Archive for July, 2012

Nine really random things and whatever else is going on around the NFL…

Ian Rapoport‘s weekly report is back after a brief hiatus. This Sunday his nine notes begin with a conversation with Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is sticking to his fourth-down strategy.

Recapping this road trip: The Lake Tahoe edition

Well, I’m back from paradise. At least, that’s what it felt like. I spent the last five days out in South Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border, which was pretty awesome. The goal was to get a bunch of material from the NFL-related dudes playing in the celebrity golf tournament, and that’s exactly what happened. You’ve read a lot of it already in this space, and there is more coming before we head off to training camps. Now that we’re back in Dallas after a marathon time away (Cabo for vacation to Tahoe for work), let’s review… How was the trip? – First things first. The scenery was everything you’d expect. Just insanely beautiful. You always wonder when people talk […]

Veteran DE Jared Allen weighs his own mortality, talks about the Vikings rebuilding

Jared Allen is… hilarious. He is. The Vikings defensive end appears at ease in just about any situation, and he makes other feel that. I learned that when he made fun of me from the news conference podium this spring out in Minnesota — before we’d even met. Don’t let that jovial side fool you. Allen is very serious about football, as his 22 sacks will attest. And he says what he thinks in a very serious manner. So, when we talked before he hit golf balls at the American Heritage Celebrity Golf Tournament this week, we got right down to business. The subject was rebuilding and insanely young Vikings, a team that has stocked its roster with youth with […]

Live from Tahoe: Noted Chargers fan David Wells celebrates bringing Norv Turner back

The title of this post says “Live from Tahoe,” but that’s not entirely true. I’m actually on a plane flying back to Dallas… so this’ll be the last one of these. Still, we have plenty of material collected in Lake Tahoe to last a few days. One of those centers around former star pitcher David Wells, a celebrity who played in the tournament. We visited with him earlier. Anyway, Wells is a San Diego resident and a big Chargers fan. And while so many seemed frustrated with the team’s decision to bring back coach Norv Turner after another year of mediocrity, Wells wasn’t among them. Nope, not even after missing the playoffs again. No doubt, these comments will drive a few Chargers fans […]

My story live from Tahoe: Why Broncos exec John Elway thinks balance is what will determine their season

John Elway spent last year getting asked about Tim Tebow. Now, the Broncos executive VP gets asked about Peyton Manning. It’s cool. He understands. As Elway told me before a practice round of the American Heritage Celebrity Golf Championship, those queries will persist until everyone sees Manning throw. But what Elway wanted to talk about was balance. The running game. As he figured out through his career, the best way to earn a Super Bowl ring is to be able to do a lot of things as an offense, rather than just wing it. “If that’s one thing that I ever learned, having been through three Super Bowls where we didn’t run the football very well (it’s that you need […]

Ryan Mathews ready for fantasy football stardom

Ryan Mathews is one of the top breakout candidates in fantasy football, and he seems ready to make some noise.

Live from Tahoe: Cowboys TE Jason Witten is saddened about, but supportive of, Dez Bryant

The biggest news for the Dallas Cowboys heading into training camp was WR Dez Bryant’s arrest last week. And many have weighed in about what it means. Out here in South Lake Tahoe, legendary RB Emmitt Smith offered some thoughts, and so did WR Miles Austin. Late yesterday, another key figure on this year’s team spoke on the subject. TE Jason Witten, one of the team leaders, sounded as conflicted as could be expected when I asked him about Bryant’s arrest. Yes, he’s a teammate. But Witten also expressed disappointment. What did he tell me? “I don’t know enough about the situation to really comment too much on it until I get further information, but I support him as a […]

Live from Tahoe: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt itching for camp, talks joint practices

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has spent the last couple days in Lake Tahoe, playing practice rounds for the tournament that begins tomorrow. He’s been chill and relaxed, talking with fans and hitting the ball well. But if it looks like his mind isn’t on football, well, that’s not reality. Whisenhunt told me this placid demeanor is kind of a facade. Football is most certainly whirling around in his noggin. He’s amped. “There’s not much on golf,” Whisenhunt told me. “I mean, this is a great event, it’s a lot of fun. For a guy that can’t play football anymore, it’s great to compete in another arena. But I’m thinking about football. We got a lot of things coming up in […]

