Monday, November 27, 2023

Fans of the modern era love Phil Dawson – Hey, Terry!


Published: Nov. 24, 2023, 5:20 a.m.


By Terry Pluto,


Hey, Terry: The Browns did a masterful job bringing out Chubb and Jim Donovan for the Pittsburgh game. The crowd was the loudest I’ve heard in many years. Can you think of any other ex-players or Cleveland icons who could fire up the home crowd at a possible playoff game? – Tim O’Hara.


Hey, Tim: Bernie Kosar? Brian Sipe? Both? Fans of the modern era love Joshua Cribbs and Phil Dawson. The Donovan/Chubb combination is unique. Jimmy is coming back from leukemia. Chubb has had two knee operations in the last three months. That’s a special moment.



Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Aaron Kampman enjoyed 'tremendous ride' in Green Bay


Pass rusher went from unheralded arrival to Packers Hall of Famer

Nov 13, 2023 at 05:10 PM


Mike Spofford editor

GREEN BAY – If Aaron Kampman arrived in Green Bay in 2002 somewhat overlooked as a fifth-round draft pick, he learned pretty quickly it wouldn't be easy to change that perception.


"Funny story, early in my career when we set out the third-down pass rush depth chart, I remember that I thought I'd be the second, maybe third team," Kampman recalled. "I actually wasn't even on the depth chart to start things out. So that gave me a little indication about where I was starting."


He's finishing, though, in the Packers Hall of Fame, as Kampman and fellow pass rusher Clay Matthews will be the next two inductees in August 2024.

A small-town kid from Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa who played college football for his home-state Hawkeyes, Kampman went on to earn two second-team All-Pro selections and two Pro Bowl honors during eight years with the Packers.


He's always shared credit with the teammates and coaches around him, but Kampman's own drive and work ethic played probably the biggest role in his success. His small-town, humble upbringing was the genesis of that, which is what he plans to talk about during his induction ceremony next summer.


"The work ethic there was instilled in me at a young age," he said, speaking with the media Monday. "That was something that exemplified itself all the way through my career, and I wanted to be the best.


"Being a 10-year-old, I had a dream I wanted to play in the NFL, and that was something I was very fortunate to be able to do. It was a tremendous ride."


It didn't start out like gangbusters, as Kampman had to persevere, steadily but surely working his way into a full-time starting role. Three years into his career, he had a total of seven sacks.


Then Jim Bates arrived as the Packers' new defensive coordinator in 2005, and the change benefited Kampman as an every-down defensive end.


"We started to play a little different defense at that time, which allowed me to get a little wider and start to rush a little bit differently," he said. "That's when I think I had more opportunities to get on the field, and to rush and show some of that ability."


Kampman nearly doubled his career sack total that year with 6½, and then when Bob Sanders arrived as defensive coordinator along with head coach Mike McCarthy in 2006, his career really took off.


He posted 15½ sacks in '06 and 12 more in '07, earning his All-Pro and Pro Bowl accolades those seasons. The 15½ sacks remain the third-highest single-season total in team history (since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982), and his 113 tackles that year still stand as a franchise record for a defensive lineman.

He added 9½ more sacks in 2008, capping a five-year run in which he started 89 of a possible 90 regular-season games, missing only the '07 finale when starters were resting for the playoffs.


A knee injury ended his season early in 2009 and, as it turned out, his time in Green Bay, which concluded with 54 total sacks, good for fifth on the franchise's all-time list. He finished his career with two injury-riddled seasons in Jacksonville.


He couldn't have asked for a better fit than coming to the NFL's smallest market, though, and for that he's forever thankful. He and his wife, Linde, became very involved in a number of community and charitable endeavors as three of their four children were born in Green Bay.


"It was a great time in our lives," said Kampman, who now runs a leadership development company called Align that he started seven years ago. He's also coached football at Solon High School in Iowa for roughly the past decade.


