News, Notes and Rumors

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By Bill Smith


Five US Senators have introduced legislation to eliminate NFL Blackouts.

The NFL has announced that they will play 13 Thursday night games next season.  The games will continue after the traditional Thursday night league kickoff and run through week 15.

The league also announced that every NFL team will get at least 1 prime time game.

The Eagles announced they will plan to put the franchise tag on WR DeSean Jackson.  They will try to work out a trade.  That would mean if he signs the tender he would get around 9.5 million dollars for 2012.  He has said he would accept the tender but the tag cannot be placed until Feb. 26th.  The Eagles would get two first round picks from any team that signed him as a tagged player.  The Eagles will try to trade him this offseason for a first and another player.

The Jags have named Mark Lamping as their team president.  He will oversee all non-football operations.



Agent Tom Condon has said “Peyton’s not done.”  Peyton Manning has been medically cleared to play by his doctors in 2012.   However, he has not been cleared by the team.  The Big question is where will he play?  Odds are good that the Colts will pay the 28 million dollar bonus to him and keep both Manning and Andrew Luck the likely first overall pick in the draft.

Former Browns and current Chief OC Brian Dabol has said he wants competition for starting QB Matt Cassel.   The team trusts their QB but not enough to guarantee him the job.  HC Romeo Crennel said Dabol will not coach a position.  The HC wants his OC to focus on calling plays.

The Bills have announced they will change their D to the 4-3 in 2012.  That means that several of their D players may be on the trading block because they no longer fit the system.   Dwan Edwards might be one such player.

The Plain Dealer reported that the Browns feel QB Colt McCoy will be better in 2012 because of a full season under HC Pat Shurmur.  That of course assumes Shurmur can help Colt develop.

RB Cadillac Williams is now Chevy Williams.  He turns 30 this year and will not be back with the Bucs.  He has never been the same after his injuries in 07 and 08.  He has never been the back he was expected to be when he was drafted.

The Saints are trying to resign QB Drew Brees before they address any other position.  WR Marques Colston is expected to be addressed after they sign Brees.

Steelers WR Hines Ward said he is willing to renegotiate his contract.  The Steelers are not sure they want him back at all.  They may keep him if they can.  He is a slot guy and they don’t have that without him.

The Steelers also are planning 2012 without RB Rashard Mendenhall.  He is in the last year of his contract and it will take a full year to recover from his ALC injury late in the season.

The Steelers have already gotten some cap relief by reworking the contracts of CB Ike Taylor, and LBs  LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.  Even with these moves the team is still more than 10 mil over the cap.

The Pats and HC Belichick have not won a Super Bowl since the Video Gate controversy broke.

KC HC Romeo Crennel recently said that he would like to have a QB to challenge starter Matt Cassel.  Chief fans can only hope Romeo does not decide the starter by flipping a coin like he did in Cleveland.



QB Peyton Manning spent a couple of days in the Cards facility working with the coaching staff and receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  That would be a great place for Manning to continue his career.  It would also signal the end of the Kevin Kolb experiment.  Kolb is owed a 7 mill roster bonus next week.  He lost the starting job to John Skelton and will not get the bonus as the 3rd QB.  If he is allowed to become a UFA, look for the Browns to get involved in bidding for his services in 2012.  He is well schooled in the West Coast Offense and has ties to Browns’ GM Tom Heckert.

Look for several teams to be interested in FA WR Randy Moss.  Because he was a FA at the end of 2011 season he can sign immediately.  The Pats are one of the teams reported to be interested.  The lack of downfield speed has been one reason the team has failed to win another Super Bowl.  If Moss still has most of his speed, he will likely be signed for 2012.

Titan UFA CB Cortland Finnegan will be looking for around 10 mil a season in a new deal.  He is going to get multiple offers but given the 120 mil salary cap for 2012 he will not get that much.  He should get 7-8 mil.

Texan UFA DE Mario Williams will not be back.  He does not want to play OLB in a 3-4 D and will opt to a 4-3 team.  He made 1.8 mil last year and could become the highest paid defensive player in the league with an income of up to 14 mil.

The NFL has secretly been looking for ways to fix the Pro Bowl.  As usual I have the ultimate solution.  Pick the teams as always.  But rather than spending all that money to send everyone to Hawaii, use Madden to play the game.  The “winning” network could still broadcast the game and use its announcers to call it.  There would be a lot better tackling and the new use of a contract corporation would promote the video game and save the 25 fans that attend the game the cost of the tickets.

