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Chargers Fan

Why Defensive Injuries will keep Chargers out of Playoffs. posted by Chargers Fan

The chargers have the highest percentage of touchdowns allowed in the Red Zone in the NFL. That is not a playoff caliber team. That means not only are the Chargers giving up points, they are letting offenses sustain drives, which eats up clock, energy, and manpower. The Chargers can make the playoffs, but that means they have to be good again on defense, and that starts with getting healthy.

But the Chargers have the bye week to regroup and assess it’s gaping holes on defense. It shouldn’t be too hard as the Chargers, as late as five games into the season, where dominating on the defensive side of the ball. The rushed the passer, stuffed the run, had take-aways, and shut receivers down.

In fact, they led the NFL is scoring defense. They man handled Arizona, left the defending Super Bowl champs in the dust, and had their way with the Buffalo Bills as they notched a shut-out, the definition of a complete defensive performance.

But that only worked because the Chargers had youthful speed and depth to constantly rotate in and keep offenses on their heels. Rookie Jerry Attaochu is able to speed around tackles and get to the quarterback in no time. Rookie Jason Verrett with a sub 4.4 40 speed can keep up with any receiver in the league but also has the bulk to come up and stuff the run from the outside. Manti Te’o’s ability to read the line allows him to fill running gaps better than anyone in the league.

But all of that talent is of no use when all of the players sit watching the games from the sidelines for long periods of time.

Continue reading "Why Defensive Injuries will keep ..."

Dolphins Fan

What Lamar Miller’s Injury means for the Dolphin run game posted by Dolphins Fan

If you thought the Miami Dolphins were in dire straits at the running back position when they lost Knowshon Moreno with a season ending injury, things got even worse when Lamar Miller left the San Diego game with an injury.

This is a make or break moment for the Dolphins as they will have to dig deep into their roster for production on the ground.

Miami has struggled this year but the one lone bright spot has been their run game, averaging almost 130 yards a game. It was a constant, and a point of stability for an otherwise struggling offense. Moreno and Miller work a great one, two duo.

Miller was having a breakout season, setting a career high in rushing touchdowns when he got his third in Week 6 against the Packers. He averaged more than five yards per carry in three of the first four games and ran for a career-best 108 yards on 15 carries in Week 3 against the Chiefs. 

The fourth round pick was on pace for 200 carries and more than 1,000 yards, both of which would be career highs. But now with both of these work horses out, the odds of maintaining that level of production is quite unlikely.

 So now the offense falls on the arm of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t been electric but now he will to step up. If there was ever a moment to solidify oneself as the framchise quarterback for this team, the quarterback to build a team around for years and years to come, this is that moment.

If Tannehill can navigate the rest of this season relatively unscathed, he will get amazing on the job training in shouldering an entire offense. He will build the confidence of his teammates that

Continue reading "What Lamar Miller’s Injury means ..."


Lions Fan

Why the Lions cannot overlook the Dolphins. posted by Lions Fan

With a restful bye-week, the Lions square off against the Miami. The Dolphins, many people may not think so, but are a very dangerous team, most recently showcased by their 37-0 route of the San Diego Chargers last week.

Ryan Tannehill is a highly accurate quarterback who can shred defenses with a barrage of crossing routes or beat you with his legs. Something the Lions need to game plan for.

Now the Lions have an excellent run defense and they will needto be more eye disciplined than ever as Tannehill runs read-options. They must stay on their assignments, linebackers and defensive ends must be disciplined and not overrun their assignments as they follow the ball through the mesh point so that Tannehill doesn’t slip out of the pocket and gash them with chunk yardage on the ground, which while is devastating from a yardage stabd point, is also demoralizing when a quarterback is eating up yardage on the ground.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins have a great pash rush and Lions’ right tackle Waddle will need to play his very best in order to give Stafford time to get the ball out to their playmakers.

One way to combat an effective pass rush are quick screens and short hot routes. Something the Lions naturally do well, so look to them to start their tempo with high percentage, quick release passes.

This is in no way a ‘gimme’ win for Detriot and they will need to play their very best if they stand a chance to win. Odds makers only have them favored by a few points so it’s going to be a dog fight. Hopefully with the returning healthy starters back in the line up, it will give the Lions offense a much needed boost.

Continue reading "Why the Lions cannot overlook the Dolphins."


Chargers Fan

The 2014 San Diego Chargers posted by Chargers Fan

The San Diego Chargers were able to sneak in the postseason with a 9-7 record last year. Quarterback Philip Rivers looked like a goner before the start of the 2013 season as he had a career-low 6.8 YPA while surrendering 16 interceptions. But he was able to turn things around with the improved offensive line of the Chargers.

