Saturday, June 13, 2009

PFW NFC Whispers: Cowboys concerned about CB depth?

By PFW staff
June 13, 2009

— The Vikings like what they have seen this offseason from DE Brian Robison, who likely will play a big role early in the season. Robison often kicks inside to tackle on passing downs, and if DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are suspended for the first four games, Robison likely will have to be a major contributor.

— Provided the Bears don’t make a move for a veteran pass catcher, we hear the odds are looking good that Brandon Rideau, who has spent much of the last two seasons on the practice squad, will make the final roster as the sixth receiver behind Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Rashied Davis, Juaquin Iglesias and Johnny Knox. “With his height (6-foot-3), he comes the closest right now to being a Plaxico Burress-type receiver,” said one team insider. “He’s been around for a while now and knows the system, so that should help.”

— The Cowboys might have shot down the rumors or any misunderstood Jerry Jones comments about possibly re-signing Pacman Jones, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a little worried about the depth at cornerback. Terence Newman has been injury-prone, and while Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick will battle at right cornerback and take up the Nos. 2 and 3 CB spots, there is little dependable depth behind them. It’s an awful lot to expect much out of second-year man Alan Ball or seventh-rounder Mike Mickens, who is rehabbing now, to step in and be the fourth corner.

— Reports are that Giants QB Eli Manning has had an excellent series of OTA sessions throwing the ball. This isn’t a total shock, of course, given that he has won a Super Bowl and is coming off perhaps his most consistent seasons. But even our spies remarked at how sharp Manning looked for this time of year.

— Our Cardinals sources continue to be impressed by first-year WR Lance Long, who routinely made eye-catching receptions in the team’s voluntary OTAs this offseason. “He’s very athletic and very quick in and out of his breaks,” said one team insider of the 5-11, 186-pounder out of Mississippi State. “It will be very interesting to see if he ends up being anything more than just a practice-squad guy.” Word is Long has up to now outperformed second-year WR Early Doucet, who has been inconsistent. “I would think he (Doucet) will need to make an impact on special teams in order to be a real factor,” the insider said.

— We hear Rams veteran DE Leonard Little, who was hampered by a torn hamstring last season and a toe injury in 2007, has looked very good this spring on the field and has excelled in a leadership role off the field.

— Rams FS O.J. Atogwe, who has participated in all the offseason activities so far even though he has yet to sign the team’s one-year, $6.342 million franchise offer, is quite pleased with the way he is adapting to new SS James Butler. “We’re adapting well,” Atogwe said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be here (at the OTAs), just to get used to the system, get used to the people I’ll be playing with. This defense is very organic, where you have to know what the man next to you is doing. … I feel that me and James are going to continue to grow and get better at that. I think as time goes on and we get more snaps, we’ll be really good.”

— Seahawks CB Kelly Jennings, who returned to the field June 10 for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the second half of the 2008 season finale against Arizona, told team insiders that his rehab process has taken a lot longer than he thought it would. The former first-round draft pick will have his work cut out for him competing with the likes of Marcus Trufant, newly acquired Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson and Kevin Hobbs, who continues to shine in offseason drills.