Tag:Peyton Manning
Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:58 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Draft needs

A. Luck should be a No. 1 selection in next year's draft. Who will select him, though (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

As we enter the final weekend of the season, a number of squads are just playing out the string, hoping to put a solid performance on film, ready to clean out their lockers and look ahead to next year. While only four games on this week’s schedule mean absolutely nothing in terms of the postseason, quite a few of those teams are just looking to play spoiler.

And looking to the 2012 draft, where they can begin to rebuild their team or shore up that one position that could put them over the hump for next season. That’s why we’re taking the 10-worst teams in the league this year and finding one major flaw that needs to be fixed from April 26-28 in New York City’s Radio Music Hall.

For these teams -- and their fans -- the time has come to salivate at the prospects of landing the exact right guy that could change their fortunes for years to come.

10. Bills: Defensive line -- I didn’t like the Ryan Fitzpatrick $59 million extension earlier this year, and I hate it now. But I think Buffalo has other concerns for the moment, and they come on defense. For one, Buffalo has a tough time stopping the run. First-round pick Marcell Dareus has been a bit inconsistent at the nose tackle, but he also has the ability to play like a monster. The 3-4  ends, though, need to be better. Injured tackle Kyle Williams obviously will help when he returns next season, but the ability to rush the passer once in a while also would help (Buffalo’s 25 sacks ranks 30th in the league).

9. Dolphins: Quarterback -- Look, the Dolphins have some talent. They proved that when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, and they started winning games. They proved it by nearly beating Tom Brady, and they proved it by nearly beating Tim Tebow (that last point was a joke). While Matt Moore has been much better than expected after taking over for Chad Henne, he’s a Band-Aid. I think most of us would agree that Henne isn’t the answer as the starter, and perhaps, he and Moore could have a battle to see who could back-up a legit starting quarterback. Reggie Bush established himself as a 1,000-yard rusher, and with a talented quarterback like Robert Griffin III (if he lasts that long in the draft), the Dolphins could begin pushing for AFC East crowns.

8. Browns: Pass rushers -- Cleveland got two defensive linemen early last year (tackle Phil Taylor in the first round and end Jabaal Sheard in the second), and they’ve done a nice job on the left side of the defensive line. But the defense ranks 25th in the league in sacks, and defensive end Jayme Mitchell hasn’t had a great season. Marcus Benard, coming off a solid rookie season last year, is on IR, and if the Browns could get one more high-end rusher in the draft, they’d have talent and depth.

7. Redskins: Quarterback -- It’s probably time for Mike Shanahan to come to the realization that his quarterback picks the past two years have been disastrous (Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck). He said the other day that the rebuild of this franchise has taken more time than he thought, but a standout quarterback obviously would help that process along. Shanahan also said that there was no question in his mind that he’d be back next season, but unless he finds a way to invigorate his offense, that might be a different story this time next year.

6. Chiefs: Right tackle -- Looking across Kansas City’s depth chart, there’s not one position group that so obviously needs to be overhauled. The Chiefs have talent, even if some of those positions don’t have much depth. But right tackle Barry Richardson has badly struggled this season. According Pro Football Focus, Richardson is the worst-rated offensive tackle in the league (the decision to cut Jared Gaither near the end of the season was a bad one). Left tackle Branden Albert is solid, but the right side of the line needs to be reworked.

Minnesota's secondary has been a big concern this year (US Presswire).5. Buccaneers: Run defenders -- The Buccaneers tried to shore up their defensive end spots last draft, taking Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da’Quan Bowers in the second round. Considering Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, the experiment hasn’t paid off immediate dividends. But the Buccaneers are also terrible against the run, and even though tackle Albert Haynesworth has played better than most of us had a right to expect, there are still huge holes to fill in the lineup.

4. Vikings: Secondary -- The Vikings rank as the 31st-worst defense in the NFL, but in reality, their front seven has talent (for instance, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway). Minnesota lost Antoine Winfield (its best corner) early in the year, Chris Cook has legal troubles, safety Jamarca  Sanford has struggled badly and the rest of the safeties have been ravaged by injuries. It’s no  wonder opposing quarterbacks dominate the Vikings defensive backs. On the season, Minnesota has recorded seven interceptions, worst in the NFL. The Vikings need to find somebody who can force turnovers in order to improve this unit.

