THUNDERING BLURB » Rex Ryan http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Tue, 26 Oct 2010 03:04:29 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Breaking Down the Jets Draft: Shonn Greene, Running Back http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/breaking-down-the-jets-draft-shonn-greene-running-back/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/breaking-down-the-jets-draft-shonn-greene-running-back/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2009 06:07:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=432 With two big moves in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jets showed they were worried about quality not quantity when it cam to draft strategy.

After trading up for Mark Sanchez in round 1, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Head Coach Rex Ryan decided to roll the dice again and bundle most of the rest of their 2009 picks in a bid to grab arguably the top remaining running back left on the board, Iowa Hawkeye Shonn Greene.

With many Jets fans wondering what is so special about Greene, here is my analysis of the newest Gang Green power running back and how he might fit in the new regime’s plans.

Ht: 5-10 (1/2) – Wt 227

Pluses
Greene is an incredibly powerful runner, who can not only show patience in waiting for a hole to develop and the vision to see it happening, but is very tough to bring down for the defense. When they do drag him down, he’ll get you that extra distance more by falling forward. He also gets stronger as the game goes on and doesn’t easily tire out.

Even though he is older than your average rookie (at 24), he actually doesn’t have much wear and tear on those legs. He doesn’t cough the ball up, is a very hard worker and a solid team player.

Minus
While he is a very good inside runner, he has problems getting outside and turning the corner. He’s not terribly fast and he won’t be winning any footraces against most defenders.

There are some doubts about his football IQ and while he shows patience waiting for a play to develop, he sometimes appears indecisive. As he missed some games with shoulder and knee injuries early in his career and has had ankle injuries during his college career.

How It Comes Together
Many feel this pick was a shot across Thomas Jones’ bow to end his holdout, but I don’t know that’s the case. Erik Boland put it best in his Jets Blog on Newsday – even if Jones wasn’t holding out, the guy is 31.

The classic thought on running backs is that 30 is the beginning of the end and while Jones has continued to play well, how much tread does he have left? Boland is right – they needed to get younger at the position and look towards the future.

If Jones holds out, the Jets bring Greene in and run him between the tackles while Leon Washington continues to work the outside. Greene can wear the defense down and then Washington can light them up.

If Jones doesn’t hold out, or if Greene struggles in camp, he can still rotate in on occasion and give Jones a breather throughout the season as he gets his NFL legs.

And when Jones is done, Greene can move into the backfield with a year of experience and get the hard yards.

Either way I think Greene has a very good chance to be the future power back in an offense that will be geared to the power run behind an offensive line that is built to succeed in the arena.

This will also take pressure off Mark Sanchez if he starts this year or Kellen Clemens if Sanchez gets a year holding a clipboard.

The biggest question is whether the Jets bypassed bigger needs with the trade (there were several solid defensive linemen they could have drafted at that spot or later if they didn’t trade up) or if they gave up too much to move up from their position in the third to the top of the round.

Time will tell. What is certain is the fact that the Jets saw an opportunity to jump up and grab at the brass ring not once but twice.

In what is considered an overall weak draft class, they decided that it wasn’t how many picks they had or how many rookies they could throw on the field, but instead the quality of those players and what they could mean for the franchise in the long term.

]]>
http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/breaking-down-the-jets-draft-shonn-greene-running-back/feed/ 0
Interview Transcript: Jarron Gilbert, DT, San Jose St. http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/interview-transcript-jarron-gilbert-dt-san-jose-st/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/interview-transcript-jarron-gilbert-dt-san-jose-st/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2009 17:13:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=423 So as most of you ho read my stuff know, I attended both California and San Jose State Pro Days last week and interviewed a bunch of players including hot defensive tackle Prospect Jarron Gilbert, who spent a ton of time with Jet Head Coach Rex Ryan during defensive line drills.

I would go so far as to say if Ryan spent any more time with Gilbert I would have expected him to get down on one knee and offer his giant Super Bowl ring up in a proposal.

