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. 

 

"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! 

 

 

Buehler's Blog at Super Bowl XLVII Day 4

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Day 4

Last night’s media party produced some memories, and that includes forgetting everything that happened after one of Pat O’Briens’ infamous Hurricanes.

But when I woke up this morning and headed into the NFL Films studios to be interviewed about the “Greatest 49ers of All Time” and the “Greatest Steves In NFL History,” proudly wearing my “Ms Young” jersey, I realized all the memories I acquired from years of watching Young, dressing up as him for Halloween at 11-years-old and falling in the love with the game because of how he played, would be what I relied on for this monumental opportunity with NFL Films.

Although I disagreed with some of the placements of the players on the list and thought some head coaches should have been included in the “Greatest 49ers” conversation, I enjoyed reliving how “8” showcased his passion for the game on the field and helped ignite a passion for the game in me.

And that’s what this week is REALLY about. Sure there’s the Ray Lewis angle, the retirement and the PEDs. And yes, there’s stats and matchups and strengths and weaknesses to outline and dissect. But what it boils down to, is the raw passion for the game, the instinct to keep going against all odds, the chess match against your opponent, against circumstance.

That’s what this week is really about. Celebrating a championship.

If the Niners are victorious Sunday, it will be a cherished event for sure. But regardless of what happens, as much as losing would require significant concessions of personal style on my part, it will still be a week to remember for the passion of the game everyone in New Orleans shares.

Thanks to Swat Fuel for keeping me going from NFL Films to Buehler’s Day Off and now to the Moves’ Magazine party and to Pizzeria Villagio for setting the bar so high, I’m not impressed by mediocre cuisine. 

 

#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! 

Buehler's Blog at Super Bowl XLVII Day 3

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Day 3

The idea was to ruffle the Ravens’ feathers. See if I could get them to drop the guise and show their true colors heading into the biggest game of their collective lives. So I wore my Niners jersey and asked various players, not the big names, but the guys no one else was talking to, about the Niners media bias. But instead, I found solidarity, unity and a bunch of nice guys who were willing to play along on Media Day.

Doesn’t make for a “juicy” story, but it does say a lot about the team. Usually, the leaders of a team will be well acquainted with what to say, rarely are players with limited media experience united in a common message. But the message I got from the Ravens was: A) They enjoy being the under dog. B) They are going to let their play on the field dictate their message to Niner fans.

Which, if you’re a Ravens fan, is exactly what you want to hear. While I still think the matchups favor the Niners, the Ravens have enough matchup problems on both sides of the bal to make the game interesting and if it’s close, and the game comes down to a field goal, I don’t think a person in their right mind, 2-week-worn jersey or not, that wouldn’t take the Ravens and Justin Tucker over the Niners and David Akers.

I spoke with Jim Harbaugh and Patrick Willis and Colin Kaepernick and Joe Staley and Alex Boone and they were united as well, in fact, Harbaugh said this was the most focused, united team he’s ever been around. High praise from the coach. But “unity” won’t help an inconsistent kicker nail a 40-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Here’s the Niners pulling away in the second half and the Ravens winning the Super Bowl next year and me grabbing some Pizzeria Villagio when I get back to town... Thanks to SWAT Fuel for keeping me going...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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