Tag Archives: andrew luck

What will Andrew Luck’s offense look like?

For National Football Authority, we break down the offense the Indianapolis Colts are designing for Andrew Luck. How will the Colts feature rookie tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen? What receivers will become Luck’s favorites? Click here to read all about it.

Colts rookies Coby Fleener (80) and Andrew Luck (12), via yahoo.com

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FR: 2012 Pre-draft trades

In this post, we compare the significance of the trades made in the NFL between the opening of the 2012 offseason and the NFL draft. We’ll follow up this post, as usual, with posts on player-based trades during the draft and then in the offseason leading into training camp. As is usual with our Football Relativity posts, the 10 level is for the most significant trades, and the 1 level is for the least significant.

New Jets QB Tim Tebow, via si.com

10 – Miami Dolphins trade WR Brandon Marshall to Chicago Bears for 2012 and 2013 third-round picks – Marshall fell off the national radar a bit in Miami, but he is still a true No. 1 receiver who is a catch machine. Plus, in Chicago he is reunited with Jay Cutler, with whom he had so much success in Denver. The cost isn’t bad, especially when you consider that the Bears had an extra third-rounder this year from the Greg Olsen trade. But Marshall’s off-field troubles – which included a police-involved incident just before the trade – obviously wore on the Dolphins. Still, if Marshall can stay out of trouble, he’s a huge addition for the Bears, who have not had a receiver of his talents in eons. His presence will allow Chicago’s other receivers to fall into more appropriate complimentary roles, which should make the Bears offense more potent. It’ll be interesting to see if Marshall can do what it takes to make that happens.

9 – none

8 – Denver Broncos trade QB Tim Tebow and 2012 seventh-round pick to New York Jets for 2012 fourth- and sixth-round picks – While the Tebow trade was the highest profile deal of the offseason, it won’t be the most significant. That’s because Tebow ultimately doesn’t have the on-field capacity of taking away Mark Sanchez’s job and keeping it. Tebow will steal some snaps and quite possibly some starts away from Sanchez, but if he becomes the No. 1 QB he won’t perform well enough to keep it. The best-case scenario for Tebow is to get a year on the bench in the system to develop and hone his skills and make a run at the starting job in 2013. But New York’s fan base and media isn’t patient enough for that to happen, and so ultimately the Tebow experiment will fail. The Broncos saw this coming in Denver, so they sold low on Tebow, getting minimal value back for a former first-round pick. It’s another in the long line of disastrous consequences of the Josh McDaniels hire.

7 – none

6 – Philadelphia Eagles trade CB Asante Samuel to Atlanta Falcons for 2012 seventh-round draft pick – We discussed this deal in depth in this piece.

5 – Houston Texans trade LB DeMeco Ryans to Philadelphia Eagles for 2012 fourth-round draft pick and swap of 2012 third-round picks (Texans gain 12 spots) – Ryans was incredibly productive in Houston, but he was lost in the shuffle a bit when the Texans switched to a 3-4 defense last year. He turned into a run-down-only linebacker who wasn’t on the field on passing downs. So the Texans, who were in major cost-cutting mode this offseason, dealt him to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Ryans can fit more naturally into a 4-3 defense as the middle linebacker, which was a major trouble spot last year. His presence and leadership should help Philly’s other young linebackers perform a little better, which will be a nice side benefit. It’s a shame that Ryans fell out of favor in Houston, because he can play when healthy, but credit to the Texans for recognizing that he was no longer a fit and getting something in return.

4 – Cincinnati Bengals trade OLB Keith Rivers to New York Giants for 2012 fifth-round pick – Rivers, a former top-10 pick, battled injuries throughout his Bengals career, and as a result showed only flashes of brilliance. The Bengals had to move on with Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson, which made Rivers expendable. He’s a bit of a lottery ticket for the Giants, but if he’s healthy he adds a play-making aspect to a linebacking corps that is solid but unspectacular. It’s the kind of gamble that a defending champion can take, because the team is deep enough that a fifth-round pick would struggle to make the roster.