Last week on my show I threw out the name of possible Browns’ QB targets.  I added the name of ex-Eagle, ex-Redskin and ex-Viking QB McNabb as a joke.  Now, the longtime Eagle is rumored to be in the mix for the Browns.  If he is signed by the Browns, I will be scheduling the Pitchfork and Torch demonstration before game 1 rather than after another 4-12 season in 2012.

Denver 9News is reporting that the team is looking into the possibility of signing Peyton Manning if he is available.  The goal would be having him tutor QB Tim Tebow and filling in until the team decides if Tebow is the QB of the future or it finds the next guy.


If you enjoyed this, join us for the Internet version of News, Notes and Rumors on  Monday –Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST. 

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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits and has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at


A different view of Stanford QB Luck’s decision and the “Cutlering” of Miami coach Spirano.

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There has been a lot of talk about why Andrew Luck and his golden arm will stay at Stanford for another year when every NFL draft analyst agrees he would be the #1 selection in the 2011 draft.

Some believe that he just really likes the college life style.

Some think he wants to work a little more on his game. He is a redshirt sophomore and has 2 more years of eligibility. He has only started 2 years for the Cardinals.

I have no idea why he decided to stay but it raises a HUGE red flag to me.

I have serious doubts about how important his NFL career is to Luck. If I was the owner of the Carolina Panthers, I would not want to spend 50 million dollars on a guy that may or may not be committed to the game and the team. Payton Manning went back for a final year at Tennessee but it was clear that his goal was to beat the Gators for once in his career.

This will be the last draft in which the first pick will get 50+ million dollars guaranteed. As soon as there is a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a rookie salary scale similar to that of the NBA will be in place. The first pick will get something closer to 25 million. Both the owners and NFLPA Ex. Dir. Smith want the extra money to go to the vets not rookies.


Miami Owner Ross “Cutlered” head coach Tony Sparano.

When he took over the HC job, ex-Bronco McDaniels had a pro bowl QB in Cutler. But that was not good enough for him. The grass is always…you get the idea.

McD wanted “his” QB Matt Cassel, the reserve QB that McD tutored when all world Tom Brady was out for the year. McD thought he could negotiate a trade with the Pats without anyone knowing. It got out and when the Chiefs got Cassel, Cutler demanded to be traded.

That is the exact same thing that the Dolphins Owner Ross did to his HC Sparano. There had been a lot of talk about the coach being fired but Ross said nothing. At the end of the season, Ross said that he would keep Sparano. But then there was that REALLY green grass.

When Stanford coach Harbaugh’s people agreed to a meeting with Ross, he jumped at it. Ross reportedly offered Harbaugh 7 million a year. When the flavor of the month refused to take the job, Ross had a problem.

Today he wanted to have a make up press conference announcing a year extension contract with Sparano. The only problem was that Sparano didn’t show up. This is a receipt for disaster. Look for the Dolphins to be in the running for the 2012 1st draft pick when the locker room divides.

Ross should be fined for interviewing and offering a contract to a coach when they had one on the staff at the time. If that is not a rules violation, it should be. At any rate, not only will the fish likely dive in 2011 but Ross will have even more trouble finding a coach that will take the job because of his Cutlering Sparano.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 5-9 EST on

Technorati Tags: Dolphins,NFL,CBA,NFLPA,NFL Owners. Ross,Sparano,Harbaugh,Cutler,McDaniels,Broncos,Cassel,Panthers,Luck,Stanford,rookie salary scale,NBA,Manning,Tennessee,NFL Draft,draft player ranking
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  • Published: Sep 1st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Tuesday Morning QB Analysis: Key issues of Week 3 PS

Tuesday Morning QB Analysis: Key issues of Week 3 PS

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Why hasn’t QB Vince Young developed in Tennessee?

Young’s biggest problem is that he hasn’t developed the vision and anticipation for both his receivers and the coverage. Part of that is because he played in the spread at Texas. There he had wide open receivers running all over the field. He has to spend more time in the film room and understand that the NFL definition of “open” is about 1/8th the separation of the college version of the the same thing.

On the pick that Browns LB Hall ran in for the TD, Young never saw Hall. That is a perfect example of his lack of vision and recognition of coverage. On the next drive 5 plays 80 yards, the biggest single play was Young’s scramble. He can make plays with his feet. That will win some games in the regular season but not AFC South titles or Super Bowls. And those are the things that the Titans want most of all. The Titans need a passing QB that can run rather than a runner that passes a little.

