48 head coaches or general managers are scheduled to speak today, tomorrow, and Friday at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, with the Eagles, Saints, and Patriots the only teams not represented on this year’s schedule. Those mini-pressers are already underway, so let’s round up a few of the notable comments made by the men who have spoken to the media so far. All links go to the Twitter accounts of various NFL reporters in attendance….
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert:
- Contract talks between Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are “progressing,” according to Colbert. With Big Ben heading into the final year of his current deal, the two sides are expected to work out a new agreement at some point during the offseason, and the GM is very confident it can be done within a traditional cap structure.
- Despite the fact that LeGarrette Blount ultimately played a major role for the Super Bowl champion Patriots, Colbert said today that he and his club have no regrets about parting ways with the running back during the season.
- While Colbert said he’d love to bring back free-agent-to-be Jason Worilds, he didn’t convey a ton of confidence that something will get done, telling reporters, “Maybe he comes back, maybe he moves on.” Per Colbert, the outside linebacker may need to test the open market to gauge his value.
Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith:
- Calling Josh McCown a “lifelong friend,” Smith said he thought it was in both the team’s and the quarterback’s interests to part ways earlier this month.
- The Buccaneers’ new coaches like Mike Glennon, so the plan right now is to move forward with Glennon at quarterback — he’s the only signal-caller on the roster at the moment, but Smith thinks he has the potential to be a solid NFL starter.
- While Glennon may be atop the Tampa Bay depth chart by default for now, Smith also addressed the idea of selecting a quarterback with the first overall pick in April. According to the head coach, the Bucs aren’t put off by Jameis Winston‘s off-field issues, and would be comfortable with the idea of making him the face of their franchise. The vetting process for both Winston and Marcus Mariota is ongoing, and Smith says the team has already “talked to a lot of people” about both prospects.
- Asked about Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs, two potential free agents whom used to play for Smith in Chicago, the head coach said he’s not sure how much interest they’ll generate, but he believes they can still be positive contributors.
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak:
- Although Kubiak said he has received no assurances that Peyton Manning will be back with the Broncos, all indications are pointing toward him returning. The new Denver head coach talked about adjusting his offense to suit Manning’s skills, which strongly suggest he expects to be coaching the future Hall-of-Famer.
- According to Kubiak, he had a “good conversation” with Wes Welker, who says he’s feeling good and wants to play in 2015. Of course, the receiver doesn’t have a contract yet, so there’s no guarantee he’ll continue playing for the Broncos. Denver would “love to have him back” though, says Kubiak.
- Kubiak expects the transition from a 4-3 defense under Jack Del Rio to a 3-4 scheme under Wade Phillips to go fairly smoothly.
49ers GM Trent Baalke:
- Baalke intends to meet with veteran defensive end Justin Smith after the combine to determine whether or not Smith wants to return for a 15th NFL season in 2015.
- Asked about wide receiver prospects at the combine and in the draft, Baalke said, “It’s no mystery, we’re looking for guys who can run.”
- Baalke declined to comment on Jim Harbaugh‘s recent suggestion that the former head coach’s departure from the 49ers was the team’s decision and not his own. “He’s moved on and we’ve moved on,” the GM said.
- According to the Niners GM, the team’s head coaching job was offered to “one person and one person only” (Jim Tomsula), meaning the club never officially offered the position to Adam Gase. Baalke did confirm that the Niners made an effort to retain defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but that was dependent on who became the head coach.