Tag:Terrelle Pryor
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 2:35 pm
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Report: Carson Palmer to start in two weeks

Palmer and Boller

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We already know Carson Palmer is absolutely not going to start today in the Oakland-Kansas City game, but that doesn’t mean Kyle Boller should get comfortable in his No. 1 spot.

Instead, CBS Sports' Dan Fouts is reporting that Palmer will be the starting quarterback in two weeks vs. the Broncos. That will give him part of this week, next week’s bye and all of the next week after that in practice to get ready to start.

Although coach Hue Jackson claimed Palmer is throwing better than ever, saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me. He’s throwing the ball like you wouldn’t believe. Trust me, if he’s out there -- I mean, we wouldn’t have signed him if he couldn’t throw.”

He could even be ready to play today. That’s the word from Fox Sport’s Jay Glazer, who reported on Fox NFL Sunday that Jackson plans to dress Palmer and to use him in the game if possible. Jackson also has a package in place for Terrelle Pryor, if the game dictates that.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

In the eyes of the NFL, close-talking is not a crime. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL seems uninterested in dispelling the perception that there are two sets of rules -- one for the players and one for everyone else associated with the league. The latest instance came after Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz reenacted the "Wait, what did he just do to me?!" scene that has played out at every pro wrestling match ever staged.


On merit alone the incident isn't worth a fine (and none was levied); the sheer embarrassment of being a part of such a spectacle is punishment enough. But this is the NFL, where no transgression is deemed too small (see, for example) … except when it doesn't involve players.

Remember when the Colts announced before the season that they had hired former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as a game-day consultant? Instead of meting out the punishment, the league seemed happy to let Indianapolis handle it, but only after the story went public. That would've never happened had Tressel been a player (like, say, Terrelle Pryor).

Understandably, these inconsistencies irk players, and two of them spoke out about it Thursday during an appearance on NFL Network's Total Access. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Texans wideout Derrick Mason, who have 28 years of NFL experience between them, were amazed Harbaugh and Schwartz escaped punishment.

(For what it's worth -- and we imagine not much -- NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said this on Monday: "Fortunately, there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine. … However, both coaches told [VP of football operations] Ray Anderson today that their post-game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. ... We believe their response is the correct one and that their post-game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.")

“What if that was a player? How would (the NFL) react to that?,” Bailey asked. “These are supposed to be the leaders of our team(s), and you let them get away with it, so to speak, and now how do you think the players will start acting? I like it personally, but I just know how the NFL operates today, it’s amazing to me they let this slide.”

Mason agreed.

“I think they should have (been fined), because these are the leaders of your team,” he said. “I think the NFL should have slapped them with some type of fine, $5,000 or $10,000 here or there, to at least show them they have to be responsible for what they do on the field.”

We love that Mason has no idea how much the coaches should've been fined, no doubt because the league has a history of arbitrarily handing out punishments.

It's one thing to be strict -- we get that. There's a plan, and even if most people don't agree with it, they know the rules going in. But when the judge, jury and executioner is a paranoid schizophrenic you're going to have issues like this crop up several times a season.

(By the way, Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar notes that "it could certainly be argued that both [Schwartz and Harbaugh] stepped on the wrong side of this one," and then points to the NFL's fine schedule which plainly states that "Sportsmanship: Excessive Profanity; other Unsportsmanlike Conduct (e.g., toward opponent(s), game personnel, fans, etc.): $10,000 / $20,000.")


In a web-exclusive, the analysts answer your questions for the 7th week of the season. Get the latest from JB, Phil, Cris, and Warren.

This seems like a good place to include what some other NFL coaches had to say about The Handshake when it invariably came up at their respective weekly press conferences.

Bill Belichick: "[The post-game handshake] is so heavily scrutinized by the media that it’s an event bigger than the game itself, which is so absurd. Like a lot of things, it takes any personalization out of the game and makes it a public topic of discussion. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the media focuses on it the way it does.

“I’d like to think that the reason that the people are there is to see the game and to see the competition. But they seem to want to talk about everything but the game. That’s not uncommon. That’s the media’s job, so that’s what they do. It certainly takes away from, as a coach, the things that you would say, so you find other times to do it outside of that. Maybe before the game, or a phone call to the coach after the game, that kind of thing.”


Mike Tomlin: "I really have no thoughts [on the handshake]. I think it is the same sometimes, when we pay attention to things that are meaningless, insignificant. The story of the NFL should be on the game itself. That was a hard-fought game played by two really good football teams, two exciting teams on the rise. I think that should be the story, not some unfortunate incident that happened after the game. I think that is silly."

