Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tiki Barber on The NFL Draft, NY Giants, and an NFL lockout (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 - New York Giants Football Legend Tiki Barber took time to talk with "Dr. Football" and Football Reporters Online and NFL Business New Blog Managing Partner Bill Chachkes and this blogger as video-blogger on the state of New York Giants Running Backs after the 2010 NFL Draft.

Barber and Chackhes
After being drafted in the second round ("almost first" he said to Chachkes) from Virginia in 1997, New York Giants Running Back Tiki Barber retired at the end of the 2006 postseason as the Giants all time leader in yards rushing and catches.

Barber almost immediately rose to media stardom as a correspondent for NBC's Today Show and Football Night in America. Barber is a legend among NY Giants fans, so it was fitting that one of New York's biggest Giants fans, Bill Chachkes talked to Tiki.

Barber was at the NFL Draft representing Yahoo! Sports and "just covering what's going on here," he said. "Feeling the vibe of some of the teams."

Barber observes that the NFL's "hype-filled" machine works to raise an incredible level of interest and awareness of the NFL Draft and builds the expectations of the college players and fans to equally high levels.

The NFL Draft Running Back Class

Tiki thinks there are "four or five guys" who are going to make it; he named four: San Diego Chargers' Ryan Matthews, Buffalo Bills' C.J. Spiller (who both Chachkes and Barber thought would be a New York Giant), Detroit Lions' Jahvid Best, and Minnesota Viking's Running Back Toby Gerhart.

On Gerhert: "he goes to Minnesota. Watch Adrian Peterson run. He pounds people, but he's a finess guy, a speed guy. Now with Toby Gerhart, they're going to have a formidable rushing attack. It's exciting to see what's happening with the Vikings. Now, defenses are never going to get a break. Adrian's more of a slasher-type running back. Toby? He wants to be bloodied.

Barber compared C.J. Spiller to himself:"He can return kicks. He's going to be used on 3rd down. Then they'll line him in the "I" and get some every-down carries."

Barber thinks the NFL's close to a 2011 Lockout

Asked about the possibility of a labor strike or "lockout", Barber answered in the affirmative: "It's a lot more dire than people want to pay attention to. The league and the players are very far apart in their demands and their comprehension of the issues is so completely different. And until something can bring them closer together we're in significant danger of having a lockout."

Barber and Bill agree that a lockout would wreck the NFL, much as it did hockey in America. Barber asserts that America will not be sympathetic to the needs of "athletes making tons of money."

Bill and I thank Tiki for taking the time to make this video at the NFL Draft.

Stay tuned.

John Skelton to Arizona Cardinals in NFL Draft from Fordham

John Skelton
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 - Fordham Quarterback John Skelton (shown), who this blogger's NFL Draft colleague "Dr. Football" Bill Chachkes says has "the most powerful arm in the draft", was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Chachkes was the first draft blogger to recognize Skelton's talents at Fordham University. In an October 24th entry on the Zennie62 Network's NFL Draft Magazine, Chachkes wrote:

Most people do not look at the NYC area as a breeding ground for NFL level talent, but if you look hard enough, you can find players will do more then just make a roster at the next level. The very first player you notice when you talk about NYC (New York City) area players is Fordham University’s talented Quarterback John Skelton.

John Skelton is 6-5 245 pounds and passed for over 6,000 yards in his college career at Fordham University. Bill wrote that John Skelton was "lighting up the competition, with consistant performances of well over 300 yards every game."

Jason Campbell to Oakland Raiders moves Jamarcus Russell

New York, NY - Jason Campbell goes to the Oakland Raiders, who picked up his contract and added a year, according to ESPN. Campbell moves Jamarcus Russell to second starter or third as the Raiders head into training came.

The Raiders move also mates Jason Campbell with Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson, who developed Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco into one of the NFL's most dangerous passers in his first year of play.

Jason Campbell wasn't promised the starting job at Oakland, but with Hue Jackson installing a new offense, neither Jamarcus Russell or quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski, Kyle Boller,or Charlie Frye has a true advantage over him.

Meanwhile the Oakland Raiders are suddenly wealthy at quarterback.

What Jason Campbell brings to the Oakland Raiders is a Jamarcus Russell-level arm, great mobility, excellent pocket presence and experience. But Campbell's also essentially going into his ninth different offensive system and 10th offensive coordinator. With questions about his work ethic, starting for the Raiders is no guarantee.

Jason Campbell's got to compete for the role.

Thaddeus Gibson going to Steelers; a Colts fan on Twitter

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 - Ohio State's defensive end/linebacker Thaddeus Gibson was just drafted by The Pittsburgh Steelers, but Gibson's a Colts fan according to his Twitter account @ThaddGibb:

Love them colts
2:37 PM Jan 24th via Twitterrific

It's hard to tell much from @ThaddGibb on Twitter because he doesn't tweet much. What Thaddeus Gibson does is hit people. He's 6-2 240 pounds and had 82 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 interception in his college career.

