Archive for February, 2009

MAYHEM IN THE NFL – Free Agency continues

So I spent a chunk of the day away from the computer for family stuff and what happens? Trades. Misinformation. Chaos. Love it.

Let’s go over some of the bigger points.

  • Rumors abounded yesterday that there was more to the Mike Vrabel to Kansas City than appeared at first blush. Well, those were on target. Matt Cassel will be accompanying him west. Earlier this off-season, I franchised tagged Tony Gonzalez in a Dynasty league and man am I happy about that now. Cassel should make Tony G, Dwayne Bowe and the rest of the offense very happy. Now the Chiefs desperately need to shore the Oline up and you can bank on an OT going with their 1st round pick.
  • By the way, rumors are also swirling that Denver QB Jay Cutler is on the trading block due to three way trades that Detroit and Tampa Bay tried to swing to get Cutler and have Cassel go to Denver. When I want to know what is going on in Denver I check with Cecil Lammey over at Footballguys and Denver’s 104.1 the Fan. He texted me that the Broncos DID NOT try to trade Cutler. Lammey says the were not shopping Cutler at all. Now do I think they listened to the trade offers that came their way? Sure, why wouldn’t they? But I can’t imagine for a hot second they would replace Cutler – who is proven – with Cassel who is nowhere NEAR as proven. Cassel can play – but why trade for him when you have Cutler. It’s a mess but again – Cecil says Denver is NOT looking to shop Jay Cutler. I know ESPN is saying otherwise, but frankly it sounds like story creating to me. Between Lammey, Shefter and the Donkeys themselves, I will take their takes over an often inconsistent ESPN.
  • Where in the world is TJ Houshmandzedah? Heading into Sunday (aka day 3) Housh is still without a home, having visited Seattle and Minny and reportedly heading to Tampa Sunday. Certainly the market isn’t what he was hoping for. Ditto Derrick Ward who may end up in Denver, especially if the JJ Arrington signing there really does fall through.
  • Detroit and Dallas revisited their trading ways from the season, swapping Jon Kitna for Anthony Henry. With some questions about Romo’s inconsistencies and a few injuries, Kitna is good insurance. Henry can play well but isn’t fantastic. Still, a new place for him will probably be a good thing.

For a complete list of who has signed where thus far, check out NFLDraftbible.com.

I’ll be back throughout the day tomorrow. Thanks again to Cecil Lammey for responding at a ridonkulously late hour so I could do this post.

And here…. we….. GO! Free Agency is off and running

Hey folks – here are the signings already – and there have been a ton involving an extrodinary amount of money.

Here are the broad strokes -

  • Kellen Winslow has been traded to the Bucs for 2 undisclosed picks. Eric Mangini has made some big changes so far in Cleveland and given last season, this isn’t a shock. Speculation is that Braylon Edwards could be moved as well – if that happens, who will Quinn or Anderson throw to? Stallworth?
  • The Redskins land defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth with a record 7 year, $100M contract. Just saw on NFLNetwork that they have talked to him and his agent about conditioning because as we all know, the one thing sure to stop Haynesworth is Haynesworth. There does appear to be a conditioning clause. Could be huge for the Redskins defense. Skins also signed DeAngelo Hall long term.
  • The Jets wisely retain blocking fullback Tony Richardson, thereby improving the odds Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will run the ball effectively in 2009. Rumors have it they will be signing a Raven defensive player shortly as well – though it looks to be Bart Scott not Ray Lewis.
  • The Jets/Pats swapping continues – Pats have signed former Jet TE Chris Baker.
  • The Ravens have signed Domenick Foxworth.
  • QBs who might be on the move – Matt Cassel is rumored to be going to the 49rs and Sage Rosenfels will be moved to Minnesota.

Tons more to come – will try to keep you posted all day today when I can get to the computer.

Who said the market wasn’t all that interesting this year?

