Tag:Ryan Wilson
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:08 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Whisenhunt: Skelton, Kolb will get opportunities

Who ya got: Kevin Kolb or John Skelton (or neither)? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The 2011 season didn't go quite according to plan for the Arizona Cardinals or quarterback Kevin Kolb. The former started the season 3-7 before winning five of six to get to 8-8; the latter played in just nine games and put up numbers similar to his backup John Skelton. Kolb threw for 1,955 yards, including 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, and had a completion percentage of 57.7; Skelton went for 1,913 yards, 11 TDs, 14 INTs, with a 54.9 completion percentage.

Perhaps the most telling numbers: Skelton, 5-2 as a starter, counted $450,000 against the '11 salary cap while Kolb, 3-6 before being sidelined with a toe injury and later a concussion, counted $4,000,000 against the cap (it increases to $10 million in '12 and $13 million in '13). This comes months after he signed a five-year, $63 million extension and weeks before he's due a $7 million roster bonus.

All this explains the speculation that Kolb could be one and done in Arizona, at least if the right quarterback comes along. Peyton Manning has been name-checked, but that's a long shot for any number of reasons. e

Earlier this week, Cardinals general manager Rod Graves spoke about Kolb's future, particularly with respect to the $7 million bonus coming his way on March 17.

"There's no reason to think at this particular point that we wouldn't proceed with ... seeing the contract through, but things change as we go down the road," Graves said Thursday in an interview on KTAR-AM in Phoenix (via NFL.com).

Maybe Year 2 will be better than Year 1, but it's still not clear why the Cardinals thought enough of Kolb to send the Eagles Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and second-round pick, and then signed Kolb to a $63 million extension that included $20 million in guarantees. But what's done is done. And while it would be a mistake to stick by Kolb simply because Arizona owes him a lot of money, it doesn't sound like that's in the plans.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who appeared with Rod Graves Thursday, was asked about the quarterback situation.

“Well the easiest thing to say right now is that we are in a heck of a lot better position at the quarterback position than we were a year ago today," he said via SportsRadioInterviews.com.

(By the way, this is what happens when you go from Kurt Warner to Derek Anderson, but only after giving up on Matt Leinart.)

"We’ve got two guys that we feel like can play (in Skelton and Kolb)," Whisenhunt continued. "They’ve shown at times that they can do things, they’ve shown at times that they are knuckleheads and it’s our job to get the players there on our team to play better. That’s what we’re going to do and I feel excited about that. I feel better about our quarterbacks on our team right now than I did last year from the standpoint of John Skelton; he won a lot of games for us over the last half of the season. At this time last year he was a rookie who played four games and that was it.

"Of course Kevin Kolb, we saw a lot of good things from him. The second half of the Dallas game was very impressive and more of what we were getting and the first game against Carolina and then against Washington, he made some plays for us and I think both of these guys are going to get better with having an offseason and being able to work on some of the things we feel is going to make them better. So I’m excited about it.”

So, will Skelton and Kolb compete for the starting gig?

"We’re always opening it up to let other guys compete for spots and the best players are going to play," Whisenhunt said. "That’s the nature of this league, that’s the nature of this game, and that’s the way we go about business. ... [W]hen you talk about the quarterback position that’s something that both guys are going to get opportunities because John certainly deserves it from the way that he played over the back half of the season and Kevin certainly deserves it from the reason that we went out, got him, and brought him in."

Which all seems perfectly reasonable unless Skelton actually wins the job. Then the Cards will have a guy on the bench counting $10 million against the cap (not to mention that $7 million roster bonus).

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:09 am
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Peyton Manning's latest surgery

What will the latest surgical report do to teams' interest in Manning? (Getty Images)

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Peyton Manning was sick of Randy Moss stealing the spotlight, obviously. Taking the attention back Wednesday was a report of a fourth procedure on Manning's neck, which, actually, probably didn't make Manning happy.

We break down that news, discuss how it affects Manning's value on the open market, what it means for "politician" Jim Irsay and all the Manning news that's fit to print.

Then we break down whether or not Andrew Luck is a "once-in-a-lifetime prospect," if Robert Griffin III can realistically compete with Luck for the No. 1 draft pick, where he would fit in the NFL. We also talk about Terrell Owens being broke, the possibility of Moss going to the IFL, Jerry Jones wanting Super Bowl L to come back to Dallas and what it means with Ron Jaworski getting the boot from the MNF booth.

(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 15, 2012 11:15 pm
 

Ryan plans on getting a Super Bowl ring quickly

Rex Ryan called the Super Bowl matchup a 'cruel joke.' (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

More than anyone, maybe even Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Jets head coach Rex Ryan is happy to put the 2011 season behind him. His third year in New York began like the previous two: with talk of championships. Except this time, the Jets not only fell short of the AFC Championship game (where they had lost in 2009 and 2010), at 8-8 they didn't even make the playoffs.