3. Jaguars: Receivers – Oh, how they need receivers. Yes, Blaine Gabbert has been, by far, the worst rookie quarterback to play this year, but Jacksonville, even with new ownership and a new coach, probably needs to give him more than a season to see if he’s a quarterback of the future. He also needs somebody who can catch his passes. Here are Jacksonville’s top-three receivers: Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard, and yeah, nobody else. In fact, there’s a good chance running back Maurice Jones-Drew will end up as the team’s leading pass-catcher this season. Hard to blame Gabbert completely when his receiving corps is so bad.

2. Colts: Running backs -- Assuming Peyton Manning returns healthy next season -- admittedly, a huge assumption -- his receivers should continue to be fine (this, of course, depends on what happens with free agents Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon). But we’ve seen this year that without a running game, a Manning-less Colts squad has very little chance of doing anything (mostly because Manning makes up for SO many team deficiencies). Joseph Addai, who’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry and probably won’t get to 500 rushing yards on the season for the second year in a row, might be released into free agency, and Donald Brown, while improved, isn’t a legit No. 1 running back. The Colts obviously have a big decision to make regarding Manning and Andrew Luck, but taking a running back probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

1.Rams: Offensive linemen -- There’s been talk that maybe the Rams should grab Luck if they end up with the No. 1 pick. Which, with Sam Bradford on the team, would be ludicrous. Instead, St. Louis should be focused on how to put together an offensive line that doesn’t lead the league in sacks allowed. The biggest problem, not including injuries to Jason Smith and Jacob Bell that have hurt the unit, has been the line’s interior. Linemen aren’t the sexiest position, but damn, St. Louis needs to find some that can stay healthy and keep Bradford and Steven Jackson out of danger.

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:46 pm

Ryan: Sanchez is 'my guy,' no interest in Manning

Schottenheimer and Sanchez are under fire but Manning wouldn't be an offseason consideration for New York. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

First there was the ProFootballTalk report that the Jets, realizing what the rest of us already knew for some time, had finally come to the conclusion that Mark Sanchez might not be a franchise quarterback. There were also reports, courtesy of CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, that while Sanchez may not have lived up to expectations, it's more likely that Brian Schottenheimer, the man responsible for calling 59 passing plays against the Giants Saturday, might be in more immediate danger of losing his job.

Well, good news, Mark. Jets head coach Rex Ryan said Monday that you're his guy.

“There’s no way that we’re looking to replace Mark Sanchez,” Ryan said on ESPN radio, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. “There’s no doubt… If they were both out there and you were starting a draft, I would take…. Would you take Peyton Manning? Yeah, I’d take Peyton Manning over anybody. I’m not saying that….. I’m not telling that lie. Of course, I would take him. But right now, when you’re looking at our football team and our franchise, obviously we feel great about our quarterback situation. Is he going to get better, he absolutely is. Is he perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination right now. …. But we think he has the ability to be special."

Ryan concedes that Manning, when healthy, is the NFL's best quarterback ("I even put him over Tom Brady"), but that doesn't mean the Jets would be interested in him should he and the Colts part ways this offseason.

"Do I think it’s even a consideration for us?" Ryan asked rhetorically. "No, I don’t.” He also called the PFT report "not true," and reiterated that Sanchez "is my guy."

Ryan, perhaps still caught up in the holiday season, was in a giving mood Monday; he also threw his support behind his much-maligned offensive coordinator.

"I have a huge amount of confidence in both guys," he said. "There’s no doubt. I’ve stated it over and over my feelings about Mark Sanchez. I’ve said it before. No quarterback’s going to look great when that’s all you do… you fall behind. It wasn’t Mark’s best day by any stretch of the imagination, but we know he’s done it. And he’s been doing it. We have great confidence in him and I have great confidence in him. As far as Brian Schottenheimer is concerned,  shoot, we’ll just keep working side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder and we’re trying to find a way to beat Miami. I have confidence in him. I have confidence in all our coaches. We have to find a way to get it done.”

