ALAMEDA, California – Thursday night. Round one. Choose 22 on the clock. Baltimore, then Houston at 23, Oakland at 24, Philadelphia at 25. Two more tips for the Raiders before selecting a player of 24 who they had attacked right here in the last three months.
a shop, "someone calls in the Raiders & Draft Room. "Philadelphia now has 22nd eagle on the clock. "
The rookie GM, who ran his first draft, Mike Mayock, froze. "I'm like," Sh -! "Moment of panic, EAGLES JUMPING FOR OUR ANIMAL."
The coach, Jon Gruden, who horribly told Mayock not to mess up the Raiders triad, jumped out of his chair and simmered Gruden said, "Coaches and GM knew that the Eagles loved the same player as Alabama, who ran Josh Jacobs back, and now the Eagles of 25 were in the business and would be able to steal the guy, the Gruden had the guts, one Thirty seconds passed, perhaps Mayock studied the terms of trade, and while doing so, Defense Coordinator Paul Günther shouted, "Wait ̵
"Wait one minute, Jon, "Mayock said to Gruden. "I think it's about the duel. They do not want to run back. "
" Really? Mayock knows everyone in football from his 18 years as a media illustrator, and he knows Eagle's GM Howie Roseman very well because he's been a Philly-type and the color of Eagle preseason games for the past five years He knows the Eagle roster and the zeitgeist of the Roseman trade – he does not waste any draft capital trading more than he needs – on the NFL road rumor had it that Houston Dudelard was the first one in Washington, so the Eagles had to go Dillard fishing.
It turned out Dillard to the Eagles on the 22nd We're free at home, [May1945] Mayock thought Tytus Howard at 23 to Houston And now …
"Can I called him? "Gruden said, suddenly a Golden Retriever, all excited and eager." Can I call? "
" Wait, "Mayock said, asking the teams not to vote until at least five Minutes after the 10-minute time limit in the first round vers were so that the league the TV presentations and could not secure the selection. Five minutes, Mayock said, please call Josh Jacobs.
One cliché you should consider is . There is a new sheriff in town.
More apt: It's a new adult in space.
My design for 2019: in short, weird. Thursday, Denver. I just thought John Elway could do something extraordinary, and he did something to swap a tight blanket / blanket for Joe Flacco (Noah Fant), and fell into Drew Lock, which he had never expected The 42nd choice … Friday, Oakland plays with a gaudy raider design and Gruden Mayock dynamics. "The trust I have [in the GM] is better than ever," Gruden said. "The guy is sick. He is an insane worker. I love him. "… Saturday, Tempe. Kyler Murray and Josh Rosen, oh my god. Good chunks come to all these stops.
First, headlines from the weekend:
• Tyreek Hill must go. On Thursday, Audio appeared in Kansas City in connection with injuries suffered by Hill's 3-year-old son, and the son said, "Daddy did it." When the boy's mother Hill said to Hill, the son was afraid of him, Hill said to her, "You must be scared of me too, bitch." The All-Pro-Wide receiver Hill kept the band from the team activities After they heard the tape, now they had to take the next step: cut off Hill. Who had gone a thin line after punching the woman in the stomach when she was pregnant? The second round of the Sprinter from Georgia, Mecole Hardman (speed 4.33), telegraphed the end of Hill in Kansas City.
• The giants find controversial the Eli heirs. Everyone who ran Daniel Jones in sixth place – nine places ahead of Dwayne Haskins, 36 ahead of Drew Lock – is clearly in the lead of GM Dave Gettleman. The Giants did not want to take any chances by selecting the passenger Josh Allen when he was six years old and bringing Jones to his second goal at 17 (and he would almost certainly have been there). On Sunday, Gettleman said to me, "I was tormented. Agonizes.
• Washington finally gets a long-term quarterback. After the failed RG III experiment in 2012, Washington stumbled from passer to passer. Owner Dan Snyder hopes that Dwayne Haskins (who was preparing at the Bullis School in Bethesda) in Griffin will never have been there before.
• GM's Draft: An unknown – Miami's Chris Grier, who transformed Josh Rosen's 48th overall standings with two trades in an hour on Friday night, a sixth round selection and a second round in 2020. The Dolphins now have one year to see if the 10th election will be made In the draft of 2018, Roses may be the QB of the future … and if not, Grier will have five extra picks in 2020 (as of now), to find this franchisee next April in a richer perspective. "I know some people say we fill up," Grier said Saturday night from Florida. "That's the farthest from the truth. It is raising funds, and we now have a quarterback for ourselves.
• The Steelers finally find a replacement for Shazier. Mike Tomlin jonesing for a minor and a defensive captain since Ryan Shazier was lost in December 2017 with a spinal injury. GM Kevin Colbert has done something very uncharacteristic to help: He traded first. For the first time in 16 years, there was Michigan lineman Devin Bush, who paid tribute to his predecessor. Shazier is still trying to play football again. "I know he has the heart and the will," Bush said.
• Doug Baldwin could be finished. The Seattle team and team conscience had three off-season operations (30), and GM John Schneider admitted that Baldwin could retire. "Whatever happens, Doug will be one of the big players in the history of this program," said coach Pete Carroll. Released from the US state of Stanford, Baldwin has been using cunning and extreme competition to catch 551 balls and score 55 touchdowns in eight seasons. He will be missed in many ways when he's gone.
• A strange choice in Carolina. "This has nothing to do with Cam Newton," GM Marty Hurney said after the Panthers had chosen a third round of West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. Nothing? I do not buy what Hurney sells. In the last two years, Newton had a rotator cuff (2017) and arthroscopic shoulder surgery (2019), both on his throwing shoulder. Cam will turn 30 in two weeks. It's okay to say: "We need insurance in the most important position in sports." Because that's it.
• So long, SeaBass. The last kicker to be drafted in the first round, Sebastian Janikowski, who retired on Sunday after a 19-year career, had the record for most field goals of 50 yards or more (58) in a career , In 2000, Al Davis put him in 17th place. This is a slot ahead of Chad Pennington, 125 slots ahead of Shane Lechler, 182 slots ahead of Tom Brady. That's quite a run.
• The Road Draft is one of the best ideas the NFL has ever had. Chicago was better than New York, Philadelphia was better than Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth was very good and Nashville, even if it got wet on Thursday night, was as good as Dallas-Fort Worth. Next year: Las Vegas. Lunacy alarm.
For the rest of the column, come to the Cardinals, then to Giants and then to Broncos. And please – stay with the Raiders.
TEMPE, Arizona – Kliff Kingsbury has learned a few things as an NFL head coach in his four months. This is one thing: "People just have fun," Kingsbury said late Saturday in a conference room in the Cardinals training facility.