"When I was coming out of Iowa, I had three draft visits to the New York Jets, to San Diego and to Green Bay, and my wife and I, we've both reminisced about what life may have looked like if we would've ended up on one of the coasts. We're very blessed and fortunate that Green Bay was the spot for us."


Monday, November 13, 2023

Aaron Kampman named to Packers Hall of Fame


LB Clay Matthews (2009-2018) and DE Aaron Kampman (2002-2009) will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in August 2024 (WBAY)


By WBAY news staff


Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 10:01 AM EST | Updated: 3 hours ago


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Former linebacker Clay Matthews and former defensive end Aaron Kampman are being inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame made the announcement Monday morning. They’ll be formally enshrined at the 53rd Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Thursday, August 29.

Matthews was a first-round pick for the Packers in the 2009 NFL Draft. He played for the Packers for 10 seasons, 2009-2018, and started 137 of the 143 games he played in. He left the NFL after playing for the Los Angeles Rams for one season in 2019.

According to the team, Packers Hall of Fame, he holds the team records for most sacks in a rookie season, with 10, and most career sacks since 1982, with 83.5. His six Pro Bowl selections as a Packer have him tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White for second-most in the franchise for a defensive player. He also holds the team record for most sacks in post-season games since 1982, with 11 sacks, and ranks him #6 in NFL playoff history, too.

Kampman also started his career with the Packers and played for eight seasons in Green Bay. He was a 5th-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and made 104 starts in 112 games.

In 2006, his breakout year, he made 15.5 sacks, ranking him #2 in the NFL that season and #3 in Packers history. He also made 113 tackles that year, a record for a Packers defensive lineman. His 37 sacks from 2006 to 2008 ranked him #3 in the NFL at that time, and he was a Pro Bowl selection in 2006 and 2007.

Kampman played two more seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before finishing his NFL career.

The Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held in the Lambeau Field Atrium starting with a cash bar at 4 p.m. and the dinner and program at 5:30. Details for getting tickets will be released soon, the Hall of Fame said.

Copyright 2023 WBAY. All rights reserved.


T.J. Hockenson set an NFL record in the first half vs. Saints


MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 12: T.J. Hockenson #87 of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)


Chris Spooner 

Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson has been an integral piece of the Vikings offense all season, and that was no different on Sunday against the Saints. In fact, he was even more a piece of the offense on Sunday than usual.

Hockenson became the first tight end in NFL history to have 10 or more receptions, 125 or more yards, and a touchdown in a single half with his first-half against the Saints.

It’s fair to say that Hockenson was everywhere on Sunday, and that he and new quarterback Josh Dobbs were able to build a significant rapport with each other over the week. Unfortunately, the success they had in the first half was not able to carry over to the second.

Despite the record-setting first half for Hockenson, he was held to only one reception for six yards in the second half. Still, both he and Dobbs would tell you that getting the win is more important than individual stats.

We’ll see what the record-setting tight end has in store for us next week when the Vikings face off against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Ravens Eye View: How Tyler Linderbaum Keeps Getting Better


Nov 07, 2023 at 03:29 PM


Ryan Mink

Editorial Director

Baltimore Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell (34) runs with the ball during an NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023 in Baltimore.


When you win 37-3, there's a lot to like from the film.


The Ravens' dominance of the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9 was evident on both sides of the ball and upon further inspection.


Here's what stood out:


With all due respect to the Ravens' defensive mastery, undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell's breakout was the best story of the game. Mitchell hadn't had a carry yet this season (just one reception), but he showed why he will add another dynamic to this offense in the second half of the season.


Mitchell's calling card is his speed, and his top speed of 20.99 mph on his 40-yard touchdown was the fastest recorded of any Ravens ball carrier this season.


But it wasn't just speed that Mitchell used to do his damage. He showed a bit of everything on just nine carries, indicating that this wasn't just a flash-in-the-pan performance.


On some runs, it was excellent change of direction and lateral quickness. On others, it was Mitchell's excellent vertical burst through small holes. When there wasn't much of a hole to start with, Mitchell showed excellent vision and patience.


