SaintsInsider.com had a little piece on K Taylor Mehlhaff and his road to making the team.
First, he has to come out on top in a competition with fellow New Orleans kicker Martin Gramatica, and he begins his trek toward training camp during rookie camp this weekend. Mehlhaff said he has no problem with some competition.
"I just have an athlete’s mentality that I bring to the table," Mehlhaff said. "Not only is that an edge over other guys, but physically with my kickoff I really feel like if you put me one-on-one with somebody, I can beat them out, and I feel very confident with my field goals."
What is Coach Payton looking for?
Saints head coach Sean Payton said the chance of keeping both Gramatica and Mehlhaff is there, but right now, he’s focusing on two kickers competing for one spot.... But for Payton, it all boils down to one thing: "They’re going to have to be able to kick field goals."
Mehlhaff tells us how he is gonna win the spot...
Mehlhaff views leg strength as a way to separate top-tier kickers from the rest, not field goal performance. Among top kickers, he said, field goal ability is roughly the same, but leg strength can make a kicker stand out.
"The kickoffs are becoming premium, and it is getting more and more important," Mehlhaff said. "You look at guys like Devin Hester and (Josh) Cribbs up in Cleveland, these returners are getting better and better. You need to have a good kickoff team, and it all starts with the kicker."
All the way from the Bradenton Herald of Florida comes an article about UFA Rocky Schwartz. The articles says the safety is determined to make the team.
Despite leading 8-5 Houston with 103 tackles, Schwartz was overlooked in last month's NFL Draft. After signing a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints, he is determined to show 31 teams they made a mistake.
His great adventure began Thursday, when Schwartz flew to the Saints' training facility in Metairie, La., for a three-day rookie minicamp. The 5-foot-10, 202-pound Schwartz plans to stand out the best way he knows - by approaching every meeting, every drill, every play with boundless energy and determination.
"I'm going there with the mentality that teams I'll be playing against are trying to take food off the table for my sons," Schwartz said earlier this week. He and wife Arielle have a 15-month-old son, Trey, and another boy due in August.
"I want to show them I'm smart on and off the field, I'm a fierce hitter, and I can play the ball in the air and be a ball-hawk. It's always been my dream to play pro football, and to actually sign and get that chance I think says a lot for me."
Go get 'em Rocky.
Fox Sports brings us a heartwarming piece about the first family of football, the Mannings. This is a good read giving us an inside look at the family. Check it out.
This was my favorite part.
"I know how to split the screen and get them both," he said with a hint of pride in his technical prowess. "And what really drives my wife crazy is when I've got both games on the split screen and I bring my radio in and listen to the Saints at the same time. She doesn't care for that."
Archie is the man.
In league news, Mike Florio at The Sporting News came up with an idea for punishing teams with players who find trouble off the field. Check it out. He asserts that teams with players who find themselves in trouble should be penalized by losing a draft pick.
Put simply, the league should impose real and meaningful penalties on teams that roll the dice on guys who previously ran a tin cup over steel bars.
I'm not saying NFL teams never should sign or draft a player who previously has been convicted of a crime. But if they do, and if that player gets into more trouble, the franchise should be punished along with the player.
So the only way to get teams to avoid players with a history of legal problems -- or, even better, help the player change his unlawful ways -- is to strip the team of draft picks.
Here are the rules of the game:
To prevent claims that certain teams are shown favoritism while others get nailed unfairly, a formula should be created to address the problem as to each and every team.
As to any player who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to any non-violent crime within five years prior to any new incident:
• The team would lose a sixth-round draft pick if the player is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to any non-violent crime as a result of that new incident.
• The penalty would increase to a fourth-round draft pick for any violent crimes arising out of the new incident.
If a player has two or more convictions or guilty/no-contest pleas to non-violent crimes within five years prior to any new incident:
• The team would lose a fourth-round draft pick if the player is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to any non-violent crime as a result of that new incident.
• The penalty would be a second-round pick for violent crimes.
If a player has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to any violent crime within five years prior to any new incident,
• The team would lose a fifth-round draft pick if the player is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to any non-violent crime.
• The penalty would increase to a third-round draft pick for any violent crime arising out of the new incident.
And if a player has two or more convictions or guilty/no-contest pleas with at least one of them being a violent crime within the five years prior to any new incident:
• The team would lose a third-round pick for any non-violent crime resulting from the new incident.
• The team loses a first-round draft pick if it's a violent crime.
He spent a lot of time on this. It reads like the rules of an elaborate role playing fantasy sports board game. But this is the part that makes the whole thing sketchy.
The distinction between violent and non-violent crimes would be made on a case-by-case basis, driven by common sense, a simple list of guidelines and precedent created as the rule is applied to specific situations.
Yeah, that is real cut and dry(sarcasm). Anything "driven by common sense" is bound for trouble. Everyone's definition of common sense is different. I think Florio needs to tweak this a little bit.
I do agree that the off field trouble of NFL players seems to be becoming more and more regular, and that is very upsetting. I don't know whether this is the answer however. Not really sure where I stand on Florio's idea.
I will bring you more today if any info comes out of mini-camp.