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Marshawn: Beast Mode

Posted by Eric | October 26, 2007 at 7:20 am | In Marshawn, Players/Alumni | 1 Comment

Marshawn Lynch is making a big impact in the pros after his jump to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. This week, he’s had some time in the spotlight.

He’s been nominated for the award a couple times this season — this time, Marshawn won the Rookie of the Week honor after his performance contributing to the Bills’ win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Meanwhile, fans, players, and sports radio in Buffalo (”Entering “Beast Mode” With Marshawn Lynch”) have a lot of praise for Marshawn’s overall efforts:

Anyone who’s watched Lynch run in his six games as a Bill has seen it. The 5-foot-11, 21-year old back out of Oakland has amassed 457 yards and four touchdowns behind a line that’s still trying to find its proverbial identity. Lynch has also hauled in 10 passes for 82 yards in addition to running the ball with a style both elusive and imposing, pumping his legs with a Roger Craig-like ferocity until the one, two, three or more would-be tacklers drag him down. . . .

It’s hard not to bristle when Bills fans do what they do, comparing their new hero to the beloved legends of old, but there’s a bit of No. 34 in No. 23. In a certain sense, Lynch typifies the back Bills fans would draw up, and not just as a hard-running, stubborn back with both flash and grit, but as a humble, quiet young man who speaks when he’s spoken to.

There’s talk that Marshawn is about to “bust out” as the Bills hit the softer section of their schedule:

Buffalo has faced four of the league’s top 10 run defenses thus far including the second-ranked Ravens and third-ranked Steelers. But all of that stiff competition looks to be serving the Bills run game well. Lynch had his second highest rushing output of the season last Sunday against the highest ranked run front they’ve faced this year (Baltimore) with 84 yards and a touchdown.

That’s why it stands to reason that the Bills ground attack has a good chance of breaking out with some big games in the weeks to come. Buffalo faces the 28th, 27th and 31st ranked run defenses over the next three weeks in the Jets, Bengals and Dolphins respectively.

The national media (here, Sports Illustrated) is taking notice as well:

The stats won’t show it, but Marshawn Lynch (27 carries, 84 yards) was a man against Baltimore.

Finally, he’s still hilarious as ever — check out this segment on “The Mayne Event” featuring Marshawn’s embrace of the city of Buffalo.

NFL alumni blurbs

Posted by Eric | July 31, 2007 at 12:53 pm | In Marshawn, Players/Alumni | 5 Comments

Marshawn Lynch (ironically pictured here with fellow rookie Trent Edwards of Stanford) is shining out in Buffalo, making a lot of buzz about his upcoming season in the news. In addition to the following blurbs, here is a training camp report with some Marshawn action from yesterday.

SI.com’s Monday Morning QB:

7. I think Marshawn Lynch impressed me off the field the other day, after showing terrific moves on the field. . . . One other thing about Lynch. I asked him about his goals for the season and how good he thought he could be as a rookie. “I haven’t even put on the pads yet,” he said. “We can’t know about that yet. I’m just getting comfortable here. Guys have been doing this for years and I just got here.” Impressive kid, at least at first glance.

AP (Sporting News): “Top pick Lynch arrives at Bills camp”

Once practice began, it was difficult to hold Lynch back. . . . Lynch made his training camp debut in suburban Rochester after signing a five-year contract worth nearly $19 million. He was so eager that the native of Oakland, Calif., was already in the state waiting for the deal to be completed. . . .

He was drafted 12th overall out of Cal to replace Willis McGahee, the inconsistent and often brooding player who was traded to Baltimore in March. . . . His versatility as a receiver gives the Bills an added dimension in coordinator Steve Fairchild’s multi-threat offense, something McGahee struggled with last year. . . . Losman also praised Lynch’s attention to detail. “You watch him closely, he’s always paying attention,” Losman said. “You never see him messing around back there. And that’s what you want to see from your running back.”

Jason Y reports that today’s “ESPN First Take” included the following from Aaron Schatz (Writer of “Pro Football Prospectus 2007″):

“The running back with biggest opportunity in his rookie year is Marshawn Lynch because Buffalo really has a big hole open in that running back position.” Schatz goes onto say that ultimately Adrian Peterson will be slower out of the gates because he has other running backs to compete with and that Adrian will probably gain superstar status eventually, but this season Lynch will be the rookie that shines.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers is looking good (but needs a haircut) at quarterback, taking reps with Green Bay’s first-team offense in training camp. However, he’s stuck indefinitely behind Brett Favre on the depth chart.

