"Over thy wounds now do I prophesy. Which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips" -Julius Caesar
Mike Lombardi is the man now, whether we like it or not. We've bitched, moaned and complained. Now it is the eve of Cleveland's Super Bowl. Yes, the NFL draft and it is time to start figuring out what is going on. We have words to parse and inflection dissections to do, goat entrails and tea leaves to read. How will Banbardislamski build us a winner. Not with Frostee Rucker apparently.
I like the Bill Simmons podcast it is an eclectic mix of sports and pop culture with a too heavy Boston sports slant. Lombardi has been a regular guest there for quite a while and as soon as they started mentioning him as a potential GM candidate i started saving the podcasts to listen to later. I have started to relisten to these podcasts and pull out things that are relevant with a goal of posting some of the more interesting comments.
I gained a healthy respect for stenographers and transcriptionists. It is exceedingly difficult to listen to a conversation and transcribe it into printed word. it is compounded by the fact that we sometimes tend to run on when we talk and not talk in what i consider to be a discernible sentence. I apologize for any errors in my transcription I am sure there are plenty. Without further ado here is part I of the October 16, 2011 podcast.
ML: "Sometimes when you keep a player on your team that cant play but he knows what to do you end up throwing him the ball and he ends up hurting you."
ML: "I think there is no question that offensive lineman are at a premium. In fact, if I ever got back in the league, I’m not sure I wouldn’t try to draft defensive linemen and convert them into ofensive lineman because the talent level in offensive linemen in college football has really gone down. You’re having a hard time finding mid-round offensvie linemen that can come in and perform."
ML: "I think the one other aspect of the NFL this season has been nickel runs. I think nickel runs, if you ask me to talk about the season, it is about nickel runs and how teams are ineffective against defending nickel runs. For instance, two weeks ago the Giants played the Browns, they were in a lot of nickel runs. The browns couldn’t stop them. Cincinnati came thinking they could run the football. They didn’t really try running out of nickel. They ran out of base, Cleveland stopped them. The fans said, "why didn’t we stop the Giants when they ran the ball?" Well, they ran the ball out of nickel and often times if you don’t have a guy who can play in the slot. A slot corner who can tackle, who can read, who is perceptive, got great instincts and who is tough and can tackle. You can't play nickel run. You don’t know how to fit on nickel runs and you don’t know where your force comes for nickel runs force. So, it becomes a real problem and this league right now, why New England has such an advantage is they get you into some nickel runs situations where you are not equipped to handle it and I think that is the tenue(sic) of the league. I think that is gonna be where this thing’s going is, how teams prepare for nickel runs and how much time you put preparing for it in your week of practice and training camps."
ML: "You are going to have to have a player who is a nickel corner, but he plays like a linebacker, but he can tackle, he can cover. Its almost to me, like if I ever got back in the league, it would be a position that would be more valuable than Middle Linebacker.
BS: "You think the Fullback position is done?"
ML: Oh, its horrible, I mean Cleveland puts Macic(sic) on the field its like they’re playing with ten. I mean, when the Jets put Connor on the field, they’re playing with ten. I mean, it’s a joke but, the reality of it is, when they spread you out, you better know how to fit those runs and when I mean fit ,you have to know where the force is and you have got to be able to, and good Quarterbacks, they know where the force is and they run away from the force and you got to be able to disguise it. It is a position that is very difficult to find in college football.
BS: "Who are some guys that are good at it?"
ML: "Ladarius Webb was one of the best nickel corners in the league and he is good at blitzing. Charles Woodson is one of the best in the league. You know when you get a guy playing in there and he is physical and can tackle and he gives run force, it makes your defense so much better but, if you don’t have a guy like the eagles didn’t last year, they had 2 starting corners and a back up. You become in a situation where you don’t know how to function. The Jets don’t have a really good spot corner that goes in there and plays. You know there are teams that just don’t have that player and if you don’t have him. It becomes problematic for you and then teams force you into some areas and all scouts will always say "Well if he is not fast then we will put him inside.". Well ,that is really gonna help us a lot. He is not fast and he cant tackle so there we go there’s 35 yards running right down the field."
If you guys are interested in some more of these posts leave me a rec or comment and I'll try to put together some more. If you want to just listen yourself (there are several hours of Lombardi podcasts) i am pretty sure most are still available on ESPN or iTunes.