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Tag:Rex Grossman
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:45 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: NFC East preview

Can Jerry get Tony enough help in 2012? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas 2011 season reeked of redemption for a lost 2010 season much of the way through. Despite close (and awkward) losses to the Patriots, Jets and Lions, the Cowboys rolled into December on a four-game winning streak, with a shot at closing out the NFC East. Then things absolutely fell apart: Jason Garrett iced his own kicker in an overtime loss to Arizona, Tony Romo overthrew Miles Austin in a tight Week 14 loss to the Giants, Romo was injured the next week in a meaningless game against the Eagles and Dallas got pounded by the eventual Super Bowl champs on New Years Day. Then Jerry Jones team had to watch the 9-7 Giants march to a Super Bowl victory. Not a fun couple of months for them. And though most of the blame usually finds its way onto Romo or Garrett, significant upgrades on the offensive line and secondary could go a long way towards fixing the Cowboys problems and making them a legit contender.

Free Agents of Note
Linebacker Anthony Spencer was tagged on Monday by Dallas, so he'll be back at least one more year and could get a longer deal ... Tight end Martellus Bennett is a good blocker but hasn't panned out the way Dallas wanted ... Linebacker Keith Brooking is 36 but has drawn interest from Dallas to return in 2012 ... FB Tony Fiammetta is an RFA and needs to be retained, especially given the work he did for DeMarco Murray last year ... Linebacker Bradie James is 31 and could be gone ... Wide receiver Laurent Robinson really clicked with Tony Romo in 2012 and would be a big re-addition ... Punter Mat McBriar could be done in Dallas if the 'Boys want to move forward with Chris Jones.

Needs
Secondary
: Terence Newman, 33, could be a cap/age casualty and Abram Elam, Frank Walker and Alan Ball are free agents. If Dallas plans on remaining as aggressive as defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants them to be, they'll need to drastically improve the secondary.
Guard
: Tyron Smith and Doug Free flipped sides and are locked in at tackle, but the interior of the line needs improvement.

Targets
Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan would be an ideal target for Dallas as longer-term options. Neither is expected to remain with their respective teams. But if the Cowboys can't get Carr, they'll need to pursue some shorter-term options like Carlos Rogers. Guard is deep in free agency too, and it would behoove the Cowboys to invest in a stud like Carl Nicks. Getting Spencer signed to a long-term deal, rather than give him $9 million in 2012, would do a lot for their cap space.

New York Giants

It's crazy to think that the Super Bowl champion Giants looked DOA by the start of the regular season; an almost unbelievable (were it not true) string of injuries hit the team before the season began. The Giants looked even worse off in the middle of a late-season swoon that featured some of the toughest

Free Agents of Note:
Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham is going to get overpaid somewhere else based on his postseason performance ... Secret Super Bowl hero Steve Weatherford got the franchise tag Monday, so he'll be back in 2012 ... Wideout Domenik Hixon's already been re-signed ... Cornerback Aaron Ross says he wants to return but won't commit to a "hometown" discount ... Terrell Thomas was lost in the preseason but is closing in on a deal with the Giants ... Deon Grant is scheduled for free agency as well ... Both Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe tore their ACLs in the Super Bowl, so the Giants have to sign someone to play tight end ... Kareem McKenzie is 32-years-old and the Giants could be ready to move on after he struggled last season.

Needs
Tight End: This seems like a classic "address it at the end of the first round" issue, since the Giants could have their pick of Cody Fleener, Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen at No. 32. If not, they'll need to get someone from a not-so-attractive free agent pile.
Offensive Line: This is a unit that's getting older quickly. David Deihl can work anywhere on the line, but he's 31.
Secondary: If the Giants get Thomas, they could be fine here, as they've already got Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle. But last year proved how important depth really is, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them beef up the position.

Targets
The Giants are tight up against the salary cap this offseason, but are also coming off a year where they won the Super Bowl. The pressure isn't too intense on them to make a big splash with outside guys in free agency (nor should it be). If they can find value in a some cheaper offensive line options with a little upside (Geoff Schwartz anyone?) that would make the most sense in terms of an outside pick up.

