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Tag:Indianapolis Colts
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Wayne on Pats: 'Who wouldn't want to play there?'

Wayne's career in Indy may be over but he'll play somewhere (New England?) in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Way back in August, days after the lockout had ended and before any of the 32 teams had their hopes and dreams crushed, Colts owner Jim Irsay asked veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, in the last year of his contract, to be patient. There would be no new deal during the season.

"At this point," Irsay said at the time, "I don't anticipate that sort of thing, an extension or anything like that. We always talk about next year, where we're going to be with the (salary) cap, what type of situation we're going to be in because it's going to come quickly. We prepare for next year whether it's Pierre (Garcon), or Robert and Reggie."

The Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record without Peyton Manning, who along with Wayne, appears to have played his last game in Indy. To Wayne's credit, he never complained publicly or entertained thoughts of holding out, even saying last summer that "I'm a Colt, what else I'm gonna be?"


On Friday, ESPN's Josina Anderson asked Wayne about his NFL future. He doesn't sound much different in February than he did in July. 

"All I know is the Colts," he said. "That is where I want to be. I have been there 11 years and I would prefer to end my career a Colt. 

"However, in due time those feelings could subside. I know one thing, my phone works. I do have service and every last bar on it and their number has not come across it yet. I haven't heard anything from [the Colts] yet, so maybe I am not as important on the chain of command as I should be. 

"But either way, I'm cool," Wayne continued. "I have nothing bad to say about the Colts. The Colts took me in and made me a millionaire. I had nothing before I got here but a bunch of invoices. So either way I am still good, and I will still be friends with all of my teammates. But I am still at a point with all of this Peyton stuff, and this Andrew Luck stuff that I can't be all the way worrying just about that. My phone hasn't rung yet. It's only fair I worry about number 87 first. When I'm signed, then I can weigh in more." 

We've been saying for almost two months that Wayne's future could be tied to Manning's. Wherever Peyton ends up, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Wayne won't be far behind. (This week, the Dolphins are the favorites to land Manning; Wayne went to the U. And if Manning goes to the Jets, it makes sense that Wayne would follow him there too.)

But should the duo go their separate ways after playing together for a decade, the Patriots would be a logical landing spot for the wide receiver. Here's what we wrote on December 22 about possible destinations for Wayne in 2012:

"1. New England. Consider it payback for Adam Vinatieri, but more importantly, it’ll give Tom Brady the deep threat Chad Ochocinco never developed into. Wayne’s game is built on precise route-running, which is imperative in Peyton Manning’s offense (and Brady's). And it’s something Ochocinco never had to worry about in Cincinnati."

Wayne isn't a burner (he's 33 and an 11-year veteran), but he knows how to get open on short, medium and deep routes, something Ochocinco struggled with from the moment he arrived in Foxboro.

And while Wayne-to-the-Pats was nothing more than speculation, it also makes sense.  Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, now an NFL Network analyst, has spoken to Wayne about relocating to New England.

“It came up in the conversation would he ever want to play for the Patriots,” McGinest said according to the Boston Herald. “He smiled and said, ‘Who wouldn’t want to play there?’

“If it could have worked with Chad (Ochocinco), it would have been good. It didn’t. I just think (Tom Brady) has a lot of weapons, but he can always use that stretch-the-field receiver," McGinest said. "When they had Randy (Moss) there, it really made it tough for teams to stop them. Reggie Wayne is somebody who could stretch the field. He has great hands, he’s a professional who could pick up the system. Having another big-time receiver like that would put it over the top.”

And that was our point back in December. Ochocinco has been a disaster, Wes Welker is a possession receiver not a deep threat, and the passing offense is built around the tight ends.

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith points out that Bill Belichick is a longtime Wayne fan, too.

“I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne,” Belichick said during the 2009 season. “That guy is the best receiver we cover every year and it seems like he just keeps getting better.”

The Patriots have a history of taking guys who regularly torch them. That's how Welker ended up in New England in 2007.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:48 am
 

Handicapping where Peyton Manning plays in 2012

Anyone else see what stadium they're in? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

This is the season of Peyton Manning rumors. We hear he has "a noodle arm." We hear he cannot "throw the ball to the left." We think there's no way he could play for the Colts again after all the drama leading up to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. But what do we know?

Nothing, at least when it comes to Manning's future. In the interest of trying to figure out what uniform -- if any -- Peyton will play, let's handicap the race for one of the all-time greats in 2012.

Anything and everything is in play, except for teams that already have what we'll loosely term a "franchise quarterback." The Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Texans, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Lions, Bears, Saints, Falcons, Panthers and Rams all have their guy.