When asked what does into a handshake, Tomlin was frank.

"I don't practice it. I don't think about it. I am just going to be cordial, be respectful and wish them well moving forward. I don't know about the norms, OK. I don't get into that. If I spend too much time thinking about the handshake, then I am not doing my job."

John Harbaugh: "I can just tell you this: I think I know who was right. But whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on. I’m definitely taking sides. [It’s] the same side I’ve always taken. … You know what? Everybody’s got a lot to learn. So I guess right now, [Jim's] 5-1. If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands postgame, after a victory, he’s doing OK.”

Fair point. But as one NFL coach told CBSSports.com's Clark Judge, Harbaugh and Scwhartz "are going to regret it in the morning. They just bought a film clip for life."

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 2:20 pm
 

Tressel could have a bigger role for Colts

TresselPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With his suspension complete and with the activation of Terrelle Pryor to the Raiders squad (unfortunately for him, some other guy is going to be starting at quarterback in Oakland), now we’ll turn our attention for the other former Ohio State star who was couldn’t work in the NFL because of his role in the recent Buckeyes football scandal.

That would be Jim Tressel, who was hired to check game replays by the Colts, will begin working for the team this week, the Indianapolis Star writes. 

The delay of his hire was the Colts idea, because, they realized, it would look pretty crappy if Pryor couldn’t play for five games while Tressel could begin earning a paycheck right away (the NFL did say it would have suspended Tressel if the Colts hadn’t made this move).

Now, it sounds like Tressel will have more duties than simply checking to see if an official’s ruling should be challenged. Which makes sense from Tressel's perspective, considering that’s a job for which Tressel might be slightly overqualified.

Originally, Caldwell said Tressel would be a gameday consultant, but now, Tressel might get to come into the team complex in the middle of the week as well.

"I want him to come around to make certain he gets a feel for how we do things with practice, preparation, all those kinds of things," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "The rest of the time, it will probably just be toward the weekends, but he will be around."

You wonder about Caldwell’s statement about wanting Tressel to get the hang of how the pro operation works. Does Caldwell eventually want to hire Tressel to be an assistant on his staff? Or what happens if the Colts deem Caldwell expendable after this debacle of a season is complete? Would Tressel be a candidate for the head coaching job?

If so, perhaps Caldwell should cool it on letting Tressel know too many secrets of pro football coaching (if it’s even Caldwell’s call). Otherwise, the guy he’s schooling might be the guy who is soon to replace him.



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Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Rosenhaus says TO ready to play, but will he?

OwensPosted by Josh Katzowitz

For a player who’s getting over knee surgery and who might be (involuntarily) retired, Terrell Owens makes a ton of news.

One week, he’s telling Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, who wants more money from Philadelphia, not to play, and the next week, he’s flying to Korea to get stem cell treatment. Or he’s getting sent to the hospital or he’s having money problems.

But now Drew Rosenhaus, Owen’s agent, has a serious announcement to make: Owens has been cleared to play.

That’s the word from Rosenhaus himself, who tweeted, “I just watched Terrell go through a full football workout and he looked awesome! He is 100% healthy & ready to play right now! I will be contacting the teams today to inform them that (he) is immediately available to visit and work out for them. He could play this Sunday!”

Which immediately led to this response from CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman: “Rosenhaus is playing the media. Again.”

And yes, it is difficult to believe most things that emerge from Rosenhaus’ mouth. You’ll recall that he said the NFL would fall apart if he wasn’t around and he proclaimed Terrelle Pryor a first-round pick in the supplemental draft when, as we all knew, Pryor was nowhere near that.

Owens' offseason
So, when Rosenhaus says Owens is ready to go (and willing to listen to offers), you have to check the BS meter, because it’ s probably pretty high.

But …

There’s a decent enough chance Owens still can play. He’s not a No. 1 receiver any more -- although he was the best Bengals receiver last season --– but he can probably fill out a roster’s depth. Hell, he probably is still good enough to start.

The problem is that Owens is such a clubhouse downer that it might not make sense for anybody to bring him in as a 10-game stand-in.

Think about it. Which teams need receiver help? The Rams, though Brandon Lloyd was a decent enough pick-up. What about the Broncos, who don’t have a ton of help for Tim Tebow any more? What about the Jaguars, who are so thin at receiver they had to resort to picking up Mike Sims-Walker again?

