Monday, December 26, 2005

Frank Gore—Making Himself at Home?

2005 third-round pick Frank Gore seems to be making a push to establish himself at the new number one running back for the San Francisco 49ers.

The statistical analysis over at shows that Frank Gore is actually having the best season of any rookie running back (DPAR, ranked 17th overall). What's more, in terms of value per play (DVOA), Gore is doing more than twice as better than the next rookie, Ronnie Brown (7.1%, 9th overall, versus -6.1%, 25th overall).

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Favre Should Keep Playing

Too many reporters and supposed football "experts" write about players as if they're nothing more than graphics in a John Madden video game. The Green Bay Packers team is going out there tomorrow and next week, and they're going to give their all, and they deserve the best chance to win the game. Brett Favre gives them that, not Aaron Rodgers. There's no such thing as a "meaningless game" to a player, though some games certainly have less importance than others. The idea that Rodgers needs playing time doesn't hold water because the situation isn't right. Rodgers is not going to be battling the current starter for the spot next year. Favre is the man until he announces he's retiring, or he because completely inept at his job. Of course, Favre is open to criticism for not letting the team know his plans at this point; an argument can be made that he needs to consider where his team is at and that the front office people need to know his leanings, at least, so that they can best do their job. But until there is a real quarterback controversy in Green Bay, not one projected by reporters needing to come up with a storyline, Favre should be in there unless the game gets out of hand as it did last Monday night.

Pro Bowl Players Tend To Be High Draft Picks

Chris Malumphy of offers his take on the correlation between high draft picks and players selected to the Pro Bowl.

Another Article on Belichick's History Lesson

This time from the Boston Herald's John Tomase: Class in session: Prof. Belichick teaches media Football 101.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Umenyiora Signs 6-year Extension

Len Pasquarelli of reports that New York Giant's defensive end Osi Umenyiora has agreed to a $41 million contract which will run through 2012. Though "only" $15 million is guaranteed, Pasquarelli notes that "The guaranteed part of the contract is believed to be the largest ever awarded to a three-year veteran."

Belichick's History Lesson

I'm glad Football Outsiders linked to this blog report by's Mike Reiss. Wish there were even more details, but maybe more will emerge in articles in tomorrow's papers. This is the kind of thing, besides the three Super Bowl wins in four years, that separates Bill Belichick from the rest of the league's coaches. He really is an original. Though I will always hold a bit of a grudge against him for choosing Vinny Testaverde over Bernie Kosar, who was one of my favorite players at the time. Anyway, it'd be awesome if Belichick could take some time in the offseason to put together a show or two (or three or four) for NFL films.

Majority of Pro Bowl Position Players Were First Round Picks

Great Blue North's PRO BOWL ROSTER REPORT notes that "70 of the 76 players named to the Pro Bowl this year at regular positions were drafted. In fact, over half of this year's AFC and NFC Pro Bowl positional players - 40 of 76 or 53% - were first round picks and 83% of all positional players named to this year's Pro Bowl, were first day picks selected in the first three rounds."

DeMarcus Ware Hopes To Make an Impact Down the Stretch

For the first half of the season, DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys was the hot defensive rookie. But over the course of the second half of the season his play has dropped off and the attention has shifted to Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers. Both are outside linebackers in 3-4 defenses. Merriman was selected just one spot behind Ware in the 2005 NFL draft and was just voted in to the Pro Bowl. Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News reports that Ware is frustrated by his recent lack of production.

Bloomin' Prospect

Jeff Legwold's weekly NFL notebook looks at skier/NFL prospect Jeremy Bloom and lists some of the top candidates for the Texans head coaching job. And, yes, I'm still irked that Art Shell is not among those mentioned.

Playing Your Senior Year

Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans could have declared for the 2005 NFL draft, he was reasonably assured of a day one pick, probably the late second or early third round. In this report by AP writer John Zenor, Ryans shows that Matt Leinart wasn't the only top prospect to be glad to have come back for his senior year. Said Ryans, "I would tell anybody, if you have the opportunity, to come back. There's no other experience like it."

