Tag:NFL combine
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:10 pm
 

RG3 clearly a Ninja Turtle enthusiast

Of course RG3 wore Ninja Turtle socks today. (Will Brinson, CBSSports.com)
Eye on Football staff report

INDIANAPOLIS -- While it seems that former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III absolutely nailed his meeting with the media today -- we seriously haven’t seen a single negative tweet about him since he started speaking, and we must have read at least 100 positive ones -- he also slam-dunked his choice of footwear.

In particular his socks, which you can see above in the photo provided by CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson.

They are Ninja Turtle socks, and though we don’t know who Griffin’s favorite Ninja Turtle is and how much Griffin might like pizza, we’re pretty sure Griffin is one of the coolest guys walking around Indianapolis this week.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Fisher: Trading Bradford 'wouldn't be an option'

Bradford won't be playing anywhere other than St. Louis. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- As we noted in Thursday's "Winners and Losers" edition from the NFL combine, the Rams are sitting pretty with the No. 2 pick in the draft and the stock of Robert Griffin III growning as quickly as his measured height (RG3's added 3/8th of an inch since college!).

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They're likely to make a move at some point, with one of the Dolphins, Redskins or Browns making sense as a trading partner.

"We have options," Jeff Fisher said Friday at the combine. "There's the option to stay there and take the best player or listen to whoever's willing to talk."

Just don't expect them to do anything too crazy. Like, say, trade quarterback Sam Bradford.

"That wouldn't be an option," Fisher said when asked specifically about moving his current quarterback.

There's an argument that dealing Bradford would actually make sense, particularly if Robert Griffin III is as good as everyone thinks. (He is.) But Fisher's sticking with the guy he knows.

And he might bring in more familiar figures as well, noting that the Rams have had talks about bringing in Albert Haynesworth, who played for Fisher when he coached the Titans.

"There's some unrestricted free agents out there, now, that are not under contract that we are talking about" Fisher said when asked about a Haynesworth reunion. "He's one of them. Whether we go ahead and do something remains to be seen."

Haynesworth isn't the only fascinating football figure currently an unrestricted free agent. USTREAM star Randy Moss is out there as well. And Fisher not only didn't close the door on possibly bringing Moss to St. Louis either.

"You guys know my familiarity with Randy," Fisher said. "I thought he was good for the locker room."

Hmm. Perhaps we shouldn't be throwing around the phrase "nothing too crazy" after all.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:29 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Elway: Broncos open to 'either' kind of backup QB

John Elway and Denver haven't made a decision about Tebow's potential backup quarterbacks. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- John Elway has a tough task in front of him when it comes to filling out his quarterback depth chart. Logic dictates that the Broncos would like to get backup quarterbacks for Tebow that can run the read-option offense, or at least a version of it.

But Elway said the Broncos haven't made a decision on what kind of backup quarterbacks they'll seek out, and that be believes either a "ordinary" quarterback or "one like Tim" could work in the Broncos offense.

"We're going through that process now," Elway said Friday at the combine. "We kind of have to let it happen. I don't know if we're looking for one like Tim, or your ordinary dropback or somewhere in between. Until we find out the interest out there, it's going to be hard to fill those spots. But I think that when I look at Tim and our offense, we can go with either one, whether it be a guy like Tim or if it's more of a dropback guy. We feel like either one is going to fit."

We'd probably disagree with his assessment here, at least based on what we saw from the Broncos in 2011. Their offense worked well at times, but it's impossibly difficult to ask the rest of Denver's personnel to switch back-and-forth from a read-option-type offense to a "normal" NFL offense.

Additionally, there's are different personnel requirements for each type of offense; obviously everyone "wants talent" and whatnot, but if you're constructing the ideal offensive line for a Tebow-style offense, by nature it's going to be different than the type of line you'd construct for a "normal" offense.

The Broncos could still end up grabbing one of each -- how does a Chad Henne/Russell Wilson combo strike you? -- but it may be harder to effectively fill out and organize the quarterback depth chart than Elway could possibly ever expect.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:55 am
 

NFL looking at more changes to the combine

Can you imagine this image with two players running the 40? The NFL can. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Although the vision of two scouting combine participants racing down the lanes during the 40-yard run might be fun for the fans to watch and could enliven the atmosphere inside the building, that potential change to the scouting schedule doesn’t necessarily sit well with NFL executives.

