Redskins, Seahawks reportedly to make big push for Manning

Peyton Manning: Redskins poised for a hard sell to superstar QB
www.washingtonpost.com

The Washington Redskins are poised to make an aggressive effort in coming days to sign quarterback Peyton Manning, who is set to become perhaps the highest-profile free agent in NFL history after he is released by the Indianapolis Colts as early as Wednesday.

Several people familiar with the Redskins’ plans said the team is comfortable with the risks associated with signing Manning, who missed all of last season with the Colts after undergoing a series of neck surgeries. The team will pursue him intently, they said. Redskins officials declined to comment.

Regarding Seattle:

One team, the Seahawks, plan to come out "checkbook blazing" for Manning, ESPN New York reported Tuesday, citing a league source.

Mr. Manning departs Indianapolis Lard 3-7-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Colts are holding a press conference today at noon ET to announce the release of some guy named Peyton Manning. Manning flew into town last night with Jim Irsay on the Colts owner's private jet, and he will become a free agent as soon as the Colts release him.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is apparently still enamored with the idea of signing Manning; the Jets will consider adding the QB despite the presence of the Sanchize, although some within the organization figure Peyton would prefer to avoid the Jets' circus act. Arizona is considered a possible suitor, although they must decide whether to keep Kevin Kolb by St. Patrick's Day, when he's due a $7M roster bonus. Of course, everyone figures Shanny & Co. will be in on Peyton as well; Seattle has been mentioned as a potential landing spot, and of course Romeo Crennel made it clear the Chiefs are interested too.

Meanwhile, Jerry Rice thinks the Niners should go after Manning, whose Colts teammates are dreading his release even though they knew it was coming.

Continue reading "Mr. Manning departs Indianapolis Lard 3-7-12"

Klis: Broncos will not make play for Manning

Shanny’s Redskins leader in Peyton Manning sweepstakes
blogs.denverpost.com

I have talked to people close to the Peyton Manning situation and the expectation as of today is the bidding war will come down to Mike Shanahan’s Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins.

The New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks will also make a run, as well up to three or four others.

The Broncos will not be in the bidding, although where Manning lands will create a domino affect that could affect which free-agent quarterback Denver does sign to back up Tim Tebow.

Klis has spoken: no Manning for you!

Peyton Manning as good as gone

Colts plan to announce Peyton Manning’s departure Wednesday
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

The Colts will officially do what has been widely expected for months and formally announce that they’re releasing Manning on Wednesday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports. Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are expected to attend a joint announcement.

Tebow haters, start your Manning-to-Broncos rumors at midnight tonight.  

Or, if you hate Tebow that much, begin...now.

Scouting the Combine: Tight ends

With the rise of dominant tight ends like New England's Rob Gronkowski and the Saints' Jimmy Graham last season, and teams starting to see the position in a new (and very old) light, it was unfortunate to see that the TE pickings remain very limited this year. Yet, there's a chance one or two will surprise people down the road. The main reason is that the advent of the spread offenses in college have diminished the value of the position on that level, and fewer colleges are turning out legitimate TE candidates for the draft. There’s a disconnect there that will have to be worked out eventually, but for right now, all that matters is the options that are going to be available.

Georgia's Orson Charles and Clemson's Dwayne Allen were clearly the class of their group, with Coby Fleener of Stanford not participating. Both are extremely well put together - Allen looks a bit bigger, but Charles is by far the most defined in terms of his musculature. One thing that I look for is the level of muscular development - do they look more like a college kid or an NFL player? Are they at least slightly ripped? Do they have strong calves? Those are essential to anchor and cut well - Charles was the most impressive in that area, and in several others. If they block in line, do they have the bubble for it? How do they hold their hands in the rapid-fire drills? Are they natural receivers, or do they struggle to have their hands in position?

Continue reading "Scouting the Combine: Tight ends"

The Daily Lard 3-6-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pittsburgh's decision not to tag Mike Wallace means any team can ink the 25-year-old wideout to a deal the cap-strapped Steelers are presumably unable to match, with only a first-round pick going back as compensation. Of course, this would be quite the bargain for most teams when considering Wallace's young age and exceptional skills, especially if they happen to pick late in this year's first round, like the Broncos, Patriots, and Niners do.

