What Could Have Been … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

From No Longer in Indianapolis, Indiana

The pro football world has been focused on Lucas Oil Stadium for the better part of the last week as the NFL Combine went down.

What a gold mine for Indianapolis. There were more than 2,000 visitors checked into hotels at the end of February. That’s a convention business that any city would love to have in the winter months, especially one where the snow fell for several days. That’s 11,000 to 12,000 hotel room nights for the week. Indianapolis’ downtown restaurants were packed all week with club personnel, agents, folks from the NFL Players Association, media, job seekers and players.

And all of it – the Combine, the hotel nights, the packed restaurants, the newspaper and Internet datelines – could have been in Kansas City.

It was just about four years ago that the folks who put on the Combine each year, National Football Scouting, Inc., were taking bids not only for hosting future Combines, but for relocating their offices from Tulsa. Kansas City was a finalist under consideration at the time. The other finalist was Indianapolis.

Ultimately, NFS accepted the Indianapolis bid because there was no facility in Kansas City able to host the Combine. …Read More!

NFL COMBINE: Raiders Coach Tom Cable

From Indianapolis, Indiana

It was a flip of the coin back in early January whether Tom Cable would be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders for the 2010 season.

And there was real debate as to what would be best for him: to keep the job as Raiders coach or get fired and escape the craziness that always seems to dominate the scene around Al Davis’ team. But Cable is still there and preparing for the start of free agency and the NFL Draft.

He spoke at the NFL Combine and covered a lot of ground in a short period of time, as he talked about the Raiders quarterback position, JaMarcus Russell, Richard Seymour, Javon Walker, possible changes to the NFL overtime rules and his own job status.

Enjoy the listen.

NFL Combine: CB Joe Haden

From Indianapolis, Indiana

When Joe Haden went off to college at the University of Florida he planned on playing quarterback. There was one problem with that: the Gators already had a quarterback, fellow by the name of Tebow, first name Tim.

Given a chance to change positions, Haden picked wide receiver. There was one problem with that: the Gators already had a top-line receiver, fellow by the name of Harvin, first name Percy.

Florida coach Urban Meyer gave him another chance to switch. He moved to cornerback and after three years, he’s preparing to move on to the NFL. Coming into the 2010 NFL Combine, Haden was rated as the No. 1 pure cornerback prospect and is considered a top 10 choice in April’s NFL Draft.

Haden talked about his changing of positions and his future at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Adios Indy … Tuesday Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Sometime Tuesday morning, the secondary will be on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, the last position group to go through testing and drills at the 2010 NFL Combine.

By dinner time, most of the NFL will have sprinted to the airport and scattered back to home bases around the country. That’s where they will evaluate their experiences from the Combine and factor them into the puzzle that is the ’10 NFL Draft in late April.

There’s a lot of attention placed on what happens at the Combine, tests like the 40-yard dash and bench press. There’s the very important medical information and the psychological testing. Also important are the interviews teams conduct with individual players.

More comes out of the Combine than just those numbers, tests results and interview notes. It’s a convention for NFL scouts and personnel types. After a day at the stadium and then interviews in the hotels of downtown Indianapolis, league types head for the bars, saloons and restaurants sprinkled throughout a vibrant city center. They complain about their boss, they complain about the long hours, they tell stories from the road and they enjoy the camaraderie of high-stress jobs in a very visible business.

If you hang around long enough and get to know these men, they will provide bits of information about what teams are really thinking about the prospects that will be available in the Draft. If you buy them a couple of beers, they’ll tell you more, all off the record and not for attribution. …Read More!

NFL Combine: QB Colt McCoy

From Indianapolis, Indiana

As all the attention has fallen on Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow at the NFL Combine, Colt McCoy has been the forgotten quarterback.

That’s hard to believe given his career at Texas and the fact that while Bradford was rehabbing and Tebow was home watching, it was McCoy that started in the BCS National Championship Game.

One of McCoy’s problems as far as the NFL is concerned is the fact he did not finish that start against Alabama, going out with a serious shoulder injury. He says he’s completely recovered, but like all the top QBs at the Combine, McCoy won’t throw until the Texas pro day in Austin later this month.

There’s no doubt in his mind that he can play and be successful in the NFL. Here’s part of what he told the media over the weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium.

NFL Combine: Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan

From Indianapolis, Indiana

His golf handicap is probably rising on a daily basis now that Mike Shanahan has something to do besides working on his short game.

The former Broncos head man spent a year out of the NFL, collecting some $7 million from Denver owner Pat Bowlen and playing golf on almost a daily basis. He jumped back into the pro football merry-go-round earlier this year when he agreed to become the newest victim of Daniel Snyder’s head coach shooting gallery with the Washington Redskins.

