The Morning Time Out – Thurs April 9

Welcome to The Morning Time Out and on today’s bite-sized agenda is a possible return to Miami for Wes Welker, Stevan Ridley’s move to New York and Tampa Bay’s ongoing scrutiny of the top two quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft.

So let’s take a look at what’s making the news in the United States and I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on each headline.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. New England Patriots

Dolphins bring in Wes Welker for a visit

It’s clear the Wembley-bound Dolphins are in the market for a veteran receiver after hosting Michael Crabtree, Greg Jennings and now Wes Welker. Concussions and a PED suspension saw Welker limited to just eight starts with Denver in 2014. He played for the Dolphins previously from 2004-2006 before being traded to New England, where he became the top slot receiver in the game.

Neil says:

“Any veteran the Dolphins bring in is going to be tasked with mentoring a young and promising group featuring Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and a likely high draft pick. That’s why the mentor should be someone like Welker or Jennings and most definitely not Crabtree. Welker is the kind of yards-after-the-catch receiver that Ryan Tannehill needs in Miami, but I do wonder if he can stay healthy enough to be productive and his lack of separation against corners in 2014 was pretty alarming.”

Stevan Ridley joins the Jets

Former New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley has signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. The Jets are banking on the 26-year-old power back returning to the form that saw him rush for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in New England two seasons ago. Ridley reportedly also received contract offers from the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins.

Neil says:

“From a pure potential point of view, there is a lot to like about this move. Ridley is still a relatively young running back and he has proven production in the NFL. But he is coming off a torn ACL and MCL suffered in October and his ball security issues in New England were well documented. But that is exactly why he has been signed to a one-year “prove it” deal. The Jets are taking a gamble on slightly damaged goods and I think it could pay off in a big way.”

Bucs work out the top quarterbacks back to back

Pro Football Talk has reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers deliberately scheduled back-to-back workouts with the top two quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft – Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. The move was designed to compare the pair on the field but also in the classroom and to have one performance fresh in the mind when comparing the other.

Neil says:

“This makes total sense to me and while I remain convinced the Buccaneers are going to take Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, it does suggest there could be an element of doubt in their minds. Now, they are just as likely to be performing their due diligence, but the off-field transgressions of Winston have to be taken into account here. For me, Winston is the leader in the clubhouse, but I don’t reckon the gap between the two is as wide as many might be thinking.”


Thinking out loud…

No signature has appeared on a dotted line at the time of this writing, but I’m glad to see that free agent cornerback Charles Tillman is attracting some interest from the Carolina Panthers. Tillman, of course, played for Ron Rivera when the Panthers head coach was in Chicago. He has been limited to just 10 games over the past two seasons and most worrying is the fact that he has twice torn the triceps in his right arm. But I contend that Tillman – if healthy – would still be a good signing for a team at the age of 34. He is a true stand-up guy and would be a great mentor and leader in any NFL locker room.




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