Misc Rumor - Football Wiretap
Risdon's Sunday Combine Notes
Sunday's notes are sponsored by Pacifico beer. After a long day of watching draft prospects run repetitive drills and being largely shunned by the more "name" media and NFL staff members, the Pacifico back at the hotel room tasted mighty nice. Most of the running backs ran in the 4.5s and even 4.6s just after several wideouts notched times in the low 4.4s in the 40-yard dash. Many were visibly disappointed, as were lots of the evaluators hoping to see some serious speed. Prospect Notes: -- Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford lit it up with a 4.28 40 very early in the day, the second-fastest time ever at the Combine. He ran it with an effortless gait that drew some serious "wows" around Lucas Oil Field, reminiscent of Usain Bolt with his bright yellow shoes. -- Not to be outdone, Ford's Clemson teammate C.J. Spiller matched his time towards the end of the day after so many in his running back grouping plodded to very unimpressive times. It should be noted his 20-second split time was faster than Ford's and identical to Chris Johnson's record-setting 4.24 run a couple years ago. I've said it before, I'll say it again: even though the running back market is oversaturated and teams are clearly looking at other needs higher in the draft, I will be shocked if someone with Spiller's speed falls out of the top 10. It might not be any teams picking there now, but trust me that no general manager wants to be the guy who failed to draft the next Chris Johnson. -- Ryan Mathews is impressing with both his athletic prowess and his business-like demeanor. The Fresno State running back is impressively cut and showed great quickness in the short shuttle, not to mention his 4.41 40 time. He carries himself like he's heading into war at every drill, yet in interviews he comes across as affable and coachable. I get the strong sense he is now the #2 running back in this draft class on many team boards, if he wasn't already. -- Toby Gerhart earned points for his low 4.5 time primarily because of how he went about it. Most guys carefully lined up every single muscle in a non-football 3-point stance, often waiting several seconds before launching themselves. Gerhart walked up to the line, slightly bent his knees, and took off. That shows more legit football speed, not track speed, and it was duly noted as such. He runs very upright, however, something that shows up on game film as well. -- One receiver having a very bad day was Dezmon Briscoe of Kansas, who ran in the upper 4.6s despite a couple of DQ'ed runs for leaning too far. He comes from an offense where the system is often credited for getting receivers open, and at that speed and poor shuttle numbers, it's evident the cocksure, lanky Briscoe is a complete product of the system. He might be waiting a very long time to hear his name called on draft weekend. -- Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn drew several comparisons to Anquan Boldin with his muscular build and hard-charging running style. He has humbly and successfully handled the questions about his rough 2009 season at Illinois, not casting stones despite clearly having some legit rocks he could chuck. -- My fellow members of the Ohio Bobcat nation will be pleased to know that Taylor Price had a very strong showing in all the workouts, running the second-fastest 40 time (4.41) and also ranking near the top in the vertical jump. He measured in with large hands for his average height, and he wears his 204 pounds nicely. As one prominent draft writer noted to me, "If he came from Ohio State and not Ohio U. he'd be a second round lock." -- His workout numbers weren't eye-popping, but I like the way Fordham quarterback John Skelton fit in with the big boys. He garnered a quick and genuine rapport with some of the receivers and the other quarterbacks. He is built almost identically to Joe Flacco. -- One under-the-radar prospect that helped his stock in workouts was Louisville wide receiver Brandon Long, who rated near the top in almost every drill. He has decent size and very large hands, which he flashed at Louisville during a very difficult time for the program. He has a chance to stick as a possession receiver and special teams contributor, something he is amenable to based on talking to him. NFL Notes: -- The strong performances of the Clemson players today seemed to jog the memory of many people about former Tiger James Davis, who missed his rookie season with the Browns with a controversial injury. It was funny to watch Browns coach Eric Mangini sidestep all the Davis questions (Davis was injured in a post-practice drill that nearly got Mangini fired), and also fun to see a lot of draftniks scrambling to adjust their "Browns needs" once reminded of Davis, who allegedly beat both Spiller and Ford in foot races while at Clemson and had earned the sarign spot in preseason before his injury. -- I'm surprised at how many people here are surprised by the Jets handling of running back Thomas Jones. If the drafting of Shonn Greene last year wasn't a clear indication that Jones' future was limited, a cursory examination of his contract should have told anyone with any sort of acumen that he was not heading back to New York in 2010. First-guessing his landing spot: Detroit. -- There are a lot of rumors flying regarding several Oakland Raiders that might be on the move. Among the names being thrown around and getting legit interest from other teams: Michael Bush, Darren McFadden, Kirk Morrison, but the one name that really jumps out is cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the elite players at his position in the game today. I can't imagine Oakland giving him up, but too many people who would know are saying that no Raiders players except Richard Seymour, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Zach Miller are unattainable for the right price. -- Pay close attention to Seattle this week, as venerable veteran left tackle Walter Jones is expected to announce his intentions before Friday. If he is coming back, that buys Pete Carroll another year up front. If the multiple-time Pro Bowler retires, then the Seahawks might be forced to address offensive tackle much earlier than they want in the draft. Despite what you'll read elsewhere, I do not believe they have any intention of drafting a tackle with either of their first round picks. -- The press release from Pacman Jones' camp that he will hold workouts later this month for interested teams drew shameless guffaws from a few in the media center. Good luck with that, Mr. Rainmaker... Random Thoughts: -- There is palpable tension between the NFL Network and ESPN. Not so much between the on-air talent, but the behind-the-scenes guys have real hostility and it's clear the execs at both networks view one another with real enmity. -- If you ever find yourself in Kokomo, Indiana, do your taste buds a favor and check out the Half Moon Brewery. I drove up there last night to meet with an old friend (hi Ryan!) and was very impressed with both the food and the on-site-brewed beer. -- I sorely miss my Sirius radio in the car here. Indy just might have the worst radio of any city in the country. Note to the local rock stations: music has been recorded since 1980. Note to local program directors: 11 dedicated Christian music channels and right country music stations are far too many. I had to stop by Best Buy and pick up a couple of CDs last night to make it through my tenure here.