Shanahan inherits a 4-12 football team that has problems on the line of scrimmage and a quarterback situation with Jason Campbell that is not settled. But Shanny is glad to be back looking at tape, hiring coaches and scheming to stir thing up in the NFC East.

Go With The Safeties … Monday Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Some might call it wacky, others could use a word like crazy, but I’ve dealt with evaluations like that before, and sometimes they’ve even been correct.

Over the weekend here at the NFL Combine I had a revelation. Maybe it’s been too much time in Lucas Oil Stadium over the last few days and too many interviews and too many adult beverages after hours and too … I’ll stop there.

I know what the Chiefs should do with at least two of their early picks in April’s 2010 NFL Draft.

They need to use their first-round choice on Tennessee safety Eric Berry. He’s the smiling guy above on the right. With one of their selections in the second, third or fourth rounds, they need to draft Florida State safety Myron Rolle. He’s the smiling guy above on the left.

Two safeties? Yeah, sounds kooky I know. But let me tell you this. After meeting and speaking with Berry and Rolle, I’m willing to roll the dice and say these two guys are locks to make it and make it big in the NFL. Over the last four days, more than 100 players have been brought to meet with the media. There have been some impressive young men, like QBs Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy were outstanding.

But nobody left an impression on me more than Berry and Rolle. …Read More!

NFL Combine: Denver Coach Josh McDaniels

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The last time we saw Denver head coach Josh McDaniels he was walking off the turf at Invesco Field trying to figure out how his Broncos got slapped so hard by the Chiefs in the regular season finale.

It was the end to a difficult season for the first-time head coach. It started with the whole Jay Cutler situation and then there were problems dealing with WR Brandon Marshall and other players. By the time Game No. 16 was played, the Broncos were out of sorts and both Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler were held out of the game by McDaniels for reasons he has never provided.

But it’s the last day of February and every team in the NFL is focused on the 2010 season and the upcoming start of free agency and the annual Draft. It’s the time when hopes and dreams thrive and McDaniels has plenty of those.

Here’s part of his weekend press conference, including plenty about the situation with Marshall.

NFL Combine: DT Ndamukong Suh

From Indianapolis, Indiana

He’s considered either the first or second best prospect in this year’s NFL Draft.

Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is unlikely to get past the third pick come late April. With St. Louis, Detroit and Tampa Bay picking in that order, one of those teams is going to turn in h is name on their card for the first round.

Impressive as Suh is physically when he stands next to you, he also handles himself quite well when dealing with the prying of the media covering this year’s NFL Combine.

Here’s a little bit of what Suh had to say.

NFL Combine: DB Eric Berry

From Indianapolis, Indiana

He’s one of the highest rated players on just about every draft board in the NFL.

When it comes to defense and playmaking, every NFL team knows about Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

His name should be called somewhere in the top 10, maybe even top five and one of the attractions is not only his athletic abilities, but his versatility – he can play any of the secondary positions.

On top of that, he’s football smart. That was helped in the ’09 season when he got a chance to play for Vols defensive coordinator and NFL veteran Monte Kiffin.

Here’s some of what Berry had to say.

NFL Combine: LB Sean Weatherspoon

From Indianapolis, Indiana

He may have been the first player to walk into the media interview area at the 2010 NFL Combine and use the word loquacious.

But then just about anybody in Columbia, Missouri will tell you that linebacker Sean Weatherspoon seldom is quiet. Weatherspoon certainly was not at a loss for words when speaking to the media at Lucas Oil Stadium over the weekend.

Weatherspoon talked about his experiences at the Senior Bowl, why his defensive numbers were down in his senior season and where he fits in either the 4-3 or 3-4 defensive schemes.

Big 12 WRs Dominate … Sunday Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Wide receivers will hit the field today at Lucas Oil Stadium to run the 40-yard dash and go through other drills as part of the NFL Combine.

The Chiefs will be paying close attention; they need some young receiver help in the 2010 NFL Draft.

“It’s a good group,” head coach Todd Haley said on Saturday. “We can find something there.”

What’s noteworthy about the group of 44 wide receivers in town for the four-day Combine is the presence of so many pass catchers out of the Big 12 Conference. At every level of prospective talent among the receivers there are familiar names to college football fans in the Midwest.

The best receiver in the draft is thought to be Dez Bryant, a product of Oklahoma State who did not play in the 2009 season for the Cowboys because of an NCAA suspension. Bryant will be a first-round selection.

At the next level, considered anywhere from second to fourth-round talents are Dezmon Briscoe out of Kansas and Jordan Shipley from Texas. …Read More!

NFL Combine: What Haley Had To Say

From Indianapolis, Indiana

A year ago, Todd Haley’s world was going so fast he doesn’t remember much about the NFL Combine.

