Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2011 Round 2 #33 New England Patriots DB Ras-I Dowling says-

Dowling entered the 2010 season as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks, but after playing in only five games due to injury, his draft stock may have taken a hit. He is a monster of a cornerback who seeks out contact in run support and is a sound tackler. He really excels in zone coverage with terrific instincts and has the ball skills to make plays on underneath routes. He does not have the recovery speed to play in a man-heavy scheme at the next level, but he should be a good fit in a Tampa 2 system. A potential first-round pick before the season, Dowling still likely will be a second-round pick.


NFL Draft 2010 – Round 2 #34- Minnesota- CB Chris Cook

The first pick for the Vikings. writes- Cook has excellent size and strength for the position. He lacks great burst and pure speed to play out on an island in man coverage but is versatile enough to be effective as a rolled up defender or move inside to the safety position. Cook uses his hands well to re-route receivers off the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t have the lateral agility and quickness to stay in a top receiver’s hip pocket and he may be a liability in some schemes. Cook is a solid run support defender and an active player versus both the run and pass. Cook has great instincts and feel for route progression to make plays on the ball. His size, toughness and versatility makes him a valued commodity in this year’s draft.


2010 NCAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

Here it is-

2010 Women's bracket

Like with the Men’s tournament, I’ll take a shot at making some guesses predictions in the women’s also.


Buffalo Bill OT Brad Butler announces his retirement

He is just 26-years-old. From AP-

Buffalo Bills starting right tackle Brad Butler announced his retirement on Thursday.

The news comes as a surprise to the Bills after the 26-year-old Butler completed his fourth NFL season.

Butler majored in government studies at Virginia, and spent the 2008 offseason interning at Kemp Partners in Washington DC with former and late Bills quarterback and congressman Jack Kemp.

“My passion for education, country and community is something that I am ready to devote my full attention to,” he said in a statement released by the team. “I believe the best way to pursue these spheres of interest is to step away from the game of football at this point in my life.”

Butler was probably more interested in non-football matters. He spent most of the 2009 season injured. I make a bet that influenced his career decision.


Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Dudley dead at age 88

He was league MVP in 1946. RIP.

Bill Dudley, a Hall of Fame player who in 1946 with the Pittsburgh Steelers led the NFL in rushing, punt returns and interceptions, has died. He was 88.

He had a stroke Saturday and was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital, son Jim Dudley said Thursday. He said his father had not been ill before the stroke and died in his wife’s arms.

“Bullet” Bill Dudley was a runner, passer, punter, kicker and defensive back during his nine-year NFL career, highlighted by his 1946 season in which he was the league’s Most Valuable Player. While with the Washington Redskins, he shared an apartment with NFL great Sammy Baugh. Dudley later served in the Virginia Legislature.

“He lived to a high standard,” Jim Dudley told The Associated Press. “He was devoted to service and having a positive effect on those people he associated with, and he did. If that’s the measure of greatness, he was a great man.”

Dudley starred in college at Virginia and was the No. 1 overall draft choice of the Steelers in 1942. He played three seasons with Pittsburgh, a stay interrupted in 1943 and 1944 because of Army service during World War II. He later played three years with the Detroit Lions and three with the Redskins, ending with his retirement in 1953.

The year after his MVP season, Dudley scored 11 touchdowns — on seven receptions, two rushes, a punt return and an interception return.


Virginia Cavaliers fire Coach Al Groh

The 2009 season was Virginia’s worst in 27 years. From AP-

Virginia has fired Al Groh after nine seasons as football coach at his alma mater.

Groh’s dismissal Sunday comes less than 24 hours after the Cavaliers (3-9, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) finished their worst season since going 2-9 in 1982 with a 42-13 loss to rival Virginia Tech.

Virginia lost its final six games and finished with a losing record for the third time in four years. Groh beat Virginia Tech just once in nine games during his tenure.

It seems clear Virginia had regressed the last few seasons. The need for a new coach in Charlottesville looks justified IMHO.


