NFL Nation: Dan LeFevour

On Monday we learn the NFL future of former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Could he stay in the Buckeye state to join the Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Bengals?

Both were among the reported 17 teams to send representatives to Pryor's workout. That indicates there is some level of interest from the NFL's two Ohio teams.

Earlier this summer, we provided all the reasons why the Browns should take a flier on Pryor. Browns president Mike Holmgren loves taking developmental quarterbacks. Pryor is a raw prospect who could use the tutelage of quarterback gurus Holmgren and head coach Pat Shurmur. If it doesn't work out, the Browns need help at receiver, too. Pryor ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds.

The Bengals also need as much talent as possible. They are starting rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who is off to a slow start this preseason. Veteran journeyman Bruce Gradkowski is the backup, but the third quarterback spot is wide open. Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour are both expendable, and Pryor's athletic ceiling is much higher. He also spent time this offseason working with former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson.

It would make sense for both Ohio teams to consider Pryor this afternoon in the supplemental draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals could not get Carson Palmer to return and mentor rookie quarterback Andy Dalton this season. Therefore, the Bengals went to Plan B Wednesday, agreeing to a two-year contract with veteran quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who most recently played for the Oakland Raiders.

Gradkowski has 20 career starts, which could be needed if Dalton falters this season. Dalton, Cincinnati's second-round pick, enters the season as the starting quarterback despite zero NFL experience.

Gradkowski and veteran backup Jim Sorgi were considered the two favorites to take the place of Palmer, who demanded a trade and threatened to retire. Both free agents have a lot of experience, while at the same time won't threatened Dalton's place as the new franchise quarterback.

This week, Gradkowski will join Dalton, Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour as Cincinnati's quarterbacks in training camp.
Carson Palmer & Mike BrownUS PresswireMike Brown, right, has repeatedly said the Bengals will not grant Carson Palmer's trade request.
Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown says he refuses to trade quarterback Carson Palmer. Brown usually sticks to his edicts. So it would be surprising if the Bengals have a change of heart once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

But that doesn't mean Cincinnati is doing the right thing. In fact, the Bengals are completely mismanaging the situation, and not trading Palmer will go down as another awful decision for this downtrodden franchise, which hasn't won a playoff game in 20 years.

Palmer is serious about his trade demands and appears willing to retire. But even if Palmer returned, having a disgruntled starting quarterback isn't an ideal situation for any team.

Here are seven reasons the Bengals are making a big mistake by not trading Palmer:

1. His value is high

Analysis: Several quarterback-needy teams would love to have Palmer under center this year and would be willing to give up solid value. Cincinnati should be able to get at least a second-round pick and perhaps an additional pick for Palmer, which would help the franchise and is better than having a player sit at home. Palmer is 31 and may have only a few productive years left. So with every passing year Palmer's trade value decreases. The Bengals made this mistake before with receiver Chad Ochocinco. Three years ago, they could have traded Ochocinco to the Washington Redskins for a first-round pick and another conditional pick that could have become a first-rounder based on production. Instead, Brown refused to trade an unhappy Ochocinco and now the team is stuck with an aging receiver and his $6 million salary. Cincinnati is expected to release Ochocinco this summer and get nothing for him. The Bengals are refusing to learn from their mistakes.

2. Why keep an unhappy quarterback?

Analysis: The quarterback position is the most important in football. Do you want a leader whose heart isn't really into it? Only the Bengals would answer yes to this type of question. Despite Palmer being adamant that he wants nothing to do with Cincinnati, ownership and coach Marvin Lewis said they would still welcome Palmer back with open arms. Even Bengals players such as running back Cedric Benson and defensive lineman Tank Johnson said it's a bad idea to have an unhappy Palmer leading the team. Palmer is mentally done with Cincinnati and physically he hasn't put in the work to be with his teammates. If he did choose to return it would cause a media circus and could be bad for team chemistry.

