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Tag:Ryan Wilson
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 1:50 am
 

McCarthy on Flynn: 'It's his time to play'

After playing behind Rodgers, Flynn's in line for a starting job in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

As is the case most years, the 2012 combine is all about the quarterback. Sure, there are plenty of other players to evaluate but the NFL is a passing league. To win consistently, teams need franchise quarterbacks. (Just take a look at the recent Super Bowl winners for proof -- Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.)

While much of the focus falls on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there has been plenty of talk about current NFL QBs -- old faces possibly playing in new places in 2012. Peyton Manning tops that list even if no one can speak to when he'll be healthy enough to return to the field.

After Manning, there's Matt Flynn who has often been compared to Kevin Kolb for his lack of on-the-job training followed by what's sure to be a big payday to be some team's starter. The comparisons are probably unfair, especially if Flynn can play in a system that fits his strengths (like, say, Miami).

First things first, though; after the Packers signed tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year deal this week, the speculation was that the organization would then franchise Flynn with the plan to then tag and trade him before March 5.

On Friday, Packers general manager Ted Thompson wasn't interested in speaking in particulars, telling the media that “I’m not going to stand here and tell all the 31 other teams what I think about Matt Flynn.”

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, however, was much more forthcoming.

“Matt’s had a chance to play versus New England (in 2010), versus Detroit (in 2011), so based on what I’ve seen in the every day — classroom, practice field — he’s ready,” McCarthy said via NFL.com. “It’s his time to play.”

“You don’t ever know if that backup quarterback can take that next step and go out and play 16 games. I know mentally, he’s ready; emotionally, he’s definitely ready,” McCarthy continued. “But until you play the position and go play those 1,100, 1,200 snaps, that’s when you really find out. I think Matt’s ready for that.”

On Thursday, NFL Films' Greg Cosell made the case for Flynn to the Dolphins and it came down to this: "It would make good sense for Flynn to join his former offensive coordinator in Miami. [New head coach Joe] Philbin understands from personal experience Flynn’s strengths and limitations. If he gets the chance, he will take a page from the Bill Walsh book, and cast Flynn in his rightful role: an efficient passer in a multi-dimensional passing game in which the scheme rules, not the quarterback."

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is reportedly "infatuated" with Manning but Sports Illustrated's Peter King thinks Peyton-to-South Beach doesn't make a lot of sense.

"As one GM told me today, problem with Peyton to Miami is Philbin wants to control his team and his offense -- not cede it to Manning," King tweeted Friday.

General manager Jeff Ireland said the organization would be okay with a "short-term solution" at quarterback but added that "Obviously you'd like a long-term solution, but you can do both."

The pool of free-agent quarterbacks is pretty thin. In fact, if you're willing to accept that Manning's future remains uncertain, Flynn is easily Miami's best option. If they agree, then the question becomes whether they can get him for a good price.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:43 pm
 

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

Luck and RG3 both said they'd be willing to sit behind Manning next season. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Even if they're not throwing this weekend, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are saying all the right things at the combine. Two months from the NFL Draft, they're considered the two best quarterbacks, and there's the strong possibility that both are off the board with the first two picks.

Most people -- from fans half-paying attention to draft experts -- expect the Colts to take Luck first overall. The former Stanford star has been called the best prospect since John Elway. Given all the upheaval in Indianapolis right now -- from the new front office and coaching staff to the speculation that Peyton Manning could be released in the coming weeks ahead of a $28 million roster bonus -- there's also reason to believe that Luck, like Manning in 1998, would be the starter from Day 1.

Despite the writing on the wall, Colts owner Jim Irsay said recently that he "would love to have" Manning back in Indy. We're guessing those comments were more PR cover than heartfelt, but either way, Luck was asked Friday about the possibility of playing behind Peyton next season.

“If I have the opportunity to learn from a guy like that, of course you’re going to take advantage of it," he said. "Absolutely. … Peyton was my football hero. That’s who I modeled myself after," he continued. "You never replace a guy like that."

Except you do replace a guy like that, perhaps soon. And many Colts fans accepted that reality when the team was on it's way to a 2-14 season without Manning, who had multiple neck surgeries in recent years and his football-playing future is still in question.

There's also this: the organization is free to sign Luck starting Friday.

Griffin, who sported Ninja Turtle socks when he spoke with the media Friday, was also asked about playing behind Manning.

