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Tag:Jeff Fisher
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: March 2, 2012 6:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 7:59 pm
 

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

We'll let you decide what Vilma and Williams were discussing here. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Twenty-four hours ago, the biggest problem facing the Saints was that they were roughly $5 million apart per season on a new contract for franchise quarterback Drew Brees. And while that's still a huge issue, it's taken a back seat to the revelations Friday that at least one Saints coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of games for money.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
The coach: former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who served in that capacity under head coach Sean Payton for the 2009-2011 seasons, including New Orleans' Super Bowl title in February 2010. Williams left the Saints for the same job with the Rams in January after St. Louis hired Jeff Fisher (who Williams had worked with in Tennessee).

On Friday, hours after the NFL announced the Saints' "pay for performance" bounty program, Williams spoke on the matter:

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints," Williams said in a statement released by the Rams.  "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

It's nice to own up to your problems, but this doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. Details via Mark Maske of the Washington Post:

"The Washington Redskins had a bounty system for big hits on opponents under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that was similar to the one revealed by an NFL investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players who played under Williams said Friday," Maske wrote.

"Three of the players described a coach who doled out thousands of dollars to Redskins defenders who measured up to Williams’s scoring system for rugged play, including 'kill shots' that knocked opposing teams’stars out of a game."

“You got compensated more for a kill shot than you did other hits,” one former player said. Compensation ranged from "hundreds to thousands of dollars" with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000."

Wow.

Now that Williams has apologized, what happens next? More specifically: does owning up to it before the NFL weighs in lessen the punishment he'll face?

The short answer: who knows. We're not being glib but if commissioner Roger Goodell is anything he's unpredictable. The league has been criticized in the past for coming down hard on players but less so on coaches and front-office types. But early indications are that New Orleans' "pay for performance" bounty program is much worse than Spygate, and the sanctions could reflect that -- especially if Williams has a history of this behavior.

But it's one thing to punish the Saints; what happens if the Rams lose their defensive coordinator for any length of time?

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:16 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 5:35 pm
 

Report: Skins willing to deal 1sts, more for RG3

So happy together? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We already know that St. Louis "will" trade out of the No. 2 spot in April's NFL Draft. Even before reports of that, there was little debate about the Rams pulling in a haul for Robert Griffin III. That's because, as Clark Judge wrote recently, the Rams are sitting on a "gold mine."

Latest NFL News, Notes

But we haven't heard any specific potential trade options for RG3. Until Tuesday, when we heard a report about what the Redskins are willing to offer in exchange for the second-overall pick. According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Dan Snyder's team is willing to part with two No. 1 picks "plus other selections in the middle to early rounds" in exchange for the rights to RG3.

Presumably, the Redskins would use their No.1 pick in 2012's draft (sixth overall) and package it with their No. 1 pick in 2012 (currently undetermined) and try to create a package similar to what the Giants used in 2004 when they acquired Eli Manning from the Chargers. At that time, the Giants gave up two No. 1 picks (one of which was Philip Rivers) plus a third- and fourth-round pick in that draft in exchange for Manning.

Two things on this. One (and this is something I never thought I'd say), RG3 would be a perfect fit with Mike Shanahan's offense. According to Pro Football Focus, Rex Grossman threw downfield (20 times or more) the 12th-most number of times of any quarterback in the NFL last year. He did that without starting every single game and he did it without being accurate. Rolling out of the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield before throwing a laser is what RG3 does best. It would be fun to watch and he would be quite successful.

But then there's point No. 2: I'm not sure that two first-round picks is enough to land Griffin. If the Redskins are getting their initial salvo out there publicly this soon, it's entirely possible that someone else is willing to package an additional first-round pick in order to land the coveted Baylor prospect.

However, the timing of this should be clear: the Redskins would like to get something locked down before free agency. Though they wouldn't be technically allowed to make a deal until the draft approached, the Redskins and Rams could have a handshake agreement on a deal prior to that. And Washington and Mike Shanahan can't go into 2012 without a quarterback.

If they get to free agency and don't have a sense that they can get Griffin on draft day, they absolutely need to pursue someone in free agency that can improve their play at quarterback immediately, whether that's someone like Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or just Kyle Orton.

The question then becomes whether or not Washington's potential offer of four very good picks qualifies as enough for Jeff Fisher and Les Snead to take Griffin off the trading block and come to an agreement on the terms of a draft-day trade prior to the start of free agency. That's risky as the value of the No. 2 pick could continue to skyrocket as the draft approaches.

