Tag:Brett Favre
Posted on: January 21, 2011 1:31 pm
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Favre aiding agent recruit Cam Newton

For those of you who just can't imagine football without Brett Favre, there is the following nugget from The Sports XChange's Len Pasquarelli in his new Tip Sheet.*

*Lights, Cameron, action: So what's Brett Favre up to these days, given that he has opted to retire, and that this time his departure from the game seems official? Well, one of the things occupying his time, besides riding the tractor around the farm in Hattiesburg, Miss., The Sports Xchange has learned, is the recruitment of Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Word is that Newton's choice of agent representation is imminent - possibly as early as Friday - and that one of the finalists is Bus Cook, who represented Favre during his entire 20-year NFL career. Favre was part of the interview process when Newton met with Cook, and reportedly spent about 20 minutes talking with the Auburn star. It's a pretty good bet the two weren't swapping fishing tips. The other agents believed to still be in the hunt for Newton, as least as this was being written: Joel Segal, Peter Schaffer, and the newly-formed Pat Dye-Jimmy Sexton alliance. The representation for some of the other top quarterbacks in the 2011 draft: Both Blaine Gabbert of Missouri and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas are said to have hired Condon. And word is that David Dunn has landed Washington's Jake Locker. Condon, by the way, has represented five of the past seven No. 1 overall choices and five of the seven top quarterbacks chosen in the 2004-2010 drafts.


Agents using former or current players to help recruit new clients is hardly a new strategy. It is interesting that Cook is using Favre in this way, however. Favre is a superstar, an obvious first ballot Hall of Famer whose name and style of play is as recognizable as any in the history of the game. Unfortunately, his off-field actions have become just as consistent of a source of news as his play on the field recently.

As a prospective NFL quarterback with his own off-field concerns, Newton can relate, potentially making Favre a brilliant recruiting tool by Cook.

Despite what some may think, NFL teams don't typically put a great deal of thought into which agents players sign with. While certain agents are known in the scouting community as being particularly aggressive in their contract demands, trade requests and holdouts, most agents serve as little more than the link between the player and the team.

Newton's choice of agents, like those of the other top quarterbacks that Pasquarelli cites in his piece, make up some of the most successful companies in the industry -- and are counter to a odd year in which some of the biggest names in college football have opted to sign with lesser known agencies. Patrick Peterson and Nick Fairley, for example signed with Patrick Lawlor and Brian Overstreet, respectively, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. 

Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange. He has covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.

*This piece hasn't been published yet. For last week's Tip Sheet, click here.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 11:19 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 11:21 am
 

Young NFL QBs Tebow, Flynn, etc impress

As you've no doubt heard or read before, the NFL is a results business. For all of the hype that Tim Tebow received coming out of college (and the little that Matt Flynn had), they were among a group of young passers forced to prove themselves Sunday.

Tim Tebow's starting debut, of course, was the player most focused on. Tebow was unable to lead the Broncos to a victory in Oakland, but played better than his statistics might lead you to believe. The Broncos protected their rookie quarterback with a run-heavy attack. Tebow completed 8 of 16 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He would have thrown for another TD had RB Lance Ball not dropped a short pass in the endzone. Tebow also led the team with 78 rushing yards, including a 40 yard touchdown run that showcased the Heisman form that helped him overtake Herschel Walker as the SEC's career leader in touchdowns. Tebow wasn't spectacular, but considering that Denver had lost 59-14 at home to the Raiders in October and were tied at 20-20 in the 3rd quarter before Oakland was able to pull away late to win 39-20), Tebow showed plenty of upside.

Perhaps the most surprising performance of the day -- at least to some -- came from Green Bay Packers' backup Matt Flynn . Flynn, a three year veteran making his first career start, out-shined MVP candidate Tom Brady for much of the night, completing 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw an interception. Flynn played poorly a week earlier after Packers' starter Aaron Rodgers went down with a concussion against Detroit. Flynn's improvement in this game wasn't a surprise to Packers' brass. They are very high on Flynn, as evidenced by the fact that they kept him over 2008 second round choice Brian Brohm. In fact, as I noted in this space in September of 2009, some of the reason why Packers' GM Ted Thompson forced Brett Favre to either retire or accept a trade to a team other than the Vikings was the belief in the former LSU standout, Flynn.
Flynn's performance will hardly unseat Aaron Rodgers, but it does provide the Packers with the assurance that they have a reliable backup and trade commodity.

Tebow and Flynn's efforts in losses weren't the only highlights from young quarterbacks, however.

The Carolina Panthers got their first win under rookie Jimmy Clausen . Clausen was far from spectacular in the Panthers' 19-12 victory over Arizona, but he was more efficient than fellow rookie John Skelton, completing 13 of 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. He did not commit a turnover - only the second time in eight starts this season that's he thrown for a TD and not had a turnover. Clausen wasn't so good that the Panthers should consider anyone other than Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, should the Stanford redshirt sophomore come out early and Carolina end the season with the worst record. He was good enough, however, to allow the team to look at another position (rather than reach for another developmental QB) should Luck remain at Stanford. 

