Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Final thoughts about the big four QBs in this draft

I heard Michael Lombardi denigrating Colt McCoy on a recent post-mortem edition of Path to the Draft. He seemed to think McCoy didn't have the ability to be NFL Quarterback. In particular his arm strength and accuracy just weren't great enough to be quality starter in the NFL.

Now doesn't that just beat all? I thought Lombardi was Mr. 49er. He studied at the footstool of Bill Walsh right? I though Joe Montana and Bill Walsh proved (together) that a QB with a 5 out of 10 in terms of athletic ability could be a 9.5 out of 10 as an NFL QB. Now Colt will study under Mike Holmgren, the premier QB developer in the league (the greatest student of Walsh), and Lombardi doesn't think Colt will make it? That did not compute.

Let me be the first to say it: Colt is going to do just fine in Cleveland. The people there are going to love him.

On the other hand, Lombardi, and everybody else, seems to think Clausen can be the A.P. Offensive Rookie of the year. I am not going to rehash my case against Clausen. I will simply say this: If Clausen turns out to be any kind of good NFL QB, I will walk on my surgically repaired & arthritic knees to Ravenna Italy. The women are beautiful there, I am told.

Learning to live with risk

Those reading this blog know I was never on board with the selection of Sam Bradford. I was against it all the way. To the very last instant, I was hoping for a trade announcement. Why so negative?

I felt drafting any QB #1 overall is an outrageous risk. Moreover, the natural risk is exacerbated by how poorly setup the Rams are to receive a fragile rookie QB. Our risk factors are higher than average, and average is pretty damn high already.

More specifically, I believed Sam would face the same fate as Marc did before him. Marc wasn't a bad guy. As I have said many times, we killed Marc Bulger. We let his OL dwindle to shit. We let his receiver corp dwindle to shit. Last year, we put Marc together with the worst offensive coordinator I have ever seen: Pat Shurmer. Now we are going to stick Sam Bradford in almost exactly that same shit.

Now does that sound like a good idea...?

And we are going to do so at the cost of $80 million. This is half an offshore oil drilling rig. This is the price of a modest Hollywood blockbuster. This will officially make Sam Bradford the highest paid Ram in history.

I used to laugh at teams who selected QBs #1 overall. A team fresh off of disaster elects a QB as their savior. A downtrodden fan base anoints this kid as the savior. Everyone hopes this will be the key player who is the linchpin of the next dynasty. They never seem to realize how seldom this works out in the end. The probability table is downright ugly.

If the kid will sign and play for you--which isn't always--he often gets hurt, or isn't good enough, or looses his confidence, or isn't serious enough to succeed. It will be the medical in Sam's case, if he doesn't pan out. When they don't go bust, the often turn into serviceable QBs who don't do much of anything spectacular. Look at Carson Palmer. Although he was selected #2 overall, look at Donovan McNabb. I always thought these poorboy franchises were foolish for going this route.

And now we have done it.

I spelled out the real risks in crass anatomical detail. I published them in high-traffic websites. I did everything possible to make this pick as uncomfortable as possible for Devaney. I was stone-cold ignored. He went and did anyway. When the pick came, it was like a wedding day celebration on national TV. It was clearly a joyous occasion for this administration. My heart was strangely warmed by this celebration. I was glad to see them make this pick with solid confidence. It gave me a very small modicum of confidence. 7 micrograms worth to be specific. Now what if they are fools?

Well, we did get one lineman and one receiver for him. I guess that's cold comfort.

The organization has taken a risk I have never witnessed in my lifetime. In 30 years of being a Ram fan, I have never seen the Rams do this. The last time we took a QB in the 1st round the year was 1964. This was something like 9 months before I would be conceived. We drafted Bill Munson from Utah State. He was not the absolute #1 either. That bust-o-matic bustola cured us. We would not take such a risk again for 46 years.

They stone-cold ignored me in several years when I wanted to take a Quarterback. I launched the "Draft Trent Dilfer" campaign at UCLA in 1994. The Rams gave me the middle finger. We fucked up. We stayed down low and selected Wayne Gandy from Alburn. He was a bust for us and the Steelers. Trent was a bust for the Bucs. He had to go elsewhere to succeed. I still contend that both Trent and the Rams would have had a much better time together than apart. We suffered without a QB for 5 years.

I was totally against Tony Banks and we saw what a tremendous bust he turned out to be. The only reason we don't mention him in the top 10 is because he was a 2nd round draft pick. This guy broke all records for fumbles and interceptions. He made Jake Del Homme look like a careful guy. The second we fired him, we won the Super Bowl. The second the Ravens fired Tony Banks (the very next year) they succeed us as World Champions.

Now when two teams that were struggling with you fire you and then immediately win the Super Bowl... in back-to-back years... Trent Dilfer succeed Banks in Baltimore. Don't you think we should have taken Dilfer instead of Banks in the 1990's?


I hardly raised an eyebrow over the Trent Green acquisition. You never take a flier on somebody else's backup QB. Kansas City refuses to learn their lesson. Montana, Bono, Grbac, Green, Castle... they just keep doing it over and over again. Seattle will fair no better this season. Mark my words: Whitehurst is a stop gap insurance policy. Next year they are going to make a big move on Jake Locker. You never take a flier on somebody else's backup QB. This is why I was not big on the Trent Green trade.

In all fairness, Trent Green did show up big time for us in 2000. He was the NFL's highest rated passer that year. We immediately traded him. That was a mistake. I would still like to hire him as our offensive coordinator--if they won't hire Mike Leach--and sack Pat Shurmer.

I am usually not wrong about these Quarterback things. I have an instinct for it. I hate being right all the time. I am very hopeful that I am wrong about Sam and our organization... this time. However, I doubt it.

Devaney aught to know his ass is on the line. Spagnuolo is also on the line. If this doesn't work out, they are both dead meat. If it works, they are both geniuses, and everybody knew it all along.

I remember the scene when Governor Tarkin turns to Darth Vadar and says "This is an awful risk you're taking, Vadar." Vadar allowed the Millennium Falcon to escape with plans of the Death Star, knowing the the Rebs would take it to their main rebel base immediately. He planed to track them and destroy that rebel base-planet with the Death Star.

Let's just say it didn't work out. They blew the Death Star with a real bad call on that one.

Just picture me turning to Billy Devaney as Tarkin turned to Vadar and saying "This is an awful risk you're taking, Devaney."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random thoughts after the Draft.

Here we are 72 hours removed from the 2010 draft. Has my mood lightened? Has my assessment of the situation improved? Do I think we earned a B-grade as many experts seem to say?

The short answers to those three questions are: (1) Not much, (2) yes, (3) no. I'll unpack those answers just a bit.

My mood has not lightened, as regards the Rams in 2010. I think we tally 2 or 3 victories in 2010. We may be much improved, but we will still draft #2 or #3 this time next year. We're not going to pull a magic turn around. Further, there will be no particularly strong units on our football team. None of the several units will be exceptional... unless we sign Alan Faneca. Then the offensive line can be exceptional. More about this later.

If we can finish the season with Sam Bradford moderately healthy, that will be the moral victory of 2010. In 2009 the Detroit Lions drafted Matt Stafford #1 and gave him a record breaking contract. They waited a couple of games, then threw him head-long into the shark tank, sink-or-swim style. He did pretty well, but he had crap-ass protection. Oh, ghee! I forgot the 3 or 4 human sieves on the offensive line. How could I do such a thing? Matt needed two (2) surgeries at the start of 2010. The orthopedic specialist sliced his shoulder and his knee.

Anytime your quarterback undergoes 2 surgeries, you know you are suffering from crappy protection. Nuff'said.

This exact storyline could play out with Sam Bradford in 2010. If it does, 2010 is a catastrophe. I am beginning to get a little optimistic about our O-Line, but don't take that statement too far.

We flushed the toilet on Incognito last season. We appear ready to pull the chain on the commode vis-a-vis Alex Barron. If we do, the two biggest malefactors on our offensive line will be gone at the start of 2010. That, in itself, is a serious upgrade. That is addition by subtraction.

But wait! It gets better. We drafted Rodger Safford, a quality guy from Indiana. I've done some investigation over the past 72 hours, and he comes highly recommended. The Indiana press considers him one of the finest products their football team has ever produced. Several Big-10 products (including my step dad and a Michigan guy here at work) have no idea why Rodger wasn't ranked as the top tackle in the draft. Now when a Buckeye and Wolverine can can agree that Hoosier is the best tackle in the draft... Jesus... cats and dogs living together in sin.

