Tag:Matt Prater
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:32 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:03 pm
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Kickers Prater, Scobee get tagged; Barth too?

It's kicker franchise tag day in the NFL! (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

For many teams in 2011, kickers were the most important players on the roster. Or, at least, the most important free-agent-to-be anyway. The Buccaneers, Jaguars and Broncos all qualify as teams with valuable kickers, and they've reportedly decided to franchise Connor Barth, Josh Scobee and Matt Prater, respectively.

Latest NFL News, Notes

Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reports that Scobee will get the tag. Mike Klis of The Denver Post reports that Prater will get hit with the tag. And Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes that Barth will be the fifth kicker to get the tag.

The Jaguars have since confirmed that Scobee will receive the tag. But he's not happy about it.

"Josh is obviously disappointed in the choice to use the franchise tender," Scobee's agent Ken Harris told Ganguli. "While we have no plans of signing the tender at this point, we'll see if the long-term contract Josh deserves can eventually be reached."

The first two, naturally, were Mike Nugent of the Bengals and Phil Dawson of the Browns. (You would know this if you'd already bookmarked our franchise-tag tracker.)

Dawson was tagged last year, so he'll make $3.8 million in 2012. The rest of the kickers stand to make about $2.6 million in 2012 as guys who were tagged and receive a one-year, guaranteed contract from their respective teams.

And Prater is official now as well, with John Elway announcing the news on Twitter. (Where else, right?)

"Placing the franchise tag on Matt Prater ensures that he'll be a Bronco in 2012," Elway tweeted. "Matt's a very talented kicker & important part of our team. This gives us the ability to continue working on a long-term agreement."

Barth could be the fifth kicker tagged, but he has not yet been given that designation. There have only been reports that he could be tagged by the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Scobee was outstanding in 2011, hitting on 92 percent of his field goals, including five of six from 50 yards or more. Barth hit two of three from 50 yards or more and also hit 92.9 percent of all his field goals. Prater only hit 76 percent of his field goals, but knocked down three of four from 50 or more yards, including a pair against the Bears that helped launch Tebowmania into the stratosphere.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 11:11 am
 

Report: Matt Prater 'likely' to get Broncos tag

Britton Colquitt is VERY excited about Prater staying in Denver. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We spent an inordinate amount of time putting together a list of players likely to receive franchise tags this offseason earlier today and, of course, we forgot someone. But it wasn't necessarily an obvious name: the Broncos are reportedly "likely" to use their franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater.

That's according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, who writes that it "wouldn't be surprising" if the Broncos used their franchise tag on Prater in order to keep him from hitting the market and pay him a guaranteed salary of $2.6 million.

Prater was pretty stout in 2011, hitting 76 percent of his field goal attempts, including three of four from beyond 50 yards.

His accuracy inside the 40-49 yard range -- just three of seven -- left something to be desired. But his big leg saved the Broncos more than once and he helped get Tim Tebow's legacy really cranked up. (Don't worry: the Big Guy gives it up for Prater.)

If the Broncos franchise Prater, it'll be the first time they've used the tag on a kicker in 10 years, as they hit Jason Elam with the franchise tag in 2002.

And lest you think that franchise-tagging a kicker signifies a team on the decline, the Broncos actually made the playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:12 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Why Broncos will beat Pats

Tebow

By Josh Katzowitz

In one of the premier matchups of the week -- and if you don’t believe us, check out Peter King’s MMQB in which he details the fight between NBC and CBS for the right to broadcast the game -- the Patriots travel to Denver to face the Broncos in a battle of first-place teams.

It’s Tom Brady vs. Tim Tebow. It’s the Chosen Son (Tebow) vs. God’s Gift to Quarterbacks (Brady). It’s Good vs. um, the Very Good. It’s the hottest team in the NFL vs. one of the best teams of the past decade.

It should be fun to watch, and considering the Patriots are about a touchdown favorite for their road game, New England should win the matchup. Of course, we’ve been saying that about most Broncos opponents for the past two months, and with the exception of the Lions, Denver has vanquished every team it’s played since Tebow took over the quarterback spot. If I had to bet my mortgage on the outcome of this game, I’d put my money on the Patriots.

But … it’s possible Denver somehow pulls off the win, especially given its amazing run during the past eight games. Thus, in this week’s Top Ten (with a Twist), I’ve come up with 10 reasons why the Broncos will win. Sure, Denver will probably need to play the perfect game while catching New England on one of its lesser days in order to pull off the upset, but as we’ve seen, you always should believe in the power of Tebow.

