Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh, so now Florio is taking a stab at McShay?

In one of the most bluntly crafted hit-pieces written since I myself last took up the keyboard, Mike Florio just took a wild stab at Todd McShay. His points are as follows:
  1. McShay mislead Jevan Snead into entering the draft
  2. McShay is bad, Kiper is good.
  3. McShay is bad because he has no connections, and he doesn't like Clausen
  4. Kiper is good because he works hard, and does like Clausen
  5. The best amateur draftnik is Mike Mayock
HAHAHAHhaahahahaha! Oh bouy! Where or where do I begin deconstructing this pile of shit??? So many choices, so little time. This has to be one of the most topsy-turvy, upside down, ass-backwards, perversions I've read in years! Almost every aspect of this hit piece is entirely wrong, but then again, so too are the McNabb rumors and the Tebow rumors. Fabrications, one and all.

For the record, allow me to state the following:
  1. Since the day Jevan Snead entered the draft, persistent reports have held that Snead had trouble with his grades. College was not his strong suit. Some reports stated Snead was close to loosing his athletic eligibility due to academic probation. I seem to recall reading this on Mel Kiper's ESPN blog, as well as other places.
  2. Although I am not hyper about either of these two 'scouts', McShay is much better and Kiper Jr is a lot worse. All you have to do to prove this case is go through Kiper Jr.'s words on the numerous (39) all-out-bust QBs in the 1st around of the draft over the past 30 years. There's your proof. McShay doesn't have a deep track record, but he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  3. The greatest single feather in McShay's cap is that he is not going along with the Jimmy Clausen rubbish. If I object to his ratings of Clausen, I object to the fact that he has not gone far enough in critiquing this kid. Everyone stops with the intangibles. You should go further than that. I don't believe the kid has the level of talent everyone says he does. The Pro-System he comes from did little to help Brady Quinn, a more athletic QB candidate, to succeed in this league. Clausen is an obvious bust risk, but no one speaks openly about his risk factors. Clausen is vastly more risky than McShay leads one to believe.
  4. Kiper is good because he works hard and likes Clausen??? NO, NO,NO, NO! Well, I respect the work, but he is absolutely and completely wrong about Clausen. Clausen is a true junior from an mediocre program. If he is drafted in the 1st round, the actuarial tables predict he has a 90% chance of going bust. That is way to high a risk for me. Florio could not be more wrong. He is just as wrong and wrong can be here. Florio must have come from Notre Dame or something. I understand he is an Italian Lawyer from West Virginia and life long fan of the Vikings. They don't say where he got his degree, though.
  5. Mike Mayock is no amateur. Mike Mayock is the draft scout for NFL Films. He is the guy who does most of the scouting for the NFL Network. Calling Mike Mayock an amateur draftnik is like calling Chief Justice John Roberts an amateur lawnik. Jesus is that bogus! Furthermore, if Florio ever watched the NFL Network, he would know that Mayock says many of the same things McShay says about Clausen. He's a little less blunt about it, but he raises very similar concerns. Like McShay, Mayock doesn't go far enough in stating the risks associated with Clausen's profile.
We should note in passing that an unnamed source is attributed with all of these comments, but I don't believe that for a moment. Florio crafted this piece ex-nillo, as has done in so many other cases.

One final point, I want it to be known that I am a fan of Jevan Snead. I think he has a lot more athletic ability than Clausen does. Somebody is going to get a real steal in this kid. I saw a couple of his better games against Tennessee and LSU, and I was impressed. That blood-bath in the Cotton Bowl aught to be called The Body Bag Game II. I don't hold that one against him, sometimes all you can do is win, and he did.

It should be noted that Snead took one of the most vicious hits in College Football history in that Cotton Bowl game. Not only did he come back in a few minutes and play again, he actually played better after the hit! He'll never have to prove his manhood in any other way.

The one question about Jevan, and its a big one, is his intellect. Does he have the brain of an NFL QB? Given the complexity and deception of NFL defensive schemes these day, every NFL Quarterback has to be pretty damn smart. You also have to be studious, disciplined and diligent in your mental preparation. This preparation does resemble academic work, but the subject is a lot more fun. I hold out the possibility that Snead's mental effort will rise the moment he is able to work exclusively with the subject he loves: Football.

Oh so there is no front runner in the 'race' for McNabb?

I knew it all along. You wanna know how I knew? It's really quite simple. You can't have a front runner if there is no race in the first place. Since there is no race for McNabb, there can be no front runner. It's like asking about the current king of France, stupid!

I've been on the record since the beginning of this McNabb season, telling you all of these reports are absolute bullshit. People are just trying to invent soap opera drama to keep themselves employed during this off season. All of these reports are free-form creative nonsense flowing from the imaginations of sports writers around the country. There is not one shred of evidence or proof for any of these rumors. These are invented fabrications that defy all common football sense.

The second the Eagles lose McNabb, by whatever means, they will instantly be in rebuilding or transition mode. Take if from me, when the Rams lost Jim Everett (another disappointing guy with a ton of talent) we were in an ugly rebuilding mode for some 5 years. This is why you will not see a McNabb deal in 2010. At the end of the 2010 season, the Eagles will be negotiating with their free-agent QB (McNabb) to see if they can retain his services. The Vikings will win that bought.

Oakland was the latest candidate for McNabb, a rumor I found incredibly dubious from the beginning, given Al Davis's position on JaMarcus Russell. There is only one reason I paused for a split second upon hearing this rumor: The senility of Al Davis.

I rarely comment on the Raiders in this blog, a team I find greatly annoying. I will do so now. Al is one of the grant old men of football, but he is making decisions with his last 5 active brain cells. He hovers between 5th and 6th stage dementia all day long as a consequence of advancing Alzheimer's disease. He's in bad shape. He cannot walk without help now. We see him in a motor scooter most of the time. He has made a few absolutely crazy moves in recent seasons; things that just cannot be explained without recourse to Alzheimer's disease.

It was for this reason that paused... but only for one split second. Now that rumor is falling apart. It's all a bunch of damn lies.

I wish the Raiders well. We need the bad guys back. However, they will not get better until Al either dies, or until he hands the reins over to young, talented, smart, ambitious empire builder.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sam Bradford's Pro-Day. See you in St. Louis?

So by now we have all heard that Sam Bradford lit everyone's fire at his ProDay in Norman Oklahoma. He shot 62 for 63, and a good pass was dropped. He executed 50 scripted plays and threw 13 passes from a fixed stance. Gil Brandt commented that it was the best performance by a QB candidate since Troy Aikman. That is powerful praise.

Congratulations are in order, and I still think it is a bad fit. You can't throw this kid in the shark tank behind our offensive line and expect good things. The order of operations we must go through is critical, just as in calculus. We need to build our offensive line first, and then draft a QB. The Jets were successful last season with Mark Sanchez because they went through precisely this order of operations. They built the best line in football, and then they drafted their rookie. Guess what? He did okay, even prospering a bit towards the end.

If we are haunted by the spectre of QBs we passed up, we need not be. Neither Matt Ryan nor Mark Sanchez would been successful behind our offensive line. Arguing that we should not have passed on them is rank foolishness.

When we acquired Jim Everett we had the best offensive line in professional football. We three guys who routinely started in the Pro-Bowl. I'm speaking of Jackie Slater, Dennis Harrah, and Dough Smith. We lost Kent Hill in the deal we made with the Oilers. Irv Panky wasn't bad either. We had a line that drove Eric Dickerson to 2,105 yards. When Kurt Warner blew up in 1999, we had a very good offensive line. Good enough to win the Super Bowl.

The only reason Steven Jackson hasn't rushed for 2153 yards is that he doesn't have a line.

Drafting Bradford is just not the right move right now. This is no reflection of Sam. Sam is worth the pick. If we had a quality line, I would draft Sam immediately. We do not have a quality line. A young QB needs an OL like a fish needs water. A rookie QB and our offensive line will go together like Basketball and a Vasectomy.

From my perspective, the real value of what happened yesterday is this: We now have three interested parties buzzing about doing a deal to acquire Bradford. Those parties are the Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Browns, and now the Seattle Seahawks. I hope Devaney is a man of his word, and hope he is in contact with these parties,

Our best deal is probably with Cleveland, if we can swing it. We can probably swap 1sts, get a 2nd and a 3rd. We probably would probably swap 1sts and acquire a 2nd from Washington. Whilst I am not delighted by the prospect of dealing Bradford to the Seahawks, I do covet Coach Carroll's two 1st rounders. He better know it is going to cost him if he wants do do business within the NFC West.

In any of these cases, we can put together the picks to fix our terrible offensive line, and we can add 'skilled players' as well. I still think this is the way we should go.

Sam Bradford & Todd McShay
Sam Bradford & Mike Mayock

Let's hope it's all combat deception

'Tis the season for lies, damn lies, innuendo, carefully nuanced leading statements, subterfuge, and outright deception. We're just over three weeks away from the 2010 NFL draft.

Most authorities believe that my Rams are going to take Sam Bradford. It's not without cause. Devaney seems to be giving them significant reasons to think so. Let's hope it's all combat deception.

