Former Cardinals

Despite Not Being The Starter, Bridgewater Knows He’s In A Good Place

Photo: Vikings.com

Photo: Vikings.com

Back in the day it was very uncommon to see rookie quarterbacks get the starting nod in week one of the NFL. Nowadays with guys like Robert Griffin, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson coming in and having success, it’s becoming much more common.

Former Louisville star Teddy Bridgewater got the start last night in the Vikings final preseason game, but the team announced earlier this week that Matt Cassel will be the regular season start in week one. Despite a few very impressive preseason performances from Bridgewater, the Vikings decided to go with the veteran.

Against Tennessee, Bridgewater completed four of nine passes and have one touchdown. There were plenty of Cardinal fans in the stands last night to see their beloved former quarterback. WHAS11 caught up with Teddy afterwards. As you could expect, he was excited to see the Cardinal red once again.

While most rookies may get a little discouraged and possibly upset about not winning the gig, Bridgewater on the other hand is completely content.

“As I stated once I got drafted, I felt like this was the perfect situation for me,” Bridgewater said after Cassel was named the starter.

“Right now, I’m just able to learn, sit back and continue to learn, but also learn and prepare myself as a starter because as a backup you’re one play away from being out there on the gridiron with the guys.”

Cassel hasn’t had much success since filling in for Tom Brady a few years ago in New England, but to his credit, he did look pretty good during the preseason. He’s 26-of-39 for 367 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception and started the first three games.

The former USC back-up will have his opportunity to shine in Norv Turner’s offense, but I imagine the room for error will be for small. When you draft a quarterback in the first round, you don’t let him sit if the starter isn’t getting it done.

How Will Russ Smith Spend His First NBA Paycheck?

Photo: Nick Laham - Getty

Photo: Nick Laham – Getty

There a lot of differences between being a college basketball player and a professional basketball player.

The biggest difference is the fact that you’re now being paid to play the game. In the NBA, basketball is your full time job and you’re greatly compensated for it.

Former Louisville star Russ Smith is one of sixty players drafted into the NBA this summer. When asked at a recent NBA rookie photo-shoot what he’d purchase with his first paycheck, Smith had an interesting answer to say the least.

“Instead of buying something, I’m going to try to get something for free because I couldn’t get nothing for free in college,” Smith tells Bleacher Report.

I’m not exactly sure what in the heck that means, but I we’re never surprised when it comes to Russ.

Smith will earn $507,336 during his rookie season, therefore he’ll have plenty of money to buy whatever he wants after “trying to get someting for free.”

The first of the three year deal is the only one that is guaranteed. If New Orleans doesn’t waive Smith prior to the 2015-16 season, he’ll earn $980,431 in his second year.

If Russ is able to perform well enough during his first two seasons and New Orleans decides to pick up the option in year three, he’ll receive a very large pay day. If Smith is on the Pelican’s roster during the 2017-18 season, he’ll earn $1,251,245.

Never change, Russ.

[H/T C-J]

Madden Ratings For All Former Louisville Cardinals

madden new

Photo: MaddenNow.com

If you’re a die hard gamer, you’ve probably taken today off of work or decided not to go to class since EA Sports’ Madden 2015 was released at midnight. Those who’ve already snagged their copy may want to check out the overall ratings for each former Louisville Cardinal who appears on the game. H/T to KentuckySports.co for the scoop.

Defensive end Elvis Dumervil is the highest rated former Cardinal with a rating of 90. William Gay (81), Harry Douglas (81), Eric Wood (80) Calvin Pryor (79) and Brino Giacomini (79) round out the top five.