3. It's time to rebuild

Analysis: Last November we said it was time to blow up the Bengals. The Palmer-Ochocinco-Marvin Lewis era ran its course in Cincinnati, and the reality is that window is closed and the trio will never win a Super Bowl together. Currently, all three are still with the organization, although Ochocinco is expected to be released. Cincinnati also should move on without Palmer. The Bengals were a 4-12 team last year with Palmer. Cincinnati is rebuilding with younger players and will not be a contender in 2011, whether Palmer returns or not. Palmer also knows this, which is why he wants out. If Palmer believed the Bengals were good enough to make the playoffs and a run at the Super Bowl, he would not have sold his house and demanded a trade. At this stage of his career, Palmer is not good enough to carry a team to a championship by himself, particularly a young team like the Bengals with a lot of holes. Cincinnati's draft showed it is looking to rebuild. But the Bengals have to cut ties with Palmer to complete the process.

[+] EnlargeAndy Dalton
AP Photo/David KohlThe Bengals drafted TCU quarterback Andy Dalton with the 35th overall pick in April's draft.
4. Bengals drafted Andy Dalton

Analysis: If the Bengals didn't have a viable option at quarterback, I would understand the team's urge to keep Palmer under contract. But in April they spent a high second-round pick on Dalton, who was the Bengals' desired target in the draft to replace Palmer. Cincinnati is no longer stuck between a rock (Jordan Palmer) and a hard place (Dan LeFevour) at quarterback. The Bengals have a confident rookie who could be the long-term solution. Even if Palmer returned, he would be grooming Dalton for the future. So why not start the Dalton era now and get him as much experience as possible?

5. Palmer is on the decline

Analysis: Behind closed doors, the Bengals' organization knows Palmer has been on a steady decline for several years. Injuries, age and perhaps some lost confidence have made Palmer a shell of his former self. In his prime (2005-07), Palmer was the prototypical pocket passer who stood tall in the pocket, made great decisions and had one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the NFL. Now Palmer makes too many poor decisions (20 interceptions in 2010) and has clearly lost some zip and accuracy. Palmer's passer rating has dropped from 101.1 in 2005 to 82.4 in 2010 -- a decline of nearly 20 points. But it's easier for opposing teams to see the good in Palmer, because even on the decline, he's still better than half of the league's starting quarterbacks.

6. Palmer makes $11.5 million this season

Analysis: Palmer, who is under contract until 2014, will make a team-high $11.5 million this season. By trading Palmer, the Bengals would save a ton of money and potentially cap space if there is a salary cap in the new CBA. Cincinnati could allocate that money to help other areas of the team. Perhaps the Bengals can spend some of the $11.5 million to re-sign Benson and free-agent cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Cincinnati also could go after a quality free agent or two to help the pass rush or offensive line. Palmer is no longer an $11.5 million player. Therefore, it's baffling why the Bengals are so eager to pay him that amount.

7. Precedents are overrated

Analysis: A major reason the Bengals won't trade Palmer is because it sets a bad precedent for other unhappy players who might want out in the future. This kind of thinking is overrated and should never get in the way of helping the future of the franchise. If Palmer kicks and screams that he wants out and the Bengals get good value in return, so what? What's wrong with both sides being happy? Instead, Bengals ownership seems more focused on winning the staredown with Palmer, even if it hurts the team in the long run. The best way to prevent unhappy players from leaving is to develop a winning culture. The Bengals' way of doing business for the past 20 years hasn't worked, and it's time to try something different. Instead of holding onto the past, Cincinnati should move forward and do what's best for the long-term success of the franchise and trade Palmer.
Lost in Monday's comments that Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown won't trade quarterback Carson Palmer is what Brown also said about his rookie quarterback.

"[Palmer is] a very fine player, and we do want him to come back. If he chooses not to, he'd retire. And we would go with Andy Dalton," Brown said.

Did Brown spill the beans that Dalton won't have to compete for the starting job this summer? And is this the right message to send to your second-round pick?

By most accounts, everyone (including the AFC North blog) expects Dalton to beat out Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour in training camp. But Brown's comments suggest the Bengals already have their minds made up before Dalton's first NFL practice.

What if Dalton is slow to adjust to the pro game and needs time to develop? What if Dalton struggles mightily in the preseason and someone outperforms him? Is Brown already hedging the team's bets?

Most NFL head coaches prefer players to earn starting jobs instead of handing them out. Therefore, Marvin Lewis might try to come back and deem his quarterback race an "open competition." But ownership may have already set the tone for the team and its players that the job is going to Dalton.
Newton, Kolb & Mallett US PresswireCam Newton, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Mallett could be attractive candidates to succeed Carson Palmer.
Thanks to Carson Palmer, there is a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati's $100 million quarterback wants out in the worst way and has threatened to retire if he doesn't get his wish.