The Chargers have baffled many by their poor blocking in years. With the signing of King Dunlap last year as well as the drafting of D.J. Fluker, the Chargers were able to improve their offensive line. Fluker played well in his rookie year while Dunlap was a key acquisition surrendering only three sacks the past year.

The Chargers also boast of two solid interior linemen in Chad Rinehart and Nick Hardwick. Pedestrian Jeromey Clary will be challenged by rookie Chris Watt at right guard, and this would only improve the offense of the Chargers.

Rivers will also be looking to throw to sophomore Keenan Allen who compiled 71 receptions, eight touchdowns and 1,046 yards in his rookie season.  But Allen is pretty much what the Chargers have at receiver as Malcom Floyd is coming off an injury and Vincent Brown remains a project.

The Chargers defense has a lot of holes to be filled. The team was 23rd in the league in yards allowed, 29th in pass defense, and 27th in rush defense. But the defense should improve this year with the return of Melvin Ingram. The best pass-rusher in the team, Ingram was out for the first part of the season with a torn ACL.

But the Chargers’ defensive front and linebackers will also need to perform well if the team hopes to book a second straight playoff appearance.

Continue reading "The 2014 San Diego Chargers"


Joe Anello

Black Monday 2012: The Aftermath posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday was billed to be one of the worst/busiest in the NFL’s history, and it certainly lived up to that hype on the eve of the New Year. A whopping seven head coaches were fired on Monday, with a few fates to be possibly determined at a later date. Included in the dismissals were a number of general managers. Let’s wrap around the league!

Philadelphia Eagles fire HC Andy Reid

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made a difficult decision in letting go his franchise’s winningest head coach, but it was the right one. Reid’s message had been lost in the later of his 14 years on the job. He’s still a fantastic head coach, but it was time for everyone to move. Reid could land somewhere like Arizona, but we’ve already heard that San Diego won’t be interested. Philly sounds like its leaning towards a coach with legitimate experience that can come in and quickly turn things around. This firing was probably a year too late, to be fair.

Chicago Bears fire HC Lovie Smith

Check back for an in-depth analysis of this coaching move. 

San Diego Chargers fire GM A.J. Smith and HC Norv Turner

Speaking of firings a year too late, this pair of “winners” shouldn’t have been allowed to be on the San Diego staff for 2012. Turner’s already being mentioned as a possible OC for a number of openings, the most notable of which is in NY for the Jets. But he’s likely rebuffed them already, per the Jets’ usual. Smith was a volatile front office guy, something that should have gotten him canned years ago. He let most of this team’s “immense talent” fall by the wayside or leave via free agency.

Continue reading "Black Monday 2012: The Aftermath"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 16 in the NFL season has arrived! With two weeks left in the season, I don’t need to tell you how important these games are for those teams still in the hunt. It’s time to get into all the storylines in The Opening Drive!

(12-2) Atlanta Falcons at

(4-10) Detroit Lions

Saturday night football has arrived! And it’s… relatively meaningless. The Falcons are very close to locking down their one seed (only need one win) and the Lions could be another embarrassing loss away from blowing things up. This could be an entertaining (but non-competitive) contest to open the week.

(6-8) New Orleans Saints at

(8-6) Dallas Cowboys

I’ve already seen a LOT of coverage for this game, which only features one possible playoff participant. The Cowboys can win the division if they win their final two games, and that starts with an interesting match-up against the Saints. Drew Brees won’t take it light on a Dallas secondary that has been hit-or-miss this year. But I think the Saint defense won’t play as well as it appeared to last week versus the Bucs.

(5-9) San Diego Chargers at

(6-8) New York Jets

Wait. There has to be a reason I put this game on the list. THE GREG MCELROY ERA HAS BEGUN! But honestly, I don’t know if any of the Jets’ quarterbacks will be on the roster next season. And the Chargers? They’re a train wreck. AND I LOVE IT.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

With Thanksgiving taking up time with travel, family, and friends, I decided to forgo the now-typical Thursday posting of The Opening Drive. But don’t worry, week 12 in the NFL still has a few games worth checking out this weekend!

(6-4) Seattle Seahawks at

(4-6) Miami Dolphins

Wait, am I liking Seattle on the road? That’s a switch. Miami’s been disappointing in its last few outings, so another loss essentially eliminates them from the postseason picture. If Seattle can pound on Miami’s front seven with Marshawn Lynch, Russell will likely see his receivers in single coverage on the outside against lesser corners. That’s a recipe for success.

