Posted on 05 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 04 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 03 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
Each week on the Brett & Barry Show (Saturdays 9am-12pm), we gather each others’ analysis of the big news stories and headlines of the week for a couple minutes a piece in a segment we call Rapid Fire. We will post our answers in blog form every week to a visual version, with links to our segment in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.
Listen HERE to last week’s Rapid Fire Segment.
Barry 1: During the first week of Spring Training, Frank Robinson visited the Orioles in Sarasota, where he bumped into prospect Josh Hart in the hallway of the facility. When Hart did not recognize the Hall of Famer, Manager Buck Showalter assigned him a research report on Robinson’s career and impact for the organization and the MLB. What is your reaction to Showalter handing out a homework assignment to the 19 year old prospect?
BD: I absolutely love this move by Buck, as a man that knows baseball and the history of the game. I think more players need to understand how they received the opportunity to be on a major league roster; it started with players, like Frank Robinson, paving the way. A lot is lost with younger generations, when it comes to appreciation for those who changed the game for the better. Josh Hart will not only be a smarter person because of this “assignment,” but a better ball player as well. He has the opportunity to make millions upon millions of dollars in the near future, which would not have been possible without Frank Robinson.
Brett 1: After a conference game between Utah Valley and New Mexico State, a brawl broke out on the court, when a player threw the basketball at his opponent (Watch the Video HERE). Players, coaches and even fans began throwing punches after a court-storming. Should the NCAA ban court-storming, citing safety issues for everyone involved?
BK: Although the Southeastern Conference has had success in banning the joyous, silly tradition, I do not think that the NCAA has the willpower or ability to get involved. This particular incident is very sad, as two schools made national news for the wrong reasons. I hope that we can get back to rooting for our respective teams, enjoying rivalries for what they are, and allow college students to enjoy a major victory with their team.
Barry 2: We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson, was working out with the Texas Rangers during Spring Training (read our reaction HERE). Now Heisman winner and National Championship QB, Jameis Winston is playing baseball for Florida State during the football off season. Do you think he could be a professional two-sport star?
BD: Like I mentioned before, I am not opposed to the idea of another Deion Sanders or Brian Jordan or Bo Jackson, wrecking havoc in two different sports. The problem is none of those athletes were a QB; it just takes too much dedication in preparation to become elite in the NFL. Winston could be the first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft, which means he will have the added pressure of performing right away. Taking time away from the mental grind that is involved in not only mastering an offensive scheme, but earning the respect of your teammates as the face of the franchise and leader of the team, would simply be a mistake.
Brett 2: Thankfully ESPN analyst (and QB guru), Ron Jaworski stated that he would not take Texas A&M QB, Johnny Manziel, in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft (making me feel much better about my analysis). You already know that I do not believe he is a first round prospect (let alone a top 10 pick, as heard HERE), but what is your reaction to “Jaws” analysis on the controversial former Heisman winner?
BK: Jaworski’s analysis on Manziel may not be popular, but it is more accurate than those experts who consider Johnny Football to be a top 10 prospect. The success of Russell Wilson, a shorter quarterback with abnormally large hands and great awareness, has paved the way for Manziel to be fairly evaluated. However, there are a lot of question marks when it comes to Manziel, both as a person as a player. Teams in the top 10 who are in the market for a quarterback (Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland) would all be making a mistake to use their first selection on Manziel. By giving Manziel a mid-round grade, Jaworski is essentially saying that the former Heisman winner would be best served in a backup role to start his career, with the potential to become a starter. Following the NFL Combine, Manziel still appears to be a top 10 pick, but teams would be wise to take note of the dissenting opinion.
Barry 3: This NFL off season, most players are taking time off relaxing, preparing their minds and bodies for another grueling season. Well, Ravens second year Safety, Matt Elam, has a different approach; he took a job as a shoe salesman at Finish Line to gain a better understanding of the business (which he plans to invest in the future). What is your reaction to Elam taking a job this off season, preparing for his life after football?
BD: After the past couple weeks of bad news for the Ravens, this definitely uplifts the spirits, when looking at a young man that just simply gets “it.” Elam obviously already has an understanding that football does not last forever, while preparing for a career after he hangs up his cleats. Realistically, he could only hope to last in the NFL for the next decade; meaning he needs to find a way to occupy his time for the following 40-50 years of his life. Add in the fact that with his notoriety as a professional athlete, the money he does make while on the field, will likely not last to support his family in the future. Elam has proven to be a smart and mature young man beyond his years, with his humility to clock in and out of a “low-paying” job; professional sports needs more people like this.
