Tag:Colt McCoy
Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:49 am
 

For now, market for STL No. 2 pick is soft

At this point, it's unclear who will draft RG3. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Coming off his standout performance at the scouting combine last month, the stock for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III might not ever be higher than it is right now. And thus, it makes sense that the Rams would like to trade their No. 2 draft pick as soon as possible in order to get the biggest booty in exchange for the rights to select Griffin in April.

Once free agency begins on March 13 and a number of quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne hit the open market, the desire to trade a trove of draft picks to the Rams for RG3 might decrease significantly.

Who wants RG3
But even before free agency begins, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, the Rams haven’t found a huge seller’s market.

According to the paper, the Browns, who already hold the No. 4 overall pick and obviously would have to give that up to move up to No. 2, aren’t willing to part with their second first-round pick this year (at No. 22). The idea of St. Louis not getting -- at the absolute bare minimum -- two first-round picks to give up their No. 2 selection is ridiculous, and if Cleveland sticks to that plan, perhaps the organization feels better about current quarterback Colt McCoy than many people might have guessed.

Adding to the Rams woes, the Redskins apparently are willing to part with their No. 6 pick this year and their first-round pick in 2013 but don’t want to give up their second-round pick this year. As the paper writes, that simply isn’t acceptable to the Rams.

The Post Dispatch also writes that trades won’t be worked out with eiter the Dolphins (the No. 8 pick) because Miami doesn’t want to deal with the coach in Jeff Fisher who spurned them for a job or the Seahawks (No. 12) because St. Louis doesn’t want to have to face RG3 twice a year for the foreseeable future.

What’s interesting about this scenario is if the Browns feel they can gamble and not trade for the No. 2 pick and still hope RG3 falls to them at No. 4, especially with the Vikings probably not looking at RG3 with Christian Ponder, a first-round pick last year, as the starting quarterback.

But as always, you have to take with a grain of salt any trade reports that occur before the NFL draft. At this point, it’s still a poker game with plenty of bluffing from all sides.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Report: Browns will go after Matt Flynn

Flynn

By Josh Katzowitz

The list of potential suitors for Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn continues to grow. Already, you know the Dolphins are interested, and Green Bay probably would like to bring him back so the team can then (possibly) trade him away.

But according to the Canton Repository, the Browns also will make a play for the fourth-year veteran who’s made exactly two starts in his career (though he admittedly was pretty awesome in both those starts).

As Steve Doerschuk writes, “There will be a budget that will not be exceeded in the play for Flynn. Peyton Manning’s presence on the market drives down his price.  … That still leaves the Dolphins as a suitor … and as the likely lander of Flynn.”

The paper also notes that Browns president Mike Holmgren is “no great fan” of quarterback competition, and if Cleveland can land Flynn, the team would make him the starter instead of Colt McCoy.

It’s still unclear whether the Browns, who hold the No. 4 spot in April’s draft, will try to trade with the Rams to move up to the No. 2 position to grab Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, but on Wednesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur had some nice things to say about McCoy*.

In like Flynn?
"We're looking forward him to improving through the offseason," Shurmur said. "I think it will make a big difference in year two (of) me being here.  I told him to prepare himself to get as much out of this offseason as possible. I'm expecting him to attack this offseason and get as good as he can get within our system. He really works at things and that's going to help him."

*Basically, it seems like nobody has any idea what the Browns will do.

Flynn, meanwhile, is looking forward to striking out on his own as a potential starting quarterback.

"I'm a confident person but the element of the unknown makes you wish March 13 was tomorrow," Flynn said this week. "I've loved being a Packer, and it's not 100 percent sure I'm leaving Green Bay, but as a competitor and football player, that's what you play the game for -- to be a starter in the league. Hopefully some teams will be interested in me and I can find a good opportunity. I want to lead a team and I'm excited about it. But I can't talk to teams now. I don't know if I'm on their radar. It's going to be a long month leading up to that time -- waiting and wondering."

While you still have to consider Miami the favorite to land Flynn (even if there are no billboards of him on I-95) because of the connection with new Dolphins coach/former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, it will be interesting to see if the Browns actually can make themselves a player in this lottery.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 4:24 pm
 

Shurmur believes Colt McCoy can improve

McCoy

By Josh Katzowitz

Because the Rams hold the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL draft and because they already have a franchise quarterback, it makes sense that the Browns, holding the No. 4 selection, would try to trade up so they can grab Robert Griffin III.

