Jules From The Gridiron 4-8-13

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Jules From The Gridiron 4-7-13

Championship Edition! 

From the “Who’s Got The Concussion Now” department: Joe Flacco is set to play Johnny Unitas in an upcoming film called “Unitas We Stand” … Joe Unitas, Johnny’s son, who I met while in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, said the Baltimore ties are what were so important, plus, he said in a phone interview with SI.com, “I think it's great that Joe just won the Super Bowl with the Ravens and was Most Valuable Player in the game. A lot of the way Joe plays and his demeanor reminds me a lot of my dad. He's not a rah-rah guy. He throws a touchdown and maybe there's a little fist pump. He understands his job is all about winning and he does a phenomenal job leading the offense and the team and obviously they've developed a lot of trust after becoming a champion. He's an awesome teammate and great leader of the team."

Fair enough. And not that any actor now-a-days can accurately depict Unitas’s toughness, his determination, his talent and wrap it up into the garbage-man-next-door persona, but Flacco just got paid a $120million+ contract. There’s something very wrong about the guy who got a record NFL deal playing the great Unitas. Just it.

From the “Captain Obvious Breaking News Department”:  Raiders waive former 1st round pick Rolando “Big Body” McClain…. Ok, I gave him the “Big Body” nickname. Never really stuck because he never played up to it. The former Crimson Tide standout was too busy complaining about the organization on social media and getting arrested to play football. This year will be tough for the Silver and Black, but 2014 will be far brighter as their dead cap money comes off the books and they can spend again.

WHEN WILL THE HURTING STOP???

Because Detroit fans aren’t tired enough of having their hearts ripped out and trampled, certainly by the Lions, then the Tigers, and once again, the Lions are priming for some metaphorical puppy punting, as they signed former 49er David Akers, who nearly lost his job to Billy Cundiff who was axed from the Ravens after costing them a chance in the Super Bowl. After 21 years, Jason Hanson retired, and the Lions were looking for a new way to become a punchline. Enters Akers. Now- it should be stated that Akers led the NFL in points in back-to-back years (’10-’11), becoming the first player since Marshall Faulk did it 2000-2001. And we should give him credit for leading the NFC for 4 straight years, and he did lay new ink in history with his best season debuting for the Niners in 2011, but this is the guy who couldn’t convert a field goal to beat the Rams.

Revis can’t go to his Island… If Revis holds out, apparently it’ll cost him $3 million. And sports fans everywhere breathe a heavy sigh of relief knowing there won’t be a Revis holdout this off season.

 A clause in Revis’ contract requires him to participate in voluntary workouts in order to receive bonus money, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini.

From the report: When Revis renegotiated his contract in 2010, following his second holdout in three years, he agreed to a clause that requires his attendance in all offseason activities — even non-mandatory workouts, sources said.

If Revis doesn’t participate in approximately 80 percent of the workouts, he will forfeit not only a $1 million workout bonus, but two other bonuses — a $1 million roster bonus (triggered March 17, but payable at a later date) and a $1 million reporting bonus at the start of training camp.

They’re tied together, providing significant financial motivation to attend. It was the Jets’ way of making sure Revis stays on his best behavior, an aspect of his four-year, $46 million contract that was kept relatively quiet — until now.

So he might be on the trade block, but he’s still got to show up at camp.

Ever wonder what’s on Steve Spurrier’s mind? Well, apparently, if you just ask him, he’ll tell you EXACTLY what’s on his mind: He wasn’t happy that the USC Trojans garnered more national media than his USC Gamecocks, and was talking with a beat reporter about the injustice…

Josh Kendall of The State tweeted Spurrier’s comments:

Josh Kendall@JoshatTheState

Steve Spurrier: “I noticed both USCs had their pro timing day today. One of them finished No. 7 in the country, the other was not (1/4)

in the Top 25, yet ESPN decided to go out to the one in California which did not finish in the Top 25 and televise their day live. (2/4)

It’s interesting that (ESPN) doesn’t come around here on signing day, they don’t come around here on pro timing day, and yet (3/4)

they want us to play all these Thursday night games. Maybe we need to consider playing on that new network, FoxSports 1" (4/4)

I always appreciate a coach going to bat for his guys… and Spurrier makes a great point here. Lattimore got a standing ovation from the media at his pro day… Barkley barely received a golf clap.

It might come as a shock, but the hard-living Rob Gronkowski might be out for a while longer due to an infection. According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Gronkowski has been battling an infection in the area around where a second metal plate was installed to repair his broken left forearm and his readiness for the season is in jeopardy. This sounds knarly and likely is. Now that Gronk might be down and we know Wes Welker is out, you just have to wonder how Tom Brady is responding to all this.