Pro Day Rewind Article up at NFLDraftbible.com

Hope this Combine week finds you well. I launched a new column on NFLDraftbible.com called Pro Day Rewind. While Pro Days are not really underway (and won’t be until Thursday), I wanted to start now and take a look a t a few guys who either didn’t work out (Stafford and Crabtree) or weren’t invited.

Check it out every Monday at NFLDraftbible.com and check out all the excellent work there leading up to – and beyond – Draft Day.

Also check out the All Access Monday Night Lights podcast from tonight – just finished up my segment and we covered Maualuga and Orakpo’s injuries as well as who else did well today and who I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Texas Tech WR Prospect Michael Crabtree has foot injury requiring surgery

Day 2 of the Combine and we already have a huge story – Texas Tech Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree has a stress fracture in his foot which will require surgery. Adam Shefter of NFLNetwork is reporting it could sideline him for 10 weeks, keeping him from running or working out at his Pro Day and possibly putting him out of action longer.

It’s hard to say what this could do to his draft stock – as I have said all week, film is king. But that 40 time for a receiver is critical in the eyes of many scouts and coaches.

We know what Crabtree can do on game film. We think we know what he is capable of. And nobody wants to see him rush back and risk re-injuring himself.

Should be interesting to hear what the analysts and scouts have to say. Can you risk a potential top 5 pick on a guy with no workout numbers?

We’ll find out in just over 60 days.

Combine Snub – Willie Tuitama, QB, AZ


Let me describe a quarterback to you. He’s ranked second in his conference in yards and touchdowns. He tossed two less interceptions than the leader in his conference, who happens to be considered one of the two best quarterbacks in the draft and he did it with more attempts. What if I told you he was a guy with above average touch, especially on the deep throws, that he has a strong arm and that he knows when to check down and is good reading both his progressions and the defense?

You’d think he might be worth a look at the Combine, no?

It might surprise you then that he wasn’t even invited.

When the dust cleared and the invitations were sent out, University of Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama was not on the list. Not only that but many are projecting him to go undrafted come April.

Tuitama’s story is not unusual in today’s NFL Combine world. With the awakening of the league to small school talent, the overall increase in athletes desiring a shot at the NFL and the winnowing down of prospects long before the Combine even commences, players get left out who are probably deserving of a shot. He’s not alone but he is a guy I think the committee may have missed the boat on.

Here is a guy who was has had a rock solid college career. He was instrumental in helping the Wildcats finish tenth in the nation in passing during the 2007 campaign. Tuitama is a player who has been the starting quarterback in Arizona since his freshman year in 2006, one in which he was expected to merely redshirt. Instead he debuted on the road and won, following that up with an upset of seventh ranked UCLA the next week.

Tuitama has shown himself to possess legitimate NFL level arm strength and can not only throw the ball a long way, but is able to put it in just the right place for his receivers. He can throw from anywhere on the field to anywhere on the field and do it both from the comfort of the pocket or if necessary, flushed out of it.

Willie Tuitama also has good overall accuracy. As just mentioned, he has a very nice touch on the longer throws and while he can be a tad streaky, is consistent in that accuracy. Tuitama has averaged a better than 50% completion percentage every year as a starter, achieving a rating of 60+% the last two years including a 62.4% while hurling a stunning 524 attempts.

This Stockton California product is calm in the pocket and while he isn’t particularly fast nor mobile, he can move well enough to keep a play going when he is flushed out of it. He does tend to shuffle his feet a tad too many times when dropping back but he has a quick three-quarter release. This, combined with fast decision-making, helps him get rid of the ball quickly and avoid taking a bad sack. The downside to this is that Tuitama sometimes doesn’t throw the ball away when he needs to. Instead he will on occasion force it where it doesn’t need to go or not have it secured when he can’t find a receiver and takes a hit. Overall though, he has thrown fewer INTs during his career than current favorite top pick Matthew Stafford.

Tuitama also has the experience and leadership ability to lead a team at the Pro level and can be counted upon to keep a huddle focused and his squad from fracturing during rough patches during the course of a game.