Green Bay Press-Gazette: “Rodgers looks sharp with first team”

Rodgers completed 13 of his last 16 passes in competitive periods Sunday morning — two of the misses were drops by Holiday and Brandon Miree — and was 15-for-21 overall, including 6-for-7 in the challenging blitz period. The performance was on par with Rodgers’ play in most offseason practices that were open to the media this summer, showing off his improved arm strength and increasing comfort in the Packers’ offense. . . .

Rodgers needed 5½ months to recover from a broken foot sustained Nov. 19 against New England, the game in which he saw his most extensive action last season. His arm, however, has overshadowed any lingering concerns about his health since minicamp.

He’ll lead the starters the next two days while Favre continues to deal with the death of his wife’s stepfather, and potentially more later in training camp if Favre sits out some mornings during two-a-day practices. However, there’s no telling when Favre will step away for good. Rodgers is in the third of the five-year, $7.655 million contract the Packers gave him as the 24th overall draft pick in 2005, and his best chance to become a starter might come elsewhere.

Wisconsin State Journal: “Packers: Rodgers’ actions speak clearly”

“Aaron is at the point in his career where he just needs reps. You don’t really get (enough) opportunity being the No. 2 and 3 guy,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said . . . He (has) total command of the huddle. I think his arm has gotten stronger. I think his maturity — physically and mentally — has progressed a lot since he’s been here. He just needs the opportunity to play.”

And therein lies the problem for Rodgers. He’s said mostly the right things as he’s bided his time behind Favre, but part of him was excited when his name was linked to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason Randy Moss trade rumors. Those rumors proved to be unfounded, though, so he’s back for Year 3 of learning behind a legend.

Here’s a short bit on JJ Arrington with the Arizona Cardinals:

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has been encouraged by the play of J.J. Arrington in camp, but that didn’t stop Whisenhunt from chewing out the running back when he didn’t finish a play in the afternoon session. Whisenhunt complimented Arrington after he carried the ball a few plays later. Not only is Arrington getting work at fullback in some sets, he’s also flanking out as a receiver on some plays . . .

And, a brief on Kyle Boller in Baltimore:

After three up-and-down seasons as Baltimore’s starting signal-caller, Boller was replaced by former league Most Valuable Player Steve McNair.

Boller played well when opportunities presented themselves in 2006, completing a career-best 60 percent of his passes for 486 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s unlikely to challenge McNair for playing time, though, as he enters the final year of his contract and will receive competition for the backup role from rookie quarterback Troy Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner out of Ohio State. . . . Boller will be a free agent after the 2007 season.

EDIT 8/1: Here is a blurb on Marcus O’Keith (Kansas City):

In the early days of camp, Michael Bennett and Kolby Smith have received most of the first-team snaps, but the Chiefs also have been impressed with rookie Marcus O’Keith, and he could conceivably earn some playing time with a strong preseason if Johnson’s holdout is prolonged.

O’Keith ripped off a couple of long runs toward the end of Tuesday afternoon’s practice.

And here’s Adimchinobe Echemandu of the Raiders (notice his “Joe” nickname):

That left Justin Fargas and Adimchinobe ” Joe” Echemandu sharing first-team snaps during the afternoon practice in Napa. . . . So far, Echemandu has been a pleasant surprise with several long runs. With Rhodes and Jordan out, the former Cal running back will get a chance to make a strong impression on the coaching staff.

“What we’re about is giving guys open competition, give them a look,” Kiffin said when asked about Echemandu earlier this week. “Right now, Joe will be getting his shot.”

Marshawn as offensive ROY?

Posted by Alex | May 7, 2007 at 10:31 am | In Marshawn | No Comments

There is a great mention of Marshawn in SI’s Monday Morning QB by Peter King.

7. I think they might as well go ahead and inscribe the Offensive Rookie of the year trophy with Marshawn Lynch’s name. With a run-blocking offensive line coach in Jim McNally, two very high-priced line free agents in the fold (Derrick Dockery, Langston Walker) after being trained in run-blocking in their previous places, and the likelihood that Lynch will get 300 carries if he stays healthy … I mean, unless Calvin Johnson catches 80 balls or some Hofstra receiver comes out of nowhere again, Lynch should win it in a walk.

Look for a great year from Marshawn behind what looks to be a rebuilt OL of the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch drafted by Bills at #12

Posted by Steve | April 28, 2007 at 10:54 am | In Marshawn, Players/Alumni | No Comments

It’s now official… Marshawn Lynch will be playing next year in Buffalo. He was selected 12th, the second running back after Adrian Peterson went to Minnesota at #7.