Palmer's stern demands have put the Bengals in a huge bind this offseason, as the franchise now scrambles to find contingency plans in the event Palmer stays true to his word. Not only that, Cincinnati is coming off a disappointing 4-12 season and has plenty of needs throughout its roster.

Bengals ownership has held firm in saying it will not trade Palmer, leaving both parties at a stalemate. But there are many wrinkles to this saga that have yet to unfold.

With that in mind, here are five questions and answers on Cincinnati's quarterback issue:

Question No. 1: Who is currently on the roster?

Answer: For years, the Bengals have put off drafting an eventual successor at quarterback, and the team is now paying for it with Palmer's surprising threat to retire. Cincinnati's in-house options aren't very good. Carson Palmer's younger brother, Jordan Palmer, is the No. 2 quarterback on the roster. The four-year veteran has seen limited action in four career games and has a 34.4 passer rating. Jordan Palmer is trying to take a leadership role in Cincinnati and rally the receivers to work out together in the offseason. Second-year quarterback Dan LeFevour, No. 3 on the depth chart, is unproven. The Bengals picked up LeFevour off waivers from the Chicago Bears as a rookie last September. Neither quarterback is starting material and it would be surprising if Cincinnati starts next season with either player under center.

Question No. 2: What is available via trade or through free agency?

[+] EnlargeRyan Fitzpatrick
Frank Victores/US Presswire Ryan Fitzpatrick could be a possibility for the Bengals in the free-agent market.
Answer: Although the Bengals traditionally aren't major players in free agency or the trade market, Cincinnati must an exception if the team wants an experienced quarterback to replace Palmer. As far as trades, Kevin Kolb of the Philadelphia Eagles would be a solid fit for the Bengals. He's young, has some starting experience and is well-versed in the West Coast offense, which Cincinnati is implementing under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Kolb is a backup in Philadelphia to Michael Vick, who was an MVP candidate last season. So for the right price, the Eagles could listen. Other options include Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb, who are both on the outs with their teams. The Titans, in fact, could be a good landing spot for Palmer if the Bengals are willing to move him. (We will get to that later.) The free-agent market is thinner. But an interesting option, at least in the short term, could be Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo has expressed interest in re-signing Fitzpatrick (3,000 yards, 23 touchdowns) after a career year. But the Bills are also could draft their long-term solution at quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick. Fitzpatrick was Palmer's backup in Cincinnati in 2008.

Question No. 3: Who is available in the draft?

Answer: This is the safest route for the Bengals to grab "Palmer insurance." With labor uncertainty, there will no be trades or player movement until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. But there is guaranteed to be an NFL draft at the end of April. Cincinnati would be wise to grab one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. The Bengals have the No. 4 overall pick and could have a shot at top quarterback prospects Cam Newton of Auburn and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. But investing such a high pick at quarterback when the team is still unsure about Palmer's future may not be the best route. A quality prospect at the position likely would be available at the top of the second round. Quarterbacks such as Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, Christian Ponder of Florida State and Andy Dalton of TCU could be possibilities there. Mallett showed great throwing ability at the combine but has some off-the-field concerns. But the Bengals have typically gone after those types of players in the past.

Question No. 4: What is Palmer's trade value?

Answer: Palmer is a 31-year-old quarterback whose best years are behind him, but he still has value. He put up a lot of yards (3,970) but not a lot of wins (four) last season. He also tied a career high with 20 interceptions, although some were the result of receivers freelancing and running their own routes. When looking at trade value, you have to examine recent examples. Last year the Eagles traded McNabb to Washington for a second-round pick and a future third- or fourth-round pick, which was conditional. This type of deal seems on par with what the Bengals could receive. Teams just don't give up first-round picks anymore because they're too valuable. So for a veteran such as Palmer, the Bengals could probably land a second-rounder and another pick or two in the middle rounds. Cincinnati also wouldn't have to worry about the $50 million owed to Palmer over the next years. If the Bengals try to call Palmer's bluff and he retires, they get nothing.

Question No. 5: Which teams are potential trade partners?