I asked Kingsbury if he'd ever said it was a "completed deal." The cards initially totaled Kyler Murray.
"No," he said. "Never."
I asked Kingsbury What he would have said if GM Steve Keim had said a month ago that the best thing for the team was to keep Josh Rosen in quarterback and design Nick Bosa.
I said, 'Let's go to work & # 39; "said Kingsbury," That's why I signed in here, I knew I wanted to come here to improve the offense, we were all in the last, try to help Josh become a better player, more comfortable in the game That was my job, if that's what we would do, I signed up for it first. "
" Biggest misunderstanding about your role in this role? "I asked.
"That I rolled here and I like it" Wi Take Kyler Murray, "Kingsbury said. "First of all … I do not have that kind of juice in the door. It was not like that at all.
This was about an hour after the design. Kingsbury and the man who hired him, Keim, sat together to discuss a crazy era of Cardinals football – the lineup of Josh Rosen (10) a year ago, the hiring of a coach fired at Texas Tech to control the franchise. the marginalization of roses, the drawing of Murray, the unloading of roses to Miami, the design of three recipients to turn the card's offenses into Kingsbury's personal Madden game.
I turned to Keim, who is focusing his GM career on this coaching offer and this draft and ask, "Have you seriously considered the alternative of keeping roses and saying," I'm sorry , Kliff, I do not give you your husband? "
" Absolutely, "Keim said," That's my job. In spring your mind races with the different scenarios. At the end of the day, you had to look again and say, "What will really make us different?" I've always been a visual guy, always succeeding in rating quarterbacks when I trusted my instincts and my guts I missed the guys who saw the part, smelled the part you were trying to invent, and because all things connect the dots together. They scouted them out and said, "Okay, they'll be a player because they look like that. I'm not saying, that's Josh Rosen. I say, I had my real success. The guys I loved were instinctively great NFL players.
"When I closed my eyes, I imagined Kyler Murray running red and white at the State Farm Stadium. For some reason, I just saw fireworks, excitement, a must [environment] where the fans have to go and see this thing. He was the architect who was phenomenal to me. "
Interesting way to evaluate: Scouting through visualization. "I either visualize it or I just have bigger balls than my mind," Keim said. "I'm not afraid to make a mistake. That could cost me my career, but to be great and to be successful, you have to be prepared to take a risk that you believe in. "
That's what Card's story is all about. Arizona took a shot at Kingsbury and another at Murray. This is a franchise drift, with a GM having his job on the line, a head coach whom the league dubiously contemplates, and now a 5-10 quarterback whom the new coach has been coaching since his sophomore year in high school Texas has painted. (Real story: Kingsbury, then Texas Tech coach, offered a 5-foot-5 quarterback to Kyler Murray in 2012 as a second-year grant holder at Allen High.]
Keim said he had thoroughly studied Murray after completing his studies Studying the prospects for the free agent, so it would not be until mid-March, Keim said, he had dug himself into Murray tape, but until then, the organization had by no means made the decision to design Murray – because germ contracted to do so The final word says the draft: "I was reluctant to study it because I knew what we had in Josh Rosen," said Keim. "When I saw the first game, I saw the second game, I could not control it All I wanted was to keep the kid on tape, I do not know if I wrote down 100 times or 500 times, but my hand got tired of writing it myself I have not seen a guy throw like him and like e I've seen guys who could do any one of them, but I've never rated it a man who has the ability to do both at such a high level. I also studied guys I've fallen in love with, like Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams, who really have to weigh which player has the most effect on us. In the end, it became clear that it was Kyler Murray. "
Keim was relentless that Kingsbury voiced his opinion and then avoided the evaluation process. "What I respect most about Kliff is that he never stopped the process," Keim said, while Kingsbury sat at the conference table. "He never came down and laid his fist on the table and said," I want Kyler Murray. I have to have him. "I knew he loved him as a player, but he allowed the process to take care of himself. For me, that was the only way we could do it right. "
So, after we've pushed four players to help Kingsbury prosecute his crime, let's see where these cardinals are. Kingsbury's offense, a cousin of Mike Leach's air raid plan, will often carry four broad receivers and one spine. It's important to have certain roles for the recipients, but in the case of UMass's second-round receiver Andy Isabella, Kingsbury has found a receiver that can be used in slot, out, and jet sweep games. Isabella is experienced in all three roles. Kingsbury is likely to at least initially face a crime with Isabella and the old but still prolific Larry Fitzgerald in both slots, with Christian Kirk in the second year and this year's 103rd pick, 6-5 Hakeem Butler on both sides. And of course David Johnson, the strong runner and receiver, should get 300 touches from the backcourt. There will also be a consistent element, so some of these games in Arizona will be the survival of the fittest.
What sets the Kingsbury system apart, his coaching friends say the game plan will be his weekly schedule. As a sixth round of the Patriots in 2003, Kingsbury spent this season (the second Super Bowl season in New England) with an arm injury in the IR area, but was affected by Bill Belichick's philosophy of varying the weekly schedule. At Belichick every board is a snowflake; no two look the same. And while Kingsbury's passing offense will be the wide-open, fourfold field game on the field, he'll certainly match it to the opponent this week as well.
Kingsbury shared the system with me for Murray Be "very similar" to his Oklahoma scheme under the progressive Lincoln Riley. "His ability to escape the bag and escape the D-Lineman when he can not get out of the blocks – it's just unique. And to still be able to fall behind and overlook the field and get the ball out on time, to overcome his progress … When spreading people, he is a weapon in many ways. This is difficult in the defense, because if you want to throw him into the field and takes off, takes him luck. And if you sit back, he can still take you apart. The way we spread people, the pace at which we play, he is the type who can really thrive in the system.
"We will play the game wider at times than most people in the league. We'll use the entire field and make sure it covers five spread points and the quarterback, and that's difficult to defend.
I was really curious how Kingsbury, after taking over the Texas Tech head coach in 2012, could be so excited by a tiny quarterback in Allen, Texas. "Well," said Kingsbury, "no one could touch it, he could throw it out of the bag, the mechanics were great. He was the fastest player in the field. I just always thought he could be great. I have never seen anything like it in the field, a combination of this kind of speed and explosiveness and a real drop-back pedestrian. That's how we've built a relationship over the years. He always knew that I believed in him and saw great things coming. It was a wild ride and crazy to see how everything developed. I think everyone just assumed that since he was too small he could not play on the next level. "
So here's Murray, on the next level and then on the next level. The highest level The NFL.
This will be a great season for the test tube in Arizona. In the NFL this year, no coach / QB combi plate will be closely examined. A coach with a lost college record and the first 6-foot quarterback designed in the first round. And the number one overall! Kingsbury and Murray will need to watch TV and see Keim's visualization.
