Tag:Matt Hasselbeck
Posted on: July 11, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 9:58 am
 

Leinart on NFL career: I haven't proven anything

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Matt Leinart's NFL career can kindly be described as underwhelming.

Drafted by the Cardinals with the No. 10 pick in 2006, the former USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner started 11 games as a rookie but only six games since. Arizona released Leinart before the 2010 season, and he eventually signed with Houston where sat behind Matt Schaub.

Now entering his sixth year in the league, Leinart, 28, is a free agent. We wrote last month that the Seahawks could be interested in his services once the lockout ends and free agency begins (Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was Leinart's coach at USC), but Seattle might also trade for Kevin Kolb, re-sign veteran Matt Hasselbeck or choose to give backup Charlie Whitehurst a crack at the starting gig.

To put it another way: There's a lot uncertainty in Leinart's professional future.

During an appearance Friday on ESPN Radio Los Angeles, Leinart spoke about what it means to have people call him a "bust" at this point in his career.

“I’ve heard everything," he said, according to Sports Radio Interviews. "I’ve seen everything. For me I haven’t proven anything, so I haven’t proven that I could play game in and game out.

"I understand that," he continued. "I believe I can play and I’m not one to make excuses. I’ve never made an excuse with my time in Arizona. It just didn’t work out for whatever reason. Those are reasons people outside of the organization won’t understand, but it didn’t work out and it wasn’t a right fit, so you move on.

"You kind of look at the timeline of what has happened to me and with having a pretty good rookie year and the second year getting the injury and Kurt Warner played himself into the Hall of Fame in the last three years. There’s not a lot I can do about that. I battled with a Hall of Famer two training camps in a row. I thought I competed as well as he did and obviously Kurt was a great player. He took us to a Super Bowl. I truly believe he got himself into the Hall of Fame those last couple of years."

One of the knocks on Leinart after he left Arizona is that he he didn't have the disposition coaches look for in their franchise quarterback. Last September, after the Cardinals released Leinart, ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote: "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by Whisenhunt's rules. He wasn't willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset."

In terms of preparing for the 2011 season, Leinart said, "For me I’ve worked hard this off-season. … I’m always ready. I’m always prepared and like I said it’s just always about being a quarterback, but being the right situation. For me hopefully that situation comes up this year and I can thrive and show I belong in the league and I can play because I know I can and that’s what I plan on doing.”

History says Leinart's a long shot. Then again, the guy he sat behind in Arizona was once bagging groceries and playing for the Iowa Barnstormers before he won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams and, in Leinart's estimation, cemented his Hall of Fame credentials with the Cardinals.

Stranger things have happened.

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Posted on: July 9, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 5:21 pm
 

Okung talks Hawks, lockout, QBs at Nike's 7-on

Posted by Will Brinson

BEAVERTON, Ore -- Russell Okung and Ndamukong Suh spent much of the past week training the best high school football players in the country at Nike's 7-on-7 camp, "The Opening."

Following a dominant performance by Okung's offensive line group, CBSSports.com caught up with him to talk about the Seahawks, the lockout, the Seattle quarterback situation, how he trained this offseason and what he did to prep the kids for this sort of exercise.

And while you're here, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.



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Posted on: July 7, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 5:21 pm
 

QB Kerry Collins retires (UPDATED)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After 16 NFL seasons, Titans quarterback Kerry Collins announced his retirement Thursday.

It's never completely surprising when a 38-year-old player decides to hang it up for good (notable exception: Brett Favre), but it was less than three weeks ago that Collins told the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt that not only did he want to return to the Titans, but that he wanted to start. And he made similar comments the week before that.

Maybe Collins had a change of heart, or perhaps he didn't like his chances of beating out Tennessee's first-round pick, rookie Jake Locker. Either way, the timing's probably right. Collins had a resurgence of sorts in 2008, when he started 15 games, threw for 2,676 yards, including 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, as the Titans won the AFC South and finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. They would lose to the Ravens in the AFC Divisional playoffs.