Those teams could benefit from Owens’ talent. But would those organizations want young quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Tebow or Blaine Gabbert, respectively, having to deal with a presence like Owens? I think we all know the answer to that. And if it’s true that Owens really is cleared to play -- and, as much of Twitter pointed out, who exactly is clearing him? -- Rosenhaus shouldn’t expect to have Owens signed fast enough where Owens could actually play anytime soon.

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:13 pm
 

With Garrard out, Orton could be option in OAK

GarrardPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The options for the Raiders to solidify their quarterback position in the wake of losing Jason Campbell for the season with a broken collarbone is dwindling, but the Denver Post is reporting that another might have appeared quite quickly if the Broncos decide to trade Kyle Orton to Oakland.

It seems quite clear that Bengals owner Mike Brown is refusing to trade his former star Carson Palmer, and now, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer has the report that David Garrard -- who’s just been kind of hanging around after the Jaguars surprisingly cut him in the preseason -- needs immediate surgery on a herniated disk in his back.

But the Denver Post, via the Contra Costa Times, is reporting that an unnamed source has said the Broncos would be willing to trade Orton to the Raiders for a draft pick. Which makes sense if Denver is willing to go all-in with Tim Tebow (and at this point, why not?).

The news on Garrard is somewhat surprising, since we all kind of figured Garrard was just sitting back and waiting for the exact right offer to come to him.

Garrard supposedly could have gone to Miami after Chad Henne suffered a season-ending injury, but instead he declined, because as a Miami Herald source pointed out, “he simply didn't feel like playing right now. Garrard apparently talked to the team and showed no great desire to play. He is, according to this version of the story, quite content sitting out this season, spending time with his family, and hitting free agency next March.”

So, what now? Well, if Oakland could get Orton for a relatively cheap price, it probably should go for it. Even if it means the Raiders basically would be sitting out the 2012 draft.

But in order not to play Kyle Boller or Terrelle Pryor – or, for that matter, punter Shane Lechler – that might be worth it.

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 12:15 am
 

Report: Raiders trying to trade for Carson Palmer

Can the Raiders convince Mike Brown to trade Carson Palmer? (US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Good news: the Raiders have won two in a row, three of four, and at 4-2 are a half-game behind the division-leading Chargers in the AFC West.

Bad news: Oakland lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell for the season Sunday when he broke his collarbone against the Browns.

Worse news: for now, Kyle Boller is the Raiders' quarterback. Behind him (in random order because, really, you don't want to see either under center for any length of time … which is saying something when the other option is Kyle Boller): punter Shane Lechler and rookie Terrelle Pryor, just off a five-game suspension.

Those choices, coupled with Oakland's early season success, have them scrambling for alternative plans. According to Yahoo.com's Jason Cole, that includes making a concerted effort to convince Bengals owner Mike Brown to trade quarterback Carson Palmer, who opted to sit out the season instead of return to Cincinnati for another year of clown college. (Turns out, the jokes on Carson; the Bengals are 4-2 and seem to be doing quite well with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.)

After Sunday's game, the Raiders "hit the phones quickly after the game Sunday, hoping to get the 'retired' Palmer, who has been pushing for a deal since early in the offseason," Cole writes. "In fact, Palmer politely asked Brown again this week for a trade, according to a source close to the situation. So far, no go. In all likelihood, Brown will continue to stonewall. Brown has never been a guy to give in to demands, even when they are logical. Bengals fans probably remember the package of draft picks, including at least one first-rounder and another pick that likely would have become a No. 1, Brown once turned down for wide receiver Chad Ochocinco."

(That's the same Chad Ochocinco, by the way, who was eventually shipped to New England for a fifth- and sixth-rounder, and was on the field for just seven snaps Sunday in the Patriots' comeback win over the Cowboys. The point: there's no reason to think that Brown will budge.)

Compounding matters: the perception is that Brown, were he to ship Palmer, wouldn't send him to a possible playoff team. Raiders owner Mark Davis could try to sweeten the deal but, as Cole notes, the organization is without second-, third- or fourth-round picks in 2012 because of previous moves.

Cole suggests that Oakland "would do well to offer Cincinnati a third-round pick in 2013 that could increase in value to a second- or even first-round pick if Palmer performed well either this year or in 2012."