"I think we're both competitive and have a chip on our shoulders," Kingsbury said. "What was said out there …" His voice trailed off. He knows. "Now it's time to go. We have heard all the conversations and the talks have now been conducted. It's about what we do from now on. When he came in here [Friday]we both had that kind of talk and that way of thinking. That was more what our meeting was about. "
" Did you celebrate that you finally got your husband after all the years you were chasing him? ", I asked." Not yet, no, "said Kingsbury," There will be no celebration until we win some games. "
Two Last Points:
• Josh Rosen has been wronged, but he has a good chance of it in Arizona In this deal to Miami, Keim tried hard to get a first-round pick for him (no chance for that) and then made the best deal he could, rather than a completely unfortunate player with an over-over juice "We talked a few times on Thursday night," said GM from Miami, Chris Grier, "but Steve said we did not want to give one this year or next year. [Friday] we communicated Once again, and laughed at the fact that a deal was agreed in the media when we did not. "Then they went for a few hours without talking, meanwhile Miami exchanged the 48th pick for the Saints, and when the next pick of Miami approached (in total 65.), Grier and Keim talked again and worked out the deal: the 65th pick and a 2020 pick for the fifth round of roses. "We have a lot of potential for the deal," Grier said. And for Rosen, he has a year to convince Grier, owner Steve Ross, and coach Brian Flores that he should be the long-time starter of Miami – not a passer-by of the best chance squad in 2020.
Steve Keim is better suited right. Keim began his term as Card, hired Bruce Arians and stole Oakland's Carson Palmer for a seventh round, winning 50 games in his first five years as GM. Then came many misfortunes: signing Sam Bradford for stupid money, hiring Steve Wilks as head coach, giving him only one season and trading for roses. Examine that roses are traded … A year ago, Keim traded the 15th, 79th, and 152th picks for the 10th pick so the cards can design roses. Keim exchanged roses for the 65th and a fifth in 2020. That is, he exchanged the 15th, 79th and 152nd choice of a draft against a UMass slot receiver. Man, Andy Isabella has some strain relief on his shoulders in his NFL career. The Cardinals could have met Derwin James, Orlando Brown and Deon Cain with these three picks. Instead, they got a one-year test with roses. And now a Central American conference receiver. These are not jobs for Play-it-safers. But Keim must soon get involved in a winning streak, or this will be the team of another team.
Odd and I wrote outside on a nice early Sunday morning in Phoenix at a table in the back of my hotel. A middle-aged man approaches, introduces himself. "Giants fan," said the guy. "Talk me off the ridge. Does Gettleman know what he's doing? "
" I'll give you one, "Gettleman told himself on the phone an hour later." I was in my bagel shop this morning, Guy said to me, 'Dave, great choice.'
Just one feeling: The guy in the bagel shop is not in the majority of Giants' fans.
My big question for Gettleman at the weekend Duke quarterback Daniel Jones was at the center at six. (Is not that the question Actually, I had some questions, that was the first one, and why did Gettleman try to trade Denver at 10 – John Elway told me in Denver after the first round.
Why, I asked "Did not Gettleman do what the Chalk said there?" The much-needed pass racer, Josh Allen, is six years old and then takes the calculated risk of slipping Jones off and on either the second round first round selection (17) or in a light trade-up of 17?
to get "Ic I tortured myself, "said Gettleman from his New Jersey office. "I was tormented. Before the draft, we thoroughly discussed this as a group – first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Of course, we greatly appreciated Josh Allen. But I've learned that you're not fooling around with a quarterback. If he's your type, you take him. When you put 32 general managers in a room and give'em sodium pentethol [truth serum]each one tells you a story about how they got cute in a design, and it costs them a player they wanted. So you will not be cute there. With a quarterback you will not be cute. "
Gettleman told me he" knows "that there were two teams who wanted Jones between six and 17 years old. I could not find her, but I can not say with certainty that there are not two. In any case, Gettleman believed that it was worth no risk. So instead of having a chance to reach Allen at six and Jones at seventeen (or earlier in a trade-up), the Giants Jones with six and run-staging defensive attack had Dexter Lawrence at seventeen. Stuffer is obviously easier to find than a pass rusher. We will see how it works.
But let's get through the exercise and look at the two teams and Jones, starting with Jacksonville at seven. No; just signed Nick Foles. Detroit; most unlikely with Matthew Stafford in the house. Buffalo; No, Josh Allen (Wyoming QB) was drafted last year. Denver at 10: I was there and Broncos had Drew Lock in first place on the QB board. Bengals at 11; doubtful, but I'm not sure. Green Bay at 12; very unlikely. Miami at 13; unknown. Atlanta at 14; under no circumstance. At 15, Washington seemed to be imprisoned with Dwayne Haskins. Carolina at 16; very unlikely. So maybe to Miami. I can not find anyone else who probably had Jones in the crosshairs, although that does not mean it was not.
The bile Gettleman aimed for was extreme, even by New York standards. Mike Francesa of WFAN called the Giants "football clowns … chronic losers" with a GM "who has no plan." On the back of the post, Gettleman looked perplexed and a headline titled "BLUE'S CLUELESS". On Twitter, someone posted "Dave Gettleman's resume" and the following:
Gettleman puts some of it on himself when he says things like he fell in "full love" with Jones after seeing how he played three series in the Senior Bowl … as if he had to do anything to pawn the giant franchise of the Giants on Jones. Obviously, he studied the quarterbacks in detail and decided that Jones had the arm strength and mental state to be the best of the four on this design. "Being the quarterback of the New York Giants is a mental burden," he said. "If you can not handle the mental aspect, you can not do it. That's one of the things we liked about Daniel. "
Part of Gettleman understands the visceral response to the selection. He told me that if he could not handle the brickballs, he would train high school football again. (At a fairly significant pay cut.)
But part of him is sad for what's gone out of business.
"The bottom line is that I have faith in what I do and who I am," he said. "I was part of organizations that had pretty good quarterbacks – Jim Kelly, John Elway, Kerry Collins, Eli Manning and Cam Newton. I've had a charming life with the quarterbacks in the teams I worked for. I know what the good guys look like. The other thing is, resumes are important. From time to time, I wish the people taking the photos would take a minute to review my CV. I was part of teams that visited seven Super Bowls. I had a hand with some of them. But today there is no patience. And in our society there is no room for a civil discourse that I find sad. "
I would have done it differently, I think. I would have taken Allen at six o'clock and found a way to act against Jones again, if I was worried about missing him at seventeen. For me, the risk of acquiring a pass rusher (a key element the giants now do not have) was worth it. But the point with regard to Jones and the all-in for a quarterback you like is something that every GM has to do sometime. I do not think Gettleman was stupid because he chose Jones because finding quarterbacks is one of the most ingenuous things a GM has to do. Lawrence is a solid but probably overpicked attack. The third first-rounder, Cornerback Deandre Baker, could be a starter on Day 1 in a position where the Giants had a great need. Nothing could dissuade Gettleman from the idea that the Giants were much better at the weekend – even if the sixth pick does not play for a year or two. Football requires patience to judge whether players turn out to be good, especially in quarterback. But the Giants have not won a playoff game for seven years. Eli Manning is a strong guy, but seven-year droughts are not often broken by 37-year-old quarterbacks. It's time to turn the page. Fans want to change now. The Giants are not that fast.
