Rider's NFL Whispers (08/18/08)


Posts from Handicappers on hiatus

Rider's NFL Whispers (08/18/08)

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips wasn't happy after his team's second straight preseason loss in Denver.

After an interesting week of preseason football, I talked to some of my people in the NFL this weekend and asked them what they were hearing around the league. Below are some tidbits I've gathered from different sources. Keep in mind that I'm passing along this information. It's not my OPINION. If I want to add my thoughts after I post the info, I'll write it under "Tommy's Two-Cents." Also, these are RUMORS. A lot of media people and personnel guys hear things but media people, in particular, can't just publish everything they hear. That's where I come in. I'm not stating these things as fact, just buzz going around the league. If you don't like that sort of thing then you probably won't like this column. I have no favorites. If I hear something on Tony Romo, I will let you know about it. I will run this whispers segment once a week if you guys find it interesting and helpful.

--Apparently the quarterback play at Virginia Tech is worse than we thought. Two former Hokie receivers, the Broncos Eddie Royal and the 49ers Josh Morgan have been tremendous this preseason. Both rookies are pushing for a starting job on teams desperately looking for help at receiver. Morgan, the 174th player selected in this year's draft, has been the talk of 49ers camp and his performance in two preseason games has some calling him the next Marques Colston, in terms of a player that could come out of nowhere and put up big numbers as a rookie. Royal has been so impressive in Denver I had one NFL Insider tell me this weekend, "He's my pick for Rookie of the Year. I've watched him a lot in practice and he runs routes like a 10-year veteran. With Jay Cutler healthy and primed for a big season, Royal is going to have a lot of opportunities to make an impact in Denver."

--Many of you have probably seen me take shots at Wade Phillips on the message boards for being too laid back. I like Phillips as a defensive coordinator but I'm not thrilled to have him as the head coach of my favorite team. Well, the usually mild-mannered Wade was so disappointed with the Cowboys second straight poor performance this preseason in Denver that word is he gave the team a good chewing out after the loss. Apparently, Wade told the Boys that they aren't nearly as good as they think they are and that they should stop worrying about the Super Bowl and start worrying about right now. The Cowboys have looked lifeless in two preseason losses against San Diego and Denver, so we'll have to see if Wade's tirade has any effect on the team when they host Houston this week.

--It appears as if the Falcons are strongly leaning toward naming rookie Matt Ryan the starting quarterback for the season opener. Ryan wasn't great this past week against the Colts but the coaches feel that he's shown enough maturity and potential in practice to give him the starting nod over also-rans Chris Redman and Joey Harrington. A decent performance this week against the Titans will all but nail down the job for Ryan.

--Could T.O. still be causing problems for the Eagles even two years after he parted ways with the team? After watching Philly line up the same shoemaker receivers they have been for the last five years, I contacted one of my friends who has spent some time at their camp this season. He told me that not everyone is happy with the personnel moves that were made this offseason, especially at the receiver position. I thought what he said was pretty interesting. "This is a big year for Andy Reid. A lot of people in the Eagles organization think they are Super Bowl contenders and wanted to get a stud receiver for McNabb. But Reid believes guys like Jason Avant and (rookie) DeSean Jackson, along with Kevin Curtis will be good enough. I just don't see it. It's funny because when Owens left here he was thought to be the devil but now you talk to some of these Eagle players and they will tell you they had no problems with T.O. I think they now know there's a big difference between Terrell Owens and Jason Avant."

--One name I keep hearing when I talk to NFL guys is that of Chargers rookie RB Jacob Hester. San Diego selected Hester in the second round of this year's draft and the team has absolutely fallen in love with him. Hester is expected to be used as the backup running back, pass catching fullback and even line up at receiver from time-to-time for the Chargers this season. A guy I know in SD told me, "It's hard to find players like this kid. He may never be a superstar but he's one of those guys that's invaluable to a football team. He can do so many things on the field from running to blocking to catching the ball to special teams. I can't believe he's in his first year. He's one of the smartest rookies I've seen in over 20 years."

  • Mo, I appreciate that despite the fact you don't seem to like me, you still take the time to come here and read everything I write. If you would like to sign up for my football package, just go to Pregame Pros. I'll have a new blog post up tomorrow. Be sure to check it out. Take care and God bless.

  • isn't it true that you once tried to stick your 'DICK' in him?

  • Yeah, everyone will be on the Boys this week Chad. One word of warning: The Texans take this rivalry much more serious than Dallas does. The Cowboys want to play well but the Texans want to win. This game means a lot of them. It means really nothing to Dallas. Win or lose, they are still the only show in Texas.

  • I grabbed the 'Boys at -3 this morning and have seen the line climb to -5 so far.

  • Observer, What was wrong with that sentence? Maybe you just have trouble reading. Idiot

  • "Morgan, the 174th player selected in this year's draft, has been the talk of 49ers camp and his performance in two preseason games has some calling him the next Marques Colston, in terms of a player that could come out of nowhere and put up big numbers as a rookie. "

    Ehhh.  Write much, Tommy?  This sentence made my head hurt.

  • Houston is getting blown out Friday night. Mark my words...


  • Thanks guys. I'm glad you are enjoying the updates. When I saw Greg Lewis on the field for the Eagles I almost died. That guy has been there for five years. How long do you need to see someone before you realize he can't play? That's why I'm forced to defend McNabb at times. I don't really like him and I don't think he's an elite QB but the one year they gave him a receiver he put up big numbers. It's not easy for an NFL QB when he's forced to throw to Hank Baskett.

  • Good stuff Tommy. I was really impressed with Eddie Royal Saturday night. He made the Dallas secondary look silly at times. I hadn't heard about Josh Morgan, but I'll be keeping my eye out for him now. No reason for Atlanta not to start Matt Ryan, as they don't have another QB better than him anyway. And yes, T.O. is the devil and the Eagles still don't have any receivers. Jason Avant? Are you kidding me??

  • Great stuff Tommy. Glad to hear my Chargers found someone special like Hester. They really neede someone to replace Turner.  

  • Hester is OLD SCHOOL.  RUNS Hard, CATCHES the Ball & will BLOCK! (Knock you on your ASS) With all the ATTENTION on LT......IMO this Guy will be Rookie of the Year.

  • More great stuff Tommy - as we've discussed since you've been here, the Eagles seem to be following the same path as my favorite team, assuming what they have is "good enough."

    Will it be "good enough" when they don't make the playoffs again?

  • I like hearing that about Wade Phillips.  I was already looking at taking the winless Boys this week against the undefeated Texans.  I think Houston gets their asses handed to them.

    And Jacob Hester was a solid player at LSU.  Sounds like he's gonna fall into the Larry Centers role, and that ain't bad.