In Thaddeus Gibson the Pittsburgh Steelers got a guy who is fast. He ran a 4.58 in the 2010 NFL Combine and was a top performer in several other areas. NFL DraftScout reports that he can handle the double-team and reads and reacts to plays well.

Bill Chachkes says Gibson's a "solid inside pass rusher. Better inside than outside. Might be converted to tackle."

The only game Thaddeus Gibson needs to improve is his Twitter game; it's awful.

Stay tuned.

Kirk Morrison on Twitter: happy with Jacksonville Jaguars

Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY - The Oakland Raiders traded Linebacker Kirk Morrison to Jacksonville and to the Jacksonville Jaguars. From the read of his Twitter account @kirkmorrison52, Kirk Morrison's happy to be in Jacksonville, tweeting...

Good Morning. I'm a Jacksonville Jaguar
about 2 hours ago via UberTwitter

And putting the Jacksonville Jaguar logo on his account. That was fast, but equally fast was how future teammate and current friend Jacksonville Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew greeted him on Twitter...

RT @Jones_Drew32: New addition to the jag family @kirkmorrison52 he's a great friend and person. Congrats bruh
about 2 hours ago via UberTwitter

Kirk Morrison was part of a deal the Raiders made to get super-fast WR Jacoby Ford who reportedly once ran a 4.1 40-yard dash. Also drafting Rolando McClain in the first round made Morrison expendable.

More on Jacoby Ford later.

Rock the Casbah!

2010 NFL Draft: Taylor Mays Pete Carroll's first draft mistake

New York, NY - Going into the 75th 2010 NFL Draft it seemed that for new Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll drafting the safety Carroll brought to USC from Seattle, Taylor Mays, would have been an obvious expectation. Pete Carroll won championships with Mays and knows what he can do for a defense. Carroll asked him to do it.

But for Pete Carroll to draft a safety he does not know, Earl Thomas, ahead of Taylor Mays in the 2010 NFL Draft means a number of things, none of them good. First, it means Carroll thought Earl Thomas was better than Mays, even though he coached Mays. Period. That's an insult to Mays.

Second, it means Carroll may have misled Mays into thinking he was going to be a high draft choice in the NFL Draft and if ESPN's account is accurate, a possible pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

That Taylor Mays didn't go in the first round and not to Seattle is a horrible way of going against the expectations Pete Carroll set up for Mays.

Third, it calls into question Pete Carroll's integrity: can Coach Carroll's word be trusted? That opens a door to a possible look back at USC and what Carroll did there versus what he said he did.

Pete Carroll made a terrible error in judgement. Pete's got to know that at this level of football the one action that's under a complete microscope and more so than in college is the establishment of a personnel base. At the NFL level, college students are rock stars so how they're treated becomes part of pop culture news, fast.

Right now, Pete Carroll's a part of that and how he handled Taylor Mays is front and center. (Moreover, Carroll's comments in the LA Times, overemphasizing Earl Thomas, only rub salt in the wound.) Pete's got to look in the mirror and ask himself how he wants to be regarded by the people one would think mean the most to him outside his family: the players he recruited. If Taylor Mays is any example, Coach Carroll's developing an enemies list. And in Mays case, in playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Carroll will feel the impact of his decision this NFL season.

Stay tuned.

Lamarr Houston Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2nd round pick

Lamarr Houston 
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 - The Oakland Raiders made Texas Defensive Tackle Lamarr Houston the 44th pick and the 12th in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Lamarr Houston made a name for himself with his quickness against Big 12 opponents.

While listed at 6-2, 300 pounds, Lamarr Houston actually doesn't seem like he's a 300 lineman in person. In fact, he's more like your friend down the street or the guy you have a beer with. From appearances, he's an even keel young man with the always welcome "Southern" way of being: respectful, kind, and friendly. I enjoyed talking with him, which was easy to do because there weren't as many media people there by the time Houston was picked.

Q. Have you been to the Coliseum before?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I used to live in San Francisco and see Candlestick Park. I haven't actually been to the Raiders facilities yet but I grew up, my brother‑in‑law is a huge Raiders fan, so I've been watching them all the time and I'm very excited and happy to be a part of the organization and make a change right away.

Q. You said the other day you had an idea where you were going to go; is this it?
LAMARR HOUSTON: Yeah, this is where me and my agent talked about going, somewhere in the top half of the second round. I'm very happy and very blessed. I just thank God for everything He's done for me and just want to give Him the praise.

Q. How did you find out?
LAMARR HOUSTON: Coach Cable called me and asked me if I was ready to come in and work and change this organization around and to be a player.

Q. When he said "change the organization around," what have you heard? What's wrong with the Raiders?
LAMARR HOUSTON: The run defense wasn't very good last year. They are looking to be in the playoffs this year and not want to be in the playoffs five years from now or two years from now. They want to do it this year.
I think they are very capable of doing that with some of the picks they have got and playing next to Richard Seymour and some of my old teammates. I'm very excited about the defense and I'm very excited about being a Raider.