"In three years we will find out how crazy I am."
The old and new design, designed as franchise quarterbacks at 15-year intervals:
ENGLEWOOD, Col. – Things you can learn about the Denver Broncos wissen sollten:  Wenn sie am Donnerstag nicht den 10. Gesamtsatz nach Pittsburgh eingetauscht hatten, nahmen sie Devin Bush (den Spieler, den Pittsburgh bis zum Handel mitgenommen hatte) mit 10, nicht Noah Fant (das knappe Ende, das die Broncos nach dem Abwärtshandel eingezogen hatten).  Als die erste Runde endete, hatte GM John Elway nicht die Absicht, aggressiv gegen Drew Lock vorzugehen, da Denver mit dem 34-jährigen Ex-Raven Joe Flacco verliebt ist. Ich wusste es, weil ich Elway 45 Minuten nach der Runde fragte. "Unser Trost bei Joe hat es uns ermöglicht, einen Quarterback weiterzugeben", sagte Elway. „Was diese Entscheidung getroffen hat, ist, dass Joe wirklich gut zu dem passt, was wir offensiv machen wollen, und er sah letzte Woche in unserem Minicamp toll aus. Er hat wirklich eine Wurfausstellung letzte Woche im Lager gezeigt. Ich glaube aufrichtig, dass wir einen Kerl in Bestform haben. “
Denver hatte während des Geschäfts mit Pittsburgh die Riesen und Falcons am Telefon. Die Giants machten ein wettbewerbsfähiges Angebot, sagte Elway, aber nicht so gut in Pittsburghs… und die Steelers störten Elway, als Denver im Jahr 2020 einen First-Rounder forderte.
Wenn Sie meinen Scheinentwurf sahen, erinnern Sie sich vielleicht, dass ich Denver mit den Rams um 31 in die erste Runde zurücklegte, sodass die Broncos gegen Ende der Runde eine stürzende Sperre einnehmen konnten. Der Lock-Drop überraschte mich und überraschte viele Leute in der Liga. Aber Sie müssen sich im Entwurf mit Quarterbacks auskennen. Es ist leicht zu sagen, dass Drew Lock eine erste Wahl ist, und in vielen Jahren war er eine Wahl der ersten Hälfte der ersten Runde. Aber es muss ein Team geben, das will, dass er auch eine First-Round-Auswahl für ihn hat. Als ich Denver gegen Mitternacht verließ und mich darauf vorbereitete, am Freitag in der Morgendämmerung nach Oakland zu fliegen, habe ich Lock für Denver aus dem Weg geräumt. Die Broncos waren mit Flacco verheiratet, und wenn er ausfiel, suchten sie nächsten April einen Weg an die Spitze der ersten Runde des QB-Reiches.
Als ich zu meinem Hotel zurückkehrte, bekam ich diese Stimmung per Telefon eine eingesteckte Liga GM: Nehmen Sie nicht an, dass sie Lock verlassen haben. Flacco ist was er ist.
Natürlich haben Elway und sein rechter Personalmann Matt Russell die Bank noch etwas später in dieser Nacht studiert. Als sie am nächsten Morgen ankamen, überlegten sie ernsthaft, ob die besten zwei Jungs auf ihrem Board bleiben sollten: Dalton Risner aus Kansas State und Lock. Risner war mit 41 Jahren die beste Wahl. Elway arbeitete mit 42 für die Bengals und schloss schließlich einen Deal ab, um von 51 auf 42 zu wechseln, als Gegenleistung für die Auswahl der vierten und sechsten Runde.
Elway wollte diese Auswahl nicht wirklich machen . Er wollte hier wirklich keinen Quarterback entwerfen, weil er Vertrauen zu Flacco zeigen wollte. Aber Elway ist ein Quarterback. Er weiß, wenn Sie keinen langfristigen Mann haben, suchen Sie ständig nach ihm. Lock war sein Quarterback Nummer eins in diesem Entwurf. Wenn er Lock mit dem 42. Pick holen konnte, musste er es tun. He just had to.
Being in Denver, and then being sure Elway was done at quarterback for 2019, and then being a time zone away and seeing this Hall of Fame quarterback go after a quarterback the next day … it brought the biggest draft lesson crashing home: This is an emotional game, and the draft is an emotional business. Who can blame the great Elway for trying to find the next Elway with the 42nd pick in the draft?
ALAMDEDA, Calif. —The headlines on the Raiders in the last week or so are all Mayock-related. Scouts banned from the building. Mayockian … Clelin Ferrell over-draft at number four overall. Mayockian … Patience (I’ll explain). Mayockian … Makeup as important as talent, a scouting trait from the Belichick tree. Mayockian.
Now it’s Friday morning, the day after the Ferrell-Josh Jacobs-Johnathan Abram makeover, and I’m in the same chair in Mayock’s office that Gruden was in 24 hours earlier when just the two of them hatched the exact plan for their three-choice first round:
• At number four, try to trade down for value, but whether at four or as low as they’d like to risk going, 13 to Miami, be sure to procure Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
• At number 24, trust the board and the draft research. Know that Josh Jacobs was very likely to be there, and resist temptation to use draft capital to trade up.
• At number 27, be patient again and let Abram, the hard-hitting Mississippi State safety, fall to us. If he doesn’t, there will be options we like.
The phone never rang at four. Mayock and Gruden wished it had, but they never got a call. So they stayed there and picked a solid guy who won’t be the edge-rusher Josh Allen or Brian Burns will be; Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will take his leadership and practice habits and edge-setting and hope he can be an eight to 12-sack guy. No guarantee though. Ferrell at 13, with an extra first-rounder from 2020, would have been the dream; Ferrell at four, with no extra compensation, was acceptable.
Mayock had a chance to go to 16, Carolina’s slot, and ensure getting Jacobs. Nope. He thought Jacobs would last, and he didn’t want to sacrifice a good pick. A few minutes later, Mayock went to the draft board in the draft room on the second floor of the Raiders’ facility. He wrote down seven names in red marker. He said they’d have at least two left by the time they got to pick 24.