Other options include convincing David Garrard to come out of semi-retirement because after that, it's slim pickins' on the free-agent quarterback market. Earlier this month, when the Dolphins lost Chad Henne for the season, they settled on Sage Rosenfels after failing to sign Garrard. The other quarterbacks they put through the paces? Kellen Clemens, JP Losman, Jim Sorgi, and Charlie Frye.

But even if the Raiders somehow convince Brown to deal Palmer, or talk Garrard into returning to football, there's still the issue of learning the offense. As we saw with Kerry Collins and Indy, that's more than a two-week endeavor. Oakland's best bet might be to stick with Boller in the short term, rely on the running game and the defense, and pray they can land Palmer or Garrard and give one of them enough time to learn the system before throwing them on the field.

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:07 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 6 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

1. What's Your Deal?
By now, you've undoubtedly seen the little melee that erupted between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz following San Francisco's 25-19 victory in Detroit.

NFL VP of Communications Greg Aiello confirmed to CBS Sports following the game that the NFL will look into the near-fight that went down, and I'd be pretty shocked if both coaches didn't get hit with some kind of fine. Though Harbaugh didn't do much that was noticeable on the video, he did admit following the game that he probably incited Schwartz' anger.

Schwartz, of course, chased Harbaugh down the field and had to be repeatedly pushed back from the crowd. No matter what Harbaugh did, it's hard to fathom that Schwartz behavior is remotely acceptable in the eyes of the league. And though Schwartz might have looked like the aggressor, the blame has to lie with Harbaugh on this one.

Looking ahead, this might not be a rivalry that dies quickly. Niners offensive lineman Anthony Davis, on his newly verified Twitter account, had a little trash talk of his own after the game.

"They talked s*** to us all week," Davis tweeted following the game. "We said nothin ... Came and kicked that a** ... its f***** football f*** classy.. Save classy for Mortons lol"

Steakhouse humor aside, it's worth mentioning Cliff Avril of the Lions saw Davis' tweet and pointed out that it was "real professional" -- Davis responded by pointing out that he "pancacked [Avril] on a passing play ... sooo uh just be quiet go home play with your kids."

So this shouldn't evolve into anything unpleasant in the near future at all!

What's fascinating about this whole thing is how people are defending both sides. Some folks think that Schwartz is an unhinged lunatic. Some think Harbaugh is an arrogant jerk. (Our own Mike Freeman noted on Twitter that Harbaugh's not making himself any friends around the league with his attitude.)

For me, it's hard to blame Schwartz for his reaction, given the way that Harbaugh behaved following San Francisco's victory:



Whatever, here's hoping they meet again in the playoffs. In the meantime, my top-five list for coaches I would pick for a steel-cage death match:

1. Jack Del Rio
2. Ron Rivera
3. Mike Tomlin
4. Jim Schwartz
5. Raheem Morris

Leave your picks in the comments.

2. Speaking of Coaches ...
You'll notice Sean Payton didn't make my top five. And he might not have even if he was healthy, but he certainly wouldn't be up there after the incident that took place on Sunday, when tight end Jimmy Graham came crashing into the sideline and blew up Payton's knee.

The Saints coach suffered a broken tibia and tore his the MCL in his left knee, which means he'll be knocked out of shape for quite a while.

"It's just one of those things, the play kind of got up on me quicker," Payton said Sunday. "I think the second part of the tackle seemed maybe all of a sudden. I mean, every once in a while you feel like you get pinned with the play and that's what happened."

Of course, Payton wasn't the only coach who was injured on Sunday in this game (think about that; seriously) -- Jimmy Lake, the Bucs defensive backs coach, tore his patellar tendon celebrating an interception celebrating, as Ryan says in the podcast above, Martin Gramatica style.

What I'm wondering is if Payton's injury might derail the Saints offense a little bit. Maybe that's a stretch, and he'll certainly have his hands all over the team's playcalling and management, but it doesn't sound like he'll be down on the field for a few weeks.

"I might have to be up in the press box for a few games," Payton said. "Because it’s a fracture, its different. If it’s the MCL you can have the brace, but the fracture on the outside means the weight-bearing part of it really changes."

Maybe it won't have any bearing -- with the Saints playing the Colts and Rams in the next two weeks, Drew Brees can probably manage the offense all by himself.

2. A Boy Named John
With Washington getting two weeks to prepare for the Eagles, and Philly looking very much like a punch-drunk boxer practically begging for a knockout shot, it stood to reason that the Redskins could take advantage of the Eagles porous defense and pick up a critical division win.

They didn't, and that's mainly because Rex Grossman turned into, well, Rex Grossman.

