Thursday, May 31, 2007

Book Review: The Blind Side

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
As I'm sure I've noted elsewhere, Lewis can be a compelling storyteller. See, e.g., Moneyball. The problem with storytellers, though, is that when they try to tell a real story, sometimes the accuracy of their observations can be buried beneath the quality of the storytelling. And, frankly, I don't trust Lewis when it comes to football. There's also not a compelling story of how the game changed, which is what was at the core of Moneyball. I actually recommend this book more to non-football fans than football fans, but I don't actually recommend it that heavily. This was the most disappointing book I read in 2006 that wasn't actually bad.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I do this occasionally over on The Other Blog, pointing out things other people had to say that seemed interesting.

P-F-R blog had a neat post on Lorenzo Booker and "The anatomy of a run."

P-F-R blog had another interesting post on abolishing the draft. At least at the superficial level, it's odd that the major American league sports operate on the draft system, while the European sports, or at least soccer and basketball, operate on a free market. Yes, there are reasons, perhaps unsurprising ones. I think the first American sport where the draft will come under serious attack is the NBA, but it won't happen until David Stern's time as commissioner is over.

In honor of their 25th anniversary, USAToday had an article on the Top 25 NFL draft memories. The list is a little confused, as few of these really qualify as draft memories. I mean, GB picking Tony Mandarich? That wasn't surprising at the time. Few people outside of Wolverine and Pats fans noticed when Tom Brady was picked. Philly fans booing the McNabb choice, the 2003 Vikings-related craziness, and the falling players were all noteworthy.

SMQB properly excoriates a silly WSJ article on the inexact art of scouting.

P-F-R blog (yes, Doug again) points out Joey Galloway has been a pretty good WR who's played pretty much his entire career with some gadawful atrocious QBs. Warren Moon's at the top of the list, but remember that's the Warren Moon who was 41 and 42. Next up are Quincy Carter, Rick Mirer, and Chris Simms. Clint Stoerner, Stan Gelbaugh, and Gino Torretta (wait, Gino Torretta throw passes in actual NFL games?!?) are also on the list.

Since I'm already resigned to an awful record, let's look ahead at the 2008 draft! Here is NFL Draft Countdown's early Top 10, and here is a Top 20 from the Houston Chronicle's NFL Draft Central blog. Right now my sights are set on Glenn Dorsey.

Finally, on to some Titans news...
David Givens will not be ready for the start of the season, barring a miracle. Uh, yeah. LenDale White also didn't participate in the OTA because he was hurt. Said injury, to his hamstring, of course has absolutely nothing to do with his being fat and out of shape.

In a case of life imitating art, the Titans signed QB Tim Rattay. In this case, art = me playing Madden 07, where I signed Rattay to be the Titans 3rd string QB in 2007. I kinda doubt the Titans go undefeated and beat the Saints in the Super Bowl like they did for me, though. If that does happen, be very worried, because then the world would end (I had a memory card problem and my franchise was corrupted). The Titans also signed ex-Colts OLB Gilbert Gardner. I expected them to draft an LB for depth and special teams purposes, so this doesn't surprise me. To make up for the roster space for Gardner and two UDFA's, the Titans released three players. Most notable among those released was DT Marcus White, who apparently nearly made the team out of training camp in 2005 and then didn't make it into a game in either 2005 or 2006. The timing of this move surprises me, coming at perhaps the midpoint in the offseason cycle, but I guess they wanted to concentrate their coaching and developmental resources on other players.

Those of you fortunate enough to get NFL Network, take note. On Thursday nights, they will be showing some classic NFL games. Tonight was the Bears-Cardinals "WTF?" MNF game. Notably, three weeks from tonight, May 31, they will be replaying, in its entirety, the nightmare that was January 3, 1993. I didn't get a chance to see all of this game when it first aired, and am looking forward to being able to see what I missed. If I get ambitious, I may even do a more detailed breakdown.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

On Keyshawn

So, the other day the Carolina Panthers released WR Keyshawn Johnson. Since the Titans' current WR corps combined doesn't have as many catches as Keyshawn does, there was immediate speculation that the Titans could bring him in. And he does have a record of production better than that of the Titans' WRs put together. But jeez o'pete, how many WRs will one team have? As I noted in discussing the Joel Filani pick, how many WRs does one team need? The Titans had seven before the draft, six of whom had a legitimate reason to make the roster, then they draft three more, and now you want to bring in another one? Who's going to go away, and why do you want them to go away?

I'm trying really hard not to go all endowment effect on you, but there comes a time when you have to realize what moves will and will not help the team? In some ways, it's as much signaling as anything else, but I just don't get it. I know the Titans went 8-8 last year, could have made the playoffs, upset the Colts, and who knows what happens after that, but this team wss not that good. And there are strong reasons to suggest the Titans will be worse (see also history of teams overperforming Pythagorean winning pct). Barring unlikely and fortunate circumstances, the Titans should not be expected to at least nearly make the playoffs until 2008 and compete for the Super Bowl until 2009. Keyshawn Johnson will not be there to help the Titans achieve either of those goals, so why should you bring him in now?

UPDATE (5/9, 2236 CT): I guess I should have posted a link to this Tennesseean blog post by Paul Kuharsky reaching the same conclusion, but I didn't, because I hadn't seen it. I don't care what SI's Michael Silver says; Keyshawn isn't a player the Titans need right now, bad as the WR position looks (and almost certainly will be). I bet this is a case of something Fay Vincent pointed out in this recent W$J op-ed: a guy with connections giving his friend's prospects a boost.