Even though Colt McCoy has had some success as the Browns quarterback the past two years, much of the speculation surrounding the Cleveland quarterback situation center around the Browns trying to find another quarterback to replace him.

Count Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur among those who aren’t sure replacing McCoy is the best solution.

"We're looking forward him to improving through the offseason," Shurmur told reporters, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I think it will make a big difference in year two (of) me being here.  I told him to prepare himself to get as much out of this offseason as possible. I'm expecting him to attack this offseason and get as good as he can get within our system. He really works at things and that's going to help him."

NFL draft prep
So, McCoy can actually improve, then? That’s strange for a coach to say.

"I'm expecting that he will and the thing that's encouraging to me is that he's a guy you know [is] going to work at it," said Shurmur, who also reported McCoy is completely healed from the late-season concussion he sustained. "Heck, I think he can be very good. If he plays at a high level like I think he can, when he makes these improvements, that means he can help us win football games and I think that's what you're looking for at the end of the day -- put the ball in the end zone and win games."

Of course, the Browns would be silly if they didn’t study Griffin at this week’s scouting combine, but perhaps whatever they’d have to give up for Griffin might be too much to bear if the team really feels like McCoy can be the guy. Or Shurmur could just ask CBS analyst Rich Gannon.

"I know people are saying, 'Is this guy a player?' but there's a lot of things to like about him," Gannon said last season. "I mean, there's something about him that makes me think he's got a chance. I like him. ...

"People don't understand that you've got develop the quarterback position," Gannon said. "We're making a huge mistake in the NFL with these young guys. These coaches come in and say, 'He's not my guy, I want to get rid of him,' and then they bring another guy in. Then it takes a couple of years to develop that guy. Meanwhile, they fire that head coach, and the next guy comes in. It's a terrible cycle."

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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 3, 2012 5:14 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 7:00 pm
 

How do we keep our youth football players safe?

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Getty Images)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Before he was even finished with his opening statement Friday, Chris Nowinski -- former Harvard football player, former WWE professional wrestler and current advocate for concussion research and prevention -- summed up his entire reason for holding a press conference on recognizing and averting brain injury.

“The question is this,” Nowinski said, “How many times should a 6-year-old be hit in the head for sport?”

If you don’t care about concussions for NFL players --or if you kick in your TV when an official flags a defender for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet hit -- the sentence above should give you pause.

If you feel like it’s OK that the Browns allowed Colt McCoy to reenter a game after suffering a head injury and that it’s OK former tight end Ben Utecht is already having major problems with post-concussion syndrome and that it’s OK teams can hedge their bets by calling an in-game concussion a “stinger,” maybe you should think about your own child playing football.

Do you still think it’s OK that your 6-year-old might be suffering multiple concussions in a season? At least the NFL players can make the choice. The 6-year-old can’t.

That’s why the Sports Legacy Institute and Nowinski as president CEO held a press conference Friday to announce a proposal that would assign a “hit count” to a football player in the same way a “pitch count” is assigned to a youth pitcher.

As Nowinski says, science doesn’t know the answer to how many head hits it takes to cause permanent brain damage, in the same way that science doesn’t know how many cigarettes it takes to cause lung cancer. But the SLI's goal is to determine a standard number this year and then convince youth sports league by 2013 to turn that figure into permanent policy.

“We need to make aware that hits to the head have serious consequences,” Nowinski said. “It’s not being addressed at the youth level when brains are most vulnerable.”

One problem: I’ve never gotten the impression NFL players care much about their long-term health when they’re playing the game, and when I talked to a number of Super Bowl participants last year, I got the impression that players didn’t feel the need to keep their kids away from the game either.

The players know the dangers; they apparently just don’t have a problem putting their kids in harm’s way. Isaac Kacyvenski and Colts center Jeff Saturday disagreed with me Friday. They said players do, in fact, care.

“I have the exact opposite reaction from talking to players,” said Kacyvenski, the former NFL linebacker who was a 2006 Seahawks Super Bowl co-captain. “We’ve had discussions at length with players who are worried behind the scenes. They're worried about their future. The long-term consequences are unclear.”

Saturday, who along with Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is supporting the SLI and its initiatives, agreed with Kacyvenski: “I don’t know many football players who go with what you’re saying. I haven’t seen it.”