Schottenheimer has drawn plenty criticism for his pass-heavy game plans this season, and he's frustrated Jets fans pretty much since joining the staff in 2006. Still, he's rumored to be a head coaching candidate for any number of opportunities this offseason.

For now, though, Ryan likes his chances with Sanchez and Schottenheimer. And if the Jets want to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season, they'll need a lot of help. First things first: New York has to beat the Dolphins in Week 17, and then hope for a Bengals loss to the Ravens, Titans loss or tie to the Texans, and an Oakland loss or tie to the Chargers. Or: a Jets win, Bengals loss, Titans loss or tie, and a Broncos loss or tie.

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Posted on: December 24, 2011 12:54 pm
Edited on: December 24, 2011 1:27 pm

Casserly: Saints to tag Brees without new deal

By Will Brinson

Drew Brees and the Saints decided to put any long-term contract talks on hold until after the 2011 season, but that doesn't mean a new deal for Brees isn't still kicking it as the large, pink elephant in the corner of the room.

On Sunday, CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported that the two sides are still working on a deal, but if they can't reach one before free agency begins, the Saints will place the franchise tag on Brees, and that Brees will probably not report if/when that happens.

"He's a free agent at the end of this year and both sides would like to get a long-term deal done," Casserly reported on The NFL Today. "The Saints told me if one is not done by the start of free agency, they'll franchise him. I estimate that number will be between $14-15 million. The target for Brees? The Peyton Manning contract -- $18 million a year, but more importantly, $23.4 million over the first three years.

"If a long-term deal is not done, I would not be surprised if Brees does not show up for offseason and even training camp."

Brees, as we've previously noted, probably would've slotted somewhere between Manning/Tom Brady and Michael Vick when it comes to a long-term deal and the amount he'd make annually. That's if, of course, the Saints were negotiating with Brees before this season.

Instead New Orleans will now be trading numbers with Brees' agent Tom Condon as Brees comes off a season in which he broke Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a single season (he's just 300-some yards shy).

That stands to make things expensive for the Saints, and if the team goes deep into the postseason this year, things won't get any cheaper. And it won't exactly the public relations nightmare they deal with if Brees holds out any easier either.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:26 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 11:40 pm

Manning could return to IND but what about Wayne?

Indy owner Jim Irsay sounds like Peyton remains in the team's future, but what about Reggie? (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Huge win for Indianapolis Thursday night (their second in a row!), but perhaps the biggest news to come from the Texans-Colts get-together took place before the game when Colts owner Jim Irsay told NFL Network that he couldn’t envision a situation in which Peyton Manning would play anywhere but Indianapolis unless he wasn’t able to play at all.

"I think the situation is if he's back and he's healthy, I see him coming back and playing here," Irsay said in an interview with Rich Eisen. "I think the hope is that his health is in the position where he could return again. That remains uncertain and that's something that's first and foremost on my mind."

A quick timeline of events:

* May 23, 2011: Manning has neck surgery (bulging disk)
* July 30, 2011: Signed to 5-year, $90 million contract
* September 8, 2011: Manning has spinal fusion surgery
* March 8, 2012: $28 million option bonus due

And it’s that March 8 deadline that has led to speculation that the Colts could either cut or trade Manning (which led to speculation that the Redskins would be interested).

"I don't see that being an issue," Irsay said. "I paid him $26 million this season and he didn't play and I knew it was an iffy situation. If he's healthy and he can play, he'll be back here."

But even if Manning’s healthy, that won’t preclude Irsay from taking a quarterback in April’s draft.

“The draft will be what the draft is — there’s a lot of situations that can unfold from here,” Irsay said. “If there’s a great young quarterback there, we wouldn’t hesitate to take him.”

(We suspect that would be the case no matter what the Redskins might be willing to give up.)

But Manning isn’t the only Colts veteran whose future is uncertain. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne, the team’s 2001 first-round pick, is in the last year of his contract. He’s been looking for a new deal since the summer, but the team asked for patience in August and he’s said all the right things since.