Philadelphia Eagles

You know what happened here: a dream-team season quickly turned into a nightmare out of the gates, and the Eagles were the laughingstock of the NFL as they fell to 1-4. They finally turned things around with a four-game winning streak to close out at 8-8, giving Philly fans plenty of hope for 2012. (Not to mention helping Andy Reid's job security.) But there are still concerns here, because the Eagles have to get some linebackers and safeties in order to stop the run, manage their high-priced cornerbacks in a more efficient manner and keep Michael Vick from getting tattooed by opposing defenders. It's unlikely that Philly will make the same splash in free agency as they did in 2011, but that could actually be a good thing.

Free Agents: Running back Ronnie Brown might've thrown away (literally) any chance he had of returning to Philly ... DeSean Jackson got the franchise tag, and the team could still sign him long term or seek to trade him ... King Dunlap and Evan Mathis are both free agents on the offensive line; Mathis wants to return and should be priority No. 1 ... Trevor Laws, Juqua Parker and Derek Landri would depart the defensive line's depth if they all left ... Vince Young and Steve Smith, two big-name additions that didn't contribute much in 2011, seem likely to bolt.
Needs
Linebacker: Luke Koechly is the hot name for the Eagles in the draft, but his stock is rising and might not be available. Getting a middle linebacker who can stuff the run is absolutely essential for the Eagles defense in 2012. Adding some help at outside linebacker would be a bonus; acquiring linebackers isn't really Andy Reid's forte though.
Defensive Line Depth: The Eagles still have Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and Trent Cole starting, but as noted above, they're going to need depth to keep those guys fresh throughout the year.

Targets
Linebacker, as noted, is the biggest need. Fortunately for the Eagles, there are some nice names out there. Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton represent pricier, albeit talented, options at middle linebacker. Dan Connor's a name that's been rumored with Philly and he could make sense as a run-stopping specialist who doesn't cost that much.

Washington Redskins

As Clark Judge recently wrote, the Redskins are running out of options for 2012. Either get Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III or prepare to move on from Mike Shanahan. They'll have their chance at each, as Manning will be a free agent soon and the Rams are willing to deal the No. 2 pick in April's draft. And the Redskins success really could come down to the quarterback position: if they can get Manning or RG3 and put suitable weapons around one of those guys (I personally prefer RG3 for them), Washington could net a few more wins and at least challenge for the division title that Rex Grossman guaranteed before 2011 started.

Free Agents
Fred Davis was franchised and remains the team's most explosive offensive weapon but he needs to stay out of trouble ... Tim Hightower fits what Mike Shanahan wants to do but wasn't as effect ... London Fletcher is old but remains effective and the Redskins need him back ... Rex Grossman seems destined to remain with Shanny forever, even if it's just on one-year deals ... Graham Gano was tendered and should be back ... Washington's already re-signed center Will Montgomery ... LaRon Landry can't stay healthy but Washington might gamble on him at a cheap price ... Roy Helu makes Tim Hightower expendable, though Hightower was decent in his five starts before being injured.
Needs
Quarterback: Quite obviously.
Wide Receiver: Jabar Gaffney shouldn't be anyone's No. 1 wideout. If the Skins go with the Manning route, it's entirely possible they can lure other free-agent wideouts into town. Either way, reports indicate they want to get a "high-profile wide receiver" and that's a good thing. Pairing Manning or RG3 with a viable wideout could make this offense explosive in 2012.
Offensive Line: Washington's set at several slots on the front, but could use an upgrade on the right side, where Jamaal Brown in particular has not been as good as they'd hoped.
Targets
Manning's the main target here. If they can't get Peyton, then the Skins have to get RG3. Both are attainable, it's just whether or not the cost is prohibitive. Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston would all qualify as "marquee" wideouts. Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks would be obviously be tremendous adds and allow the Redskins to shift some personnel and improve their line. Evan Mathis would take away from a division opponent as well.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:01 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Quarterback rankings

The 2012 free-agent quarterback class is an, um, diverse group. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling lists of the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the quarterbacks.

Though the list of free-agent quarterbacks for 2012 isn't necessarily the greatest crop of players in NFL history, it does have the potential to be one of the most intriguing in years, because of one man: Peyton Manning. Manning's saga is well-documented at this point; the back-and-forth between Manning's camp and Jim Irsay dominated the freaking Super Bowl.