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings- Overall Rating: 77
Speed: 77
Agility: 84
Throw Power: 88
Injury: 89
Stamina: 94
Toughness: 95
Throw Accuracy Short: 87, Med: 82, Deep: 69
Play Action: 79
Throw On Run: 77

Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns- Overall Rating: 75
Speed: 79
Acceleration: 81
Strength: 73
Catching: 73
Carrying: 70
Run Block: 72, Pass Block: 55
Spectacular Catch: 75
Catch in Traffic: 81
Route Running: 72

Josh Bellamy, Chicago Bears- Overall Rating: 60
Speed: 90
Acceleration: 84
Catching: 74
Spectacular Catch: 81

Preston Brown, Buffalo Bills- Overall Rating: 67
Speed: 77
Strength: 81
Tackle: 83
Toughness: 85
Hit Power: 90

Eric Wood, Buffalo Bills- Overall Rating:80
Strength: 89
Run Block: 74
Pass Block: 86

Elvis Dumervil, Baltimore Ravens- Overall Rating: 90
Speed: 84
Strength: 76
Tackle: 82

Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons- Overall Rating: 81
Speed: 93
Catching:86
Spectacular Catch: 87

Greg Scruggs, Seattle Seahawks- Overall Rating: 66
Strength: 81
Tackle: 73
Toughness: 85

William Gay, Pittsburgh Steelers- Overall Rating: 81
Speed: 85
Tackle: 73
Man Coverage: 76,
Zone: 84

Calvin Pryor, New York Jets- Overall Rating: 79
Speed: 85
Tackle: 78
Hit Power: 95

Bilal Powell, New York Jets- Overall Rating: 76
Speed: 86
Carrying: 85
Elusiveness: 75

Johnny Patrick, New York Jets- Overall Rating: 68
Speed: 87
Man Coverage: 75
Zone Coverage: 74

Breno Giacomini, New York Jets- Overall Rating: 79
Strength: 83
Run Block:84
Pass Block: 80

Byron Stingily, Tennessee Titans- Overall Rating: 70
Strength: 82
Run Block: 74
Pass Block: 84

Alex Kupper, Houston Texans- Overall Rating: 62
Strength: 78
Run Block: 72
Pass Block: 77

Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles- Overall Rating: 74
Strength: 75
Tackle: 84
Hit Power: 74

Gorgui Dieng Will Represent Senegal In The 2014 FIBA World Cup

Photo: AfricaSports.com

Photo: AfricaSports.com

Former Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng finished off his rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves in tremendous fashion.

After spending the first half of the season on the bench, Dieng received much more action int he second half and made the most of it, to say the least. He was named to the NBA All Rookie Second Team.

Dieng followed that up with a great showing in the NBA Summer League, averaging a double-double.

Next up for the Gorgster is the 2014 FIBA World Cup, where he’ll represent Senegal. This event was previously known as the FIBA World Championship. Dieng is one of 15 Senegalese born basketball player that will represent their country.

“I spoke to coach Cheick Sarr, I’m really excited to go back and play for my national team, to play for my country,” Dieng said when announcing that he’d be playing for Senegal. “I’m learning from all the bigs here in Minneapolis and nd I’m looking forward to going back and fight for my country. I’ll do whatever the coach wants.”

Dieng represented Senegal in 2011, but did not in 2013, due to the busy summer with the draft process, visiting the White House and playing in the NBA summer league. Senegal’s first game will be August, 30 against Spain.

Senegal’s  FIBA World Cup Schedule
VS. Greece Aug. 30th
VS. Puerto Rico Aug. 31st
VS. Croatia Sept. 1st
VS. Argentina Sept. 2nd
VS. Philippines Sept. 3rd

Bilal Powell Making The Most Of His Opportunities In The Preseason

Photo: ESPN.com

Photo: ESPN.com

Former Louisville running back Bilal Powell is going up against some stiff competition this season within the New York Jets backfield.

Powell had his best season as a professional in 2013-14 where played in every game for the Jets and started more than half of the time. He finished with 697 yards on the season, averaging four yards per carry.

In his fourth season with the Jets, Powell was slotted as the third string halfback on the Jets initial depth chart.

The former Cardinal was behind veteran running back Chris Ivory and newly signed Chris Johnson, a former Pro Bowl running back.

