Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 NFL Rumors: Kyle Orton on Minnesota Vikings 'Radar'?

On the same day Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder said it's his goal to be the week one starter for the Vikings, rumors are flying about another quarterback coming to town.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton is "on radar" for the Vikings once the lockout is lifted. Mortensen made the comment via Twitter, but gave no specifics of a possible deal between the two clubs.

Orton, who turns 29 in November, is expected to be in high demand once the lockout ends. By adding Orton to their roster, the Vikings would be able to bring along Ponder at a slower pace.

Otron is expected to battle Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn for the starting job in Denver this season. Orton is set to make $8.8 million next season and will be entering the final year of his contract.

Orton has spent six seasons in the NFL, including the last two with the Broncos. He spent his first four seasons with the Chicago Bears. In 2010, Orton started 13 games for the Broncos before being replaced by Tebow. He finished the season with 3,653 yards passing, 20 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder dishes on going #12, the criticism, the lockout and his ex-girlfriend

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has a goal to be the team's week one starter when the Vikings travel to San Diego. During an interview with ESPN's Colin Cowherd Friday morning, Ponder discussed being the Vikings number one guy, the criticism of him being drafted #12, how the lockout has impacted his off season preparations and his plans to organize practices with his new Vikings teammates. And oh yeah, his ex-girlfriend too.

Below is a transcript of Ponder's responses on the Thundering Herd.

On being drafted #12 by the Minnesota Vikings:

"I wasn't too shocked. With the private conversations I had with my agent, we heard a lot of good things leading up to the week of the draft. Really wasn't sure what was going to happen, but had good idea, and had a good feel of what was going to happen. I was pretty optimistic about it and once I heard my name called at twelve...just excited. I think a lot of people were shocked by it."

On the criticism of him getting picked #12:

"I don't make anything of it. I have my own expectations for myself and the pick happened and I'm going to take full advantage of the opportunity. I know what I can do, I know what my personal feeling is and everything and I think I deserve that pick. And I'm do everything I can to make sure that no one regrets it."

On what made him move up NFL draft boards:

"I think throughout the whole process I really took advantage of each opportunity I was given, starting with the Senior Bowl. Went out and had the MVP of the game, and the whole week went well for me. Did well at the Combine, did really well at the interviews at the Combine and the private workouts and I think I really connected with all the coaching staff that came down to Florida State during a private workout after the Combine. I think the whole thing went well...and I was really comfortable with the guys. Whatever I did, obviously they liked it and I felt good about it."

On his level of concern about learning the playbook, missing OTAs -- due to the lockout:

"I can't be concerned about it, it is what it is I can't change it. But I'm taking full advantage of the opportunities right now, talking to a lot of the guys, we're setting up practices in the next couple of weeks to get together and go over stuff and put in some work. I know a lot of other teams have already gotten started, so we're kind of behind the eight ball, but I'm doing everything I can to prepare myself. My mindset is that I'm going to start by week one and do everything possible to make sure that I'll be successful against San Diego that first week."

On playing for the Vikings and not being forced to be a superstar his rookie season:

"I really don't, supporting cast around me makes my job a lot easier and it takes a lot of pressure off of me. I stepping into such a great situation and a lot of the quarterbacks that I know, that have gone to teams that are kind of rebuilding everything. I begin an opportunity where it's a team that can compete and a lot of great pieces around me and it makes me excited. Also, again, it takes a lot of pressure off me to perform. I just gotta get the ball to these guys let them do the dirty work."

On working out with teammates in Florida:

"Yeah, that's the plan. The plan is to get a bunch of guys over in Tampa. After this rookie premiere deal this week I'm heading to Bradenton, which is just south of Tampa to train and we've already talked about meeting in Tampa to get things going and working out together and get that chemistry going."

On being a high profile NFL quarterback (including pictures of your girlfriend popping up on the Internet):

"Boy, it's crazy. The worst part about it, it's actually my ex-girlfriend. There's a blog that put out this big story about her being my girlfriend, and then like, we broke up a couple of days before that and so I don't know. It's a crazy mess. Every thing's under a microscope and every move that you make is judged and not whole lot of private life, I mean, it just comes with the territory. But, it's going to be something to try and enjoy."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 NFL Rumors: Possible Teams For Nnamdi Asomugha

The NFL lockout is nowhere close to being resolved and it's putting a hold on the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes. The Oakland Raiders cornerback is the top free agent and is expected to be highly sought after (and highly compensated) once the lockout ends. Among the teams believed to be interested in the 29-year-old defensive back are the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, New York Jets and Houston Texans.

However, if the rumors in the Houston Chronicle are accurate, Asomugha will not be in Houston when the season begins. Chron writer Richard Justice cites two reasons Asomugha won't be a Texan:

A) Cheap owner
B) Nnamdi doesn't like Houston

Justice writes: “Word is Asomugha doesn’t want any part of our little corner of paradise. Really? Well, buddy boy, I’ve got about 30 million reasons you might just change your mind.”

A few days earlier, John McClain, a writer with the same paper, said it makes sense for the Texans to pursue Asomugha. But he adds, it's not likely considering Asomugha will be among the highest paid defenders in the league and Houston owner Bob McNair usually doesn't open his wallet that wide.

So if you believe Justice and McClain, the list of potential Asmougha suitors will not include the Texans.

With the NFL lockout going strong and free agency nowhere in sight, look for the Asomugha rumors to keep flying. Just think, a couple of months ago Asomugha was headed to Green Bay and Charles Woodson was moving to safety (it could still happen).

Monday, May 16, 2011

John Beck, the Next Washington Redskins Quarterback?

When the NFL lockout finally lifts, the Washington Redskins will almost certainly have a new face of the franchise. But that face is far from recognizable. In fact, many people won't even know him by name. John Beck is poised to takeover the Skins starting quarterback gig, with Donovan McNabb (very, very) likely on the outs in D.C.

During a radio interview Monday, Beck told Adam Schein and Rich Gannon on SiriusXM's NFL Radio that he believes he can be a starter in the NFL.

Beck, who is entering his fifth NFL season, has appeared in just five games during his career. In 2007, he started four games for a Miami Dolphins team that went 1-15. Beck hasn't thrown an NFL pass since, but he says he's ready to prove he can be Washington's next signal caller.

“So, for me, just give me an opportunity in the games. When I get an opportunity to be in this offense for a year, now that I have an opportunity to study the offense, I just want the opportunity to play,” Beck said.

Beck turns 30 in August and says he's willing to organize off season workouts during the lockout, even though he was third on the Skins quarterback depth chart last year (behind McNabb and Rex Grossman).

“I basically say, 'Screw the awkwardness,'” he said. "I’m trying to be the starting quarterback. I’ll call whoever, try to set whatever up. If you don’t think you’re a starter and act like a starter, your teammates aren’t going to think you’re a starter.”

Beck and McNabb are both currently under contract with the Redskins, Grossman is a free agent.