3 – Carolina Panthers trade RB Mike Goodson to Oakland Raiders for OT Bruce Campbell – This is a classic deal in which teams trade players who have fallen out of favor and hope a change of scenery changes things. There’s a better chance of that happening in Goodson’s case, since he has delivered on the NFL level in the past. He showed in 2009 and 2010 that he is a quality runner, receiver, and returner who can back up Darren McFadden in Oakland. But Goodson developed fumbling problems last year and fell into Panthers head coach Ron Rivera’s doghouse. Campbell, a former fourth-round pick, has massive physical ability but has never lived up to his potential. But the Raiders tried him at guard, when he’s more naturally a tackle. The Panthers hope he can develop into a right tackle option who can back up or even replace Jeff Otah. Neither player figured in his old team’s plans, so taking a shot on someone else makes sense. But the Raiders are a little more likely to cash in on this deal.

2 – Philadelphia Eagles trade OT Winston Justice and a 2012 sixth-round pick to Indianapolis Colts for a 2012 sixth-round pick – Justice had fallen out of favor in Philadelphia and lost a starting job, but he’s still a replacement-level right tackle. That’s the role the Colts have in mind as they seek to stabilize a problematic offensive line in advance of Andrew Luck’s arrival. The bargain-basement price – moving down half a round in the sixth – was well worth it, even if Justice doesn’t hold a starting job all season.

1 – New York Jets trade QB Drew Stanton and a 2012 seventh-round pick to Indianapolis Colts for 2012 sixth-round pick – The Jets signed Stanton to be Mark Sanchez’s backup, but after trading for Tebow, they did right by Stanton and found him another place to be a No. 2. The change-of-direction cost the Jets $500,000, but at least they got a little bit of draft value in return. For the Colts, who had no backup quarterback, adding Stanton is a solid move that didn’t even cost them a draft pick. Instead, they dealt the sixth-rounder they got in the Winston Justice trade and moved down to the seventh. Getting Justice, Stanton, and a seventh-rounder for their sixth-round pick is really good value for a Colts team badly in need of depth.

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Will Byron Leftwich mentor Andrew Luck in Indy?

For National Football Authority, we look at the rumors that the Indianapolis Colts are looking at Byron Leftwich as the backup to Andrew Luck. We look at what Leftwich could add to the Colts, and what problems he could cause if given too significant a role. Click here to read all about it.

Byron Leftwich, via si.com

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How seriously are Colts considering RG3?

For National Football Authority, we break down recent rumors that the Indianapolis Colts may prefer Robert Griffin III to Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Is RG3 moving above Luck, or are the rumors just the typical pre-draft noise? Click here to read all about it.

Robert Griffin III, via kcentv.com

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Can Colts land Coby Fleener?

For National Football Authority, we break down whether the Colts can will have enough luck (sorry) to draft Stanford TE Coby Fleener at the beginning of the second round. If the Colts can’t pair Fleener with his college quarterback Andrew Luck, who is the other tight end option worth consideration? Click here to read all about it.

Coby Fleener, via aolnews.com

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FR: 2012 Coaching Changes

Each year, we review and compare new head coaches in the NFL. This year’s entries:
*Kansas City (Romeo Crennel, who was the interim, replacing Todd Haley)
*Jacksonsville (Mike Mularkey, replacing interim Mel Tucker, who replaced Jack Del Rio)
*St. Louis (Jeff Fisher, replacing Steve Spagnuolo)
*Miami (Joe Philbin, replacing interim Todd Bowles, who replaced Tony Sparano)
*Oakland (Dennis Allen, replacing Hue Jackson)
*Indianapolis (Chuck Pagano, replacing Jim Caldwell)
*Tampa Bay (Greg Schiano, replacing Raheem Morris)

We put these hires through the theory of relativity. We’ll do it on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best possible hire, and 1 being the worst possible hire.

