Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Crazies; one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them

The Crazies is all the rage right now. Last time I checked, it was scoring a 71% on the T-Meter. imdb.com's marvelous readers gave it 7.6 out of 10 stars. Even the Wall Street Journal's Joel Morgenstern gives this movie rave reviews. This is absolutely unprecedented, inconceivable, and unheard of. Zombie apocalypse movies just don't get good reviews like this. This is as abnormal as Chris Johnson running 4.24 at the combine, or Bruce Campbel running 4.85.

I was shocked when I discovered these scores. I thought this had to be a serious mistake.

Just the other day I was ridiculing how many times Hollywood has attempted to create a biological contagion, zombie apocalypse movie over the past 10-12 years. How many of these movies have there been? Only the original 28 Days Later, not truly a zombie movie but a movie about inflected people, stood up to close scrutiny. How many have they made?
  1. Jacob's Ladder 1990
  2. Resident Evil
  3. Resident Evil Apocalypse
  4. Resident Evil Extinction
  5. House of the Dead
  6. House of the Dead 2
  7. Dawn of the Dead
  8. Day of the Dead
  9. Night of the Living Dead
  10. Return of the Living Dead
  11. Return of the Living Dead 2
  12. The Zombie Apocalypse
  13. Zombieland
  14. Pain Killer Jane
  15. 28 Days Later
  16. 28 Weeks Later
  17. Undead
  18. The Evil Dead
  19. Shaun of the Dead
  20. Left 4 Dead
  21. Planet Terror
  22. I am Legend
  23. The Omega Man
  24. Zombie Wars
  25. Night of the Comet
  26. The Reanimator
  27. The Reanimator 2
  28. Zombie Holocaust
  29. Feeding the Masses
  30. The Rage
Not all these movies are identical. Some are video game adaptations. Some are comedies. Some are religious in nature (Jacob's Ladder). Some are existentialist in nature (28 Days Later). Some are just out-n-out terrible. One thing they have in common: I don't like many of them. I am Legend, Omega Man, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror. To a minor extent, I like Jacob's Ladder. The rest are largely rubbish.

With that in mind, you are about to read a very positive review. I did not believe it, but seeing is believing. I could not believe that it was possible; never could Hollywood produced a zombie-lunatic virus movie that I would like... And yet they have done it.

The Crazies is the best pure horror movie I have seen in at least 5 years. It is an example of super film making. They got me to buy in immediately. They raised tension superbly. They had me jumping out of my seat a few time, and believe me, I never do that. The last time I remember doing that it, it was 1978 with John Carpenter's Halloween. How in the world did they manage this achievement? Its just the artistry of the director & the editor. The director and the editor knew what the hell they were doing. They caught lightning in a bottle here.

This movie is very innovative also. Just when you think you have seen all the moves in the scene catalog of zombie movies, they throw another new pitch at you. I love and innovator.

Looking back through the catalog. The Mist was probably the last good horror movie I saw. Before that, it was Jeepers Creepers 2. They don't make many good ones.

Go see it quick! The cast and crew deserve to be rewarded.

This Film has not Been Rated

I just finished watching a documentary I got from Netflix just a few moments ago. In all honesty, I thought it was entertaining, humorous as hell, but frustrating.

The movie is essentially a political screed by a collection of Gay, Lesbian and somewhat aberrant film makers against the MPAA, the Motion Picture Association of America. These are the men and women who slap the ratings on the movies (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17). I was amazed to learn the MPAA dwells at 15503 Ventura Blvd in Encino. I am just a little North of 21000 Ventura. They are roughly 10 miles south east of my current position.

Essentially, these aberrant film makers have talked themselves into the following mythological belief system:
  1. NC17 movies do not make money
  2. Applying the NC17 tag gets you thrown out of Walmart and Blockbuster
  3. Ergo applying the NC17 tag is censorship
  4. 80% of the time, the NC17 tag is applied to a movie for homosexual sexual content, not violence
  5. The tag is capricious in general
Jack Valenti, the late boss man and founder of the MPAA, has an interesting counter argument which was given very short shrift by these documentary film makers.
  1. If you make an art movie rubbing the audiences' collective nose in aberrant behavior, you have just made a movie that very few people want to see.
  2. Ergo your market is small to nothing to begin with.
  3. Many of these movies are independently made with no support or marketing from the 6 major studios (Paramount, Universal, Fox, Disney, Sony, Warner Brothers). Ergo, nobody ever hears about these movies anyhow.
  4. You can apply any rating you like to the film, or not submit for a rating at all. It will make little difference to your financial outcome. The movie is destined to be a market failure when you chose your topic.
The rest of the movie constitutes an attempt to avoid dealing with the substance of Valenti's case. A variety of 'artists' parade across the screen complaining of wrongs that have been done to them, and wonderful movies financially sunk by the ratings system. What I saw here was a massive state of denial.

Take a couple of my favorite comedy geniuses, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Matt was on camera frequently complaining of wrongs done to him in the case of Orgasmo. He strenuously objected to the fact that it got an NC17. Orgasmo happens to be one of my favorite comedies. I happen to own it on DVD. I await the Blu-Ray release if there ever is one. I had no idea that it was rated NC17, but I am not surprised, and I don't care. Rather, I am surprised that Matt could be so indignant over this rating. Was not Orgasmo full of hardcore porn stars such as Juli Ashton, Chasey Lane, Shayla LaVeaux, Mellisa Hill, Yumiko, Jill Kelly, and Ron Jeremy? Was not the entire comedy subject the making of Porn movies? Are you really surprised you got an NC17? I am surprised you are surprised.

Another lesbian film maker complained that her film Big Boys Don't Cry was sanctioned for an elaborate lesbian cunnilingus scene in which the giver wipes the cum off of her mouth for the camera. The MPAA also objected to a brutal anal rape scene in the movie, which is both violent and excruciating. Jeezee... can you imagine the MPAA applying the NC17 tag for a little thing like a brutal anal rape scene? Actually, yes I can. I am surprised that you are surprised.

You get my jist? Do you see the tenor of their arguments?

One lesson this documentary taught me is the enormous disconnect between Hollywood Blvd and Main street. As I have ever known, Hollywood Blvd simply does not think or reason in a manner that is at all similar to Main Street USA.

However, the real lesson of this documentary is about human delusions, and the extent to which people go to avoid consciously recognizing unhappy truths. One of the anti-censorship voices in the movie belts out that most teens have seen more aberrant and hardcore sex on the Internet than their parents have ever seen. Yes this is true, but watch your argumentation there; you will be hoist on your own petard.

This argument is the most devastating of the several self-refuting arguments made during the course of this documentary. XXX rated material is supposed to be inaccessible to minors. A lot of weak controls are put in place to ensure they cannot access such materials. The need for a credit card is one such control. The rating system is another control. Laws requiring verification of age (with a credit card) are another. Somehow, they all get access anyhow. Nothing stops them.

Jack Valenti founded the MPAA the very year that Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and I were all born. I think they would tell you the MPAA rating never stopped them from seeing an R movie when they were kids. Nothing stopped me. I saw a lot of R movies when I was 15-17. Dollars might, but ratings did not. The ratings don't stop anybody from seeing anything. I never even realized Orgasmo was NC17, I saw it anyway some 13 years ago.

So why then do NC17 movies fail financially? It is very simple: Valenti has reason in his case. These folks are just making aberrant movies for a statistically askew statistical minority. That isn't good marketing. You cannot expect to find a large market there. You may want a large market, but this is an unrealistic expectation at best.

So what does the human soul do when confronted with such pain? What do you do when nobody really wants to see the movie you desperately desire to make, and your work fails in the market? You enter into a state of denial. You make a boogyman scapegoat out of the MPAA and you blame them for your financial woes. The end. Very simple. This is very human.

Mayock makes a nice point

There sure has been a lot of repetitive speculation about Tim Tebow. We keep hearing the same endless loop of the same basic set of speculations.

Mike Mayock has had a couple of mini-meltdowns on this subject, mentioning that there are a ton of other candidates working hard down there on the field, and we are ignoring them. We should respect their hard work, and we just might miss some gems if keep ignoring these kids.

Well done, and well said. I have to say that I am tired of the same endless speculations in the same loop. Those who believe that Tebow will make it, as I do, will not be dissuaded by the nay sayers. Those who believe he is destined to fail will not be convinced otherwise. We should leave it alone until there is some real news to report.

In the meanwhile, let's focus on the kids competing on the field at the combine.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A coherent plan for rebuilding the Rams

Several friends have told me that my blog has being trending negative lately. I have been focused on what the Rams should not do, rather than stating any positive program for rebuilding the team. Sounds like Democrats complaining. I thought I had been clear earlier about what I believe we should do. Evidentially, these friends either have not read that program, or they have forgotten it.

Some tell me you constantly need to proclaim your program because folks believe it will change all the time. Perish the thought! If you are that wishy washy, end it now by kindly putting a gun to your head. Have a plan, stick to it.

On the off chance I have not been clear about this thing, I felt I would draft a comprehensive and clear statement about the direction I hope Bill Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo will go this off season.

Trades

We need to cloture arguments about drafting Sam Bradford by closing a deal for Michael Vick. It is better to do it earlier rather than later, as the Eagles will know they have us over a barrel if we pass on a QB in the draft before working a deal.

Why? We have a dogshit offensive line that needs three good new players. It is extremely unlikely that we can acquire 3 solid and make the 5 of them play as a unit in 2010. I am convinced that there is only one QB in the NFL, and available, who can survive and prosper behind the dogshit offensive line we are likely to field in 2010. That man is Michael Vick.

Will Vick be any good? As Dukes says: He knows this is the absolute last stop for him if he fails. I am convinced that Vick is a penitent man... for ruining his career if not killing the dogs. He strikes me as a guy who is desperate for second chance. Every thing he has said is pointed sharply at the fact that he laments destroying his career. It is always good to acquire a man desperate for a second chance. These guys usually explode.

