More Camp Openings...


Pretty much a regular
Bucs First Practice Full of Activity
Posted July 28, 2006 by Katherine Smith

The Bucs parked Cadillac Williams during the second part of Friday’s morning workout. The move, though, was merely precautionary. Williams back tightened up on him, so coaches held him out of drills during the later part of Friday’s workout.
Also on Friday morning, the team announced some moves Friday morning. To help the team get down to the mandatory 89-players, quarterbacks Jay Fiedler and Luke McCown were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, while 2005 third-round pick Chris Colmer is done for the season. Colmer was placed on the Non-Football Injury list. Colmer’s been rehabilitating a shoulder injury all off-season.
Other Friday morning observations:
During receiving drills, Joey Galloway participated in some, but not all. The Bucs plan to use a similar strategy as last year where they limited Galloway’s participation during camp. The goal is to keep the 12th-year veteran healthy throughout the season.
That strategy paid off last season, as Galloway started all 16 regular season games and the playoff game against Washington, finishing seventh in the NFC with a career-high 83 receptions and seventh in the NFL with a career-high 1,287 yards.
Galloway did get involved during the later part of the morning workout. Cornerback Juran Bolden broke up a pass intended for Galloway, prompting Derrick Brooks to respond “Next time, go a little faster.”
The first 9-on-9 drills on Friday gave somewhat of a glimpse of the offensive line. Last year’s starting unit remained in tact – Kenyatta Walker at right tackle, Sean Mahan at right guard, John Wade at center, Dan Buenning at left guard and Anthony Davis at left tackle. But Jeb Terry also took some snaps at right guard with the first unit, while Mahan also got some reps as the starting center. Rookies Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood worked with the second team.

Caddy Sits Out
Posted July 28, 2006 by Dave Reynolds

The injury bug hit Cadillac Williams a bit early. Williams was held out of the morning practice with back spasms, but might return for the afternoon session.
Also, the Bucs’ offensive line depth has taken an early hit as tackle Chris Colmer said he is out for the season. Colmer, a third-round pick in 2005, was inactive for every game of his rookie season as he rehabbed after shoulder surgery.

Fiedler On Sideline
Posted July 28, 2006 by Roy Cummings

Newly signed QB Jay Fiedler took in his first Bucs practice from the sidelines. Fiedler, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, rode a stationary bike alongside Luke McCown - who was placed on the PUP list on Monday as he recovers from knee surgery. There are no other notable absences, and all of the draft picks - including first-rounder Davin Joseph - are taking part in the morning practice.

Joseph Agrees To Terms
Posted July 27, 2006 by Roy Cummings

7:02 p.m.: As expected, top draft pick Davin Joseph and the Bucs have agreed to terms on a five-year deal, according to Joseph’s agent, Ben Dogra.
Financial terms were not announced, but Joseph is expected to be ready for Friday’s 8:30 a.m. practice.
WR Maurice Stovall remains the only draft pick yet to agree to contract terms
Revamped Saints open camp under new coach and new surroundings
7/27/2006, 8:11 p.m. CT By BRETT MARTEL The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Reggie Bush missed the reporting deadline for the New Orleans Saints' training camp as his contract holdout officially began Thursday evening, but it appeared he may be the only one unsigned by Friday.
The Saints agreed to three-year contracts with Jahri Evans, an offensive lineman taken in the fourth round, and Mike Hass, a heady, sure-handed receiver picked in the sixth round.
Hass shattered school records at Oregon State with 220 receptions for 3,934 yards. He also tied the school's all-time mark with 20 touchdown catches and was honored as the nation's top wide receiver when he was voted the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner.
Evans, coming out of Division II Bloomsburg (Pa.), played left tackle in an offense that produced 284.3 yards rushing per game last year.
Their signings left only Bush and second round pick Roman Harper, a safety out of Alabama, unsigned Thursday night. However, talks continued with both into the night and a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations said Harper could be signed in time to participate in the first practice Friday afternoon at Millsaps College.
Neither Saints general manager Mickey Loomis nor Bush's agent, Joel Segal, would comment specifically on negotiations concerning the Heisman Trophy winner on Thursday night. Loomis has said recently, however, that negotiations with Bush are running a "normal" course.
As the second overall selection in the April draft, Bush would be expected to sign a contract worth between what the first and third picks received.
Top pick Mario Williams signed a six-year, $54 million contract with Houston, with $26.5 million guaranteed. And on Thursday, third pick Vince Young agreed to a five-year deal, with an option for a sixth, with $25.7 million guaranteed and an overall value that could reach $58 million with option and roster bonuses and salary.
However, Bush likely would have been the No. 1 choice for a number of teams other than Houston, and he could be looking for a contract at least as valuable as Williams'.
Meanwhile, the era of new coach Sean Payton began quietly, with team officials denying reporters access to any players or coaches as they arrived on campus - a departure from years past, when arriving players spoke freely.
Saints public relations staff informed media that no video or photos could be shot of any players and that no interviews would be granted until after practice Friday afternoon.
The one exception was tight end Ernie Conwell, who briefly stopped to talk with a reporter from WAPT-TV in Jackson, Miss., until being informed of the new policy.
Conwell said he hoped the Saints would benefit from training on a college campus after spending the past couple seasons training at their suburban New Orleans headquarters.
"There's going to be a handful of guys that need this type of environment," Conwell said. "You're in a dorm room and everybody's spending time together. This can create a good environment for team chemistry and working hard."
That was Payton's aim when he worked with Loomis on moving training camp to a campus setting.
Coming to Jackson also reduces the likelihood of disruptions if another strong storm were to hit New Orleans in August. Last season, Hurricane Katrina's approach forced the Saints to leave New Orleans a few days early for their final preseason game in Oakland, and the team could not return to the city in 2005, moving temporarily to San Antonio and playing four home games in Baton Rouge.
The Saints returned to New Orleans in January, and have been trying to expand their fan base regionally, with their home town still struggling to recover from last year's disaster.
Jackson, a three-hour drive north of New Orleans, has long provided the Saints with a casual fan base that has grown larger and more passionate since Mississippi native and Ole Miss star Deuce McAllister has become the face of the franchise. The Saints see moving camp here as a way to thank Mississippi fans for the support and drum up more interest in the team.
"It's nice to come out to a place like this where we can hopefully broaden our fan base and put a show on for some of the fans around here," Conwell said
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Camp gets off to quiet start in Jackson
Thursday, 3:25 p.m.

By Jimmy Smith
Staff writer

JACKSON, MISS. - The official in-season beginning of the Sean Payton era with the Saints was a quiet one Thursday at Millsaps College as Payton declared himself and his team off limits to the news media.
Ordinarily, the local media contingent greets arriving players as they report for training camp.
But hours before the 6 p.m. reporting deadline Payton, the first-year head coach, banned the welcoming party.
Payton also was unavailable to the media.
So whether everyone would make Thursday’s evening deadline couldn’t be determined.
First-round draft choice Reggie Bush was not expected to be here for Friday afternoon’s first practice.
He has yet to come to contract terms. Neither has second-round pick Roman Harper or fourth-round pick Jahri Evans.
Sixth-round choice Mike Hass, a wide receiver, did agree to terms Thursday. Hass will sign a three-year deal, according to his agent, Scott Smith.
"Mike is ready to come in and make an immediate impact with this team," Smith said in a press release.

