Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Ole Miss Meltdown and the Complicit NFL/Media

It's going to take someone much more dedicated and talented to uncover this story fully, but what transpired tonight for Ole Miss players during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft deserves inspection.  The reality is it didn't start tonight.  It began in 2013 when Ole Miss captured the #1 ranked recruiting class in NCAA Football.

At the time it happened Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples wrote this:

Since the possibility emerged that (Huge) Freeze and the Rebels might sign a recruiting haul that included's top-ranked receiver (Laquon Treadwell), top-ranked offensive lineman (Laremy Tunsil) and top-ranked overall player (defensive end Robert Nkemdiche), one question has nagged Freeze. Not even the question, truly, but the way everyone outside Oxford automatically fills in the answer without even considering another possibility.
How are they doing that?
Well, tonight we found out some of the reasons "how."

The rumblings about the type of players Freeze was bringing in didn't just begin this past week, as questions lingered for years about Tunsil, Nkemdiche, and many others, including Nkemdiche's brother.  Except tonight Tunsil decided to admit to the world that his coach, possibly Freeze, gave him money.  Tunsil was also suspended 7 games earlier in the season for "impermissible benefits", and was involved in other issues, including beating his Step-Dad's ass (which I loved).

Nkemdiche's had/has own behavioral issues which most fans of the draft already know about.

Treadwell didn't have any off-field issues, but was brutally injured trying to make an amazing play.  Thankfully, for his sake, he returned.  I remember watching the game with my wife and praying he would make it back so he could achieve what he did this evening.

All 3 of these players were at one point, or another, projected to be top 10 picks, with 2 of them often considered the #1 player overall.  Instead, they were selected 13, 23 & 30.

I'm not of the mind that if one guy is doing something fishy then every guy on the team is.  You have situations like what happened in Miami, where Luther Campbell was paying people off, and then what happened with some Ohio State players during the Maurice Clarett era, where boosters were involved.  And there are countless other stories.

But when a player claims he's getting money from COACHES, then you have to assume nearly every player recruited by those very coaches at least KNOWS something about it, at least the stars.  Whether they choose to partake, or not, isn't really relevant because they have opted to play for people of questionable character.

And that's insane.

Coach Freeze took over Ole Miss in 2011, an SEC team which was clearly not one of the best in the conference, let alone the country.  Within 2 seasons he somehow snagged the #1 recruiting class in the country, and they became part of the national conversation.  In 2017 they're projected to be in the Top 25.  Any wonder how he did it?

For years I've heard people say, "It's different in the SEC", as it relates to players, payments, recruiting, gifts, girls, school work, you name it.  I've always believed it.  After tonight?  I think it's official.  At least for some teams.  In some respects, it's the reason Urban Meyer left Florida, where he was certainly a part of it.


I don't blame any of these kids for taking money, or whatever someone offers them.  So many of them come from poor backgrounds, bad schools, and are dealing with situations the likes of which I will never have to experience.  Watching Treadwell at the draft with his 3 year old daughter, I feel great this day has come from him.  He was 18 when he had a child, and expected to be a football player and student at Ole Miss.  If I were him I'd take whatever I could get.  Sure, it's a risk, but at 18 years of age I certainly wasn't making great decisions.

Ole Miss had the #1 recruiting class, and there were questions.  Tonight there were questions about the 3 stars from that class, and they suffered somewhat for it.  During the Tunsil press conference someone from the NFL ushered Tunsil off the stage, and then quieted him down.  The NCAA makes millions off these kids, and then the media destroys them for "poor decisions."  The NFL ushers them away behind closed doors and tells them how it is.

The optics of how things shook out for Ole Miss tonight were terrible.  The university is complicit, the coaches are complicit, the NFL is complicit, and the media as well

As far as I'm concerned, the least complicit?  The athletes who are made to be the villains.  Especially the one who began to tell the truth.

Hosts on ESPN and NFL Network are painting the players as the villains, but they're not saying a word about the system which makes them villains.  ESPN's Mark Dominik is falling all over himself trying to lay blame on Tunsil.  Maybe open your eyes for a second and ask yourself why these players are even in this situations to begin with.

Someone needs to look further into this, dissect it, rip it wide open.  Because it's just one more piece of evidence about how these "student athletes" are really just cattle for the football economy.

Maybe I'm Wrong - Draft

Because I'm a loser I spend about 30 minutes each night before I fall asleep watching youtube vids of various NFL prospects.  If I was single I'd probably be doing something else, but as a married man with a child, this is what I do now.

