THUNDERING BLURB » NFL Network http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Enhance your 2009 NFL Draft Experience: A Draft Fan’s Guide http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/enhance-your-2009-nfl-draft-experience-a-draft-fan%e2%80%99s-guide/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/enhance-your-2009-nfl-draft-experience-a-draft-fan%e2%80%99s-guide/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2009 01:22:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=427

So, we’re scant days away from another NFL Draft and there is only so much room at Radio City Music Hall, travel is expensive and the economy is a bust, so the wife say’s ‘No you can’t spend the weekend in New York City yelling in facepaint and a team jersey.’

Things are tough all over.

But that’s not to say you cannot have a tremendous experience in the comfort of your own home for the 2009 NFL Draft.

Here are a few ways you can maximize your draft pleasure this weekend.

Bring the Party Home

No need to sit at home alone, right? Most things are just more fun in a group and cheering or complaining about a pick is definitely more enjoyable if you just aren’t shouting at the TV and Kiper’s hair. If you’re into the Draft, chances are you’ve been talking about it and know plenty of people interested in at least Saturday’s happenings. Make a party of it.

Heck, invite family. Plenty of significant others might be in need of distraction as well. Maybe having a bouncer for the kids or another TV – far away from the main one – with Top Chef or something on it could help smooth the inevitable early onset of Football-Widow syndrome.

Food and Drink

Whether you’re scoring at home or even if you’re alone, food and drink is paramount to the enjoyment of football. And really, that’s all this is – a very early, very weird football game. The atmosphere, the anticipation, it can be very similar.

And what is a game without great food? For some, that means Cheetos, hot wings, pizza and beer. For others, might be steak on the grill, a couple of Cokes and a tray of Ding Dongs.

Whatever it is, you treat it like Super Bowl Sunday and get the food you will enjoy. Don’t worry about placement because with 10 minutes (7 for the second round) you can easily get up, pop something in the oven, grab a tray of wings or restock the beer in the fridge before the next team goes.

TV Time! or ‘Do I Need to See the Pores in Stafford’s Face?’

Quality of the television is all to taste, but make sure it’s big enough for whoever is coming to your place to see from wherever they choose to sit. Now, don’t bother getting a new TV just for the Draft but make sure the thing works and has a clear picture before you plan to stare at it all day.

High Def or giant screens are not necessary but if you’re going to be watching hour after hour of the same images on the screen, then you want something that will not destroy your eyes. So make sure the image is bearable.

Preparation is the Key

Now, most people know a ton about the sexy positions – quarterback, running back, wide receiver – but not everyone who wants to watch the Draft is going to know offensive linemen, defensive tackles and the odd tight end.

For that matter, not everyone reading this knows too much about the players aside from their name.

If you’re one of those souls, or if you know one (and don’t want to spend the weekend explaining who everyone is) here are a few places I suggest going who will enhance your draft knowledge.

And best of all, many of these are free.

ESPN.com – Unfortunately a bunch of their stuff is marked as Insider (read: not free) but overall it’s a good basic place to go. You can see ScoutInc’s top 35 players, catch snippets of Todd McShay or Mel Kiper’s mocks and various news stories and profiles on players.

Again, a big portion of it is not free, but it’s not a bad place to start your search for info.

NFL.com – It can be a bit hard to navigate, but it’s still a solid source of info. You can roll back through Gil Brandt’s Pro Day logs, check out the latest news feeds, and mock drafts from the Path to the Draft gang.

While their player breakdowns don’t cover as many players as some other sites, but it’s stuff from NFLDraftscout.com and what they cover is pretty thorough. Draftscout’s stuff is also on CBSSportsline.com and will fold into that site completely next season.

To top it all of, they are streaming the draft online for the second year in a row. I’ll touch on the various draft-watching choices in a minute, but if you’re trapped at work, here’s a choice that may save your sanity.

Draftcountdown.com – Scott Wright has been breaking down players for many years and he’s very good at what he does. That’s why Draftcountdown is one of the biggest Draft sites around. I don’t always agree with Scott’s takes, but his logic is solid and his instincts are sharp.

Wright breaks down players by position, team needs, does mock drafts and has a very active forum community.


He’s pretty responsive to readers as well, both in the forum and via chat and email. He’s a guy who watches a tom of tape and puts countless hours into the process. He also has a show on Itunes you can check out.