10. The running game: Willis McGahee has to be considered a contender for the comeback player of the year. He’s rushed for 920 yards this season, and considering he combined for 924 yards as a Ravens running back in 2009 and 2010 before he was deemed washed up, his contribution has been a bit of a surprise. But with the loss of Knowshon Moreno, McGahee has picked up the load. Except, of course, when Tebow is running the ball (his 517 yards rank him third among quarterbacks in rushing), because, as Brian Urlacher knows, he’s also a “good running back.” If the Broncos can keep the ball on the ground and keep Brady off the field, that obviously would be ideal for Denver.

9. The Broncos are best closers in the league: They came back in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, against the Jets, against the Chargers, against the Vikings and against the Bears. It’s Tebow Time, and it’s been the most fun storyline of this NFL season.

8. Broncos home field advantage: When Denver began its late-game comeback against the Bears, the stadium got loud. Real freakin’ loud. The Broncos fans will be loud Sunday -- at least to start the game. The trick for Denver is to keep those fans engaged throughout the game, to keep it raucous when the Patriots are on offense. Hey, there’s a reason Brady is 1-3 in Denver during his career (and 1-5 against the Broncos overall).

Brady, Tebow

Tebow7. Tebow has better hair than Brady: OK, in the above photo, they’d probably fight to a draw, although personally, I give Tebow an edge because his style is less Bieberish. No, I’m talking about the photo at the right. That was the handiwork of Wesley Woodyard last year when the Broncos hazed the man who would eventually become the Boy Wonder. Not that Tebow minded his friar’s haircut at the time. "I think all the rookies had a good time with it. It was something to give everybody a laugh, something also to build chemistry.". By the way, if you Google image “friar hair cut,” Tebow pictures are the first three results. But getting back to the point. Could Brady pull off this look? I’m guessing no.

6. Broncos opponents are dumb: Or, at very least, they do dumb things when they play Denver. You might recall the tiny issue of Cowboys running back Marion Barber stepping out of bounds late in the fourth quarter last Sunday allowing Tebow the chance to tie the game and send it to overtime. Suddenly, defensive coordinators, late in games, play prevent defense -- Tebow has proven that those kind of schemes are not tough for him to figure out. Suddenly, teams send all-out blitzes against him and fail to contain the edge. Suddenly, nobody knows exactly what the Broncos are going to do on a two-point conversion. Tebow’s power is so great apparently that he turns the minds of opponents to mush.

5. Much-improved defense: Before Tebow took over the starting role -- and this was unfortunate for Kyle Orton -- the Broncos defense allowed 23, 22, 17, 49 and 29 points through the first five games. Since Orton was booted to the curb, Denver’s defense has allowed 15 points or less on four different occasions. The Broncos defense still is less than mediocre -- Denver ranks 22nd in points allowed and 19th in yards allowed -- but man, what any improvement it’s made.

M. Prater has won four games since T. Tebow took over (US Presswire).4. The kicking game: Falling far down on the list of why the Broncos are successful (behind the defense, the running game and Tebow) is Matt Prater. He was our near-unanimous Eye on Football special teams player of the week selection after blasting a 59-yard game-tying field goal at the end of regulation Sunday and then nailing the 51-yarder in overtime to win it. Since Tebow took over eight games ago, Prater has kicked four game-winning field goals. That’s a decent percentage. It’s almost like Prater is the Tebow of place-kickers.

3. Fox has been the better coach this year: Look at what he’s done. He’s recreated the starting quarterback who probably shouldn’t be starting at quarterback at all and helped build an offense that has allowed the Broncos to win seven of eight and put themselves in position to win the AFC West. Meanwhile, Belichick’s defense, which doesn’t officially have a coordinator, has been terrible. Belichick is one of the best coaches in NFL history, but Fox has been more adaptable this season.

2. Patriots pass defense: Look, it will take a huge effort from the Broncos defense to keep New England’s offense from taking over the game immediately. But if that happens, Tebow -- not necessarily known as the most accurate of passers --could find success against the Patriots, who boast the worst defense in the league AND the worst past defense. His receivers need to play cleanly (they had WAY too many drops last week), but Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have shown big-play capabilities since Tebow took over the offense. With a rotating line up of journeyman defensive backs in New England, the Broncos could make life difficult.