Sooo...having watched a good number of videos, here are some non-first round players I think will pan out.


Philip Ely - Don't even know if he'll be drafted, but was impressed every time I saw him.  He's small.


CJ Prosise - Looks like he can do it all.  Not a star, but a player.
Daniel Lasco - Not sure why people knock him.  Reminds me of Arian Foster.
Josh Ferguson - Small, but this is someone who will produce in the NFL, at least on 3rd down.
DeAndre Washington - Smaller yet, but again, he will produce.  Reminds me of Ray Rice.


Michael Thomas - Cannot understand how he's in 2nd round.  Amazing hands and body control
Pharoh Cooper - Very good player who dealt with poor QB play.
Marquez North - Always looked like a beast to me, but Tennessee WRs have been bad in NFL.
Jordan Payton - Always uses his hands; seems to run great routes.
Demarcus Robinson - Off the field problems, but he looked dominant when playing in SEC.
Da'Runya Wilson - Seriously, have to root for someone with that name.  Da'Runya off the Field.


Jerrell Adams - Looks like best TE in class to me.
Nick Vannett - Can do everything, and is a great blocker.


Carl Nassib - Endless motor, and just manages to make plays.  Poor man's Bosa.
Bronson Kaufusi - Seems like he can play any position.


Chris Jones - Should be in Top 20
Kenny Clark - Should be in first round.  Dude is immovable.


Alex McCallister - Super skinny, but feel like he'll be doing things.
Jordan Jenkins - Watched almost every Georgia game, and he was always involved.
Dadi Nicholas - Not sure where he plays, but he looked more good than bad.
Antonio Morrison - Got hurt a lot, but if he can stay healthy he just seems like a player/leader.


Josh Forrest - Reminds me of Vont Burfict.

Never got around to Safeties, CBs or OLs.  Sorry :-)

See how this turns out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

There's a Shit Storm in Philly...

...and umbrellas are in short supply.

Having had time to reassess the Eagles quarterback/draft scenario, I've come to the conclusion that this is a much bigger fucking mess than I first realized.  

Here are the 3 reasons I'm most bothered:

1) The Draft.

I don't hate the idea of trading up to get yourself a quarterback, as you can read about in my previous post.  I get it.  You need a good quarterback to win, and there just aren't many good ones coming out of college in the near term.  Next year's draft is worse.  So yes, I get it. bothers me the Eagles are picking 2nd and not 1st.  

Why?  Because Carson Wentz is not Jared Goff, and vice versa.  

One of them will surely be better than the other, and the Eagles won't even get to choose the one they believe will be the best of the two.  Now they can pretend they know what the Rams are doing (they don't), and they can pretend they "got their guy" regardless of who they get (they will), but the truth is they don't make the call.  Someone else does.  And that's fucking annoying! 

The Eagles sat idly by hoping no other team would shake up the draft board, but of course, that didn't happen.  Then they were forced to move into the #2 slot, which caused more problems.  Typical.  

I'll explain more about this in a moment.

2) The Quarterbacks.

I am pretty positive Wentz won't be great, but that Goff will be very good.  

That means the Eagles may be in a hole for years, unless Chase Daniel is somehow 5 times better than he was at Missouri.  As it stands he's not as good as Alex Smith, who is merely average.

Folks in the media have been saying, "We don't know what Wentz will be like...we've hardly seen him...the competition he faced wasn't great..."  All this is true, but you should still be able to tell if he's good.   

When I saw Joe Flacco at Delaware I knew pretty quickly he had the goods. 

Not Wentz.  I watched the entire FCS Title game, and while his team won and he made some plays, a lot of the big plays happened because of his teammates.  If you watch the game it's hard not to see this.  

Under-thrown balls, circus catches, bad shoulder fades, all that and more.  He did do some nice things, but any NFL quarterback would look good on that stage.  There's not a single NFL QB who couldn't have done what Carson Wentz did at North Dakota State.  Matt McGloin included.  

I'm not saying Wentz will be a complete bust, but I am saying he's a lot further away from a sure thing than Jared Goff, a player I have watched live many times. 

I do not believe he will ever be one of the top QBs in the NFL.  I hope I'm wrong. 

3) The Lying.  

I'm willing to bet Roseman and Lurie believed one of the two quarterbacks would slide down in the draft to #6, which meant #8 was a good position to be in.

