GRAPEVINE: WILL GRADUATION AFFECT TROY SMITH?

Lombardi's Way GRAPEVINE: WILL GRADUATION AFFECT TROY SMITH?

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The Dolphins’ selection of Ted Ginn, Jr. with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft was a big surprise to most observers.  What isn’t a surprise is that Ginn spent his first days as a Dolphin at a recent rookie mini camp riding a stationary bicycle due to his mending ankle.  To the chagrin of the Miami front office and coaching staff, that is the last they will see of Ginn until after his Ohio State class graduates on June 10.  As a result Ginn will miss the Phins June 8-10 minicamp. 
 
The same circumstances will not affect Troy Smith’s participation during the next two Ravens’ organized team activities (“OTA”) scheduled for May 18-19 and then again during the first week of June. The former red-shirted freshman at OSU graduated at the end of the 2006 spring quarter with a bachelor’s degree in communication.
 
Rushing rookie quarterbacks is usually a failure waiting to happen and unfortunately teams that draft a QB in Round 1 feel somewhat compelled to throw him to the wolves.  Moreover, the rookie QBs who carry the highest of profiles are often stuck on bad teams with bad defenses and questionable offensive lines.  Mix in the talent and the speed of the NFL game and more times than not you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
 
That said and despite his first hand experience with Kyle Boller, Phil Savage might not be able to resist the temptation again and that could ultimately be his and Romeo Crennel’s undoing in Cleveland. 
 
“It’s tough to start from Day One because of the speed of the game and everything else involved,” Savage said. “He doesn’t move quite as well as Charlie (Frye), but he can move around in the pocket. He is fluid and polished. You can’t expect him to start (Day One), but his background does give him a chance.”
 
When asked if the Browns might be attracted to a veteran QB given the collective inexperience of his trio of young signal callers (Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn) that have a combined 21 starts in the NFL, Savage said, "Right now, I don’t see that happening. I think it’s time to move forward with the guys we have at quarterback.”
 
No one asked me but what do I see happening? 
 
You can write off the Browns in ’07.  
  
The Washington Redskins invited 64 undrafted free agents to a recent rookie camp. (Wonder if they’re just looking for a brand new team?) Alex Buzbee a defensive end from Georgetown was among the 64.  "I have friends and roommates who are diehard Redskins fans. [But] the first thing that coach [Joe] Gibbs said when we walked in was, ‘I don’t care how you got here, I care if you can play.’” No word on whether or not Anita Marks showed up.  By the way, teams are only allowed to sign 20 undrafted free agents.  The rest are tryout players who have not been tendered contracts.
 
The mini-camps and non-mandatory OTA’s are supposed to be free of any serious contact and therefore it’s very difficult to assess a player whose job it is to be physical.
 
According to language in the league’s collective bargaining agreement, "The intensity and tempo of drills should be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority, and not at a level where one player is in physical contest with another player."
 
FYI, no safety patrolman were spotted in Owings Mills last weekend.
 
The controversial and enigmatic sports talk radio host Howard Eskin of WIP Radio interview Eagles’ QB Donovan McNabb on Tuesday.  Of course Eskin had to ask how the news of the Eagles’ selection of QB Kevin Kolb with their very first pick (Round 2) affected him.
 
"It was shocking," McNabb said.
 
"When you draft somebody at the position you’re in, of course you have questions of ‘What does that mean?"’ McNabb said. "The most important thing for me is to make sure I’m healthy and 100 percent and get back out there competing and do the right thing on the field."
 
Hey Donovan, I think you just answered your own question! 
 
In McNabb’s 8 seasons he has played 16 games just 3 times and he hasn’t completed a season since 2003.  Over the last two seasons he has started just 19 regular season games.
 
“As previously indicated in our correspondence dated April 27, 2007, by pursuing this appeal and thereby exhausting his administrative remedies, Mr. Jones respectfully does not concede that the Commissioner’s resolution of the appeal will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute. Mr. Jones expressly reserves and does not waive any and all other legal remedies which may be available to him.”
 
The Mr. Jones in question is Adam, aka Pacman.
 
I thought this clown was going to take his punishment like a man?  How hard I will laugh if his punishment grows even more severe after this legal volley.
 
Adam Schefter of NFL Network is quite the scoop master these days.  Of course it helps that he is paid by the league and the league’s power of persuasion puts him in places foreign to most NFL insiders.  Here’s a couple of Adam “Facman” Shefter’s recents findings:
 
The Carolina Panthers plan to sign tackle Jordan Gross, selected two spots ahead of Terrell Suggs in the 2003 NFL Draft.  A look at Tony Pashos contract indicates that such a signing won’t be an inexpensive one.  Gross’ current deal, like Suggs’ is done at the end of the 2007 season.Another big name free agent that the Panthers will have to address is Julius Peppers.  Peppers although drafted in 2002 still has two seasons left on his deal.  No doubt that his representatives will be watching the Suggs’ negotiations very closely.  But with the recent extension of WR Steve Smith and with Gross due his, one has to wonder if the Panthers might become a bit top heavy come 2009, which by the way is the same year that David Carr will be looking for a new deal.  Suppose he does well over the next two seasons?
 
Schefter has also reported that the Steelers will soon sign running back Kevan Barlow to a one-year deal.  He’ll compete with Najeh Davenport to back up Willie Parker.  
 
I guess Rocky Bleier was unavailable.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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