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I don’t understand why this is coming as a big surprise to anyone. A few years ago, when the Saints were preparing to meet Indy in the SB, Williams created a major stir when he suggested that his defense would try to knock Manning out of the game—that that was actually one of their major goals. What astonished me then—and still does—is that amid all the criticism that he was endangering players’ careers, no one AFAIK pointed out the irony of trying to win the sport’s biggest game by eliminating one of the best players. Would the Saints really have been proud of winning the SB if they had done it against a team lacking Manning (we only have to look at this year’s team to get an idea how good that team would have been)? What ever happened to the idea that you want to become the best by beating the best? The bounty system is not just dangerous; it’s antithetical to the level playing field.

Would Williams have enjoyed it if Manning had become seriously ill just before the game, and couldn’t play? What if several key Indy players got sick and couldn’t play? What if the team plane crashed, and the Saints won the game by default? As horrific as that sounds, it’s just Williams’ philosophy taken to its logical extreme. Win games not by demonstrating your superiority to the opposition’s players, but by making sure those players can’t play.

But I guess what goes around comes around. A key play in the Saints loss to the 49ers in the playoffs this year occurred early in the game when the Saints were deep in 49er territory and apparently about to score. A 49er put a vicious hit on a Saints receiver, who not only coughed up the ball and the scoring opportunity, but was taken out of the game.
 
Well, it didn't come as that much of a surprise to me. I guess the only surprise is that it leaked. The fact it was sanctioned by a senior DC, and with monetary award is a little surprising, but not that shocking.

If I were to guess, I'd say it's likely that Williams will be suspended for several games, maybe the season. It sucks for the Rams, but I can't see him getting off scot free here. I also think Payton may be suspended for a few games, as well as other coaches, and any players directly known to be involved as encouraging it. And I expect some sort of fine levied against the team that's binding to benefiting the NFL. That's going to be real tricky. I don't think they'll punish the Saints with draft picks, but I don't know. Goddell is definitely going to have a very fine line to walk. If he doesn't take a hard line there's no reason to think it won't happen again, only more discretely. But if paints with too broad or heavy of a brush, there's a real potential to hurt people who had nothing to do with this. But he has to act fairly quickly, giving teams (especially the Rams) time to prepare.

Never thought that much of Gregg Williams, if I may say. And as Foxxy noted some time ago, he probably cost the Saints their playoff game against the 49ers, more than any other individual at least.
 
The only thing that really surprised me is the organized, or coach-led, part of the bounty program. I totally see a few players individually on their own yuking it up and feeding off each other while they casually go about setting bounties.

But, Alpe's probably right. The penalties probably won't be as harsh as I'd like.
 
Didn't catch the player, but some former Bear from their heyday was on FoxSports talking about how this isn't that uncommon. He joked there were a few players who were, dare we say, thick skulled. These guys were often given a list of not names, but just numbers and told to "kill" that player, and they'd be rewarded for it. Everyone on the team knew it, and probably the league too. He also said that some of those goon players were targeted in return. No, it's not Ndamukong Suh or Albert Haynesworth style I imagine, but it's probably a bigger issue than the Saints, and plenty of guys pushing the lines of fairness, or beyond.

I'm also reminded of the famous story about how Jack Youngblood played in the SuperBowl with a broken tibia (that "snapped like a pencil") two weeks before. At the start of the game the Steelers figured it would be one good hit and he'd hobble off the field. When that didn't happen the Steelers played him like any other player, but he stayed in. And when the game got close, Steelers linemen admitted during the big pileups they were putting weight on his leg and twisting his foot to get the guy out of there. But because Youngblood had balls the size of melons he wasn't going to quit. "Look, it felt like a bunch of goddamn knives being stabbed into your leg. But I wasn't going to do more damage to a broken leg."

Ugly? Cruel? Or just football?
 
Those are some pretty good stories. I remember Jack Youngblood. I knew he was one tough nut, but never heard that story. Or maybe I forgot. It sure fits him though. That was back in the day when I actually liked the Rams.

