Posted on: February 25, 2012 12:29 pm
  •  
 

Irsay met with Peyton in the 'last week or so'

Irsay says he and Manning have met in the 'last week or so.' (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's been plenty of speculation and talk about Peyton Manning this week in Indy, but not much of it coming from Colts owner Jim Irsay. That's surprising given that Irsay couldn't stop talking about Manning during the Super Bowl.

He couldn't quite make it to the end of the 2012 NFL combine without discussing Peyton, tweeting (of course) on Saturday around lunch that he and Peyton have "communicated frequently" in the last week or so. To the [sic]-mobile:

"Not sure why some speculate that Peyton n I haven't met in person recently..we've met in person n communicated frequently n last week or so," Irsay tweeted. "As we have in the last month."

We're not sure where the "Peyton and Irsay aren't talking" speculation is coming from. The only real speculation surrounding Manning the past few days has involved teams other than the Colts, with Arizona's front office not denying their potential interest in Manning, and Rex Ryan doing the same thing.

Oh, and fans in Miami who really like Peyton; but still, other teams. It's not unusual, though, for Irsay to tweet about rumors that we haven't actually heard. And it's just further proof that this saga becomes more and more convoluted as March 8 gets nearer and nearer.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:28 am
 

Matt Kalil runs unofficial 4.96 40-time Saturday

Kalil managed to elevate his status over the weekend. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Matt Kalil, the top-rate offensive line prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, has kept a low profile in Indianapolis. But that's not because he's not talented; it's because the focus here is on Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.

But Kalil stole some of that thunder on Saturday, when he stepped onto the field and looked incredibly athletic while running his 40-yard time, posting a 4.96 time, scored unofficially. (Matt added another unofficial time of five seconds even to his tally, which is also impressive.)

That time, incidentally, is the exact same time that Matt's brother, Panthers center Ryan Kalil, posted at his combine effort in 2006.

Matt's time puts him in good company: Joe Thomas, Eric Winston, Trent Williams and the elder Kalil are all among the group of linemen who've gone sub-five seconds on their 40 time at the combine since 2006.

Speed isn't everything when it comes to linemen, obviously. And Kalil's not the only speedy lineman: Georgia's Cordy Glenn also posted an unofficial 4.96 40 time on Saturday.

But when you start adding the pieces together on Kalil -- between the speed, the strength (30 reps) and the lineage -- it's hard to fathom how Kalil could end up busting as an NFL player.

And it's becoming even harder to fathom how anyone else, including Stanford's Jonathan Martin, could try to claim the title of best available offensive lineman in this draft.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 1:50 am
 

McCarthy on Flynn: 'It's his time to play'

After playing behind Rodgers, Flynn's in line for a starting job in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

As is the case most years, the 2012 combine is all about the quarterback. Sure, there are plenty of other players to evaluate but the NFL is a passing league. To win consistently, teams need franchise quarterbacks. (Just take a look at the recent Super Bowl winners for proof -- Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.)

While much of the focus falls on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there has been plenty of talk about current NFL QBs -- old faces possibly playing in new places in 2012. Peyton Manning tops that list even if no one can speak to when he'll be healthy enough to return to the field.

After Manning, there's Matt Flynn who has often been compared to Kevin Kolb for his lack of on-the-job training followed by what's sure to be a big payday to be some team's starter. The comparisons are probably unfair, especially if Flynn can play in a system that fits his strengths (like, say, Miami).

First things first, though; after the Packers signed tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year deal this week, the speculation was that the organization would then franchise Flynn with the plan to then tag and trade him before March 5.

On Friday, Packers general manager Ted Thompson wasn't interested in speaking in particulars, telling the media that “I’m not going to stand here and tell all the 31 other teams what I think about Matt Flynn.”

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, however, was much more forthcoming.

“Matt’s had a chance to play versus New England (in 2010), versus Detroit (in 2011), so based on what I’ve seen in the every day — classroom, practice field — he’s ready,” McCarthy said via NFL.com. “It’s his time to play.”

“You don’t ever know if that backup quarterback can take that next step and go out and play 16 games. I know mentally, he’s ready; emotionally, he’s definitely ready,” McCarthy continued. “But until you play the position and go play those 1,100, 1,200 snaps, that’s when you really find out. I think Matt’s ready for that.”

