Feb 4, 2011
We have reached Super Bowl Friday, meaning we are only two days away from what should be a thrilling Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that also means we are just three days away from a long, long off-season. With that, there is plenty of news to get to today, with non-Super Bowl teams still making headlines.
No surgery for Sanchez … Jet QB Mark Sanchez told reporters at the Super Bowl that he does not need surgery on his injured right throwing shoulder. That means he avoids a second straight off-season surgery after he had arthroscopic knee surgery last year. Sanchez said he no longer has swelling and bruising, and after examining results of MRIs, several doctors agreed that surgery is unnecessary. Sanchez originally injured his shoulder in Week Fifteen but played through it and although he looked shaky at times – including several overthrown passes at Indianapolis – he finished strong in the second half at Pittsburgh.
Driver sidelined on Thursday … There’s no need to panic, but Packer WR Donald Driver was sidelined for most of Thursday’s practice. Driver took part in only the early portion of practice before being sidelined after aggravating a thigh injury that previously gave him problems in November. HC Mike McCarthy said Driver may be limited again Friday as a precaution; however, there’s no reason to expect Driver to miss the first Super Bowl in his 11-year career. The Packers expect him to be in the lineup, and he could play a key role as the team tries to sustain offense with the passing game thanks to the tough task at hand on the ground against the league’s top run defense.
Smith earns extension … The Falcons rewarded HC Mike Smith with a three-year contract extension after another successful season, although it ended in disappointment with an embarrassing Divisional Round loss to the Packers. In three years in charge in Atlanta, Smith has compiled an impressive 33-15 record, and his three straight winning seasons set a franchise record. The deal takes him through 2014, and given his success, it’s impossible to argue against a move like this. Now, it’s just a matter of taking the next step after earning the top seed in the NFC but collapsing in the playoffs.
Lewis will be back in Baltimore … Regardless of what you’ve heard, future Hall of Fame Raven LB Ray Lewis has no plans to retire. The 35-year-old Lewis has understandably lost a step after 15 seasons in the league and isn’t what he was in his prime, but he’s still a valuable asset in the middle of a Raven defense that finished 5th in the league against the run. Lewis played in all 16 games, finishing 6th in the league with 139 total tackles – his most since 2004. Not only did he play in every game, but LB coach Dean Pees said Lewis missed just five snaps all season.
- The Maurkice Pouncey saga continues, and things still don’t look good for the Pro Bowl center. He missed practice on Thursday, and if he doesn’t practice Friday because of his high ankle sprain, you can likely etch Doug Legursky’s name in stone in the Steeler starting lineup.
- The status of franchise tags is up in the air right now, but when teams are able to franchise players, you can expect the Raiders to use it on DT Richard Seymour for the second year in a row, meaning he’ll get a raise of at least 20%.
- If top CB Darrelle Revis has his way, Antonio Cromartie will be joining him again in the Jets’ defensive backfield. Cromartie is one of several key free agents for the Jets, and he and Revis led the league’s #6 pass defense in 2010.