Sanchez doesn't plan on losing starting job

Mark Sanchez said he doesn't envision himself not being the starting quarterback of the New York Jets this season, according to the New York Daily News.

Asked about the possibility of not being the Jets starter (presumably if rookie Geno Smith wins the job), Sanchez said, “I don't see that happening.”

Sanchez added, “I’m planning on playing, I’m planning on starting.”

That's not to say that Sanchez isn't rooting for Smith as a teammate or any of the other quarterbacks for that matter.

“I root for other guys. I root for Greg (McElroy), I root for Matt Simms, I root for Geno.”

Follow me on Twitter @TerryMc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

Tennessee lands talented Ohio defensive lineman

Butch Jones remains on a roll despite not yet coaching a game at Tennessee.

The Volunteers head coach went out of state again and landed a verbal commitment from Joe Henderson, a Class of 2014 weakside defensive end from Shaker Heights High School (Shaker Heights, OH).

The 6-3, 205-pounder is listed as a high-end three-star recruit by, and 247Sports lists him as a four-star recruit. Jones had previously recruited Henderson when he was the head coach at Cincinnati.

Henderson, who holds offers from major schools such as Arkansas, Michigan State and Ole Miss, was offered by Tennessee on January 29 and took his first visit to Knoxville on May 17. With his verbal pledge, the Vols continue to ascent up many early Class of 2014 team recruiting rankings. The Vols were No. 7 in the latest National Football Post Top 25 team recruiting rankings posted earlier this month.

So the momentum for Jones and his staff continues into the summer months, which should excite fans of the Vols. Tennessee's current Class of 2014 haul is led by running back Jalen Hurd and safety Todd Kelly Jr., two of the best nationally at their positions. Offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr. was a nice “get” as well. But perhaps most important is that Jones has shown that he can get prospects that are scattered across the country, as he has commitments from Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Maryland in addition to Ohio.

Ohio State's Gee embarasses himself once again

Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee was at it again.

The 69-year-old, who has made his share of controversial comments in the past, reportedly made derogatory comments about fans of the SEC and about Notre Dame at a meeting of the school’s athletic counsel this past December.

E. Gordon GeeOhio State president E. Gordon Gee is no stranger to controversial comments.

Here are some of the comments that Gee reportedly made during that meeting:

— When asked about how Ohio State should respond to SEC fans who say the Big Ten can't correctly count because the league will have 14 members in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join, Gee responded by saying, “You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we're doing.”

— Another nugget on Big Ten expansion: Gee said that the conference made certain “that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity…So you won’t see us adding Louisville.”

— Regarding Notre Dame, which has been linked to the Big Ten for numerous years but recently became a member of the ACC (partial member in football): “The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they're holy hell on the rest of the week,” Gee said. “You just can't trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that.”

These comments became public after the Associated Press made a public records request of the school’s meeting. Gee has since apologized, noting that his comments were “just plain wrong and in no way reflect what the university stands for. They were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate.”

Of course, if you remember, the bow-tied Gee told the AP in 2010 that schools such as Boise State didn’t deserve to have a say in the BCS process because they didn’t play tough enough schedules. “We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day,” Gee said. Gee also once openly hoped that former Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel “wouldn’t dismiss him.” Yes, a school president saying that about the head football coach at his university.

Despite the fact that Gee is the president of an established major-conference university, he continues to put his foot in his mouth whenever he seemingly gets the chance.

Desmond Bishop still working to get back on the field

Desmond Bishop’s career with the Green Bay Packers took off in 2010 when an opportunity presented itself.

Starting inside linebacker Nick Barnett went out with a season-ending wrist injury and Bishop took the job and ran with it. Barnett never got it back and was eventually released before the following season.

As Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports, Bishop is trying to avoid the same cruel fate after he missed the entire 2012 season following a serious hamstring injury in preseason. In two short seasons as a starter, Bishop had quickly emerged as the team’s top inside linebacker. Now, the Packers have re-signed replacement Brad Jones to a nice contract — $11.75 million over three seasons – and restructured the deal of veteran A.J. Hawk, suggesting he will stick around for at least the 2013 season.

It puts Bishop, who has yet to be cleared for a full return, in a difficult spot. But the team couldn’t wait, hoping for him to be the same player again this season.