Bush likely not to report today
By Jimmy Smith
Staff writer

As zero hour approaches for the Saints to report to training camp this evening in Jackson, Miss., it appears likely that first-round draft pick Reggie Bush will not reach a contract agreement with the team and will begin what could become a lengthy holdout.

Also, the agent for second-round pick safety Roman Harper said Wednesday he was continuing cordial dialog with senior football administrator Russ Ball, but with players under a 6 p.m. reporting deadline it's also unlikely Harper will come to terms before then.

Joel Segal, Bush's agent, continued to decline comment Wednesday on the status of negotiations, and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Free-agent offensive tackle Adam Meadows, meanwhile, was on his way to Jackson on Wednesday evening for a meeting with Loomis and player personnel director Rick Mueller, according to his agent, Don Henderson.

Meadows, who met with the Atlanta Falcons earlier Wednesday and passed their team physical, is a 6-foot-5, 290-pound right tackle who was released this week by the Carolina Panthers. Meadows retired two weeks into training camp in 2004 because of lingering pain from previous shoulder surgeries. He had signed a five-year, $15 million contract with the Panthers that offseason. He previously had played left and right tackle for the Indianapolis Colts, starting 96 of 103 games in Indianapolis.

He has not played since 2003.

The Saints have Jon Stinchcomb, coming off a ruptured right patellar tendon, and Jamar Nesbit sharing the duties at right tackle, having switched last season's starter Jammal Brown to the left side.

Saints fourth-round pick guard Jahri Evans and sixth-round choice receiver Mike Hass also have yet to come to contract terms.

Since Segal negotiated his initial contract for a first-round draft pick in 1993, his clients have experienced holdouts from zero to 25 days. Segal has represented 13 first-round draft choices. Of those first-round picks, four have not missed any camp time, successfully coming to terms by the time of their team's first practice.

One, John Copeland, one of Segal's first clients, missed a total of 25 days -- virtually all of the Cincinnati Bengals' 1993 training camp.

Bush, the second overall pick in the 2006 draft, likely must negotiate his contract under parameters already established by first choice Mario Williams of the Houston Texans.

Williams agreed to a five-year, $54 million contract the night before the NFL draft, including a team option for a sixth year, with guaranteed money totaling about $26.5 million.

According to the NFL Players Association, since rookie contracts that included guaranteed money were first negotiated in 2003, the second overall pick has never received more guaranteed money than the first choice.

In 2000, according to NFLPA researchers, linebacker LaVar Arrington of the Washington Redskins signed a contract which, through incentive and escalator clauses, conceivably could have paid him more than the first overall pick, defensive end Courtney Brown, chosen by Cleveland.

Bill Johnson, the Atlanta-based agent for Harper, said Wednesday the delay in reaching agreement is just part of the normal negotiating process, not a financial disagreement.

"There's nothing imminent," Johnson said. "There's been some other activity in the marketplace, but we're having on-going conversations. We've always had a civil working relationship with those guys. We'll see. Both sides recognize the reporting time."

Meadows, meanwhile, is honoring the commitment he made to Loomis and Mueller, despite a successful audition with the Falcons on Wednesday, Henderson said. Meadows, 32, is also scheduled to visit with the Green Bay Packers on Friday.