Vick makes sense for other reason. As I have said so many hundreds of times, I believe the Rams should draft Tim Tebow at the top of the 2nd round if he is there for us to take. He will need one or two redshirt years to get ready. Vick blazes a trail for Tebow, setting up a Tebow era. Both are mobile, athletic Southpaw QBs who like to be in the Shotgun, and who like to run. Although it is hard to find two more radically different men, they have more in common on the field than you might think.

Free Agency

This is not a good time to be a have-not. The termination of the CBA favors the strong. New Orleans is in a sweet spot, not needing to franchise Jayri Evans. Most of the good prospects I had wanted for our team are now unavailable as restricted free agents. With that said there are still two worthwhile acquisitions we should make. A pair of guards named Stephen Neil (Patriots #61) and Bobby Williams (Bengals #63) have a reputation for being solid. They are both in their early 30s. If we get them, we will have a fighting chance. We will still need to draft at least one solid prospect, and hopefully gain another through releases.

It is also very important that we resign Daniel Fells. He was one of the few bright spots for us last season, and showed some real play-making ability. He's a keeper.

While on the subject of tight ends, Ben Watson of the Patriots is a free agent, and he is a dude who is rumored to have scored a 48 on his Wonderlic test. He can also play. He would be a marvelous acquisition for a football teams that needs to get smarter.

The Draft

Now we come to the all-important draft, my burning obsession and constant worry. We need to understand that most great teams build first and foremost through the draft. Free agents, trades, and cut-rehabs don't get it done.
  1. Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska: Forget about drafting a QB in the first round. This is the prospect. There are only a few mega-stupid things you can do in this life to really destroy yourself. Swimming with sharks, whilst bleeding is stupid. Playing Russian Roulette with 6 bullets in the revolver is stupid. Starting a conventional infantry war in China is stupid. Trying to suntan inside an industrial microwave oven is stupid. However, selecting a QB in the first round of the 2010 draft is most incredibly stupid and self-destructive thing you can do.
  2. Tim Tebow QB Florida: Provided that J. Wayne Weaver isn't successful in convincing his cadre to select Tebow in the 1st, we should take him in the 2nd and develop him. 20 years hence, people will laugh at the fact that scouts didn't think he was a prospect. He will be another bullet in Kiper's arse. The alternate here is Dan LeFevour. I would also be welcoming of Colt McCoy. Incidentally, did you see Tebow run the 4.7 40 yard dash? Did you see him broad jump 9.7? Did you see him spring 38.5? There is a lot of material there to work with.
  3. Dexter McCluster WR/RB Ole Miss: Presupposing that he does not go in the 2nd round. I think this is a safe bet. A explosive play maker. The perfect lightning to Steve Jackson's thunder. He will kill people in the slot.
  4. Myron Rolle SS Florida State: Supposing that he is there for us to take. We need a super-smart safety to call our adjustments.
  5. Seyi Ajiratutu WR Fresno State: Supposing that he is there for us to take.
It is a bit foolish to project 4th and 5th picks. I won't predict or project 6th and 7th. So many chaos moments strike in the later rounds that you cannot predict (with any degree of confidence) who will be there and who will not. I think I have reason to believe that all of these players will be available when we draft.

Bear in mind that we select first in each and every round.

The objective of this draft is to get athletic playmakers with great good character, high intelligence, and excellent leadership qualities. Picks 1 through 4 have that in spades. I am not certain of my homeboy Seyi, but he strikes me as a good guy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Alex Marvez said what about our offensive line...?

So I was just listening to Myers and Hartman on the Launching Pad, and they had (as per usual) a very special guest with them. This time it was Alex Marvez. Marvez was there to discuss the combine. He is in Indianapolis right now.

Hartman made the great point that Sam Bradford is damaged goods. Surely, the Rams could never pass on Ndamukong Suh to selected a damaged QB like Bradford? Marvez is obviously backing Schefter and Clayton, as he called out the Rams administrators for passing on QBs two years in a row when Bulger is clearly not the solution. Hartman replied (correctly) that the Rams could never protect a rookie QB with the rubbish offensive line they (we) have.

This is where it got stunning: Marvez declared that he totally disagreed with that statement about the Rams' offensive line. He felt that was a greatly improved group last year, and they would be further improved this season with 1 more year of experience for Jason Smith. He declared with vehemence that the Rams could not continue to pass on young quarterbacks.

Oh... Jesus... where do I begin to deconstruct the lies!

I don't blame Marvez for following the Rams lightly, and not keeping track of current events. Many do not. They do not consider us relevant in the NFL anymore. They have not for several years now.

There was a point last season where what Marvez said seemed to be true. It was fugacious, to borrow a word from that sesquipedalian Steve Young. In the five offensive line positions, the Rams had 5 primary starters last season:
  • Left Tackle Alex Barrow -- A very serious fuck up. One of the most penalized OL men in the league over the past 5 years. Personally responsible for about 30-40% of Marc Bulger's injuries over the past several years. Crap-ass pass protector.
  • Left Guard Jacob Bell -- an itty bitty teeny weenie guard with a serious tear in his hamstring now. Lost for the season. Never had much drive in his legs. He will have less after the hamstring tear. He's not a bad guy, but he isn't a great guard.
  • Center Jason Brown -- now this is a badass. If we had more like him we'd be just fine.
  • Right Guard Ritchie Icognito -- Worst case of 'Roid rage in NFL history. Cut by the team for conduct detrimental after massive numbers of unsportsman like conduct calls. He had one hell of a straight right punch, and he knew how to taunt the officials before game winning field goals.
  • Right Tackle Jason Smith -- Made a few rookie mistakes but looks fundamentally solid. This is another badass in progress. If we had more like him we'd be just fine.
So where do we stand going into 2010?
  • Incognito is gone.
  • I believe Barrow will not be back. If we bring back we will regret it. He sucks. I would trade him for a postage stamp if anybody in league would give me one.
  • Jacob Bell may be back, but he is not a solid solution at Left Guard.
  • Jason Brown is a badass
  • Jason Smith is a badass
Ergo we have 2 out 5 positions solidly filled. Ghee... let me think... Can we protect a rookie QB like Sam Bradford with just 40% of an offensive line? No, fuck no.

Marvez! Pull your head out of your ass! Check on current events before making stupid declarations! You fucked up.

If we draft Sam Bradford, it will end in tears

Broken dreams and flying machines laying in pieces on the ground.

Adam Schefter has guaranteed that the Rams will select Sam Bradford #1 overall in the NFL draft in April. I guess he wants to burn his street cred, which is pretty good. Unless we all forget about this false prophecy he is likely to wind up with a great deal of egg on his face. Devaney politely bitch slapped Schefter for cause.

I am fairly certain that Schefter and ESPN are just talking to brew talk. It is the off season. We still have almost two months to go before the draft. Schefter and his ilk are expected to be active this week because of the combine, but strict combine reports don't market well. Spectacular rumors about the first pick do sell well, even in the off season. This means that it is the best week of the year for absolute bullshit rumors.

Just on the off chance that Devaney and Spagnuolo are thinking about doing something stupid, I want to lay a heavy prophecy of doom on all you. *_IF_* we the Rams select Sam Bradford with the #1 pick (or any pick) in the 2010 NFL Draft:
  1. Bradford will become the next Jim Plunket; a Heisman trophy QB full of promise, destroyed by physical injury. .
  2. Sam will not play long behind our craphouse offensive line.
  3. You will see the Marc Bulger pattern re-emerge.
  4. It will all end in tears
  5. Shahid Khan, or Kroenke, or both will fire Devaney and Spagnuolo in just 2 years time when it becomes clear we went bust on the #1 pick, selecting an injury plagued quarterback.
  6. No progress will be made at all.
  7. We will ruin the young man's otherwise promising career.
  8. At best he will fame-on with some other team after years of disappointment, and be voted the comeback player of the year after he leads somebody else to the Super Bowl.
No, ESPN. Drafting Sam Bradford is the absolute wrong thing to do with the #1 pick. In fact, it is a straight up stupid argument. Every argument ESPN has made in this case is confounded, fallacious, anti-factual, and fabricated out of nothing.

Or let us hope so...

So John Clayton says we're taking Sam Bradford based on financial considerations, aye?

John Clayton just pissed me off a few moments ago. I usually don't blog this early in the morning, but I am going to have to get this load off my chest quickly this morning.

Clayton says financial considerations will supersede tallent evaluations in this 2010 NFL Draft. His argument goes like the following:
  1. The top pick in the 2010 draft will likely haul down a contract worth $12 million per year
  2. Defensive linemen in the NFL don't make $12 million per year.
  3. Applying the franchise tag to a defensive lineman usually costs $7 million
  4. Ergo the Rams will have to overspend on Ndamukong Suh by some $5 million
  5. Defensive linemen don't make that large of an impact on your winning percentage
  6. The Rams can draft Suh and finish with 3 victories next season.
  7. Ergo there is not much impact on wins and losses from overspending by $5 million to get Ndamukong Suh.
  8. The correct idea is draft Bradford.
  9. $12 million can be justified for a QB.
  10. A QB will impact the Rams' wins and losses more than a DT.
Ah bouy... so many logical fallacies... so little time... where do I begin? John Clayton's argument is predicated on a very large number of logical fallacies. These will be his undoing. Let us take this bastard's argument one step at a time.
  1. We have established that selecting a QB in the first round is a very high risk proposition
  2. You have a 66% chance of going bust when you select a QB in the first round
  3. Selecting a QB at the top of round 1 is an even lower percentage situation.
  4. The only time it ever really worked out was Troy Aikman; with respect also given to Peyton Manning.
  5. We have established that this is a poor quarterback year.
  6. We have established that the Rams have a dogshit offensive line. The Rams cannot protect him, period.
  7. We have established that the Rams have a poor crop of Wide Receivers. Bradford will have no one to throw too.
  8. We have established that Sam Bradford is a gracile and fragile QB. He is coming off of shoulder surgery on his passing arm. He does not take a hit well
Ergo sum, John Clayton's argument is absolute bullshit.
  1. The Rams cannot play Sam Bradford 2010
  2. If they do, the Rams' OL will get him killed
  3. Bradford will become a legendary bust in NFL history, rather than what he should become: A franchise QB.
  4. We will not get $12 million worth of impact out of drafting Sam Bradford
  5. He will not have that big of an impact on our winning percentage.
  6. We should not intentionally ruin Sam Bradford's career with malice of forethought.
  7. We should not intentionally waste our absolute #1 pick, foreseeing that it cannot workout.
  8. Suh is the correct pick
  9. Negotiate a cheaper deal with Suh.
It is absolutely shocking to me that John Clayton is so foolish to presume that you simply take a QB and it works out. We all know that this is a very high risk proposition. Is $12 m for a higher risk a better proposition that $12 m for a much lower risk?

