Ravens say Richardson hardest back to tackle in the NFL

Trent Richardson

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The Ravens are preparing to meet the Browns and running back Trent Richardson on Sunday for the second time, and they haven’t forgotten the first time.

Several players on the Ravens’ defense have said this week that when Richardson had 47 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards against them in Week Four, he left an impression that they’re still thinking about five weeks later.

I think he runs the ball harder than anybody in the league,” defensive end Pernell McPhee said. “Not saying he’s the best back in the league, but I’ll say he’s the hardest back in the NFL to tackle.”

Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody outweighs Richardson by more than 100 pounds, but Cody said he doesn’t think he — or anyone else — can take Richardson down one-on-one.

“He doesn’t go down with one person tackling him,” Cody said. “We’re going to need multiple guys around the ball every time he touches the ball.”  Read more…

Is this the end of Scott Fujita?

The Browns have placed linebacker Scott Fujita on injured reserve, ending his season. It is unclear whether this will also end his career.

The 33-year-old Fujita has a neck injury that isreportedly career threatening, and the decision to place him on season-ending injured reserve suggests that the Browns don’t expect him to recover any time soon. Browns coach Pat Shurmur confirmed today that Fujita’s season is over, but said he doesn’t know if Fujita plans to retire.

A fifth-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2002, Fujita played three seasons in Kansas City, one in Dallas, four in New Orleans and three in Cleveland. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Saints after the 2009 season.

Fujita is currently embroiled in a fight with the NFL over his suspension as a result of the league’s bounty investigation. If Fujita’s career is over, the suspension itself would become moot, although from all indications Fujita plans to continue fighting what he sees as an unfair punishment that has tarnished his reputation. Read more…

Richardson may need to sit for Browns

Trent RichardsonAfter Sunday’s loss to the Colts, Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he pulled rookie running back Trent Richardson not because Richardson was injured, but because he was ineffective. But Richardson says the whole reason he’s ineffective is that he’s injured.

We noted a week ago that Richardson’s rib injury is very painful, and Richardson acknowledged after the loss to the Colts that the pain is affecting his play.

“The injury I have is much bigger than what folks think it is, and I don’t want to do anything to hurt the team,” Richardson said. “I’m not myself out there right now. You look at me, I guess I’m not running hard like I’m used to, so I’m not out there right now. So it is worse than what people think it is.”

Richardson was limited to eight yards on eight carries, and afterward he expressed disappointment that he couldn’t do more to help his team.

“I always feel I’m ready to play no matter what, and I always want to be out there for my team and stick it out no matter what,” Richardson said. “I didn’t call the shot. They just told me to stay ready and keep my legs warm. Obviously, I didn’t get back in the game.”

It would be wise for the Browns not to put Richardson in another game until his ribs have healed. Read more…

Fantasy Football Week 7 waiver wire pickups

Felix JonesWith a plethora of injuries following Week 6, and in addition to another in a series of bye weeks, there are some nice additions that you can make to your roster listed here. The key is to act quickly before you find yourself scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. Here are our best five waiver wire pickups for Week 7.

Josh Gordon-WR-Browns- There certainly appears to be some decent chemistry between QBBrandon Weeden and WR Josh Gordon. Targeted the second most times in last week’s contest, Gordon had a 71 yard touchdown pass vs the Bengals and totaled 99 yards on the day. This week he’ll go up against the Indianapolis Colts who have given up the 7th most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Owned in less than 20% of leagues, Gordon makes for a decent flex play and serviceable WR2 in Week  7.

Felix Jones-RB-Cowboys- With usual starting RB DeMarco Murray (foot) already ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, Felix Jones become a Must Add in all formats this week. Jones ran for just under the century mark (92 yards) and a touchdown against Baltimore last week and should have an easier time of it vs a Panther’s team that’s yielded the 2nd most fantasy points to running backs. Plus, Jones can catch a ball or two as well and will be an asset in PPR leagues this week as well. As of Tuesday, Jones was owned in only 26% of leagues; a figure that’s sure to triple before the week is over. Read more…

Holmgren out, more changes coming?

Mike Holmgren

Mike HolmgrenJimmy Haslam is officially the owner of the Browns, and that means things are changing in the front office.

Browns President Mike Holmgren will retire at the end of this season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. That’s no surprise: Given the lack of success the Browns have had under Holmgren, it would have been much more surprising if a new owner had kept Holmgren in town. Although this is being termed a retirement, it’s unlikely that Haslam would have given Holmgren the option of staying to run the draft and free agency in 2013.