"Yeah I would embrace it," he said according to CBSSports.com's Will Brinson, who is in Indianapolis this week. "It's not very often you get chances to play -- or be on a team -- with a legend like that and learn from a guy like Peyton.

"Definitely I'd come in and compete to try and be the starter, but I wouldn't be upset if Peyton was the starting quarterback of the team I'm on. It would be an honor to sit behind him. I'd hold that clipboard with pride. I'm not going to come in and demand to be the starter."

It's a fantastic answer to questions that are likely irrelevant. We suppose there is some small probability that Manning could return, but all indications are that he's taken his last snap for the Colts.

"Who knows what happens?” Luck asked Friday.

Irsay does, that's who. And we're guessing Luck will be under center when the Colts take the field in Week 1 of the 2012 season.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:08 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:08 pm
 

Pioli: 'Sounds like Kyle wants to be with us'

Orton started three games for Kansas City in 2011 and could return in 2012. (Getty Images)

Eye on Football staff report

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kyle Orton began the 2011 season as the Broncos starting quarterback. That lasted five weeks, by which point Denver was 1-4, and Orton was replaced with Tim Tebow. Seven wins later, the Broncos were AFC West champions and beat the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Orton wasn't around to enjoy it because he was released in late November. He signed with the Chiefs and started started three games there.

Now a free agent, Orton ranked seventh in Eye on Football's list of available quarterbacks, which either speaks well to his skills or tells you the current state of backup QBs in the NFL.  Either way, Orton is just a season removed throwing for more than 3,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Like wideout Brandon Lloyd (also no longer in Denver), Orton flourished in Josh McDaniels' offense.

And he proved more than adequate in Kansas City, too.  Matt Cassel missed part of the 2011 season with a hand injury but is set to be the starter heading into training camp. But with the Tyler Palko experiment blowing up in their faces, the Chiefs are in the market for a backup and Orton impressed during his short time with the team.

At the combine Friday, general manager Scott Pioli spoke about the possibility Orton could return.

“We’ve talked to Kyle’s people. It sounds like Kyle would like to be with us," he said. "We’ve told Kyle we’d like to continue to work with him. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if things arrive at the right place. It’s not always whether we want a player or the player wants to be here. Things have to work out (contractually).”

Looking around the league, Orton's best shot at starting might be in Kansas City. Yes, Cassel tops the depth chart but is there really that much difference between the two (And maybe there is; we never thought Orton would play so poorly in Denver that he'd be benched for Tebow.)

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 7:37 pm
 

Gronkowski talks about post-Super Bowl partying

Gronk on dancing after Super Bowl loss: 'It is what it is.' (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

It's been almost three weeks since the Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Which means it's been almost three weeks since Rob Gronkowski and Matt Light were caught on video dancing their troubles away at a postgame party.

Most people didn't have an issue with how Gronk chose to deal with defeat (even if it included taking his shirt off -- in public, no less!). He's a grown man and the season was over. NBC NFL analyst and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison wasn't one of those people. He breathlessly proclaimed that Gronkowski had "disrespected himself" before adding “I guarantee you this, if Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Richard Seymour or myself had been at that party, [Gronkowski] probably would have got his head rung. There’s no reason for that to happen.”

Settle down, Rodney.

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was more reasoned in his response, saying that “One thing I do know is the guy is 100 percent a passionate when it comes to football. He loves football. He wants to win. He doesn’t like losing. I don’t know specifically what people are questioning, but he’s an ultimate competitor.”

And now, finally, Gronkowski has weighed in. The tight end, who had surgery on his ankle on Feb. 10, hadn't spoken about any of this publicly until Friday.

“It is what it is,” Gronkowski said during an appearance on 97.5 in Philadelphia (via PFT). “We were just having fun with my brothers and stuff . . . family I haven’t seen in a while . . . and the chance of hanging out with LMFAO was pretty cool too. . . . Unfortunately we didn’t win and that was the number 1 goal.”

So there you go, Rodney. It is ... what it is. Hope that clears things up for you.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:00 pm
 

Adam Carriker can flex, wear tight shirts too

We know you can't tell from the photos, but Landry (left) is a safety and Carriker's a defensive lineman. (Twitter)

By Ryan Wilson

LaRon Landry has big muscles. And we don't mean the garden-variety muscles you see on typical NFL players. We're talking pipes usually reserved for bodyguards and the Jersey Shore. On Thursday, the internet caught wind of the Landry phenomenon, and it got to the point that Landry took to Twitter to defend himself against all sorts of criticisms.