As we told you Thursday, the NFL is changing the approach of how scouts time the 40, moving to using fully automated timing (electronic devices will be used for the start and finish), and Friday, the New York Times wrote the league is considering changing the 40’s setup so that two combine participants would race against each other.

The Times also discusses the possibility of players participating in the 225-pound bench press at the same time next to each other, quoting Eric Grubman, the executive vice president of N.F.L. ventures and business operations, as saying, “We would not want to do something that was just good for television, or just good for the fans, if it were at the expense of either the football evaluation or the players’ preparation. It’s a balancing act. The combine works.”

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Not necessarily, according to Texans general manager Rick Smith, who wrote this on his Twitter account Friday morning: “If the NFL is serious about players racing against each other at Combine so long to players working out there. Beyond stupid.”

The changes made likely would begin at the smaller, regional combines before moving to the main one in Indianapolis, but the league also can expect more resistance from team executives.

More from the Times.
While teams often conduct private workouts with players they are most seriously considering drafting -- and certainly with those who will probably be selected highest in the draft -- the combine provides something that football people value. It’s a way to measure players in different tasks -- the 40-yard dash, the broad jump, the vertical leap -- under exactly the same conditions, on exactly the same kind of field. Having players compete head to head would change the conditions for those players, possibly, some speculate, spurring players to run faster if paired with a speedster within their position group.

“I’m old school,” said Trent Baalke, the San Francisco 49ers’ general manager. “Let’s just roll with how we’re doing it.”

Bill Polian, the former Colts executive who now has his own show on Sirius XM Radio, said: “This has grown to a football trade show and I understand that. What we have to do is be careful not to lose the player personnel evaluation purpose of this.”

That’s a concern perhaps because of the league’s decision to allow a group of 250 fans into the combine to watch the proceedings. Combine that with the NFL allowing thousands of fans into Lucas Oil Field this month to watch the Super Bowl Media Day spectacular, and some wonder about the league’s direction.

So, why make these changes at all, even in the face of what could be massive resistance from the people who actually have to evaluate the players? This quote from Grubman might give you the answer.

“When you make it interesting, people want to see it,” Grubman said. “When you let them in, it gets bigger. When it gets bigger, other people want to be there. It goes from football media, who are attracted to it because it’s such a pure event, to popular media, to sponsors because fans are watching.”

And sponsors, of course, equal more money for a league that’s always looking to make more of it.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:45 am
 

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

Whatever you say, Mr. Ryan. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forgive us for not primarily focusing on draft-related players in this edition of knee-jerk judgments. But on the first day of the NFL combine, there were relatively few players of note to talk to; none of the interior linemen made appearances with the media, there were some lonely kickers and punters present, and not all of the tight ends showed up.

Most of the media sessions were spent chatting up various general manages and coaches, every single one of whom was asked about Peyton Manning and/or Andrew Luck. Or their own quarterback.

Winners

Andrew Luck: Luck isn't even in Indianapolis yet (that we know of) and he's already getting swooned over, as Mike Freeman wrote earlier on Thursday. The only flaw that people can find is his arm strength, and even that's a stretch. More good news is that his former coach, Jim Harbaugh, thinks he'll handle the pressure of all the expectations surrounding him just fine. Don't expect the hypemobile to drop speed between now and late April.

St. Louis Rams
: On Thursday night, we told a St. Louis radio station that Jeff Fisher would be sitting back and smoking a cigar by the time Robert Griffin III finished running his 40-yard dash. That's because Fisher and the Rams will be holding an auction for Griffin, the clear-cut, second-best (if second ...) quarterback in the draft. Everyone in Indy's glowing about the kid and he hasn't arrived yet either. And everyone interested should get involved. If the Browns, Dolphins and Redskins don't get involved, they're doing themselves a disservice, because RG3 is going to good in the NFL. Make the move, pay the picks and reap the benefits. Fisher's willing to do just that.

