

“Yeah, it’s kind of hard to explain but I think my kids have been taking it well. They don’t know what’s really going on and they ask why. It’s hard to tell them.  I can’t explain it to them because half of it and most of it I don’t really know. I just said Daddy got traded and we’ve got to pick up and move unless you want to stay here in Cleveland.”

How fast will you find a place and get them to Indy?

“We have been fine and we have been looking the last two days and it’s been coming along. I’ve been looking for some places. We should be wrapped up by next week or the week after that.”

You’ve already looked at houses?

“Yeah. I’m not wasting any time. I want to be here and I want my kids to be settled in so I can be feeling at home.”

You hope to make lemonade out of a lemon of a situation then?

“Oh yeah. Freshly squeezed.”

Richardson scores, Colts win his debut

Trent Richardson’s wild week ended with his new team going across the country and scoring an upset.

Four days after being traded by the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts, Richardson scored his first touchdown of the season and finished with 13 carries for 35 yards as the Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers.

The Colts acquired him and played him on short notice because they needed him, so after practicing with the Browns Wednesday he had essentially two days to get caught up on the Colts playbook so that he could feel comfortable enough to play a role and the team could feel comfortable that he would be able to contribute.

“At first, everything was going fast, but the game did slow down,” Richardson told reporters after the game. “I hit the playbook real hard and got to studying. I knew the game was going to come to me and I just had to let the game come to me. Also Andrew Luck is a genius and Ahmad Bradshaw helped me out. All the guys on the offense helped me out and they were encouraging. They want to be great and I know why I am here. I am here for the long run and I am not going anywhere. We are going to be a great team.”

Asked how he liked playing with Luck, Richardson said: ” I love playing with Luck out there. He is a good person, a genius, and a rocket scientist out there. Playing beside him you must know your stuff.”

So, as all these quarterback-needy teams go through their seasons while evaluating the game’s most important position for the future, they have some criteria.

Good people. Geniuses. Rocket scientists.

Richardson scored, untouched, on his first carry as a Colt from one yard out. His arrival also sparked Bradshaw, who wasn’t really the incumbent because he’s new to the Colts and was limited by injury throughout training camp and the preseason.

Bradshaw ran 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown and was essentially the closer as the Colts pulled away during the second half. If both stay healthy going forward the Colts could have a potent running game. Obviously the Colts think Richardson can be a much more productive runner than he was with the Browns, and plenty of people will be watching over time to see if he will.

Luck, who isn’t really a rocket scientist but is a pretty gifted young quarterback, is counting on Richardson to get comfortable with his surroundings and make more plays as the season goes along.

“I thought (Richardson) did phenomenal,” Luck said. “I can’t imagine practicing Wednesday in one city and then you get on a flight and you are practicing Thursday in another city. I think we all know he is a football player. No stage is too big for him and we hardly ever saw his eyes get big or wide like ‘Oh my gosh what do I do?’. (He) definitely has the trust and respect of all our guys because of that. To him and Bradshaw and Donald Brown, they have worked together so well I think Donald and (running backs) coach (David) Walker do such a good job of bringing him up to speed that he was able to contribute and get a touchdown. How cool was that?”

Always time for some Ohio State-Michigan talk, right?

OAKLAND – We interrupt this really bad football game between the Raiders and Jaguars for a little Ohio State-related trivia.

With the Raiders starting Terrelle Pryor and the Jaguars starting Chad Henne, this marks the fourth time in NFL history that there’s been a starting quarterback matchup of an Ohio State alum and a Michigan alum.

We can call Pryor an Ohio State alum — even with so many games erased — right?

That stat comes courtesy of Chase Stuart of FootballPerspective.com, who’s a good follow @FBGChase if you’re into the Twitter thing.

On one third quarter play, Henne handed off to Denard Robinson. That’s former Michigan quarterback handing to former Michigan quarterback.

The Jaguars are very much in line to draft a quarterback from Louisville next May, but that’s irrelevant here.

