SportsNet - March 2013

New Orleans Saints News: Saints Sign Outside Linebacker Victor Butler

on March 28 2013 2:11 PM

The New Orleans Saints have agreed a deal to sign free-agent outside linebacker Victor Butler. The signing adds a player who could be key to the success of the Saints new 3-4 defense.

ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news of the deal, which was later confirmed by NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

Butler has spent his first four pro seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, as the chief backup to DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. He is a natural edge-rusher in a 3-4 front.

At 6'2" and 245 pounds, Butler has the right frame and quickness to collapse the pass pocket from the outside. The 25-year-old has showcased some good pass-rush potential in Dallas.

Atlanta Falcons News: Falcons Sign Osi Umenyiora To Replace John Abraham

on March 28 2013 7:20 AM

The Atlanta Falcons have signed free-agent pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora. The move boosts the Falcons pass rush and gives them a credible replacement for John Abraham. Fox Sport's Jay Glazer reported Umenyiora has received a two-year deal.

Improving their pass rush is certainly a priority for the Falcons. They managed only 29 sacks in 2012, with Abraham predictably leading the way with 10.

That feeble rush contributed to a defensive ranking that saw the Falcons finish 24th in yards allowed. The lack of pass rush also put pressure on Atlanta's high-powered offense to consistently win shootouts.

Opposing quarterbacks simply had too much time in the pocket and were able to dissect the Falcons' coverage schemes. The problem was particularly costly in the playoffs.

The Falcons built commanding leads against both the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. However, in both cases, they allowed the opposition to mount a comeback.

Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was afforded all the time he needed to manufacture big plays on the ground and through the air.

Food for Thought: Should Green Bay Have Followed Atlanta's Lead in Learning Info About the Zone Read?

on March 28 2013 1:49 AM

16 carries for 181 yards, with two touchdown runs of 20 and 56 yards. And these stats weren't made by All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, either. 

Green Bay coaches should remember these numbers too well. After all, they were made by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is an artist when it comes to running the zone read, having run it to perfection under former Nevada head coach Chris Ault during his time as Wolfpack quarterback. Both the Packers and the Falcons got a taste of what Kaepernick and the zone read are capable of, and how it has added life to both the passing game and the running game. The Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks also ran the zone read under their rookie quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, respectively. And they, like Kaepernick, are artists in reading the defensive ends and deciding whether to keep it themselves or hand it off to their running backs, and it was a big reason the 49ers, Seahawks and Redskins were among the best when it came to running the football.

Robin van Perise to see out career at United

on March 27 2013 6:28 PM

Dubbed the flying dutchman by previous club Arsenal, van Persie moved to Manchester United in the summer for just £24 million on a four year deal. Easily one of the best strikers in the premier league (just two goals behind Luis Suarez) his 19 goals have helped push United to the strong league position they sit in now. 

"For the next few years I will be with United - maybe longer" 

"United could be my last club"

Enjoying a much more succesful season last year at Arsenal, van Persie has received no-where near as much game time as with the former London club, largely due to the Red Devil's not relying upon him. With Rooney and Hernandez just to name a few, van Persie's addition to the front line is widely recognised as a major factor to United's success this season. 

 

"You have a number of clubs in Europe where older players can find it good, where they are valued," Van Persie said.

"You used to have that at Juventus and AC Milan, Manchester United today is a good example. So who knows how long I will stay at the club.

Preview: Dundalk vs. Drogheda United, League Of Ireland Premier Division

on March 27 2013 5:13 PM

In a game that could see either side go second, for at least 24 hours, the unseasonal weather aside, this Louth derby won’t lack any bite.  Stephen Kenny will be hoping to climb into second place ahead of Derry City after a promising start to the season.  Drogheda will also be able to jump into second place if they improve on their early season form.

Stephen Kenny’s side held his old club Shamrock Rovers to a scoreless draw on the opening day of their season at Oriel Park.  Back to back victories over Shelbourne followed – one in the EA Sports Cup – and despite then losing to league leaders Sligo Rovers they bounced back last weekend with a 2-1 victory away to early season strugglers, U.C.D.

After an opening day defeat to St. Patricks Athletic, Drogheda gained some momentum with draws at home to Limerick and away to Derry City.  Last weekend saw their first league win of the season over Bray Wanderers after the disappointment of their high profile friendly with Turkish side Trabzonspor was called off three days beforehand due to the inclement weather.

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