By the final week of the season, one that ended with an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins, team captain Santonio Holmes had been benched for insolence. In the end-of-year press conference days later, Ryan spent most of his time explaining why everything went so horribly wrong and promising to fix it in the coming months.

Of course, Ryan says a lot of things, not all of them believable, starting with the annual championship guarantees. He also said he's committed to quarterback Mark Sanchez, which might be true right up till the moment a better offer comes along. And then there are his prognosticatory skills. In the days leading up to the AFC Championship game between the Ravens and Patriots, Ryan boldly predicted that Baltimore is "going to win this game."

So now Billy Cundiff knows who to blame for that.

Ryan, like the rest of the NFL world, was in Indianapolis for Super Bowl week. On Wednesday, he told the Newark Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas that when the championship matchup between the Giants and Patriots was set, it felt like a "cruel joke."

Still, the Giants winning their second Lombardi Trophy in four years hasn't provided Ryan with extra motivation heading into 2012.

“Absolutely not,” he said Wednesday at the annual luncheon for the Long Island Association, where he also participated in a panel discussion with Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms. “You can’t be more motivated than we are. ...

Click to enlarge Sanchez's Valentine Day message. (Twitter)
“Anybody that is successful, you have scars, and this clearly — we’ve got some scars this year from this,” he said. “But anybody that doesn’t have scars is either lying to you or never dared.”

Ryan also reiterated what he's said several times this offseason: “2011 was a huge disappointment for us, but if we don’t learn from it, then we’ll repeat the same mistakes. We are not going to do that; we’ll learn from it.”

Oh, and to set the record straight (we're looking at you, Norv Turner), technically, Ryan does have a Super Bowl ring -- he earned it as an assistant with the Ravens in 2000 (hey, if it counts for Trent Dilfer then it counts for Ryan). He spoke of more rings but thankfully didn't offer a specific time frame.

“I plan on getting another one, and I plan on getting it quickly,” Ryan said.
 
The coach, now heading into his fourth season, might have his biggest job in front of him. High on the to-do list: fixing the locker room. However, he may have one less thing to worry about: the awkwardness between Sanchez and Holmes. On Valentine's Day, Sanchez (who is reportedly dating Kate Upton -- yep, the same one Brinson somehow corralled for a few minutes in Indy) sent Holmes a very special tweet (it's to the right there -- click on the photo to enlarge). 

No word yet from Holmes.

Ryan's response Wednesday when Esiason pointed it out to him? "Pretty funny."

Yep, right up until the moment Holmes again quits on Sanchez and his teammates. Until then, it's hilarious.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 9:04 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 1:01 pm
 

Ron Jaworski calls leaving MNF 'bittersweet'

Ron Jaworksi gives up MNF but will  work on other projects at ESPN. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

On Wednesday, ESPN announced that Monday Night Football was switching to a two-man booth. The odd man out: Ron Jaworski, who had been an MNF staple for five years. Instead, Jaws, who just signed a five-year extension, will have a "new, expanded multiplatform analyst's role."

"With him doing one game each week, we don't necessarily believe we were getting the best Ron Jaworski had to offer to the network," executive vice president Norby Williamson said.

ESPN president John Skipper added: “I thank Ron for the great contributions he has made to Monday Night Football. With two strong analysts in Ron and Jon, these moves will better utilize their strengths and benefit our entire NFL presentation.”

The Jon mentioned above would be Jon Gruden, who remains in the booth with play-by-play man Mike Tirico.

It's a peculiar situation for a number of reasons, chief among them: Gruden could leave for a coaching job and Jaws just got a new deal. But three-man booths are notoriously tough to pull off (see Tony Kornheiser's stint on MNF) even if Tirico, Gruden and Jaworski made it look seamless and easy.

Jaws, speaking to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, called the change "bittersweet" but said he was "excited and thrilled" about some other upcoming projects.

"I have an opportunity to do some things that can be creative, so in that regard I am excited about the future. The disappointment is I have worked with some incredible people, from Jay Rothman to [MNF director] Chip Dean to Mike Tirico to Jon Gruden and the entire crew that works on MNF. They are absolutely five star... Maybe it is a little bit of my makeup, but I have never been a guy to look back. I always thought it was a great thing for a quarterback to have amnesia. Forget the past and look to the future. It was an unbelievable experience to do five years of Monday Night Football."

Jaworski said that he was told of the decision Monday though he wasn't surprised. "Nothing comes as a surprise to you when you are in this business." 

One of those upcoming projects is a "QB Camp"-type show made popular by Gruden leading up to last year's draft. "I'm a football guy and I want to do more of that stuff," Jaworksi said.