In the two seasons since, Collins started 17 games, and in 2010 he tossed 14 touchdowns, the most since 2005 with the Raiders.

Collins was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the 1995 draft (fifth overall), and he also played with the Saints and Giants before finishing his career with the Raiders and Titans. Collins led the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV where they lost to the Ravens.

If Collins truly does retire, the Titans might give serious consideration to signing Matt Hasselbeck when free agency begins. The team will need a veteran QB to mentor Locker and play should it come to that.

UPDATED 5:17 P.M. ET: Here's what Collins had to say about his retirement, via the AP:

"The past several months have brought on much introspection, and I have decided that while my desire to compete on Sundays is still and always will be there, my willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position," Collins said in a statement.

And a statement from Titans coach Mike Munchak:

"Kerry had a great NFL career and we have been very fortunate to have had him with our organization for the last five years. I really enjoyed working with him. He was a true pro, who loved the game. His work ethic and commitment were a great example to his teammates of what it took to be successful in this league."

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 9:34 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 9:49 am
 

Dolphins have very specific FA targets?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Miami Dolphins have -- already -- had an interesting offseason. The running back combo of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown appears headed out the door (and the Fins still passed on Mark Ingram) and, as previously noted, questions about Chad Henne remain (and the Fins still passed on various quarterbacks).

Oh yes, and owner Stephen Ross publicly pursued Jim Harbaugh while Tony Sparano was still employed, failed to land the then-Stanford coach and then had to give Sparano a raise.

This friction across three key areas has created a need come free agency -- Omar Kelly of the Miami Sun-Sentinel writes that the Dolphins have a couple of very specific targets between now and whenever the season starts.

First, Kelly believes they'll add a veteran quarterback, but not a Chad Pennington-style backup-type. Kelly believes it will be someone who will be "savvy enough to push -- if not unseat -- [Henne]"; names he floats include Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, Matt Flynn, Vince Young, Matt Hasselbeck, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.

That's a pretty, pretty wide spectrum of quarterbacks, but the point is salient -- the Dolphins will get another quarterback who expects to get a shot at starting.

They're also going to get a "tailback who has the ability to run stretch plays … that gets to the EDGES," Kelly writes. The biggest name associated with Miami thus far has been the Panthers' DeAngelo Williams; Carolina's repeatedly said it wants Williams back, but depending on how free agency shakes out, it seems less and less likely that re-signing him would be a prudent move.

There are other available names, though: Ahmad Bradshaw, Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush are names Kelly hears from "reliable sources."

Those guys make a lot of sense, especially if the Dolphins have interest in bringing back Ricky -- a combo of Sproles or Bush plus Williams would be a solid 1-2 punch out of the backfield.

All that's easier said than done, of course, but it's pretty clear what the Dolphins need, and there's good news for Fins fans, because it lines up nicely with what Miami wants.

And, provided free agency plays out as expected, the open market might be spot-on for those voids as well.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Collins wants to return to Titans ... to start

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Here's the deal: Kerry Collins would like to return to the Titans in 2011. We know this because he's said it before, more than once. Collins mentioned it last week, and again Saturday, this time with one qualification. Via the twitter feed of the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt:

"Kerry Collins reiterates he'd like to return to Titans next year but made it clear he'd like to be starter, not a backup."

There's a huge difference between, "Yeah, I'd love to come back" and "Yeah, I'd love to come back … as a starter." Especially when the Titans drafted their most recent quarterback of the future, Jake Locker. There's also this: Tennessee guard Jake Scott said last month that Collins could decide to walk away from football, rather than play the role of Locker's "nursemaid."

But Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said from the beginning that the Titans won't rush Locker and that they'd pursue a veteran quarterback. That could mean giving Collins a legitimate chance to compete for the starting gig, or bringing in another veteran like Matt Hasselbeck. Or, if the lockout is resolved in the coming weeks and Locker plays lights during training camp, he very well could begin the season under center.

