Around the Pound (8/26): Coye Francies Off the PUP, Mangini Discusses Bubble Players

Your eyes aren't deceiving you: it's the second straight day of Around the Pound here on Dawgs By Nature. In today's edition, we talk about defensive back Coye Francies returning to the team, Eric Mangini discussing some of the bubble players, Scott Fujita's comments on his former kicker, and more.

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Coye Francies Taken Off the PUP List

It figures -- the day after I take Coye Francies off my roster projection list because I predict he'll start the season on the PUP, he is taken off the list and returns to practice. For the first time this camp, Francies participated in practice Thursday afternoon.

Francies had been on the PUP due to a groin injury he suffered during OTA's. Eric Mangini commented on his roster odds this morning:

(On how Coye Francies fits into the secondary) -- "I don’t know that answer right now.  What can you do on special teams and then what’s your role?  Can you be effective as the money player, the inside player that covers the tight end types or the star which covers the slot receiver or are you more of an outside guy?  We had a decent look at him last year.  We have a lot more information obviously than before we drafted him.  Typically those guys make a jump in the second year and we haven’t been able to evaluate that as much.  I thought he did some nice things in OTAs, some positive things from where he was.  The tough thing with Coye’s situation is the time to evaluate has been compressed dramatically.  You’re fighting time."

Mangini said that Francies will be questionable for this week's game against the Detroit Lions. Since he's missed so much time, he'll have a better chance at seeing the field in the final preseason game. I really hope he shines, because I still wouldn't mind him serving as an upgrade over Brandon McDonald.

Mangini Discusses the Bubble Players

In a press conference this morning with Eric Mangini, he discussed some of the team's bubble players. For the full transcript, click the link above.

(On if there is a scenario where both James Davis and Chris Jennings could make the roster and if special teams will come into play) -- "Really that will be the key factor is special teams.  If you’re not the starter or if you’re not a starter in a package, in order to make the team you have to add value on special teams.  In order to get to the 45, you definitely have to have value on special teams.  That’s a big part of how guys are being evaluated.  Guys can’t forget too, it’s not just Jennings and J.D., they’re competing against everybody, everybody who is kind of in that same area."

(On how Davis is looking on special teams) -- "I think he’s looked better than last season at this time, so that’s encouraging.  I think he’s still got some things that have to improve, but I like some of the progress that I’ve seen.  Same thing with Chris.  Often times these guys haven’t played special teams at all in college or if they did, it was when they were freshman, so it’s getting back in to that feel.  We have had different guys over time who when they first started on special teams, you think, ‘Oh my God, they have no chance.’  Then the light goes on and they get it and end up becoming core guys and really prolonging their career. 

Jerricho Cotchery to me is a great story because he made the team in New York on special teams and then he got a chance to play in 2006 and had, I think, 89 catches.  He never would have gotten that shot had he not done all of the good things that he did on special teams."

(On if James Davis has been making explosive runs in camp like he did last year) -- "He’s looked, I’d say similar.  I know he hasn’t had the long runs, but I think he’s looked similar to how he looked last year.  Now he will get a lot more chances I’d say in the Chicago game than he will necessarily this week.  He will get some chances this week, but I think in Chicago he will really get a chance to make a strong argument.  I think his blocking has improved, which is an area that we targeted in the offseason."

(On if there is a number of running backs he has in mind that he would like to have on the final roster) -- "I’ve had two, I’ve had more.  That’s why we have that miscellaneous category on the chart because maybe it’s the fourth tight end, maybe it’s the fourth running back, maybe it’s the sixth safety, you keep those open.  You have certain things slotted by position, then you keep another area open because that’s the next best guy."

Based on the reports and what I've seen this preseason, I still think James Davis has the edge over Chris Jennings. However, Jennings did play more than Davis last year, so the coaches could go off of that instead.

(On if Kaluka Maiava and David Veikune are ready to make a jump in their second year) -- "In a lot of ways, I thought that David was very similar to Brian (Robiskie) in terms of offensive and defensive development.  He had really shown a much better mastery of the scheme, of what he had to do and had made a lot of progress.  He missed some time here throughout camp, which you never want that to happen with a guy that’s developing.  There have been a lot of positive signs. He made a tackle or two last week on special teams, which was a good thing to see. 

With Kaluka, he got a lot of playing time last year.  He did a nice job on special teams and my expectation is that he takes another jump.  He was very effective at USC as a special teams player.  He was special teams player of the year, I think twice.  He was an underrated guy in that group of linebackers that came out and they had so many of them that came out that year, he was almost an afterthought, but I thought he was a big part of why that defense was effective.  My expectation for him is a significant jump.  He is a smart kid and he is an inherently tough kid.  He’s not your typical size, but if he can carve out a third and fourth down role, it could be a really good role for us."

The way that Mangini touts Veikune makes it so difficult for me to put him on that cut list. We just have a surplus of linebackers who are hard to look at and say, "keep this guy over this guy."

(On who might be the backup center) -- "(Billy) Yates has played there quite a bit and Shawn (Lauvao) had played there quite a bit.  Again with Shawn not being here for a week, it was harder to follow the rep progression that we had hoped to follow, but he has done a nice job throughout camp and so has Billy.  Pat Murray has worked there as well."

(On his impressions of Travis Ivey) -- "Big.  He’s big.  We liked some things about him in college.  We have really only had actually a little over 24 hours with him.  He seems to be proactive in terms of trying to get the information and outside the typical slated times.  We will see this weekend.  I don’t know a ton of about him, just more my college exposure and my limited exposure here."

(On if Ivey if the only potential backup nose tackle if Rogers is on the PUP list) -- "No, different guys have played it.  Believe it or not, Kenyon (Coleman) has played nose before.  Robaire has played nose before, he has worked in there at different points.  We would build all of those things in, kind of like the o-line.  It’s not necessarily what you would like to do, but they have done it and they understand the technique and how to operate.  We have got Swanson (Miller), who has worked in there.  We will just have to see how it goes."

Not much to discuss here, just some players to keep in mind should Rogers start the season on the PUP. Mangini also said that Montario Hardesty would practice Thursday, but would be limited. All signs indicate that Hardesty won't play against the Lions.

Scott Fujita Not a Friend to Young Kickers

Per Waiting for Next Year in an interview with Scott Fujita in GQ:

In a feature coined “We’ve always wanted to know,” Fujita tackled the rarely-answered question about what players say to their kicker after he misses a big field goal.

“It depends who your kicker is,” said Fujita. ”When I was in Kansas City with Morten Andersen, you didn’t say a word.  His track record spoke for itself. But last December when I was with New Orleans,” Fujita continued, ”our fat punk kicker, Garrett Hartley, missed a game-winner and we lost for the second week in a row – that was one of the times you want to grab a guy and tell him to [bug ] off.  But Hartley was young, and I didn’t want to mess him up for good, so I just bit my lip and said, ‘Hey, man, don’t worry about it – it was a team loss,’ which of course was a total lie.”

It might sound like Fujita is being harsh, but I have a feeling that most NFL players think along these lines.

Off-Beat Notes

  • On the inside of posts on Dawgs By Nature, you can see a list of the recent FanShots on the right side of the page. FanShots have been more utilized as of late here at Dawgs By Nature, so this should help provide more exposure to them so you don't always have to go to the front page to see them.
  • In a press conference with Mike Holmgren, he said he still hopes he can get Jim Brown to attend the Ring of Honor ceremony: "He expressed how wonderful the day will be. He said he'd get back to me. I hope he can be there. Jim Brown is synonymous with the Cleveland Browns."
  • LB D'Qwell Jackson said that there is no chance he'll start the season on the Injured Reserve.
  • DBN fans are talking about the news that Derek Anderson is starting this week over Matt Leinart.
  • I usually hate when Howard Stern takes the week off, but the reruns of "the best on Sirius" this week have been hilarious. Every skit has been radio gold.
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