"Atlanta will make him an offer; and New Orleans will make us an offer, no question in my mind," Henderson said. "I don't think Adam is leaning at all. (The Saints) want him to come in and compete for the starting right tackle job. We're ready."
Giants training camp preview
Who are these 2006 Giants?
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Are they a team coming off an 11-5 season in which they nearly doubled the previous year's win total? Or are they a club still picking at the scabs of a 23-0 playoff thumping to the Panthers at home? Is their quarterback a young protege who racked up yards and touchdowns in only his first full season as a starter? Or is he a head case who gets flustered at the first sight of pressure from a defense or a playoff push?
Can the star running back and defensive end continue to produce in the final acts of their careers? Is the secondary better or have the faces and numbers merely changed? Was the free-agent linebacker they signed a bargain or a bust? Can the leading receiver keep his cool on the field and be a team player off it? Can the stern coach continue to win, thereby keeping all the players happy?
Are these Giants a Super Bowl contender or a team headed for a disappointing, turmoil-filled season?
Does anyone know the answers to these questions? Maybe not yet, but we soon will, beginning with the first practice of training camp at the University at Albany on Friday. More than six months after being embarrassed in the playoffs, the Giants now begin the quest to get back.
1. Has QB Eli Manning corrected the mental and mechanical errors that slowed him down late last season?
Manning tried forcing too many throws (often off his back foot) when a dump off or even a sack would have been a better result. And that's why his sparkling 3,762 passing yards and 24 TDs were overshadowed by a below average 52 percent completion rate and 15 INTs in the last eight games and the playoff loss to the Panthers.
2. Is WR Plaxico Burress back on board the USS Tom Coughlin?
One of Manning's biggest supporters early last season was Burress, who suddenly became a game-breaking threat after years of being the No. 2 option in Pittsburgh. But as Manning began to struggle, so did Burress, who threw up his arms in disgust on the field and skipped a team meeting after the loss to Carolina. Coughlin, who wasn't pleased with the on- and off-field antics, spoke to Burress this off-season and is confident the seventh-year veteran will be a team player.
3. Can Coughlin maintain control of this team?
Eleven wins last year led to less grumbling from players. There were still a few mini-shots at the coach's authority, including Burress' late-season behavior, RB Tiki Barber's suggesting the Giants were "out-coached" in the playoffs and a few complaints about excessive fines. But the general remained in charge because the Giants never had a losing streak of more than one game.
4. Is LB LaVar Arrington a freelancer with a bad attitude who can't stay healthy?
Those were the whispers this spring when Arrington sat on the free-agent market for about a month before finally signing with the Giants. Now that he's out of Washington, Arrington gets a chance to prove all three rumors are incorrect while giving the Giants the playmaker in the back seven they badly needed last season.
5. Has enough been done to fix the secondary?
Of the top 6 DBs at the end of last year's camp, only starting SS Gibril Wilson remains in his spot. Free agent CBs Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters are veterans the Giants hope can still play big roles. S Will Demps was added despite partially tearing his ACL last year.
S Will Demps
He's a significant upgrade over Brent Alexander, as long as he's fully recovered from his knee injury. Demps might not have the experience of Alexander, but he's much more mobile and can deliver the big hit.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
They drafted what in the first round? A defensive end? But they already had three good ones. Well, now they might have four -- and they plan to use all of them. Just where Kiwanuka will line up and how effective he will be remains to be seen.
CB Sam Madison
For most of his nine seasons with the Dolphins, he was a ball-hawking, often shutdown corner -- the kind of player the Giants haven't had in a while. There are questions about how much he has left, though.
WR Sinorice Moss
At 5-foot-8, he was tough to spot among the big bodies at minicamp. But he was there, running plenty of underneath routes, screens and end arounds. Though a rookie, the little guy appears likely to play a big role in the offense.
DT Jonas Seawright
He has ability and size (6-6, 312), but character issues have been a concern. If he impresses off the field, he might beat out veteran Damane Duckett and rookie Barry Cofield for the starting nose tackle spot.
LB Gerris Wilkinson
The Giants think they got themselves a steal in the third round in Wilkinson, who might contribute immediately.
RB Tiki Barber and DE Michael Strahan slowing down
Eventually, these two are going to start playing like their age, but it shouldn't occur this year. Provided he stays healthy, Barber, 31, should again be one of the best backs in the league. The 34-year-old Strahan, meanwhile, could benefit from the addition of more weapons up front and possibly less attention on him.
Battles for starting spots on offense
Training camp is usually a time for coaches to evaluate several candidates for a handful of starting spots. Not the Giants' offensive coaches, though. At least, not this year, with all 11 starters returning. Sure, there will be a couple players jostling for positions (i.e. Moss and Tim Carter vying for the third receiver spot), but barring injury, there probably won't be any changes to the offense that racked up points in the regular season before getting blanked by the Panthers.
Long holdouts
The Giants do have to sign all seven draft picks, but that should happen quickly in the next couple days. And all of the team's starters -- except C Shaun O'Hara -- are signed through next season, so there won't be any contract disputes.
Combined practices (aka Battle Royales) with the Jets
The two teams tussled nearly as much as they practiced one week into camp last August so after two years of combined practices, the two teams decided to remain in their own camps this year.
Cornerbacks named Will
Two years ago, the Giants thought they had a pair of corners to anchor their secondary in Will Peterson and Will Allen. Now, they're both gone -- Allen to the Dolphins and Peterson released because of nagging back problems. There is still one Will in the secondary though -- safety Will Demps.
WR Amani Toomer in top form again
After a subpar 2004, Toomer felt like a rookie entering last year's camp because he was changing receiver positions and needed to prove he was still a viable threat as the No. 2 option. He did just that with an outstanding camp that led to a solid, 7-TD season.
Experimental, unconventional defensive fronts
Coordinator Tim Lewis' imagination has been running wild since April when the selection of Kiwanuka gave him a fourth pass-rushing end. With Arrington also in the mix, there are no limits to what Lewis can throw at an opposing offense.
CB Corey Webster looking more comfortable
Last year's second-round pick is now a starter and must play tighter on receivers than he did early last season. Webster played better when he was named a starter in late December and has impressed the coaches with his progress this off-season.
A shocking early cut
In his two years as coach, Coughlin hasn't sent a message to the team with a shocking release of a veteran. With more depth at key positions now, he and the front office can afford such a cut if the intensity level needs a boost.
Burning loss lights Coughlin's fire
Thursday, July 27, 2006
ALBANY, N.Y. -- On the first day of Giants training camp, Tom Coughlin was part-coach, part-masochist.
First, he identified this week as the beginning of the 2006 season and the first chance for the team to start having "greater purpose in everything we do."
Then, he mentioned the words "world championship" and "Super Bowl" as the Giants' goal.
Finally, when asked if he is still thinking about January's 23-0 playoff loss to the Panthers -- the disappointing end to a surprisingly successful season -- the devout Catholic revealed he continues to serve his penance by mentally flogging himself for his part in an embarrassing defeat at home.
"It never has left my thoughts from the evening after the game. It's not going to change and I don't want it to," Coughlin said in his camp-opening press conference at the University at Albany. "I want to pour a little salt in the wound."
Coughlin doesn't want the sores to heal, nor does he want to forget the mental anguish he felt walking off the field on Jan. 8. And chances are, for the next month, he will continue picking at the scabs the rest of the team still carries.
In fact, Coughlin said it will take him "about as long as (this) afternoon to mention (the loss to the Panthers)." He would speak about it sooner, but "I don't see (the players) in the morning."
For the players who will arrive and move into their dorm rooms today, Coughlin's comments might be a sign the most intense training camp of the coach's three-year reign is about to begin. With expectations high, talent all over the roster and the NFL's average window of opportunity lasting only a few seasons, the general knows he must push his troops to improve now -- before it's too late.
"(If) under any circumstance, should the gearshift slide into idle, I think all we have to do -- all of us who bleed Giant blue -- is remember that 17th game last year," Coughlin said. "And that will be plenty of motivation for us to try to take it up another notch."
Coughlin routinely uses euphemisms and tries to subconsciously provide positive reinforcement when speaking to his players. For example, instead of referring to the area inside the opponent's 20-yard line as the "red zone," Coughlin prefers to paint it "green," as in "go." So it was little surprise yesterday when he referred to the loss to Carolina as the "17th game" instead of "the playoff game." It's appears he's trying to downplay the significance of the loss from a postseason defeat to simply the last game they played.
But it was a game in which the Giants played poorly. And that's something Coughlin will not let his team forget until they take the field on opening day.
"The best way to get the bad taste out of your mouth is to get back on the field, get better as an offense, get better as a football team and start winning games," offensive coordinator John Hufnagel said.
But according to Coughlin, it also means remembering the cliché that you're only as good as your last game.
"'Putting (the loss) behind them' is not the way I would phrase it. I would say, 'Learn from it, understand it, know what took place and never let it happen again.'"
Notes: DE Mathias Kiwanuka, the Giants' first-round pick, agreed to terms on a five-year contract last night, according to one of his agents, Andrew Kessler. The deal can be worth up to $10 million, said Kessler, and includes $5 million in guarantees. Kiwanuka is expected to report to camp in time for the first practice tomorrow ... LB Gerris Wilkinson, the team's third-round pick, agreed to terms on a four-year, $2.2-million contract, his agent, Kenny Zuckerman said yesterday. ...
Coughlin mentioned a few players who might be limited in camp: LB LaVar Arrington, WR Tim Carter and TE Visanthe Shiancoe are all suffering from tendinitis, OL Lewis Kelly has a sprained foot and S Will Demps is recovering from knee surgery.
Martin Not Quite Ready as the Jets Open Camp
Published: July 28, 2006
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., July 27 - While nobody on the Jets <> was available to speak Thursday when the Eric Mangini era formally got under way, a central question was answered on the first day of training camp. Curtis Martin <>, the team’s warhorse of a running back, is not sufficiently recovered from arthroscopic surgery last December on his right knee to resume full practices.
Curtis Martin had a streak of 119 consecutive starts over his N.F.L. career until a knee injury forced him to miss the last four games last season.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets’ top draft pick this year, signed a five-year contract on Wednesday.
Martin, 33, was placed on the physically unable to perform list, which will preclude him from practicing with the team. He will be able to use the team facilities for his open-ended rehabilitation and participate in team meetings, and can be upgraded to the active roster at any time.
Mangini, who was hired as the head coach in January after Herman Edwards <> left for Kansas City, declined to comment. A team spokesman said Mangini would address Martin’s situation Friday after the first of 27 scheduled training-camp practices at Hofstra University <>.
Martin, the fourth-leading rusher in National Football League history with 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries, was joined on the list by wide receiver Justin McCareins, offensive lineman Trey Teague and defensive back Rayshun Reed. There is sufficient time for the players to regain their fitness before the season opener at Tennessee on Sept. 10, but their designation was a matter of some urgency; a player cannot be placed on the list if he starts training camp on the active roster.
During a full-squad minicamp last month, Martin, who is entering his 12th N.F.L. season and his ninth with the Jets, was held out of most drills, but he dismissed concerns about his availability for this season. "This isn’t the first injury that I’ve come off of," he said. "Most of the years I’ve played in the league, I’ve come off an injury."
The difference is that most of his earlier injuries did not cause Martin to miss any extended playing time. He did not sit out a game during his first seven-plus seasons with the Jets, extending his streak of consecutive starts to 119 before being sidelined the last four games last year with the knee injury that he initially sustained in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins <>.
When asked last month about Martin’s recuperative abilities, Mangini sounded optimistic. "He’s always exceeded expectations throughout his career," Mangini said. "He’s a unique guy."
The Jets sailed through draft day as if they were set at running back. They refrained from completing a trade with the New Orleans Saints <> to acquire the rights to draft Reggie Bush, then did not select a running back until the fourth round, when they took Leon Washington of Florida State <>.
Washington has been signed, as have the other nine members of this year’s draft class. The team officially opened camp with no rookie holdouts for the ninth consecutive season when center Nick Mangold, a late first-round pick, and quarterback Kellen Clemens, a second-round selection who is expected to contend for the starting spot, were signed to contracts Thursday morning.
Late Wednesday night, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the fourth overall pick, agreed to a five-year contract that is comparable to the $35 million deal that last year’s No. 4 pick, Cedric Benson, signed with the Chicago Bears. Ferguson declined to comment on his contract Thursday morning after grabbing breakfast in the Hofstra cafeteria. "I don’t want to get in trouble," he said.
HAPPY DAYS: Marinelli squashes speculation, names Kitna starting QB
July 28, 2006
Lions coach Rod Marinelli says he picked Jon Kitna to start because "This team doesn't need distractions," Marinelli said Thursday. "This team needs leadership."