There were not two left then. There were four. And the two Gruden and Mayock wanted above all were Jacobs and Abram.
Interesting thing happened when the emotion of drafting Jacobs died down. Now it was pick 25. Baltimore on the clock. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta surely would have dropped down two spots for a fifth-round pick, knowing it was highly likely he’d get the same guy at 27 he could get at 25. Mayock wondered if they should make the trade. Gruden pushed. Mayock said he thought Abram would be there at 27; let’s sit. Mayock ignored the ringing phone, saw Marquise Brown and Montez Sweat go at 25 and 26, and then Gruden the Golden Retriever was back.
“Can I call? When can I call?”
Funny story about Abram. At the Senior Bowl, Gruden and the Raiders were coaching the North Team. Abram was on the South, but he was not playing because of a shoulder bruise. Abram’s a football junkie and he hung around the North practice, watching Gruden and his staff coach.
“Who the hell are you?” Gruden said the first day.
“Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State.”
“Number 38! Mississippi State! I am your biggest fan!” Gruden said.
Abram was at Gruden’s practice every day the rest of the week, just watching.
On Friday night, Gruden said: “I wanted the safety. I wanted this safety. Physical, tough, smart, loves football. I didn’t want just a safety. I think it’s hard to teach tackling now. They don’t practice it. You gotta find some guys that are really eager and interested in making tackles. This guy’s a throwback Raider safety. He reminds me of Jack Tatum and George Atkinson and Charles Woodson and some of the guys we’ve had walk through here. The middle of our defense, we need to strengthen that. Man, was I happy to get him.”
When Ferrell, Jacobs and Abram came into the facility Friday afternoon, it was easy to see why Gruden and Mayock zeroed in on them. Ferrell got emotional talking about being a leader on a storied franchise. Jacobs said he wanted to play special teams, just so he could be on the field more. Abram sounded like a guy who’d taken an overnight class in Silver And Black 101.
“This place … what a rich history, what a culture, what an honor to be part of this franchise,” Abram said. “But the Silver and Black’s in need of a rebirth. Lotta great things can happen here. Antonio Brown’s here. We got a franchise quarterback. We got Vegas around the corner. It’s an amazing time in the history of this place. And we get to write the new history.”
Now a day-two postscript. Raiders were due to pick third in the second round, 35th overall. When the day started, two of the Mayock’s seven red-markered players were still on the board. Great, Mayock and Gruden thought; we’ll probably get one of them at 35.
Both red guys were there at 35. Mayock gambled, trading from 35 to 38 with Jacksonville and netting a fourth-rounder.
Both red guys, still there at 38. Mayock gambled, trading from 38 to 40 with Buffalo, netting a fifth-rounder.
At 40, they were still there. No more gambling. Mayock drafted the third of the red-markered guys, Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
What I found interesting, sitting with Mayock for 45 minutes as he digested his first night, was how much this GM job seemed like his calling. He did football games on TV, he dissected the draft on TV, and no one knows if he’ll be great at this or just okay; it’ll take years to know. But what I saw was a guy who had patience, which is the calling of good GMs. They’ve got to be willing to lose a guy they want to get the max value on a pick. Mayock showed that several times in this draft.
“I’m gonna give you a great quote that Ozzie Newsome said to me at the Senior Bowl,” Mayock said. “I’ve known Ozzie forever. He congratulated me on the job. I said, ‘Do you have any advice?’ He said, ‘Mike, having an opinion is a hell of a lot easier than having to make a decision.’ I thought that was so well said back then. And then I really felt the weight of it last night.”
Now for the Mayock-scout relationship, and the infamous Ian Rapoport tweet about sending the scouts home.
Mayock: “I came in at an atypical time for a GM, in January, and we had a four-month run that might’ve been the most important in the history of the Oakland Raiders as far as a draft and free agency. We’ve been to one playoff game in 16 years. They’ve been doing things a certain way around here and it hasn’t worked. They bring me in in January and I inherit a group of scouts for four months. I was 100 percent transparent with them the first week I got here. I told every single scout that they might not like the fact that a media guy’s their boss, which they probably didn’t. I told them I knew I had to earn their respect, and I would. But they also had to earn my respect and they had four months to do it because all their contracts were up. I made the decision three weeks ago that when the scouts’ work was done in this building, I was gonna send most of them home. I told them, and 45 minutes later it was on Twitter. So the decision to send them home, in hindsight, was the right one.
“I’ve known for years there have been leaks out of this building. Al Davis had a phobia about it when he was in his prime. He was really good about keeping it from happening. My deal, the bottom line for me, is you’ve got to trust the guys you work with. To me, if you’re a good teammate, what goes on in this building stays in this building.”
Gruden needed Mayock. Gruden’s match with the GM he inherited when he re-took the coach job 16 months ago, Reggie McKenzie, a good football man, was an arranged marriage. Gruden wanted a grinder.
“Mayock’s like Abram,” Gruden said. “He just wants it.”
Can it last? The book on Gruden is that he falls out of love with people—he loves them, then he loves someone else, and there are rocky times. But he hasn’t worked with many like Mayock. When Gruden sees Mayock, he sees the personnel version of himself. The plus in this relationship, as this weekend showed, is that the GM won’t just bend to the Gruden when Gruden wants something badly. In each of the big decisions in this first draft—waiting for Jacobs, waiting for Abram, trading twice while angling for Trayvon Mullen—the gamble worked. Mayock’s a rookie, but he’s a precocious rookie.
“I’ve known Mike since I was offense coordinator at Philadelphia, I guess that was 1995. I work there, I see Mike. I get the [head-coaching job] here, I see Mike. I go to Tampa, I see Mike. I started broadcasting, I see Mike. I really got to know Mike then. His preparation is no bullsh–. A lot of these guys go on TV and they read the headlines but they don’t do the work. You know what I mean? He’s well respected because of the amount of preparation he does. And he’s a great listener and a great teammate too. I think we both have a strong desire to get this franchise going again. It’s an exciting time really because of the future of the Raiders and where we’re heading, players that we’re bringing in. It’s a pretty cool experience with him.”
It’s going to be a fun franchise to watch. Gruden, Antonio Brown/Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs, Derek Carr, Mayock, Vontaze Burfict … Imagine if they’re good—I mean, TV-ratings good, AFC West-challenging good. How fun will that be? It just might happen.
“Kyler, one more thing: An awesome two-bedroom in Old Town just came on the market. So lemme know if you’re interested. I think I can get you a pretty good deal.”
—Josh Rosen, the former Cardinals quarterback, in a Twitter video bidding farewell to Arizona and addressing the current Cardinals quarterback, Kyler Murray, about real-estate matters.
