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From Don Banks at CNN/SI on Bailey, Big Daddy and the QB situation


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He sure does talk alot about the 'skins in this article I agree with his anaylsis of the Champ situation but I don't agree with what he says about big daddy. Coles is a premeire wideout on the upswing, Big Daddy is an underachieving DT on the downslope of his career. Enjoy:

He's young, athletically gifted and extremely motivated, so it shouldn't surprise us if Michael Vick returns in six weeks from the broken fibula he suffered Saturday night against Baltimore.

But while Atlanta's franchise quarterback might be on the field in time for the Falcons' Week 5 matchup with visiting Minnesota, that doesn't necessarily mean Vick's entire game will be back on display by Oct. 5. That might take until Week 7's key NFC South home game against New Orleans to return, or possibly even after Atlanta's Week 8 bye.

It's tough to really know how quickly Vick will heal and return to his A game, and for that matter he might be able to win without it. But recent history offers us a few clues as to how his next two months might go.

Last season, when Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb suffered a similar injury against Arizona in mid-November, it took eight weeks until he resumed his place in the lineup. Granted, McNabb benefited from Philadelphia's first-round playoff bye, and probably could have played either a week or even two earlier if it was absolutely essential.

But when he led the Eagles to a gritty 20-6 divisional-round win at home against these same Falcons, throwing for 247 yards and rushing for 24 more, McNabb was working on eight weeks rest. And some in the Eagles organization later claimed he was still fighting rust against Atlanta, despite his strong numbers.

With so much of his game predicated on his elusiveness and ability to make something out of nothing on the run, the Vick we see after six weeks will no doubt be somewhat limited compared to the Vick of mid-October on. Then again, there is a silver lining to that potential scenario. Vick could use this injury as the all the reminder he needed to limit his scrambling and hone his skills in the pocket.

Those were goals of his any way this season, but now they seem more like necessities. You can't tell Vick not to run, because then he wouldn't be Vick, the game's most electrifying player. But everyone knew this day was coming, when his penchant for taking off would result in him taking himself out of Atlanta's lineup for a handful of weeks. Here's hoping that when Vick gets back, he's all the way and back for good.

Musings, observations and hopefully insights as we reach the midway point of the four-game preseason schedule ...

Nolan keeps the D dominating in Baltimore

I think it's high time we acknowledge that the Ravens defense hasn't missed a beat since Mike Nolan replaced Marvin Lewis as defensive coordinator. No, Baltimore's D isn't up to comparisons to 2000 at this point, but the subject isn't an absurd one. That was a pretty impressive display by Ray Lewis and Co. in the first half of Saturday night's game at Atlanta. Before he was hurt, Vick looked like Akili Smith, going 0-for-4 with a pick, and just 8 yards rushing.

"I have to say we are faster as a defense than we were in 2000," Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister told me recently. "If we stuff the run like we've been doing, there's no telling what we're going to do, and how great this defense can be. I would never want to compare it player to player to 2000, but on the overall scale there's no telling how good we can be."

Bailey isn't as good as that much gold

If Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey really does intend to ask for a signing bonus of about $18 million in his impending contract extension talks, Washington would be foolish to entertain that figure. Yes, Bailey is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the Redskins' core players, but he's not that dominant of a shut-down corner, and his presence hasn't contributed to much success in D.C. For $18 million to sign, you better take half the field away on game days, and Bailey doesn't do anything close to that.

Paying the price for losing 'Big Daddy'

Speaking of the Redskins' curious financial decisions, they blew away the Jets in the competition for restricted free agent Laveranues Coles, saying that if they didn't pay him that $13 million signing bonus, someone else would have stepped up and done it. That was dubious logic, but OK, they needed a No. 1 receiver and they landed one, paying top dollar to get it done.

But here's where they took a different approach and it might cost them: At the beginning of training camp, the Redskins didn't want to overpay veteran defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, who wasn't productive enough last season to warrant a $3.5 million salary in 2003. Washington wanted him to reduce that number to $2 million and build the rest in incentives. Wilkinson, of course, got this pride hurt and balked. Now he'll be lucky if he gets roughly $1.5 million this season, probably from Detroit, deftly cutting off his nose despite his face.

The Redskins, however, lost out in the gamble as well, because they have a crying need for run-stuffing help at defensive tackle. When they lost starter Brandon Noble to what appears to be a season-ending left knee injury Saturday night against New England, that need officially became desperation. Trade talks involving Denver's Lional Dalton immediately intensified.

