NFC South: Terrelle Pryor

NFC South mailbag

August, 18, 2011
Before I begin getting ready to make the quick trek to Raymond James Stadium to watch Thursday night’s game between the Buccaneers and Patriots, let’s run through some items from the NFC South mailbag.

Josh in Ohio wrote to say thanks for the history lesson on the Bucs and said the team has too bright a future to be receiving undue criticism.

Pat Yasinskas: Agreed. I think the Bucs clearly are headed in the right direction. I think what some fans are failing to realize is that the team currently is using a very calculated plan that goes away from what Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen did (spend money on free agents and use them as patchwork) and getting back to something closer to the formula Tony Dungy and Rich McKay used (build through the draft and keep your core players for the long term). Although there's no real meddling in football operations, ownership is more involved in forming philosophies than fans realize. I think the Glazer family realized the Gruden/Allen formula wasn’t one that brought consistent success. I believe the Glazers might have instructed Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik when they were hired that they were to follow this kind of plan.

Ryan in Tampa asks if the Bucs might take a shot on Terrelle Pryor since backup quarterback Josh Johnson can become a free agent after the season.

Pat Yasinskas: I’m not sure what Tampa Bay’s scouting department thinks of Pryor. I know some other scouting departments around the league have mixed opinions. Some think he can develop into a decent NFL quarterback over time. Others think he might have to move to tight end or receiver to have a chance in the NFL. I’m sure the Bucs, like every other team in the NFL, have done their homework on Pryor. If they see a fit at the right price, he might be worth a shot.

Dan in Omaha says I’m wrong in calling Cam Newton’s first performance “solid." He says Newton is a project and Jimmy Clausen should be the regular-season starter.

Pat Yasinskas: As always, you’re free to disagree with me. But I thought Newton was solid. I didn’t see him throw any interceptions (and I saw Clausen have one returned for a touchdown) and several of his throws were either dropped or on target, but broken up by good coverage. I thought Clausen had some good moments as well. But, hey, it doesn’t really matter what you and I think. The decision will be made by Ron Rivera and his staff. From everything I’ve heard, they likely will go with Newton as their opening-day starter if he doesn’t make a bunch of major mistakes in Friday’s preseason start at Miami.

Lloyd in Baton Rouge, La., says he’s worried about the Saints’ tackle situation and became even more worried after the release of Jon Stinchcomb.

Pat Yasinskas: It’s a legitimate worry, but sometimes you have to get younger to get better. Stinchcomb’s play dropped off last year and the Saints must feel as if Zach Strief or Charles Brown can be an improvement over him in the long haul. I know people also criticize left tackle Jermon Bushrod and say he’s nothing special. There’s some truth to that, but he must be doing something right. The Saints have done pretty well in the two seasons Bushrod has started. Plus, Sean Payton has a pretty strong offensive mind and his system is built more toward having the strength of the offensive line on the interior.

Chugs in Memphis asks why it seems like the Saints are bringing along rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan so slowly.

Pat Yasinskas: The Saints seem to be bringing all their rookies along slowly, except for running back Mark Ingram. If you look at recent history, that’s not all that unusual for New Orleans, which is in a different situation than a team like Tampa Bay that relies on immediate help from the draft. The Saints didn’t play Malcolm Jenkins all that much as a rookie and he became a star last season. Last year’s top pick, Patrick Robinson, didn’t play a great deal as a rookie, but there’s hope he can blossom this year. That said, I still think you might start seeing more of Jordan, especially if Will Smith is suspended for the first four games of the season.

Matthew in Atlanta asks for my early impressions on Julio Jones.

Pat Yasinskas: Nothing but positives. A lot of times, colleges and NFL teams inflate a players’ size on the roster. Jones is listed at 6-foot-3. I was introduced to him in the cafeteria at Flowery Branch and stood face to face with him. I’m almost 6-3 and definitely felt like I was looking up at Jones. Out on the practice field, he was more impressive. I saw him making plays in the deep game and in some shorter routes. I also didn’t see any of the drops he supposedly had a problem with at Alabama. In the preseason opener, he was electric, gaining first downs the first three times he touched the ball. You can’t ask for a better start than that.

Hitting the NFC South links

July, 22, 2011
Time for a quick trip through the NFC South headlines.

Charlie Campbell reports the Buccaneers are doing their due diligence on Terrelle Pryor in anticipation of the supplemental draft. I’m sure teams around the league have done the same. Does Pryor make some sense in Tampa Bay? Perhaps. He’s got talent and could be viewed as a developmental project. Backup Josh Johnson can become a free agent next year. But I think you’d only see the Bucs take a shot on Pryor if he lasts into the sixth or seventh round.

Carolina owner Jerry Richardson, who suddenly is becoming very chatty, said the proposed rookie wage scale could keep Cam Newton's contract to about half of what top quarterbacks have received in recent years. Richardson also said receiver Steve Smith, who might or might not want a trade, is not at the “forefront’’ of his mind right now. I’m sure that admission sits real well with Smith.

New Orleans rookie running back Mark Ingram reportedly was in a car accident in Alabama early Friday morning. Relax, Saints fans. The report says Ingram walked away uninjured.

