In Baltimore, Zorn will be charged with overseeing the development of promising starter Joe Flacco, 2006 Heisman winner Troy Smith, and former second-round pick John Beck.
Ravens tab Zorn to coach up quarterbacks
I spent last night watching the Penguins blow a 1-0 lead to the Senators on NBC Sports Network, before eventually losing in double overtime. The game-tying goal came with 28.6 seconds to play.
Over on the parent network, Tim Tebow showed up after the clock expired.
For the season finale of Donald Trump’s The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, Tebow arrived at the final task with a check for $100,000, which went to finalist Trace Adkins’ charity. But Tebow got there after the deadline for gathering funds, so Adkins didn’t get credit for the money.
Adkins still raised more than fellow finalist Penn Gillette, and Adkins ultimately was named The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, a title that as far as we can tell is meaningless. Like Vice President of the United States.
It’s unclear when the segment including Tebow’s appearance was taped, and whether the money came from his pocket, his foundation, or elsewhere.
It was clear that Tebow showed up with $100,000 less than expected. Adkins said multiple times that Tebow was coming with $200,000.
Regardless, it was a generous contribution, which will go to the American Red Cross. And it possibly gives Tebow an opening to join the show for its next season, since he quite possibly won’t be otherwise occupied.
If Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano ever gets tired of having to tell people Josh Freeman is his starting quarterback, someone should probably mention to him that it’s kind of his own fault.
“We have a starting quarterback, and it’s Josh Freeman,” Schiano said, via Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times.
According to the report, Schiano said he’s trying to be honest, and doesn’t mean to put pressure on Freeman by saying such things in the national media.
“I guess nationally, they don’t sit here with me every day like you guys [local media] do,” Schiano said. “From the day we arrived, our whole program has [been based on] competition, . . . That’s what we believe in. It’s the most competitive sports league in the world. It’s competition, and I love it.
“But we have our starting quarterback, and it’s Josh Freeman. I’m not looking to find another.”
If he really wanted to clear things up, he could always, you know, stop leaving the door open a crack every time he talks about Glennon.
Or, if he wanted a stronger statement on Freeman and how much he loves him under center, he could give him a new contract to replace the final year of his rookie deal.
But it doesn’t appear at the moment that Schiano intends to do either.
And that’s fine, as long as everyone’s clear about the implication sent by those actions.
He likes Freeman, right up until the point he decides he doesn’t.
So Schiano’s apparently going to have to keep clarifying all the things that he keeps saying, whether to the national or local media.
The 28-year-old Fluellen has appeared in 56 games in five NFL seasons, notching 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He had stints with Miami and Detroit in 2012. The Lions drafted him in the third round in 2008 out of Florida State.
The 6-foot-2, 302-pound Fluellen has primarily been a backup interior lineman on teams employing 4-3 schemes, and it’s possible he could appeal to clubs using four-player defensive lines.
In 2012, Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop never saw the field after suffering a hamstring injury in the preseason. In 2013, Bishop thinks he’s going to be the best defensive player in the NFL.
Bishop told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he keeps a notebook with everything he plans to do for the whole season, and at the top of the list is “2013 Defensive MVP. Why not?“
Some might say the answer to “Why not?” is simple: Bishop is nowhere near good enough to be the defensive player of the year. But Bishop doesn’t see it that way.
“Seriously,” Bishop says, “why not? I know I’m capable.”
The Packers may not believe Bishop is capable, which is why they were considering trading him last month. Bishop says that trade talk motivates him.
“Oh yeah,” Bishop said, “definitely. I get so much motivation from so much different stuff. I’m ready to go.”
From all indications, Bishop will be ready to go in 2013 after missing all of 2012. But ready to be the defensive player of the year? Don’t bet on it.
Darrell Green had a Hall of Fame career with the Redskins, but no one will be happier to cheer for the Cowboys this season.
That’s because his son, wide receiver Jared Green, is on the Cowboys roster after spending last year on the Panthers practice squad.
So as natural as it would have been for the son to idolize an Art Monk or a Gary Clark growing up, it was a Michael Irvin poster on his wall instead.
“Every kid, I don’t care what anybody says, any kid in the ’90s saw that star and wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy,” Jared said, via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com. “I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, you wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy. . . .