I don't get it. Washington had a need at receiver and was willing to overpay. It had a need at defensive tackle, and wasn't willing to overpay. Yes, one's a skill position and the other isn't. But if the Redskins don't get some help on run defense, a No. 1 receiver might seem like a luxury item this season.

Hanging them up in the dog days of August

Is it just me, or are there more guys walking away from a training camp into retirement this year? The Jets suffered a blow the other day, because they were counting on veteran guard Tom Nutten as the replacement for departed free agent Randy Thomas. And how about those Patriots, who lost guard Brendan Stai when his competitive fires went out? It's the third consecutive preseason that New England has had a potential starting right guard pack it in. Joe Panos said adios last year and Rich Tylski did the same in 2001.

As one club official told me Saturday night, "At least we have plenty of experience in adapting to that kind of thing." On the plus side, the Patriots thought they were about to lose veteran cornerback Tyrone Poole to retirement three weeks ago, but Poole has since renewed his commitment to the team.

Ravens believe Wright is right man for No. 2 in 2004

As I hear it, the plan in Baltimore is to let Chris Redman walk after this season, and make Anthony Wright the long-term backup behind first-round pick Kyle Boller. Ravens head coach Brian Billick has never been much of a Redman fan, and team officials are doing what they can to pump up Wright and make the fans and media view him as a legitimate No. 2. All with an eye on 2004.

Wright has had a good preseason so far, but he's not in any way a factor in the starting quarterback situation. Reading the tea leaves, I still see Boller taking over for Redman some time between Week 4-6. But that could accelerate if Boller is boffo in the preseason's final two weeks. I have a feeling that Billick thinks Boller's style of play gives him a better shot to win Week 1 at Pittsburgh than Redman's.

Old habits are the hardest to break

If you think Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier will resist all temptation to go with a different starting quarterback even if Patrick Ramsey struggles early in the year, you have more faith in your fellow man than I.

Spurrier signing Danny Wuerffel a couple weeks ago was like the guy who's on a diet but is hiding a pack of Twinkies under his bed just in case. The quick fix is in reach and he knows it.

I asked Ramsey recently if it was fair that people are going to draw that conclusion, with both Wuerffel and Rob Johnson on hand?

"People may feel that way, but I think coach has the intention to keep me in the game and that's what I'm excited about," he said. "Because of his history, some people are probably going to read that into it. But I think his every intention is to stay with me this year."

Spurrier definitely should. The Redskins should treat this season like a learning year for Ramsey and look toward the payoff in 2004. But you know what they say about good intentions.

Short snaps ...

I don't know which way Butch Davis is going to lean at quarterback this week, but if he wants to win some early games, I'd tap Kelly Holcomb. For two reasons: First, he has played better so far. Secondly, if Tim Couch starts the season and the offense struggles, he's toast as a Brown. I'd let Holcomb open the year, and if he can handle the job, fine. You have a bargain-basement quarterback in the Tommy Maddox mode.

If Holcomb can't sustain anything, then you can turn to Couch, who will then be in the "everybody-loves-the-backup" role. It couldn't hurt and might even buy him some much-needed love from the Browns faithful.

Maybe Jeremy Shockey meant homo-sapien. Or did I miss that part of the explanation in his rambling non-apology apology? Not talking any more, huh, Shock? What a loss for us all.

And while we're on the topic of apologies, Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith is the latest star to issue a heartfelt mea culpa. You get the feeling at least that Smith meant what he said, but that doesn't lessen the impact of his actions. One day you're a respected 11-year veteran and the club's all-time leading receiver, and the next day you're just another athlete suspended for breaking the NFL's substance abuse policy.

After watching him gimp around at training camp this week with a case of plantar fascitis, I'm pretty impressed with Carson Palmer being able to go out and throw a pair of second-half touchdown passes against Detroit. Yeah, it was the Lions and their second-team defense, but the Bengals rookie quarterback is starting to build a little something in the momentum column.

That team could become his quicker than anyone expected. It's just a hunch, but I don't think anyone should use ink when they write Jon Kitna's name into Cincinnati's starting lineup.

It's not hard to get Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis gushing about Palmer. Here's how it works: You bring up his name, and then shut up.

"He's very humble with it all, and it's not naïve humble," Lewis said. "He's just a humble kid. He's a great guy. He's a tough guy. The players love him and that's important. He has no preconceived notions of grandeur, and doesn't act like 'I'm the guy.' He doesn't carry himself that way. He's just humble and you just love that part of him.

"When you say something to him about, 'Hey, you have an opportunity to do this or that,' he looks at you like, 'Really?' And this is a guy who played at Southern Cal. He looks at you like, 'Wow, I can do that, or somebody would actually want to pay me to go do this? You mean pay me on top of what I'm being paid?' There are some people here who just can't believe that this is the guy. People who deal with him think he's joking."

