Tag:Ryan Wilson
Posted on: January 30, 2012 1:53 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 1:55 pm
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Elway: Broncos in the market for more QBs

This much we know: Tebow's got the starting gig heading into training camp. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Back on January 17, three days after the Broncos' 2011 season ended with a playoff loss to the Patriots, executive vice president of football operations John Elway said that Tim Tebow "has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year." It's a curious comment in that Elway acknowledges Tebow's against-all-odds accomplishments in 2011 but with the clear understanding that should he struggle early, the Broncos are free to find a starter elsewhere.

Cornerback Champ Bailey, one of Tebow's biggest supporters during the season, even admitted that the former Heisman Trophy winner "still has a lot to prove."

“He’s proven he can win some tough games," Bailey said shortly after the Broncos lost in the playoffs. "Now it’s just being consistent. One thing about him, he’s going to work at it. And I’m behind him 100 percent.”

Whether Elway is that committed to Tebow beyond training camp is another matter. Either way, Denver has quarterback on the to-do list; Kyle Orton was released during the season and Brady Quinn will be a free agent in March.

"We will be in the market to find more quarterbacks," Elway said according to the Denver Post's Jeff Legwold. "That's our approach with Tim being our starter as we go to training camp, that we'll look at free agency and the draft."

We've written previously on the available free-agent quarterbacks who could piqued Denver's interest, but this is about more than sheer talent. There's also the little issue of public opinion; Tebow is insanely popular among Broncos fans and as Orton found out, working conditions can quickly deteriorate for those who get between Tebow and the starting job.

That reality aside, Elway is insistent that there will be competition at every job -- including quarterback -- leading up to the 2012 season.

"Anybody who comes in at any position is going to think they have a chance to compete," he said. "Any free agent or anybody that comes in here when we start training camp is going to be competing for jobs. Obviously with Tim's reputation, if the guy is afraid to come in and compete for that job, then maybe he's not the right guy."

Just ask Orton.

For now, Tebow's the guy although the depth chart appears to be written in pencil. If recent history has taught us anything, however, it's that we should never ever underestimate the Power of Tebow.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:54 am
 

Earthly temptations do not affect Tim Tebow

Tebow was in Vegas for a Nike shoot last weekend and at the Nuggets game last night. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Quarterback Tim Tebow concluded a whirlwind season on January 14 when the Denver Broncos lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisonal playoffs. Four days later, he was at staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas for a Nike shoot. (Technically, the Hard Rock is in Paradise, Nevada, which includes much of the Strip, the airport and the aforementioned hotel.)

Innocuous enough except that, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Norm Clarke, the Hard Rock was hosting the Adult Video News Awards at the same time. (Possibly awkward, yes, but also a great premise for a bad sitcom that'll miraculously enjoy success despite much scrutiny, outrage and mock indignation from critics.)

Clarke breathlessly writes that "Veteran casino host Steve Cyr told a Las Vegas radio station on Friday that he saw the Denver Broncos quarterback walking through the casino the day the four-day Adult Entertainment Expo opened."

Scandalous.

Luckily, Tebow, whose religious beliefs were often a bigger story last season than his ability to make it as an NFL quarterback, didn't succumb to earthly temptations.

More Clarke: "A second source said Tebow, who was reportedly in town for a Nike shoot, stayed in a Hard Rock penthouse 'most of the time.'"

In a radio interview, Cyr noted that Tebow, his brother, and three friends did emerge from their rooms long enough to take in Cirque du Soleil's "O" at The Mirage, but Tebow didn't drink and "tipped well."

Which, we'd imagine, makes up a typical night out on the town for Tebow. The lesson: What stays in Vegas is not as important as what stays next door to you in Vegas.

Thankfully, Tebow emerged from Sin City unscathed. He was courtside at the Nuggets game Sunday night.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:01 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:14 pm
 

Report: Peyton Manning struggling to get healthy

Manning 'determined' to play in 2012. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It's been more than a year since Peyton Manning played in an NFL game, but just five weeks out from a $28 million roster bonus coming due, the Colts have to make a decision on his future in Indianapolis. Teams are already lining up for his services (allegedly, of course) -- both those with obvious quarterback needs and others who may be willing to reconsider their current quarterback situation.

The problem: no one knows how healthy Manning is. He missed the 2011 season after undergoing three neck surgeries in two years, and Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported Sunday that Manning is struggling to get healthy before March 8, the day he's to receive the aforementioned roster bonus.

King adds: "No one knows yet if he'll play at all. In the last few days ... I've heard mixed reports about his physical condition. There is no guarantee he'll be healthy enough for any team to build its offense around."