Answer: Palmer still has a few good years left and could be a solid quarterback in a winning situation. About a third of the league has questions at quarterback. But that doesn't mean every team is a good fit for Palmer. He doesn't want to be part of another long rebuilding process, which is what's going on in Cincinnati. So the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee, Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders would be ideal landing spots for Palmer, who could be the missing piece to turning these teams into playoff contenders. Other teams with quarterback needs, such as Buffalo and the Arizona Cardinals, have a lot more work to do and are in the same spot as Cincinnati. So Palmer probably would be less interested. All of this is contingent, of course, on the Bengals' willingness to trade Palmer.

Considering all of these factors, Palmer vs. the Bengals is undoubtedly a must-watch situation this offseason.

Leading Questions: AFC North

February, 23, 2011
With the offseason in full swing, let's take a look at one major question facing each AFC North team as it begins preparations for the 2011 season:


Should the Cincinnati Bengals give into Carson Palmer’s trade demands?

After eight underachieving seasons in Cincinnati, Palmer wants out and everyone from his agent to teammates to his realtor believe Palmer is absolutely serious. So how should the Bengals handle this situation?

Cincinnati is consistently one of the NFL's more downtrodden franchises and has been through this before. In the past, players such as Takeo Spikes, Corey Dillon and Chad Ochocinco have expressed the desire to get out of Cincinnati and couldn't leave on their terms.

But Palmer's situation is different for two reasons. First, he's the franchise quarterback, the most important player on the team. Second, he's threatened to retire if he's not traded, which is something Spikes, Dillon and Ochocinco never did. These two factors up the ante tremendously in terms of putting pressure on the Bengals.

If Palmer, 31, holds firm on his demands, that leaves Dan LeFevour and Jordan Palmer as the other quarterbacks on Cincinnati's roster. The Bengals cannot start the 2011 season with either of those players under center. As more time goes by with uncertainty, it becomes more likely the Bengals must do something to get quarterback help in the draft or free agency.

In my opinion, the Bengals should trade Palmer while they can still get decent value for him. Cincinnati will be rebuilding for the next two years anyway -- with or without Palmer -- and there are plenty of teams in need of a good quarterback.

But the Bengals are standing their ground, hoping Palmer will have a change of heart. That's a dangerous assumption with free agency potentially starting next month and the NFL draft coming in April.


Are concerns about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco legit?

As we continue the subject of quarterbacks, we move over to Baltimore. Flacco is getting drilled this offseason by media and fans for not leading the Ravens past the divisional round. Baltimore entered last season as a Super Bowl favorite and by those standards the team -- and particularly the offense -- underachieved.

Now people are starting to doubt Flacco. He has struggled in the playoffs, recording just one passer rating above 90.0 in seven career postseason games. It's no secret an organization is tied into the success and development of its quarterback. But are the expectations of Flacco, in his third season, too high too soon? The answer is, yes.

Flacco has become a victim of his own early success. He advanced to the AFC title game as a rookie and has had expectations of getting to the Super Bowl thrust upon him since.

Last season, Flacco set career-highs in passing yards (3,622), touchdowns (25) and passer rating (93.6) for the Ravens (12-4). But it's the second-round loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that stands out in most people's mind.

Flacco likely must get past rival quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh for the Ravens to take that next step. But there is no shame in losing to the eventual AFC champions in the postseason.

Young quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman are viewed in a much more favorable light in their cities. Flacco has had as much career success and put up equal or better numbers than all of them. He deserves a break.


What will the Steelers do at cornerback?

As their Super Bowl XLV loss to the Green Bay Packers proved, the Steelers must add quality depth in the secondary. The Packers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints provide the blueprint of how to beat Pittsburgh's vaunted defense: spread the Steelers out with multiple receivers.

The Steelers simply don't have enough good cornerbacks to defend three- and four-receiver sets. This also takes Pittsburgh's strongest players-- its linebackers -- off the field in favor of players such as William Gay and Anthony Madison.

Now that linebacker LaMarr Woodley received the franchise tag, veteran cornerback and pending free agent Ike Taylor is Pittsburgh's No. 1 priority. Taylor is Pittsburgh's best corner, but he's also 31 and the Steelers must gauge how much money and how many years to give to him.

The draft will also be important. Previous draft picks at corner such as Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett and Crezdon Butler have not panned out for the Steelers, who typically address this position in the middle rounds. It's time Pittsburgh invests a high draft pick at this position to increase the probability of finding a future starter.

