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Ohalete to start at SS?

The Big Orange

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The Bengals are hoping for solid play from their strong safeties, something they have sometimes struggled to get in Marvin Lewis’ first two seasons in Cincinnati. Projected starter Kim Herring is out for the season with a shoulder injury, leaving veterans Kevin Kaesviharn, Ifeanyi Ohalete and Anthony Mitchell to man the position. Kaesviharn, a converted cornerback, earned the start in Week One. While he’s a heady player with good athleticism, he isn’t especially physical. Ohalete, who played in Washington during Lewis’ one season as defensive coordinator with the Redskins, could soon make a strong push for the job, according to a source close to the team. We hear Ohalete has a real presence about him, and Lewis likes him. Second-year player Madieu Williams is the starter at free safety. He also has the ability to play like a strong safety, having started at that position in the past.

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Other interesting stuff on that site...

Week One MVP meter

Sept. 13, 2005

PFW’s MVP meter lives the life of a Zamboni — busy in the fall and winter, idle for much of the summer. But I’m here to report the meter is operational once again.

Our first look at the league’s MVP candidates leaves out several big names: Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper, Chiefs RB Priest Holmes, to name three. None of them would have trouble walking into P.F. Chang’s and getting the best table — “Right this way, sir,” — and all are likely to make it back on the countdown at some point during the season.

But the Week One meter is always highlighted by Cinderella stories. This edition is no different, with Steelers RB Willie Parker — the third-string tailback a few weeks ago — making the cut. So did Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall, who looked like the league’s next shutdown corner in a showcase performance on “Monday Night Football.”

Where do Hall and Parker fit in our rankings? See for yourself:

1. Colts QB Peyton Manning — Played a very good game vs. the Ravens. You figure not too many quarterbacks will be able to muster 254 yards and two TD passes against that defense. Avoiding throwing an interception was also impressive. (Week Two opponent: Jaguars)

2. Patriots QB Tom Brady — Shredded Raiders for 305 yards and two TD passes. But coming schedule is full of tests. (Week Two opponent: Panthers)

3. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger — Posted a perfect passer rating in opener vs. Tennessee. Sure, he only threw 11 times. As usual, he made the most of those opportunities. (Week Two opponent: Texans)

4. Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall — Earns this spot with physical, unwavering coverage of Eagles WR Terrell Owens. Hall, only 21, clearly had the upper hand by game’s end. The performance could be the catalyst for a long, illustrious career for the cornerback. (Week Two opponent: Seahawks)

5. Falcons QB Michael Vick — Fumbles were a problem, and accuracy remains a concern, but we were reminded on Monday night why Vick is so difficult for defenses to stop. (Week Two opponent: Seahawks)

6. Steelers RB Willie Parker — I know Steelers head coach Bill Cowher is loyal to veterans. But Parker deserves a lot of playing time even when Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley return to health. He is a jarring dose of speed for an offense that needs it. Parker could have another big day this week, as Houston’s defense is still finding its way. (Week Two opponent: Texans)

7. Bengals QB Carson Palmer (Week Two opponent: Vikings) — On the cusp of a Pro Bowl season? It looks that way from what we saw in the opener. However …

8. Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich — … we can say the same about Jacksonville’s standout signalcaller. We hope the NFL allows the AFC to send a half-dozen quarterbacks to Hawaii this season. (Week Two opponent: Colts)

9. Colts DE Dwight Freeney — Again, Freeney outplayed Colts OLT Jonathan Ogden. The odds-on favorite for Defensive MVP in my world, though ranked behind Hall this week. (Week Two opponent: Jaguars)

10. Buccaneers RB Carnell Williams — We give the last spot to Tampa’s rookie rusher, who secured a Week One win with a breakaway TD run. Williams is just what the Bucs’ offense needed. (Week Two opponent: Bills)

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And one more...

Week One Rookie of the Year meter

Who are these guys?

By Eric Edholm

Sept. 14, 2005

The Week One Rookie of the Year meter always has a funny look to it, and this year is no different. There are always a few names that are familiar to the hard-core football fans and draftniks, but some out-of-left-field rook always seems to crack the early top 10 by putting in a 10-tackle performance in a game few people watch. Or some obscure kick returner from Tarleton State brings one back for a touchdown.

This year’s Week One top-10 edition features defensive players from the Bengals, Chiefs and Cardinals and offensive players from the Dolphins, Jaguars and Bears. Little weird, eh? Well this might not appear to be a banner rookie class just yet, but the appearance of two offensive linemen at least makes it better than last year when no O-linemen made the top 10 more than one week in a row.

1. Buccaneers RB Cadillac Williams

Season stats (one game): 27 carries, 148 yards, TD


That 71-yard scamper to put away the Vikings Sunday after a very strong, workmanlike effort all game is the kind of run that voters will remember when they vote for Rookie of the Year. It was the fifth-best first-game rushing performance by a rookie in NFL history — the best since Lions RB Billy Sims rushed for 153 yards against the Rams in 1980. Great start to a career for the Caddy.

2. Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson

Season stats (one game): nine tackles, sack


What a difference a year makes for the K.C. defense … we think. New acquisitions, including Johnson, allowed the team to use different schemes, including the 3-4 at times, and Johnson had a big debut. On the opening drive, Johnson and Kawika Mitchell stuffed Jets RB Curtis Martin for a big two-yard loss. Then, in the second quarter, Johnson sacked Pennington and forced him to fumble. Johnson finished with a game-high nine tackles. Although he was guilty of a few rookie mistakes, including biting on some play fakes and overrunning a few plays, he made up for it with athleticism and hustle and his ability to blitz.

3. Bengals LB Odell Thurman

Season stats (one game): seven tackles, interception, pass defended


Supposedly, Thurman’s pregame proclamation was something to the tune of: “Just another day on the park.” OK, rook, play a few games first, but the more he does what he did Sunday, he can say those kinds of things and not get curious looks from reporters. He made a game-high seven tackles and made two big second-quarter hits. On the first, he flew through the Browns' line on and stuffed Browns RB William Green. A few plays later he smacked Cleveland TE Steve Heiden pretty well on a seven-yard reception. He also added a pick later in the game, collecting a tipped pass and rumbling down to the 13-yard line. How should Thurman improve in his next game? Don’t get tackled, as he did, by Trent Dilfer.

4. Saints ORT Jammal Brown


The kid has been kicking some tail in the preseason, so everyone wanted to see how he’d fare in his first game against, ahem, Julius Peppers. How did he fare? Quite well, thank you very much. Though Brown was guilty of two false-start penalties, he did hold Peppers without a sack and limited him to six tackles. Brown is going to be a very good one.

5. Patriots OG Logan Mankins


What is it with these rookies handling future Hall of Famers, or possible ones? Mankins, cracking the champs’ starting lineup early in camp, absolutely controlled Raiders DT Warren Sapp, flattening him on a third-quarter screen and driving him back on many run plays. The only time Sapp got any pressure on Tom Brady was when Mankins tried to pass off Sapp while picking up a stunt and OLT Matt Light was unable to get him.

6. Cardinals CB Antrel Rolle

Season stats (one game): one tackle


Good and bad. First the good: Rolle held Giants WR Amani Toomer, covering him much of the game, in check, ending the receiver’s 98-game streak of having at least one reception. Then the bad: Rolle’s offside penalty on a kickoff in the second half led Tom Coughlin to make the Cardinals kick again, and the worn-out coverage guys allowed Willie Ponder to run one back for a touchdown.

7. Buccaneers TE Alex Smith

Season stats (one game): four receptions, 34 yards, two TDs


No jokes about “the other Alex Smith,” I promise. (Wait, does that count as an Alex Smith joke? Damn.) But the Bucs’ tight end was the first rookie tight end with two TD receptions in a season opener since Atlanta’s Jim Mitchell in 1969. Not bad.

8. Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown

Season stats (one game): 22 carries, 57 yards; one reception, four yards


Ran hard all day and though his long output was 15 yards, Brown gained only 57 yards. He did, however, earn the praise of Nick Saban. “He certainly didn’t look like a rookie. He looked like he had some maturity, understanding and confidence in what he was doing.” Brown’s best play was a dive and one-handed catch of a Gus Frerotte pass in the third quarter that kept a critical drive alive. His second-best play was falling on the ball on a broken play and taking a 10-yard loss, a play many other rookies might have tried dangerously to turn into something else. When he becomes more assertive on line plays, Brown will be special.

9. Jaguars WR Matt Jones

Season stats (one game): two receptions, 22 yards; two rushes, 28 yards; 1-of-1 passing, six yards


Can’t you just imagine this guy dominating the Punt, Pass and Kick competitions when he was a kid? He did a little of everything Sunday: he ran (twice for 28 yards), threw (1-for-1 passing, six yards) and caught passes (2-for-22, both for first downs, plus one pass he caught nearly out of the endzone and out of bounds). Intriguing rookie, much like Antwan Randle El was a few years ago.

10. Bears QB Kyle Orton

Season stats (one game): 15-of 28 passing, 141 yards, interception


The way Lovie Smith spoke of Orton’s performance, you’d have thought the Bears won 21-9: “Going into the game, the biggest question was our quarterback play, and the way Kyle Orton finished the game, we have our quarterback in place. We really feel good about how he played.” Orton was pretty solid on third downs in the second half (5-of-6 at one point down the stretch), and he made some decent throws, but of course the Bears were held out of the endzone. It’s very likely that Orton will be the league’s best rookie QB this season. He was the only one to play Sunday. Don’t let the passer rating fool you, though — Orton played pretty well.