The Jaguars, Raiders, Vikings, Buccaneers and Broncos have very recent first-round investments in quarterbacks and aren't likely to pursue Manning. The Bills have a lot invested in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Peyton Manning isn't going to play in Buffalo. It's like Cleveland. Ain't happening.

That leaves the 49ers, Titans, Chiefs, Jets, Seahawks, Colts, Redskins, Cardinals and Dolphins as possible landing spots. We'll break down the scenarios in our order of likelihood and provide actual available odds from Bovada.lv and/or the Vegas percentages from RJ Bell of Pregame.com.

Longshots

49ers: The Niners could perceive Manning as the guy to put them over the top. But Jim Harbaugh says he's got "their guy" in incumbent-but-still-free-agent quarterback Alex Smith. Maybe he means it. Or maybe he's just doing good public relations. It would be a fascinating fit for a number of reasons (Andrew Luck's old coach anyone?) though.
Vegas Odds: 2%


Chiefs: Matt Cassel isn't the long-term answer for anyone, but he did make a Pro Bowl (thanks, schedule-makers!) and he is Scott Pioli's guy. Plus, Romeo Crennel -- a defensive coordinator -- is from the previous regime as well. Oh, and this is Patriots Midwest. Makes no sense.
Vegas Odds: 1.5%


Titans: This would make sense ... except the Titans have already invested in a veteran (Matt Hasselbeck, three-year deal) and a rookie (Jake Locker, first round in 2011). Plus, they came out and said they're not chasing him.
Vegas Odds: 1.5%

Jets

Vegas Odds: 11%
Actual Line: 5/1
Everyone will tell you the Jets are the perfect fit, as they're "just one piece away." This couldn't be further from the truth: the Jets are "several pieces away" at least. Some of those pieces are on defense and some of those piece are on offense. Quarterback is one of the pieces they need, but plugging Peyton onto Rex Ryan's roster wouldn't even make them the favorite to win the AFC East, unless he was 100 percent healthy.

There are also people that will tell Eli vs. Peyton in New York is the ultimate storyline. While that's true, that doesn't mean it's something either of those guys want to deal with for the length of their current contracts. You saw what happened at the Super Bowl, right? Every question pointed to Eli was about Peyton's neck and his recovery ... even though Eli was playing for a Super Bowl. It would be magnified in the Big Apple.

And don't think Manning doesn't see a parallel to Brett Favre with the Jets option either. Look at the way he's handled his business thus far; looking like Favre is the last thing he wants.

Seahawks

Vegas Odds: N/A
Actual Line: N/A
Everyone's sleeping on Pete Carroll! That terrifies me to no end. Look, there are plenty of reasons why this doesn't make sense. There's no guaranteed running game (Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett are both free agents), the offensive line's young and injury-prone thus far and Sidney Rice is the best receiving option.

But the defense is good in Seattle, the coach is enthusiastic, and as we note with the Cardinals below, the NFC West is a much better path to the Super Bowl than a lot of other spots. There are also plenty of offensive skill-position guys available in free agency, so it's possible the Seahawks could convince Peyton to take snaps in Seattle and then let him play pied piper for other talented players.

Retirement

Vegas Odds: 20%
Actual Line: N/A
We have to talk about it, you know? Bovada's not offering a betting line on this, but this is the most-likely scenario according to RJ Bell, as Vegas' odds give it a 20 percent chance.

I don't buy it ... but only for this year. Even if -- hypothetically speaking -- there are still reports about Manning only being able to sling his noodle to the right side of the field when March 13 comes around and -- somehow -- no one signs him, he'll keep rehabbing the entire season, getting healthy and will get a call from someone with an injured quarterback midway through the year. Last year there was a waiver scramble for Kyle Orton and the Bears actually considering calling Favre.

Manning would get a job, worst case, by November. Which is precisely why someone like the Redskins would go ahead sign him anyway, regardless of how healthy he is.

Colts

Vegas Odds: 14%
Actual Line: 3/1
Here's a theory I meant to throw out there during Super Bowl week: Jim Irsay and Peyton are punking everyone. They're having fun with everyone by acting like they hate each other, even though they have a master plan in place. Irsay will not pick up Manning's option on March 8, allowing him to become a free agent. But then Manning will re-sign with the Colts as a free agent, allowing them to limit the cap damage his contract does. He would still have $10.4 million in dead cap space if they don't pick up the option, which still gives them something like $18 million to work with.

The Colts can make his new contract cap-friendly and incentive-laden, and let Peyton finish his career as a Colt. They can also draft Andrew Luck or, if Luck decides to make a stink about playing behind Peyton, trade the pick or draft Robert Griffin, III.

