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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The NFL Playbook: The Poorly Written Document A Rookie Faces - The Mike Martz Playbook

It's rookie mini-camp time, and like your third date with that girl you always liked it marks the time to get excited all over again -- only this time about the upcoming football season.

But for a rookie it's a hard time, especially because they have to memorize the contents in the playbook they're given. If they're Detroit Lions first year offense players under offensive coordinator Mike Martz, they're forced to absorb the contents of a playbook that's over 400 pages -- and poorly written.

How do I know? Because I'm reading the St. Louis Rams offense playbook from 1999 -- there's little different from the offense shown in this playbook and what the Lions and Washington Redskins players will learn this year.

This is what the Lions' Wide Receiver Mike Williams has to remember:

"We will number our holes according to the points of attack with EVEN numbers going to the right and ODD numbers going to the LEFT."

"Numbering of Backs: QB is #1, R is #2 regardless of set; H is #3 regardless of set."

Williams has to remember not only what a "Zero" route is (a shallow pattern into the short middle of field just five yard deep) but how to run it against "Retreat Zone", "Retreat Man" ,"Cloud" , "Trail", "Bump" , and vs. "Quads" -- all are types of defensive coverage approaches.

He has to know the difference between "Trade Deuce Right" and "Trade Double Right" (the fullback is next to the weakside tackle in the former and in the slot between the weakside tackle and the split end in the latter), and that's just in the "D Variations"

The what?

But hey, I'm reading the playbook. He's got to remember this stuff.

What ads to this is the playbook itself is so poorly written. There's not an extensive table of contents. The plays are not well organized. Indeed, there should be a chapter for each kind of pass there is. And each play should have it's own page and segmented so that each offensive player knows what they're supposed to do in that play. Kind of like the Cal offense.

I've got that playbook too. It's the best organized playbook I've ever seen. Each play has it's own page. There's a page on special strategies. For eample, Cal calls it's two minute offense "Bonzai" -- who can forget that? There are also special chapters on screen passes.

How do I know this? Because I'm looking at Cal's offensive playbook, too.

In fact, It's clear to me that some NFL teams should study their college counterparts for playbook design ideas. The 2005 Notre Dame Offense playbook is well-segmented, yet detailed and there's no play that's simpler than what's ran in the NFL. Moreover it' reveals a varied offensive attack that has just one weak spot: an apparent vulnerability to defenses that play multiple-fronts and zone blitz.

But heck, if you've got to get to that level of complexity to beat Notre Dame, that's saying something for their playbook. The only other answer is to have better athletes, but that's another story.

Rookies coming into the NFL have to learn a new playbook and absorb a lot of information. Since the concepts in the NFL are really not more advanced than those at colleges like Notre Dame and Cal, why not make the playbooks easier to read?

There's no sense in fooling your own players.

Rumor: Houston Texans GM Charley Casserly Fired - Profootballtalk.com

According to today's Profootballtalk.com, Houston Texans GM Charley Casserly has been fired. Here's their report, with a link to it at the title of this post.

A league source tells us that the Texans and G.M. Charley Casserly officially have parted ways after a six-year relationship, which preceded by more than two full years the team's official arrival to the NFL.

For now, we don't know whether the move is being characterized as a resignation or a termination. Our guess is that it will be described to the media as voluntary.

Several weeks back, we reported that Casserly would be fired after the draft. Our report prompted a strong denial from the team and from owner Bob McNair. Our prediction at the time was that all parties were hoping to preserve the appearance that Casserly's ultimate departure was not in any way forced.

His name has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Art Shell in the league office, but we've heard that the rumors of Casserly's candidacy for that specific position trace not to the Park Avenue, but to Casserly himself.

And based on things we're hearing it now appears that the Texans will make a run at Broncos assistant G.M. Rick Smith before moving on to other candidates. Some league insiders believe that the Broncos would never give Smith permission to leave, and other league insiders believe that the Texans don't (or at least shouldn't) want Smith given his close relationship with new head coach Gary Kubiak.

Randy Moss Fires His Agent Over Drug Charges - AP

Moss drops agent facing drug charges

Associated Press and Fox Sports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss has dropped an agent who is facing drug charges in Florida.

Charleston lawyer Dante DiTrapano, his wife Teri, and three others were arrested March 14 at a St. Petersburg, Fla., hotel. Police there said they recovered 73 pieces of crack cocaine and 21 grams of powder cocaine. All five were charged with felony possession of crack cocaine.
Moss signed an agreement on April 20 designating another Charleston lawyer, Tim DiPiero, as his sole agent, the NFL Players Association told The Charleston Gazette for a story in Tuesday's editions. DiPiero confirmed the agreement on Monday but he told the newspaper that he would not comment on the reasons.

DiTrapano and DiPiero are members of the same law firm, DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero PLLC. The law firm has removed DiTrapano's name from the sign outside its Charleston offices.

DiPiero has represented Moss as an agent and attorney since 1995, when Moss was accused of kicking a classmate at DuPont High School. Moss later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery.

Seahawks, A&M reach deal on 12th man phrase - AP

Seahawks, A&M reach deal on 12th man phrase
Associated Press

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - The fight over the "12th Man" is over and both Texas A&M and the Seattle Seahawks will be able to use the phrase.

Texas A&M and the Seahawks said Monday they had reached a deal settling the university's lawsuit over the nickname for their fans.
As part of the agreement, the Seahawks acknowledge Texas A&M's ownership rights of the trademarked phrase. However, the NFL team may continue using it under license. Neither side admitted any fault or liability.

The Aggies hold a federal trademark rights to "12th Man." They wanted to halt Seattle from using "12th Man" earlier this year.

In February, the university filed a lawsuit in Brazos County over the Seahawks use of the trademark. Days before Seattle faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, a restraining order was issued calling on the Seahawks to halt any usage of "12th Man," or "12th Mania."

Origins of the term "12th man" aren't exactly clear, but the traditions in Seattle and College Station date back decades.

The Aggies trace their use to 1922, when an injury-plagued roster led the team to pull E. King Gill from the stands and suited him up to play. Gill never took to the field, but the legend strengthened campus-wide commitment to support the team. The words "Home of 12th Man" adorn the stadium and the entire school is considered the 12th Man.

The Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984 to honor fans who made the old Kingdome one of the noisiest stadiums in football. It hangs alongside Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent's No. 80.

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