On the downside, he missed multiple games during the 2006 season due to concussions received against LSU, UCLA and ASU. This has raised the specter of the dreaded ‘injury-prone’ label and worries that Tuitama lacks the durability necessary to carry him through a full NFL season. However, while one never wants to underestimate the effect a concussion can have on a player long term, it’s hard to take this concern that seriously since it’s the only reason he’s missed a game in his college career. It’s not as though he has chronic turf toe or knee and shoulder issues in need of surgery.

Also, he did work out of the shotgun often in his college career. That and the excuse that Arizona was a pass happy offense is used as justification of ignoring his numbers. But the Golden Bears had a good run game this year and Tuitama wsn’t heading a spread offense by any means. He can work undr center.

Still, those things along with the glitches in his footwork and the tendency to hold the ball a tad too long on occasion, has left some scouts with questions about Tuitama. He looks to be a bit of a project, but certainly one requiring less work than other QBs who have in the past gone earlier than projections have Tuitama going – seventh round at best, more than likely signed as an undrafted free agent.

Overall, this is the portrait of a pretty good quarterback. In a lackluster position class, it’s hard to fathom how a player with his stats and measurables did not receive an invite to the Combine. But that’s the case and Tuitama will have to work twice as hard to impress during Arizona’s March 14th Pro Day and any interviews he can get with teams.

Despite being labeled a potential project, in my opinion Tuitama has far more upside than he is being credited with. While he may go undrafted, some team will take a flier on him and be well rewarded with a gifted, solid player who has plenty of arm, good leadership ability and who may be ready to produce sooner than expected.

All Access Appearence pushed

Hey folks – in case you were planning to tune it, with the jam packed show they have planned, it looks like I will get pushed on the All Access Football show. However I am still doing both Saturday and Sunday shows as well as (right now) the appearance on Monday.

Even without my lovely voice tonight, make sure you tune in anyway and Dan and Rick will get you set for the Combine. I know I’ll be listening.

NFL COmbine Coverage and Appearences!

Hey folks -

Have been busy in the batcave setting up some work for one of the most important weeks in football – the NFL Combine. Nothing compares to actually seeing a player PLAY but this is darn near the next best thing and these days you can get a better seat than the press AT the Combine (who cannot witness the workouts, only interview players and staff after said workouts).

If you want to know just what is going and how it impacts your favorite team, your fantasy season or the world economy, I can guarantee you answers for two of the three items listed.

Over the course of the next week I will be hosting or appearing on numerous shows, mostly on NFLDraftbible’s All Access Football shows. At the top of the blog, you can see the general list (which I will add to if other things crop up). Here are some details on some of the shows.

The Thundering Blurb Football Show – tonight (Wednesday at 10pm PST/7pm PST) – Join me as I get you set for the NFL Combine with news and notes as well as an interview with California OLB Zack Follett.

Guest on All Access Football (approx. 10:10pm EST/ 7:10 pm PST) – I’ll be appearing with the guys from NFLDraftbible for a short guest spot where I am sure we’ll talk some Pac 10 prospects and expectations for the coming week of action.

Hosting All Access Football – Combine Show – Saturday 10pm EST/ 7pm PST – Join me for exclusive coverage of the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. Special Guests: Justin Van Fulpen of Verius Sports * Nick Miller of Southern Utah * Darrell Mack, Greg Newman & Freddie Brown of Utah. Also discussion of the kickers (yes kickers) O-Linemen and TEs who worked out today.

Hosting All Access Football – Combine Show – Sunday 10pm EST/7pm PST – Join me for exclusive coverage of the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. Special Guests: Will Harding of Fresno State * James Pierce of Langston. Also discussion of the QBs, WRs and RBs who worked out today.

Guest on All Access Football (approx 10:10pm EST/7:10pm PST) – Again appearing with the guys from NFLDraftbible.com to discuss the week so far as well as some PAc 10 prospects as always.

There could be some more over the course of the week and if so, I’ll get them to you. Also, expect at least one article over the weekend here at the Blurb. I’ll have some stuff at Draftguys.com shortly as well as some player interviews at NFLDraftbible in the coming weeks.