Releasing him into the wild seems like a mere matter of timing. So we're going to take that assumption and add Manning to our lists of free agents. We're also including the Saints Drew Brees and 49ers Alex Smith on this list, since both are technically unrestricted free agents, until they receive the franchise tag from their respective teams. There's a better likelihood of Jimmy Clausen unseating Cam Newton than there is Brees not returning to New Orleans, but maybe someone in the Saints office will forget to fax in the franchise-tag paperwork.


Brees offseason could be interesting.  (Getty Images)

1. Drew Brees

Breakdown: The biggest problem for the Saints isn't that Brees might leave. He's not going to unless something really ridiculous happens. The biggest problem for the Saints is that if they're forced to use the franchise tag on Brees, they could end up losing Carl Nicks and Marques Colston. That won't make Brees any happier when it gets down to brass-tack negotiating.
Potential Landing Spots: Saints

2. Peyton Manning

Breakdown: Perhaps you've heard of Manning before. He's third all-time in passing yards (54,828). He's third all-time in passing touchdowns (399). He's won more MVPs than anyone in NFL history (four). And he's second in his own family with Super Bowl rings (one). That last item isn't a shot at Manning, though. It's the reason we believe he's not done when it comes to football, and that he'll come back to the game supremely motivated. No one knows whether or not he'll be fully healthy by the time the 2012 season begins. We do know he won't be fully healthy by the time March 13 rolls around, though. Which means that anyone who signs him will be engaging in a serious high-risk, high-reward game of chicken with Manning's neck.
Potential Landing Spots: Cardinals, Dolphins, Seahawks, Jets, Redskins

3. Matt Flynn

Breakdown: Flynn's attempted just 132 passes at the professional level, but 81 of them are pretty impressive. Those came in the only two starts of his career, when Flynn managed to go 55 of 81 for 731 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. There are concerns that Flynn can't make every throw (right now) and that he might be a product of Green Bay's system. But that system's in Miami now, as former Packers quarterbacks coach Joe Philbin is the Dolphins head coach. If Miami doesn't make a run at Flynn when free agency opens up, that should be a big red flag for anyone else interested in Aaron Rodgers backup.
Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Seahawks, Redskins

4. Alex Smith

Breakdown: Smith resurrected his career under new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and, in the span of about two playoff minutes against the Saints, nearly flipped the entire narrative of his career. As it is, Smith's improvement in 2011 is impressive; according to Pro Football Focus, he had the third-highest accuracy percentage in the NFL (factoring in drops, throwaways and spikes) last year, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Smith's said he isn't interested in leaving San Francisco, and Harbaugh's gotten his back publicly, even though there's zero chance they'll use the franchise tag on him.
Potential Landing Spots: 49ers
Henne could surprise in the right spot. (Getty Images)

5. Chad Henne

Breakdown: Miami drafting a quarterback in the second round: an April tradition unlike any other! But no, seriously, Henne's in a long line of signal-callers that the Dolphins took in the second round who didn't pan out. He's had serious problems with interceptions; Henne's got a 3.5 percent INT rate over his career and only nine of his 36 NFL games have not featured him throwing a pick. And Henne tends to look particularly robotic at times in the pocket (these things go hand in hand). But he's only 26 and it's not fair to blame him for all of Miami's woes the past three years. Henne can make all the throws and flashed some serious potential at times during his tenure in South Beach. He's the highest-upside backup quarterback out there and he's got several former coaches -- Brian Daboll, Tony Sparano -- coaching in spots that could use a backup quarterback.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Broncos

6. Jason Campbell

Breakdown: It's hard not to feel sympathetic for Campbell. The former Auburn star and first-round pick has had roughly 25 offensive coordinators since he started taking snaps in college and he's about to start out on his third NFL roster once the free-agency shuffling begins anew this year. He's 30 and hasn't played a full season in the past two years, either because of injury or being benched. The latter was for Bruce Gradkowski, so it's hard to tell what's worse for his reputation. He makes a lot of sense for a team that wants someone to push their starter without making a stink in the locker room.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Eagles, Jets