Do you remember last year's draft? The Rams were doing everything possible to trade out of the #2 spot. We needed more help than that. As history now proves, the Jets were angling to move up in the draft and select a QB; Mark Sanchez to be more precise. He is now in a Jets uniform, so there is your proof. We were talking deal with the Jets from early on. As the march to the draft wore on, the Jets became increasingly confident that Sanchez would not be selected between #2 and #5. Ergo, there was no need to pay through the nose for the #2 pick.

The Jets began talking deal with the Browns. The Rams signaled that they would not be undersold. The Jets still lacked interest. The #2 pick gets a lot more cash than the #5 pick, especially if he just happens to be a QB.

In a last gasp move to salvage the deal, the Rams brought Mark Sanchez to St. Louis, burning one of our 30 official visits, and giving him a royal welcome. We began signalling that we would take Sanchez. The Jets smelled bullshit. They just didn't believe it. We had insisted that Bulger would be our starter in 2010, even to the point where Coach Spagnuolo met with Marc and gave him a personal guarantee of his status. Frankly, it was too late in the process to begin running the deception play. If we had wanted to do that successfully, we should have begun early, and signaled often that we were in the mood for a QB.

Guess what? This just might be what we are doing in 2010. Consider the following:
  • Marc Bulger cleaned out his locker almost 2 months ago.
  • We have not resigned Kyle Boller
  • We signed A.J. Feely, and he is no starter.
  • We still have Keith Null, but few NFL insiders yet view him as anything significant. They could be wrong, but has no standing at the moment.
  • We have met extensively with Sam Bradford
  • We interviewed his Doctor
  • We have opened negotiations with his agent
  • We will be at Bradford's ProDay today
  • We will host him in St. Louis soon
  • All of the NFL Insiders such as Schefter, La Canfora, Chris Mortensen, Alex Marvez and John Clayton seem certain we are taking Bradford
  • All of draftnics like Mike Mayock, Mike Lombardi, Charles Davis, Bucky Brooks, Corey Chavous, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr think we are taking Bradford
  • Cleveland is rumored to be interested in Bradford. In fact this is more than a rumor, we have heard it right from Mike Holmgren's mouth. He has also stated he is willing to work a draft deal to move up and take Bradford.
  • Washington is rumored to be interested in Bradford, although they are playing their cards close to their chest.
  • Billy Devaney has been video taped on the NFL Network stating that he would love to deal the #1 pick and restock the team quicker.
So you put Devaney and Holmgren on the phone together and watch them make sweet music together. But all of this predicated on the strong strategic probability that the Rams will be selecting Bradford. If there is no credible threat that we will select Bradford, there is no need to negotiate with the Rams for Bradford. Allow the Rams to take Gerald McCoy, and consider making a deal with Tampa. It would be cheaper to go that route. If neither the Redskins nor the Browns believe the Rams are selecting Bradford, the deal falls apart.

I hope and I pray that this is just a case where Devaney began his deception ploy early enough for it work. I hope and I pray he is sending one false signal after another to prod Holmgren into make a deal. We don't have to make it that expensive for Holmgren either. Of course, it would be lovely if Shanahan shows some interest as well. This would heat the market, increasing the chance of a sale.

So what if the Rams make a deal with the Browns and get a 1-2, or even a 1-2-3. Well, I'll restate the program again. If we get a 1-2 from the Browns we will hold the #7, #33, #38 picks. If it were my call, I would do the following:
  • #7 Trent Williams OT Oklahoma
  • #33 Maurkice Pouncey C/G Florida
  • #38 Tim Tebow QB Florida
That would be my call. If you take Williams, and if Pouncey falls to us in the 2nd, I think we just got the two best offensive linemen in this entire draft. When history is written, I think these two guys will become the two most decorated offensive linemen from this draft. You add those two solid rookies to our existing two solid linement (Jason Brown and Jason Smith) and then our offensive line problems suddenly evaporate. Now we have a solid line for both Steve Jackson and a rookie QB.

You know what I think about Tebow.

So why Tebow and not Bradford? Toughness. Recently, I heard Charley Casserly declare that the most under-rated attribute of a championship QB is physical and mental toughness. The quarterback gets hit on every play. He has to be able to take that beating without sustaining massive injuries, or loosing his confidence.

For any fan of the Rams, the significance and power of that point cannot be overstated. You know why this is important.

So let's hope this is all combat deception, or we are in for a lot of trouble. In my minds eye, I can clearly see Bradford behind Jason Brown against the 49ers. Mike Singletary loads the cannons and sends a maximum blitz over our left side. Alex Barron misses his block completely, as he so often does. Bradford is crushed from the blindside, and driven down on his surgically repaired shoulder. He has another 3rd degree sprain of the Acromo-Clavicular join with 3 torn ligaments. That's all she wrote: That is the end of the 2010 campaign. See you next year folks.

However, we should be prepared for Devaney to carry out the fake to the ultimate limit, perhaps even selecting Bradford on Thursday evening, just to turn around and pull an Eli Manning job. That's what it just might take to flush Cleveland and Washington out of the woods and make one make a deal.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It was good to see Torry Holt on NFL Total Access last night

Torry Holt made a guest appearance on NFL Total Access over the course of the past two days, perhaps trying out for a new position he may eventually take. I sure hope we resign him in St. Louis. We need him. I don't understand why we released him in the first place, and it is not as if we have an abundance of weapons to work with offensively. Politics will probably keep him from rejoining the team, but I would take him back in a heart beat if I was the GM.

The most interesting feature of Torry's appearance was his Mock Draft. I had no idea that Torry was a draftnick to any degree whatsoever. It turns out that the two of us saw eye-to-eye on all points except one or two. What were these points:
  1. The Rams should not and will not select a QB with the #1 pick.
  2. Holt says we will select Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma, not Sam Bradford of Oklahoma.
  3. McCoy will be the selection because coach Spagnuolo is a defensive coordinator at heart, and wants to improve the speed of the DL.
  4. Holt is concerned about the double injury and surgical repair of Bradford's throwing shoulder
  5. Holt clearly stated that the Rams offensive line does not do a good job of protecting the QB, and putting and injury prone rookie behind that line is very bad idea.
  6. Holt did not have any Quarterback going in the top 10 picks in this year's draft.
  7. When called on this point, Holt answered that he did not believe either of the two candidates were worthy of being drafted in the top 10.
  8. When Fran Charles pressed him on the question of the Rams selecting a QB, Torry said "Not this year."
  9. When asked who would be the quarterback in St. Louis, Holt insisted that Bulger is a fully qualified franchise quarterback. The Rams' focus should be on getting Marc his confidence back.
  10. And now for the bad one... Torry said that if he were going to draft a QB #1 overall, it would not be Bradford, but Clausen.
Egads no! I would let Torry draft if he were planning to take Gerald McCoy but I would jerk the rains in if he were going to reach for Clausen. No, no, no, no to Clausen. This is the one point where Torry and I really part company.

I considered Torry's words carefully, because it accords with some of my ruminations. I know for a fact that Coach Spags was most impressed with McCoy. He made no secret of this fact, saying so to the St. Louis press. Since this time, Ndomukong Suh has been mildly annoyed whenever the name Steve Spagnuolo comes up. I get the impression, Ndamukong Suh believes he will be passed over because Steve likes McCoy better. Torry's prediction of McCoy is in-line with Spagnuolo's thinking. If there is a risk here, it lies only in the bet that Spagnuolo will have his way. Certainly, both Mike Mayock and Charlie Casserly believe McCoy is better that Suh. I am in the uncomfortable position of concurring with Mel Kiper Jr's take. I like Suh.

Certainly, I will not be pissed off if we take McCoy. Rather, I will be entirely relieved. I believe Chris Long & Adam Carriker will prosper next to McCoy. That is important to me. I haven't said much about Gerald McCoy, but I do believe he is totally worthy candidate. McCoy has no real history of injuries, as do Suh and Bradford, and he is a performer.

If I am skeptical of McCoy, it's only because he has been in an attack scheme at Oklahoma. He has been told to shoot the gaps on every play. They ordered him to penetrate the backfield with abandon. Ergo McCoy looks like the more disruptive force. Put McCoy in a conservative scheme like Nebraska, and he won't look like that massively disruptive force. Remember, I know little something about this. I am a nose tackle. I believe Suh can shoot the gaps and be a disruptive force just like McCoy. Suh has had the disadvantage of coming from a sit-and-read scheme at Nebraska. Suh has not been allowed to penetrate and disrupt on every play. However, this is no big deal. All you have to do is tell Suh to attack and he will do what McCoy does. Maybe even a little bit more.

What are the odds that all teams in the top 10 pass on a QB? I would say slim and none. If Bradford falls to the Redskins, I find it difficult to believe they will pass. If Bradford falls to the Browns, I find it almost impossible to believe they will pass. If Bradford falls to the Bills, I think there is no doubt they will take him. It is possible that the Rams and Skins will pass, but after that, I think Bradford goes off the board to Cleveland.