King also seconded something we wrote on the Eye on Football blog: Colts owner Jim Irsay didn't make a decision on Manning's future "weeks ago."

[CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

"I talked to Colts owner Irsay over the weekend, and he insisted, contrary to an NFL.com report that he decided 'weeks ago' to part ways with Manning, that he hasn't done any such thing," King wrote Monday.

"There has been no decision,'' Irsay told King. "This thing is still up in the air. I guarantee you I have not made the decision."

On Monday, Peyton's non-football-playing brother, Cooper, told NFL Network's Albert Breer that Manning was "determined" to play in 2012.

"What I do know is Peyton is going to do every single thing a human being can possibly do to get ready to play again," Cooper said from New Orleans according to Breer. "Where, when and how he'll play, that's all up in the air. But as far as his body goes, Peyton's smart, he'll know what to do. Anyone predicting what will happen now going forward is just wasting their breath. But he is working as hard as anyone can work to get out there again." 

Without knowing the state of Manning's recovery but with Irsay having already begun the housecleaning process, it's fair to assume that Manning may have played his last game for the Colts. He won't be out of work long, though; in fact, we wouldn't be surprised if some truly desperate team took a flier on him even if he's not yet cleared to return to the field. After all, the NFL is a passing league woefully short on passers. 

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 1:30 pm
 

Curtis Martin thinks Jets should pursue Peyton

"I’m not saying anything against Sanchez," Martin said. ... "If Manning was available, I would go after him" (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. One camp supports the guy and wants him back in New York (head coach Rex Ryan's current stance); the other camp prefers anybody but Sanchez, although if they had their choice, Peyton Manning would be at the top of the list.

Manning, of course, is still a member of the Colts and recovering from neck surgery that kept him out for the 2011 season. But his time left in Indianapolis may be down to days or weeks.


Ryan spoke recently about both quarterbacks: “I can’t talk about Peyton Manning. He’s on some other team right now. But Mark Sanchez is the future of the Jets. He’s a great quarterback and again, I can’t wait to get it going."

Which is pretty much what Ryan has to say. And no matter how many times he repeats himself, there will be those people who think there are better options out there. Take former Jets running back Curtis Martin. He's all for Manning relocating to New York should he become available.

“That’s a great opportunity,” said the Hall of Fame finalist Saturday in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini. “I’m not saying anything against Mark Sanchez, but Peyton Manning … I have a lot of respect for the guy. I played against him for a number of years. I wouldn’t care who was on my team -- if Peyton Manning was available, I would go after him.”

Martin qualified by saying that he'd pass on Manning if Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees, but that's it.

“I’m very bullish on taking that chance,” Martin said. “I don’t care if he’s 38, 36, whatever, I would be interested in taking that chance. At 35, 36, I’m definitely interested. You’re literally talking about one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Him having a year off, the type of competitor Peyton Manning is, I think he’s going to come back and surprise everyone and be even stronger -- if he can come back.”

And that very well may be, it's just that it's not clear where Manning will be playing.

Cimini writes that Jets owner Woody Johnson, during a recent interview, didn't rule out the possibility of pursing Manning. Cimini added: "There are growing indications that the Jets, despite public support for Sanchez, are monitoring the situation and will explore it if he’s released."

Seems reasonable despite Ryan publicly supporting Sanchez several times this offseason. It was Ryan, after all, who announced that he expected offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to return to the Jets if he didn't land a head-coaching gig. Neither happened, and the former was less surprising than the latter.

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Chiefs Matt Cassel helps woman escape house fire

"I wasn't heroic at all," Cassel said. ..."The real heroes are the firefighters." (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

In general, the quarterback is the face of the franchise. And that means, for good or bad, he's the first person fans point to when things aren't going well. But that's the deal: you get the accolades when the team wins just with the full understanding that you're the first stop when the torch-and-pitchfork crowd gathers.

Turns out, quarterbacks are people too. And when they're not throwing touchdowns or interceptions, they're living their lives. And apparently, one Kansas City-area woman has Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel to thank for saving her from a house fire.

According to KMBC, "the quick actions of a Kansas City Chiefs player may have helped keep the homeowner from harm. …

"Neighbors told KMBC 9 News that Cassel's wife first spotted the smoke and flames coming from the home's chimney. Cassel ran to his neighbor's house, rang the doorbell, pounded on the front door and started to circle the house until he saw the woman who lives there come outside."

The woman said she didn't realize her house was on fire until Cassel sprung into action.  No one was injured in the fire, but a neighbor told KMBC that "I know Matt wouldn't want this kind of attention, but I definitely think he was a hero last night."

