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Tag:Dallas Clark
Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:18 am
Edited on: March 3, 2012 10:20 am
 

Manning workout video may belie surgery reports

By Josh Katzowitz

Peyton Manning is apparently throwing, and if the below video is any indication, he looks pretty decent while doing so.

If you love discussing possible conspiracy theories and trying to break down Zapruder-like film, the video below apparently shows Manning working out at Duke University on Friday and throwing the ball all over the field.

While this isn't the first report we've had of Manning actually throwing to receivers -- he did so at the end of last season in post-practice sessions with nobody but team officials around -- this is the first time the outside world has actually seen.

It looks like it’s shot with a camera phone so the video is very vertical, and it’s way too far away to confirm that it’s actually Manning (if you like confirming something by looking at a person’s face). It also appears that the person shooting this is hiding behind some kind of structure while taping so he can’t be seen.*

Latest news at Peyton's place
*Of course, that only adds to the conspiracy theory? Was this unauthorized video? Or is this supposed to look like unauthorized video that the Manning camp wanted in the public domain? Also, why was Manning practicing at Duke? Well, it’s because his former offensive coordinator at Tennessee, David Cutcliffe, is now the Blue Devils head coach. See, aren’t conspiracies fun?

But the motion, the drop-back, the footwork? It looks like Manning.

And from this video, Manning, in shoulder pads and a helmet, looks pretty good, bad neck and all.

So, what are we thinking? Is it Manning? Does he look good? Is this enough to change your opinion that Manning actually can play in 2012? More importantly, is it enough to convince the rest of the NFL that he’s ready to play?

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the player in the video is indeed Manning and that Manning has been seen around the Durham, N.C., area. Colts receiver Austin Collie and tight end Dallas Clark also apparently are working with Manning at Duke.

This video would fly in the face of the recent report that stated Manning might need a fourth surgery on his neck, including another potential spinal fusion.

But all of this goes to show, like with most conspiracies, we just don’t know what is true and what isn’t. This video is just another piece in the puzzle nobody, at this point, can solve.



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Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:51 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Tight End Rankings

Shiancoe leads what is a fairly unimpressive group of free agent tight ends. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the tight ends.

Originally for this post, I listed Jermichael Finley for the No. 1 spot on this list. Obviously, he was an easy call, because he was so obviously the best tight end on the market. Now, though, he’s a signed a two-year deal with the Packers worth about $7.5 million per season, and therefore, the free agent tight end class of 2012 suddenly has grown awfully weak (let’s face it, it wasn’t all that great with Finley on top either).

The best tight ends in the game -- guys like New England’s Rob Gronkowski, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis and Finley -- are safely secure with their respective teams, and those teams who actually are looking for tight ends will have to draw on a list with very few, if any, top-line playmakers. Considering Gronkowski and Graham are helping to redefine the position, that’s not great news. Nevertheless, here we go.

1. Visanthe Shiancoe

Breakdown: Since catching 56 passes for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns when Brett Favre was throwing to him, Shiancoe’s production has decreased the past two seasons, especially in 2011 when he caught 36 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns. Since he made $4.5 million last season, it doesn’t seem likely the Vikings will re-sign him. Especially since the Vikings seem high on Kyle Rudolph. But unless Favre is planning to return for another season (and let’s face it, we can never rule out this option), the value of Shiancoe isn’t as high as it once was.

Potential Landing Spots: Giants, Browns

2. Martellus Bennett


Breakdown: Though Bennett doesn’t have impressive receiving numbers, that’s not what he’s called upon to do. Instead, he’ll be one of the more valuable tight ends in free agency because he’s top-notch run blocker. Bennett oftentimes is overshadowed by his teammate Jason Witten, but his worth to the Cowboys is evident every time Bennett steps on the field (it also seems evident, though, that Bennett’s time in Dallas is finished). But in order to get paid tons of money, he needs to show he can catch the ball, and that’s something missing from his arsenal at this point.

Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Jets, Bengals

3. Joel Dreessen


Breakdown: Dreessen is a solid tight end, and he’s been an important cog for the Texans as quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster have turned Houston into a consistent top-10 offense in the past three years. He’s not a big-time pass catcher, but he’s a solid run-blocker (as Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward likely would attest). The Texans would like to keep their two tight end set, but assuming Owen Daniels can stay healthy, Dreessen becomes a little more expendable in Houston.
Fred Davis
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Giants, Texans, Redskins

4. Fred Davis

Breakdown: He’s actually a pretty good candidate to be franchise-tagged by the Redskins (safety LaRon Landry (and his muscles!) is another candidate), and considering he caught 59 passes for 796 yards in 12 games last year in the best season of his career, Davis is a potential emerging star. Unfortunately for Davis, he was suspended for the final four games of the season for a failed drug test, and if he happens to fail another one, he’d be suspended for a year. So, there’s a little bit of a gray cloud following him around, and teams that need a tight end might shy away from a potential off-the-field problem like that.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

5. Jeremy Shockey


Breakdown: It was only four years ago when Shockey was considered an elite tight end, good for about 60 catches, 600 yards and six touchdowns per season from 2004-07. He’s been hurt (literally) by injuries, and after the Saints released him in 2010, he was solid enough  last season in Charlotte (though the team did like the toughness he brought to the squad). Shockey has talked about wanting to play in Miami -- he’s also talked apparently about retiring, though it seems like everybody is denying it at that point -- but with Anthony Fasano already entrenched as the Dolphins tight end, Shockey probably would have to be content to play as the No. 2 tight end. He made $4 million last season, and in order to return to the Panthers to play with tight end Greg Olsen, he’d probably have to take a paycut.

Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Giants, Panthers
Shockey

6. John Carlson


Breakdown: Carlson missed the entire season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, so there will be plenty of caution surrounding him, even though he’s caught at least 50 passes in two of his first three seasons in the league. Making matters worse, Carlson said in January that he’s not completely healed, estimating that he was only at 90 percent. “Obviously missing the season is not ideal,” he told the Tacoma News Tribune. “But that was the situation I was in. I feel really good. I didn’t beat my body up over the course of the season and my shoulder is repaired.” Carlson is also a solid run-blocker, and he seems like one of those guys who could move into the top-10 of tight ends around the league.

Potential Landing Spots:Seahawks, Rams

7. Jacob Tamme


Breakdown: Like most everybody inside the Indianapolis franchise, Tamme suffered without Peyton Manning around. Playing in place of the injured Dallas Clark, Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Last year, those numbers dropped to 19 for 177 and one. Which obviously is not the kind of season you want to have in a contract year, but it reflects Tamme’s position on the team and, probably, in the league. He’s a solid backup, the No. 2 tight end in a two-tight end set. He has talent, but it’s unclear how much of that was reflected off Manning. He could be a low-risk, somewhat-high reward guy for the right team.

Potential Landing Spots: Colts, Dolphins, Broncos, Bengals

8. Honorable Mention


Unrestricted free agents: Scott Chandler, Reggie Kelly, Daniel Fells
Restricted free agents: None

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 12:11 am
Edited on: September 22, 2011 12:14 am
 

Clark thinks Pollard has a good chance on race

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I don’t know how this news slipped by me, considering I cover the NFL, work for CBS and watch most seasons of the Amazing Race, but former Colts tight end Marcus Pollard and his wife, Amani, are a team on the newest season of the Amazing Race (starting Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT).

CBS went to find current Colts tight end Dallas Clark to see what nice things he could say about his former teammate. After Clark goes through Pollard’s attributes (compassionate?!?), the interviewer asks how advantageous Pollard’s competitiveness will be on the reality show.

“Oh yeah,” Clark said, “everyone else is in trouble.”



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Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: September 15, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Film Room: Colts vs. Browns preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Sometime around Thanksgiving, the Indianapolis Colts will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. By that point, their demise will have been dissected more times than the Roman Empire's. The general consensus will be that the absence of Peyton Manning (neck surgery) did them in.

