Bill Parcells had a name for scatbacks and smaller wide receivers in need of open space to excel: satellite players.
Although Parcells' 1989-1990 Giants offenses featured a proto-satellite back in Dave Meggett, the label wasn't exactly a compliment coming from a devout preacher of power football.
Now he has players, coaches and beat writers raving about Spiller and Cooks.
The two satellite players hit the play-caller lottery in New Orleans. We fully expect Spiller and Cooks to be the most explosive skill-position weapons in Payton's arsenal.
Everything changes once the hitting starts in August.
Here's what else we learned in Wednesday's minicamps:
- As only Rex Ryan can do with a straight face, the Bills coach put a positive spin Tuesday on the team's quarterback quandary, pointing to a "level of excitement" because fans and coaches know "someone will have to earn the job." A day later, reality slapped Ryan in the face as the offense was swallowed whole in Wednesday's 11-on-11 drills. On 22 drop-backs, Bills quarterbacks totaled four completions and were sacked eight times. The play of the day was a 15-yard pass from fourth-stringer Matt Simms to journeyman receiver Deonte Thompson.
Offseason practices have done nothing to dispel the notion that one of the NFL's most talented rosters will be held hostage by its trio of mezzanine-level signal-callers.
- Mike Evans said he's being used exclusively as the "X" receiver in Dirk Koetter's new offense. Evans spent his rookie season handling plenty of the high-percentage, run-after-catch slants, crossers and bubble screens typically associated with the "Z" spot. The change is noteworthy, as the NFL's true "No. 1 receivers" such as Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and A.J. Green are of the "X" variety.
- Rams coach Jeff Fisher "can't predict" when first-round pick Todd Gurley will return from ACL surgery. "We're just going to see how he progresses," Fisher said. "If he's not PUP-ed (placed on the physically unable to perform list entering training camp), then I think you could probably assume that he's going to play sooner than you think."
- A handful of scatbacks are vying for Shane Vereen's old passing-down role in the Patriots' backfield. Second-year back James White has garnered accolades from beat writers, while former Eagles tailback Dion Lewis has drawn praise from Tom Brady for his route running two days in a row. It's an important position in New England's offense, as evidenced by Vereen's 11 receptions in the Super Bowl.
- Don't overlook seventh-round rookie Darryl Roberts as the Pats look to replace their top three cornerbacks from last season. Roberts has been making a "play a day" and is a "darkhorse to steal a cornerback job," according to the Boston Herald. Roberts also tested out as one of the most athletic prospects in this year's draft class.