Neil's NFL Daily: June 5, 2013
As per yesterday (and for the next six editions or so), I’m traveling from team to team and currently find myself in Jacksonville for the second and third days of their non-mandatory OTA.
As it happens, the Jaguars were in the news yesterday as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post there was a possibility of the team playing two games a year in London. What’s not clear at the moment is if the Jacksonville organization have an interest in doing that — are they cautiously enthusiastic or unwilling participants in the NFL’s machinations. Indeed, was this a carefully co-ordinated “phase 1” leak of a broadly agreed strategy by Goodell or just a simple “anything is possible” response to a direct question?
Wednesday, June 5th
Daryl Smith on Ravens’ Radar
The usually reliable Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported yesterday of a “mutual interest” between the Ravens and Daryl Smith. If Smith is healthy after the serious groin injury that ruined his 2012 campaign this could be another in a string of strong moves from the front office. At his peak Smith was one of the best linebackers at his position, despite his location in Jacksonville keeping him hidden from the national acclaim he deserved. What made him so effective was his versatility — being very productive in all phases of play. Solid in run defense (third in Run Stop Percentage at his position in 2011), an effective blitzer (the same ranking in Pass Rush Productivity), and able to cover almost any tight end, Smith was just hitting his peak when injury struck. In fact, although inside linebacker in the 3-4 is a very good fit for him, he was so good he was able to play outside in that alignment on occasion too. Our 41st ranked player in 2011, the Ravens would be happy with a fraction of that level of play.
Guards a Concern for the Lions?
I didn’t comment when Leroy Harris signed for Detroit on Monday because I thought “camp body” was probably the order of the day and didn’t see much else to say. However, when they went and also grabbed Jake Scott yesterday it did raise a few questions. There’s enough already on the O-Line with the Corey Hilliard/Jason Fox battle at right tackle, but it seems there are other concerns. Maybe the scare from likely starter Larry Warford’s neck injury at mini-camp concentrated their minds regarding depth, or possibly the thought of a rookie alongside a potential problem area (RT) is just weighing heavily. Whatever the rationale the moves for both Harris and Scott have some merit. Although Harris was a disaster in pass protection last year (five sacks, five hits and nine hurries in only 293 drop-backs) this hasn’t been an issue previously and his run blocking was still above average. As for Scott, other than getting torn a new one by Gerald McCoy and having Geno Atkins get the better of him the following week, he actually played pretty well, and those are not your standard run-of-the-mill tackles he’d be facing.
Special Teams Ideas
I mentioned yesterday we would be looking at grading the preseason this year, and with a year of All-22 footage under our belts another area of focus is likely to be special teams. Again, nothing is definite but if anyone has any clever ideas of what we should collect that isn’t already on my list, and we decide to use it, regardless if it finds its way to the site, I’ll comp them a subscription. Don’t say it’s only Khaled that does giveaways.
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