Green Bay Packers: There seems to be a lot of speculation about teams wanting Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn around Indy right now. (The Browns, Dolphins and Seahawks could all be interested parties.) Now that Green Bay's locked up Jermichael Finley for two more years, they can, if they want, apply the franchise tag to Flynn and then trade him for the best offer they get from one of the interested teams. As long as they get more than whatever the compensatory pick would be, they win in this deal.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Shortly after Kevin Colbert stated that he wanted wide receiver Mike Wallace to retire as a Steeler, Pittsburgh managed to restructure Ben Roethlisberger's contract. Making Ben more expensive in the future might not help in the future, but it means right now the Steelers can keep Mike Wallace. The No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh's gotten flak as the heat's cranked up on the possibility of him leaving, but the fact remains that he's the team's best wideout. Antonio Brown is a stud -- the only guy who we know that loves Brown more than we do is fantasy expert Dave Richard -- and he'll keep improving. But Brown doesn't become team MVP without Wallace keeping top cornerbacks away from his side of the field.

LaRon Landry: Holy muscles, Batman. Did he hijack Ryan Braun's FedEx package or something? We kid, we kid. (But no, seriously: we're joking.) On the first day of young football playing fellas flexing their muscles for the public, Landry stole the show with his ripped Twitter pics.

Losers

Jonathan Martin: Forgive us for not loving everyone out of Stanford, or for not giving Martin credit for having confidence. But the athletic offensive tackle won't be participating in most of the drills at the combine, because of food poisoning. (We asked him what he ate, and he didn't remember, but said it was in Arizona. Fear not, consumers of spicy shrimp cocktails.) Martin also repeatedly said he's the best tackle available in the draft, and said "without a doubt" he's better than Matt Kalil. Competition is fun, and confidence is good, but we're not sure why he's talking a big game if he's not participating in the drills.

Mark Sanchez: As Clark Judge noted, "Sanchez should be worried." That's because Rex Ryan came out and made no bold guarantees (a staple of the combine for Ryan) regarding the job security of his starting quarterback. It's OK for Rex to downplay the interest the Jets could have in Peyton Manning; Manning's not a free agent yet, and there are roughly 25 NFL teams that will at least discuss what Manning could do to their franchise. But the lack of guarantees for Sanchez during a tumultuous offseason should be concerning for the Jets current starting quarterback.

Kevin Kolb: Like Sanchez, Kolb didn't exactly get ringing endorsements from the guys who cut his checks. Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves didn't explicitly say they'd think about dumping Kolb (due a roster bonus on March 17) if Manning became available, but they sure didn't slam the door on the idea. 

Tight Ends: This is the new position that's redefining the NFL, right? Well, um, here's the problem (as also noted by CBSSports.com's own Pete Prisco): where were these guys during their big combine day? Rob Gronkowski was the story during the Super Bowl, and for a week after. Jimmy Graham shattered records. Vernon Davis was the guy who made Alex Smith great. And Orson Charles, the third-rated tight end by NFLDraftScout.com, said he's happy to sit and learn behind someone like Tony Gonzalez?Love the attitude. Love it, and Gonzo's the man. But if you're a coming into college and someone tries to steer you away from playing tight end in college, don't listen to them. Or listen to them and stop playing basketball?

Stevie Johnson: We've thought he'd get the franchise tag from Buffalo at minimum. But in listening to Bills head coach Chan Gailey, that's just not happening. Or it might; but Gailey's description of Johnson was quintessential "we're sorry to lose Stevie." He said he wouldn't miss Stevie until Stevie was gone and then cited the "business" of the game. Those aren't the words of a coach who's pumped to be celebrating a new contract for his franchise wideout.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:54 pm
 

Harbaugh on Luck: 'He's got all the qualities'

Breaking news: Jim Harbaugh loves Andrew Luck. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a weird bit of symmetry going on in Indy for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. He spent Wednesday night sitting on the bench with his brother-in-law, Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean, and several of Harbaugh's former players at Stanford are prominent prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft.

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Perhaps you've heard of one of them: Andrew Luck. Luck is, according to what one scout told Mike Freeman, "almost the perfect prospect." While Harbaugh wasn't quite as effusive with his praise of Luck, he's clearly enamored with the former Stanford quarterback.

"You ever play spades?" Harbaugh asked a confused-looking crowd of reporters. "It's a trump game? He's holding a lot of aces in a lot of suits."

Harbaugh, in case you're wondering, is having fun this week. He continued to have fun with the media, bantering back and forth with a group of reporters "looking for bullet points" about his former pupil.

"He's got all the qualities, really, mentally, physically," Harbaugh said. "He's really good? How about that one? He's got a lot of talent."