Which is not to say that the Jets will absolutely pick Gilbert as their second, maybe third round pick. First, he may flat out not be there. Mind you, the Jets showed last year with Dustin Keller that they have a willingness to move up if need be for a player they fall in love with.

But they are doing their homework and that has to make Jets fans happy. Ryan has been all over the place and the jets have been working out, interviewing and investigating a ton of players, as you can see in my team interest article on Draftguys.com.

That list looks as long as the one the Patriots have built and we all know how good they are at working the draft.

You can find the interview with Gilbert, as well as the ones I did with Coye Francies and Chris Owens here and also see this transcript and a ton of other great NFL Draft information at NFLDraftbible.com.

I will be at both USC’s and Hawaii’s Pro Days next week, so more interview transcripts from
those schools, as well as interviews with players from San Jose State, California, Stanford and more over the coming weeks.

Enjoy.
——————————————————————————————————-
Garda: I’m here with Jarron Gilbert, who just had a pretty good Pro Day. Today you spent a lot of time with Rex Ryan–how did that go?

Gilbert: Oh, it went good. We just went through some drills–I think I did pretty good with him, picking things up. Just had a pretty good day out here.

Garda: It definitely looked like you had a very good day. You’ve got a great deal of athleticism. How do you approach the game when you have a good natural, God-given talent? What does that allow you to do that some other players sometimes don’t get a chance to because they have to work a little bit harder at it? When things come easy like that because you have that natural athleticism, how does that change your approach to the game?

Gilbert: Well, I think I’m a lot more comfortable and confident in trying new moves or trying to do things with my body in the trenches that other guys might be afraid to do. Like certain spin moves and just using my speed to beat guys with athleticism and just get around them.

Garda: Ok, I’m sure everybody has asked you this, but the YouTube video? How did that come about?

Gilbert: This is my 1,000th time answering the question, but I heard something our strength coaches said, that Adam Archuleta, the former safety, could jump out of a pool and he was kind of a freak athlete. And everybody was shocked and amazed by it. But I thought to myself it wasn’t a big deal so I went and tried it and brought a video camera out and went out there and did it. No failed attempts, no bloopers.

Garda: You were the 2008 WAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. That speaks to a great deal of consistency as well as production. What goes into your day to day workout routine that allows you to reach such a high-level of play?

Gilbert: Well, during the season I watched a whole lot of film and studied my opponents to a tee. I knew everything about them going into the week, so that really helped me during the season. And I had a lot of free time during the semester, I only took one unit during the semester and that was archery. I had already graduated so it gave me a lot of time to really study my opponent and a lot of confidence going into the game. So, it helped me out there on the field.

Garda: So film study…A lot of guys–the gym, the field–that’s their biggest focus, but it sounds like film study to you is as important as anything else in the game.

Gilbert: Yeah, film study and staying strong during the week, staying healthy. Getting in the training room and getting in the weight room and getting my body back to its peak for Saturday. That was the biggest thing for me.

Garda: So coming away from the day, what do you feel was the best part of your workout, what do you think probably left people with the best impression of you?

Gilbert: My broad jump I think was probably the most impressive thing of the day. I jumped a 10’7” on broad. I jumped a 9’11” at the Combine, but I just couldn’t stick it for some reason at the Combine so I had to do it about nine or ten times. But I got out here today and I jumped a good number. I think it impressed a lot of people.

Garda: What do you feel was the biggest difference between the two things? What did you do differently between the Combine and now, either training or otherwise? That’s a pretty decent increase from what you jumped from one to the other.

Gilbert: Yeah well, at the Combine I was landing around 10’4” I think–10’4”/10’5”-ish but I couldn’t stick it, so by the time I stuck it on the eight or ninth try, it was a 9’11”. But I got out here and was able to stick it today.

Garda: It seems like that’s happening a lot, actually. Chris Wells did like, fifteen, as I remember watching. Last question, then I will let you go. You’re able to not only produce plays out in space, once a player has gotten past the line of scrimmage, you get in the backfield and you cause a ruckus back there as well. What do you do that gives you that edge so you can get into the backfield and disrupt a play before it even really takes off?