“You’re going to play for the Seahawks, and you’re going to catch footballs from Russell Wilson, so get your ass ready to go big fella. We are fired up for it.”
—Seattle coach Pete Carroll, in his welcoming phone call to wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, the Seahawks’ second-round pick. Metcalf wept throughout the phone call with Carroll. About the only understandable thing Metcalf was heard to say in the call released by the Seahawks was “Why y’all wait this long!”
“N’Keal gets to go catch passes from Captain America!”
—Arizona State coach Herm Edwards on N'Keal Harry, his wide receiver who was the last pick of the first round, to New England, via Boston Sports Journal’s Christopher Price.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. The league done messed up.”
—New Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the third quarterback chosen in the draft and the one picked nine spots after Daniel Jones to the Giants, to Jen Lada of ESPN.
“If you’re watching these games, you have no life.”
—NBA analyst Charles Barkley on the Sixers-Nets and Raptors-Magic series in the NBA playoffs. Each of the best-of-seven series ended lopsidedly in five games.
“According the Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (whose parents sent him to journalism school for this) Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen has unfollowed the Cardinals on Instagram.”
—Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk.
“We did not punt much against the Tennessee Titans! So you probably have no idea who I am!”
—Former Colts punter Pat McAfee, trolling the Tennessee crowd on day two of the draft, before introducing the 89th pick, Stanford linebacker Bobby Okereke, for Indianapolis.
“Yesterday was a rough day. But the sun came up today, and now I’m a Denver Bronco.”
—Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, bypassed in the first round of the draft and picked on day two, 42nd overall, by the Broncos.
It figures that Marshawn Lynch would sort of retire with zero fanfare, the news leaked by Adam Schefter and confirmed by no one, Lynch’s status just out there in the ether. I’m sure he loves it that way, people guessing about his future. But it’s clear he wants to play nowhere else, he turned 33 last week, he’s been hurt a lot, and the Raiders drafted a young, physical and fast back in the first round last week, Josh Jacobs (Marshawn Version 2007), and it’s clear Jacobs is the future of the Raider running game.
So now, judging Lynch’s career commences. Will he one day enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Let’s examine his case. It’s not open and shut.
• Stats. He is 29th on the all-time rushing list, with 10,379 yards, just behind Eddie George, just ahead of Ottis Anderson. Of the 32 backs in the Hall over the 99-season history of the league, Lynch’s total of 10,379 is less than 15 Hall of Fame backs and more than 17 others. Only two of those with fewer yards have played since 1980 (Terrell Davis, Earl Campbell).
• Impact. I’m mostly less of a stat guy for Hall entry and more of an impact guy. Between 2011 and 2014, Lynch was the most impactful running back in the sport. As Seattle was building a physical dominant defense, Lynch was the hammer in a nascent and powerful offense that grew into a two-time NFC champion in ’13 and ’14. His four-year averages: 4.53 yards per rush, 1,339 rushing yards per season, 14.0 touchdowns per season. He was the perfect inside-outside back, strong enough to bowl people over, with moves to make them miss.
• Impact in big games. Averaged 4.85 yards per rush in 11 playoff games. Had games of 131, 132, 140, 109, 157, 102 in the post-season. There is no question defensive coaches game-planned to stop Lynch as much as any back between 2010 and 2015 in the postseason.
• Signature plays. I always think when you judge a player’s performance over his career, you remember a couple plays in your mind’s eye. For Lynch, there is no question he had a few of those, but none more notable than this run, in the first playoff game of his life, in January 2011, pre-Russell Wilson, against the Saints.
In short, I think Lynch has a strong case for the Hall. We’ll see how his career and its impact percolates over the next five years. His off-field stuff, the weirdness and divisiveness, don’t enter Hall consideration—at least it should not, and definitely would not for me. When Lynch’s case comes up in 2024, I think he has a good chance at a bust in Canton.
At Ohio State, linebacker Ryan Shazier wore number 10.
At Michigan, linebacker Devin Bush wore number 10.
In the first round of this draft, Bush was pick number 10.
Shazier was an every-down linebacker for the Steelers.
Bush projects to be an every-down linebacker for the Steelers.
Seventh pick of the 2018 NFL Draft: Josh Allen.
Seventh pick of the 2019 NFL Draft: Josh Allen.
*From me and several outlets such as Pro Football Talk, all of whom apparently had the same brilliant idea at nearly the same time.
The TV analyst in the booth when Marshawn Lynch made the greatest run of his NFL life, the 67-yard touchdown run/survival test against New Orleans eight years ago:
Delta, New York-La Guardia to Denver, Wednesday, flight attendant passing through serving drinks. He gets to the row behind me and asks the 40ish guy in the window seat, “Anything to drink?”
“Espresso,” the guy says.
I have been traveling for work since 1980. The first flight I took was on long-forgotten Republic Airlines, from Cincinnati to somewhere in 1980. I sat in one of the back rows, which I recall because the last six rows of the plane were the smoking section. I didn’t smoke, but that day I sure did. Anyway, that tells you how long I have been traveling for business. And I must say I have never heard anything come out of a passenger sound quite as humorous as the fellow behind me saying the word “espresso” on that packed LaGuardia-to-Denver flight.
Gotta love the reaction of the friendly Delta flight attendant.
“I’m sorry sir,” Delta guy said. “We don’t serve espresso. Can I get you coffee?”
No, that would not do. Huffy passenger harrumphed, settled for water.
Mail call. Send your questions and wordy assaults to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dubious about Gettleman. From Paul M.: “Is Dave Gettleman an old man who is out of touch with today’s NFL? Was he hired because he was a friend of another old guy, Ernie Accorsi, who was an adviser to the two old owners of the team? ‘Hog Mollies’ and a quarterback from Duke who impressed him at the Senior Bowl? Oy Vey. And I’m saying this as an old guy myself!”
You’re not alone, Paul. I find Gettleman’s roster-building method quite old-fashioned, highlighted by last year’s Saquon Barkley-at-two pick in the draft. It’s fine to love Daniel Jones, but I have issues with thinking you need to take him at six instead of opting for the desperately needed pass-rusher, then taking Jones at 17. We’ll never know if Josh Allen at six and Jones at 17 would have happened, but I’d have taken my chances.
Cheesy coverup. From @whichever99 on Twitter: “Can you explain why you and other NFL writers covered up the Green Bay story?”
Assume you mean the story written by Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report. You and a few others have sent me emails or tweets asking this, so I thought I’d respond. A couple of things at work here: deep contacts inside an organization, and time to do a story. There are stories that are going to be difficult to do unless you’re around the team a lot and develop the kinds of contacts that Dunne developed when he covered the Packers for several years. My bet after talking to Dunne is he interviewed 50-plus people about this story over a three or four-month period. There are not a lot of people in this business who would have the depth of contact list on the Packers plus the time (kudos to Bleacher Report for empowering Dunne and giving him the time) to be able to do an investigative story like this one. I certainly have neither. It doesn’t mean we’re covering it up.