I do think Clausen will fall out of the top 10... if any of these teams know what's good for them... which is unlikely. Regrettably, I could see the Bills wasting more years on Clausen. That would be unfortunate. I don't like that idea at all.

But I have evaded the key question: Will the Rams pass on Sam Bradford. I really hope so. This is nothing against Sam Bradford. As I have said many times, I think he is a terrific kid with a bright future ahead of him... as long as he has a steel reinforced concrete offensive line. This line does not exist in St. Louis. We are not ready to select a starting rookie QB. We need to go for a QB in a lower round, and develop him for year or two, until the line is read. You know who I am talking about.

What then are the Rams doing interviewing Bradford, Clausen, McCoy and Suh? Why does the entire organization signal Bradford? I have ruminated on this many, many hours. I think think the answer is three fold.
  1. Has the organization signaled Bradford? Not precisely. They are seriously evaluating him, but there has been no super-provocative move, other than skipping Florida's ProDay. That was provocative, but not super-provocative. What you have is a case where a lot of media experts are signalling Bradford.
  2. By interviewing all four, and opening preliminary negotiations with all four, the Rams may be attempting to drive a certain kind of a bidding war. They may be trying to find out which player will sign the cheapest. Good luck with this. You may save a milion, or two. You may also still windup spending $60m.
  3. By allowing the speculation on Bradford, and by hearting it up a bid, the Rams may be igniting a match under Holmgren & Shanahan's asses. They may yet smoke out an interest in Sam Bradford and force a trade. Holmgren has already told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he is inclined to make a trade to obtain Sam Bradford.
Anyhow, that is my two cents. Torry Holt's prediction that the Rams will select McCoy is solid. It could happen. We might even select McCoy and McCoy, going for two real McCoys in two rounds. It could happen.

The remarkable foolishness of the Philly fans

Donovan McNabb rumors were all the rage last night on ESPN & the NFL Network. A full consideration of these rumors will lead you to a very humorous new understanding semi-spoiled, semi-desperate, and not too technically astute football fans. Before continuing on with the facts let me qualify my last statement:
  • The Eagle fans are semi-spoiled because the Eagles have been consistent winners in one of the toughest divisions in football for the past 9 seasons. During this time, they gone to the NFC title game 5 times, and to the Super Bowl once.
  • The Eagle fans are semi-desperate because they do not believe these quality years will continue for much longer before the wheels fall off the bus. They maintain that Donovan McNabb is the absolute limiting factor holding this team back. They are anxious to transition now, and take a shot at the Super Bowl now, before the quality years end.
  • The Eagle fans are not particularly astute. They don't seem to realize that Andy Reid managed a pretty remarkable makeover of the Eagle offense during the past two drafts. The defense needs some work in this draft, but the Eagles are well set for some time to come. I do not see their quality years ending soon... unless they do something stupid.
  • If the Eagle fans were a bit more astute, they would realize that the Eagles took a step back in 2009 because of the death of Jim Johnson, and the loss of Dawkins. The defense was the problem in 2009.
So where is the humor in this story? There isn't much if you are Donovan McNabb, however, if you are a marginally disinterested party, this story is a funny tale of irrationality and incoherence mixed with sports passion. Consider the logic of the following set of propositions:
  1. The Eagle fans are desperate to unload McNabb
  2. Yet they are desperate to get something for him before they 'waste' another year
  3. They also do not want to allow him to walk away without any compensation for the team
  4. They have embraced the fabricated rumor that the Rams will deal them the #33 pick and O.J. Otogwe for McNabb.
  5. Yet Otogwe is not currently under contract by the Rams and cannot be traded.
  6. Since Otogwe is not under contract by the Rams, the Eagles could simply sign him (at a price the Rams won't match) and Otogwe would be an Eagle
Implicit within statements #1 and #2 is the theory that McNabb is an impediment, and he must be disposed of. This would suggest that McNabb is a negative, and yet the Eagles want considerable compensation for him. This is declared in point #3. I find these three propositions contradictory, taken together.

Point #4 is confounded by the actual facts of life. The Rams are not negotiating for McNabb's services, period. This has been confirmed by NFL insiders such as Adam Schefter and Jason La Canfora; not to mention Steve Spagnuolo & Billy Devaney. League sources declare that only the Eagles and Bills have made some overtures the Eagles, and shown some interest. Yet Eagle fans don't seem to care about the ESPN & NFL Network reports exploding their current pet theory. They seem to be enjoying the story they are telling each other so much, that prefer to ignore the factual reports.

Point #5 and #6 add the cherry on top of the whipped cream. Otogwe could be signed by the Eagles for the price of simple contract, so his addition brings no value at all to any trade package. This is assuming that he could be traded at the moment, which he cannot. This major error uncovers the hand of a poor liar, not well versed in NFL subterfuge. In short, this is the work of Mike Florio.

I have to say that I am enjoying the fireworks. I got big belly laughs out of recordings of Eagle fans on Philly's 97.5 FM. Mike Missanelli reminded me of Buddy Hackett in some of his funnier roles. Consider the following video footage of this joker:

What did he say?
  1. He thought the trade with the Rams had already been consummated; this according to some of the fans he talked to on the radio. {Joke}
  2. Sentiment in Philly is running 75-25 against McNabb; possibly 80-20. Eagle fans are ready to turn the page.
  3. When confronted with reports discrediting the Ram trade rumors Missanelli simply says "General Managers have been known to tell some fibs this time of year." He quickly turned his attention to his interpretation of Andy Reid's behavior.
  4. When confronted with the extension-veto that McNabb holds, Missanelli quickly denied the existence of the extension-veto, effectively saying "McNabb doesn't have much choice in the situation. I think we can get somebody to take the deal."
  5. When asked why a team would even give the Eagles compensation for a player with just one year on his contract, Missanelli first evaded the question and then finally said "Signing McNabb is the other teams problem. You gotta do what you gotta do. We need to move on with Kevin Kobb" He also tried to assert that McNabb would accept an extension in St. Louis because "he has people there", specifically Shurmer and Spagnuolo.
Oh Bouy... Where do you start deconstructing this mess?

You could start with the fact that McNabb can't accept a contract extension with the Rams because they aren't bidding or negotiating... but I won't go there.

First of all, you can immediately understand why Mike Missanelli is not a General Manager in the NFL. He would have no talent for making the deal. What is the art of the deal? Adam Smith summarized it best when he said
"It is not to the charity of the butcher or the baker that we owe our meat and bread, but rather to his regard to his own self interests."
Adam Smith taught us that you interest somebody in an economic transaction by appealing to his/her most base economic interests. You have to find truly interested parties in the market. You have to point out why your item for sale will delight the customer. You have to explain why this transaction would be absolutely fantastic for the buyer. You have to take on all obvious objections and show why there is no negative downside to the transaction, for the buyer, not for you. Did Missanelli do that? Nah, hell nah.
  • The whole sales pitch rings of me, me, me. The Eagle fans want what's best for them, and screw the other side of the transaction.
  • In working the Ram rumors, the Eagle fans fail to identify a truly interested party.
  • By saying "we want to unload him, you take him" you are asking for a favor, you're not interesting a customer in doing a deal.
  • All of the Philly fans, including Mike Missanelli, have deprecated this trade deal by deprecating McNabb.
  • You will hardly overcome objections, and void negatives by saying something like "signing him is your problem. You gotta do what you've gotta do."
During the whole conversation, Missanelli never once grasped the point that Fran Charles was making: Your deal is next to impossible because McNabb holds defacto veto power. It was zeal for the deal that did it. He's so anxious to move on, he doesn't want to hear any spoilers. To be a GM in the league, not a fan, you need to be an ultra-realist. You need to grapple hard with all possible spoilers and come up with a sound solution.

Mike Missanelli is basically saying "Here is a choke-artist QB with 11 years in the league. You pay him the last year on his current contract, and give us a pick between #20 and #33 for it. If it is #33, we want a sweetener." That's one hell of a lousy sales pitch if you ask me. You can't even sell a Sham Wow or Slap Chop in that style.

It is human to be extremely myopic and selfish. This is one of the humorous moments in this story.

If I step back and look at this scene from 20,000 feet, what do I think?
  1. There is some merit in the Eagles fans claims. McNabb has come up small in some big places. His performance against top-end competition in the biggest venues has not been a model of excellence.
  2. On the other hand, McNabb hasn't always had play makers around him, and it hasn't always been his fault. The Eagles lost the NFC Championship last time because the Eagle defense could not stop the Cardinals on their clock-killing and game winning drive. There was also a questionable non-call on a pass interference play.
  3. McNabb does hold a pocket-veto power in this case. It may not look like it at first glance, but his refusal to sign an extension can spoil and beak any deal.
  4. It sucks to be Donovan McNabb. Can you imagine toiling for 12 years (and it will be 12 years before he walks as a free agent), walking out the door unceremoniously as a free agent, holding all the Eagle records, having had a hell of winning record in Philly, and being this poorly regarded for your efforts? Can you imagine retiring after having your body broken in Philly, and being this unappreciated for it. It sucks to be McNabb.
One more point: Just as I was about to hit the Publish Post button, I discovered this little gem.