EDIT by ERIC: Here are some additional news articles about the pick:

Here’s a cool Photoshopped image of Lynch in Bills uniform courtesy of a Buffalo fan on their message boards:

marshawnbuf.png

And here’s ESPN/Scouts, Inc.’s draft analysis:

Buffalo placed need over value with this pick. Lynch has shown flashes of developing into a difference maker. He’s big enough to carry a heavy workload and his speed should make him a home-run threat in the NFL. In other words, he can pound the ball inside and turn the corner as an outside runner. There’s also reason to believe he’ll emerge as a dangerous receiver out of the backfield, so he compares favorably to Peterson in a lot of ways. However, Lynch isn’t on the same level as Peterson… (blah blah)

In addition, Lynch, much like Peterson, has had some problems staying healthy, so this is a bit of a reach and Buffalo may have been better served taking a corner. However, running back is clearly a need and this could prove to be a great pick if Lynch pans out.

From Keith Kidd during the ESPN Live Draft Chat:

With the 12th pick the Bills select Marshawn Lynch. The Bills addressed a definite need on their team since they traded McGahee. Patrick Willis was a guy they had targeted, but he ended up in San Francisco. There were concerns about Lynch’s durability and character issues, which had him possibly falling down the draft board. But the Bills felt strong enough about him to take him at 12. He is a big back, with the size and acceleration to be a home run threat in the Bills offense and take pressure off Losman. To us this is a definite reach. The Bills could have addressed their CB situation with both Hall and Revis, but they can look to address their corner situation with a second round pick, with a guy like Eric Wright.

Marshawn in Nike’s 2007 “Rookie Class”

Posted by Eric | April 24, 2007 at 8:17 am | In Marshawn, Players/Alumni | 1 Comment

marshawn_nike_rookie.jpg

Following up from our recent post on Marshawn Lynch in Nike’s new football ads, our boy is now featured on Nike’s new “Rookie Class” website. I have to say that it all looks very good, and I’m happy that Marshawn is already going on to be incredibly successful in the professional realm of football. The word from Nike:

… check out exclusive interviews, view behind-the-scenes videos, grab a draft countdown widget, scroll through a bevy of images and download the press kit containing the official press release on Lynch’s Nike signing and high-resolution imagery. Lynch is part of Nike’s 2007 rookie class that boasts nine of the most heralded prospects entering this year’s NFL draft including JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Adrian Peterson, Gaines Adams, Amobi Okoye, Calvin Johnson, Leon Hall and Greg Olsen.

Take a look: Welcome to Sunday.

Positive press for Marshawn

Posted by Eric | April 19, 2007 at 8:18 am | In Marshawn | 1 Comment

Well, the negativity is out the window and the positive press has begun pouring in for Marshawn Lynch.

First of all, a NFL network article states that teams don’t buy these alleged “character concerns”:

Teams have done extra homework on Lynch, which helps explain why the running back visited Kansas City on Tuesday, Buffalo on Wednesday, and is scheduled to visit Detroit on Thursday and Green Bay on Friday. …

Teams told Lynch’s agents that their character questions had been answered, and each is comfortable with what it heard. Lynch is expected to be the second running back drafted.

Next, USA Today has a great feature article about Marshawn and his mom. In addition to describing Marshawn’s on-field success and strong family ties, the article quotes Coach Jeff Tedford addressing the “incident” as well.

Tedford thinks the incident was a learning situation for Lynch. “As you grow in the public eye, you just never know what people will say or do or what their motives are,” he says. “It boggles my mind, people who are motivated to say things that aren’t true.”

Finally, SI’s Don Banks (who made the ridiculous mock draft dropping Marshawn from the first round) has made a sudden U-turn and splashed Marshawn on the top of his “Instant impact rookies” article. It’s about time. TBIOOTF has a blurb about this turnaround also.

Lynch has a package of skills that make him likely to be in contention for this year’s offensive rookie honors. …

Lynch has proven he can both catch the ball out of the backfield and line up in the slot as a receiving option, creating potential mismatches in coverage. He can pound the ball inside, but has enough speed to make the edge and turn the corner. He can even offer a bit on the trick play front, because the former high school quarterback has been known to throw a 70-yard pass.

Marshawn update

Posted by Eric | April 16, 2007 at 2:11 pm | In Marshawn | 3 Comments
Marshawn in Nike Ad

First, take a look at Marshawn in the new Nike football ads. Awesome.

So, despite some negative vibes from uninformed mock-draft wannabes (i.e. SI’s Don Banks - who?) over the past few weeks, it seems we should still expect to see Marshawn Lynch taken in the first round of the draft. This article in the Journal Times sings Lynch’s praises and talks about his discussions with the Green Bay Packers.

