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Tag:John Fox
Posted on: May 24, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 8:44 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.24.11 Belichick's latest honor

Posted by Will Brinson and Andy Benoit



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  • Not to be outdone (or wait, actually, they were slightly outdone) were the Raiders, who had 34 players show up for their workouts in Georgia.

Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Broncos not in the mix for 'Hard Knocks'

Posted by Will Brinson

Whoever ends up as the subject of HBO's "Hard Knocks" in 2011 has a hard act to follow -- the Jets were absolutely the most must-watch preseason football in, well, forever.

We already know that it won't be the Buccaneers, who declined the opportunity to be featured, and CBSSports.com has learned it will not be the Denver Broncos either.

"Although we recognize the value of the show and the exposure that accompanies it, we are going to continue to rely on other platforms to give our fans up-close access to the Broncos," Patrick Smyth, Broncos' Executive Director of Media Relations, told CBSSports.com.

The Broncos would have been a fascinating team to watch on the show, for a number of reasons: they have Tim Tebow (always a draw), they have a potential quarterback battle on their hands, they have a new coach in John Fox, they have a new guy running the show in John Elway, they have a pair of storyline-worthy rookies in Von Miller and Nate Irving, and they've been incredibly transparent as an organization lately, beating reporters to scoop by embracing Twitter.
Broncos' Offseason

But it also makes sense to pass on opening up the doors to HBO. The labor climate makes it very easy for potentially unwelcome made-for-TV drama to unfold naturally.

And the Broncos are in a rebuilding mode: as much talent as they have on the roster -- and they do have talent -- it's a organization that's probably more concerned with instilling the a homogeneous culture change than it is with getting its players a bunch of airtime on HBO.

That's the beauty of being young, though: there's always next year.

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:39 am
 

Offseason checkup: Carolina Panthers

Posted by Will Brinson

J. Clausen hopes to get Carolina turned around in 2011 (Getty).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Not to try and bring back the Anchorman meme that probably became uncool a few years ago, but, man, things really got out of hand fast in Carolina, didn't they? John Fox is gone, Ron Rivera is in, Jerry Richardson is likely not too popular with the fans because of the labor situation, and the draft-pick situation for the Panthers is a nightmare.

There's also a pile of questions relating to how 2011 will unfold based on the rules once the labor situation is settled. And the whole problem of everyone else in the NFC South being potentially dominant or at least pretty good ... primarily because of quarterback play. And thus, we see the Panthers problem: they need a franchise quarterback. Andrew Luck's decision to return to school put a big crimp in the plans for the No. 1 overall pick, and Cam Newton's been penciled in at this point by basically anyone.  

Even if he is the pick, the Panthers can't negotiate with him, so who knows at this point? There's ample argument for why Carolina should take a cornerback, a defensive tackle, trade the top pick, or just roll the dice with Newton.




Defensive Tackle, Quarterback

The odd things about Carolina's roster is that in 2010, they had the talent to succeed. Injuries (Jeff Otah and Thomas Davis most notably), poor play (Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen most notably) and an awkward coaching situation changed things dramatically and the team unraveled. It became pretty clear, though, that even with a talented offensive line and two superb running backs in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, you can't run the ball if no one respects your passing game.

Can Newton fix that passing game? Is his upside worth passing on a very-much-needed defensive tackle like Marcell Dareus out of Alabama? Does it even matter if Newton can be Tim Tebow 2.0 and sell a pile of jerseys while making the Panthers nationally relevant, at least for a season?

It seems clear that Newton's going to either be a total home run, though not likely right away, or an absolute, unmitigated disaster. There might be an in-between area, but given the hype surrounding the potential No.1-overall pick, it's hard to imagine Newton settling into something that's just "average."