Quarterback controversy?
Not this year.
At least not yet.
Lions coach Rod Marinelli has named Jon Kitna his starter entering training camp. Josh McCown is No. 2, Dan Orlovsky No. 3.
The first practice is this morning.
"This team doesn't need distractions," Marinelli said Thursday. "This team needs leadership."
Kitna was expected to be the starter, but Marinelli wasn't necessarily expected to announce it so soon.
Marinelli ranked Kitna, McCown and Orlovsky in that order as long ago as March, when he met with reporters at the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando. But he said at the time it didn't mean anything and he had no timetable for naming a starter.
"It could be done quick, or it could be done maybe a little bit later," he said. "I think it's a process."
It happened quickly for three reasons, Marinelli said Thursday.
One, he thought Kitna had an "exceptional off-season." Two, he thought the team really needed veteran leadership and Kitna brought "something special." Three, he wanted to avoid distractions.
Marinelli said that had nothing to do with the past. But the Lions were in constant turmoil when Joey Harrington was here, battling Mike McMahon in 2002-04 and Jeff Garcia last season, and they had a messy divorce this spring that ended with Harrington's trade to Miami for a conditional draft pick.
Kitna has spent five seasons as an NFL starter -- with Seattle in 1999-2000, with Cincinnati in 2001-03.
He was named the NFL's comeback player of the year in 2003, after he helped the Bengals rebound from a 2-14 season to go 8-8.
But then the Bengals went with Carson Palmer, the No. 1 pick of the 2003 draft, and Kitna backed up the last two seasons.
"I think the one thing that people forget about me is that I was playing at a high level," Kitna told WJR-AM (760) on Thursday morning.
"I really feel like that for the last 10 years of my career, it's all been preparation for this time right now. I'm excited to get back out there and put my own identity and personality on a team again."
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz praised Kitna, giving him an A+ in intelligence, toughness and accuracy. Martz even compared Kitna to Kurt Warner, whom he helped turn into an MVP and Super Bowl winner in St. Louis.
"He is like Kurt in his ability to learn things quickly and go out and do it without a lot of reps," Martz told WKRK-FM (97.1) on Wednesday night. "Jon has a God-given gift of awareness behind that center that is very unusual. I've watched him throughout his whole career and wondered how great it would be to have him on my football team."
But Martz also praised McCown and Orlovsky.
"Overall, this is the best group that I've had," Martz told WKRK. "All three of these guys can start in this league and play at a high level. ...
"To say that we have basically three starters that can play this game is worth getting excited about."
And Marinelli said Thursday the competition wasn't over.
"The competition's still there," he said. Kitna "just enters camp as the starter, and then we'll go from there."
Stay tuned.
Day 2: Looking foward to pads
By Steve Wyche | Friday, July 28, 2006, 10:17 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It’s Day Two of Falcons training camp with the team set to hold two sessions, one starting at about 8:30, the other, beginning at 6:15 p.m.
I’m really looking forward to the evening practice because the pads will be on and in very little time, we’ll know the men from the boys.
Day One was very hectic, very busy and it moved at a very high tempo.
There were a lot of early jitters. Roddy White dropped more passes than he should have and quarterback D.J. Shockley has had and better have better days. Shockley struggled with his accuracy at times and with limited practice reps, that can’t happen too much.
Tailback T.J. Duckett looks really good physically and, after speaking to him, he is really excited about having a good year. Safety Kevin Mathis, who had a horrific, season-ending knee injury last season, looked surprisingly fluid. I didn’t expect him to be able to move as well as he did. He was wearing a much less obtrusive brace and was working as Chris Crocker’s backup at free safety.
Someone I haven’t mentioned much with all the defensive additions is starting outside linebacker Michael Boley. He looks like he’s put on about five pounds and is very comfortable with what his duties are. Boley might be among the top pure athletes on the team and could be set to make a big-time move this season.
Posted on Fri, Jul. 28, 2006
Superman returns
After a disappointing 2005 season, Vick claims Falcons now have experience and talent to make another Super Bowl run
Associated Press
Five years in the NFL have taught Michael Vick a painful lesson: He's not Superman, even if a tattoo on his hand says otherwise.
Even worse, when Vick looks at the last game from the Atlanta Falcons' disappointing 2005 season, he accuses himself of "not giving my all" a sharp self-criticism he says led him to apologize to his teammates.
Vick told USA Today this week "I didn't go out and give it my all" in last season's final game, a 44-11 loss to Carolina that came one week after a close loss to Tampa Bay eliminated the Falcons from the playoffs.
"I just expect a lot out of myself," Vick said Thursday after the Falcons' first practice of training camp.
"I set high standards. I know what I can do. I know what I'm supposed to do. When things don't go well I always blame myself. I think I'm my own worst critic and I think that's a good thing."
Referring to his Superman tattoo, Vick said, "That's the way I feel sometimes, but in reality that's not the way things are going to be. I've learned some things the hard way, to experience some things I had to experience at the end of last season. I think it only made me stronger."
Vick said Thursday he gave 100 percent effort but didn't play his best in the loss to Carolina, when he threw an interception and was sacked three times.
"That (Tampa Bay) game took so much out of me and reality set in that I wasn't going to the playoffs," Vick said.
"As I look back on the (Carolina) game... I saw some things I could have done better."
Added Vick: "That will never happen again. I apologized to my teammates, my coaches and myself and my family for doing that."
Falcons coach Jim Mora said he believes Vick "continues to mature as a leader" by making public the criticisms of his play.
"I think a leader sometimes does that," Mora said. "He's not afraid to admit 'You know what? I'm not perfect and I'm not afraid to tell you when I'm wrong.' I think leaders do that and kind of challenges himself to say this will never happen again and this is not what I'm about.
"To me, he just continues to mature as a leader and I think that was another sign of it, at least the way I read it, the way I interpreted his remarks."
Mora said there was no sign Vick lacked enthusiasm or intensity in last season's loss to Carolina.
"To me, Mike is the only person who would really know if that's in fact the case," Mora said. "I appreciate his frankness. I didn't notice it. I've said he's one of the most competitive guys I've been around. He competes. He hates to lose. He loves to win and he loves to compete and to always be at his best."
One year after playing in the NFC championship game, the Falcons were a disappointing 8-8 last season, thanks to a 2-6 record in the second half of the season.
Vick completed 55.3 percent of his passes and had a 73.1 rating in 2005 while throwing 15 touchdown passes with a career-high 13 interceptions.
In two seasons with Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, Vick has not matched the career highs he posted in his last full season under coach Dan Reeves in 2002: an 81.6 rating, 2,936 yards passing and 16 touchdown passes, while throwing only eight interceptions.
Most of the Falcons' offseason additions came on defense, including defensive end John Abraham, safeties Lawyer Milloy and Chris Crocker and top draft pick Jimmy Williams, a cornerback. The key additions on offense were left tackle Wayne Gandy and third-round draft pick Jerious Norwood, a speedy running back from Mississippi State.
Vick says the Falcons now have the experience and talent to make another run for the Super Bowl.
"We've been doing all the things necessary to put ourselves in position to be one of the elite offenses in this league," Vick said.
Vick says he is more comfortable because he has the same starting receivers -- Michael Jenkins and Roddy White -- returning for the first time in his six years.
"I think my confidence is up this year," Vick said. "I think my preparation is going to be 10 times better. I think this is going to be a legitimate year for me to put this team in position to compete for that trophy. That's my only focus, my only goal."
Forget comforts: Toughness is Edwards’ thing
Camp’s spartan lifestyle, numerous two-a-day practices are part of the process to build team.
The Kansas City Star
Herm Edwards knows the routine: Drop the bags, grab the thin cot mattress and sling it on the floor. Sleep for four hours. Don’t say a thing about the leaky air conditioner, the bathrooms or the backache.