Do not be surprised if Pittsburgh retains Taylor in free agency and spends its first- or second-round pick on a cornerback in April to fix this issue.


Are the Cleveland Browns fine without an offensive coordinator?

Pat Shurmur of the Browns has a lot on his plate this year. Not only is he a first-time head coach, but Shurmur is also taking over the role as offensive coordinator in his first season with Cleveland.

Is this a good idea?

After a brief search, the Browns decided to leave the position vacant. Shurmur is a former offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams and didn't want to give up those responsibilities after becoming a head coach.

A head coach's first responsibility is to manage all 53 players. But Shurmur clearly will give more special attention to his players on offense. That's a major reason the Browns hired experienced defensive coaches such as Dick Jauron and Ray Rhodes to manage the other side of the football.

President Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert have both done a good job so far in Cleveland. But I have reservations about creating this type of setup with a rookie head coach on a rebuilding team.

Bears planned to draft James Starks

January, 11, 2011
Here's the kind of blog post you don't read every day.

During the 2010 draft, according to the National Football Post, the Chicago Bears called Buffalo tailback James Starks to say they planned to draft him with the No. 181 overall pick. At the last moment, however, general manager Jerry Angelo changed his mind and selected Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour instead.

How did the National Football Post get this information? The blog post was written by Greg Gabriel, who was the Bears' director of college scouting at the time and the man who had Starks on the phone when Angelo announced his final decision. Gabriel called it "the most embarrassing moment I had experienced while scouting" and made clear he favored Starks over LeFevour:
I was in Starks' corner. The reason being his talent, and the plan was to carry only two quarterbacks on the active roster. With Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie under contract I did not see how LeFevour could make the team. I had watched Starks play live 4 times during his career; there was not a doubt in my mind that he would contribute to the Bears. I liked Dan LeFevour as well. He had great intangibles, is very smart, has a strong arm and was a fit for Mike Martz' offense. But under the circumstances it would be difficult for him to make the team.

Ultimately, the Green Bay Packers took Starks 12 spots later in the sixth round at No. 193 overall. As we all know by now, he rushed for 123 yards in the Packers' wild-card playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears lost LeFevour to the Cincinnati Bengals when they tried to pass him through waivers to get him in on the practice squad in September.

Disagreements and last-second changes of heart happen all of the time on draft day. You just don't hear too many examples quite as specific as this one. But the Bears parted ways with Gabriel after the draft and he is no longer obligated to keep company secrets.

No Matt Leinart for Bengals

September, 6, 2010
Well, that was quick.

Reports surfaced this past weekend that the Cincinnati Bengals were one of several teams interested in quarterback Matt Leinart. But it turns out the Houston Texans were the first to jump on the former first-round draft pick, signing Leinart to a one-year deal.

This leaves the Bengals with Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour as their two backup options behind Carson Palmer. It's not a strong group, which means it's vital that Cincinnati keeps its starting quarterback healthy this season.

Rounding up Sunday's NFC North moves*

September, 5, 2010
If the Green Bay Packers are planning any significant player moves before resuming practice this week, it won't be through the initial waiver process. Packers general manager Ted Thompson said Sunday during a news conference that the team did not put in a claim after NFL teams cut down their rosters to 53 Saturday.

