Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:10 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:11 pm

Peyton Manning's giant shadow hasn't left Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning remains everywhere. The coach of the Colts at a press conference here was asked about him. The Arizona Cardinals wouldn't rule out Manning coming to their team. Jets coach Rex Ryan wouldn't rule out Manning coming to his team. That should be Manning's nickname: Won't Rule Out.

Manning is associated with seemingly every team that needs a quarterback or has a quarterback that stinks. In Florida, fans are putting up billboards in a desperate attempt to lure him there.

So as Manning overshadowed the Super Bowl he does the same at the combine. He remains the biggest topic here. At the Super Bowl, he dwarfed Tom Brady and his brother Eli. Now, he minimizes Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin.

The Colts coach and general manager both said they had no new news on Manning and neither had seen him throw. He remains the hottest topic in football despite there being nothing original to report.

Manning and Irsay are talking but there isn't any clear indication a resolution is near. This could go down to the final day. The question is why? Everyone, including Manning and Jim Irsay, knows this relationship is over.

So everyone waits and while everyone does Manning remains the biggest story in football...still.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 4, 2012 6:32 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 10:25 pm

Parcells has HOF chops, his exclusion a mystery

I'm not going to be one of those whining, smirking people who complains about the Hall of Fame voting process. I know some of those men in the room. Many are skilled, brilliant and extremely smart about the game. A handful are arrogant jerks with hardcore agendas but the vast majority know what they are doing.

So I'm not going to complain as much as simply be stunned over the omission of Bill Parcells. I'm not a Parcells fan. He treated many people in my business terribly and wasn't exactly a great human being. But to me, in history, there are few better coaches.

The two greatest motivators in NFL history, the coaches who got players to do things and go places in their careers they thought they never could, were Don Shula and Parcells. The best pure motivators ever. Period. That is a coach's primary job. Nothing happens before that -- not the Xs and Os, nothing -- before getting a player mentally ready. Shula was the best at that (what he did in Miami with the then expansion Dolphins is borderline miraculous) and Parcells was second.

He turned around the Giants, the Patriots and Jets when those latter two organizations were absolutely awful.

My guess as to what hurt Parcells. First -- and no one will admit this but it's true -- the way he treated some writers played a factor. Writers have long memories and we can be just as petty anyone else. There likely were a few writers in the room who were either treated poorly by Parcells -- or know people who were -- and this was a form of payback.

I've also heard some writers over the years (including some in that room) say that Bill Belichick made Parcells and Parcells never made it back to a Super Bowl without Belichick.

But most importantly it is accurate that when Parcells left organizations he left them atomized. His departures were sometimes very ugly and it likely also did not help Parcells that he left the Dolphins in semi-ruins.

But overall his record -- he took the Giants, Jets, Patriots and Cowboys to the playoffs while winning two of three Super Bowl appearances -- was more than enough to overcome his faults.

No, not a complaint here. Just sort of stunned.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: December 26, 2011 10:22 am

The Daily Shoutout: Schottenheimer scapegoat?

OPENING HIT: This weekend Mark Sanchez threw 59 passes. He was sacked five times and you could almost see him losing confidence as the game went on against the Giants. It was understandable. This isn't what the Jets were constructed to do and Sanchez isn’t the type of quarterback who can shoulder that kind of load.

The inevitable Sanchez microscopic exam started immediately after that Giants loss. The site Profootballtalk.com reported the Jets were having doubts about Sanchez. The New York Post loosely reported that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might be coaching for his job this week.

The latter, I’m told by someone I trust, is more likely the truth. The Jets – for the moment -- have no intention of replacing Sanchez. It seems more likely a change at offensive coordinator would happen first. Offensive coordinators are easier to fire and replace than No. 1 draft picks.

That's been the usual pattern for struggling offenses in the NFL for decades. Sacrifice an assistant coach. If that doesn't work, change head coaches. If that doesn't work, fire the quarterback.

I think that’s where the Jets are headed. If the Jets fail to make the postseason someone has to lose their job. It’s the NFL way and it likely won’t be Sanchez.


Category: NFL
Tags: Jets, NFL, Sanchez
Posted on: November 30, 2011 8:30 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 10:46 am

The Daily Shoutout: Conspiracy in New York

OPENING HIT: Something happened on New York radio on Tuesday: there was an interesting, relevant, non-pandering, non-belligerent, non-bigoted conversation about sports. Specifically, this chat was about Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez has a weekly spot with Michael Kay, who is the television voice of the Yankees and has a talk-show in New York. Sanchez clearly sounded borderline depressed and there was chat between Kay and his sidekick about why. Then the conversation took an interesting turn. Kay began talking about the appearance of analyst Tim Hasselbeck earlier in the day on the station, and Hasselbeck said something even more interesting.

He claimed that one of the possible reasons Sanchez was struggling (and I don't think he is) was because Sanchez wasn't working hard enough. That is a serious, brutal claim. There is little worse you can say about a professional athlete than to say he's lazy.

It's also, in my opinion, a false claim. No one in the Jets organization has ever told me Sanchez doesn't work hard. Quite the opposite. Hasselbeck's words came completely out of nowhere.