This explains why Young has double the number of INTs than TDs. As you get closer to the endzone, the coverage is compressed due to less yards to cover. If you struggle reading coverages in the middle of the field, you will really struggle in the red zone just like Young does.

What is the key differences between Anderson and Quinn?

The ability to process information quickly and the touch and accuracy on the short pass or screen pass. The Browns are not going to have much of a running game this year. That necessitates the short passing game to replace the yards that the running game should generate. Quinn is much more accurate at circle patterns where the RB goes around the end and across the middle just behind the LBs, the screen pass, and the swing pass where the RB slants to the sideline.

There is no question that Anderson has the much stronger arm. But he tends to trust his arm too much and throws into coverage because he believes he can “squeeze” the ball in between defenders. That leads to some really nice completions. It also leads to a lot of interceptions which is something that Coach Mangini will not abide.

Scouting Report: Bret Favre v Texans

Any game that starts with your RB going up the gut for 75 yards and a TD is going to be a good one. There is nothing wrong with Favre’s eyes. He sees the field fine and processes information as fast as he always has. He moves instinctively and finds receivers down field with guys in his face. He still has the touch to drop the ball over the blitzing LB on a screen pass. He still has the hard count to pull the D offside on a key play.

He is not the rifle armed QB he used to be. He struggles to get the ball out on a line when he is falling back to avoid a sack. And to throw the deep ball he has to wind up and change his delivery. He also has to do that when he has to throw the fast ball in between defenders. He used to be able to throw the ball 50 yards on a line with a flick of his wrist. But next month he will turn 40.

He has a much better running game, O line and defense than he had in New York. Besides, half a Favre is better than any other QB on the Vikings roster.

Why does it take college WRs a couple of years to develop in the NFL?

Most top college WRs depend on physical ability and speed to get open against a lot of average DBs in college. They are so much better athletes than the average DB that they don’t have to work to get open on technique like running crisp pattern and making fakes before their break. In the NFL the DBs are equal in physical talent and speed. The only way an NFL WR gets open is to run precise patterns and make sharp cuts. He also has to always be aware of the line to gain and the sideline. That is a lot to think about for a young WR.

Another factor is the use of the spread offense in college. The spread doesn’t focus on patterns but on flooding zones and quick reads. In college someone is always open. In the NFL, the word open takes on a whole new meaning. Open in the pros is a half step or body position rather than a window a couple of yards wide like in college.

A third factor that is not often discussed is the hits that NFL receivers take. The first NFL hit by a corner or safety is as hard as the best hit a WR got in his entire college career. It takes a while to be able to considerate on the catch and not hear the footsteps of a 210 pound safety with his sites on your chest.

KC rookie head coach Todd Haley fires OC Chan Gailey.

There is no question that the Chiefs offense wouldn’t score against air. Gailey was part of the problem but there are a lot more troubles than him. You have a QB that is unproven. Yes Matt Cassel played well in New England. But the Chiefs don’t have Randy Moss, Wes Welker and the Pats O line. They have Dwayne Bowe (a great physical talent but very inconsistent) and Bobby (I’m always hurt) Engram and a very young O line.

You also have a very over rated RB in Larry Johnson who has missed 12 games in the last 2 years with injuries. Now your QB may be hurt. Gailey wasn’t your problem. Your team is your problem. It’s a good thing you are new because this group is bad enough to get any head coach fired.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Anderson,Quinn,Favre,Gailey,Mangini,Cassel,Moss,Welker,Bowens,Engram

The Chiefs' Plan in 09—Build around their Cassel

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Kansas City GM Scott Pioli has bet a lot on QB Matt Cassel but didn’t give up an arm and a leg to acquire him. Even though Cassel never started at USC and had one good year behind a group of pro bowl players, Pioli had very little to lose. The Chiefs needed a QB and Cassel’s question marks are far fewer than any rookie he could have gotten in the second round.

Cassel is a slightly above average QB in the Pat style O that KC will implement. However, he needs to be more accurate in the red zone to help the pathetic O of the 08 Chiefs claw its way to the middle of the pack. He will need an improved running game and a lot more protection from the line to make the Chiefs competitive.

The success of the running game depends on RB Larry Johnson staying healthy and focused all year. He is still capable of pro bowl level play but injuries and demands for a new contract or a trade have prevented him from showing it over the last two seasons. There is nothing behind him comes close to quality depth.

