Tag:NFL Combine
Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 1:31 pm

Hot Routes 2.25.11: Happy birthday, forward pass

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • So, the forward pass turned 78 years old today. Two things: 1) It's really held up well in it's old age, and 2) Can you imagine how many billions of dollars the NFL would be fighting over if it hadn't been invented? Because I bet it would be like five. Except without the billion part.
  • Leonard Hankerson wants to carry on the "tradition" of "The U." He must not have watched the movie about what happened there. Just kidding, as you can see, he seems like a nice kid.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:48 pm

De Smith honors media blackout in agent meeting

Posted by Mike Freeman

INDIANAPOLIS -- Union head DeMaurice Smith briefed agents on Friday about the ongoing labor talks. An agent in the room told CBSSports.com that Smith said some progress was made but Smith declined to speak with agents specifically about the mediation talks with the league.

The agent stated Smith declined many questions from agents about the mediation discussions. In fact, the agent said, Smith started the meeting with the specific ground rules he wouldn't talk about the mediation. (First rule of Fight Club: you don't talk about Fight Club.)

It's actually smart of Smith not to discuss the mediation talks. The minute he does with agents, it would get out to the media.

Smith instead spent much of the meeting with agents discussing contingencies if there is indeed a lockout. Agents were told to instruct players to save money and get private health insurance two measures most players have long since done (or tried to do).

Bottom line: a lockout is coming barring a last second miracle. The union knows it. The league knows it. Nothing happened in this meeting changes that belief.

This was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's FreeStyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:04 pm

NFL giving 'unprecedented' early draft invites

Posted by Jeff Reynolds

In what one source labeled an "unprecedented" move, the NFL has begun offering invitations to players they hope will attend the 2011 NFL Draft in New York. The fear is the NFLPA will boycott the event, which one prominent player representation firm deemed "a strong possibility."

At least two players likely to be drafted early in the first round received invites on Thursday; typically, the league hands out these offers to the top eight to 12 prospects three weeks prior to the draft.

Gil Brandt, who has personally extended the invites for the NFL, said he began talking to "several" players as far back as last summer. Brandt said more than one player verbally committed to attend the 2011 draft, but he conceded the NFLPA might advise them against it if a work stoppage extends through April.

The urgency has been caused by the looming likelihood of an NFL lockout. Prospects are considering boycotting the draft in the event of a lockout and the NFL, ever mindful of the public relations angle, will try to get players to commit to attending the event before a lockout begins.

This entry was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft Blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 11:30 am

Cowboys reportedly taking a look at Cam Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton might be, as one scout told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, the "black Ben Roethlisberger," but for the purposes of the NFL combine, he's Tim Tebow 2.0. Which is to say, EVERYONE is going to be asked about him.

That includes the Dallas Cowboys, who are reportedly going to meet with Newton (as a reminder, our 11th-ranked prospect and No. 2 quarterback) even though they've already got their own "entertainer," Tony Romo, on the roster.

That's according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday that cites "at least two members of the [Cowboys] front office" who said they were meeting with Newton before the draft.

Look, the Cowboys have the ninth-overall pick in the draft. They HAVE to meet with Newton, because not doing so would be a failure to handle their due diligence, even though Romo's locked in as their guy.

But they're not going to draft Cam Newton in that spot.

Why? Well, for starters, they have bigger needs, particularly on the defensive end. And unless Jerry Jones is just head-over-heels for Newton, he knows that an upgrade in the secondary or the defensive line -- Rob Rang has Dallas taking Prince Amukamara and Chad Reuter has them nabbing Marcell Dareus from Alabama -- will benefit the Cowboys more in the immediate future.

Additionally, drafting Newton would send some whacked-out messages. First, that the Cowboys are ready to win right now as currently constructed (i.e. they just don't need an upgrade anywhere). Secondly, and yes in direct opposition to the first part, that the Cowboys aren't ready to compete, because they're looking so far in the future in terms of the quarterback position instead of making a play to be competitive in the NFC East right now.

And, of course, there's the whole issue of blowing up Romo's spot by using a top-10 pick to take another "franchise quarterback" -- there's no way that would end well.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:58 pm

Combine scene Thursday night

Rex Ryan made a popular appearance at the NFL combine (Getty). Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- I was told going in that the Combine consists of a lot of sitting around, with little bursts of action here and there. Thus far, that’s pretty much true.

The bursts have actually been fairly frequent – a head coach or GM makes his way into the room every 15 or 20 minutes. And a prospect comes in every 10 to 15 minutes. The coach and GM press conferences consist mainly of references to how all 32 teams are looking to get better, how the team is interested in improving and how everyone is still in the middle of evaluating the draft prospects (which is both true and a way of deflecting questions).

The room absolutely buzzed for Rex Ryan’s presser. He drew a crowd that was double the size of the next biggest crowd on the day. Ryan’s approach was brilliant: he immediately guaranteed a Super Bowl title for 2011 (before any questions were even asked). He then went into a long, passionate and often humorous spiel about how he was going to will a championship out of the team this season. The media loved it – LOVED it. In fact, they loved it to so much, they hardly noticed that Ryan ducked all questions of substance. It’s a fair game everyone has agreed to play.

After the press conferences, interviews generally spill out into the hallway. The TV and radio guys patrol the area and score a lot of one-on-ones. But if it’s simple conversation or who’s who sightings you’re after, the best areas are still the hotel lobbies and streets. Walking back from the Marriott this afternoon, I was a few paces behind Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum (it was actually that awkward walking distance where you can’t decide whether to pick up the pace and pass the person or just hang in there and hope they don’t think you’re following them).

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:57 pm

Rex Ryan: 'I guarantee we'll do it this year'

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Ryan (Live!) is underway at the combine and, as usual, the media's hanging on his every word, as the Jets coach drew a tremendous crowd for his 3:30 PM EST press conference.

And, shortly after calling GM Mike Tannenbaum a "diva" for his performance on CSI: New York, Ryan did what's become expected of him lately: guarantee a Super Bowl victory for the Jets.

"I thought we'd win it the first two years," Ryan said. "I guarantee we'll do it this year."

It's really nothing new from the Jets coach, but you don't have to tell him that.

"I’m not afraid to stand up here and say we're going to get it done," Ryan said. "I’m going to try to will a championship. Anything it takes."

For starters, it's probably going to take at least a new CBA deal and some free agent signings -- not to mention a good draft.

But while rolling eyes at Rex's proclamations have become the reaction du jour now that he's guaranteed a title so many times, it's still tough to dismiss the success he's had in his short run with the Jets and their strong chance to compete for a title in 2011.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 3:16 pm

Torrey Smith is a decently athletic dunker too

Posted by Will Brinson

Torrey Smith, the fourth-ranked wide receiver and 40th overall prospect on CBSSports.com' board, is big-play machine.

You can see it when you check out his performances at Maryland, you'll see that at the combine when he torches his 40-yard-dash time, and you'll see it once he gets in the NFL.

But if you'd like other proof that he has some athletic ability, how about watching him perform in an impromptu dunk contest during his final year at Maryland? (H/T: The Big Lead) Smith, by the way, projects to the Ravens in both the Rang and Reuter mock drafts.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 1:53 pm

2011 NFL Combine Scene: Thursday morning

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s Day 1 for media at the combine. The scene in Indy is similar to the one in Dallas, only less glitz and glamor and more nuts and bolts. Only the true football media covers the event, which makes for purer networking opportunities. That seems to be the name of the game for the combine: networking. The press is not allowed to view the workouts in the flesh. Everyone is stationed in the media center, which is located near the East entrance of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Coaches and GM’s are scheduled to cycle through the media center and talk to the press throughout the entire day On the slate today is Chan Gailey at 10:00, Steve Spagnuolo at 10:15, Ron Rivera at 10:30, Jeff Ireland at 10:45, John Fox at 11:00 ... you get the idea.

The experienced writers here will tell you that the best time to get to people is after hours. All of the hotels in Indy are within a few blocks of the stadium and convention center. Some coaches and front office execs like to go out and mingle in the late (LATE) hours.

Last night I chatted with a few sportswriters in the lobby of the Westin. During that hour there, Andy Reid and Mike Tomlin walked in, Rich McKay showed up, John Harbaugh mingled for a few minutes, Mike Holmgren (who is much taller than you’d ever guess) strolled by, Rams GM Billy Devaney stopped to say hello and new Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (who looks like a carbon copy of Lane Kiffin) checked in. Around 9:00, walking out of St. Elmo’s Steakhouse (a legendary local hotspot), I bumped into Norv Turner.

The combine schedule is not super structured like the Super Bowl schedule (the coach and GM press conference times are written on a whiteboard at the beginning of the day). Ask any writer their gameplan for this week and the answer is always something along the lines of, “Dunno for sure yet, have a few story ideas lined up but I’ll mostly just be running around with my tape recorder all day.”
Same here.

P.S. Lucas Oil Field, at least from the outside, is a magnificent building – far more attractive than Cowboys Stadium. And the Indianapolis downtown consists of three things: hotels, sports bars and steakhouses. It’s unbelievable.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com