(9-1) Atlanta Falcons at

(6-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game of the day. Tampa Bay’s offense has been nearly dominant as of late, and they’re matching up against an Atlanta defense that can’t halt the run with any regularity. Doug Martin could be in line for a ridiculously awesome fantasy stat line today. Get him in your starting line-up. I really like the Bucs are home here.

(8-2) Baltimore Ravens at

(4-6) San Diego Chargers

I appreciate everyone thinking the Ravens are weak enough that they could travel across the country to San Diego... after a Sunday night game… against the always physical Steelers… and lose. Wait, I may have just talked myself into taking the Chargers. Wait, I’m taking the Chargers? Screw that noise. They’re terrible.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 8, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week eight in the NFL brought disaster upon several supposed contenders and cleared up the divisional pictures.  A few days late or not, we can’t have a week go by without an edition of The Final Drive!

(3-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36

(5-3) Minnesota Vikings 17

I guess the Vikings aren’t ready to be contenders just yet. Falling at home against a team on short rest and traveling for a Thursday night game? Thursday nights are built for the home team to get a win, but the Vikings failed to produce points. I put most of that on Christian Ponder, who honestly just looked terrible. Credit the Buccaneers for never taking their foot off the gas in this one, especially when there were several opportunities to lose the momentum.

(2-6) Cleveland Browns 7

(3-4) San Diego Chargers 6

Wow. San Diego only managed to put up two field goals against a team that has severe scoring issues. So yeah, I’d say Norv Turner’s job is in trouble. But where have I heard that before? Anyways, Cleveland really looks like a team that could be a legitimate contender in a few years if they stay on this track. Good for them.

(3-4) Detroit Lions 28

(4-4) Seattle Seahawks 24

Somehow Seattle’s defense took Calvin Johnson completely out of the game but let Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew wreck them. The fact that those two pass-catchers stepped-up like they did gives more weight toward their possible development. Matthew Stafford had an outstanding game through the air, even managing to outshine Russell Wilson’s best game of the year. While the offensive signs should be encouraging for Seattle fans, the loss is still painful.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 8, 2012"


Joe Anello

Reid and Turner back for 2012: Really? posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday came and went, but the coaching news continued on Tuesday with releases in Chicago and major retentions in San Diego and Philly. Were they the right moves? Let’s break ‘em down!

 

San Diego Chargers retain General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner

OH COME ON!!! I was finally ready to break-up the Turner/Philips romance. However, you can chalk up this stay of execution to a few select reasons. First, key players (i.e. Rivers) probably bitched enough to convince management that it would cause chemistry issues to change coaches. Second, who were they going to get that was even marginally better? Turner’s still got swagger when it comes to his offense, so I’m not sure who was out there (that would come to San Diego) that would be a marked improvement. Maybe Cowher or Gruden if they got extraordinarily lucky, but I’m sure they were rejected outright on those fronts. Finally, it’s the AFC West. A couple plays would have made the difference in getting the Chargers to the playoffs, so they don’t need to improve much to get there next year.

Right Call?

Fudge no. I’m sure team President Dean Spanos thought it’d easier to improve with continuity than an overhaul. I don’t care. I still think both of these guys needed to be put down. I’m still shocked they have their jobs. You let me down Dean.

 

Continue reading "Reid and Turner back for 2012: Really?"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 17, 2011-12 posted by Joe Anello

The 2011 NFL regular season ended with a bang with some great finishes and superb drama on Sunday. Records were set by a back-up QB, a team captain was benched for “quitting” and a fat-handed QB lost missed out on the post-season. The Final Drive must begin!

(15-1) Green Bay Packers 45
(10-6) Detroit Lions 41

This makes me beyond furious. Mike McCarthy takes out his MVP quarterback and starts a fourth year back-up with one career start in Matt Flynn, and f*cking records are broken. Six touchdowns? 480 yards? Who wouldn’t want to be Matt Flynn right now? That guy is about to make BANK as a free agent. Blow me Green Bay. Take your awesome quarterback development and blow me.

 

(6-10) Miami Dolphins 19
(8-8) New York Jets 17
Mark Sanchez: 3 interceptions. Santonio Holmes: benched and called out as a whiny quitter by his teammates.  (Seriously. Worst team captain ever.) Bart Scott: flips off a photographer and refuses to talk to the media (For once). Finally seeing theses loathsome Jets miss the playoffs is SO satisfying to me. Take it Rex Ryan. Take it hard.

