Urban: Giants' plan for backup shortstop changing


Urban: Giants' plan for backup shortstop changing


Once the Edgar Renteria saga came to a conclusion the assumption was that the Giants would start to focus on finding another outside option as Miguel Tejada's primary backup at shortstop for 2011.

A week ago that assumption was correct, but it sounds like that's no longer the case.

According to one of my best Giants sources, with whom I spoke Thursday morning, the team is growing more and more comfortable with the idea of filling that role internally.

There's been some concern all along that the Giants are a little bit too right-handed heavy up the middle (Tejada, Freddy Sanchez), so they'd like to have a left-handed option as a backup at both middle infield positions.

Mike Fontenot, who has been re-signed for 2011, is exactly that.

Beyond that, the Giants are increasingly comfortable with the idea that Emmanuel Burriss and top shortstop prospect Brandon Crawford might also fill the void.

And then there's Mark DeRosa, who's recent health history and age prompt reservations about his ability to fill in at shortstop on a long-term basis, should Tejada sustain an injury that would sideline him, for say, a month.

Yet DeRosa, who turns 36 next month, is an infielder at heart, above all else, and certainly provides a modicum of insurance up the middle.

Besides, the Giants right now essentially have 26 guys competing for 25 spots. So if you're expecting them to add anybody at any position on a major league deal before camp opens, you might want to pack a lunch.

Pederson refutes reports linking Eagles to 49ers WR Smith

Pederson refutes reports linking Eagles to 49ers WR Smith

Torrey SmithAlshon Jeffery?

Not happening, according to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

While a couple reports have linked the Eagles to making a trade before the fast-approaching deadline to grab another veteran outside receiver, Pederson shot them down at his Wednesday press conference.

“There’s no legitimacy to that,” Pederson said. “And I’m thrilled with the guys we have and going to work with them every day.”

[MAIOCCO: Source: 49ers not shopping WR Torrey Smith]

The Eagles made a trade before the season to acquire Dorial Green-Beckham from the Titans, but the team’s receivers still haven’t been great during the first six games of the 2016 season.

They also went out and claimed Bryce Treggs after the 49ers waived him at final cuts, but the speedy wideout hasn’t yet been active.


Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their posion


Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their posion

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to take Raiders receiver Amari Cooper out of Sunday’s game. Sticky corner Jalen Ramsey shadowed the second-year pro, and was effective making quarterback Derek Carr look the other way.

It wasn’t that Ramsey dominated every play. Carr simply had more favorable options available.

Michael Crabtree was the best one. He turned the Jaguars game on its ear with a touchdown catch, a third-down conversion and a massive bomb caught over his shoulder for 56 yards.

Carr targeted Crabtree 11 times in Jacksonville, with eight completions for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Teams scheming against Cooper operate at their own peril this season, because that typically leaves Crabtree in a juicy matchup.

That was the case in Week 7, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Opponents also fear Crabtree, and for good reason. He has been clutch in the season’s first half, likely playing the best football of his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want Crabtree to have a big day in Week 6, and put top-flight cornerback Marcus Peters – who can’t keep up with Cooper’s speed -- on his trail. Crabtree was largely negated in that effort, though Cooper dominated to the tune of 10 receptions for 129 yards on 13 targets. Crabtree, by far Carr’s most frequent receiver, was only thrown to four times.

Carr’s message to future opponents from those two games: pick your poison.

“You have to always be ready for everything, and I think that our staff does an amazing job of giving me a lot of options for those instances,” Carr said at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, before Wednesday's practice. “If they’re going to take away (Cooper) this game, we have to get the other guys going. If they’re going to take ‘Crab’ away, we have to get the other guys going.

“What’s great about that (position group) is they’re all good with it. We just want to win. That’s what it comes down to, how can we push the ball down the field… I think our staff does an amazing job of filling that kind of stuff out if they’re trying to take one or the other away.”

Fluctuating target counts can be frustrating for receivers, who are often considered divas demanding the football at all times. The Raiders don’t have those personalities, a luxury quarterbacks dream about.

“We’re together, man,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying to win by any means. We know what’s at stake and I feel like we’re doing everything it takes to win.”

Sometimes, that means being unselfish. Ignoring stats can be tough for wideouts, but that isn’t an issue with two top receivers under contract an extended stretch.

Cooper and Crabtree have different playing styles and personality types, yet yin and yang in this Raiders offense without issue.

“We compliment each other well,” Cooper said. “Having multiple options is really great to have, especially guys that threaten defenses.”