On Thursday, NFL Films' Greg Cosell made the case for Flynn to the Dolphins and it came down to this: "It would make good sense for Flynn to join his former offensive coordinator in Miami. [New head coach Joe] Philbin understands from personal experience Flynn’s strengths and limitations. If he gets the chance, he will take a page from the Bill Walsh book, and cast Flynn in his rightful role: an efficient passer in a multi-dimensional passing game in which the scheme rules, not the quarterback."

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is reportedly "infatuated" with Manning but Sports Illustrated's Peter King thinks Peyton-to-South Beach doesn't make a lot of sense.

"As one GM told me today, problem with Peyton to Miami is Philbin wants to control his team and his offense -- not cede it to Manning," King tweeted Friday.

General manager Jeff Ireland said the organization would be okay with a "short-term solution" at quarterback but added that "Obviously you'd like a long-term solution, but you can do both."

The pool of free-agent quarterbacks is pretty thin. In fact, if you're willing to accept that Manning's future remains uncertain, Flynn is easily Miami's best option. If they agree, then the question becomes whether they can get him for a good price.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:31 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 1:26 pm
 

2012 NFL Combine Day 2: Winners and losers

RG3 was the biggest winner on Friday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Day 2 of the NFL combine is in the books and we have a whole new set of fresh faces to judge. On Friday, wide receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks made the rounds. Perhaps you've heard of some of these guys.

Winners

Robert Griffin III: RG3 showed up to his combine interview sporting Ninja-Turtle socks, drew a crowd on par with Andrew Luck and absolutely wooed them. He said he wants a team to "fall in love with him," wouldn't care if he had to be a backup in year one, insists he is much more "football smart" than anyone would want to believe, and even said he models himself after ... Kenny Stabler. (And Randall Cunningham and "guys no one expects [him] to know about.") Oh yes, and he actually managed to growsince he last played football. The only question surrounding Griffin at this point is who's willing to give up the most in order to take him second overall.

2012 scouting combine coverage
Draft prospect rankings
Latest mock drafts
2012 NFL scouting combine More combine coverage
Combine blog | On iTunes | Newsletter
Alshon Jeffery: South Carolina's scrutinized wide receiver showed up the combine on Friday and laughed off reports that he gained so much weight he was tipping the scales at 250 pounds. ("Anyone can write anything on the Internet.") In fact, Jeffery lost weight, dropping from the 230 pounds during the season all the way down to 216 for his official weigh-in at the combine. Jeffery claims he just "drank a lot of water" to drop the weight. That seems unlikely, but it's not really important how he lost the weight. It's important why he lost the weight, and that was to show he's motivated to move up draft boards between now and April. We also feel compelled to note that his favorite food is lasagna.

Trent Richardson: Richardson's dealing with an injury so he's not going to participate at the combine. But he said the injury wasn't a "setback," and then he proceeded to be possibly the most quotable guy at the combine. His attitude was one of approachable confidence, and at one point he said that he's more than willing to meet Ray Lewis head on in the hole. It was throughly enjoyable to hear Richardson riff, and if he can back up his talk, he'll be worthy of a top-10 pick.

Peyton Manning: With the management from the Dolphins, Chiefs and Jets all talking to the media on Thursday and not much else going on during the day, Manning's name was freaking everywhere. On Friday, he was less talked about. Scott Pioli of the Chiefs straight no-commented any Manning talk and Ozzie Newsome looked a combo of incredulous and exasperated when he was asked about Manning replacing Joe Flacco. RG3 and Luck both got questions about Manning, but that comes with the top-pick territory, and they weren't grilled on it. With the Redskins rolling onto the schedule Saturday, Manning would be wise to enjoy the peace.

Orson Charles: The third-ranked tight end on NFLDraftScout.com's board, Charles showed up on Thursday and told the media that he'd be thrilled if he was drafted by a team like the Falcons and needed to sit until Tony Gonzalez was done. (It's an appropriate hypothetical for a kid who went to Georgia.) Then on Friday he made it a little harder for people to pass on him, when he benched 225 pounds 35 times. That's eight more than the nearest tight end and more than all but one offensive lineman.

Losers

Combine Changes: It's one thing to use fully automated timing devices for the sake of being more accurate. But what's the point of having two guys race against each other in the 40-yard dash? The answer: making the combine more fun to watch. And with all due respect to the fans who make the NFL the most popular sport in the world, there's just no reason to mess with a proven manner of evaluating players. Pitting guys one-on-one in the 40 might sound like the possibility to create really interesting matchups, but it would probably just create more "week before the combine" injuries.

