A few thoughts from film study of defensive end Jarius Wynn, who the Dallas Cowboys added to their roster. Wynn played five games for San Diego this season before making his way to Dallas.
Jarius Wynn DT / DE 6-3 285 Georgia 5th Season
Games studied: San Diego vs. Dallas, Oakland, Philadelphia, Tennessee
- Wynn played both tackle and end in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme, and he will see action at both spots for the Dallas Cowboys.
- He has a long, rangy build and plays with more strength than quickness, and he can hold the point of attack.
- Gets some push from the inside, had a nice sack by using power against Todd Herremans of the Eagles, who could not handle his movement down inside. He was able to finish the play on Michael Vick.
- Can work down the line and hold up blockers, but he needs to do a better job getting rid of those blockers quicker. Tends to get stuck.
- There were times where he tried to use counter moves as a pass rusher, and he had some success. But it needs to work more often.
- Wynn has used a quick swim move to free himself against Raiders and later against the Titans, along with a swat move as well that helped him in his rush.
- When he does free himself, he has a burst to chase the ball. His effort is good when trying to finish the play. Not a lazy player.
- Plays with power but, but I don’t like when he rushes down the middle. Brian Waters stoned him a couple of times on his rush in the San Diego game, and he was very unproductive.
- He will work to extend his arms to attempt to control his blocker, but he needs to use his hands quicker to get rid of that man.
- I was surprised he was able to hang in there taking on blocks, because he plays with a narrow base.
- I thought he was better when he was able to rush off the edge and try to get to the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle. He played with more quickness on the edge, whereas inside, it was more about power.
- Did not see much quick redirection in his game, but his effort is really good when it comes to chasing the ball.
The bottom line is that Wynn will give the defense some flexibility at two spots, but I would like to see if Rod Marinelli can get him to play with more quickness off the ball. The Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme could allow him to be better in that regard.
On the road to training camp to fight for a roster spot, Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker Jonathan Willard tackled a car fire.
Traveling down Interstate 40 on Tuesday in Tennessee, Willard came upon a car on fire and helped pull a woman, her three children and their dog to safety.
“When she pulled over, the car was really on fire at that point,” the former Clemson Tiger said. “The driver, she acted like she was in some kind of daze or something. She told me that she didn’t stop because she didn’t think it was her car that was on fire. Another guy stopped, and we managed to get the kids and the dog out and get them to safety, and then I finally got the woman out.”
Willard tweeted out pictures of the blaze and said he was surprised more drivers weren’t stopping to aid the woman.
“I was just glad that we got the kids and all of them out of the car,” he said. “I was thinking that I was just doing what everybody else would do, but there were cars just going past us and no one else was stopping, so I don’t know if that is what would happen or not.”
Willard went undrafted and signed with the Titans after a productive senior season at Clemson, leading the Tigers with 95 tackles and compiling three sacks.
He can now add gallantry to that resume.
Black Monday has arrived, and it has brought a lot of change and bad news for many coaches and general managers around the NFL.
We’ll have all the big moves covered, and this post will be a one-stop shop for all the latest news.
Here’s what we right know:
Buffalo Bills: Coach Chan Gailey was let go after three seasons that went nowhere in Buffalo. The defense and quarterback play never improved. It’s unclear if general manager Buddy Nix will remain.
Chicago Bears: In the first mild surprise of the day, coach Lovie Smith was fired after three playoff appearances in nine years. General manager Phil Emery took the job last year and will hire his own man.
Cleveland Browns: The team announced Monday morning that coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert are both out. They never had much of a chance once new owner Jimmy Haslam bought the team.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced the team has parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel. The team said it has not made a final decision about GM Scott Pioli’s status.
Philadelphia Eagles: Owner Jeffrey Lurie confirmed Monday morning that coach Andy Reid is out after 14 seasons in Philadelphia. The Eagles won’t waste any time starting a coaching search.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers announced both coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith have been let go. Ron Wolf has been brought in as a consultant to help search for the next leadership group.
Up in the air
Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera has struggled to win close games during his tenure and isn’t a natural in game management. A four-game winning streak to end the season could save his job. The Panthers will hire a new GM.
Chances of a change: Strong. The next GM will decide Rivera’s fate.
Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew pulled off one of the best rebuilding efforts of all time after taking over the 0-16 Lions. And then the bottom fell out for a talented roster this year.