Is it that simple? Actually, yes. We weren’t kidding all those years when we said this is a 12-win team with Manning and a six-win team without him.

However, many believe that the Manning-less Colts stink because they don’t have a guy audibling them into the perfect play call or throwing darts all over the field. This logic is sensible but also incomplete.
 
Instead of spending the next two months hashing out how bad the Colts are without Manning, and instead of putting up with all the armchair GM’s who crow that the rest of the Colts organization deserves some of the blame because “There are 52 other players on the roster!”, let’s be proactive and understand why, exactly, the loss of Manning dooms one of the most successful franchises in all of professional sports.

Then, we can move on and worry about the NFL’s 31 other teams.

1. Offensive Line Masking
The Colts have long had a below average offensive line. That comes as no surprise, really; with only a few exceptions (mainly at left tackle) Bill Polian has always turned to former sixth-and seventh-rounders or undrafted players to play up front.

That’s largely why Indy has been able to eat the heavy cost of having virtually all long-tenured first-rounders at the skill positions over the years (Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark).

Polian knew he could get away with a sub-par front five because his quarterback is brilliant in getting rid of the ball quickly and moving in the pocket. No quarterback over the years has made better use of the three-step drop than Manning, and no quarterback (aside from maybe Tom Brady) has better footwork in adjusting to pass-rushers.

Consequently, Manning has been sacked an average of only once per game in his 13-year career, which is about half the amount of a normal quarterback. When Manning does take a sack, it’s usually a result of execution, not misdiagnosing a defense. Thus, the hits never surprise him, which is why he almost never fumbles.

Last Sunday, Kerry Collins took three sacks and lost two fumbles.


2. The Run Game
Manning’s pre-snap adjustments did two things for the run game: They ensure that the Colts would always run to the favorable side (Manning decides at the line whether the run will be to the left or to the right) and it means the Colts run the ball out of the same personnel packages and formations from which they throw.

This prevents defenses from tracking Indy’s tendencies. It also creates a constant threat of throwing, which instills an inkling of hesitation in linebackers or safeties dropping into the box (hesitation always makes players jittery, which is partly why Manning’s play-action is so effective).

All of this prevents defenses from loading up and taking advantage of Indy’s undersized and ungifted offensive line. This often saves the Colts; when they’ve gotten away from the run-pass threat (such as in short-yardage situations), their futile ground game always has been exposed.

But now, this threat is gone, and there’s no reliable ground game to fall back on. Joseph Addai is at his best running out of passing sets (think draw plays) and Donald Brown is at his best running against college competition.

3. Helping the wideouts
The best kept secret in all of Indiana last year was that Reggie Wayne was slowing down. The numbers didn’t show it, but the film did. Wayne was not the same downfield threat he once was. He didn’t have the same burst in his redirection or tempo changes. Teams with good cornerbacks stopped rotating safety help to his side of the field. This changed the outlook for Indy’s other route combinations and forced the Colts to throw more underneath and inside.

Manning was able to recognize Wayne’s decline and adjust by either spreading the ball around or hitting Wayne earlier in his routes (when awareness and presnap alignment are more prevalent than physical execution). This is why Wayne’s yards per catch dipped to a career-low 12.2. Hitting a receiver earlier in the route isn’t normally an option, but Manning has uncanny chemistry with his wideouts (Wayne in particular).

This kind of chemistry can’t be replicated – no matter how savvy the hoary Kerry Collins might be. It’s chemistry that derives from a quarterback working with his receivers for several years and offseasons, and, more importantly, from working out of the same system all that time. Over the years the Colts have tailored their system more and more to Manning.

Even if Collins were intimately familiar with Indy’s system (which he’s not), it still wouldn’t click perfectly because it’s a system that’s custom designed for someone else. And, as we’ve already discussed, that someone else has pocket movement skills that 99.9 percent of the world’s other quarterbacks don’t have.

Without Manning’s timing and vision, Colts receivers now have to learn a new definition of "getting open."