“My dad was a player at that place, and we appreciated everything he did and what the organization allowed him to do, but after that it’s just a job Dad worked for 20 years. I’m a grown man, and my dad is supporting what I do and we’re all-in for the Dallas Cowboys.”
The younger Green apparently stood out in rookie minicamps, though the competition will increase when the veterans arrive for OTAs.
And if he can crack the roster, he’ll have a chance to see up close the uniform his father starred in.
But if his father shows up wearing a star, he said not to be surprised.
“Daddy doesn’t care what the color of the jersey is as long as my son’s name is on the back,” Darrell said.
Jared’s far from a lock to even win a roster spot, though he does have a good measure of his father’s speed. And if he can make that last, he has a chance to make for some interesting choices of jerseys at family reunions.
Owens (5-10, 225) could appeal to Buffalo on numerous levels. He is a two-time Pro Bowler on special teams, and he’s capable of playing both fullback and running back.
The 29-year-old Owens has primarily made his name on special teams, but when injuries forced him into the lineup at tailback for Jacksonville a season ago, he acquitted himself well. Overall, Owens rushed for 209 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries in 2012 for the Jaguars, who released him last week.
PFT Live was on vacation last week, but it’s a new week and that means we’ll be back at it on Monday.
We’ll get the ball rolling again by checking in with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune about what’s going on with the Chargers. The big news is on the defensive side of the ball, where theyy didn’t waste any time signing longtime Colts pass rusher Dwight Freeney after losing linebacker Melvin Ingram to a knee injury. We’ll hear more about how the Chargers will use Freeney and see if there’s going to be a veteran left tackle like Max Starks joining him in the locker room.
Former Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli will also be on hand to talk about the other big stories around the league as most of the 32 teams gear up for a week of OTAs.
You can watch it all live at noon ET.
According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Johnson has confirmed that he played with three broken fingers during the 2012 season. Johnson said surgery won’t be needed, and that he’s trying to straighten them out. (Torry Holt and Brian Baldinger think that’s cute.)
In February, McCosky reported that Johnson had played with at least two broken fingers. At the Scouting Combine, coach Jim Schwartz declined to comment.
“I am not going to comment on any of our players’ health,” Schwartz said at the time. “But that’s not uncommon for a wide receiver. . . . We don’t have any injury reports this time of year. And you know how I am about injuries.”
Yes, we know. Because we’ve looked at the Lions’ injuries reports for every game of the 2012 season, and there’s nothing about broken fingers. Twice — in Week 13 and Week 15 — Johnson is listed with a “thumb” injury. Presumably, three broken fingers would result in a different description, and it would show up more than twice, in non-consecutive weeks.
It’s the kind of development that should have folks like Ravens coach John Harbaugh calling the league office and complaining. Harbaugh’s team was fined $20,000 last year for failing to disclose an Ed Reed shoulder injury. The Lions apparently failed to disclose Johnson’s broken fingers.
This gets back to something we mention about from time to time. If the rules aren’t going to be enforced consistently, the NFL needs to change the rules, and enforce those rules consistently.
Regardless, the broken fingers make Johnson’s accomplishments from last season even more impressive. And they finally give the Maddencursers something tangible to which they can point and exclaim, “A-ha!“
Johnson was reportedly out of the state at the time that the warrant was issued, but he’s back in Florida on Monday and TMZ reports that he’s now under arrest. Per the report, which features a picture of Johnson being cuffed by police officers, Johnson appeared in the Broward County courtroom and the judge ruled that he had violated his probation by missing two visits with his probation officer and failing to produce proof that he had enrolled in a domestic violence education class.
Johnson was placed on probation when he pleaded no contest to charges stemming from an incident with his then-wife Evelyn Lozada last August. Johnson’s arrest led to his release by the Dolphins and, most likely, the end of a professional football career that was already on its last legs.
There’s no word yet on bail or future court dates for Johnson.
The Seahawks are number one — in performance enhancing substance suspensions.
And according to Mike Sando of ESPN.com, that’s the highest total in the league during that span.
Two other teams, the Broncos and Giants, have had four suspensions each, while the Patriots, Redskins, Bengals, Texans and Rams are tied for fourth with three each.