“It’s not like my job to say who plays and who doesn’t,” Bishop said, according to Demovsky. “All I can do is get healthy to my full potential and get back out there.”

With Bishop set to earn nearly $4 million this season, it is fair to wonder if the team will want to commit that much money to a reserve player in the event Bishop does not reclaim a starting job. There were rumors that Bishop was being shopped earlier in the offseason but he told Demovsky he never believed those to be true.

Could that change when Bishop is healthy? It would probably be hard to find a taker with that kind of base salary. The bottom line is Bishop, 28, needs to be cleared to get back on the field so the team can first determine where he is at.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Another disruption for Georgia's retooled defense

While too much stock should not be put into what happens during any spring game, Georgia head coach Mark Richt, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and the rest of the staff had to be encouraged by how the retooled Bulldogs defense finished their spring season.

Perhaps no other unit in college football lost more from its 2012 group than Grantham's unit. Linebackers Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Cornelius Washington, defensive tackles John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers and Abry Jones, safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, and cornerback Sanders Commings are all gone. In all, the ‘Dawgs lost 12 players on defense who started at least two games for them in 2012.

But the Bulldogs return a lot of talent to their 3-4 scheme in 2013. And if Richt's squad has any plans on winning the SEC East crown and getting back to Atlanta for the SEC championship game, a defense that is returning just three starters and was the main focus during the team's spring drills must be able to compete at a high level to complement what should be a strong offense.

That task just became more difficult in the team's season opener against Clemson, however, as the 'Dawgs will be without sophomore strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons after a marijuana-related incident in a campus dorm. The Bulldogs' defensive MVP in spring practice, Harvey-Clemons will miss the game against the Tigers on August 31, which will make stopping Tajh Boyd and the high-powered Clemson offense much tougher.

Josh Harvey-ClemonsUS PRESSWIREJosh Harvey-Clemons will miss the season opener against Clemson.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs are becoming used to rocky offseasons, with stars such as as Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree encountering various troubles in the past.

Harvey-Clemons, a former five-star recruit, played in all 14 games last season and recorded a career-high three tackles against Florida Atlantic. He made his biggest impact on special teams in 2012, but he was slated to be one of the Bulldogs' starting safeties this fall after a strong spring.

The 6-5, 207-pounder is being counted on to be a key cog in the team's revamped secondary, which will be tested by Clemson's no-huddle, hurry-up attack coordinated by Chad Morris. The 'Dawgs lost all four starters from their secondary, but last year's rash of suspensions and injuries allowed their backups to log quality playing time. While he is young, Harvey-Clemons was expected to be a leader of a greenish defense. So his absence in the tough opener is huge, especially because a loss could really damage Georgia's hopes to raise the crystal football. Grantham had planned to really maximize the athletic skill set of Harvey-Clemons this year, using him at both strong safety and outside linebacker. So he would have been very difficult for Clemson to game plan for in the opener.

With Harvey-Clemons out, junior Corey Moore will likely start at strong safety. He appeared in all 14 games last season with one start but does not possess the big-play ability of JHC. Other players expected to be key components of Grantham's unit will now be leaned on a bit harder in the opener against the Tigers, including outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who is poised to be the next standout pass-rusher for this program after registering five sacks and eight tackles for loss playing opposite Jarvis Jones last season.

While there is still plenty for the 'Dawgs to work on over the summer and in preseason camp, Richt and Grantham definitely have a better feel of what they have on defense following the team's spring game. The question now remains whether it will be good enough without Harvey-Clemons in Week 1.

Don't forget Adrian Peterson in Minnesota's passing game

A year ago at this time, questions about Adrian Peterson centered on whether or not the running back would be ready for the opening of training camp and the start of the regular season.

The Minnesota Vikings running back completed an incredible personal return from ACL reconstruction and he’s in much better shape this spring, four months after sports hernia surgery. Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards a year ago, nearly establishing an NFL record, and he’s looking forward to this season.

Peterson is participating in OTA’s and doing more strength work that he was unable to do last spring. Maybe there will be a new wrinkle to his game too. Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Peterson would like to become more involved in the passing game.

“A lot of people have this misconception that, 'Adrian cannot catch the ball.' And that's so false,” Peterson said. “They've really never thrown it to the running backs (here). But (Brett) Favre believed in us more and he (was) checking it down to us and getting the ball into our hand in the open field.”