Frankly, I am really getting sick and tired and pissed off because all of these so-called experts continue to try to misdirect my Rams towards a high-draft QB in a bad QB year. This is absolute stupidity of the highest order. I understand that the IQ of a lot of these experts is around 70-80 and they scored 6-9 points on their Wonderlic tests. Still, you aught to know better. Shame on you you fucktards.

Incidentally, you can read his bullshit here:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Charlie Weis is a wahhh...?

As readers of this blog know, Jamie Dukes is one of my favorite guys on the NFL Network. I used to say that if there were QB efficiency rating for analysts, Dukes would be over 100 for sure. Suddenly, Dukes is making me doubt him somethin' fierce.

Today, I went home for lunch. I wanted to see the start of the NFL combine. I caught the early segment about the QBs. When the name of Clausen came up, Dukes said something truly shocking. He said "Charlie Weis is (I believe) a revered figure and offensive genius based on what he did at New England."

Wahhhhh... whaaaa... who... The hell you say wha...? I was stunned out of my fucking skull. A moment later they wandered on to the subject of historical revisionism. Let me tell you a little something about historical revisionism.

Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots between 2000 and 2004. He was there for all three of their championships. He is responsible for installing and extremely banal offensive scheme called the Erhardt-Perkins system. This is a smash-mouth run-first, run to setup the pass scheme. The slogan is run to win, pass to score. It is very Lombardi-esque. There is nothing innovative about this scheme. The milquetoast fellows who invented it were as basic as it gets. When you have to throw, you put in 3 or 4 receivers and spread a bit. Once again, there is nothing innovative about this.

Erhardt-Perkins is also a dogmatic system. You demand players who fit the scheme, and you demand that they conform. You do not tailor the system to maximally exploit the unique skills of the players involved.

This is the most un-genius, borring, drab, lifeless, sparkless system the world has ever seen. Although it is called Erhardt-Perkins, it has been around since Lombardi. Don Schula used it in the early going as coach of the Dolphins. The Steelers used. The Giants used it. They all had varying degrees of success with it.

The Patriot offense of the early 2000s was anemic. They did enough to win, and that is all. They were no more powerful than the Giants of the mid-late 1980s, and maybe less so. Like most dynasties, they were a defensive dynasty. Their powerful defense kept them in all games, and Brady would poach a few tough matches in the final moments.

Weis left the patriots after 2004 to coach Notre Dame, where he failed terribly and was fired. The Patriots did not officially name an Offensive Coordinator immediately, but the esquinkly geek, Josh McDaniels, called the plays. Later, McDaniels was anointed the official offensive coordinator. The Patriot offense did not detonate until 2007, when the acquired Randy Moss and went to a fully-functional Spread offense. They scored 67 offensive touchdowns that year, and 50 of those came off the arm of Tom Brady. This was done with an offense that looked nothing like Erhardt-Perkins.

So there you have it folks. That is the real history of Charlie Weis. Weis never innovated a thing in his life. He ran the most boring and conservative offense ever devised by man. He did just enough to win and nothing more. The Patriots did not do anything special offensively until Weis left the building. They became powerful in 2007, 2+ years after Weis began floundering at Notre Dame, and Josh McDaniels was the OC at that time.

Jamie, can you find anything in this resume that would make Weis a revered offensive genius in NFL circles? I see nothing but historical revisionism in that statement.

He ain't shit in my book. His FICO credit score is 620. That is below average.

Am I downing Jimmy Clausen's draft stock by design?

Had an interesting conversation with a buddy on mine named Colin yesterday. I have mentioned him a few times. He runs most of the Mann Theatres North of the 10 freeway in Los Angeles County. He is a 49er fan, from my old neighborhood in my home town of Fresno. It should also be noted that he wants the 49ers to take Tim Tebow. We are at loggerheads over this.

Colin accused me of intentionally downing Clausen's stock, by design, with the purpose of selecting the kid in the 2nd round. I was flabbergasted. On the face of it, the argument is silly for a lot of reasons.
  1. I am not Billy Devaney. I don't get to pull the trigger on draft day.
  2. Who the hell listens to me? Can I actually down someone's draft stock with my meager presence online?
  3. Nothing horrifies me more than the notion of the Rams selecting Clausen. In fairness, Clausen probably does not like the idea of playing behind the Rams half-squat line either.
  4. I sincerely hope that either the Seahawks or the 49ers will select Clausen at #14 or #16, thus squandering one of those surplus picks, and preventing our rivals from getting that much better.
At the moment, the scenario which plagues my worried mind the most is the following: What happens if Clausen falls out of the first round and is sitting on the board at #33 where the Rams select for the second time? My blood runs cold. Beads of sweat form on my brow. My blood pressure rises. My heart palpitates. I am in a state of terror at that point, if such a thing comes to pass. Pray the Seahawks or the 49ers will spare us from this horror.

Surely, a 2nd round pick spent on Clausen is a wasted pick. You may think I am wrong, but you are wrong. I have said many times that this kid is never going to make it in the NFL. He is not a Sunday quarterback. I have no idea in the world why you believe his skills will translate well into the NFL. I see no such prospect for the kid. Watching him for 3 years, I never even suspected that people like Mike Mayock, Bucky Brooks, Mike Lombardi, Charles Davis, Todd McShay, or even Mel Kiper Jr. would give this kid a first round grade. He is a second (or third) day draft pick at the very best. I guess I should have known that Kiper would fuck up.

So why are the scouts fucking up? Let me tell you why:
  1. Older scouts still consider Notre Dame to be a football factory. Far from suffering negative prejudice, as some foolishly suppose, Notre Dame kids enjoy a certain degree of unmerited favor.
  2. Dynastanalingus: The Patriots were the last reigning dynasty in the NFL. That dynasty ended several years ago. Charlie Weis was a fairly undistinguished but noteworthy member of that dynasty... Before he went on to become a failed head coach at Notre Dame. He has a lot of unmerited favor because of this fact. Weis has campaigned for Clausen in a way he never did for Brady Quinn. Scouts have taken this seriously.
  3. The Pro System Bias: Many scouts do not keep track of current events in the NFL. If they did, they would know the Spread (or at least a form of it) is now the most successful passing attack in the NFL. I guess nobody noticed that the Patriots have been using the Spread since 2007, and it spread around from there, if you will pardon the pun. I guess nobody noticed that both the Colts and Saints used a lot of it this year. The Spread has its origins in the NFL. The Bengals basically invented the thing in 1988 where Boomer Eisason ran out of Zebra Shotgun (and without a huddle) most of the game. It moved from there to Buffalo where they called it the K-Gun. In short, the advantage Clausen enjoys is really not much advantage at all. The disadvantage Spread kids suffer is not really that significant. The Spread is a conventional Pro System now.
  4. Clausen has great statistics: In his junior year, maybe. So what? Tebow has awesome statistics through his entire career. According to the critics this does not make him Sunday material. The same has been said of Colt McCoy. If stats don't count for Tebow or McCoy, they don't count for Clausen either. Discard this point.
You need to ask yourself the following serious true/false question: Notre Dame + Dynastanalingus + Pro System Bias = NFL Franchise Quarterback? The answer is false. If this is your reasoning, you reason fallaciously. There are plenty of logical fallacies and factual errors in the case for Clausen.

Let us pray that Devaney is not snookered by the fallacious reasoning of the scouts. Let us pray that the Seahawks or the 49ers will ensure that the Rams do not select Clausen. We'll all be much happier that way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The only time it ever worked out, Dallas and Troy Aikman





Each and every year, a team fresh off a disastrous season selects #1 overall in the NFL Draft. This fine year of 2010, that team is is my Rams. Many times, this team fresh off of disaster elects a quarterback with that first overall pick in the draft. When they do so, they are full of hopes and dreams that this guy will turn the ship around, raise the fortunes of the team, lead them to many Super Bowl victories, and make a dynasty out of a poor team. The young man is anointed as the savior of the franchise.

How often does it work out? I can find only one clear-cut case in NFL history where it did work out. That fellow was Troy Aikman of UCLA, selected #1 overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1989 NFL Draft.

It wasn't Terry Bradshaw. He was considered a bust for a bunch of seasons before the 1978 rules changes, changed his fortunes as a passer. He still threw about 27 TDs and 24 Ints per season after that.

We also have problems with Peyton Manning here, but the Colts cannot truly be considered a dynasty at this point. They have a bunch of good seasons, but only 1 Super Bowl victory. Peyton could still lock down a couple more rings before he is done. If so, we will be able to say that there were two clear cut cases, but at this moment there is only one.

What about John Elway? Did that really work out for the Colts who drafted him? No.

What about Jim Plunkett? Did that really work out for the Patriots who drafted him? Hummmm... Nah, not really. It worked okay for the Raiders... eventually.

What about Eli Manning? Did that work out for the Chargers who took him? No.

What about Michael Vick? Aaaahhhh... How do you think the Falcons view that pick now?

How about JaMarcus Russell?

No folks, there is only one clear cut case where drafting a QB at the top of the first round ever produced a savior, a Hall Of Famer, multi-championship dynasty, and everything the organization ever wanted when they took the guy. That was Troy Aikman.

This is the reason why Aikman is still the Golden Boy of the NFL. This is why he is revered as a god-like QB by all those who watched his career. This is why people keep wondering if he is going to run for president someday. They expect him to win, too.

Aikman shouldered the pressure of being the Dallas Cowboy QB and savior with little signs of stress. He took one hell of beating in his first year as a pro with few signs of injury. He survived with his confidence and his health intact. He was accepted by Cowboy greats like Roger Staubach immediately as another Cowboy great. He was at his best in the NFC Championship games and Super Bowls. He led the Cowboys on a tear through the 1990s. They won 3 Super Bowls in just 4 years. They would have had more, but the salary cap and poor head coaches killed them. Aikman was not the limiting factor in the equation at any time. He survived a nasty concussion administered by Dennis Brown. He never had a personal scandal during his entire life. He went into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He was one hell of player, and a better man.

As my Rams get ready to draft in this fine year of 2010, we need to ask ourselves a couple of very important questions:
  1. Is Sam Bradford Troy Aikman?
  2. Is Jimmy Clausen Troy Aikman?
  3. Is Sam Bradford Peyton Manning?
  4. Is Jimmy Clausen Peyton Manning?
I think the answers to 1 & 3 are clear and decisive "NO!" I rolled around on the floor laughing my ass off a few seconds ago when I wrote questions #2 and #4. Clausen is in no danger of being mistaken for Troy Aikman or Peyton Manning. Why don't you stand Clausen next to Aikman right now and see whether you notice some difference between these two men?

Some extremely foolish Ram fans may protest that I cannot downgrade these two candidates by comparing them to the most extreme cases of QB success in NFL history. Oh yeah? Why the hell not? You are talking about spending the #1 pick overall in the entire draft. We have only 1 and maybe 2 models of success for that pick. We need to use those two guys as the benchmark comparison for our candidates. If we don't have candidates that look like Aikman and Manning, we need to pass on them with that #1 pick.

One final thing. If you ask me which quarterback in this draft most resembles Aikman in terms of tangibles and intangibles, only one name comes to mind: Tim Tebow.

Is Bill Devaney right to disdain drafting a QB in the first round?

I'll give you a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is: Fuck yes!

I published a study of 28 years of NFL Draft history in 4 pieces right here on this website. The subject was the Quarterback position. 66 QBs were drafted in the 1st round over the 28 year period between 1979 and 2007. Only 22 of those men succeeded and became substantial franchise QBs. 6 of those players became middle-of-the-road, partial busts and partial success stories. They were journeymen of a sort. 38 of those players were all-out busts. Only twice did drafting a QB #1 overall workout for the team who took him: Cowboy Troy Aikman, and Colt Peyton Manning. Only once did selecting a QB as the top overall pick result in a dynasty. That was Aikman.

As you can see, the stats are pretty damn terrible. 22-38-6 is the record for taking quarterbacks in the 1st round. This record defines the probability tables. If you take a QB in the first round, you have only a 33% chance of getting a good one. If you take the QB at the top of the heap, it gets worse. If you reach for a QB at the top of the heap, it gets a lot worse. If you select a true junior QB in the first round, you have a 90% chance of losing before any other considerations.

You could stop right there and conclude that selecting a QB in the first round is a dumb idea. Of course, there are unique cases like Aikman and Manning. Everybody wants one of those. You might even be able to deal for a disgruntled Elway or Eli Manning. That is pretty good also. Unfortunately there are guys like Carr, Klingler, Russell, Ware, George, Couch, et al who can seriously trip you up.

The table says that there is a lot of risk. The scouts say that this is a bad QB year. Every QB in the draft has sizable knocks on him:
  • Bradford: Gracile and fragile, did not play much a senior. Has a surgically repaired shoulder. Will need a powerful offensive line to protect him. Comes out of a spread offense
  • Clausen: A true junior, and has a 90% chance of going bust. Had only 1 really productive year. Erratic footwork. Three-Quarter release of the football. Comes off as abrasive and egotistical.
  • McCoy: Too small. Has a modest arm. Injured in his last college game. Comes out of a spread offense.
  • Tebow: Comes out of a spread offense. Bad footwork. Long windup in his throwing motion. Does not have a quick release.
So there are your top 4 guys scheduled to be selected in the first 2 rounds. As I have said so many times before, the only one of those 4 guys I really and truly trust is Tim Tebow. I would take him in the 2nd round. After him it is Colt McCoy. I would take him in the 2nd round also. I like Bradford, but only for a team like the Jets with an all-pro offensive line. His draft stock is unfortunately high. His stars are poorly aligned. He will probably go to a team with a lousy line. This spells a lot of trouble for him in his career. I regret that.

When you sum up the lousy odds of getting a good QB in the first round, the poor crop of first round QBs in this years draft, the rich crop of later QBs, I think all NFL GMs are fully justified in rejecting the proposition of selecting a QB in the first round. There are stupid fans who would select any QB in the 1st round just because there is a need. That is an exceedingly stupid policy, and the kind of think that creates JaMarcus Russell stories.

Bill Devany on NFL Total Access yesterday

Bill Devaney was briefly interviewed on NFL Total Access on 2/23/2010. He was quiet, subdued, maybe even a bit depressed. He may be anticipating a long and difficult season that may hurt his long term chances in life. The ownership situation and power vacuum in St. Louis also means some financial difficulties, hampering the rebuild of the team.

Devaney was very non committal on most subjects, but here is a short interpretation.
  1. There have been no talks with Tampa Bay. He would like to talk with anybody and everybody about scenarios, but there have been no conversations as yet.
  2. Devaney shed questions of drafting a QB with hardly a word, simply mentioning that Marc Bulger was still a member of the team. (!)
  3. Michael Vick is under contract with the Eagles, and any discussion of him could be deemed tampering. However all scenarios are on the table.
  4. The Rams will proceed in sequence from the combine, through free agency, through trades, and through the draft to fill each need. Move B cannot be planned until move A has been made.
The presentation was carefully crafted to say "We don't know what we are going to do aside from chase opportunities as we find them." I am sure this partially true. You never know what the market may offer you. Sometimes you get Jerome Bettis for a 2nd rounder. Sometimes you get Marshall Faulk for a 2nd and a 5th. Sometimes you can have Michael Westbrook and LaDanian Tomlinson for free. I know he knows more than he is letting on. Methinks he is planning ahead as a chess player, but he is not going to telegraph his punch.

I find it interesting that he shed the question of drafting a QB with hardly a word, mentioning Marc Bulger. If you read that statement as a psychiatrist would, it means Devaney would rather stick it out with Bulger for 1 more season than draft a rookie starter this year. If you read that statement as a military tactician would, Devaney may not want to discuss who he likes in this draft, and prefers to keep those plans confidential.

It is interesting that he immediately raised the spectre of tampering charges regarding Vick, but wouldn't squelch the rumor. The more I roll that over in my mind the more interesting that is.

Most interesting is the fact that he livened up when discusing the two DTs at the top of the draft. Mentioning Suh and McCoy ignited a small fire in the man.

Carefully considering what I saw in Devaney's interview, I think I saw:
  • A shy man.
  • A man who is depressed about the present moment.
  • A man who is worried about his future.
  • A man who is worried about the future of his franchise.
  • A man who is not sure of what is around the corner.
  • A man who would like to talk about deals with other GMs.
  • A man who wants to take 1 of the 2 top DTs in the draft
  • A man who disdains the entire idea of drafting a rookie QB in the first round, or starting a rookie QB in 2010.
  • A man who has some plans to talk to Philly.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Rams maybe pressured into selecting Bradford...?

Tom Kowalski, a fellow of some minor note in Detroit, outlined a hypothetical scenario in which the Rams' current admin (Devaney and Spagnuolo) are forced into selecting Sam Bradford with the top pick in the 2010 draft. This was given casual consideration by Mike Mayock. Now suddenly the bloggosphere thinks it is fact, rather than a theory.

What is the theory? The Rams have been drafting in top 2 for the past three season. The Rams have not selected a QB during this time. If the Rams' horrific passing game continues unabated in 2010, and no young QB is in development, both Devany and Spagnuolo could be fired for negligence in office.

So let me ask you a very simple question: Who will give the order on draft day forcing Devany's hand? Is it John Shaw? Chip Rosenbloom? Stan Kroenke? Lucia? Would it be the guy who does not yet own the team, Shahid Khan?

Furthermore, who is this authority who is going to do the firing? Is it John Shaw? Chip Rosenbloom? Stan Kroenke? Lucia? Would it be the guy who does not yet own the team, Shahid Khan?

If you know the Rams, you know ownership situation right now. You know the power structure is in a massive state of flux. The ownership is changing. There is no clear direction from the top. Those chaps are trying like mad to make a deal to buy and sell the team. The man mostly likely to be worried about this year's draft, Mr. Khan, has much more pressing things to worry about. Namely, will the NFL ownership club let him in the door? He certainly is in no position to give orders until the NFL has approved his bid. Will that happen in just 58 days?

The ownership situation may well take longer than 58 days to clear up. NFL finance declared that they are going frisk Khan pretty good before they rubber stamp his application. That takes time. We are just about 58 days away from the NFL draft as I type this blog.

Kowalski's theory is entirely predicated on the notion that there is a clear authority at the top of the Rams organization giving orders, and handing out pink slips... or that there will be in less than 58 days. Perish the thought. There is no such thing at the moment. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not inside the board room, so I cannot comment in detail, but every little signal I have seen indicates that Devany and Spagnuolo are functioning with a lot of discretionary latitude right now.

