Notes from Indy (cont.)
Posted: Monday February 26, 2007 8:27AM; Updated: Wednesday February 28, 2007 1:23PM
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of the Scouting Combine:
a. Dwayne Jarrett said Saturday that Pete Carroll's coaching staff at USC "is the best coaching staff I've ever been around.'' What a tribute! Did you know the USC coaching staff is better than New Brunswick (N.J.) High's? Amazing.
b. Best Line of the Combine Lost in the Shuffle, from Jets coach Eric Mangini: "As a head coach, five things come up every day that you didn't have scheduled.''
c. Troy Smith seems to be an impressive kid. A little Napoleonic about the height thing, but the kind of natural leader other players will like.
d. Drew Brees is three-eighths of an inch taller Troy Smith.
e. There is no really good, first-day blocking tight end in the draft.
f. Paul Posluszny, who has the face of a 13-year-old, is an impressive kid.
g. Roger Goodell sure made himself scarce over the weekend.
h. You doing OK, Andy Reid? You were missed here.
i. Watching Tony Dungy walk through a busy Indiana Convention Center, I can't imagine Bono or K-Fed drawing a bigger crowd. Maybe Britney Spears. Maybe.
2. I think more and more coaches and GMs are staying away from individual interviews at the Combine, because these Combine-prep places are doing such a good job of polishing up the players. I couldn't believe how many general managers I saw out at night, eating normal dinners instead of being cooped up for four hours a night asking the same questions to different kids and getting the same practiced answers in return.
The way the combine works is that there are physical exams and running and lifting and measuring during the day, and the night is reserved for 15-minute interview blocks in the rooms inside the Indiana Convention Center. Now teams are starting to throw changeups at the players, so they won't be able to have the mental string pulled on their back to answer the question the way the media coach wanted them to answer it.
3. I think the one interview Brady Quinn thought was original and a smart use of his time came in the Miami meeting room. Coach Cam Cameron asked Quinn midway through their time together how many run plays, how many pass protections and how many pass formations Notre Dame had. After Quinn answered, Cameron said: "OK, about seven minutes left. Go to the board and diagram every one of them.'' Quinn loved it, because it was a challenge that made him have to improvise and perform well under pressure. When the period ended, and Quinn didn't finish (obviously), Cameron told him the next time they met, he wanted him to do it again, only faster, losing none of the efficiency. (There's a draft hint, people. The Fins and Quinn will meet again before the draft.)
Speaking of Quinn, he's almost a little too perfect. But if that's who he is, that's who he is. That's what we all were saying about Peyton Manning nine years ago. Speaking of winning the big one (or not), Quinn, by my very unofficial count, was 2-8 in the Very Big Ones at Notre Dame: 2-1 versus Michigan, 0-4 against USC, 0-3 in bowl games. Not good. But let's not slay Quinn over it just yet. In those eight losses, Notre Dame allowed 47, 44, 41, 34, 34, 41, 38 and 45 points.
4. I think the scariest thing about the death of Damien Nash, the Denver running back who died Saturday night of unknown causes after playing in a charity basketball game, is that Nash had undergone four complete physicals since 2004. What a sad story.
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