Jules From The Gridiron 4-3-13
Busted out some fist pumps and judo chopped the air when news broke Tuesday afternoon that Nnamdi Asomugha agreed to a 1-year deal with the 49ers. Niners love to play man coverage which was where Asomugha excelled with the Raiders. When he took the big money in Philly, both he and the Eagles lost because they misused his talents, putting him in zone coverage on a team that lacked pass rush. Bad combination. In the Niners’ system, with that pass rush, with those linebackers, and Fangio's scheme, Asomugha will feel at home, we’ll see those cover skills invigorated and the man that meant so much to the bay area can return to helping young athletes and his community. Really a win-win. That being said, the Niners still need safety help. After letting Dashon Goldson go to the Bucs, they haven’t signed another safety worthy of starting.
Brian Banks, the former USC recruit who was falsely accused of rape and then exhonorated has been signed by the Atlanta Falcons. Banks said it’s taken some time to get back into “football shape” after his prison term, but this is a true redemption story every NFL head coach would love to offer his younger players to illustrate the realities of being around the wrong people. Whether Banks makes the final roster is still up in the air, but when the Falcons had a fully fueled Burner in Turner, they were a very balanced running team, but over the past couple years got away from that. Not saying Banks is the key, but he had a bruising style of play before prison, I’m eager to see if that continues.
NFL MANDATES FROM ON HIGH!!! The NFL is mandating that starting next season the home locker room must have a video camera recording through half-time and such and is “suggesting” that teams use this footage for video content on their mobile apps, etc… Here’s the deal: If there’s a camera on someone, they’re performing. The locker room isn’t a place a player should have to think about performing, especially during half time when the game's on the line and they have to figure out how to stop a potent opponent. I get the NFL is looking to exploit every means of revenue source and God bless 'em for being Capitalists, but you have to look at the “Opportunity Cost” of doing this. Coaches want what happens in the locker roomed aired for public consumption as much as you’d want your family’s personal matters public (and since I’m confident Kris Kardashian doesn’t read ‘Jules from the Gridiron’, I feel confident in saying this…).
There are some places that should remain private and it shouldn’t be tough for a player to find those places. The NFL says using this video footage is “optional” despite the camera being mandated… but it won’t be long until the owners see the bottom line, recognize the demand and provide the supply. At the cost of the players. So if they players make more money in return, then fine. But overall, too much exposure CAN be a bad thing. Just ask the Kardashians.
Lastly, according to Baltimore Sun columnist, Mike Preston, offered a note in his off season report that John Harbaugh wanted Ed Reed back in Baltimore as much as he wanted a "root canal" and remarked how the national media acted like there was a bidding war between the Ravens and other teams. Further media reports have circulated this story and built it into a narrative that because Reed and Bernard Pollard launched a near “mutiny” that Harbaugh didn’t want them returning to the team. Upon initial consideration, these headlines grab attention and are paying some bills with lots of clicks. But once you READ the full story and apply some basic common sense, you’ll see there’s very little substance to this issue.
Back in October, the Ravens suffered a tough loss, the most lopsided in the Harbaugh era, a 43-13 loss to the Texans. After their bye week, Harbaugh said the team was practicing in pads, the veterans groaned, other players piped up with dissent and the whole team had a big “group therapy” session, according to Mike Silver’s reporting for Yahoo Sports, that aired grievances, set the record straight and showcased Harbaugh's gracious leadership. The story illustrated progress that’s healthy in all relationships built on open communication. Assistant coaches were commending Harbaugh’s ability to take criticism without taking offense and overall the team saw this alleged “mutiny” as a positive thing. So now, somehow, a man who was mature enough to withstand a team “mutiny” and weather that storm to a Super Bowl ring was no longer tolerant enough to have Reed or Pollard as part of his team moving forward?? Not buying that. Rather, the Ravens knew they had to pay Flacco the big money and with that, hand the reigns of the team from Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to their quarterback. Plus, there were other teams that would pay more for Reed and his leadership than the Ravens would be willing to spend for his declining talent. Simple business.
But this is a classic case of the media reading far too heavily into one set of circumstances and not taking the whole picture into consideration when reporting on comings and goings of players.
So the bottom line of your ‘Jules From The Gridiron:’ No need to make it personal in the headlines when it wasn’t in the board room.