Saffold had a 1st round grade from most teams. The Packers were planning to take in him their 1st round pick. They never expected Bulaga to be there. Saffold fell down the board to us. As you know, we saw some action on the #33 pick. The teams that were dealing with us for that #33 pick wanted to draft Saffold. We took him. Nice! Hopefully he will lock down that right tackle position which has been a serious problem for us since 1994. You can argue we've had problems with that ROT position ever since Jackie Slater began to break down in 1993. That's 17 years without a solid incumbent.

The line is still not solid yet. I don't like our guards. I've talked about Jacob Bell many times before. Goldberg is basically our utility backup. However, Alan Faneca just got released by the Jets. Clearly, we should get him. Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Dan Williams and guy named Albert Haynesworth are all on our schedule this season. Any one of those guys can airmail Sam Bradford back to Dr. James R. Andrews. I would feel a lot better with Alan Faneca blocking one or all of them. I am sure Sam would too.

If you smash Albert Haynesworth with Brown and Faneca, we can handle him. Same thing for Dan Williams. Suh is a greater problem. They will square him against Jacob Bell rather than Faneca. Bell and Brown might be able to handle him... or maybe not.

The Tampa game is the true danger-match. If you ask me to predict when Sam Bradford suffers his season ending injury in 2010, the answer is: October 24, 2010 Raymond James Stadium. That is week 7 of the 2010 NFL season. Mr. Devaney: If you don't want to see this happen, sign Alan Faneca. Don't haggle about money. Just pick up his contract as-is.

If you trash Incognito, draft Saffold, sign Faneca, and trash Barron, the result is a night-vs-day comparison. That is like darkness at the bottom of 4 mile deep mineshaft vs. the sunshine of at noon in the Sahara desert. That's a transforming upgrade. We could have a very good line at that point. There is no comparison between Faneca and Icognito. This is the difference between a future Hall of Famer and a bum who taunts officials before game winning field goals. I doubt there is any comparison between Smith and Barron either. This is the difference between a stupid guy and kid who did graduate work before his athletic eligibility ran out.

But we still have no receivers... Many have commented that a young quarterback needs receivers like a babby needs his mother's breast milk. If they don't get it, they grow-up stunted, and runted, developmentally retarded for life.

This brings me to my point of greatest anger with Billy Devaney. Most of the NFL Illuminati were shocked that Devaney did not select a WR at round #2 and/or #3. Many suspected we would select WRs in one or both slots. Instead we took Saffold, which is perfectly understandable. No criticism there. We all accept that as a wise choice. You have to protect the franchise.

Then we take a fucking CB! No offense to Jerome Murphy of South Florida, but this selection just isn't the remedy for the aliment. He can turn out to be a Hall of Famer, and he still won't be the remedy to our aliment. Just as you wouldn't prescribe menstrual cream for a 60 year old man with cancer, you don't take a corner when you need receivers. This is the wrong answer.

We wait until round 4 to select Mardy Gilyard. After that we get absolutely nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing. A basketball forward is not a tight end. A blocking tight end is not a receiver threat. Forget about those choices.

According to several pieces by Bernie Miklasz, HC Steve Spagnuolo wanted to balance the selection of Bradford with several defensive picks. Don't forget the defense, Spagnuolo cautioned. When challenged on his lack of receivers and highly questionable tight end selections, Devaney said something to the effect of "Ghee, I though our receivers were pretty good."

If Bernie is reporting Devaney accurately, that statement is a very bad sign. I mean it is a bad, bad sign. Bad with a capital BAD. I mean we're in a lot of trouble. If our GM's perception is that far off the market, we are going to have a long ugly season in 2010.

So here we come to the focal point of the maelstrom. This is where I have to land some blows. This is where I would have done things utterly differently. Given the first two picks as fait accompli, I would have done the following:
  1. At pick 65, top of the 3rd round, I would have selected Damian Williams of USC. As the 56th ranked talent on the board, he would have been a high-value at 65. He would have also filled a need. Dezmond Briscoe would have been a figure I was looking at here also.
  2. In the fourth round I probably would not have selected Mardy Gilyard. No offense to Mardy. I am glad we have him now, but I would have been looking for a tight end. Dorin Dickerson of Pitt, and Dennis Pitta of BYU are the guys I would have chosen between here. In all honesty, I am not sure which way I would have gone at this split instant. Since he is a poorman's Dallas Clark, I probably would have taken Pitta
  3. In the 5th I would have taken Dorin Dickerson of Pitt. I would have been stunned that he was still on the board. At 6-4 and 226 and 4.4 speed, we'e talking about the Brandon Marshall of this draft class. At worst he is the new Shannon Sharpe. I'll take that any day. This is the missing player I am most sore about. If you want to know why I am pissed, just think Dorin Dickerson. I know Dickerson was taken in the 7th round, and I know I would have reached here, but I just trying to be honest with you. I would have taken him here.
  4. In the 6th round I would have taken Kansas's Dezmond Briscoe. I would have been stunned that he was still here. I would have considered him and even taken him in the 4th.
From that point on I would have been selecting offensive linemen.

So there you have it folks. Receivers, receivers and more receivers. That's what I would have taken. Here is my reasoning:
  1. Having taken leave of our senses and passing on Suh for Bradford, we have now sunk the #1 pick in a frail QB. Only a fool would do this, but we did it. The deal is done and done.
  2. We are going to have to invest something like $80 million to sign Bradford This is the price of a modest Hollywood epic, or the price of half an off-shore oil platform. This will officially make Sam Bradford the highest paid Ram in Rams history.
  3. Having invested the #1 pick and $80 in a QB, I am not on the hook to give him every weapon necessary for him to be successful. If he fails, my tally-wacker is going sliced-fine, just like salami.
  4. Ergo, I will take Rodger Saffold, a host of receiver candidates, and sign Alan Faneca.
  5. At this point, we will have some prayer of putting together some 20+ point games.
  6. Spagnulo and the DC just have to accept the fact that we took a QB this year and have to make him successful. This means forsaking the defense in the 2010 draft.
  7. Make it clear to Spagnuolo & the DC that they will not be held accountable for defensive breakdowns in 2010. Make it clear that they will get a pass in 2010. We know we forsook the defense in the draft.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Percocet Theory

This is going to be one of those days when I am glad that few people read my blog. I am going to do some fairly heavy speculating, but it is all coherent speculations, and not without foundations in medical fact.

I am going to tell you precisely what I was thinking as Jimmy Clausen slid down the board for 1.5 rounds. As we now know, he went dead-middle of the 1st round: Pick 48. Why?

I participate in a number of social networks related to sports. Some of them are more cordial and formal than others. Some are downright nasty, with high school and college kids throwing hand grenades at each other. Explosive allegations were made against Clausen one of the 'hand grenade' boards. Specifically, several guys who claimed to be from Notre Dame, and who claimed to have had negative run-ins with Clausen, declared that he was a Percocet freak.

They usually brought this up whenever Notre Dame hommers praised Clausen for playing injured all season long through his Junior year.

The allegations were clear: A Narcotic painkiller known for being addictive and having negative psychological side effects was responsible for Clausen's ability to practice and play with two torn ligaments in his big toe. The negative side-effects of Oxycodon, the synthetic narcotic in Percocet, are the reason he is considered cocky, pompus, arrogant, and a bad teammate.

I brushed it off, at first, disregarding the claim as a low-blow. I presumed they had an ax to grind with him. Perhaps Clausen got the girl at the party, and these guys were pissed off and jealous.

Well, I did a bit of investigation, and what I found out tweaked my curiosity. Clausen claims that his doctors prescribed Torodol for him. He claimed he had to take a Torodol pill each day before practice just to be able to practice. If so he would be dead or in the hospital right now, recovering from a sleeve gastrectomy and the shortening of his intestines.

Also, it would not have killed the pain in his toe.

I know a little something about Torodol. My doctor prescribed it for me twice. Torodol, better known as Ketorolac, is an extremely powerful NSAID. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. Consider it super-Naproxen. It has great power to reduce inflammation, and very limited ability to kill pain.

It also rots the stomach lining and eats your intestines. My two bottles of Torodol came with stern written warnings from the doctor, the pharmacist, and the pamphlet not to stay on the drug for more than 5 days at a time. They warned of increasing intestinal upset after use of the drug. The warnings were true. I got nauseated around day 3. I started suffering heart burn continuously. I stopped taking it early.

This was not an allergic reaction. This was the expected side-effect of the drug.

I knew Clausen's claim was bullshit immediately. Further, I knew that orthopedic surgeons don't prescribe Torodol without also prescribing a narcotic pain killer to go with it. Torodol doesn't really kill pain. The dirty little secret that the medical establishment keeps in the closet is that only narcotics kill pain. Only the stuff that grows in Poppies can stop your pain receptors from firing signals to the brain.

