Doug Farrar

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Doug Farrar is the editor of Shutdown Corner, Yahoo! Sports’ NFL blog.

  • Former Chicago Bears receiver David Terrell would like you to know that he is NOT the biggest draft bust in Chicago Bears history, and he would like you to know exactly why. Selected by the Bears with the eighth overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft out of Michigan, Terrell caught just 128 passes for 1,602 yards and no touchdowns in four seasons with his first NFL team. After the Bears cut him loose, Terrell tried to catch on with the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs, but it didn't happen. He played in one game and caught no passes for the Broncos in 2005, and that was the last we really heard of Terrell in a relevant football sense.

    Until now.

    When Redeye Chicago recently placed him high on a list of the franchise's all-time draft mistakes, Terrell contacted the site via e-mail in an effort to provide his own defense. Terrell set up an interview with the site, and blamed his issues in the Windy City on ... well, just about everybody. Mostly, Terrell cited a lack of quarterback talent during his time with the Bears.

    "My first year, we was one game from the Super Bowl, and I think I was a big, big piece in a lot of those wins. I think I may have won four, five games for my team. I mean, hey, maybe I didn’t win ‘em all by myself, but I sure played a big part. The next year I went to Bourbonnais [training camp] and I kicked the season off with what? Like four touchdowns in three games? Then I broke my foot. Then I was done for the whole year. Then my third year I couldn’t play ‘cuz my foot was just broke and they had my time limited. Then the last year, I led the league for like the first four games with Rex Grossman at quarterback. Until Rex Grossman breaks his foot against Minnesota. Did you forget that? I think you musta’ forgot about that. Man, I led the league in like every category basically until Rex broke his foot. When Rex broke his foot, after that, the season was over. I caught, I mean, I had nine different quarterbacks after Rex Grossman. I caught a ball from nine different quarterbacks in one year. Did you forget that?"

    Well, not quite that many quarterbacks. But the list of people who threw passes to Terrell on a regular basis from 2001 through 2004 was hardly a Murderers' Row. There was Jim Miller, Shane Matthews, the 37-year-old version of Chris Chandler, Henry Burris, Kordell Stewart, the aforementioned Mr. Grossman, Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, and Jonathan Quinn. That makes for ... hey, Terrell was sorta right. That's nine quarterbacks total in four seasons (not after Grossman), and not a semi-stud among them.

    So now, you're thinking, Terrell must watch the Bears with Jay Cutler at quarterback and wonder what might have been? You're darn right he does. When asked what he would have given to play with a quarterback of Cutler's talents, Terrell REALLY didn't mince words.

    "(Laughs, for a long time) I would have cut off both my balls. I’d give those up, no problem. You could have neutered me. I woulda been neutered with a smile. [Bleep], man, for real."

    Well, alrighty then.

    Read More »from Apparently, David Terrell would have emasculated himself to catch passes from Jay Cutler
  • Washington Redskins make eight-year-old’s dream come true

    The Washington Redskins have a pretty good starting running back in second-year man Alfred Morris, but head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen let a rookie rusher hit the field for one play during practice on Tuesday, and nobody minded at all. The back in question was eight-year-old Lateef Brock, who was born with chronic kidney disease and had a kidney transplant last November. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Redskins Charitable Foundation, the pint-sized Redskins fan got a call from Shanahan, telling him that he had been drafted by his favorite team, and that he was to report to Redskins Park for Tuesday drills.

    Brock said that he was up for the challenge, but he was also a tough negotiator. Before he would report, he wanted unlimited candy. The Redskins agreed. Scott Boras, you have met your match.

    “Man, I need to renegotiate my contract,” Morris said. “I want candy.”

    Lateef Brock warms up with his new quarterback. (AP)

    Brock got to hang out in the locker room with Morris and his teammates, got a few punting tips from Sav Rocca, tried on London Fletcher's very large helmet, and enjoyed a private passing tutorial with Robert Griffin III. And on the last play of practice, Brock hit the field, took a red-zone handoff from backup quarterback Rex Grossman, and eluded several Redskins defenders for a touchdown.

