Daily Archives: September 4th, 2011

LB Lance Briggs asks Bears for permission to seek trade

CHICAGO (AP)

Unhappy with his contract, Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs told the Chicago Tribune he is seeking permission to look for a trade.

”The Bears made their decision, now I have to make mine,” he told the newspaper. ”It’s just how the business works. It’s not going to take away from what I do on the field. I’m 100 percent a Bear, until I’m not a Bear anymore.”

He said agent Drew Rosenhaus has filed a formal request to seek a trade.

A six-time Pro Bowl pick, Briggs has three years left on a six-year, $36 million deal and is scheduled to make $3.9 million this season, including bonuses. He recently approached the Bears seeking a raise, but management apparently is not budging. Chicago has about $19 million in cap room.

Rosenhaus did not return a message from the Associated Press on Friday. The Bears had no comment.

This isn’t the first time Briggs has butted heads with the team over a contract.

He vowed he would never play ”another down for Chicago again” after the Bears slapped the franchise-player tag on him for the 2007 season. He wound up accepting a one-year, $7.2 million contract and agreed to that six-year deal in March 2008.

Briggs has seen other linebackers such as the New York Jets’ David Harris (four years, $36 million with $29.6 million guaranteed) get new deals this offseason and wants one himself. The Tribune reported he was willing to wait until the end of the season before asking permission to seek a trade but changed his mind after meeting with general manager Jerry Angelo on Sunday.

”I understand and respect their decision,” Briggs told the Tribune.

He is not the first Chicago linebacker to seek a salary bump.

Brian Urlacher got a one-year extension in 2008 that included a reported $18 million in new money. Of course, he’s the face of the franchise.

Briggs, however, remains one of the most productive players on a team hoping to build on a run to the NFC championship game last season. He became the fourth Bears linebacker to make six straight Pro Bowls a year ago, joining Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Bill George and Mike Singletary.

He is recovering from a bruised knee and sat out the final three preseason games, but he expects to be ready for the opener against Atlanta on Sept. 11.

Besides Briggs, running back Matt Forte is seeking a new deal. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is trying to negotiate an extension.

UPDATED: Ravens sign center Andre Gurode

The Ravens bolstered their offensive line Sunday by agreeing to a one-year deal with center Andre Gurode.

Gurode, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys, is entering his 10th NFL season. He has started 122 career games, including every game in each of the past three seasons.

“We just got better as a team,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a news release. “To have a successful season, you have to have quality depth across the board. We just added great depth to the interior of our offensive line with Andre.”

Gurode was a second-round draft pick (No. 37 overall) out of Colorado in the 2002 NFL draft.

The Ravens have been without center Matt Birk — who underwent left knee surgery in the offseason — all preseason. Bryan Mattison served as the Ravens’ starting center in Birk’s absence.

Source:The Baltimore Sun

MORE INFO:

Former Cowboys center Andre Gurode is the newest member of the Baltimore  Ravens, according to his agent Kennard McGuire.

He got a one-year deal worth $3 million. He was due to make $5.5 million with  the Cowboys before being cut in a cost-saving move last week.

He visited the Seahawks, Lions and Patriots before coming to an agreement to  play center for the Ravens on Sunday.

 

Dallas Cowboys practice squad shaping up

While the Cowboys did have three former players, including two defensive backs that were claimed off waivers on Sunday, 2010 fourth-round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah wasn’t one of them.

Because of that, he is likely sticking around on the practice squad. The Cowboys are putting together the eight-man group on Sunday, and as of mid-afternoon, five players who were cut Saturday are expected to stick around.

Owusu-Ansah, who still has practice squad eligibility because he’s only played seven games, will likely be joined by CB Mario Butler, FB Shaun Chapas, LB Orie Lemon and WR Teddy Williams.

The Cowboys are also expected to sign rookie wide receiver Andre Holmes, who was recently cut by the Vikings. Holmes did not catch a pass in the preseason with Minnesota, but the former Hillsdale College standout was one of the 30 pre-draft visits to come through Valley Ranch back in early April.

The Cowboys are still trying to finalize the last two spots of the practice squad, hopefully in time for Monday’s morning practice at Valley Ranch.

UPDATE: Cowboys roster moves recap

Fullback Tony Fiammetta officially replaced offensive guard Montrae Holland on the Cowboys’ roster. The reality is that there are at least a couple of more personnel moves to come.

The Cowboys announced Sunday evening that they released Holland and claimed Fiammetta off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. The club did not announce the signing of offensive guard Derrick Dockery, but his agent said earlier in the day that Dockery and the Cowboys have agreed to terms on a one-year deal.