My doctor prescribed Vicodin first, and when that didn't work, he upped it to Norco. I learned all about painkillers at this time in my life. Two knee surgeries will do that to you.

Vicodin and Norco are based on the same chemical agents, and they are different from Percocet. Vicodin and Norco are based on Hydrocodone. This is the least addictive narcotic pain killer currently known to medicine, but it is still addictive. Brett Favre had a problem with this agent. Hydrocodone is rated at half the power of Morphine, unit for unit.

Percocet is based on Oxycodone. It is a lot more addictive that Hydrocodone. Many people have addiction problems with Oxycodone. It is called 'hillbilly heroin' because of its tremendous popularity in the Appalachian mountain region. There were alegations that Mike Vick had a problem with Oxycodone before he was shipped off to Fort Leavenworth Kansas. Oxycodone is also rated at half the power of Morphine, unit for unit.

Vicodin, Norco & Percocet all have varying amounts of Paracetamol in them, but that is of little importance.

The important difference between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone is this: More thebaine vs. less. Thebaine is one of three primary chemicals found in Opium Poppies that are useful to Orthopedic surgeons. The others are Morphine and Codeine. Unlike Morphine and Codeine, doctors never prescribe thebaine directly for patients. However, it is on the controlled substance list of the FDA.

Why is thebaine controlled? Because thebaine is chemically similar to Morphine and Codeine, and it can be chemically synthesized into all manner of narcotics, if you know how. One of those synthetic narcotics is Oxycodone. Some thebaine is also required to manufacture Hydrocodone, but not nearly as much.

Thebaine is a curious chemical. It is a powerful stimulant. It will cause strychnine-like convulsions at higher doses. This is the only member of the opiate family that is s stimulant. All the rest are depressants, and mildly hypnotic. All other narcotics suppress your cardiovascular system, and they make your drowsy. Thebaine does not. Neither does Oxycodone.

If you are an athlete or mind-worker in pain, Hydrocodone may kill the pain, but it messes up your work schedule. Oxycodone does not. Rather, it kills the pain and kick-starts your ass at the same time. You can understand why football players would consider it fantastic.

Like all narcotics, Oxycodone tweaks the Mu receptors on your neurons... unless you are narcotic resistant like me. I have the rare mutant Mu-Beta receptors. Tweaking the standard Mu receptors blocks pain and triggers a big release of Serotonin from the brain. That makes you feel fantastic; on-top of the world. The serotonin, the pain-free state, and the stimulant makes you want to go out and do battle.

This is why it is frequently prescribed for those dying of cancer. It helps them avoid becoming bed-ridden shut-ins for as long as possible.

I myself have never experienced the Serotonin rush from narcotics. It's all my doctors can do to keep the pain down. I am a narcotic resistant guy by genetic endowment. Only 3% of the world is like me, though. Almost everybody I know, reports feeling absolutely incredible after taking Norco. I just transition from a state of greater pain to lesser pain, and that is all. That is good, but it is not pure bliss. Others experience pure bliss.

97% of human beings feel super-human, even god-like if they take enough of it. Delusions of godhood and extreme cockiness are side-effects of a good dose of Oxycodone. Rush Limbaugh manifested extreme cockiness before he went away for rehab. Same thing was true for Mike Vick.

That brings us back to Clausen.

Suppose you have a turf toe with a couple of torn tendons. You can't take Torodol for long. It will rot your intestines, and it won't really kill the pain either. A friendly and helpful Notre Dame doctor gives you a prescription for Percocet, knowing it won't hurt, but indeed help your performance. It's good. It works. You like it. You can practice and play like a million bucks.

You have to come out of it sooner or later. It's hard, but you do it.

Unfortunately, the NFL has it's own version of the Black Water Security consultants. They can find out anything. They find out about the Percocet from websites where kids throw grenades. They investigate. They find out it's true. The NFL knows you used Percocet for an entire season. They know that would explain the cocky arrogance. This information is released to the 32 NFL teams under an NDA.

Nobody wants a drug problem at the Quarterback position. Just the off-chance that you may have a tendency to like Oxycodone is cause for concern.

Suppose, in the first place, that the candidate is not really as good as Mel Kiper Jr says he is. Suppose he might come bundled with the Oxycodone baggage.

That's enough for mildly interested parties to become totally hands-off. I think that is what happened during the 2010 draft.

A Sicilian message to Billy Devaney: Your draft class gets a D-

"The boss of bosses wants to have a sit-down with you Mr. Devaney. Don't bring any of your friends."

This is what should be happening here, but since the Rams don't really have an owner just yet, Devaney and Co. are operating with impunity. They are lucky they are operating with impunity. They fucked up major big time. A few more drafts like this and somebody else will be making the calls.

Let's have a look at the Rams draft class of 2010:

Pick Round Overall Name Position School Grade Class Height Weight Speed
1 1 1 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma 8.7 Junior 6-5 236 ?
2 2 33 Rodger Saffold OT Indiana 8.1 Junior 6-5 316 5.23
3 3 65 Jerome Murphy CB South Florida 7.7 Senior 6-0 196 4.52
4 4 99 Mardy Gilyard WR Cincinnati 7.0 Senior 6-0 187 4.51
5 5 132 Michael Hoomanawanui TE Illinois 4.3 Senior 6-4 264 4.77
6 5 149 Hall Davis DE Louisiana-Lafayette 7.4 Senior 6-5 271 4.74-4.86
7 6 170 Fendi Onobun Forward Arizona Basketball -- Senior 6-6 252 4.48
8 6 189 Eugene Sims DE West Texas A&M -- Senior 6-6 235 ?
9 7 189 Marquis Johnson DB Alamba -- Senior 5-11 192 ?
10 7 211 George Selvie DE South Florida 4.5 Senior 6-3 252 4.89
11 7 189 Josh Hull LB Penn State 2.9 Senior 6-3 237

That's downright ugly dude. With the exception of the first two picks, and maybe Gilyard, we came away with little or nothing. Particularly egregious were our selections of Defensive Backs and Tight Ends. Somebody smoked a lot of crack before making up that board. I sure hope it wasn't Steve Spaguolo.

There is little doubt that we are drafting poorly. The question is: How bad is it? Did we fuck up as bad as 2006 and 2007? I doubt it, but perhaps I am too much of a hommer. Perhaps I just can't accept the fact that we just had another 2007 draft.

We went into day #3 with a serious need for receivers and tight ends. What did we do? We selected some defensive candidates, many of whom will not make the roster in 2010. I am not the only one who thinks so. Coach Jim Mora Jr, the guy who was just scheming against us in Seattle, just chastized us on the NFL Network for not getting the receivers and tight ends Sam Bradford needs to succeed.

We took basketball players, guys not invited to the combine, folks from South Florida and West Texas A&M. Guys with grades too low to be drafted. Men with rankings like "454th best athlete on the board". Only about 250 guys get drafted each year. We drafted a guy who is known only as "Javier Arenas' backup at Alabama". There are strange, strange pipelines active in the Rams' scouting office.

Perhaps the only pipeline that is active is the crack pipe.

If it works, you are a genius. If it fails, your fired. It's as simple as that. As my old Coronel in the Army used to say to his tank platoon leaders "You got balls but no brains."

I would hate to justify this list to Stan Kroenke. Bill, I am warning you, the boss may cut your head off for this draft in a year or two.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sicilian message to the draft class of 2010

So, rumors from Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Jason La Canfora declare that Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger is going to be suspended for 6 games. The sentence can be reduced to 4 games if he cooperates with certain 'voluntary' requirements. Yeah, that's right, the new oxymoron is voluntary requirements.

I knew it was going to happen like this. I thought 4 games would be the real number, and I think that is the way it turn out, as history unfolds. I am not at all surprised by the timing. I absolutely expected it to be done on the eve of the draft. Those who expected the Commish to 'not spoil the celebration of the draft' missed the point completely.

This is a golden opportunity for the Cappo to send a Sicilian message to all the little kiddies who are about to be drafted tomorrow. He wants every NFL hopeful, especially those selected in the 1st and 2nd round, to put their little heads down on their little pillows tonight, and meditate on the fact that one of the super stars of the NFL just got fried (hard) by the Commish. This can happen to you! He wants this to be their final thoughts on the eve before the biggest day of their young lives.

I think it is a great message to send the kids. I am proud of the Commish for handling this thing smartly. I think this will have a disciplining effect. Those who can be saved will hear this message. The hardcore recalcitrants will have to be busted out of the League, as always. This is doubly important as the 2010 draft class continues to draw raves as the most important class since 1983. This could be the draft that sets the league for the next 10 years.