And you can get a head start on 2010, as he’s already looking ahead.

Draftguys.com/DraftguysTV – The site is only a few years old, and the content (some of which I will admit I have written) isn’t as all consuming as some other sites, but there is some unique content here.


While you can find team interest articles all over, the Team Interest feature at Draftguys is one of the most thorough and when I write it, I also endeavor to add sources. So you know it’s backed by research and can repeat that if you want.

Cecil Lammey’s What If Mock Drafts are fun to read as he has been throwing monkey wrenches into his mock drafts for about a month. If you want to know what would happen if team A traded with team B or Sanchez dropped – well Lammey might have what you want.

But the best part of this site is the Draftguys TV feature. The second season of the video has covered 51 players at about three to five minutes a pop. And while they covered Maualuga and Raji, they also let you know about lesser known (or lesser publicized) guys who could have an impact like Jarron Gilbert from San Jose State or Stephen McGee from Texas. It combines solid analysis with footage culled from practices at Texas vs the Nation, the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl and player interviews.

Draft Daddy.com Flat out the best Draft-related news feed on the planet. Draft Daddy constantly updates stories from all over, covering rumors and analysis from pretty much every newspaper, website and source they can find and it’s all money.

At any given moment, you can find a link to Gil Brandt’s Pro Day column, a Mike Lombardi article on the National Football Post and a news story at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

And you can easily catch up on the most recent news, or look backwards to track how a player climbed out of obscurity.

NFLDraftbible.com – Again, a site that costs a little money for some features and again a site I have worked for. If you haven’t seen my Pro Day articles and want to catch up, they’re in the archives. Players news is fed on the main page and free.

Some player tracking news, player interviews both transcribed and audio and team needs are also there and free so even if you don’t shell out cash this close to the draft, you can get some great info.

Other sites worth a look for research: Draftcountdown.com, SportingNews.com (The Warroom is excellent year round and worth the money), Yahoo.com and many team fan sites and blogs.

Also, many of these sites have work by a writer named Josh Buchanan. If there is a better source of info on small school players, I don’t know who they are. Anything he writes on the subject is well worth your time.

Do You Prefer the Hair or The Company Team?

Now you have your food and party planned, you know your players (or where to log on to find them) the question is, who do you get your live info from?

I myself prefer the NFL network. I used to watch the ESPN coverage but between Berman screaming the pick out like he was guessing before the Commissioner read it out and the tragic amount of talking heads who aren’t worth the air time (Keyshawn Johnson, I am looking at you.) I just can’t do it anymore.

I don’t mind McShay and Kiper, although Kiper is a little too arrogant for his own good. And at times on Day 2, the ESPN coverage is just the two of them and while NFLN is replaying footage from Day 1 and discussing the top three picks yet again, Kiper/McShay is talking about the late picks.

NFLN takes itself more seriously for the most part and has a lot less ridiculous showmanship that ESPN. Last year, they did lapse into a bit of silliness with Adam Shefter ‘breaking news’ that was either not quite news or a little too reminiscent of the Berman ‘look I know the pick’ garbage.

This year you will likely not get any Shefter, which I think is going to be a bit of a detriment. Shefter is embroiled with some sort of contract issue with the NFLN and hasn’t been on the network in at least a month. I don’t expect that to change this weekend and that’s too bad. Shefter has good news sources, even if sometimes he can be a bit much, and I haven’t seen a replacement yet.

I plan on flipping quite a bit myself. Sometimes one thing breaks on ESPN but not NFLN, and sometimes the analysis is better on NFLN.

But you may lack the ability to flip, as many cable providers don’t carry the NFL Network. It could appear at first glance you are trapped.

So what to do if you can’t stand Kiper but have no NFLN?

Well, as mentioned before, NFL.com will be streaming the draft. Also, ESPN Radio will be covering most of the first day and probably parts of the second. I like John Clayton and he’ll be a part of that coverage, and I am sure they’ll have analysis from Kiper and McShay during the show.

Beyond them, you can follow any number of news sources, sites and players via Twitter including some of the sites I listed above.

I myself will be a part of all-day coverage on the Fantasy Sports Channel on BlogTalkRadio.com. Starting at 10am eastern and rolling until midnight, there will be live podcasts, chatroom and plenty of football talk from both a fantasy football and regular fan point of view. You can listen via ITunes radio, the Blogtalk site itself or even on your Iphone.