There are reasons why this makes no sense: the actual disdain between Irsay and Peyton, the distraction that Peyton's situation was to Eli in the Super Bowl, Peyton's unwillingness to take less money to play for the same team and the Colts need to rebuild all the way, to name a few. But we're still throwing it out there.

Cardinals

Vegas Odds: 3%
Actual Line: 2.5/1

Vegas doesn't like this option, but it makes a lot of sense to me. They need to do work on the offensive line, but those problems can be addressed through free agency and the draft. Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald, a top-five wideout in the NFL, who somehow managed to catch 170 passes for 2,548 yards with John Skelton, Max Hall and Kevin Kolb under center the last two years. They have Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams in the backfield and a defense that came on strong at the end of 2011.

The Cardinals also play in a division that's conquerable right away; the NFC West might pose the path of least resistance when it comes to obtaining a Super Bowl. Arizona's lacked a franchise quarterback since Kurt Warner retired two years ago, and don't think Fitzgerald wouldn't welcome this move with open arms.

The Kurt Warner parallel here is perfect for Manning, even if Warner's path to Arizona was much different than Manning's would be.

Shanahan and Peyton together: What could go wrong? (Getty Images)

Redskins

Vegas Odds: 17%
Actual Line: 2.5/1
No surprise here, but Vegas likes the Redskins a lot. After all, it's the Redskins. They throw big money at the biggest names, and no name in the history of free agency would be bigger than Peyton Manning. (I agree with Mike Freeman that Reggie White was a bigger free agent, but only because he wasn't an unknown. But Peyton's a bigger "name.")

The Redskins also think they're one piece away from making a run in the NFC East, even though they lack a lot more than just a quarterback. Who's Peyton throwing to? Who's running the ball behind Peyton? Who's protecting Peyton? WHY IS KYLE SHANAHAN ROLLING HIM OUT TO THE RIGHT?

But seriously: Mike and Kyle Shanahan have an offensive system that is absolutely tailored to a guy like RG3. They should make their all-in move on draft day, hop the Browns and grab the Baylor quarterback. He would be an instant superstar in Shanny's system and, in my opinion, more effective than Peyton for Washington in 2012. Of course, having said all that, this is Dan Snyder's team. Don't count them out to grab Peyton.

Dolphins

Vegas Odds: 20%
Actual Line: 3/1
The Dolphins are everyone's favorite, and it makes good sense. They have a blossoming running game and with Manning under center, Reggie Bush would only be more effective. They have talented wide receivers, with Brandon Marshall holding No. 1 potential. (Davonne Bess ain't no slouch, and Bush is a fantastic receiving option as well.)

They have a franchise left tackle in Jake Long. They have a talented defense, with only a limited number of free agents that need re-signing. They have an owner who wants to sexy-up the offense and bring in celebrities to the stadium. No one is, um, sexier than Peyton Manning. (And Stephen Ross is "infatuated" with him, reportedly. Me-ow.)

Manning owns a condo in South Beach. He'd get to play his top rival, Tom Brady, twice a year. He'd also get a ridiculously easy schedule in 2012, as outside the AFC East the Dolphins play the Jaguars, Titans, Rams, Seahawks, Raiders, Texans, 49ers, Cardinals and Bengals.

Oh right, one more team: the Colts. In Indy. It's all a little too perfect.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Report: Peyton can't 'throw the ball to his left'

Manning reportedly can't throw the ball to his left. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Wednesday evening, Ryan Wilson passed along a report that Peyton Manning's arm "is a noodle." That description was not complimentary. And neither is the the description of Manning from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi.
Manning's Offseason Saga

Lombardi, appearing with Bill Simmons on "The BS Report," said that Manning "can't throw the ball to his left." Ruh-roh.

"I've talked to people who have caught the ball for him," Lombardi said. "He can't throw the ball to his left. He can't throw the ball across his body because he doesn't feel it. People that catch the ball for him say that he doesn't really have the velocity on the ball yet."

Maybe Peyton's just not an ambi-thrower? Eh, that seems unlikely, since we have a reasonable sample size to back up Peyton's ability to throw all over the field. Instead maybe it's possible that the "noodle" report and the "can't throw the ball to his left" report are just really one and the same.

Right now, the strength of the nerves in Manning's arms simply aren't built up enough to throw the ball well. That's bad news for Manning's future, but the good news is that Manning has a month to continue rehabbing and prove that he's healthy enough to play in the NFL.

If he's shown improvement with the strength and velocity on his throws by March 8, it's possible Jim Irsay will keep him on the Colts. (It's possible. Just not likely.) And if Irsay doesn't keep Manning, then Peyton will have until March 13 to prove to teams he's improving enough to step in and produce in 2012.