Based on what I have seen and heard, Devany is the Captain of the ship right now, and Spagnuolo is the XO. There is no Commodore, and the Admiralty is in flux. Devany is the top boss, and he can operate with impunity.

In short, I think the theory is rubbish. Talk radio people find endless diversions of cheap talk to fill up all those radio hours. There is also a traditional desire to see a QB go at the top of the draft, even if this is a very bad idea in 2010. These are the reasons for cheap talk.

Just a little disappointed in Tim Tebow

So, I have been told that Tim Tebow will not throw at the NFL combine starting this Thursday. He gives no medical reason, not even a big-toe like Clausen. He just doesn't want to throw. Bucky Brooks says this makes sense. He says coaches and scouts do grade you on whether the receivers catch your passes or not. Ergo, Tebow has much to loose by throwing to receivers he does not know, and who do not know him.

I'm not buying it. I think the key to maintaining and extending Tebow's mystique and appeal is to compete at all times. Always compete. Compete and do your best, and it will always be enough. Always compete, and show that you love to compete. So said Coach Pete Carroll on 710AM radio every day for the past 2 years. Never back down. Retreat is not an option. This in keeping with Touchdown Tim's personality, or at least the personality I am familiar with. You can't hurt yourself by competing and refusing to retreat.

All we need to see is that some improvement in your mechanics has taken place. Even if it is just a little, the critics will see that you are working on it, and you are getting better. That is all it will take. Then you can go into your pro day knowing you have not passed on any opportunities to impress.

I just don't think Tebow should chicken out like Clausen and Bradford. He should do what his buddy Colt McCoy is doing. Always compete.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why you and I should not buy houses in Los Angeles County... just yet

My, my, my... If my mailbox and eMail account are any indications, the State of California and the U.S. Federal Government sure would like me to buy a house in my county right now. I have been informed no less than 13 times this month that CalVets and the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs would like me to exercise my right to a VA home loan... real soon. The time has never been better... or so they say.

I don't agree, and I will tell you why.

House prices remain obscene
Much to the dismay of current home owners and mortgage institutions, the price of houses remains obscene. How do I define that? According to classical banking doctrine, you never write a mortgage for more than 2.5 times the annual household income of the borrower. According to various estimates, Mode, Mean and Median household income in SoCal hovers between 76,000 and 85,000. That means that price on an average middle class home should $212,500. That should be the price because that is what the market should bare.

If you have conducted a study of housing prices in the San Fernando Valley of SoCal, you know that the price cap on a middle class home is nowhere near $212,500. 1,500 sqft will cost you $350,000. You can touch 2,000 sqft for the sum of $400,000, but you had better be prepared to do some repair work. In good hood, we're talking about a major fixer.

The consequence of this market structure is very simple: Most middle class people do not own homes. Most middle class people are renting. Those who bought are struggling like hell. Many of them are organizing short sales or being foreclosed. That's what's up in my neighborhood.

This brings us neatly to the question: Why lend no more than 2.5 times the household income? Who wrote that law? Why are we bound to this rule? Why not more?

The answer is pretty simple: We are currently living the consequences of ignoring this unwritten law that was pregnant with the wisdom of the elders. A youth group came up about 10 to 15 years ago that did not understand the reason why, they ignored the rules, we saw massive inflation in the price of housing, and now the mortgage industry is going bust as people cannot afford to pay what they owe.

The elders understood that 2.5X was the limit of what financially healthy people could afford to pay in terms of mortgages. Anymore and you begin to cut into their contingency funds, their health care payments, car repairs, etc. This is an unwise move for a banker to make. You can't cut the throat of the milk cow to bleed her from the neck. The cow becomes unhealthy if you do this, and you will loose your milk supply. Bad move.

Old bankers restricted mortgage loans to 2.5x to keep housing prices in-line with buyer means. Old bankers restricted mortgage loans to 2.5x to keep borrowers financially sane. Old bankers restricted mortgage loans to 2.5x to allow mortgage holders to have enough financial space for a decent life after the mortgage payment was made. This rule was best for all concerned.

Now look where the fuck we are. Houses are now unaffordable by the middle class. Most people I grew up with do not own homes, despite the fact that all our families owned homes. I am 43 and I have never owned a home. I have lived in apartments or a barracks for most of my adult life. There was an occasion when I rented a room in Mill Valley... Those who own homes cannot sell them at all, much less at a profit. Those who need to buy homes cannot afford them. The market is frozen. It is not liquid, vibrant, healthy, functional or alive. Prices have simply reached an untenable point.

The solution is simple: Those who wrote imprudent loans are going to take the ass-end of the coin they flipped when wrote the mortgage. They knew they were taking a risk, now the risk has come up snake-eyes. You lose. Of course they do not accept this! I know they are resisting this conclusion ferociously. They don't want to admit that they have a Forrest of bad paper on the books. Nevertheless, the fact is that they do.

The Market is going to get healthy... soon
Banks used the Bush/Obama bailouts to avoid foreclosing on the bad paper they hold. They only forestalled the inevitable. I believe that the foreclosure wave is coming in March 2010. It takes about 90 days to complete the process of foreclosure and put a naked house on the market. The buying season begins June 1, 2010. To be ready for this, I believe that the foreclosure notifications begin to fly in about 6-8 days. A ton of houses will be on the market June 1, 2010.

The prices will begin to fall at that point. Banks are hoping that putting foreclosures on the market at the hot-point will decrease the rate of decrease, but I think they understand that prices are going to fall. Let's hope it is a lot more than the $50K drop limit they are hoping for. A $50K drop will not restore the real estate market to health. To be frank with you, even a $100k drop will not restore the market to health. A drop from $400K to $300K is still well short of $212K. It is better than nothing, but the price is still steep for mode, mean and media people of SoCal. They really cannot afford $300K.

Uncle Sam would like my help
Of course, Uncle Sam is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Financial Houses on Wall Street. Ergo, Uncle Sam would very much like me to exercise my VA loan entitlement to buy an overpriced house and support the unhealthy market price structure right now.

This is the very best thing for Wall Street and for Uncle Sam. Interest rates are low. This means Uncle Sam won't have to give me much leverage in the mortgage interest tax deduction. This means I will ultimately pay more taxes. Also, if I buy at a high rate now, financial institutions will take a lower loss on the property they sell me from their current supply of bad paper. That's good for the financial institution because I will pay them more money.

I don't want to help
You will pardon me if I am a bid selfish, but I don't want to help. I want the market to get healthy from my perspective. I want to pay less taxes and pay less to Wall Street. I will buy after:
  • The wave of foreclosures come
  • The rate of interest increases, and my mortgage tax deduction increases.
  • Prices go down
  • I can buy $100k cheaper




Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shutter Island is Hitchcock on Steroids

My, my, my aren't we lucky in the early going of this fine year of 2010? February is generally the dumping month for piss poor motion pictures. 'Tis usually the month where the major studios dump out their rubbish films that were considered to sketchy for a high-season release in summer months and the November-December holiday season. Last week we got The Wolfman, which I consider to be a real gem of a movie. Fuck the critics. They don't like Universal monster movies. I do. I always have. Now this week we got Shutter Island. Wow!

What is this movie:
  • It's a Martin Scorsese film
  • It's a psychological suspense thriller
  • It's a puzzle wrapped, up in an enigma, inside a mystery
  • It's a plot twister with lots of mind fucks
  • It's Hitchcock jacked up on Steroids, HGH and Meth amphetamines
  • It's a movie that ends with considerably ambiguity, and is open to four different interpretations.
  • It features Leonardo DiCaprio, Max Von Sydow, and Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • It has a fine cast of supporting actors including Mark Ruffalo and Jackie Earl Haley.
Warning Spoilers ahead: Turn back now if you haven't seen the film

As I mentioned before, this movie is a twister, and it has lots of mind fucks in it. It ends with great ambiguity, and I do not pretend to know the correct interpretation of this film. I will have to see it again at least once to try to solve this film. To solve this film, you must answer the following questions:
  1. Who is Leonardo DiCaprio? Is he Federal Marshall Teddy Daniels, sent forth to investigate the disappearance of dangerous female murderess named Rachel Solando, or is he Andrew Laeddis patient/inmate in the asylum, manipulated in a desperate role playing game devised by his psychiatrists in an attempt to reach him?
  2. Who is Rachel Solando? Is she psychiatrist Dr. Solando who discovered that terrible human experiments were in progress on Shutter Island, or she is a fictional character devised by the Psychiatrists as part of the role playing game devised to reach "Teddy's" sane mind?
  3. Is there anything untoward going on on Shutter Island? Are they performing mind control experiments in attempt to construct the U.S. Intelligence community's answer to the Manchurian Candidate?
  4. Is Dr. Naehring really a former Natzi, or is he just a German who immigrated to the United States legally?
  5. Is DiCaprio experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations because he has been slipped "psychoactive narcotics" by doctors desiring to make him their first 'Manchurian candidate', or is he just plain psychologically damaged and crazy?
I do not consider the question "Who is Mark Ruffalo?" to be important to the final solution. Whether he is U.S. Federal Marshall Chuck Aule, or Psychiatrist Dr. Lester Sheehan is of little import. He is absolutely not what he pretends to be. No matter how you slice it, he is a double agent of some sort. That is a constant. As my professors of science would tell you, you cannot explain a variable in terms of a constant. Throw this question away. It is a decoy.