Chances of a change: Growing. Multiple outlets said earlier in the week that Schwartz was safe, but Lions ownership is disturbed with the team’s culture, it could make a change. Schwartz is signed through 2015.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Mularkey was hired just last year, but his boss, GM Gene Smith, was fired Monday morning. Mularkey wasn’t able to develop young quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Chances of a change: Good. Mularkey told players in a team meeting that he’s still the head coach after talking with the owner Thursday and Monday. Mularkey’s fate ultimately will be decided by the next GM. Mularkey will have to wait and see.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones intimated throughout the process that he hasn’t even thought about changing head coaches. NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer first reported that coach Jason Garrett was safe two weeks ago. Garrett could be asked to hire an offensive coordinator that calls plays.
New York Jets: The Jets announced that GM Mike Tannenbaum was let go Monday morning. But they also announced Rex Ryan will stay on as coach. It’s an awkward arrangement for whomever the Jets hire to run the personnel department.
Tennessee Titans: The Tennessean reported Monday that coach Mike Munchak will keep his job despite a 6-10 record. Personnel executive Mike Reinfeldt is out, though.
IRVING, Texas – In addition to punters Daniel Sepulveda, T.J. Conley and Chas Henry, the Dallas Cowboys will work out 12 players today at Valley Ranch.
Former Baylor guard Robert Torrez Griffin (let’s call him RG-T), a sixth-round pick of the New York Jets, will be in attendance, as will nine defensive backs, a quarterback, a wide receiver and tight end.
Charlie Peprah, who was not among the Cowboys’ tryouts two weeks ago when they signed Eric Frampton, is the most accomplished safety on hand after spending two stints with Green Bay. The other defensive backs include: Morgan Trent, Kevin Thomas, Reggie Jones, Rod Issac, Vincent Agnew, Larry Asante, Gerald Alexander and Mikail Baker.
Quarterback Nick Stephens, who played high school at Flower Mound before attending Tennessee and Tarleton State, will work out as well. He went to camp this summer with the Tennessee Titans. Tight end Fendi Onubun and wide receiver John Haggerty round out the group.
EDITORS NOTE: Robert T. Griffin, aka, "RG2,” "Deuce,” or "Big Griff,” was the "other Robert Griffin” at Baylor, the senior guard and two-year starter on the offensive line who helped protect and clear the way for RG3.
IRVING, Texas – LeQuan Lewis was not brought into the organization with defensive reps in mind. Lewis is expected to prove his worth as a special teams contributor, head coach Jason Garrett confirmed Wednesday morning.
“He was actually released by the Jets, but he was a guy that we targeted as a special teams guy,” Garrett said. “So we brought him in here, see how he fits on our 53-man roster and then our 46-man roster.”
Lewis, who has never play in a regular season NFL game, after being cut by the Titans in 2011 and by the Raiders and Jets this summer, talked about how excited he is to be given an opportunity with the Cowboys. He said he plans to take full advantage of every moment of practice and any snaps he might get against Seattle.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Lewis said. “I really appreciate what this organization is doing with me. Everyone’s being welcoming and it feels great.”
The Cowboys are coming into Sunday’s game with an increased emphasis on special teams due to Seattle’s success in that area under coach, Pete Carroll. Specifically the Cowboys have to worry about the danger of kick returner Leon Washington, who holds three separate franchise records for kick returns.
Garrett talked about the danger that Leon Washington can pose.
“He’s a great returner,” Garrett said. “Has been a great returner since day one in this league. He’s a difference-making player for them.”
If Lewis’ name is indeed called on come Sunday, he will be expected to help contain Washington’s return game. Lewis talked about the potential of coming in and making an immediate impact in a game.
“I definitely want to set a footprint in and just go out there and make plays right away,” Lewis said. “I’m going out there to prove them right for bringing me here.”
As someone who has always played the position of cornerback, Lewis discussed the mindset of making special teams his focus.
“Go out there and make plays,” Lewis said. “They brought me over to play special teams right away, and so I have to learn that system and make plays. Corner will come when it comes … special teams will be the emphasis.”
With one mistake by the coverage team, Washington can change a game, so it may pay off for the Cowboys to bring in a special teams player with the right attitude.
“I have no fears whatsoever,” Lewis said. “I have nothing to lose. I’m going to go down there and play my heart out.”
