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Tag:Sam Bradford
Posted on: January 2, 2012 4:27 pm
 

Report: Fisher will interview for Rams job

FisherBy Josh Katzowitz

Earlier this month, Jeff Fisher’s agent said his client would listen to anyone who might be interested in speaking to him about a coaching vacancy.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, the first team to show interest is the Rams, who will interview Fisher for the job this week. King writes that he expects the organization to go after Fisher and then try to find a new general manager.

Clearly, the Rams are moving on quickly after firing coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney today, and as CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson pointed out in his list of possible replacements, Fisher has to be one of the organization’s top choices.

Mike Freeman reported today that Fisher would have interest in the Colts or Buccaneers jobs but that he wouldn’t participate in mass interviews and that he would he “likely only interview with one or two teams. Possibly three.”

So, if he’s interviewing with the Rams, he clearly has interest, and with a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford and defensive corps that has nice pieces, the Rams seem to have a pretty good chance at landing one of the most sought-after coaches in this offseason.

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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 27, 2011 9:58 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Would Jon Gruden want Luck or RG3 over Bradford?

If Gruden leaves the booth for St. Louis would he want to move on from Bradford, the 2010 1st overall pick? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

It sounds like Jon Gruden could be back to coaching in 2012. After three years in ESPN's Monday Night Football booth, and months after signing a five-year extension to stay there, the San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee reported Monday night that signs point to Gruden returning to the NFL sidelines, possibly landing with the Rams.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman had two sources confirm as much with the caveat that "…while Gruden is indeed leaning towards returning, it's not certain. … I'm told Gruden wants to see what positions he could possibly get before making a 100 percent final decision and that he hasn't officially made one yet because of the uncertainty."

(ESPN released a statment Tuesday that makes it sound like Gruden's staying in the booth: “Jon signed a multi-year extension with ESPN this fall. He remains committed to being a part of Monday Night Football for many years.”)

Let's assume for the moment that Gruden does end up in St. Louis. That means he would have quarterback Sam Bradford, the first-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft who had a forgettable 2011 season (mostly due to injuries -- to himself and just about every other starter on the roster), to build a team around.

But here's the thing: St. Louis heads into the final week of the regular season with two wins. If they lose to San Francisco on Sunday and the Colts, the league's only other two-win outfit, beat the Jaguars, the Rams would be the sole owners of the first-overall pick in April's draft.

That means Andrew Luck is there for the taking. Except that St. Louis already has Bradford, the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year, right? Not so fast. Conventional wisdom goes something like this: St. Louis would ransom that pick to a QB-needy team like the Browns or Redskins or Dolphins, and use the cornucopia of draft picks coming their way to give Bradford some help.

One thing: late in the Rams-Seahawks Monday Night Football telecast earlier this month, long after Seattle had taken a comfortable lead and with not much else to talk about, Gruden and boothmate Ron Jaworski turned the conversation to Bradford, the Rams, and the possibility of the organization taking another quarterback in the 2011 draft. Gruden suggested that Bradford had played so poorly this season that if he we making the decisions in St. Louis, he might take a long look at Baylor's Robert Griffin III. Presumably, that line of thinking holds for Luck, too.

It sounded ludicrous at the time -- and Jaws' reaction confirmed as much -- but if Gruden gets the Rams gig it could also become a reality this spring. St. Louis would be able to move Bradford for as much if not more than they would've gotten for Luck (or maybe they choose to trade down a few spots to grab RG3) and could still restock the roster, just with a "Gruden guy."

Remember: Gruden ain't afraid to fall in love. He coached the 2005 Senior Bowl, had a running back named Cadillac Williams on his roster and was so impressed that he ended up taking Williams with the fifth-overall pick. Williams rushed for 1,178 yards as a rookie but knee injuries haven't allowed him to crack 1,000 yards since. (It's another reason why teams shouldn't over-pay and/or overdraft running backs.) And now the two could be reunited in St. Louis.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:43 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:19 pm
 

NFL suspends Rams Austin Pettis 4 games

St. Louis will be without Pettis until Week 3 of the 2012 season. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Rams rookie wide receiver Austin Pettis has been suspended four games without pay for violating NFL rules on performance-enhancing substances, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Ron Clements. This will keep him out of the Rams' two remaining 2011 regular-season games against the Steelers and 49ers, as well as the first two games of 2012.