Ugly? Cruel? Or Just Football? I'll say all 3, and add a few. Cheap shot, and dirty. Like Conrad Dobler. There was a cheap shot artist for you, who'd do all kinds of almost unmentionable stuff in the pileups. For me, I love football too much to give up on it. But I wish the attitudes that create cheap shot, dirty players would disappear. I have more of a pristine view of what football should be. I've been around it most of my life. Played it but never coached. And have a kid playing in college. When I was younger I would have just said "it's just football" and that's where most young people stand. But as I'm older, I can't help but think the cheap dirty play deteriorates the game and takes away from some of the satisfaction a player may have for getting a win. Example, if those guys trying to take Youngblood out had succeeded, some of the satisfaction for the win would/should have evaporated because now the other team would not have been playing the opponents best. I always wanted to play the best. It was fun for a short time playing the bad teams, but there was no satisfaction or sense of accomplishment in it. It was always more satisfying to play the best. I wish that mentality was a much larger part of professional football.
 
I should clarify. I don't remember exactly what was said, but I'm pretty sure it was Steelers center Mike Webster almost chuckling about Youngblood. His comments were almost innocuous. Something like "Eventually we were putting a little extra pressure on him in the pile." I don't know that it was cheap shots, just the dark side of the sport, which is how he made it sound.

I do remember Conrad Dobler. Not only did he play in the era when chop blocks and head slaps were legal, he went way beyond that. I'd love to read that SI article about him again, the way he'd punch guys in the gut, the throat, kick them in the nuts, you name it. I also remember people saying off the field he was an easy going and funny guy.
 
The one Dobler story (I think it was Dobler) told by Dobler himself, which makes this funny, is in a pileup he looked up and saw the crotch of an opposing team's player right smack in front of his face. Conrad's helmet must have been off his head a bit, because he said something like "So I just bit him in the nuts".

edit: I always liked Webster. How could you not, unless you were a Steeler hater back then. He grew up about 10 miles from where I live now.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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The Indianapolis Colts plan to release quarterback Peyton Manning and were making arrangements, barring a last-minute reversal, to announce the move Wednesday, several people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

Dialogue between Colts owner Jim Irsay and Manning was continuing, but the team and its longtime quarterback were prepared to part ways, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision had not been confirmed publicly. The Colts were making plans for a formal announcement with both Irsay and Manning involved, people familiar with the plans said.

The move is likely to become official soon after that announcement. Manning, the only four-time most valuable player in NFL history, then would become an unrestricted free agent and would be free to sign immediately with any NFL team.

The Washington Redskins appear to be among the teams most interested in trying to land him.

Manning’s departure from the Colts, first reported by ESPN, has been widely expected in recent months after Irsay conducted an offseason house-cleaning that included the firing of Coach Jim Caldwell, top football executive Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian.

Manning missed all of last season after undergoing a series of neck surgeries. The Colts would have to pay him a $28 million bonus if he is on their roster Thursday, and they hold the first overall pick in the NFL draft, which they are expected to use to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Manning’s neck injury and his hefty roster bonus made his once-unthinkable departure appear increasingly inevitable.

“As a guy that welcomed Peyton to Indy in [’98] it is surreal to think he’ll be playing somewhere else,” former Colts linebacker Bertrand Berry wrote on Twitter. “All that said most player deal with it!”

The Colts and Manning’s representatives declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Manning and Irsay were sharing a flight from Florida to Indianapolis and would continue talking. But it did not appear there was a compromise in the works that would keep Manning with the Colts. Irsay said recently that the team would be willing to retain Manning with a reduced contractual commitment, but it did not appear Tuesday that Manning was interested in accepting that arrangement.

Manning, who will turn 36 this month, appears intent on finding a new team with which he can attempt to make a successful return and pursue a second Super Bowl title.

The Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs are among the teams most often mentioned as possible contestants in the Manning sweepstakes. The Redskins have more than $40 million in estimated space under the salary cap, and Manning gets a jump by hitting the market nearly a week before teams can begin making deals with unrestricted free agents Tuesday.

A person familiar with Manning’s rehabilitation said last week that Manning had been throwing well recently. Orthopedic surgeon Robert Watkins has pronounced Manning’s neck sufficiently healed for him to resume his football career once his nerves regenerate enough to give him adequate strength in his shoulder and right arm.

The Redskins are looking to replace Rex Grossman at quarterback. Their two leading options are signing Manning or attempting to trade up with the St. Louis Rams for the second overall choice in the draft, which they could use on Baylor’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

There are indications that the Rams are willing to trade their draft pick sooner rather than later, so it’s possible that the Redskins will resolve their quarterback situation even before free agency opens. The Redskins appear prepared to meet the Rams’ asking price for the draft pick.