(8-8) Philadelphia Eagles 34
(5-11) Washington Redskins 10

I don’t give a crap about the result of this game. What I do care about is DeSean Jackson deciding to actually play like he means it and be remorseful for his completely idiotic actions this season in the last game of the year. I’d be surprised (not stunned though) if the Eagles kept Jackson around. Maybe franchise him and get him on a one-year deal, but you would have thought he’d have been on better behavior once he showed up to 2011.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 17, 2011-12"

San Diego Chargers News

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NFL draft watch: Needs that teams should pass on in Round 1 (Shutdown Corner)

It’s time to revive the need-vs.-BPA (best player available) debate, with an eye on this year’s draft. I was stunned at how many comments, Twitter remarks and emails I got after my post-combine mock draft that were something along the lines of “[insert their favorite team] won’t do that … they have bigger needs.” Knowing that my mock will be torn to shreds after the first round of free agency, I won’t defend the picks — but rather my method. Think of it this way: If you were to go back and do a redraft from three, four, seven, heck, 10 years ago, what are you going to do? You’re going to look at the best players and not even think about need. It’s not the most scientific way to approach it, but the point is this: Talent trumps all, and need should only be a tiebreaker. [All Draft News, All The Time: Follow Shutdown Draft 365 on Tumblr ] So let’s take a look at the first-round draft order and examine some teams’ big, pressing needs — and implore them to wait on filling them if the right player isn’t available. 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What don’t they need? Well, certainly most of the free world believes that Jameis Winston will be their choice at No. 1 overall, so we’ll assume that the Bucs go that direction and know that they can come back and address their needs for a pass rusher or an offensive lineman (or two) later on, starting with the second pick of the second round. 2. Tennessee Titans: Do they draft Marcus Mariota? I had the Titans taking him second, but I am starting to get the idea that they’ll listen to offers from desperate teams such as the Cleveland Browns or Philadelphia Eagles, if for no other reason than to see what they might fork over. That makes this tough to project, but we can say this: There is no offensive lineman — and they still need some — or defensive back worth taking at No. 2. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are in a great spot here, able to let the top two picks play out and still likely get either Leonard Williams or a pass rusher. The need they can wait on is an offensive tackle, which could come later on. 4. Oakland Raiders: It’s looking like it is coming down to a receiver or a pass rusher, depending on what happens in free agency; Williams wouldn’t be bad, either. But as badly as they need another cornerback or an offensive lineman, this too can wait. 5. Washington Redskins: A bulldog guard with some size and grit would really help spur this run game. But you’re not drafting guards with the fifth pick too often and hitting home runs. This year is no exception. They can get their guy in Round 2 and still find a starter. 6. New York Jets: Broken record here. Cornerback and offensive tackle are two spots they’d love to fill in the draft. But taking D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s eventual replacement shouldn’t come with the sixth pick, no matter what happens in the top five. 7. Chicago Bears: For all of their defensive needs (and they have plenty), the Bears also have a sneaky shortcoming at wide receiver — especially if Brandon Marshall doesn’t figure into their plans. But with this draft class, some good receivers will be pushed down, maybe even into Rounds 3 and 4. 8. Atlanta Falcons: With the way the Falcons are cutting veterans left and right, their needs grow — proportionally to the speculation that they might be players in free agency. So it’s tricky to say which needs will be filled in late April and which won’t. But based on our best speculation, it would be unlikely for the Falcons to go the veteran free-agent route to add a running back, which they need, and more likely they’ll mine one from the draft. And we know it won’t be at No. 8. Could they steal Melvin Gordon at No. 41 overall? Get lucky to land Jay Ajayi near the top of Round 3? They might. 9. New York Giants: Is this too high to take an offensive tackle? We would understand the thinking if they went that route. A pass rusher? That we certainly can get on board with, assuming there’s still one worth taking (Vic Beasley? Bud Dupree?) still on the board. But we would implore the Giants to resist their defensive back need here, even if you’re talking Landon Collins or Trae Waynes or whomever. It just feels a bit too high for that position. 10. St. Louis Rams: Tricky spot to forecast here. They might need a receiver, and what if, say, either Kevin White or Amari Cooper slip? They might have to pounce. Offensive line looms as a sore spot still, and it wouldn’t be offensive to start (or continue) the run at that position for the right player. But a tight end? A cornerback? A quarterback? We say pass here. 11. Minnesota Vikings: This all changes if Adrian Peterson isn’t back, but we’re still not on board — yet — with Todd Gurley going at this point, even though, boy, what a potential replacement he might be. The beautiful thing seems to be that most of the team’s main needs (offensive line, cornerback, receiver) have players who could fit into this range. But linebacker, especially the kind they need, shouldn’t be the choice here. They can find one or two later on. 12. Cleveland Browns: Predicting Browns behavior is risky business, and we don’t recommend it for the faint of heart. But one thing is for certain: Taking a quarterback — assuming Marcus Mariota doesn’t embark on an Aaron Rodgers-esque slide — doesn’t feel wise. We’ll stop there for now, with the Browns back on the clock seven picks down the chain. 