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*Quick notes, moving fast on them...forgive any typos*
-- Wow, the Rams are becoming wheeler-dealers all of a sudden. Smart move trading Robert Quinn…he’s a good player in a bad fit for their defensive scheme. Dolphins win, Rams win. The Rams unload $11.4M in salary. Quinn + Trumaine Johnson gone saves them a ton of money for 2018+…and they need space to lock up Aaron Donald, and then Todd Gurley and then Jared Goff in another year or so.
The Rams are moving chess pieces around smartly. They are now in the top 10 of most CAP space available per current contracts for 2018. Only the Rams and Minnesota are 2017 playoff teams in the top 12 for most salary cap available right now.
-- You might have thought I was crazy when I blasted Tyrann Mathieu’s play and Arizona for signing him to a ridiculous contract a few years ago. Guess what? They’re about to cut him.
-- Some of you know exactly what this means…
Dallas re-signed VP of Player Personnel Will McClay to a two-year extension.
The best personnel evaluator of draft prospects in the entire NFL, in my book. Dallas has a lot of picks and great young foundation – they are so close to building a dynasty. They are a Dez Bryant away…I mean ‘go away’ away from really making a run at this.
-- Watching Matt Nagy's press conference against Matt Patricia's at the Combine -- no contest on who seems comfortable and in control and who seems like someone pushed ahead over their head. I have done my Matt Patricia studies and will be working on that report to be published next week.
-- I saw NFL Network discussing the Marcus Peters trade, and when they do they show the same two interceptions from 2017 on a loop. Everyone marvels at his INTs...as if that means he's a great CB. The two INTs they show...Peters is beat by 5-yards by the WR, but the QB underthrows the pass by a mile and Peters makes the pick. The other pick, Peters undercuts a TE as if he's playing free safety for a pick. Neither case shows great coverage and a great play. Interceptions are so overrated as to the quality of a player.
-- You can see our Combine day-one streaming thoughts on College Football Metrics and can follow along days 2-3-4 at the same exact place for a free view follow along. Go to CFM and you’ll see the open page to follow along or read after the fact.
We’ll be focused on the NFL Combine for three more days and then the first non-QB full scouting report releases Tuesday…yes, it’s Saquon Barkley. No, my take will not be the same as everyone else’s.
Am I still hesitant? Did I change positions due to the NFL Combine? You’ll have to wait to see about a 4,000+ word take on Tuesday.
-- Well, today is the big day…Day 1 of the Combine timed events for RBs and OLs. We’ll be producing notes, times, observations all event long on College Football Metrics. Free webpage to view to follow along.
Look under the STANDARD REPORTS section for today’s page.
*A few more Combine notes from coaches, contacts, etc., and I’ll be unpacking these the next few days…
-- The football media has totally latched on to this running back ‘thing’. The media is in love with only two positions, really – QB and RB. No other positions really exist for them. Thus, it’s all the coaches now talk about. Thus, it’s what most all the masses/fans follow. I’ll give you a great example of what I mean…and how the football media is being led to slaughter once again missing the real story.
I was watching Sean McVay’s press conference and interview. Think of all the questions one might ask of McVay, but this was the first one after he was asked about the Marcus Peters trade (which he cannot talk about yet, and they know that)…and I’m paraphrasing, “You had such a great run game last year with Todd Gurley…how can you be even better running the ball this year?”
That was a real question from someone that I’m sure makes way more money than I do and works about a-tenth of the time per day/week/month/year (but I‘m not envious).
I know this person makes a lot of money because they are somehow continually employed by the NFL Network, and I won’t name names, but it’s the one person who every time I see them pop up on NFL Network, I stop everything I’m doing and watch because I cannot believe this person is allowed to be a reporter of note for football. It’s like a sick game I play whenever I see them on TV. Usually, if I have football news on TV it’s in the background as I’m working and it’s white noise. However, when I hear this guy is making a comment…I stop and watch with my jaw open.
But back to the RB-thing…
McVay was asked about somewhere between 22 and 118 questions varying on how great Todd Gurley is and how great running the ball is and how important running the ball is in today’s NFL and how people should value the RB more in the NFL.
On the other hand, he was asked 1-2 questions about Aaron Donald’s contract situation…which was a contentious issue at one point last year and could be a real problem this year (or not). Right now, it’s an unknown/unsettled major issue.
Todd Gurley was voted most valuable offensive player in the NFL for 2017.
Aaron Donald is arguably the most valuable player in all the NFL, non-QB division.
If you were starting an expansion team and had to choose to have Gurley or Donald…you’d choose Donald without thinking twice.
The media and most NFL coaches would take Todd Gurley, so they could ‘dominate their opponents; with the strong run game.
The whole Combine vibe this year is – How important the RB is now…and look how stupid everyone was to de-value it!! They focus on Todd Gurley as their golden calf…and ignore the two Super Bowl teams having patchwork RBBCs that they’re letting most of them walk in 2018 free agency because they rented them.
Furthermore, every other coach is feeding right into with their press conferences in Indy. Actually, they aren’t feeding it – they believe it in their core. 90%+ of them are ‘tough guys’ and they want to beat you running the ball to prove their manhood.
Here’s 90% of the NFL head coaches talking at these press conferences, or new head coaches just hired talking in their intro press conference: “We’re going to run the ball primarily. I believe in a strong run game. We’re going to control the line.”
Here’s what you NEVER EVER HEAR…not once, not ever from an NFL head coach: “We’re going to pass like crazy. We’re are going to play like a video game and try to score 30+ PPG. We’re are going to try to score points like crazy.”
If you openly tip your hand, as a head coach, and yammer on about running the ball primarily – you’re applauded.
If you yammer on about a strong defense, you’re heralded as brilliant (but every coach says this).
If you were to talk about wanting to be totally up-tempo and throwing the ball as much as possible and going for it more on 4th-down – you would run out of the NFL like a witch and burned at the stake.
I watch a lot of CNBC and I see business leaders/innovators talking about ‘new ways’ and being ‘disruptors’ in their industry – and it’s applauded and coveted…it’s survival. However, there is no room for disruptors in the NFL today. Anything close to it…like Sean McVay, makes his opponents look silly using basic offensive logic…ditto Doug Pederson. It’s also why no team can win a division three-years in a row, but Bill Belichick wins it every year for a decade+.
All that being said…the push is on to make Saquon Barkley the #1 pick in the draft. If Barkley has ‘good’ Combine numbers, not even ‘great’, just good…he will suck all the oxygen out of the room and all the other talented rookie RBs without the media hype will slide through the cracks.
Saquon might be an ‘A’ talent, who will trade in dynasty like an A+++++++ because of the media hype.
Nick Chubb might be a ‘A-‘ talent who still trades like a ‘B’ after today.
Get ready for me to complain about this for the next four days during the Combine.
Let’s see if Barkley is Superman today.
Enjoy the Combine!!
See more of our football work at College Football Metrics – dedicated to the NFL Draft and Dynasty Rookie Draft scouting and valuations all preseason. Celebrating our 7th season covering all things draft. Go to (link): College Football Metrics