Tuesday, March 01, 2011
NFL Combine, Day 3 round up
So I've been watching the drills for about 3 minutes and already I'm getting annoyed at the constant replays of Nick Fairley. I get the distinct impression that the NFL Network gives less of a shit about showing players work out as it does about showing off the fact that they have high speed cameras that can do super slow-mo replays. Dickheads. And another thing: Honestly, I'm getting sick and fucking tired of watching replays of someone who did the drill well. I understand to a degree that you're showing what a "good run" through the drill looks like, but what use is that when we miss half the fucking guys going through the drills because of replays? And another thing: Adrian Clayborn and Nick Fairley look good on game day, I'm not disputing that. But so far they've looked very uncomfortable in the early drills. That's not a huge issue in itself. What is a huge issue is the commentary team fawning over the pair of them and talking about great hips and bending etc, when they're clearly struggling more than some others during the drill. Clayborn looked positively slow and sloppy moving between the bags. Yet despite that he was used for a replay where Rich Eisen described him as something like "a bull in a phonebooth", I didn't catch it clearly. I'm guessing that's supposed to mean good, which is surprising given the fact that the slow-mo replay clearly shows Clayborn having poor footwork through the drill. Lucky he kicks butt on the football field really (Clayborn I mean, not Eisen). And another thing: Now we're missing a ton of guys running drills. Why you ask? So we can have a close up of Robert Quinn breathing. Yeah, exciting shit. I can't wait till they start filming him while he listens to his iPod. It promises to be intense. And another thing: Every time that a drill ends it takes time to pick up the bags, move them around and to then show the players how to perform the next drill. Or as it's otherwise known, a ready made advert break. So my question then is this; why does the NFL Network keeping going to breaks in the middle of the drills and showing replays as well, when they could be doing that in the interim period between drills? It's just absolute fucking amateur hour production. It shows clear signs of a lack or foresight and planning, combined with a drivelling sense that the crew believes that people are tuning in solely because of their fancy cameras and informed presenters, as opposed to the fact that, you know, only 1 network is allowed to cover the combine live and in full. And another thing: Awesome. Michael Lombardi is back on set. I'll tell you what, how about we divert the cameras away from the on field action so we can watch a bunch of guys in suits sitting around talking shit on the sidelines? I thought you'd like that idea. Jesus. I've just never known sports coverage like this. If it was an independent contractor (let's just say ESPN) providing such shitty coverage, then their contract would be in serious danger of not being renewed. And another thing: Thanks to the damn replays, I missed Mark Herzlich going through the bags. Fucking joke. And another thing: Thanks to the NFL Networks whoring of replays of Von Miller (who is having a shit-tastic time on the drills by the way) I just missed watching number 22 Jonas Mouton who I thought did well in the previous drill and I was looking forward to seeing. I don't even know why they bother. Why not just admit from the first second of broadcast that they're only interested in a few select players and knock on the head any fucking pretence that this is about giving the public a chance to watch all the prospects in action. And another thing: I've just heard the biggest pile of fucking bullshit that I've heard in years. Jim Mora jr. is on as an analyst and he just proclaimed that thanks to the NFL Network he wouldn't have to come to the combine if he was a coach. Rich Eisen then chimed in and said that a number of coaches (who he refused to name) had told him they were thankful of the coverage. That's utter junk. If, like me, they're interested in giving every player a fair shot at an evaluation then they'd much rather be in the stands at Indy, than sitting at home watching this God forsaken pile of dog shit that the NFL Network calls "coverage". And another thing: Again, I just missed seeing Jonas Mouton because of another fucking replay of Von Miller. At least these time Miller looked good. But now link this back to the point above. A coach watching the combine on TV would have missed most of Mouton's work and wouldn't be able to give him a decent evaluation. And another thing: Not fucking a minute later and we're now missing more guys in the drills so the NFL Network can show us a replay of one of the coaches using their super slow-mo camera. Who fucking cares about the coach? What the fuck? Is the director twelve years old? And the NFL Network bitches about TV providers not carrying their network. On this basis I'd say those companies are doing their subscribers a favour. And another thing: Oh look, adverts in the middle of a drill, despite the fact that we could have had these about 5 minutes ago when they were switching between stations. I'm not sure how many other people do this, but as a point of principle I refuse to watch these adverts in my own, largely pointless protest. And another thing: Cutting away from the drills? Why? To introduce a new talking head into the booth. How very fucking important that is? I mean seriously, does nobody on the team understand that fans don't really give a fuck what presenter you've just put in the booth. We want to see the action on the field for