13. New Orleans Saints: You might be surprised to read how much we think the Saints need to consider a quarterback, and perhaps relatively high, too. But not here. No way. They can land a good pass rusher or cornerback at this spot and wait on QB. Maybe Garrett Grayson in the third? 14. Miami Dolphins: Our thinking here is that they could address the receiver position if someone like DeVante Parker remains undrafted, or perhaps nabbing a cornerback, although we’re bearish on the top-end talent. Same with linebacker. And they drafted an offensive lineman in Round 1 a year ago — would they go back and take another one this high? 15. San Francisco 49ers: I believe they’ll draft a quarterback. Boy, they’d rock the boat with a Brett Hundley pick, wouldn’t they? It’s not likely, but it’s fun to ponder. They also need receivers, offensive and defensive linemen, cornerbacks and a tight end. That last position can be filled down the line. 16. Houston Texans: Yes, we’d love to see long-term clarity at the QB spot, but Hundley and Bryce Petty are no-nos here. Solve the cornerback/wide receiver/offensive line issue instead. A sleeper first-round position could be nose tackle, unless they suddenly feel better about Louis Nix III. 17. San Diego Chargers: If a pass rusher fell here, they could grab him and help fill the veteran voids of Dwight Freeney and/or Jarrett Johnson, even with Jeremiah Attaochu in the wings. An offensive or defensive lineman could work here, too. But a running back — even if Ryan Mathews leaves — can wait. This draft is loaded at the position. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/post-nfl-combine-two-round-mock-draft-155706803.html 18. Kansas City Chiefs: No, we’re not going to further alienate our Chiefs readers by suggesting they pass on a wide receiver here (as we did in our most recent mock draft). An offensive lineman makes perfect sense as well. A corner would be OK if the right-sized and skilled player is here. But a linebacker can wait for later on in the draft. 19. Browns (from the Buffalo Bills): It all depends on what happens at 12. Heck, they could trade these two picks for Mariota for all we know. The only positions we’d urge them to wait on would be a linebacker or a tight end (if Jordan Cameron is gone). 20. Philadelphia Eagles: Like the Browns, we’re not super keen on them going quarterback here, short of finding a way to get up for Mariota. Corner and offensive line, if they stay here, would be two areas to consider. But safety would be a reach, even with Landon Collins fitting the Brian Dawkins-like physical mold. This Eagles defense relies on range, which might not be Collins’ forte. 21. Cincinnati Bengals: No kickers here, please! We’re only half kidding. Same with quarterback, even though we’d love to provide some Andy Dalton alternatives for the future. We feel confident they can find a linebacker, pass rusher, defensive back or receiver here whose value makes more sense. 22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Will there be a pass rusher worth taking at 22? Too early to tell. We think there will be a corner or a defensive lineman they like in this spot if not. Certainly, there’s zero need to add a running back now, even with Le’Veon Bell’s looming two-game suspension and zero reliable depth behind him. That can wait — perhaps even until Day 3 of the draft. 23. Detroit Lions: Releasing Reggie Bush means they could use another running back. But please, for all that is right, don’t start projecting them to take Gurley or Gordon. It’s not happening here. We’d love them to help out the offensive line, or the defensive line if they can’t keep Ndamukong Suh and/or Nick Fairley. 24. Arizona Cardinals: Funny to say for an offensively limited team by season’s end, but there might actually be more tangible needs on the defensive side of the ball — perhaps with all three levels needing some help. The inside linebacker can wait. We actually would be on board with taking Gurley here, too; that might be a fantastic move. 25. Carolina Panthers: Doesn’t this have to be an offensive tackle here? If not, maybe a receiver, but they did take Kelvin Benjamin in Round 1 last year, making it less likely in our minds. A cornerback would be better addressed later, we think, but the top ones will go quickly in this range. 26. Baltimore Ravens: This is a team that stands to lose some players for monetary reasons, and of their clear needs right now, we think they might be forced to wait on an outside rusher until later in the draft. It’s unlikely the right fit will be here at this spot, and there are plenty of other spots they can address nicely with the talent expected to be available here. 27. Dallas Cowboys: They could use another tight end to replace Jason Witten one day, and as much as Maxx Williams reminds us of Witten, we say pass here. There are a surprising number of areas that could improve on this 12-4 squad. 28. Denver Broncos: Like we’ve said above, the linebacker crop is not chock full of top-end talent, so this is a position they might be able to hit the snooze bar on for a round unless a top talent such as Shaq Thompson slides unexpectedly. 29. Indianapolis Colts: They need a safety, but if Collins is gone … we say wait. There might only be another one or two worth taking in the first 75 picks of the draft or so. We also think drafting a running back this high might not be the wisest move. Get another offensive lineman or a pass rusher instead. 30. Green Bay Packers: Why is everyone panicking about inside linebacker? Yes, Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk are gone, but that’s not a first-round position in this defense, we don’t believe. Ted Thompson is among the strictest best-player-available drafters in the game. We think he’ll look elsewhere. 31. Seattle Seahawks: Wide receiver is tempting, but the depth of this class suggests they might be able to be patient and wait; besides, they traded down and made Paul Richardson their top pick a year ago, even if he is coming off a torn ACL. 32. New England Patriots: Why does everyone want them to draft a receiver so high? They never have used a first-rounder on one under Bill Belichick, and they likely won’t start now. The offensive and defensive lines make more sense to address. The receiver can wait. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Marcus Mariota would love to play for Browns, hasn't yet talked to Chip Kelly (Shutdown Corner