We’re ramping up hard – hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

ps – Make sure you check out NFLDraftbible’s COMPLETE coverage of the Combine. Not only will they have shows daily with guests ranging from Draftguys Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom to beat writers to the players themselves but they will have folks on the ground in Indianapolis and reporting in daily.

You want blanketed Combine coverage? Next to NFL network, there’s nobody better than the boys at NFLDraftbible.com.

Favre retires – REACT

Hey folks, hope you are having a fine Wednesday.

As promised, the site is gearing up again and what better way to start off than with the announcement that Brett Favre will be retiring. again. Maybe for real.

NFLDraftbible.com has compiled some reaction to the imminent departure of Brett the Jet, myself among them.

Click the link for some other thoughts on it, but here is what I had to say:
“Brett Favre has retired yet again and while the season didn’t exactly go the way he or the Jets envisioned, that’s not what leaves me with a poor taste in my mouth. It’s the rumors that he has, once again, asked to be released prior to deciding to retire (presumably to play for the Vikings, where he wanted to go last summer) that really will stick in my craw. Will we see a repeat of last off-season, when Favre pitched a fit as he once again flip-flopped on retirement and, failing to force his outright release, then settled for a trade to the Jets? For the Jets, being able to move forward with their quarterback situation prior to free agency and the draft while dumping Favre’s $13 million cap hit is a positive. But one has to wonder – will the Favre controversy from 2008 rear its ugly head in 2009, all dressed up for a repeat performance?

Let me be clear on this – I love Brett Favre. I think he is a heckuva competitor and has put together a fine career which should not be much marred by the sub-par end of last season. The Jets collapse was not just his fault – he was part of many issues.

That said, I have to wonder if he will ever get that he is not in control. Twice now he has (allegedly) tried to force an outright release to (allegedly) play for the Vikings (who are a QB and good playcalling away from being a legit Super Bowl contender).

I like Favre – I still think the trade for him was a no-brainer, no-lose situation which played out very well for part of the season, only to peter out for many reasons at the end. I am happy I have a Brett favre jersey. I am glad he played for the Jets. Maybe Pennington would have had the success he had with the Dolphins, had he stayed with the Jets. But I doubt it (though some of the failure rests on Mangini’s hands – best of luck Brady Quinn).

Regardless it was a risk worth taking and I think the Jets made the right call.

Right now I’m hoping Favre makes an equally good call and stays retired. I really don’t want to see him again in yet another uniform for a team that is good, though far from great.

Still, given last year, you have to wonder.

Best of luck, Brett – enjoy hunting season.

Special Thanks to Rick and Cecil

So we’re looking on target for the regular return of myself on the weekly Thundering Blurb show as the home office is almost set up.

But I want to take a moment to thank to good friends who covered for me the last two weeks.

Rick Serritella of NFLDraftbible.com took over the slot with the Draftbible’s All Access football show – if you missed it or if you haven’t checked it out before, take a listen. And check out the site, nfldraftbible.com, for all the latest and greatest on the NFL Draft news front. The folks over there run a great site and I look forward to doing lots with them this year.

And of course the verbose and energetic Cecil Lammey – he of the Audible, the Drive Block and Footballguys.com – who took over the Blurb last night. As he said on the show, we’ve known each other for a bunch of years now, going back to the defunct FFAdvisor and then fantasyfootballjournal.com days before he launched the Audible over at FBGs. Like with Rick and the Draftbible.com, if you haven’t seen/heard Cec’s work over at Footballguys, check it out. Also make sure you head over to the Draftguys.com site and keep your eyes peeled for another great season of DraftguysTV. Again, I look forward to doing tons with Cecil and the Draftguys all year long.

I’m heading back to bury internet cables, but starting next week, we’ll be ramping the site back up and getting back on track, linking you up to all the latest and greatest takes on NFL and Draft news with my take on each and every one, as well as articles and thoughts written by myself.

Thanks for hanging in there the last few weeks during the move – and thanks again to Cecil and Rick for keeping things going!