Earlier today, we rounded up the noteworthy comments made by a handful of head coaches and general managers who spoke to reporters today in Indianapolis at the NFL’s scouting combine. Wednesday’s press conferences will continue through to about 3:30pm central time, and we’ll keep providing recaps of the highlights from those sessions. Here’s the latest:
Bears head coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace:
- Asked about whether he has decided to proceed with Jay Cutler as the team’s quarterback, Fox replied, “We’re not up against a deadline. … We’ll keep you posted.” Fox later continued: “I don’t think there’s any question there’s ability and talent there but there’s a lot more that goes into it.”
- In addition to dancing around questions about Cutler, Fox was also noncommittal when asked about Brandon Marshall.
- Like Fox, Pace didn’t put his full support behind either Cutler or Marshall — the new GM didn’t call Cutler the team’s starting QB, and said the team would “take our time” with evaluations. As for Marshall, Pace suggested football needs to be the wideout’s top priority, in reference to Marshall’s 2014 gig with “Inside the NFL.”
- The Bears head coach confirmed that he met with Josh McCown today and that the club has interest in him. “He’s the right kind of guy… that you want on your football team,” Fox said of the former Buccaneer. Pace also had praise for McCown, suggesting he’s capable of being a starter or backup for an NFL team.
- Fox also confirmed that the Bears will be switching to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Defensive ends like Jared Allen and Willie Young are expected to get a look at the outside linebacker position in the new system.
- Fox and his staff are still evaluating players like Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs, so there’s no decision on whether to bring them back, but they’ve been “great Bears,” says the head coach. Pace added that the decisions on Tillman and Briggs will be big ones for the team.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht:
- The Bucs are leaning toward keeping the first overall pick, but are open to all options and aren’t closing any doors, according to Licht. As for who the Bucs will select with that No. 1 pick? “We have a favorite, but we want to let the process play out,” said the GM, adding that it would be an “insult” to say it’s 50-50 between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota based on the team’s research and draft meetings to date.
- For what it’s worth, Lovie Smith said earlier today that the Bucs would be comfortable making Winston the “face of the franchise,” and previous reports have indicated that Tampa Bay prefers the Florida State signal-caller. Licht said today the Bucs will have “several meetings” with both Winston and Mariota.
- Veteran guard Logan Mankins is part of the solution in Tampa Bay, not part of the problem, according to Licht, who says Mankins has a future with the team.
- While Licht reiterated the team’s support for Mike Glennon, he said he remains open-minded about discussing trades and moving players in general.
Titans GM Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhunt:
- The Titans like Zach Mettenberger but haven’t yet committed to him as the 2015 starter, and will fully consider Jameis Winston and/or Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 overall pick, according to Webster.
- Although the QBs are receiving most of the attention at the top of the draft, Webster said today that there are several other players the Titans feel are worthy of the second overall pick. The lines of communication are also open for Tennessee in terms of trading the selection to another team. Whisenhunt added that a “defensive difference-maker” would be an option for the club at No. 2.
- The general manager expects the club to try to fill some holes through free agency, but cautioned that the most effective way to build a strong roster is through the draft.
- While the Titans will work through their defensive coaching roles this spring, Whisenhunt said today that new senior assistant Dick LeBeau will have control of the unit, and that defensive coordinator Ray Horton is comfortable with LeBeau’s hiring and his role.
Bills head coach Rex Ryan:
- Even after signing Richie Incognito, the guard and tackle positions are priorities for Ryan, who wants to make the offensive line an area of strength for the Bills.
- Ryan said that he’s excited about E.J. Manuel, who “has some potential,” but finding a long-term answer at quarterback remains a top priority for the club.
- Ryan confirmed that the Bills have some interest in free agent signal-caller Josh McCown.
- The Bills new head coach declined to comment on questions about Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, and Chris Johnson.