Great piece today from my good friend Pat Traina on how New York Giants' record-setting wide receiver Steve Smith has taken Ramses Barden under his wing.
Here is a little bit of Barden talking about Smith, and his development as a receiver.
"Steve is one of the hardest working receivers in the business," Barden said. "He loves this game and is a good guy to follow around. We’ll often get extra ball drills in, extra footwork, talk about different schemes and strategies just because as young as he is, he has a lot of experience and he’s a guy I can learn from because he knows the entire offense."
Barden recalled how he’d be standing on the sidelines during games watching Smith, who almost effortlessly came up with key reception after reception. Then when the receivers would gather to watch the film from the previous week, Barden continued to marvel at what he saw from his teammate and friend, and thought to himself, ‘This is a guy I want to be like.’
"Steve runs some of the crispest routes in the league, and he’s very precise with the way he drops his hips and the finds the ball when he turns around, how he stems defensive backs, and looks for the blind spot," Barden said when asked what he admired most about Smith’s style.
"I definitely think my skills have started to grow a little bit regarding how they relate to the NFL game," Barden added. "My routes are becoming more precise. I’m better at the top whether it be getting in and out, being explosive out, being explosive out as well as in, and not giving away clues to the defense as far as not letting them know what I’m running, and being able to disguise each route regardless of the coverage or my opponent."
Here are a few more stories of interest.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has more or less admitted that the success or failure of the 2014 Super Bowl will determine whether or not cold weather cities with outdoor stadiums are considered for future Super Bowls.
Former Giants kicker Pat Summerall, who kicked one of the most historic bad weather field goals in NFL lore, worries about weather affecting the game.
"I hate to see weather be a factor in the game," Summerall said last week from his Dallas-area home. "I'm glad New York got the Super Bowl. There is no place to play like New York. But I'm sorry the outcome of the game might depend upon the weather."
The New York Times reports that a few international companies are the leading candidates to obtain the naming rights for what is currently known as the New Meadowlands Stadium
One more stadium note. The New Jersey Transit Authority has drawn the ire of some within state government with a hefty ticket purchase at the new stadium.
A couple of player notes
Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, who had a disappointing first season in New York, has admitted to playing 2009 with a badly damaged shoulder.
"Obviously the production wasn't there while I tried to play with it," he said.
Just a few weeks after the season he underwent surgery to repair the damage. Now he's hopeful of beginning the 2010 season with a shoulder that's 100 percent.
"It'll be as good as I can get it," Bernard said. "I feel I'll be back to doing a lot of the things I was doing in Seattle. There were a lot of expectations when I came over here, so I definitely want to live up to those expectations."
The Dolphins released former Giant outside linebacker Reggie Torbor the other day. Since some of you have asked, my feeling is I don't want to see Torbor back with the Giants. He is a journeyman backup type, and I would rather see guys like Bryan Kehl and other young guys given an opportunity to continue to develop.