10 – Jeff Fisher, Rams – In an offseason where many big names circulated around the coaching carousel, Fisher is the one who actually landed. The former Titans coach provided stability for an organization that didn’t really have it otherwise in Tennessee, and the results were 142 wins, six playoff appearances, and one AFC championship over 17 years. Fisher never had elite talent, but he always had a physical team that played good defense and ran the ball well. And when he got a quarterback with toughness – as with the late Steve McNair – he won. Now he goes to St. Louis, where he becomes the seventh coach (including interims) since 2005. The Rams desperately need stability, and Fisher brings that. He should help a defense with nice, young front seven pieces play better, and he will set about fixing an offensive line that has struggled despite massive investment in the draft and in free agency. Most of all, his job is to develop a system that allows promising young QB Sam Bradford to prosper. (We covered what Fisher’s arrival means to RB Steven Jackson previously in this post.) Fisher may not be a Hall of Fame level coach, but he is a good one, and he should help in St. Louis.

9 – none

8 – none

7 – Chuck Pagano, Colts – I don’t know why I have such a good feeling about the fit of Pagano and the Colts. Pagano’s NFL resume isn’t that long – he has spent most of his coaching career in college – and he served as a coordinator for just one year at the NFL level. But his Ravens defense was solid this season, and he certainly had plenty of big personalities to contend with in Baltimore. Now this coaching lifer – who has also been a secondary coach in Cleveland and Oakland – leaps to the big job. When he has been in the media, he has showed personality, and all reports say he was hyper-prepared for his Colts interview. The one potential glitch in this mix is how Pagano will develop a young quarterback – either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III – coming in as a rookie. Undoubtedly, the Colts asked that question in the interview, and they must have liked Pagano’s answer. And stepping into a situation with a franchise quarterback coming in off the bat is good fortune for Pagano. Plus, the recent history of Ravens defensive coordinators to become head coaches (Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan for example) is pretty good. His staff will be key, but the early returns on Pagano and the Colts seem very promising.

6 – Mike Mularkey, Jaguars – We discussed the reasons behind hiring Mularkey and what his biggest job in Jacksonville is in this post. We like the move even more now that he has kept Mel Tucker around as defensive coordinator. Ultimately, we like this move more than most second-time coaches. Mularkey is still a good prospect and a worthwhile hire.

English: Tennessee Titans head coach on the si...

New Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. Image via Wikipedia

5 – Dennis Allen, Raiders – The Raiders, who were widely assumed to be importing a Packers assistant now that Reggie McKenzie is the GM, instead hired Broncos defensive coordinator Allen. Allen doesn’t have a long resume, but he did a nice job with the Denver defense this year after a few years as the Saints secondary coach. The fact that Allen was hired off John Fox’s staff could be a good precedent; a similar thing happened when Jacksonville plucked defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio off Fox’s staff after his first year in Carolina. Allen is just 39, but he’s obviously a sharp coach, and former players have credited his people skills as well. But the Raiders’ culture isn’t necessarily one bred for success at this point. There is a commitment to excellence, but there isn’t a commitment to the things excellence requires – like discipline, shrewd salary-cap management, and more. McKenzie will start trying to fix those things, but the question is whether being the first coach in the rebuilding process is ideal. Still, Allen inherits a talented roster, and he knows the AFC West. He needs to find a strong offensive voice, but that could still happen. So he has a real shot in his first head-coaching job – which isn’t a bad situation at age 39.