He weighs "223 solid," not 240 pounds as some had suggested, scoffed at the notion that the picture above was Photoshopped -- or that he's "on" anything -- and wondered why so many people cared what he looked like.

"Damn more men on my timeline than anything," Landry tweeted. "Didn't know there parents raised them as females to hate/criticize another mans perfectionYOLO"

So that happened. We mention all this because it's not just fans and media taking note of Landry's physique. Former teammate Adam Carriker took time out of whatever he was doing Friday to squeeze into a tight shirt and post the photo above to Twitter.



And Chad Ochocinco, currently of the Patriots (but probably not for long), offered these observations:



All this working out reminded us of quite possibly the greatest exercise video of all time.



Your move, LaRon (jazzercise optional).

hat tip: Sports Bog

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:27 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:28 pm
 

Are Dolphins best fit for Matt Flynn's skills?

Green Bay might franchise Flynn but only to trade him to a team in desperate need of a QB.  (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Packers inked tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year deal Wednesday night, which means that they can now use the franchise tag on backup quarterback Matt Flynn. The organization isn't interested in paying Flynn $14.4 million to watch Aaron Rodgers in 2012, but instead are hoping to trade him to a quarterback-needy team.

" If (the Packers) franchise Flynn before the March 5 deadline, they would be on the hook for a $14.4 million salary, but their intention would be to do a sign-and-trade," Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote late Wednesday.

"In other words, they would shop Flynn to those interested in him and take the best offer. Flynn would have to agree to renegotiate the one-year deal into a long-term contract before any team would be willing to make a trade. Then, once he was dealt, he would restructure the contract."

The Patriots did something similar with Matt Cassel in 2009 -- franchising him before eventually trading him to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

So who might be in the market for Flynn's services? The Dolphins seem like the most logical destination; new head coach Joe Philbin was Flynn's offensive coordinator in Green Bay and Miami has no intentions of re-signing Chad Henne. Then there are the Redskins, Seahawks, Cardinals, and the Browns.

We went into painstaking detail about Flynn's future (as well as that of Peyton Manning, the other quarterback who will draw plenty of interest in free agency as soon as he's released).


NFL Films' Greg Cosell, who watches more game film than anyone whose not an NFL coach, wrote Thursday about Flynn's strengths and weaknesses. Many of the concerns scouts had about Flynn coming out of college remain (size and arm strength chief among them), but he still has the chance to be pretty good.

"Flynn, at 6-foot-2, does not possess prototypical size. He has above-average arm strength, nothing more," Cosell said. "There are power throws he will struggle to make, like deep digs at 18-22 yards, or deep comebacks. In fact, these are not throws you would ask Flynn to make. The bottom line: Flynn is not a top-level passer.

"His attributes, based on film breakdown of his two NFL starts, derive from his talent as a timing and rhythm passer who’s decisive with his reads and throws, and has shown good accuracy in the short to intermediate areas. …One thing I liked was his pocket movement. He showed the ability to slide and maintain his downfield focus. That’s a far more important trait than running out of the pocket."

So what are Flynn's long-term prospects? "Flynn, I believe, can be a successful NFL starter, but he must be carefully manipulated by the schematics of the passing game, and helped by the play-calling," Cosell said. "He’s not Aaron Rodgers simply because he put up better numbers in a late-season start. Rodgers is an exception, a supremely talented passer with rare traits. Few quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown with Rodgers’ combination of velocity and accuracy."

Cosell concludes that "It would make good sense for Flynn to join his former offensive coordinator in Miami. Philbin understands from personal experience Flynn’s strengths and limitations. If he gets the chance, he will take a page from the Bill Walsh book, and cast Flynn in his rightful role: an efficient passer in a multi-dimensional passing game in which the scheme rules, not the quarterback."

Flynn has drawn comparisons to Kevin Kolb, who was miscast in the Cardinals' scheme last season  (they run a completely different offense than the Eagles' version of the West Coast). The difference: if Flynn lands in Miami, he'll have a much greater chance for success.

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said he hadn't heard about the grassroots South Florida "Manning to Miami" push until someone told him about it at the combine in Indianapolis Thursday morning, but said that "I don't think it has to be a long-term solution (at quarterback) -- I think you can look at a short-term solution."