    “We told him he was a first-round pick and that we would give him a play, but he’d have to make it into the end zone if he was going to make [the team],” Shanahan told the Washington Post. “He’s pretty quick, too. I asked Bruce if we could sign him to a two-year contract instead of [one day].”

    It would be tough for Allen to prorate an unlimited candy bonus over two seasons, but according to Morris, the kid might be worth it.

    Read More »from Washington Redskins make eight-year-old’s dream come true
  • Ed Reed blames Tom Brady for his hip injury

    It was certainly one of the most interesting plays of the 2012 AFC Championship game. With 26 seconds left in the first half, the New England Patriots had a 10-7 lead over the Baltimore Ravens, and the ball at the Ravens' 10-yard line. On second-and-7, Tom Brady scrambled to the left sideline, and extended his leg as if to give Ravens safety Ed Reed a karate kick. Brady went down at the seven-yard line, and through Reed appeared to be favoring his hip area after the play, no flag was thrown. Brady was later fined $10,000 by the NFL for the kick. No harm, no foul, it seemed at the time, because Reed's Ravens beat Brady's Patriots and went on to win the Super Bowl.

    As it turns out (or, at least, according to Reed), that kick was the reason Reed has struggled to see the field again. He signed with the Houston Texans in the offseason, had hip surgery seven weeks ago, and told the Houston media on Tuesday that it could be a while before he's ready to roll.

    “If I go back to it, man, the only play I can look at is when I got kicked by a certain quarterback,” Reed said. “You know it happened, and Brady called me afterwards and apologized, but that’s neither here nor there. What happened happened and we’re moving forward."

    Reed had five tackles, an interception, and a deflected pass in Baltimore's 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, and as he said, he was playing through a lot of pain.

    Read More »from Ed Reed blames Tom Brady for his hip injury
  •  

    San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll have been tweaking each other since Harbaugh was at Stanford, Carroll was at USC, and the Pac-12 was the Pac-10. Their rivalry (which seems to go beyond the traditional coaches' rivalry to something more closely resembling light contempt) has accelerated this offseason, with many experts claiming that the two teams may be the best in the NFL coming into the 2013 season. Carroll's team has been in the news over the last few years for the wrong reasons more than Harbaugh's, and the cause has been a string of player suspensions related to violations of the league's substance-abuse policy. In May, defensive end Bruce Irvin became the sixth Seahawks player since 2010 to be suspended, and unprescribed use of the ADD drug Adderall has been the primary reason.

    Asked about the Seahawks' extracurricular issues at the end of the first day of his team's minicamp on Tuesday, Harbaugh couldn't resist another tweak at Carroll, and a clear definition of his own coaching philosophy.

    ''Is it a concern? I've definitely noticed it,'' Harbaugh said of the Seahawks. ''You don't know what it is. Even when people say what it is, you don't know that that's what it is. I've heard this thrown out or that, but that's usually the agents or the players themselves saying it's, for example, Adderall. But the NFL doesn't release what it actually is, so you have no idea. You're taking somebody at their word that I don't know if you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances.''

    Harbaugh was clearly referring to the fact that some consider Adderall to be a masking agent for other, more dangerous performance-enhancing substances, such as steroids. Harbaugh made it clear that such activity would not be tolerated on his team, and even invoked the name of the late Bo Schembechler, the Michigan coaching legend who Harbaugh played for at the college level.

    Read More »from Jim Harbaugh on Seahawks: ‘If you cheat to win, you’ve already lost’
  • Packers go back to school to learn how to defend the read-option

    The Packers didn't want to remember scenes like this, but it will pay off in the long run. (Getty Images)

    It was one of the more embarrassing defeats in the long history of the Green Bay Packers organization. When the Pack matched up against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the 2012 playoffs, and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw a pick-six to cornerback Sam Shields early in the game, it appeared that Kaepernick's hot streak had cooled precipitously. Not so. One 45-31 final later, the Packers had been served.