Brett 3: Reports came out that the Browns tried to work out a deal to trade for San Francisco 49ers Head Coach, Jim Harbaugh. Looking at a deal that would cost multiple draft picks, for a coach who has led his team to three straight championship games (and one Super Bowl loss). Would you make such a deal if you were either team?
BK: The Cleveland Browns should not be ashamed to admit that they were interested in Jim Harbaugh. He has proven himself to be one of the top coaches in both college and professional football, and his track record of taking bad teams and turning them into winners speaks for itself. The Browns have not had the proper leadership in place for quite some time, and getting a man like Harbaugh via trade makes sense, no matter what the cost. Unlike Robert Griffin III, there isn’t an injury risk associated with dealing a number of high draft picks.
If I were the San Francisco 49ers, I would have entertained, but not accepted an offer for Harbaugh. While the 49ers could absolutely put the extra draft picks to good use, there is no way of putting a value on Harbaugh’s relationship with QB Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers are just too close to winning the Super Bowl to make such a drastic change.
Posted on 01 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 01 March 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 28 February 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
BK: Brett, the NFL Combine is always a fun time of year for draft nerds like ourselves, and this year was no different. With the Baltimore Ravens picking in the middle of the draft this season, more fans are wondering just what needs the team will seek to address. Following the NFL Combine, which players did the most to improve their draft stock? Could any of these players be on the Ravens’ radar?
BD: After watching every minute of the Combine (yeah, I am that guy), I gained a better understanding of who the prospects are athletically. But just because a player had a good combine, that does not make them a good player (let’s call this the Mike Mamula effect). Several prospects certainly helped their cause, but only to have teams (and draft nerds like myself) go back and do more research on their college production.
The real winner of the Combine is clearly Jerick McKinnon of Georgia Southern; the do it all player (who played QB, RB, WR and DB in college), that projects to be a RB in the NFL. He displayed NFL speed (4.41 40 yard dash), strength (32 reps on the 225lbs bench press) and athleticism (41” vertical), in the few hours in the spotlight in front of every team. The Wall Street Journal even analyzed his performance (seen HERE), stating he surpassed every other prospect with his dominate Combine performance.
He is a late round pick, because he did not play against top competition and lack of experience as a true RB, but teams (including the Ravens) will do their due diligence on his game tape. Other players that helped their stock during the Combine include: Towson RB Terrance West (who ran a solid 4.54 40 yard dash at 225lbs.), LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks (who both ran in the 4.3s in the 40 yard dash), and Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (who showed great athleticism in all the drills).
With that being said, people such as ourselves, will try to predict the Ravens draft board. Looking a couple months down the road (and we are still early in the process), I want your take on who the Ravens should select. Right now, if you were Ozzie Newsome, knowing the approximate rounds for most prospects, who would you select with your first three picks in the upcoming draft?
BK: The Ravens are one of the best franchises in the National Football League, and the sentiment, “In Ozzie We Trust” will be echoed whenever the team makes their selections in New York City. The Ravens’ 2013 Draft did not yield a lot of immediate production, and the team will be looking to those mid-round picks (ILB Arthur Brown, OLB John Simon, and FB Kyle Juszczyk) to make a major leap in their sophomore seasons. In the meantime, this is how I see the early rounds going for the Baltimore Ravens:
The more I am around Brett, the more I get the feeling that his BFF is on his way to Baltimore. It’s hard to ignore the obvious: Clinton-Dix ranks between the 15th-20th best prospect, Alabama pedigree, pair with Matt Elam for the foreseeable future. Many draft experts compare Clinton-Dix to Seahawks S Earl Thomas, which is all I need to here. Get this guy to Baltimore ASAP.
Second Round (pick 48) G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
The Ravens have an affinity with the SEC, and an interior lineman like Jackson gives them an immediate starter who has proved himself against some difficult defensive lines. At 6’3″ and over 330 lbs, Jackson has great size, and would allow for the Ravens to move forward with Kelechi Osemele as their right tackle. With Eugene Monroe just a franchise tag away from being the team’s left tackle, an offensive line of Monroe-Jackson-Jansen-Yanda-Osemele has the talent that the unit lacked last season.