The 'Skins quarterback threw four interceptions -- three to Kurt Coleman -- and registered a couple of terrible interceptions that should have been picks. This led to him getting benched for backup John Beck.

“Well number one—we needed a spark," Mike Shanahan said afterwards. "John has been practicing very well the past couple of weeks and with four turnovers there we thought it was time to make a change and give John an opportunity to show us what he could do."

(Ed. Note: Week 6 review will be up early Monday.)

Beck, who's so fancy/awesome he dressed like a gas-station attendant for his post-game presser, isn't locked into the starting role yet, though, as Shanny refused to name next week's starter immediately following the game.

"I would never announce that right after a game," Shanahan said of his decision on who he'll start. "I would announce that later on in the week. We'll make a decision after looking at the film."

That's all fine and well, but who didn't see this coming? Because if the Redskins leading the NFC East after five weeks was the least likely thing in the entire world, then Grossman eventually imploding was on the opposite scale of predictability. And now this is quickly shaping up to be the second rendition of the Donovan McNabb-Grossman fiasco from last year.

On the bright side, it's less expensive?

"I want to play," Beck said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. "I want to be the quarterback. But I’m not the one that makes that decision, it’s coach, and they’ll make the best decision for the team ... What’s gonna happen next, I don’t know. But I’ll just do everything I can to be prepared if my number is called."

If it's me, I roll the dice with Beck, who seemed to at least provide a little spark to the team when he came on the field. It's not like he's been good this year, the Redskins defense has just kept Washington in games. And Grossman's now thrown three or more interceptions in seven of his 45 career starts. Which means 15 percent of the time that you put Grossman under center, there's a 15-percent chance he's going to hand the ball to the opposing defense multiple times.

3. Maybe Romo's Not the Only Choker?
For what feels like the fourth or fifth week this season, it's time to question Jason Garrett's playcalling for Dallas. With the game tied at 13 all and the Cowboys in the red zone, Garrett called a third-down shovel pass despite Dez Bryant sitting in single coverage.

The result was predictably predictable: the shovel pass didn't work and the Cowboys kicked a field goal to go up 16-13. Then, after forcing the Patriots to punt, Dallas ran three straight times (for negative-five yards) and the result was even more predictable: Dallas punted back to Tom Brady, giving him the ball down three points with 2:31 left on the clock.

If you've followed football at all for the last few years, you've probably already figured out what happened. Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does, which is carve up a defense en route to just another routine comeback/last-minute win.

By the time he hit Aaron Hernandez in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown, Dallas had just 22 seconds remaining on the clock to move the ball far enough down the field to get a shot at a Hail Mary, which Tony Romo threw out of bounds.

On that last drive, by the way, Romo completed two passes for 31 yards. Throw those passes on the previous series and we're talking about a signature win for the Cowboys, against the best team in the other conference at their place.

Instead, we're left to wonder why Garrett continually plays, as my colleague Pete Prisco wrote, not to lose, instead of utilizing the weapons he has on offense in the proper way. And by "we" I mean "me and Jerry Jones."

"You'll always second-guess whether or not we should have tried to run a little offense down there instead of running it three times," Jones said after the game, per our Pats Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard. "We went conservative rather than try to get some points and it bit us."

Jones said that doing so in a regular-season game was acceptable, but it's not the type of thing that he'd like to see in the playoffs. Of course, it's hard to imagine the Cowboys making the playoffs if they can't figure out how to turn trips to the red zone into more than three points a pop.

4. Bollers and Pryors OH MY
Many a pundit's willing to point out that the Oakland Raiders, while a half-game back of the Chargers, are the best AFC West team through the first six weeks of the season.

This isn't that far off. The Raiders are pretty good. But despite winning 24-17 over Cleveland on Sunday, Oakland suffered a seriously detrimental injury on Sunday, as quarterback Jason Campbell broke his collarbone and will likely miss the remainder of the season.

“I’m not going to let this football team blink," coach Hue Jackson said Sunday. "We’ll miss Jason for a little while. I have no idea how long it will take [for him to recover]. We’ll see as we go. I know obviously he won’t be here next week. We’ll continue to press forward and get better."

That's the optimistic point of view. The pessimistic? Kyle Boller, Terrelle Pryor and Shane Lechler are now the top-three quarterbacks on Oakland's depth chart. Yikes.