But if teams fill their quarterback issues via free agency, it's also possible that the value of the pick could drop or remain stagnant. By striking early, it's possible the Rams could get the best-possible deal well in advance of the draft, and really begin planning out how to fill their roster with high-end talent.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Fisher: Trading Bradford 'wouldn't be an option'

Bradford won't be playing anywhere other than St. Louis. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- As we noted in Thursday's "Winners and Losers" edition from the NFL combine, the Rams are sitting pretty with the No. 2 pick in the draft and the stock of Robert Griffin III growning as quickly as his measured height (RG3's added 3/8th of an inch since college!).

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They're likely to make a move at some point, with one of the Dolphins, Redskins or Browns making sense as a trading partner.

"We have options," Jeff Fisher said Friday at the combine. "There's the option to stay there and take the best player or listen to whoever's willing to talk."

Just don't expect them to do anything too crazy. Like, say, trade quarterback Sam Bradford.

"That wouldn't be an option," Fisher said when asked specifically about moving his current quarterback.

There's an argument that dealing Bradford would actually make sense, particularly if Robert Griffin III is as good as everyone thinks. (He is.) But Fisher's sticking with the guy he knows.

And he might bring in more familiar figures as well, noting that the Rams have had talks about bringing in Albert Haynesworth, who played for Fisher when he coached the Titans.

"There's some unrestricted free agents out there, now, that are not under contract that we are talking about" Fisher said when asked about a Haynesworth reunion. "He's one of them. Whether we go ahead and do something remains to be seen."

Haynesworth isn't the only fascinating football figure currently an unrestricted free agent. USTREAM star Randy Moss is out there as well. And Fisher not only didn't close the door on possibly bringing Moss to St. Louis either.

"You guys know my familiarity with Randy," Fisher said. "I thought he was good for the locker room."

Hmm. Perhaps we shouldn't be throwing around the phrase "nothing too crazy" after all.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 3:43 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Fisher, Murphy, Whiz now on Competition Committee

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The NFL's Competition Commitee is responsible for studying "all aspects of the game and recommends rules and policy changes to NFL clubs." And on Tuesday, Roger Goodell and the NFL announced that Rams coach Jeff Fisher, Packers CEO Mark Murphy and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt were added to the Competition Committee.

Fisher served on the committee from 2002-2010 before taking a year off after the end of his run with the Titans. During that time, he was co-chair of the committee along with current chairman, Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons.

Whisenhunt has previously served as a member of the Coaches Subcommittee, which makes recommendations to the Competition Committee. Murphy played for the Washington Redskins for eight years, reaching two Super Bowls and being named to the Pro Bowl in 1983.

The three additions for 2012 join McKay, Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals, John Mara of the New York Giants, Ozzie Newsome of the Baltimore Ravens and Rick Smith of the Houston Texans on the committee.

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 1:41 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Coaching carousel winners and losers

Flynn is one of the big winners from the coaching carousel. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

The NFL coaching carousel has come to a close with the Buccaneers and Colts the final two teams across the finish line, hiring coaches on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Let's take a look at some of the winners and losers from a hectic offseason. Because if we're not firing out knee-jerk reactions, what's the point?

Winners

Matt Flynn: Flynn was already going to get real paid this offseason. But new Fins coach Joe Philbin was his freaking quarterbacks coach. Yeah, the rumor is the Dolphins like Peyton Manning better than Flynn. (Also a rumor: I like steak better than tofu.) But Flynn knows Philbin's system and he certainly has to be more inclined to sign his ridiculously overpriced free-agent contract with a team employing his old coach and his old system right? Even if he's not, he could end up in a bidding war between Stephen Ross and Dan Snyder. That's like a sandwich made of $100 Bills.

Ryan Grigson
: The new Colts general manager still has a long road ahead, and needs to draft well to really get Indy's latest rebuild rolling. But he's got an owner who's setting him up well: his first two decisions (firing Jim Caldwell, hiring Chuck Pagano) mean that the Colts simply need to hire a competent offensive coordinator to groom their No. 1 overall pick and let their defensive-minded coach get to work on installing his scheme. Sound familiar? It should.

Norv Turner: Turner was certainly on the old hot seat when the season ended and somehow he still has a job. It might be loyalty. It might be Philip Rivers' influence. Or it might just be a miracle. Whatever, Turner was a lock to get fired and somehow stuck around San Diego for at least another year.