Hopefully, Ireland meant that in the physical sense (Flynn's 6-2) and not in the "we can get a year or two out of this old-timer assuming he's completely healthy (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we're getting Peyton!)" sense.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:50 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 2:52 pm
 

LaRon Landry is very, very muscular

Landry looks more like Terry Tate than a defensive back. (Twitter/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Safety LaRon Landry played in just eight games in 2011 and nine in 2010, and twice ended those seasons on injured reserve after his left Achilles tendon didn't respond to treatment. His inability to stay on the field probably means that the free agent won't return to the Redskins, the team that drafted him sixth-overall in 2007.

Whatever professional fate awaits the former LSU star, this much is certain: Landry's not sitting around bemoaning his misfortune. He's working out. A lot.

                                                                                      (Twitter)
On Thursday, D.C. Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg posted two photos of Landry, who looks huge. So huge, in fact, that our initial reaction was "When did Landry get his picture taken in front of a funhouse mirror?"

(Judging by his photo stream, he doesn't own many shirts. Then again, look at him. Off-the-rack clothes don't fit.)

This isn't the first time Landry's physique has been a story. In August 2010, Steinberg first mentioned it, that spawned The Official LaRon Landry's muscles are huge" thread on a Redskins message board, and now you, flabby girly man, can attempt his workout too.

Last December, after Landry landed on IR for the second time in as many seasons, head coach Mike Shanahan said “(In 2010), in the first nine games that he played, he should’ve been player of the year — I think he would’ve been defensive player of the year. But he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.”

Landry looks plenty healthy in those photos. Whether that means he's healthy enough to endure an entire NFL season is another matter entirely.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:31 pm
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

One man's opinion: injuries conspired to sink Indy's season in 2011. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Colts won two games in 2011. Two days into 2012, owner Jim Irsay began the house-cleaning by firing team president Bill Polian and his son, general manager Chris Polian. The front office had come under scrutiny after quarterback Peyton Manning began the season on the sidelines while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries and the team had no viable backup to replace him.

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Then there are the swings and misses with recent first-round picks that had taken some of the luster off the elder Polians' impressive roster-building resume. Excluding Anthony Castonzo, Indy's 2011 first-rounder, Polian is on the hook for Jerry Hughes ('10), Donald Brown ('09), Anthony Gonzalez ('07), and Marlin Jackson ('05), all players who have, for various reasons, failed to live up to expectations.

On Thursday, almost two months after Polian was fired, he spoke to the media about where it all went wrong. The Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport asked Polian what he learned about team-building after Manning's injury kept him in civvies on game day.

“No. 1, don’t have injuries,” he said. “And don’t have them in big bunches, either, specifically not the offensive line. And six starters on defense. You can’t overcome that. You don’t use injuries as an excuse or a crutch during the season, but when you lose, I think we lost nine starters, excluding Peyton for the bulk of the season, you can’t overcome that. That’s just the perfect storm.”

Hmm. Here's what we got from Polian: Don't use injuries as an excuse or a crutch during the season, but after the season it's fine.

Look, injuries make it that much more difficult to win in the NFL, but it's not impossible. The Packers suffered a ton of injuries in 2010, slipped into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed and won the Super Bowl. The Patriots, Giants and Steelers also lost a number of key players this season and all three teams made the playoffs, and two made it to the championship game.

Polian also admitted that the quarterback situation behind Manning was a fiasco.

“From the backup quarterback standpoint, I’ve said all along, I thought that we probably, I probably could’ve done a better job of building up that position,” he said via Rapoport. “But it wasn’t for lack of trying. We tried very hard once we knew that Peyton was going to be a long-term situation to try to make a deal for an established quarterback, but we couldn’t do it.”

Again with the qualifications -- "It wasn't from the lack of trying!" and "We tried very hard!" This isn't Pop Warner where everybody gets a trophy and trying hard is all that matters. In the NFL, players and coaches are judged on one thing: results. Ultimately, Irsay judged Polian, too, and it cost him his job. Polian did admit, however, that he has a newfound respect for what the Patriots pulled off in 2008, when Tom Brady went down in Week 1 and Matt Cassel stepped in and went 11-5 (although New England missed the playoffs).

“Well, they did a nice job,” he said. “They did a nice job. But they didn’t have… they had a great defense to go along with it, we did not. Much of it was lost to injury over the course of the season. That’s the difference between the two.”

Remind us: whose fault was it that the Colts' defense wasn't very good?

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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