Saturday, on the other hand, was concerned enough about the issue to forbid his son from playing padded football until he turned 11. Before then, his boy played flag football. That’s because, as Saturday explained to his kids, it’s daddy’s job to play this high-risk, high-reward game. Football, he says, is supposed to be fun for you. So, if you’re scared, don’t take the head shot. Let it go, because it’s not a big deal.

Saturday, simply put, has to know (and he does) that he’s advocating for his children. Frankly, that’s the kind of attitude I expected to hear when I asked some Packers and Steelers last year. I expected the debate that Saturday and Kacyvenski gave me on Friday.

“In the NFL, a ton of it is awareness,” Saturday said. “We want our men to know, these are the symptoms we need to look for. I’m a 36-year-old man and I can tell you when I have a headache that’s not going away, I’m not sleeping as well, I don’t feel as good. Six-year-olds or 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds, they’re just going to deal with it. They want to go play in the yard. They’re not going to tell you, ‘I’m restless and cranky.’ They don’t communicate in the same way. They don’t know always how to process the information. You have to take it out of their hands.”

Nowinski is quick to point out that the public's brain injury awareness has exploded in the past five years, but when players like Rob Gronkowski or Brian Urlacher say they’d lie to doctors to hide a concussion, that doesn’t do his cause any favors.

“Everybody is accountable,” Nowinski said. “The reality is we’re talking about dramatic culture change. We’re talking somewhat about redefining manhood.”

And if the next generation of players aren’t as good as their predecessors because they’ve devoted less time to padded practice, that’s OK by him.

“If we create a generation of slightly worse tacklers with dramatically healthier brains, that’s a win,” Nowinski said. “I’ll live with that.”

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:27 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 8:59 pm
 

Browns hire Brad Childress for OC

Chilly might be about to get back in the playcalling business. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Thursday, the Bucs landed Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, eliminating Brad Childress and Mike Sherman as candidates. And with another domino -- Sherman to Miami -- about to fall, it looks like a good bet that Childress will wind up with the Browns.

That's precisely what the Browns did Friday, announcing that Childress has been hired as their offensive coordinator. 

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Cabot points out that Sherman and Childress were the Browns top two options, and with Sherman signing with the Dolphins, it means Childress' top option is Cleveland, and Childress is Cleveland's top option as well.

The marriage makes sense. As Andy Reid's offensive coordinator with the Eagles, Childress twice architected a top-10 passing offense, and he managed that with the Vikings once as well. (It's really unfair to judge his passing production in Minnesota, what with Adrian Peterson on the roster and all; the Vikings were quite good at rushing the ball.)

And Browns coach Pat Shurmur was the tight ends coach and quarterbacks coach in Philly under Chilly. They know each other. "Very well," according to Shurmur recently.

Shurmur didn't hire an offensive coordinator in his first season and called the plays himself. Cleveland finished 24th in passing yards in the NFL, 27th in passing touchdowns, 30th in net yards per passing attempt, 28th in rushing yards and 32nd in rushing touchdowns and 31st in net yards per rushing attempt. (Football Outsiders is a touch more generous, ranking them 25th overall in offensive efficiency.)

So, um, not good. Shurmur declined to commit to Colt McCoy in his season wrap-up, and that made most of the headlines. But he also wouldn't rule out the possibility of having someone come in and call plays for him.

"It's important that I get the best coordinator I can for us," Shurmur said. "I think that's one of the details that'll get worked out as we go through the process. I want to get the best guy I can. And if he's outstanding at calling plays, listen, I want to win games, and so I'm gonna get the guys in there that are gonna help us do that."

Ultimately, it's a logical conclusion. Childress and Shurmur are former co-workers. Both of them are disciples of Reid, who's a direct coaching-tree descendent of Browns president Mike Holmgren.

The transition to Chilly calling plays would likely be seamless. The Browns just need to figure out those "who's our quarterback" and "where can we get playmakers" problems.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 5:00 pm
 

Could Browns be interested in RG3, Kolb?

McCoy's stint as Cleveland's starter may already be over. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Browns begin this offseason like most others: with plenty of questions at key positions and plenty of needs at others. Chief among them: quarterback.

Cleveland drafted Colt McCoy in the third round in 2010, team president Mike Holmgren's first year with the organization. Injuries forced McCoy onto the field as a rookie and despite the odds, he fared well. So well, in fact, that he appeared to have the job for 2011 and hopefully longer.