And as expected, former Eagles President Joe Banner is the Browns’ new CEO effective immediately. That means Banner is the new boss of both General Manager Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur. Barring a major turnaround this season, it would seem highly likely that Banner and Haslam will bring in their own guys after the season, and that Heckert and Shurmur will be on the way out as well. Heckert and Shurmur have the advantage that they were with Banner in Philadelphia, but it may be a tough sell for a new owner to keep a coach and G.M. who went 4-12 last year and have started 1-5 this year.

The reality in the NFL is that owners don’t spend a billion dollars so they can let someone else’s choice run their football teams. As soon as Haslam made the deal to buy the team, the writing was on the wall for the men running the team. Big changes are coming in Cleveland. Read more…

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland brings up the rear

NFL Power Rankings

32. Cleveland Browns (0-5), Last Week: 32

Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and the Browns may not win until Week 14 by the looks of their upcoming schedule. They do however welcome back Joe Haden. 

Five Weeks down, 12 weeks to go in the 2012 NFL season. Through nearly the first third of the year, the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions are the true surprises of the season. The Vikings and Rams, two teams which combined for six victories in 32 games a year ago, have already combined for seven victories in ten games. The Packers and Lions finished in the top half of the NFC North division a year ago, and

sit on the bottom half of the NFC North division in 2012.

These surprises are the reason why it is easy to love football: any team has a chance in any game.

Here are the Goat’s Week 5 NFL Power Rankings:

31. Tennessee Titans (1-4)

Last Week: 31

Maybe letting go of Jeff Fisher wasn’t the best option for the Titans

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

Last Week: 29

Is Blaine Gabbert honestly the best quarterback the Jaguars have?


Last Week: 30
29. Oakland Raiders (1-3)

Hopefully the bye week will help the Raiders’ chances in Atlanta on Sunday

28. New Orleans Saints (1-4)

Last Week: 26

The Saints finally get their first win of 2012 under interim for the interim head coach Aaron Kromer. 

Read more…

NFL Week 3: The week’s best bets

Tony RomoThis should be the week that trends begin to take shape, separating the future contenders from the pretenders. Did you know that five teams remain undefeated while six are winless? And that one team has given just 17 points in their two games while another holds the league high at 79? We went a disappointing 3-2 last week bringing our season total to 7-3. Here’s this weeks picks:

*Home team in CAPS

COWBOYS over the Buccaneers- Notwithstanding Dallas’ loss to the Seahawks last week, (a lot of teams have a difficult time in Seattle with that crowd noise), we believe that the ‘Boys home opener will result in their second win of the season. The Bucs exposed their weak defense last week when they gave up over 600 yards to the N.Y. Giants. Tampa Bay simply does not have the firepower to keep up with Dallas who would like to dispose of the Bucs before welcoming the Bears next Monday Night.

BROWNS over the Bills- Cleveland is one of the best or at least the most unluckiest 0-2 teams in the league losing both their games by a total of eight points. If you remember thanks to some late heroics, the Eagles pulled out a one point victory over the Browns who showed they can play some D. Last week, QB Brandon Weeden and No. 1 pick RB Trent Richardson started to exhibit their talent and we got a taste of what they are capable of doing. Still not impressed with Buffalo although Cleveland will see plenty of C.J. Spiller this Sunday. If he can be contained the way LeSean McCoy was, than Cleveland should garner their first win of the season. Read more…

NFL Week 2 preview, picks

Randall Cobb

Source: Andy Lyons

Week 2 of the NFL Regular Season is upon us and tonight when the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers in one of the more interesting games of the week.  Here are my non-expert picks with some explanation. Disclaimer: I went 8-8 last week and it’ll probably go downhill from here, so take this with a grain a GIGANTIC SPOON of salt.

Chicago Bears (1-0) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-1) – Does a team have a more must-win game then the Packers do in week 2?  If Green Bay loses they are 0-2 at home on the season and down two games to the Chicago Bears in the NFC North and potentially two back in the race for home-field advantage against the San Francisco 49ers. If this happens then the Staples “Easy” button will be replaced with a “HIT THE PANIC BUTTON RIGHT NOW” by ESPN, NFL Network and the rest of the media.  That being said…Winner: Packers 30, Bears 23.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – The battle of the mediocre defenses, both defenses came in hyped up to take huge steps forward and both gave up 40 burgers to the Falcons and Jets, respectively.  I picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West despite having Matt Cassel as their quarterback and if I hate anything it’s someone who jumps off the bandwagon after week one.  (Spoiler: I hate myself).  Winner: Chiefs 26, Bills 21.