So I heard Colin Cowherd this morning disusing the Roethlisburger situation. His mantra was simple: Take advantage of the Steelers. You can't find anybody in this draft that will do what Roethlisburger will do for you. Make the deal. Give the Steelers 10 picks for Ben, if that is what it takes. My daughter's not involved in the case. If she was it would be different.

This is Cowherd in a nutshell. This is his classic a-moral stance in all its glory. Greazie sleazy! This is Al Davis's bastard child. Well, let's say I totally understand his position, I know it could work out for somebody, and I will not take his advice. I really don't want the serial rapist on my team. I don't want to be know as a fan of the team that cut a deal for the serial rapist. I don't want to be known as the guy who did absolutely anything to win. Let's keep our hands clean and find another way to win. I'll take my risks with clean living Bradford (preferably Tebow) and see what happens. Colt would also be good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pardon my inattentiveness to this blog

I have been writing a more public forum, trying to head off disaster in this year's draft. I haven't had much time to devote to my private blog.

What is this disaster? I think it is a profound mistake to take Sam Bradford with the #1 pick in 2010. If were my call, it would be Suh in the first and Tebow in second. I would fire Pat Shurmer. I would end our fatuous attempt to implement the West Coast. I would hire Mike Leach. I would acquire some O-Linemen, most particularly Flozell Adams and Bobby Williams. I would make the deal for Albert Haynesworth.

"But Tebow won't be ready for several years?" Neither will the rest of the team. Get used to it. Bradford won't change that fact. You will see how much of impact Bradford makes on our wins and losses when they cart him off the field during game 3. No folks, the Rams are a couple of years away. This is the truth of the matter. In a couple of years, I want to have real gem of this draft ready to go for us at QB. I don't want to have a banged up medical bust on my hands.

To wit, I am amazed by the specious arguments made in favor of our offensive line. These are dimwitted arguments made by fans who have been drinking VanRam's Cool Aid. They do believe that living in denial is a good thing. What you don't admit can't hurt you. All we need to do is deny that we have a bad line and Sam won't get hurt next year. It is as simple as that.

Fallacies, fallacies everywhere! I have seldom seen such fallacious reasoning. Consider this tour de force of fallacious reasoning. When confronted with the fact the fact that the Rams line allowed 44 sacks last season. The typical Cool-Aid drinker responds "It was only 14 over 9 games." So the Rams only played 9 games last season? Well... no... they played 16, but Bulger was only sacked 9 times. No, he was sacked 14 times for a loss of 85 yards. Oh, well, we only gave up 14 sacks, everything after that doesn't count. Sorry, your argument is rubbish. The Rams line surrendered 44 sacks. That is an empirical fact.

"But that wasn't their fault!" Then whose fault was it?

"The quarterbacks! The new scheme! The injuries! The release of Incognito!" Excuses, excuses! The record shows that the Rams offensive line has surrendered 40+ sacks for 9 years straight. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Now do something about it.

Why live in denial? Because the fans in St. Louis really want Jesus Christ to return... errr they really want the Rams to draft the savior Sam Bradford. They want to believe he will turn everything around. Understanding that we have a weak line that will allow a frail quarterback to get injured is the best possible argument against spending the #1 pick in the draft, and something like $80 million, on Sam Bradford in this draft.

I am throwing punches at a bullet wound, so there is a reaction. It s a bad reaction, but there is a reaction.

Frankly, I am going to be very glad when this draft is over. The dice will be cast. We will have rolled our bones. Then I can forget about our chances of improvement for another season.

But enough of this... only a fool worries about that which he cannot control, so I guess I am being a world class fool here. Devaney is locked on to his game plan. We'll see how it works out.

In other news, I am amazed at the negative press Kroenke is getting in St. Louis. He has not addressed the question of whether he intends to keep the team in St. Louis. Each day that goes by, the local sports writers try to apply more and more pressure on him to address this this question. No word.

They say silence speaks volumes sometimes. I remain convinced that things are on track for the city of industry. Ram Park... it has a certain ring to it doesn't it? They will probably license the stadium rights though, so they will call it "Oracle Park" or "Universal Studios Park" or something to that effect.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams...

Ah, it has a nice ring too it. What did I tell you sometime ago? Round about the time Georgia died? Backtrack in my blog to around 2008 when I started this thing. The handwriting was on the wall.

So, just what the hell are you talking about, David?

Right now, St. Louis is downright somber. The news has spread like wildfire. Enos Stanley Kroenke is a member of the NFL's Los Angeles Stadium committee. Not only this, but he owns a big spread in Malibu, roughly 4 miles from my present location at work. Now how about that for convenient access? I'd rather be his across-the-street neighbor and general manager of the Rams. Stan, hire me. I'm good. I'll take care of this team for you.

Howard Balzar and Sam Farmer basically broke this story.

I love a few of the blog comments I have read today. Kevin in Philly mentioned this to some St. Louis people. Everyone he told immediately went silent and then said "Oh my God!" VanRam is not happy. Neither is Bernie Miklasz. I can't blame them. I was pissed when the Rams moved to St. Louis. Oh well, the Rams forged a brotherhood between us. We now have common cause.

There is many a connection missing on the way to the obvious conclusion, but we have all jumped there anyway. People can tell which way the wind is blowing. The NFL is sore that they are not a bonified player in the 2nd largest market in North America. Can you blame them? Suppose a blender company or car company had no official presence in the 2nd largest market in North America. Do you think this would be acceptable for Blendtec or Honda? No.

More over, the cost of running a team is rising high. Sam Bradford, the very man the Rams are planning to draft, may command something like $80 million with $50 million guaranteed. Stan has to pay that salary now, and make a profit. St. Louis is one of a collection of shrinking midwestern towns whose base is eroding constantly. It is going to be tough to run one of the 32 NFL franchises in the 54th largest market in North America.

Then we have the mysterious fact that Mr. Ed Roski Jr abruptly agrees to build a stadium, in Industry California with no municipal or state support, for an NFL team to be recruited later. This was the strangest news of all more than a year ago. We knew something was up. We knew something was in the offing.

So, if I was going to connect the dots, the forensic reconstruction would look like this. Georgia dies at UCLA Medical. [Yep, that's right, she came back to my beloved alma mater to die.] Stan makes all the right consoling phone calls, talks briefly with Chip about business. Stan knows Georgia's kids are going to have big-time inheritance tax problem. He give Ed Roski and Eli Broad a jingle. These are cats he met through the L.A. Stadium Committee. He tells them the time has come. It's on and on to the break of dawn. Ed buys a piece of turf in Industry. He get's his boys in industry to approve the land use. News waves start to flow.

There is a delay, Chip wants to try his hand at running the team. The IRS eventually tells Chip no, you have to sell. Chip really doesn't want to sell in the middle of the Great Recession. You should have put the team up immediately Chip. You might have squeezed off the sale before September 15, 2008. You would have gotten more money and sooner.

Chip contacts Goldman Sachs, who are now in big trouble for insider trading and manipulation. He puts the team up for sale. Kroenke decides he's going to get the Rams for a nice price. He's going to sit back and let the defeated market set the price. Shahid Khan does the work for him. Kroenke takes 60 days to plan the transfer of the Nuggets and the Avalanche to his son Josh. The deal is done.

Memo to Los Angeles: Lock up your daughters! If my buddy Rico is right, Ben Roethlisburger is coming to town. We're going to have to deal with the serial rapist.

For this reason, I will yield and accept Sam Bradford.

'Tis the laughing season

The overwhelming majority of all human beings who have passed through this veil of tears have been illiterate and innumerate. For those who don't know, this mean that they could not read write or perform the most basic arithmetic. In many cultures there are only 3 recognized numbers: One, two and many. We should also be advised that the distribution of intelligence in human populations follows the bell-curve pattern. There are some extremely stupid people, a lot of average people, some smart guys, and just a few exceptional individuals.

I'm exceptional. As such, it's always hilarious for me to read the trade deals offered up by GMs and fans alike. I'm still shocked that the Eagles traded McNabb inside the division. I still can't believe the Steelers gave Holmes away for a 5th. Stunning... just stunning. I still can't believe La Canfora's report that the Steelers would make an exploratory phone call to the Rams, asking us to consider Roethlisburger and the Steelers' first rounder for the absolute #1. Tis the season to give shit away. I still can't believe the Broncos have dismantled themselves completely. I still can't believe the Redskins are/were shopping Albert Haynesworth around for a 3rd.

