Friday, April 23, 2010

NFL Draft Day Two: Colt McCoy to Cleveland Browns

New York, NY - When University of Texas Head Coach Mac Brown stepped to the podium after the Cleveland Browns submitted their selection card it was obvious: the Browns were going to select Texas Quarterback Colt McCoy, making him the 85th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

And to add to the confusion, surrounding McCoy, some NFL staffers down in the interview room were under the impression McCoy was here at Radio City Music Hall and told video guys like this blogger. Mac Brown was, and we can't get the full ESPN feed (as they were at his house), so we didn't know either.

McCoy's in Austin, Texas.

The question is, why didn't Colt McCoy go higher? The problem is that there are too many quarterbacks who are trained in the passing game at an NFL level. There are some college offenses, like Notre Dame under Charlie Weis, that are just like NFL offenses. It's a trend the late Bill Walsh set in motion when he brought his then NFL-refined version of his short passing offense back to Stanford in 1993.

The result of that was Walsh forced college coaches to understand his offense if only to defend against it. Then the spread offense and other passing systems were established, quarterback schools expanded, and today, we have a glut of well-trained passers, making each one that much less valuable over time.

Like Brady Quinn.

Just two years ago, Quinn was the flavor of the year along with Jamarcus Russell. Now Quinn was sent to Denver, and Russell's a struggling Raider some fans want to replace.

All of this explains why the Cleveland Browns can afford to let Colt McCoy slip, then pick him up in the third round.

Rock the Casbah.

2010 NFL Draft: Jets and Giants address needs on days' one and two

New York, NY - The Giants selected Linval Joseph, the Defensive Tackle from East Carolina in the second round after taking Jason Pierre-Paul ,the Defensive End from South Florida in yesterday's first round action. Many feel the move further improves the Giants pass rush, although some feel Osi Umenyoria will be traded, The Giants say otherwise. They also selected Chad Jones the talented defensive back from LSU in round three.

The Jets took Vladimir Ducasse the Offensive Tackle from UMASS tonight in round 2, after taking Kyle Wilson the Defensive Back from Boise State yesterday. They have no third round selection.

More Updates Later and tomorrow Live from the NFL Draft

NFL Draft Day Two: Jimmy Clausen to Panthers; Taylor Mays a Niner

New York, NY - Shockingly, as this blogger was waiting to interview Arizona and now New England Patriots Tight End Rod Gradkowski in the Radio City Music Hall Media Interview Room, The Carolina Panthers selected Notre Dame Quarterback Jimmy Clausen, thus ending one of the longest falls of a quarterback who should have been one of the top 10 picks in the 2010 NFL Draft. In fact, the only person with a deeper fall is Texas Quarterback Colt McCoy, who's still here in the hall in the green room (presumably).

The other highlights of NFL Draft Day Two thus far:

1) The draft of USC Safety Taylor Mays to the San Francisco 49ers, giving the Niners the second coming of Ronnie Lott and a person who's every bit the complement to Linebacker Patrick Willis on the San Francisco Defense. Taylor Mays is the perfect player to stop the legion of super-fast halfbacks like Reggie Bush and Chris Johnson of the Titants, who gave the Niners fits last year.

2) The Baltimore Ravens are building a scary defense, even after trading out of the 1st round of the NFL Draft. The Ravens were able to get Texas' highly-ranked linebacker Sergio Kendle and Alabama Defensive Tackle Terrance Cody, in effect getting first round level talent in the second round. I think they call it stealing.

3) Someone in the interview room asked if Oakland Raiders Manager of the General Partner Al Davis was sleeping because the Raiders have an excellent draft. The Raiders started in the 1st round by selecting linebacker Rolando McClain, then in the 2nd round added Defensive Tackle Lamarr Houston, and then in the 3rd round just added Jared Veldheer from tiny Hillsdale College at Offensive Tackle. A basic draft that frankly will not cost the Raiders a lot of money.

4) Colt McCoy's still waiting...

Rock the Casbah!

NFL Draft Day Two: Jimmy Clausen calmed by Erin Andrews

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 - It's NFL Draft Day Two and Notre Dame Quarterback Jimmy Clausen's still on the board.

