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Whispers

Gonzalez, Stewart surprisingly sidelined

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Posted June 20, 2010 @ 11:29 a.m. ET
By PFW staff

We've been hearing the following whispers around the league:

• Our Colts sources tell us the team is not overly concerned about WR Anthony Gonzalez, who spent the past couple of weeks of the team's recently concluded OTAs on the sideline with an unspecified injury. "As usual, the team is being very tight-lipped about injuries, but (head coach Jim) Caldwell said he would be fine," a team insider said of Gonzalez, who suffered a season-ending right knee injury in Week One in 2009. Caldwell also indicated that Gonzalez's latest injury was a muscular ailment that was not related at all to the injury that shut him down last season.

• Panthers observers were surprised to see RB Jonathan Stewart running off to the side of the team's workouts recently, as there were some doubts about when he would resume those activities. We're told Carolina is pleased with his recovery from January surgery. Stewart underwent surgery to remove a bone spur pressing against his Achilles tendon, and there was also an attempt to alleviate his tendinitis by shaving away calcium deposits and cleaning out his bursa sacs.
 
Sage Rosenfels could be traded sometime in the next two months. Teams that need a backup quarterback could call the Vikings, who appear to be moving on without Rosenfels in their plans this season. No deal likely would come before Brett Favre announces his intentions, but the fact that Rosenfels' name has made the rounds indicates how confident some members of the organization are that Favre will play. The team likes Tarvaris Jackson in the backup role and recently moved sixth-round WR Joe Webb, a college quarterback, back to his old position. Webb and R.J. Archer, who have received more snaps in minicamps than Rosenfels, likely would battle for the no. 3 spot.

• The Eagles are excited to see how rookie DEs Brandon Graham and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim fare when the pads come on in camp because so far, they have impressed with their speed and their understanding of the defensive concepts. Neither is likely to start right away, but both are expected to join a deep rotation up front.

• The feeling entering Eagles camp is that TE Cornelius Ingram has looked excellent to date and has the edge on Martin Rucker and rookie Clay Harbor to be Brent Celek's backup. Ingram, coming off his second consecutive missed season going back to his final year at Florida with last year's ACL injury, looked active, athletic and strong.

• Although Steelers OLB Thaddeus Gibson was unable to attend four sets of Steelers' organized training activities because Ohio State's commencement was not until June 13 and he has yet to graduate, he told PFW he was able to keep up in his NFL studies with the help of Steelers defensive assistant Jerry Olsavsky, who met with Gibson in Columbus, Ohio on Fridays to "go over things with me and talk to me about new packages," he told PFW.

• While our Seahawks sources are not discounting widely circulated rumors of a possible visit next week from unrestricted free agent O.J. Atogwe, they don't think it's very likely the team would be willing to pay the relatively high price it would take to land the longtime Rams free safety.

• Even though he has had a tendency to be off the mark with some of his throws, we hear the Cardinals are quite intrigued by fifth-round QB John Skelton's considerable arm strength. Daily team observers tell us the 6-5, 244-pound Skelton has a very compact, powerful delivery, and that his passes have a lot of zip.

• The Chiefs had a bit of a quarterback shakeup during their final 2010 minicamp, as Tyler Palko passed Matt Gutierrez for the No. 3 job. Palko, who was signed this offseason, apparently looked good enough for Kansas City to release Gutierrez, which it did on June 14. Meanwhile, Brodie Croyle was one of the camp's surprising stars, throwing crisp passes despite an injured hand. He is locked in as the top backup to starter Matt Cassel.

• Word is the Rams are feeling pretty confident about their CB corps, with starting LCB Ron Bartell, who regressed last year mainly because of injuries, having a very solid spring and Bradley Fletcher, the front-runner at right corner who is coming off a season-ending knee injury, making much better progress in his rehab than what was initially expected.

• Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo likes what he has seen up to now of fourth-round rookie WR Mardy Gilyard, who reported late to the team's OTAs because he had to wait until his final exams concluded at the University of Cincinnati. "I'll tell you what. He's got a unique ability to fit in pretty quick," Spagnuolo said. "He's a very confident guy, which is a good thing in a wideout."

Jerome Harrison and Montario Hardesty figure to be the Browns' top two backs. Who's next in line for carries? Ex-Broncos FB-RB Peyton Hillis could fill the bill, a source close to the club suggests. Hillis carried 81 times for 397 yards and six TDs in two seasons in Denver.

• While OLB Manny Lawson did not report to 49ers offseason team activites until the mandatory minicamp that began June 17, Ahmad Brooks was improving his chances to replace Lawson with his improved play dropping back into pass coverage.  

• We haven't seen him compete in full pads yet, but Dolphins observers said second-round pick Koa Misi isn't blowing anyone away in OTAs and minicamp. Misi, who is transitioning from playing defensive end in college to outside linebacker, is penciled in as Miami's starter on the strong side. Evaluators say Misi needs to work on developing his pass-rush moves before he can become an effective rusher off the edge.
 
• Falcons SS Erik Coleman has provided steady veteran leadership in Atlanta's secondary and was second on the team in tackles last season (116), but he could face a challenge for his starting spot in training camp, sources say. The Falcons' 2009 second-round pick, William Moore, who missed all but two games last season because of knee and hamstring injuries, is expected to get a shot to win the job.

• Steelers rookie WR Antonio Brown has had a good offseason, the way we hear it. Pittsburgh will almost assuredly keep another rookie receiver, third-rounder Emmanuel Sanders, on the 53-man roster coming out of the preseason, and Brown, a sixth-round pick from Central Michigan, is in the mix to make the team, too, we're told.

• The release of Browns PK Shaun Suisham came after he struggled with accuracy in his brief tenure in Cleveland. The question now is whether the Browns add another kicker to compete with Phil Dawson, who's in the final year of his contract, hit 17-of-19 field-goal attempts in 2009. Dawson, 35, reportedly would like a contract extension beyond this season.

• In a recent interview with PFW, Titans secondary coach Marcus Robertson said he likes the progress rookie safeties Robert Johnson and Myron Rolle have made. "They've caught on well," Robertson said. Of Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford University in England in the 2009-10 school year, Robertson said:  "He's committed to being the best possible football player he can be. … The one thing I love about Myron is he's a student of the game." Robertson said practice repetitions will be a key in Rolle's development.

 

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