These are your five basic questions for this movie. If you desire a solution to this plot-twister mystery, you better try to answer each one of these questions definitively. Otherwise you won't reach a conclusion. If you consider all the possible solutions to each of these 5 questions, only 4 coherent solutions can be worked out.
  1. DiCaprio is really Marshall Teddy Daniels. Daniels has been selected by the U.S. Intelligence community to become the official Manchurian Candidate. He has been selected because he has no living family, and had a tough war record in which he proved he could pull the trigger. In this case, dreadful human experiments are going on on Shutter Island. Naehring is a former Natzi. Solando is a psychiatrist Dr, Solando who wanted to blow the lid off this case. DiCaprio has been given psycho-active narcotics to make him hallucinate.
  2. DiCaprio is really an inmate/patient at Shutter Island. Only this and nothing more. His doctors are playing an elaborate role playing game in a desperate attempt to reach sanity with this patient and avoid the dreaded Pre-Orbital Lobotomy. Nothing dreadful is going on on Shutter Island. Solando is a fictional character invented by DiCaprio's psychiatrists as part of the role playing experiment to help sanitize his mind. DiCaprio is not hallucinating because he is being given hallucinogenics. He is hallucinating because he is deeply disturbed. He is given 'normal' medicines for his condition.
  3. DiCaprio is really an inmate/patient at Shutter Island. Dreadful experiments are going on. He is being screened as a possible candidate for the U.S. Intelligence community's Manchurian program because of his war record, and because all his family members are dead. Solando is really Psychiatrist Dr. Solando, and she did discover that dreadful things were in progress on Shutter Island. DiCaprio may or may not be hallucinating based on the chemicals he is given by his doctors.
  4. This movie is adapted from a novel which tries to play it both ways. The writer is a cheater and he is cheating here. He is intentionally dropping evidence on both piles with no possible coherent resolution in mind. The objective is to construct an unsolvable puzzle that seems solvable. The literary objective is to start ferocious and impassioned arguments between the readers/viewers who cannot agree on a solution. God knows that we have a ton of fun arguing about literature and movies. These kinds of debates can be highly entertaining. We do like stories like this.
Let me give you an example of disagreement stemming from the ambiguity of this movie.

My Dad called me early Friday evening and told me had seen the noon showing in his neighborhood theater already. He told me he loved it. He said he would never see a psychiatrist again. He was forever paranoid now that his doctors might be performing experiments on him in this fashion. Clearly, my Dad accepts solutions #1 or possibly #3. Nothing he said leads me to believe he accepts solution #2.

I saw the movie late last night with a buddy of mind name Colin. He runs most of the Mann Theatres North of the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles. He offered to get me for free. That was an offer I could not refuse. Colin was equally convinced that solution #2 is the correct solution. He thought solution #1 was totally out of the question. I would like to hear these two debate this notion.

What do I think? I think that solution #4 is probably the correct solution, but I am open to the possibility of solution #3 working out and being coherent. Why do I saw this? Because of Dr. Solando in the cave. Unless you believe that the role playing experiment extends all the way to ragged Dr. Solando being placed in a cave for a brief moment, she is a hard fact to explain away. Either there is no solution to the story of Shutter Island, or it is #3.

Update:

I just finished seeing the movie again, and I must say that I uncovered three uncomfortable scenes. These three scenes do not fit conveniently into any solution. This is probably the leading reason 33% of the critics are negative on this flick, claiming their is no viable solution.
  1. Scene 1 when we are on-board the Ferry riding to the Island. I find it difficult to accept the notion that an elaborate role playing game could have been inaugurated after Andrew Laeddis had been incarcerated on Shutter Island for some 2 years. How did they get started on this Ferry? Further if Dr. Lester Sheehan had been his doctor for some 2 years, then why does Andrew act like he is just meeting him for the first time?
  2. Scene in the Mausoleum: In this scene Marshall Chuck greatly extends Marshall Teddy's paranoia, telling him that the Fed may have tricked him into taking this assignment because they may want him for the Manchurian Program. Why would Dr. Lester Sheehan ever say such a thing as this? Even if he is playing a role in a role playing experiment, it does not serve his objectives (mental health and sanity) to increase Andrew/Teddy's paranoia.
  3. Interview with a Female Patient: In this interview, Teddy and Chuck both ask this female patient about Dr. Lester Sheehan, and Andrew Laeddis. The woman asks for a glass of water to get rid of Chuck/Lester and she anxiously scribbles in Teddy/Andrew's notebook the single world "RUN!".
All three of these scenes point in the general direction of Teddy being Teddy, and Chuck being... well... we don't know. This serves conclusion #1, but I still have some difficulty with this conclusion. We'll have to see. I am going to sleep on it tonight and tell you what I think in the morning.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rams and Bucs talking swap?

Reports are flying around that the Rams and Bucs are talking deal for the #1 pick overall. The deal has not been done. Nothing has been agreed to yet. The package sounds very strange to my ear.
  1. The Bucs get our #1 pick overall and they draft Ndamukong Suh
  2. We get the #3 pick in the draft.
  3. We get the Bucs 3rd round draft choice.
  4. We get a bench QB named Josh Johnson (6'3" 198 lbs San Diego University, Oakland Tech)
It is the name of Josh Johnson that seems so strange in these deal. Although the Bucs are currently hyping him as a Mini-Vick, I have no idea why we would want this kid. Sorry, but this kid is no where on the map of eligible starting NFL signal caller solutions. Frankly, I never even heard his name before, which means he is well under the radar. Unless we think he has what it takes to be a devastating receiver, and unless he is agreeable to the switch, I don't know why we would deal for him.

At this moment I would say 'NO' to this deal if I were calling the shots. I would demand the Bucs 2nd round choice, and skip the 3rd.

Moving to position #3 would be a chess move pregnant with significance. If we remain there, it would signify that we intend to select Sam Bradford just ahead of the Washington Redskins. This might prompt the Skins to try to do a deal to get ahead of us. It is a dangerous position to hold. I would attempt to move down further, dropping spots and accumulating picks. This may not be the Rams intension.

As I have mentioned in blogs before, drafting Bradford is a bad idea. He is a gracile and fragile QB, and we can't protect him, period. We may be in love with his abilities, but we will ruin him as we ruined Bulger.

What if the Rams were attempting to acquire a 3rd and a wildcat back to trade to Philly for Vick? This is an idea which has crossed my mind. What do we do with the #3 pick then? Do you still select Bradford, and try to improve the line for 1 or 2 years before playing him?

We'll have to see. I don't know what the score is at this point.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Marshall Faulk is basically right


VanRam just took major exception to a few statements Marshall Faulk made in his recent Sporting News power-rankings piece. Specifically, Faulk said the following:
They've earned the No. 32 spot. It's well-deserved. The Rams are more worried about firing their trainer and their equipment manager than they are worried about the coaches responsible for their play on the field. That says a lot. When the first offseason move you make is to fire your trainer? Perfect. Maybe the draft will help. But at no point last season did I see anything that made me think they were turning the corner. It's painful to watch.
What is wrong with his statement? Let me think... ghee... I can't really find much if anything wrong with that statement.
  • Did we earn the 32 spot? Yep. We went 1-15
  • Did we fire our trainers? Yep.
  • Did we fire Pat Shurmer? Nope. I guess we are more concerned with firing the trainer than fixing the offense.
  • Did we show signs of turning the corner last season? Hell no.
  • Is our offensive line worse now than last season? Yes. Icognito is gone. Barron is sure to follow. Jacob Bell will likely return with a hell of a hamstring problem. Our OL is worse, not better.
  • Have we come off the bottom? Nope.
  • Was it painful to watch? Nope. It was beyond painful. It was excruciating as fuck.
So Marshall is right, isn't he? Yep. I will grant that VanRam is correct about our defense. Our defense is looking better and better. They have bought into Coach Spag's system. They are playing like a unit. They are trusting each other, working together, and covering their personal responsibilities. I like what I saw defensively most of the season. However, I doubt Marshall was ripping the defense.

Marshall is charter member of the Greatest Show on Turf. Watching that pathetic excuse for a Lombardi running offense must have just about killed him. God knows it just about killed me. I am certain that Marshall was thinking first and foremost about our offense, which was a hopeless basket case yesteryear. We need a major offensive overhaul, and that includes the Offensive Coordinator position.

I don't believe Marshall has any ax to grind, any grudge, or any hidden agenda. Also, I would love to see him back with the organization.

The off-season is young. We have some time to do some work. However, I must acknowledge that it is strange that our first move was to fire the training staff, rather than Pat Shurmer.

Netflix Streaming via PS3

About 2 months ago, I was contacted by Netflix and informed that they were now officially supporting streaming movies through the internet via the PS3. The html eMail I was sent presented me with the option to sign up. I did. Netflix sent me a single layer BD disk loaded with a fancy graphical BD-Live shell. Using this disk, I could browse Netflix streamable library and see whatever I liked via the BD-Live technology.

How well does it work? Given my solid bandwidth of 17-21 Mbits, it works great. There are never any visible hickups.

I heard there were a lot of hickups? Your badwidth is pretty poor then.

How good does it look? This depends upon the video itself. "A Boy and His Dog" looked like dogshit. The quality was far below that of DVD or SDTV. "Inside Deepthroat" was nearly 720p in quality.

Does it ever compete with Blu-Ray in terms of quality? Absolutely not. Not even close. The quality is acceptable, but not nearly that of Blu-Ray. Most of the time, the video quality is lower than that of DVD, not higher. They need to consistently beat DVD before they can even address Blu-Ray.

How rich is the selection of movies? You will not find any of the more recent (past two years) blockbusters available for streaming. You will find that most titles listed here are 5 years or older. Television shows are the only things that seem to become available rapidly. As long as you are willing to watch 4 and 5 year old films, there is quite a bit to see.

What physical installation requirements did you have to go through to make it work? Not much. I already had a high-quality D-Link wired and wireless router sitting in front of my Cable modem. All I needed to do was run a 50 foot Cat-6 wire from the router to the PS3, and then stick the Netflix disk in. It worked pretty much immediately.