“Austin’s situation is unfortunate,” St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnuolo said via the team's website.  “Obviously, we are disappointed and will miss him during this suspension, but the NFL’s policies are very clear and we respect the League’s decision in this matter. We are unable to comment further on this matter or any aspect of the NFL’s Drug Policy.”

Pettis, a third-round pick out of Boise State, has appeared in 12 games (including three starts) and has 27 receptions for 256 yards (0 TDs). Injuries forced St. Louis to use Pettis as the No. 3 receiver for much of the season, and he's currently tied with Greg Salas for fourth on the team in receptions (behind Brandon Lloyd, Steven Jackson and Brandon Gibson).

The Rams travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on Saturday in a game that could've been billed this summer as a matchup between two franchise quarterbacks. Instead, it will likely feature Kellen Clemens vs. Charlie Batch. Sam Bradford has a high-ankle sprain and he's likely done for the year. Ben Roethlisberger is also nursing a high-ankle sprain and despite his optimism, there's a chance he'll sit out Weeks 16 and 17 in preparation for the playoffs.

St. Louis, with just two wins this season, has little to play for besides Spagnuolo's job. 

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Casserly: Sam Bradford done for 2011 season

By Will Brinson

Sam Bradford won't play in Week 15 against the Bengals and is inactive for the Rams (per our Rams Rapid Reporter Ron Clements), meaning recently-claimed quarterback Kellen Clemens will get the start when St. Louis plays Cincinnati during the early set of games. More importantly though, Bradford is probably done for the year.

And Charley Casserly of CBS Sports reports Sunday that Bradford is going to miss the remainder of the 2011 season.

Bradford missed two games in October, as well as Week 14 against the 49ers, but returned against the Seahawks on Monday night last week -- he went 12 of 29 for 193 yards and an interception in the blowout loss.

"I feel like we've just lacked consistency all year," Bradford said at the time. "It's just really hard to get a rhythm going when you don't establish the path on a run."

The only thing consistent for the Rams in 2011 has been mediocrity -- at 2-11, they're in a dogfight for the second-worst record in the NFL.

There are ample rumors about Steve Spagnuolo's job being in jeopardy, and missing Bradford for the final three games probably won't help his case.


Of course, playing Bradford was a decision likely out of Spags hands. The front office knows that the season is all but over at this point and there's little chance they're willing to risk the future of the franchise to a long-term injury by forcing Bradford out on the field with a bum ankle for the final three games of the season.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:30 pm
 

Tom Brandstater could be Rams' starting QB on MNF

In May 2010, Brandstater was listed ahead of Tebow on Denver's depth chart. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

If there was ever a time to dust off those Tom Brandstater jerseys it's now. There's a good chance the former Fresno State quarterback and Broncos 2009 sixth-round pick could be the Rams' starter Sunday when they face the Seahawks in a (let's be honest: meaningless) NFC West matchup that just so happens to be on the Week 14 Monday Night Football schedule.

St. Louis' franchise quarterback, Sam Bradford (ankle), and backup A.J. Feeley (thumb) didn't practice for the second day in a row Thursday, which meant that Brandstater again took all the first-team reps.

"We're trying to keep the banging off them a little bit to make sure we get a healthy team come Monday night," head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "You don't want to wear them out before we get to Monday night."

The Rams have also claimed quarterback Kellen Clemens off waivers (the Texans released him earlier this week to make room for Jeff Garcia), but he wasn't available for Thursday's practice. The addition of Clemens doesn't mean that Bradford's headed to injured reserve, though.


The St. Louis Rams will square off against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night at CenturyLink Field. Who has the advantage in this game? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz break down this upcoming game.

“That hasn’t entered my mind,” Bradford said Thursday, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Ron Clements. “I hope it doesn’t come to that. That’d be pretty disappointing." Spagnuolo said Monday that Bradford's ankle probably wouldn't fully heal untl the offseason, but added Thursday that "We'll be hopeful on Sam, but we won't know until we get to the end of the week."

The Rams coach also joked that he might have take some snaps under center.

“I was thinking about lining up there myself," he said. "I was a wishbone quarterback in high school. We could pull those notebooks out.”

Hey, it worked for Tebow.

The Seahawks are preparing as if Bradford will play, but for now it appears that Brandstater is the favorite come Monday night. “That’s what this business is all about," he said Thursday. "You’ve got to be ready for anything.”