crying out loud. And another thing: I'm considering billing the NFL Network for the loss of a pen that I just hurled across the room in frustration. I was waiting for a particular player to come around and have his turn on the drill, when they cut away. What for this time? To show me Lovie Smith sitting in the stand. Fucking sweet. Just the way he looked at his notes, it was awesome. And another thing: I love the a) incoherent way that the NFL.com feed switches between the two separate feeds and b) bears little resemblance to the schedule laid down. And another thing: Another ad break in the middle of the linebacker drills. Sweet. Pricks. And another thing: It's Von Miller replay time once more! Newsflash, regardless of how good he is on the field, he's been piss poor during the combine drills. This seems to be something of a running theme for the NFL Network. Pick a player who is pretty well known and then play back his run through the drills, while desperately trying to put the best spin on it possible to cover up for the fact that you're wasting air time with a replay of someone doing shit in a drill. Right, thank fuck that's over. When I'm done here I might just go hammer some nails into my eye balls in order to relax. It's definitely a first in my experience. Until now I never thought it was possible to make a sports broadcast that fans of the sport would get annoyed with and not enjoy. Jesus. Anyway, on with the feedback, starting with Group 7, D-linemen: -- Ugo Chinasa, Oklahoma St. scored surprisingly well by my book. On the day I have him as joint with Adrian Clayborn for the quality of his drill work. Prett strong kid. -- Uh guess what? Adrian Clayborn was pretty good. Didn't start all that well, but recovered. -- Nick Fairely was one of the top guys, as you might expect. The complete case for him moving to the top of draft boards is quickly building. -- Cameron Jordan did ok I thought. He didn't set the world alight, but he was reasonably good. -- But the winner of Group 7 was, for me, Chris Carter from Fresno State. I have him as my highest rated performer in Group 7. Maybe a little under weight, but technically he looked pretty sound. Group 8, D-linemen: -- Cliff Matthews had a great workout. Very fluid, great footwork, great determination. I haven't seen any tape of this kid, but if it's half as good as his combine showing then it'll be a treat. -- Take all of the above and transplant that down to Terrell McClain, who I thought was one of the real stand outs from Group 8. Very, very impressive. -- Dontay Moch was another good shower. Perhaps not to the level of Matthews and McClain, but good. -- Drake Nevis did pretty well. Confirmed what I've seen on film. Physically strong. -- Brooks Reed. I've got so many stars next to this guys name. He worked his butt off during the drills and reaped the rewards with a strong showing. Great feet. -- Phil Taylor from Baylor can certainly move for a dude that weighs 334 pounds. Earned my respect with his performance. -- Muhammad Wilkerson did Temple proud with his effort. Just went all out right from the start and thoroughly deserves to have teams go back and give him a much closer look on film. Group 9, Linebackers: -- Akeem Ayers was flyign through the drills like a race car, but I was a little unsure about his footwork. Speed to burn though, in shorts at least. -- Nick Bellore racked up a few stars with his footwork, change of direction, ball skills and work rate. -- Mason Foster. Had a pretty solid showing. -- Mark Herzlich. Finally managed to seem some of the kid and he was ok. Didn't leap out. -- Ross Homan was a man on a mission. I give him a ton of credit for his drill work. Another guy who earned a second (or in my case, first) look. Very good. -- Greg Jones put in a similar show to Herzlich and Foster. Solid overall. -- As I've already mentioned, the supposed star of the day was Von Miller. Honest opinion? He looked like crap out there. -- Mike Mohamed on the other hand looked very good. Up there with Homan on the stars scale. -- In the end I got to see plenty of Jonas Mouton. He turned out average. -- Brian Rolle showed some flashes. Pretty quick, but looked a little unbalanced at times. -- Kelvin Sheppard did ok. Worth a slightly closer look. -- Quan Sturdivant of Noth Carolina, I have a question for you. Why do all the good players have such inconveniently difficult names to spell and remember? Whatever the answer, I won't be forgetting this name in a hurry. Outstanding in the drills, top marked linebacker for me. -- James Thomas of West Virginia did pretty well. -- Finally, Martez Wilson and K.J. Wright both put in above average showings. Take that for what you will. So another day of torture is done. Just one left as the defensive backs take to the field. Just looking back at the number of guys I've picked out over the last few days, either a) the depth of talent is a lot higher this year, b) I'm getting more generous with my grades or c) I'm getting better at picking out the good ones. I'm inclined to roll with either A or B. At least one good thing has come out of all this. Now I can ask people if they enjoy the NFL Networks coverage of the combine, and if they say "yes" I know that a) they don't love football and b) there is a good chance that they're clinically insane. Now to finish, a request. Nay, this is more of a plea. If you're reading this then share it with everyone you can, because a) I could really use the extra pageviews right now and b) hopefully someone will read this who is in a position to do something about the NFL Networks shitty combine coverage. Enjoy day four of the combine everyone. Try not to smash your TV in frustration.