PFW news on the Redskins, Patriots, 49ers, Saints and Ravens.
The Way We Hear It
TE Chris Cooley made the Pro Bowl this season, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Cooley struggled to find the endzone. He improved his number of receptions (83) and yards (849), but he scored only once, so it’s no surprise that the Redskins were bad in the red zone (23 touchdowns in 48 possessions). Rookie Fred Davis, who was expected to add punch to the passing game, did not. He caught only three passes on the season and didn’t become a part of the team’s regular offensive packages until late in the season. TE coach Rennie Simmons retired and could be replaced by quality-control coach Bill Khayat, who played tight end in NFL Europe for a year. But it’s clear that whoever takes on coaching this position, along with head coach Jim Zorn, will need to help find ways to get the tight ends in the endzone.
PATRIOTS: There’s a growing sentiment around Foxborough that the Patriots’ need at cornerback should be satisfied chiefly by adding bulk to their corps. Bill Belichick has traditionally favored smaller, quicker corners, but those players have been victimized often by larger wideouts. The club hasn’t had a quality, physical force at the position since Ty Law left town.
49ERS: While there’s no denying the improvement the Niners’ offense made in 2008 under Mike Martz, who was fired as the offensive coordinator shortly after the season ended, we hear it’s a good bet whoever the new coordinator is will get along better with the Niners’ players and coaches than did Martz, whose often dictatorial demeanor didn’t make him very popular during his one year in San Francisco. Word is TE Vernon Davis, in particular, was not a big fan of Martz.
SAINTS: The Saints are likely to make several cuts before free agency begins, we hear, to clear some much-needed cap space. Sources say the team is projected to be $5 million over the cap, and CB Mike McKenzie appears to be one of the high-priced targets up for debate within the club’s front office. McKenzie, who will turn 33 in April, is scheduled to make a cap hit of $6 million in 2009 and has suffered major knee injuries in each of the past two seasons.
RAVENS: Though Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti both praised CB Chris McAlister at the club’s end-of-season press conference, neither would commit to his return in ’09, and a source close to the club suggests McAlister could be a salary-cap cut.
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