Thursday, April 22, 2010

NFL Draft: DeMaryius Thomas on Tim Tebow, Brandon Marshall

This NFL Draft installment (thanks to the Inn at Irving Place, part of the Small Luxury Hotels of The World brand) comes from New York, Radio City Music Hall - In the 2010 NFL Draft, Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow is now a Denver Bronco player and was drafted by the Broncos with the 25th pick in the 1st round.

That's almost right on the heels of the Broncos drafting the person I just interviewed Georgia Tech WR DeMaryius Thomas with the 22nd pick in the 1st round. Thus, it was only logical to talk to DeMaryius Thomas about the prospect of playing with Tim Tebow in Denver. What's he think about catching passes from Tim Tebow?

"I don't know. A lot of people talk about the way he throws," Thomas said, "but I think it will be fun. I'm looking forward to it." Thomas says the pass pattern he most enjoys running is one that will make football blogger Chris Brown of Smart Football happy: the post / corner with the safety read. That's a pass pattern in the Broncos offense, so look for Tebow to Thomas from that pattern.

The most interesting and frank talk came when the subject of the Oakland Raiders and former Broncos now Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall came up. On the matter of the Oakland Raiders, who DeMaryius Thomas will face twice, he said "I know they've got a good cornerback. I got nothing to say to him (Nnamdi Asomugha). I'll see him on the field.

On the matter of Brandon Marshall, who DeMaryius Thomas was essentially drafted to replace, Thomas said that Marshall was a good guy, and they both had similar body types, and the "same speed," but Thomas then added, "but I'm a better blocker."

That's confidence. It doesn't bother Thomas that he's the replacement for Marshall or that Denver Broncos fans have high expectations for him. It also doesn't bother Thomas that he's coming to Oakland to face Asomugha or The Black Hole.

2010 will be an interesting season. DeMaryius Thomas has already given both the Raiders and The Miami Dolphins blackboard material.

Stay tuned.

NFL Draft: backstage with Tiki Barber and Sam Bradford

Tiki Barber 
The 2010 NFL Draft has it's surprises, from three of the four first picks being Oklahoma Sooners (for the first time in NFL history that one college so dominated the early first round picks, to of all people Tiki Barber (yes, the same Mr. Barber who's the focus of gossip about leaving his wife while she was eight months pregnant with twins) waiting backstage as a representative for Yahoo Sports for new St. Louis Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford, to trading videos with "McLovin" from the Dan Patrick Show and remarking how wrong Dan and "The Danettes" were about President Obama and The Chicago White Sox.

But I digress. This is, after all, the 2010 NFL Draft and the business at hand is one of picking the future stars of the NFL. The surprise as this is written is that at the 16th pick, the Cal Golden Bear that was drafted first was not Jahvid Best.

In fact, "McLovin" asked me "Who's that Tyson Alualu?" I remarked that Tyson was an incredible run stopper for Cal and pointed to games the NFL Network flashed on the screen in the interview room that I attended where Tyson made an obvious contribution; there were a lot of them.

The nice part was just to see Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy so happy. Gerald McCoy lost his mother two years ago, so the pain of not having her here at Radio City Music Hall came out on television when he cried, and continued in the interview room, when he said "My dad and I talked about how we wish she was here and how she would sit in that chair."

The other surprise, now that the 49ers took Mike Iupati from Idaho, making this the second offensive lineman the Niners have taken, is just that. It's a clear signal of how little the quarterbacks and running backs are valued. Only one quarterback, Sam Bradford, has been taken as of now pick 18, and one running back C.J. Spiller and that was to Buffalo.

Tim Tebow still sits.

Oh, and Tiki Barber?

I asked Tiki about the hoopla and media attention he received and said "Man, when I heard that, my first thought was 'his wife's hot.'" Tiki got a good natured chuckle out of that, and said "You can't fight city hall." I said he should have a YouTube channel to tell his story. "That," Tiki Barber said, is a good idea. I should do that."

There's more. Gotta go back and collect information.

Stay tuned.

NFL Draft: Joe Montana, Alyssa Milano at NFL Red Carpet

Joe Montana 
As I write this I'm in the media interview area at Radio City Music Hall for the 75th 2010 NFL Draft. My co-worker Bill Chackhes is on the main floor of the building in the "orchestra room" where it's filled and frenetic.

This is the business area, where the matter of talking to the new draftees is done. We're just 14 minutes from Draft time.

The NFL Draft Radio City Red Carpet was a hoot. All of the stars I mentioned were there and there's a lot of video material to upload. The highlight of the NFL Red Carpet was San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice clowning around in an informative way that you have to see and hear. Rice said that a new pick of the 49ers who's new to the Bay Area should just be themselves.