Q. How different is it going to an organization that has not had that winning history lately? Obviously when you went to Texas, they had that streak of success. This is a little different for you.
LAMARR HOUSTON: I feel like it's a challenge, and I love a challenge, and I feel like I want to step up to the plate and answer it and I'm bringing my winning tradition with me.

Q. How long has it been since you've played on a losing team?
LAMARR HOUSTON: High school.

Q. You had a losing record in high school?

Q. Your senior season?
LAMARR HOUSTON: Yeah. Whole time I was there, basically.

Q. Do you know any Raider players currently?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I met a couple of guys at the National Championship game, and I met Rolando (McClain), but that's about it.

Q. How cool was it that Sergio (Kindle) went and you go?
LAMARR HOUSTON: Yeah, that was a good feeling and I'm actually good friends with Brian Price and he went a couple of picks before that, and then Sergio went and then I went and it's just, you know, it's shock after shock and it's getting better.

Q. What do you think about Oklahoma, the first four picks?
LAMARR HOUSTON: You know, I think it's time for respect to be given to the Big 12. We have so many guys getting drafted this year and we have had so many guys get drafted in the top 10 this year and I think that's our statement that we are a good conference.

Q. What have the past 21 hours been like for you?
LAMARR HOUSTON: It was a real decision that I would probably go in the second round, but everybody always wants to go in the first round. But it's been fun, I've been enjoying my family, enjoying New York, sightseeing, seeing the Empire State Building, taking pictures on top of Radio City Music Hall and doing things the NFL set up for us and I've just been relaxing and enjoying and taking it all in.

Q. How long did you stay here yesterday?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I stayed and watched the whole thing. I would have watched it at home so I just enjoyed it firsthand.

Q. As a real quick physical defensive lineman, the Raiders, once upon a time, that was their personality, hard‑hitting defense. Talk about how you want to bring that attitude back to the Raiders, even though you're a rookie, and how you might be able to lead even in your first year?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I'm going to come in and get under the vets and try to get under the wings of people like Richard Seymour and use my talents and strengths and work with Coach Wauffle, he's coming from the Giants and what he's done in the last six years and been to the Super Bowl.
I think this organization is headed in the right direction, and adding guys like me in the lineup who are athletic, big, physical guys who can fight at the point of attack and get on that run game I was talking about earlier is a good thing.

Q. You went up to the top of the Empire State Building today. How was that experience for you today?
LAMARR HOUSTON: They say everybody doesn't get to do that. You can't even pay to get to where we were, so that was exciting. That was a blessing and they are going to put us on a little wall there and I'm very excited about that.

Q. What were you thinking about while you were looking over New York?
LAMARR HOUSTON: It's a very small place for a lot of people.

Q. In terms of technique, what's your favorite move?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I was working with Keith Millard, a Raiders coach, this past spring and working on a jab ‑‑ so I'm going to get with Coach Wauffle and just use all my strengths that I can use and bring them out to the surface.

Q. Are you ready for the black hole?

Q. Are you going to jump in it?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I'm ready for Raider nation.

Q. Are you surprised that Colt (McCoy) hasn't gone yet?
LAMARR HOUSTON: I'm very surprised. He's a tough competitor. Whoever gets him is going to get a guy who is on fire and ready to roll. Anybody who gets a University of Texas player is going to be having somebody who is a competitor and will do what it takes to win and all he knows is winning. So that's what we are going to do.

Q. Coach Brown just landed a couple hours ago, have you talked to him yet?
LAMARR HOUSTON: He's texted me and told me congratulations and I'm going to meet with him after this shortly.

Q. It's to some extent a running division, and you talk about increasing the potency of the Raiders running defense. Talk about going up against some of those guys, and who are you really looking forward to looking horns with?
LAMARR HOUSTON: Actually Ryan Matthews is one of my good friends and I'm looking forward to playing against him. I trained with him this spring and got to know him. He's a really good guy. Being able to play against a rookie like that and know someone out there on the field is what the NFL is all about, building friendships and competing.
So with different guys like that, different running backs, different versatile ties, we'll see what their offensive coordinators put together. I know we are on the West Coast, so things are not as, you know, they don't run the ball as much as they would if you were in Green Bay or something like that or Chicago.

Q. Which leads to Tim Tebow, are you looking forward to hitting him?
LAMARR HOUSTON: If I get a chance to hit Tim Tebow, I'll be excited.

How effective Lamarr Houston will be depends on how Oakland Raiders coaches use him. He's not really a nose tackle; more a fast 4-3 tackle. But that said he doesn't have the imposing size of Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy; Houston will have to add more muscle to go up against the centers and guards he's about to face, but he assures Raider fans he's more than up to the challenge and the defensive tackle the Raiders have been looking for.

Rock the Casbah!