So Oakland has a couple of options going forward. One, roll with Boller. (Again, yikes.) Two, let Darren McFadden carry the ball 50 times a game. (Not terrible, but it could cause some long-term issues in terms of his health.) Three, go out and get another quarterback.

A couple of names spring to mind immediately: Kyle Orton, Donovan McNabb, David Garrard and Carson Palmer. Garrard makes sense because he's openly said he wants to play for a contender and the Raiders, at 4-2, certainly fit the bill.

Orton, McNabb and Palmer seem like longer shots as trade possibilities, but the Raiders have about 36 hours to make a deal, and it's reasonable that the Broncos, Vikings and Bengals would be interested in getting something back for guys that are either going to ride pine the rest of the year or won't bother showing up.

5. Don't Forget the Defense



In this, the year of ridiculously silly offensive outputs in the NFL, it's easy to just gawk at high-powered offensive teams and assume they will end up winning the most games and doing the most damage in the postseason.

But we need to recognize the Ravens for the dirty work they're doing on the defensive side of the ball, suppressed their league-leading points-allowed total to 71 Sunday after casually shut down Houston in a 29-14 victory. Baltimore held 2010 rushing champ Arian Foster to just 49 yards on 15 carries, and limited Matt Schaub to 220 yards and a touchdown in a dominant defensive performance that should make some people take notice.

Ryan and I debated this audio-style, but I think there's a legitimate argument that the Ravens are the best team in the AFC and can contend for the best team in the NFL. Clearly -- quite clearly -- the Packers are the cream of the crop at the moment.

But anyone in the NFL can score these days. Few teams can stop the opposition from scoring. With Haloti Ngata serving as the lynchpin for the defensive line and wrecking havoc on opponents' offensive lines, and with a secondary that's surprising this year, and with Ray Lewis playing rejuvenated ball, the Ravens can do that.

They're lacking in offensive consistency more so than a lot of other teams around the league -- Joe Flacco alternating between awesome and terrible this season is pretty terrifying if you're a Baltimore fan -- but Ray Rice is so good right now that he can carry the Ravens when Flacco's struggling.

And if Rice isn't up for the task, the defense isn't afraid to take over either. Which separates the Ravens from most everyone else in the league.

6. Madden Up to His Old Curses Again
What the hell is going on in Cleveland? Because, one, the Browns aren't winning, so that's a problem. And two, Peyton Hillis has some serious drama surrounding him these days.

We've detailed the drama before (numerous times, actually), but Sunday took things to a whole new level. For starters, Hillis rushed just six times for 14 yards and then left with a hamstring injury, pulling up lame after taking a second-quarter screen pass from Colt McCoy only to have it negated by an illegal shift penalty.

After halftime, Hillis returned and appeared to be out for the game. This is fine, if it's because of injury. Except Hillis returned to the game ... and didn't get any carries. He blocked for McCoy and was on the field, but didn't rush the ball at all.

The Browns weren't exactly ground heavy during the game -- Montario Hardesty only had 11 carries for a meager 35 yards -- and McCoy ended up throwing 45 times (his lowest passing-attempt total on the year is now 32, which is also a bit disconcerting), but to see Hillis hurt but maybe not hurt enough to sit out the rest of the game especially after a controversial injury earlier in the year, well, let's just say that something ain't stirring the Kool-Aid in Cleveland.

7. Ponder This
Sunday night, Christian Ponder got his first real action for the Vikings in their 39-10 blowout loss Sunday night. I mentioned this when writing about the substitution, but you can't pin everything that's going wrong on Donovan McNabb.

He's not the guy refusing to block defenders, and he's not the guy allowing other teams to score 20-plus points in the second halves of games. But it's understandable that some of the players on the team might be a little interested in seeing what Ponder, who at least looked more, um, energetic than McNabb, can do.

"I'm not a coach, but this team definitely could use a spark wherever that may come from," wide receiver Percy Harvin said.

Again, McNabb hasn't been that bad. But the Vikes are 1-5, going nowhere in (arguably) the toughest division in football and need to find out if Ponder's their guy for the long term.

Because at this rate, they'll have another pretty critical decision about some talented young quarterbacks at the top of the 2012 draft as well.

For the Bears part, lets give credit to Mike Martz and Lovie Smith for learning that if you actually give Jay Cutler help to block pass rushers, you can produce offensively.

Except they learned this last year, too. Remember how the Bears stunk and Cutler looked like a candidate for serious brain damage through the first few weeks in 2010? And then the Bears started running the ball more and protecting Cutler? Yeah, maybe next year they'll remember before they're a quarter of the season in.



