Tuesday, March 01, 2011

NFL Combine, Day Four round up

I'm now sitting down to watch Day Four of the NFL Combine. In front of me I have my score sheet. To my left I have a big mug of coffee. On the other side I have some live electrodes connected to a wall socket, which I plan to attach to my balls every time I need a break from the pain that is the NFL Network. And another thing: Many players are wearing a mouth guard developed by Under Armor that apparently aids with balance. Yeah. Okey dokey. And another thing: I love the way people are talking about the new Under Armor shirt like a heart rate monitor is some huge revolution in fitness. "What? You mean we can monitor heart rates? What is this Demon magic you speak of?". A fool and his money are easily parted. Just ask Al Davis (Oooh that was low). And another thing: I haven't watched any of the drills yet, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that our viewing of the drills will be interrupted on a regular basis by replays of Prince Amukamara. And another thing: Didn't see that one coming. I thought we might be destined for a replay interruption, but instead what we got was a Deion Sanders interruption, as they went down to the field to show us Sanders walking about. I must admit, it was well worth not showing us the drill for that. Oh wait, no it wasn't. But this isn't a knock on Sanders. He doesn't control the cameras and as you can imagine he is well versed in the technical finer points of playing defensive back. Except maybe tackling. And another thing: There we go, Amukamara replay break time. Why do they need to show us a replay of someone messing up the drill? Jesus. This is the first fucking drill and I'm already staring at those electrodes... And another thing: First advert break of the day. If they'd waited about 3 fucking minutes or so, we wouldn't have had to miss half a drill for the sake of the adverts. And another thing: We just saw a replay of what was, admittedly, a great catch. But it was apparent from listening to Rich Eisen talking that he couldn't care less about the catch. It was all about the "look at our great 'NFL in focus' camera's. Look at the great replays we can show you". Get stuffed. Show me the players, not your damn replays. And another thing: Another ad break already? You just had one like 5 minutes ago? Fuck off! And another thing: One of my favourite DB drills is on, so naturally this is a perfect time to interrupt the coverage so we can fill the screen with an inane question from some douchebag on Facebook. Seriously NFL Network, JUST READ THE FUCKING QUESTION OUT!! You don't need to fill the screen with a graphic. Am I the only person on the planet watching this and thinking that? And another thing: I'm calling the FBI or some organisation in the states that can handle with cross state and international fraud. Because that's what this is. The NFL Network calls it full and exclusive coverage of the NFL Combine. What it actually is, is just a way for the Network to pander to the top 5 guys at each position, so their analysts can then spend the whole season talking about how clever they were to predict the high draft picks and their resulting success. This is such bullshit. And another thing: There are some guys coming up in the drill who I was interested in watching. But no, we have to head over immediately to the vertical jump to watch Patrick Peterson doing his jump. Fuck off. Just record the jump and play it back to us later when you have a chance, you know, like a normal broadcaster would do. Imagine if NBC cut away during the middle of a live play on a Sunday Night Game just to show us a replay of a someone jumping or making a tackle. It wouldn't happen, because nobody at NBC is that fucking stupid. And another thing: Prince Amukamara is about to step up and do a drill so naturally the talking heads are inflating him big time. My money says he shits out on this drill..... ah he did ok. Fuck. On second thoughts though, they're bitching that he didn't finish the drill fast so maybe we'll call it evens. And another thing: I still don't understand why they need to cut away from the action to talk about a player. Just because you're handing over from one commentary team to another, doesn't mean we have to see their faces. It's not like we're going refuse to believe it's them talking until we see their faces or anything. It's tiring and boring to have to keep putting up with this crap. I don't expect the combine to be special or anything. I'm not asking for something fancy. I don't expect it to be like the Super Bowl. All I want is to just be able to watch all the players going through the drills without all the constant fucking interruptions. Is that really so much to ask? I mean Jesus, this is just absolutely fucking ridiculous. And another thing: A cameraman just got clocked on the sidelines and that brings up an issue that bugs me. Given that modern cameras, both of the video and still shot variety, have such powerful lens's now, why in the hell do they need to be positioned so closed to the game, where they often get in the way and pose a serious hazard to players who go out of bounds? Move 'em back. And another thing: I was watching it all online, so I had the choice between two different feeds, but people watching on TV I presume were forced to watch the one feed. In that case, while I was watching Group 11 go through their drills, people watching on the TV were forced to watch Rich Eisen run the 40 yard dash. Now no offense, I think it's actually pretty funny watching him lumber down the track, but that's why I watched the video clip uploaded on NFL.com. If I was watching the TV feed, I would be pissed off that I missed drills in favour of that 6 minute fiasco. It just goes to show