Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

John Harbaugh goes Ward Cleaver

Harbaugh: Pats titles have asterisks
espn.go.com

“In the end, everything is brought before the light of day, when it’s all said and done,” Harbaugh said on “98 Rock” in Baltimore. “What happens, even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It’s been stained. To me, it’s never worth it. You have to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage, you have to figure out ways to make the most of everything…That’s what success is in the world. You have to find a way to do things better than somebody else. But if you’re cheating, in the end, you’re going to get discredited. It’s not worth it.”

You hear that, kids?  There are no shortcuts.  As Hulk Hogan would say (or perhaps Johh Harbaugh): if you want to be a true American hero, you've got to train, say your prayers, eat your fiber, be true to yourself, and be true to your country.

Or you can videotape the other team, win three championships, be considered perhaps the greatest coach of all time, and have NFL Films lionize you.

Kirk Cousins surprised he’s not Brock Osweiler

Kirk Cousins thought he’d back up a veteran like Peyton or Vick
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“I would have said probably Denver or Philadelphia, in terms of teams that had shown interest and were looking for a quarterback.”

“I still have an opportunity to learn from a nine-year veteran like Rex Grossman,” Cousins said. “I’ll be the first one to say it was a surprising pick to me as well, but coach Shanahan was there in San Francisco with Joe Montana and Steve Young, so he’s not new to this. . . . I know my opportunity is going to come sooner or later.”

Exit Light (Peyton Manning).

Enter night (Rex Grossman).

Take Kirk's hand. We're off to Rex Grossman land.

Guitar Solo

Osweiler prepared to sit a decade if needed

Brock Osweiler on Teaming Up with John Elway and Peyton Manning in Denver: “It’s a Quarterback’s Dream”
sportsradiointerviews.com

On if the Broncos staff has notified him of any changes they’d like to see from him:

“Not really. In fact, it seemed that the coaching staff was very happy with how far I had progressed since the end of the season. I gotta give a ton of credit to Noel Mazzone for working with me the past three months and improving my delivery, improving my footwork . . . And I feel like the coaching staff in Denver was very happy with the progress that I had made.”

On having to wait behind Peyton Manning, maybe for several years:

“You know, my job as a quarterback right now for the Broncos is to do what’s absolutely best for the football team. And if that’s to sit for two years behind Peyton Manning, or 10 years, or whatever the case may be, I’m just there to do what’s ever best for the football team and I just absolutely cannot wait to get started.”

We're quite sure Osweiler doesn't really mean 10 years, but the saying that he would wait a decade is the important thing here.

Looks like Noel Mazzone and mechanical flaws aren't the only commonalities between Osweiler and Tim Tebow.  It seems Osweiler is well versed in saying the right thing, too.

GB², we love you, Brock.

The NFL may put us out of our Pro Bowl misery

Pro Bowl game likely to be shelved
espn.go.com

Many players who will be selected during this week’s NFL draft are regarded as future Pro Bowl selections, but the game itself likely will be suspended this season and beyond, according to league sources.

Sources say that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has previously voiced his displeasure with the lack of competitiveness in recent Pro Bowl games, is strongly considering suspending this year’s game, sources say.

Beyond 2013, another league source believes the Pro Bowl is “DOA (dead on arrival).”

If the game is suspended, the league still would have a Pro Bowl balloting process to identify the season’s top players and would direct teams to negotiate Pro Bowl clauses into player contracts and to honor Pro Bowl incentive clauses to avoid any serious conflict with the players association. Those players also likely would be honored in some fashion during Super Bowl week.

Good riddance.

Samuel accepts hefty pay cut to join Falcons

Asante Samuel agrees to three-year, $18.5M deal as part of trade
www.nfl.com

The deal to send cornerback Asante Samuel to the Atlanta Falcons from the Philadelphia Eagles has been finalized, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

As part of the trade, Samuel and the Falcons have agreed to terms on a three-year, $18.5 million deal.

Mike Klis reported last week that Denver was essentially out of the running for Samuel, and now it's official. Samuel had been due about $21.5M over just two seasons according to the terms of his prior contract.

Atlanta sent Philly a seventh-round pick in return for Samuel; according to Kils, Denver had been offering either a fifth- or sixth-rounder, or a player.

Denver SB teams were most diversely sourced champs

When Draft Classes Make the Biggest Difference
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

But no team found contributors in more places than Denver’s two Super Bowl champions. John Elway came aboard in 1983; a dozen years later, Denver drafted Terrell Davis. Rod Smith was an undrafted free agent and Ed McCaffrey came to Denver after playing with the Giants. Gary Zimmerman and Mark Schlereth manned the left side of the line, but were drafted by N.F.C. East teams in the 1980s. John Mobley, Tom Nalen and Shannon Sharpe were key contributors, but drafted years apart. The ’97 team fielded only two starters who were part of the same Denver draft class: middle linebacker Allen Aldridge and center Tom Nalen. In 1998, two second-year players — guard Dan Neil and defensive tackle Trevor Pryce — were the only starters from the same draft class (Aldridge was playing with the Lions in 1998).