It would appear that McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith has been given no reason to believe that a trade is immanent. Since any trade would likely require a contract extension, you can bet Fletcher Smith will be on board from the ground floor. I would say that this information should just about finish this inane conversation, but of course you know it will not.

This has more to do with the desire of frustrated Eagles fans than football facts and reality.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mike Florio, the lowest scumbag in sports journalism

Mike Florio is liar. I'm not just talking about any kind of a liar either. I am talking about a liar for hire. I am talking about goddamnable liar. I'm talking about a fork-tonged lying asshole. I'm talking about a guy who manufactures false sports stories and publishes them because he knows he can get a rise out of the fans. His street cred is 0.000. I mean to tell you that he has no street-cred at all. He is certainly the child-product of pair of alcoholics, as he lies when it would be easier to tell the truth.

Regrettably, Mike Florio's handers at NBC sports are complicit in the deception. Florio's lies makes great copy, and good money. They increase traffic and interest in the NFL during off-peak periods, such during the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament. Mike is good for business, goddamnable liar though he may be.

I have done a bit of research over the course of the past 8 or 9 hours, and it seems more and more abundantly clear that most of false Donovan McNabb trade rumors propgated over the past 4 years have erupted from one geyser of lies and deception: Mike Florio and We should note that Donovan McNabb has been the subject of 1,000 trade rumors over the past 4 years. All Donovan McNabb trade rumors have been proven false. McNabb has played for Philly and nobody else but Philly for the past 4 years. Ergo the reports of an immanent trade have always been false.

So far, Florio is 0-for-6 in trade rumors regarding McNabb in the year 2010. He's already floated the St. Louis lie twice, and both Devaney and Spagnuolo have done everything short of falling him a fool. Consider the last lie Florio told: McNabb was going to St. Louis in exchange for the #33 pick and O.J. Atogwe.

Anybody who knows the Rams, and some of the basic bylaws of the NFL, instantly knew that this report is a bloody lie. Atogwe is not under contract at the moment. He is a restricted free agent. He has not signed his tender. This means the Rams do not have him under contract in any way. According to the NFL bylaws, you cannot trade a player who is not under contract. Why? Because you don't trade in human flesh, as in slavery, you trade contracts. If you don't have a contract to trade, you can't trade a contract. Does this make sense to you? I hope it does.

A simple knowledge of the facts exposes the latest Florio lie as the invented falsehood it is.

Does Florio understand the bylaws of the league regarding trades? Does Florio even care? If he does, it doesn't show. He wanted to float the rumor anyway.

Interestingly enough, while researching the history of false reports from Florio, I stumbled upon this underground gem. Florio reported that before the Wonderlic test at the 2010 NFL Combine, Tim Tebow asked the players to bow their heads and pray for God's blessings in taking the test. Florio reported that one unnamed player told Tebow to "Shut the fuck up." Of course, this is a fairly sensational rumor for anybody who doesn't like Tebow's evangelical fire.

There's only one problem with the report: The events never happened. Tebow never asked players to bow their heads and pray. Nobody had the opportunity to tell him to "Shut the fuck up." So far, every player tested that day has manifested a quizzical look when asked about these events. We're even having some trouble confirming that the players take the Wonderlic in class room groups. One report maintains that players take the test in private booths on computers.

Still, Florio draws the inference that these events show the difficulties and resistance Tebow may encounter on the next level. What events? The events never happened. It is interesting that most mainstream sports authorities chose not to report this story. They knew it was sketchy at best. They would have known about it before Florio, had the events actually taken place.

Why Florio is not a pariah inside the sports journalism community, I will never understand. When this fraud clearly invents stories ex nillo and reports them as fact, how can you treat this guy as a fellow-journalist?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh, so now McNabb is headed to St. Louis again?

After being headed to Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo, Minnesota, and parts unknown, it appears that Donovan McNabb is headed back to St. Louis.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Mike Florio's street-cred is 0.0000. He is on the floor. We now believe that anything he says regarding this matter is far more likely to be invented bullshit than substantive rumor. Same thing for the rest of the media. Mike, you need to quit. Just pack up and leave your job. Take up Amish Farming. Your invention and manufacture of McNabb trade-rumors has utterly destroyed your credibility as a journalist. Your situation is beyond repair. Just pack it in and call it quits before they toss you out.

This should serve as a warning to Steve Wyche and Jason La Canfora who like to dabble in these inventions and fabrications as well.

I will say this again also; The three biggest lies in the world are:
  • The check is in the mail
  • Donovan McNabb is about to be traded
  • I promise not to cum in your mouth
I can't wait for opening day 2010. When Donovan McNabb takes his position under the Eagles' center, I am going to unload on all you faggots. You are going to take the biggest ass-whipping of your entire lives. You can take it anyway you want to take. You can kick and scream. You can take it with dignity, but come hell or high water you are going to take it.

Lazy scouts and overworked scouts

By now, you all have identified some of the recurring themes on my blog this draft season:
  1. Few men are qualified to evaluate the QB position
  2. Fewer still are qualified to coach the QB
  3. Most QBs selected in the 1st round don't make it.
  4. Draft a QB #1 overall and you will have 5 wretched years if he goes bust
  5. Scouts mis-evaluate QBs all the time.
  6. If you are a team in need of QB, and thinking about drafting him in the 1st, you better not pay any attention to the Scouts.
  7. This goes double for you if you are thinking about making him the #1 pick
  8. Mayock is pretty reliable; Kiper is not.
  9. Clausen is over-rated, Tebow is under-rated.
With all this in mind, I had a very interesting conversation with an associate of Steve Rosenbloom. He shed some very interesting light on this subject. What did he tell me?
  1. Most teams don't have nearly enough scouts on staff. This is particularly true of the small market teams. Small market teams run on small budgets, and they cut corners in scouting
  2. Not coincidentally, these are your bad drafting teams. These are the teams suffering from poor draft productivity.
  3. Under Steve Rosenbloom, the Rams had lots of scouts; between 5 and 10 usually. Not coincidentally, the Rams drafted extremely well, getting guys like Jackie Slater in the 3rd round and Dough Smith for free.
  4. Nowadays, the Rams don't have many scouts on staff. Some coaches are asked do double duty as draft scouts. This is not the normal coaching consult, where position coaches are asked what they think of key prospects. Rather, position coaches are asked to identify key prospects. Not coincidentally, our drafts stink.
  5. Some small-market teams, such as the Bengals, are notorious for having just one full-time professional scout. That is all. My buddy doesn't know how many scouts the Rams currently have on staff, but he bets it's just one or two.
  6. When you have only one scout on staff, and when he you have many positions of need, you are in trouble. This is sure-fire recipe for an over-worked scout, one who cuts corners and misses thing.
  7. One of the 'efficiency' tricks over-worked scouts like to employ is avoid looking at anything else but a draft-candidate's last season in college. If the player was a 3 or 4 year starter, 2 or 3 years of game film will be dismissed summarily. Only the 'senior' year will be examined closely.
  8. Overworked scouts don't watch college games per se. Rather, they watch breakdown tapes.
There you have it folks! This is the parsimonious explanation for the current rankings of Clausen and Tebow. Everything you need to know to understand their relative positions in this year's draft can be found at point 7 and 8.

If you watch 3 years of complete Notre Dame games, not breakdown tapes, you are not going to be that impressed with Clausen. If you watch 4 years of Florida games, not breakdown tapes, you cannot help but be impressed with Tebow.

To put a very fine point on it for you: Clausen didn't do anything until 2009. You wouldn't know that if you skipped 2007 and 2008 in the name of efficiency. If you only watched Tebow's 2009 film, I can understand why you might not be in love with him. In 2009 Florida had very few weapons to compliment Tebow. Tebow dragged a poor offense to the goal-line with a lot of option running. Such was not the case in 2007 and 2008. Of course, you would never know that if you skipped 2007 and 2008.

Simply stated, many scouts have not seen the good Tebow and the bad Clausen. They are making an imbalanced decision based on one year of break-down tapes.

One of the biggest reasons why I am a Tebow booster and Clausen detractor has to do with the way they handle red-line, balls to the wall situations against big-time competition. As far as I know, breakdown tapes don't give you much of any information about down, distance, quarter, score. They don't tell you if this is the key possession of the game or not. They don't tell you if the game is on the line on a certain play.

If you want to see the good Tebow, you need to watch the 3rd and 4th quarter of the BCS Championship Game 2009. You will see Tebow making clutch play after clutch play with the championship game on the line. He did this against a powerful opponent in Oklahoma. You will see Tebow make tough throws into tight windows. He hits his receivers on the money.

You'll see Maurkice Pouncey controlling Gerald McCoy also.

I dare anybody to find me such a piece of footage for Clausen.