Mitchell went undrafted out of East Carolina because of concerns about his 5-foot-8, 191-pound size. That's why his contact balance and power with a ridiculous eight forced missed tackles was possibly the most impressive part of his game. Mitchell picked up 108 yards over expected, the most of any running back in the league since 2020, per Next Gen Stats.

The man leading the way on Mitchell's 60-yard gallop in the fourth quarter was none other than center Tyler Linderbaum, who put two blocks on Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks on the play.

Linderbaum's run blocking was superb again as the Ravens piled up 298 yards on the ground. But his biggest improvement this season, which was on display against the Seahawks, has been in his pass protection.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Top 5 offensive players in Baltimore Ravens history


Baltimore has been defined by its defenses, but a handful of offensive stars stick out.


21 HOURS AGO (november 6, 2023)

The Baltimore Ravens for most of this century have been synonymous with defense. In fact, a quick list of the top 10 players in Ravens history might feature seven or eight players from the defensive side. But what if we eliminated those dominant units from the conversation and focused strictly on offense? 

Digging into the offensive history of the Ravens is a little bleak in comparison to the other side of the ball. However, a handful of stars on offense stand out as a cut above the rest. With respect to some Ravens greats like Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap and others who didn't make the list, here are the top-five offensive players in Ravens history:

5. QB Joe Flacco

Flacco earned his spot here with is remarkable 2012 playoff run where the Ravens went 4-0 and the QB tossed 11 touchdowns with zero interceptions en route to a Super Bowl win and a Super Bowl MVP honor. In 11 years with Baltimore, Flacco started all 163 games he played. He threw for 38,245 yards with 212 touchdowns and 136 interceptions. There haven't been many great QBs in Ravens history, but Flacco is by far the best of them. 

4. K Justin Tucker

Okay, technically Tucker is a special teams player, but for our purposes he lands under the offensive umbrella. There are more arguments to be made than not that Tucker is the best kicker of all-time, and that's good enough to get a spot on a team's top-five offensive players list. He's the Ravens' all-time leading scorer by a wide margin and by the time the 33-year-old is done he might set an untouchable scoring record. Tucker is also the most accurate kicker in NFL history at 90.2 percent overall. He's also hit a whopping 95.5 percent of his field goals inside of 50 yards. 

3. QB Lamar Jackson

There's a strong chance Jackson winds up atop this list by the time his career is finished. Health will be a factor, but he's 52-18 in his first 70 starts and in six years he already has an MVP award, an All-Pro nod and a pair of trips to the Pro Bowl. He has 110 touchdowns and just 41 interceptions in his first 79 games, along with a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 29 rushing touchdowns. There aren't many dual-threat QBs better than Jackson in NFL history. In 2023 the Ravens' QB is off to a tremendous start that could put him in line to rapidly climb the franchise's all-time list over the next several years. 

2. G Marshal Yanda

Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to hit a bigger home run than the Ravens did when they selected Yanda in the third round of the 2007 draft out of Iowa. He went on to start 166 of the 177 games he played in Baltimore and dominated wherever he played on the offensive front. Yanda was an eight-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro and a five-time Second-Team All-Pro who was also voted as a member of the Hall of Fame's All-Decade team for the 2010s. On top of all that, he was an integral piece of Baltimore's Super Bowl run in 2012 when he didn't miss an offensive snap in four playoff games.

1. LT Jonathan Ogden

Any lists of all-time great left tackles has to have Ogden at or near the top. He was a dominant run blocker who spent his entire 12-year career eliminating pass rushers from existence. The Pro Football Hall of Famer's resume is immaculate with 11 Pro Bowls in 12 years, along with four First-Team All-Pro and five Second-Team All-Pro nods. Ogden was as dominant as a left tackle comes, and there aren't many teams where he wouldn't be the No. 1 offensive player in that franchise's history. 


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