1. Quarterback
Value Over Replacement Player is typically a statistic that you see in baseball. But the notion remains true when you talk about the MVP race: how would the Patriots fare if you took out Tom Brady and plugged in an "average" quarterback? Well, the Panthers showed that if you plug in the player most below average in the NFL, disaster ensues. Quarterback is absolutely the most important position of need for Carolina -- it's just a matter of whether or not Newton or Blaine Gabbert could end up becoming "the guy" in Carolina as a top pick, just one season after the Panthers apparently wasted a second-rounder on Clausen. No one -- and I mean NO ONE -- can know the answer until we sees how it plays out. That's what makes their top pick so insanely controversial.

2. Defensive Tackle
Making the Panthers' choice at the top of the draft even more difficult is the presence of Dareus, who seems like a pretty good bet to succeed in the NFL. Or, at least, to not flop at defensive tackle. With (maybe) four winnable games on the 2011 schedule, the Panthers could conceivably draft Dareus, hope they perform to 2010-level expectations with a vastly more difficult schedule, and land Andrew Luck in the next season. Playing chicken with a franchise quarterback and gambling on losing a lot isn't really an efficient way to manage in the NFL, but is drafting Cam Newton really a safer option?

3. More Draft Picks
I said this for Denver and they probably have more holes to fill than the Panthers, but Carolina doesn't even have a second-rounder because they traded their pick to the Patriots in order to draft Armanti Edwards out of Appalachian State, which might secretly be the worst draft decision in quite some time, especially because it's the first pick on the second day of the draft and a coveted spot. With a draft that's deep at defensive line, and the Panthers in need of a cornerback, a quarterback and a defensive tackle, having more picks -- as opposed to, say, LESS picks -- would be a pretty big advantage for the franchise.



2011 could be disastrous for the Panthers. I mentioned four winnable games, and that's not a joke: can they beat Detroit in Ford Field? Arizona out west? Tennessee at home in Week 10? Washington at home in Week 7? The Jaguars at home in Week 3? Okay, that's actually five, so we're getting somewhere! Or not -- those games are as far from locks as you get, and they're the easiest ones on the schedule. Maybe an upset or two in the NFC South is doable, but that's a bit optimistic for anyone who watched what happened in 2010.

Hey, but hope springs eternal. Or something. Ron Rivera's got a talented staff in place and the Panthers do still have a roster with some stars; at the very least, they've got studly linebackers and a strong offensive line, should free agency fall they way they want (and when you've got your owner leading the negotiations, well, that's never a bad thing). Drafting Newton could immediately reenergize the fanbase and turn out to be an absolute gamechanger when it comes to the franchise's future. But if there's one team that actually wouldn't mind seeing a lockout last through the entire 2011 season, it's probably Carolina.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Offseason checkup: Denver Broncos

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Remember when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls? Yeah, that was a long time ago. But the Broncos were relevant as recently as 2005, which is the last time they won the AFC West. Since then? Well, um, er, you see. Yeaaaaaaah, about that: one winning record (9-7 in 2006) produced a third-place finish in the division, while one losing record (7-9 in 2007) produced a second place finish. Two-straight .500 seasons followed after that and then -- BAM! -- the bottom fell out in 2010, as the Josh McDaniels train derailed en route to a 4-12 finish and his firing.

Enter John Elway, John Fox and the new, "new look" Broncos who appear to be all about transparency. They also appear about to undertake a pretty massive rebuilding project. Fortunately, Fox that's he polar opposite of Josh McDaniels -- methodical, defensive-minded, doesn't care for too much personnel control, likes to run the ball and unlikely to tape anyone else's practice.

The question for Fox is whether or not the system he wants to implement will work with the roster that McDaniels built. The immediate answer is "hell no," but it's not as far off as you think; Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd could be a poor man's Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith (a reasonable comparison, although I feel like it might insult someone, I'm just not sure who), who didn't exactly suffer through miserable seasons, statistically-speaking, their whole time in Carolina.

The defense, rather, is the bigger problem for Fox to address, because it acted like a sieve last season, and even with Elvis Dumervil returning, there's no guarantee that it will instantly become better. 




Defense, Quarterback??