Why don’t you watch college football? From Roddy B.: “Heard you say on the Dan Patrick Show that you do not watch college football. Given that you do pro football and the draft, I’m curious why.”
Thanks for the question, Roddy. Basically, it’s a matter of survival for me. I spend about 12 hours most fall Saturdays working on my Monday column—writing and researching and interviewing people. During the season, this column is about 10,000 words long, so it can’t all get written Sunday nights. I exercise Sunday morning, write a little more, and watch nine hours of games and write the rest of it late Sunday and early Monday morning. I used to be able to write with the TV on, but now I find it distracting and bothersome, and I catch only snippets and the biggest games. If the column is that long, and it’s going to be timely, something’s got to be sacrificed. For me, it’s the college football slate on Saturdays. I catch up on the prospects in February, but I have nowhere near the knowledge of them that many of my peers do.
Stop ignoring the Bills (and you’re slipping). From Todd V.: “How can you write about older coaches without talking about Marv Levy? The guy did his best work when he was in his late sixties. While we are on the topic of the Bills, calling the Bills Mafia “insular” is insulting. Bills fans are not ignorant of what is going on elsewhere on the NFL, or uninterested in others outside their sphere. Educate yourself. You are slipping, Peter. Always been a fan, and always looked forward to your Monday columns, no matter what they are called or who published them. However, lately you pretty much ignore Buffalo. Yeah, you’ll throw in an occasional mention, but half the time it is insulting or mocking.”
In the stat I did about older coaches, I used the top 15 in coaching victories as the measuring stick. Levy is 20th. About the lack of attention for the Bills, you’re right; I haven’t covered them much recently. I try to write about the most interesting things every week, and with Buffalo going 24 years without a playoff win and now being the only team in 2019 scheduled to not have a prime-time game, those things impact how much I do about a team. There are no rules about how much I write about one team versus another, Todd. I just try to do what feels like the right thing to write about every week.
1. I think it’s all well and good for the Chiefs to have due process in the Tyreek Hill case (“We’ll make the right decision at the right time,” owner Clark Hunt said Saturday), but if that’s his voice on the KCTV5 audio, there is no alternative to cutting him.
2. I think that’s the single easiest opinion I’ve had in 22 years writing this column. “You need to be terrified of me too, bitch?” Glad to see the authorities in Johnson County, Kans., who said last week they could not charge Hill because of a lack of evidence, are allowed to legally re-open the case against Hill. And this is also one of those cases when the league has to draw a line in the sand. Commissioner Roger Goodell has left open the possibility that NFL teams can punish teams that draft domestic abusers (Hill had a prior incident in college in which he punched his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach) who later become recidivists. Remember: When Hill was drafted, Andy Reid said, “You have to trust me over time here.” And then-GM John Dorsey said: “I would like to ask for you guys [reporters] to just have a little bit of trust in us in this thing.” Which, fast-forwarding to today, leaves me with this question in the wake of Dorsey signing the abusive Kareem Hunt for his new team, the Browns: I wonder what Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam thinks of his GM’s judgment now?
3. I think it’s time for the NFL to consider for all draftees who enter the league with a domestic incident on their résumés a new standard: Want to play in the NFL? Okay. But first, you spend six months in a program to educate and treat all symptoms of this violent disease, and if after those six months, the operators of the program say you’re not a threat to women or children in the eyes of the program, you can play football. I don’t know what Tyreek Hill did as far as treatment for these urges that result in him hitting those he lords over, but it obviously was not enough. Take football away from Tyreek Hill for at least six months, or until smart professionals say he’s not a threat to women and children. Then, and only then, will he be able to play football.
4. I thinkwithout Hill, the Chiefs will have to lean on Patrick Mahomes even more, and he has the shoulders to try to carry a heavier burden. Hill, to me, is the most dangerous running back/receiver in football today, capable of wrecking a game any given Sunday. But that doesn’t matter now. He has to go. And one more point: Do many draftees in this crop have more pressure entering training camp than Mecole Hardman?
5. I think there’s so much smart talk on TV on draft weekend, but one thing I really liked and appreciated was NFL Network’s Peter Schrager on the machinations of the Rams, who started with three picks in the top 130, made six trades, and ended up with picks 61, 70, 79, 97, 134, 169 and 251, with the first five picks in particular a stratagem. It’s not the biggest story of the draft. But it’s an inside-football story that’s valuable to know that you probably wouldn’t have heard about otherwise.
6. I think there are bad looks, and then there’s Le’Veon Bell skipping the first days of voluntary workouts with the New York Jets. Resting up after the tough 2018 campaign, I guess.
7. I thinkspeaking of veterans who should be with their new teams, at least for appearance sake, I bring you Odell Beckham Jr. Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens had to defend it Saturday. At length. “There is no problem with Odell not being here,” Kitchens said. “I would rather him be here. He is not here. It is voluntary. That is what the word voluntary means. He will be ready to play, and ultimately that is the only thing I want for him.”
8. I think the anti-Rosen rant by Steve Smith on NFL Network was ridiculous, petty and totally devoid of reality. Smith ripped into Rosen for not wanting to compete against Kyler Murray—“Be a man and go against that man one-on-one,” Smith said—and said of Rosen: “When things don’t go your way, you’re going to cry in the corner.” The truth: All Rosen has done this spring is show up to work every day at the Cardinals’ facility, even when the team that drafted him 10th overall last year and then said he was still the quarterback when Kliff Kingsbury was named coach and was clearly preparing to replace him with another quarterback. Rosen didn’t whine, other than to tell SI the situation was “annoying.” There are situations that cry out for NFL analysts to rip players or coaches. This Josh Rosen situation was absolutely not one of them, and Smith—who I like—was out of line for it.
9. I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt for now, but the helicopter-parenting of Dwayne Haskins’ dad and both parents of Kyler Murray is bothersome. They called people in their pasts and told them not to discuss anything about their sons with the media, via Robert Klemko of The MMQB and Sports Illustrated (Murray) and Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com (Haskins). Read this piece from Dunleavy about a conversation he had with Dwayne Haskins Sr. Wrote Dunleavy: “In 15 years reporting on New Jersey high school sports, including six on mainly high schools, seven on mainly Rutgers athletics and now two on the Giants, I never before experienced a level of mystery and push-back like this.” I wonder what Haskins Sr. has to hide. Not saying his son is about to be covered by Woodward and Bernstein in Washington, but Lord, the Haskins family is in for a rough go (and the Murrays too, from what I’ve seen) if they expect to dictate the coverage of their sons in the press.