Collecting so many aging free agents like Howard Griffith, Tyrone Braxton, Bill Romanowski, and Neil Smith, plus younger players like Alfred Williams, Darrien Gordon, and Maa Tanuvasa, and then combining them with the guys listed above to create a cohesive winner was a remarkable feat, cap Shanahanigans aside.

As for the main point of the piece, Stuart shows that rookies (or any single draft class) rarely make significant contributions to a SB championship, which stands in contrast to Elway's comments from yesterday about expecting immediate impacts from drafted players.

The next great NFL scandal also stars the Saints

Saints' Loomis could eavesdrop
espn.go.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons…Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season, his first as general manager of the Saints, and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

A few thoughts:

  1. If Loomis was indeed listening in during the 2004 season, it didn't help his Saints in Week 11 of that year, when they got thrashed by the visiting Broncos 34-13.
  2. The statute of limitations may preclude Loomis from facing criminal prosecution, but does anyone want to bet against the long arm of Roger Goodell extracting another pound of flesh from the still smarting Loomis for this one?
  3. Although this should be filed under the Of Course This Happens in the NFL category, the Saints are the ones who appear to have been caught, and that's all that really counts.
  4. Aints fans truly cannot catch a break.
  5. Perhaps Al Davis wasn't so far out there, at least in terms of his legendary paranoia.

Archie: Peyton isn’t thinking beyond 2012

Archie Manning: 'I think (Peyton) is going year to year'
content.usatoday.com

But now, the elder Manning says, “I think (Peyton’s neck injury) makes you a little more realistic’’ about a retirement date.

“I think he’s always done a good job of not taking his health for granted; I think he learned that early on because of (brother) Cooper’s injury,’’ that ended his football career, says Archie Manning. “But after missing a season, I think he is going year to year.’‘

“Denver is not Buffalo,’’ says his father. “I saw a number where the average home temperature (in Denver) is 60 degrees. You play just half your games at home anyway. We’ll see. I think he has more things on his mind than the weather. I really think he has one focus: Make this transition to a new team. You miss a whole year and now you change (teams)—it will be different.’‘

Of course, during Peyton's introductory presser, he said he's "planning on playing for a long time," while the structure of his five-year contract gives Denver and Manning outs after the 2012, 2014, and 2015 seasons if the issues with his neck again become a hindrance. (via PFT)

MMQB: Ross wants Tannehill, who should go in top 12

Tannehill not a lock for Dolphins or top 10; more recent draft buzz
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Over the weekend, I was told the same thing that Mike Florio reported on ProFootballTalk.com: that owner Stephen Ross wanted the Dolphins to pick Tannehill. I was also told Miami’s offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, likes his former A&M quarterback but isn’t standing on the table for him…And this morning, I got a call from someone saying Florio was right on; Ross wants the quarterback. If Miami passes on him at eight, I expect him to go either to a trade-up team with Kansas City at 11 or to Seattle at 12.

Elsewhere, PK says the Jaguars are anxious to move back from the #7 pick, the Colts would like to get Coby Fleener in Round 2, and Minnesota must come up with a new stadium deal in the next two or three months if they're to keep the Vikings.

Manning’s motion was a mess last fall; several ex-teammates aided his recovery

Quarterback sneak: How Peyton Manning regained his confidence and throwing motion
insider.espn.go.com

The result was a spaghetti pile of a throwing motion, the mechanics of a man in a hurry…Manning’s body was way out in front of his arm, forcing his throws to catch up to his chest and legs instead of pushing through with them. For reference, Cutcliffe dug through the mountain of film he’s kept on Manning over the years…

During visits to Durham and back in Indianapolis, Manning started an autumn-long ramping-up process. First were tosses to no one. When his arm began catching up to his chest, he began throwing routes to receivers, starting with one, then expanding into multiples.

(Todd Helton) declared he could keep up with Cutcliffe’s football workouts, then quickly demanded a TV timeout when it got too intense—“because that’s what you football guys do.” He played every position on the field during Manning’s simulations.

Manning and Helton would work out in the morning while Cutcliffe ran Duke’s spring practice and watched film at lunch with his coaching staff. Come late afternoon, the three would meet on the field to run their own drills….Helton never openly campaigned for Denver, because at that point no one believed the Broncos would even be suitors.

McGee's story also tells of Brandon Stokley, Austin Collie, and Jeff Saturday joining Peyton to simulate the 2009 AFC championship game on the Duke campus while the Blue Devils hosted Maryland's Terps at Cameron Indoor. (Insider or ESPN Mag required)