Like any red-blooded American with a Serta, Edwards would rather be staying at the Four Seasons, not the college dorms, when the Chiefs open training camp today in River Falls, Wis. But this is where they stayed when Edwards was an assistant, and it’s where his first Kansas City team will coexist for three weeks.
This is where a coach finds out who’s tough.
"The conditions are kind of cavemannish," Edwards said. "… You don’t sleep at night; it’s bad. So now you’ve got to get up and go do that again. That’s mental toughness to me. That says something about a guy."
The Chiefs are one of the last teams in the NFL to still pack up and fly to a training-camp locale. They’re also joining rare company as a club that runs through two-a-days for most of the camp. But Edwards will make some tweaks from the Dick Vermeil routine, scaling back practices by at least a half-hour and speeding up the tempo.
He’ll also be eyeing the younger players and giving his veterans, especially the 30-somethings, plenty of rest. The Chiefs won five of their last seven games last season but became just the second team since 1992 to go 10-6 and not make the playoffs.
They signed five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law earlier this week, seemingly the missing element on defense, and Edwards said he isn’t worried about the club’s talent level. But there are some lingering toughness issues.
"I think this is a tough team," he said. "We’ve got a very physical offensive line, and for me, it starts there. Defensively, we’ve got some physical players. I think with our interior (defensive line), we’ve got to become tougher up front. That’s very, very important. We’ve got to establish that. We’ve got to find out who those guys are. And I’m not just talking about hitting guys.
"I’m talking about mentally tough guys who can play hard for a number of plays when they’re nicked up. To me, that’s toughness."
In the spring, players raved about Edwards’ shorter minicamp workouts. He ran the team from drill to drill with little idle time. By the end of offseason workouts, Edwards said the Chiefs appeared well-conditioned.
Despite the shorter practices, linebacker Derrick Johnson, a star rookie during last year’s camp, said he doesn’t expect the next three weeks to be any easier. There are still the dorm rooms and the cots. And Edwards said he can tell by a player’s eyes, in the wilting heat, who’s tough and who’s not.
"He’s a hard-core coach," Johnson said. "He’s not going to baby us at all. At the same time, he’s going to take care of us."
Veterans absent at camp
Chiefs excuse Roaf and Law, while team is still uncertain whether Holmes will return.
The Kansas City Star
| The Chiefs arrived at training camp Thursday without left tackle Willie Roaf and cornerback Ty Law, pieces that are critical to their Super Bowl aspirations.
The Chiefs said both had been excused for personal reasons but didn’t give a timetable for their return.
Also absent was halfback Priest Holmes, who also missed all of the offseason work because of his neck condition. Holmes had his latest evaluation with specialists in Los Angeles, and the Chiefs were waiting for the results.
"They told us it would be no earlier than Monday," president/general manager Carl Peterson said. "They’ll tell us what they think the situation is at this point."
Holmes will go on the physically-unable-to-perform list before the first training-camp practice this afternoon. Holmes could be activated from that list if he is cleared to play.
"It’s very difficult to tell (whether Holmes will play)," Peterson said.
While Holmes’ absence was not unexpected, coach Herm Edwards indicated earlier in the week that Roaf and Law would join the Chiefs for the start of camp.
On Thursday, Edwards indicated Law, who signed only this week, would report after handling some personal matters.
Roaf’s absence is even more mysterious. After declaring emphatically in the spring that he would play this season, Roaf missed most of the offseason practices.
The Chiefs and Roaf’s agent, Peter Schaffer, indicated at the time that Roaf preferred to spend the offseason with his children in California.
Neither Schaffer nor Roaf returned phone messages Thursday.
Edwards said Jordan Black would take Roaf’s place at left tackle today and indicated Kyle Turley would be the right tackle.
Edwards publicly appeared unconcerned about the absences.
"For veteran guys that are 30 years and over, they’ve been in enough training camps," he said.
Peterson also addressed the contract situation of wide receiver Eddie Kennison, who said this week he wants the Chiefs to either give him a new deal or release him.
"Every player would like to make more money, and I appreciate that, but there is only so much (salary) cap and so much cash," Peterson said. "I have had that conversation with Eddie, and he knows where the Kansas City Chiefs are on this matter. He’s here, and he’s going to practice and, frankly, I don’t care to talk about it anymore."
July 28, 2006, 1:04AMOut with the old, in with the newTexans begin camp ready to put 2005 behind them
By FRAN BLINEBURYCopyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
First-year head coach Gary Kubiak is not mandating that his players stay at the official team hotel. So as they checked into training camp Thursday afternoon, there was not an abundance of suitcases and personal belongings being unloaded from cars.
However, the Texans are still carrying the baggage of last year's miserable 2-14 record, worst in the NFL.
There's a lot of guys in our locker room with a chip on their shoulder," quarterback David Carr said. "There are guys with pride in our locker room, guys who have played football for a long time.
"It's all tied into the fact that we won two games last year, and we were all on that team. I'm surprised to be here. I think everyone's surprised to be here after winning two games. It was rough last year.
"There's a lot of things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy that went on last year with the whole team. We don't want to relive that again. That's kind of distant in our memory, but we still remember it."
The disappointing 2005 season allowed the Texans to select standout defensive end Mario Williams with the No. 1 pick in the draft. But that came after a second-half schedule during which they became the butt of jokes and the focus of the so-called "Race for Reggie Bush," though the Texans decided to pass on the Heisman Trophy-winning running back.
"As a competitor, nobody likes to hear that you're losing on purpose," defensive tackle Robaire Smith said. "So we've been waiting for six or seven months to get back here and show everybody that we weren't doing it on purpose, that we're for real. Now we have a new coach, a new system."
Entering their fifth season in the league, the Texans no longer have the expansion glow and the aura of good feeling surrounding them simply for stepping onto the field.
"It's about wins," guard Chester Pitts said. "Think about it - a guy like me that's been here since day one, and I've never had a winning season. So it's a new chance to me. A chance to get excited and do whatever I can to make that happen."
Under new offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun, the offense will employ zone blocking, which will have Carr throwing on the run frequently in hopes of taking advantage of specific mismatches from week to week. Under new defensive coordinator Richard Smith, the defense will switch to a 4-3 alignment, meaning more attacking and more aggressiveness up front.
Under Kubiak, it is as if the slate has been wiped clean, and everything is new. That includes allowing the players the option of going home each night during camp.
"He's doing a lot of things they do in Denver (where Kubiak was the offensive coordinator)," defensive tackle Seth Payne said. "The philosophy is you let guys make decisions for themselves.
"You want the kind of guys on a team that are going to be responsible for themselves and responsible for the team. If they can't prove that they can handle that kind of responsibility in training camp, then what are they going to do in the regular season?"
Thursday's general mood was the usual, with players not looking forward to two-a-day practices in the heat and humidity but, in this case, ready to suffer the pain of camp in order to gain.
"I'm excited," Carr said. "I've been pumped up for a couple of weeks. Usually, my mood is I'm looking at the clock, hoping it doesn't come too fast. But I've been wanting to come out here for a while.
"I felt like when we left in the spring, we had some good things going, and we actually felt like a football team for the first time in a while. It was depressing to leave it, and I wanted to get back into it.
"Even with this being a new offensive system, it feels like we're so much closer than we were the last couple of years. I don't know if it's because guys bought into a new system or what it is. But I know that I feel more confident."
But even as they checked into meetings and got ready for today's opening drills, the Texans carried their old baggage along with their playbooks.
"It's time to go to work," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "Got to take care of my business. Got to make sure 2-14 never happens again."
denver broncos notes
Smith, team "shocked" if Lelie appears
Bowlen says wide receiver ill-advised