Tomorrow’s Jules From the Gridiron: recapping today’s remarkable charity auction of Hugh McElhenney’s Hall of Fame jacket!!

 

Jules From The Gridiron 4-4-13

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 “Jules From The Gridiron” 4-4-13

It’s a general policy of mine to not make news of a single tweet- but THIS particular tweet was so spectacular that I am going to: You can officially count Joe Montana as a fan of the direction the 49ers are heading with this offseason. He tweeted: “Nnamdi Asomugha & Colt McCoy make #49ers stronger! Cant wait for the draft #49erfans.” … Love that he used the #hashtag and even more so that I agree with him completely. Can. Not. Wait. For the draft.

It’s interesting that Tom Brady was at USC throwing to the likes Wes Welker and Danny Amendola, and Wednesday he was throwing to Terrell Owens, which is particularly unique, although hardly worthy of significant commentary, except, someone failed to tell Owens that there’s a little difference between UCLA and USC because he tweeted, “Bout to get this work out in @ ucla w/T Brady, M Cassel ans the fellas...check it out…” And then he posted a picture. That’s quality. And proof why I generally don’t use tweets as news… So lets get back to the real Jules from the Gridiron…

The Cardinals announced Wednesday that inside linebacker Daryl Washington has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Washington can participate in all offseason and preseason activities. Cards Head Coach Bruce Arians said in a statement: "Adversity and dealing with it is part of the business but when it's avoidable like this was, it's particularly tough. One of the biggest things we preach is accountability; Daryl knows that and our team knows that. We will deal with this and others will have to step up until he's back. I'm confident they will."

Considering he has leading a young team, rookie qb and his great-friend/head coach in the hospital as unavoidable adversity Arians faced last year with the Colts, losing a versatile player like Washington is an inconvenience, but barely a blip on the radar.

From the “Good Lord, NO PLEASE” file: there are “sources” that tell CBS Sports Mike Freeman that “a lot of teams” are following JaMarcus Russell’s comeback story and there’s a “good chance” he gets a second shot. He’s been working with Jeff Garcia and Mark Sanchez and we wish him (and by we, I mean everyone NOT espousing themselves as a Raiders fan) the best of luck, but I don’t buy that a lot of teams are considering giving him a second shot.

We all know that the man can sneeze and the ball will go 70 yards, but the game is about timing routes and decision making more than ever before, two things Russell failed at spectacularly in Oakland. So will his comeback story turn heads? Absolutely, it should, he’s a great athlete. But teams should exhaust their due diligence before getting attached.

Tomorrow’s edition: why HGH matters so much and why Congress SHOULD get involved…

 

"Jules Of The Gridiron" - The Beginning

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It just happened today. Pure, visceral passion enveloped me in an instant and 10 minutes of common radio turned into some of the most exhilarating moments behind a microphone.

For more than 100 days I tolerated "MLB In Full Bloom" as a segment for baseball purists and 10 minutes of air time I didn't have to plan or program because for those minutes, my co-host, Geoff Bloom, expounded on the meanderings of a sport out of season and therefore, out of relative consciousness for me. 

But today, because the baseball season officially began and because Bloom officially didn't have his dedicated segment and because I obtained some special research pertaining to the Raiders' trade for Matt Flynn that happened over the weekend, something happened that I never could have anticipated and would never try to explain. 

But "Jules of the Gridiron" was officially birthed today in shocking and jubilant fashion... True, I geeked out on the Ustream broadcast. And true, barely scratched the surface of the research I had to present, but it was spectacular talking pure NFL in early April.

And so in this space, I will offer special insight, research, perspective and dedicated air time to the ultimate team game, America's most popular passion, chess with mountainous men and my favorite sport: Football. 

Here's the video from what happened in studio today-- it starts slow, but give it time... 

And most importantly, the information I was trying to disseminate was rather fascinating... 

When looking at the starting qbs in the NFL and their draft position, some interesting trends and anomalies emerged... 

For the record, I looked at the draft positions of 34 "starting" qbs in the NFL, taking into account Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton for the Cardinals (although Arians came out Tuesday saying Palmer was THE starter) and Mike Vick and Nick Foles for the Eagles. I slapped the Bills with Tavaris Jackson, because, well, they did it to themselves, and kept Blaine Gabbert in as the starter for the Jags. Also, I assigned Tony Romo, the lone undrafted starter, draft position 263 in the 7th round as that would have been the pick after 2003's Mr. Irrelevant, WR Ryan Hoag from the football factory Gustavus Adolphus (I know... how did THAT guy not make it in the NFL?)