Cassel's response: "I wasn't heroic at all. I just ran up to the house and alerted them. The real heroes are the firefighters."

The Chiefs may have had a tough 2011 season but they've been heroic off the field. In June, Cassel's tight end Leonard Pope saved a boy from drowning.

Cassel played in just nine games last season before surgery on his throwing hand forced him to injured reserve in late November. Kansas City was 4-5 when he went down and the Chiefs finished the year 7-9 with Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton under center. A year after leading Kansas City to the AFC West title, head coach Todd Haley lost his job and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was named his successor.

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 11:56 am
Edited on: January 29, 2012 12:31 pm
 

Rex Ryan: Fixing Jets now, won't speak on Peyton

Ryan is going all in on Sanchez and vows to fix New York's locker room. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The New York Jets, fresh off a disappointing 8-8 season, continue to make news in an offseason that started with an admission from head coach Rex Ryan that he didn't have a pulse on his team, which was clearly evident in Week 17 when team captain Santonio Holmes went renegade on his quarterback before getting benched.

In the nearly four weeks since Ryan's end-of-year press conference, third-string quarterback Greg McElroy went on radio and referred to the Jets locker room as "not a fun place," anonymous teammates called Mark Sanchez "lazy," former teammate Kris Jenkins also took some shots at Sanchez (that led to Ryan, center Nick Mangold and owner Woody Johnson all coming to Sanchez's defense), running back LaDainian Tomlinson suggested that the wide receivers are responsible for "Sanchez is lazy" remarks to the media, and cornerback Darrelle Revis called the team issues "real deep" before noting that Ryan had no idea how bad things really were.


Ryan spoke publicly about all the problems confronting an organization he guaranteed would win the Super Bowl heading into the season.

“Our locker room wasn’t as close as it’s been in the past, obviously, but one thing we know is we’re going to fix it,” Ryan said in an interview with ESPN (via ProFootballTalk.com). “We might have been knocked down this year but we’re not knocked out. We’re going to be swinging, and there’s no doubt about it. But I can’t wait. It’s about moving forward, put that stuff behind us. But there’s things we’re going to learn from. This past season, 8-8 clearly is not good enough. We did have some issues where, obviously, I never did a good enough job of recognizing it and fixing it, but we’re fixing it right now. There’s no doubt about that.”

One of those issues, obviously, concerns the Jets' current quarterback. While Ryan supports Sanchez, he has to improve. We can blame some of his struggles on offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Holmes or Plaxico Burress, but the former is gone to St. Louis and the latter were brought in by Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum. At some point, the organization has to either see progress from their franchise quarterback or move on without him. Some of Sanchez's critics have said that they'd like to see Peyton Manning in New York next year.

“I can’t talk about Peyton Manning," Ryan said. "He’s on some other team right now. But Mark Sanchez is the future of the Jets. He’s a great quarterback and again, I can’t wait to get it going. You look at it: 4-2 in the postseason, 28-20 in the regular season over the three years that Mark and I have been together and we’re going to be together a long time.”

Credit to Ryan for standing up for his players but if the 2012 season looks anything like 2011, both he and Sanchez could be looking for work.

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 10:54 am
 

Ochocinco leans on T.O., Moss for support

Ochocinco on the 2011 season: 'I bought into the Patriot Way, and it paid off.' (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Chad Ochocinco is the forgotten man in New England's offense. Acquired just before training camp, the former Bengals Pro Bowler was supposed to provide Tom Brady something he lacked since Randy Moss was shipped out of town a month into the 2010 season: a deep threat.

Ochocinco, in theory, would've been the final piece to a multi-dimensional passing offense that included two of the league's best tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and the precision route-running of Wes Welker. Instead, Ochocinco, who finished the regular season with 15 receptions and one touchdown, played just one snap in the Patriots' Divisional playoff win over the Broncos and was inactive last week against the Ravens.

On Friday, Ochocinco spoke with the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian. Despite the lack of production this season, he said that he'd love to return to New England in 2012. But first things first: how has he coped with one of the toughest years of his NFL life? Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.

“For me, those guys were my outlets. Not Twitter,” he said. “To have those two guys in my corner, I talk to them all the time. (Moss) keeps me sane for 16 weeks, every week. Every week we talked. T.O., too. We’re close-knit, us so-called diva receivers. Who is going to understand what I’m talking about, or going through, from my standpoint? Not Bill (Belichick), not Tom (Brady). It’s like having my own personal support group. I love those two, man. I didn’t want to burden anyone else in here with that bull. They don’t want to hear that.”

