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Tag:Will Brinson
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 10:09 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:39 pm
 

Dolphins, Chiefs win coin toss, draft order set

Here's a random old pic of a coin toss, since there's no vid or pics of Friday's action. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 2012 NFL Draft order is finalized: the Dolphins and Chiefs won coin tosses (against the Panthers and Seahawks, respectively) on Friday morning in Indianapolis to secure the eighth (Miami) and 11th (KC) picks in the draft.

The Panthers will now select ninth in April, and the Seahawks -- losers to the Chiefs -- will select 12th. The coin tosses took place early in the morning, utilizing specially-designed, commemorative coins. There were no media present (or allowed, for that matter), but the teams streamed the flip live on their various websites.

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"It kind of went straight up and it didn’t start flipping until it hit the ground," Chiefs GM Scott Pioli described. "It’s a huge difference because in that one spot in the draft you don’t know who the other team is going to pick. It’s just an earlier opportunity for you to get what you want in the draft."

While the difference between winning and losing the toss is only one pick, it does make a huge difference. If a team like the Panthers was (hypothetically) eying someone like UNC defensive end Quinton Coples, they'd be in a world of hurt with the Dolphins now one spot ahead of them.

"I think it makes a big difference,” Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland said on Thursday. "I’ve never been into a draft where I didn’t feel like if you’re at the 10th pick there are nine players and if you’re the 22nd pick there’s usually 20 players so you’re usually right behind it. So the higher up the board I can get, as long as it’s with the flip of a coin, I’ll take it."

Perhaps the biggest difference in the one draft spot is the value in a potential trade: for every spot that a team moves up, the value of the pick grows exponentially.

Just ask anyone trying to move up to the Rams spot at No. 2 overall.

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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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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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Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:55 pm
 

OT Martin says he's top tackle 'without a doubt'

Stanford's Martin doesn't exactly lack for confidence. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Stanford's Jonathan Martin is NFLDraftScout.com's third-ranked offensive tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft. He would absolutely disagree with that assessment, however.

And Martin, who measured in at 6'5" and 312 pounds, said as much on Thursday at the NFL combine, stating that he is "without a doubt" the best tackle in this draft. He then compared himself directly with NDS' top-rated tackle, USC's Matt Kalil.

"I don't know if there are specifics I can really name," Martin said when asked to compare the two. "I just think all around I'm a better player. He is own right is a really good player. We have similar offenses so I've watched a lot of him on film these past couple of years also."

Martin confirmed a report from Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com that he's been dealing with food poisoning and that he wouldn't do any lifting or field drills at the combine because he's "been sick the last couple of days," waiting until his pro day to workout.

When asked about contact with teams, Martin said he hasn't had "any formal interviews yet." He did say that he he spoke to the Redskins on Wednesday night and hasn't had any contact with the Lions as of yet.

In the latest slate of mock drafts, only Pat Kirwan has Martin "sliding" -- and Pat pegs Martin to the Cardinals at 13 (everyone else has Martin going eleventh-overall to the Chiefs). He's a top-end talent with plenty of upside. And, as Rang pointed out, missing the combine workouts won't hurt him too much.

There should be one or two pro scouts in attendance for Stanford's pro day.

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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