By Mike Klis and Bill Williamson Denver Post Staff Writers

For the first time since Trevor Pryce in 2000, the Broncos have a player under contract holding out from training camp.
To no surprise, Broncos receiver Ashley Lelie did not show up for the first day of training camp meetings Thursday at the team's Dove Valley headquarters. Lelie, who has one year left on a five-year contract that pays him $1.3 million, is working out in Los Angeles. He is not expected to show up today for the first day of workouts, or anytime soon.
"I'd be shocked if he came in here," said Rod Smith, who had teamed with Lelie as the Broncos' receiver duo the past four seasons.
Pryce, one of the best defensive linemen in Broncos history, held out for 14 days in 2000 in hopes of getting a new contract. He was fined $5,000 a day and returned without a new deal, although he received a seven-year, $60 million extension after the season.
New rules allowed the Broncos to dock Lelie a whopping $14,000 a day, although the receiver is hoping his fines would be reduced, if not erased, with a trade. The Broncos have held initial discussions with the Chicago Bears regarding a Lelie swap for disgruntled running back Thomas Jones.
"Thomas Jones is one of 500 scenarios that have been discussed," said Lelie's agent Peter Schaffer. "It is like pointing out one tuna reference in a Hemingway book."
Schaffer also represented Pryce during his 2000 holdout.
"Different situations entirely," Schaffer said. "In Trevor's case, he was hoping to get an extension with the Broncos. In Ashley's case, it's not about the money. It's about moving on."
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan tried communicating to Lelie this week that a trade is unlikely and urged him to report.
"We're holding all the cards," Shanahan said.
Pryce and another Broncos holdout, running back Bobby Humphrey in 1991, were stars at the time of their protests, but Lelie is considered a role player - which Lelie has said is exactly the problem. He's a No. 2 receiver in a run-first offensive system.
"I just don't know where his head's at," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said. "It's mind-boggling to me because it doesn't make any sense. He's a good wide receiver. He should have been in here and playing this season and looking for a new contract - if not here, than somewhere else. Whoever started him down this path, I think, really made a big mistake as far as his career is concerned. He's been around the NFL long enough to figure out there could be injuries, there could be this, there could be that, and he could be the No. 1 receiver by the second week of the season. To me it's made him look ill-advised and foolish in the eyes of most people who touch the sport."
Hixon may miss time
Fourth-round pick Domenik Hixon was examined Thursday and may be examined today to determine how much time, if any, the receiver and returner will miss as he recovers from a broken foot.
The fracture in the middle of Hixon's foot has taken more time to heal than expected. Still, the Broncos say they don't expect any long-term issues. Hixon, from Akron, is vying to return kicks and punts.
"We expect him to be ready, but it may take some time," Hixon's agent, Vance Larimer, said.
New receiver Javon Walker - coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament - will be among a group of players practicing once a day. Shanahan said the others are center Tom Nalen, defensive ends Courtney Brown and Ebenezer Ekuban and safety John Lynch.
Shanahan also said veterans Matt Lepsis, Stephen Alexander, Champ Bailey, Ian Gold, Al Wilson and Gerard Warren will take a practice off every few days.
Three QBs likely
The past two seasons, the Broncos went with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster - a rarity in the NFL. Shanahan said the team likely will carry three quarterbacks this season. That means former Colorado State standout Bradlee Van Pelt has a good chance of sticking with the team along with starter Jake Plummer and first-round pick Jay Cutler. Van Pelt was Plummer's backup last season.
Ringing the Bell
Shanahan likes what he has seen of third-year tailback Tatum Bell, who is fighting for the starting job.
"He has a sense of urgency about him," Shanahan said.
Bailey on offense
The Broncos would like to use star cornerback Bailey on offense on occasion, but Shanahan said he doesn't want to overwork Bailey. He played receiver sparingly in 2004. He missed all of last preseason with a hamstring injury and battled hamstring and shoulder injuries throughout the season.
"We'll see how it goes and how everything looks at receiver," Shanahan said.
Shanahan spoke with former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, the coach in Houston, Thursday. ... Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer has lost 30 pounds and is improving from procedures to correct hip and back problems.
thanks jimmy...appreciate it my camp injury thread I put the article about Roaf retiring, he announced it this morning...that's an enormous loss for that line, esp after Wellbourne retired last month..two pro bowlers gone from the best line in football..