If Reinfeldt and new coach Mike Munchak are making a pros and cons list for possible veteran QBs to bridge the gap to Locker, Hasselbeck would have to get a slight edge over Collins. At 35, he's three years younger, and appears to be more amenable to the mentor role at this stage of his career.

You don't get that impression from Collins, who told Wyatt: "(Locker's) a kid who could learn from a guy like me. Hopefully he'd watch what I do and take lessons."

Yes, because that strategy worked so well when the Titans tried it with Vince Young.

(Yes, we know, that had everything to do with Young and nothing to do with Collins. And it's also why Tennessee drafted Locker. But if Locker is the best quarterback in camp, he should win the job. It's not like Collins has to play in order to teach Locker the nuances of the position. Plus, there are worse fates than getting paid a player's salary to be nothing more than a glorified coach.)

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.16.11: Taylor, Asomugha not close



Posted by Ryan Wilson
  • Come again? We think it goes without saying that Nnamdi Asomugha is a better corner than, say, the Steelers' Ike Taylor -- but apparently not. Using facts and common sense, Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar takes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's John Harris to task for suggesting that Taylor is better than Asomugha. 
  • Still wanted: QB. Pat White may not have been the answer (and Pryor almost certainly isn't), but according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Dolphins' first order of business once the lockout ends will be finding a veteran QB to compete with Chad Henne
  • We need Matlock. If there's something we can all get behind it's that the lawyers shouldn't be allowed in the room during CBA negotiations. PFT's Mike Florio offers up yet another reason to lock out the lawyers: money (shocking, right?). 
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Posted on: June 11, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Titans won't cut Britt; Collins wants to return

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Once the lockout is lifted -- and that looks like it could happen before July -- the Tennessee Titans will have plenty of personnel decisions to make. In addition to determining if first-round pick Jake Locker can be the Week 1 starter, there's also the small matter of wide receiver Kenny Britt, who can't seem go very long without getting arrested.

Britt's most recent arrest -- his sixth since the Titans drafted him in 2009 -- came Wednesday. But if professional sports have taught us anything it's that talent trumps just about everything else, including character.

It's ironic that we hear so much about the perils of "off-field issues" in the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, when the reality is that "character concerns" work on a sliding scale. A college player projects to be a mediocre pro? He's dropped from most NFL teams' draft board because he's not worth the hassle. But if he projects to be a possible Pro Bowler, there's a willingness to look past certain personality flaws because … well, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business. And, in general, winning is good for business.

So while a lesser player would be in line for his release (teams can't cut players during a lockout), Britt's job is safe. It's one of the perks that come with being a big-play wideout.

Tennessee, more than most teams, is familiar with giving second and third chances to at-risk players. "Under [former head coach Jeff] Fisher, the Titans had a reputation for bending to help players with baggage -- Adam 'Pacman' Jones, Albert Haynesworth and Randy Moss being recent examples," NFL.com's Albert Breer writes. "New coach Mike Munchak wants a more structured environment, and those in the organization expect him to come down hard on Britt whenever the three-month-old lockout ends."

Breer adds that the Titans consider Britt the second-best player on the roster after Chris Johnson. And while they aren't close to giving up on him they will discipline him. Whatever the Titans decided, the league could weigh in, too. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said previously that player misconduct during the lockout could be reviewed once there is a new collective bargaining agreement. Which means that Britt, like Brandon Marshall, could be subject to the league's personal conduct policy.

As for who might be throwing Britt the ball this fall, the list of possible candidates is ever-expanding. We know that the Vince Young era in Tennessee will be over before the ink is dry on a new CBA, but Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, and Kerry Collins are all contenders. General manager Mike Reinfeldt has said from the beginning that the Titans won't rush Locker and that they'd pursue a veteran quarterback.