With that said, the deals suggested by fans are even more preposterous... at least in some ways. I read a deal suggestion made by some Redskin fan in which the Rams should offer the Redskins the absolue #1 for Albert Haynesworth and Jason Campbell. So you get the #1 pick, and we carry out your garbage? No, no, no! You'd get the best DT in football and a proven Pro QB! Right... then why don't you keep them.

A Steeler fan was shocked by the report Jason La Canfora gave us yesterday. In all honesty, so was I. Said Steeler fan insisted that the only way the Steelers would ever deal Roethlisburger is in a big trade deal like the one Chicago gave to Denver last year. Right... So somebody is going to give you a kings random for your serial rapist... er... massive PR head ache? You are forgetting that Cutler was 3 years younger, had a smaller contract. His team put him on the block for no particularly good reason. That's what broke the deal.

This Steeler fan does not understand the rules of the pawn shop. Pawning is bad for the guy pawns.

Then a Cleveland fan suggest the Browns should deal Shawn Rodgers, their #7, and a no-name linebacker to the Rams for the absolute #1. Right... So you get the #1 pick and we carry out the garbage for you. We take your gun toting, 35 year old nose tackle, fresh off re-constructive knee surgery, a no-name linebacker, and your pick. Right...

Lest I show too much partiality to my own, let me say a word about my Rams. My Rams plan to take a frail passer, who hasn't played much in 18 months, fresh off surgical repairs to his passing shoulder, put him behind a weak line, immediately, and expect improvements. Right... Oh did I forget? He's not the top ranked athlete in the draft, and we're going to have to give him something like $80 million with maybe $50 million guaranteed. Oh, did I forget that he has only one #2 type receiver to throw at? Nice...

I'm going to come right out and tell you: That's a laughable pick. No bullshit. If any man can free his mind from the hype of ESPN and the NFL Network, he would clearly see that this is a laughable pick. How cloudy our football judgement becomes when we practice mass-media marketing by the star system.

Do you think you can do any better, Dave? Fuckin'aye! You goddamn betcha I think I can do a lot better than that... fresh out of bed in the morning... without coffee... after taking a couple of Norcos... whilst blindfolded... and hungover... with a concussion... and a common cold... and a massive arthritis attack... and no breakfast...

If you think I am filled with pessimism about where the league and my team is headed, you're right. These are some fuckin' stupid people, and I'm not kidding. There is a fine, fine line between the deals GMs offer each other and the deals fans talk about on the message boards.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sam Bradford's 2010 season; the over/under number is 3

Las Vegas is not yet taking over/under action on Sam Bradford, but they should be. The over/under number should be 3. Three is a magic number, yes it is.
  1. With what pick will Sam Bradford be selected in the 2010 draft? The over/under number is 3.
  2. The week of the 2010 season where Sam Bradford gets his first NFL start: The over/under number is 3.
  3. The number NFL starts before Sam Bradford suffers a season ending injury? The over/under number is 3.
  4. The number of touchdown passes Sam Bradford throws before his season ending injury in 2010? The over/under number is 3.
  5. The number of sacks Sam Bradford will suffer before taking his season ending injury? The over/under number is 3.
Those should be your 5 magic over/under bets on Sam Bradford, oh ye Las Vegas lines. How would I be them?
  1. Under: Whether he is taken by the Rams or the Browns, Bradford will probably be the top pick.
  2. Under: The Rams will throw Sam in the shark tank immediately. The Browns will start Del Homme twice and after 14 turnovers, Sam goes in.
  3. Under: If the Rams select Bradford, he's going to have a tough time making it to week 3 before suffering his season ending injury in 2010. If the Browns take him, he'll have a tough time making it to week 5 before the Steelers or Ravens kill him.
  4. Under: If the Rams select Bradford, he's going to have to find a little target named Donnie Avery for legit TD passes. It will be hard to squeeze off 3 of those before Sam suffers his season ending injury of 2010.
  5. Over: I think Sam will be sacked more than 3 times before suffering his season ending injury of 2010. This is true regardless of whether the Rams or Browns select him.
It sucks to be Sam. I feel bad for you man. The stars are poorly configured for your near-term future. I wish you the best. I hope I am wrong. I hope you turn out to be the A.P. Offensive Rookie of the year, but I certainly cannot bet on it.

I'm certain it will not happen now

Mike Florio is reporting on Twitter tweets by twitidiots. According to the latest Florio doggerel, Mike Holmgren is interpreted by Howard Balzer as saying the following. Holmgren is willing to part with his No.1, No.2 and No.3 for the absolute #1. The Rams' pick is to be used to obtain Cleveland's QB for the next 15 years: Sam Bradford.

Once again, it never happened. Balzer didn't write that. I dug up the reference piece from the Globe-Democrat, and Balzer said nothing of the kind. All of you who still doubt Florio's integrity should study the two links list above. See how close Florio's interpretation is to accurate. See whether he is extremely creative to the point of absolute distortion.

Balzer simply suggested that Cleveland has some extra picks and an interest in Sam Bradford. Their could be a deal here. I have done just as much. This doesn't mean it's going to happen. More importantly, Balzer didn't report the talks are in progress, or that the deal is going down.

Now that Florio is suggesting it, be assured it will not happen. I hope the deal does happen, but this guy has the reverse midas touch. Every scenario Florio reports on turns to shit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Khan vs. Kroenke! Fight!

So the other ownership shoe dropped last night. Adam Schefter announced on ESPN's NFL Live that Silent Stan Kroenke has decided to exercise his contractual right of first refusal to purchase the Rams. I wanted to wait for confirming details before blogging about it. The report is correct. Enos Stan Kroenke has decided to exercise his contractual right of first refusal to purchase the remaining 60% of Ram stock he does not already own. This puts him squarely at odds with league rules and with Shahid Khan.

First the league rules.

As you all know, the league has bylaws forbidding NFL majority owners from owning a majority share in any other sports franchise in an NFL city. The rule rule used to prohibit ownership of any other pro-franchise in any city. The rule was mildly re-interpreted to allow Paul Allen {owner of the Portland Trailblazers} to purchase the Seattle Seahawks. The league owners wanted Paul Allen in the clubhouse and on the golf course. The owners wanted a league connection to the new silicone economy, and to Microsoft.

League insiders have been divided on whether Kroenke might obtain a similar wavier, and/or whether the league might be prepared to do away with this archaic rule entirely. Many believe that this rule is an archaic relic of a bygone era. Many others believe the league will not change its policy for Kroenke's sake. We are about to find out, one way or the other.

Owning both an NBA and NHL franchise in Denver should automatically disqualify Kroenke, but it just so happens he is a buddy and business partner of Pat Bowlen. Bowlen is the owner of the Denver Broncos, and co-owner of the Colorado Crush of the Arena League... along with Stan Kroenke. Insiders expect Bowlen will plead his friend's case. Pat Bowlen is a powerful owner, and he is also the theoretical aggrieved party according to the strange philosophy behind the cross-ownership rule. Given Bowlen's blessing, the deal might roll.

Several factors militate in Kroenke's favor:
  1. The NFL Finance committee already announced that it doesn't like one of the several financial devices Khan intends to use to purchase the Rams.
  2. Kroenke is already an insider. He has been partial owner of the Rams since the early 1990s. He has been vice chairman of the Rams' board for some time, and served on several NFL committees.
  3. Kroenke has more money than Khan. Kroenke is worth an estimated $3 billion. His wife--Anne Walton, a Walmart heir--is worth $3.5 billion. Together they are worth approximately 3 times as much as Shahid Khan ($2.14 billion).
  4. The NFL ownership booth is one of the most exclusive clubs around. It is a consummate old-boys' network. Kroenke is much more their type of guy than Khan.
What is my take on the situation?

On the one hand, I would have been shocked if Kroenke hadn't exercised his right to purchase the rest of the Rams. My memory fails, but I remember Kroenke buying into the Rams back in 1993 or 1994, when the Rams were having serious financial trouble keeping up with the Joneses {Jerry Jones and Eddie DeBartolo}. It was understood at the time that he wanted to buy the whole enchilada. This was the reason for the contractual right of first refusal he has chosen to exercise now. Ever since then, Kroenke has been waiting on line to buy the Rams.

Why didn't he just attempt to buy outright? One word: Strategy. He wanted the market to set a low price in accordance with the financial distress our nation is going through at the moment. There is also the cross-ownership rule which needs to be gotten around. Kroenke wanted to see what sort of ownership interest the Rams might scratch up, and see whether the owner's club might prefer Kroenke to own the Rams.