4 – Greg Schiano, Buccaneers – The Buccaneers, apparently entranced by Jim Harbaugh’s first-season success, first chased Oregon’s Chip Kelly before landing Schiano from Rutgers. Schiano did a remarkable job of taking Rutgers from being the dregs of college football to being respectable, although he couldn’t take the final step to a BCS bowl out of the Big East. Still, he has a solid resume that includes NFL experience as a defensive backs coach with the Bears. He is well respected, and Bill Belichick’s public respect undoubtedly helped Schiano land the job in Tampa Bay. Now he must show that he can coach, not just recruit. The Bucs have a young roster, and the fact that Tampa Bay has taken a lot of gambles on talented players with questionable character certainly contributed to the 10-game losing streak that cost Raheem Morris his job. Schiano must make the team tougher as he develops the skills of guys like QB Josh Freeman, DE Adrian Clayborn, and MLB Mason Foster. That means Schiano’s staff will be of paramount importance. We never love the idea of college coaches going to the pros, and a coach who made his bones as a recruiter the way Schiano did is even more of a question mark. But if Schiano can add toughness, the talent is present for Tampa Bay to tick up quickly.

3 – Joe Philbin, Dolphins – Philbin, who spent his entire NFL coaching career with the Packers after joining the team in 2003, was an under-the-radar selection who gained serious momentum with the Packers’ offensive explosion this season. Everyone who has worked with Philbin speaks highly of him, both as a strategist and in terms of working with people. If that’s the case, then he could end up being a fine selection. But he represents a departure from the offensive system the Dolphins were using, and a transition to the West Coast offense could lead the team downward before it surges. Plus, owner Stephen Ross really wanted a high-profile hire – he chased Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher the last two offseasons – so it’s hard to imagine how much rope Philbin will get in Miami. Philbin’s a good head-coaching candidate, but this is a strange place for him to land.

2 – none

1 – Romeo Crennel, Chiefs – We discussed why the Crennel hire is a bad idea in this post.

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Can Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck co-exist as Colts?

For National Football Authority, we break down Archie Manning’s comments about whether veteran quarterback Peyton Manning and rookie-to-be Andrew Luck could co-exist as Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Archie is skeptical; does that indicate Peyton’s thinking? Click here to read our analysis.

Colts QB Peyton Manning and Stanford QB Andrew Luck. Graphic by huffingtonpost.com

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Football Relativity Week 9

Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity comparison. On the comparison, the 10 level is reserved for the best teams, and the 1 level for the worst. We’ll note throughout where teams have moved up or down from last week.

Ravens WR Torrey Smith catches the game-winner against the Steelers, via washingtonpost.com

(Note: Work commitments have pulled me away this week, so this week’s version will be a bit abbreviated. We’ll be back to full strength next week.)

10 – Green Bay Packers – Another week, another win for Green Bay, which took care of business in San Diego.

9 – Baltimore Ravens (UP A LEVEL), Houston Texans (UP A LEVEL), Pittsburgh Steelers – The Ravens move back up to this level after beating the Steelers. Baltimore has talent that nearly compares to Green Bay, but not consistency. The Texans continued to take care of business, and now the question is not whether they will make the playoffs but how much noise they can make when they get there.

8 – Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots (DOWN A LEVEL), New Orleans Saints, New York Giants (UP A LEVEL), San Francisco 49ers – We move the Patriots down after two straight losses. The winner of the Falcons/Saints game next week will move up a level, and the 49ers are close to doing so as well. The Giants won in New England to take control of the NFC East for now. Can they maintain it?

7 – Chicago Bears (UP A LEVEL), Cincinnati Bengals (UP A LEVEL), Detroit Lions, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers – The Chargers lost to the Packers but played a good second half. We haven’t been Jets believers, but their win in Buffalo was a huge accomplishment. The Bengals went to Tennessee and posted 17 straight points in the second half to get a win. The Bears won in Philadelphia Monday night and can take a big step in the wild-card race by beating Detroit this week.

6 – Buffalo Bills (DOWN A LEVEL), Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders (DOWN A LEVEL), Philadelphia Eagles (DOWN A LEVEL), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DOWN A LEVEL) – The Bills, Raiders, and Eagles all had disappointing home losses that were severely damaging to playoff hopes. The Buccaneers missed an opportunity in New Orleans, and their overall level of play moves them down. The Cowboys beat the Seahawks and need to take advantage of their schedule over the next month.