The Packers did have a number of their cuts claimed by other teams, however, and there has been a good level of activity in and around all four NFC North teams Sunday. I'll keep a running list on this post of the most significant players involved:
  • Ex-Packers running back Kregg Lumpkin was claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Packers had hoped to bring him back on the practice squad to be their quasi-No. 3 tailback. Last year, the Packers lost tailback Tyrell Sutton to the Carolina Panthers in the same way.
  • As we discussed earlier, the Detroit Lions claimed ex-Packers tight end Spencer Havner. Of cutting Havner and keeping four other tight ends, Thompson said: "It was a very tough call, as it was with all of our guys. Spencer has played well for us. I think it is more a reflection of the play of the other four fellas that we have. We think they played very, very well and you have to get down to 53. Not an easy call at all."
  • Ex-Lions defensive tackle Landon Cohen was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think that speaks to the depth the Lions have created at the position. They were forced to make what qualified as a difficult cut.
  • The Lions released receiver Dennis Northcutt, possibly to make room for Havner, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Northcutt had been earmarked as the Lions' punt returner, meaning Derrick Williams could take over that role in Week 1.
  • Ex-Chicago Bears linebacker/special-teams ace Tim Shaw was claimed by the Tennessee Titans. General manager Jerry Angelo said Saturday that Shaw was released because the team thought linebacker Brian Iwuh would give it a better look at linebacker if the Bears needed him to play.
  • Ex-Bears quarterback Dan LeFevour was claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals. LeFevour didn't show much this summer to indicate he will develop into a starting-caliber quarterback, but the Bengals proved how difficult it is to move any young quarterback through waivers.
  • As we discussed Saturday, Minnesota Vikings fans need to cut back on the T.J. Houshmandzadeh hysteria. Coach Brad Childress said Sunday that he's not interested in adding Houshmandzadeh "right now." If anything, Childress said he would like to add a younger receiver. For now, however, two of his receivers are likely to be his primary returners -- Percy Harvin on kickoffs and Bernard Berrian or Greg Camarillo on punt returns.
  • *Update: The Lions released linebacker Rocky Boiman to make room for kick returner Stefan Logan, whom they claimed earlier in the day. That must mean they're awfully confident that middle linebacker DeAndre Levy (groin) will be ready for the Sept. 12 opener against the Chicago Bears.

Chicago Bears cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
Check here for a full list of Chicago's roster moves.

Biggest surprise: There were no earth-shattering moments Saturday for the Bears. But it was sobering to see them give up on three members of their 2009 draft class, including defensive end Jarron Gilbert, receiver Juaquin Iglesias and safety Al Afalava. Defensive lineman Henry Melton squeezed onto the roster, and the class did produce two 2010 starters: Receiver Johnny Knox and right guard Lance Louis. Meanwhile, guard Josh Beekman was put out of his misery. The Bears have been trying to replace Beekman for two years and finally released him. Finally, the Bears kept four tailbacks -- Matt Forte, Chester Taylor, Kahlil Bell and Garrett Wolfe. Forte and Taylor are expected to get all of the offensive snaps, but Bell and Wolfe have special teams value.

No-brainers: There was plenty of excitement when the Bears drafted quarterback Dan LeFevour, an Illinois native, but it was apparent early in training camp that he wasn't destined to make the roster. The Bears devoted all of their offensive reps to starter Jay Cutler and then-backup Caleb Hanie. Todd Collins has taken over at No. 2 because of Hanie's shoulder injury, and there was no way the Bears were going to release Hanie and keep LeFevour. You wonder if he won't end up back on their practice squad.

What's next: The Bears are going to have to get their special teams re-situated after releasing Tim Shaw, who led the team with 30 special teams tackles last year. It appears Shaw was released to make room for linebacker Brian Iwuh, who the team believes is more suited for its defensive scheme.
On a list of the Chicago Bears' preseason problems, I wouldn't list backup quarterback in the top 10. But that's where the Bears started Monday morning when they announced the acquisition of free agent quarterback Todd Collins.

Collins turned down overtures last week because the Bears weren't offering any guaranteed money-- a sign they planned to keep Caleb Hanie in that role once his sprained right shoulder healed. It wasn't immediately clear if they raised their offer, or if Hanie's injury hasn't responded or if Collins simply decided it was time to get into a camp.

But after watching rookie Dan LeFevour flail away Saturday night against the Oakland Raiders, it's clear that the Bears had only one healthy quarterback capable of running their offense: Starter Jay Cutler. Collins played in a similar scheme while with the Kansas City Chiefs, and if nothing else, should be able to run the Bears' plays in practice as well as in Saturday's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. Anything beyond would be a bonus.
There should no longer be any doubt about the Chicago Bears' desire for a veteran backup quarterback. Retired NFL quarterback Trent Green, who last played in 2008, confirmed a report Thursday that the Bears approached him to gauge his interest in the job.

Green, who turns 40 in July, told ESPN 1000 in Chicago that there is no possibility he will sign with the Bears. He admitted he "chewed on it for a couple weeks" but ultimately decided to keep his family rooted in Kansas City.

Green played for Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz when the two were with St. Louis. It's been widely assumed that Martz would prefer a backup who is familiar with his scheme. Currently, Caleb Hanie and rookie Dan LeFevour are the backups to starter Jay Cutler.