Cleveland Browns (0-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – This will be an epic battle — no, not between the Bengals and Browns – but between two longstanding rivals – Gingers and Old People.  Ginger Quarterback, Andy Dalton, is still trying to prove that Gingers can, in fact, play quarterback while Brandon Weeden tries to bounce back from the worst debut rookie performance by a quarterback ever  after taking his Metamucil and recording his marathon of “Murder She Wrote”. Winner: Bengals 21, Browns 9. Read more…

Start of the NFL season: AFC power rankings

As the end of the NFL preseason is quickly approaching, so is the beginning of the 2012 NFL regular season. As there is one week left of preseason football, we are less than 10 days away from the start of the 2012 NFL season. I like to name this period “Week Zero”, as these power rankings are a basic opinion of how I believe the 2012 NFL season will pan out.

In the AFC, many familiar faces and teams will be in the postseason talks once again. The AFC, which is noticeably weaker than the rival NFC, have many teams loaded with potential, but just are not quite there yet. Here are the Week Zero AFC Power Rankings.

16. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

A new head coach (Mike Mularkey), a quarterback still going through growing pains (Blaine Gabbert), a defense on the decline, and one of the best playmakers in the NFL (Maurice Jones-Drew) is holding out for a new contract…yea, 2012 will not be very kind to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Projection: 4-12

15. CLEVELAND BROWNS

The Browns can only hope they struck gold by drafting Weeden (3) and Richardson (33)

The Browns have some bright spots in wide receiver Greg Little, All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas, a defensive line loaded with under-the-radar talent, and two of the most efficient defensive players in the game in linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and cornerback Joe Haden, the problem though? Too young, not ready to compete for a playoff spot yet.

Projection: 4-12

14. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

New Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck doesn’t play like an ordinary NFL rookie, but fellow rookies Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and T.Y. Hilton certainly look the part, as the Colts are starting over with new head coach Chuck Pagano and look to be heading in the right direction.

Projection: 5-11

13. MIAMI DOLPHINS

The Dolphins made significant moves in the offseason, trading away star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, cutting former starting quarterback Chad Henne, signing Chad Johnson, cutting Chad Johnson, and trading away cornerback Vontae Davis…the Dolphins will have difficulty finding any kind of identity in 2012.

Projection: 6-10

12. OAKLAND RAIDERS

Carson Palmer may have a training camp with the Raiders under his belt, but the wide receiver core is average, Darren McFadden is injury-prone, the linebacker core is inexperienced and troubled, and the secondary has trouble in coverage.

Projection: 6-10

11. TENNESSEE TITANS

Starting Jake Locker at quarterback will be a rough transition for the Titans, as Locker may not even have top-target Kenny Britt available at his expense, but the Titans need to see if Locker fits the bill of an NFL franchise quarterback.

Projection: 6-10

Read more…

Browns’ Josh Gordon impressing with big-play ability

David Richard/Associated Press

Josh Gordon

Given that he’s 21 years old and hadn’t played since 2010, it was reasonable to expect Cleveland Browns rookie receiver Josh Gordon to take some time to get acclimated.

Going over Nnamdi Asomugha for a 28-yard reception against the Eagles the other night was another sign the Browns receiver is learning quicker than anyone expected.

The Supplemental Draft pick has impressed observers in Browns camp, and has a chance to be a significant player for them this year, according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.

“I think where [Gordon has] come from Day One to where he is now, I think he’s come the most of anyone on this football team,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “I’m really happy with Josh.”  Read more…

Trent Richardson to be ready for Week 1

Trent RichardsonBrowns running back Trent Richardson’s rehab from arthroscopic knee surgery is progressing well enough that team president Mike Holmgren said Wednesday that he should be back on the field next week.

Richardson was scheduled to run in a pool on Wednesday, Holmgren said during an interview with Sport Time Ohio passed along by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  If that goes well, Richardson will graduate to running outside and he “should be back on the field doing something next week” assuming his knee cooperates with the increased workload.