If the Redskins are unsuccessful in both maneuvers, they could sign a veteran free agent such as Kyle Orton and seek a young quarterback such as Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M in April’s draft. Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn, who appears to be coveted by a number of quarterback-needy teams, will also be available in free agency.

Manning has thrown for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns in 13 seasons with the Colts, who selected him with the top overall choice in the 1998 NFL draft. He threw for 4,700 yards and 33 touchdowns with 17 interceptions, when he last played in the 2010 season. He had never missed an NFL start until last season, his 14th year with the Colts.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/peyton-manning-colts-to-part-ways/2012/03/06/gIQA8XBZvR_story.html


I would expect the WP to be pretty well informed about the Redskins, but very much hope they've got this wrong. RG3 has to be the long-term way to go. Shirely?
 
Amsterhammer said:
I would expect the WP to be pretty well informed about the Redskins, but very much hope they've got this wrong. RG3 has to be the long-term way to go. Shirely?[/quote] It would be a mistake IMO for the Skins to grab Manning instead of RG3 if RG3 is a real option for them (e.g. the Rams willing to trade down). IMO Manning also should retire for health reasons. I know what he's feeling inside, the stark reality that his career could be over soon and wanting to keep playing... just one more year. Makes it hard to give up. Especially with a couple of teams out there wanting his services as a starter for a few years. p.s. - enjoy your sporza on the big screen today!
 
Well, he's been completely cleared to play, so why not? Yes, I'd probably retire in his shoes, but I'm not.

The only reason a team (such as Redskins) would take Manning over trading to get RG3 is because they can do so with cash. All they have to do is come up with the money, and room under the cap. To get RG3 they're going to have to give up draft picks and players (and spend money, though much less in the short term). But I think they almost have to go for RG3. The only issue is how bad the bidding war gets between other teams to get Griffen; Who's willing to give up what, because the Rams will deal.

From that article:
"The Redskins appear prepared to meet the Rams’ asking price for the draft pick (to get RG3).

If the Redskins are unsuccessful in both maneuvers, they could sign a veteran free agent such as Kyle Orton and seek a young quarterback such as Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M in April’s draft. Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn, who appears to be coveted by a number of quarterback-needy teams, will also be available in free agency.
"
If the Skins go for Orton (Kolb, or even Jason Campbell?) there will be a riot in DC! Tannehill is a project who very likely will not start for a while, certainly not the way Luck and RG3 will from day 1. Both those guys "own" the team that drafts them, period. Tannehill, plus Weeden and Cousins (who both threw quite well at the combine) and those drafted below them will all sit and wait.

I still think it's most likely Flynn goes to Miami, as they have a new coach he played with at GB. Flynn could go to Seattle though.

I still think Manning will go to Arizona. They have the money, a solid team, seasoned coach, and a great receiver to throw to (Fitzgerald) who is also a student of the game and be a dynamite connection for Manning. They could dump Kolb, and keep Skelton, who's young and played better than expected last year and could learn behind Manning. It all fits.

Seattle may be in the hunt for Manning though. Cough up money for him, draft a QB such as Cousins or Foles in the 2nd or 3rd round who can sit behind Manning and learn...what's not to like about that?

KC and Cleveland are outside shots at PM too.

Today's events also cleared any hurdle for Luck to be taken by the Colts. Look for them to sign him soon. He only needed assurances that the team was his, and they would build around him and were dedicated to doing so. They did that today.
 
On Manning, yeah he's cleared. I just really hope it works out for him and hope he does not take another hit like they were showing today (vs Redskins) where his head got bent completely back... it looked nasty.

Now if he wants to play for Seattle I'd be all for that. ;) And Cousins would be a decent pick. Before Manning's release, Seattle was mentioned on NFL radio as being a distant possibility. After his release, Seattle suddenly became one of the teams making a big play for Manning. So we'll see what happens. I'll just say this, if he comes to Seattle (besides being greatly welcomed... I mean he could put a team like Seattle into the SB) I'd feel a bit for poor TJax for first getting pipped by Favre in Minnesota, then by Manning. In another possibly related move, Seattle released Trufant, which will clear some cap space I presume, just don't know how much... he was slated to make about 7.2M this year.