We've discussed Marc Bulger and Josh McCown as likely candidates if the Bears move in that direction. Both are free agents and played for Martz at some point during their careers. I guess stranger things have happened, but it's probably a safe bet to assume the Bears will bring in at least one more quarterback at some point this summer.

Edwards: Kelly's comments 'little bit naive'

May, 24, 2010
Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards usually acts as though each negative word written or said about him bounces off his shoulder pads.

But what Bills icon Jim Kelly said about him in November clearly didn't go over well.

Edwards, during a break in Drew Brees' celebrity golf tournament this weekend, sat down with XX Sports Radio 1090 hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith to discuss his status with the Bills.

[+] EnlargeTrent Edwards and Jim Kelly
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaFomer Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, right, has been critical of Trent Edwards.
Kaplan and Smith asked Edwards about comments Kelly made while imploring the Bills to draft University of Florida star Tim Tebow. As a reminder, here's what Kelly had to say:
"I like Trent personally. He works hard. But he's had three years. It's time to find somebody who is the future of the Buffalo Bills. If I'm the owner, that's what I'm thinking.

"Whether it's Tim Tebow, whether they'll have a shot at him when draft time comes ... you have to look at the top three quarterbacks in the draft, really study them. And you look for a guy with good character, good leadership ability and good arm strength -- and a guy who doesn't come from California."

Edwards is from Los Gatos, Calif., about 40 miles away from where Tom Brady went to high school, and went to Stanford.

"It's definitely frustrating because I don't know how much time Jim has spent in California," Edwards said. "I love the state of California. Obviously, I'm very biased towards where I grew up in, but it's a little bit na´ve maybe that he makes comments like that.

"It's frustrating because I feel like there's a ton of great California quarterbacks out there that have played in the league for an extended period of time. I mean, we can go down the list right now. But he unfortunately said some things that aren't always the best things to say. But that's kind of the way he is, I guess."

But Edwards then tried to shrug the comments off by pointing out Kelly is a living legend among Bills fans and has earned the right to state any opinion on the organization.

"I understand that's the way it is," Edwards said. "You're just going to have to take that with a grain of salt and realize there's going to be people out there that aren't going to like the way you play and where you're from."

Edwards said he hasn't discussed the comments with Kelly.

The Bills, of course, didn't draft Tebow or Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy or Dan LeFevour. They didn't select a quarterback until Levi Brown in the seventh-round.

That means Edwards would have a clearer path back to winning the job in camp against holdovers Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm.

"Was I happy to see that we didn’t draft a first-round quarterback? Yes. That's a boost of confidence, yes," Edwards said.

Much thanks to Jimmy Shapiro of for passing along audio file.
Does Jay Cutler have a future in Chicago? That was my first question after seeing the Bears draft Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour in the sixth round Saturday.


That was a joke.

Calm down.

ESPN's Mel Kiper considered LeFevour the No. 4 quarterback available in the draft, but he slipped considerably based on concerns with his arm strength and fundamentals. He is strictly a developmental quarterback and not a candidate to get on the field anytime soon.

If anyone has reason to be concerned, it's current backup Caleb Hanie. But if I had to guess, I would think the Bears would plan to keep Hanie at No. 2 and see if LeFevour is worth keeping as a No. 3 on the roster. Last year, the Bears went the season with only Cutler and Hanie on the roster.
The Oakland Raiders are trying to replicate their fourth-round magic from 2009.

It looks like they are off to a good start. Oakland, which has wheeled-and-dealed in the lower portion of this draft, has scored with two fine value picks in the fourth round.

It took Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell and Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford in the fourth round. Oakland traded a fifth-round pick and linebacker Kirk Morrison to Jacksonville for the chance to take Ford.

Both Campbell and Ford were combine stars. Ford was the fastest receiver at the combine. He should have a role as a situational receiver and as a returner in Oakland.

Many league observers thought Oakland would take Campbell very high because of his outstanding combine and because he filled a big need. However, because of his rawness and shaky game film, many league observers thought he was taken at the right place. Along with third-round pick Jared Veldheer, Oakland has two good tackle prospects to develop.

I really like that Oakland took Campbell and Ford. They have a chance to be solid contributors in a couple of years. Last year, Oakland scored in the fourth round with receiver Louis Murphy and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy.

The Raiders liked Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka. However, he was taken by Philadelphia in the fourth round. Oakland could look at other quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and Dan LeFevour.


Roster Advisor