Carolina linebacker Nic Harris says his goal is a starting job. That could be a little difficult if the Panthers are able to re-sign James Anderson and Thomas Davis.

Wofford College officials are continuing to plan as if the Panthers will arrive for training camp next week.

Stephen Holder has a projected depth chart for the Buccaneers.

Don’t get your hopes too high for a labor settlement to be done today. NFLPA president Kevin Mawae issued a statement that the players are continuing to review the proposal from the owners. But Mawae also said no other statements will come today out of respect for the Kraft family. Robert Kraft owns the New England Patriots and the funeral for his wife, Myra, is today.
Take a look at this preview clip from Gruden’s QB Camp featuring Terrelle Pryor, which will air in its entirety Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

It’s pretty interesting stuff as Jon Gruden and the former Ohio State quarterback go over some film work. As you’ll see in the clip, Gruden’s not a big fan of bubble screens. In fact, he pretty much rips the whole concept.

That alone would be enough to make a lot of quarterbacks coming out of college just nod their head and agree with Gruden. Pryor doesn’t do that. In fact, he puts up a little argument on the virtues of bubble screens and takes to the chalkboard to show Gruden a bigger play that can develop in that situation.

Pryor’s planning to enter the NFL supplemental draft. As I’ve said before, I think it’s a long shot that he lands with an NFC South team. Three division teams are set with quality starters and Carolina has a lot invested in Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen. Personnel people around the league seem to be split on if Pryor’s future is as an NFL quarterback or if he needs to move to wide receiver or tight end.
Remember those “Gruden QB Camp’’ shows and video clips that were so popular as we got ready for this year’s draft? Well, ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden is at it again.

The man who sat down and went through very interesting interviews with Carolina’s Cam Newton and several other quarterbacks has an upcoming special on Terrelle Pryor, the quarterback who left Ohio State amidst an NCAA scandal. Pryor plans to enter the NFL and hopes to be taken in the supplemental draft.

The one-hour show will air June 28 at 9 p.m. on ESPN and will re-air at 10 p.m. that day on ESPN 2.

Gruden and Pryor worked out Monday at the University of South Florida. Gruden and Pryor also went through film together and the former coach interviewed some Pryor. You can see a preview of that interview below.

In the preview, Gruden asks Pryor for his thoughts on the Ohio State situation. Pryor said he made mistakes and is “disgusted’’ by what happened. Gruden also asks Pryor why he’s not looking to enhance his NFL chances by playing another season of college football. Pryor says it’s time to move on.

As I noted in this item last week, NFL personnel people seem somewhat divided on if Pryor should stay at quarterback or move to receiver or tight end. I also ran down possible fits of Pryor in the NFC South and I think they’re all long shots.

With Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor entering the supplemental draft, there comes an obvious question. Could he land anywhere in the NFC South?

I’d say it’s a very long shot. Let’s run through the situation with each team.

Falcons. They’re in a “win-now’’ mode and it would be highly unlikely for a team that gave up much of this year’s draft and next year’s to get Julio Jones to give up another pick in 2012. They’re set with Matt Ryan as their quarterback for at least the next decade.

Panthers. They just used a first-round pick on Cam Newton and they used a second-round choice on Jimmy Clausen last year. Even if the Panthers view Pryor as a wide receiver or tight end, as some teams reportedly do, they’re not likely to take on a project like this. They’ve already got Armanti Edwards, a former college quarterback they’re trying to turn into a wide receiver.

Saints. Offensive guru Sean Payton might be able to see something we can’t, but it’s hard to imagine Pryor playing quarterback in this offense. The Saints have been known to think outside the box and have shown patience in developing players. If Payton thinks Pryor could develop at another position, he might take a shot. But that would only come with a late-round pick.

Buccaneers. They’re set at quarterback with Josh Freeman and they’re pretty well stocked at receiver and tight end. The Bucs also are very conscious of their image these days and it’s hard to imagine them taking a shot on a player who left college in the middle of a scandal.

Morris addresses QB trade talk

August, 26, 2009
Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- There could be even another element to the quarterback situation for the Buccaneers.

The team could be looking to trade one of its quarterbacks for a draft pick. Coach Raheem Morris wouldn't confirm an report that the Bucs are shopping three of their quarterbacks for a trade, but he didn't deny it either.

"Oh, man, they're Nostradamus," Morris said when asked about the report. "Everybody in this league, all 32 teams around this time start calling front offices. I can't control who calls us. Everybody's interested in everybody's roster and everybody's looking to nit-pick off everybody's roster. Everybody has talent and you're trying to accumulate the best talent on your football team. That's just all that talk is what that is."

But it makes total sense for the Bucs to at least try to find out what the market value might be for Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown or Josh Johnson. They're not about to let go of rookie Josh Freeman, who they call their franchise quarterback.

But that's likely in the future. For now, it appears the Bucs will open the season with either Leftwich or McCown as their starter. They're about even at this point and a potential trade could play into Morris' decision, although the Bucs likely would be able to get only a late-round pick (at best) for any of their quarterbacks.

Leftwich, a former starter in Jacksonville, probably has more trade value because of his experience. McCown has only seven starts. Johnson, a second-year pro, has yet to play in an NFL game and probably wouldn't bring much in a trade.

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