Ain't that the truth. Here's what Brandstater's 2011 season has been like:

* Sept. 13: signed to Rams' practice squad
* Oct. 22: promoted to active roster
* Nov. 9: released
* Dec. 2: re-signed to Rams' practice squad
* Dec. 4: promoted to active roster

So how did Brandstater keep sharp during the three weeks in November he was out of work? Clements writes that he stayed in the St. Louis area and worked out at a local gym, and over Thanksgiving he threw to his brother-in-law which, it turns out, was a little awkward.

“It was a little bit uncomfortable because he wasn’t quite athletic,” he said. (There are no truth to the rumors that Brandstater's brother-in-law is a receiver for the Jaguars.)

Other Brandstater fun facts (this one courtesy of PFT.com): In May 2010, weeks after the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow in the first round, Brandstater was listed ahead of him on the team's depth chart along with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. Just think: if things had worked out differently, we might all be Brandstering right now.

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Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:56 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Mojo-less NFLers

P. Rivers has struggled this season (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Where there’s a star football player*, there’s always a star football ready to fall. Sometimes, they get old overnight. Sometimes, they get satiated by a rich, new contract and lose the desire to stay hungry and work out as hard. Sometimes, their one shining season was a mirage and their talent wasn’t all that great in the first place.

*Or a football coach, executive, etc.

Earlier this season, we discussed the league’s most underrated players, the players you really should know about, and in this edition of Top Ten with a Twist, we examine the players who, for whichever reason, have fallen off the cliff. Not necessarily overrated players, but players who once were great -- or showed us the potential to be great -- but have fallen on hard times. Some of these selections still play at a very high level. That’s not the issue. The question is: are they as great as they were?

The trick for them is to rediscover what made them great in the first place, to rediscover their mojo. If they can.

10. Bernard Pollard: It was at the beginning of the 2010 season when I ranked Pollard No. 4 on my top-five safeties list, which led CBSSports.com film-watching guru Andy Benoit to write, “I like that you went with Pollard -- that shows you’re paying attention. Few people even know about the fifth-year pro.” And just two years later, after Pollard was jettisoned out of Houston, few people remember how effective he used to be. Now, he’s in Baltimore and he’s actually a starter, and really the only time he’s making news is when he’s being fined for illegal hits.

9. Logan Mankins: Once one of the best offensive guards around -- and still a top-notch player -- the contract dispute of the last two seasons seems to have taken something out of him (in August, he signed a six-year, $51 million deal). Though he emerged from last year’s holdout, in which he missed seven games, as a Pro Bowl player, he’s struggling a bit this season. He’s been whistled for more penalties, and he’s allowed more sacks than normal. Listen, he’s still one of the best guards out there, but New York’s Justin Tuck and Pittsburgh’s LaMarr Woodley found success against him this year. That rarely happened in the past.

8. Andy Reid: Is it fair that Reid, after back-to-back 10-win seasons and a plethora of success during his 12-year Eagles career, is on the hot seat for the mess Philadelphia has become this year? Maybe not. But is Reid partially -- if not, mostly -- to blame for how the Eagles season has progressed? Yes. Bringing in high-priced free agents like Nnamdi Asomugha seemed like a great idea at the time, but some of those moves have fizzled. Moving former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator has not worked out well. And at this point, it seems like a lock that the 3-6 Eagles will finish outside the playoffs. Should he lose his job? Probably not. Will he? Maybe.

7. Chris Johnson: True, he’s coming off his best game of the season (27 carries, 130 yards, one touchdown), but Johnson has been a major disaster this year. Which has to give heartburn to the Titans front office, which signed Johnson to a six-year, $55.3 million contract before the season. And with that, Johnson stopped producing. He stopped hitting his holes with big-time bursts, he stopped breaking tackles and he looked lackluster. It’s hard to imagine that a big, fat contract would have caused such an appetite loss for Johnson, but all we’ve seen out of him this year are two pretty good games and a whole lot of blame deflection.

6. Bill Polian: Has an executive’s talent-spotting reputation ever fallen as far and as fast as Polian this year? With the loss of Peyton Manning imploding the Colts, eyes have shifted to Polian as perhaps a reason why Indianapolis has struggled so badly this year. No quality backup quarterback and a bushel of questionable draft picks in the past few years have us wondering if Polian’s job is in danger (owner Jim Irsay has said it’s not). But man, did the talent of Manning shield our knowledge of Polian’s ability this entire time?

