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 Highlight Reel 3/3 
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Modmin Dude
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Post Highlight Reel 3/3
Thursday, March 03, 2005

Darius trying to force trade to Detroit
The Lions primary off-season target, that they've specifically named is Jaguars safety Donovin Darius, and the feeling is mutual -- according to the NFL Network's Total Access insider Adam Schefter.


Rich Eisen: Donovin Darius had a meeting with with the owner Wayne Weaver, and came out of it saying that his being franchise tagged for the third consecutive year was morally wrong. He said "I don't intend to play for the Jaguars again." What's the latest?

Schefter: He's trying to engineer a trade to Detroit, Rich. That's where Donovin Darius ultimately would like to end up, in Detroit with the Lions in a secondary that could really use his services.

In Jacksonville there is a question whether Donovin Darius can be a force against the pass. Everybody knows he's a great run-stopper, but he'd like to be the complete defensive player that he feels is in Detroit.


For more on the meeting with Weaver, read the Jacksonville Times-Union story here. They report that unless there is a meeting of the minds, he could be traded soon.


Darius said Weaver told him, "I'm not so sure I want players that don't want to be here, franchise player or not."
...
While the actions of Darius are certain to engender debate among fans, what is clear is that the Jaguars may lose one of the top five safeties in football and a team leader that worked as hard as any player. In a time when an increasing number of professional athletes are getting in trouble off the field, Darius never did.

The news with Darius could temporarily complicate the team's free agency and draft plans. Yet if he is traded, the team will likely have another high pick for the April draft. In fact Darius asked Weaver to begin trade discussions immediately with other teams.


In a previous story about Darius by Kowalski, Matt Millen says he had a deal for him on draft day in 2004 -- but the Lions wanted to renegotiate his contract, and Darius wanted too much money.


"It went down to the wire last year with them," said Lions president Matt Millen, who attempted to work a draft-day trade with the Jaguars. "I was holding two phones, trying to get something done with Donovin, but he wanted too much (salary)."


In the same story, Millen provides a little analysis on Darius' skills -- although these could be taken as a negotiating ploy.


"There are some things he does really well and some things he doesn't. And the things he has problems with will begin to magnify (with age)," Millen said. "But we're going to look at him because he's a heckuva football player. But there are some other guys, too, who we can draft."

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March 3rd, 2005, 10:18 am
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Post Updated Highlight Reel
Kennedy to visit Friday?
Everyone locally is reporting that Kennoy Kennedy, the top free agent safety available, will visit early next week, possibly Monday. The local writers are saying that based on a Steve Mariucci quote, but the Denver Post is saying something completely different.


Safety Kenoy Kennedy will visit Detroit on Friday and has visits planned for Oakland, Cleveland and New Orleans. Miami also has expressed interest. Kennedy's agent, Vann McElroy, said Wednesday that while Kennedy plans to make those trips, he has not ruled out staying with Denver. The Lions are expected to make a hard push to sign Kennedy.




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Holding out for more?
There hasn't been much popular support for either Kurt Warner or Jeff Garcia, and no one really is mentioning Brad Johnson. Here is Drew Sharp's take, and Bob Wojnowski's take. In today's MLive.com poll, choosing the free agent QB you'd like to see the Lions sign, Garcia is drawing 37.4 percent, while Warner is pulling 35.9 percent.

Here's an interesting note from the Free Press that I've been pondering.


With the Lions' delay in offering Garcia a contract, however, it appears they might not be as interested in signing him as once seemed to be the case. The focus now appears to be on Warner, who said in an interview last week that he is interested in playing for the Lions.

With a number of teams in the market for a quarterback, the Lions likely will move quickly to sign a player who can at the minimum fill the backup role and at the maximum compete with Harrington for a starting job.


Isn't it obvious that the Lions are holding Garcia at arm's length? It seemed from before he was released by the Browns that Detroit is where he'd end up. They are either holding out for Kurt Warner to stop demanding to be a starter, as his agent said in Tom's story today.


"For a guy like Kurt, who feels he's in his prime, he wants to go where he can compete (for a starting job)," said Warner's agent, Mark Bartelstein.


Or, maybe the Lions are just waiting to see what scraps are left. They're not going to bid high, so they wait until the price comes down and if they get the leftovers at a good price then so be it. They're the most attractive team out there in need of a QB, I believe, so let the player drop his demands.


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Stuff I've missed: Origins of some of the Garcia talk
Just in case you missed it (I did. I'm still catching up.), here's the story where Garcia's agent declares that he is willing to be a backup. It's from the Tampa Tribune.


Detroit was believed to be the team most interested in signing Garcia, 35, but NFL sources suggested Sunday that Lions officials were split on Garcia and that their interest in him was waning.

Though he still considers himself capable of starting, Garcia realizes that likely would not happen in Tampa.

"Jeff is willing to go to a team as the backup, and Tampa is definitely a place he'd like to be,'' said Garcia's agent, Steve Baker.


Here's a February 28 report from the Rocky Mountain News saying the Broncos have offered Garcia a job at backing up Jake Plummer.


