Rider's NFL Whispers (10/01/08)

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Posts from Handicappers on hiatus

Rider's NFL Whispers (10/01/08)


Expect Deuce McAllister to be a bigger part of the Saints offense in the coming weeks.

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.

Not too much this week guys. The phones have been kind of slow as everyone is focused on the two coaching changes at the moment and I've already written a lot about those situations in past columns.

--This is for Chuck O' Luck. I'm told from one NFL Insider to expect to see much more of Deuce McAllister in the coming weeks. After the loss to Washington, Saints head coach Sean Payton had a talk with his offensive staff and they all agreed that the team needed to get back to more power running. McAllister is finally healthy and he is going to resume his role as the Saints goal-line back, as well as seeing 10-15 carries a game.

--Keep an eye on the Plaxico Burress situation in New York. Burress is a great player but head coach Tom Coughlin is obviously not happy with him right now. I can tell you from being around an NFL team, it takes a lot for a guy to get suspended. These players get into trouble all the time and the public never hears about it because it gets swept under the rug. I had one guy who covers the Giants tell me, "This could get interesting. The Giants know how important Plaxico is to their success but it's getting to the point where he is close to causing more harm than good. If he slips up again, don't be surprised if Tom Coughlin and the team levies out a much more severe punishment. The Giants have gotten to the point of where the Patriots are, meaning they believe their system is above any one player."

--It's no coincidence that Brett Favre and the Jets offense have exploded over the last two weeks. Apparently, Favre met with the offensive coaches following the Patriots loss and told them it was time to take the training wheels off. Favre told the coaching staff that he's like a running back that gets stronger with more carries. The coaches agreed with Favre and finally opened up the playbook. Internally, I'm told the Jets believe they can have the top offensive unit in the NFL this season, so I don't expect them to return to the conservative play-calling we saw during the first two games.

--The Patriots are becoming more and more frustrated with RB Laurence Maroney. There is no other way to put it: The team thinks he's a pansy. After the Patriots defeated the Cowboys last season, Bill Belichick called the team together and said that some players need to learn how to play hurt. He was glancing over at Maroney and TE Ben Watson when he said it. Watson, who had been injured in that game, put up his arms like "What the heck?" Belichick then replied, "I'm talking to you 3-9. I'm talking directly to you." The reason Belichick singled out Maroney at that moment was because Sammy Morris was injured and lost for the season. Belichick was hoping to light a fire under Maroney. And while the running back came on at the end of last season, he's now back in the training room. A guy in New England told me, "I was talking to one of the Patriots scouts and he told me they just flat-out missed on that kid. It's funny because his college teammate (Marion Barber) is the toughest runner in the game and this kid has nothing. The scout told me he's a good kid, he just doesn't have the heart or passion needed to be great. As you know, that isn't going to earn you a long stay with the Patriots."

--The Broncos running game has been non-existent so far this season. However, Denver's backfield will be getting a boost soon. Rookie RB Ryan Torain is expected to return to the lineup in the next two or three weeks and he will be inserted as the starter right away. Mike Shanahan loves Torain and will try to keep his much-maligned defense off the field by running the ball more once the rookie is back in the picture. I'm told Torain could return as early as Oct. 20 against the Patriots.

  • Thanks Altham and that's one of my favorite Parcells quotes ever.

  • Great stuff Tommy. I love the Patriots insider reports. Maroney needs to man up and earn his salary. I can't even remeber  the last time he played 16 games. Same thing with Watson. As Bill Parcells once said at one of his practices "See those guys on the stationary bikes, they won't be around here long".