NFL Free Agency

7. Kyle Orton

Breakdown: Orton's was a "winner" with the Bears, he was a stat-hog for a season with the Broncos, he flirted with the Dolphins and finally he was a streak-killer with the Chiefs. He's not going to be anyone's starter in 2011, unless Washington seriously misplays everything in free agency and the draft (not out of the question). But he's an above-average backup in the NFL and could certainly compete with the starters that various teams -- KC, Washington, Jacksonville, for example -- will trot out in 2011. Orton doesn't want to deal with being a "stop-gap option" but it's unlikely he'll have a choice next year.
Potential Landing Spots:
Redskins, Chiefs, Jaguars, Bears, Broncos

8. David Garrard

Breakdown: Pete Prisco's second-favorite quarterback missed the entire 2011 season after the Jaguars cut him and he underwent surgery for a herniated disk in his back. There was interest in the 34-year-old last year after teams lost quarterbacks to injury, but he decided to recover from the surgery instead. While that's the smart move, Garrard won't find the market as friendly for his services this time, especially since his agent said on February 15 Garrard would be ready in "four to six weeks." Expect someone with a steady starter and tenuous backup to look to Garrard.
Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Buccaneers, Rams, Raiders

9. Shaun Hill

Breakdown: Hill's 32 and not exactly a spring chicken. But he performed admirably in place of Matthew Stafford in 2010 and the fit between he and the Lions is a nice one. The Lions are tight with cap space, but Hill appears to like where he's at, and it's not like he'd break the bank in another location anyway.
Potential Landing Spots: Lions
VY's likely to remain a backup. (Getty Images)

10. Vince Young

Breakdown: Now seems like a good time to remind you that the guy who coined "Dream Team" in Philly was indeed the backup quarterback and someone on a one-year contract. His personality and turnovers will cause a problem for teams looking to sign him. Unless that team happens to run the read-option offense and could really use a mobile quarterback with success in the NFL to step in and freelance if/when Tim Tebow gets hurt/melts down.
Potential Landing Spots: Broncos

11. Rex Grossman

Breakdown: Did you know that Rex Grossman is actually "Rex Grossman III"? Poor Mike Shanahan had RG3 on his roster the whole time and didn't even know it. Sigh. Anyway, Grossman's not going to attract a lot of attention on the market, and nor should he. As the old saying goes, though, "love the one you're with." And Grossman and the Shanahans are with each other, even if Rex isn't starting next year. It would be surprising to see him playing anywhere else in 2012.
Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

HONORABLE MENTION

Unrestricted Free Agents: Dennis Dixon, Josh Johnson, Brady Quinn, Charlie Whitehurst, Donovan McNabb, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton, Caleb Hanie, Charlie Batch, Kellen Clemens

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:00 pm
 

John Beck believes he deserves another chance

Beck

By Josh Katzowitz

You’ve got to love John Beck. Not for the way he plays the game (he did lose the starting quarterback race to Rex Grossman at the start of last year before losing it again in the middle of 2011) or his winning percentage (he’s 0-7 in his career as a starter).

No, you’ve got to love Beck’s confidence because even though he’s been passed over plenty of times before for Grossman and even though the Redskins almost surely will find a new quarterback in the offseason, he still believes he should be Washington’s starter.

"I feel without a doubt I can be a better quarterback. I told our coaches this at the end of the season. I went into coach (Mike) Shanahan's office and said, 'I want to play right now,’” said Beck during an interview with 97.5 The Zone (via Hogs Haven). “This is very frustrating for me to have had my opportunity, to made the most of it when he put me in, I made the most of it, but the games following it didn't go the way we wanted. It's tough for me to say now I'm not playing. I'm like ‘Coach, I want to play because having that experience I know I can play better.’ And he said, ‘I know you can too, but right now we're in this situation. There'll be another opportunity down the road and you just got to make sure you're ready for it.’ So, there's where my mindset is at.”

What to do with Washington's QBs?
Even with Beck’s feelings, the Redskins seemed poised to land a quarterback this offseason. There has been talk that Washington will try to trade with the Rams to land the No. 2 spot in April’s draft so the Redskins (presumably) can take Robert Griffin III, but the problem with that scenario is that the Browns, with the No. 4 pick, also might want to trade up to No. 2.

Plus, in order to tempt St. Louis, the Redskins would have to put together quite a package to move up from the No. 6 spot.