Only a month ago the mock drafts had Tunsil going #1, and both quarterbacks somewhere in the Top 10.  In this scenario, the likelihood is the Eagles would have made a deal with the Ravens, jumped over Chip Kelly's 49ers, and snagged a QB they could live with at #6.  In the process they would have probably dealt a non-drama-laden Sam Bradford to another team.  

Had this happened things wouldn't have seemed all that bad, but of course, it did not.

Good results don't often come about for people who suck at their jobs.  

I call this part "the lying" because on draft night there is a 100% chance Roseman and Lurie will be lying to their fans when they say, "we got the player we wanted."  

We can't possibly know if this is true, and if both players are in fact coveted, then in essence there is no singular "guy."  If there is no singular "guy", then you are in fact lying. 

On a number of levels they're also lying to everyone on the roster (and the fans) due to their treatment of Bradford. They just signed the guy, and yet they plan on getting rid of him?  That wreaks of dishonesty.  When you sign a player in the NFL usually the plan is to keep him, at least for a moment.

 Not the Eagles.  

As it stands, there cannot be a single player on the Eagles, who when speaking to management about anything can ever assume they're being told the truth.  Why would they?  Look how they've handled this situation.  

There is officially an air of dishonesty surrounding management.  


There are those in the media saying the Eagles are in a "great spot right now...they hold the cards..."  etc.  

Don't listen to a word of it.  They're not in a great spot.  They hold no cards (and few picks).

Despite Sam Bradford proving himself to be a whiny asshole, and his agent an idiot, these facts don't mean management is winning.  They're all wrong in how they've handled things.

Being less wrong doesn't make you right.

The more I think about this, the more I don't see it working out. 

Having 3 QBs next year, trying to get your guy, I'm fine with all that.  If Wentz plays great, that's wonderful.

Just not fine with how management has handled any of it.  And it's because of how things are handled that I see failure.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eagles Go All In

Was this a bad trade?  Really depends on your perspective.

The last time I was on 94.1 WIP I spent nearly 3 hours discussing how poor of a General Manager Howard Roseman is.  That hasn't changed one bit.  He's still not good, and probably the worst.

BUT...I also discussed how some aspects of the job aren't difficult, and giving away a lot of picks for a better pick is one of those scenarios.

You hire a new coach, so you want to give him every opportunity to prove he can succeed from the ground up.  Drafting a top quarterback is doing just that.  You'll know soon enough if ex-QB and now Head Coach Doug Pederson can design an offense and run a team with players of his choosing.

Looking at it from this perspective, it's a good move.

As for having highly paid QBs Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel on your team already, well that's just a one-year scenario.  This is why the NFL players demand free agency comes before the draft - so guys like Bradford and Daniel can get a lot more money.

Bradford will not be with the Eagles this time next year.  If he succeeds, you have someone worth trading, and maybe you get picks back.  If he doesn't?  Well, he's gone anyway.  In the short-term it's a waste of money, but over time and within the grand scheme of your franchise, it's pretty irrelevant.  Besides, it's not Howie or Doug's money.  Or yours.

I have to assume Eagles Owner Jeff Lurie was head over heals with both Jared Goff and Carson Wentz because after he just laid out money for 2 other QBs, there's no way this gets done unless he is firmly on board.  Considering Roseman's penchant for sucking up to the owner it would be a safe bet to say Lurie was in agreement.  Neither Pederson nor Roseman jumps into the water until Lurie dips his toes in first, right?  Of course.

Now lets say it doesn't work out for the QB they drafted,  Well, what's the difference?  It's not going to workout for Bradford, and no position matters more than QB.  Chase Daniel?  Come on.  Is Alex Smith that good?  He can't beat out that guy.  Did you watch him at Missouri?  I did.  He's average.  If the QB they take fails it doesn't change the trajectory of where the team is today all that much.

You have to get a quarterback in order to win, especially when you consider that 3 of the 4 remaining QBs in the 2015 playoffs were #1 overall picks.


Lets look at this from a different perspective.

Had the Eagles done this last year they would now have Marcus Mariota as a starting QB (who I personally don't like).  Would Eagles fans be satisfied today if they had Mariota as a starter moving into this upcoming season?  Yet were minus guys like Jordan Hicks, Nelson Agholor, Gabe Wright (DET), and this year's first and second round picks?

I don't think the fans complain much.

The anticipation alone of having a full season with a Mariota at the helm, Eagles fans would be pumped up.  Plus the team would have had money from losing Bradford, and the draft would have been secondary to them.  Maybe they add Alshon Jeffrey and/or Danny Trevathan to go with Mariota, etc?