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is used to running a speed attack on offense. He didn't, however, appear to be prepared for the barrage of questions from media on Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, asking several times to have the hard-to-hear questions repeated. Mariota is soft-spoken and polite. The highly touted NFL prospect said little that was jarring. That fits in line with the image he forged in a standout career with the Ducks. He did his best to slow down speculation about his future when asked about where he might end up in the league. His most interesting comments came when he was asked about the two NFL teams with which he's connected through coaching. Mariota has been working closely with quarterback guru Kevin O'Connell, a former third-round pick of the New England Patriots who never really made it in the league but was regarded for his athleticism and intelligence. So much so, in fact, that O'Connell was hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach their QBs under head coach Mike Pettine. How does Mariota feel about possibly playing for the Browns? "That would an awesome opportunity," he said. "I'd love to play for the Browns. For right now, you can't really control those things, so I try not to worry about them." Now before you start erasing your mock drafts and crafting trades involving the Browns moving up, pump the brakes. Yes, they own the 12th and 19th overall picks, and have additional picks later in the draft. And yes, Johnny Manziel is in rehab and Brian Hoyer is a free agent. But it's far from a guarantee that the newly hired O'Connell was brought on solely for the hope that the team can land Mariota. Asked if the Browns having O'Connell would give them special insight into drafting him, Mariota said, "I don't know. That's up to them." Mariota did say that O'Connell, who along with George Whitfield has helped prep Mariota through the pre-draft process, was a "smart football guy that's going to make the best decisions for the team." Mariota also revealed he has spent time talking to and working with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who implored Mariota "to be myself" and not try to be something he's not. Another coach with even more insight into Mariota's body of work is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who recruited and coached him before jumping to the NFL. It was in Kelly's spread offense that Mariota started to bloom in college, which has led to speculation that the Eagles could try to find a way to move up (from No. 20 — a long, long way) to land Chip's former pet project. Mariota said he hadn't yet spoken to Kelly at the combine, that he spoke only to quarterback coach Ryan Day (who played QB for Kelly at New Hampshire) from the Eagles. But if there's an offense into which Mariota could be ahead of the curve, it's Kelly's — the offense he was steeped in. Would Mariota want to play for Kelly again? "Yeah, why not? That would be a fun opportunity," he said. "But again, this process is out of our control and we'll see what happens." There are questions about that system helping perhaps manufacture a lot of Mariota's impressive production in college, and there remain some doubters who say he can't make all the NFL route tree of throws. Mariota believes he can, and he's banking on it by throwing at the combine, which he confirmed he'll do on Saturday. Mariota ended his college career with a loss in the national championship game to Ohio State, suffering an AC joint injury  to his throwing shoulder in the game.  Clearly, Mariota's shoulder wasn't serious to keep him from trying to make all the throws at the combine. Mariota knows that teams will have their doubts. He also knows that for whichever team drafts him, Mariota has a lot of work and adjustment in front of him. "For any rookie quarterback, it’s going to be an adjustment stepping up to this level," he said. "I am going to do my best in whatever situation I’m in." - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Marcus Mariota would love to play for Browns, hasn't yet talked to Chip Kelly (Shutdown Corner