Hasselbeck had noted early in the interview that he was good friends with Mark Brunell. Actually, went out of his way to say it. Hmmm ... really? And that's where Kay began speculating (and I think correctly) that maybe Brunell was the source of Hasselbeck's information.

The conversation, I have to say, was truly interesting for a number of reasons. I have never seen a young thrower who has won so much -- appearances in two conference title games -- criticized from so many different angles. Now, you have people saying he doesn't work hard enough. It's reaching absolutely stupid proportions.

And so here we are. Now Sanchez's work ethic is under attack and the conspiracy theorists believe Brunell, Sanchez's teammate, may be the source of that attack.

BRIAN BILLICK: Don't think the Jaguars would want you, anyway.
Category: NFL
Tags: Jets
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:41 am

The Daily Shoutout: Schottenheimer in trouble?

OPENING HIT: I rarely, if ever, call for a coach to get fired. I won't now. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear with the Jets' offensive troubles: offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will probably get canned if the Jets don't make the playoffs.

There's going to be a scapegoat for all of this if the Jets continue to struggle and I don't think, unlike past years, the Jets are going to turn their season around. Sure, Mark Sanchez deserves some of the blame for this debacle, and the wide receiver turnover has been a problem, and there is no running game to speak of, but none of that will matter. There's going to be a fall coach and it will be Schottenheimer.

He's the logical choice. There are moments when you watch his play-calling and are absolutely quizzical over what he's trying to do. Fan reaction to Schottenheimer has ranged from anger to full-throated rage and we know the players have some questions about him. And if Rex Ryan fails to make the playoffs after promising (yet again) another Super Bowl, he's going to feel the pinch to take the pressure off his own backside.

If the Jets make another one of those miracle runs this is all moot. But it's hard to see that coming now and if it didn't it would be hard envisoning Schottenheimer returning.

Category: NFL
Tags: Jets
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:53 am
Edited on: November 17, 2011 8:12 am

The Daily Shoutout: Tebow time

OPENING HIT: This is the biggest test yet for the league's latest infatuation, Tim Tebow, who can't play a lick of quarterback but somehow has become the most talked about quarterback in football not named Aaron Rodgers.

Check that. Tebow has become an even bigger phenom than Rodgers.

And Thursday night will be his biggest test because despite the Jets playing on a short week, they are going to bring the heat to Tebow. There will be no taking him lightly. There will be no overlooking. Tebow is going to face the full wrath of a talented defense -- not great defense, but talented -- that is irritated from being humiliated by the Patriots. They're going to be ornery.

What the Jets will do: put their corners man up on Denver receivers -- since Tebow has no accuracy they won't get beat -- and crash the line with bodies to stop Tebow running. It's simple.

The biggest test yet, indeed. And Tebow is going to fail it.

Sorry Tim.

I continue to hear LaDainian Tomlinson is strongly considering retiring after this season. I'm not 100 percent on this but it would shock no one close to him. The day he retires the clock begins to tick on him entering the Hall of Fame.
Category: NFL
Tags: Broncos, Jets
Posted on: November 16, 2011 7:32 am
Edited on: November 16, 2011 7:46 am

The Daily Shoutout: I like Mark Sanchez

OPENING HIT: Yes, I like Mark Sanchez. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And it seems like I'm increasingly the only one. I know Sanchez isn't Joe Montana but I don't get all of the extreme criticism. I think Sanchez is solid, has a decent learning curve, and is a good leader. I do wish he'd stop doing model shoots but I'm not going to hold his pretty boy-ness against him.

Bottom line: some of the criticism of him is a little off base. In all seriousness, some of what's happening with Sanchez is because of where he plays. There's a sort of reverse East Coast bias at work. If Sanchez played in Kansas City, we wouldn't be hearing how he hasn't improved since his rookie year. But he plays in New York so the criticism and harshness is more poignant. There's more media covering him and more media types on the East Coast covering him and the fact he went to a big-time program like USC also factors in. He's one of the most scrutinized young players in the sport.

(Not to mention he has Joe Namath commenting on his play on freaking Twitter.)

He's had shuffling receiver corps, revamped offensive lines and an assistant coaching staff that at times isn't all that good.

Is Sanchez great? No. But let's stop acting he's like Tim Tebow. He's got real non-gimmicky skill. He'll come along in time.

Now about those model shoots...
Category: NFL
Tags: Jets
Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 1:28 pm

NFL, Jets could fine Rex Ryan for cursing at fan

It was a foul mouthed day at the Jets-Patriots game on Sunday night. First, Bill Belichick said something, um, interesting. Then CBS' Will Brinson found video of Rex Ryan cursing at a fan.

I've been told by the NFL that they are looking into the Ryan video. In fact, an NFL spokesman said just that.

It's very possible Ryan gets fined either by the Jets or the NFL. This could turn into something more than a humorous anecdote. The league could take money away from Ryan.

Warning: explicit language but here is the video.

It's not a guarantee he'll be fined but my guess: he gets fined. The league despises this kind of behavior.

Again, to be clear, no guarantee, but the league and team aren't going to just let this slide without some form of punishment.

This isn't the first time Ryan has reacted poorly to fan heckling. He was fined $50,000 for an obscene gesture.

This fine could be more.
Category: NFL
Tags: Jets
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