Dallas Cowboys 2009 Undrafed Free Agents

The Dallas Cowboys signed eight undrafted players Monday: Travis Bright,  G,   Brigham Young; Rudy Carpenter, QB, Arizona State; Julian Hawkins, WR, Boise State; Jamar Hun, FB, UTEP; Greg Isdaner, G, West Virginia; Kevin Ogletree, WR,  Virginia; Asaph Schwapp, FB, Notre Dame; and Michael Turkovich, G, Notre Dame.

This team is talented and just drafted an even dozen players.  It’s doubtful, then, that any of the players above will make the active roster, let alone land starting jobs this year.  Mostly, they’re being added to the roster as practice fodder; that’s especially true at QB, where you only have three guys otherwise.

I don’t know any of these guys or their talent levels, aside from the fact that 200-odd players were thought worthy of drafting and none of these were.  If I had to take a guess, I’d say one of the fullbacks has the best shot at making the roster just because the Cowboys only have one on the roster.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 6 #208 – Dallas Cowboys – TE John Phillips

With the 35th pick in the 6th round, the Dallas Cowboys took another deep backup in Virginia tight end John Phillips. says:


Carrying in the suddenly strong UVA tradition of producing NFL-caliber tight ends under coach Al Groh, Phillips went from being a part-time starter to first-team All-ACC selection in 2008. Teams looking for an athletic receiver to threaten the seam should look elsewhere, but as a secure short- to medium-range target with the size and strength to contribute immediately as a blocker, Phillips quietly ranks as one of the draft’s better all-around tight ends. Had an arm span of 34 1/2 inches and a hand span of 10 1/4 inches at the combine.
High School

Talented two-way player at tight end and defensive end for coach Will Fields at Bath County HS … considered the 24th-best tight end nationally by and, and 30th by … 3 stars by … 87th on’s East Hot 100 list … listed as the No. 15 player in Virginia by SuperPrep, 16th by, 21st by and 24th by … listed 16th among players in Virginia by the Roanoke Times and 24th on the Charlottesville Daily Progress “Gold List” … named first-team All-State tight end as a senior when he caught 40 passes for 714 yards and five touchdowns … Roanoke Times All-Timesland tight end and region defensive Player of the Year his final year … first-team All-State at tight end and second-team as a defensive end as a junior … caught 25 passes for 495 yards and six touchdowns in just 10 games that season … finished his career with 87 receptions for 1,513 yards and 16 touchdowns … defensively he had 324 tackles, including 90 for loss and 42 sacks … also a standout in basketball and baseball … three-time All-Pioneer District honoree in both sports … All-State and MVP in baseball in 2004.


Positives: Prototype height for the position with long limbs. Solid build with room for additional growth. Reads the defense and can find the soft spot in the short and medium levels of zone coverage. Reliable hands. Catches the ball cleanly with his hands and secures it quickly. Good body control to catch the pass outside of his frame. Lacks the quickness off the snap that teams prefer, but accelerates smoothly. Physical inline blocker. At least adequate quickness off the snap and laterally for the down block. Provides a good initial pop and effort as a drive blocker. Veteran with four years of starting experience.

Negatives: Strictly a short- to medium-range target. Lacks the straight-line speed to challenge the seam. Only adequate elusiveness to make defenders miss in space. Occasionally lines up in the slot, but lacks the burst off the snap to continue in this role in the NFL. Could use more bulk in his upper body. Provides pop as a blocker, but lack of initial quickness evident in this area, as well. Struggles to recover if beaten initially.