Hooray for platitudes! But, no, seriously, Jim. People are putting a lot of pressure on Luck, who's been deemed the best thing since Peyton Manning supplanted sliced bread (and Harbaugh himself, actually) as the greatest thing on the planet. Is it fair?

"Fair or unfair, it's the nature of the business," Harbaugh said. "And he's very equipped to deal with. He's very mature."

Luck's definitely mature. We spoke to him at the Super Bowl and even in a few minutes, it's clear just how measured he is in his responses, without being contrite in the slightest. That doesn't make his task -- which is almost certainly going to be "filling Peyton's shoes" -- any easier. But if anyone's going to be able to do it, it's Luck.

Just ask Jim Harbaugh. Or don't.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:53 pm
 

Seahawks GM says RB Lynch will be on team in 2012

Will Lynch be a Seahawk in 2012? 'Yeah' (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was the fourth-best running back on our list of potential free agents. But it doesn't sound like there's much of a chance of him getting out of Seattle.

We noted a few days ago a report that Lynch and the Seahawks were "deep" in contract negotiations. And on Thursday at the NFL combine, John Schneider confirmed just that, saying the two sides have had "great discussions."
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"We're having great discussions and I'm actually meeting with his guy tonight," Schneider said. "But we've had great discussions since, man, probably two-to-three weeks left in the season. So there's no animosity at all. It's a good dialogue. No fistfights."

As everyone knows, the No. 1 rule of contract negotiations is "no fistfights." So that's good. Asked about the possibility of Lynch getting the franchise tag in 2012, Schneider said "sure." He also later confirmed to Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com ("yeah") that Lynch would be with the Seahawks for at least one more season.

We previously mentioned that Marshawn's up-and-down production in 2011 should be a big, red flag for the Seahawks. But Schneider believes (and, perhaps, rightly so) that Lynch's struggles were more a byproduct of a shortened offseason and an offensive line that didn't gel until late in the year.

"Not necessarily," Schneider said when asked if Lynch's splits were a concern. "Because were kind of coming together with our offensive line. There was a new group and an odd, odd offseason," Schneider said. "So with him it was more of a timing thing with his reads and anticipation. Once the guys up front started coming together he kind of took off, and we had those injuries to [James] Moffitt and [James] Carpenter and we had some guys step in and play real well. Once those guys became more of a cohesive group he just continued to perform at a high level."

The price for Lynch, either in a long-term deal or via the $7.7 million tag, is pretty steep. But if putting Lynch on a one-year contract motivates him to run like he did in the latter half of 2011, it'll look like a steal by this time next year.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:27 pm
 

Dolphins OK with 'short-term' fix at QB right now

The Fins are open to a long- or short-term fix at quarterback. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Perhaps you've heard already: the Miami Dolphins are in the market for a quarterback. There are myriad rumors about who they want; Matt Flynn works because Joe Philbin's his old coach. Peyton Manning works because, well, he's Peyton Manning. What about Robert Griffin III? And don't sleep on Ryan Tannehill, who Mike Sherman coached at Texas A&M.

According to Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland, the team is in fact open to a short-term solution at the position, despite having never successfully filled the role since the departure of my esteemed colleague Mr. Marino many moons ago.

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"I don't think it has to be a long-term solution," Ireland said. "I think you can get a short-term solution. Obviously you'd like a long-term solution, but you can do both. You can certainly try and get both in that regard. But it's my job to try and grow the team for today and for the future. And Joe's responsibility is to try and win today with a mind to the future as well."

Philbin echoed Ireland's sentiments, saying that there's "not necessarily" a preference when it comes to acquiring a quarterback for the future or a quarterback who can step in right now and win.

"Not necessarily," Philbin said. "The quarterback is an important position in the offense and an important position on the football team. We've got to have a player perform with success at that position. But we don't have a mandate that the player has to be 24-years-old or 33-years-old or 29-years old.

"We're looking for a manager, a leader, an accurate passer, a decision maker and a guy who can make a play when we need it. And however that shakes out, it's fine by us."

Since Marino departed, the Dolphins have rolled out the following quarterbacks as starters: Jay Fiedler, Damon Huard, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels, Brian Griese, Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen and Matt Moore.

That's sixteen quarterbacks since Marino last played in 1999. The Dolphins, more than almost any team in the NFL (with the possible exception of the Redskins) need a long-term answer at quarterback.

But that long-term answer might not come this year, especially whatever short-term solution they're eying gives the Dolphins a chance to win now.

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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