Jul 12, 2011
After what appeared to be a good day in terms of news when it comes to a new CBA, we will spare you the details of lawyer meetings taking place yet again today and instead focus on actual football news.
Who’s the starting RB in Green Bay? … If you ask Ryan Grant, he is. Somewhat lost in the shuffle of the team’s championship season was the ankle injury Grant suffered in the season opener that landed him on the IR and off the team’s Super Bowl roster. For as good as the team was, their one weakness may have been the ground game, which never made up for the loss of Grant. Instead we saw a group of different backs fill in for Grant, including Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, Dimitri Nance, and perhaps the most intriguing name, James Starks. None of those players averaged more than 3.7 YPC and it was Jackson who led the team with 190 carries for 703 yards. Starks, who has a lengthy injury history, started the 2010 season on the PUP list and didn’t get his first carry until Week Thirteen, but made some noise in the playoffs, when he started all four games, rushing 81 times for 315 yards and a TD. Grant, who averaged nearly 1200 rushing yards per season in 2008-2009, has heard he’s at the top of the team’s depth and was told by RB coach Jerry Fontenot, that he is the leader of the backfield. Grant acknowledges there will be competition and would be fine with backing up Starks if it helped the team win another ring in 2011.
No bidding wars for the Lions … at least when it comes to CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who will probably be the hottest free agent when the market opens. The Lions have a desperate need for a corner, but the price tag on Asomugha will probably be too high, with some estimates putting him at the $18 million/year range. The team has a lot of money already locked up for the 2011 season, although that could change based on roster moves and contracts changing. The Lions were in the middle of the pack in passing defense last season and are in serious need of upgrade at the CB position, which was filled by also-rans and scrap heap players last season. Other possible options that would cost less than Asomugha include Ike Taylor (Steelers), Antonio Cromartie (Jets), or Johnathan Joseph (Bengals), any of whom would provide a boost on the backend of a Lion defense that has shown great improvement in the last year, especially up front.
- LB Mike Vrabel, who’s name has been heard quite often this off-season as a major player representative in labor talks, decided to retire on Monday after a 14-year NFL career, which saw him spend time with the Steelers, Patriots, and Chiefs. The 35-year-old was drafted by the Steelers in 1997 and spent four years in Pittsburgh before going to New England, where he won three championships with the Patriots in the 2000s. He came over to the Chiefs in 2009 and started 30 games over that time. Vrabel will join the Ohio State University football staff for the 2011 season.
- Albert Haynesworth could miss up to four days of training camp in August because he’s due to appear in court on August 23 for a sexual abuse trial stemming from an incident that took place in Washington D.C. on February 12. Haynesworth’s name has come up in trade talk this off-season, so there’s a chance the camp he misses won’t even be with the Redskins.
- As we mentioned earlier, the lawyers for the players and owners will meet for a second straight day on Tuesday, with everyone returning to New York on Wednesday for continued negotiations in person. Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, along with players and owners are expected to communicate by way of conference call on Tuesday in advance of the meetings scheduled to take place the rest of the week.