Will this blow up in his face? I seriously doubt a man of Kroenke's sense would have exercised his right of first refusal if he had not been given some indications, if not outright assurances, that the NFL would hear his case with favor. I think he is confident that he will be approved, or he would not have made this move.

Now the fight with Khan.

If the league rejects Khan and elects Kroenke, the move could be interpreted in racial terms. Would this be a case where collection of white Europeans just didn't want a Pakistani fellow in the clubhouse? This could make for some very interesting league wrangling inside league circles. Pray for the good of the Rams that this doesn't happen. This could hold the Rams' ownership status in limbo for several years. This could make for several years of lost franchise history.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Battening down the hatches for a very rough 2010

Far from re-energized and full of hope, I as a Ram fan am already packing it in for the 2010 season. I have zero confidence in the direction Devaney has decided to go. I believe the current plan is fucking bollocks, mate.

We are going to continue with Pat Shurmer and the out-dated and out-moded WCO. We are not going to upgrade our offensive line. We are going to invest $60 million (a black-hole contract) in a frail passer who will not be protected. I doubt we will give him quality targets to throw to.

I am taking over/under action for the number of games played before Sam Bradford suffers a season ending injury in 2010. That number shall be 3. Place your over/under bets, if you please.

For all the asshole prognosticators out there who claim that the NFL is all about marketing, and marketing on the star system, I would like to ask you the following question: How energized and hopeful will the Rams' fan base be when Sam Bradford is carted off on week 3 of the 2010 season? You don't build a team via the Sonny Werblin star system. You build it like a skyscraper. Foundation first, top ornaments later.

You may complain that the Rams line is not that bad. I tell you you know nothing about the subject. The Rams permitted 44 sacks last year. The Rams are a run-dominated team. The worst in league was Green Bay who permitted 51. This is a very pass-oriented team. The best pass-protecting team in the league in 2009 was the Colts. They allowed just 13 sacks. You will hardly find a more pass-happy team than the Colts.

Good teams allow 20 or fewer sacks. The Rams allowed more than twice that. We have a shitty offensive line.

You may complain that injuries are a freak occurrences that no one can predict. Bullshit! Bull fucking shit! A quarterback's risk of injury increases geometrically with the poverty of his line. When you taken an older or more injury prone QB and put him behind a poor line, the results are entirely predictable. You know what is going to happen. No one should ever knowingly walk into a tiger pit like that.

Worst of all, by failing to draft Ndamukong Suh, we may create circumstances in which both Chris Long and Adam Carriker fail rather than thrive and prosper. If we draft Suh, and stash him between these other two picks, I am more than certain that all three will prosper together. Idiots! Idiots man! I cannot fathom the idiots running my team. Shocking!

I just hope that Shahid Khan and Stan Kroenke are reading my blog. When you fire Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo in couple of years, please consider me for a front office position. I would love to be the next GM of the Rams. We won't knowingly walk into bear traps if I am the GM. I will help you to regain a foothold in Los Angeles also.

Keep your eyes on Tebow. If he succeeds, just remember I told you so. Remember also that we could have had both Suh and Tebow if I had been the boss. We might have come up with an O-Line in 2010 also.

I hope I am wrong about this, but I am about 80-85% confident that my team is about to commit a series of blunders for the ages.

Rather than improvement, I think we are about to see the Rams match the Lions' winless record of two years ago. The new owner will be compelled to make sweeping changes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jim Plunkett 2.0 edition. It's now a lost cause...

So, I read a blurb indicating that something on the order of 99% of the 140 published Mock drafts have Sam Bradford going #1 overall to the Rams. Whilst the draft is not a democracy, many of these mocks are written by reliable snoops who are acquiring insider words and leaks. They accord with what the "prescriptive experts" believe the Rams should do.

The only real chance for the Rams avoiding--what I consider to be--a mistake is for Tom Condon to bust the deal. If he demands a 20% premium over Matt Stafford's contract, and some say he will do precisely this, the Rams may pass. We need to remember the Rams are a football team with cash-flow problems in the middle of a franchise sale. It may be very difficult for the Rams to pony-up that grip full of scratch.

So why am I against this selection. I have stated why I am against this selection many times. I will do so again:
  1. Our offensive line is worth shit. We gave up 44 sacks last season and we were one of the most run dominated teams in the league. We threw for only about 175 yards per game. The best pass-protecting team in the league is the Colts. They surrendered only 13 sacks and they are one of the most pass dominated teams in the league. The worst pass protecting team in the league is the Packers. They surrendered 51 sacks--just 4 more than we did. They are a pass-dominated offense. Arguably, we have the worst pass protecting offensive line in the league.
  2. Sam Bradford is a QB with a track record of injuries. Look at the Heisman photos which show him hoisting his prize with a cast on his left hand. Witness the photos of the giant ice pack on his shoulder. Witness the many interviews and and inquiries done with his doctor: James R. Andrews.
  3. You put them both together and you have bad karma. This is the making of the Jim Plunkett 2.0 story.
Why the comparison with Plunkett? There are many.
  1. When Plunkett was drafted in 1971, he was acclaimed as one of the best and most accurate passers in NCAA history. So too is it with Sam Bradford.
  2. Everyone marveled at Plunkett's beautiful throwing mechanics, and his pretty spirals. So too is it with Sam Bradford.
  3. Plunkett was a Heisman trophy winner. So too is it with Sam Bradford.
  4. Plunkett came from a program not renown for producing NFL quarterbacks. So too is it with Sam Bradford.
  5. Plunkett was selected #1 over-all in the NFL Draft by a team with a horrid offensive line. We won't know until April 22, 2010, but it sure looks like it is going to turn out that way for Bradford.
  6. To the best of my knowledge, Sam Bradford will be just the second major name NFL QB of Native American stock. Guess who the first was? Jim Plunkett.
  7. Plunkett started out extremely well with the Patriots, even winning the rookie of the year. He was soon cut down by one terrible injury after another. He was traded to the destitute 49ers, where things got worse. He was claimed off waivers by the Raiders. After two years rest, he took his position behind one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history. He detonated, and the Raiders won the Super Bowl.
We won't know for some time, but I have a sinking feeling that this is the way the Sam Bradford story may yet turn out. As the man said in Aliens, "I have a bad feeling about this drop."

If our GM Billy Devaney were anything shy of delusional about the current status of our offensive line, I might have a bit more hope. If we had more than a single #2 receiver, I might have a bit more hope. If we had a good Spread-oriented offensive coordinator, not Shurmer, I might have more hope. If we would fire Shurmer and hire Mike Leach, I might have more hope.

None of this appears to be the case. As far as I can tell, we are going to march into 2010 in the following manner:
  1. Draft Bradford #1 overall
  2. Give him a $60 million over 4 year black-hole contract.
  3. Continue with Pat Shurmer, and stick with the West Coast Offense.
  4. Not sign Bobby Williams or Flozell Adams.
  5. Leave the O-line upgrade up to Hank Fraley... oh bouy...
  6. Maybe draft a receiver or two. Probably nobody you've heard of.
  7. Not make the deal for Brandon Marshall
I have a bad feeling about this drop.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My comments on the "Ram News" of the day

So I get an interesting piece of bacon mailed to my email box each morning. It's a news filter that tells me the major stories swirling about my Rams in each past 24 hour period. It seems to work well. There were so many fucked up reports in this morning's bacon, the intensity of the fuckedness was so great, that I felt the need to comment here.

Why the Rams should trade for Jason Campbell

What, are you crazy? You mean to tell me we should pass on Bradford in favor of Jason Campbell? Whilst I am not an advocate of taking Bradford, that has to be the most preposterous, ludicrous, observed proposition I have heard this season. Let me make it painfully clear: Jason Campbell has not been successful in this league. This is because he is the inverse of the gunslinger QB: He is a kid who is afraid to take a shot down field. He may have some athletic ability, but the fear factor will prevent him from ever succeeding in a clutch situation. There is a definitely lack of confidence and moxie in Campbell's constitution. That is why he's not a franchise QB.

I can completely understand why the Redskins would love to pawn him off on us, but this does not mean we should be stupid enough to take the deal. A small vote of confidence here for Sam: Given protection, Sam will be 5 to 10 times the QB Campbell is in the NFL. Never pass on Bradford for Campbell. That is a sure-fire looser.

Are the Rams thinking of trading down?

I hope so. The signals have it that we are still entertaining offers for the #1 pick. If a good deal presents itself, we should be ready to take it. I am still up for the notion of drafting a couple of offensive linemen and Tim Tebow. Notwithstanding Michael Lombardi's view that Tebow will creep up into the bottom of the 1st around.