Polamalu5. Troy Polamalu: Some of my colleagues (cough, cough) love to rail on Polamalu as the most overrated player in the league. I don’t think he’s that at all. Polamalu still plays at a high level, and he’s still a guy you have to gameplan against. But to say he’s the same player he was five years ago is obviously untrue. He can still lay a mean hit on a receiver, but he struggles in coverage (as shown by his inadequate defense against an A.J. Green touchdown bomb last week), and he doesn’t have the speed of his youth. He doesn’t even have the speed of two years ago. Yes, he’s been hampered by injuries (he’s missed 13 combined games in the past two seasons), but he’s not the all-world safety anymore (though he’s smart and experienced, which certainly helps). That was proven correct in Super XLV when the Packers made him irrelevant all game.

4. Chad Ochocinco: We’ve over-analyzed Ochocinco to death on this blog, but man, it’s still kind of crazy that he has just 11 catches for 201 yards and zero touchdowns on the season. The guy used to be ultra-confident. Now, he’s slowly disappearing like Marty McFly’s family photo.

3. DeSean Jackson: You have to think that, with the statements Jackson has made about how protecting his health was his No. 1 priority this season and with the fact he overslept and missed a team meeting last Saturday and got himself deactivated on Sunday, Jackson is really, really interested in his new contract. Naturally, he wants to get paid, but I don’t think being tied for 71st in the league with 29 catches is going to attract a ton of positive attention.

2. Sam Bradford: This is a strange case. Bradford seemed on the verge of a breaking out in his rookie season last year, but he’s been a forgotten man this year. That’s probably because the Rams are a forgotten team and because he’s missed a few games because of an ankle injury. But his completion percentage is down this year (55.8 percent), his touchdown-to-interception ratio is a bit worse, and he’s lost twice as many fumbles (his offensive line and receivers are not helping matters at all). And it’s not just that Bradford has played worse; it’s that nobody nationally seems to be talking about him at all, good or bad. That’s just kind of strange for last year’s No. 1 overall pick.

1. Philip Rivers: He’s never had great form, but something about the Chargers quarterback seems off this season. His strange mechanics look even stranger, and Rivers leads the league in interceptions while his 4-5 San Diego unit is sinking in the AFC West. I’ve made the joke that, now that Rivers has six children, it's no wonder he’s had a tougher time. But in San Diego, this can’t be a laughing matter. Not when Norv Turner’s job is at risk and with the Chargers losing hope fast. I keep thinking Rivers can turn it around, but at this point, it’s tough to say if he will.

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 4:25 pm
 

Joe Namath makes fat joke at Rex Ryan's expense

Namath makes with the funny in Ryan's direction. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It doesn't take much effort to find fans and players of other teams who loathe the Jets. This is what happens to successful franchises, particularly ones who have a head coach that loves the sound of his own voice, usually when there's a microphone nearby. But even former Jets have taken a critical eye to the franchise, and perhaps none more outspoken than Joe Namath.

He called out the team after their loss to the Raiders earlier this season, and suggested that maybe Ryan hasn't done such a good job of preparing the Jets to play. Ryan, of course, had a response.

"I'm not gonna change who I am because Joe Namath said something," he said a few weeks ago. "Joe Namath can come in here, and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. He doesn't know our team. He's on the outside. … he's not in these meetings. I think if he was he'd be shocked at the preparation.”

Well, the gloves -- and the shirts -- are off. During the Jets' bye week, Rex made a trip to the mall (!) and he donned a No. 12 Jets jersey for the occasion.

Namath, who wore No. 12 during his playing days, appeared on ESPN's 1050 with Michael Kay and quipped: "I'm just stunned that the jersey with No. 12 come in that size."

At least we think it was a joke. Maybe Namath was serious. Either way, according to ESPN New York, Ryan joked that "nothing has hurt more" than Namath's crack about Ryan's man boobs and waistline.

"Hey it doesn't matter," Ryan said when asked about wearing the jersey. "I'm still a huge Joe Namath fan." He then added: "Any fan or any Jets alum is welcome to their opinion. It doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with it."

If Ryan's taking requests, for his next trick we'd like to see him squeeze into a Sam Bradford jersey.

We'd pay to see Ryan try on Bradford's No. 8. (US PRESSWIRE)

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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