If the draft fails, they could go after Packers free agent quarterback Matt Flynn, who is most likely at the peak of his earning powers based on two outlandishly good performances in the past two seasons. But Washington also has to ask itself this question: is the unknown of Flynn better than the known Grossman and Beck?

Beck, of course, would answer that question with a resounding no.

"I believe there will be another opportunity," Beck said. "When it comes, I have no control over it.”

No matter what he wants to believe, there’s a pretty good chance that Beck’s time will never come again. At least not with the Redskins.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:50 pm
 

Theismann doesn't think Redskins need Manning

We've seen this cartoon before: player smiles, signs for big bucks, then underperforms, hates life. (CBSSports.com illustration)

By Ryan Wilson

There were two primary storyline during Super Bowl week in Indianapolis: the Patriots-Giants matchup and the day-to-day (and sometimes hour-to-hour) Peyton Manning soap opera. The Giants won in dramatic fashion, which elicited all types of responses. Some people couldn't comprehend how the Pats receivers could drop so many passes. And others relished the fact that they played a part in beating the Giants during the regular season not once but twice.

The former, Tom Brady's super model wife Gisele Bundchen, and the latter, Redskins returner Brandon Banks, have both taken criticism for their observations. Banks went on the Mike Wise show to explain himself.

“I wasn’t bragging at all,” Banks said, according to the D.C. Sports Bog. “I was going for the Giants, I wanted a team from the NFC East to win. It made me feel better that a team that we were capable of going out there and competing with and beating, that they won a Super Bowl, something that I want to do in my career.”

Banks says he thinks the Redskins can win the Super Bowl too, but that's what he's supposed to say, even if he doesn't believe it. Whatever, the Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg unearths a staggering statistic:
With the Giants winning the Super Bowl, that means the past 12 NFL champs have a combined 52 regular-season losses. And, remarkably, a full 11.5 percent of those losses — six games in all — came at the hands of the Washington Redskins, one of the stinkiest NFL teams of the past 12 years.

No other team has as many wins over Super Bowl champs in that span. In fact, only two other teams have even four wins over Super Bowl champs in that span: Dallas and Miami.
All that's missing? Why, a quarterback, of course. And while the previous sentence can't be refuted, who should replace John Beck and Rex Grossman is still up for debate. The word on the street is that organization is "expected to pursue" Manning.

This certainly seems reasonable -- except that not everyone agrees. Take the 'Skins last franchise quarterback, Joe Theismann, for example.

“It’s not a good idea, it’s not a bad idea — It’s a horrific idea,” he said during an appearance on told 106.7 The Fan last week. “It would be one of the poorest things that we could do as a franchise. Are we gonna go find another guy for just a couple of years again? Haven’t we done this before? Haven’t we seen this act before? And by the way, if you get Peyton Manning, don’t you have a concern about protecting him? Don’t you have a concern about who he throws the football to?"

The man responsible for giving us "Norman Einstein" makes a lot of sense. Manning is a prototypical Dan Snyder free-agent acquisition: one-time great player clearly on the downside of a Hall of Fame career.

“We’re tired of looking for stop gaps,” Theismann continued. “It’s time to draft one of your own, or make a deal for a young one of your own, and nurture him, and then put the players around him. If we’re gonna be 5-11, if we’re gonna be 6-10, let’s do it with somebody who’s [learning as he goes], instead of guys that have been here, making mistakes.”

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 12:06 am
 

Shanahan badly needs an elite quarterback

Griffin

By Josh Katzowitz

With the disastrous season experienced by the Redskins after playing quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck and the fact that coach Mike Shanahan, at one point, believed in one or both of them to be his franchise quarterback, it makes perfect sense that Washington would be scouting quarterbacks at this week’s Senior Bowl.

Shanahan said as much when, while talking to Rapid Reporter Larry Holder, he said, “I think everyone wants a franchise quarterback. If you don’t have a franchise quarterback and you say you’re not looking for one, then you usually won’t be working for very long. Everybody wants that guy. People that usually do have that guy are consistently winning.”

What to do with Washington's QBs?
So, yeah, based on those remarks, Beck and Grossman should be worried about their future employment, especially with the news reported by NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, who writes that “execs I talk to expect Washington to make a move for St. Louis' No. 2 overall slot in the draft, and select whichever quarterback doesn't go first overall (at this point, it looks like [Robert] Griffin).”