You know me. I am one of Tebow's biggest advocates. Still, I don't see him reaching the 1st round. It would be an honor he deserves, but I have witnessed the tremendous bias against Spread and Spread-Option QBs in the NFL first hand. There is a knee-jerk, visceral reflex reaction against the notion of taking any Spread or Spread-Option QB high, and this applies no matter how good the kid is. As I write this, there are still many questioning Bradford's credentials because he comes from a Spread offense. I am amazed Bradford has overcome it to the extent he has.

I have also witnessed how powerful the bias is towards QBs who have been a Pro-System in college. So great is this bias that some folks are treating Mark Sanchez as the benchmark for rookie QBs now, and they are advocating Jimmy Clausen as a high first rounder. Both propositions strike me as preposterous. There was a 6 or 7 game stretch last season where Sanchez was awful and he look like a huge bust. The playoff run made people forgetful, but he did not enjoy a good rookie campaign. I have said many times that Clausen has "bust" tattooed on his forehead and everybody seems illiterate when around him. The Pro-System bias is real, it is tangible, it is powerful, and it is largely wrong.

Anyway, this is my short reasoning explaining why I doubt Tebow will make it to the 1st round. But I digress. In summary, I do hope we trade the pick, get a 2nd 2nd, and select Tebow.

With that said, I think the chances are remote. Many have evaluated this draft as I have. They believe the best QBs will be found in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Our chances for doing a deal hinge on finding someone who is in love with Ndamukong Suh and/or Gerald McCoy. I don't know that this will happen.

Not so fast, says the Rams' GM: No decision on the Heisman QB

Several pieces from the associated press and others synthesis in the following manner:
  1. Do the Rams really want Bradford?
  2. Why are they offering a trade if they do?
  3. Devaney has stated fairly emphatically that releasing Mar Bulger (on his birthday) does not constitute a lock on Bradford at the #1 slot.
  4. Bradford declares that he and his agent are totally in the dark about what the Rams want. They have not tipped their hand to him at all.
  5. The Rams are negotiating with Bradford, but so too are they negotiating with Suh, McCoy and Clausen.
  6. It is wretched to think so, but is reasonable to suppose that if the Rams still hold the #1 when the countdown commences, they may chose the cheapest bargain. This may boil down to a money deal.
With that said Bernie Miklasz of the St, Louis Post-Dispatch tried to explode this notion a piece he penned this morning. You can read it here. He basically says the following.
  1. Stop the charade
  2. You ain't fooling anybody
  3. It's obvious you love Bradford
  4. You've done everything shy of filing personal adoption papers in court.
  5. You had better protect this kid with a good offensive line.
  6. Upgrade the receivers
  7. Don't rush Bradford
  8. Put Pat Shurmer in charge of Bradford's development
Bernie is in St. Louis. He supposedly has access to the organization. So too does D'Marco Farr. Both of these guys have turned around lately and are saying all the signals are towards Bradford at this point. I am going to have to trust them on this, but from where I sit, here in Los Angeles, they look mighty indecisive and willing to reconsider.

I don't want to digress much here, but I would dismiss the Pat Shurmer notion. Why do you have any confidence in that guy? What Quarterback did he ever develop? Donovan McNabb? Please... he predated Shurmer by a long shot. Kolb? Nah, I don't accept that as positive case yet. If he shows strong like Rodgers, perhaps I will. I he does a great job with Bradford, perhaps I will.

Right now I want him fired, and I want Mike Leach in charge.

Rumors of Possible Haynesworth Trade Not Rumors

Is a trade for Haynesworth in the works for St. Louis? No, these are not rumors, just bullshit. John Clayton of ESPN threw that one out, supposedly... although I did not hear him do so on the air.

Look, Haynesworth is an over-paid prima donna who doesn't want to play nose tackle, although he did precisely this with the Titans. The guy did not perform well last season with the Redskins, and this is why they are shopping him. He isn't worth the $100m contract Snyder gave him; still one of the most preposterous moves I've seen in free agency. Several experts, including Mike Mayock, said he was a system player, who owed much of his greatness to the scheme he was in. They didn't think he would fair well away from Tennessee. Boy does that seem prescient now! Haynesworth did not do well away from Tennessee.

Now you have the complete task of explaining to me why the Rams, a team with cash-flow problems in the middle of an ownership change, would acquire a $45m expensive rookie QB and a $100m overpaid prima donna DT in the same season? The #1 pick is already described by many as a money-pit. Why complicate the situation by seeking Haynesworth's $100m contract also?

Are you stumped yet? So am I. I do not believe this plan is economically feasible for the Rams at this stage of the game. Ergo it is bullshit.

Dilfer says it would be a catastrophic mistake for the Rams to select Bradford

My home-boy Trent Dilfer was asked to comment on Devaney's statement that selecting Bradford is no sure-thing. Dilfer applauded this comment, and made a few controversial statements. What were they?
  1. Bradford is not close to being the #1 athlete in this draft. I would accept that statement.
  2. Bradford faced a lot of soft defenses in the Big-12. It is an interesting point. In the 2009 BCS game he faced a hard-ass SEC defense in Florida, and put 14 points on the board, not 60.
  3. Clausen is the most pro-ready. Ooopss! I knew he had to fuck up somewhere. Trent, quit injecting Fentanyl into your veins. Don't make me send you to rehab. Come out of narcotic induced delusions and read the tattoo on Clausen's forehead that says "BUST". I am telling you now that this kid is never going to make it in the NFL. You will all be scratching you heads in a few years saying "What happened?" You criteria is wrong. The pro-system doesn't predict shit. It is a meaningless indication of nothing in particular.
  4. Colt McCoy may be the kid who winds up having the best pro career. It is an interesting idea. I have mulled that notion over several times. Colt looks damn good to me. I am still betting on Tebow, but my secondary bet is on McCoy. Implicit within this declaration is the notion that the pro-system is a meaningless indication of nothing in particular. Colt is a spread QB.
I don't agree with Trent's somewhat hysterical use of the term 'Catastrophic'. I do believe Bradford will become a great passer... give a steel-reinforced concrete offensive line like that of the Jets. We do not have such a line, ergo we run the risk of making him a medical bust. Even in Bernie's article, I still see major cases of denial about the state of our offensive line, which is still 3 players away from being solid. Bradford is a terrific kid, but with such poor protection, he is in for great difficulty.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My take on the McNabb trade and the NFC East

So, I have to eat some crow. The McNabb trade did happen. You punks in the media are lucky. I was going to beat you down at the start of the 2010 season. You have avoided an ass-whipping of historic proportions. I wanted to be noted that Mike Florio is still a liar, and he was totally off base. The truth has come out and the Rams were never in the hunt for McNabb. His talk of "...McNabb being in St. Louis as early as Friday [several weeks ago]" was utterly wacko.

So what's my take on this trade?
  1. The Eagles were crazy to deal McNabb for an unproven commodity like Kevin Kolb.
  2. The Eagles' situation is not comparable to the Favre+Packer situation. McNabb is a lot younger than Favre, and he never did the "I'm retiring/I'm back" disco dance.
  3. The Eagles will now enter a rebuilding/transition phase. They will win less games not more. The Eagles were 11-5 last season, I doubt they will be close to that this season. Perhaps they will finish 8-8.
  4. Consider the Packers. They had a super QB sitting on the bench in Aaron Rodgers. Nevertheless, a team that was 13-3 in 2007 fell to 6-10 in 2008 largely because of the transition. Of course, the defense had much to do with it, but the Packer offense was not nearly as explosive in 2008 as 2007.
  5. Do you think Kolb is as good as Rodgers? The Philly homer may want to say yes. The objective observer from the West does not think so. Rodgers may very well prove himself the best QB in the league this season, provided he stays healthy. He looks like one of the most deadly QBs in the league from my point of view. If the Packers can just cut the damn sacks down from 51 to 30, Rodgers may well take the MVP title from Peyton Manning this season. I seriously doubt Kolb is close to that level. Maybe I am wrong, but in my experience, a QB that good rarely comes along. I doubt we will see two such powerful QBs emerge so quickly in succession.
  6. If Kolb is substantially less a QB than Rodgers, expect the Eagles transition to be worse than the Packers.
  7. Dealing your QB within the division is stupid and borderline suicidal. Take it from me, a Ram fan. We dealt Jim Everett--a QB who lead a parallel life to McNabb in many respects--inside our division to the New Orleans Saints. Everett crucified every time we played against him. He knew our defense inside and out. He knew who was weak. He knew how to burn him. He knew all this from countless hours of scrimmaging against our defense, and hear the DC complain about guys.
  8. Consider Sonny Jurgensen, a distant relative of mine on my mama's side of the family. The Eagles dealt him to the Redskins and he immediately threw 5 TD passes against the Eagles at the first opportunity. Believe me, history repeats itself: The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
  9. Consider what Favre is doing to the Packers right now. I realize that Jared Allen was a major key to victory in both those games, but they would not have out-scored the powerful Packer offense without Favre in either case.
  10. Consider the fact that Shanahan is now in Washington. Sorry to inform you of this, but Shanahan is better than Reid. It isn't just because of the 2 rings that I say that. They already have a fairly nasty defense. Now Shanahan and McNabb are going to boot-strap his offense into the picture. You have much to be concerned about.
  11. The Eagles now have a lot of picks, but this has been the case for the past several years. The pattern is pretty clear. Most of the offensive choices do well. Most of the defensive choices don't. There are exceptions on both sides, but this is the pattern. If the pattern holds, a significant number of 2010 picks will be wasted on defensive players who don't pan out.
In conclusion, I see the East as a two-horse race. The Giants are rebuilding their defense, but they will chase the Cowboys from behind. The Cowboys now have to be the prohibitive favorite to win the East. If the Cowboys don't win the East, the 2010 Cowboys will be an utter disgrace to the lone star of Texas. If they don't win its a shame.