If you are interested, I’ll be doing my show from 3pm until 5 – covering the news right before the draft and a chunk of round one. I will also have my chatroom open most of the day and will likely be doing a bunch of podcast and radio spots all day, so check my twitterfeed on the day of and I’ll keep you apprised of my appearances and any breaking news I come across during the day.

I am sure there are many fan sites doing chats, keeping people updated via threads in their forums or live blogs.

So while it may appear you don’t have any choice but ESPN, if you aren’t a fan of the broadcast team – I can understand why – you do have other options. Nothing better than watching one feed, but listening to another.

Lord knows I do that many Monday nights.

The NFL Draft has grown in popularity and size over the past years and more and more people await it in anticipation and watch it with rapt attention. Everyone has their own way of doing their Draft watching and by no means is my way the only way.

But if you use this guide as a template, I think you’ll find your experience a solid one.

Up until your team takes that kicker with the first round selection.

At that point, you’re on your own.

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Sunday Reports and Rumors http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/11/sunday-reports-and-rumors/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/11/sunday-reports-and-rumors/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2008 16:28:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=319 In front of a shaky blue screen image of Times Square (why NFLN?) Adam Shefter reported that Cadillac Williams is ACTIVE today though how many carries he gets is anyone’s guess.

So far Shefter (with and without blue screen) Shefter has said that along with Caddy, Brian Westbrook (ankle), Clinton Portis (ankle), and Brandon Jacobs (knee)are all going to play.

As said before, you may see a lot of Buckhalter in a bad matchup, Portis is a good start but may not have his full load of carries and Jacobs may also see less carries, though he still may be very potent against the Cards.

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Suspension news http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/suspension-news/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/suspension-news/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2008 23:10:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=57 Good news/Bad news situation -

Good News:
Ahmad Bradshaw has been cleared by the league to play for the NY Football Giants and will not face suspension, per Rich Eisen on NFLN Total Access. Does that cloud the RB situation in NY more? No, it’s still as cloudy as ever. But keep in mind that Bradshaw shone brightly during the end of last year – he will get his carries. The ‘Hot Hand’ RBBC theory might hurt every back on the Giants.

Bad News:
Well, Chris Henry isn’t still suspended indefinitely -something he feared. But he is suspended for four games. Someone will sign him and he might be a sneaky late pick in a league.

Push:
Brandon Marshall still hasn’t heard. Next to Favre (almost made it through a post without typing his name) one of the most watched players in the off-season, Marshall is a huge cog in the Bronco offense. If he’s gone, it takes a large hit. Keary Colbert and Darrell Jackson are ok receivers, but Marshall is a special talent. Who also has a special talent for bad decisions.

Millions of Fantasy Owners are holding their breaths (and rankings!) in anticipation of his suspension, which I feel will probably hang between 4-6 games, reduced after he protests it.

He might not get suspended at all, but the above is my best guess.

Don’t forget – Drive Block in a few of hours!

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Best Favre exchange EVER http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/best-favre-exchange-ever/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/best-favre-exchange-ever/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2008 15:41:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=50 Rich Eisen vs Adam Shefter on NFLN yesterday — watch Jamie Dukes sweat!

Check it out!

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LaMont Jordan released http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/lamont-jordan-released/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/lamont-jordan-released/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2008 23:35:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=37 Adam Shefter just said on NFLN that Jordan has finally been released.

A team he mentioned as being a possible target is New England, saying they have signed ex-raiders before and that he wouldn’t be shocked in Jordan landed there quickly.

I don’t know how that affects Maroney yet – but it certainly could put his long term status there into a little doubt.

Back with more later, but wanted to get that out there as it just was announced.

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Extensions and NON-extensions http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/extensions-and-non-extensions/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/extensions-and-non-extensions/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2008 05:17:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=33 Today one fellow got signed like I said he would a while back while another is threatening to boycott Training Camp if he doesn’t get shown the money very soon.

According to Brad Biggs at the Chicago Sun Times, Kick Return Phenom turned wide receiver Devin Hester is unhappy with his contract and may skip training camp in a huff.

Now, what that means is, he’ll have to work hard to overcome Brandon Lloyd and self-proclaimed #1 WR Marty Booker later on.