Of course, you won't know any of this if you are just one little 'ol scout watching breakdown tables of the 2009 season only.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I think the new overtime rules stink

I got word a couple of hours ago that the NFL has adopted the proposed rule changes for overtime. So what is the skinny?
  • These rule changes impact the playoffs only.
  • Regular season ties will still be broken by sudden death overtime.
  • Under the new rules, if I win the coin toss and score a touchdown, I win. Sudden death.
  • Under the new rules, if I win the coin toss and kick a field goal, I don't win. You get a chance.
  • Under the new rules, if I loose the coin toss, and bust your ass for a safety... er... nobody seems to known what happens then.
How dare you try to win the game by kicking a field goal in overtime! If you want to win that way, you better do it in regulation clock time.

This is a fucking stupid change. It has been implemented because some sore looser in the NFL Marketing department did not like the outcome of the NFC Championship game. He did not get the storyline he wanted with Brett Favre.

Either harmonize the rules between College and Pro, or leave the sudden death system in place. Either we go to a system of baseball innings as in college football, or you cannot claim you gave both teams a chance. Of course, you will complain about your bloody 3 hour window, but I don't give a damn about the 3 hour window. If you do, go ahead and leave the current system in place.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mike Holmgren and Tim Tebow

The echos of the Brady Quinn-dump are echoing and reverberating around the league. Mike Holmgren effectively told the league he couldn't work with Brady Quinn. That is saying an awful lot. Holmgren suffered Brett Favre for awhile before he became a good QB. As Jamie Dukes put it, Mike Holmgren is known as one of the premier QB developers in this league. Yet Holmgren has effectively told the league he sees no value in Quinn at all.

This is a guy who knows QB-flesh when he sees it. Holmgren's reputation is well earned. In fact he may be under-rated. Consider this:
  1. He learned his craft under Bill Walsh, perhaps the most revered QB developer ever.
  2. He had a hand in Joe Montana's development.
  3. He developed Steve Young
  4. He developed Steve Bono
  5. He developed Brett Favre
  6. He developed Mark Brunell
  7. He developed Matt Hasselbeck
Bono is the only guy on that list who didn't make it to the ProBowl. He had a rep for being a super-sub though, so he wasn't bad. Note the fact that he has 2 guys in the Hall of Fame, and one more headed for the Hall of Fame. That is three Hall of Fame QBs on one resume. That is shocking.

Oh yeah! Kurt Warner also passed through town in Green Bay back in 1995. Do you remember that? He couldn't get a slot on that near-championship team because Favre and Brunell were already there. Wow...

When you consider Holmgren's credentials carefully, you have to acknowledge that this probably the best QB man alive in the world today. What is Holmgren thinking about Jimmy Clausen? well you can read about it in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Here are a couple of plain interpretations of this statement:

I concur with the summary given in both of those pieces. Holmgren is saying that Clausen in not worth the high pick he is likely to become. He would not take him that high. Why should he? Quinn and Clausen are two peas from the same pod. They came out the same school, the same coaching, and the same offensive system. Unfortunately for Clausen, Quinn seemed to have a better athletic endowment, and a better TD/INT ratio. Quinn looked like the better candidate coming out of college. Having just flushed the better looking bowl of water, why go back to the same well for more?

So what does Holmgren intend to do? He is not going to select a QB in the first couple of rounds. He will draft in the 3rd round or later. He also plans to host Tim Tebow in Cleveland, and he is admitting that he likes Tebow. A simple inference from these facts is as follows: Holmgren will take Tebow in the 3rd if he can get him.

Now wouldn't this just fit the pattern? A mobile, athletic, strong armed competitor who is raw as hell. Isn't that what Holmgren likes? Does that sound like Steve Young, Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and Matt Hasselbeck? Yes it does. Like Young and Brunell, Tebow is a southpaw.

There has already been talk about this on the NFL Network's Path to the Draft. Jamie Dukes was the only guy to cast doubt on the scenario, as it would force Holmgren to come out of his President's booth and do some coaching. Now do you think that is really a problem? Don't you think Holmgren would love do it again? Just one more time? Especially given a dazzling candidate like Tim Tebow, arguably the best college football player of all time? I don't believe Holmgren is a guy who wants to take his hand out of the soil.

Suppose Holmgren knows championship metal when he sees it. What would developing Tim Tebow into an All-Pro QB do for his reputation? Here is a kid labeled as a non-NFL QB by many. Turning 'lead' into 'gold' one more time would pretty well cement Holmgren's reputation as a Hall of Fame caliber QB developer. Yet Holmgren may well know the facts ain't that bad. He probably knows the job isn't that big, especially give a driven student. Of course, it's easier when the kid is made out of gold in the first place.

Suppose this scenario comes to pass? Don't you think this would validate everything I have been telling you about the false system of QB evaluation we are currently using in the NFL draft? Suppose Tebow were to hit big under Homgren's tutelage? What would this tell you about how we evaluate and develop QBs?

So if Mike Holmgren is smart enough to figure all this out by his lonesome, why aren't my Rams?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Is Pat Shurmer the root of all evil?

  • We have established that only 33% of all QBs drafted in the 1st round succeed in the NFL.
  • We have established that selecting a rookie QB #1 overall, and subsequently going bust, will cost you 5 lost years of franchise history. It usually results in the firing of a head coach and a GM as well.
  • We have established that the Rams line, as currently constituted, has only 2 of 5 slots well filled. Therefore we are 40% functional at best.
  • We have established that the Rams have only a single NFL capable receiver in Donnie Avery. We believe it is his destiny to become a #2 receiver behind some player to identified later.
  • We have established that Marc Bulger failed due to his fragile body, and poor protection behind a bad offensive line.
  • We have established that Sam Bradford has his history of injury, including a broken left hand {view his Heisman photos} and a surgically repaired right shoulder.
  • The facts speak plainly that the West Coast Offense has been an abject travesty in St. Louis. In 2010, the Rams were the worst offensive football team in the NFL, scoring only 10.9 points per game. That is 32 out of 32.
  • We have established that the West Coast Offense is an outdated and outmoded scheme, easily countered by the deployment of the Bellichick Box.
It seems manifestly obvious to me that the Rams are preparing to move forward in the following direction.
  1. Select Sam Bradford #1
  2. Continue with Pat Shurmer in the Offensive Coordinator slot
  3. Continue to work with the Faux West Coast offense.
  4. Do little or nothing about our offensive line woes, pretending that the line--as constituted now--will be solid. Oh, ghee! I forgot about Fralley!
Folks, I am going to be brutally honest with you: This plan is absolute rubbish. To borrow a phrase from my English buddies: This is fucking bollocks mate! Our line, as constituted now is rubbish. If we put Sam Bradford behind this rubbish line, in the shark tank, with just one #2 receiver to throw too, he is extremely likely to become a medical bust. At best, he will become another Jim Plunkett story, going somewhere else to win, after the Rams give up on him.

So why the hell are we going to follow this plan of action? Why have we not abandoned the preposterous plan to implement the West Coast, which has been a persistent failure for some 4 years now? Why have we not fired Pat Shurmer? Why have we not headed in a more modern and aggressive passing direction?
  1. Bill Devaney spoke several times on the NFL Network before and after the draft last year. He basically telegraphed the plan for 2009, saying it was no secret that Steven Jackson is our best player. The objective is to build around him.
  2. Perhaps Devaney ordered Pat Shurmer to call runs on 1st, run on 2nd down, and pass only on 3rd down {when necessary}. What ever the case was, the result was the most predictable, boring, lifeless, lowest-scoring, least effective offenses the NFL has ever seen.
  3. All defensive coordinators who played against us diagnosed our simplest of all pattern inside of 4 minutes of game film. I had a hunch they were laughing like hell at us during the games.
  4. Perhaps Shurmer survived because he did as he was ordered to do, and because he could always complain that he had no viable QB on the Roster.
  5. So now Shurmer is going to be given his reward for being patient, and doing as he was told. The Rams are going to select the top passer in the draft, and give Pat the kid he wants to construct our West Coast passing attack around.
But what about the fact that this plan is flawed from its inception point? What about the fact that the West Coast is outdated? What about the fact that we don't have an offensive line? What about the fact that we are replacing one fragile passer with another fragile passer? What about the fact that we have only one WR?

When I hear a guy like Rod Woodson tell the world that we have most of the other pieces in place, we just need a QB to build around, I know for a fact he has not been watching Ram games. I don't blame him. Why should he? Clearly he is wrong. We are poorly prepared to draft a QB such as Sam Bradford.

They say insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is precisely what the Rams are doing. If this all ends in tears, as I suspect it will, I think the new owner of the Rams is going turn over the entire cadre and start over again. We will have 5 lost years, and our next launch window will occur in 2015.

So now for the title...

Is Pat Shurmer the root of all evil? Probably not, but he is the Queen on the Chess board. Taking him off the board will break the current gambit and send the game in another direction. This is as it should be. Replacing Shurmer with Mike Leach, trading for Vick, and drafting Tebow would be the first, best and most modern gambit, sending us in a direction sure to give NFL Defensive Coordinators fits.

In the final analysis, I think the Rams are about to make a set of very dumb moves, with the appause of ESPN ringing in their ears. It will all end in tears, and all the so-called experts will act surprised, saying things like "who thought that plan would go wrong?" That same crew will act shocked when Tebow succeeds big time with the Steelers.