Earlier in the week, Wayne acknowledged that Thursday's game could be his last at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"I am well aware of that and I’ve come to the conclusion that in every athlete’s career they are going to be faced with this decision at some point in time, whether it is a long career or a short career," Wayne said in comments posted on the Colts website.

For an idea of just how valuable Wayne has been during his career, consider this: in his 10 seasons with Manning prior to 2011, Wayne has averaged 79 receptions for 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns. From 2006-2010, those numbers jump to 99, 1,319, and 8. And while his numbers are down in 2011, he did grab the game-winner against Houston Thursday.

Still, there’s no guarantee that Indy brings him back, especially if Manning’s future remains in doubt heading into this offseason.

And that leads us to this: if Wayne doesn’t return to Indianapolis, where might he end up in 2012?

A list of possible destinations:

1. New England Patriots. Consider it payback for Adam Vinatieri, but more importantly, it’ll give Tom Brady the deep threat Chad Ochocinco never developed into. Wayne’s game is built on precise route-running, which is imperative in Peyton Manning’s offense (and Brady's). And it’s something Ochocinco never had to worry about in Cincinnati.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars. A team so desperate for playmakers at wide receiver that they’re signing guys off the street. Of course, the Jags have plenty to sort out in the coming months, starting with finding a head coach and making sure that Blaine Gabbert really is Jacksonville’s quarterback of the future. That said, Shahid Kahn probably doesn’t have enough money to convince Wayne to come to Florida.

3. New York Jets. Rex Ryan has yet to meet a veteran with a nice resume that he wasn’t interested in bringing to New York (see: Holmes, Burress, and even Derrick Mason for a look-see earlier this season). Maybe Wayne’s route-running will rub off on the other wideouts and mask some of Mark Sanchez’s struggles with accuracy.

4. San Francisco 49ers. Braylon Edwards has been underwhelming and Michael Crabtree could use a proven veteran to play opposite him while pushing him to get better. But if Wayne wasn’t crazy about catching passes from Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, he might not want to play with Alex Smith, either. Smith is clearly better than either of the Colts’ backups, but San Francisco’s offense is built on west coast principles, the running game and the defense. Then again, winning fixes a lot.

5. St. Louis Rams. Another team in dire need of skill position players. Unlike Jacksonville, Sam Bradford has proven he can play in the NFL, it’s just that he and almost everybody else on the roster was beset with injuries in 2011.

Ultimately, we expect Wayne to stay in Indy, especially if Manning’s back in 2012 and beyond.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:03 pm

Would Redskins trade up to No. 1 draft pick?

Barkley returning to school could complicate Washington's QB draft plans. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Quarterback Matt Barkley announced Thursday that he would return to USC for his senior season. It’s an early Christmas gift for Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin, but two NFL scouts called it a “foolish business decision” before invoking the name of Matt Leinart for emphasis.

CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson pointed out that Barkley returning to Southern Cal shakes things up at the top of the NFL draft board for those teams looking for a franchise quarterback. One team potentially unaffected by where Barkley plays football next fall: the Washington Redskins.

2012 NFL Draft
Two things to note: owner Dan Snyder has a long and unimpressive history of mortgaging the team's future for a chance at immediate success (it’s yet to work), and the Redskins will be in the market this offseason for a legitimate starting NFL quarterback (this assumes, of course, that Rex Grossman isn’t that guy).

During a Wednesday radio appearance, ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested that the 'Skins could be willing to move up on draft day, with one caveat -- the Rams end up with the first-overall pick. The thinking: since St. Louis already has their franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford, they would have no interest in Stanford’s Andrew Luck. (The Colts, meanwhile, would take Luck should they finish with the NFL’s worst record.)

“The St. Louis Rams are in a situation where it’s hard to see them winning a [third] game this season,” Schefter said via the Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg. “If the Colts and Rams finish tied with two wins a piece, it’ll come down to their strength of schedules. But what is interesting about that is if the Rams have the pick, it becomes literally an auction for that No. 1 pick, because the Dolphins, Redskins, Seahawks and other teams all will have an interest in trading up to that spot.

“If somehow the Colts win a game and the Rams don’t, then that pick, for the Rams franchise, would be worth, roughly worth, three [first-round picks] and two [second-rounders], maybe four first-round picks. And so there’s a huge amount at stake if somehow the Colts — who will continue to try to win games — win another game, the Rams lose their two games and somehow come up with that pick.”

Clearly, a lot has to happen before the Redskins can even entertain thoughts of landing Luck. At 5-9, Washington would have the No. 7 pick, but they’re season hasn’t been a huge disappointment because they were one player away from the postseason.

Silver lining: Schefter and just about every other media member suggested that if Luck ends up in Indy and the Colts cut Peyton Manning, Washington might target him (of course they would).

Rex Grossman and the Redskins pulled off a surprising upset last week against the Giants. Can they do it again this week when they welcome the Vikings to FedEx Field? Join NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz for a preview of this matchup.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:18 pm

Colts loss to Texans Thursday locks in top-2 pick

By Will Brinson

The Colts are believed to be locked in on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. (And, thusly, locked into Andrew Luck, the top prospect on Rob Rang's big board.)

But not so fast, my friends -- Indy still hasn't technically "won" the first pick in the draft, because of their win Sunday over the Titans. In fact, they haven't even locked in a top-two pick in the draft, although they could do so on Thursday if they lost to Houston.

According to Matt Pomeroy of the NFL Network, a loss Thursday for the Colts eliminates the Rams from contention for the No. 1 pick. However, the Vikings are still in play -- if Indy then beat Jacksonville, their best possible strength of schedule would be equal to Minnesota's worst possible strength of schedule.

So if the Vikes lose out, Indy goes 1-1 and everything strength-of-schedule wise breaks correctly, the Colts and Vikings would have a coin toss to determine who gets the rights to draft and/or trade the rights to draft Luck.

The odds still heavily favor the Colts, especially considering the Texans will be pushing for a bye in the AFC and Indy's inability to stop the run.

For Bill Polian, who seems unsure whether about his 2012 situation, that's probably a good thing.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:53 pm

Polian on Manning return in 2012: 'I don't know'

Bill Polian on Peyton Manning coming back in 2012: 'I don't know the answer to that.' (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

There's a reasonable chance that Peyton Manning's already played his last game in a Colts uniform. But you'd never get anyone in the organization to admit the possibility that Manning wouldn't return, at least not right now.

Or would you? Bill Polian, speaking on his weekly radio show Monday night said he "didn't know the answer" as to whether or not Manning would be back with Indianapolis next season.

Indy's Big Decision

"I don't know the answer to that," Polian said, per our Colts Rapid Reporter Tom James. "There are so many variables involved that it's impossible to tell at this point in time. It's our fervent hope that he is. But I couldn't unequivocally give you an answer of yea or nay."

Polian's radio shows are almost always an exercise in interesting comments -- and it might seem like the prudent thing for Polian to do in this situation is simply avoid commenting.

After all, the decision to bring Manning back is on the team. As Polian is the guy who makes that decision (although ultimately answering to owner Jim Irsay), he would know whether or not Manning is going to return.

What that means is Charley Casserly's report of the Colts wanting to renegotiate the terms of Manning's option, or at least the deadline for the option, is likely correct.

The Colts will ask Peyton for more time to evaluate his health before committing $28 million to him in 2012. And that's fair. But it's still an ominous sign for Peyton's future in Indy that the guy making the call can't commit to whether or not his franchise quarterback will return.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2011 1:11 pm

Report: Manning, with pads, works with WRs, RBs

By Josh Katzowitz

Peyton Manning, despite the barriers in his way, continues to want to play this season. And by god, he’s serious.

Manning's comeback?
According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer on Fox NFL Sunday, Manning worked out with Colts running backs and wide receivers while wearing pads this week.

To be clear, Manning didn’t practice with the team. He just worked out with some players AFTER Indianapolis finished its practice.

While it seems unlikely that the Colts would actually let Manning out on the playing field this year, he apparently is making every effort to do exactly that.

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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