Tannehill, Locker land starting jobs
Ryan Tannehill has beaten out Matt Moore and David Garrard for the starting role with the Miami Dolphins. (GETTY IMAGES)
Monday was a good day to be a quarterback selected No. 8 overall in the NFL draft.
Jake Locker and Ryan Tannehill are the latest green signal-callers to earn starting gigs.
The Dolphins chose Tannehill, the No. 8 selection in 2012, over Matt Moore and the injured David Garrard on Monday.
“This is the best decision we can make at the given time,” coach Joe Philbin said, hiding any enthusiasm about the call rather well.
Maybe that’s what happens when a franchise cycles through quarterbacks the way the Dolphins have (17 starters since Dan Marino retired in 1999, the most in the league).
The Dolphins likely will struggle under Tannehill early, but want to see what he can do and let him get his feet wet.
And it’s not like Moore has proven to be a better option. Garrard probably will see quite a bit of action when he is healthy.
Meanwhile, Tennessee also looked towards the future in going with Locker, the No. 8 pick of the 2011 draft, instead of solid veteran Matt Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck is still quite good and head coach Mike Munchak had made it seem over the weekend that a decision was a ways off, but at some point he decided to change course and announce Locker as the man under centre.
That’s what the Titans wanted all along anyways and according to The Tennessean, team owner Bud Adams had a lot to do with Munchak’s call.
“That’s my man,’’ Adams said.
“That’s the one I wanted to see getting the job.
“I didn’t tell them they had to do it, I just told him I thought he was young enough and tall enough and he can run with the ball.”
It is a bold move to make now considering Hasselbeck has been better in the pre-season and since it might lead to more short-term pain for the Titans, but it had to be done at some point and at least Locker has been around the NFL for a year, unlike Tannehill.
The pair joins a crop of young starters throughout the league that is headlined by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Rookie Brandon Weeden will start in Cleveland, but he is 28.
SEAU RESULTS IN
According to the San Diego County medical examiner, Junior Seau had no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs in his system when he committed suicide in May.
The report said Seau had an insomnia medication and a pain reliever in his system.
His brain showed no signs of trauma.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has tendinitis, an MRI revealed after he slipped at practice on Monday. Dallas is already missing Miles Austin and Jason Witten plus Andre Holmes and Donovan Kemp also got injured on Monday … Hard not to be impressed with Luck. He has a lot of hype to live up to, but rebounding from two interceptions to march the Colts to touchdowns the following two plays was eye-opening ... The Jets aren’t happy with the play of right tackle Wayne Hunter, but it was his backup, Stephon Heyer who was cut on Monday ... Bears general manager Phil Emery strongly supported head coach Lovie Smith, even though he didn’t hire him, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “I don’t know why anybody would look at that as a negative.” ... Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali has been suspended a game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy ... Washington will hold out both Brian Orakpo and Brandon Meriweather from the final two pre-season games, but both are expected to be ready for Week 1 ... Tampa Bay has been awarded wide receiver Jordan Shipley, who was waived by Cincinnati on Friday.
MERRIMAN CUT LOOSE BY BILLS
Things didn’t look good for Shawne Merriman when he was seeing mop-up duty for the Bills this pre-season.
Still, when the team severed ties with the former star on Monday, the first reaction was shock.
Though the Bills have upgraded considerably on defence with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, Merriman once was the premier pass-rusher in the NFL and had said recently he was feeling great.
But Merriman was due $3 million US if he made the Week 1 roster (he had already been paid $1 million) and it seems that was a tad rich for the club to pay a backup after already breaking the bank on Williams and Anderson.
Merriman is another big-name gamble that didn’t work out for Buffalo.
Terrell Owens flopped as well, but it’s still nothing ventured, nothing gained and you can’t fault the Bills for being bold in either case.
Merriman compiled 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons, but has managed only five since, largely due to injury troubles.
Another reason why releasing Merriman made sense for the club.
If he’s playing somewhere this season, it will be for considerably less money.