Why didn't you go wireless? Because I like wires better. Wires are more reliable, provide much higher bandwidth, and have less latency. One of the reasons I have no problems is because I am willing to work with a hardwire.

But aren't wires messy? That sounds like a personal problem you have there.

Do you think this will replace Blu-Ray? Nope. Absolutely not. The quality is so inferior to Blu-Ray it is not on the same playing field. When they can't even tackle DVD, how can they defeat Blu-Ray?

Oh, but somebody smart told me that streaming media would replace Blu-Ray? That statement is an oxymoron. Your statement refutes itself.

What good is this then? I find it has opened up a whole world of documentary films that I probably would not have seen. Most of these documentary films are available only as DVDs, and I would not have wasted my precious rental slots asking for DVD quality materials. Now I can stream an unlimited quantity of these docs to my PC. It is pretty cool.

If he was, they would

I think Marc Bulger is finished as the Rams QB. I do not say that with any pleasure or anger. Regret over what might have been is the primary feeling. My statement is just a recognition of the unfortunate fact. But Coach Spagnuolo just said he is still on the roster and it is premature to make any moves at the QB position? I agree that it is premature to release Bulger. There is no reason to rush and do this unfortunate thing immediately. However, the lack of speed in releasing Bulger doesn't tell you anything about the Rams' 2010 roster.

Steve Wyche wrote a nice piece for the NFL's main website following up on a video report that he did for the NFL Network. The key quote is simple: "...coach Steve Spagnuolo or general manager Billy Devaney haven't said Bulger is their guy. If he was, they would."

Like Wyche, I doubt Bulger will line up at QB for the Rams in 2010. There are some scenarios where it could happen:
  1. Philly won't trade Vick
  2. Philly asks for a King's random
  3. We don't have a rookie we can play
Scenario 3 is the most unlikely scenario of them all, so scratch that off the list now. With a dogshit offensive line and a thin receiver corp, playing any rookie would border on suicidal insanity. I don't care if we select Bradford, Tebow or McCoy. No rookie can play behind our line. We can't protect him, period. It would be damn stupid to try that... but then again, it is stupid to try Bulger again in this role after he just suffered a broken leg last year.

Pondering all these chess pieces on the board, I grow more and more convinced that Rams will try to work a deal for Vick. He is the best looking solution for 2010, and he helps us to engineer our future in the several ways I spelled out yesterday.

The only real alternative is to try to make due with Keith Null. I wouldn't mind giving the kid a chance... but it sure ain't much of chance. It's a lousy chance if you ask me. It seems to me it would be more like feeding the young man to the lions, tigers and bears. It would also result in another loss-heavy season where we are no where close to the break-even point.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Are we hot for Vick?

I don't think 'hot' is quite the right word for the situation at hand. I think we've reached the point where we are ready to give it a try. Some of believe it is a logical, albeit uncomfortable, fit given our present circumstances... which are difficult to say the least.

Consider the following facts:
  • The Rams averaged only 10.9 points per game in 2009. That made us #32 in scoring, or dead last in the league.
  • Quarterback play was terrible. Only 4 teams passed for less than we did.
  • We were a mono-dimensional running team, with just one weapon: Steven Jackson
  • The line was suspect last season, even with Alex Barron, Jacob Bell, and Ritchie Incognito. Incognito is now gone. Barron is sure to follow. Bell will likely return... but with a really bad hamstring problem. We are in deep shit on the offensive line.
  • Our receiver corp is very thin. We may have two good men. We may draft another. We will still be very thin unless we acquire someone like Brandon Marshall.
  • Marc Bulger, our starting QB for the past 8 season, just cleaned out his locker. We are expected to cut him because he is set to make $8.5 million and cannot stay healthy.
  • Regrettably, Kyle Boller was ineffective last season. He is now an unrestricted free agent.
  • Dealing for Vick allows us to avoid playing a rookie QB.
  • Dealing for Vick guarantees us free resources to select Ndamukong Suh.
Given this scenario, what in the hell are we supposed to do? Acquiring the fastest damn QB who ever played the game is pretty good move considering this scenario. Just like any other QB, Michael Vick would greatly appreciate an all-pro offensive line. Unlike most QBs, he doesn't die a pigs death when he lacks this advantage. Vick's speed and pocket awareness has made him one of the most difficult QBs to sack in each and every season he has played in the league. It also forces at least one 'Green Dog' to stay in the shallow zone and spy on him when ever he drops back to throw. This fact would make life easier for our thin receiver corp.

Vick has been described as a throwing tailback who would rather carry than throw the football. That reputation is detrimental in many places. Not in St. Louis. In St. Louis it might be the only shot we have at scoring just 10 more points per game. When you have a thin corp of receivers who can be smothered, you need a QB who can run. When you have a poor line, poor receivers, and an immobile QB, you experience travesties like the one we experienced last season.

Imagine the Rams have a 3rd and Goal situation on the 3 yard line. Imagine we run a naked bootleg where the fake Packer-Sweep goes right, and Vick + the football go left. The defense will respect Steven Jackson near the goal line. You are ill advised not to. Vick can either throw to a trailing tight end or run it in. The Falcons ran this play quite a bit when they had Vick. More often than not, Vick just sprinted into the endzone. He made it look easy.

Does Vick plug a ton of holes? Not exactly, but he can do reasonably well in spite of our terrible holes. Can Vick 'make it work in St. Louis'? It depends upon what you mean when you ask that question. If you expect the Rams to average 28.7 points per game next season, forget it. If we can average 20 per game that would be a huge moral victory. If you think we can go 9-7 with Vick next season and get the 6th slot in the NFC, you should dial down your expectations. 20 points per game might get us to 7-9... maybe... Vick can make the offense work better. Don't expect the Greatest Show on Turf.

The most important aspects of acquiring Vick are the long-term bennies. As you well know, I am a major advocate of drafting Tim Tebow. The Rams have already featured him several times on the official corporate website. I am very happy this is so. As we all know, Tebow will require 1 full red-shirt season in the NFL, and perhaps 2. Vick will make it possible to draft Tebow and be patient. Better still, he prepares the way for a Tebow era in several important ways:
  • Vick is a mobile southpaw, and Tebow is a mobile southpaw. Vick is much faster and Tebow is much more powerful, but their approaches are not dissimilar in concept. To get anything out of these two gentlemen the offensive will have to be re-jiggered to work well for an athletic mobile southpaw.
  • Vick loves to operate from the shotgun. So does Tebow. Having these two on the depth chart will force us to use more of the shotgun, wildcat and spread. This is a good thing.
  • Lefties spin the ball in the opposite direction of the righties. Believe it or not, receivers are impacted by this fact. Just ask Jerry Rice. Jerry will tell you he experienced a significant adjustment period when Steve Young became the QB in SF. Having Vick and Tebow will allow our WRs to get used to a consistent left-handed spin.
  • Our Right Tackle will always be the blind-side protector, and he will know that. He will be able to prepare himself accordingly. Incidentally, we better keep Jason Smith there.
  • Hopefully, by the time Tebow is ready, we will have enhanced our offensive line a great deal. Even if we haven't, Tebow is a big, strong, robust young man who can escape and run if he has to.
  • The cost of acquiring Vick is said to be a 3rd or a 4th round draft pick. Our 3rd needs to be Dexter McCluster. If they will take a 4th, acquiring Vick is a very cheap transaction indeed. Our odds of selecting a QB better than Vick in the 4th round are slim and none. It could happen, but the probability is very low.
  • There is another rumor circulating today which states that the transaction for Vick will only occur after the 2010 draft if finished and done. This gives the Eagles a chance to shop for a new young QB, and it gives the Rams the ability to pay later by mortgaging a 2011 pick or two. This has advantages for both sides.
  • Jamie Dukes believes that Vick would increase Steven Jackson's production by 300 yards. This is due to the fear of the bootleg which would force backside defenders to stay at home. Vince Young had a similar impact on Chris Johnson this season.
  • Vick has had seasons where he ran for 1,000 yards all by himself. Supposedly this would make us the #1 rushing team in the league.
  • In a best case scenario, Jackson rushes for 1,700+, Vick rushes for 1,000+, and between the two of them we average something like 168 yards on the ground per game.
The more important fact is that Vick paves the way for Tebow. Vick will be 30 years old on June 26th. Baring unforeseen injury, he will easily be able to play until Tim Tebow is ready.

In summary, these are the logical reasons why the Rams should be willing to trade for Vick this season.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Few men are qualified to evaluate the quarterback

Michael Lombardi has quoted Bill Walsh many times saying "Few men are qualified to evaluate the quarterback position. Even fewer are qualified to coach the position." We have established that Walsh was explicitly crapping on NFL talent scouts like Mel Kiper Jr when he said this.

Jeeeze! Why do you think a nice guy like Bill Walsh would say such a nasty thing like that about a guy like Mel Kiper Jr?

You know hind sight is 20/20. I think Bill was absolutely justified in saying this because over the 28 years of my study period we had:
  • 38 first round QBs that absolutely went bust
  • 22 first round QBs that made it
  • 6 first round QBs that are middle-of-the-road cases, partial busts, partial success stories.
  • 10 drafts in which no 1st round QBs were successful
  • 32 ProBowl (or better) QBs selected outside the first round
  • 4 undrafted QBs who turned into All-Pro guys
When you consider this stunning pile of facts, you have to wonder if somebody blind folded these scouts, spun them round-n-round, and put darts in their hands. The darts went all over the place. Dave's Law says that NFL QB success is randomly distributed with respect to talent scout grades.

This is not to mention the 9 QBs enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who were not first rounders.

The history of successful quarterbacks in the NFL is a true bugbear for the NFL Talent Scout. Nothing proves the tremendous fallibility of Mel Kiper Jr. better than the success rate of QBs in the first round over the course of the past 30 or so seasons.

