Category Archives: The NFL Is Your Friend.

“The boys I’ve seen, they’re growing up with soccer.”

This can’t be good.

And if this is the best he’s got, Roger Goodell is an idiot.

N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking at a conference in New Orleans this month, said the sport was “safer than ever” because of awareness about injuries.

“I had a concussion playing baseball, and they didn’t do anything about it,” Goodell added. “We’re smarter about how long we practice.”

The reality is that the problem starts long before the pros get players.

Youth leagues and high schools have followed the N.F.L.’s lead and reduced contact in practice, but most serious injuries occur in games. Safety standards also vary widely. Many schools, for instance, still do not require trainers and emergency workers to be present at games. Coaches are sometimes unable to recognize the symptoms of concussions and unwilling to take players out.

Long term, that doesn’t bode well for the colleges or Goodell’s league.  Ignore it at your peril, fellas.


UPDATE:  More thoughts from Charlie Pierce.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NFL Is Your Friend.

“It’s harder than ever to find a quarterback.”

This (h/t Gatorhater27) doesn’t sound too good.

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said the new crop of college quarterbacks were flummoxed by a simple question about an “under” front, one of the most common defensive alignments. “Whoa, no one’s ever told me ‘front’ before,” he remembers one prospect saying. “No one’s ever talked to me about reading these defenses.”

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley said he had the same results when he asked prospects a question about defenses shifting from a common scheme called “cover 2” to an equally mundane tactic called “cover 3.” Hue Jackson, the offensive coordinator from the Bengals, said he had to dumb down his questions, while Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said some QBs failed to grasp things as basic as understanding a common play call. “You have to teach these kids the absolute basics,” he said.

Even Baylor’s Brice Petty, who resented not being picked until the 103rd selection in the draft, claiming he “was thrown away like I couldn’t learn it,” acknowledges having a few holes in his game, even coming from that ridiculously prolific offense he was in.

Petty admits to grappling with tasks such as hearing and calling the play, identifying defensive backs in coverage and identifying which player in the defensive backfield was the “mike” linebacker, the central part of the defense whose location teams base their offensive line protections on. “As crazy as it sounds, at Baylor, we did not point out the ‘mike’ linebacker,” Petty said.

Petty was unfamiliar with making adjustments to the play or the formation before the snap.

“Honestly, I wish I’d done a little bit more as far as being proactive to get into a pro style [offense],” he said, singling out the need to decipher fronts or coverages. “It was things I have never seen before.”

I can see why St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead speaks of the apocalypse: It’s doomsday if we don’t adapt and evolve.

So what’s a mother of a professional league supposed to do?

NFL officials agree that the new wave of quarterbacks will need more time than previous generations, but some fret that today’s roster limits and time constraints may prevent them from getting the time they need to learn or develop. “It might become like major league baseball now, where you take a guy that you think will be able to play in three, four, five years,” said Pettine.

I think that’s what they have the minor leagues for, buddy.  Of course, those things cost money and you guys sure do like your player development freebies.

Hey, has anyone considered the possibility that the spread is college football’s secret attempt to force the NFL to drop its three-year-after-high-school eligibility requirement?


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Wednesday morning buffet

Chock full of preseason goodness.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., College Football, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Stay in school, kids.

The story about the NCAA reconsidering its rule about letting basketball players declare for the NBA draft but allow them the opportunity to return to college under certain conditions with their eligibility intact is interesting for what it says about what the NCAA is struggling to do with its amateurism protocol.

But I wonder how much of an impact it would really have if the policy were extended to football, as SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has hinted might be under consideration.  Take a look at this chart:

% of student-athletes who declared for NBA draft, but were not selected

  • 2015 – 34.04
  • 2014 – 36.36
  • 2013 – 37.7
  • 2012 – 30.6
  • 2011 – 30.95

% of student-athletes who declared for NFL draft, but were not selected

  • 2015 – 25.6
  • 2014 – 37
  • 2013 – 30
  • 2012 – 18
  • 2011 – 23

In 2014, the percentage of college football players actually declaring early but not being drafted exceeded that of college basketball players, but look what happened this year.  And if you’re wondering why, it’s because the NFL got more persuasive about the odds.

