Wilson mucks up Seattle's QB battle
Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson suddenly in a three-man race
The new offseason workout program is great for veterans. They never cared for the barrage of mandatory minicamps, where coaches spent a lot of time teaching and testing rookies and younger players. It was repetitive, boring and a nuisance.
The collective bargaining agreement changed all that, dividing the offseason into three phases that build up to one mandatory full-team minicamp in June. As we wait for the so-called Phase III, here are a few issues from last week:
Seattle's quarterback competition just got more crowded. First, Matt Flynn had to compete with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. After a rookie minicamp over the weekend, Flynn also will have to compete with third-round draft pick Russell Wilson.
That is three players vying for first-team practice reps, and according to coach Pete Carroll, it probably will stay that way well into training camp.
"That is going to tax us," Carroll told reporters Sunday. "It was already going to be taxing with two."
Given that the Seahawks signed Flynn to a three-year, $26 million deal in free agency, he would seem to be the front-runner for the job. But Carroll has said that Jackson, who started the final 10 games of last season with a torn pectoral muscle, will get first crack at the first-team reps. Then Flynn. Then, presumably, Wilson.
There is nothing wrong with competition in May and June, but if it lingers too long into training camp, it could prove counterproductive. Whoever is going to be the starter will need all the reps he can get.
The Broncos are stockpiling cornerbacks, and for good reason. Look at the schedule. In the first eight weeks of the season, Denver faces Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and, after a bye week, Drew Brees. Six of the Broncos' first seven opponents finished in the top 11 in passing offense in 2011.
After saying goodbye to 2011 starter Andre' Goodman, the Broncos signed Tracy Porter and, last week, Drayton Florence in free agency. They drafted Omar Bolden in the fourth round. So with Champ Bailey, Denver has three, and potentially four, starting-caliber corners.
With a challenging slate of opponents out of the gate, the Broncos will need a deep rotation at corner. Adding Florence helps that cause.
The NFL is better off with a franchise in Minnesota. It took nearly a decade and some last-minute, late-night drama, but the Vikings finally will get their new stadium in 2016. It took owner Zygi Wilf agreeing to throw in another $50 million to raise the team's portion of the bill to $477 million, but last week, the Minnesota House and Senate passed a bill that will ensure the franchise remains in the Twin Cities.
It is a good thing. Minnesota is an important market to the NFL, which is why commissioner Roger Goodell flew to Minneapolis last month after the bill stalled. Without a new stadium, Wilf might have either moved the franchise or sold it to someone who would, which would have left the league with a major hole in the Midwest. Wilf wisely realized that kicking in $50 million meant a lot to the Legislature and could easily be earned back through stadium naming rights and personal seat licenses.
And the NFL has been rewarding teams (and cities) that build new stadiums with the ultimate prize: hosting a Super Bowl, which is a boom for the local economy. Indianapolis just successfully hosted a Super Bowl and could get another. New York gets one in 2014. Minnesota could be next in 2017.
Achilles injuries have been a killer this offseason. First, Eagles left tackle Jason Peters ripped his Achilles working out. Then, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles preparing for Baltimore's conditioning test, which Suggs said always crushes him. On Thursday, Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers ruptured his right Achilles tendon during offseason workouts at the team facility.
That is three high-profile players on three teams poised for playoff runs likely out for the season.
Good news out of Oakland regarding Darren McFadden. Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group spoke with Raiders running backs coach Kelly Skipper, who said McFadden is "making cuts at full speed" after missing the final nine games of the season. That is great news for the Raiders and their new coaching staff, led by coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
McFadden was on pace for more than 1,400 rushing yards last season when he suffered a Lisfranc sprain in a 28-0 loss to Kansas City in Week 7. With Knapp installing his West Coast offense in Oakland, the Raiders will need McFadden, a multifaceted back who had 19 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown last season.
Osi Umenyiora and LeSean McCoy need to hug it out. They play in the same division but on opposite sides of the ball. By nature, they shouldn't care for each other. But the vitriol between the New York Giants defensive end and the Philadelphia running back is reaching Michael Strahan-Jon Runyan proportions.
Seemingly out of the blue Sunday morning, Umenyiora, who is new to Twitter, tweeted, "Happy Mothers Day Lesean Mccoy! Enjoy your special day!!" McCoy responded: "Lol let the beef begin."
This actually began last year, when McCoy took to Twitter to call Umenyiora "overrated" and "soft." Umenyiora subsequently called the 23-year-old McCoy "she" and "Lady Gaga." There is nothing more classless or clueless than ripping a man for being a woman. Everyone loves a good fight, but Umenyiora could be a little more creative with his insults.
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