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Wednesday, June 11, 2008
By Bill Smith
Raider head coach Lane Kiffin has been most impressed with exBuckeye WR Drew Carter so far this year. Carter was signed to a 1 year contract by the Raiders as a UFA. Most observers say that Carter has been the most consistent and impressive WR in camp. Kiffin had this to say about Carter's performance. "I don't mention him sometimes because I expect him to do what he's doing, but he's doing it every day, and I love the work ethic that he brings," Kiffin said. "He's just one of those guys that's going to do everything he can to get out on that field and he's never going to complain about anything. He's going to play as hard as he can. He's going to block as hard as he can. He's going to go after every ball like it's a game. He ends up on the ground 10 times a day because he's practicing like it's a game."
The Raiders have worked hard to provide help to first year starter JaMarcus Russell. While the position is full of competitors including former Bronco Javon Walker and two draft choices, Carter has a real shot to be a starter.
Another former Buckeye that has caught Kiffin's eye this spring is DL Jay Richardson. Richardson has been focusing his work on improving his pass rush during the team's mandatory minicamp. While he contributed last year and became a starter, Richardson struggled putting pressure on the passer. Kiffin said "I think Jay's developing a pass rush. That's what he lacked last year. He played the run very well for us and has continued to improve on that. The pass rushing and the third-down part of it, we didn't leave him out very much because of that last year. We're giving him a shot to take that. Again, we're not going to rotate just to rotate. If we can find a guy that does both, we'll leave that guy in there the whole time. Jay knows that's where he needs to improve to play more."
Another former Buckeye DL that has impressed coaches is the Colts DT Quinn Pitcock. PFW and other sources indicate that he is now free of the hamstring ailment he had suffered early on in 2007 and slowed his development. He has by all indications played well in the OTA's and should be a fixture in the DT rotation this season.
Head coach of Tampa Bay Jon Gruden’s offense is one of the most complex in the league. ExBuckeye WR Joey Galloway who has played for the Bucs for 4 seasons has volunteered to mentor one of the most exciting WR prospects in the 2008 draft, Appalachian State's Dexter Jackson.
In a recent interview Galloway said “I couldn’t imagine doing that as a rookie in this system. So, as a rookie, it’s just going to take a lot of focus. I think you have to take it piece by piece.” Galloway has played for 3 different teams in his 13 year career. So he understands how hard it can be on a rookie. “I will absolutely try to teach him everything that I’ve learned, everything that I know,” Galloway said. “He’s a smaller guy, he’s a fast guy, he’s a quick guy, and that’s more of the things I’m used to and those are things that I can sort of help him with.”
The two have 2 things in common. 1. They are both very fast WR. 2. They both have caused fans of Michigan football to use a lot of aspirin.
OLB Larry Grant finally was able to report to the 49'ers camp on June 9th. He missed previous practices because he was still in school.
Miami Dolphins WR Ted Ginn Jr. has been working with the 1st string offense and will likely be the team's No. 1 receiver this season.
Starting Redskin and exBuckeye CB Shawn Springs has skipped the team's “voluntary” OTA's again this year. For the last several years, Springs has worked out in Arizona. First year head coach Jim Zorn said he had not spoken to Springs. Zorn said "I'm going to try to get a feel for why they didn't want to come. It's not something that I'm going to make a huge spectacle of. We'll just see what happens."
An undisclosed source told Pro Football Weekly that Jets first-round pick OLB Vernon Gholston is struggling in pass coverage. “If the light comes on, he is going to be a terror. He is best when he has his hand on the ground and is coming forward,” the source told PFW. However, as a former coach, I would see Gholston's value much greater as a pass rusher and would give him that responsibility at every opportunity. Other reports however contradict the PFW one. According to both Sporting News and ESPN, Gholston has looked good and is learning the new system quickly.
Will Smith went to the Pro Bowl as a starter last year for the NFC. He has just one year left on his contract with the Saints. He wants a new deal and the Saints seem willing to discuss one but Smith has held out of the team's OTAs so far.
To follow up on a previous story, there is still no progress on the injury settlement that Dallas is trying to get Terry Glenn to sign.
The Ugly—Really Ugly
Gene Smith, the OSU Athletic Director is rumored to be in the running for the same job at Notre Dame. The people at ND would give their right arm up to and including the shoulder to get someone of Smith's quality. But regardless of how much they want a real super star in that position, it is an impossible one.
The ND grads believe that national championships are their birthright. The money-men of the ND family have all the power. While it would seem he has the necessary ND credentials, anyone that has ever ventured more than 10 miles from the campus is not considered to bleed green by the Domers.
Gene Smith, PLEASE DON'T GO!