For now, it seems almost guaranteed that the Colts will take Stanford’s Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, but Indianapolis would be well served to explore the possibilities of taking the former Baylor quarterback.

The Redskins, who have the No. 6 pick, would have to put together quite a package to wrestle the No. 2 selection away from the Rams, who already have a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford.

As CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson pointed out a week ago the Browns, who have the No. 4 pick, also could be interested in cutting a deal with St. Louis for the right to take whichever quarterback the Colts don’t select.

As NFL.com’s Steve Wyche wrote, "Several teams are going to try and move up to get Griffin but the Browns have the most ammo -- the fourth overall pick and a late first-rounder or high picks in later rounds. Cleveland needs Griffin -- and wants him, according to league sources -- and the Rams will still get their man."

If the Redskins can’t get Griffin, perhaps they’d be better served to grab Matt Flynn. But they also should take caution when signing a backup quarterback who’s put together only a few impressive performances. The Cardinals tried that last year with Kevin Kolb, and you saw just how poorly that move went.

Whichever way the Redskins decide, some kind of move needs to be made. We saw how untenable the combination of Grossman and Beck was last year. Next season, if the two of them are on top of the depth chart, it’s hard to picture a final outcome for the Redskins that would be any different from 2011. Except that Shanahan might be in danger of losing his own job.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:49 am
 

Antrel Rolle on Giants: 'We can't be beat'

Rolle isn't afraid to speak his mind. It's just that sometimes it backfires. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It's one thing for Jason Pierre-Paul to declare that the Giants would beat the Packers because, well, he apparently knows what he's talking about. ("We’re going to win," Pierre-Paul said after New York beat Atlanta. "One hundred percent we’re going to win ... because we’re the best.")

It's something else when Antrel Rolle makes similar proclamations; his track record in such endeavors is far from spotless. In fact, it's pretty embarrassing.

The Redskins somehow managed to sweep the Giants this season and following their Week 1 win, Rolle went on the radio and said, "As a team and organization we know that the Washington Redskins are not a better team than us. We know that. Hands down. If we played them 100 times they might win five."

Washington would win again when the two teams met 14 weeks later.

Now, five days from the NFC Championship Game, Rolle is again making with the guarantees.

"I might be a little biased, but in our minds, we can’t be beat,” Rolle said via the New York Daily News' Peter Botte. “We’re extremely confident and we’ve given ourselves the reasons to feel that way. We have to continue to give ourselves those reasons, and we will. We have no doubts. It’s right there at the tip of our tongues.”

Rolle's comments aren't unreasonable (well, except that part about winning being on the "tip of our tongues" -- but we knew what he meant); the Giants did just beat the defending Super Bowl champs who went 15-1 during the 2011 regular season. And unlike his observations about the Redskins' inadequacies, Rolle didn't call out the 49ers. He just spoke to how well New York has been playing.

“You can put an All-Star team in front of us, and we’re going to go out there and compete,” he continued. “We don’t fold. No matter what happens, if there’s a bad call, or things aren’t going our way, we’re not going to break. We’re not going to lose focus on what’s at stake and our ultimate goal.”

Rolle's right about that last part: the Giants were hosed twice against the Packers and it didn't matter; they still blew Green Bay out at home. There's something to be said for that, especially since New York has to travel to San Francisco next weekend.

And while we don't have any issues with Rolle's latest remarks, we'd still feel a lot better if they came from JPP. Because, really, there's nothing more shameful than getting called out by Rex Grossman for being bad at your job.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Draft needs

A. Luck should be a No. 1 selection in next year's draft. Who will select him, though (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

As we enter the final weekend of the season, a number of squads are just playing out the string, hoping to put a solid performance on film, ready to clean out their lockers and look ahead to next year. While only four games on this week’s schedule mean absolutely nothing in terms of the postseason, quite a few of those teams are just looking to play spoiler.

And looking to the 2012 draft, where they can begin to rebuild their team or shore up that one position that could put them over the hump for next season. That’s why we’re taking the 10-worst teams in the league this year and finding one major flaw that needs to be fixed from April 26-28 in New York City’s Radio Music Hall.

For these teams -- and their fans -- the time has come to salivate at the prospects of landing the exact right guy that could change their fortunes for years to come.