At least Scouts, Inc. has heard of this guy:

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2005: Phillips appears in all 12 games and starts the three games Virginia opens in a two tight end set. He catches two passes for a total of 27 yards and one touchdown. 2006: Phillips starts four of the 12 games he appears in catching two passes for a total of 65 yards. 2007: Phillips starts eight of the 13 games he appears in catching 17 passes for a total of 193 yards and two touchdowns. 2008: Phillips starts all 12 games catching 48 passes for a total of 385 yards and two touchdowns.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Adequate bulk and room on frame to add significant weight but top-end speed is marginal for position.
Durability 2 Durability is not a concern to out knowledge.
Character 2 2008: Named the Rock Weir Award winner for the offense as the most improved player during spring drills.
Tight End specific Traits
Ball Skills 3 Stays focused and looks ball into hands but traps ball against frame too much and vulnerable to dropping passes should catch.
Separation Skills 3 Shows adequate footwork running routes but doesn’t show much burst coming out of cuts and going to have a harder time separating from man coverage at the NFL level. Struggles to avoid contact at the line of scrimmage and can get muscled out of routes.
Blocking 2 Initially gets hands inside defender’s frame and drives legs once in position but doesn’t always lock on and slides off some blocks as a result. Got stood up by Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson during 2007 game. Takes adequate angles to downfield blocks and shows adequate body control in space.
Toughness 2 Plays with a mean streak and appears to take pride in blocking. Lowers shoulders into defenders when running after the catch.
Big-Play Potential 4 Fluid turning upfield and runs hard but isn’t going to make many defenders miss and doesn’t show a second gear in space. Takes too long to reach top-end speed and isn’t much of a vertical threat.

Calvin Watkins makes an interesting point:  “Cowboys TE coach John Garrett should know exactly what to expect from Phillips, a good inline blocker who will serve as the No. 3 tight end. John Garrett was Virginia’s receivers coach before coming to the Cowboys two seasons ago.”


NFL Draft 2009 Round 1 #8- Jacksonville Jaguars- OT Eugene Monroe

ESPN writes- Jacksonville was lucky to land Monroe here. He has the quick feet, length and awareness to develop into a franchise left tackle. Although he isn’t a dominant drive-blocker at this point Monroe almost always finds a way to get a job done. He’s quick enough to get into position and he does a nice job sustaining once he locks on. In addition, we expect him to get stronger once he gets in to a team’s weight-training program.


NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #15 – Kansas City – Branden Albert (via Detroit Lions)

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Lions are up. Could they take yet another wide receiver? Almost certainly not, as there isn’t a consensus stud worth taking at the position.

The ESPN boys think they might be eager to trade down.

With less than 3 minutes left on the clock, they got the Kansas City Chiefs to bite. They take Branden Albert, the outstanding offensive guard from Virginia.

Scouts, Inc.: 12th

(6’5″, 309, 5.169) | VIRGINIA

Strengths: Is tall and thickly built. Also has long arms and big hands. Shows a quick first, takes proper angles to assignments and gets into position quickly. Plays with a mean streak and drives legs once locked onto the defender. Has very good initial quickness for his size. Shows above-average range and can pull around the edge. Shows smooth footwork getting into pass sets and shuffles feet to stay in front of defenders. Gets adequate hand placement and extends arms once in position. Keeps head up, shows good awareness and can adjust to line stunts as well as blitzes. Never missed a game because of an injury and is durable.

Weaknesses: Does not have overwhelming power and doesn’t knock many defenders back with initial punch. Plays too high at times and is going to have problems driving two-gap defenders off the ball. Runs well on a straight line but has some trouble hitting the moving target. Doesn’t get great knee bend in pass sets and can get pushed back into the pocket. Appears to take plays off at times and may lack ideal endurance at this point.

Overall: Albert started all 37 of Virginia’s games during his three-year career (2005-07), including two at offensive tackle in 2007. He allowed just one sack and received an All-ACC honorable mention in 2006. He was a first-team All-ACC selection in ’07. Bottom line: Albert needs to improve his power at the point of attack and learn to get under defenders’ pads. He also is a bit inconsistent when it comes to hitting the moving target as a second level run blocker. However, he is a massive guard with very good short-area quickness and tenacity. He could possibly move to ROT in the NFL but we think he fits best inside at guard, where he should quickly develop into an upper-echelon starter. He could be the top interior offensive lineman selected in 2008 draft  no later than the second round.

Rick Gosselin: 18th

Mel Kiper: 8th

Nothing sexy here but good value for the spot. And Brody Croyle can certainly use better blocking.


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