Cassel will miss the speed of Randy Moss—he’ll even miss the speed of Wes Weilker. What he has is a group of inconsistent less than average speed WRs that tend to drop as many balls as they catch. Both projected starters Dwayne Bowe and Mark Bradley fall into that category. The one hope for the team is vet Bobby Engram is he is healthy. He hasn’t been for the last several years.

Don’t expect any help from the TE. Pioli traded all pro Tony Gonzalez. Now Cassel will have one of the following candidates at the position: Brad Cottam, Sean Ryan, Tony Curtis, or maybe Jake O’Connell. The reason you haven’t heard of most of these guys is they have yet to do anything to get noticed.

In what can only be described as the Bill Belichick way, Pioli and the new head coach Haley managed to piss off one of their best players G Brian Waters over his off season conditioning. Haley wants to have a lighter more mobile line. Waters doesn’t fit that mold. The rest of the line is good and bad. UFA G Mike Goff is solid and is a natural leader. The Chiefs can use all the leadership it can find. LT Branden Albert has a lot of talent and is starting to show it. C Rudy Niswanger and RT Damion McIntosh are very average hole fillers with a little up side. They will get better or get replaced next year. There is not much on the bench to help should someone go down.

On the D line the ends could be very good to outstanding. The problem is finding a NT. The switch to the 3-4 moves DT Glenn Dorsey to DE. He is outstanding when healthy and motivated. Having one of his running mates at LSU on the line may help. I really like rookie DE Tyson Jackson. Jackson did not have as good a year in 08 as he did in 07 because he was double teamed every play. He needs to be more effective at splitting doubles and getting into the backfield. Either Ron Edwards or Tank Tyler will be NT. Neither is capable of being effective at the spot. The depth is inconsistent and lacks athleticism.

OB Mike Vrabel came to KC in the Cassel trade and will be the director of Defense for the team. He knows the D and provides leadership on that side of the ball. UFA MLB Zach Thomas provides leadership as well. IB Derrick Johnson has spectacular ability. The team just wishes it showed a little more often. Projected starting OB B Tamba Hali and reserves Turk McBride and Andy Studebaker are former DEs trying to figure out how to play their new spot. Reserve Monty Beisel is a capable fill in.

At least the DBs know each other and what they are supposed to do. CBs Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr have upside and were decent last year. Flowers needs to tackle a little better. SS Bernard Pollard and FS Jarrad Page start their 4 year together and should be getting better. 08’s performance didn’t show much improvement. Mike Brown and Jon McGraw are vets that can play and 4th round pick Donald Washington has potential.

OVERALL: The only thing that will keep the Chiefs out of the AFC West basement is the Raiders. They have the potential to get better but it won’t happen this year.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Fantasy football,Chiefs,Patroits,Belichick,Pioli,Albert,Cassel,Vrabel,Bowens,Moss,Welker,Johnson,USC

Bronco Owner Bowlen shoots his team in the leg.

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Fryingpan Sports

Bronco Owner Bowlen shoots his team in the leg.


By Bill Smith

Thanks to Plaxico Burress, there is new term around the NFL. “Burress” – A verb describing shooting yourself in the leg. Yesterday, Bronco owner Pat Bowlen Burressed his own team—he announced that his was being forced to trade their starting quarterback because he clearly refuses to play for the Broncos. WHAT?

This is just one more stupid move by the Broncos in a Circus de Stupid off season that makes the Dallas Cowboys look organized.

First, as I said in my column The media has missed the point of the Cutler vs. McDaniels spitting contest Bowlen blew it firing Mike Shanahan and blew it again in hiring the 32 year old Josh McDaniels.

But what was Bowlen thinking when he authorized his newbie coach to dangle a relatively proven Jay Cutler in a deal to get the unproven Matt Cassel? Perhaps the real question is was Bowlen thinking at all? Personally I wouldn’t trade Cutler for Cassel and a first round draft choice.

Cassel has had one good year with one of the best defenses in the league and outstanding receivers like Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Cutler has single ply toilet paper for a defense, a 9th string running back and Brandon Marshall, one decent receiver with a bad case of Ocho Cinco in the head and a case of Braylon Edwards’ style dropsy in his hands.

McDaniels has indicated that he did not think the offer would get out! How stupid is that? The only escape hatch out of Stupidville for Bowlen would be if McDaniels and newbie GM Brian Xanders didn’t tell him before shopping Cutler. If that is the case, Bowlen certainly would have fired both of them. That would have solved the problem and Cutler would have come back and played for the Broncos.