Considering the two names I just typed, Hester’s threat is a real one. While I am dubious as to his value as a wide receiver Hester is the most dynamic thing in a Bears uni, so they need to get him into camp. I don’t think he should be asking for giant boatloads of cash, but making sure the only highlight you have had the last several years is happy, secure and a BEAR, is pretty vital. I think the Bears may need to blink here, though once the penalties for missed camp hit, Hester may have to get a job at Der Weinerschnitzel or White Castle to get by.

Maybe a team the Bears should look at would be the New Orleans Saints, who signed wide receiver Marques Colston to an extension which has locked him up through 2011. Adam Shefter reported on the NFL Network that the Saints were only too happy to keep Colston smiling. While he has been dinged up on occasion, he is a great target for Brees and with the addition of Shockey and the (hopeful) return to health of Reggie Bush, Colston could find a few less double teams coming his way. We haven’t heard the terms yet but whatever it was was worth it – you can’t put a price on your best target (well, clearly you CAN but you can’t always be cheap about it).

Colston has the potential to be a top 5 Fantasy reciever this year and if he’s healthy could challenge for the top spot.

Getting back to Hester – while the guy isn’t worth Colston money (again, whatever that is), he’s the best thing the Bears have offensively. If he blows town or really holds out, they could be in trouble.

I wouldn’t pay him like a top offensive weapon but I would make sure he leaves the table as happy as I could make him.

send thoughts, questions and complaints to thunderingblurb@gmail.com or post in the comments below as you see fit.

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Elite Athletics on NFLN Total Access Tomorrow http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/elite-athletics-on-nfln-total-access-tomorrow/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/elite-athletics-on-nfln-total-access-tomorrow/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2008 20:40:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=20 Hey folks,

So the last few months I have been heading to Elite Athletics, a training center for athletes run by Saints Tight End Billy Miller. Travelle Gaines, a fantastic guy who I met working on Draftguys.TV, is the trainer there for the Pro and College Football players and I’ve had the privilege to watch him and talk to many of the players there. (my article will appear shortly on Draftguys – stay tuned)

People in the field have slowly been discovering Elite – and tomorrow it looks like they ‘arrive’ as the crew from NFLN Total Access show up.

So check your local listings for the afternoon show. I believe that’s where the Elite segment will be.

If it gets pushed back or rescheduled I’ll let you know.

Sadly I will not be there tomorrow, so no, I don’t get my close up. But I’m happy the guys at Elite get theirs.

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Favre Wednesday continues http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/favre-wednesday-continues/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/favre-wednesday-continues/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2008 23:59:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=12 According to NFL Network, Favre has denied reports he’s coming back.

I dunno if this is people testing the waters or not – the Wisconsin State Journal has a report his agent called the Packers to see if they would release him to allow him to play elsewhere (kinda like what Barry Sanders asked for many moons ago….) and was denied.

Who can tell what is truth and what isn’t? I’m not saying it can’t happen but I AM saying that until you see him steps into cleats again, assume he is gone.

The rest is just fancy illusion and interesting discussion.

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Follow up on ‘If a Kevin Jones Works out….’ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/06/follow-up-on-if-a-kevin-jones-works-out/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/06/follow-up-on-if-a-kevin-jones-works-out/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2008 00:41:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=7 So Sunday I wrote about Kevin Jones working out with several teams and wondering which of those teams might sign him.

Adam Shefter of NFLN has added a monkey to the wrench, if you will. According to his report, Kevin Jones is eying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a landing point.

On the one hand I wonder at the wording – he’s eying the Bucs but are they eying him?

But on the serious side of things, you have to assume, as Shefter does, that it makes some sense for the Bucs. Sure, they just signed Ernest Graham to a 3 year, 10.5 million dollar deal. But as we pointed out Sunday, Graham has all of one year as a starter and that’s not much of a track record. Jones plays well, he just has been misused (my opinion)and had some bad injuries (fact).

If he does sign there? I assume the Bucs let him heal for a bunch of games, then ease him in.

For you Fantasy Football players, it really screws with the Bucs RB fantasy value until it shakes it self out.

Of course, as I pointed out – Shefter says Jones is eying the Bucs. But not if the Bucs are really eying Jones.

I’ll keep you posted…..

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