But Arizona makes a bit more sense than Seattle for Manning.
 
Arizona makes the most sense. They have cap room. They were supposed to contend for the division last year, but Kolb was somewhat of a bust, and hurt. Arizona would have nearly everything Manning needs.

TJax controlled his own destiny throughout his career. He's an average QB at best. Same with Whitehurst. Those guys will lose out to a better QB or one with more potential, primarily on merit.

I wasn't that impressed with Cousins in the Big-12 championship against Wisconsin, or the Outback bowl. He also didn't throw enough TD's and too many picks in college, but that's not all his fault. He has QB size, sees the whole field and is pretty accurate. Plus he apparently impressed quite a bit at the combine, so I could see the someone (such as Seattle) taking him and grooming him to start in a year or three. It's possible. Good link on Cousins here. Kid has potential.
 
That would be good for both parties.

One thing I do believe will happen is that I think he'll be signed by the end of March, certainly before the draft. While his agent might get him more money by waiting, I think he wants to move on, get with his new team and players, and start preparing. It's his MO, the keys to his success.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Potomac said:
The word is Manning has told the Burgundy & Gold he's not interested.
I'll assume that you're well informed, in view of your name.;)

I hope this is correct, I'd infinitely prefer RG3, and I'd like to see them do whatever it takes to get him, which would show both the fans and him that they're serious about building for the future around him.

Now we'll just have to see where Peyton winds up and if he can prove himself to be a miracle man all over again. I'd hate for him to go out with a whimper.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I wasn't that impressed with Cousins in the Big-12 championship against Wisconsin, or the Outback bowl. He also didn't throw enough TD's and too many picks in college, but that's not all his fault. He has QB size, sees the whole field and is pretty accurate. Plus he apparently impressed quite a bit at the combine, so I could see the someone (such as Seattle) taking him and grooming him to start in a year or three. It's possible. Good link on Cousins here. Kid has potential.
I think Cousins stock rose at the combine and not because of what he did this season. But he's not a first rounder anyway. Seattle will not be taking him with their first pick for sure. He could be a 2nd or 3rd rounder for a team like Seattle. So being drafted as a backup, with potential to eventually take a starting role is what I'd be thinking in terms of him. I think a guy like him, after he develops a little bit, may be better than say Whitehurst as a backup.


Potomac said:
The word is Manning has told the Burgundy & Gold he's not interested.
Awsome tagname and avatar! I've been hearing on NFL.com/ESPN that Miami is looking more like the front runner for his services. But I have not heard he said NO to the Skins.


Alpe d'Huez said:
That would be good for both parties.

One thing I do believe will happen is that I think he'll be signed by the end of March, certainly before the draft. While his agent might get him more money by waiting, I think he wants to move on, get with his new team and players, and start preparing. It's his MO, the keys to his success.
Although some analysts are saying he could sign later in April, late March actually makes more sense considering his MO as you say.


Amsterhammer said:
I'll assume that you're well informed, in view of your name.;)

I hope this is correct, I'd infinitely prefer RG3, and I'd like to see them do whatever it takes to get him, which would show both the fans and him that they're serious about building for the future around him.

Now we'll just have to see where Peyton winds up and if he can prove himself to be a miracle man all over again. I'd hate for him to go out with a whimper.
Must be tough watching the Skins find their next QB. I can just see their front office pondering... Let's see, Peyton or RG3. It's a no lose situation, although with different long term outlooks. I'm hoping RG3 goes to the Skins though so they can keep Dallas the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th best team in the NFC East for a looooooong time.
 
ESPN sources say Washington has a deal in the works to get RG3. It involves giving up three first round draft picks, and one second round pick. That's a lot to give up, and I would have hesitated making such a call. But if he can turn them into at least an 8-8 team by his second year, it could be worth it, as this means players drafted 15th or so, and not likely a marquee player. Certainly not a QB, nor one with as much presumed potential. I'm guessing there was bidding pressure from other teams willing to give up almost this much, and the Redskins were not going to let this slip by. Plus, from a financial view, it's a good deal. Griffin is personable and smart. They're going to sell tens of thousands of jerseys, shirts, socks, and other things with his name and face on it.