The Kansas City Star

What you need to know on offense
One of coach Herm Edwards’ pre-camp concerns was the lack of spring practice time for his starting offensive players. Things aren’t much better through the first few camp workouts. Tight ends Tony Gonzalez and Jason Dunn and guard Will Shields were withheld from the morning practice to save wear and tear. Then guard Brian Waters left the morning practice early with what Edwards called a sprained foot. Chris Bober and Peter Heyer were the first-team guards until Shields replaced Heyer in the afternoon.
What you need to know on defense
The Chiefs were expecting new cornerback Ty Law at camp and on the practice field today. … Lenny Walls will relinquish his starting spot to Law but is making the most of his moment. He deflected a Trent Green pass destined for Dante Hall, and safety Greg Wesley made the interception. … Even without full pads in the morning practice, rookie safety Bernard Pollard showed he’s not afraid to hit. He put his shoulder into running back Derrick Ross.
Injury report
Edwards said Waters would be day-to-day. “We don’t know how long it’s going to be,” Edwards said. “The good thing is that the X-rays show there’s no break, just a sprain.”
Halfback Priest Holmes (neck), tight end Aaron Golliday (hamstring), defensive linemen Ron Edwards (shoulder), Junior Siavii (knee) and Steve Williams (knee) and defensive backs William Bartee (Achilles), Marcus Maxey (knee) and Alphonso Hodge (knee) did not practice.
Wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe (shoulder) practiced in the morning but not the afternoon.
Today’s schedule
The Chiefs will hold a practice in full pads in the morning and a special teams practice in the afternoon.
“This is where you build your toughness and your camaraderie because it’s an even playing field. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-round draft pick. It doesn’t matter if you’re a five-year veteran or a Pro Bowl player or a Hall of Famer. We all sleep in those dorms. We all eat in the food line. We all go to practice every day. The fancy cars won’t help you. You start to become accountable to each other.”
— Edwards on the importance of training camp
Turning up the heat
Unseasonably hot temperatures greeted the Chiefs for the first couple of days of camp, and the matter will get worse before it improves. The forecast for today and Monday is for temperatures of over 100 degrees.
Edwards released the linemen from afternoon practice after 20 minutes before its end. Backs, receivers and linebackers stayed, but shed their pads for the final 20 minutes.
“It’s a factor,” Edwards said. “You’ve got to protect these guys. You don’t want to kill your team on the practice field.”
Resting the legs
Gonzalez, Dunn and Shields won’t be the last veteran players to get a break from practice. Edwards said he will continue the practice with selected veterans from time to time.
“There’s going to be some guys (practicing only once daily),” he said. “Eventually, you’ll see some defensive guys (practicing once). You’ve got to protect your players, especially when they’re older players.
“When guys have great offseasons, veteran football players, I understand that when they get to camp, I help them out.”
Silver lining about Roaf


The Kansas City Star

There is an upside to Willie Roaf’s retirement, I guess.

You have to rack your brain to find it, but it’s there. It probably doesn’t lead to any additional regular-season victories for the Chiefs. It might not have anything to do with wins and losses.
You’ve heard it before: For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.
Roaf’s departure should be liberating for new coach Herm Edwards and new offensive coordinator Mike Solari. They should feel no pressure to duplicate Dick Vermeil’s and Al Saunders’ offensive fireworks.
Edwards can now stay within his personality in terms of offensive strategy without anyone second-guessing his choice. Edwards may have been groomed by Dick Vermeil as a player, but he has far more in common with Tony Dungy and Bill Cowher when it comes to coaching.
Edwards doesn’t want to coach in a shootout. He wants to run the football, control the clock, play solid defense and play field-position football. Cowher’s Steelers used that philosophy and a few trick plays to win the Super Bowl a season ago. jimmyd: Important to note, esp. for Totals. Books may open games high on KC due to past history and the publics perception of KC.

Roaf’s retirement will also shield Edwards from any criticism of his “soft” training camp and practice regime. Roaf pointed to Vermeil’s strenuous practice routine as a factor in his retirement.
For years, Chiefs players complained about Marty Schottenheimer’s and Vermeil’s long practices. Other coaches, such as Denver’s Mike Shanahan, believe in 70-minute practices and keeping the players’ legs “fresh.”
Deion Sanders, at the behest of veteran Chiefs players, once came on my old radio show specifically to complain about Vermeil’s long practices. Priest Holmes hated Vermeil’s practices and often complained.
When I first heard the complaints, I thought the players were just being spoiled and lazy. But the reality is NFL coaches have gone overboard with their training programs. Most of the players do a good job of staying in shape year round on their own. Also, you can’t ask 320-pound linemen to practice and train all year. It’s going to create back, joint and knee problems. It’s just way too much stress.
So Roaf has given Edwards freedom, and this freedom should benefit the Chiefs.
There was nothing wrong with MartyBall. The problem was Marty. The Chiefs never reached the Super Bowl and rarely advanced in the playoffs because Marty made horrible decisions while playing MartyBall. He’d choose the wrong quarterback, bench a running back after a long run and stick with the wrong coordinator.
Let’s hope that Herm is a better decision-maker than Marty. (Amen)
And let’s hope that Gunther Cunningham is as good a defensive coordinator for Edwards as he was for Marty. Gunther is the man who should be feeling pressure now that Roaf is retired.
You can’t play Herm Edwards football without a strong defense.
We all expect Kansas City’s offense to take a step back. The Chiefs have lost both of their starting tackles — Roaf and John Welbourn — and their fullback, Tony Richardson, and Priest Holmes.
Meanwhile, Gunther returns everybody who matters, and the defense has added a five-time Pro Bowl corner, Ty Law, and a first-round-pick defensive end, Tamba Hali. Chiefs fans have a right to expect KC’s defense to improve dramatically. Edwards is a defensive coach. His expertise is in building defenses.
Kansas City once fell in love with 17-14 football games. We better learn to love them again.
Sunday, 07/30/06
Young's big hit will keep Titans talking