In terms of efficiency, Cleveland's Colt McCoy (19-25 for 243 yards and two TDs) was actually the most impressive rookie quarterback of the day. The Browns struggled to maintain drives against the Bengals, however, and lost to Cincinnati, breaking Marvin Lewis' squad's 10-game losing streak. McCoy's two touchdowns came on a trick play in the first quarter and a defensive breakdown in the 4th.

The Broncos, Packers, Panthers and Browns have plenty of decisions to make before the April draft. Some of those decisions, however, may have been made easier with the performances of their young QBs yesterday.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.


Posted on: August 14, 2010 10:43 am
 

Kolb impressive in first game as Eagles' starter

It is admittedly easy to get caught up in the hype of a strong preseason performance, but Kevin Kolb looked every bit the part of a future NFL star in his 2010 debut as the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback last night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kolb's stat line -- 6/11 for 95 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions -- is far from jaw-dropping, but in one quarter of action Kolb engineered two scoring drives and seemed on his way to another before being lifted mid-drive for Michael Vick once the second quarter began.

What was most impressive about Kolb's performance was his poise and accuracy on a variety of routes.

Kolb's first pass was a perfectly placed slant to DeSean Jackson for 21 yards. His next was a crossing route for 29 yards to Jeremy Maclin. Both passes caught his athletic wideouts in stride and allowed them to use their agility and straight-line speed to generate significant yardage after the catch. The first pass came from under center. The second from the shotgun.

In between the two throws, Kolb was forced to scramble to get a first down. On third and five, Kolb, out of the shotgun, sensed the pressure and scrambled left, faking a throw to freeze Jaguar defenders just enough for him to get six yards, escape untouched out of bounds and pick up the first down. In doing so, he ran to the Philadelphia sideline, where his excited teammates congratulated him with yells and slaps on the helmet.

Kolb, however, didn't look excited. He looked poised and ready for the next play. The pocket sense, balance and athleticism he showed in running for the first down were elements of his game Kolb for which is rarely recognized. Some, in fact, have argued that mobility is one of the areas in which the Eagles will miss Donovan McNabb the most, but not in this game.  Kolb ran twice, picking up 15 yards total.

Kolb's stat line would have been better if not for a couple of rare drops from his tight end (and training camp roommate) Brent Celek. Each of the passes, including what should have been a touchdown from the 11-yard line, came in hot, but hit Celek in the hands.

The Eagles surprised us all by trading McNabb to division-rival Washington in April. It was natural to characterize head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman's decision to trade the potential Hall of Fame quarterback as risky, especially considering that Kolb had only two starts in three seasons since being drafted in the second round (No. 36 overall) out of Houston.

Kolb's impressive performance, however, was eerily similar to the one that Aaron Rodgers had in his first preseason action as Green Bay's starter after trading Brett Favre to the New York Jets. Rodgers was 9 of 15 for 117 yards, a touchdown and an interception (deflection).  The stats might be a little different, but the moxie, accuracy and mobility that Rodgers showed in that contest had to be comforting to general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy.

It is far (FAR!) too early to think that Kolb will be able to make the same seamless transition from former high pick biding his time behind a superstar to emerging as one in his own right as Rodgers has done for the Packers.

But the fact that Kolb was successful in his first start since taking over for McNabb is encouraging. Even more so was how he engineered that success.


Posted on: April 29, 2010 10:43 pm
 

Scout: Walter Jones "like Pujols"

With all due respect to Jonathan Ogden, Anthony Munoz, and Tony Boselli the greatest left tackle of the past twenty years -- and arguably all time -- hadn't retired.

He hadn't retired until today, that is.

Walter Jones entered the NFL as the sixth overall pick of the 1997 draft. He played all 13 of his seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. If he'd played for perhaps any other franchise in the NFL, his retirement would be generating more attention than it is. It certainly would be if he played for one of the prominent east coast or south teams.

Consider that in 13 years Jones was voted to nine Pro Bowls, including a string of eight consecutive years (2001-08). And while some have argued that Pro Bowl berths are essentially popularity contests, consider that Jones was voted to the All-Pro squad six years. Whereas the Pro Bowl may have become a bit of a joke in recent years, All-Pro means he was voted the best of the best. In 2005, The Sporting News voted him as the best player in the league, regardless of position.

Former Seahawks head coach and current Cleveland team president Mike Holmgren once characterized Jones as the best player he'd ever coached. Consider that Holmgren coached Brett Favre. And Joe Montana. And Steve Young. And Jerry Rice. And Reggie White.

In 13 seasons, Jones was flagged for holding nine times.

In 5,703 passing plays, Jones allowed a total of 23 sacks.

Revered offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who some have called the best of all-time characterizes Jones as the best he's ever coached, according to a well-written tribute to Jones on www.seahawks.com

 

“Walt Jones, he set the bar really, really high,” Mudd said. “The next guy I think of is Anthony Munoz, and he played a long time ago. This is 20 years later, and you’ve got another one who is like that. And I’m not sure Walt isn’t better.