The only way this doesn't come out a winner for the Washington organization is if he turns out to be a bust, and I just don't see that. He will very likely will have a difficult rookie year, and could end up an average QB if the team can't give him support, but I don't possibly see him being a bust.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Potomac said:
Once again Dan Snyder, the owner, makes another stupid move. This trade is far too costly.
Depends how you look at it, I guess. Sure, it's costly, but look what we're getting - a kid who is rated considerably more highly than say, Cam Newton! Moreover, if you're going to build for the long term, it makes sense to start with your intended ace.
 
As Boeing points out, the clear winner in this trade is the Rams. Now whether this trade turns into a winner for the Skins or not only time will tell. My first thought on this trade was it is about one first round pick too steep. It's not real likely, but if the Skins can go deep in the playoffs right away with RG3 then some of those 1st round picks almost turn into 2nd round picks. I'd say if RG3 can become as valuable to the Skins as Peyton was to the Colts, then it will be a thumbs up trade for the Skins. But like I said only time will tell.
 
Costly in terms of draft picks, probably. Costly in terms of money, no. There is a tough rookie salary cap that is in place, so RG3 will sign fairly quickly for a maximum of around $5-6m a year, and it won't take a huge dent out of the 'Skins pocket (compare this to Sam Bradford's six year deal worth about $78m, and $50m guaranteed. Now impossible under the new CBA). So the team will still have wiggle money, and be able to start looking at free agency for protection for him, and guys he can throw to. They can also dump Rex Grossman and his $1.5m contract tomorrow if they want to.

As I said before, if by 2013 he can take them to 8-8, that's a guy taken about 15th in the draft. If it's a weak draft, it may not amount to much. There have been players taken that early who have turned out very average or not made it. Now imagine if in 2013, 2014 and beyond Griffin takes them to 10-6 11-5 seasons and into the playoffs. Those draft picks are now in the 25 and up range. Guys like these from 2010: Dan Williams, DT for Arizona, Devin McCourty, CB for the Pats, Jared Odrick, DT for the Dolphins. Jahvid Best, RB for the Lions. I'd gladly give up some players like that in exchange for RG3...IF he plays well.

If he plays poorly, and they end up with a slew of 6-10 or 5-11 seasons, it won't be a financial bust, as he'll still likely make them money. But it will be disappointing for fans, and not good for the team. And it means the Rams get guys like Trent Williams or Eric Berry instead of the 'Skins. It's definitely a risky deal and a lot to give up, but if he performs, it may work out.

Yes, Rams come out a winner, either way. They had a key draft to deal at the ideal time. As I said before, if Luck were not in this draft, the Colts would take Griffin with the #1 pick (Foxxy thinks RG3 will be better anyway). So the Rams will have room to build around Bradford, and get much needed players in the years to come. The worse the Redskins are, the sweeter the deal.

Ancillary winners in this are Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins and Brandon Weeden. With Luck and Griffin now off the board, teams will look to them to fill QB gaps. One of these guys now becomes the top QB available in the draft.
 
Lots of talk that Peyton Manning is going to Miami. They have the room, are a big market, have a good OL, plus Reggie Bush. Plus he'd get to play against Tom Brady twice a year. I say it's equal there, or Arizona at this point.

If he goes to Miami, Matt Flynn becomes the next hot commodity for free agency. I would guess the most likely spots are Cleveland or Seattle, where GM John Schnieder helped draft Flynn three years ago when Schniedier was in Green Bay. But Schnider isn't saying a single thing about Flynn, if he believes in him or not. Arizona and Kansas City are in the mix, but both recently took this path (with Matt Cassell, and Kevin Kolb) with mediocre results. Denver is possible too. But if Miami doesn't get Manning, the Dolphins will pursue Flynn to the end.

Jason Campbell has to be released by Oakland, and someone will sign him. He's not earth shattering, but he's decent. As good as QB's like Colt McCoy, Josh Freeman, or Mark Sanchez.

Speaking of, the Jets must be suffering from cranial-rectal inversion even the Chargers would envy, as they just signed Mark Sanchez to an extension worth a whopping $58m, $20m of that guaranteed. It's the 7th highest QB contract ever, and puts him just below he likes of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, if you can believe that. Yes, this is Mark Sanchez we're taking about. Here's a scathing editorial from Steven Smith at ESPN. Look for LT to retire or demand a trade if he wants to keep playing, Santana Moss to get traded if they can do it, and Greg McElroy to get traded as well.

Free agency starts on Monday.
 

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