Instead, McCoy's sophomore season was a combination of an unoriginal offensive philosophy, a paucity of playmakers, and in the end, injuries. He didn't play the final three weeks of the season and first-year head coach Pat Shurmur was uninterested in committing to McCoy as the team's starter in 2012.

“As we go forward here with Colt, he’s done some really good things,” Shurmur said according to wire reports. “Get him back healthy, get him in an offseason where he has a chance to develop. I expect that Colt will improve just like I expect (backup) Seneca (Wallace) will improve and whoever the quarterbacks are here. I think that can be said for all positions, so the best quarterback will play when we start the season.”


The Browns have the No. 4 and No. 22 picks in April's draft and it's reasonable to think that they'll seriously consider a quarterback. Andrew Luck is destined for Indianapolis, who'll take him first overall, but the next two teams -- the Rams and the Vikings -- drafted their franchise QBs in 2010 (Sam Bradford) and 2011 (Christian Ponder). Which means that, even with USC's Matt Barkley returning to school, Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor should be on the board. And Cleveland could be interested.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi writes that "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."

Not a ringing endorsement, but it's also January. A lot can change between now and late April. A lot can change between now and the start March too, when the Cardinals owe Kevin Kolb a $7 million roster bonus.

So why mention Kolb in the middle of a post about the Browns' quarterback needs? Yep, that's right -- should the Cards decide to cut their losses with Kolb after one season, Cleveland might be a potential landing spot.

And that prospect brings us back to Grossi:

"Baylor coach Art Briles was the coach at University of Houston when Kevin Kolb rolled up similar numbers -- without the rushing yards and touchdowns -- in the very same offense. … Kolb was a much better quarterback in the West Coast offense in which he was schooled in Philadelphia. Arizona doesn't run it. Also, Kolb was drafted by Philadelphia partly based on evaluations made by (Tom) Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur -- the Browns' top two football men. Heckert was the Eagles' general manager, though he didn't have final football authority, and Shurmur was the team's quarterbacks coach."

Kolb is one year into a five-year deal in Arizona that will pay him $63 million, including $20 million in guarantees. But a concussion and a toe injury limited him to just nine games in 2011 where he completed 57.7 of his passes for 1,955 yards, 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

We're not convinced Kolb is much of an upgrade over McCoy, and certainly not at starting-quarterback money. Which is why, at least at this early stage of the process, that RGIII could be the frontrunner. Unless, of course, the Browns draft Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot writes that the team "will likely take a hard look" at him, too.

Whatever happens, the organization has to nail this draft. With an extra first and fourth-rounder courtesy of the Falcons, and coming off a four-win season, Holmgren can turns things around quickly with the right players. Otherwise, the team's future will look a lot like its past and present.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:49 pm
 

Vikes GM: Christian Ponder is our starting QB

Ponder will start for the Vikings again in 2012. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Christian Ponder had a solid first year for the Vikings, but he wasn't necessarily guaranteed to remain the future for the Vikings, thanks to the success of Joe Webb late in the year, as well as the presence of talented quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

However, new Vikings general manager Rick Speilman said on Wednesday that Ponder is the guy going forward.

2012 NFL Draft

"He’s going to be our starting quarterback when everyone is back for OTAs," Spielman told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

That doesn't mean Ponder can't lose the starting job to Webb (or any other veteran the Vikings bring in). It simply means that Minnesota doesn't plan on drafting a quarterback (say, Robert Griffin III) in the upcoming draft.

Lest you say that's obvious, the Browns are already a current example of how a team can fail to commit to a high draft pick as soon as the season ends. On Tuesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur wouldn't commit to having Colt McCoy as his starter going forward and/or the Browns not drafting a quarterback in April.

Obviously the two situations are different; Ponder was a much higher pick than McCoy and Minnesota's only seen one season of Ponder, whereas McCoy's played in two full seasons, albeit shortened ones because of Cleveland's depth chart and concussion injuries.

But the Vikings do have the third pick in the draft, and that means they're squarely in the wheelhouse for potentially landing RG3. (For what it's worth, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have them taking Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne, respectively, in our latest mock drafts.)

Now they're more likely to find themselves squarely in the wheelhouse of trading down with a team that wants the Baylor product, which, as long as Ponder pans out to their projections, is an enviable position indeed.

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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