Once the Dockery deal becomes official, the Cowboys will have to cut another player.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Dockery, a Garland Lakeview Centennial and Texas product who started 111 games in eight seasons, will take Holland’s place as a veteran reserve guard. He was cut by the Washington Redskins last week. Seventh-round pick Bill Nagy earned the starting job at left guard while Holland, who reported in poor condition, missed most of training camp and the preseason with a sore back.

Fiammetta is the lone fullback on the roster, but the Cowboys will have a pair of fullbacks on the practice squad, seventh-round pick Shaun Chapas and converted linebacker Isaiah Greenhouse. The Cowboys have also agreed to put receivers Teddy Williams and Andre Holmes, linebacker Orie Lemon, safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and cornerback Mario Butler on the practice squad.

The Cowboys hoped to put fifth-round pick Josh Thomas on the practice squad, but the Panthers claimed the rookie cornerback on waivers. Fullback Chris Gronkowski (Colts) and safety Andrew Sendejo (Jets) are other Cowboys cuts who were claimed on waivers.

NEW: Catagories in pull-down menu

Category tags got extensive, so I put them in a pull-down menu to conserve space and reduce clutter. Now, if you want to see ‘videos’ or ‘polls’, for example … you can click on the pull-down menu and select the category you want. All of the appropriate postings will load for you.

NEW: Look-up posts by calendar dates

A new (posting) calendar has been added to the right side of THE BOYS ARE BACK.  Now you can hover on the calendar date, and see the list of postings for that day. When you click on that date, all articles open up. It’s a quick and easy way to get caught up by date.

NEW: Faster loading

I cut down the number of posts on the home page to 16. This will allow the blog to load faster for readers that do not have a high-speed internet connection. When you get down to the end, click on: Older Entries -> to load the next page of posts.

NEW: Single-click access to our RMOG website

You’ll find a quick link to our Real Men Of Genius now located at the top right corner. RMOG will open in a separate page, so you can still have access to TBAB resources, such as … weather in NFL cities, rosters, team travel info, etc.

Expect roster tweeking going into next week

FYI, waiver signings this week mean that Dallas must guarantee contracts for the next year. Any signings after the first regular season game do not have to be guaranteed.

Cowboys cuts have been claimed by other teams

Three Cowboys who were a part of the 26 released Saturday have been claimed on waivers by other teams.

Fullback Chris Gronkowski has been claimed by Indianapolis

Safety Andrew Sendejo has been claimed by the New York Jets

Cornerback Josh Thomas out of Cedar Hill has been claimed by Carolina.

Ravens one-year deal with center Andre Gurode

The Cowboys had hoped to get Thomas, their fifth-round draft pick out of Buffalo, on their practice squad.

On Saturday, the Cowboys cut safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and he’s heading to the team’s practice squad, according to a tweet from his agent, Andy Simms.

Cowboys claim fullback Tony Fiammetta

The Cowboys have claimed fullback Tony Fiammetta, agent Dennis Boyev announced on his Twitter account Sunday.

Fiammetta, 25, will join the Cowboys a day after they released four fullbacks — Shaun Chapas, Jason Pociask, Isaiah Greenhouse and 2010 starter Chris Gronkowski, who was later claimed by Indianapolis.

Fiammetta has played in 24 games over two seasons, rushing seven times for 22 yards and making five receptions for 34 yards.

UPDATE – PLAYER BACKGROUND:

Tony Fiammetta, who played the past two years as a fullback with the Carolina Panthers, was cut Saturday as the NFL team trimmed its roster to reach the maximum 53 players for the regular season.

His release comes two days after the team signed free agent fullback Jerome Felton.

Fiammetta was a starter last season, which turned out to be the final year for head coach John Fox, who was fired. Carolina’s new coach is Ron Rivera, who brought with him a new staff and system.

Fox had been at the helm when the Panthers selected Fiammetta, a Syracuse University product, in the fourth round (128th pick) of the 2009 NFL draft. Fiammetta spent his first year grooming behind veteran Brad Hoover before taking over the starting position in 2010.

Last season, he played in 14 games (nine starts) with seven rushing attempts for 22 yards and five receptions for 34 yards. He was primarily a blocker.

Fiammetta, 6-foot, 240 pounds, was the first Frederick County player drafted into the NFL since 1973. He was the only local player on an NFL roster.

The cut doesn’t signal an end to his playing career. Since he has less than four years of playing experience, he will be placed on waivers, as opposed to becoming a free agent right away. The Panthers could elect to re-sign him; he could end up on the team’s practice squad. He could get picked up by another team or sign elsewhere.

Veteran G Dockery signs with Cowboys, Montrae Holland released

Veteran guard Derrick Dockery has signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, according to a league source.

Dockery, who enters his ninth season, went five years without missing a start until last season, his second stint with the Washington Redskins. Dockery suffered a knee injury and missed 11 games and made just two starts.

