Buckeye News around the Net 06/17/08

Buckeye News around the Net 06/17/08
LeCharles Bentley

Buckeye News around the Net 06/17/08

Troy Smith looking to start, Will Smith has a new contract, Alex Stepanovich signed, David Boston,  Ashton Youboty, and Na'il Diggs all struggling to stay on a roster, and LeCharles Bentley released by the Browns.

By Bill Smith

The Good

            Troy Smith is beginning to grab hold of the starting QB spot.  Reports from the sideline indicate he as looked “much” better than Boller.  One of the problems he had last year was less experience in the offensive system than Boller  Now, since both are trying to learn a totally new system, Smith has the advantage.  Smith has learned quickly and is making more plays with his strong arm than with his feet.  He also has significantly improved his accuracy.  Most important, according to sources with the team, Smith has the support of the locker room.  You can not fool players.  They will know in the first practice if you are the real thing or not.  Smith has proven to be the real thing.

            As reported here earlier, Will Smith has his new contract.  The Saint's D that looked so good in 06 and so very bad last year should improve in 08.  Vilma, the former Jet starter, has looked good in the middle and should reduce Smith's need to be as concerned with the run.  Smith's season will likely depend on how much pass rush can be developed from the other end Charles Grant.

            OL Alex Stepanovich was signed by Atlanta.  He is working at both C and G.  As mentioned in a previous report, the Falcons look to run the ball more this year.  Stepanovich has 40 NFL starts under his belt and has the athleticism to pull out and run down field.  He was a UFA from the Bengals.

The Bad

            ExBuckeye WR David Boston is suffering from a foot injury and is likely not to make the CFL Toronto Argonauts' roster.  He has decided against surgery and hopes to compete for a spot on the team.

             Ashton Youboty is struggling to keep hold of a roster spot and the 4th corner back spot on the Buffalo's D. The Bills drafted 3 DB's in 08 and things don't look great for Youboty.  He will have to improve his play in the preseason and training camp to keep his job.

             Na'il Diggs is facing more competition than ever before for his starting spot on the Panthers D.  The veteran WSB uses his instincts and knowledge of the game to be in the right spot at the necessary time.  The team extended his contract for 3 additional years last December, but signed Landon Johnson, the former Bengal starter, to a three year $10 million dollar contract.  Johnson is faster than Diggs and led the Bengals in tackles 3 of the last 4 seasons.  We will keep you informed about his progress.

The Ugly—Incredibly Ugly

            Former Buckeye LeCharles Bentley always wanted to play for his home town team—the Browns.  He was drafted by New Orleans and became a Pro Bowl selection at both C and G.  When he signed with the Browns in 06 as a UFA, he literally cried with joy in the locker room prior to the first practice as he put on his Browns uniform.  Then on the first play from scrimmage in that first practice of training camp he tore up his knee and was lost for the season.

            For reasons that remain totally inexplicable to me, they sent him to the Cleveland Clinic for surgery.  Like Winslow before him, he contracted a case of staff infection so serious that it required 2 more surgeries.  At one point the doctors seriously considered amputating his leg.  Despite the teams experience with the CC, they have sent more players there many of which also suffered from staff.

            Early last week, Bentley was sent to get a physical—guess where—to the CC.  He passed the physical.  A day later, according to team officials, he asked for and received his release.  At least one of my sources felt that the situation was not as it was publicly represented.  Regardless, he is no longer a Brown.

            The only good news in this story is that several teams including the Dolphins and Texans have expressed interest in Bentley.  We all hope he is able to recover completely and resume his all pro career.

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 edits http://fryingpanpolitics.blog.com

Tags: Buckeyes Football NFL Ohio State

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