Honorable mention (in no particular order)

Seahawks MLB Lofa Tatupu — Made defensive calls as starter and had four stops on runs close to the line of scrimmage.

Dolphins CB Travis Daniels — Saban’s former LSU boy snagged a pick in blowout win.

Steelers TE Heath Miller — First and only NFL catch was a touchdown.

Lions WR Mike Williams — Ditto Heath Miller.

49ers KR-WR Otis Amey — Feel-good story changed name from Fred, returned kick for TD first chance he got.

Giants RB Brandon Jacobs — Barreled through good Cardinals D-line for a few first downs, TD run.

49ers RB Frank Gore — Had a couple of nice catches, could be gaining on Barlow.

Bengals LB David Pollack — Got a quiet six tackles, but it was still six tackles.

Packers FS Nick Collins — Earned the Week One start and played well in coverage.

Buccaneers OG Dan Buenning — Did nice job in start for injured Matt Stinchcomb.

Chargers RB-RS Darren Sproles — Good debut: had 146 yards on four kickoff returns and 25 more on two punts

Raiders LB Kirk Morrison — Nickel ’backer had 10 tackles vs. N.E. and could start in short order

Vikings P Chris Kluwe — Dangerously bad pun alert: I must admit I had no Kluwe (ouch) who he was before Sunday, but he averaged 54.3 yards on four kicks.

Ravens WR Mark Clayton — Five catches, little damage, mostly late.

Jets SS Kerry Rhodes — Made 11 tackles and played relatively well despite defense’s failures.

Best of the rest (also in no particular order)

Panthers SS Thomas Davis

Giants CB Corey Webster

Raiders CB Stanford Routt

Titans OT Michael Roos

Texans SS C.C. Brown

Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt

Eagles WR Reggie Brown

Bears DB Chris Harris

Dolphins LB Channing Crowder

Cardinals OG Elton Brown

Broncos KR-CB Darrent Williams

Cowboys DE Marcus Spears

Jets CB-KR Justin Miller

Giants S James Butler

Browns FS Brodney Pool

Titans TE Bo Scaife

Eagles DT Mike Patterson

Bengals WR-RS Tab Perry

Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux

Jets P Ben Graham

Bears WR-KR Mark Bradley

49ers CB Derrick Johnson

Chargers DE Luis Castillo

Texans KR-RB Vernand Morency

Raiders RS Chris Carr

Cardinals RB J.J. Arrington

Patriots OT Nick Kaczur

Packers DE Mike Montgomery

Vikings OG Marcus Johnson

Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware

Bears RB Cedric Benson

Titans WR Brandon Jones

Falcons P Michael Koenen

Cowboys OT Rob Petitti

Browns WR Braylon Edwards

Jets PK Mike Nugent

Lions DT Shaun Cody

Redskins CB Carlos Rogers

Bills OG Duke Preston

Cowboys DE Chris Canty

Patriots CB-KR Ellis Hobbs

Lions DB Stanley Wilson

Texans DT Travis Johnson

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Looked to me, from watching the 1st quarter again on Tivo last night, that it was Ohalete and Wilkins that laid that hellacious hit on the Browns on the opening kickoff that forced the fumble the near turnover that was almost recovered by Myles. Then, later in the quarter, Ohaltete was on the field for a 1st and 10 situation, something I had not caught the first time through.

Yeah, he may be close to significant time, which is absolutely fine by me.

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I expect him to start soon as well, but not vs. the Vikes. He's the heavy hitter we need at strong safety, IF he can handle coverage. Honestly, against the Vikings, we need KK out there since he's the better coverage strong safety and the Viking passing attack is strong.

I agree with this, but I'd still like to see Ohalete do some blitzing on Sunday.

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I truly think that KK is a decent back-up and special teams player and that is the extent of it. Every game he starts is a game that we have a weakness in the secondary that could at any moment be exploited. On the Fishhead catch and run, he could not get off the WR block downfield to make a tackle on Fishhead. Pathetic. Could have saved the TD. That is the SS job.

I'm not a KK hater at all, just one that thinks he is not starter material.

Also, he did not "Earn" the starting SS spot, he assumed it after Kim Herring's injury. He "Earned" backing up Herring...big difference.

I think as Ohalete gets more tuned to the Bres D scheme he will jump in and start.

I would not mind seeing him start vs the vikes. I think he has a better shot at bringin down a rambling Duante than KK, or on the blitz.

BTW, Ohalete reminds me of Daryll Williams.

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I expect about a 50-50 split between Olahete and Kaeshviharn. I'll bet that K2 starts the game, but if he struggles even marginally early on in pass coverage, then Marvin will pull the plug, and give Ohalete a chance. In that case, Madieu will have a much bigger job, but that doesn't worry me too much.

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