According to Doug Hendrickson, who is Lynch’s agent, his client will be flying to Green Bay next week to meet with Packers officials. …

Most NFL officials are convinced Lynch is the only other back worthy of being chosen in the first round. He is projected to go in the middle of the first round, which is precisely where Packers will be picking with the 16th overall selection. Hendrickson said Green Bay is among a spate of teams that have shown keen interest in his client. Hendrickson said Lynch has already visited Detroit (which has the No. 2 pick), Cleveland (3), Atlanta (8), Buffalo (12), Tennessee (19) Dallas (22) and Baltimore (29).

Meanwhile, draft guru Mel Kiper of ESPN still projects Lynch to be taken with the 16th pick by Green Bay. We’ll be happy to see Lynch taken high in the draft as he deserves. He was spotted watching the spring scrimmage on Saturday, afterwards throwing around the football with some kids on the field.

Cal pro day: Hughes improves 40

Posted by Eric | March 7, 2007 at 1:28 am | In Defense, Marshawn, Players/Alumni | No Comments

Cal had its pro day today (March 6) for NFL teams and scouts interested in pro prospects on the team. According to NFL.com:

CALIFORNIA: MARCH 6
22 teams were there. Two NFL position coaches worked out RB Marshawn Lynch — Tom Rathman (Raiders) and James Saxon (Chiefs). DB Daymeion Hughes ran a better time than he did at the Combine, in the mid 4.5s.

This is great news for Hughes and it should keep his stock up for the draft.

EDIT: The SF Chronicle has a more in-depth article about pro day, mentioning the four NFL combine participants but also Marcus O’Keith, David Gray, Andrew Cameron, Mickey Pimentel, and more.

Restraining order against Lynch revoked

Posted by Eric | March 6, 2007 at 7:42 pm | In Marshawn | No Comments

As expected, Marshawn and his attorney proved he was never informed of the restraining order filed against him, and it has been revoked. The Daily Cal also reports on this development.

According to court documents, process server Andre Cox delivered documents to Lynch in mid-January at a gym on Cal’s campus informing him that a hearing on the woman’s request had been scheduled.

However, the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year could not have known about the hearing because he was in Arizona when the process server claimed to have delivered the notice, said Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson.

Lynch at the NFL combine

Posted by Eric | February 26, 2007 at 7:00 am | In Marshawn, Players/Alumni | 2 Comments

The official NFL combine results for Marshawn Lynch are in.

His forty time is 4.46, tied for fifth overall (Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson clocked a 4.40 and tied for the best time with Arizona’s Chris Henry and Ohio St.’s Antonio Pittman). This is a solid number for Lynch, considering he was clocked unofficially at 4.52/4.49 beforehand. Also, Lynch lacked pure track form like some of the other RBs.

On the NFL Network, Coach Dick Vermeil commented that Lynch’s time was more than adequate for a running back, pointing out that he is more of a natural running back than a track athlete. In addition, Marshall Faulk mentioned that given his excellent skills and wide running base, Lynch had plenty of speed.

His vertical jump is 35 1/2 and broad jump 10′5″, compared to Peterson’s 38 and 10′7″. Lynch also clocked a 11.80 in the 60 shuttle and a 7.05 in the three cone.

The overall consensus among scouts and analysts is Lynch had a decent to good showing with no surprises, and he seems to be solidifying his position as the second running back taken in the draft (after Peterson). Most are suggesting that the Green Bay Packers will choose him with their 16th pick.

Meanwhile, Lynch is having to respond to alleged character issues. This article from a Wisconsin (note: Green Bay’s state) paper sums up that most teams aren’t buying the allegations against him:

When an ex-girlfriend claimed he assaulted her in December, red flags about Lynch immediately were raised - even though, four days after the woman’s Jan. 25 accusation came to light, an Alameda (Calif.) County deputy district attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence and “grave inconsistencies” in the alleged victim’s accusations. Lynch never was arrested or charged.

Lynch’s agents at Octagon Sports took a proactive approach to the matter, sending a letter to all 32 teams that included the DA’s remarks. One league source said the woman was looking to extort money from Lynch, a near-certain first-round pick. Four NFL personnel sources interviewed Friday all said that they think Lynch is a “good kid.”

“I was innocent,” Lynch said. “It was a mistake. I moved on from it. I was faced with adversity and felt it made me stronger. I learned a lesson from it, and now I have to keep moving forward.”

Asked what he’ll do when the subject comes up in interviews, Lynch said, “Tell them the truth. It’s probably not fair, but it’s something they want to know and I have nothing to hide.”

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