Mike Tanier thinks Denver's abundance of cap space and their need for a playmaking receiver who gets himself open regardless of scheme makes the Broncos a perfect fit for Wallace. Tanier points to Wallace's terrific numbers on screens and bombs as a perfect complement for Tim Tebow's abilities, and he also envisions Denver utilizing Wallace on plenty of end arounds. Sounds like a no-brainer - who wouldn't be happy with Wallace as Denver's 2012 first-round choice? No matter who the QB is long-term in Denver, Wallace would potentially be his immediate favorite target, with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker suddenly finding a lot more room to roam.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 3-6-12"

Scouting the Combine: Running backs

It’s no surprise that the running back group each year tends to garner a lot of attention. Among the skill players, these candidates may be returners, burners, slot receivers, outlet receivers, blockers and, oh yes, guys who carry the ball for you. It’s a pass-oriented league, which means that the ability to block and to catch out of the backfield or off the line in four- and five-wideout sets makes a player that much more interesting to teams.

Shonn Greene showed why this past season - he struggled some in running the ball, and his lack of skills at blocking and receiving left him on the bench more often than he or the Jets would prefer. I like Greene, and enough to write a bio praising the way he’s overcome his background. It’s not a matter of complaining about him, but a fact of life.

Greene had one great year in college and neither blocking nor receiving were a part of it. He’s a powerful, punishing runner, but those missing skills would have benefited both him and his team in 2011. Athletic skills, the ability to make tacklers miss, and the patience to see the lanes open up are the things that you usually get off of tape, but the athletic skill tests are essential to making sure that you have covered the bases of every player that might help you. The more skills a player brings to the table - short yardage, between the tackles, around the edge, blocking and receiving, etc - the more valuable they become. The better they are at each, the more that value ascends.

Continue reading "Scouting the Combine: Running backs"

Pork Chop’s weasel-word meter gets pegged

Free agent QBs for Broncos, Chiefs
espn.go.com

Chad Henne: There has been talk Denver will be interested and he could push Tim Tebow. Kansas City could also be interested. He played for new Kansas City offensive coordinator Brian Daboll last season.

Shaun Hill: I could see him being on Denver’s list as a backup.

Josh Johnson: Denver could look at him as a backup to Tebow.

Vince Young: Giving Tebow a similar backup would be compelling and you never know, maybe the light would finally come on for Young in Denver.

How many weasel words (otherwise known as modal auxiliary verbs) can one guy cram into a 338-word blog entry?

I lost count after the 10th "could" and the third "may."

Will Aaron Rodgers decide Tebowmania is too much to bear and try and force his way out of Green Bay so he can come and compete with Tebow?  He could, you know.  Of course, anything could happen.

Broncos will tag Prater

According to Adam Schefter, the Broncos will use their franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater. The 27-year-old has been Denver's full-time kicker for four seasons and has made 90 of his 112 field goal attempts, a success rate of 80.4%.

Should Prater sign his franchise tender, he will be assured a $2.6M salary and a raise of $800K over his 2011 figure. Last season was an eventful for Prater, who was arrested in August for crashing his truck into a parked car while drunk and after having picked up an employee at area strip club Shotgun Willie's. It took him only months to find redemption, as several game-saving and -winning kicks had none other than JC singing his praises on national television.

The Broncos and Prater will still have until the beginning of the 2012 season to agree to a long-term contract.

PK: Expect suspensions galore for Saints

As bounty fallout continues, Goodell to make example of Saints
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

[Williams is] in the biggest trouble and will likely get a significant suspension, at least half the season. Coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis will be banned for a time too, for not exercising the kind of institutional control they should have.

Vilma is going down, and I suspect other player leaders could be banned for games too. Not that they’re all still Saints, but I have to wonder how the league will manage the suspension if, say, six Saints are banned for a game or more. Will Goodell stagger them? Or will the Saints be missing half their defense for Week 1?

Also worth noting is that Brett Favre was surprised by the severity and timing of the hits the Saints delivered in defeating Favre's Vikings in the 2009 NFC title game, and King expects New Orleans OC Pete Carmichael would likely stand in for Payton if the coach is suspended.

Plus, the Texans have re-signed Arian Foster to a five-year deal.

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