Personally, I wouldn't be happy with the scenario because as I mentioned, I don't love Mariota, but that's just me.  However, I think both Goff and Wentz are going to be very good, especially Goff, so in this scenario I'm fine with it.

If I want my team to have an actual future, a chance to win it all, and not just kind of meander around as a team with no real chance of holding significant hardware, then I like this trade.

If I am one of those lost souls who believes Bradford is the long-term answer, and that this team is going in the right direction, then I'm upset.  Believe me though, it's not going in the right direction.


Finally, and least discussed of all, the point about NEXT YEAR'S QB class.

Let me be the first to say that short of a miraculous transformation of his abilities, Clemons's DeShaun Watson is not going to be a great QB.  Miami's Brad Kaaya and Ole Miss's Chad Kelly, I wouldn't count on them either.

There's a very good chance the price of paying to get Watson next season will be even greater than it is for the #2 pick this year.  And the Eagles will need a quarterback going into 2017.  That being the case, why not start the process a year early with a QB you can draft now; one you believe will both be better than anyone in next year's crop?

It actually makes sense when you step back and think about it.

Yeah, Howie Roseman is not a great GM, and this may not work out.  But it only fails if the QB fails, and that's a risk worth taking.

I'm firmly on record of believing Jared Goff is going to be excellent.  Which, of course, is why the Eagles will get Wentz.  I like him too though, so we'll see.

Not the worst day to be an Eagles fan, relatively speaking.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Process vs Theory: The Sixers Failure

If you're not a fan of the Sixers then you're probably unaware of the drama surrounding "the process" (TP) and former General Manager Sam Hinkie. 

TP basically meant the team would be bad for a long period of time, acquire high draft picks, trade for more draft picks, and eventually build a winner through great young players and assets.

The basis for supporting TP was simply: there's no point in just making the playoffs and being average.  We have to be terrible before we're great, but lets at least try to be great.


If you want to be brought up to speed very quickly about what has now transpired, while simultaneously being entertained, all you need do is listen to the argument between legendary Philly broadcaster Howard Eskin and his son Spike Eskin, who now manages the radio station.  The first 10 minutes are worth your time, especially if your city provides you with lame sports talk.

Bottom line here is Howard thinks Hinkie and ownership are a bunch of idiots for allowing TP to take place (he's right, but couldn't have known.  It was merely a guess).

Spike believes if the team (and fans) were patient, it would eventually pay off (he's wrong because the owners put the wrong guy in charge).

Both wrong, and to some extent, both right.  

In theory, TP could actually work if you had different ownership.

Spike is a believer in the theory of TP itself.  Problem here is the man running the process (Hinkie) continually selected the wrong players year in; year out.  Ownership allowed him to do this, but seemingly leaned on him this past draft, which resulted in the team selecting the wrong player: Jahlil Okafor.

I have to figure if Hinkie had the SLIGHTEST clue about judging talent he would have selected Kris Porzingis.  This is what leads me to believe TP was not entirely run by him.

Anyone with an eye could see what Porzingis brought to the table.  Hinkie did not (or was forced not to).

If TP was being run by a different organization, with competent people at the helm, it could certainly work out.  Like if the Warriors, with Joe Lacob, Jerry West, Bob Myers, Steve Kerr, and others were in control, TP could work.  But that's not the case.

Putting Porzingis aside, what's worse is Hinkie seemingly caved in to the weight of TP itself, maybe fearing it wasn't working, or that he'd lose his job.  Taking Okafor was the end of the process.  In the 3rd position they either needed to move up or down to get a guard, or bit the bullet and taken Emmanuel Mudiay at 3.  

What did Hinkie do?  He went safe.  Safe isn't how TP works.  TP is the opposite of safe.  He choked.
But yes, A PROCESS can work; even one that follows along the same path the Sixers embarked upon.

THIS PROCESS did not work because the people in charge didn't know what they were doing.

It's really that simple.

The reality is, even if all the players the Sixers acquired end up healthy there's no guarantee this team would be better than say the Atlanta Hawks.  If you want to be as good as the Atlanta Hawks, then you might be happy with the direction of the Sixers.

Short of that they'd have to sell off assets and continue TP with no end in sight, while hoping their prize piece doesn't get injured...again.

Spike is right in supporting A PROCESS.

Howard is right in calling out ownership.

I think what rankles TP believers is all the fans who refused to ever recognize it was a good idea in theory.