With 50 total suspensions during that time frame, 22 teams have had at least one.
Only the Bills, Lions, Jaguars, Colts, Chiefs, Jets, Raiders, Cowboys, Eagles and 49ers have stayed off the board.
There have been times in recent years when the Seahawks have been applauded for taking chances in the draft. But there’s a flip side to that, and it bears watching, especially with four guys on the current roster (the Seahawks released Allen Barbre after his suspension, and he’s with the Eagles now) now staring at a possible eight-game suspension if they test positive again.
As the title to this blurb indicates, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has signed a pledge to not use the “R” word.
And, no, it’s not Redskins.
Now, Flacco and two of his teammates — tight end Ed Dickson and center Gino Gradkowski — have signed a pledge to eliminate use of the term. The Maryland Special Olympics page has posted a photo of the signing ceremony.
It’s a potent message to folks who continue to use that word casually, typically with a meaning that is different from its actual meaning. Which can make the person who uses the word completely oblivious to its potentially offensive nature.
Sort of like, well, never mind.
You can’t argue with that as far as getting a healthy body into the lineup to replace linebacker Melvin Ingram is concerned, but Freeney’s previously stated preference to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and somewhat diminished results in a 3-4 with the Colts in 2012 made “perfect” seem like a bit of an exaggeration. But, as Freeney explained to Peter King for this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback, the Chargers told him that they aren’t going to try to put a square peg in a round hole when it comes to deploying Freeney in 2013.
“They’ll run both. They’re willing to feature me and free me up to make plays. And they’re going to put me in good matchups in the 3-4,” Freeney said.
There wasn’t much point in signing Freeney if the Chargers weren’t going to use him to do what he does best, so we’d expect to see a fair amount of Freeney on the edge with his hand in the dirt on passing downs this season. With Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget capable of generating some interior pressure, the Chargers pass rush should be able to threaten offenses in multiple ways now that Freeney’s in town.
Even though the Chargers have never won a Super Bowl and have played in only one of them, they’ve got plenty of all-time greats.
Possibly, too many to fit on one Mt. Rushmore.
From Dan Fouts to Junior Seau to Kellen Winslow to Lance Alworth to Charlie Joiner to Don Coryell to Ron Mix to Fred Dean to Billy Ray Smith to Rodney Harrison, it won’t be easy to trim to four.
It won’t be easy to trim to a list of 12 finalists. But with your help, we’ll give it a clumsy try.
UPDATE 10:33 a.m. ET: Of course we forgot to mention LaDainian Tomlinson. Making it even harder to get to 12. And then to four.
Now, he’s making another significant adjustment.
According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times Picayune, Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis said Smith will open OTAs as an outside linebacker.
The Saints need help at the position, as signing former Cowboys backup Victor Butler was the extent of the additions there. And while Butler could be a good addition — he was productive in spot duty behind two stars in Dallas — the Saints need more.
How the 6-foot-3, 282-pound Smith holds up while standing up will be a key. He’s been a good-not-great pass-rusher in the past, but he’s probably going to need to drop some weight, in hopes of being more fluid than he’s been in the past.
On the surface, it looks like a bit of a desperation move, as the Saints weren’t able to make enough transactions in one offseason to fix a defense that was statistically the worst in league history.
So what happened with Eagles running back Miguel Maysonet in Philadelphia? Per a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Maysonet found himself on the wrong side of a numbers game.
The recent addition of veteran tailback Felix Jones resulted in Maysonet sliding, in the team’s view, to the sixth spot on the depth chart. And so the decision was made to move on.
Despite speculation in some circles that the five-figure signing bonus paid to Maysonet and his abrupt departure after one week of OTA practices speaks to a disconnect between coaching staff and front office, keep in mind that undrafted rookies routinely get sizable signing bonuses — and then routinely get cut.
This year, for example, the Giants gave receiver Marcus Davis a $15,000 signing bonus, and they already have released him.
The balance of Maysonet’s rookie deal will now be subject to the waiver system, given that the Eagles officially have released the former Stony Brook standout, replacing him with undrafted rookie tight end Will Shaw. The teams to watch will be any teams the Eagles outbid to get Maysonet, since those teams can now get him with no signing bonus at all.