Third Round (pick 79) DE Kareem Martin, UNC
Martin is another player who stood out at the Combine last weekend. Measuring in at 6’6″ and 270 lbs, Martin ran an impressive 4.72 40- yard dash, as well as a vertical leap of over 35 inches. Baltimore would be an ideal place for Martin to further develop as an every-down defensive end, and help to ease the pain of losing DT Art Jones on pass-rushing situations. Much like mid-round selections, I don’t see Martin putting up big numbers in his first year, but could be a dangerous player in the coming years.
Posted on 25 February 2014 by Luke Jones
Facing a critical offseason after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007, the Ravens have wrapped a productive week of evaluating the 2014 rookie class at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Much work remains with pro days still to come and the draft not taking place until May 8, but the combine provides a strong framework of information as well as the first opportunity for teams to meet with underclassmen who declared for the NFL.
In addition to evaluating draft prospects’ physical tools, administering physicals, and interviewing players to gauge their intelligence and character, the Ravens were busy trying to address their pending free agents as general manager Ozzie Newsome acknowledged continuing negotiations with the representatives of tight end Dennis Pitta, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, and linebacker Daryl Smith. However, no deals were considered imminent at the conclusion of the combine on Tuesday.
Of course, Newsome and coach John Harbaugh were also asked about the status of troubled running back Ray Rice, echoing the sentiment that the facts of the case will determine the consequences. As of now, the Ravens have offered no indication that Rice’s future could be in jeopardy after he and his fiancée were charged with simple assault-domestic violence in Atlantic City earlier this month.
Below is a list — though not intended to be a complete collection — of draft prospects the Ravens interviewed in Indianapolis, according to a number of publications including ESPN, the Carroll County Times, and The Sun. It’s important not to read too much into these meetings as it’s common for players to meet with a plethora of teams, but it can indicate special interest in a given prospect.
In addition to a tidbit on each prospect, a estimated projection of when the player might be drafted is included.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M — first round
Skinny: The 6-foot-5 prospect ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash and posted a 37-inch vertical leap in addition to showing consistent hands, factors likely leading to him being gone before the Ravens pick 17th.
Marqise Lee, USC — first/second round
Skinny: A 4.52-second 40 time wasn’t overwhelming by any means, but he performed solidly in field drills and pundits think he plays faster than his time indicated in Indianapolis.
Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State — first round
Tidbit: At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Benjamin has freakish size but isn’t as polished as Evans, carrying more of a bust risk while remaining an intriguing prospect.
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State — first/second round
Tidbit: Considered one of the big winners in Indianapolis, the 5-foot-10 Cooks may have solidified his standing as a first-round pick after running a blazing 40 (4.33 seconds) and displaying excellent hands in drills.
Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt — first/second round
Tidbit: The 6-foot-3 receiver’s 40 time was much better than many thought, which bodes well for his draft prospects after a monster career playing in the SEC.
Jarvis Landry, LSU — second/third round
Tidbit: A slow 40 time was the result of a hamstring injury, but questions remain about the underneath receiver’s explosiveness as teammate Odell Beckham Jr. outperformed him at the combine.
Mike Davis, Texas — third round
Tidbit: A minor foot injury kept Davis was taking part in field drills, but he remains a viable Day 2 option.
Robert Herron, Wyoming — fourth round
Tidbit: The 5-foot-9 receiver has quick feet with a 4.45 40-yard dash time and compiled more than 2,000 receiving yards in college, making him a name to watch on Day 3.
Eric Ebron, North Carolina — first round
Skinny: Previously considered a good fit for the Ravens at 17th overall, the 6-foot-4 pass-catching threat had a monster workout in Indianapolis and very well could have vaunted himself into the top 10.
Jace Amaro, Texas Tech — first/second round
Skinny: The 6-foot-5 target posted an underwhelming 4.74-second 40 time and clearly fell far behind Ebron in the battle for top tight end prospect, but he remains a top 50 player despite small hands and some drops during drills.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa — third
Skinny: The 6-foot-6 product is known for being a tremendous blocker and fits the mold of a more traditional tight end even if he lacks the upside of the other top prospects at the position.
Troy Niklas, Notre Dame — second
Skinny: Praised by Harbaugh earlier this week, Niklas has a monster 6-foot-6 frame and could be a steal in the second or third round.
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona — second/third round
Skinny: A slow 4.70 40 time didn’t do him any favors in trying to improve his draft stock, but his instincts, soft hands, and blocking ability keep him in position to be one of the first running backs selected despite a forgettable combine.
