The 10 Best Things We Heard at the Combine

Green Bay's Mike McCarthy on the powerful NFC North; Minnesota's Leslie Frazier on Percy Harvin; the top quarterbacks sounds off and more from Friday at the Scouting Combine.

INDIANAPOLIS – Plenty was said on Friday at the Scouting Combine. Here are 10 things that are memorable.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy

On the NFC North: I think our division as a whole, I don't have the statistics to say, but I would say from two years ago through last , our division has definitely improved. I would say it's going to continue to improve and you start at the quarterback position. You have four relatively young quarterbacks that are getting ready to play in the high part of their careers. That always makes your team better, in my opinion. So, Detroit making the playoffs, they've taken a big step. I thought the Bears were playing outstanding football right before the injury to Jay Cutler, so I look for them to be back and strong again. Minnesota has the young quarterback and Adrian Peterson back and that defense, should be a better football team. I think our division's going to be better next year.

Packers GM Ted Thompson

On being on both sides of wild card teams winning Super Bowls at the expense of superior regular-season teams: Well, it's worked out for us and with the Giants the last two years. I think both those two teams, if you went back and asked them, would rather do it another way. But no, I still would like to go 15-1 or 16-0 and see how we do. I just think that sometimes in a single-elimination tournament, sometimes that happens. I still think we'd rather be 15-1 than 10-6. But if you want to count the rest of them and say yes or no, I'd go with whoever's going to win the whole thing.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier

On Percy Harvin's workload: The workload was probably what we could afford with him. We're always conscious with Percy of overusing him. He's such a main factor in our offense but also in special teams. Such a threat every time he touches the football. One of the things I talked with him about at the end of the season or even a few weeks ago is just our being able to keep him on the field a little bit longer, even when he's not touching the football. Even when he's out there, I remember at the Senior Bowl a lot of coaches came up to me -- and I shared this with Percy -- they were telling me how they feared Percy Harvin, defensive coaches. So we have to find ways to keep him on the field, even when we're not using him and let him get his breath in between plays.

Lions GM Martin Mayhew

How confident are you that Cliff Avril will be with the team in 2012?: I think the thing with Cliff is, he's a young player, he's a talented player, he plays a critical position in our defense. We've been trying to get to the point where we are in this situation, where we can win 10 games, where we can get to the playoffs. It's hard to let a guy like Cliff Avril go. From our standpoint, we really want to get a long-term deal done with him. We still have a chance to get a long-term deal done. It's not really a good option for us to franchise Cliff. That's not appealing to me. It's not appealing to Cliff. We don't want to do that, but the worst option is to play without Cliff. You don't want to play without him either. The franchise tag, one you're taking a guy at a high cap number for one year, and two you're probably going to re-visit the issue in a year again. It doesn't solve anything so we want to get something done long-term with him and solve it.

Stanford QB Andrew Luck

Quarterbacks that the son of Oliver Luck grew up admiring: You know, John Elway just because of the Stanford connection, as well. And actually this past two years, all of the quarterbacks at Stanford have sat down and tried to watch as much NFL film as we can and try to take picks and pieces (of) Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and see what they do, why they're successful and try to apply it to our game. You obviously can't take everything because what they do is light-years beyond some of us. Hopefully some day I can be up there with them. But try and take bits and pieces of what the successful guys are doing.

Baylor QB Robert Griffin III

Have you seen Peyton Manning's picture outside, and can you picture yourself up there?: I'd like it to stay Peyton's picture, but I'm not going to be a politician for that. I've talked to Peyton a couple times and I wish him the best. I hope what he wants can come about from the situation. It would be amazing for him to stay in Indy and play out his career or to be drafted here and play behind him. As a quarterback, you're going to be put in the forefront whether you want it or not. And if you're not, then you're not doing your job. As the quarterback of an organization you're going to be out there, you're going to have billboards as long as you're playing well, and I plan on playing well.

Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill

Are you bracing for questions about your lack of starting experience?: I wouldn't say I'm bracing for anything, but that's definitely a legitimate question. I did only start 20 games at quarterback. It's a question that deservedly needs an answer. I did only start 20 games. I'm excited about my career thus far. I learned a lot in those 20 games. I definitely have a lot to improve on. But I didn't just play 20 games as a college athlete. I was out there at receiver. I don't know how many games I actually played or started at receiver. But I played every other game in my collegiate career at receiver. I was getting to see the speed of the game, getting a feel for the game as well as going through all the practices as a quarterback.

Oklahoma QB Brandon Weeden

Is it an issue that you're 28?: A lot is getting put into my age and rightfully so. That's really the only red flag I really have. And fortunately for me, that's really the only I have to worry about. And fortunately, it's a small issue. I'm not worried about it. I don't' think a lot of teams are worried about it. It's a tough question to answer. I feel like with all these great quarterbacks, I belong in the middle with all of them. So if I was a few years younger, you never know, maybe I go a little bit higher. But I don't think at the end of the day when it comes to draft time, it's going to be that big of an issue.

Alabama RB Trent Richardson

Why should a team spend a top-10 draft pick on you?: Because the quality and the effort I'll bring to the game. When it comes down to it, I'll be the dude that's on the field and getting the ball on third and three or fourth and one and not to be cocky or anything, but I work on my game every day and even if it's not physical stuff, I work in the classroom learning plays and learning the defensive line and what the linebackers and safeties are doing so I can pick up my blitzes. I love to block. Everybody knows I can run the ball. I've never been caught from behind, so if anyone wants to questions my speed, just look at the tape. When it comes to playing football, any game you want to just look at it a try to find a negative. A lot of people try to find a negative in your game and there aren't too many negatives I have. I don't fumble. That's one thing that I do not do.

Wisconsin C Peter Konz

On his infamous staredown in the Rose Bowl: Oh, wow. During the game, it gets heated. It was halftime and we had just run a draw play to see what we can get out of it. The clock winds down and one of their guys comes and faces me – I watched it on film – he's shorter than me and he gets under my helmet and gives me the stare down, trying to throw me off my game or whatever. I'm staring at him and then I realize just how ridiculous this was and I just break my strict pose and go, ‘Hi.' He just breaks out laughing. I think I took him out of whatever he was trying to do.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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