8. Down South in ... Tampa Bay?
The Saints were supposed to blow out the LeGarrette Blount-less Buccaneers this weekend and the Panthers were supposed to upset the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. And then I was going to spend a large chunk of this column talking about the Panthers secretly being the second-best team in the NFC South.

Well, apparently no one else in the entire world got the same memo I did (thanks a lot for not forwarding the revised copy, you big jerks), because the Panthers got handily dismantled 31-17 in Atlanta and the Bucs straight up took care of business in route to grabbing the division lead with a 26-20 win over New Orleans.

If you missed it, lemme fill you on why the Panthers lost: their defense is terrible. It's not bad coaching and it's not to mean to the guys in the lineup, but the best way for Tiki Barber to revive his career would be to just try and get a tryout with whoever's playing the Panthers in the coming week, because there's a decent chance he could scamper for a buck fifty against that fishnet of a rushing defense.

They'll get better in the future and there's no reason to question Ron Rivera's capability as a defensive coach, but if you can run the ball, you can kill the Panthers. After Cam Newton threw a terrible pick to defensive lineman Corey Peters, the Falcons got the ball up a touchdown with six minutes left to play. Eight plays later -- seven of them running -- they were up 14 points.

Everyone knew they were going to run and there still wasn't any way for Carolina to stop it. New Orleans is a different deal, though, because Blount's absence meant the Bucs would struggle (in their wins thus far, he'd done well, and in their losses he hadn't; it's science!). Instead, Earnest Graham piled up 109 rushing yards on 17 carries, Josh Freeman got loose with Arrelious Benn and the Saints found themselves in a 20-10 halftime hole that they couldn't ever climb out of.

In short, a motivated Tampa Bay team showed up, created turnovers and completely flipped our perspective on the NFC South.

9. Bungle in the Jungle
The Ravens, as noted above, are the class of the AFC North. And the Steelers are coming off a second-straight win in which their defense prevailed and Rashard Mendenhall and the running game looked good.

But it would be silly to discount what the Bengals have done this year, moving to 4-2 after a 27-17 win over Indy, especially considering most of the offensive production is coming from a pair of rookies in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.

Dalton's not lighting up the statistical sheet, per se, as he's averaging just 218.5 passing yards per game, and he's only found the end zone seven times. But four of those have been to fellow rook Green, and -- I'm as surprised to be writing this as you are reading it -- Marvin Lewis was write about his offense getting an upgrade during the offseason.

And the Bengals are benefiting from a soft schedule; they could realistically be undefeated, considering that their two losses were by a combined seven points. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have the second-best defense in the league, allowing just 278.5 yards per game. That defense has

The schedule gets harder down the road -- multiple matchups with both Baltimore and Pittsburgh loom -- but there are four more games left where the Bengals will either be favored or basically a pick 'em. The idea that this team could win eight games as recently as September was, well, not there. The four they have now is probably what they'd have topped out in most preseason projections.

And now they're a reasonable contender for a Wild-Card berth if a few things go their way in the rest of their division matchups.

10. Things to Do In Denver on Your Bye
It's fascinating to me that a team like the Broncos could, somehow, manage to create a ton of noise about their team. On their bye week. Without really talking about Tim Tebow.

I mean, there was some Tebow talk this week, of course, but it wasn't out of control. Charley Casserly reported that the Broncos won't change their offense much for Tebow, and that's probably a good thing and/or not that surprising, since this is a John Fox offense.

Most of the noise centered around Denver's decision to start trying to ship every single talented veteran on the roster out of town. Brandon Lloyd wants gone, and it seems like he could be moved before Monday's practice (the team apparently doesn't think he can be on the same field as the coaching staff). Eddie Royal's on the block too and he's generating some interest; this makes sense since both player are rentals for the rest of the year.

Kyle Orton's situation is a little more interesting. He'll also be a free agent after this year, and one would think that he'd LOVE to get out of town since a) the coaches yanked him in Week 5 for Tebow despite acting like Tebow's worse than Brady Quinn, b) he'll be a free agent in the offseason and c) he's more reviled by the fans around Mile High than Carmelo Anthony during his "trade me to New York or else" run last year.

But the Broncos issued a statement on Sunday night denying rumors that Orton wanted a trade, so apparently he's content hanging around and playing -- ahem -- nursemaid to Tebow. Or he thinks the experiment will fail miserably and he'll be starting in a couple weeks anyway.