Not sure why Jaws can't do both but this is a bottom-line business and sometimes the bottom line obscures what might be a good thing. Here's our theory on how things may have gone down. (And we can't stress this enough: this our a theory based on a hunch and not much else. We even talked about it on the latest Pick-6 Podcast.)

MNF isn't about appealing to football fans -- they're watching games no matter who's in the booth. MNF is entertainment -- it's about enticing non-football fans to tune in. That's why, several years ago, ESPN started bringing celebrities into the booth during the telecasts. The results ranged from boring to hilariously awkward.

Short of revisiting that debacle, maybe ESPN conducted focus groups and found that people with no interest in Xs and Os (or, more generally, football) liked Jaws the least. Again, this is just speculation ,but it certainly seems plausible given that ESPN is business of making money and the fastest way to do that is by increasing viewership. Or maybe the network really does plan to keep Jaws busy with all these new projects.

Whatever the reason the reality is this: Monday Night Football will be worse off without him.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 7:11 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 7:35 pm
 

Could Moss join T.O. in the IFL? (Not likely)

The Indoor Football League already has T.O. and now they want Randy Moss. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

CBSSports.com's Will Brinson might be the first person on the planet not associated with the Indoor Football League's website to see the news, but the IFL's Chicago Slaughter announced Wednesday that they have offered Randy Moss a contract.

The headline on GoIFL.com is a tad misleading -- "Randy Moss to the IFL" -- but we imagine that's the point.

Moss, who retired following the 2010 season and sat out in 2011, returned to the public eye on Monday when he announced via UStream that he wants to play football.

"Your boy is going to come back here and play some football, so I'm really excited. I had some things I had to adjust in my life."

Moss probably should've started that conversation by specifying "NFL football only."  Whatever, the IFL seized the opportunity and have offered Moss a deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                               (GoIFL.com)
“We’ve been looking for another receiver that can separate themselves from the cover guys in this league,” said Chicago Slaughter General Manager and President Jeff Sedivy. “Moss would be a perfect fit.”

Yes he would. But we're guessing that Moss is looking for something north of $225 per game. And unlike Terrell Owens, who is nearly broke and out of NFL opportunities, it's reasonable to think that Moss can still help an offense looking to stretch the field.

In fact, the Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston wrote Wednesday that "Moss is at the point where he wants a ring, and he could be a nice fit in Baltimore for a year, maybe two."

And new Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who coached Moss during his brief stint with the Titans in 2010 said “I thought the world of him over the six or eight weeks that I think we had him … I thought he was a terrific teammate and he did a great job in our locker room.”

Moss likely still faces long NFL odds, but that's more than we can say for T.O., who hasn't generated any interest in over a year.

Oh, and in case you missed the first few showings, MossTV is back: Wednesday night from 9:30-10:00 p.m. ET. How do we know? DaRealOtisMoss said so. You can watch it here.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 15, 2012 6:14 pm
 

Mayock: Browns should trade up for RG3

If the Browns make a move for Robert Griffin III the Colt McCoy era is officially over. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock loves football. It comes through in his work as a color analyst for Notre Dame and Thursday night NFL games, and it's clear as day when he starts ramping up for the draft. On Wednesday, Mayock held a conference call with the media to talk about next week's combine and the two months leading up to the biggest day of the offseason.

Conventional wisdom is that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is a bonafide star at the next level, often described as the "next John Elway." Not surprisingly, Mayock has Luck as his top-rated quarterback but with the understanding that Luck is, in fact, mortal.

“I don’t put him up there as a once-in-a-lifetime guy … I’m not sitting there saying he’s going to be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning,” he said via NFL.com.

Mayock thinks that Luck will blow teams away with his classroom smarts and willingly acknowledges his physical gifts. “All those top teams are going to come away saying, ‘Wow I want that guy,’“ he said.

The bigger takeaway from the conference call? Mayock is a big Robert Griffin III fan. So much so that he thinks the Browns, who currently hold the No. 4 pick, might want to give serious consideration to trading up two spots to draft him.

“You probably have the opportunity to move up and get him if you want him,” Mayock said. “To me that’s a pretty exciting proposition. (Griffin) might be most exciting offensive player in this draft.”

Mayock thought Cleveland's two first-round picks (fourth and 22nd) should be enough to get them to No. 2.

“If I were the Rams, I would be ecstatic with that deal,” he said. “If you’re moving down two slots and picking up the 22nd pick, I’d be happy with that. I would be very happy with that deal.”

One caveat (ours, not Mayock's): never underestimate what the Redskins would be willing to give up to get a guy they've fallen in love with. Assuming Peyton Manning is suddenly off everyone's board given the most recent news, and the 'Skins aren't interested in any of the other free-agent offerings, RG3 could be a distinct possibility.