Mike Adams: NFL teams can deal with a player having off-field issues. Adams has a pair of suspensions from his time at Ohio State and that has to be a concern, even if he's says he's "past" those maturity problems. Perhaps a bigger problem? He only benched 225 pounds 19 times. That's less than all but eight of the linemen who lifted on Friday, and less than all but five of the tight ends. Bench press isn't a clear-cut indicator of success, but that's a pretty big pair of red flags for the Ohio State product.

Tim Tebow: The phrase "one like Tim" would be insensitive, except John Elway's just talking about quarterbacks. But that was the phrase he used when we asked him what kind of backup quarterbacks he'd try to acquire to sit behind Tebow on the depth chart. And as Clark Judge wrote on Friday, Elway's pretty clearly not committed to Tebow as his quarterback of the future even though he and the rest of the Broncos keep trying to speak glowingly of their quarterback. Also, Tim, Fred Durst? Really? Really.

Panthers, Seahawks: Neither team did anything "bad," per se. They just happened to end up on the wrong end of a coin flip against the Dolphins and Chiefs, respectively. And while the loss only cost them one draft spot, that's a significant thing if you're a team like Carolina or Seattle who might be interested in bouncing up or down on the draft board. Lower picks are worth exponentially less in trades.

Justin Blackmon: This isn't to knock Blackmon, because we like the kid a lot. He's a talented, physical receiver who's managed to remain humble throughout his rise to stardom. But sometimes good qualities in people look bad in draft prospects: Blackmon isn't running the 40 (the primary concern about him is speed) because of a hamstring injury he said he suffered last week. He measured in shorter than the 6'1" and he admitted route-running is a problem for him. He's too talented to slip too far, but we wonder whether the Rams will definitely make him a top-five pick.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:43 pm
 

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

Luck and RG3 both said they'd be willing to sit behind Manning next season. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Even if they're not throwing this weekend, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are saying all the right things at the combine. Two months from the NFL Draft, they're considered the two best quarterbacks, and there's the strong possibility that both are off the board with the first two picks.

Most people -- from fans half-paying attention to draft experts -- expect the Colts to take Luck first overall. The former Stanford star has been called the best prospect since John Elway. Given all the upheaval in Indianapolis right now -- from the new front office and coaching staff to the speculation that Peyton Manning could be released in the coming weeks ahead of a $28 million roster bonus -- there's also reason to believe that Luck, like Manning in 1998, would be the starter from Day 1.

Despite the writing on the wall, Colts owner Jim Irsay said recently that he "would love to have" Manning back in Indy. We're guessing those comments were more PR cover than heartfelt, but either way, Luck was asked Friday about the possibility of playing behind Peyton next season.

“If I have the opportunity to learn from a guy like that, of course you’re going to take advantage of it," he said. "Absolutely. … Peyton was my football hero. That’s who I modeled myself after," he continued. "You never replace a guy like that."

Except you do replace a guy like that, perhaps soon. And many Colts fans accepted that reality when the team was on it's way to a 2-14 season without Manning, who had multiple neck surgeries in recent years and his football-playing future is still in question.

There's also this: the organization is free to sign Luck starting Friday.

Griffin, who sported Ninja Turtle socks when he spoke with the media Friday, was also asked about playing behind Manning.

"Yeah I would embrace it," he said according to CBSSports.com's Will Brinson, who is in Indianapolis this week. "It's not very often you get chances to play -- or be on a team -- with a legend like that and learn from a guy like Peyton.

"Definitely I'd come in and compete to try and be the starter, but I wouldn't be upset if Peyton was the starting quarterback of the team I'm on. It would be an honor to sit behind him. I'd hold that clipboard with pride. I'm not going to come in and demand to be the starter."

It's a fantastic answer to questions that are likely irrelevant. We suppose there is some small probability that Manning could return, but all indications are that he's taken his last snap for the Colts.

"Who knows what happens?” Luck asked Friday.

