June might be one of the slowest months on the NFL calendar but there is still work to be done. Teams have contracts to complete, organized team activities to wrap up and final preparations to make for the upcoming season.
Here are six topics that caught my eye.
The Rams' handling of Atogwe
Everyone in the NFL knew Oshiomogho Atogwe would never sign his restricted free agent tender after playing 2009 on a franchise tag salary. So when June 1 rolled around, the options for the team were to give him 110 percent of his salary from last season -- and Atogwe would receive a one-year deal worth around $7 million -- or allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Factor in the Packers, Bears and Giants, who all used third-round picks on a safety, and the Rams could be sitting pretty. They might have played this situation perfectly and could get Atogwe back with a solid long-term contract given the significantly reduced market. If it works out for St. Louis, you have to tip your hat to the business decision they made this spring.
How Steelers deal with Roethlisberger saga
There are a number of issues surrounding Ben Roethlisberger. One is the challenge of getting a new starting quarterback ready while Roethlisberger sits out four to six games due to suspension. If third-year signal caller Dennis Dixon starts to show he can take over, he'll need all the reps he can get and then some. If it turns out to be veteran Byron Leftwich, he might not have to have as many reps. But after watching him in Tampa last year, Leftwich would still need a lot of work.
It's nice to see Roethlisberger work with the first team now, but the Steelers might not have the luxury of doing that all summer. There's also the subject of Roethlisberger himself. His first news conference didn't say much more to me than he's not ready to speak in public about his situation, much less be proactive about change. The best way to get his punishment reduced is to get out in public and make a difference. Michael Vick stood right in front of young students and used himself as an example of what can go wrong.
Remaining free agents
As OTAs start to wind down, front office executives and coaches will reassess their roster and decide a veteran or two must be added before camp starts.
Everyone is speculating about Atogwe, but there are other veterans out there that will make camp more competitive, add valuable depth and give clubs an option when it comes time to make cuts in August. Marc Bulger, Brian Westbrook, Flozell Adams, Terrell Owens, Chris Hovan, Darren Howard, Kevin Mawae, B.J. Askew, Chike Okeafor, Mike Gandy, Keydrick Vincent, Josh McCown, Dewayne White, Kevin Curtis and Dre' Bly to name a few.
Another Aaron struggling with the 3-4
Last season, Aaron Kampman wasn't really happy about the Packers switching to a 3-4 defense after all the success he had with his hand on the ground rushing the passer in a 4-3 scheme. He got out of Green Bay and signed a sweet deal to play defensive end for the Jaguars. Now, the Buffalo Bills are making the same switch to the 3-4 defense and their star defensive end Aaron Schobel is contemplating retirement. It appears he might be less than excited about playing outside linebacker in a 3-4.
Ask any solid 4-3 defensive end, and he will tell you he likes the instant engagement with an offensive tackle and countering their blocking style. Rushing from an outside linebacker spot is different. There is more surface area on the rusher to block, his legs are exposed to a cut block and some guys just feel their production will go down.
The Ravens' stance on Twitter
I enjoyed hearing that Ravens coach John Harbaugh will not allow media at practice to use Twitter unless the person goes inside and stays inside. Being at practice for OTAs is a privilege and there's lots to learn about a team without tweeting every time you see something. Harbaugh is right when he calls it a distraction.
I scratch my head when I hear it's just another example of a club trying to control its image. Go to practice, watch everything you can, ask questions about things you don't understand, go back inside at the end of the session and write a story. It's not important to be first, it's important to be right.
Vanden Bosch gives Lions their money's worth
After talking with Lions center Dominic Raiola, it's clear the impact Kyle Vanden Bosch is having in Detroit, especially on Ndamukong Suh. Vanden Bosch has the defensive linemen in the weight room before the sun comes up, has them studying film like never before and, most importantly, he's leading by example in practice.
As Raiola said, "There was (a) run play away from Kyle that got into (the) open field. Kyle chased the play 40 yards, tapped the running back and sprinted back to the huddle. By the next play, all the players on defense were hustling like never before."