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State — second/third round
Skinny: The Buckeyes back hurt his hamstring running the 40 but remains a candidate to be the first running back to come off the draft board.
Terrance West, Towson — third round
Skinny: All eyes were on the local product to see how well he would test and the record-setting back ran a 4.54-second 40, only helping his stock to be a potential second-day pick as he continues to rise on experts’ boards.
Andre Williams, Boston College — third/fourth round
Skinny: The 230-pound bruiser tested very well in running the 40 (4.54), which follows a 2,000-yard season with the Eagles and bodes very well for his draft status.
Taylor Lewan, Michigan — first round
Skinny: The massive 6-foot-7 lineman ran a remarkable 4.87 in the 40-yard dash and shined in blocking drills to solidify his standing as a top 15 pick and future left tackle at the next level.
Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama — first/second round
Skinny: The combine couldn’t have been much worse for the projected first-round choice as concerns arose about an arthritic knee, and a 5.59 40-yard dash time and underwhelming bench press now threaten to drop him considerably.
Zack Martin, Notre Dame — first round
Skinny: Quickly becoming a favorite of teams with multiple needs along the offensive line like the Ravens, Martin continues to be a likely choice in the second half of the first round and is projected to be able to play multiple positions on the line.
Morgan Moses, Virginia — first/second round
Skinny: Not considered a good athlete despite his strong play on the field, Moses finished near the bottom of speed and agility categories among offensive linemen and remains a fringe first-round talent.
Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota — first round
Skinny: The 6-foot-6, 318-pound lineman stood out at the Senior Bowl and worked out well in Indianapolis, but his uneven performance in games still leaves questions for teams to investigate.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS/EDGE RUSHERS
Dee Ford, Austin — first/second round
Skinny: After excelling at last month’s Senior Bowl, Ford didn’t work out at the combine due to a medical flag of a 2011 back surgery after proclaiming himself to be better than Jadeveon Clowney a day earlier.
Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech — third/fourth round
Skinny: The pass rusher didn’t work out in Indianapolis due to hamstring and hand injuries, but he’s an intriguing mid-round prospect after collecting 12 1/2 sacks last season.
Michael Sam, Missouri — third/fourth round
Skinny: Impressing mightily in the way he handled his media session, Sam ran a 4.91 40-yard dash and still can’t shake concerns of being too small to play defensive end and not being athletic enough to play outside linebacker.
Adrian Hubbard, Alabama — fourth round
Skinny: His 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame is complemented well by a 4.69 40-yard dash, but uneven production on the field with the Crimson Tide hurts his draft stock.
Lamin Barrow, LSU — third/fourth round
Skinny: His 4.64-second 40 was the third-fastest time among linebackers, and he appears to have the skills necessary to cover running backs and tight ends at only 229 pounds.
Chris Borland, Wisconsin — third round
Skinny: His measurables weren’t overly impressive at the combine — including short arms and a subpar 4.83 40 time — but his football instincts are highly regarded as he figures to be a solid mid-round prospect at inside linebacker.
Posted on 25 February 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 24 February 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
Each week on the Brett & Barry Show (Saturdays 9am-12pm), we gather each others’ analysis of the big news stories and headlines of the week for a couple minutes a piece in a segment we call Rapid Fire. We will post our answers in blog form every Sunday to a visual version, with links to our segment in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.
Listen HERE to last week’s Rapid Fire Segment.
Barry 1: With the NFL Combine going on throughout the weekend, we always here big names that will not participate in certain drills for various reasons, especially QBs in throwing drills. In your opinion, should quarterbacks participate in all aspects of combine to properly display their value?
BD: In the end, the combine is used as a tool for the players, and if they feel any drill will hurt their stock, then by all means, do not do it. A player’s value is so fical and we have seen many players drop because of bad Combine performances; if teams only have game tape to evaluate, that may be a good thing.
As for QBs, it would be nice to see the top rated ones, throwing to a collection of the best WRs in the country. It would certainly display their skill sets with the biggest, fastest, strongest in the country. It would also benefit those pass-catchers equally, as they get the opportunity to run routes with the best QBs slinging them the ball.
Brett 1: After the signing of former Rangers slugger, Nelson Cruz, the Orioles have most likely found their everyday DH. But they were also in on possibly bringing in switch-hitter, Kendrys Morales. Who would have been a better fit for the Orioles?