“So the point I’m making is, Walt is maybe the best one that’s ever played that position. Walter was a phenomenal talent, and it started the day he showed up.”

I've spoken to scouts who compared Jones to former All-Pro left tackles like Anthony Munoz and Tony Boselli.

Perhaps the astonishing comment I've received about Jones, however, came years ago from a longtime talent evaluator who, unfortunately, refused to go on record.

"I compare Jones to Albert Pujols. Mudd used the comparison to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. It doesn't matter. The point is the same. Those guys, they aren't just good. They aren't just the best. They're each so much better than everyone else that it is ridiculous to even mention other players in comparison. If you want to bring up the guys from 20-30 years ago, the Jim Parkers and guys like that, fine. But in today's game when the speed rusher really came into existence, no one was better than [Jones]. He was the standard that, as scouts, we were all looking to find again."

On Thursday, the Seahawks announced that they'd be retiring Jones' No. 71. They should. While Steve Largent might have been the face of the Seattle Seahawks throughout his career and is still the team's most popular player, there is no doubting Jones' was -- and remains -- the best player the team ever had.

 



Posted on: March 21, 2010 8:15 pm
 

Holmgren: "would be hard for me" to add Clausen

Cleveland president Mike Holmgren, the man who coached and is at least partially credited with developing Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck, among others, is apparently not interested in working with Jimmy Clausen.
 
Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer quotes Holmgren as saying "I wish I liked him more. You know that you have a type of player that you like? It's not scientific. People like him a lot. He'll go high. But it would be hard for me [to take him]."

This isn't because Holmgren isn't interested in adding a rookie quarterback. Holmgren freely admits that the Browns will use a pick on a quarterback in the draft, but it appears it won't be Clausen, or, as Grossi points out later in the article, one in the second round either. 

Said Holmgren, "I'd have to have another second-round pick [to take a quarterback in the second round].
The Browns have to add a young quarterback because Holmgren has hitched his wagon to veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Holmgren signed Delhomme to a free agent contract after he was released by Carolina. The Browns traded for Wallace, who was drafted by Holmgren and played under him in Seattle.

Holmgren's history indicates that he'll draft a quarterback in the mid to later rounds. As I mentioned in a previous blog post , Holmgren, in 23 years of NFL work, has never been apart of a team that has invested anything higher than a third round pick on a rookie quarterback.

Holmgren had previously announced that he liked Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford "a lot," but isn't likely to be willing to part with enough of his ten picks in the 2010 draft to be able to pry away the first pick from the St. Louis Rams. Should the Rams pass on Bradford, Detroit and Tampa, who, of course, took their own first round quarterbacks last year with Matt Stafford and Josh Freeman, respectively, would likely be very interested to hear what the Browns might offer. 

Holmgren's honesty is not surprising to those who have worked with him in the past. Holmgren's candor was appreciated by local beat writers and national media, as well. Few head coaches were as willing to explain the what's and how's of the game with the kindness Holmgren did -- which is why his comments on Clausen are likely heart-felt.

It would be a surprise to those who know him if by saying these things Holmgren was attempting to create smoke screen.

"That's just not his style," texted a scout who used to work under Holmgren.
Posted on: September 5, 2009 7:27 pm
 

Brian Brohm among the surprise QB cuts

With the NFL cut-down today, there are literally hundreds of once-highly-touted prospects now available on the open market. Quarterbacks, as the saying goes, get the most credit when things are going right and the most blame when things are going wrong. For three big name quarterbacks, things went too wrong this preseason, apparently.

Veteran Jeff Garcia was a surprise signing by Oakland this year. Though one could make the argument that the Raiders might win more games with the former Pro Bowler leading the ship this season, for the long-term success of the franchise, it is difficult to argue that JaMarcus Russell will feel more comfortable with his position as the unquestioned starter with the ultra-competitive Garcia off the team.

There had been plenty of speculation that the Vikings would attempt to trade Tarvaris Jackson or perhaps Sage Rosenfels with Brett Favre now in the fold, but instead the club elected to drop former USC standout John David Booty, who insiders had suggested had improved considerably over his time with the Vikings. Don't expect Booty to be on the waiver wire for long.

Few, however, come with any more of a pedigree than former Green Bay Packer Brian Brohm, released today despite being the team's second round choice only two years ago.

Brohm, who some had suggested would have been the first overall pick of the 2007 draft had he left after his junior season, failed to impress the coaching staff despite several opportunities during the preseason. Former LSU standout, drafted by the Packers three rounds later than Brohm in the 2008 draft, made the team and apparently will be Green Bay's primary backup to young star Aaron Rodgers.

League sources had previously expressed to me how impressed the Packers had been with Flynn's development (and unimpressed with Brohm's). There was some belief throughout the league, in fact, that at least some of the reason why GM Ted Thompson was so adamant that Brett Favre's either remain retired or move on to a team other than the Vikings (remember that?) prior to the 2008 season was that he simply would not carry four quarterbacks on the Green Bay roster and liked the upside of Rodgers, Brohm and Flynn too much to allow one of the young passers to leave.
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com