4. The defense
The Colts have always had an undersized defense built on speed. It centers around the edge-rushing abilities of the defensive ends. Generally, as long as Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are potent, Indy’s other nine defenders just need to soundly execute basic zone concepts.

A zone-based scheme behind a traditional four-man pass-rush is the type of defense you construct when you plan on playing with a lead. More than that, it’s the type you construct when you plan on playing minimal snaps. The Colts have gotten by with having small linebackers because they’ve had an offense that can consistently sustain drives and allow those small linebackers to always be fresh.

It’s easy to say now that the Colts should have been building a stronger defense in recent years. But the salary cap doesn’t allow for that. Polian probably would have re-signed more linebackers and cornerbacks or brought in more defensive free agents…except he had to pay Manning.

5. Relevance to this week
Indianapolis’ laundry list of limitations may not be as problematic in Week 2 as it will be the rest of the season.

Many pundits peeked at the Browns’ soft early-season schedule and determined that Pat Shurmur’s club would get off to a fast start. But one of the 10,000 or so reasons that pro football is better than college football is that with pro football, you can’t simply look at a schedule and accurately predict what a team’s record will be six weeks down the road. There’s too much talent on every team, and too many dimensions to each matchup.

The Browns are amidst a massive rebuilding project – their fifth one since returning to the NFL, by the way – and might not match up well to Indy’s style. Defensively, Cleveland’s new 4-3 scheme lacks the pass-rushing talent to exploit the Colts’ subpar offensive line. The Browns linebackers also had some trouble identifying underneath route combinations against the Bengals last week – something the Colts, with Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, can surely take advantage of.

Offensively, Pat Shurmur is carefully managing Colt McCoy’s mental workload. Virtually every downfield pass Cleveland attempted in Week 1 came off some sort of play-action or rollout. In play-action and rollouts, the quarterback’s reads are naturally defined, as he only has to scan half the field. It’s a smart tactic, but it will be dicey to execute against the speed of the Colts defensive ends. Look for the Browns to ram the ball with Peyton Hillis. They’ll have to survive with one-dimensionality.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games


Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Offseason workouts take on different tenor

Posted by Andy Benoit

With the doors locked at team facilities, players have to organize their own offseason workouts. You’ve probably heard stories here and there about players making arrangements to train witD. Brees (US Presswire)h teammates (off the top my head, Josh Freeman and a few Bucs, Michael Vick and a few Eagles, Dallas Clark and a few Colts, Kyle Vanden Bosch and a few Lions and Drew Brees and a few Saints come to mind).

These workouts are not the same as true offseason team workouts, of course. For one, there’s no coaching guidance. For two, it’s not Drew Brees and the Saints working out…it’s Drew Brees and A FEW Saints. These are more player-organized positional workouts than player-organized team workouts. But, boutique offseason programs are better than nothing.

The fact that Brees is organizing workouts indicates that the NFLPA is OK with players setting up their own OPA’s (Organized Player Activities – you like it?).

Jim Corbett of USA Today asked people around the league about offseason preparations in the event of a lockout. He shrewdly went to former Redskins GM Charley Casserly, who observed firsthand how organizations get ahead during a work stoppage. The Redskins, after all, won titles after the strike-shortened ’82 season and the three-week replacement players ordeal in the ’87 season.

"A number of teams have already employed the Redskins strategy before this started," Casserly said. "They had team meetings, gave outlines to players, discussed strategy for workouts."

We know the Cowboys did that with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in February. You can bet they weren’t the only team that had extensive meetings that month.

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:28 am
 

Colts still the best in the AFC South

M. Hart was a big reason for Indianapolis' success against Houston (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Remember when the Colts lost to the Texans in the season opener and, then, to the Jaguars in Week 4? Remember when we thought that, especially after losing to a couple AFC South rivals, Indianapolis was in danger of not defending its title crown.

The Colts were 2-2 and in trouble. The Texans were finally ready to take over this division.