Steve Spagnuolo: Spags got canned from the Rams job but landed squarely on his feet when he got the Saints defensive coordinator job. They'll contend for Super Bowls over the next few years and as Wilson pointed out, Drew Brees is secretly his best weapon. It's an ideal spot to reload and wait for another head-coaching gig.

Jeff Fisher: Fisher got the quarterback he wants, the personnel power he wants and a big old pile of money when he chose the Rams over the Dolphins.

Jay Cutler: Mike Martz retired and took his seven-step drops behind a shoddy offensive line and no pretense of having a running game with him.

Atlanta Falcons: No offense to Mike Mularkey and Brian VanGorder (as well as his superb mustache) but the ATL just got a major assistant upgrade. Ryan maxed out under Mularkey, and Dirk Koetter loves to go vertical -- having Julio Jones and Roddy White make that an easier task than whoever was catching balls with the Jaguars. And Mike Nolan, quite simply, has a fantastic defensive track record.

Cam Newton/Andy Dalton: The two biggest rookie surprises lucked out big time this offseason as their respective offensive coordinators, Rob Chudzinski and Jay Gruden, didn't move on to theoretically greener pastures. Now Newton and Dalton will each get a full offseason to prepare and should look even better in their second year.

Losers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Even if Greg Schiano is "the guy," and there's a significant number of people who think he is not, they bungled this search. (For the record, I kind of like the Schiano hire, but it's risky.) They fired Raheem Morris quickly but were the last team to get a new coach in place. They whiffed -- publicly -- on Chip Kelly. They interviewed a bunch of old dudes -- Brad Childress, Mike Sherman, Marty Schottenheimer -- who now probably feel used. An unimpressive effort all around and indicative of how attractive this job is.

Rob Ryan: Think of all the people who got interviews this offseason. Everyone got an interview. Except Rex's twin brother. Think running his mouth and losing twice to the Giants because his secondary couldn't defend anyone ended up hurting his chances to get a head coaching job? It absolutely did.

Mike Zimmer: Also a dude who can't catch a break. Or interview well? Whatever, Zimmer finally got some heat for coaching jobs (it's been long enough) and couldn't seal the deal on anything. Hopefully he'll get more looks but this has a "flyover" feel to it in terms of how much interest other teams will have in Zimmer going forward.

Brian Schottenheimer: Schottey Jr. might have landed with the Rams, but he'll likely be under heavy scrutiny from fans and could see a short leash, depending on how Fisher's feeling. The worst part is a year ago, he was a hot name for a head-coaching job and instead the Jets ran him off while managing to air out some of their respective greivances with the rest of the dirty laundry.

Mike Sherman: Sherman was the leader in the clubhouse for the Bucs job ... or so we thought. Now he's reportedly headed to run Miami's offense. That could vault him back up to a head-coaching gig, but considering he found out about his firing from Texas A&M at a recruit's house (!), landing an NFL job just a few months later would've been a major coup.

Peyton Manning: Bill Polian's out, Jim Caldwell's out and the Colts seem hell bent on cleaning house. The logical next move appears to be shipping Manning out of town as well.

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Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:56 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 1:37 pm
 

Report: Schottenheimer hired as Rams OC

Schottenheimer

By Josh Katzowitz

As we wrote a few days ago, the Rams had made an offer to Brian Schottenheimer to be their offensive coordinator under new coach Jeff Fisher, and today, Schottenheimer reportedly accepted the job, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

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It’s a fresh start for Schottenheimer, who parted ways with the Jets following an acrimonious season in charge of New York’s offense, and he gets to work with Fisher, who is building quite an assistant staff along with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Schottenheimer had interviewed for the University of Alabama offensive coordinator gig but didn’t get it. He also had been connected as a candidate for the Falcons coordinator position, but that job went to Dirk Koetter.

As Will Brinson wrote earlier this week, “But it's unlikely that Rams fans will be too thrilled: the Jets never finished better than 17th in passing offense and only once finished in the top 10 in total offense for a season under Schottenheimer.”

Of course, Schottenheimer had to try to tutor Mark Sanchez in New York, and questions are still out on whether Sanchez can be a legitimate starting quarterback in this league. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will be a big-step up in talent for Schottenheimer. Plus, he’s got Steven Jackson as running back, and if St. Louis can find some receivers, the Rams offense could be a talented one.