Why? Why? Why? Why can't they see this is the wrong direction? Ultimately it is because there are a collection of stupid biases in the NFL regarding what systems and approaches work, and what doesn't work. There are a number of stupid biases about what kind of college player makes it at the QB position and what kind of player does not. Regrettably, NFL teams are run by a collection of older men who are set in their biases and their ways. They are not open to the proposition that they can be wrong. They don't believe the dogma can be wrong.

Ultimately, this stupid and biased stodginess causes a 33% rate of success among 1st round quarterbacks. We mis-evaluate a lot of prospects on the basis of these biases. It also causes gems to be completely overlooked. I am coming to the conclusion that my team is going to be the stodgy & stupid bias team in this year's NFL Draft.

I'm warning you: the current plan is going to end in tears. There are too many predictable points of failure in this strategy for it to work out well. The new owner is going to flush the toilet.

Ultimately, nobody will be happier than me if I am wrong. If Sam turns out to be the new Dan Fouts and 1 better than Warner, I will gladly confess I was wrong. I just don't think that will happen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sam Bradford is the reincarnation of Jim Thorpe

Alright, you guys know I like to joke around. Every now and again I drop a zinger on you, like Aaron Rodgers in the bastard son of Jeff Hostetler, or Jim Caviezel and Kurt Warner are twins separated at birth. So nobody get mad at me.

This time I have outdone myself. This is the masterpiece. Sam Bradford is the reincarnation of Jim Thorpe. Consider the stunning photographic evidence. Consider the fact that they are both products of Oklahoma. Consider that Jim Thorpe and Sam Bradford are both of Native American and European American descent. Jim was a member of the Sac and Fox tribe. Sam is on the Rollcall of the Cherokee Nation. Thorpe was a multisport star, running in the Olympics, playing football and baseball. Sam is a multisport star, playing football, basketball and Golf.

Obviously, Sam-Jim's soul has a special affinity for this part of the world and for sports. This discovery should strengthen Sam's draft prospects in April.

In other Bradford draft news, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Rams' General Manager Billy Devaney and Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmer flew to Florida [yep Florida] to meet with Sam Bradford. Evidently, he has been training and rehabbing in Pensecola since his surgery. In this meeting, the three talked football, not reincarnation. They also met with famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James R. Andrews regarding Sam's surgery.

So, in summary, Devaney can fly to Pensecola to meet with Sam Bradford, but he cannot attend the University of Florida ProDay. Now what does that tell you about his mindset for this draft?

So what if we get Bradford? What then?

Slowly, degree by degree, I am growing used to the notion that the Rams will select Sam Bradford. I don't like the plan. I think it involves to many predictable, known points of failure to be considered a rational or reliably plan. Nevertheless, whether I like it or not, I am starting to believe Devaney will go this way.

Suppose the die is cast and we will selected Sam Bradford #1 in the draft? What then?
  1. We better sign Bobby Williams of the Bengals. What is the hold up here? His negotiations with the Bengals are in a stalemate position. Let's swoop in and get him.
  2. Our 2nd round pick has to be Maurkice Pouncy of Florida. We will need interior linemen. Given Williams, Pouncy and Brown, we should be good through the mid range of our offensive line.
  3. Our 3rd round pick better be Dexter McCluster. Sam needs weapons and Donnie is not enough.
  4. We should consider resigning Torry Holt. I am not sure why we released him in the first place. Let's ask him back. Sam needs weapons.
Finally, we need to change our offensive philosophy. Just because Sam is the top ranked QB in the draft does not indicate that he is a perfect fit for the Faux West Coast we are currently running. We need to dump the West Coast and move on to greener pastures. I want to see us run the K-Gun offense that the Bills used to run. Let's run with the Zebra shotgun at a quicktime pace. This will maximize Sam's comfort level, and give us a legit threat of a passing game.

For those who do not yet know it, I do not believe in the run-first philosophy we have practiced. 1-15 disasters emerge from the run-first philosophy these days. The good teams who can pass will always outscore you in the final two minutes if you practice the smash-mouth running style. As Joe Montana often said [needling the Rams] you can't come from behind in the final two minutes by running the ball. As St. Lombardi said, a study of NFL history will show that most meaningful games are won in the last two minutes of the first half and of the second half. That is a big admission by a running guy. The law of the playoffs is now clear: You throw it or you go home.

We need to spread it out. We need to run out of the shotgun. Steven Jackson needs to take his position as the offset back. We need to run our offense at a quick-time pace. We need to rip defenses in the seams of the zone, as Sean Payton does in New Orleans. We need to do the old double post forcing a deep safety to pick his poison. We need to attack, attack, attack the way we did in 1999.

This strategy is not likely to produce a winning record in 2010, but it can get us 5 or 6 more victories than last season. A careful study of the statistics will teach us all that doubling the Rams point total from 10.9 to 21.8 is sufficient to produce an 8-8 season, possibly even 9-7 in our division. Doubling our point total has to be the absolute goal and objective of the 2010 season.

Are the Steelers worried about Ben Roethlisberger?

There is a famous saying in the NFL, according to Tiny Tom Jackson, and it goes like this.
  • One is a fluke
  • Two is a pattern
  • Three is a serious problem
This rule is applied to any series of disturbing or upsetting behavior regarding a player. The last time I heard Tom Jackson invoke this rule, he was talking about Jake Del Homme and 7+ turnover games. We all know how that story ended. Carolina handed him $12.5 million to walk out the door.

How about Ben Roethlisberger?
  • Big motorcycle accident screws up the 2006 title defenses
  • Accusations of rape in Las Vegas a few months ago, leading to a civil lawsuit.
  • Accusations of rape in Georgia, with a criminal investigation in progress.
One is a fluke. Two is a pattern. Three is a serious problem. Are we at 2 or 3?

Roethlisberger is the Steeler franchise right now. He is already the best QB in Steeler history. In terms of pure field performance, he is an underrated guy, not an overrated guy. He also happens to be one of the highest paid player in the league. In 2008, the Steelers forked over $27.7 to Big Ben.

Most experts believe Roethlisberger will beat the rap. Rape charges are tough to prove, especially when there is a powerful defense attorney. It's even harder when there is no genetic evidence. But what if Roethlisberger looses this fight? What then? What happens to the Steelers? And what if he wins? The Steelers are not famed for appreciating this kind of behavior. Historically, the Steelers are definitely not the Raiders. They have shit-canned a lot of players for off-the-field conduct.

According to ESPN's John Clayton, the Steelers are not happy. Have a look at that video.

With this in mind, consider the fact that Mike Tomlin took a personal interest in Tim Tebow at yesterday's UF ProDay. Consider the fact that he spoke with him at some length. Consider that Tebow is known for a pattern of behavior... shall we say... quite different from Roethlisberger's. Rumor has it that Tim is saving himself for marriage, so he knows how to keep his snake in his pants. Consider that both Colin Cowherd and Herman Edwards agreed that the Steelers are showing interest in Tebow. Consider the fact that the Steelers have firm plans to host Tebow at Steeler HQ. Consider the fact that in the Super Bowl 43 highlight film, you can see Tomlin slapping Roethlisberger on the butt (after Ben's goal-line run) and say "You looked like Tim Tebow on that one!"

My, my, my... can you imagine Big Ben's reaction if the Steelers take Tebow in the 2nd round? Can you imagine the reaction on ESPN or the NFL Network? The Steelers just selected Roethlisburger in 2006 with the #11 pick. This seems to have paid off handsomely with 2 titles. Ben should be entering the absolute prime-time of his career right now. These are the choice years.

Such a move would indicate that Roethlistburger is officially on probation. Tebow won't be ready to go a year or so, but his mere presence is provocative and threatening. It suggests the Steelers are preparing to go, and would be willing to go in a different direction if Ben continues to screw up. It would light a match under his arse as well.

Certainly, it is a good thing to light a match under a veteran's ass. John Elway was re-ignited by the arrival of Tommy Maddox in 1992. Joe Montana was ignited by the arrival of Steve Young in 1987. Bobby Waterfield was ignited by the arrival of Norm Van Brocklin.

Lighting a match under Ben's ass might not be a bad idea, but if the Steelers do make this move, it means they are concerned about the future availability of Ben Roethlisburger.


Tonight on NFL Total Access, Jason La Canfora gave us the word from inside the Steelers organization. The segment began with an ominous quote from Art Rooney II, the President of the Steelers. The iron fist was veiled, but it was there. Due to our position on the calendar, the Steelers have the luxory of time. At a different position in the calandar year, the Steelers might have to do something different. At the moment, they are going to wait for the case to play out. This is the essence of the quote Art Rooney II gave to the press in Pittsburgh.

Jason La Canfora did not mince words when he reported the the position of the Steeler front office. The Steelers are outraged by this humiliating embarrassment. There are many in the front office who say that Ben has burned his last strike. If he is in the wrong place at the wrong time again, or in the presence of the wrong company when some unfortunate event occurs, or brought up on any other charges for any reason, the Steelers will shit-can Ben Roethlisburger. He will be let go.

