Can McKinnie protect Ravens QB Flacco?
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is sacked by Texans defensive back Brice McCain (centre) and defensive end J.J. Watt during their AFC divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 15, 2012. (JONATHAN ERNST/Reuters)
Good luck Joe Flacco. It seems like you're going to need it.
Ever since the great left tackle Jonathan Ogden's departure, the Ravens, strong just about everywhere else, have had some issues protecting Flacco.
Early on Tuesday it looked like Michael Oher of The Blind Side fame was going to get another chance to try to do the job when incumbent Bryant McKinnie tweeted: "Decision is made! I'm gone!"
But then, he wasn't. Later in the day, the big man (6-foot-8, 360 pounds), decided to restructure his contract to stay with the club.
"I'm excited about Bryant, always have been, just like I told him. I have a lot of respect for him as a football player. I love his style of play. We're going to be a strong offensive line and he's a big part of it," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
That remains debatable, though with Oher on the other side, it certainly will be one large offensive line.
McKinnie joined Baltimore last season as a free agent and ended up starting all 16 games but showed up late to camp this year due to a back injury that his chiropractor told the team about and was reintegrated slowly.
He has also run into financial problems both before and during the NFL lockout and has had legal issues as well as weight problems.
On the plus side, McKinnie has been remarkably durable and can recoup the $1 million he sacrificed in the contract restructuring by continuing to suit up for games.
Harbaugh expects McKinnie to "work his way back toward that Pro Bowl form."
Flacco would be even happier than his coach if that comes to pass.
SCHAUB, TEXANS HYPED
Houston seemed on the verge of breaking through as a power when quarterback Matt Schaub went down last season in Week 10.
Now, Schaub is healthy - "I feel as good physically as I ever have," he told the Houston Chronicle and the Texans are again being considered a Super Bowl contender (they happen to be my pick to make the big game, a massive endorsement to be sure).
Schaub has bought in.
"We're as good as we've been going into Week 1. I feel really confident about where we're headed," Schaub said.
Injuries will keep several players out for Wednesday's season-opener between Dallas and the New York Giants.
Pro Bowl Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff will not play, star tight end Jason Witten is doubtful and so is safety Danny McCray.
The Giants won't have cornerback Prince Amukamara, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, or tackle James Brewer and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is questionable, though he probably will play.
Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate is likely to miss two games because of a knee injury, the Seattle Times reports. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is now questionable for Sunday against Arizona because of back spasms, according to ESPN . Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart is expected to play on Sunday against Tampa Bay despite a sprained ankle, according to his head coach, Ron Rivera . Adrian Peterson remains a game-time decision for Week 1, even though he is itching to play for Minnesota . Staying with RBs, Cleveland's Trent Richardson seems likely to make his debut this week . Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark will not play in Denver on Sunday night due to Denver's high altitude. Clark also was held out for the playoff matchup last January. Clark has sickle cell . Just three days after being cut by Denver, Drayton Florence appears looks to have landed a starting job in Detroit . Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden has appealed his suspension . New England has worked out free agent quarterback Mike Kafka, the former Eagle and reports say tight end Kellen Winslow will get a workout as well . Step 1 of Randy Moss' return to prominence appears complete. He was listed as San Francisco's No. 1 receiver, along with Michael Crabtree, in the Week 1 depth chart ... The Jets released punter T.J. Conley and signed Robert Malone, according to Newsday.
WHO DA MAN?
Josh Morgan is either extremely impressed with Robert Griffin III, or simply knows where his bread is buttered and can suck up with the best of them.
Morgan, the Washington wide receiver, told On Tap that the man already known simply as RGIII is going to live up to the hype.
And then some.
"He's as fast as Michael Vick but he can make all the throws that Peyton Manning can make and he can make all the reads Tom Brady can make", Morgan said.
Morgan's no dummy. He knows he is a ways back on the depth chart and wants to make sure Griffin throws some balls his way.
Those comments won't hurt his cause.
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR HOLMGREN IN CLEVELAND?
Life in Cleveland hasn't been anywhere near as successful for Mike Holmgren as was his time in San Francisco, Green Bay, or even Seattle.
Still, the former coach turned Browns president isn't ready to give up and hopes to stick around in Cleveland.
"I've never quit anything in my life," Holmgren, in Year 3 of his contract with two to go, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has been on record that major changes will be made if Cleveland continues to flounder, but Holmgren is not worried at this point.
"No, in fact, I try to keep (his agent) away from Jimmy," Holmgren said.
It is expected Haslam will hire somebody he knows better and will either shift Holmgren to a different position or out entirely.
The Browns were 4-12 last season.
"He knows we're young," Holmgren said of the owner.
"He's asked a lot of questions, a lot of football questions, and he is well aware of our situation, but I'll stick with what I said all along even prior to this happening - that my expectations are that we're better this year. I've said that before, and I'll say that again and you know, that's how we're all judged, ultimately . whatever happens, happens."