10. Bills: Defensive line -- I didn’t like the Ryan Fitzpatrick $59 million extension earlier this year, and I hate it now. But I think Buffalo has other concerns for the moment, and they come on defense. For one, Buffalo has a tough time stopping the run. First-round pick Marcell Dareus has been a bit inconsistent at the nose tackle, but he also has the ability to play like a monster. The 3-4  ends, though, need to be better. Injured tackle Kyle Williams obviously will help when he returns next season, but the ability to rush the passer once in a while also would help (Buffalo’s 25 sacks ranks 30th in the league).

9. Dolphins: Quarterback -- Look, the Dolphins have some talent. They proved that when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, and they started winning games. They proved it by nearly beating Tom Brady, and they proved it by nearly beating Tim Tebow (that last point was a joke). While Matt Moore has been much better than expected after taking over for Chad Henne, he’s a Band-Aid. I think most of us would agree that Henne isn’t the answer as the starter, and perhaps, he and Moore could have a battle to see who could back-up a legit starting quarterback. Reggie Bush established himself as a 1,000-yard rusher, and with a talented quarterback like Robert Griffin III (if he lasts that long in the draft), the Dolphins could begin pushing for AFC East crowns.

8. Browns: Pass rushers -- Cleveland got two defensive linemen early last year (tackle Phil Taylor in the first round and end Jabaal Sheard in the second), and they’ve done a nice job on the left side of the defensive line. But the defense ranks 25th in the league in sacks, and defensive end Jayme Mitchell hasn’t had a great season. Marcus Benard, coming off a solid rookie season last year, is on IR, and if the Browns could get one more high-end rusher in the draft, they’d have talent and depth.

7. Redskins: Quarterback -- It’s probably time for Mike Shanahan to come to the realization that his quarterback picks the past two years have been disastrous (Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck). He said the other day that the rebuild of this franchise has taken more time than he thought, but a standout quarterback obviously would help that process along. Shanahan also said that there was no question in his mind that he’d be back next season, but unless he finds a way to invigorate his offense, that might be a different story this time next year.

6. Chiefs: Right tackle -- Looking across Kansas City’s depth chart, there’s not one position group that so obviously needs to be overhauled. The Chiefs have talent, even if some of those positions don’t have much depth. But right tackle Barry Richardson has badly struggled this season. According Pro Football Focus, Richardson is the worst-rated offensive tackle in the league (the decision to cut Jared Gaither near the end of the season was a bad one). Left tackle Branden Albert is solid, but the right side of the line needs to be reworked.

Minnesota's secondary has been a big concern this year (US Presswire).5. Buccaneers: Run defenders -- The Buccaneers tried to shore up their defensive end spots last draft, taking Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da’Quan Bowers in the second round. Considering Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, the experiment hasn’t paid off immediate dividends. But the Buccaneers are also terrible against the run, and even though tackle Albert Haynesworth has played better than most of us had a right to expect, there are still huge holes to fill in the lineup.

4. Vikings: Secondary -- The Vikings rank as the 31st-worst defense in the NFL, but in reality, their front seven has talent (for instance, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway). Minnesota lost Antoine Winfield (its best corner) early in the year, Chris Cook has legal troubles, safety Jamarca  Sanford has struggled badly and the rest of the safeties have been ravaged by injuries. It’s no  wonder opposing quarterbacks dominate the Vikings defensive backs. On the season, Minnesota has recorded seven interceptions, worst in the NFL. The Vikings need to find somebody who can force turnovers in order to improve this unit.

3. Jaguars: Receivers – Oh, how they need receivers. Yes, Blaine Gabbert has been, by far, the worst rookie quarterback to play this year, but Jacksonville, even with new ownership and a new coach, probably needs to give him more than a season to see if he’s a quarterback of the future. He also needs somebody who can catch his passes. Here are Jacksonville’s top-three receivers: Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard, and yeah, nobody else. In fact, there’s a good chance running back Maurice Jones-Drew will end up as the team’s leading pass-catcher this season. Hard to blame Gabbert completely when his receiving corps is so bad.

