2020 NFL Combine Mon.-Tue. Notes, Rumors, News Commentary (for subscribers)…
I’ve watched several coaches, players and GMs do their interviews at the NFL Combine early this week. Here are some notes and thoughts I have to share from what I’ve seen so far…
Combine notes in no particular order…
-- A lot was made of Joe Burrow’s ‘non-committal’ answering of whether he wants to play for the Bengals. He said he wants to be the #1 pick and he’ll not holdout, but he never acknowledges the questions about WANTING to play for the Bengals.
Two thoughts about this…
1) He has to be non-committal in some senses just to be fair to the whole process because -- What if the Bengals trade the pick because they get an offer they cannot refuse?
2) I believe he/his team is working quietly behind the scenes to let Cincy know he’s not interested in playing for them. He’s no fool, and all of us know what he knows – the Bengals are a team where you go to die.
Now, all that being said and based on their actions so far…I think the Bengals are preparing to move the pick. Either that or they are complete idiots…and that just confirms Burrow’s worries.
I believe the Bengals have been told behind the scenes that Burrow doesn’t want to go there and they are offended and don’t want to get into a whole thing because it’s embarrassing – also, they can trade this pick for the moon.
One of the evidences of them ready to move the pick (or are just idiots) is…by all their words, the Bengals haven’t spoken with Joe Burrow yet. Head coach Zac Taylor has not spoken to Burrow.
Let me paint the scene here… If you were the Bengals head coach, and you had the #1 pick and needed a QB and Joe Burrow existed…and you knew there was a stigma with the Bengals franchise hovering…wouldn’t you put on a recruiting hat and start making a relationship AND finding out what Burrow is all about? Wouldn’t you go sell yourself to him, and try and sell the franchise’s virtues? Taylor’s career probably hinges on getting Burrow…or not. And Taylor has done none of that. He’s either an idiot or not being allowed to make contact, and if that was the case Taylor should resign…but he has little business being an NFL head coach, so he’s going to collect that paycheck. How Taylor has not spoken to Burrow or Chase Young (if that’s true) is unconscionable.
As soon as the season ended, and if I knew I had the #1 pick…and after Burrow’s season ended…I would be on the phone setting up a date, and I would meet him wherever ASAP and would keep meeting with him like a college coach recruiting a five-star prospect. That thought has not occurred to Taylor, apparently. Unless, everyone involved is lying…and why would they?
NFL coaches have zero business sense usually…they have no business training or experience. They just have football experience. They go from their college team to grad assistant and then work their way up a ladder. It’s why so many of them fail so fabulously and why the public at large always questions them – their business decisions are almost always questionable. They grew up in a protected football bubble on the field (as best in their grade school and high school and scholarship athletes in college) and then right to the coaching bubble year ‘round for 99% of them.
I think Burrow drafted by Cincy is 40% likely and traded away is 60%, as of today. The acquiring team most likely to make the bold trade – the Carolina Panthers.
My deal concept for them…Cam Newton, the CAR 2020 #1 + 2021 #1 (which might be top 10) + 2022 #2, and D.J. Moore for the Bengals’ #1 this year/Burrow and a 4th-round pick in 2021 and 2022.
Cam they would cut, push come to shove. He’s easy to put into a deal.
D.J. Moore…sell a young WR before his big contract comes up. So many other WRs flooding into the NFL. You don’t need expensive, solid D.J. Moore, especially with his 1st-round contract and options ahead.
-- Just to get it out of the way…Joe Burrow with 9.0” hands is no real concern. Sure, you like 10.0” hands but 9.0” is no real issue. I believe this year’s Super Bowl featured QBs with 9.25” (Mahomes) and 9.0-9.25” hands (JG). You get below 9.0” towards the mid-8s you get concerned.
-- Speaking of Cam…
Yeah, I heard what Matt Rhule said about Cam. He has to say that. It makes WAY more sense for them to trade or cut Cam. He’s not their future and he is very expensive for 2020 and him gone creates a great deal of cap space for Matt Rhule to redo the team in his image.
I believe the Panthers will make a play for Burrow or Tua or fall back to drafting Hurts. Rhule is playing for 2021-2022 not 2020.
-- Listening to Kliff Kingsbury, when being interviewed, and him being mostly cautious/nebulous with most of his words/answers – somewhere in there he hit a point in the interview where he was talking about the Arizona culture/guys he was excited about – he rattled off some names, within the context of the question, and said ‘…guys like Pat P, Fitz, Chandler’.
Note…David Johnson was not mentioned.
Patrick Peterson has been a likely to be cut/moved player this offseason, but he was mentioned. DJ was not. I thought it was an interesting omission, to say the least.
-- Joe Judge is not making any friends. He’s got a super-tough guy persona (real), and as an added bonus he is super-abrasive.
When other newer coaches are asked a dumb question (which 99% of their questions are ridiculous) by a friendly NFL media the head coach always deflects it with pleasant clichés. Judge was asked a simple question about Daniel Jones and whenever I’ve seen him asked any questions -- he starts aggressively attacking how he’s not going to divulge anything and he’s borderline nasty/uncomfortable about it.
Bill Belichick, Mike Zimmer, even Matt Patricia to a small degree…they can get away with abrasiveness because they are longer tenured coaches. Matt Vrabel or Anthony Lynn can get away with it as ex-players. Judge just looks like a real jerk, to be honest…because he has no gravitas to be so dismissive a month into stumbling into a head coaching job. He may be the greatest coach of our lifetimes, but he’s going to have a difficult time attracting coaches or free agents when he walks around with a giant chip on his shoulder and image of toughness he’s trying to portrait, that comes off somewhat phony at this stage.
Most people I know that have had encounters with him – they don’t dislike him or think he’s a bad coach or bad guy, but they do leave scratching their heads and wondering if he’s a jerk or just playing a role of ‘tough guy’. When the New York media heat hits him…I don’t know that he’ll react real well. I’m not sure he has many friends in the business…which may be why they had to hire so many ex-coaches with no other options but to go to NY to fill his staff.
-- Bruce Arians had some interesting words here…pressed by the NFL Network about signing Jameis Winston, Arians basically said…
1) They have made a decision about Jameis.
2) They have not told Jameis or his people yet.
3) They are doing due diligence on the other free agent QBs.
4) The NFL Network guy pressed in and framed a great question, saying effectively…”So is it fair to say you are prepared to sign Jameis unless a better QB option falls to you.” Arians nodded, confidently, and said “Yes.”
I think Arians wants Brady or Rivers or ___ experienced veteran, and if he doesn’t get one…and Rivers is the real shot for them, and I think they will get him, then they’ll sign Winston (they can tag him).
How will the Mike Evans or Chris Godwin fantasy projections change with Rivers?
How about O.J. Howard?
I think we’re getting closer to having to answer that…
When asked about keeping/signing Shaq Barrett...the questioner couldn't finish the sentence before Arians screamed, "Yes!", With Winston, Arians was more cautious and cute.