I expect some back-biting, recriminations and drama once the Eagles get into the heavy water of 2010. I wish you well, but I think you just jammed your dick in the door and slammed it. Like Mayock says "Be careful of what you wish for, because you just might get it."

The Redskins and young quarterbacks

It sucks to be a young QB around the Washington Redskins these days. Consider this.

Colt McCoy reported to Redskins HQ yesterday for his pre-draft workout. This is the very day the whole compound is buzzing about the arrival of Donovan McNabb. Of all the Pyhrric and pointless exercises ever done... The Redskins don't even have a 2nd rounder to take him. Neither do they have a 3rd rounder, not that Colt would fall that far. Colt must have been scratching his head a little. He was practicing his interview skills, I guess. I guess it's also a chance to rub elbows.

Now we have Sam Bradford visiting the Redskins today. Today is the day of the McNabb news conference at Redskin HQ. I feel bad for Sam. We are almost certain that the Redskins will not be dealing for him on draft day. Sam wanted to play for Mike Shanahan. He was hoping to be Mike's next protégé prodigy. Perhaps this will make him feel just a bit better about the Ram opportunity.

When NFL Network draft scout Charles Davis was asked why the Redskins would continue with the process of interviewing these young QBs he simply said: "These were non-refundable airplane tickets. They had to go through with it."

Later, Jason La Canfora spun the silly yarn that "You have to due your due diligence; you never know when these kids might come up in free agency."

Consider the most unhappy of them all. Whilst the Redskins welcome McNabb and workout out erstwhile prospects, Jason Campbell is watching daytime TV at home and awaiting his fate. Reportedly, he had a swanky breakfast with Shanahan who instructed him to stay away from the Redskins' compound. You know that's not nice. That's as close to "your fired" as it gets in the NFL. A number of deals are in progress right now. At this point, nobody knows which scenario will be the one. The Redskins will try to get this deal done before the draft, but it is absolutely clear that Campbell is not a part of the Redskins' plan now.

The Redskins are going to have some irritated young QBs to deal with, not to mention the Eagles.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Crap on the Titans

I am so disappointed. I was so looking forward to the Clash of the Titans this year. This is movie is bad, and worse than they say it is. This movie is currently pulling a T-Meter score of 31%, and I am surprised it is that high. At 31%, this movie is overrated. The production team fucked up, from the top to the bottom, they fucked up. Writers, directors, editors, effects teams, they all fucked up. I was pissed when I left the theater.

So where did they go wrong? We should be reminded of Easy Reader's... er... Morgan Freeman's analogy for movie project failure. When asked if he was surprised that "The Bonfire of the Vanities" drowned in a river of blood, he simply nodded his head "no". When asked why he was not surprised, he paused for a moment and said "When an airplane crashes, the most frequent finding of the investigators is that the catastrophe was a result of a series of mishaps along the way."

There certain were a series of mishaps along the way to releasing Clash of the Titans (2010). There were a series of bad decisions that led up to this disaster:
  1. They decided to re-write the myth of Perseus.
  2. They decided to make this a secular humanist polemic of man vs the gods.
  3. They chose a really crappy writer or writers.
  4. The decided to modify Greek mythology to make the Kraken a child of Hades, rather than a Titan imprisoned and controlled by Poseidon.
  5. They decided to go with a coup d'état theme in which Hades wanted to overthrow Zeus.
  6. They chose a French martial arts movie director with little visual effects movie experience.
  7. The crafted an anti-climactic ending in which the Kraken goes down quickly and easily.
  8. They shot this movie in flat 2d and tried to extrapolate a 3d layered film from it. There are no 3d effects worth mentioning in this film.
These are just a few of the problems. There are many more problems, story-wise. The worst problems are found in the editing. There are unforgivable breaks and bad cuts in the action found in this film. One moment they are in a crisis, drowning in a ship wreck, the next moment they are on the beach. No explanation is given. The crisis just ended, and you have no idea why. There are many bad cuts like this found in this film.

Skip it. Skip it entirely. This is a pure waste of time.

I can't get Bradford, and I don't want Clausen. I'll take McNabb

The shocker has happened. Philly traded McNabb to the Redskins on Easter Sunday 2010 for the #37 pick in the 2010 draft, a #3 in the 2011, and a conditional #4 in 2011. The conditional pick can rise if the Redskins win more games, posting a better record. Most Philly fans seem glad that the McNabb era is over. They are also shocked that the trade happened inside the division. They seem to be happy that the Kolb era will commence now. They are unhappy that they will face McNabb in a Redskin uniform twice per year for the indefinite future.

CBS Draft Central was the first to publish the opinion that the real looser in this trade is Jimmy Clausen, not Jason Campbell. Campbell was expected to go elsewhere this season. This is only a confirmation of that notion. Clausen was thought, by some, to be the guy Shanahan would develop for the Redskin's future. It is pretty damn clear that Clausen slides past #4 in this season's draft. I believe it is extremely unlikely that Holmgren will select him. Ergo his very first possible landing point is at #9 with the Buffalo Bills.

Pray for the Bills' sake that the GM does not try to take the cheese out of the mouse trap.

This brings us to the Redskins feelings about this. Many D.C. fans are expressing subdued jubilation. They believe the Eagles, an arch nemesis and tormentor, will now spiral downward. A city which is 90% Black is happy to receive (arguably) the greatest Black QB ever. We should leave some room here for Hall of Famer Warren Moon.

On the other hand, Redskin fans are all-to-familiar with the pattern of grabbing over-priced washed-up veterans who under-perform when Dan Snyder gives them fat contracts. This is not just an artifact/relic of George Allen and the 1970s skins. It is a persistent pattern that continues to this day. Many of these fans had already pinned their hopes on Jimmy Clausen as their QB of the future. Shanahan is known as one of those few men in league qualified to evaluate and coach the QB. They hopped he would use his powers to groom Clausen into the Redskins' franchise QB for the next 10+ seasons.

This brings us to Shanahan. Nobody believes the Skins are taking a QB with that massive #4 pick in the 2010 Draft. Nobody believes the Skins are going to do a deal with the Rams for the #1 pick. That ship has sailed out of the harbor. Can anyone explain to me why Shanahan would want to pass on a QB in this year's draft?
  • It is possible that he was out-voted. Bruce Allen and Synder could have pushed this deal through.
  • It is possible that he felt Bradford was unobtainable. The Rams will take him or demand too much for him.
  • It is possible he was concerned about Bradford's durability. The Redskins allowed more sacks (46) than the Ram (44) in 2009. That is a sad, sad commentary. It should be noted that Green Bay allowed the greatest number of sacks (51) in 2009.
  • It is possible that Shanahan just didn't see what he wanted in Clausen.
As I mentioned in title line: I can't get Bradford, and I don't want Clausen. I'll take McNabb. Maybe this is Shanahan's decision tree? Maybe this was the read progression?

There we have it again folks. Shanahan and Holmgren are arguably the best QB developers in the league right now. There are a few others. Andy Reid and Mike Martz are two more. I seriously doubt Charley Weis is one of them. What do we say about Clausen now that Shanahan and Holmgren have apparently voted no-confidence in the kid?

Maybe I am right and maybe Kiper Jr. is wrong? Maybe? Maybe McShay is right and Kiper is wrong? Maybe?

Watch for Shanahan and Holmgren to go after Jevan Snead. The kid is going to be cheap, and he has real potential.