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|Posted: 17th October 2018, 06:32 Post subject: want to get playmakers
|Lured out of the broadcast booth with a $100 million contract that makes him the highest-paid football coach ever Kris Letang Jersey , Jon Gruden sauntered up to the podium and flashed that mischievous smile. ”I’m very excited to be back here in Indianapolis,” Gruden declared. ”I sure have missed the combine.”
Gruden is navigating an offseason NFL landscape that’s changed drastically since he last roamed the sideline nearly a decade ago.
”It’s a lot different because you’re not allowed to have any interaction with the players, and I’ve always complained about that since the new (collective bargaining agreement) came into place,” Gruden said Wednesday. ”A lot of players would come to see me in Tampa to get their football fix.
”So, you’re not allowed to have contact with these guys. But what’s most discouraging to me is we’ve got to make some decisions on our roster, on salaries, on players and their futures and you can’t even meet them,” Gruden grumbled.
”I don’t know these guys. I’ve never coached them. I never met half of them. So, that’s been very, very difficult for me and I’ve been emotional about it at times.”
On the next podium was Matt Patricia, who, unlike his former colleague Josh McDaniels, didn’t balk at leaving Bill Belichick’s brigade.
Then there was Andy Reid, in the midst of another major roster shakeup, and his protege, Doug Pederson, still basking in Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl triumph in just his second season as coach of the Eagles.
All are gathering this week in Indianapolis hoping to better their chances of winning in 2018.
Top college prospects, including a group of quarterbacks that could produce five first-round draft picks, will spend four days getting poked and prodded, tested and timed.
GMs and coaches will pepper them with questions either in formal 15-minute interviews or during a mixed zone after their physical assessments.
”It’s a chance to get to know these guys, to know exactly what you’re getting when they come into the building,” said new Texans general manager Brian Gaine.
He said their athleticism and acumen are already well-known, and they’ll flash their strength, speed and swiftness this week at Lucas Oil Stadium.
What the GMs and coaches want to do is get a look under the hood.
”We’d like to talk about football as much as we can, but we need to know everything we can to find out about these players,” Gaine said. ”So when they come into our building (we know) that they’re a good fit for us in the locker room, in the weight room, in the training room, in the meeting rooms, out on the practice field.”
After this week, teams will retreat to their headquarters and begin preparing for the annual flood of free agents that will hit the market in mid-March.
NFL.com reported this week that teams will soon receive in-game player-tracking data on every NFL player in the league, something that could change the way they scout opponents and evaluate free agents.
The league has gathered the data since 2014 through sensors in players’ shoulder pads. Until now Mario Lemieux Jersey , teams only had data on their own players.
Some teams have embraced the new tools more than others.
”Are you talking about the analytics, the GPS, all the modern technology?” Gruden said. ”Man, I’m trying to throw the game back to 1998.
”You know, really as a broadcaster, I went around and observed every team, asked a lot of questions, took a look at the facilities, how they’re doing business, there’s a stack of analytic data or `DAY-tuh,’ however you want to say that word, people don’t even know how to read it. It’s one thing to have the data – or DAY-tuh – it’s another thing to know how to read the damn thing.
”So, I’m not going to rely on GPSs and all the modern technology. I will certainly have some people that are professional that can help me from that regard. But I still think doing things the old-fashioned way is a good way, and we’re going to try to lean the needle that way a little bit.”
Also meeting in Indianapolis this week is the league’s competition committee, which is looking into fixing the catch rule, something commissioner Roger Goodell said was his top offseason priority.
The committee is also pondering whether to change the defensive pass interference rule from a spot foul into a 15-yard infraction as it is in college.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph dismissed that possibility because of the harm it could cause to a league that just gave us a thrilling Super Bowl featuring 1,151 yards of offense, more than any NFL game ever played.
”The DPI rule’s not going to change, guys. That’s nice media talk,” Joseph said. ”The catch rule? It has to clear up what’s an actual catch and what’s not a catch. But the DPI rule’s not going to change. It’s a fun game. We like to see points being scored. If that rule changes, there’s going to be a lot of defensive backs grabbing and pulling guys, so that won’t change.”
Forced to assess the 2017 season far sooner than anticipated, Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged changes must be made for Baltimore to snap its three-year run missing the playoffs.
He will not, however, shuffle the coaching staff.
Harbaugh will fill the void left by the retirement of defensive coordinator Dean Pees, but said Thursday he will bring back offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and attempt to keep the rest of the staff intact unless ”guys get opportunities to go somewhere and do some different things.”
Pees announced his retirement Monday, less than 24 hours after the Ravens (9-7) were bounced from the playoff chase with a 31-27 loss to Cincinnati.
The in-house contender for the coordinator job is Ravens linebackers coach Don Martindale. Chuck Pagano, fired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday and Baltimore’s defensive coordinator in 2011, is also among those being considered.
Asked to describe what he’s looking for from Pees’ successor, Harbaugh replied: ”Definitely continuity. I’m a believer in this system. I think this system has been something that’s been developed over a long period of time, and we have worked really hard every single year to make it better. We’ve evolved it and grown it, and I think you see the results.”
The Ravens have long been known for their defense Matt Murray Jersey , and this year that unit was the strength of the team. Baltimore recorded three shutouts, led the NFL with 34 takeaways and ranked 12th in yardage allowed.
The offense, on the other hand, needs help. Harbaugh lauded the performance of quarterback Joe Flacco , who rebounded from a back injury to come on strong during the Ravens’ late-season playoff push.
But the coach was unrelenting in his assessment of the wide receivers, noting that there were too many dropped passes and far too few big plays from a unit built around veterans Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin and featuring 2015 draft pick Breshad Perriman, who is thus far a first-round bust. Baltimore ranked 29th in net yards passing per game (189.4).
”That’s an area we’ve got to look at really hard,,” Harbaugh said. ”The passing game wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Tight end Benjamin Watson led the team with 61 catches and six touchdowns. Wallace and Maclin combined for only seven scores, and Baltimore had only five catches of at least 40 yards.
”We want to get playmakers. That’s something that we need,” Harbaugh said. ”We’re going to add players. It’s not to say that we can’t add some players through free agency. That’s the way that the salary cap works. The draft will be the major part of it.”
Covering a variety of topics in a session that lasted nearly 40 minutes, Harbaugh said he and owner Steve Bisciotti, along with general manager Ozzie Newsome, are looking forward to improving upon a three-year stretch in which the team has gone 5-11, 8-8 and 9-7.
”Our focus is on, can we be better tomorrow than we were today? And that’s just the truth of it,” Harbaugh said. ”To me, that’s our focus. It’s not looking back and saying, `Hey, we didn’t do this or we didn’t do that.’ Everybody is full speed ahead to be the best we can be, and has been for the last three years.”
Had Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton not thrown a 49-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play with 44 seconds left, the Ravens would have spent this week preparing for the playoffs amid a city bathed in purple. Instead, Harbaugh was left trying to appease a fan-base that responded to mediocrity and the team’s take-a-knee stance during the national anthem on Sept. 24 by staying away in record numbers on Sundays.
”We understand our fans. We understand what they respect,” Harbaugh said. ”And we want nothing more than to get it there, so we can have that moment, we can complete that pass and we can have the whole city going crazy and dancing in the streets. That’s what we’re fighting for.
”I wanted it to happen this year. I wanted it to be the miracle year this year. Maybe we could have done it, and then all of a sudden, it’s not to be. OK, are we going to lament it and look back and beat ourselves up, find reasons that aren’t there and point fingers? That’s not what I’m going to do. That’s not what leaders do. Let’s go to work.”