Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mundy signs two-year deal with Bears

Ryan Mundy, who was most recently with the New York Giants, has signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

The deal was the second one of the afternoon for the Bears, who need significant help in the secondary.

Mundy filled in for the Giants last season, making 77 tackles, one sack and an interception.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal is in place with expectations of Mundy battling for the starting job after Major Wright and two other safeties left for free agency.

Along with Mundy, Chris Conte is the other safety on the roster. The Bears are also expected to explore safety options in the draft.

Mundy also received interest from the Giants as well as San Francisco.

Details of the deal have not yet been announced.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New York Jets: QB Geno Smith would improve with addition of Michael Vick

Gang Green might be the new favorite shade of green for free agent Michael Vick after spending the past four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The New York Jets are being rumored to be interested in signing the former No. 1 overall pick from the 2001 NFL Draft this offseason to help bolster the quarterback position this season.

Vick, who was replaced by Nick Foles midway through the 2013 season, could still bring a lot of positives to the Jets even with the prime of his career behind him and turning 34 years old this June.

The biggest of those positives would be to help in the development of second-year quarterback Geno Smith, which had considerable ups and downs in his first season in the NFL.

In 2013, Smith completed 247 of his 443 pass attempts, along with tossing only 12 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions in 16 games played for the Jets. Not to add insult to injury, the 21 interceptions was the most by a rookie quarterback since Peyton Manning tossed 28 in his first season in Indianapolis during the 1998 season.

Smith’s numbers at the end of his first season should have come to no surprise for a rookie to be roughed up by the caliber of today’s NFL defenses following the jump from West Virginia and the Big 12 Conference.

Even with that rough freshman season in 2013, the Jets’ focus should stick to supporting Smith as the team’s starting quarterback, instead of bringing in Vick to take the signal caller job in 2014.

At the same time, Smith would be motivated to improve and keep his spot on the team with the 11-year veteran nipping at his heels during training camp and the preseason.

Smith didn’t have that type of pressure on him from a backup last season, so he could be pushed to avoid another late season slump and push the Jets into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Vick could also help speed up Smith’s understanding of the play calling with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg this season, which held the same position during Vick’s time with the Eagles during the 2009-2012 seasons.

The Jets’ offense, which was poor in every category outside of the running game with Chris Ivory, would be helped greatly if the organization selected a wide receiver with the 18th pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Texas A&M’s Mike Evans could give Smith a big target to look for sprinting down the sideline, which could drastically improve the Jets' passing game that ranked 30th last season.

If the case of an injury happens in the preseason or early in the regular season, Smith would still have a backup that could step in as starting quarterback in an offense that he should grasp with Mornhinweg.

With potential still yet to be uncovered in Smith, the Jets needs to add the consistency and leadership of Vick to the franchise’s quarterback position instead of another quarterback controversy along sidelines of MetLife Stadium.

You can follow Chris at @_CBH_ and WVUPros at @WVUPros on Twitter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Coal Burning Stove: Jones, Ebanks should be in NBA

When Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks left WVU, they were two of the most well-known faces to ever don the ole blue and gold. Now, both players are streaking through the NBA Development League. But they should be in the NBA.

You have Ebanks, who sits at fourth in the NBA D League in scoring, averaging 23.9 points per game. The 6-foot-9 forward surely could've been used on his old team, the Los Angles Lakers, this season. But when Ebanks was traded to the Springfield Armor, you have to wonder if the team's affiliate, the Brooklyn Nets, are looking closely at him.

The Nets sit with a 28-29 record and, fortunately, still have a shot at making a run at the Eastern Conference playoffs. With center Brook Lopez out with an injury, the Nets signed Jason Collins to a 10-day contract on February 23. Just a few days prior, the Armor acquired Ebanks.

While the starting rotation seems to be set for the Nets, they could benefit greatly from Ebanks' length and ability to get to the rim. While he will generally play the small forward position, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring in someone to give Paul Pierce a few breathers.

The next best SF listed on the Nets roster is Alan Anderson, who averages 24.1 minutes per game, slightly less than Pierce's 28.8. Anderson only averages 7.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. From there, the Nets have Andre Kirilenko who gets 19.2 minutes per game and just 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

If Collins' contract runs out and the Nets decided to go in another direction, why not Ebanks?

In his last game out, ironically against Jones' Canton Charge, Ebanks scored 31 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and pulled down nine rebounds. He shot 12-of-20 from the field and hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.

In the same game, Jones led the Charge with 24 points and 17 rebounds.

Jones, too, could provide a spark for an Eastern Conference team looking to make a run towards the playoffs. Though the Cleveland Cavaliers sit at just 24-37, they're listed as the first team left out of the playoffs in the East.

For the season, Jones averages 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.

The Cavs have some pieces in place but could be missing one important factor: depth.

Kyrie Irving is undoubtedly one of the best in the league at what he does. From there, Luol Deng and Dion Waiters can provide secondary scoring, both averaging over 14 points per game. In the post, you have Spencer Hawes, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Verejao. Thompson averages 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Those are solid numbers for a power forward. Verejao and Hawes both play the center position and generally play it pretty well.

But who else is after Verejao or Hawes in terms of depth? The only other power forward listed is Arinze Onuaku, who averages 6.5 minutes and 0.8 points per game.

Why not replace him with Jones, who spent time with the team on occasion last season?

The truth of the matter is, you only keep players in your D League system for one reason. Both the Nets and the Cavs will be looking to give themselves the best chance to make some noise in the playoffs.

What better way to make some noise than with players who spent their college years being welcomed to the court with a musket blast?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jock Sanders signs with the Calgary Stampeders

   After getting cut by the Tampa Bay Bucs following Training Camp in 2011, Jock Sanders broke into the CFL with the B.C. Lions. Now, three years later, Sanders found himself as a free-agent commodity, weighing offers from four teams.
   On Tuesday, he made his decision by signing with the Calgary Stampeders.

Will Clarke's NFL Combine Results

   Will Clarke continued his steady rise in draft stock during the NFL Combine.