The decrease in players leaving school early for the NFL came a year after the league altered its evaluation process – limiting schools to just five draft-eligible underclassmen it can request evaluations for and altering the information that players receive.

Previously, five different grades were handed out by the NFL Draft Advisory Board: As high as the first round; as high as the second round; as high as the third round; no potential to go in the first three rounds; and no potential to be drafted.

That was cut to three categories this year: first round, second round, and neither – which is the board advising the player to stay in school.

Look, as much as these coaches like to say it’s a rule change that favors the players, it’s really about the rule favoring college coaches, by letting them keep the talent around longer.  The question I have is how much a change by the NCAA would really matter, given the effect education has had.  Let’s face it – it’s not like the NFL needs these kids to come out a year early.  If they don’t, it’s one less year they get paid.


Filed under The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

The NFL keeps getting crankier about the spread.

Seattle’s offensive line coach Tom Cable isn’t a fan, either.

… Cable said that the proliferation of spread offenses in college has made it harder for players to adjust in the NFL, particularly the offensive linemen under his charge. That, in turn, has made it harder to evaluate players as they prepare to enter the league.

“Unfortunately, I think we’re doing a huge disservice to offensive football players — other than a receiver — that come out of these spread systems,” Cable continued. “The runners aren’t as good. They aren’t taught how to run. The blockers aren’t as good. The quarterbacks aren’t as good. They don’t know how to read coverage and throw progressions. They have no idea.”

Judging from his record as Idaho’s head coach, I’m not that convinced Cable’s got an idea.  But the more this stuff circulates, the more it grows into a real thing.  Expect more pushback from spread coaches; at this point, they’ve really got no choice.


Filed under Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

“I can teach a third-grader in five minutes how to take a three-step drop and a five-step drop under center.”

Shorter college spread offense coaches:  NFL, you’re full of it.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

When a meme becomes a thing – and a modest proposal

Hey, this whole “the NFL ain’t buying what spread quarterbacks are selling” thing is gettin’ real.

Even though the NFL is more pass oriented than ever before, the seven signal callers selected in this year’s draft is the fewest since 1955, when only six QBs were taken.

For perspective: More wideouts were selected among the first 40 picks (eight), than quarterbacks taken in the entire seven-round, 256-pick draft.

Ouch.  That’s gonna leave a mark in somebody’s checkbook.  And it’s getting worse.

While the small number of quarterbacks selected this year is the fewest of the common draft era (since 1967), just four signal callers that came from spread offenses have been drafted each of the last two years.

The drastic difference in the draft numbers at the position over the last two years likely has a lot more to the systems the top quarterbacks came from.

Ten of the 14 quarterbacks that were drafted a year ago ran pro-style offenses in college, as compared to the three drafted QBs who were a product of a more NFL-friendly offense this year.

Now, two years is an admittedly small sample size.  But you know how these pesky memes work.  I figure just a couple of ESPN spots devoted to the subject, and the panic will set in.

Of course, David Wunderlich is right – the NFL could roll up its sleeves and put in the effort developing quarterbacks.  But patience isn’t so much a virtue when you’ve invested a draft pick (only seven rounds now, remember) and money in a guy for whom you have no clue from his background as to whether he can make the leap.  The clock is always ticking in the NFL.

So we’re back at the fundamental problem.  The NFL isn’t going to spend a bunch of money on a developmental league when it’s had a perfectly fine one that hasn’t cost it one red cent all these years.  Nor is it going to change the role of the quarterback in some fundamental way.  And college coaches aren’t in the business of delivering talent with a red bow around it for the League so much as they’re in the business of winning, which for many means relying on spread offensive attacks.  Sounds like they’re at loggerheads to me.

Is this an insurmountable problem?  Nah, I don’t think so.  At least not in a world where money talks.  For much less than the cost of a developmental league, the NFL could simply spend some seed money at certain schools to encourage them to support pro-style offenses.  There are already places where coaches’ salaries are endowed; how about the Roger Goodell Endowment for Quarterback Studies, thoughtfully provided as long as the program has its quarterbacks taking snaps under center?

Talk about your win-win.  Let a thousand pocket passers bloom!


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.