Live from Tahoe: Ex-Florida coach Urban Meyer is happy Tim Tebow is getting back to his roots

As soon as the Jets acquired Tim Tebow,the questions began about how he would fit in. There is some doubt, for instance, about whether a two-QB system could work. But they obviously want him for a reason. So… huh? Well, ESPN New York reported that the Jets are planning to use Tebow as a red-zone option, taking starter Mark Sanchez out at times inside the 20. Interesting idea. But not new. In fact, when Tebow was a freshman at Florida, he was the backup to nearly-as-heralded Chris Leak. Essentially, playing in the red zone was his role. Don’t believe me? Let’s ask a dude who knows. I spoke with ex-Florida coach Urban Meyer coming off the course during a practice round […]

Live from Tahoe: Why K Sebastian Janikowski plays golf righty… and some Raiders thoughts

Some of this post will be about football, but not all of it. Sorry, just not how we roll. So, did you know that Raiders left-footed kicker Sebastian Janikowski plays golf righty? It’s true (right). I was surprised to learn this… and Janikowski didn’t have much of an explanation. It’s just, ya know, because. “Actually I’m a right-handed (golfer),” Janikowski said. “Believe it or not. I’m right-handed. I throw right-handed, too. It’s weird, I don’t know. I just grew up that way, my dad was right-footed, I was left-footed. Totally opposite.” Uh, OK. Also random? The big guy said he was really nervous this week. “I’m more nervous than on the football field,” he said on the putting green in […]

Live from Tahoe: Will Falcons CB Asante Samuel shadow the top WR? “It gives us that option”

The Falcons never mind bold moves, and they made another one this offseason. GM Thomas Dimitroff engineered a trade with the Eagles for interception-happy CB Asante Samuel, giving them a playmaker in the secondary. After being kinda out of place in Philadelphia in his last season there, where will Samuel fit in for the Falcons? Well… Coach Mike Smith mentioned an interesting option on the driving range here in South Lake Tahoe. “I think his production on the ball has been outstanding throughout his career – 40-plus interceptions,” Smith told me, explaining what he likes about Samuel. “He’s a guy that you can play on the No. 1 receiver and match him, so that’s going to give us some flexibility […]

My story live from Tahoe: When will Packers QB Aaron Rodgers benefit from Brees’ contract?

Contracts for NFL quarterbacks do not exist in a vacuum. So, when Saints QB Drew Brees earned a new deal, my mind immediately turned to a colleague. When will Packers QB Aaron Rodgers get similarly paid? “That stuff takes care of itself,” Rodgers told me yesterday. “I still have a few years left on my deal, and we’ll talk about that when we get there.” Perhaps. Or earlier. We’ll see. There are a lot of issues, and I tried to hit on many of them here. But Rodgers didn’t take a wait-and-see approach when discussing Brees’ deal. “You got to say he’s a fortunate man,” Rodgers told NFL.com. “I don’t think he’s complaining right now.“  No, I’d say not. One other […]

New York Jets’ Tim Tebow rising in fantasy football?

New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is expected to be used in red-zone situations, but does the news make him fantasy worthy?

Live from Tahoe: What does 49ers QB Alex Smith think of his new weapons? “Love it, love it.”

While racing around the golf course in South Lake Tahoe yesterday, I ran into San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith. So, while he walked from the 18th green to the first tee (making the turn), we caught up on the 49ers offseason. In between signing autographs and dodging stray carts, Smith came off as a guy pumped to get going. Considering his team added weapons like Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, I can’t blame him. “Love it, love it,” Smith told me when I asked what he thought of the new additions. “We had a great offseason, a lot of new faces came in, really fit in. But this is the time when real football starts, put the pads on and […]

Live from Tahoe: Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith won’t “pile on” Dez Bryant, does offer advice

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant made news earlier this week when he was arrested on a charge of domestic violence. Not what the team wanted right before camp (or ever). While Bryant hasn’t spoken, his lawyer has. So has his advisor and a few Cowboys greats. While putting here in South Lake Tahoe for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, former star RB Emmitt Smith didn’t want to talk about it. He wondered what good would come of it. Then, he added, “There’s enough people commenting on it, anyway, anything I do is going to be piling on.” Well, maybe. But Smith did offer some insight on the situation surrounding Bryant. He did explain his view on how to handle […]

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