Gilbert: I’m just quick off the ball. Quick with a good first step, and I get strong at the point of attack which allows me to get a lot of penetration. I came into the season pretty much a three year starter at end and moved inside, so coming inside I felt more athletic and quicker dealing with the guards then they’re used to. So being able to get off with speed really helped me out.

Garda: Well, you definitely had a good day today. The experience you bring to the table starting as many games as you have is certainly something that’s valuable at the NFL level, so I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing you on draft day when they call out your name.

Gilbert: Thank you.

——————————————————————————————————
My thoughts: Gilbert is an intriguing prospect and one people have moved up on their boards significantly. He can either play tackle in a 4-3 or move to end as a five-technique in a 3-4. He would fit well with the Jets 3-4 scheme and it would be nice to finally see the Jets draft guys who can play the scheme they have, rather than try to jam a guy into a scheme they don’t fit. Guys like Vernon Gholston aren’t busts yet (it’s too soon, I don’t care what anyone says) but the Jets have drafted guys who didn’t fit their defense for years, ever since Mangini came into the picture in fact.

A guy like Gilbert is a tweener, not fitting into any one category easily. But that versatility can also be a strength for some teams.

He looked smooth and solid on his Pro Day, so that may allay some fears about his technique being a little sloppy. Follow up private workouts may get teams a better look at how he uses his hands and perhaps a closer look at effort and motor, something some scouts have been concerned with.

I like Gilbert a ton and think he’s worthy of a late second, early third round pick – and he may go earlier than that.

]]>
http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/interview-transcript-jarron-gilbert-dt-san-jose-st/feed/ 0
San Jose State Pro Day Wrapup http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/san-jose-state-pro-day-wrapup/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/san-jose-state-pro-day-wrapup/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2009 05:19:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=421 So getting up at five AM isn’t something I do very often anymore, which has hurt my surfing patterns, but improved the level of grumpy, for which my family is grateful.

However, the opportunity to hit a Pro Day as a fully media credentialed writer for the Draftbible and Draftguys is always welcome and as I am two hours away from San Jose and the workouts started at 8am – well sacrifices were made.

Somehow I am still awake. Or this could be a dream.

It was an incredibly smooth running day as well as an early one. Just a handful of years ago, San Jose State was fighting to keep the football program alive and now it’s cranking out Pro level players. If Coye Francies and Chris Owens pan out, some people were joking it’s going to get titled ‘Cornerback U’.

I’m awaiting confirmation on the exact number of personnel and teams, but there were easily between 20-25 teams represented, 30+ people and two head Coaches – Carolina’s John Fox and new Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. More on both is a bit.

The three biggest focal points were the aforementioned Francies and Owens, as well as Defensive End Jarron Gilbert.

Francies was hot after the Senior Bowl, but since then, Owens has started to overtake him and today may have locked that down. That isn’t to say Francies won’t make a fine corner in the NFL – he probably will. But Owens is hot.

Owens was faster overall, running a pair of 4.40’s in the 40, while Francies was clocked between a 4.59 and a 4.65.

Side note- when it comes to timing, here’s how it goes at a Pro Day. We (that is to say, media and Scouts) all have our own stop watches and do our own timing. Often right after a run, we’ll all double check the time with people around us. After all the speed drills are done, the scouts convene in a seperate location and get a consensus time or range of times.

Francies’ was a wide range. I don’t know how or why, but the range on his runs was wider than I’ve seen in the year and a half I’ve been there. For what that’s worth.

Regardless of how wacky those numbers were, Owens was faster by a margin.

Of course, straightline speed isn’t everything to a cornerback. Both corners worked out well in the position drills and looked good. Both tracked the balls well and looked good overall. Francies looked good flipping his hips and turning to move upfield. Owens looked great tracking the ball and very fluid.

It’s close. I will say that Jets Coach Ryan (told you we’d touch on him again) made a point to chat with Owens and it was clear they had talked before. He might have doen the same with Coye, but I didn’t see it. But Ryan definitely looked interested in Owens and given that he likes current Jet and former Spartan Dwight Lowery, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets go to that well again. (I realize he didn’t make that pick, but GM Mike Tannenbaum did and I’m sure he chatted it up to Ryan.)