Earlier today Jimmy Clausen was on ESPN with Erin Andrews, at the Clausen home in Southern California. Considering his fall, he looked happy. One doesn't have to guess with Erin Andrews talking to him.

But in fact, the NCAA college football players deemed the top rated ones are still there without an NFL home: Clausen, Charles Brown, OT, USC;, Bruce Campbell OT, Maryland; Navarro Bowman, OLB, Penn State; Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State; Brandon Spikes, ILB , Florida.

Dan Marino is being loudly booed by the New York audience. This is funny. Dan says, "Thank you," and announces that the Miami Dolphins select Utah LB Koa Misi.

Buffalo Bills took Torell Troup of Central Florida with the 41st pick.

As to the scene here, it's a lot of fun. The NFL has it's "NFL Draft playlist" blasting cool music like The Clash' "Rock The Casbah", but no Lady Gaga! Gotta talk to NFL SVP for Special Events Frank Supovitz about that.

Update: Sergio taken by the Baltimore Ravens. Great choice. Great value.

Stay tuned...Rock The Casbah.

AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit: Oakland should see New York and Seattle

New York, NY - On Tuesday night, the Oakland, California City Council passed a resolution to study configurations for, but not build, an AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit system through Oakland's spine from Telegraph Avenue to along International Blvd. Even though the resolution was supported by the Oakland City Council, it was not without a fire-breathing argument from legendary Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid.

Reid and his constituents feared that a dedicated bus transit lane set would turn International into a kind of "freeway" that divided East Oakland. Reid said that people from North Oakland would not travel down to East Oakland to spend money anyway. I watched the City Council hearing from a distance back east and with sadness because it looked like a terrible racial issue, with older African Americans arguing that their neighborhood was essentially being invaded and destroyed by AC Transit.

This blogger completely understands Larry Reid's fears, but urges that he and his staff look at what's being done in Seattle and New York. The code-word is flexibility. In Seattle, BRT is used as part of its new light rail system, the Central Link. In New York, there's an ambitious plan to created a "greener, pedestrian-friendly" 34th street, and Bus Rapid Transit is a central part of the idea.

According to The New York Times, transit advocates and residents don't have the concern that the neighborhood will be divided. The point is, Oakland AC Transit BRT could be a way to encourage a more pedestrian-friendly International Boulevard, perhaps even a car-free one along some stretches.

AC Transit BRT's study should be seen as an open-door to consider ways to reshape International Boulevard into the kind of street that helps, not harms, the East Oakland neighborhood.

The Dan Patrick Show's "McLovin" on Brooklyn Decker at NFL Draft

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 - Readers of this space will remember my rant about how fomer ESPN star Dan Patrick and "The Danettes" of The Dan Patrick Show accused President Obama of not being a real "homer" for the Chicago White Sox because he did not name a childhood favorite White Sox player; he didn't have one.

That started a good Twitter exchange between this blogger and one of the Danettes, "Seaton" and then I happened to run into another Danettes, McLovin. All of the "stuff" aside, McLovin's a cool dude.

In the video above, we talked about the Obama issue via battling Flip cams, and then how he make Sports Illustrated Model Brooklyn Decker into "what she is." And he says Brooklyn Decker is a cool person.

He met Brooklyn Decker when she was 18 and came into the S.I. offices to do a video. "And that's how she sort of took off. She is the coolest person. Down to Earth. Smart.." McLovin says.

I enjoy the show and want to continue to Obama exchange. McLovin and I had a laughing good time.

Stay tuned.

Tiki Barber's Advice to 2010 NFL Draft Rookies

New York, Radio City Music Hall - Tiki Barber, happy to talk about anything sports-related and away from the personal issues Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey skewered him about two weeks ago, gave his advice to 2010 NFL Draft Rookies on video and while backstage with this blogger at Radio City Music Hall at the 2010 NFL Draft.

Previously I told Tiki that he needed to have his own YouTube channel; This was a kind of preview of things to come. He clearly has something he wants to say about whatever problems led to his split with his wife Ginny (Tiki was not sporting a wedding ring), but doesn't want to say anything. As Tiki said "You can't fight city hall."

Tiki says that the NFL rookie is is for "nothing you'd expect and all the hype is pointless once training camp starts. It's a different game...with men. As to all the hoopla with the NFL Red Carpet outside Radio City Music Hall, Tiki Barber said "The NFL's a machine. It's growing year after year,..I don't know if that's such a bad thing."