You should have seen the look Rich Eisen's face when he heard this. He looked like Eisenhower being given the initial reports on the battle of the bulge. Shock and dismay. That was dramatic, buddy. As dramatic as anything I've seen on the NFL Network. I think it is fair to conclude that Ben Roethlisburger's career with the Steelers is on the ropes.

Of course, if convicted, he will be going away for awhile, and the NFL will suspend him indefinitely.

Kiper vs. McShay on Clausen

I just viewed a lovely video on the YouTube. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay compared their latest mock drafts. A major disagreement ensued over Jimmy Clausen. Todd is really coming up in my estimation. Although the situation was quite uncomfortable for both of them, they were willing to disagree sharply on the air.

Like me, McShay seems to believe that Clausen has the highest bust potential in the draft. He focuses on maturity, which is another way of saying he is a true junior, and too young to be in this situation. He also focuses on the fact that Notre Dame has not produced a QB in a very long time. We just had that very same discussion in 2007 over Brady Quinn. The Quinn story just reached a major negative milestone. Teams would be crazy to ignore this outcome.

As always, Kiper continues to propound the notion that Clausen is the most NFL ready QB in the past 5 years. Why? Quinn was drafted 3 years ago with the exact same specifications. Weren't they equally ready? We know how that story turned out.

McShay and Kiper agree that Clausen will probably go in the top 10. What they don't agree on is whether that is justified. Kiper says he should go in the top 10. McShay says he will in the top 10, but he should not. Kiper is an advocate. McShay is not.

How about if we reach for a tie-breaker? Mike Mayock says Clausen is the #2 quarterback prospect, but he doesn't really like the kid. He rates Clausen outside his top 20 prospects for this draft. He too believes that Clausen will probably go high, but he should not. He has not used the dreaded bust word, but he raises many of the same issues that McShay does. So far, Mayock does not seem to think that Clausen will go in the top 10. Neither does Charlie Casserly. You can see his Mock Draft here:

I get the impression that Clausen's stock is sagging. Kiper is doing what he can to keep it afloat, but he is ice skating uphill. The tide is going the other way. It is my impression that Mike Holmgren's all-out purgative dump of Brady Quinn has rattled the league. Jamie Dukes (one of my favorite guys) was an exponent of Clausen during the combine. Now he has gone silent. In Jamie's case, I know it was the Quinn-dump that stopped the train. Jamie was astounded that Holmgren saw no value in Brady at all.

Ad meanwhile, both Bradford and Tebow seem to be rising. Bradford doesn't have much headroom to rise before he reaches the top. It looks like he is going to get there. It looks like Tebow has silences the 5th & 6th round talk. It looks like he is going no later than the 3rd, and probably in the second. Colt McCoy keeps trucking along as a steady 2nd round pick.

It will be interesting to see who goes first: Tebow or McCoy. I would suggest Tebow, but you never know.

The Rams will be hosting Colt McCoy soon. If we should deal the #1 and go for a QB in the 2nd, it will likely be Colt McCoy. So far we have showed no interest in Tebow, save for a few web pages.

The grand sports media conspiracy and ESPN

Well, well, well... how the tide has turned for Tim Tebow this morning. Todd McShay appeared on NFL Live last night and said very flattering things about Tebow's progress. Colin Cowherd, a famed Tebow detractor, hosted Herman Edwards this morning and had a discussion about Tebow. Cowherd moderated his position extensively... With Herm Edward's help. Everyone on ESPN seems to be warming to Tebow. Mel Kiper Jr has not been heard on this subject.

All of this reminds me of grand media conspiracy I have heard about many times over the past 20 or so years. You see, the sports media needs consumer/customers. Media outlets need you every day. Big dips in interest are really bad business. It's hard to make up for the big dippers during the big spikes. If there were any strategies one might employ to even out interest to some degree, it would make a big difference to the bottom line.

Are there any such strategies? Sure. How about if we build up a super hero, and then we tear him down, and then build him up again. A larger than life figure in trouble is a compelling news story indeed. We see it all over the place. Especially if and when the kid is tremendously popular, sticking him in a rough patch will make for a compelling drama. You can produce an award winning soap opera as the kid tries to dig himself out of a hole.

So you build 'em up to tear 'em down, and tear 'em down to build 'em up.

Tebow's draft journey sure looks like it matches this profile. It looks like ESPN may well have applied one of their cookie-cutter templates for drama to Tim Tebow. Tebow was the perfect dupe for this as well. A tremendously popular kid, perceived as being too perfect, loaded with athletic ability and achievements. Fans in every one of the 32 NFL markets are campaigning for their teams to take Tebow.

Guess what folks at home? Tebow has no future. He just isn't an NFL Quarterback. Bad mechanics, comes out of the spread, he can't read a defense, and he's stupid. He's a good guy and all, but he just can't play NFL football. It's tragic really.

There is a traumatized reaction in the nation. People all over the country gasp. Fans in all 32 NFL cities look at each other in astonishment, and demand clarifications of this verdict. ESPN is happy to oblige. Just tune in. Kiper will give you the word.

Disappointed fans ask themselves if it is really true. Some lemmings go along with it. Those with age, experience, and confidence in their eyes reject Kiper's conclusions. An Internet battle of the blogs ensues. As the war heats up, ESPN's NFL team and the NFL Network do much better business than expected during this off season.

Then Tebow stumbles at the Senior Bowl. The critics become ferocious. The defense bears down. Tebow does well at the combine. Bullets are exchanged. Tebow does very well at his ProDay. NFL HQ invites Tim Tebow to come to Radio City Music Hall on draft day.

Suddenly ESPN turns around. Tebow is really an okay guy. With a year or two of development, he will find his way in the NFL. He's a developmental project, but he will be fine. Tebow got some pretty fine endorsements last night on NFL Live. Troy Aikman, Archie Manning, Bob Greise, and John Gruden all gave him ringing endorsements. It's looking good for Tebow again.

The people are relieved. We would hate to see such a great kid disappointed in life. Rejoicing begins in the nation. The 32 campaigns to draft Tebow go back to regular business.

Some very bitter college football fans who lost to Florida are extremely pissed, and write some fantastically overwrought rants. Check this one out. That one is so overheated, so over the top, it must have been designed over the course of several days or several minutes.

Anyhow... I am pretty irritated with myself. How the hell did I fall prey to such a simple diversionary ploy? At ripe old age of 43, after 30 years of observing the sports media, how did I buy into this stunt?

Because I am one those guys campaigning for my team to take Tebow, that's why. Still I should have been smarter about this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What a year a difference makes [sic]

The last time that title was true the year was 1999.

Well, Billy Devaney appeared on NFL Total access tonight, and I would be less than honest with you if I said I was thrilled by the contents thereof. I am glad he appeared. I am glad we got some information, but it was somewhat substandard.

What are the key points?
  1. When asked about Sam Bradford, Devaney said that he and everyone else in the league is waiting for March 29, 2010 so they can see Sam throw. This will be the final test. Devaney affirmed that Sam had passed all the medical examinations with flying colors. The medical reports are excellent. Sam is an impressive guy, and impressed everyone in the interview process. [No one in the general public has witnessed Sam throw since his injury occured in October of 2009 against Texas. He seemed enthusiastic, but guarded.]
  2. When asked about Ndamukong Suh vs. Gerald McCoy he said he and his staff could not tell the difference between the two. [I won't go there.] The staff is still looking for something that might create a little separation. They are slightly different in style, but equal in effect. They are high impact players, good character guys, and amazing athletes. He said, you can't go wrong with either one. Once again, Devaney was more active and alive when discussing these two DTs than he was when talking about Sam.
  3. When asked if he was open to a trade, he said that the Rams are like all teams drafting at the top: the team is open to anything. He is prepared to do anything that would help him to restock the roster faster. "Yeah, absolutely we are open to a trade."
  4. When asked how he was celebrating his St. Patrick's day, Billy said he was doing virtually nothing, outside of watching a bunch of Notre Dame tapes.
Egads! This last line scared the shit out of me. Let us hope he is evaluating Golden Tate, and Golden Tate only. Let us remember we have great needs at the WR position as well. Golden Tate is a very good prospect.

I have to be frank. I was more than horrified by the little joke. Perhaps I am taking it way too far, but at that instant I saw visions of us dropping down to #7, giving the Browns Bradford and us taking Clausen. Let us hope Washington or Seattle would save us from ourselves in such a situation.

I swear, if we draft Clausen, I am out. 30 years of Ramfandom will end at that very moment. I will not go through the next 5 failed years of this administration after this calamitous mistake.

Incidentally, there was a Ram scout at the UF ProDay. I saw him on videotape. He was no one I could recognize. Representatives from all 32 teams were present. Both Mike Tomlin and Mike Holmgren appeared to take a personal interest in Tim Tebow. I can show you Tomlin slapping Roethelisburger on the butt and telling him "You looked like Tim Tebow on that play." Why am I getting the hunch that the Steelers are going to take a shot at Tebow?