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DENVER (AP) — The days of lugging around 500-page playbooks and stacks of DVDs are over for half of the players in the NFL.
Their teams have gone digital, replacing the old-fashioned thick paper playbooks with iPads that put everything from X’s and O’s to notifications, scouting reports and video cut-ups at their fingertips.
"Technology is taking over the world and we’re just trying to keep up with it," Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell said.
The number of teams using iPads for playbooks and game film has increased this season from two to 14. In the NFC, the Bears, Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Redskins and Seahawks are using the tablets as are the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens in the AFC.
Other teams, such as the Chiefs, Titans and Saints, are using iPads for some things but haven’t completely abandoned three-ring binders, and the Bills are considering switching over next year, when the NFL makes game film available in high definition, coach Chan Gailey said.
The Ravens and Buccaneers were the first teams to go digital last year, although Tampa Bay returned to the traditional playbooks this season under a new coaching staff.
The top model iPads that feature 64 gigabytes of data and retail for $829 each are loaded with about $700 worth of programming, and most teams issue them to roughly 120 players, coaches, scouts and other personnel. That works out to roughly $180,000 per team.
Broncos video director Steve Boxer figures it will take about a year to begin realizing a cost savings from ditching the paper playbooks that consumed trees, money and manpower and kept copy machine repairmen on speed-dial.
Daily itinerary updates, diagrams and video are automatically pushed to each iPad so a player can have the video clips of a practice or game downloaded by the time he gets out of the shower. Because the video isn’t streaming, he can watch it on the airplane or at his apartment, whether or not he has a Wi-Fi connection.
Apps developed by PlayerLync in suburban Denver or Global Aptitude out of Baltimore allow players and coaches to highlight sections in yellow on the tablet’s touchscreen and to write notes with a stylus just as they would with a pencil on paper playbooks. Those notes are saved on servers and can be downloaded again at any time for future reference.
"I don’t think there’s any minuses unless you lose it and have to pay that fine," Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears said.
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel might be willing to shave as much as $2.5 million off his earnings for next season to facilitate the team’s efforts to trade him, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Saturday.
Columnist Paul Domowitch wrote that Samuel, who is set to make $9.5 million in 2012, would be open to reducing that figure to $7 million, though he didn’t cite a source.
Alonzo Shavers, the nine-year veteran’s agent, told TitanInsider.com earlier this week that Samuel would consider re-negotiating his contract to make a trade possible.
The Eagles have long been known to have an interest in dealing Samuel, who with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was part of a crowded secondary. Earlier this week, the Titans reportedly emerged as possible suitors.
However, Samuel hasn’t been moved yet, and league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that one factor limiting the market for the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback is his contract. Sources told La Canfora the Detroit Lions are among the teams that aren’t interested in Samuel.
The playoff picture is starting to come into focus on this happy note: Win and you are in as a division champion.
That’s the easy scenario for the Broncos and either the Cowboys or Giants. And while Baltimore already owns at least a wild-card spot, a victory for the Ravens will earn them the AFC North and a first-round bye.
Denver is tied atop the AFC North with Oakland at 8-7, with the Broncos hosting the Chiefs on Sunday, and the Raiders at home for San Diego. Denver has the tiebreaker, but if it loses and the Raiders win, the Broncos can’t get a wild card. The Raiders can get a wild card if both they and Denver win, as long as Cincinnati and Tennessee lose, or Cincinnati loses and the New York Jets win. Got it?
In first place in the woeful NFC East are the Cowboys and the Giants, who meet at the Meadowlands. A win or a tie will give New York (8-7) the East title; neither team can be a wild card.
PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick has to watch his teammates play from home.
Vick won’t play when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the New York Giants on Sunday because of two broken ribs. He won’t even be on the sideline because injured players typically don’t make the trip.
Vick didn’t practice this week because he broke his two lower ribs on the second play in a 21-17 loss to Arizona last Sunday. He got up slowly after taking a hard hit to the side, but didn’t tell anyone the extent of the injury and played the rest of the game. He was off target most of the game and finished 16 of 34 for 128 yards and two interceptions.
Vick was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but was ruled out after Saturday’s walkthrough. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin also won’t play because of shoulder and hamstring injuries.
The Eagles (3-6) desperately need a victory over the first-place Giants (6-3) to avoid being all-but-mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The defending NFC East champions began this season with Super Bowl aspirations, but have failed to live up to those enormous expectations.