5 – none

4- Kansas City Chiefs (DOWN A LEVEL), Tennessee Titans – The Chiefs laid an egg at home against the Dolphins, while the Titans blew a lead at home against the Bengals. Both were disappointing losses that show limitations.

3 – Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos (UP A LEVEL), Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks – Three byes, while the Seahawks lost in Dallas. Seattle still is competitive, so it stays above the teams below. The Broncos won in Denver, and it appears that Tim Tebow despite his faults makes the team competitive.

2 – Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns (DOWN A LEVEL), Miami Dolphins (UP A LEVEL), St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins (DOWN A LEVEL) – The Cardinals eked by the Rams, but neither team distinguished themselves. The Browns and Redskins each got three early wins, but right now are completely punchless. The Dolphins got a win in Kansas City and appear to have enough oomph to get a few more in the second half.

1 – Indianapolis Colts – The Colts were blasted at home by the Falcons to remain the league’s only winless team. Paging Andrew Luck.

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Football Relativity Week 8

Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity comparison. On the comparison, the 10 level is reserved for the best teams, and the 1 level for the worst. We’ll note throughout where teams have moved up or down from last week.

S Troy Polamalu and the Steelers took down WR Wes Welker and the Patriots, via nytimes.com

10 – Green Bay Packers – The undefeated Packers were on bye. They face a tough game at San Diego this week that will be their biggest test in weeks.

9 – New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers (UP A LEVEL) – The Steelers beat the Patriots 25-17 in Pittsburgh, and both teams now have two losses. The Patriots’ defense isn’t great, but the offense is so good that it will generally lead them to wins. That’s what should happen in a home game against the Giants this week. The Steelers have no time to celebrate because they host the Ravens this week in a game that will have a huge impact on the AFC North race.

8 – Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints (DOWN A LEVEL), San Francisco 49ers (UP A LEVEL) – We covered the Saints’ collapse against the Rams and the Ravens’ survival against the Cardinals in Rise/Sink/Float. The Saints host the Buccaneers in a key NFC South game this week, while the Ravens face the Steelers in an AFC North battle. The Falcons were on bye. The Texans took care of business in a home game against the Jaguars and now have a firm grip on the AFC South. The 49ers beat the Browns at home, and have a chance to add another win on the East Coast in Washington this week.

7 – Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles (UP A LEVEL), San Diego Chargers (DOWN A LEVEL), Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bills blasted the Redskins in Toronto and re-took the AFC East lead. A home game against the Jets this week will be another litmus test. The Lions killed the Broncos in Denver to end a two-game losing streak, which is a good way to head into the bye week. The Giants nearly gagged at home against the Dolphins, but they found a way to sneak out a win. They’ll have to play better against the Patriots in Foxboro this week. The Eagles finally looked like the dream team in a 34-7 win over Dallas, and heading into a Monday night game against the Bears they’re back in the NFC East race. The Chargers to the Chiefs, and their solid 4-1 start now is a disappointing 4-3 record and a three-way tie in the AFC West. The Chargers missed an opportunity to seize control and now have a fight on their hands, both in division and at home against the Packers this week. The Jets, Raiders, and Buccaneers were on bye.

6 – Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals (UP A LEVEL), Dallas Cowboys (DOWN A LEVEL) – We covered the Bengals’ ascent in Rise/Sink/Float. They face the Titans in Nashville this week, and if the past is any guide, they’ll rise to the challenge. The Cowboys got blasted in Philly; now they try to rebound in a home game against the Seahawks. The Bears were on bye; they travel to Philadelphia on Monday night.