Of course, if reports are still circulating about Manning's lack of arm strength at that time, it might not matter.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:37 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 2:51 pm
 

Indy writer on Peyton: His 'arm is a noodle'

Assuming he's healthy, all signs are pointing to Manning playing elsewhere in 2012. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Peyton Manning's change in fortune has been swift. Prior to the 2011 season, the general perception of what he meant to Indianapolis went something like this: he had singlehandedly saved the Colts from themselves, led them to a Super Bowl title in 2006, and his accomplishments were the currency that helped fund Lucas Oil Stadium.

NFL Offseason Begins

Now, days removed from Super Bowl XLVI -- hosted in Indianapolis by the way -- Manning has gone from patron saint of the city to public enemy No. 1. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration but not by much.

In the weeks prior to the Giants-Patriots matchup, Manning spoke with the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz about his future with the Colts. The takeaway: Peyton had no intentions of retiring, even if his future wasn't with in Indy.

Owner Jim Irsay fired back, calling Manning "a politician," the two then issued a joint statement professing great love and admiration for one another. And that appeared to be that. Neither side spoke in specifics about their situations during Super Bowl Week … until Thursday evening, when Manning's camp leaked word that Manning had been medically cleared to play. This was news to everyone, including Irsay, who tweeted hours later that "Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts."

And it was at that point that the public, which had firmly supported Peyton basically since the moment he was drafted in 1998, began to view the franchise quarterback differently.

During a Wednesday appearance on "The Tony Kornheiser Show," Kravitz talked about the he-said, he-said back-and-forth posturing by both camps and what it means for the future of Peyton and the Colts.

"I think people are starting to sway over to Jim Irsay's side on this," Kravitz told Kornheiser. "… It's such a no-brainer. It's been a no-brainer since they went to 0-13. He could give them money to play football. Andrew Luck has got to play, okay? It's not even about the $35 million anymore. I mean, the guy's arm is a noodle, he can't throw like an NFL quarterback, and by March 8, there's no way of knowing whether he's going to be ready or not."

Wow. "Arm is a noodle" is nowhere near "been medically cleared to play." But that doesn't mean Manning won't be healthy at some point. It's just that nobody knows when.

“I know some of the people that have seen him throw,” Kravitz continued. "They say he’s not throwing like an NFL quarterback yet. That doesn’t mean he never will.  This thing is going to take time. Structurally, he’s sound. Structurally, he can take a hit.”

In response to a question from Kornheiser that "Manning hijacked the Super Bowl," Kravitz responded, "I'm quite sure [Peyton] did it deliberately.

"I lost a lot of -- I don't want to say respect for him -- but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and not say that his conversation with me was political and calculated, but there's no doubt in my mind that that story breaking Thursday night right around the time every single TV station is doing an exclusive on Andrew Luck (and, it turns out, blog).

"It comes out on Thursday night about six o'clock -- that doesn't come out unless the Peyton Manning camp wants it to come out. They're putting public pressure on Jim Irsay. It was calculated, it was deceptive, I didn't think it was a good time to do it. And, yes, he absolutely stole the Super Bowl. … I don't think there's any doubt that he stole some of the attention away from the Super Bowl.

"Look, that story was going to be there whether he opened his mouth or not, but he had given us every indication that he was going to go underground and only do his Gatorade and DirecTV thing and then shut the hell up," Kravitz said. "And he didn't do that. I thought that that was kind of smarmy. …

"You got Andrew Luck, just start over, I wish they could make the decision today or tomorrow and move on with it. Instead we're just … holding onto something that doesn't really exist."

So, yeah, if it wasn't obvious before, we think it couldn't be clearer now: Peyton's played his last game for the Colts, and Eli was the last Manning to play in Lucas Oil Stadium during the 2011 season.

Now the only question is if the Redskins are still interested in Manning's services. (Obvious answer: of course they are!)

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 2:56 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:42 pm
 

Peyton Manning 'couldn't be happier' for Eli

Eli and Peyton are bros. Literally. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

It's not crazy to think that Peyton Manning could've been jealous after watching his younger brother Eli Manning win a Super Bowl at Peyton's home stadium in Indianapolis. But Peyton says he's not and that he "couldn't be happier" for Eli.

That's according to Mike Chappelle of the Indianapolis Star, who caught up with Peyton after the Giants Super Bowl win on Sunday.

Latest NFL News, Notes

"I couldn't be happier for Eli, prouder of Eli," Peyton said. "I want nothing but the best for him. I think he will continue to win more Super Bowls. There is no envy whatsoever in our relationship. He deserves this."

