ITEM: DT Taylor tears pectoral, needs surgery
The Cleveland Browns said that second-year defensive tackle Phil Taylor tore his left pectoral muscle and will undergo surgery this week.
Browns Coach Pat Shurmur said the injury “could be” season ending. But then he added, “I don’t want to cancel him out for the year.”
Shurmur added, “He’s going to miss a significant amount of time ... more months than weeks. It’s too early to speculate how long that will be. It’s just one of those things that happened.”
Browns President Mike Holmgren told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, “I think there is a chance he can come back and play” this season.
Taylor suffered the injury while lifting weights at the Browns training facility on May 10. The Browns have some experience with this type of injury, because linebacker D’Qwell Jackson needed surgery in each of the past two seasons for two separate torn pectorals. In 2010, Jackson was injured in training camp and missed the entire season; in 2009, he was injured six games into the season and missed the final 10.
“Everybody recovers at a different rate,” said Shurmur. “Our guess is he’ll be a fast healer. It’s unfortunate. We feel bad for Phil. But he’s in good spirits and he’s going to come back from this thing stronger than ever.”
Taylor, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2011 (21st overall), started 16 games last season. He finished with 59 tackles and four sacks. As for possible replacements should Taylor land on injured reserve, the Browns signed defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker as unrestricted free agents and drafted John Hughes in the third round out of Cincinnati.
ITEM: The task of replacing Terrell Suggs
A recent analysis by Ravens.com on whether the team will be able to make up for the loss of Terrell Suggs could be seen as encouraging by the team’s fans.
Ravens.com consulted ProFootballFocus.com, which charts every single play during the NFL season and compared Suggs’ impact to those players who could step in for him.
According to the findings, Suggs, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, led the Ravens with 14 sacks, 12 quarterback hits and 37 pressures in 598 snaps last season. In 375 fewer snaps, outside linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive end Pernell McPhee logged a combined 49 quarterback hits and pressures. That’s the exact same amount of hits and pressure as Suggs.
Based on the information compiled by ProFootballFocus.com, McPhee was one of the top interior pass rushers in the NFL last season, with seven sacks, six hits and 20 pressures. No interior lineman with more than 100 snaps applied pressure as often as McPhee. Only 14 interior rushers had as much total pressure (sacks, knockdowns and hurries) than McPhee in only 278 snaps. As for Kruger, he had 5.5 sacks, four hits and 15 quarterback pressures. Of the defensive ends with at least 250 rushes, Kruger ranked 20th in production.
The other main contributor will have to be No. 2 pick Courtney Upshaw, who had 9.5 sacks last season in college. During his rookie season of 2003, Suggs had 12 sacks and was voted AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
ITEM: No progress on extension for Joe Flacco
ProFootballTalk.com reported last week that there has been no progress between the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco on a contract extension. Citing a source, the report added that the two sides are expected to keep talking through the remaining months of the offseason.
Flacco is signed through 2012.
ITEM: Rice vows to be ready
During Ray Rice Day, the Baltimore Ravens’ running back said he will be ready for the start of the 2012 NFL season and that his plan is to bring a Super Bowl championship to Baltimore.
Rice is the Ravens’ franchise player, but he has yet to sign the one-year tender.
“Training is something that I never worried about,” Rice said when his free camp for more than 700 children began on May 12. “My training has always been part of my routine. Nobody ever had to beat me in the head to work out.”
Rice didn’t talk about the ongoing contract negotiations. The two sides have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal, or else Rice would have to play the 2012 season under the franchise tag.
“When we get to the season, I’m going to do my job and bring a Super Bowl back to Baltimore,” Rice told the crowd at the start of the event.
ITEM: Bengals hold their rookie minicamp
It consisted of five practices over three days, and it was a chance for the Cincinnati Bengals to get their first up-close look at the players they added during the weekend of the 2012 NFL Draft.
“It’s everything. It’s an introduction to how we do things and then they’ll be able to get into the swing of offense and defense. OTAs will be their second,” said Coach Marvin Lewis.
While last weekend was all about the rookies, Lewis has said he has been impressed with the veterans during the first month of the offseason program.
“Despite the extra two weeks away our guys have come back in pretty good working order and shape for the most part,” Lewis told Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com. “Coaches have taken advantage of days on the field with the players. Both coordinators have been pleased, and I’ve been pleased with watching this past week.”
Lewis said he is most pleased with the players acquired via free agency, including running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, guard Travelle Wharton, and cornerbacks Terence Newman and Jason Allen. Lewis also said the players rehabilitating injuries – Leon Hall, Jordan Shipley and Pat Sims – are doing well.