Garcia, who would fit the Broncos version of the West Coast offense, has been told he would back up Plummer and not compete for the starting job. Plummer has unquestioned support from Shanahan and recently re-worked his contract to remain with the team long-term.


The St. Petersburg Times reported a quote from Garcia's agent saying there's a good chance he'd be a Buc, even with the re-signing of Brian Griese.


"Jeff is strongly considering Tampa Bay," Garcia's agent, Steve Baker, told the newspaper. "There's a 50 percent chance he goes there."


Tom Kowalski reported on Tuesday that Baker denies ever saying that quote.


Contrary to published reports, Garcia's agent, Steve Baker, said they have not started negotiations with the Bears and Bucs.

"We haven't begun negotiations with anybody," Baker said Monday. "Jeff's had preliminary meetings with a few teams, so they could get a feel for Jeff and Jeff could get a feel for them. We haven't started negotiating with anybody."


The big story yesterday -- well, one of a million big stories -- was that Bill Walsh says he told Jeff Garcia to go to the Broncos. I just found the story today on the Denver Post website.


Walsh, perhaps the person most responsible for the quarterback's success in the NFL, listened to the teams that were interested in talking to Garcia.

Walsh didn't hesitate.

"I recommended to Jeff that he play for Denver," Walsh said Tuesday. "That would be the best place for Jeff. In my opinion Denver fits all the requirements for a quarterback like Jeff. I am really hoping he does go there."


Take THAT Steve Mariucci.

Bill Walsh is most responsible for Jeff Garcia's NFL success? Will he take credit for Brett Favre, too?

For the seven percent (according to today's MLive.com poll) of you in Brad Johnson's camp, the Tampa Tribune reported the Lions' interest in him yesterday.


Brad Johnson, the quarterback who led the Bucs to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, once shared Jurevicius' vision. As expected, though, Johnson's career in Tampa Bay officially ended when he was released Tuesday. Detroit, Baltimore and Arizona reportedly have interest in him.




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Putting out the Kennedy fires
I posted briefly in this blog yesterday that NFL Network was reporting the Lions were hot after Broncos free agent safety Kenoy Kennedy. Now, John Clayton has hit the same note in his Quick Hits pop-up blog on ESPN.com.


Safety first for Lions: The Lions came out of the box by convincing Broncos safety Kenoy Kennedy to come to Detroit. The Lions are trying to get younger and stronger at the safety position. Kennedy is perhaps the top free agent at that position available. The Lions have also been exploring the possibility of trying to make a trade for Jaguars safety Donovin Darius.


Today, Thursday, Tom Kowalski addressed this issue again.


TomKowalski: as of 10:56 a.m., the lions are saying there is no deal ... clayton simply said kennedy was coming to detroit, not that he signed ... relax ...


The talks of a deal came from a radio report Wednesday. Killer was putting this fire out all day. He told the forum that Kennedy will be in early next week -- possibly Monday -- but the rest isn't true. Here's one of his posts.


TomKowalski: i talked to mooch today [Wednesday] about 1:30 and he said kennedy was supposed to come in next week for a visit ...

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March 3rd, 2005, 5:36 pm
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You're all over it Wags!

I would give up our 3rd round selection for Darius, rather than sign Kennedy.

I'm not sold on him... Denver's secondary has been atrocious, and even with Champ Bailey, Kennedy has been burnt.


March 4th, 2005, 2:42 am
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Brian wrote:
Denver's secondary has been atrocious, and even with Champ Bailey, Kennedy has been burnt.


Brian, I have to disagree here. Denver was only one of seven teams to hold opponents under 3,000 yards passing last year (they ranked 6th overall in pass defense). By comparison, Jacksonville ranked 16th and the Lions were 20th.

The Broncos finished tied for 4th in the league for fewest passing TDs allowed with 17 (that's one per game).

Denver also finished tied for 6th in the league for lowest completion % against at 56.2% (Detroit ranked 22nd and the Jags ranked 23rd in this category - both clubs gave up more than a 5% higher completion percentage than the Broncos).

I wouldn't argue that Kennedy has great cover skills (I wouldn't argue that about Darius either). I would certainly say that Denver had one of the best pass defenses in the league though.


March 4th, 2005, 10:57 am
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I read somewhere that people in Denver thought Kenndy had a better year than Lynch. Heck Lynch made the Pro Bowl (but it was all on name)


I will try to find where I read that


March 4th, 2005, 11:08 am
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Here's a stat though... teams threw the ball on Denver the 5th least in the league... they only averaged 30.3 passes a game.

Teams don't pass on them that much, I don't know if that is attributed to them respecting their pass defense, or the fact that teams in the AFC West run the ball.

Kansas City and San Diego both have top 6 rushing offenses. While the Broncos rush defense ranks well, against the Chiefs and Chargers they have struggled.

KC ran for 167 and 162 on them, and SD had 85 and 122.

They didn't need to pass the ball, their running game was effective.

Bottom line is... their pass defense is overrated because they don't get many looks.


March 4th, 2005, 4:17 pm
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