Tue, 3 May 2005
2005 NFL Draft
The Player Haters
Another NFL Draft has come and gone. I always found it funny that as soon as a team makes a pick an ESPN talking head puts his 2 cents in about the quality of the pick. I realize that if you put the draft on TV you need someone to tell the listeners what's going on, but the whole concept of rating a teams draft at this point is just a load of crap. Most of these guys are rolled out once a year propped in front of a camera and then locked up in their homes digging up BS stats. No wonder they sound so disgruntled.
Who the hell are these guys, if they are so damn smart why aren't NFL front offices beating down their doors trying to acquire these geniuses. I'll tell you why, this is all smoke and mirrors.
From the Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!!"
It doesn't help that ESPN has about 8 hours of draft coverage, you can only say that player x has good speed and player y good strength so many times before that gets old. A solution would be to either break it off after 2-3 hours or get some new guys in the booth. Instead you are forced to embellish and make sure everyone knows you had breakfast with coach Z and that he said player x has a few problems, they never say what the problem is, unless it is already public. He doesn't say Bubba is a serious rinser/booze pig or just a drunk. Instead he says that Player x has had some personal problems. That is when that little voice in your head Mr. Subliminal starts whispering...oohh is he a coke head or roid guy or steals cookies from the Girls Scouts. He is now labeled and that is just the tip of the iceberg. What about medical privacy..The NFL is probably the only place I can think of that people are dissected in ways that would be illegal in most work places. Medical privacy HIPPA laws are thrown out the window. Not only are they not honored but are thrown out completely....(a rant for another day). On draft weekend and the days leading up to it, not only are the 255 players that are drafted publicly scrutinized...but all the players who are supposed to get drafted but don't are also included in this mix. Now think hard, when is the last time you watched the NBA or MLB draft and they said half of the crap they say about these college football kids. It is not right and should be stopped.
Most of the things these guys say is just regurgitated combine stats or something they heard at a bar talking to a scout. And I tell you what most scouts I met are not the brightest guys in the world. Most are ex-coaches that couldn't cut it or had some kind of problem (drank too much). Group Think is a big problem in analyzing players. Things are exaggerated and then Toppers Syndrome sets in. Scout A says something about a player in front of a group of scouts and scout B thinks he needs to top that info and so he adds a layer of shit. Before you know it, some poor athlete, who just completed a great college season is being thrown under the bus. Just so the scout can seem like he is cornucopia of football knowledge.
Can't Miss Players That Miss
Players seem to get all of the blame when they fail to live up to pre draft expectations...the finger should also be pointed at the offending organization. When a pattern exists of bringing in the top picks in the draft and doing nothing with them. Something is broke in the organization and it must be fixed...fast.
Why Can't Miss Players Sometimes Miss
Dumb Ass-can't grasp playbook
Player's Confidence Shot
Mismatch Systems-Option QB trying to play QB in the pros or an O-Lineman who is not used to pass protection. Less obvious is a great running back in college who ran the ball 30-40 times a game is now is being asked to run 10-15 times and catch ball out of back field. Most obvious in offensive players
They are thrown in the mix before they are ready-asking them to do things that can't yet do.
Most are hardworking and competent ...but
Don't believe for one minute that each team is equal in developing a player. This is not even close, some coaches are great, some just plain suck. Some teams take great players and waste them. By wasting them I mean well coached players in college are sent to a team that have terrible coaches. There are some real whack jobs in coaching, These wankers will talk football buzz words without really knowing what they are talking about. Each year some coach comes up with a term that he serves up at a coaches clinic and then all the other poser coaches pick up on and beat that term to death. Buzz words are used as vocal cues to remind a player to use proper fundamentals or make adjustments to certain schemes. When pressed with questions by the player these poser coaches are the guys that will tell a player "just be a football player" . Huh! OK
Beware of Coach Buzzword
Buzz Word Alert:
BURST-As in that player has a burst or burst to the ball. Now, just substitute the following: run like you stole a purse and the cops are after you.
RUN DOWN HILL-How it's used "Son, I want you to run down hill and meet the ball carrier"
this term is a load of rubbish substitute "Son, I want you to run to the ball carrier and hit him like he stole your mom's purse".
Vocal cues work, but it has to be more than words. The coach has to understand what exactly he wants the player to do and why doing it this way is better.
Some teams do a horseshit job of developing a players physical skills. I know of a strength coach that wouldn't allow players to lift certain types of lifts because...well they could get hurt, even though the player did the same type of lifting throughout his college career. Can you say - C.Y.A or Cover Your Ass. This guy had no business being a strength coach. Oh I get it, it's not "Be All You Can Be" , it's more like "Be Here as Long as You Can Be".
Some Teams don't test their players...for strength or speed. I am serious there were teams when I played that did no testing. none...but that team did have a cool jukebox in the weight room.
I actually talked to a coach that had his players take a rubber mallet in each hand and had them strike an anvil over and over. When I asked the coach why, he said have you ever shaken hands with a blacksmith...At this point I just said what the f@#$ and walked away...this guy was a pro strength coach...Oh by the way if you ever try the rubber mallet workout..watch your head, I tried it and the rubber mallet bounced up and almost took my head off.
It is the responsibility of the Front Office to get players signed in time for most of camp. Players who miss most of camp won't play, there is just too much to learn. If you can't sign them in time don't draft them. A rookie player who misses camp is almost guaranteed to be on the sidelines the first year. Some of these guys are never heard from again. They sit on sidelines for 3 seasons and then are released and then get picked up by someone else and become star.
If teams spent half has much time and money developing their current talent as they do acquiring new talent, they would see big changes in team performance.
So next time you're watching the draft and some loudmouth draft analyst starts up, turn down the volume and remember the weatherman with that fancy Doppler radar who said there was no chance of rain.. Yeah Right!