Not sure if Tiki will be at Radio City Music Hall for Day Two of the NFL Draft, but stay tuned anyway. More videos to be uploaded of interviews with 2010 1st round NFL Draft rookies to come.

Sam Bradford St. Louis Rams 1st NFL Draft pick interview (video)

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 - Former Oklahoma Sooners Quarterback Sam Bradford is now a St. Louis Rams player and the first one taken in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Personally, Sam Bradford's one of the nicest rookies this blogger has ever met in the six years he's covered the NFL Draft in New York City.

Sam Bradford 
Bradford's much like Detroit Lions Quarterback and 2009 first 1st round pick Matt Stafford in his cool attitude, though his playful streak is not as great as Matt's, he's certainly personable.

Before the calling of his name, Sam Bradford told me he was nervous (with big eyes) during the NFL Red Carpet. He was relaxed; that's what ending the selection process and knowing you've got $50 million coming to you will do. As Joe Montana said "make sure you get the check."

Here's Sam Bradford:

SAM BRADFORD: I feel great. Obviously it's a dream come true, you grow up, you dream of playing in the NFL and you dream of hearing your name called on Draft day, but to actually have it happen, it's a feeling that's really unexplainable.

Q. What did they say to you on the phone?
SAM BRADFORD: You know, just asked me if I was ready to be a St. Louis Ram, and I told him, absolutely.

Q. Don't you wish that you had the right to negotiate with all teams? There's a lot of pageantry here tonight but don't you wish you could negotiate with all 30 teams?
SAM BRADFORD: You know, I've never thought of that. That's not the system we have and that's not how it works. This is what we have and this is what we have to do and I thought tonight was pretty exciting and I wouldn't change tonight.

Q. What did it mean to share with your mom and dad and grandmother and family?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, that was great and something I'll probably remember for the rest of my life. They have been so instrumental getting me to this point, without them there's no way I would be sitting here right now, they have supported me in everything I've done since I was four years old. They took me to practice at 5:00 in the morning and I remember they were in the stands ready to go. I can't thank them enough for all they have done.

Q. When did you find out for sure?
SAM BRADFORD: The phone call was definitely when I knew for sure, but I had a pretty good feeling coming into tonight that I was going to get that phone call.

Q. Last September when you got hurt in the BYU game, did you think this moment was possible?
SAM BRADFORD: No, I didn't.

Q. Are you looking forward to getting together with your receivers soon?
SAM BRADFORD: Oh, definitely. I'm just looking forward to playing football and getting back out there and doing what I love to do. Obviously this year didn't end up the way I wanted it to be. I wasn't able to play a game and part of two games. To get back out there especially with my new receivers and start getting some chemistry, I can't wait.

Q. You've been named "The Big Easy," is your heart still racing?
SAM BRADFORD: It's calmed down.

Q. Is it like a 4‑foot putt to win a tournament?
SAM BRADFORD: No, but it picked up ‑‑ on the fourth pick, when I heard Trent's name, I was pretty stoked.
It's amazing, because I came in with those guys, absolutely love them, Gerald and Trent and Trent protecting me, G.K., we have known each other since elementary school and to have this happen, I couldn't be happier for those guys.

Q. Talk about the kind of guy he is ‑‑
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, he told us, he said when I hear my name, I'm going to try tonight and we knew it was coming. That's just who he is. He's one of the best personalities that I've ever come across. He's one of my favorite guys and I can't wait to watch him play in the NFL.

Q. When you look at what happened with Roethlisberger and now you're the face of the franchise, can you talk about the pressure ‑‑ obviously you conduct yourself in a certain way off the field and stuff like that.
SAM BRADFORD: Obviously there's things out there, people out there are going to try to bring you down. I think as long as you surround yourself with good people and place yourself in good situations, you can eliminate a lot of the possibilities of bad things happening.

Q. What does this say about the Big 12, the first four picks and potentially the fifth.
SAM BRADFORD: That's pretty cool because I know that the Big 12 caught a lot of slack lately. People for some reason didn't think we played much football in the Big 12 and they for sure didn't think we played much defense and now we have two defensive tackles going in the Top 3. I think it's a credit to the Big 12 and the football that's played in that conference.