Signing with the Cowboys is a homecoming of sorts for Dockery, who was born in Dallas.

RELATED: Cowboys cut guard Montrae Holland a day after he makes 53-man roster

A day after making the Cowboys’ 53-man roster, offensive guard Montrae Holland was released, according to his agent, Jonathan Feinsod.

Holland, who was entering his ninth season in the NFL, joined the Cowboys in August 2008 after he was traded by Denver for a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft. The 6-2, 340-pound Holland played mostly as a reserve during his three-year tenure in Dallas.

But it appeared he was could move into the starting lineup after right guard Leonard Davis was released in July. He would have provided the Cowboys with a cheap alternative. After all, Holland was scheduled to make a $1,000,000 base salary and a roster bonus of $500,000 this year.

Yet when he arrived at training camp in San Antonio, Holland was 14 pounds heavier than he was the previous year. Then he suffered a back injury Aug. 5 that kept him sidelined for much of the preseason. He didn’t take the field until last Thursday, when the Cowboys lost 17-3 to Miami in their final exhibition game.

After the game ended, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seemed committed to keeping Holland around for the foreseeable future.

“We have felt good about him,” Jones said. “He really is an anchor guy first and foremost, but he can also move. Unless I’m really surprised by a detailed look at the tape tomorrow, then he had a good game out here tonight.”

Something must have changed Jones’ impression because Holland is no longer on the team.

RELATED: Dockery To Replace Montrae Holland

The Cowboys cut Montrae Holland Sunday, but they didn’t stray far in finding his replacement. The club signed guard Derrick Dockery, who was cut Wednesday by the Redskins.

Like Holland, Dockery played his high school ball in Texas. Dockery, in fact, went to Lakeview Centennial in Garland. Unlike Holland, he stayed in state for college, attending the University of Texas. While Dockery never fit in Mike Shanahan’s mobile cut-blocking scheme (just like Holland), he’s more of an angular giant at 6’6″. Holland is just 6’2″ and outweighs Dockery.

Dockery, who will turn 31 this week, was owed $3.8 million by the Redskins, so the Cowboys are presumably getting him at a discount. He started 111 of his 117 career games after being drafted in the third round.

Meanwhile, Holland is back on the street after playing 14 and starting two games for the Cowboys last season.

Dallas Cowboys roster breakdown

Calvin Watkins

The 53-man roster is set, we think, and there could be more changes. Jason Garrett has said he will churn the bottom of the roster and you can’t believe the Cowboys will really last a month with four tight ends, do you?

Let’s break it down.

Quarterback (3)

Tony Romo
Jon Kitna
Stephen McGee

Breakdown: Nothing new here but McGee did play better in the preseason than last year and the new quarterback rules allow all three to be active on game days. Kitna and Romo never looked better in the preseason, so this is a strong position for the Cowboys.

Running backs (4)

Felix Jones
Tashard Choice
DeMarco Murray
Phillip Tanner

Breakdown: Tanner took a roster spot, it’s that simple. Lonyae Miller was the favorite to at least be the fourth running back, if not for the active roster then the practice squad. Tanner outplayed him. It will be interesting to see how the team divides the carries between Choice and Murray, especially early in the season.

Wide receiver (5)

Miles Austin
Dez Bryant
Kevin Ogletree
Jesse Holley
Dwayne Harris

Breakdown: Holley, like Tanner, earned his roster spot by showing some versatility. He is a good special teams player, but you can tell he improved as a route runner and somebody who can catch the ball. He won’t get much time on offense, but it’s clear he’s gotten better as a player. If Raymond Radway doesn’t get hurt, Harris is on the street.

Tight end (4)

Jason Witten
Martellus Bennett
John Phillips
Martin Rucker

Breakdown: Witten is Witten. Bennett did play well but dropped a touchdown and third-down pass in the preseason. Phillips was just OK, and Rucker got better as a receiver and blocker. You wonder if Bennett’s ankle injury had anything to do with Rucker being here and how disappointed the team was in the three fullbacks who were cut.

Offensive line (10)

Doug Free
Bill Nagy
Phil Costa
Kyle Kosier
Tyron Smith
Sam Young
David Arkin
Kevin Kowalski
Montrae Holland
Jermey Parnell

Breakdown: The Cowboys think enough of Holland that he can back up both guard spots and move into the starting lineup if necessary. Young wasn’t as good as Parnell, but he does have some talent. Kowalski did a nice job filling in at center for Costa, so he earned his spot. Two rookies to start the season should worry some, but the Cowboys have confidence in Smith and Nagy.