what I was saying the other day about TV networks believing that they're coverage is more important than the actual product on the field. What level of arrogance does it take to ignore the actual reason for the combine being held (I.E. assessment of the young draft prospects) just so you can show one of your presenters running a 40 yard dash? It's just absolutely fucking ridiculous. Couldn't they have just waited until the DB's were done and then shown it? Man, you have to love yourself something special to pull that off. Just arrogance in the complete extreme. Personally I'd be embarrassed if I knew we were missing drills just to watch me run the 40. And another thing: A drill has just been running for about 2 or three minutes before the directors finally got the hang of which cameras to switch to and the timing of the switches. Question; how many years has the NFL Network been covering the combine now? How long did the Network have to plan and prepare their shots? Professional film crews are expected to turn up at a site and have everything set up and ready to shoot in less than a day, with a minimal degree of pre-planning and scouting of the site. So why the fuck does the NFL Network not have this covered? On the flip side, they never miss a beat with their stage shots, obviously hinting at where their priorities lay in the run up to the combine. And another thing: One of my favourite drills is up, so it must be time to dick about filling the screen with another pointless facebook question graphic, followed by whoring the screen time with replays of Prince Amukamara. I understand; fuck the little guys, who cares about them? As long as we get our allocation of Amukamara replays, all is well. And another thing: You have to love the way that nobody seems to have any control over the sound, so we get cross overs of a coach explaining a drill, along with the sound of one of the players spitting somewhere else, and the sound of two crew members standing around talking about where they should be set up, all at the same time. Hire a fucking competent sound editor for Christ sake. Well, it's over now. I didn't have to resort to electrocuting myself. It would have made little difference, my brain was fried already. Thank God this thing only comes round once a year and only lasts four days. If it was any more I'd snap. So let's take a look then, starting with... Group 10 - Defensive Backs: -- Curtis Brown. Had a great time on the drills. Impressive -- Kendric Burney. There were moments when I thought he wavered, but was above average overall. -- Chris Conte. Very good. Worked hard, cut well, quick feet. -- Vance Cuff. Stole Group 10 easily. Each drill he looked perfectly at home, like it was routine. Worked hard and was smooth as silk throughout. -- Brandon Harris. Did ok. Put on an above average show. -- Will Hill. Ditto the above. -- Shiloh Keo. Awesome to watch. Not quite as flawless as Cuff, but absolutely busted his balls off during each drill and looked hungry. Very impressive display. -- Prince Amukamara was in this group. He looked about average. Group 11 - Defensive Backs: -- Joe Lefeged. Did ok. I'm gonna say average, but with the caveat that this group did much better overall than Group 10, especially at the high end, so the average standard here was much higher. -- Mark Legree. Slightly above average display. -- Rahim Moore. Very good. Consistently one of the best performers in the group. -- Johnny Patrick. Average for the group. -- Patrick Peterson. Clearly marked himself above Amukamara on most draft boards after this. Very good. -- Justin Rogers. Average for the group. -- Kevin Rutland. Slightly above average. -- Tyler Sash. Pretty good. Appeared to take some of the drills a little easy (a common problem on the day) but overall did well. Bagged himself a cameraman hit. -- Da'Norris Searcy. Weird name, very good show. Consistently above average. -- David Sims. Outstanding one hand catch and good overall. -- Buster Skrine. Apparently did a sub 4.3 40 (too lazy to check). Was very good on the field. Quick feet. -- Josh Thomas. My king of the Group and the day. Excellent performance. Ridiculous foot speed, great agility, great ball skills, smooth and hard working. Superb. -- Brandyn Thompson. Average for the group. -- Devon Torrence. Quietly did very well. With all the talent on display I'm worried he got lost in the mix, but he definitely stood out to me. Among the top five of an excellent group. -- Nate Williams. Would make the top 5 as well. Overall very good display. Right, that's your combine done. What now? Well, for the teams it's time to go back to film rooms across the country and start pouring over the tape once more. Is Prince Amukamara really as good as what people previously thought? Is Cam Newton in fact an over hyped running back? What about some of the lesser known guys? Time to dig out three game tapes and give them another, closer look. For me it's much the same. Time to start working back through the list, comparing what I see in games to notes from the combine. Is Josh Thomas really as good in pads as he was in shorts? Do his game instincts match up to that excellent foot speed, or does a lack of awareness prevent him from putting his physical skills to good use? We'll see. But first it's time for me to crash out for a day or two and have a break. Then I'll be back with preview series again, this time heading around the AFC teams. Hopefully the labor crisis will last just long enough for me to get that whole series in, then resolve itself with plenty of time to spare before the start of major off season camps etc. Till next time, thank you all for stopping by and having a read. Just don't go electrocuting your balls....

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