The defensive line in Denver is a disaster, particularly at defensive tackle. That's why the Broncos are mentioning so many different possibilities at the No. 2 pick -- if the Panthers end up taking Marcell Dareus first overall, Denver's suddenly in a nightmare situation where they need to trade out of the second spot and try and recoup some value a few picks later. Fortunately for them, a pair of teams -- Cincinnati and Arizona -- could be interested in playing some hopscotch to try and acquire Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton should the draft unfold in such a manner.

What's even left to say about Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow? Well, actually a lot, I guess -- the two quarterbacks on the Broncos' roster are polar opposites (can you imagine Orton running a draw and/or circumcising babies in a third-world country during spring break?) but they're in similar situations, because no one can figure out whether or not the Broncos actually want  them.  

Could John Fox actually love Orton? Considering he saw -- first-hand -- how Orton can "manage" a game into right into the L-column when the Bears visited Charlotte a few years back, it's hard to believe. But surely he doesn't think the same of Tebow as Josh McDaniels did, right? Well, probably not, but there's always a chance, especially considering that Fox and Tebow got friendly during the draft ... right before Carolina took Jimmy Clausen.



1. Defensive Tackle
If the Panthers draft anyone other than Marcell Dareus with the first overall pick, it's hard to imagine the Broncos taking too much time to wait on selecting the Alabama product with the No. 2 overall pick. They'll definitely still listen to trades, because, well, who wouldn't, but Dareus is a pretty perfect fit with not only what Fox wants to do on defense, but how he wants to do it.

2. Cornerback
Patrick Peterson's there too, and could be a candidate for the No. 2 spot if Carolina goes Dareus and no one will trade up, although you have to think Denver would rather add a DB in the second round, or potentially trade back up to try and snatch a guy like Jimmy Smith if he falls. Of course, the depth at defensive line in this draft could have John Elway thinking he nabs Peterson to mentor under Champ Bailey during the legendary cornerback's home stretch, and then snag a defensive tackle with a later selection.

3. More Draft Picks
That's only a half joke -- Denver's got piles of holes to fill; they need another running back to pair with Knowshon Moreno in Fox's system, they might need a quarterback, they could use a defensive end, they need help at linebacker (making Von Miller a sneaky potential selection at No. 2 as well), they need more secondary help and they also need help across the offensive line. Moving down in the draft and accumulating potentially talented bodies to plug these holes is Elway's ideal scenario.



2011 could be another long season for Broncos' fans. It looks like the division should  improve, though in the AFC West, no one's scared to keep falling back to the pack throughout the season. But it's hard to imagine that Denver will be as successful on offense, numerically speaking, as they were in 2010, and unless the defense improves leaps and bounds, four wins might be a stretch ... again.

But there's hope, at least: Elway's immediate legacy will be somewhat determined by how he drafts this coming year, and it's going to take time to heal the wounds of the McDaniels era. Fortunately for Denver, they've got a coach who's turned around a moribund franchise before, and a front-office guy who knows a thing or two about the city and success. 

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Posted on: April 19, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.19.11: Belichick is open to trades

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • BREAKING NEWS: Bill Belichick is willing to trade draft picks. Shocking, I know, right? Actually, Belichick was responding to the fact that everyone thinks they'll be trading. They probably will, because that's what they do, but for whatever reason, it's just assumed that everyone can have their pile of picks if they give something else up. Maybe the Pats actually want to nail some early-round picks this time. 
  • Our own Mike Freeman hopped on Pro Football Talk Live! (it is Live! and not Live, right?) with Mike Florio to talk about the labor situation, the draft and Jon Gruden. I think Florio's a decent enough looking fella, but I prefer to take him in the ear. Er, wait -- you can listen here and watch here.
Posted on: April 3, 2011 9:57 pm
 

What if Tebow doesn't start?

Tebow

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla writes an interesting column today and poses an interesting question: if he wanted to, could the Broncos all-time superhero John Elway resist the fans’ obsession and love of Tim Tebow and give somebody else the starting quarterback job?

In effect, if Elway and coach John Fox believes Tebow isn’t the right quarterback to lead the team and starts somebody else, would they face a fan revolt?