It doesn’t appear that there have been any changes in the depth chart, but Powell is making the most of carries in the preseason. In Saturday’s win over the Bengals, Powell rushed for 41 yards on just four carries and scored a 32-yard touchdown.

Johnson looks to be the guy that the Jets want to lean on for the majority of the carries, but if Powell continues to play well in the preseason he could move into being the full time back-up. Chris Ivory’s status us unknown after suffering what is believed to be a minor rib injury.

Ivory has been banged up quite a few times over the past three years which has led to Powell seeing more action.

Powell and the Jets will be back in action on Friday evening when they host the New York Giants.

Peyton Siva Is Excited To Get Down To Orlando

Photo | NBA.com

Photo | NBA.com

Former Cardinal star Peyton Siva has spent the majority of the offseason back in Louisville working out and preparing for his second season as a professional basketball player.

Siva finished his rookie season with the Detroit Pistons after bouncing back and forth between Detroit and the NBDL. The Seattle native had his best performances during the end of the year, but that didn’t matter much considering the Pistons were going through a coaching change.

Stan Van Gundy was hired to take over as the head coach and decided to go in a different direction. In early July, the franchise announced that they wouldn’t be picking up the second year of Siva’s initial rookie contract.

It took just two weeks for the former Louisville point guard to land with another team.

The Orlando Magic made it official late last week they’d signed Siva to a non-guaranteed contract.

“Detroit was a great experience for me, but now this gives me a chance to continue my journey somewhere else,” Siva tells Eric Crawford of the WDRB.com. “Now I get a chance to play with Orlando, so everything is working out.”

Siva’s stellar performances in last year’s NBA summer league had a huge role in him landing a guaranteed contract for his rookie season. He was off to a great start in this year’s summer league before going down with a hamstring injury.

“My hamstring took a lot longer to get better than I thought it would,” Siva tells Crawford. “I’m finally getting back on the court and running again, just looking forward to getting down to Orlando.”

I think it’s safe to say the Orlando Magic fan base in the city of Louisville is now a lot larger than it was a couple of weeks ago.

Damian Copeland Will Miss His Entire Rookie Season With The Jaguars

Photo | Will Dickey

Photo | Will Dickey

Former Louisville receiver Damian Copeland’s rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars has ended before it officially began. Copeland went down with a wrist injury at Jacksonville’s training camp over the weekend. On Sunday he revealed via his Instagram account that the injury would be season ending and he’ll have surgery this week.

The Bradenton, FL., native received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, but decided to go ahead and take his game to the professional level. Copeland had a very strong showing at the NFL combine, but went undrafted. He later signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and landed a three year $1.53 contract with the team.

Copeland finished his career at UofL with 116 receptions for 1521 yards and 7 Touchdowns.

“What puts me at ease with everything in life is that I know God has a plan for us all and I never question God’s work,” Copeland said when reveling the unfortunate news of his injury

“If you know me you know I’m a fighter and this right here is nothing! I’ve been through worse. It’s truly a blessing to have all of the Jags organization supporting me and believing in me 100% and for that I promise I won’t let them down. I will come back even better and stronger.”

Video: Taquan Dean’s Still Got It

Photo | AIR AVELLINO

Photo | AIR AVELLINO

I’m sure a lot of you are already aware of this, but former Cardinal sharp shooter Taquan Dean has been living in Louisville this summer and is training at the UofL basketball facility. Dean has been seen around town and was featured in a video released by UofL earlier this summer of the team working out by pushing an RV through the PJCS parking lot.

Dean has been playing professionally overseas since graduating from UofL in 2005. In the past nine years, he’s played in Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece and Turkey. Dean is currently exploring his professional options while he continues to work out in Louisville with UofL program assistant Tim Gray.

As you can see from this video, he still appears to be in great shape. Whichever pro club lands Dean should consider themselves lucky. He is still Louisville’s all time leader in there point field goals made with 359.

Taquan Dean is ready from Two Points on Vimeo.