Tag:2011 Combine
Posted on: February 24, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 1:53 pm

2011 NFL Combine Scene: Thursday morning

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s Day 1 for media at the combine. The scene in Indy is similar to the one in Dallas, only less glitz and glamor and more nuts and bolts. Only the true football media covers the event, which makes for purer networking opportunities. That seems to be the name of the game for the combine: networking. The press is not allowed to view the workouts in the flesh. Everyone is stationed in the media center, which is located near the East entrance of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Coaches and GM’s are scheduled to cycle through the media center and talk to the press throughout the entire day On the slate today is Chan Gailey at 10:00, Steve Spagnuolo at 10:15, Ron Rivera at 10:30, Jeff Ireland at 10:45, John Fox at 11:00 ... you get the idea.

The experienced writers here will tell you that the best time to get to people is after hours. All of the hotels in Indy are within a few blocks of the stadium and convention center. Some coaches and front office execs like to go out and mingle in the late (LATE) hours.

Last night I chatted with a few sportswriters in the lobby of the Westin. During that hour there, Andy Reid and Mike Tomlin walked in, Rich McKay showed up, John Harbaugh mingled for a few minutes, Mike Holmgren (who is much taller than you’d ever guess) strolled by, Rams GM Billy Devaney stopped to say hello and new Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (who looks like a carbon copy of Lane Kiffin) checked in. Around 9:00, walking out of St. Elmo’s Steakhouse (a legendary local hotspot), I bumped into Norv Turner.

The combine schedule is not super structured like the Super Bowl schedule (the coach and GM press conference times are written on a whiteboard at the beginning of the day). Ask any writer their gameplan for this week and the answer is always something along the lines of, “Dunno for sure yet, have a few story ideas lined up but I’ll mostly just be running around with my tape recorder all day.”
Same here.

P.S. Lucas Oil Field, at least from the outside, is a magnificent building – far more attractive than Cowboys Stadium. And the Indianapolis downtown consists of three things: hotels, sports bars and steakhouses. It’s unbelievable.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 2:07 pm

Newton under consideration for Panthers at No. 1

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cam Newton, our 11th-ranked prospect in the NFL Draft, is a fascinating talent (though we have yet to see his skills as an entertainer), and the Carolina Panthers would be crazy to not at least consider the player one scout called "the black Ben Roethlisberger" with the top overall pick.

And it appears they'll do just that -- new Panthers coach Ron Rivera told the assembled media at the NFL combine that Carolina is considering about 10 players with the top overall pick. Newton is apparently one of those players, and the Panthers' front office plans on bringing him to Charlotte for a private workout.

"He's a tall, powerful young man," Rivera said. "He's got great athletic ability. He might be the better athlete of all of [the QB prospects]. But again, the one thing he does have is he's got a great arm. And he's a winner. You go back to his junior college and his college days, you can't pass that up, either.

"We've got to explore. There's eight, 9, 10 guys that we're looking at. We're going to explore all avenues with everybody."

So, Chad Reuter was right -- Newton is absolutely in play as the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Of course, so are guys like Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, Von Miller and Robert Quinn (my best guess at the "first seven" guys that Marty Hurney and his staff will be picking from).

The notion that the Panthers are a defensive-minded team coached by a defensive-minded guy in Rivera makes Newton seem kind of illogical as a top pick. But given the state of the CBA -- wide open for now, especially with respect to rookie contracts -- and the Panthers desire to land someone with a large, marketable profile means that Newton can't be counted out at No. 1 overall quite yet.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:23 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 1:57 pm

Fox: 'Kyle Orton is our starter' in Denver

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- The issue of starting quarterback in Denver was one of great intrigue, until John Fox decided to put it to bed in his first NFL combine news conference (ever!) on Thursday.

Asked about Tim Tebow and the possibility of trading Kyle Orton away, Fox quickly pointed out that Orton's currently the starter.

"As far as I’m concerned, he’s under contract and he's the starting QB for the Denver Broncos," Fox said. "Kyle Orton is our starter."

Fox also said that Tebow has "intangibles," which is a polite way of saying "he's a great leader and not a great quarterback."

All of this can change by the time that the season starts (IF it starts, of course) and it's possible that Tebow could make leaps and bounds during the offseason that get him a shot at starting.

But Fox isn't coming into Denver just to try and develop players -- he wants to win games too. And Orton, more so than Tebow, probably gives him the best chance to win right now.

Another interesting note from Fox's media conference involved the running game.

"You need two good players at running back," Fox said, pointing out that a "commitment to run" involves more than one talented running back.

It's unlikely the Broncos will burn the No. 2 overall pick on someone to pound the rock, but it's also not unreasonable that Knowshon Moreno will get some help in the backfield come 2011.

Fox also complimented his boss, John Elway, who's been prominently featured on Twitter, scooping every reporter in the Denver area.

"This isn't a P.R. move," Fox said of Elway. "He's burning the midnight oil. He's working hard. He's very willing to learn."

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