Random notes around the NFCE: Warren Sapp’s awfulness, Nnamdi’s dining habits, and will an OL stud make it to 18/19?

• I’m a little late throwing my two cents in here, but the Eagles released DTs Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Patterson was a great, underrated Eagle. However, no surprises on either player. Here’s what the Eagles’ depth chart now looks like along the D Line:

DL depth Eagles

There will be a lot of new faces playing D Line up at Lehigh (or wherever) this summer. That has led some people to ask if that makes Florida DT Sharrif Floyd a target at 4. How free agency plays out will give us a better idea of what the Eagles may be thinking there.

• Quick note on Cullen Jenkins and “leadership.” (Leadership will be a theme of this post, just FYI). Jenkins got this reputation for a being a team leader. That was highly media driven. Jenkins, win or lose, would talk to the media probably longer than anyone on the team after every game. His answers were honest, and was often frank about the team’s poor play. He, of course, became a media favorite because he provided them with great quotes, and professional respect. But was he a “team leader?” I’m not so sure the players and coaching staff saw it that way. If I played on a struggling team and the same player was talking to the media about how bad we were every week, I wouldn’t look at that guy as some kind of role model. The guys I’d look at as leaders would be the ones that spent time with me 1-on-1 and tried to help me be a better player. Maybe Cullen did that. I have no idea. If he did, then great, let’s coronate him as a “leader.” But what the media and players view as leadership don’t often jive.

• There are 5 legitimate studs along the OL in this draft: OTs Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, and Lane Johnson, as well as OGs Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper. (Some teams are also reportedly looking at Cooper as a center). Will any of them last to the Cowboys at 18 or the Giants at 19? My guess is no. A look at the teams ahead of the Cowboys/Giants and whether it not it would be reasonable for them to draft an offensive lineman in the first round:

  • Chiefs: Yes.
  • Jaguars: I would think no.
  • Raiders: Leaning toward no.
  • Eagles: Yes.
  • Lions: Yes.
  • Browns: No.
  • Cardinals: Hell yes.
  • Bills: Tackle, no. Guard, maybe.
  • Jets: Leaning toward no.
  • Titans: Yes.
  • Chargers: Yes.
  • Dolphins: Yes.
  • Buccaneers: No.
  • Panthers: Yes.
  • Saints: Yes.
  • Rams: Yes.
  • Steelers: No.

That’s a tough minefield to navigate through.

• After watching 4 straight days of the Combine on NFL Network, I don’t want to see Warren Sapp’s face on TV ever again. And it’s not even as if he got a ton of airtime. He brought literally nothing to the table. Nothing. When NFLN went to Willie McGinest to talk about DEs and OLBs, he was informative. When they could set aside the annoying Leon Sandcastle stuff for two seconds and Deion Sanders actually evaluated which DBs looked good in the drills, he was able to talk about players intelligently. When they asked Marshall Faulk about traits he liked in various running backs, it was clear Marshall had at least done some homework. When they went to Sapp, he would say stuff like, “When I watched that guy play, he didn’t stand out like a turd in the punch bowl.” Bullshit. Sapp didn’t watch film. He evaded questions with what he thought was comedy to deflect his lack of film study. If Sapp is going to play the “clown role” like Frank Caliendo, then let him be the clown that he is. Otherwise, get him the hell off my TV and put somebody like Greg Cosell on it.

• The Nnamdi Asomugha eating in his car story has become oddball news. I of course once snapped a picture of Nnamdi eating in his car.  Oddly enough, I already had a real-world take on this subject long before this situation came up.

Some people will say it’s a non-issue, and to an extent I agree, but I actually think there’s a little something to it. I worked at a sales job where everyone in the office would order food together and eat it in the kitchen. They’d talk about work stuff. Lunch was almost like an additional impromptu sales meetings in the middle of the day. So after a few times of being asked by the boss if I had any new prospects in the pipeline while I had a mouthful of pizza, I learned to just not eat with them anymore. It was almost like more work, when I just wanted to eat my effing turkey sandwich in peace. I’d have been more than happy to bullshit about sports, or news, or some inane topic like the weather. Just not more work. So I’d leave and go to a deli or something.

So I feel Nnamdi. DRC was probably jabbering on about nonsense, and Nnamdi wanted some peace. I get it.