All of which leads to the question of whether or not he’ll be able to play in Week One. Holmgren said that there’s a chance Richardson will be able to join fellow rookie Brandon Weeden in the lineup, but that the team is going to be smart about moving things forward. Read more…

10 Fantasy Football rookies to consider drafting

The question of whether to steal precious picks away from more established players on draft day arises every year. They might have been college standouts but how will they perform on a professional level? Will they receive enough playing time? Will they live up to their expectations and in some cases, their hype? I don’t suggest that you base your team around them, but certainly there are several, that you may consider grabbing in the mid to later rounds.

1. Trent Richardson– RB-Browns- We begin with the obligatory and prohibitive favorite to be the first rookie off the boards in your draft. The Browns made Richardson their third overall pick for a reason. They needed a boost in their lackluster offense and this beast of a back has scouts saying that he is the best back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson! Trent will be the Browns’ every-down back and we think he should be the 10th to 15th RB selected in drafts. Barring injury, he will be a top-tier back by season’s end.

2. Doug Martin-RB-Buccaneers- Some scouts have compared the Boise State three-down back to Ray Rice, which is quite a compliment in and of itself! The Bucs O Line has improved given the signing of All-Pro guard Carl Nicks and because of LeGarrette Blount’s ineffectiveness last season, Martin is the overwhelming favorite to become the Bucs starter this year. Remember the Bucs traded up to land Martin in the first round so we can’t see them yielding the starting slot to Blount. We think he’ll be the 15-20th back selected in most drafts.

3. Robert Griffin III-QB-Redskins- Although I rarely, if ever draft a rookie QB, I did so last year when I corralled Cam Newton on a hunch for my QB2 slot. And that’s what you may want to consider doing with RGIII. He has a great arm and like Newton, will keep the ball often and therefore should put up some decent fantasy numbers for a rookie. With good protection we can see him scamper in for several TDs if passing options are limited in the Red Zone.  Clearly one to consider. Read more here…

 

Josh Gordon already the best receiver on the Browns?

On July 12, 2012 the Cleveland Browns selected former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon in 2nd round of this year’s supplemental draft in an effort to bolster their weak corps of receivers heading into the NFL season.

With this selection the Browns used a 2nd round choice in next year’s NFL Draft (2013). Much was said and written about Gordon as the supplemental draft came upon us and many have shared varying opinions on his value as a 2nd round selection.  Some experts rated him as having potential first round talent while others saw him more as a 4th or 5th round choice.  What is clear is that the Browns had him rated as a 2nd round choice and were willing to take a flyer on the young man from….

Listed at 6’ 3” 220lbs with a projected 40 yard dash time of 4.4 seconds, Gordon has the size and speed to play on Sunday in the NFL.  How well he can adjust after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer regulations is a question that remains to be answered. Read more here…

Browns’ Josh Gordon failed three drug tests in college

Josh GordonThe Cleveland Browns using a second-round pick (which they’ll lose in next year’s draft) to take wide receiver Josh Gordon in last Thursday’s Supplemental Draft has been described as risky.

It’s Gordon’s off-field problems, more so than his on-field lack of polish, that worries teams.

In a detailed look at the quandary Gordon presented for NFL teams trying to evaluate him, NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported that Gordon failed three marijuana tests during his time at two colleges.

Gordon admitted last week to failing a test at Baylor which led to his suspension, but there were apparently two others he didn’t mention. The first was after he and a teammate were arrested while falling asleep in a Taco Bell drive-thru line (nice camouflage, stoners never go there). The other was at Utah, where he transferred after his second failed test at Baylor.  Read More…

Trent Richardson sets high standards for himself

Trent Richardson

Jim Brown and Trent Richardson don’t see eye to eye when it comes to the rookie’s abilities.  If Richardson has his way, however, their eyes and the rest of their heads and necks will be able to hash it out in bronze, forever.

Richardson laid out the plans for his career on Friday, at a Play 60 event held in conjunction with the Rookie Symposium.

“I want to be in the Hall of Fame, and I want to be one of the most talked-about running backs in the NFL,” Richardson said Friday, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

“I want my name to always be remembered in a good way, not in a dumb way or in a crazy way.  For me, I’m always gonna work hard and make sure that my standards are set high.”

Though Richardson grew up in a rough part of Pensacola, his mother and his coaches kept him out of trouble.  And it sounds like he won’t be dragging any trouble with him to Cleveland.

Read more here…