Anyway, Pryor vs. Henne follows Drew Henson vs. Craig Krenzel (bet that was a doozy), Jim Harbaugh vs. Mike Tomczak and Elvis Grbac vs. Tomczak in Ohio State vs. Michigan NFL history.

Who’s suiting up for the Browns Sunday?

We won’t know until Sunday which 46 players will be on the active roster for the Browns in their much-anticipated season opener vs. the Dolphins.

Considering the state of the roster, it’s entirely possible that the Browns themselves don’t yet know.

That’s not necessarily an issue unique to the Browns, but by making seven waiver claims last weekend and parting ways with both kickers they used through the offseason and preseason, the Browns are in a unique spot. There’s always a strategy in picking the 46 active players and also a strategy in keeping those picks hidden from the opponent until 90 minutes before kickoff, when active rosters must be submitted.

Considering the current shape of the Browns roster and the 13 rookies who are on it, the Browns best strategy when it comes to special teams for Sunday’s game might be this: Hope.

And not just hoping that Billy Cundiff can still make field goals.

The Browns are thin at several positions — Josh Gordon’s suspension and Barkevious Mingo’s bruised lung don’t help — and will have to play at least a handful of guys on special teams units who weren’t on the team eight days ago. It seems like it’s going to be a long day of work for Trent Richardson, too.

The Browns have to dress all four receivers and all eight defensive backs — and hope like heck they don’t lose anyone at either position to an injury. Either seven or eight offensive linemen will be active; many teams gamble by just dressing seven. Probably three tight ends will be active, though it’s hard to imagine MarQuiese Gray or Keavon Milton being ready to contribute much offensively. Assuming Desmond Bryant gets healthy enough to play, the final game-active decisions will come at linebacker and at the bottom of the defensive line depth chart.

On kick and kick-coverage units, it’s going to be an all hands on deck approach.

All 53 players on the current roster are listed below — and designated by their potential special teams roles. Here’s the key…

N – never played in an NFL game
A – just added to the Browns roster since last weekend
* – not likely to play on punt team, punt return, kickoff team or kick return
X – not likely to be on the active gameday roster

QUARTERBACK (3)

Brandon Weeden *
Jason Campbell *
Brian Hoyer X

RUNNING BACK (4)

Trent Richardson *
Chris Ogbonnaya
Bobby Rainey A, N
Dennis Johnson A, N

WIDE RECEIVER (4)

Greg Little *
Davone Bess *
Travis Benjamin
Josh Cooper

TIGHT END (4)

Jordan Cameron *
Gary Barnidge
MarQueis Gray A, N
Keavon Milton A, N

OFFENSIVE LINE (10)

Joe Thomas *
John Greco *
Alex Mack *
O’Neil Cousins *
Mitchell Schwartz *
Rashad Butler *
Garrett Gilkey N
Patrick Lewis A, N, X
Martin Wallace A, N, X
Shawn Luavao – OUT

DEFENSIVE LINE (7)

Ahtyba Rubin *
Phil Taylor *
Desmond Bryant * (limited the last several weeks w/back spasms, status uncertain)
Billy Winn
John Hughes
Ishmaa’ily Kitchen *
Armonty Bryant N

LINEBACKER (10)

Paul Kruger *
Jabaal Sheard *
Quentin Groves
Barkevious Mingo N, X
D’Qwell Jackson *
Craig Robertson
Tank Carder
Paul Hazell N
Eric Martin N
Brandon Magee A, N, X

DEFENSIVE BACK (8, four safeties and four cornerbacks)

Joe Haden
Chris Owens
Buster Skrine
Leon McFadden N
T.J. Ward
Tashaun Gipson
Josh Aubrey N
Johnson Bademosi

SPECIALISTS (3)

Billy Cundiff A
Spencer Lanning N
Christian Yount

On paper, the Browns are staring at a special teams and depth problem. It sure seems like every minute of practice and preparation between now and Sunday afternoon will be important.

Mingo hospitalized; Lewis out indefinitely

CLEVELAND – An exciting night for the Cleveland Browns ended with disappointing news.