    Through the game's first 30 minutes, Kaepernick amassed 148 yards passing (though on just 11 completions in 23 attempts) for two touchdowns and that pesky interception. But his real value to the team showed up in the rushing totals; 107 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, on just 11 carries. Only Ray Rice and Warrick Dunn had more rushing yards in the first half of a playoff game in the last 10 years.

    In the second half, Kaepernick stayed on a higher plane. He finished the game with 17 completions on 31 attempts for 263 yards. On the ground, he befuddled the Packers defense even more, amassing 181 yards rushing. No quarterback has ever rushed for more yards in a single game, and to put that final number in its proper perspective, Kaepernick finished with the 14th-highest single-game rushing yardage total in the league's postseason history.

    The Packers had no answers for the 49ers' option packages, which led their great defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, to experience a lot of heat this offseason. According to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Capers barely addressed the option in practices the week before the game, which was a bit silly, as Kaepernick had been riddling the league with it for weeks. Green Bay faces Kaepernick and the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III in the first two weeks of the 2013 regular season, so Capers is taking no chances this time. Not only is the option at the top of his "to-do" list, but he recently took his entire defensive staff to the Texas A&M campus to spend a whole day with the Aggies' coaching staff, and he spent a day with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Arnada, who was part of the Hawaii staff when Kaepernick played for Nevada. As a result, Arnada was intimately familiar with the ins and out of the Pistol formations Kaepernick ran then and runs now.

    "We're going to do more," Capers told Dunne. "We're going to do more than we have because we know the first two teams we play run it. There will be a number of teams that have a little element of it in. How much it takes off, I don't know. It's like everything else. Things go in cycles. Over 28 years, I've seen a lot of cycles in the league."

    Read More »from Packers go back to school to learn how to defend the read-option
  • Moving past the obvious "WTF" factor, the inevitable media circus that will now hit Foxboro hard, and his clear limitations as a quarterback, one must now ruminate as to precisely how one Tim Tebow fits into the New England Patriots' plans. He could be a fullback, an H-back, a personal punt protector, or any number of other ancillary things, but let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Tebow is going to New England to be what offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft to be -- a quarterback, and damn the torpedoes. First, we must get past the fact that the Pats already have a pretty decent quarterback in the person of Tom Brady -- this will make no sense to the Tebowites, some of whom are still seriously ticked off that John Elway and John Fox jettisoned their guy aside for that Peyton Manning bum.

    No, we must now ask ourselves about Tebow the quarterback. That's what he's ostensibly signing with the Patriots to be, to whatever degree. And we must remember a few things about that possibility: First, the Pats went 11-5 in 2008 with Matt Cassel as their quarterback after Brady injured his knee early in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Second, New England head coach Bill Belichick is the same guy who once tasked receiver Troy Brown to play defensive back, and set linebacker Mike Vrabel up to catch a bunch of touchdown passes. As everyone is telling you today, Belichick thinks outside the box, and at his best, he's a trend or two ahead of the mainstream. Third, Brady did run 23 times for 11 first downs and four touchdowns in 2012, but one doesn't generally want one's 36-year-old quarterback to keep beating the odds against stacked fronts in short-yardage situations. And for all his glaring limitations as a quarterback, Tebow is actually a pretty decent red-zone threat -- he scored 12 rushing touchdowns in his two years with the Broncos, and the fact that the Jets didn't use him in those types of situations last season was just a matter of the Jets being stupid.

    So, moving past the lost year Tebow suffered through with the Jets in 2012, how seriously should we take him as a backup quarterback in an offense that is as complex as anything you'll ever see?

    The Scheme

    When Tebow started down the stretch for the Broncos in 2011, McDaniels had already been fired, and it was up to offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to weld concepts Tebow could execute to those the other offensive starters could pick up in a hurry. As with other option quarterbacks over the last few years, this was done with a heaping helping of option plays, but in Tebow's case, McCoy aspired as much as possible to set things up so that Tebow's first read was always open, and easily attainable. The Patriots would have to adjust their passing concepts pretty severely to make something like that work, because Belichick and McDaniels currently have the NFL's most complex series of option routes.