Joe Montana's advice for rookies was to "make sure you get the check!"

There's 8 minutes now to the start.

Stay tuned for the NFL Draft.

2010 NFL Draft has its own Red Carpet with Alyssa Milano

The NFL's going all out for the primetime version of The 2010 NFL Draft. Little reported (and this and all of the other 2010 NFL Draft video interviews should be featured on the sites that have Zennie62, like and The Examiner) is that the NFL Draft will have its own version of the Oscar Red Carpet, featuring the college players invited to the 2010 NFL Draft, Alyssa Milano, Drew Brees, Whoopi Goldberg, Joe Montana, Dan Lauria, Jim Brown, Floyd Little, Dan Marino, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Rod Woodson, Jillian Michaels, Behati Prinsloo, and others including Jarrett Payton and Brittney Payton, the son and daughter of NFL Legend Walter Payton.

The Red Carpet starts at 6 PM EDT between 51st and 50th Streets. I don't know about TV coverage, but it's best to watch the NFL Network.

And stay tuned to this space for a ton of videos.

Off to Radio City Music Hall.

NFL Draft: Steve Mariucci on Sam Bradford and Pete Carroll

New York, NY - Former Cal and San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Steve Mariucci talked about the quarterbacks at the 2010 NFL Draft's NFL Play 60 event Wednesday. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen are considered to be the best of a class that's not set to see a lot of first round picks. What does Steve Mariucci, the man who explained the details of what a quaterback looks for when running the Bill Walsh Offense to me, think?

Steve Mariucci
"Well, Sam Bradford is the best, in my opinion. It's a good group. I don't know that we're going to have a lot in the 1st round like we did in 1983, but we're going to have a lot on the second day and the 3rd round will be full of quarterbacks, I think.

Steve Mariucci's high on Sam Bradford because even though Bradford did not play in 2009 after his shoulder injury, the same doctor that checked on New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees after his injury "says he's fine", and points out that Bradford "put on more muscle."

The other issue is that Sam Bradford did not play in a "pro offense", but Steve says he's told that Bradford has done very well in workouts. He can throw the ball from a rollout left or right, which Steve says is rare for a big quarterback. Steve also says Bradford's smart: "He scored a 36 on the Wonderlik. So he's a guy who's going to learn fast."

On Jimmy Clausen, Steve Mariucci says his winning percentage wasn't one you would hope for, but that's not his fault. But Steve says "He's a heck of a player. Charlie Weis "did a heck of a job developing his skills" and getting him ready for the NFL by placing him in an NFL-style offense. "As far as his college career, (Notre Dame's offense) probably benefited him the best."

Mariucci says 2010 NFL Draft quarterbacks Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, and Dan LeFevour all played in shotgun offenses, so they're not used to the "step system" of passing, where a certain number of drop back steps are timed to a pass route and come from getting the ball from under center. Because of this Clausen's ahead of the others in the 2010 NFL Draft.

On Tim Tebow, who was recently panned by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Steve said he could go in the first round, "Somebody might want him." Mariucci praised Tim's character, calling him a "class act" and "a worker," but left a lot of "reading between the lines" messages in the video interview. He looks for Tebow to be "drafted on Friday" which means not the 1st round.

On Pete Carroll

On Pete Carroll, who left USC to become the head coach of The Seattle Seahawks, I asked Mariucci what Carroll was faced with in making the transition from college to the NFL. "Pete had an advantage over some of these other college coaches who have went solely from college to the NFL, 'Ha! cultural shock,' Pete's benefits from having been there. He was on my staff for the 49ers for about three or four weeks, then took the head job at the New England Patriots."

Steve says Carroll's got a rebuilding job ahead of him, but he thinks it will not be hard because the AFC West is in his view a weak division. He think the Seahawks will help themselves in the NFL Draft and that Carroll will do well.

We'll hear and see more from Steve as the NFL Draft progresses.

Stay tuned.

Don Perata gets Diane Feinstein endorsement for Mayor of Oakland

From my bed at The Inn on Irving Place in New York - Don Perata has scored what he thinks may be a valuable "coup" in the Oakland Mayor's race, but this corner thinks that it was an awful risk, and not for him. The Legendary Senator Diane Feinstein endorsed former California State Senator Don Perata for Mayor of Oakland.

In a press release sent to this blogger, Feinstein reports "Don delivers results," said Senator Feinstein. "Whether it's increased funding for urban schools, or securing $27M annually for cancer research, he holds an extraordinary record in California for making things happen. That’s the kind of leadership Oakland needs now."

