Buckeye News around the Net for 09/9/08

Buckeye News around the Net for 09/9/08
AJ Hawk

Buckeye News around the Net for 09/9/08

Michael Jenkins, Chris Gamble, Na'il Diggs, Ashton Youboty, Ryan Pickett, Larry Grant, A.J. Hawk, Troy Smith, Joey Galloway, Alex Stepanovich, and Mike Nugent

By Bill Smith

The Good

Michael Jenkins had a 62 yard touchdown catch against Detroit.  He caught the ball at the 45 of the Lions and outraced 2 defenders to the endzone.  After jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the Falcons relied on their running game to control the clock for the win.  The catch made team history.  Rookie QB Matt Ryan was the only Falcon and one of very few NFL players ever to throw for a TD in his first attempt in the league. 

Chris Gamble participated in a robbery on Sunday.  Gamble and team mate SS Chris Harris combined to pickpocket the ball away from All Pro TE Gates.   Gamble then returned the fumble 31 yards for a touchdown.  The play was critical in the Panthers 25-24 win over the Chargers.

Na'il Diggs had a very good game against the Jags Sunday.  He had 8 tackles six of which were solo and a sack.  He started the game for the Panthers.

CB Ashton Youboty has been named the team's nickelback for Week 1.   This is great news for Youboty that had been 6th at CB on the depth chart at the beginning of training camp.

Ryan Pickett got back to full practice this week with the Packers and started in the Monday night game against the Vikes.  He is critical to the team being able to stop the run.  Packers coach Mike McCarthy used a carrot/stick approach to speed Pickett's healing.

"It was SO boring," Pickett said. "It was the worst. They had me locked up in the (facility) and had me running the whole time. I would come out -- I'd run half the practice, basically, and do all the kind of training and stuff and just get my leg right. They made sure they conditioned me pretty good, so I'm in better shape than I've probably been in in a long time."

The 49ers signed Larry Grant (LB) to their practice squad.

And now, after the Packers were gashed for too many long running plays in the preseason, perhaps the value of injured weak-side linebacker A.J. Hawk is becoming more clear.  Hawk and pass rush specialist Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila returned to practice Thursday, boosting hopes that the team will get back two key defensive players for Monday night's season-opener against Minnesota.

Hawk (chest) started week 1.  He was limited in practice Thursday, Sept. 4. He practiced enough Thursday to suggest he might play Week 1, but he also could need another week before being ready for game action.  

From the Sporting News: Injured Hawk returns to practice for Packers

Hawk has sat out since spraining a chest muscle in the Packers' first preseason game, and Gbaja-Biamila has done very little in training camp because of nagging soreness in his knee. Both were among the 12 players listed on the Packers' injury report Thursday -- a large number of injuries for a team that has been fairly healthy under Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Hawk's participation was limited. But McCarthy said the Packers didn't go out of their way to make sure Hawk avoided contact when he was practicing.

Hawk has proved to be a solid and consistent player over two seasons in Green Bay, but he has drawn some criticism for not making enough big plays.

The Bad

QB Troy Smith (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday and won't play on Sunday.  Carroll County Times: Ravens QB Troy Smith is no longer hospitalized with a tonsil infection that has plagued him for the past few weeks, but has lost roughly 20 pounds and isn't healthy enough to resume practicing yet. The former Heisman Trophy winner missed the final 2 preseason games, including a scheduled start against the Rams, with symptoms of fever, nausea, dehydration and general soreness. Smith appeared haggard Monday and noticeably thinner, especially in his face. A once-tight fitting exercise shirt hung loosely off his upper body. Smith remains on antibiotics, and the Ravens ruled him out of practice for an undetermined period of time. "He looked a little thinner, but he's got a smile on his face," Ravens HC Harbaugh said. "He's hugging everybody. We have an issue with that [laughter]. "Everybody's like, 'Whoa, not so close,' but he's happy to be back. He's going to be out until he gets his strength back and that infection clears up." For Smith, the timing of his illness derailed his bid for a starting job that went to rookie Joe Flacco.

WR Joey Galloway (groin) was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 5, and he is listed as questionable for Week 1.  He did play however.  Beside the Bucs concern about QB the team has been worried about their receiver position. Galloway, who had off-season shoulder surgery, missed all of training camp and the preseason with a groin strain. He is expected to be available for the season opener, but there are questions about whether he can be the same player at 36 who has three straight, 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Atlanta Falcons OL Alex Stepanovich (back) did not play week 1.  He did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 4. He could be out at least another week.

Mike Nugent was injured attempting a 32 yard field goal against the Dolphins in the first quarter of week 1.  It looked like Nugent's foot caught in the turf or his hip locked.  The extent of the injury will be known later this week.  It was reported later that Nugent had suffered a quadriceps injury.  ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that Nugent will be out at least a week with a right quadriceps injury.  Jet's head coach Eric Mangini indicated the team is making contingency plans. We will keep you up to date on this.

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

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