1. God loves Tebow the mostest: So say these people, anyway.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 14

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 14 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Gronk   JPP  Prater Coughlin
Judge Sanchez   JPP  Prater  Kubiak
Prisco  Ryan   JPP Cloherty   Whiz
Brinson   MJD   JPP  Prater Coughlin
Katzowitz   Eli   JPP  Prater  Kubiak
Wilson   MJD  Suggs  Prater Coughlin
Week 14'ss over and we're getting close to the -- gulp -- end of the regular season in the NFL. Before we get too sad, let's hand out some awards.

On offense, there were a number of guys that warranted consideration, but eventually Maurice Jones-Drew's four touchdown game in Jacksonville's blowout win over the Buccaneers was just too much and he's our Eye on Offense Award winner.

The Eye on Defense Award wasn't quite as close as Jason Pierre-Paul's performance on Sunday night was dominant enough to nearly net him a sweep of the votes.

And since Tim Tebow isn't eligible for the Eye on Special Teams Award, we just had to give it to Matt Prater.

Meanwhile, Gary Kubiak's win over the Bengals to get the Texans into the playoffs was just enough to squeak by Tom Coughlin in the Eye on Coaching Award voting.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Rob Gronkowski Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Gronkowski ran over, through, around, under and did I mention through half of the Washington defense. He humiliated the Redskins and in doing so set an NFL record for most touchdown catches in a season by a tight end. Not bad at all.
Mark SanchezMark Sanchez, QB, Jets
He's cheered. He's booed. He's cheered again. Finally, Jets' fans seem to have warmed up to the guy, and for good reason: Sanchez not only is playing well; he's winning. His two touchdown passes and two TD runs in a victory so lopsided it cost Kansas City's Todd Haley his job.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Matt Ryan Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
He threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in rallying his team from being down 23-7 at the half against the Panthers. Ryan threw for 232 yards and three scores in the second half.
Maurice Jones-DrewMaurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
Mojo didn't just break the all-time record for touchdowns by a Jaguars player, he shattered it. With gusto -- Jones-Drew got in the end zone four times on Sunday against the Bucs, scoring twice on the ground and catching two teeters as well. He doesn't get nearly enough credit.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Eli ManningEli Manning, QB, Giants
Rob Ryan called Manning elite and unfortunately for Ryan Manning proved why Sunday. New York was down 12 points late but Manning threw for 400 yards and two TDs to lead the Giants to victory. Those who say Eli is more clutch than Peyton might be right and Ryan might agree.
Maurice Jones-Drew Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
MJD hasn't had much to smile about this season, but he went off on Bucs, Florida's worst NFL team. He had four touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 receiving) in Mel Tucker's first win as an NFL head coach.

Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Giants players are comparing him to LT which is a little much. Taylor is the second best defensive player of all time behind Deion Sanders (yeah, I said it). A little much, yes, but JPP is doing some special things. He singlehandedly obliterated the Cowboys with two sacks and a blocked kick.
Jason Pierre-Paul Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
He had two sacks, one forced fumble and blocked the game-tying field goal. Pierre-Paul's block not only saved the game; it might have saved the season for the Giants and a job for head coach Tom Coughlin.
Prisco Brinson
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
He had two sacks and blocked the potential tying field goal in the final seconds in the Giants 37-34 victory over the Cowboys Sunday night. He was all over the field with his relentless style of play. He's a Pro Bowl player this season.
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Pierre-Paul gets most of the credit for blocking the would-be game-tying field goal from Dan Bailey, but he owned the entire game against the Cowboys Sunday night, forcing a fumble and picking up two sacks against Dallas. An absolutely beasty performance.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jason Pierre-Paul Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
A star was born Sunday when Pierre-Paul recorded eight tackles, two sacks and a blocked kick that might have saved the Giants. Without Osi Umenyiora in the game and with Justin Tuck not healthy, he was an absolute lifesaver for the Giants.
Terrell Suggs Terrell Suggs, DE, Ravens
Suggs terrorized poor Dan Orlovsky (who is now 0-9 as an NFL starter) all afternoon, registering three of the Ravens' four sacks and forcing three fumbles. Mr. T-Sizzle now has seven sacks in his last three games. 
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Matt PraterMatt Prater, K, Broncos
A 59-yarder to tie the Chicago Bears. A 51-yarder to win in overtime. He becomes only the second kicker in league history to connect on two 50-plus yard kicks to tie and then win a game. Mike Vanderjagt was the other.
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
First, he hits a 59-yard field goal to tie the game; then he nails a 51-yarder to win it in overtime. It marked the third straight week and fourth time in the last eight games that Prater won a game with a last-second field goal.
Prisco Brinson
Dan BaileyColin Cloherty, TE, Jaguars
He scooped up a fumbled punt by Preston Parker and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown. This tight end was recently signed and had considered getting on with another career before the Jaguars signed him off the street.
Matt PraterMatt Prater, K, Broncos
All the credit goes to you-know-who, but Prater deserves a ton of love for his kicking performance on Sunday. He nailed a 59-yard field goal to push the game to overtime, and hit a 51-yarder in OT to win. That doesn't even take into account his near-perfect onsides kick in regulation.
Katzowitz Wilson
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
Prater was the real hero in the Broncos stunning overtime win against the Bears. He matched a career-high with a 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation to force OT and  blasted a 51-yarder to win it. Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. But save a little credit for Prater, who has four game-winning kicks since Tebow took over.
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
Prater striped a 59-yarder to send the game to overtime and did it again in the extra period from 51-yards to give the Broncos the win. It might've been the best special teams performance of the season.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Tom CoughlinTom Coughlin, HC, Giants
Coughlin beat Jason Garrett like the Cowboys coach stole something from him. And he just happened to take control of the NFC East when it looked like the ship be sinking after four straight losses. Great, gutty win for a Giants team that desperately needed it.
Mike Munchak Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He's overcome losses of key players all season, so clinching the Texans' first-ever playoff spot with a win on the road and with a rookie third-string quarterback should be no big deal. But it is. Kubiak consistently beats the odds, and he just beat Cincinnati with T.J. Yates making the game-winning pass with two seconds left. Impressive.  
Prisco Brinson
Tom CoughlinKen Whisenhunt, HC, Cardinals
His team upset the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, even though starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was knocked out of the game with concussion problems. John Skelton came off the bench to lead the upset.
Mike MunchakGary Kubiak, HC, Texans
Houston clinched the franchise's first-ever playoff berth on Sunday and they did it by beating a second-straight playoff contender (Cincy, a week after Atlanta) without Arian Foster being productive. Kubiak refuses to let this team get derailed, even if it means T.J. Yates winning games.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He’s done a wonderful job saving his job with Houston’s first-ever playoff-clinching win. Plus, the decision to stick with T.J. Yates instead of trying to acquire Donovan McNabb (or any other QB for that matter) was a good one. The fact the Texans, even with three starting quarterbacks this season, continue to win is one reason Kubiak will stay employed.
Tom Coughlin Tom Coughlin, HC, Giants
I'm still unclear why Coughlin is on the hot seat but the Giants went into the Jerry Dome Sunday night and not only beat the Cowboys in a huge NFC East matchup, they overcame a late-fourth quarter 12-point deficit. Oh, and they now lead the division. Maybe Jason Garrett and/or Rob Ryan should replace Coughlin on said hot seat.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 8:07 pm
 

Rinse, repeat: Tebow, Broncos win again

TebowPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s on the verge of getting ridiculous.

Tim Tebow won another game. With mediocre stats. With mediocre play. He won again, and that means he’s 5-1 as a starter as the Broncos kept themselves a game out of first place in the AFC West and in the thick of the wildcard race.

Even with John Elway saying this week that he’s still not sure if Tim Tebow is his man, Tebow, once again, led his team to victory. He did it in overtime when he led the Broncos on a six-play, 38-yard drive that resulted in a game-tying 24-yard field goal by Matt Prater, and he did it again in the final 2 minutes of overtime when Prater kicked a 37-yarder to win it 16-13.

OK, so the final overtime drive was helped immensely by Willis McGahee’s 24-yard run, and in overtime, Tebow was more spectator than savior. And yeah, Denver's defense has been pretty damn impressive. But Tebow -- who was 9 of 18 for 143 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 53 yards on 19 carries -- still gained 16 yards of his own on two carries in overtime to set up Novak’s kick.

And in reality, Tebow was a little lucky to have the opportunity. The Chargers could have won it on the possession before, but San Diego kicker Nick Novak missed the 53-yard field goal. That gave the Broncos possession on the Denver 43-yard line, and after an incomplete pass, the Chargers ran the ball three-straight times to set up Prater.

And after it was over, the CBS cameras cut to the sideline and focused on Elway. Who had a wide smile on his face.