Tim Tebow 2.0 on NFL Path to the Draft

Well, well, well, sonofabitch in hell... Hehehehehehe! All the jealous losers in the SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 are really going to be upset when they view the video of today's episode of Path to the Draft on the NFL's main site.

Mike Mayock, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Path to the Draft, declared that todays proceedings were a big success for Tebow. He has made strides. His delivery is more compact and efficient. His footwork is much improved. His receivers caught every pass. Mayock conducted a strawpoll of the NFL GMs in attendance, and the consensus is that Tebow helped himself greatly. They believe he has put the conversion talk to rest, and raised his stock as a QB.

Thus spake the official mouthpiece of NFL Films concerning the draft.

For a contrarian view of today's events, you can read Pete Prisco. A senior writer at CBS Sport, Prisco took one of his most audacious stabs at Tebow yet. You can read it here. He makes it clear that he thinks Tebow won't make it in the NFL, and that he should be a 5th rounder. Even he admits that he was contradicted... er... corrected by the lone NFL GM he queried.

Charles Davis and Bucky Brooks believe Tebow has solidified his position as a 2nd round draft pick now. You shouldn't be too surprised. I am not. I've been thinking 2nd for some time now. I thought we might get a real bargain in the 3rd, but alas, the kid showed his metal. In the 2nd, he's still a bargain.

But are the Rams at all interested? There is not one sign that either Devaney or Spagnuolo were in attendance at the University of Florida's ProDay. To the contrary, they were deeply engaged in social events last night in St. Louis and thereabouts. If a Ram scout was present, it was a junior scout. At such an event last night, Devaney declared that there were four candidates who had distinguished themselves over rest of the field. Sam Bradford was the first name he mentioned.

Personally, I am shocked that the Rams high commanders were not present at the UF ProDay. This is dereliction of duty. 10 Gators may go in the first three rounds of the draft. There were a ton of candidates to see there today.

It is looking more and more like the Rams will select Bradford. The Rams have no viable QB under contract. The Eagles are asking too much for Michael Vick. The Rams have made it pretty clear that they have no intention of giving up the #33 pick for Vick's services. There are no other viable veterans who can function behind the Rams offensive line. No, Fraley doesn't change things. Starting a rookie #2 pick behind our line would be worse than starting a veteran.

Yet starting a rookie #1 overall pick, with a $70m contract, is somehow a better notion? One who has a surgically repaired right shoulder? One who is slower afoot than Tebow? I guess you are expecting the sweet motion delivery to work in 1.2 seconds flat on every play. You better be praying that no defensive lineman will take liberties.

I don't know folks... Right now Devaney's thinking eludes me. I have read blurbs where Devaney declares that he expects the Rams' OL, as it is constituted now, to be solid this year. I think he is crazy. Unless these guys simply weren't willing to work for our QBs last year [in which case we should flush them all] I don't see how the miracle will be accomplished.

Tim Tebow 2.0, no consensus

Well, I've been trolling through reports on Florida's pro day. It would appear that neither Steve Spagnuolo nor Bill Devaney were in attendance. At least there were no reports of them being in attendance. This is a very bad sign for those of us hoping the Rams will select Tim Tebow. You would think they would be present for the 2.0 presentation if they had any interest. Given the quantity of great candidates on the Gator team, I am surprised that they would skip Gainesville this year.

Who knows... perhaps the scant reports are faulty. Perhaps we will discover otherwise tonight on Path to the Draft.

In any case, there is no consensus on Tebow's new motion. Some say it still looks funky. Some say that there is improvement. Some say that he switched one hangup for another. Some say his accuracy is average. Some say he doesn't throw tight spirals. Some say he still drops his arm low when rolling out. Some quip that McShay will hate the new motion worse than the old. That's a slap on McShay, not Tebow.

Who knows. We'll have to wait until tonight for Path to the Draft. We should be able to see the footage there.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So Cleveland might want to make a deal?

Today on NFL Full Access Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer gave us the State of the Franchise on the Cleveland Browns. She said a number of things that should interest the Rams.

Specifically, Mike Holmgren is not done overhauling the QB position in Cleveland. Mary Kay asked him directly if he would use the #7 pick to select Sam Bradford or Clausen. He said he would absolutely consider using the #7 pick on a QB. She asked him if he would trade up to select Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. Holmgren said is definitely considering a trade. When pressed a little further, Holmgren stated he likes Sam Bradford a hell of a lot. No comment on Clausen. Mary Kay Cabot declared that she believes that the Browns have stockpiled picks so that they have the ammo to make such a trade on draft day.

Setting aside the Rams' goals and objectives, and considering this from the Browns' viewpoint only, this makes a lot of sense. Right now, Cleveland a veteran QB who really cannot play anymore. Yet he is a tremendous guy, and he would make a nice mentor/wet-nurse for an excellent rookie QB. The Browns also have a deep third stringer who knows your offense. The former moves make sense if you get Sam Bradford.

How can Cleveland select Bradford when they select #7? Rod Woodson declared what should be obvious to all: If Holmgren wants Bradford, he has to trade up to #1. The risk of the Rams selecting him is too great, if you are Holmgren. You know my position on this subject, but I sense that the organization's mindset has been turning since the results of the Wonderlic were released. Bill Devaney talked draft for two hours with the fans this very night at J Bucks in Clayton. Early leaks from the meet-n-greet indicate that he said nice things about Bradford.

Fans can have distorted and selective hearing. I wish we had audio tape. Before we assume that Ram fans are crying out for Bradford, I should state that most of the Ram fans I am talking to are crying out for Ndamukong Suh. Regrettably, I don't sense a strong vote for Suh inside the org. Rumor has it that coach Spags prefers McCoy. Before we shoot coach Spags, we should recognize that he knows a lot about defensive linemen. If we don't select Bradford, it will probably be Gerald McCoy. Most Ram fans will choke on that one, if it comes to pass.

Should we make a deal with the Browns? Not unless we stick a gun in their ribs and make them pay a premium. I would even be inclined to select Bradford and see if Holmgren can stand the temptation of us dangling Sam in front of his face. The problem is that Cleveland doesn't really have a lot to give us. They have #7 in the 1st. They have the #6 in the 2nd. They have 3 picks in the 3rd. Unless we get a 1-2-3 for swapping down with them, I would not do it. Isn't that a little steep? I said I want to stick a gun in their ribs.

What if we get the #7? What should we do with it? There are two names on my list Trent Williams OT Oklahoma, and Dez Bryant WR Oklahoma State. Either might be available at #7. Both would fill tremendous, dire needs.

What do we do if we get Cleveland's #6 pick in the 2nd round. This is quite conditional upon what Tim Tebow does tomorrow at Florida's ProDay. Many if not all experts seem settled on the notion that Tebow will be going in the 3rd round. Many think he should go later, but he won't. If this consensus continues up to draft day, we might be able to use both 2nd rounders to get help we need. Maurkice Pouncy of Florida looks damn good to me. Many think he will slide to #33.

What do with pick #39? if Tebow's going to go in the 3rd, we have the luxury of dealing that pick for Vick, or using it for another player. I would prefer not to give it to Philly. Who then would I draft? Of course, you could go after Colt McCoy. According to CBS Sport's Draft Central, there is a certain fellow from Cal Berkeley named Javid Best who is ranked at exactly #39. I find it difficult to believe Javid will fall to #39. I believe somebody will reach for him in the 1st, because that ranking is clearly low. However, if Javid were to fall to us at #39, we would be stupid not to take him. This is one dude with a clear shot at replacing Marshall Faulk in our lineup.

What do we do in the 3rd? You know what I would do with the first pick. How about the second? This the Dexter McCluster point for me.

How about the 4th? There is a guard from Alabama I covet named Mike Johnson. Some have him in the 3rd round. Some have him in the 4th. If he is there, I would take him with our own pick in the 4th round.

The end product of this draft pattern would look like this:
  1. #7 Dez Bryant WR Oklahoma State.
  2. #33 Maurkice Pounce C/G Florida
  3. #39 Javid Best RB Cal Berkeley
  4. #65 Tim Tebow QB Florida
  5. #71 Dexter McCluster RB/WR Ole Miss
  6. #97 Mike Johnson OG Alabama
It would take some luck to line up that draft. There are assumptions that everybody on that list slides a bit. There are reasons to believe they will. Centers and guards are not valued well in the draft. Even Jamie Dukes, who played center, says he doesn't like selecting them in the 1st round. Javid Best may be overlooked because of his injury. Tebow is getting raped by the press. McCuster is labeled as small and slow. Nobody even knows who Mike Johnson is... except me and his family members.

If we could nail that draft, we could fix almost everything that is wrong with our offense. We would have playmakers all over the place. Adding Dez Bryant and Dexter McCluster to our receiver corp would give us some threatening weapons. Javid Best is the serious lightning compared to Steve Jackson's thunder. We would still need a veteran QB to take us through 2010. This is why I would trade a conditional pick in 2011 for Michael Vick, after the 2010 draft.

Anyhow... this is all just theory. There is no guarantee that there will be a trade.