The NFC North has the distinction of being the only division with all 4 starters drafted in the 1st round. And incredibly, the one qb drafted the lowest, 24th overall, is the one qb with a Super Bowl MVP and ring, Aaron Rodgers

The divisions with the lowest average draft position of starting qbs is a close race between the AFC and NFC Easts, and it's about time Tony Romo won something (other than the "most overpaid athlete" label). We can also thank Tom Brady for flexing his "rags to riches" story as a 6th round pick, taken 199th overall. Only Romo and Matt Flynn (the reason this WHOLE thing started) have a lower draft position than Brady, so it's no shock that despite having 2 #1 overall picks and a #4 overall pick in the division, the AFC West, when including Flynn, plummets sharply into the 3rd place position. 

Other interesting notes:

  • Of 9 qbs taken #1 overall starting for NFL teams, nearly half, 4, are NOT playing with the team that drafted them. Peyton Manning, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer and Mike Vick, all found homes elsewhere despite the incredible investments into them from their drafting franchises. O
  • Of the 9 #1 overall picks, the only ones with Super Bowl rings are the Manning Brothers. Although Smith was on the sideline for one (cue me collapsing into the fetal position). 
  • 23 of the 34 "starting" quarterbacks are 1st round picks. If you look at it as the 32 starters (just looking at Vick and Palmer for the Cards and Eagles), that amounts to 72% of the starters in the league. 
  • Along with Rodgers in the NFC North and Brady in the AFC East, Drew Brees in the NFC South was drafted the lowest among his divisional peers and is the only one with a Super Bowl ring. 
  • A lot was made of Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson this past year (for good reason) but they were both the 6th quarterback taken in their respective drafts. Kaep a 2nd round pick, 36th overall, selected just after Andy Dalton. Wilson a 3rd round selection, 75th overall. So 39 selections separate the two players, but they were each drafted at the same slot for their position. 

Next up on "Jules of the Gridiron" -- NFL draft facts that you won't believe! 

 

 

Jules From The Gridiron 4-3-13

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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. 

 

#OneMoreForGore Shirts Available HERE

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Have a donkey kick you in the teeth, or have your team lose the Super Bowl. It's really a toss up. 

If you're anything like me, while watching the 49ers final possession in Super Bowl XLVII, you thought, "Why on earth are the Niners, one of the NFL's most potent rushing attacks, NOT running the ball when a world championship is on the line? WHY would they put the ball in the hands of a young quarterback making his 10th career start while leaving Frank Gore aimlessly searching for something to do in the back field??" 

So in an effort to ease the shocking and still surging pain, I did a little research. 

In 77 goal-to-go plays through the 2012 season, the Niners ran the ball 49 times, or 64%. Not shockingly, Frank Gore got the bulk of the load and had success! He scored 9 TDs on 23 carries. Colin Kaepernick rushed 11 times for 3 TDs, Anthony Dixon had 5 carries for 2 TDs and Kendall Hunter was the other rusher to score. 1 TD on 6 carries. Bruce Miller and LaMichael James had rushes (1 and 3 respectively) but no touchdowns. 

So Gore, the guy who had the most experience, nearly a 40% success rate in goal-to-go carries, had 2 carries for 41 yards in the final drive of Super Bowl XLVII, was not offered another carry the rest of the game. 

Instead, the Niners coaching staff decided a second-year quarterback who had completed only 8 of 18 passes in goal-to-go situations all season (5 TD, 1 INT) was the best shot at scoring the winning touchdown. 

I say, had Frank Gore gotten ONE MORE CARRY... The Niners would still be undefeated in Super Bowl appearances and be tied with the Steelers for the most rings in the NFL. 

And so, my campaign begins. #OneMoreForGore ... as a testimony to old school football. While I love Colin Kaepernick's potential and agree he can make throws Alex Smith wouldn't attempt and can cause a defense to down cases of Pepto because of his legs, I also believe the way to win a championship hasn't changed. #OneMoreForGore is a cry to restore the relevance of running backs and a mantra for those who recognize that while soft rules and obscenely talented quarterbacks have made the passing game more compelling, to win championships, a team HAS to run the ball.

Whether you're a Niners fan or not, if YOU want to support the plight of old-fashioned football, do so with YOUR very own #OneMoreForGore T-shirt!

Simply email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your name, mailing address and size. I'll email you the PayPal link for your $20 payment, or you can mail checks to:

KIX Media, PO Box 7054 La Quinta, Ca 92248 

Please allow up to 10 days for delivery...

Together, we'll send a message! 

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