Published: August 14th, 2009 | Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Brian Orakpo, Daunte Culpepper, Detroit Lions, Jason Campbell, Matthew Stafford, Michael Oher, Mike Vick, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Tom Brady, Washington Redskins
Not sure how much of this stuff we will be able to follow up on during NFL Total Access tonight, with a jam-packed Mike Vick show and plenty of live preseason game coverage coming your way, but here are some news and notes.
Spoke with a scout who watched Tom Brady closely last night in his first game back after missing virtually all of last season due to a knee injury. His assessment: “Brady was a tad timid throwing off his front foot. It hurt his ball placement but not a bad first game for him overall.” Indeed, Brady completed 10-of-15 passes and the Patriots were making an extra effort to have him extend himself and throw downfield. You want to erase all thoughts of that injury before the season starts, and having Brady step up in the pocket and deliver the deep ball rebuilds confidence.
Hardly got to watch the Ravens/Redskins game I went to last night. Got word that Vick had a team and was working on a contract about 90 minutes before kickoff and spent the rest of my night chasing that down. But I did get to watch Ravens first-round pick Michael Oher closely while he as in the game. Oher slid deeper down the draft than Baltimore expected and he had a nice showing at right tackle after playing on the left side in college. Oher’s nasty streak, as evidenced after plowing through Redskins end Renaldo Wynn around the goal line, makes him a perfect fit for the Ravens.
As for the Redskins, rookie Brian Orakpo looks great speed rushing off the edge, but I continue to wonder if putting him at linebacker will stunt his growth. Washington’s offense looked as poor as it did in the training camp sessions I watched. Baltimore played very vanilla but still flushed the quarterbacks and penetrated through the middle of what could be a woeful offensive line. If I’m Jason Campbell, I’m wondering how I’m going to get through 16 games with that group in front of me.
I’m hearing that Lions quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and rookie Matthew Stafford performed to a near dead heat through the first few weeks of camp. Culpepper will start the preseason opener but Stafford is likely to get first-team reps in the preseason, too. The games will tell the tale. Also, the rash of injuries early in camp has some in Detroit worried. This is a team coming off an 0-16 season and badly in need of a change of culture, and some in that organization are wondering about seeing sufficient fight and passion from this group already. A lot of youngsters dropping in the first few weeks of camp. Lack of size on the defensive line could be a concern there as well.
Two things to keep in mind about Vick’s contract: As I reported Thursday night, his 2010 team option falls after the start of the 2010 league year, which means the Eagles have a window of time to trade him before making the call to pick up that $5-million plus payment. And Vick’s 2010 incentives, which could add as much as 60 percent to that year’s total compensation, are not restricted to the quarterback spot. Vick could trigger playing time incentives as a receiver or running back as well, which points to his hybrid role as he eases back into pro football.