I wonder how the Jets might get Owens as it’s hard to know where he might go and it’s possible he won’t be there with the Jets’ second round pick. Will the Jets move up like they did for Dustin Keller last year?

They certainly might.

But the guy who seemed to be Ryan’s biggest focus was Gilbert. When it was time for the D-line drills, Ryan stepped in and led them. While he spent plenty of time with the other two Spartan DEs there (Marcus Keli and Jeff Schweiger, who I will talk about in a minute), he worked with Gilbert the most and definitely was focused on testing and probing him.

I walked away thinking that the Jets have to be thinking Gilbert is a high priority. Like Owens, you have to wonder how they would pick him up. He’s slotted on many sites to be a guy who could go somewhere in the second or third (I lean towards second) so again, the Jets might have to make a move to get him.

By the way, many sites have him listed as a Defensive Tackle but he can play Tackle or End, specifically end as a five technique in a 3-4 which could fit what the Jets are looking at.

I call him an End because that’s what he was in school.

Whatever you call him, he too looked solid in drills and is definitely more than a YouTube video and some stats. Gilbert ran a 4.76/4.83 40 with a good 10 yard time of 1.66. Not the fastest bloke, but quick enough.

When guys like Gilbert, Francies and Owens attract a spotlight, sometimes it splashes on some other players as well. One player I am looking more into is defensive End Jeff Schweiger.

Schweiger was a transfer from USC and had an OK, though not spectacular season in 2008. He had a very good workout today, including a 4.71/4.74 40 time, with a quick 4.56 short shuttle which looked pretty solid. Add to it a 35 1/2 vert and a 10 foot broad jump and he’s an intriguing guy who isn’t on many radars.

I’m not saying he’s a first round pick. I’m saying he may have gotten himself enough notice to have a good shot at being a rookie street free agent if not a late second day pick.

It only takes one team to fall in love to make that happen. He’s already worked out for the Atlanta Falcons.

I’ll be looking at his film this week and am curious to see how he looks.

Finally, I wanted to touch on the bonus portion of the day’s program – the workout by players from Cal-Poly, Sacramento State and other small schools.

This took place after the San Jose State day and a bunch of scouts stuck around. It was a long day by the time it was done – from 8am to after 1pm.

Of course, the teams who stayed (including John Fox) were there to see Cal-Poly wideout Ramses Barden do his thing. I think Carolina has to be looking at him given that they have nobody behind Smith and Dwayne Jarrett hasn’t worked out. Barden is a big guy, like Jarrett was, and as he learns to use his size and hands to beat corners high, he could be a great complement to anyone, Smith included.

Among the other teams remaining were the Giants, Rams, Panthers, Pats, Dolphins and Packers. The Panthers had two other men there along with Coach Fox, who busted me up more than once with little side comments.

There’s a guy I dearly want to have a beer with. He strikes me as a fellow who could make an evening fairly entertaining.

Back at the workout, Barden smoked his Combine 40 time, which was listed as a 4.58, with his first run timed at a speedy 4.51. His second run was a 4.55, closer to the Combien time but still solid. By the way, I clocked his first run at a 4.48. Barden told me he liked that time best and who am I to argue?

Barden was good in his workout as well and between the Combine and today, helped himself quite a bit. His 39 arm length, 10′2″ broad jump and 7.1 three cone drill helped also.

One other guy I am looking into after watching him in the second half of the day is Montana State Running Back Demetrius Williams. Williams had speedy 40 times of 4.44 and 4.45 (although one scout had him at 4.39) and overall had a good workout.

Liek Schweiger, Williams may benefit from the teams who stuck around to watch Barden and get himself some workouts. I’m curious to look more closely at his game and examine if he might be able to catch onto a practice squad or on a special teams unit.

Sometimes it’s not just the big guys who leave you fascinated.

]]>
http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/san-jose-state-pro-day-wrapup/feed/ 0