“[If I'm the Browns,] I want to go get RG3," Mayock continued. "I’m going to examine free agency also, but in draft I’m looking to move up to No. 2 as opposed to No. 3. … I’d rather not give up No. 22 also, but I think that’s shortsighted when you talk about securing your future at the most important position in all of sports.”

The Browns making a move for RG3 isn't new. Here's what we wrote on January 17:

CBSSports.com mock draft experts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both have Cleveland grabbing RGIII, decisions no doubt made easier by Colt McCoy's struggles in 2011 coupled with head coach Pat Shurmur's indifferent take on McCoy's future as the starter.

And the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi added at the time: "I would not automatically eliminate the Baylor quarterback from consideration with the Browns' top pick simply because he is a product of the one-read, shotgun spread offense."

In fact, not only are the Browns giving serious consideration to RG3, we'd imagine that the Colts won't rush to any conclusions on Luck without evaluating Griffin. We're not saying this is like Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning back in 1998, but there's no reason for Indy not to extensively scout both players.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:55 pm
 

Jerry Jones wants Super Bowl 50 in Dallas

Jerry Jones 'absolutely' wants Super Bowl L at Cowboys Stadium. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

We said the entire week leading up Patriots-Giants and have been telling anybody who'll listen in the days since: Indianapolis knows how to put on a Super Bowl. Everything went smoothly, the people couldn't have been nicer, and aside from the Peyton Manning drama, the execution from start to finish was flawless.

So it stands to reason that the NFL would be back, perhaps soon, for another Super Bowl, right? Well, maybe not. The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz, appearing last week on The Tony Kornheiser Show, said that one drawback could be the capacity of Lucas Oil Stadium. It holds somewhere in the neighborhood of 68,000 people; Cowboys Stadium, by comparison, is expandable to more than 100,000.

Which means that, despite a mostly forgettable Super Bowl experience last year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has every intention of bidding for Super Bowl L (yep, that's 50). That's still four years off, but the next three Super Bowls are set: New Orleans in 2013, New York/New Jersey in 2014 and Arizona in 2015. SportsBusiness Journal's Daniel Kaplan notes that the announcement for the next unawarded venue customarily takes place in May (even though the league has yet to send out request for proposals for said announcement).

Either way, Jones' has told Kaplan that he will "absolutely" make a bid for NFL championship game slated to be played in February 2016.

Other possible destinations (per Kaplan via PFT): Santa Clara (at the site of the new 49ers stadium), New Orleans, and Tampa. Kaplan adds that Miami, Indianapolis, and L.A. have a “slight” chance, while London's prospects are "extremely remote."

It's criminal to think that Dallas (specifically, Arlington), which turned into a slapstick comedy routine last February because of once-in-a-lifetime ice storms coupled with no real ice-removal strategy, would be more likely to land a Super Bowl before Indianapolis, but that's what an extra 30-40,000 seats will do for you.

In completely unrelated news (or perhaps very related given some of Jones' personnel decisions over the years), we were shocked to learn that Jones admitted earlier this month that he's had "50 concussions." He joked that had he not taken so many blows to the head he might be president of the United States instead of owner of the Cowboys.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:33 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 9:34 pm
 

Report: Cowboys not interested in Randy Moss

For the second time (that we know of), Jerry Jones isn't interested in Randy Moss. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Randy Moss, 35 years young on Monday, has had an epiphany. Or maybe it's a mid-life crisis. Whatever, one of the NFL's most explosive receivers wants back in the NFL. Moss played his last game in 2010, when he caught passes for the Patriots, Vikings and Titans before deciding to retire. Now, after a year away from the game, he's ready for a comeback.

The biggest obstacle, of course, is the same one that faces 38-year-old Terrell Owens: are any teams interested in his services? (If not, Moss could probably make some pocket change by hosting his own show. In a short time, he's proven he's clearly capable of pulling it off. Seriously, this is comedy gold.)

Moss admitted that he had regrets in New England and Minnesota, and the Jets and Eagles are reportedly "curious." (As we joked in the latest Pick-6 Podcast, "curious" sounds like something you'd read in a Craigslist ad.) One team that won't be in the running for Moss' services? The same team that said "thanks but not thanks" in the 1998 NFL Draft when they selected Greg Ellis with the No. 8 pick and Moss fell all the way to the Vikings at No. 21: the Cowboys.

A source tells ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins that the team will again pass on Moss 15 years after initially doing so.

"This shouldn't come as a surprise because the Cowboys have some talented and young wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant," Watkins wrote Tuesday night. "The team also wants to re-sign Laurent Robinson, who led the team with 11 touchdown receptions in 2011."

So where does that leave Moss? Glad you asked because we talk about it below:


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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