Peterson would be an easy target for quarterback Christian Ponder as a check-down receiver. The Vikings simply need to design it a little better. Peterson caught 40 passes last season but for only 217 yards – a 5.4 average. He caught 43 balls for 436 yards in 2009 and there is no reason to think that with his open-field ability he cannot average 10 yards per catch like that. It will be interesting to see early in the season if the team makes an effort to get the ball to Peterson in space more often.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Chip Kelly not rushing to pick a starting quarterback

One thing Chip Kelly is not going to rush into is a decision at his quarterback position.

Kelly made that clear this week. But logically it is a decision he would like to complete prior to opening training camp – or at the very latest early in camp.

Why do we need to name a starting quarterback in May?” Kelly said, according to Bob Grotz of the Delaware County Times. “We’re going to take the full amount of time that we have to make a thorough evaluation of what we do. When you make big decisions like that, I don’t think you want to make a rash decision. You want to give everybody the opportunity to see what they do.”

The Eagles are evaluating Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon and rookie Matt Barkley. Conventional thinking is Vick will open the season as the starter but that’s not a given. Vick and Foles have gotten the first-team reps when media has been allowed to watch practice.

“We haven’t done anything except we’ve had three days of voluntary mini-camp before the draft, and today was our seventh OTA,” Kelly said. “So none of us have had any thoughts of, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get a guy named by a certain point in time.’ It will play itself out. It will play itself out over the course of time when we’ve had an opportunity to make a thorough evaluation.

“It is a big decision. When you make a big decision, you have to take your time and let it play itself out on the field.”

If the Eagles let it play out too long in training camp, they will reduce the amount of time the starters have to get ready and possibly wind up with a divided locker room. We’ll see if Kelly has a different answer in a couple weeks.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Rosenhaus: Gronk back surgery not serious issue

Drew Rosenhaus, the agent who represents New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, says the back surgery his client needs is not a serious procedure and won't cause him to miss any more time that he is already going to be out as he comes back from a fourth surgery on his broken forearm.

Rosenhaus made the comments on WQAM in Miami, in a piece picked up by ProFootballTalk. The agent said the back condition is something Gronkowski dealt with all of last season and managed to play through.

“This is a lingering problem that Rob’s had for a while that’s he’s been playing with, actually through all of last season,” Rosenhaus told Joe Rose of WQAM. “The recovery will be very comparable to the amount of time he’ll miss with the arm surgery. So why not get it down and make sure when he is healthy he’s 100 percent and doesn’t have to address the back down the road?”

If that's the case, then barring any complications with the back and any further setbacks with the forearm, the Patriots are still hopeful that Gronkowski will be ready for the regular season opener.

Follow me on Twitter @TerryMc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

John Moffitt facing misdemeanor charges as he battles for job

At least John Moffitt did not fail a drug test.

The Seattle Seahawks guard missed an OTA on Tuesday and that was because he had to make an appearance in a Bellevue, Wash., courtroom, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

It isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things but Moffitt was benched last season in favor of J.R. Sweezy and now there is a battle for the starting right guard position between the two. Moffitt missed (voluntary) work, though, to answer to charges of trespassing and obstruction of justice from an alleged incident last June.

According to the P-I, Moffitt had previously been banned from the premesis at the Bellevue Square mall but returned on June 14 and was spotted urinating near a vehicle close to a bar, Paddy Coyne’s. Police were called and Moffitt and another man split, according to the report. Security at the mall reportedly identified Moffitt through photos.

Moffitt faces misdemeanor charges and will be back in court June 14, per the report.

The Seahawks have been under scrutiny for having six players fail tests for performance-enhancing drugs in the last two years. Moffitt already served a four-game suspension.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Revisiting the curse of the 10-win comeback season

The unpredictable nature of the National Football League manifests itself in a variety of different ways. Adrian Peterson comes back from a horrific December knee injury to fall just nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. Joe Flacco goes Joe Montana in the postseason and leads Baltimore to a Super Bowl. Double-digit underdogs like the Arizona Cardinals (+13) hit the road and bust up juggernauts like the New England Patriots. In reality, the only thing predictable about the NFL is that it has been and always will be unpredictable.