NFL Labor
Although Fox said last month that Kyle Orton is his starting quarterback now, that doesn’t mean Orton will be the starter once the 2011 season begins (hell, who knows if Orton will even be on the team next year).

Kiszla gives some background for those of us who don’t live in Denver and are not caught up in the Tebow-mania:

Whatever Tebow is selling, Broncomaniacs want two for themselves, three for their kids and a spare in the garage.

Shop the team's official website for a predominantly orange jersey, and it's the No. 15 of Tebow rather than the No. 24 of cornerback Champ Bailey and his 10 Pro Bowl appearances that the Broncos display in the front window. The never-before-told story of Tebow's life will soon be available in bookstores everywhere, because he couldn't wait until his 24th birthday to release a memoir. While the league will shut down for business after the draft to hammer out labor peace, the Tebow money machine never sleeps.

Would it be sacrilege to ask: Isn't this a little bit too much fuss for a quarterback with one NFL victory on his resume?

Tebow is so earnest he's easy to tease. But he's also impossible not to like. Florida did not adequately prepare him for the pros. His 11 touchdowns as an NFL rookie, however, were ample reason to believe he is a project worth developing.

Kiszla also writes Elway is “straining awfully hard not to get bullied” by those who want all-Tebow all the time. I guess the real question is this: what if Tebow is chosen to start – and the perception is that the fans forced Elway’s hand – and then simply isn’t good enough to win football games? How much does that destroy your credibility as a coach (Fox), a senior executive (Elway) and as an organization?

How much longer does that keep you in the Dark Ages of the NFL?

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 10:27 am
 

Please ignore the silly 'Favre to Panthers' rumor

Posted by Will Brinson

Yesterday, I could have sworn I heard something about Brett Favre going to the Panthers. However, because it was Monday morning, I simply chalked it up to "not enough coffee."

Turns out though, there was a brief mention of Favre heading to Charlotte yesterday, and it stemmed from a ridiculously casual blind-item mention by Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

"Don't discount the possibility of Brett Favre, who turns 42 in October, returning next season, but not with the Vikings," Walters wrote. "Maybe Carolina."

Um, or perhaps not. Yes, the Panthers have employed Jake Delhomme, and yes, they've often been a safe haven for veteran quarterbacks because of Carolina's penchant for running the ball and simply managing possessions from the quarterback position, but this is just silly.

For starters, John Fox (the guy who brought in the vets) is no longer in Carolina. Secondly, Favre is over 40. Thirdly, he was involved in a seriously awkward off-the-field scandal, which is the type of thing that owner Jerry Richardson just doesn't go for.

Oh yes, and Darin Gantt of the Herald Online already spent his Monday debunking the possibility.

"In a word (OK, three words), that's not happening," Gantt wrote yesterday. "Ran it up the flagpole early this morning, and the response was swift and sure."

Of course, the really terrifying thing is that Gantt adds "maybe somewhere" to his report, which means that we might not quite be done with the saga of No. 4 just yet. Sigh.

Gracias, Shutdown Corner

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.25.11: Running the 40 ain't easy



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The video (and story) of the day goes to Yahoo! Sports’ Doug Farrar who had Da’Quan Bowers tape his 40-yard dash attempts and then released it to the world. It’s embarrassing and hilarious and full of awesomeness. Bowers’ best line comes after Farrar’s second attempt: "Don't think he trained with us here at API. Because he didn't. We don't do that around here." The video is embedded below.
  • There’s not much new news in this Ron Borges (of the Boston Herald) column, but you have to admire his lede. He sits on a toilet when he overhears NFL attorney Bob Batterman talking to a colleague about the labor negotiations. I’ve never gleaned any information in quite this manner, and honestly, I hope I never do. But hey, cheers to Borges to never being off the clock.
  • Charlotte Observer beat reporter Joe Person has a prediction on who the Panthers will make the No. 1 pick at the draft: Blaine Gabbert.
  • New Broncos coach John Fox believes that switching the team’s defense from the 3-4 to the 4-3 will really help Denver rush the passer.



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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