    Most of what Tebow did in 2011 was a series of simple run-reads in which the imperative was to get the first-read guy open, and cut Tebow loose as a runner if not. The overtime touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in Denver's wild-card win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was actually a good example of Tebow's nebulous ability to process multiple reads on the run. In the Broncos' 17-13 Week 11 win over the Jets -- the game former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum referred to when speaking of Tebow as an ideal Wildcat quarterback -- the Broncos ran all kinds of traditional and spread plays, with far more diversity than the Steeler/Power/Counter package.

    Folks, this is not a Wildcat. (NFL.com)

    On the first play of the Jets game, Tebow hit Thomas for a 28-yard gain from an empty-backfield formation in which four receivers were lined up on the right side. And of the 20-yard fourth-quarter Tebow touchdown run that was the game was a designed shotgun run play, Tebow certainly faked the pass well -- he took the ball in a single-back set, clearly looked downfield, and decided to run to his left after the Jets' run containment completely broke down. The Jets were playing Cover-0 (man coverage with no deep safety), but they played pass on Denver's three receivers, and they didn't play straight run up the middle -- they sent two defenders on a dual A-gap blitz.

    Tebow can read more than one defender in a progression; he's proven that. What he hasn't proven, at least to date, is the consistent ability to make the kinds of throws into that fire that define the best quarterbacks. The reason is simple -- he hasn't been mechanically set up to do it.

    The Mechanics

    Read More »from Rewind past Jets disaster: Tebow’s time as Denver’s quarterback provides a link to his future
  • Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson was all set to avoid jail time with a plea deal in a Broward County, Fla., courtroom. He and his attorney were on the verge of striking a plea deal with Judge Kathleen McHugh that would have Johnson avoiding the slammer despite probation violations. Last August, Johnson pleaded no contest last August to a domestic violence charge after he allegedly head-butted his then-wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada, during an argument. Johnson was arrested in May for failing to meet with his probation officer.

    Johnson had his day in court Monday morning, but things went south very quickly just after he playfully slapped his attorney on the butt on Judge McHugh's time. McHugh accused Johnson of failing to take the proceedings seriously after the entire courtroom broke out in laughter, sentenced him to 30 days in jail, and extended his probation to Dec. 21, 2013.

    From the Miami Herald:

    "I don't know that you're taking this whole thing seriously. I just saw you slap your attorney on the backside. Is there something funny about this?" McHugh said, slapping the plea deal document down on her desk. "The whole courtroom was laughing. I'm not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn't a joke."

    Johnson tried to apologize, to no avail. "This is your courtroom. I have no intent to make this a joke. It's not funny," Johnson told McHugh. "My life is in a shambles right now, and I try my best to laugh and keep a smile on my face."

    Johnson told ESPN last Friday that he understood the gravity of his current situation, and that there was no room for error.

    "I'm going to be OK," he said. "I'm OK now, but I put myself in this situation and I have to deal with everything. With life, I'm at peace with everything. I would love to finish my career off the right way. If it happens, I'm not sure. But I would like to."

    Read More »from Chad Johnson sentenced to 30 days in jail after slapping his lawyer’s butt in court
  • Russell Wilson and Felix Hernandez goof around at Safeco Field. (AP)

    It's a subject that has been debated in and around the Emerald City over the last few months. Who is Seattle's most transcendent sports star: Felix Hernandez, or Russell Wilson? The Seattle Mariners pitcher and Seattle Seahawks quarterback were able to hang out a bit on Friday evening, when Wilson threw out the first pitch at the M's-Yankees game.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    Wilson got a little bit of heat on the ball with Hernandez as his catcher (though it was nowhere near the Safeco Field scoreboard reading of 98 MPH -- more like 75), and that should come as no surprise to those in the know about Wilson. Before he made a total commitment to football at Wisconsin in his senior season of 2011, Wilson was a second baseman at North Carolina State -- and was good enough to be selected in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    “It was awesome,” Wilson told Seahawks.com about the experience. “This is my childhood right here. I used to play baseball all the time.”

