posted 9 years ago
With the agents for JaMarcus Russell still debating how to best guarantee $31 million to their client, Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin can’t seem to choose between Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper for Sunday’s start against the Detroit Lions.
We know that owner Al Davis prefers Culpepper as his quarterback. Consequently, Kiffin must be in McCown’s corner for now and that’s the reason for delaying any announcement.
During last week’s final cuts, Kiffin and Davis both seemed to get their way.
Davis, who makes the majority of the Raiders’ personnel decisions, allowed the coaches and personnel staff to pick Quentin Moses atop the third round and he got the final say by cutting the defensive end from Georgia. Receiver Alvis Whitted was perceived as a Davis player, but he got the ax, too.
And then there was guard Kevin Boothe, who graded out as the team’s best offensive lineman a season ago. Boothe didn’t fit Kiffin’s new blocking system and was released. And Boothe probably will end up helping the New York Giants.
If McCown gets the start against the Lions, we’ll know that Kiffin won the first big battle with his owner.
Denver pays Rice
Simeon Rice received $2.1 million to sign with the Broncos, who also guaranteed his base salary for this season, and the overall deal is slightly better than what his former team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, were offering before he was released.
However, it will be interesting to see how much Rice plays this Sunday. The Rams passed his shoulder during a physical, but they were leery that he really wasn’t ready to play. The Titans thought the same thing. Rice could end up earning almost $4 million if he hits some incentives.
Leftwich & Baltimore
Byron Leftwich makes sense for the Ravens, who definitely don’t believe in Kyle Boller anymore as the backup. The Ravens, because of their defense, remain a strong Super Bowl contender, and who really knows how much longer 34-year-old Steve McNair can stay healthy? Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome liked Leftwich coming out of Marshall, plus he knows all about him from Jaguars personnel man Shack Harris.
If anyone can fix Leftwich and make him a more accurate passer, it’s Ravens head coach Brian Billick. Now, the deal is whether or not Leftwich will agree to a contract that makes sense for Baltimore right now. This is a better opportunity for Leftwich than vice versa. I mean if he doesn’t sign with Baltimore, who really wants him?
Bulletin board chuckles
The big game this Sunday is Chicago at San Diego, and now the Bears are all hot that LaDainian Tomlinson picked the Bears to run through, past and over in his new Nike commercial. Well, L.T. claims he didn’t; it’s just that he vetoed the Patriots. Well, seriously, he should have allowed Nike to use the Patriots. No one really thinks of New England in the same breath, historically, with Chicago’s defense.
To hear the Bears getting mad about the commercial is pretty funny, too. Do you think Brian Urlacher would turn down a big check from Nike to do a commercial? L.T. took the money and ran. He may do that Sunday, too. I can’t imagine that Urlacher and Co. needed a commercial to get fired up about playing the Chargers and L.T. on opening day.
Finally, the bad news in Chicago is that Rex Grossman won’t have rookie tight end Greg Olsen (knee sprain) available as a reliable check-down receiver against the San Diego pass rush.
Simms and Tampa Bay
The Bucs were the only team to keep four quarterbacks on their final 53-man roster. Fourteen teams kept two quarterbacks while the rest decided on three. Seventeen backups have never started a NFL game and four of them have never thrown a pass in the NFL.
This is why the Bucs kept Simms. He has potential trade value, considering the NFL quarterbacking landscape. He may be fourth-string in Tampa Bay, but he could be viewed by a lot of teams to be better than their backup or third-stringer. Mentally and physically, Simms simply hasn’t looked himself this summer. But that doesn’t mean he won’t come around. And, who knows, if Jeff Garcia goes down in December, Jon Gruden might even turn to Simms if he’s still around.
When a team like Kansas City opts to sign Tyler Thigpen as a third quarterback, you know there is hope for Simms, and the Bucs may eventually do a trade.
Look in the mirror
Arizona’s Rod Graves, who drafted Buster Davis in the third round, said he was surprised the Florida State linebacker refused to sign with the team’s practice squad after being cut last weekend.
“It says something else about the player,” Graves said. “I certainly thought Buster was the kind of guy who would carry a chip on his shoulder and accept that challenge and want to prove that the decision to release him was a mistake.”
When evaluating players for the draft, Graves must make decisions on whether any player has the heart and mindset to succeed in the NFL. Graves can question Davis, but we can also question Graves to risking the 69th choice in the draft on a player who took the money and ran.