After the Browns 24-6 preseason win over the Lions, head coach Rob Chudzinski said first-round pick Barkevious Mingo will remain hospitalized overnight with a bruised lung and that running back Dion Lewis has a fractured fibula.

Lewis had been having an outstanding camp. Chudzinski said no decisions have been made, but he could be headed to injured-reserve.

Mingo left the game in the first half and ran to the locker room under his own power.

Starting guard Jason Pinkston — starting because of Shawn Lauvao’s ankle injury — left the game in the first quarter and left the stadium after the game with his foot in a protective boot and on crutches.

We’ll know more through the weekend, but it seems like it could have been a costly night for the Browns.

A few notes from Ohio State’s Wednesday practice

COLUMBUS, Ohio – We got to watch Ohio State practice today.

Here’s a little of what I scribbled in my notebook and stored in my memory bank…

*Braxton Miller is good. You already knew that. But Braxton Miller is better — he’s noticeably more confident and generally throws a much better ball — and, at least from a far, seems more comfortable. The more offense Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman can give Miller, the faster the Buckeyes will play, more players will be involved and defenses will be gasping for air.

*Miller is better, and he’s still far from a finished product. It still remains to be seen not only how he’ll perform from the pocket, but how often opponents can keep him from the pocket. In 90 or so minutes on Wednesday, the impression this untrained eye had was that Miller threw a bunch of different kinds of passes and didn’t throw them all well, but he threw a couple big-timers and overall seemed much more sure of his throws and his reads. I’ll stand by what Meyer said all summer, that we have not seen even close to his ceiling.

*Dontre Wilson, the freshman runner/receiver/slot man/return man, is the real deal. Believe the hype.

*Miller on one play was sprinting out to his right and saw Wilson on what was either a wheel route or Wilson breaking off his first route into open space. Miller kind of lazily lofted a throw from about the 15-yard line towards the back corner of the end zone. When it left his hand, it looked like he’d thrown it too far. Wilson hit that extra gear he clearly has and caught it. Whether or not he got a foot down, and whether or not he was the first or fourth option on that play, and whether or not Miller threw it like he knew what he was doing or just threw it to see if Wilson is really a human being, it’s the kind of play that speaks to the potential of this offense.

*Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs is still the staff’s resident wild man, and he doesn’t disappoint. But Meyer really runs an impressive football practice, and it seems like no one on the staff is afraid to show emotion, show displeasure or really get after guys. We don’t always know what we’re watching, but it seems like Coombs was really getting after freshman corner Eli Apple. Maybe that’s because he thinks Apple can play sooner than later?

*Top corner Bradley Roby, who still faces discipline from a July arrest depending on when Meyer “gets the facts,” was with the second-team defense. Roby was very good, and it’s not hard to imagine that the dozen or so NFL scouts watching Wednesday were there primarily to see Roby.

*Meyer only opens a handful of summer camp practices and has a few select regular-season weeks open to scouts. That the St. Louis Rams had three guys watching from the sideline is probably a function of different universities granting access at different times — and of the Rams opening the preseason on Thursday night in Cleveland.

*It appeared as though freshman Gareon Conley was playing left cornerback with the first unit with Roby serving his time. If Roby misses any time the Buckeyes will be very green at the cornerback position but have leaders and experience at safety in Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett.

*Freshman defensive tackle Joey Bosa is going to play. Freshman defensive tackle Michael Hill is probably going to play, too.

*Adolphus Washington is as advertised. A stud.

*Guard Andrew Norwell went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury and left practice. Depth on the offensive line is one of Meyer’s top concerns, so this is a storyline to watch — both from the standpoint of when Norwell and center Corey Linsley can get back, and who can answer the call their (at least temporary) absences created?

An interview for the ages

I don’t know how else to say this.

If you like things that are awesome, you’ll love this interview with Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.

The fist bump at the beginning is just the start.

Who doesn’t sometimes need a 90-minute nap in the boss’s office?

I don’t think it can be embedded, so here’s the link. Enjoy

Ike Taylor interviews Dan Rooney – from Steelers.com