Much of it, though, will depend on what Schottenheimer can accomplish now that he has the job.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:36 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 5:23 pm
 

Dolphins hire Joe Philbin as new head coach

Former Green Bay OC Joe Philbin is Miami's new head coach. (US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Dolphins have hired former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as their head coach, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman has confirmed through a team source. Philbin, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Todd Bowles, the Dolphins secondary coach who served as the interim head coach after Tony Sparano was fired in Week 14, were thought to be the favorites.

“We are thrilled to have Joe Philbin join the Miami Dolphins as our head coach,” owner Stephen Ross said in a statment released by the team. “Joe has all the attributes that we were looking for when we started this process. (General) Jeff Ireland and I felt Joe was the right choice to bring the Dolphins back to the success we enjoyed in the past. I know I join our fans in welcoming him as the newest member of the Dolphin family.”

Miami settled on Philbin after Jeff Fisher accepted St. Louis' offer last week (and the $7 million-a-year salary that came with it). The organization is expected to hold a press conference after Philbin signs his contract in the coming days. Details of the deal aren't known but the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero writes that it's for no less than four years.

Philbin becomes the 10th coach in Dolphins history and the seventh in eight years. He takes over a team that started the 2011 season with seven straight losses before winning six of their last nine games. Miami missed the playoffs for the ninth time in the past decade. It has been 19 years since they reached the AFC championship game, 27 years since they reached the Super Bowl and 38 years since they won an NFL title.

"You don't replace people like Joe," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein.  I'm going to miss him personally a whole lot, forget as a professional. ... He brings a lot to the table..His resume speaks for itself. But the No. 1 thing is ... he's an excellent communicator."

Packers tight end Jermichael Finley added via Twitter: "A huge congratulations to Joe Philbin. No one deserves it more than this guy. The Pack will miss him!"

Former Packers executive Andrew Brandt tweeted: "Worked five years with Joe Philbin. Calm, cerebral, humble and a skilled offensive mind. His style will resonate with players."

When Ross began the job search he said that he would like to give the franchise much-needed stability by hiring "a young Don Shula." Instead he chose the 50-year-old Philbin, who has 28 years of coaching experience, including 19 years in college.

“I want to thank Steve Ross and Jeff Ireland for giving me the opportunity to become the head coach of one of the premier franchises in professional sports,” he said. “I also want to thank the Green Bay Packers for all the support the organization has given me during my time there.

"The Dolphins have a strong nucleus to build around, and working with everyone in the organization, I know that together we will return the team to its winning tradition," he continued. "I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I’m really excited to be here. I’m looking forward to their support, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Miami's offense ranked 20th last season, according to Football Outsiders (20th pass, 27th rush). Owner Stephen Ross wanted to bring in an offensive-minded head coach and Philbin is certainly that. He served as the Packers' coordinator from the 2007-2011 seasons, which includes the entire Aaron Rodgers era.

Assistants becoming first-time NFL head coaches have had mixed results in recent years. The group includes the Ravens' John Harbaugh, the Saints' Sean Payton and the Steelers' Mike Tomlin, but also three coaches recently fired: Jim Caldwell by the Colts, Todd Haley by the Chiefs and Steve Spagnuolo by the Rams.

Before joining the Packers, Philbin was Iowa's offensive line coach for four years. The former small-college tight end has been an offensive coordinator at Harvard, Northeastern and Allegheny College.

Philbin will now begin assembling a staff. Bowles might remain as a replacement for defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who took the same job this week with the Atlanta Falcons.

Freeman writes that Rodgers' backup and soon-to-be free agent Matt Flynn could be an option in South Beach. (Chad Henne, the Dolphins' former second-round pick, suffered a shoulder injury during the '11 season and was placed on injured reserve. He'll be a free agent this spring and isn't expected back.)

"A source close to Flynn told me that Flynn would 'love to the challenge of being a starter' but emphasized he's loyal to the Packers," said Freeman Friday evening. "But if you had to wager don't put a lot of cash on Flynn staying in Green Bay."

Flynn, who completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Lions in Week 17, could be one of the most sought-after quarterbacks in free agency in the coming months if the Packers don't chose to re-sign him. We've already drawn the Kevin Kolb comparisions, and the Redskins have been mentioned as possible suitors. Now we can add the Dolphins to that list.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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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