Off the Snap: JaMarcus Russell heading north?
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web….
The remade Russell has dropped upwards of 30 pounds in an effort to get back into the NFL (though he’s still reportedly at 280). He’s had talks with a couple of teams, too, including the Chicago Bears, who wouldn’t mind another option behind Jay Cutler. Russell has not thrown a regular-season pass since 2009, so Canada might provide a backup plan, should he fail to find an NFL home.
• Remember Armanti Edwards? The Carolina Panthers drafted the former Appalachian State quarterback, rather unexpectedly, in Round 3 of the 2010 draft, in hopes that his raw athleticism would make him a viable NFL weapon.
After three years with not much to show for that gamble (five catches, 12 yards rushing and a combined 10.8-yard average on kick and punt returns), it looks like Edwards finally might be on the verge of a breakthrough. Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tabbed Edwards as his No. 1 surprise out of Panthers’ mini-camp, writing: “Edwards is beginning to look like an NFL receiver. He’s running fluid routes and catching the ball in traffic.”
With Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon now on the Carolina roster, in addition to incumbents Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and 2012 draft pick Joe Adams, Edwards has his work cut out for himself simply to make the roster. But at least he appears to have an NFL future now.
• The Arizona Cardinals will be without second-team All-Pro linebacker Daryl Washington for at least four games, following a tumultuous offseason that saw Washington land an NFL suspension. Speaking on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio Tuesday, new Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said that there are reasons to be concerned about Washington’s future, even if Arizona is counting on him later in 2013.
“It’s all up to him,” Arians told Alex Marvez and Jim Miller. “He’s had a couple of incidents and as an organization that throws a red flag out. … He’s walking a very thin line in the league right now.”
• Here’s one you Xs and Os nuts will love: CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco sat down with Atlanta QB Matt Ryan to dissect the tape of some key plays from the Falcons’ playoff loss to San Francisco. The consensus opinion from Ryan was that the Falcons left a lot of big plays on the table, with the quarterback himself dropping the ball (at least one literally) on a few occasions.
• Steve Spagnuolo was on the move again this offseason, to the Ravens as a defensive assistant following one year as the Saints’ defensive coordinator. And, from the sounds of it, he’s very happy to have landed with the defending Super Bowl champs.
“This defensive coaching staff is as fine as I’ve ever been around,” Spagnuolo said. “We watched film of Baltimore Ravens’ defense or offense to steal ideas all the time. A lot of times you look on another team’s roster and you say, ‘They have great players. That’s why they are good.’ It’s not just great players here. It’s great players and great coaches.”