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is used to running a speed attack on offense. He didn't, however, appear to be prepared for the barrage of questions from media on Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, asking several times to have the hard-to-hear questions repeated. Mariota is soft-spoken and polite. The highly touted NFL prospect said little that was jarring. That fits in line with the image he forged in a standout career with the Ducks. He did his best to slow down speculation about his future when asked about where he might end up in the league. His most interesting comments came when he was asked about the two NFL teams with which he's connected through coaching. Mariota has been working closely with quarterback guru Kevin O'Connell, a former third-round pick of the New England Patriots who never really made it in the league but was regarded for his athleticism and intelligence. So much so, in fact, that O'Connell was hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach their QBs under head coach Mike Pettine. How does Mariota feel about possibly playing for the Browns? "That would an awesome opportunity," he said. "I'd love to play for the Browns. For right now, you can't really control those things, so I try not to worry about them." Now before you start erasing your mock drafts and crafting trades involving the Browns moving up, pump the brakes. Yes, they own the 12th and 19th overall picks, and have additional picks later in the draft. And yes, Johnny Manziel is in rehab and Brian Hoyer is a free agent. But it's far from a guarantee that the newly hired O'Connell was brought on solely for the hope that the team can land Mariota. Asked if the Browns having O'Connell would give them special insight into drafting him, Mariota said, "I don't know. That's up to them." Mariota did say that O'Connell, who along with George Whitfield has helped prep Mariota through the pre-draft process, was a "smart football guy that's going to make the best decisions for the team." Mariota also revealed he has spent time talking to and working with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who implored Mariota "to be myself" and not try to be something he's not. Another coach with even more insight into Mariota's body of work is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who recruited and coached him before jumping to the NFL. It was in Kelly's spread offense that Mariota started to bloom in college, which has led to speculation that the Eagles could try to find a way to move up (from No. 20 — a long, long way) to land Chip's former pet project. Mariota said he hadn't yet spoken to Kelly at the combine, that he spoke only to quarterback coach Ryan Day (who played QB for Kelly at New Hampshire) from the Eagles. But if there's an offense into which Mariota could be ahead of the curve, it's Kelly's — the offense he was steeped in. Would Mariota want to play for Kelly again? "Yeah, why not? That would be a fun opportunity," he said. "But again, this process is out of our control and we'll see what happens." There are questions about that system helping perhaps manufacture a lot of Mariota's impressive production in college, and there remain some doubters who say he can't make all the NFL route tree of throws. Mariota believes he can, and he's banking on it by throwing at the combine, which he confirmed he'll do on Saturday. Mariota ended his college career with a loss in the national championship game to Ohio State, suffering an AC joint injury  to his throwing shoulder in the game.  Clearly, Mariota's shoulder wasn't serious to keep him from trying to make all the throws at the combine. Mariota knows that teams will have their doubts. He also knows that for whichever team drafts him, Mariota has a lot of work and adjustment in front of him. "For any rookie quarterback, it’s going to be an adjustment stepping up to this level," he said. "I am going to do my best in whatever situation I’m in." - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Marcus Mariota would love to play for Browns, hasn't yet talked to Chip Kelly (Shutdown Corner

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is used to running a speed attack on offense. He didn't, however, appear to be prepared for the barrage of questions from media on Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, asking several times to have the hard-to-hear questions repeated. Mariota is soft-spoken and polite. The highly touted NFL prospect said little that was jarring. That fits in line with the image he forged in a standout career with the Ducks. He did his best to slow down speculation about his future when asked aboutwhere he might end up in the league. His most interesting comments came when he was asked about the two NFL teams with which he's connected through coaching. Mariota has been working closely with quarterback guru Kevin O'Connell, a former third-round pick of the New England Patriots who never really made it in the league but was regarded for his athleticism and intelligence. So much so, in fact, that O'Connell was hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach their QBs under head coach Mike Pettine. How does Mariota feel about possibly playing for the Browns? "That would an awesome opportunity," he said. "I'd love to play for the Browns. For right now, you can't really control those things, so I try not to worry about them." Now before you start erasing your mock drafts and crafting trades involving the Browns moving up, pump the brakes. Yes, they own the 12th and 19th overall picks, and have additional picks later in the draft. And yes, Johnny Manziel is in rehab and Brian Hoyer is a free agent. But it's far from a guarantee that the newly hired O'Connell was brought on solely for the hope that the team can land Mariota. Asked if the Browns having O'Connell would give them special insight into drafting him, Mariota said, "I don't know. That's up to them." Mariota did say that O'Connell, who along with George Whitfield has helped prep Mariota through the pre-draft process, was a "smart football guy that's going to make the best decisions for the team." Mariota also revealed he has spent time talking to and working with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who implored Mariota "to be myself" and not try to be something he's not. Another coach with even more insight into Mariota's body of work is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who recruited and coached him before jumping to the NFL. It was in Kelly's spread offense that Mariota started to bloom in college, which has led to speculation that the Eagles could try to find a way to move up (from No. 20 — a long, long way) to land Chip's former pet project. Mariota said he hadn't yet spoken to Kelly at the combine, that he spoke only to quarterback coach Ryan Day (who played QB for Kelly at New Hampshire) from the Eagles. But if there's an offense into which Mariota could be ahead of the curve, it's Kelly's — the offense he was steeped in. Would Mariota want to play for Kelly again? "Yeah, why not? That would be a fun opportunity," he said. "But again, this process is out of our control and we'll see what happens." There are questions about that system helping perhaps manufacture a lot of Mariota's impressive production in college, and there remain some doubters who say he can't make all the NFL route tree of throws. Mariota believes he can, and he's banking on it by throwing at the combine, which he confirmed he'll do on Saturday. Mariota ended his college career with a loss in the national championship game to Ohio State, suffering an AC joint injury  to his throwing shoulder in the game.  Clearly, Mariota's shoulder wasn't serious to keep him from trying to make all the throws at the combine. Mariota knows that teams will have their doubts. He also knows that for whichever team drafts him, Mariota has a lot of work and adjustment in front of him. "For any rookie quarterback, it’s going to be an adjustment stepping up to this level," he said. "I am going to do my best in whatever situation I’m in." - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Marcus Mariota would love to play for Browns, hasn't yet talked to Chip Kelly (Shutdown Corner