Defensive line (7)

Kenyon Coleman
Jay Ratliff
Marcus Spears
Josh Brent
Sean Lissemore
Jason Hatcher
Clifton Geathers

Breakdown: Coleman was better than Igor Olshansky, and Geathers impressed the coaches and scouts with his play. He’s got tremendous upside and had many in the organization excited about his potential. Defensive line coach Brian Baker wanted to keep six linemen and wasn’t sure if he would get Geathers. He’s a happy man today.

Inside linebackers (3)

Bradie James
Keith Brooking
Sean Lee

Breakdown: It’s a surprise the team kept the numbers at this position low, given the age and durability of James, Brooking and Lee. We thought Orie Lemon or Kenwin Cummings gained a roster spot, but they could return later in the year if they get through waivers and are placed on the practice squad. Bruce Carter, on NFI until Week 6, might be one of those late call-ups in November.

Outside linebacker (4)

Anthony Spencer
DeMarcus Ware
Victor Butler
Alex Albright

Breakdown: Butler showed he might have a future in this league, and Albright did a nice job on special teams to get his spot. Brandon Williams probably needs a fresh start somewhere. Ware is Ware. Spencer? He’s got to get better on the pass rush to take some pressure off Ware.

Cornerbacks (5)

Mike Jenkins
Terence Newman
Orlando Scandrick
Alan Ball
Bryan McCann

Breakdown:Ball improved his stock by moving back to his natural position at corner. McCann had some struggles, but he’s a threat in the return game. This unit has issues if Jenkins and Newman are not ready on Sept. 11. The depth here isn’t very good. No matter how good he’s gotten, Ball isn’t as good as Newman and Jenkins.

Safety (4)

Abram Elam
Gerald Sensabaugh
Barry Church
Danny McCray

Breakdown: Elam provides a physical presence for this group, and Sensabaugh looked good playing the ball during the preseason. Church had a good camp and is only getting better. McCray also got better from his rookie season and is improving on special teams.

Specialists (4)

Mat McBriar
L.P. Ladouceur
David Buehler
Dan Bailey

Breakdown: Buehler does kickoffs and Bailey field goals. How long this lasts is uncertain. But the inconsistency of the kicking game forced the Cowboys to go with two kickers. This group, at least the field goal kickers, might change as the season progresses.

Kicker Saga Back Where It Began

Not two days into training camp and it was clear David Buehler had a battle on his hands from rookie free agent Dan Bailey.

And a few days after that, team owner/GM Jerry Jones made it clear the Cowboys could indeed keep both of them on the final roster.
As it turned out, that’s what happened with the Cowboys, who kept both Bailey and Buehler. And it’s likely they both will be active for the season opener Sept. 11 against the Jets.

But in between now and then, so much has transpired at the kicking position with the Cowboys adding three kickers in three weeks.

It started with injured rookie Kai Forbath, who has never even practiced with the Cowboys, dealing with a quad injury. Forbath is currently on NFLI (Non-Football Injury) and won’t be available until Week Six.

Once Buehler suffered a hip injury, it should’ve paved the way for Bailey, although he only got one extra point, and no field goal attempts in the second preseason against San Diego.

The next week, with Buehler still out, Shayne Graham was signed although he wasn’t that impressive on kickoffs. Then, Dave Rayner was signed although he missed two field goals in the preseason finale with Miami.

So it comes back to Bailey and Buehler after all. Then again, just as we saw the last few weeks, the kicking position can change rather quickly.

Nothing is ever final at this position.

Bryant Says He’s Fixed His Surroundings

When he was drafted, the consensus opinion was that Dez Bryant was an exceptional athletic talent and a good guy, but had maturity issues.

Those issues have surfaced in his year and a half as a member of the Cowboys. Bryant had been involved in a dispute with police at a Dallas mall following a “sagging” reprimand, and has been at the center of multiple lawsuits charging that he failed to pay for expensive jewelry he purchased.

But things have been quiet off the field for Bryant in recent months, and he promises those types of problems will not be an issue for him in the future.

Bryant says he was put in a difficult position because of some personal relationships.

“I don’t think it was the choices,” Bryant said. “I think it was my surroundings. I feel like I fixed that, and I’m headed on the straight and narrow path. I don’t need to get into details. Everything is done, I like how it’s going and my life is on straight.”

Bryant believes that because he has less to worry about off the field, it will help his game on it. He’s been maturing as a player as well.

“I’ve been here long enough to know the ins ancd outs,” Bryant said. “I know I’m still learning and from what I know now, hey, I’m doing a good job and I’m going to continue to keep doing what I need to do … Everything is in place right now. Now it’s just how I handle it. I feel like I’m doing a good job at it and I’m going to keep on doing a good job at it.”

WEEK 1: DAL @ NYJ (Season opener)

Comments always welcome. If you dare, leave a prediction on the final score.

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