CLARKSVILLE — Defensive tackle Randy Starks batted a pass into the air, hunted it down to collect an interception and took a big hit.
The thing that made the Saturday morning play especially memorable, unfortunately for Starks, was who delivered the hit: quarterback Vince Young.
A big round of hoots and hollers by the offense followed.
For the record, Starks is listed at 312 pounds, Young at 233.
"That's the worst feeling (an interception), and that's for any quarterback," Young said. "I didn't try to tackle him like that. I tried to knock the ball out, but he's big so I had to try to brace myself a little bit. It looked pretty ugly."
"In the paper and everything you're not going to talk about the interception, but y'all will talk about the hit," Starks said. "I was a little surprised, you know, he's got the red jersey. But it's all good, it's all part of football. He got a little contact in. Unfortunately I can't get him back because he's off limits."
Wide receiver David Givens said the play is going to be talked about for a while.
"Starks definitely was taken off his feet," he said. "It was kind of a surprise that he (Young) popped a 300-pound guy like that."
Linebacker Keith Bulluck sought to make sure the ballyhooed play was kept in context.
"That was a hell of a play by Randy Starks," he said. "Interception defense. First down."
No credit for Young?
"Nah, he threw a pick," Bulluck said. "We are not going to be easy on the rookie. He leaned his shoulder in there, but we all know Vince is not afraid to get dirty. … But we'll take the first down going the other way."
Two tight ends: Erron Kinney sat out the afternoon practice with a swollen right knee. He said the injury could end up keeping him out of practice for a few days.
Because tight end Bo Scaife (quad) also missed practice, Coach Jeff Fisher said depth at the position is a bit of a concern.
"I knew coming in I might have to take a practice off because of the knee,'' Kinney said. "But I am OK. It is nothing to be overly concerned about. I just don't want to push it too far where it becomes a problem."
Kinney didn't rule out the possibility that the knee will be drained.
Where's White?: Second-round draft pick LenDale White was scheduled to arrive at Austin Peay on Saturday evening and participate in both of today's workouts.
The running back from USC missed the first two days of workouts while final details of his contract were completed.
White agreed to terms on Thursday, the same day as Young. Fisher said White was in Los Angeles and his agent was not in Nashville, making the logistics of finalizing the deal more difficult.
White, who missed most minicamp workouts this summer because of a hamstring injury, will be tested physically right away. Today's second workout will be with players in full pads.
"He's not going to have any difficulty with the offense, from a learning standpoint," Fisher said. "It's the physical things."
Heat issues: There was some debate as to whether safety Donnie Nickey was briefly knocked out of the afternoon session because of heat or because of a collision with running back Travis Henry.
"I thought it was Travis," Fisher said. "I still maintain it was Travis. He says it was heat."
Temperatures pushed toward 90. Trainers constantly applied cold towels and served water and Gatorade. Afterward players lined up to get in one of four cold tubs.
"It hit us (Saturday) afternoon," Fisher said. "This (was) actually our fourth session in two days, if you would include the conditioning (Friday morning). It warmed up a little bit and when the shoulder pads go on they gain some extra weight. It was good."
Ten pounds: Running back Damien Nash, who's being held out of practice until he makes weight and meets conditioning requirements, weighed in at 235 pounds on Friday.
The second-year pro was supposed to be less than 225. He's listed on the roster at 220.
"I was mad, man. I came out here to play ball and I can't do it," said Nash, who's been running on the side with conditioning coaches. "How else would you react? You're out here in training camp sitting and running and doing other things besides participating with the team."
Nash said he didn't know whether he was overweight, called it a "confusion thing" over the number and predicted he'd be back in "a couple days."
Osemwegie update: Former Vanderbilt linebacker Moses Osemwegie was placed on the "physically unable to perform" list at the start of camp with a strained calf, but he said he's close to returning. "I've been doing some straight-ahead running and some speed work," he said. "It's feeling a lot better."
Taking turns: Givens was held out of the afternoon practice, while Drew Bennett missed the morning practice. Fisher said he plans to alternate days off for the two receivers early in camp.
Hope on horizon: Fisher said safety Chris Hope will rejoin the team in time for today's second workout. Hope has been excused because of a death in the family.
Injuries: Starks (back) left the afternoon practice early. The injury isn't serious, Fisher said.

jimmyd: SHSU will love this.
Ravens camp update

Originally published July 30, 2006

• Steve McNair connected with Derrick Mason and Brian Bratton on deep touchdown throws.

• Defensive backs B.J. Sams and Evan Oglesby showed good hands in making interceptions.


• After cornerback Corey Ivy got beat for the second touchdown, secondary coach Dennis Thurman yelled out angrily, "We got to end this ... now."

• Cory Ross, who is competing for the return specialist job, dropped a punt.


After catching flak for ending Friday's news conference early, coach Brian Billick jokingly walked by reporters, saying, "If you thought yesterday's was short, watch this one." Billick came back to answer all questions.


"We have a chance to show up healthy, fresh and ready to start very aggressive and very physical."

Billick on his team's progression heading into training camp's first contact practice tomorrow


Cornerback David Pittman, the team's third-round draft pick, tweaked his hamstring and did not practice. ... Running back Jamal Lewis (hip) and receiver Clarence Moore (hernia) remained on the physically-unable-to-perform list.


The Ravens are off today.



Plenty of backs in the running

Packers haven't settled on backup for Green


Posted: July 29, 2006

Green Bay - Ahman Green is expected to be the featured running back for the Green Bay Packers this season, but the 2005 season is a vivid reminder that things don't always go according to plan.

Photo/Rick Wood
Samkon Gado led the Packers in touchdowns last season and has spent most of the off-season in the weight room.
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Green watched the second straight day of training camp Saturday, so the questions about whether the 29-year-old can fully recover from the ruptured quadriceps tendon he suffered last year will have to wait. What is clear is that the Packers might want to declare and direct a No. 2 running back equally capable of a 1,000-yard season just in case anything disrupts Green's comeback.
But just whom might that be?
There's not really a crowd of running backs in the Packers locker room. But the quality is high among four backs vying for No. 2, and the competition among them should escalate as camp wears on.
Curiously, the Packers have listed Samkon Gado and Noah Herron at No. 2 behind Green on their depth chart. Najeh Davenport and Arliss Beach share the third spot.
So far in two practices of training camp, the Packers have rotated all four backs with the No. 1 offense. It's too early to make one back carry the load, because they can't afford to overlook an up-and-coming player like Beach. So it makes the competition for No. 2 even more intriguing.
"That (backup job) is open," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "We're not playing the game today. We're in our installation phase of training camp. So, everybody is getting a look."
The Packers are still easing Davenport back from the broken ankle he suffered last October. They are limiting him to about three repetitions a series.
Of all the backs, Davenport has the most experience with 43 games. Gado has eight, Herron seven. Beach is a rookie. But Davenport can't disclose where he stands with a new coach.
"I'm back and I'm making plays," said Davenport. "You can't really tell what's going to happen. I don't really worry about the depth chart or counting roster spots. I have no idea if they'll run Samkon at No. 2, or what they'll do if AG isn't ready to go before the beginning of the season."
Davenport is one of those players whose weight always seems to be a favorite topic at training camp, but he is holding at 250 pounds and 10% body fat. That's typical for him, a few pounds over his ideal, he said, but nothing limiting.
He has been pleased that he has been running since February and rebuilding muscle ever since. He has looked strong in the two glimpses of what is a 31-practice camp.
But that's been his history the last couple of years. He looked good in camp and then can't finish the season because of injury, so it makes sense that the coaches want to pace him.
Davenport's style of running won't change to avoid injury. He isn't at all convinced that running with a lower pad level will help him stay injury-free. A full 3 inches taller than Gado and Beach, 2 inches taller than Herron and an inch over Green, Davenport finds it's not as easy for him to get as low as they do, and he's not going to try.
"I'm a different type back than the rest of those guys," said Davenport. "Me getting low doesn't do as good as AG getting low or Sam getting low or Noah getting low. They get low with the intention of getting underneath hits and shoulder pads. I'm like 6-2, 250, and me getting low really doesn't do as much damage as me trying to run through somebody."
A healthy Davenport would be the logical choice on paper at No. 2, but Gado led the team in touchdowns last year and has been in the weight room in Green Bay all off-season. .
"We're not concerned about who's where on the depth chart; when you do that you start thinking more than you are playing," said Herron. "It's a mental game with yourself that you don't want to play."
Beach, a free agent who played mostly as a backup at Kentucky and still got 14 touchdowns, has caught the eye of the staff.
"What happens a lot of times, when you get to real football, guys like Beach jump out," said McCarthy. "He plays with good balance, he's a physical guy. He's obviously young and learning, some of his mistakes are just for lack of experience, but I've been impressed with him since we've put the pads on."
McCarthy said he doesn't just want to establish a No. 2 back because he plans to use the running game extensively. Ideally, he said, he wants four. But after Green, finding a reliable No. 2 would be a good start.
Davenport's standing amidst all the competition isn't unsettling. The fifth-year veteran got his fill of that during his days at the University of Miami.
"Yeah, I think everything on this team is open, you know?" said Davenport. "But this ain't crowded. Want me to tell you crowded? James Jackson, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee. There, you're literally fighting for snaps.
"This ain't (expletive). And besides, competition drives you. It makes everybody better."