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Daily Kickoff: Quarterbacks defended and questioned, wide receivers on the move

Posted Apr 1, 2014

ClevelandBrowns.com takes you around the NFL with the Daily Kickoff. Today’s highlights: Baltimore Ravens players and their team owner come to the defense of Joe Flacco, new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer addresses questions about Johnny Manziel, and the latest receiver free-agent activity.

Ryan Clark gets a new team, Joe Flacco gets defended, Johnny Manziel gets scrutinized

The Pittsburgh Steelers have said goodbye to Ryan Clark, who, in turn, is saying hello again to the Washington Redskins.

The veteran safety has reportedly signed a one-year contract with the Redskins, for whom he had played in 2004 and 2005 after spending his first two NFL seasons with the New York Giants.

Clark, 34, has spent the past eight years with the Steelers, helping them win Super Bowl XLIII after the 2008 season. Although the Steelers feel they need to get younger at safety, the Redskins are looking for Clark to add some experience to their defense.

In 16 starts last season, Clark had two interceptions, four passes defended, and 104 tackles (61 solo).

ANDY DALTON TALKS EXTENSION

Will they or won’t they?

Those are the questions surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals’ long-term intentions with quarterback Andy Dalton.

A week ago, Bengals owner Mike Brown publicly expressed doubts about whether the team would sign Dalton to a multiyear contract extension. However, during an appearance Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Dalton said “a couple of proposals” have been exchanged with the team to extend his deal and that “hopefully we can get something done.”

“I’m not too worried about it,” Dalton said. “I know in the right timing everything is going to happen, but, obviously, everyone would like to get something done sooner rather than later.”

JOE FLACCO GETS SUPPORT

The buzz in Baltimore is that Joe Flacco is a slacker.

At least, that is, when it comes to the Ravens’ quarterback taking the extra steps necessary to help make himself and the rest of the team’s passing game better.

On radio talk shows in Baltimore, there has been plenty of discussion about Flacco’s apparent failure to organize offseason workouts with his receivers the way other NFL quarterbacks do.

During last week’s NFL meeting in Orlando, Fla., Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti dismissed the subject as little more than filler.

“Listen, those guys are paid to give opinions and they are put on the air dozens of hours a week,” Bisciotti said. “I guess they get tired of saying the same thing.”

One of the Ravens’ receivers, Torrey Smith, has come to Flacco’s defense on the Ravens’ website, BaltimoreRavens.com.

“(Media) keep talking about this and (criticizing) Joe like he doesn’t want to get together or something like that,” Smith said. “We’ve been trying to figure it out, but people have to realize, (Kyle Juszczyk) is in school, Marlon (Brown) is in school. (Recently signed) Steve (Smith) is still being a parent (in Carolina). …Aaron (Mellette) isn’t all the way back yet (from a knee injury). If we really go out there and throw, it’s going to be, Steve, (Dennis) Pitta and Jacoby (Jones). That’s it.”

CHECKING MANZIEL’S ‘FLAGS’

Johnny Manziel’s strong pro-day performance last week (along with a poor pro-day showing by Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater) caused NFL Network’s Mike Mayock to change his quarterback rankings to show Manziel at the top, followed by Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, and Bridgewater.

But a day later, Manziel visited with the Minnesota Vikings – who are expected to give strong consideration to drafting a quarterback – and new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer offered a more pointed perspective about the meeting.

During an interview on 104.9 The Horn in Austin, Texas, Zimmer said he sought to find out whether Manziel would put forth the work necessary to succeed in the NFL or was more interested in leading the life of a celebrity.

“We asked him all kinds of questions. …There are some flags that come up – all of the things that happened out in Los Angeles, the commercials and all that stuff,” Zimmer said. “The position of quarterback in the NFL is such an important position and the reason these guys need to be a totally football-minded guy is the pressure of the position and being the face of an NFL team and doing everything right.

“That’s the thing you want to know about him: will he be into work early every single day? Will be the last to leave? Will he be the guy that is working the hardest to get better?”

JACKSON, BRITT FIND NEW TEAMS?

DeSean Jackson, who suddenly became the most prominent wide receiver in the open market after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday, apparently is going to stay in the NFC East.

According to Tim McManus, of 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, a source close to Jackson said there’s a “done deal” between the receiver and the Washington Redskins. At least one other media outlet says that isn't the case yet. It would seemingly make sense for the Redskins, who are trying to revitalize their offense under new coach and former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, to pick up Jackson after his career-best 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

In reportedly signing as a free-agent receiver with the St. Louis Rams, Kenny Britt is being reunited with his former coach.

Britt spent the past five seasons with the Tennessee Titans, whose former coach, Jeff Fisher, now guides the Rams. In each of the two seasons he played for Fisher, 2009 and 2010, Britt had his top two seasons for receiving yards, 701 and 775 yards, respectively.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.

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