PACKERS NEED TO GET RUNNING
Whether it is James Starks, Cedric Benson or somebody else carrying the load, all that matters for the Green Bay Packers is that the running game gets better. A lot better.
Aaron Rodgers might be brilliant, but a little help would go a long way.
Under the direction of Rodgers, the Packers finished third overall in offence last season. Impressive right?
Astounding actually, considering the ground game was better than only five other teams.
Rodgers alluded to Benson on Monday when he talked about what having a “big-name back” can do for a team. Benson has had a lot of success over the years.
“I think you just have to have at least a little bit of a threat at it,” Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee radio.
“We do a lot of play-action, movement game, where we’re breaking and rolling out or just play-action and throwing timing routes, and the defence has to respect it enough to suck up a little bit on the fake and give you some good throwing lanes. Sometimes you can do that by just having a big-name back in there and sometimes you need to be effective doing it. We’re going to have to prove that we can run the ball.”
Starks is expected to miss a couple of weeks, giving Benson a chance to get comfortable.
JACKSON WILL GIVE IT HIS ALL
Star athletes often get labeled as me-first types.
DeSean Jackson even admits he fits the bill.
Jackson held out for 11 days last season and later ended up both deactivated and benched for games by the frustrated Eagles.
Jackson had made it clear his primary concern last season was staying healthy, with a huge free-agent payday waiting.
Philadelphia re-signed Jackson to a huge contract extension and to the surprise of, well, nobody, he’s now singing a different tune.
“I let it get to me, even though I tried not to let it,” Jackson told ESPN.
“I was trying to protect myself from getting hurt — now I’m just giving it all.”
At least he’s honest. The vast majority of players in his position would not have come clean.
Now he has to prove that what probably was the worst season — and certainly the most disappointing — of his career was a result of his being distracted and not any decline in his skills.
Jackson had the second-fewest receptions, touchdowns and yardage total of his career in 2011 and was not utilized as a return weapon as often as he had been in the past.
GIANT’S TUB DUNK JUST ‘HORSEPLAY’
The Giants are trying to make one thing clear: Throwing Prince Amukamara in a cold tub was not hazing or bullying, it was just good, old-fashioned team hijinks.
Amukamara didn’t look happy after big Jason Pierre-Paul picked him up and threw him into the frigid water — an incident that was filmed and posted via Twitter.
“It’s kind of a good thing that you get dunked. I know that doesn’t sound right, but Prince is one of those guys who everybody around this room loves,” Justin Tuck told Newsday.
“He kind of in some ways enjoys the fact that we give him a hard time. Again, we’re still very sensitive to the fact of the bullying epidemic that’s around this world and how people can perceive it in the wrong light. We’ll just try to be very conscious of that.”
Punter Steve Weatherford, who shot the video, said people were overreacting to some “horseplay” while Amukamara said he didn’t see it as anything more a little overzealous behaviour.
“Training camp is full of a lot of fun and a lot of pranks, and that is where you build a lot of team chemistry,” Amukamara said.
“And that is how we get along as a team, and it kind of got out of hand. There was just a lot of roughhousing and a lot of rough play.”
MCCOY DOESN’T WANT TO LEAVE
The Browns seem ready to give up on the Colt McCoy experiment, but McCoy hopes that isn’t the case.
McCoy was decent as a sophomore in a tough situation last season, but 2012 first-round pick Brandon Weeden has been strong and has claimed the starting job.
Now, there’s lots of talk the Browns will trade or release McCoy, once their quarterback of the future.
If it happens, it sounds like McCoy would be disappointed.
“I’m going to go out here and compete and give my best to this city and this organization, because this is where I was drafted, and I don’t want to be anywhere else,” McCoy told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“If it comes to that, if they decide to do something, (I’ll deal with it) at that point,” he said.
“But no one has said anything to me yet, and there’s no place I’d rather be than here. I’m invested in this city and this team, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Unfortunately for McCoy, management might feel otherwise.
Things could still work out for the 25-year-old though if he ends up as a backup for a far better team than the Browns.