BK: I have no issue with the Baltimore Orioles moving forward with Nelson Cruz as opposed to Kendrys Morales. Morales would have provided the Orioles with more versatility, both at the plate and in the field, but it appears that Morales and his agent are firm on holding out for a multi-year deal. With Chris Davis playing above average defense at first base last season, it made sense that the Orioles would covet Cruz, who can be the everyday DH while also spelling David Lough when the team faces a left-handed starter, as well as giving Nick Markakis the occasional day off.
The 50-game suspension for Cruz scared a lot of suitors away, and he was forced to settle for a 1 year $8 million contract. I look for Cruz to prove to other teams that they made a mistake by not signing him. Even a .265 average with 25 HRs and 75 RBIs is a significant upgrade from the production of the cast of characters that filled the designated hitter role last season.
Barry 2: After disappointing finishes for both Men’s and Women’s hockey teams, what is your reaction to their performances in the highlighted sports of the Olympics?
BD: First off, you have to be proud as an American for those teams (and all the athletes) to make it as far as they did, with that level of competition. Both teams played their hearts out against the Canadian teams, with tough finishes.
You saw the raw emotion coming from the ladies, with the last minute collapse in regulation and ensuing overtime. The tears running down their eyes led you to understand that they left it all out on the ice. So though it was disappointing neither team took the gold, I have a great sense of pride watching those teams.
Brett 2: The Orioles added front of the rotation starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, earlier in the week, but have been reportedly still interested in adding pitcher, Ervin Santana. Do you think they should consider adding another rotation arm into the mix?
BK: After talking with Tucker Blair from Orioles Nation [Link it], it appears that the team is essentially finished its spending this offseason, save for a few minor moves that may occur during spring training. The Orioles have enough pitchers in camp that they will find trouble finding a home for everyone. My current projection of the Orioles rotation is as follows:
1) RHP Chris Tillman
2) LHP Wei-Yin Chen
3) Ubaldo Jimenez
4) Bud Norris
5) Miguel Gonzalez
Jimenez has better stuff than Chen, but fits in nicely as the #3. The former Indian will provide the team with a Right-Left-Right rotation, which forces opposing managers to tinker with their lineup in the middle of a three game series. Gonzalez’ nagging back injury is a cause for concern, but the Orioles will have enough guys in the bullpen this year (Zach Britton, Suk-Min Yoon, Steve Johnson) that can spot-start, or be the #5 for a month. It appears unlikely that Ervin Santana will end up in Baltimore, and the signing of Jimenez will provide the innings and stability that the team needs to compete in the toughest division in Major League Baseball.
Barry 3: Many teams in the league will be weighing the options of bringing in ex-Dolphins OL, Richie Incognito or Jonathan Martin. If you had to chose one as an NFL GM, who would you pick?
BD: This can be somewhat comparable to the Ray Rice situation, as all that really matters to NFL GMs is whether or not a player can help their team win. It is really sad to say, but it is true; just look over NFL rosters, including the most well-run organizations (even the Ravens). Teams are littered with low character guys because they are talented.
In this case, Richie Incognito has been a better player than Martin, and would have to be my choice as a GM. Though he is older, I would bank on Incognito keeping up his play at the same level, over Martin developing over the next couple seasons. In the end, production outweighs all, and Incognito is simply the better player.
Brett 3: Recent reports have come out that Warner Brothers is going to make a sequel to our childhood classic, ‘Space Jam’, with Lebron James having the headlining role. Is that a good fit? And a bonus question; which players would you steal talent from if you are the ‘Monstars’?
BK: The reports of a Space Jam 2 provides sports writers with the opportunity to once again compare the careers of LeBron and MJ. While starring in a kids movie would help repair King James’ image from “The Decision”, it just wouldn’t be right. Personally, if Warner Brothers was going to make a sequel, it should have taken place with Kobe Bryant during the early 2000s, when he was in his prime.
Which five players should the Monstars recruit to face the Tune Squad? I came up with them pretty quickly:
PG Kyrie Irving (play off of the Uncle Drew character, in addition to his talent)
SG Dwayne Wade (who wouldn’t want to see a Wade/James rivalry?
SF Paul George (to defend James) or Kevin Durant (scoring purposes)
PF Kevin Love (rebounding machine who is friends with Uncle Drew)
C Dwight Howard (Personality would translate well to the silver screen)