The way Indianapolis performed tonight in its rematch with Houston, though, those thoughts have quickly been put to rest. The Colts still are the favorites in the AFC South. The Texans still have plenty of work to do in order to make the postseason for the first time, and they’ll have to wait yet another season before they can hope to score their first win in the state of Indiana.

Indianapolis, with its 30-17 win against the Texans tonight, improved to 5-2 and took up residence in first place in the AFC South.

And how did the Colts do it? Like normal. With Peyton Manning, even with a number of starters hurting, making the offense run smoothly and with the defensive ends, particularly Dwight Freeney, eating alive the opposing quarterback.

Manning was 26 of 45 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and he had some help from RB Mike Hart, replacing the injured Joseph Addai and starting over backup Donald Brown. Hart had 12 carries for 84 yards, and, oftentimes, looked electric. And despite missing TE Dallas Clark, placed on Injured Reserve last week, Manning showed good chemistry with TE Jacob Tamme, who caught six passes for 64 yards and a score.

"Whoever steps on the field with him, he finds a way to get them the football,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said in the postgame news conference.

Meanwhile, Freeney had two sacks, and LB Clint Session was dominant in the middle of the field. And with the Texans driving late in the fourth quarter to try to make it a one-score game, Freeney, once again, beat Houston LT Duane Brown and strip-sacked Matt Schaub, forcing the fumble as the Colts recovered.

Sure, the Texans would have liked to run the ball more. Arian Foster was an absolute monster the last time these teams play, but Houston fell behind 14-0 early and needed to try to catch up immediately. Still, he finished with 102 yards on 15 carries (and caught nine passes for 65 yards).

Still, it clearly wasn’t enough. Still, the Colts clearly are the class of this division. Still, nothing has changed.

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Posted on: October 22, 2010 11:58 am
Edited on: October 22, 2010 12:14 pm
 

Season over for Dallas Clark

Posted by Andy BenoitD. Clark (US Presswire)

Dallas Clark did not get good news on his injured wrist Thursday. The Indianapolis Colts have announced that the Pro Bowl tight end’s season is over. Clark, hurt Sunday night at Washington, is on Injured Reserve and will undergo surgery.

Needless to say, this is a major blow for the Colts offense. Clark was the driving force behind the passing attack’s versatility. His ability to line up in the slot or on the line of scrimmage dictated mismatches and often prevented defenses from disguising coverages.

Before getting hurt, Clark had 37 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns, all of which put him in the top five of NFL tight ends on the season.

Jacob Tamme is Indy’s No. 2 tight end, though that’s almost irrelevant given his skill set is so vastly different from Clark’s. Fifth-round rookie Brody Eldridge could become more of a factor.

Regardless of who replaces Clark at tight end, expect the Colts to use more three- and four-wide receiver sets. Austin Collie is on the mend recovering from thumb surgery, so former first-round pick Anthony Gonzalez now has a chance to step into the primary slot role.

The Colts have a bye this week then face the Texans on Monday Night in Week 8.


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Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:07 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Colts TE Dallas Clark out indefinitely

Posted by Andy Benoit

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Colts tight end Dallas Clark is out indefinitely with a hand/wrist injury. Clark is going to get a second and third opinion on the injury to determine how long he’ll be shelved. D. Clark (US Presswire)

Clark suffered the injury in the Indy’s Week 6 win at Washington. It’s tough to gauge exactly what “out indefinitely” means at this point, given that the Colts treat injury news as TS classified information.

Clark is the propagator to the versatility of the Colt passing attack. His ability to line up in the slot or on the line of scrimmage is key in dictating mismatches and forcing defenses to tip their hand presnap. The Pro Bowl veteran has 37 catches for 347 yards and three scores on the season.

If Clark is unavailable, the Colts will likely utilize more four-wide receiver sets. Jacob Tamme is the team’s No. 2 tight end, though that’s almost irrelevant given his skill set is so vastly different from Clark’s. Fifth-round rookie Brody Eldridge could become more of a factor.
The Colts have a bye before facing the Texans on Monday Night in Week 8.

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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