Irsay does, that's who. And we're guessing Luck will be under center when the Colts take the field in Week 1 of the 2012 season.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:08 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:08 pm
 

Pioli: 'Sounds like Kyle wants to be with us'

Orton started three games for Kansas City in 2011 and could return in 2012. (Getty Images)

Eye on Football staff report

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kyle Orton began the 2011 season as the Broncos starting quarterback. That lasted five weeks, by which point Denver was 1-4, and Orton was replaced with Tim Tebow. Seven wins later, the Broncos were AFC West champions and beat the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Orton wasn't around to enjoy it because he was released in late November. He signed with the Chiefs and started started three games there.

Now a free agent, Orton ranked seventh in Eye on Football's list of available quarterbacks, which either speaks well to his skills or tells you the current state of backup QBs in the NFL.  Either way, Orton is just a season removed throwing for more than 3,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Like wideout Brandon Lloyd (also no longer in Denver), Orton flourished in Josh McDaniels' offense.

And he proved more than adequate in Kansas City, too.  Matt Cassel missed part of the 2011 season with a hand injury but is set to be the starter heading into training camp. But with the Tyler Palko experiment blowing up in their faces, the Chiefs are in the market for a backup and Orton impressed during his short time with the team.

At the combine Friday, general manager Scott Pioli spoke about the possibility Orton could return.

“We’ve talked to Kyle’s people. It sounds like Kyle would like to be with us," he said. "We’ve told Kyle we’d like to continue to work with him. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if things arrive at the right place. It’s not always whether we want a player or the player wants to be here. Things have to work out (contractually).”

Looking around the league, Orton's best shot at starting might be in Kansas City. Yes, Cassel tops the depth chart but is there really that much difference between the two (And maybe there is; we never thought Orton would play so poorly in Denver that he'd be benched for Tebow.)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 7:37 pm
 

Gronkowski talks about post-Super Bowl partying

Gronk on dancing after Super Bowl loss: 'It is what it is.' (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

It's been almost three weeks since the Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Which means it's been almost three weeks since Rob Gronkowski and Matt Light were caught on video dancing their troubles away at a postgame party.

Most people didn't have an issue with how Gronk chose to deal with defeat (even if it included taking his shirt off -- in public, no less!). He's a grown man and the season was over. NBC NFL analyst and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison wasn't one of those people. He breathlessly proclaimed that Gronkowski had "disrespected himself" before adding “I guarantee you this, if Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Richard Seymour or myself had been at that party, [Gronkowski] probably would have got his head rung. There’s no reason for that to happen.”

Settle down, Rodney.

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was more reasoned in his response, saying that “One thing I do know is the guy is 100 percent a passionate when it comes to football. He loves football. He wants to win. He doesn’t like losing. I don’t know specifically what people are questioning, but he’s an ultimate competitor.”

And now, finally, Gronkowski has weighed in. The tight end, who had surgery on his ankle on Feb. 10, hadn't spoken about any of this publicly until Friday.

“It is what it is,” Gronkowski said during an appearance on 97.5 in Philadelphia (via PFT). “We were just having fun with my brothers and stuff . . . family I haven’t seen in a while . . . and the chance of hanging out with LMFAO was pretty cool too. . . . Unfortunately we didn’t win and that was the number 1 goal.”

So there you go, Rodney. It is ... what it is. Hope that clears things up for you.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:00 pm
 

Adam Carriker can flex, wear tight shirts too

We know you can't tell from the photos, but Landry (left) is a safety and Carriker's a defensive lineman. (Twitter)

By Ryan Wilson

LaRon Landry has big muscles. And we don't mean the garden-variety muscles you see on typical NFL players. We're talking pipes usually reserved for bodyguards and the Jersey Shore. On Thursday, the internet caught wind of the Landry phenomenon, and it got to the point that Landry took to Twitter to defend himself against all sorts of criticisms.

He weighs "223 solid," not 240 pounds as some had suggested, scoffed at the notion that the picture above was Photoshopped -- or that he's "on" anything -- and wondered why so many people cared what he looked like.

"Damn more men on my timeline than anything," Landry tweeted. "Didn't know there parents raised them as females to hate/criticize another mans perfectionYOLO"

So that happened. We mention all this because it's not just fans and media taking note of Landry's physique. Former teammate Adam Carriker took time out of whatever he was doing Friday to squeeze into a tight shirt and post the photo above to Twitter.



And Chad Ochocinco, currently of the Patriots (but probably not for long), offered these observations:



All this working out reminded us of quite possibly the greatest exercise video of all time.



Your move, LaRon (jazzercise optional).

hat tip: Sports Bog

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com