The question is will the endorsement really help Perata in the quirky politics of Oakland? It helps with those in Oakland's District 4 who are most likely to vote in Oakland elections; that means it harms Perata's opponent Oakland Councilmember Jean Quan, who represents the district.

But can it effectively counter a groundswell of Asian political involvement with rallies and reports from the Oakland and World Chinese Community in the wake of the Oakland Uptown beating death of Tiansheng Yu, and headlines like Chinese American dies from brutal attack in US city of Oakland‎.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said that she didn't feel the act was a hate crime. "In this particular case, we have not seen any evidence that would support it was a hate crime," she said according to ABC News. I respectfully disagree; had Tiansheng Yu been half-black, Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis, both 18 years of age and African American, would not have hit him.

That I can assert with confidence.

But I digress. Congratulations to Don Perata for getting the Feinstein endorsement. It's great for him, potentially damaging for Senator Feinstein if Perata loses, and makes a complicated Oakland Mayor's Race even more so.

Stay tuned. NFL Draft is today!

NFL Draft: Jahvid Best will miss Cal teammates

See > nfl, nfl draft, nfl play 60, 2010 nfl draft, Jahvid Best, cal berkeley, luxury hotels, new york,

New York, NY - This NFL Draft update: Jahvid Best says he will miss players, coaches at Cal. This NFL Draft installment (thanks to the Inn at Irving Place, part of the Small Luxury Hotels of The World brand) comes from Wednesday's NFL Play 60 Event in Central Park.

Jahvid Best 
When this blogger arrived in New York City and to the NFL's second annual "NfL Play 60 Event" the first player sought was Cal Running Back Jahvid Best. Standing at what was the "50" yard line of the touch football playing field, Best seemed to be just taking in the busy scene of college players, media, "secret service" level security men, NFL officials, and Jillian Michaels with a calm smile, but also still trying to figure out where he was.

Best, who said he was just enjoying being in New York, briefly talked on video about what he would miss in leaving Cal for the NFL, his Oregon State injury, and the value of athletics at Cal.

The guess of where Jahvid Best may go in the 2010 NFL Draft varies. Some NFL Mock Drafts had Best going in the 1st round to the San Diego Chargers, while others had him going to the Detroit Lions in the 2nd round. While Best says he will play wherever he goes, the focus really is on leaving Cal Berkeley. Best made the decision to "go pro" after his junior year last season.

"I'm gonna miss my relationships with my players and coaches. My running back group, I love those guys. It's gonna be hard leavin' em. And also my running backs coach (Cal Assistant Head Coach / Running Backs, Ron Gould). He's one of the best coaches I've had my whole life. He's like a father figure to me. But that's what I'm gonna miss the most."

The Oregon State game was the pivotal step in Jahvid Best' college career. The Cal star jumped over would-be Oregon State defenders and to the Beavers' end zone, but while he was in the air was pushed by an OSU defender. Jahvid Best turned in the air and fell on his neck and head in the end zone. He froze motionless and was taken off the field on a stretcher, having suffered a concussion.

But if Best had just scored and got up, would we be standing at the NFL Play 60 event talking? "Honestly, when you get a concussion it kind of blocks your memory a bit. So at that point I was just sit and coming back to, and everything was kind of fuzzy. After a while, I came to and felt like I just got knocked out."

Best' best runs at Cal

Jahvid Best had so many "best runs" it's hard for him to pick out one. For this blogger, it was his rapid 75-yard-touchdown run to open the 2009 season against Maryland. For Best "there's a lot of different plays. Sometimes even a cut block would be considered one of my best plays, but there's just a lot of plays I made that could be coined 'the best play.'"

Best feels he can play in any NFL offense because Cal, under Head Coach Jeff Tedford, has ran so many different formations, from single-back to two backs, and at times no backs in the backfield. Bsst says he's prepared for whatever a team asks him to do, including playing the slot receiver position.

Regarding the current debate on the value of athletics at Cal, where some Cal professors have called for the entire athletics effort to be disbanded in the wake of California's massive budget deficit, Jahvid Best says the program "is essential. It's a two way street as far as the academics and the athletics. I mean the athletics bring a lot of money to the university, so it's a two way street. They need each other."

But what Best needed was a map and a compass, because he had no idea he was in Central Park and on a man-made area of grass that was the NFL Play 60 event until someone told him where he was. "I love New York. I didn't even know we were in Central Park until five minutes ago."

Something tells me Best isn't going to have the problem of knowing where he is again after this week.

Stay tuned and GO BEARS.