Now that we have categorically proven that these fine chaps (like Mel Kiper Jr.) do not know what the fuck they are talking about, let us now consider the 2010 NFL Draft.

Kiper tells us that Tim Tebow is not NFL Quarterback material. Kiper tells us that Jimmy Clausen is a pro-system kid who is (perhaps) the most NFL ready QB in the draft. In view of all the facts that I have sited above, are you inclined to believe him?

I for one, do not believe him. I believe he is absolutely and completely wrong about this. I believe he is 100% wrong with a 100% chance of being 100% wrong about this. I mean to tell you he has a 0.00% chance of being even 0.001% right about this juxtaposition. I mean dead wrong and not even remotely close to being right.

I can site a stunning record of error which impeaches Mel Kiper Jr.'s credibility completely.

The terrible falibility of NFL scouts, Part IV

Well, friend, we have reached the final chapter in the scouting saga. We're going to talk about recent undrafted QBs who have turned out pretty well. Consider the following names:
  1. Kurt Warner undrafted 1994
  2. Jeff Garcia undrafted 1994
  3. Jake Delhomme undrafted 1997
  4. Tony Romo undrafted 2003
There are a bunch of Pro Bowl elections shared by the four men on that list. In particular, Warner is a two time league MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Pro Bowler, and considered a future Hall of Famer. Jake Delhomme also piloted his Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance... and a near victory. Unfortunately, a need for Tommy John surgery destroyed his career.

When you stop to think that both Heath Shueler and Trent Dilfer were drafted high in the 1st round while both Warner and Garcia were undrafted in 1994, you recognize that another massive scouting failure took place. Mel Kiper jr... What can I say about that guy. He was clearly on duty in 1994. You can go back to the ESPN vaults and see him licking Shueler's balls. You won't find him talking about Warner or Garcia in 1994.

Why is that? His methodology is bad, that's why! If he had a valid approach to doing business, he wouldn't miss quarterbacks like this. Let's just admit it. Regarding quarterbacks, Kiper jr gets it wrong much more than he gets it right. You should not pay any attention to what this dude says. He is a false prophet.

The terrible falibility of NFL scouts, Part III

There are 23 quarterbacks enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio. True believers might think they were all #1 draft picks. Perish the thought! The Canton Roster is one of the greatest points proving the terrible fallibility of men like Mel Kiper Jr. Consider the following names:
  1. Fran Tarkenton 3rd round pick
  2. Dan Fouts 3rd round pick
  3. Norm Van Brocklin 4th round pick
  4. Sonny Jurgensen 4th round pick
  5. Bob Waterfield 5th round pick
  6. John Unitas 9th round pick
  7. Roger Staubach 10th round pick
  8. Bart Starr 17th round pick
  9. Warren Moon Undrafted
That is a pretty nasty list, if you are a talent scout. Every one of these men constitutes a clear-cut case of NFL scouting failure. A future Hall of Famer was not identified as such. A gem was missed.

I can just hear guys like Kiper screaming "That's not fair! Nobody could have known that a short scrambler like Tarkenton would do what he did!" That is only because you have settled upon the wrong criteria. The doctrines you subscribe to (measurable & tangibles) are false idols. Your ideology is wrong. Your organizational paradigm is poor.

NFL talent scouts are horrendously fallible & notoriously unreliable because they believe in false doctrines, use bad criteria, and subscribe to the wrong paradigm. That's why we can't trust your judgment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I heard Marc Bulger cleared out his locker today

I want to emphasis that I am not happy to hear this. It doesn't hit as hard as the loss of Warner or Everett, but there is a sting. It is the end of another epoch. Bulger is a good man. He had/has an excellent arm. He was/is very accurate. He just doesn't have a body constructed to survive the battle of ProFootball. If God had given him 3/4ths of Brett Favre's physical durability, Bulger might well be working on a Hall of Fame career. He was an excellent passer.

I regret the fact that we let his line go to shit. I regret the fact that we allowed his receiver corp to dwindle down to nothing. We have to accept a large share of the responsibility for what happened to Marc.

I wish you well in what ever you do next, Marc. Whether this be another team like the 49ers, or anything else for that matter.

The terrible falibility of NFL scouts, Part II

I am on a crusade to impeach the credibility of guys like Mel Kiper Jr. I am on this quest, because this mission is long overdue. Mel Kiper Jr is to the NFL Draft what Benny Hinn is to Christianity: He is the fake healer. If you have a disease, one of the worst things you can do is go to Hinn for a faith healing. If you are rebuilding a football team, one of the worst things you can do is listen to Kiper's advice on the draft.

I don't know how two guys can get it so wrong so many times and still maintain some level of religious faith & street cred among the people. Yet the two of them have made a lot more money than I functioning in a craft they ain't got no gift for. This may be Captain Ahab's quest, but I am going for it any way. I am sick and tired of hearing bullshit from Kiper--especially about QBs--as if it were the authoritative word of God.

I have completed the second phase of my research project into Quarterbacks in the NFL draft. I have studied the drafted and the undrafted. I have compiled a list of all Pro-Bowl elected QBs not drafted in the 1st round. Let me show you this list:

Scoutting Failures
































NameYearRoundPickComment

1Joe Montana1979382Bottom of the third
2Neil Lomax1981233Pro Bowl
3Wade Wilson19818210Pro Bowl
4Boomer Esiason1984238MVP Pro Bowl QB
5Jeff Hostetler1984359Pro Bowl + Super Bowl
6Jay Schroeder1984383Pro Bowl
7Randall Cunningham1985237Pro Bowl
8Steve Bono19856142Pro Bowl
9Doug Flutie198511285Pro Bowl
10Mark Rypien19866146Pro Bowl + Super Bowl
11Rich Gannon1987498MVP Pro Bowl
12Steve Beuerlein19874110Pro Bowl
13Don Majkowski198710255Pro Bowl
14Chris Chandler1988376Pro Bowl
15Neil O'Donnell1990371Pro Bowl
16Brett Favre1991233Pro Bowl + Super Bowl
17Jeff Blake19926166Pro Bowl
18Brad Johnson19929227Pro Bowl + Super Bowl
19Mark Brunell19935118Pro Bowl
20Elvis Grbac19938219Pro Bowl
21Trent Green19938222Pro Bowl
22Gus Frerotte19947197Pro Bowl
23Kordell Stewart1995260Pro Bowl
24Jake Plummer1997242Pro Bowl
25Brian Griese1998391Pro Bowl
26Matt Hasselbeck19986187Pro Bowl
27Marc Bulger20006168Pro Bowl
28Tom Brady20006199MVP, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl
29Drew Brees2001232Pro Bowl + Super Bowl
30David Garrard20024108Pro Bowl
31Matt Schaub2004390Pro Bowl
32Derek Anderson20056213Pro Bowl

The HTML didn't turn out so great, but that doesn't matter. What matters is some of the highly noteworthy names on that list. Each one of those guys was a lot better than several busted 1st round picks taken well ahead of them. I submit to you that each and every time a QB on this list was drafted, we witnessed an instance of scouting failure.

Why?

The answer is simple: Because highly touted 1st round QBs were selected ahead of these men, and many of those guys went bust. When a scout hypes up a 1st rounder who goes bust, and misses completely on high-quality kids later on, a serious evaluation error has taken place. Somebody--a talent scout--made a really bad awful mistake. A turd was considered a gem. A gem was mistaken for a turd, or the gem was missed entirely. A bust QB is never worth taking in the 1st round. If you couldn't identify him as a bust, you failed. A Pro Bowl QB is worth taking in the 1st round. If you couldn't identify him, as such, you failed.

Anyone involved in industrial production or software design would understand that this outcome is unacceptable. You can't throw out good widgets and select bad ones as good. Doing so will fuck up the process for sure, and so it is with the NFL Draft.

Now the scouts may be wont to absolve themselves from blame. They may declare that the GMs and HCs are not listening to them. Bullshit! Most GMs and HCs draft according to what the scouts tell them. When they make out their draft boards, they do so almost entirely on the basis of scouting data. Scouting data is the premise for the pick almost every time. There are a few very unusual exceptions, but they are rare.

Answer me these questions:
  • How did Jack Thompson and Steve Fuller get drafted ahead of Joe Montana?
  • How did Rich Campbell and Dave Wilson get drafted ahead of Neil Lomax & Wade Wilson?
  • How did Chuck Long get drafted 134 picks higher than Mark Rypien?
  • How did Kelly Stouffer get selected 92 slots higher than Rich Gannon?
  • How did Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich get selected ahead of Brett Favre?
  • How did David Klingler and Tommy Maddox get select 202+ picks higher than Brad Johnson?
  • How did Rick Mirer get selected #2 overall and how did Mark Brunell get selected #118 in the 5th round? How did Mirer go ahead of Trent Green (#222 8th round)?
  • How did Jim Druckenmiller go ahead of Jake Plummer?
  • How did Ryan Leaf get drafted #2 overall and Matt Hasselbeck get drafted #187 in the 6th round?
  • How did Tom Brady and Marc Bulger get drafted in the 6th round?
  • How did Michael Vick go ahead of Drew Brees in 2001?
The answer is exactly the same in each and everyone of these cases: A monumental case of scouting failure occured. Guys just like Mel Kiper Jr, and Mel himself, fucked up. That's what happened.

Last time out, I established that 66 QBs had been drafted over our 28 year study period. Only 22 of those guys were clear-cut franchise QBs, 38 were clear cut busts, and 6 were indeterminate journeymen. Now we have another figure to identify: 32 missed ProBowl QBs.

Is the picture becoming clear to you? Are you begining to see the big picture? Do you grasp the meaning and implications of these figures. The scouts have a very crappy percentage. They are extremely fallible. They fuck up much more often than they get it right. Their judgment is unreliable.

Next time, we are going to talk about the biggest QB scouting errors of them all: Undrafted ProBowl QBs.