I had another job in which my company really pushed people to eat together. The bosses would try to talk to you about your interests, ask you about your family, etc. No work was discussed at all, even if you were having a bad month or whatever. They really tried to establish a feeling of community. It was a small company (like 10-12 people), and every other Friday, they’d take us all out for lunch. Each employee took turns picking the restaurant. It worked. If you were screwing around on the internet at your desk, not getting anything done, you’d remember how good the people you work with are, and would feel self-pressure to get back to work. Or if someone needed your help with something, you’d be more eager to assist them, because you had gotten to know that person in a non-work setting.

So I’m not really sure if this whole thing is more of an indictment of the Eagles and the emphasis (or lack thereof) they placed on camaraderie, or if it’s just an anti-social player.

The word “leader” gets thrown around very liberally these days, and people often associate age with “leadership.” That’s wrong, and here’s a case in point. Sitting in your car and eating lunch by yourself is not the act of a leader. Not everyone is a natural leader, and that’s OK. I just think that given the preference between your $15 million vet being a social teammate or not, you’d prefer the former.

In the grand scheme of things, if Nnamdi was a good player, nobody would give a shit if he had a clause in his contract that stated that nobody was allowed to come within 15 feet of him while he ate. But he’s not a good player, or at least isn’t anymore, so when oddball things like this pop up, the overpaid, under-performing vet doesn’t get a pass.

A lack of camaraderie (or at least a perceived one) didn’t make the Eagles go 4-12. Didn’t help though either.

• It’s tough to talk a lot about the Redskins, since they won’t be participating in the first round this year unless they trade up. But it appears they have been doing some heavy talking to safety prospects.

• Monte Kiffin is a low talker, so the Cowboys should improve.

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  3. ts0p says:

    If Kelly is running a hard camp with lots of competition then your table (above) is bare.

  4. I don’t think it was so much that he wanted “me time” to chill out, it was that he was running businesses and charities on the side and using lunch time to work on those external entities.

  5. Juz Saying says:

    When Sapp dissed Richardson ,I knew he was on that Miami Crack

  6. Jeff says:

    Agreed about Asomugha. Most people wouldn’t care about anything he did if he were still playing like an All-Pro..

    With regard to Sapp..My guess is that TV networks have done extensive research indicating fans are more willing to listen to famous ex-NFL players talk about the game instead of insightful, albeit dull, guys like Greg Cosell. I also don’t think that most NFL fans, even the hardcore ones, have the willingness/interest to study the game at a detailed level. So when Cosell talks about the intricacies of schemes/personnel they’re likely to tune out. They don’t want to examine their preconceived notions about the game. As a former professor of mine liked to say: “It’s hard to think.”

  7. Dallasgoesallthewat says:

    Decastro was suppose to be long gone before 14 last year and ended up not going until the mid 20s. Guards fall and there’s no way two are taken before 18.

    1. nygslater says:

      completely agree. Two guards in the top 20 would be surprising. But it could happen, the players are top 20 quality just horrible positional value.

  8. Mflick says:

    After Steve McNair was shot, I gave up trying to figure out who is a good guy or not. You really never know what these guys are like outside of their public image. And quite frankly I could care less. Early training camp it is fun to read the stories of where they came from and stuff, but it is all immaterial in the long run.

    Stories like Nnamdi eating in his car are usually ones told after they get cut. Maybe it is even pushed from Coleman because he blamed him for his own missed assignment, or professional jealousy. Who cares.

    But that picture literally made me laugh out loud.

  9. Greg says:

    If I remember correctly jenkins restructured to a bargain priced contract a couple years ago because he really wanted to stay on Philly. I always feel like those are the kind of guys you want to keep because (a) they should bring a positive attitude about the team city, (b) they are playing for the game not the money, like the old school players, and (c) football has a hard salary cap which makes getting a good price a high priority.

    1. poolboy87 says:

      I dunno. I usually don’t think a player renegotiating his salary down “to stay with the team” is necessarily about being a good team player. If he’s not going to get much better on the open market, then the player is probably always going to renegotiate for the security and not having to go through the hassle of looking for a new team and moving. If his only other option to restructure was to get cut..then it’s not really a selfless act. He didn’t walk into the front office and say “Guys…the team needs money! Take it from me!”.

      I just don’t think there’s any real way to know who team leaders are with any ease or accuracy. Because for a guy to be a real team leader, or to have a real effect on the locker room they have to do things that we don’t really see and talk about. Coming in early, working with young guys, things of that nature.

      I think “leadership” just gets way too overblown by the media…because when it comes to discussing it, it’s usually about 99% speculation.

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