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is used to running a speed attack on offense. He didn't, however, appear to be prepared for the barrage of questions from media on Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, asking several times to have the hard-to-hear questions repeated. Mariota is soft-spoken and polite. The highly touted NFL prospect said little that was jarring. That fits in line with the image he forged in a standout career with the Ducks. He did his best to slow down speculation about his future when asked about where he might end up in the league. His most interesting comments came when he was asked about the two NFL teams with which he's connected through coaching. Mariota has been working closely with quarterback guru Kevin O'Connell, a former third-round pick of the New England Patriots who never really made it in the league but was regarded for his athleticism and intelligence. So much so, in fact, that O'Connell was hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach their QBs under head coach Mike Pettine. How does Mariota feel about possibly playing for the Browns? "That would an awesome opportunity," he said. "I'd love to play for the Browns. For right now, you can't really control those things, so I try not to worry about them." Now before you start erasing yourmock drafts and crafting trades involving the Browns moving up, pump the brakes. Yes, they own the 12th and 19th overall picks, and have additional picks later in the draft. And yes, Johnny Manziel is in rehab and Brian Hoyer is a free agent. But it's far from a guarantee that the newly hired O'Connell was brought on solely for the hope that the team can land Mariota. Asked if the Browns having O'Connell would give them special insight into drafting him, Mariota said, "I don't know. That's up to them." Mariota did say that O'Connell, who along with George Whitfield has helped prep Mariota through the pre-draft process, was a "smart football guy that's going to make the best decisions for the team." Mariota also revealed he has spent time talking to and working with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who implored Mariota "to be myself" and not try to be something he's not. Another coach with even more insight into Mariota's body of work is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who recruited and coached him before jumping to the NFL. It was in Kelly's spread offense that Mariota started to bloom in college, which has led to speculation that the Eagles could try to find a way to move up (from No. 20 — a long, long way) to land Chip's former pet project. Mariota said he hadn't yet spoken to Kelly at the combine, that he spoke only to quarterback coach Ryan Day (who played QB for Kelly at New Hampshire) from the Eagles. But if there's an offense into which Mariota could be ahead of the curve, it's Kelly's — the offense he was steeped in. Would Mariota want to play for Kelly again? "Yeah, why not? That would be a fun opportunity," he said. "But again, this process is out of our control and we'll see what happens." There are questions about that system helping perhaps manufacture a lot of Mariota's impressive production in college, and there remain some doubters who say he can't make all the NFL route tree of throws. Mariota believes he can, and he's banking on it by throwing at the combine, which he confirmed he'll do on Saturday. Mariota ended his college career with a loss in the national championship game to Ohio State, suffering an AC joint injury  to his throwing shoulder in the game.  Clearly, Mariota's shoulder wasn't serious to keep him from trying to make all the throws at the combine. Mariota knows that teams will have their doubts. He also knows that for whichever team drafts him, Mariota has a lot of work and adjustment in front of him. "For any rookie quarterback, it’s going to be an adjustment stepping up to this level," he said. "I am going to do my best in whatever situation I’m in." - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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