But Bowlen didn’t do that. Instead, he cut Xanders off at the knees by announcing that because of the rift between Cutler and McDaniels, Cutler refuses to play for the Broncos and has forced a trade. That is perhaps the dumbest thing I have heard an owner do in years.

What Bowlen did with his statement was reduce the trade value of Cutler from two 1st round picks to a mid second round pick if he’s lucky. The teams that are interested in Cutler are going to low ball offers because it is clear that the relationship between coach and QB makes the Hundred Years War seem like a stroll through Central Park on a nice day.

Bowlen is destroying the Broncos. He has fired a competent coach in Shanahan and replaced him with a incompetent in McDaniels. He let the spitting contest between his franchise QB and head coach go WAY too long. Then folded up like a balsa wood beach chair when the QB’s agent Bus Cook called and said his client would not play again for the Broncos. Bowlen is letting the one real asset of the team go. Because of his big mouth, the team won’t begin to get a reasonable value for a young franchise QB.

Several teams have expressed public interest in Cutler and he will get traded. But the value of a disgruntled QB that refuses to play is reduced by 50 percent. Somebody better explain the basics of negotiating trades in Big boy football. He clearly doesn’t understand them.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Bowlen,Burress,Cutler,NFL Football,nfl draft,McDaniels,Xanders,Cook,Cassel,Broncos. NFL,Shanahan,Moss,Welker,trade value

The media has missed the point of the Cutler vs. McDaniels spitting contest.

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Fryingpan Sports

The media has missed the point of the Cutler vs. McDaniels spitting contest.


By Bill Smith

As usual, the media have totally missed the most important fact in the QB Jay Cutler vs. new Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. The antique media call Cutler a cry baby. Others say that McDaniels has all the power because Bronco team owner Pat Bowlen backs his new guy. That is not the key story here. The key story is that Bowlen blew it when he fired Mike Shanahan and blew it again in hiring the 32 year old McDaniels. McDaniels is not mature enough to be a head coach in the NFL. It was a bad hire and this is only the first screwup for which McD will be responsible.

To go back to the beginning, McDaniels and GM Brian Xanders committed an unforgivable sin—trying to trade a somewhat proven young franchise QB for another somewhat proven older QB Matt Cassel. McD thought that word of the failed deal would never get out. How stupid was that? In this era of 24 hour sports channels, there is no way on earth or any alternative universe that someone wouldn’t blab. Even when the reports leaked out about a 3 way deal between the Patriots, Bucs and Broncos he refused initially to acknowledged the attempt.

Cutler was not happy and that is understandable. He has been the QB for 3 years and made the pro bowl last year. According to Cutler’s agent Bus Cook, in meeting with McD earlier this year to go over the playbook, McD had told Cutler that he had come to Denver specifically because he wanted to coach the young man. Given the trade talk, Cutler feels that McD lied to him then as well.

McD immediately compounded the gaff. Rather than trying to resolve the situation face to face by going to see his jilted QB, McD called Cutler and reportedly committed another major error by lying to him. According to multiple reports, McD told Cutler that other teams had contacted him about Cutler’s availability. That conversation just added fuel to the feud.

When a face to face finally happened this past weekend, it was an even bigger disaster. Rather than a 1 on 1 with his QB, Cutler insisted on bringing his agent Cook. Not being man enough to face a 2 on 1, McD brought his GM along for support. In that meeting, things did not improve. According to Cook, the Cutler contingent believed that McD was going to call Jay for a one on one. According to McD, it was Cutler that was supposed to call.

When the call came, it was Cook calling to tell the team that Cutler now wants to be traded because he has no faith in McD, Xanders, or Bowlen.

My analysis: Bowlen blew it. He is now trying to save face by backing his sniveling coach McD. McD showed no guts in confronting the issue. He wants his Patriot QB like a 2 year old needs his blankie. He wouldn’t even face Cook and Culter alone. He needed backup.

Josh, engage brain before dialing for deals. You don’t dangle your franchise QB in trade talks that and keep the locker room together. This is what will happen if Cutler is not traded. Some players will back the new coach but others who played with Cutler will back him.

Pat, you blew the firing and blew the new hire. You had better tell McD to back off or you are going to lose what fan base has not already written you off. You need to get the D fixed because it was a well oiled turnstile threw which opponents ran on their way unmolested to the endzone. Cutler was the 3rd rated QB last year while McD has not won anything by himself yet. You need to get control of your coach or replace him.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Broncos, NFL, FOOTBALL, McDAniels, Bowlen, Shanahan, Cutler, trade, Buccaneers, Patriots, Cassel

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