Jets Could Scoop Up Adalius Thomas
If the Patriots decide to release linebacker Adalius Thomas, as expected, the Jets will likely court him. New York coach Rex Ryan coached Thomas to a pair of Pro Bowl appearances in Baltimore.
Report: Pacman To Workout For Scouts
Adam "Pacman" Jones will hold a pro-day style workout for NFL scouts on March 19, a source told NFL.com. The workout will be held in New Orleans following Tulane's pro day.
NFL Could Change Postseason OT Rules
An NFL spokesman says the league could change its overtime format for playoff games at a meeting next month. Greg Aiello said Saturday that under the new format, both teams would get the ball at least once unless the first team with the ball scores a touchdown.
Fisher: White In Tennessee's Plans
Titans coach Jeff Fisher says that running back LenDale White is still a part of the team's plans. "Basically, as I told him at the end of the season, last year was a redshirt year," Fisher said. "He was ready to play, (and) we called on him in certain situations. But he understood and was CJ's biggest fan and he just didn't get the opportunity. There should be more opportunities for him this year." White carried the ball just 64 times for 222 yards in 2009. "The way I think we are capable of playing, C.J. is going to carry the bulk of the load. That doesn't mean to say there will be games where he gets 10 to 15 carries. In a perfect world what you would like to do is split time between your backs. The year before the carries were not equal but they were close but you saw what happened this year when C.J. got the ball. It is a good problem to have. Fortunately we have a back-up who could start in LenDale and basically he has a fresh body."
Holmgren: It's A Longshot That Quinn, Anderson Will Both Return
Mike Holmgren isn't ready to make a final decision on his quarterbacks just yet, but he doesn't expect both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson to remain with the team. "I think it's a long shot," he said of both remaining in Cleveland. "Never say never. But I've gone on record as saying I don't want a quarterback competition. They did that last year. And that didn't work out."
Roy Williams Will Compete For Starting Spot
Roy Williams will make close to $13 million this coming season, but isn't going to be handed a starting spot in Dallas. "We are going to play the best player, no matter what," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said of his receiver spots. Williams has been a disappointment since the Cowboys traded first-, third- and sixth-round picks to the Detroit Lions for the receiver and a seventh-rounder in the middle of the 2008 season.
Jets Hint At Divorce With Thomas Jones
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum hinted on Friday that Thomas Jones may not have a future with the team. "We are getting closer to a decision there, but nothing has been finalized yet," Tannenbaum said. "All I can say is we were fortunate we traded for him three years ago." Releasing Jones before the start of free agency on Friday would likely based more on money than his production.
Coughlin: Umenyiora Has To Earn Starting Job
Giants coach Tom Coughlin isn't going to hand defensive end Osi Umenyiora a starting job next season. The two-time Pro Bowler wants to be a starter in New York. Coughlin said he has talked with Umenyiora since the season ended, but he was also a little disappointed the disgruntled veteran said he wanted to either be traded or retire if he does not start next season. "He's going to come in and work hard to establish that position," the coach said. "He's a big part of our team, he certainly is a gifted, gifted football player." Regardless, Coughlin is not going to guarantee Umenyiora a starting job. "I don't know how you do that," Coughlin said. "Our field is a field and competition is good; just like we tell to everybody, 'Go earn it.' "
Shanahan: Redskins To Tender Campbell
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says that the team plans to tender quarterback Jason Campbell before free agency begins on March 5. However, Shanahan wouldn't commit to Campbell as Washington's starter in 2010.
Cowboys Will Keep 3-Headed Running Attack
The Cowboys plan to retain Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.
Vikings Willing To Be Patient With Favre
Brad Childress is willing to give Brett Favre all the time he needs to decide on his future.
GM: Porter Will Be Released Because Of Performance
The Dolphins are ready to cut ties with Joey Porter.
Holmgren 'Astounded' By Fans Disloyalty To McNabb
Mike Holmgren still believes Donovan McNabb is a top-flight quarterback.
NFL To Measure Brain Activity At Combine
The NFL is going to ask more questions about past concussions.
Emotional L.T. Still Wants To Play
LaDainian Tomlinson couldn't hold back tears on Wednesday.
Report: NFL, Union At Odds Over HGH Test
The NFL wants to implement blood testing for HGH, but the Players' Association is opposed to it.
Cowboys, Bengals Will Play In HOF Game
The Cowboys haven't played in the Hall of Fame Game since 1999.
Westbrook Plans To Play In 2010
Brian Westbrook says he's already heard from three or four teams.
GM: Panthers QB Job Is Open
Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore will battle for Carolina's starting job.
Packers Plan To Franchise Ryan Pickett
Ryan Pickett will stay in Green Bay one way or another.
Will Sproles Follow Tomlinson's Path?
The Chargers could end up ditching their top-two running backs.
Smith: 2010 Season Likely To Be Uncapped
DeMaurice Smith sent a memo to his players and their agents on Tuesday.
NFL Lists Franchise Tag, Transition Amounts
A franchised quarterback would earn $16.405 million in 2010.
Marshall Remains Haunted By Death Of Darrent Williams
Brandon Marshall was with Darrent Williams the night he died.