Regardless, Denver, you're 1-4. Spend the bye week getting better, not drawing attention to yourselves when you're not playing please.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Shane Lechler's first career pass attempt also produced his first career touchdown pass, when the Raiders faked a field goal in the third quarter against the Browns. Oddly enough, Lechler was the emergency quarterback, set to replace Kyle Boller who replaced the injured Jason Campbell.
... No one will talk about it because they won and because of Handshake Gate, but Jim Harbaugh threw a challenge flag on a scoring play. Huge gaffe, since those are all automatically reviewed. It cost him an unsportsmanlike conduct delay of game penalty.
... Drew Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to post four-straight games of 350 or more yards passing.
... Packers are now just the seventh defending Super Bowl champ to start the next season 6-0.

Worth 1,000 Words


 
Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Insane of the Week
"Little red light on the highway...big green light on the speedway...hey,hey,hey"

This one might seem meaningless ... unless you happen to be a Grateful Dead fan and recognize the lyrics to "West L.A. Fadeaway." In which case you, like me, are clearly one of the first people to realize that Irsay's moving the Colts to Los Angeles. Who didn't see that coming?

GIF O' THE WEEK

Big ups to @Jose3030 for pulling this clip of LeSean McCoy pulling an aggressive version of the Pillsbury doughboy poke on Eagles coach Andy Reid. There's so much that's perfect about it, from Reid's stomach jiggling to Reid's head snapping back to Reid being totally unprepared for the punch, to McCoy later tweeting an apology for doing it.



Hot Seat Tracker
  • Jack Del Rio -- He wasn't supposed to beat the Steelers, in Pittsburgh. And he didn't. But the Jaguars showed some life. Still hard to imagine he survives this season though.
  • Jim Caldwell -- In the words of the Talking Heads, stiiiiiiiiiiiiillllll waiiiiiiting ...
  • Tony Sparano -- He only lasts through 2012 if Steve Ross is waiting out Jon Gruden.
  • Steve Spagnuolo -- Another guy who wasn't supposed to win Sunday, and he's been ravaged by injuries. But man, how did we all think they'd win the division?
  • Jason Garrett -- Perhaps a bit early, but Jerry Jones is questioning his playcalling. That's never good.
  • Leslie Frazier -- He needs to go to Ponder now to keep his seat cool.
  • Ken Wisenhunt -- He's got the Cards practicing on their off day during their bye week. Might be feeling some pressure.
Chasing Andrew Luck
You'll notice a shifting of the odds this week -- we're no longer accepting wagers that return any money to you. Mainly because there are just too many crappy teams in the NFL right now.

Colts (-500): The Jaguars and Panthers sandwich their Week 11 bye, and besides a Week 17 date at Jacksonville, well, those are the only games that even remotely look winnable right now.
Dolphins (-350): Their schedule is also quite bleak. At least their fans are happy?
Rams (-250): Al Harris is one of their starting cornerbacks. This is not 2001.
Broncos (-225): They're doing everything in their power to deal away anyone with any talent. And this is different than the Josh McDaniels era how?
Vikings (-125): Minny still has Adrian Peterson? Guh that Bears game was depressing.

MVP Watch
Pretty clearly, there's only one choice: Aaron Rodgers. Guy's doing everything he did down the stretch in 2010 but now it's being spread out over the course of a regular season. If he keeps this up, the Packers will have as many losses as there are people who don't pencil his name in for the top MVP vote.
Posted on: October 16, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 7:09 pm
 

Report: Campbell's dislocated shoulder ends year

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 7:06 p.m. ET: According to NFL.com, Campbell will miss the rest of the season with his dislocated shoulder.

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Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has been knocked out of the Oakland-Cleveland game with about 4 minutes left in the second quarter, and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, he's dislocated his shoulder.  After gaining seven yards on a run, Cleveland’s Scott Fujita tackled him, and Campbell stayed on the turf until Oakland trainers could reach him.

As he slowly walked off the field, Campbell -- who was 6 of 9 for 52 yards and had helped the Raiders to a 14-7 lead against the Browns -- Campbell, in obvious pain, held his arm close to abdomen. Kyle Boller is in to replace Campbell, and on his first play in the game, a fourth and 1 from the Raiders 34, the team went for it and Boller gained the first down on a sneak.

If Boller were to go down, Terrelle Pryor -- who is not on the active roster -- would not play. Instead, the Raiders emergency third quarterback is punter Shane Lechler.

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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