5 – Kansas City Chiefs (UP A LEVEL) – The Chiefs continued their unlikely winning streak with a 23-20 overtime victory at home against the Chargers on Monday night. After a horrific start, the Chiefs are 4-3 and tied for first in the AFC West. Now they host the Dolphins this week with a chance to run their winning streak to five games. It’s an incredible turnaround, especially given the major injuries the Chiefs sustained early in the season.

4 – Tennessee Titans – The Titans beat the Colts 27-10 at home to move to 4-3 and stay within shouting distance in the AFC South. Their home game against the Bengals this week is an underrated matchup.

3 – Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns (DOWN A LEVEL), Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings (UP A LEVEL), Seattle Seahawks (DOWN A LEVEL), Washington Redskins – The Vikings knocked off the Panthers in a game we covered here. The Browns couldn’t mount much offense in San Francisco, while the Jaguars played tough but fell short in Houston. The Redskins were blanked by the Bills, as the John Beck experiment continues to devolve. The Seahawks lost at home to the Bengals.

2 – Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos (DOWN A LEVEL), St. Louis Rams (UP A LEVEL) – The Rams finally broke out of the winless group with a surprising 31-21 victory over the Saints. They’ll try to build on that in Arizona facing the Cardinals, who put a scare into the Ravens but didn’t get the win. The Broncos fell short in Tim Tebow’s second start and now must travel to Oakland. Our hunch is that Tebow and the Black Hole won’t mix.

1 – Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins – Another week, another loss for the Colts and Dolphins. Miami put up a big fight against the Giants on the road, but this week’s trip to Kansas City isn’t promising. The Colts lost at Tennessee and now must host the Falcons. Looks like the Andrew Luck sweepstakes will be a dead heat for another week.

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Harbaugh’s gold mine

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh has been the belle of the ball this past week, as his 12-1 season at Stanford culminated first in an Orange Bowl victory and then in a series of discussions about coaching Michigan or remaining at Stanford at the college level or moving to the NFL level. After discussions with Miami and talks of interviews with Denver, Harbaugh decided not to move – taking a five-year, $25 million contract to coach the San Francisco 49ers (a job where he won’t have to leave his house). Below are some thoughts on the hiring; we’ll compare it to other head-coaching moves next week.

Harbaugh was the hottest coaching prospect in America this year, with at least four NFL options – San Francisco, Denver, Miami, and Carolina – before him, as well as the high-profile job at his alma mater Michigan. After a series of interviews, Harbaugh decided that his gold mine was with the 49ers. It’s easy to see why Harbaugh was so highly regarded by NFL teams. After entering the NFL as a first-round pick, Harbaugh played for 15 years, starting 140 games for the Bears, Colts, Ravens, and Chargers. He’s also the son of the coach, and he acted as an assistant coach for his father at Western Kentucky during his playing career. After retiring, Harbaugh was a quarterback coach for the Raiders (including their 2002 Super Bowl season, in which QB Rich Gannon was league MVP) and then became a college head coach. At San Diego, a non-scholarship school, Harbaugh developed Josh Johnson into an NFL player, and then at Stanford he turned Andrew Luck into one of the best QB prospects ever. But despite his proficiency developing quarterbacks, Harbaugh has shown an old-school offensive approach featuring two running backs and a tight end. That pro style will move to the NFL far easier than a spread offense would. Plus, Harbaugh hired Vic Fangio, a long-time NFL assistant, as his defensive coordinator, and if Fangio moves with Harbaugh, he can take advantage of San Francisco’s talented front seven by continuing to use a 3-4 system and tuning up the aggressiveness. And Harbaugh’s charismatic personality will sell some tickets, even if it doesn’t play as well with pro players as it did with collegians. The question of whether Harbaugh can make the leap from college to the NFL is still a big one – history does not look kindly on coaches making the move – although Harbaugh’s 17 years of NFL experience as a player and assistant at least give hope. San Francisco is gambling big on Harbaugh, and while it’s easy to see why he’s flavor of the month, for some reason our hopes for Harbaugh aren’t as high as the hype suggests.

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