Q. Looking forward to St. Louis?
SAM BRADFORD: Oh, yeah, I can't wait. I was there on a visit last week and got to see the facility and thought the facility was very nice. I loved the coaching staff. I thought they had a great group of guys in the locker room. I can't wait to get there.

Q. So was Coach on the phone can you?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, it was Stags, Billy Devaney, Chris Rodriguez.

Q. Are you looking forward to playing with Steven Jackson?
SAM BRADFORD: He's a great player and any time a quarterback has a running back like that, I know it's going to make my job easier. I look forward to meeting him and getting to work with him.

Q. Any special words from your family as far as mom? What did mom say, because we know mom's in the back.
SAM BRADFORD: I think Mom was speechless, you can probably ask her. She's not big on words. She didn't say much.
No, my parents told me they loved me and they are proud of me, so it was great sharing that moment with them.

Good luck to Sam Bradford! He deserves it.

Jahvid Best Detroit Lions 1st NFL Draft pick interview (video)

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 - Former Cal-Berkeley and now Detroit Lions 2010 NFL Draft 1st round pick Running Back Jahvid Best sat down with the media for the first time after he was selected by the Lions as the 30th pick in the first round.

Jahvid Best seemed relieved to have gotten over with the whole thing. Plus, note Cal Alums that Best was wearing a RED TIE! More on that below, because I got after him about it.

Here's the transcript of the interview, with some corrections to match the video above that the FastScripts people missed:

JAHVID BEST: I feel great. This is a dream I've had since I was a little kid growing up just to play in the NFL. So this moment here, just experiencing it with my family and my friends and just getting selected is just amazing.

Q. What about (Cal Defensive Tackle) Tyson (Alualu) going ahead of you?
JAHVID BEST: I'm happy for him, but I almost stood up cheering when I heard his name called. He's a great player and so this is a good pick for him.

Q. Did you know it was you they were coming after?
JAHVID BEST: Actually the phone rang and the TV didn't even say they traded a pick yet. They were like, why is the Lions calling me when it's not their turn and they told me they were going to trade and I got really excited. I was so excited, I can't even have words for this moment right now. It's hard to express my feelings.

Q. How would you compare yourself to other running backs?
JAHVID BEST: It's hard to compare myself right now because I haven't played yet, I haven't even played a down yet. I just have to go out and work hard and make a name for myself in the NFL because everything I've done up to this point is irrelevant.

Q. You said yesterday that you had not had much contact yesterday, are you surprised?
JAHVID BEST: Yeah, I'm surprised. I had a great conversation at the Combine but after the Combine it just stopped. It was a little bit of a surprise for me but it was a great experience.

Q. Around the Internet, people are saying that the Lions were targeting you.
JAHVID BEST: Yeah, I was aware of it. (Correction: Best said he was not aware that the Internet chatter was that the Lions were going to draft him; I made the statement.)

Q. Who was on the phone and what did they tell you about the reaction there?
JAHVID BEST: Everybody came on the phone, and they just told me when they got the green light to pick me that the room just erupted being everybody was excited about it.

Q. (Inaudible).
JAHVID BEST: He texted me before the Draft and he was at home watching, too.

Q. (Inaudible).
JAHVID BEST: I'm just going to be a back ‑‑ whatever they need me to do, return game, I can be an every down back for them. I can definitely bring the home run ability to the offense and just make it a more high‑power offense. I'm definitely going to bring some things to the table.

Q. What about the concussion ‑‑
JAHVID BEST: I've seen so many doctors, definitely, I think I'm passed that.

Q. (Inaudible).
JAHVID BEST: I'm excited, those are two guys I used to watch all the time and those are great players right there, so just adding myself, and then Suh, he went earlier. That's a couple of names that added to that team.
So we might be able to do some things.

Q. You come from a great tradition in Cal, successful running back; how did your time there prepare you for the next level and how do you feel you'll do once you get there?
JAHVID BEST: My time there? I mean, the running back coach, he prepares us ‑‑ he prepares us like nobody else. All of the running backs I was talking to, Justin for Seth when I was training for the Combine and everything, and he was telling me if you just listen to Coach G., you'll be fine when you get to the next level because Coach, he prepares all of his running backs to play in the NFL.