Hasselbeck's name was floated earlier in the week, and Collins, who sounded like he had taken his last snap for the Titans, told the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt that he definitely wants to come back in 2011. No word on if he's willing to be a nursemaid, however.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 10:42 am
 

Vikings have faith in Ponder but won't rush him

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Yesterday we mentioned that free agent Matt Hasselbeck might be a possible stopgap in Tennessee should Seattle choose not to re-sign him. Hasselbeck mentored rookie Titans quarterback Jack Locker when Locker was at the University of Washington, and Hasselback has ties to the Titans front office.

Plus, he's 35. Any stint in Tennessee would be a short one. Ideally, Hasselback would bridge the gap between broken dreams (Vince Young) and renewed hope (Locker), a gig Kerry Collins doesn't sound all that interested in.

We bring this up because Locker isn't the only rookie quarterback who could begin the season under center. First-overall pick Cam Newton seems a long shot to win a starting job out of training camp, but it's too early to rule out the Jaguars' Blaine Gabbert and the Vikings' Christian Ponder.

Players and coaches are forbidden from talking to each other during the lockout, but the lockout is giving Minnesota offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plenty of time to plan for the upcoming season.

First up: keep it simple. Which means that whoever's the QB, he'll have to be proficient at taking the snap, pivoting, and handing the ball to No. 28. And there will be the occasional throw -- probably off rollouts and bootlegs -- to, you know, keep defenses honest.

"We'll major in giving the ball to Adrian (Peterson), and we'll need a quarterback that can keep defenses honest and can have a little bit of movement to himself," Musgrave, who once was a backup quarterback with Dallas, San Francisco and Denver, told the Star Tribune's Judd Zulag. "Not just be a statue back there because with the pieces that are in place we won't be just a drop-back, stay-in-the-pocket type team. We're going to really attack the defense on the edges both with Adrian and also our quarterback."

We have yet to hear from Titans coaches about their plans for Locker, but running back Chris Johnson was under the impression Monday that it was Locker's job to lose. "Everybody knows [Jake's] going to be the starting quarterback so he needs to be ready come Game 1," he said.

Musgrave isn't quite ready to commit to Ponder ... yet.

"…[I]t's hard to speculate at this stage. We just don't know. There are so many contingency plans because there are so many unknowns.

"I do know this," Musgrave added. "I know that Christian has a broad-based background on offensive football from Florida State, and he'll be able to jump in there and keep his head above water. We'll hope to do a good job and enable him to maintain his confidence and develop and get comfortable at the same time."

In the weeks and months leading up to the draft, the knock against Locker was that he struggled with accuracy. That's a huge problem in the NFL, where the defensive backs get faster and the windows get smaller. For Ponder, there were concerns about his ability to stay healthy and his arm strength. But he was the most consistent player at the Senior Bowl in January, and looked even better at the February combine. By late April, draft experts were saying things like, "Perhaps no quarterback in this draft class has a better command of the game's subtleties."

That is great news for a franchise that can focus on other things this summer than Brett Favre's annual un-retirement tour.

Musgrave and Ponder spent a few hours talking football when the lockout was briefly lifted in late April. It was enough time for Ponder to get a playbook, and later pass on what he learned to teammates at workouts he organized last week in Bradenton, Fla.
Vikes Offseason

Even in a normal offseason, it would be difficult for a rookie quarterback to win a starting job. We're currently 86 days into the lockout with no end in sight. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier was noncommittal on whether the team would sign a veteran QB, although some fans think Donovan McNabb would be the perfect candidate (we disagree).

But even if Ponder is forced into duty it doesn't mean Minnesota's season is doomed; Musgrave came from Atlanta where he played a big role in Matt Ryan's development. The Falcons were 19-29 in the three years before Ryan arrived in 2008. They're 31-12 in the three years since, including two 11-plus win seasons. Ideally, rookie quarterbacks learn by watching, but surround them with a stout defense and playmakers at the skill positions (check and check, in Minnesota's case) and the results will occasionally surprise you.

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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