Adrian Peterson will be following Chris Johnson's contract negotiations … if they ever amount to much. A meeting last week didn't produce any momentum.
There seems to be some feeling that the contract impasse between the Tennessee Titans and holdout tailback Chris Johnson
will be resolved sometime shortly before the start of the regular season. But sources adamantly contended to The Sports Xchange that the face-to-face meeting between the two sides this week did not create any momentum in that direction.
The air-clearing may have been good, in the sense that it allowed Johnson and Titans president Mike Reinfeldt to articulate their respective positions, without the potential loss of translation that often occurs when people are speaking to each other through the media, but neither man seemed to be moved by the other's assertions.
Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton
finally converted on third down in Thursday night's loss at Cincinnati – he had been 0-for-11 on third-down plays in the first two preseason games – going 4-for-11 versus the Bengals. He also converted a fourth-and-two situation with a 6-yard pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey
But two of the third-down conversions came on Newton scrambles – a touchdown run of 16 yards on third-and-11, and a 26-yard burst on third-and-eight – and the top overall pick can't always count on his legs to help move the chains. The ability to run out of trouble is part of Newton's game, certainly, but he's going to have to demonstrate that his arm can also get the Panthers out of difficult situations.
Through three games, Newton is just 3-for-14 for 15 yards throwing the ball on third down. Notable is that 15 of the third-down situations Newton has faced have been for third-and-seven or longer, difficult conditions even for a veteran quarterback, but he must get a lot more comfortable in the pocket, and far more accurate, in those instances.
The Panthers are going to have to rely on their running game to keep Newton out of such third-and-long situations. But the youngster is also going to have to learn to cope with those kinds of critical plays. So far, he hasn't. The other element is that, his running skills aside, Newton has to avoid taking sacks. Through three games, he has been sacked four times, once every 14.0 "dropbacks," which isn't terrible for a young quarterback. But what one Carolina offensive veteran termed as "pocket poise" is going to have to develop as Newton moves forward.
As noted in various reports this week, there has been some progress in contract extension talks between the Philadelphia Eagles and Joel Segal, the agent for quarterback Michael Vick. Both sides seem motivated to try to complete a deal by the first month of the season, and possibly sooner.
Tailback Tiki Barber, who is attempting to return to the NFL after not playing the past four seasons, isn't abandoning his pursuit of a comeback, but isn't drawing much interest, even from teams that seem to need depth at the position. Barber, 36, has had just one workout, with Miami, and the Dolphins didn't offer a contract. There was never any validity to the rumors that linked Barber to Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay. Some people close to Barber have suggested that he might play in the UFL, for former coach Jim Fassel, to demonstrate to skeptics he's got something left in the tank. But to this point, Barber has dismissed such suggestions.
In the wake of the season-ending knee injury to starter Terrell Thomas last week, the New York Giants signed veteran cornerback Brian Williams from the sparse free agent remnant. But the Giants, who will move former first-rounder Aaron Ross into the starting lineup, after he had been relegated to nickel duty most of 2010, are still actively shopping for at least one more edge defender. There isn't much available on the trade market, however, and team officials weren't particularly impressed with Lito Sheppard or Dre Bly, the other free agents auditioned this week. Sheppard, the former Eagle and Viking, signed with the Oakland Raiders.
As if the Green Bay offense wasn't imposing enough, the Packers have been experimenting with the no-huddle attack in preseason. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is said to like the no-huddle a lot.
The Packers, by the way, continue to add playmaking wide receivers to an already-stocked arsenal. Second-round choice Randall Cobb looks to be a guy who will command playing time. And former practice squad wideout Chastin West is making a play for a roster spot as well.