2. Colts: Running backs -- Assuming Peyton Manning returns healthy next season -- admittedly, a huge assumption -- his receivers should continue to be fine (this, of course, depends on what happens with free agents Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon). But we’ve seen this year that without a running game, a Manning-less Colts squad has very little chance of doing anything (mostly because Manning makes up for SO many team deficiencies). Joseph Addai, who’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry and probably won’t get to 500 rushing yards on the season for the second year in a row, might be released into free agency, and Donald Brown, while improved, isn’t a legit No. 1 running back. The Colts obviously have a big decision to make regarding Manning and Andrew Luck, but taking a running back probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

1.Rams: Offensive linemen -- There’s been talk that maybe the Rams should grab Luck if they end up with the No. 1 pick. Which, with Sam Bradford on the team, would be ludicrous. Instead, St. Louis should be focused on how to put together an offensive line that doesn’t lead the league in sacks allowed. The biggest problem, not including injuries to Jason Smith and Jacob Bell that have hurt the unit, has been the line’s interior. Linemen aren’t the sexiest position, but damn, St. Louis needs to find some that can stay healthy and keep Bradford and Steven Jackson out of danger.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Redskins used Rolle's comments as motivation

Good Rex owns New York and Rolle this season. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Giants are coming off a humiliating defeat at the hands of what was thought to be a punchless Redskins team. And that still may be true, it's just that Washington plays well whenever they face New York. Rex Grossman led the 'Skins to a Week 1 victory over the Giants and a few days later, New York safety Antrel Rolle went on the radio and proclaimed: "As a team and organization we know that the Washington Redskins are not a better team than us. We know that. Hands down. If we played them 100 times they might win five."

As it stands, the Giants are 0-2 against the Redskins in 2011. Silver lining: they won't face them again this season, and using Rolle's calculations, New York will win 95 of the next 98 matchups.

Grossman, who has started 11 games this season and was 15 of 24 for 185 yards (1 TD, 2 INTs) Sunday, was asked about Rolle's comments during a Monday appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“Nobody is going to beat anyone 99 out of 100 times,” he said. (Rolle's actual comments were 95 times out of 100, but whether it's 95 percent or 99 percent, we take Grossman's point. By the way, according to Rolle's math, the chances that the Redskins would beat the Giants two times this season? One in 400.) 

Grossman was asked if Rolle's remarks were disrespectful.

“Definitely. I mean, how can you take that comment any other way?” he said, via the Washington Post's Sports Bog. “I mean, 99 out of 100 times they’re gonna beat us? And we beat ‘em two in a row this year? So I’m not going to the casino with him any time soon.”

Obviously, the 'Skins used the slight as motivation for the Week 15 matchup.

“When you hear something like that, collectively as a group when the coaches say that Saturday night in meetings, collectively you kind of see everybody’s head nod up and down, kind of start tapping their foot a little bit, kind of getting excited, kind of getting pumped up,” Grossman said. “So it’s definitely a real thing, but really that’s kind of just icing on the cake as far as getting ready for the game. You don’t really care. You want to go out there and play well for your teammates and be proud of what you do as a professional.”

Rolle was back on New York's WFAN this week where it was pointed out to him that Washington took exception to his remarks.

“As well as they should be," he said via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "Like I said I love competition. I love competition to the most elite level and the Redskins were the better team than the Giants for the 2011 season. That’s not going to take away anything of what I feel with us as an organization. Words mean nothing. Actions definitely speak louder than words and they were the better team for 2011. That’s what it is.”

Indeed. So does Rolle regret his comments?

“No. I wouldn’t go…I don’t go back on anything I say. Like I said we as Giants – we don’t fear any opponent. If it makes them come out and fight harder then you know what we need to step up and fight harder at the end of the day.”

What the Giants need is to win out. They're currently 7-7 and may have played their way out of the postseason. They're ninth in the NFC, but just one game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East. If they lose to the Jets Saturday, however, their season is over.

That matchup, naturally, led WFAN's Joe and Evan to ask Rolle this: How many times out of 100, do you think you guys could beat the New York Jets?

“I really think I’m done answering that question. [Laughs] Washington made me put my foot in my mouth on that question. I think I still have it in there, but we are going to come out here and play. We are going to play ball and that’s that. Hopefully our team is very well prepared and we come out with that attitude and that intensity that I know we have and we play Giants football like I know we can.”

If only he'd said that back in September.

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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