    He did, but when NC State football coach Tom O'Brien demanded that Wilson stick to football alone, the headstrong quarterback transferred out, used a rule that allowed graduating players to play for another Division I team immediately, and the rest was history -- at least from a football perspective.

    Read More »from Russell Wilson puts some extra mustard on first pitch at Mariners-Yankees game
  • 2012 Baltimore Ravens re-unite to get their Super Bowl rings

    The Baltimore Ravens may have lost the two most important players in franchise history in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed this offseason, but that certainly wasn't bringing anyone down on Friday. Just about everyone on the team that won Super Bowl XLVII received the ultimate tangible reward relating to such a victory -- Super Bowl rings. Lewis, who retired after the win, and Reed, who signed with the Houston Texans, attended the ceremony at the team's headquarters in Owings Mills, Md.

    "I always told them I wanted them to really feel what the confetti felt like," Lewis said. "Now to be here, to have something that symbolizes it, it's the ultimate because now it connects us forever. It took me 12 years to get back and get another ring. I want them to cherish what this moment feels like right now while we're world champs."

    Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs flash their new rocks. (AP)

    Lewis was the lone player who was able to wear the two rings the franchise has earned -- this new one, and the one the 2000 team won with a 34-7 thrashing of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. For the younger guys, it was the first ring, and the experience was surreal.

    Read More »from 2012 Baltimore Ravens re-unite to get their Super Bowl rings
  • Josh Gordon has not had an outstanding offseason. (Getty Images)

    Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden recently talked up perhaps his most intriguing target, second-year receiver Josh Gordon, who caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season after the Browns took in the 2012 supplemental draft.

    "He's a guy that has the ability to be a top-three receiver in this league," Weeden said after his team's practice on Thursday. "He has big-play capabilities. He can run by guys. He can do so many different things. He's got a ton of ability. I'm glad he's on our side."

    Weeden will have to wait a bit longer than he would have liked to find out just how good Gordon can be. As first reported by ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi, Gordon has been suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season, and fined the first four games, for a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Grossi also reported that the suspension would have been longer but for the fact that collegiate violations of substance abuse policies can't be factored in to NFL suspensions.

    In a statement, Gordon said that he had strep throat in February, and took a cough medicine that he did not know contained codeine, which is prohibited per NFL rules.

    "Policy terms are strict about unintentional ingestion, but NFL has not imposed the maximum punishment in light of the facts of my case," Gordon said. "Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation. I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, & Browns fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and pre-season and contributing immediately when I return in week three."

    Gordon could have been suspended four games for the violation.

    “Obviously we are all disappointed in this news," Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said in his own statement. "In our short time with Josh, he has done everything that we’ve asked him to do and he has exhibited substantial improvement. We believe that he will continue to work diligently through training camp and the preseason. I am confident that others will step up in his absence.”

    Gordon was suspended from the Baylor squad before the 2011 season after a marijuana arrest and a history failed drug tests, which denied him the opportunity to catch a bunch of passes from Robert Griffin III in RG3's defining college season. He transferred to Utah, sat out the season, and was taken by the Browns in July, 2012, in a move that cost Cleveland its 2013 second-round pick.

    "Despite everything I've been through, despite being a kid with a spotty background, the Cleveland Browns stuck their neck out and risked taking me and put their faith and belief in me, and I won't let them down," Gordon said in a phone interview with the Cleveland media on the day the Browns took a chance on him. "I'm grateful, and I know I can't go back to being the person I used to be."

    It's not known what substance got Gordon in trouble, but this isn't a good sign. At the 2012 Gatorade Sports Star of the Year banquet, Griffin was asked about Gordon's future by myself and Y! Sports colleague Mike Silver, and his response seemed uncertain at best.

    Read More »from Browns WR Josh Gordon suspended two games for NFL substance abuse violation

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