Peyton was asked if there might be a bit of one-upmanship taking place with their relationship, now that Eli has two Super Bowl rings and Peyton "only" has one. But he insisted that's not the sort of dynamic that goes on in the Manning family.

"Eli and I don't play that game," Peyton said. "The relationship of Eli, Cooper and I is not about trying to rub it in or anything like that. It's about love, nothing but love."

We wrote after the game that, regardless of what Peyton says, it still stinks to see your little brother with more Super Bowl wins than you. And we still believe that. But at the same time, it's not like Peyton's endured some horrible NFL career, floundering in Eli's shadow.

If anything, Peyton's probably thrilled that the world's ready to take Eli out of his shadow; if there's one thing that male siblings understand even more than a rivalry, it's protecting one another.

Eli's safe from criticism for quite a while now. In fact, his only concern might be getting asked too often what Peyton will do in the future.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 11:24 pm
 

Pick-6 Podcast: One last look at Super Bowl XLVI

Revisiting the week that was in Indianapolis: Super Bowl XLVI. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The Giants are champs, the Pats are left wondering where it all went wrong, and the 2011 NFL season is officially in the books.

After a whirlwind week of press conferences, Media Day, red-carpet events and, of course, the Super Bowl, we recap our eight days in sunny, temperate Indianapolis (seriously, the only thing better than the weather was the hospitality). 

We start off by talking about the pass -- you know, the one that Wes Welker couldn't pull in and that probably changed the outcome of the game. We also discuss Tom Brady's suddenly tarnished legacy. Somehow, a three-time Super Bowl winner has gone from hero to goat in 20 minutes of uninspiring football (not helping: his supermodel wife blasting the Pats' receivers for not being able to catch). 

And no conversation of Super Bowl week in Indy would be complete without a mention of Peyton Manning and his future, so we hit that too.

Also worth mentioning: we "worked" the Playboy Party Friday night and the highlight of the evening for Brinson was meeting DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. We wish we were making this up.

All right, let's get to this...

(Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes? And if you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.)


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Posted on: February 5, 2012 1:51 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 9:05 am
 

Report: Redskins 'expected to pursue' Peyton

Shanahan and Peyton together: What could go wrong? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Between now and March 8, there will be plenty of speculation about what teams will be interested in Peyton Manning if and when he hits the open market. We've already talked about the possibility of Miami, and now we get to mention the other team that everyone expects to pursue Manning: the Redskins.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Washington is "expected to pursue" Manning if he becomes a free agent.

This shouldn't be a surprise. For starters, this is the Redskins. If someone with a big name is available, they'll be rumored as a potential team of interest. But that's exacerbated in this instance, because the Redskins rolled out Rex Grossman and John Beck as their starting quarterbacks in 2011.

The result was predictably disastrous, as the Redskins won just five games (oddly, two were over the NFC champion Giants) and finished dead last in the NFC East.

Is Manning the best fit in Washington, though? Mike and Kyle Shanahan like mobile quarterbacks who can roll out of the pocket. Manning is the opposite of that. Would the Shanahans change up their offense to fit Manning? If they're interested in landing him, they'd almost have to.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 1:45 pm
 

Manning's next contract to be incentive-laden?

Brees talks to the media about his Offensive Player of the Year Award while Manning announces the NFL Player of the Year. Indianapolis, February 4, 2012. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

Peyton Manning, who has been in the news almost as much as his brother this week, finally made a public appearance Saturday night at the NFL Awards Show. He didn't say anything new about his future in Indianapolis -- Manning was there to present the 2011 NFL Most Valuable Player award -- although reports Sunday from ESPN's Adam Schefter indicate that should the Colts and Manning part ways in the coming weeks (and that looks like a real possibility), the future Hall of Fame quarterback would be willing to agree to an incentive-based contract for little or no guaranteed money.

Latest from the Super Bowl
The thinking: Manning would find a new home as quickly as possible, put his Colts playing days behind him, and get on with the rest of his career. Schefter says that incentives could include roster bonuses due on the first day of the regular season, or bonuses tied to playing time.

A source tells ProFootballTalk.com that such measure won't be necessary because Manning, completely healthy or not, will be in such demand that those teams interested in his services will set demand. If the Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross truly is "infatuated" with Manning, and the Redskins and Daniel Snyder are similarly intrigued, that's reason enough to think that he won't have to concern himself with performance-based incentives.

As it stands, Manning is still a member of the Colts. He's due a $28 million roster bonus on March 8 but unless something changes between now and then, there's no way owner Jim Irsay makes good on that payment given that Manning's health is still a huge question.

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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