Besides Palmer, here's who else I think is for real so far this preseason:

Carolina's for real. I think the NFC East already has seen enough of John Fox's defense and power running game.

Tennessee is legit. They don't have the depth they've had in recent years, but the Titans' top 22 matches up with just about anybody. And they have a quarterback in Steve McNair who wills his team to wins seemingly by himself.

The Bills are going to be just fine, even though their defense had a flashback to 2002, giving up 37 points to the Titans. Defensive line coach Tim Krumrie is going to get defensive tackle Sam Adams to play hard -- and even practice -- all season, and that's going to pay big dividends.

Todd Heap's for real. If anyone thought it was a fluke that the Baltimore tight end made the Pro Bowl in his second season, think again.

Cincinnati receiver Chad Johnson is genuine. His big talk about a 1,800-yard season is pie-in-the-sky, but the Bengals have themselves a gem of a No. 1 receiver.

Don Banks covers pro football for SI.com.

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All this media hype is getting pretty boring now. From what I saw in the game Saturday I have confidence in our DL. I especially think that we will be better at stopping the run than in our Norv days and probably better than last year. I cant say that we will mount a pass rush up the middle, but we did generate one on Saturday and that made me happy.

All this talk has to be making the players pretty mad and hopefully we'll see even more of that come out on the field Saturday.

But its like the bad media coverage is at an all time high right now. I bet SS wanted it this way as a way to inspire his team. Its gonna be nice come 9/4 to watch us just blow out the Jets!!!

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I would like to see Champ start taking one half of the field away from the opposition. Lavar could command a good deal of it. Pull them straps tight Smooty, they're coming your way! The funny thing is I don't think Champ or Lavar has hit their prime yet. I think their best years will come over the next 4-6 years.

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

Well considering how many systems Lavar and Champ have had just having something similar this year will be huge. No more thinking just playing. Watch them blossom

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Originally posted by Golgo-13

DON BANKS sezzz...

Nolan keeps the D dominating in Baltimore

I think it's high time we acknowledge that the Ravens defense hasn't missed a beat since Mike Nolan replaced Marvin Lewis as defensive coordinator. No, Baltimore's D isn't up to comparisons to 2000 at this point, but the subject isn't an absurd one. That was a pretty impressive display by Ray Lewis and Co. in the first half of Saturday night's game at Atlanta. Before he was hurt, Vick looked like Akili Smith, going 0-for-4 with a pick, and just 8 yards rushing.

I guess Don Banks didn't notice that the Ravens finished 22nd last year on defense. Either that or I guess it doesn't matter. They looked great in a preseason game, and I suppose that's enough for him.

Baltimore's defense isn't up to comparisons to the 2000 squad at this pont, but the subject isn't absurd?????

ok,,, let's see.. on one hand, one of the BEST DEFENSE'S IN HISTORY... on the other hand, a unit who finished 22nd.

Seriously,,I smoke pot, I've done all sorts of drugs in my heyday, and I have never been this friggin' dumb in my LIFE.

How does this guy collect a paycheck for this garbage?

Again with the Coles is overpaid stuff. OK,, the Jets, who lost Coles, took the pick we gave them for him, and then their own first round pick, PLUS a 4th round pick, drafted DeWayne Robertson, and then paid him almost the exact same bonus money that Coles got. But that is a move of genius!

Uhh, how many plays has Dewayne Robertson played in the NFL?

Oh yeah, NONE. So, why is a guy with zero experience worth 2 first round picks, a 4th rounder and all that money, but Coles isn't?

I could understand if the logic was that the money spent on Coles could have been smaller, and the difference used to keep Big Fatty, but how is it anyone with sense could look at Wilkinson and think he's really all that good, much less going to make that much difference on this line? He never made any difference before, why all of a sudden is he the lost saviour?

I'll tell you why.

Because Dan Snyder has a lot more money than Don Banks, and he's got a hotter wife than Don Banks, and probably a larger penis.

That's why.


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I think he isnt giving Champ enough credit. I think he does take half the field away on gamedays. Nobody beats him, nobody! Or at least i have never EVER seen any WR beat him in man to man coverage unless there was like a fluke bad pass that was so short the WR could come back to it and champ couldnt see it, weird things like that.

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Originally posted by skins_fan_in_TX

"cutting off his nose despite his face"

Um, I believe the expression is "cutting off his nose to spite his face". Then again, given that he's talking about BDW, maybe he got it right the first time. :laugh:


good one!


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