But that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel and stop trying to make some sense of it all. Last summer we took a look at an interesting trend that involved the unpredictable swings of teams that posted losing records one season and then came back the following year to record ten or more wins. You can take a look at the research by clicking here, or you can avoid burning the 1/8 of a calorie that comes from clicking your mouse by reading the following paragraph.

From 2002 to 2011 there were 29 instances in which a team posted a record of 7-9 or worse one season and came back the following year to record ten or more wins. And in 26 of those 29 instances (89.6%), the teams in question reverted from a 10-6 or better franchise to a 9-7 or worse franchise in year three.

Three teams fell under the umbrella of this trend in 2012: Detroit, Houston and San Francisco. The Lions regressed from a 10-6 playoff club in 2011 to a 4-12 doormat in 2012. However, the Texans and 49ers bucked the trend and posted winning seasons for the second consecutive year following a record of 7-9 or worse. That puts the poorly named “Curse of the 10-win comeback season” trend at 27 of a possible 32 regressions, which equals an 84.37% failure rate.

Four teams will enter the 2013 NFL season looking to buck this trend just like the Niners and Texans did a year ago. All may succeed or every last one of them could fail. It’s just too early to tell and too unpredictable to predict.

Indianapolis Colts
2011 record:
2012 record: 11-5
2013 LVH season win total: 8.5 (Over: even, Under: -120)

Andrew LuckFor Luck and the Colts to get back to the playoffs, the team will first need to address a few statistical concerns.

It took approximately one year for the Colts to transition from the worst football team in the NFL to an 11-win franchise that qualified for the postseason. Credit tidal waves of emotion and youth for the quick turnaround. But there’s good reason to be skeptical of Andrew Luck and company as we approach September. Even though Indy managed to hit double digits in the win column last season, the team finished the 2012 campaign with a -12 turnover differential and -9 sack differential. And if that isn’t enough to make you think twice about backing Indianapolis this year, take note that the Colts surrendered 30 more points than they scored in 2012. Teams cannot expect to consistently produce favorable results with glaring deficiencies in those three statistical categories.

Minnesota Vikings
2011 record:
2012 record: 10-6
2013 LVH season win total: 7.5 (Over: -110, Under: -110)

Minnesota’s ten wins in 2012 came against opponents who combined to go 72-86-2 (.455) on the season, while the franchise’s six losses came against teams who combined to post a 60-36 (.625) mark. And while the Vikings found a way to average a healthy 23.7 points per game last year (14th in NFL), you have to be concerned about: 1) The transition from playmaker Percy Harvin to the aging Greg Jennings and 2) The fact that this team can’t bank on MVP Adrian Peterson rushing for another 2,000+ yards. If quarterback Christian Ponder can’t improve on last season’s 81.2 QB rating (which featured 17 turnovers), it’s going to be real tough for the Vikings to post another 10-win campaign.

Seattle Seahawks
2011 record:
2012 record: 11-5
2013 LVH season win total: 10.5 (Over: -110, Under: -110)

Marshawn LynchMarshawn Lynch and the Seahawks are already a trendy Super Bowl pick, but can Seattle avoid the curse?

Nobody from Seattle expects to read an article about the possibility of the city’s beloved football team taking a step back in 2013, yet here we are. The Seahawks are in a vastly different situation this season then they were last. The expectations are sky high, the national spotlight is shining directly on the team’s cozy little corner in the Pacific Northwest and the pressure to succeed will be more intense this fall then it’s been in years. There’s no denying the fact that the Seahawks possess a roster loaded with talent to go along with the league’s most dominant home field advantage. But if Seattle is going to avoid a regression in 2013, the players will need to manage themselves a hell of a lot better during the regular season than they have so far this offseason.

Washington Redskins
2011 record:
2012 record: 10-6
2013 LVH season win total: 8 (Over: -110, Under: -110)

I count three reasons why the ‘Skins could have trouble getting back to ten wins in 2013: 1) The ability of quarterback Robert Griffin III to not only get back on the field in time for the start of the season, but to remain there for the entire year, 2) The possibility of opposing defenses enjoying more success against Washington’s read-option offense now that they’ve had a year to prepare for it and 3) A schedule that features six hard-hitting matchups with NFC East opposition along with tough showdowns against the 49ers, Falcons, Broncos, Bears and Chiefs. This is a good football team that’s headed in the right direction, but it’s also a team that will need to catch some breaks this year in order to get back to the postseason.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh