Diner Morning News: Games Help Evaluations

Michael LombardiContributor IAugust 13, 2009

BEREA, OH - AUGUST 07:  Brady Quinn #10 of the Cleveland Browns drops back to pass during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on August 7, 2009 in Berea, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

National Football Post

QUOTE: “There is no such thing as present sight. It is either hindsight or foresight.” —Dawn Powell


I’ve been to a few NFL practices in my career, and it always seems that the offense knows the defense and their checks, just as the defense knows the offensive checks. That’s what makes the camp setting so hard to evaluate talent—the players know what to expect in each drill.

Starting today, all the competition between each other will end as teams get into game mode. The second teamers help the first team in its preparation for games by running scout team plays, but now, there are no longer the internal battles. Camp competition has set the depth charts, and the games will help set the roster.

Did the Browns quarterbacks know the checks? Sure they did, but that doesn’t mean anything is going on. It’s just practice, it’s just camp, and those things happen all the time in camp. Familiarity with one another because of all the practice time makes the evaluation process difficult, which is why these games are so important now.



I love the idea; in fact, it will make them very hard to handle if they can work this into their scheme. The key to pass rushing is finding the one leak in the opponent’s offensive line and forcing him to have to block one on one. When five players are involved in the rush, everyone is isolated. When playing a bad line, most people feel they can rush three because they can’t block very well. However, when playing bad lines, you need to rush five all the time, thus never allowing them to double-team any rushers. When bad lines are allowed to double-team, it prevents bad players from being exploited.

When the Giants play the Redskins, my main question will be: How can the ‘Skins block that front? Who can handle a one-on-one block for the ‘Skins and make you feel like they can win the matchup? The Giants are going to be tough when they rush four, but with this five-man line, they’ll get all the favorable matchups.

When building a pass rush, you must view the five players on the line as individuals, always thinking in terms of who on our team has the rush that can defeat their player. If a player is just a power rusher, then it’s important to find the one player who can’t handle power in their line and work that area of the matchup. Football comes down to who can protect the best and who can attack the protection the best, and the Giants, with this five-man line idea, might be on to something very effective.



From the New York Daily News: “Coach Rex Ryan angrily denied an Internet report that said the Jets are shopping RB Thomas Jones, who is unhappy with his contract. "I promise you, that is ridiculous," he said after Wednesday night's practice at Hofstra.  "Shoot, I'm not going to trade that. You know what I'm all about. This guy is huge in our plans. I'm not going to trade the running back that led the AFC in rushing. We ain't dealing him. No way."

Now, we here at the Post respect Ryan greatly, but we never said he was going to trade him. We just reported that the Jets had talked to teams in the NFC West about their interest level in Jones. We stand by our story. We know from being in the business that this happens all the time—teams talk trades with other teams, especially during camp. And since we know there was a conversation, we reported it. Coach Ryan clearly doesn’t want to move Jones, which is fine, but maybe someone else at the Jets thought it might be a good idea. Either way, we know there was talk and reported the conversation.

On paper, the Jets have excess at running back, which appears to be their strongest position right now. They are also in a very tough negotiation with Leon Washington, who thought he had a deal but did not.

They don’t have many skill players on the outside at receiver who can make plays, so talking to teams about trading an asset at a position that appears to be loaded for a player who can help your team makes sense. It doesn’t mean you’re going to make the deal, it just means you’re talking. All teams talk during camp, and all teams make other teams aware of their excess and their needs. It’s part of what camp is all about.

As the preseason games begin tonight, teams evaluate one another to determine if, in fact, the area they say they have excess is really a strength of their team. Often, teams will call daily and say they have extra backs or lineman, alerting teams to evaluate that area for potential trades. This is why all NFL games starting tonight will have press boxes filled with NFL scouts.

I love how Coach Ryan said, “I’m not going to trade that.” Does he mean that he has all the power to make trades for the Jets? Just asking.

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