This weekend, things have slowed down and the guy who grew up in a household where judging football players coming into the NFL paid the bills, is feeling good about wearing a personnel man’s hat again at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I enjoy this time of year a bunch,” Haley told the media assembled for the 2010 NFL Combine. “Coach (Bill) Parcells has always told me that to be an effective coach in the NFL, you have to know personnel. I’m very fortunate to have been raised by the man I was raised by who I think was pretty good at finding guys that could play football.

“I’m happy that this time of year we’re not really in full scramble mode probably trying to fill six or seven spots on the staff; so I really didn’t get to enjoy or get into this process as much as I would have liked to last year. I’m in a much more settled position where I can really put my head into finding players, which is fun for me.” …Read More!

NFL Combine: WR Kerry Meier

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Three years ago when Mark Mangino told him that he was no longer going to be the Kansas Jayhawks starting quarterback, Kerry Meier couldn’t imagine himself taking part in something like the NFL Combine.

But Meier was at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, taking part in the 2010 Combine as a wide receiver, something he’s done for the last three seasons for Mangino.

And there’s a very good chance Meier will be selected anywhere from the middle to late rounds of the draft at the end of April.

And he wouldn’t mind being drafted by the Chiefs, the team he has followed since childhood in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Here’s Meier talking with the media about the Combine and his hopes for the NFL.

NFL Combine: Todd Haley/Part 2

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley continued his conversation with the media about all  things related to the red and gold as he met with the media at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Here’s part two.

NFL Combine: Todd Haley Speaks/Part 1

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Taking a break from watching linemen run the 40-yard dash and go through drills, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley came downstairs at Lucas Oil Stadium and met with the assembled media.

Both on the podium and afterwards when he was surrounded by the scribblers and yakkers, Haley had plenty to say about how the Chiefs. His tone was decidedly positive as he talked about the progress the team made last year and the steps forward with the coaching staff that has added fuel to that fire.

Haley also had plenty to say about individual players, from QB Matt Cassel, to RB Jamaal Charles, to OL Branden Albert, to WR Dwayne Bowe.

There’s a lot of material here and we’ve had to break it into three parts. Here’s segment No. 1.

Tebow Show Hits Combine … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy had just taken his spot at the podium inside Lucas Oil Stadium, with approximately 30 or so media types waiting to hear him speak.

As he began speaking, over the public address system in the room came this announcement:

Some guy named Tebow will be at podium C,” announced the NFL type that was manning the microphone in the NFL Combine press room.

More than half of audience got up in the middle of McCarthy’s sentence and hustled to the other side of the room. McCarthy flashed a sly smile at the exodus; it was fine with him because that meant fewer questions to answer.

It was a mob scene as Tebow took to a small stage and walked to the microphone. Nobody that has visited with the media at the Combine – GM, administrator, coach or player – generated the type of reaction that came when the former University of Florida quarterback arrived in the room.

Wearing a red Combine jersey with the No. 19, Tebow was not exactly stunned by the throng standing in front of him. He’s been there many times before and this was just another moment in the life of a college football folk hero who may have a hard time making a place for himself at the next level. …Read More!

NFL Combine: WR Dez Bryant

From Indianapolis, Indiana

There’s little doubt that Dez Bryant will be the first wide receiver selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.

The question is where in the first round will Bryant be drafted and who will be grabbing him. If Bryant had played last season and put up the same type of numbers he did for Oklahoma State in 2008, he would probably be a top 10 selection.

And he still might. But a season-long NCAA suspension kept him off the field and certainly will have NFL teams considering his maturity and how much rust he’s taken on in the last year without competition and coaching.

Bryant met the media on Friday at the NFL Combine and talked about the suspension, his relationship with Deion Sanders and how much he’s looking forward to getting back in pads and playing football.

NFL Combine: Scott Pioli Part 4

From Indianapolis,  Indiana

Heard enough from Chiefs GM Scott Pioli? I doubt it. Given his penchant for staying off the nightly news and out of the headlines, we need to make sure everyone tastes whatever he has to offer, whenver he offers something.

So here comes the fourth of four parts of Pioli talking about various subjects.

NFL Combine: Bryan Bulaga

From Indianapolis,  Indiana

At 6-6, 315 pounds, there is divided opinion on whether University of Iowa offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga is best suited for guard or tackle in the NFL.

What nobody disputes is that the big man is ready to play in the pros. Bulaga left Iowa City a year earlier because his play for the Hawkeyes during the 2009 season pushed him into first-round status as a draft choice.

As you will hear, it doesn’t matter to him whether he plays guard or tackle; he’s just ready for his shot at the pro game.

Here’s some of what he told the media at the NFL Combine.

NFL Combine: Scott Pioli Part 3

From Indianapolis,  Indiana

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli produced a lot of words if not a lot of news on Thursday at the NFL Combine, so much so that had to break his conversation into pieces.

