Off Season moves impact on ex-Buckeyes in the NFC West
Dionte Johnson, Nate Clements, Larry Grant, Rob Sims and
By Bill Smith
Dionte Johnson was signed by the Cards as an undrafted rookie free agent
because that position is up for grabs.
The veteran starter in 07 is Terrel Smith the ex-Brown. He is 30 and has lost some speed over the
last couple of years. According to the
coaching staff, the job is officially open going into training camp. Johnson will have to beat out Smith and
second year Tim Castille who is considered to have a slight lead going into
camp. If Smith is not the starter, he
will be released because he is too expensive to be a backup FB.
Clements was one of the few 49ers that had a good season last year. In 2007, he was the only big money FA signed
by the team. He was the shut down corner
for the team. Despite the fact that
opponents preferred to throw at 33 year old Walt Harris, Clements had 4
interceptions, 14 passes defended, 92 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles. He will start and have another excellent year
Grant who was a 7th round pick of the team is still in the mix
to win the starting “ted” inside LB on
the TE side. His main competition is
Dontarrious Thomas the former Viking signed as a UFA in 08.
Thomas is bigger but is less aggressive and instinctive than you would
like. Grant has a little less “junk in
the trunk” and is faster with better instincts.
The position is open because last years starter, Derek Smith, has moved
on to San Diego.
claimed a starting guard spot for the Seahawks last season and started 16
regular season games as well as the two post season contests. The entire O-line struggled last year
particularly in run blocking. However,
the problem may have been as much the fault of the now released Shaun Alexander
as the line. In viewing tape, often the
hole was there but the back was late or ran to the wrong spot. Part of the problem was the line has not
gelled even after 18 games together.
While Sims goes into training camp as the starter in 08, nothing along
the line is written in Jello, let alone cement.
One thing that favors last year's starters is that there is very little
Pittman is currently listed as third on the Ram's depth chart at RB. Even so, he got more attempts toward the end
of 07 and that was double the number that Travis Minor, the 2nd RB
got. He is likely to again take the 3rd
RB role in 08 but still get some work.
Next Friday – Buckeyes in the NBA East.
Bill Smith is a
former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for http://BrutusReport.com. He has
also published several novels on http://ebooks-library.com/index.cfm and