10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:
a. Story of the Week: Not just for the subject matter and the emotion and the lesson we all need these days, but for a very good job of writing. Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times on the college story of L.A.-area high school senior Oswaldo Vasquez: “He got into a great college the old-fashioned way. He dreamed big, worked hard.”
b. Oswaldo’s mom got the call of his dream college acceptance a month ago, while at the bus stop on the way to her job as a cashier, and she started crying. When she got to work, she was crying so hard, the security guard felt bad for her and asked what was wrong.
c. “Do you really want to know? My son got into Harvard.”
d. Wow. More wow, from Eva Vasquez: “And the customers started clapping.”
e. Interview of the Week: The New York Times’ Victor Mather with James Holzhauer, who is re-writing every record in “Jeopardy” annals, and who has the recall and reaction time of John Nash.
f. Are you watching “Jeopardy?” You really should, if just to see what a true intelligentsia demolition is like. Three interesting points: Holzhauer’s strength on the buzzer is 60 percent of the success at the game, he says … His background as a professional gambler is big. “The fact that I win and lose money all the times helps desensitize me, so I can write down $60,000 as the Final Jeopardy wager and not be trembling at the thought of losing that money.” … And this factoid about his success: “I went to Illinois. Most people think I went to Princeton or something. But I was never a diligent student. I have a strategy of reading children’s books to gain knowledge. I’ve found that in an adult reference book, if it’s not a subject I’m interested in, I just can’t get into it. I was thinking, what is the place in the library I can go to to get books tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers? Boom. The children’s section.”
g. People are so interesting. Thanks, Victor Mather.
h. Football Story of the Week: Lindsay Jones of The Athletic on Salli Clavelle, the only full-time female scout in the NFL.
i. It’s not just a story on Clavelle the scout. It’s a status report of women in scouting, and in NFL positions finally opening to women. Clavelle to Jones: “If I were to have said three years ago, ‘Hey, I want to be a scout for the San Francisco 49ers,’ somebody probably would have laughed at that. But now, it’s not funny. It’s not funny because I’m actually doing it.”
j. Football History Story of the Week: Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle with the story of how unintentionally Montana-to-Clark was born, on the 40th anniversary year of Joe and Dwight becoming Niners. Terrific reporting and story-telling by Branch.
k. There has never been a double play quite like this one, I feel confident in reporting.
l. Crazy and borderline hyperbolic to say, but I think Roman Laureano has the best outfield arm I’ve ever seen.
m. I guess I was like everyone else was when I saw that Damian Lillard 37-foot contested (by all-NBA defensive player Paul George) series-winning basket at the buzzer to beat Oklahoma City the other night: filled with awe.
n. I liked his explanation of why he didn’t try to get closer, or try to drive on George to either draw a foul or have an easier try: “I didn’t want to put it in the referee’s hands, where if there was contact and maybe they get away with contact or I end up having to take a tougher shot because there’s contact and they don’t want that to decide the game. When I was standing there, I was like, ‘I’m going to shoot it.’ He [George] was a little bit off of me and I was like, ‘This is enough space for me to just raise up and shoot it for game.’ At the last second, he stepped towards me a little bit and I was, okay, I’m going to pound-dribble, side-step and raise up. I just had to let it fly, shoot the ball high in the air to give it a chance. That’s what I did.”
o. I wasn’t crazy about this sore loser reaction of George, though: “I don’t care what anybody says. That's a bad shot. But hey, he made it.”
p. Dude, that’s one of the great shots in NBA playoff history. A walkoff, contested, playoff-series-ending, buzzer-beating 37-foot perfecto. Truly, how many shots with those qualifiers have happened in the history of basketball?
q. Teanerdness: I’m all-in on the tea again this week, particularly after something gave me the raspiest voice I’ve had in a while. (Great! Shut up, King!) The choice of the week is Stash lemon ginger. My doctor told me that ginger is excellent for the throat, and to always include honey. And thanks to the readers—Jim B. of Nashville was first—who sent advice to use local honey, and lots of it.
r. Beernerdness: I learned a lot about Odell Brewing (Fort Collins, Colo.) the other day, causing me to seek out its 90 Shilling Ale—rich, darker than most ambers I’ve had, with a malty bite—the other day. They have taprooms in Fort Collins and Denver, and the tip jars there are pooled and go to a monthly cause for good (this month: the Loveland Youth Gardeners) while insuring their employees get paid a living wage. Kudos to Odell for, collectively, having such a good corporate conscience.
s. April 27. Tigers-White Sox snowed out in Chicago.
t. On the 31st day of the baseball season, a snowout.
u. For those keeping score at home—and I am sure that none of you do—here are the results of my mock draft from last Monday’s 32 first-round picks: eight of 32 players picked in the correct slot … nine of 32 players matched with the team that chose them though not all in the exact slot (Jones to Giants at 23, Jacobs to Oakland at 24, Drew Lock to Denver at 42 were in the wrong slot, though all landed with the predicted team) … six players got picked who I did not have in round one … picked the Frank Clark-to-Chiefs trade … correctly picked Seattle (21) and L.A. Rams (31) to trade, though I picked the wrong partners … incorrectly picked a Giants-Texans trade, and whiffed on the Denver-to-Pittsburgh trade for the 10th pick. It’s one of the best years I’ve had picking the mock, and putting it to bed four days before the draft complicates it further. I did pick the right landing spots for the top four quarterbacks, which I am happy to brag about.
v. I was a terrible basketball player growing up in northern Connecticut in the sixties and early seventies, but I used to practice a lot. I used to shoot at a hoop in our yard, practice a straight-up form jump shot. I wanted to shoot just like John Havlicek of the Celtics, who played under control and with incredible consistency. It never quite worked out for me and basketball, but I have great memories of watching Hondo Havlicek and JoJo White as deserving heirs to the Russell-Cousy Celtics. RIP Hondo.
w. Learned a lot about one of the most interesting players in the draft—problematic Central Florida defensive tackle Trysten Hill—from The Doomsday Podcast, the cool Cowboys-centric pod from Ed Werder and Matt Mosley. How about this nugget from their guest, UCF defensive coordinator Randy Shannon: Starts at UCF are earned in practice through good play and hard work—and Hill earned only one start in 2018 season. Should be a wild ride with the Cowboys.
x. Kudos, Scott Studwell, on a distinguished, multifaceted and starry-in-a-blue-collar-way 42-year career with the Vikings as a linebacker (leading tackler in the franchise history), scout and director of college scouting. I’ll have more to say on Studwell next week, plus some words from him.
The Dolphins had a
very good weekend. Highlight:
They pilfered Rosen.