How Manning Started Calling His Own Plays

In advance of the Colts game against Seattle, Gregg Bell reports on how Manning's NFL play-calling autonomy began in Seattle. This throwback aspect of his game is probably the main reason I love it when the Colts are on TV.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Berger: Leinart? Jets might pass

Ken Berger considers the likelihood that the Jets will make an unpopular decision on NFL draft day 2006. He reports that "Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech... is said to thrill coach Herman Edwards." If Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is already taken (which I think would be the Texans best move), the Williams pick could be a good one, but that would mean not only passing up on Leinart and Bush, but on a whole crop of other top rated offensive linemen that the Jets sorely need (and won't be able to afford in free agency).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

SCHATZ: Rookies Redefine 'Skill Positions'

Aaron Schatz of writes in The New York Sun about this year's impact rookies. From my perspective though, Lofa Tatupu is a much bigger surprise than Kirk Morrison who I had rated as the best ILB prospect ahead of Odell Thurman and Channing Crowder.

Frank Coyle's Top Prospects for the 2006 Draft

Great Blue North has posted a preview of draft expert Frank Coyle's Top 25 Pro Prospects for the 2006 NFL Draft. It's good to see Bobby Carpenter make the list, who I think has not been placed high enough so far by many of the top ranking sites. But given that Coyle is including juniors who haven't declared yet, I'm surprised not to see Winston Justice on this list. Also, Tamba Hali should probably be in there as well.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Should scouts determine NFL awards?

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel argues that scouts should determine NFL awards. I don't agree with him about the pro bowl, since it's just an all-star game to bring in more money for the league and entertain some fans, but it would make sense for an official all-pro team to be selected by those most knowledgeable people who evaluate players for a living. The league should seriously consider getting the personnel folks together and working on this.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Not the Only One Thinking of Shell

Eric Gilmore of the Contra Costa Times confirms that Art Shell Still Wants a Second Chance.

Will Both Virginia ILBs Declare?

According to Jeff White of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Groh didn't name any names but said he'd talked to a couple of his players about the wisdom of leaving school early for the NFL. He's believed to have advised [Ahmad] Brooks to leave and [Kai] Parham to return." Ready for the NFL as he may be for, Brooks could find himself slipping into the second or even third round because of this past year's health concerns, unless he can really impress the scouts over the off-season.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Art Shell Deserves Another Shot

If the Lions, Texans, Saints, and any other team that will be looking for a new head coach don't bring in Art Shell for an interview and have him starting out at or near the top of their lists, then there really is something wrong with the NFL. Not only does Shell have a proven record as a winning coach who knows how to get the most out of his teams, but as a member of the Hall of Fame for his outstanding offensive line play, he brings serious credentials that demand a certain level of respect from players.

In 1989 Art Shell took over for a 1-3 Raiders team, leading them to a 7-5 record the rest of the way. In 1990 the Raiders finished 12-4 for their first winning record in five years. In Shell's five full seasons as head coach, the Raiders posted a winning record four times and made the playoffs three times. Shell's playoff record with those Raider teams was a respectable 2-3. In Shell's last year, 1994, the Raiders went 9-7. Without him, the Raiders wouldn't again post a winning record until 2000.

His experience as an offensive lineman and as an offensive line coach might also go a long way toward helping the Texans and the Lions in particular, as they are two teams whose offensive line play has left much to be desired this past season. No matter what QB or all-world RB they bring in, improvement for such teams isn't going to happen until they shore up their front lines. And there's no coaching candidate out there that would be better served to lead the way.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

2005's Final Mock Draft

For 2006 I'll be looking to improve on this year's mock draft, which was the first one I ever did. Using The Huddle Report's scoring method, I tallied 42 points. Not too shabby, but certainly leaving room for improvement.