Here’s the third of four parts of what Pioli had to say about the Chiefs, the ’10 NFL Draft, the Patriots and much more.

Pioli Unplugged at Combine … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From Indianapolis, Indiana

For just a shade under two hours, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli was a media darling here at the NFL Combine.

Pioli spoke in a press conference setting. He spoke standing in the middle of a circle of reporters. He spoke one-on-one with several scribblers and TV types.

It was a media relations tour de force from a guy who despite the fact he handles the duties very well, does not like the whole process of the media prying into his business.

That’s why at the end of those two hours was left a pile of words that when sifted and sorted, produced little in the way of news about the Chiefs and only an occasional insight into what’s happening with the team.

Here are the news nuggets: …Read More!

NFL Combine: Russell Okung

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Russell Okung is the highest rated offensive lineman on just about every draft board in the NFL right now.

The big man out of Texas and Oklahoma State University is here at the NFL Combine trying to solidify his position, not only as a first rounder, but as a top five pick, and maybe even the choice of the Chiefs, drafting in the No. 5 spot.

Okung met with the media on Thursday and talked about his goals and what he sees as his future in the NFL. He’s also asked specifically about whether he’s seen any overt interest from the Chiefs.

Here’s what the 6-6, 307-pound two-time All-America had to say.

NFL Combine: Scott Pioli Part 2

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli spoke to the media at length on Thursday at the NFL Combine.

He spoke so long that we’ve had to break up his comments into segments. In Part 2, Pioli speaks of the additions of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, the trouble in finding nose tackles, Matt Cassel and his offensive line and the prospects in this year’s draft.

That Mysterious Miami Draft Choice

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Back in late August, the Chiefs and Dolphins made a trade. Coming to Kansas City were offensive linemen Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe.

Going to the Dolphins was … we don’t know for sure. Apparently it’s a secret.

That’s certainly how Chiefs GM Scott Pioli reacted when he was asked about how many draft choices the Chiefs have for April’s selection meeting. The number should be eight. Pioli said it was eight.

They have an extra second-round choice thanks to the Tony Gonzalez trade to Atlanta and two extra fifth-round selections from trading Tyler Thigpen to the Dolphins and Tank Tyler to the Carolina Panthers.

Most of the league believes that the Chiefs sent their sixth-round choice to Miami for Alleman-Ndukwe. The Dolphins already have K.C.’s seventh-round selection from the draft day trade last year for TE Jake O’Connell.

But Pioli refused to confirm that fact on Thursday at the NFL Combine.

“You are trying to get me in trouble with my father-in-law aren’t you,” said Pioli when asked about the sixth-round choice. “I’m not going to talk about what we traded to Miami.”

Pioli was asked if it was a state secret.

“No, it’s not a state secret but when someone asks me to keep something confidential, I respect their request,” said Pioli.

Especially when that someone happens to be his father-in-law, Miami’s football leader Bill Parcells?

“Especially when I have to sit down and have dinner with him on the holidays,” Pioli said.

Here’s the exchange:

NFL Combine: Chiefs GM Scott Pioli-Part 1

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The normally media shy Chiefs GM Scott Pioli was front and center on Thursday at the NFL Combine inside the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Pioli spent a long time on the podium and then another 30 to 45 minutes talking with a large group of media types and then he was still there talking with individual media almost two hours after arriving.

Any time that sort of access is available and Pioli is on the record, as much as possible will come down the line with three more podcasts coming Thursday night and then we’ll analyze and break down all of his words Friday morning.

Here’s Pioli Part 1.

NFL Combine: Oklahoma OT Trent Williams

From Indianapolis, Indiana

When it comes to offensive linemen as a group, and left tackles in specifics, Oklahoma’s Trent Williams will hear his name called in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

He might even be as the selection at No. 5 of the Chiefs, although that might be a bit too high for the Texas native who played four seasons with the Sooners.

Williams spoke on Thursday afternoon at the NFL Combine here and talked about his decision to return to Oklahoma for his senior season, his belief that he’s a left tackle first in the NFL and his quarterback Sam Bradford.

NFL Combine: Chan Gailey

From Indianapolis, Indiana

There were former Chiefs all over Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday as the NFL Combine really got cooking.

Miami GM and former Chiefs scout Jeff Ireland met with the media. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli is scheduled for the podium in the afternoon. Right before Ireland, new Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey spoke with the assembled scribes and the like.

Gailey talked about the Bills and whether RB Marshawn Lynch is available (he indicated he was not) and the future of WR Terrell Owens (he has not yet spoken to T.O.) Buffalo may be in the market for a quarterback (think Brodie Croyle) but Gailey wouldn’t commit to that.

Here’s Chan talking about the day he was fired by Todd Haley and the aftermath for him.


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