Q. (Inaudible).
JAHVID BEST: He was on me on the field but off the field he was also on me as well, everything about me, my lifestyle, what I eat, constantly on me. So I kind of see him as a father figure, just always making sure I'm doing the right thing no matter what I'm doing besides the football, just making sure I'm in the classroom and just doing everything right.

Q. Do you think about inspiring people in the whole economic climate and giving them a reason to come to Ford Field on Sundays?
JAHVID BEST: Oh, yes, that's part of our job as athletes is to bring excitement to the city. I plan to do my job and do that in Detroit, as well.

Q. Do you think you'll have a chance to make an immediate impact?
JAHVID BEST: Yeah, definitely, I think it will, but there's a lot of things I have to work on still. I have to go in and work real hard to get on the field so I'm not going to be ‑‑ I'm not going to be expecting to be given anything.

Q. What was your day like today? What did you do to pass the time?
JAHVID BEST: I woke up real slow. Just took it kind of slow. I got about 20 people here supporting me and we all went to eat lunch and then I got dressed and then came here.
So it was a real slow day.
It's kind of in between, some parts feel like a dream, some parts feel like reality, so just going to ride the wave a little bit.

Q. Did you think it wasn't going to happen tonight?
JAHVID BEST: For a second. It was in the back of my mind. Me and my agent kind of had teams we felt like were our best candidates and those teams were passing, so I was thinking about that. I wasn't really too worried about it, because at the end the day, all I need is an opportunity. But then the Lions gave me an opportunity so I'm going to take it and make the best of it.

Q. If you could play offensive coordinator, how many times would you touch the ball per game?
JAHVID BEST: As many times as I need to win? It's all about winning. I don't really care about numbers, I don't really care about stats. I just care about winning.

Q. You don't care about stats? You're an explosive guy. Do you expect friends who play fantasy football to start calling you now?
JAHVID BEST: I'm pretty sure they.

Q. What are you going to tell them?
JAHVID BEST: I'm going to tell them to pick me.

Q. Do you have any thoughts in the back of your mind, growing up and playing college ball out west in California and now going to the Midwest, different climate and lifestyle in general, do you think about that or just thinking about football?
JAHVID BEST: I'm just thinking about football right now. I'll deal with that when I get out there but I'm pretty sure it won't stop me from playing the game.

Q. Do you have to go back for classes?
JAHVID BEST: I'm going to get the classes whenever I can. It's not a high priority, because obviously I came out early, so my priority is football right now. Down the line, at some point in the future, I intend on getting my degree, so that definitely is in the plan.

Q. Can you talk to Kevin Johnson or Russell White ‑‑ inaudible.
JAHVID BEST: I haven't talked to any of the legends but I've been talking to a lot of guys in the NFL right now, Justin for Seth, I was talking to ‑‑ mostly those two guys and they were just giving me advice on how to handle this process.

Q. Barry Sanders is here tonight, did you meet him at all?
JAHVID BEST: Not tonight, I met him yesterday but it was just a brief meeting. He didn't have time to give me words of advice.

Q. You mentioned Jackson, did you ever race him in a sprint and if you did who won?
JAHVID BEST: We raced one time. We run two separate sides of the field so from my angle it looked like I was, and when we walked to each other, he said he was.

Q. If there's one thing you could tell the fans what would you say?
JAHVID BEST: Go get season tickets.

Afterward, Jahvid Best went to the backstage media room for more talk, and thanked Cal Football fans for "having my back all those years" but it was clear he moved on. I teased him about wearing of all things a red tie! He chuckled about that, but to Cal Alums like me a major Cal star like Jahvid Best sporting a tie and shirt that match the rival Stanford Cardinal cause me to ask if Jahvid Best really enjoyed Cal at all.

I make this statement because at NFL Play 60 on Wednesday, Jahvid Best said he would miss his players and coaches, but said nothing about Cal itself. In retrospect I hope I'm wrong about all this, but I doubt it. My impression is Jahvid Best didn't enjoy his Cal experience as much as this Cal Alum hoped he would have. Ok, one doesn't have to be a rah-rah person, but I do think Cal athletes should show some school sprit.

That's my view and I'm sticking to it.

Stay tuned and GO BEARS!