Did you miss Monday's edition of "NFL Total Access" on NFL Network? Catch up with this recap:
Brian Billick joined the show to talk about the impact of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's impending back surgery. He said that it will be difficult for Tom Brady to repeat previous numbers without Gronk.
Flacco as a leader
LaDanian Tomlinson and Darren Sharper discussed Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and his leadership role on the Ravens. Sharper doesn't believe the entire onus will be on Flacco, since others have taken on some of the leadership. Tomlinson said the situation reminds him a bit of the San Diego Chargers and Junior Seau.
What effect does "Hard Knocks" have?
Billick talked about the impact of "Hard Knocks" in camp. He said it energizes practice, but an experienced team should put the media at arms-length. Billick did not believe that it got in the way or was even noticeable after the first few days when the Ravens were on the show.
Bucs in 2013
Sharper believed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' secondary has nowhere to go but up. Tomlinson agreed and said that the secondary has two Pro Bowl players after having none last year. He made a strong statement that they will go from the worst pass defense to a top-five secondary. According to Tomlinson, Josh Freeman will play well enough to warrant at least a few more years with the Bucs. Sharper went on the say that they will not make the postseason, in part because of the tough schedule.
Hillman as featured back?
Ronnie Hillman joined in studio and talked about the Denver Broncos' backfield. Hillman hoped to play well enough to warrant more opportunities. He said that his biggest responsibility will be to protect Peyton Manning and explained that Manning is a good role model and leads the team well.
Ponder the solution?
Is Christian Ponder the answer? Sharper doesn't believe so. He thought that the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback should have been able to take advantage of one-on-one coverage, with those favorable matchups created by Adrian Peterson. Tomlinson agreed that in a passing league, a dynamic force at quarterback is requisite. While they don't feel that Matt Cassel will start Week 1, they feel Ponder is on a short leash.
NFL's top backs
Tomlinson and Hillman speculated on the top four running backs in NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2013." Their lists are very similar. They have Peterson, Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles, Houston Texans' Arian Foster and Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch in the top four spots. Tomlinson said that Ravens running back Ray Rice will probably make the top four, but he doesn't put Rice in his own top five.
Be sure to tune into "NFL Total Access" on Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET on NFL Network.