There are countless theories for why Ochocinco's productivity tok a nosedive this season. One is that he's struggled to learn the Patriots' offense after spending 10 years in Cincinnati.

“Anything is different, when you’ve come from something you’re used to for so long. It’s like being married,” he said. “If I’m married to Halle Berry for 10 years, and her and I break up, and I marry Scarlett Johansson, there are going to be some things I have to adjust to based off what I’m used to. That’s just the way life is in general. What I was able to do was come in here and keep on working.”

So is Carson Palmer Halle Berry in this analogy? (Personally, we had him pegged for someone like Jennifer Garner: relevant seven or eight years ago before disappearing to have kids only to resurface in a promising situation. And, yes, the movie title is intentional.) And while Johannson's no slouch, Ochocinco has to go with Gisele Bündchen as his new wife, as a metaphor for his relationship with Tom Brady, right?

Either way, he says there's nothing bittersweet about finally making it to the Super Bowl despite having little to do with helping the Patriots get there.

“There’s a competitive side to me that is angry, the competitive nature in me that it didn’t go the way it normally has," Ochocinco said. "I routinely produce a certain way every year. So when that routine goes astray like it did this year, it feels funny. It’s something I had to get used to. But I took it in stride. I did everything I was asked on and off the field. I didn’t become disgruntled, as I’ve done in the past. When I want the ball, I’ve let it be known I want the ball. I didn’t do any of those things (this season). I bought into the Patriot Way, and it paid off. Maybe not the way everybody thought it would. I don’t know.

“Sometimes you work at something, and you don’t always get the results," he added. "Some people quit, some people keep grinding. I’m one of those who keeps grinding. And that’s it.”

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:24 am
Edited on: January 28, 2012 8:23 pm
 

Owners might nix Vikings new stadium plans

The NFL isn't excited about Minnesota playing in a college stadium for up to three years. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Here's the deal: the Viking want a new stadium. And Minnesota governor Mark Dayton has suggested that said new stadium be constructed on the site of the Vikings' current stadium. The organization, which had other locations in mind, initially balked at the idea before coming around on it.

This means that they'll have to find a temporary venue to host their games until the new digs are complete. Early estimates are that it could take three years. One option: University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, an outdoor stadium currently used by the Gophers.

But even if the Vikings and the governor's office are amenable to such a plan, the NFL, it turns out, is not.

Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that there will be a $67 million financial hit not to mention the logistical headache of playing elsewhere for up to three seasons. (According to Murphy, Vikings president Mark Wilf said the team would lose $37 million playing at TCF Bank Stadium for three seasons and would have to spend an additional $30 million to make it NFL compliant.)

Plus: league owners have to sign off on any such move and, well, it doesn't sound like they're on board.

"I can tell you there won't be a lot of happy campers among the membership (owners)," a person close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of stadium negotiations told Murphy. "TCF is a gem, but it's not an NFL stadium."

Proponents of the plan could point to the 2010 season when the Vikings played a December game at TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome roof collapsed. Murphy notes that "The game was even celebrated as the franchise's return to outdoor football, and more game day snow helped limit attendance and quell possible brouhahas over general admission seating."

The critics' response: you can't compare one game to three years.

"Capacity is way reduced," the person close to the situation said. "It's a different atmosphere for visiting teams, not as much of a home-field advantage for the Vikings. Nobody has figured out how the team will fill that loss of revenue hole. There's still a lot of wood to chop."

So what are the alternatives? Murphy explains:
The Metrodome figured to be the Vikings' way station if they got their wish - a new facility in Arden Hills. The Dome might be viable this season if engineers can do ancillary work around the building before blowing it up. But until a bill is passed by the Legislature, there is no construction timeline.

And with no Metrodome in 2013 and beyond, there is no alternative in the area outside of TCF for the Vikings.
"We understand the challenges that we face there," Wilf said earlier this week. "We're still in the process of doing our due diligence. Lot of aspects involved, including how we address the seasons we play at TCF. But we're making progress on getting to know the site much better."

Wich is why the Pioneer Press's Bob Sansevere says the Arden Hills location needs to be revisited.

"Instead of wailing and stomping their feet in objection to a new stadium on the Dome site, Vikings owners can just sit back and let their NFL peers be the bad guys. What Minnesota politicians need to realize is, they're dealing with successful businessmen from Jersey who are adept at making deals and getting what they want. In other words, politicians should take another serious look at putting a stadium in Arden Hills, which is what the Vikings' ownership group wants."

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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