Vick’s inconsistency is among the reasons the Eagles have underachieved. Vick has hardly resembled the guy who was an MVP candidate and Pro Bowl starter last season. He’s already thrown 11 interceptions in nine games. He had six picks all of last season.
Young was 30-17 as a starter and went to two Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He was one of several high-profile players Philadelphia signed after the lockout. So far, Young’s only contribution was labeling the Eagles a “Dream Team” at his first news conference at training camp.
It’s been a nightmare season instead.
Second-year pro Riley Cooper will likely start in Maclin’s place. Cooper doesn’t have any catches this season.
Courtesy: Associated Press via The Washington Post
IRVING, Texas — On Monday coach Jason Garrett said the offensive coaching staff would look at things the Dallas Cowboys have done in the past successfully in the red zone as well as look at what other teams do well in order to correct a flaw.
If Garrett wants, he can look at what Buffalo has done inside the opponents’ 20 for a guide.
Only Tennessee has a better touchdown percentage in the red zone than the Bills. Buffalo has scored a touchdown on 18 of 28 red-zone drives for a 64.3 percentage. Tennessee has scored touchdowns on 14 of 19 tries.
Buffalo is even better on goal-to-go situations, scoring a touchdown on 12 of 14 times.
The Dallas Cowboys have scored touchdowns on just 10 of 26 trips inside the opponent’s 20. Only Tampa Bay (3.4%) has a worse percentage than the Cowboys. In goal-to-go situations, the Cowboys have scored touchdowns on eight of 19 tries. Only Jacksonville has a worse percentage at 37.5.
“Your quarterback has to play good in the red zone,” Gailey said. “Your receivers have to go to the right place and you’ve got to have some guys down there who make some plays. [Ryan Fitzpatrick] and the receivers have done a great job of making plays in the red zone. We were fortunate early in the year to play extremely well there, and we’ve done OK lately. We need to get back to where we were earlier this season.”
Former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger died Friday night while in Mexico to receive experimental cancer treatments following a 10-month battle with the disease. He was 58.
“It is with a heavy heart, but a trust in God, that we say goodbye to our beloved Dinger who lost his courageous battle with cancer,” Heimerdinger’s wife, Kathie, said in a statement Saturday. “Mike approached cancer with the same vigor and tenacity that he approached any football game — to win. Even in the final minutes he never gave up — that was our Dinger.”
Heimerdinger, who worked under then-Titans coach Jeff Fisher, relinquished his duties indefinitely upon being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer the day before last Thanksgiving. He later was fired by new Tennessee coach Mike Munchak in February.
Heimerdinger served two stints as the Titans’ offensive coordinator — from 2000 to 2004 and again from 2008 to 2010 — and held the same position with the New York Jets in 2005. Heimerdinger also was an assistant head coach for the Denver Broncos from 2006 to 2007.
Known as a private man, Heimerdinger always tried to downplay his fight with cancer.
“I’m not the first one to have this and go to work and do it,” he said last December. “I just happen to have a disease, but I’m not dying, and I’m not going down the drain, and I don’t feel special. I think there’s a lot of people that fight through this thing just like me that just aren’t offensive coordinators of NFL teams, so they don’t get credit.”
Before breaking into the NFL in 1995, Heimerdinger was an offensive coordinator in college at Duke (1994), Rice (1989 to 1993) and Cal State Fullerton (1988).
Heimerdinger, who grew up in Illinois, played wide receiver at Eastern Illinois and also was a standout baseball player. He is a member of the university’s Hall of Fame.
The team reached an agreement Thursday with its franchise running back on a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension, $30 million of which is guaranteed.
The Titans confirmed the team had agreed to terms on the revised deal.
NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reports the new deal will keep Johnson under contract with the Titans through 2016. Johnson will take home $13 million in 2011, a massive bump from the $800,000 base salary — $1.065 million with previously-earned incentives — that he was scheduled to earn this season. His $30 million guaranteed will come in the first three years of the deal and he will make $31 million in the first three years.
Johnson has led the NFL in yards rushing the past three seasons and refused to report to the camp without a new deal. The 24th pick overall in the 2008 draft out of East Carolina, Johnson became only the sixth man in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in 2009 when he ran for 2,006 yards.
The Tennessean first reported the deal.