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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:56 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Broncos K Matt Prater arrested for DUI

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

See, everybody, you don’t need a lockout in order to get arrested.

That’s the word from the Denver Post, which has found the documents that say Broncos K Matt Prater was arrested Aug. 2 on a DUI charge and a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

For the record, Prater was the No. 4 NFL kicker in the Eye on Football rankings last year.

The Broncos have released a statement on the matter: “Our organization is disappointed with the poor judgment shown by Matt Prater on Aug. 2. This matter, which was addressed with the team last week, continues to be thoroughly reviewed internally.”

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:59 pm
 

Teammates honor McKinley

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It sounds like the 65-minute Kenny McKinley memorial service the Broncos held at their team facility was touching, and with his parents and six other family members in attendance – flown in by the organization – it brought a sense of closure for his former teammates.

The actual funeral will be held Monday morning in Austell, Ga., near his home town of Mableton, but for coach Josh McDaniels and kicker Matt Prater, it must have felt nice to tell stories about McKinley – who died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound – to begin to salve some of the wounds left by his death.

The best story, though, came from McKinley’s father, Ken McKinley. Read the article in today’s Denver Post. There’s a nice story about a business card and a love of football.

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Posted on: July 5, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:58 pm
 

Positional rankings: kickers

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, this time taking a look at the top five kickers in the NFL.

D. Akers, the one kicker we agree on (Getty) Josh Katzowitz’s top five


5. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders

4. Matt Prater, Broncos

3. David Akers, Eagles

2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

1. Nate Kaeding, Chargers


Kickers might get less respect from fans than other position players, but hardly anybody shares the same kind of glory as a kicker after nailing a 52-yard game winner, and hardly anybody can feel the jeers after missing an easy 31-yarder that caused his team to lose.

With that, we start with Kaeding. A little bit of the shine is off him because of the three missed field goals in the 17-14 playoff loss to the Jets last year. But he’s still the most accurate kicker in NFL history (87.2 percent coming into this season). Gostkowski took over for former Patriots K Adam Vinatieri, and he made people instantly forget how good Vinatieri was for New England. Need proof? Check out this Facebook group (ignore the fact there are only 45 members).

You might be averse to 12-year veteran Akers, because people still remember his slump from 2005-07. But last year, he had one of the best seasons of his career and was the best kicker in the league. Prater has bounced around the league a bit, but he found his footing last year. You might not like my Janikowski pick. But he’s got one of the league’s strongest legs and he’s coming off the most accurate season of his career.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. Olindo Mare, Seahawks

4. Rian Lindell, Bills

3. David Akers, Eagles

2. Ryan Longwell, Vikings

1. Rob Bironas, Titans


Regarding Kaeding being the “most accurate kicker in NFL history”, is it me or have there been about 10 different “most accurate kickers in NFL history” this era? Anyway, I can’t put Kaeding on the list for the same reason you shouldn’t.

Many people forget that Janikowski was a first-round draft pick. In that sense, he has been an underachiever. Gostkowski doesn’t have enough pressure kicks to his name yet. My first memory of Prater is when he admitted to a lack of confidence in 2008. Maybe he got his confidence back in ’09, but I will need at least three years to shake that first memory.

As for the guys on my list, I went with experience. Mare is a booming kickoff specialist - plus he made his last 21 field goals in ’09. Lindell is consistent even in the Buffalo wind (I know, I’m re-using my Brian Moorman analysis). Akers doesn’t quite have the range he once had, but he’s still reliable under pressure. Longwell was 26/28 last year. Bironas is the best long distance kicker in the game (5/6 from 50+ yards last season, range up to 60 yards).

Josh’s rebuttal

It’s surprising that we only have one kicker who made both of our lists. I thought about putting Bironas on my list, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Lindell might be consistent, but he was pretty crappy from outside 40 yards last year (58.3 percent). Could be a fluke, I suppose, because he’s normally better than that from long range. Mare has been pretty up and down in his career, but he is coming off two fantastic seasons, so I can see your point there. Even though our lists are almost completely different, it’s hard to get too worked up about it. I like my list. I like your list. Everybody’s happy.


Andy’s final word

To me, recognizing a great kicker is like recognizing a great free throw shooter. How nervous are you when a kicker lines up to attempt a game-winning field goal against your team? In a casual, unofficial way, that gives you some indication of how great a kicker is (or how great you think he is).

(Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter )


--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com