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  • Video: The coach that every coach should be

    Showtime’s Inside the NFL recently ran a feature on Gary Mioli. Mioli was not in the NFL – the closest he ever came was a MetLife Stadium seat wearing his beloved Jets green.

    Mioli was the longtime coach of Park Ridge High School in New Jersey. He guided the Owls for 23 years, marching the club its only state championship in 1995, until his untimely death last September. He was just 57 years old.

    Narrated by his son Joe, this eight-minute feature is so worth your time.

  • Renderings: The Rams are exploring a $1 billion riverfront stadium


    MMQB – Peter King

    With rumors picking up steam the last few months that the St. Louis Rams are considering a jump to Los Angeles, the country’s #1 media market, their new riverfront stadium location profiled in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback article this morning will come as a bit of a surprise to many.

    The new stadium, said to cost about $1 billion, will seat around 64,000 and will sit on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. The pictures available in King’s MMQB article is the first time that anyone outside the NFL or the committee tabbed with keeping the Rams in St. Louis have seen the renderings.

    King points out that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon already has an agreement in place with a construction company to work around the clock in three eight hour shifts per day, every day for 24 months to get the stadium done. It may be a bit lofty, but if work begins in August, the stadium could be ready for a 2017 grand opening.

    Detailed market studies have already been launched in St. Louis to feel out the market for ticket sales, ticket prices, and how many premium and box seats are expected to sell, and those same studies will be done in the Oakland and San Diego markets as well, as the NFL works to gather all available information.

    It’s pretty obvious now that St. Louis seems determined to keep the Rams in The Lou, but in the NFL, money is king and the LA market is very appealing, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

    See more pictures, and get a full run down on the situation in King’s MMQB article, which is a weekly must-read for football fans.

  • The coach’s guide to the most overrated and underrated buzzwords of the NFL Combine/Draft


    Now that the NFL combine is done, and we enter the months leading up to the draft itself, words and phrases like “NFL ready,” “high motor,” and “character issues” are going be heard constantly coming from your television from draft experts from every major network.

    While hundreds of descriptive words are thrown out there to describe prospects by “experts”, there are some that are simply held in a higher regard than others, especially when we’re talking about those in the coaching profession. Some phrases elicit eye rolls and instant headaches, while others certainly have merit.

    For example, it’s a personal pet-peeve of mine when experts talk about a college quarterback not being “NFL ready,” and that drives me nuts for a few reasons. First of all it seems like a knock on the college coaches, and it’s not the job of the college coaches to prepare their quarterbacks for NFL systems – they’re judged on winning games, not sending players to the league.

    Secondly, the term itself is just ridiculous, and this tweet I happened to see the other day from Smart Football author Chris B. Brown illustrates my thoughts on it perfectly.

    Granted, many of these experts have never coached a day in their lives, but I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of buzzwords that carry weight for actual coaches leading up to the draft, as well as the top 5 most cliche and overrated words and phrases in the eyes of coaches.

    Here are the top 10 most underrated for coaches. Think of these as the attributes that coaches would put a ton of stock in if they had 100% control of the guys they drafted, which only a handful of guys actually do (we’re looking at you Chip Kelly).

    1. “High-motor” – Flat out aggressiveness and “want-to” is something you simply can’t coach at any position. When players just want it more than their opponents, it shows on film as their “motor”.
    2. “Playmaker” – Height, weight, and other measurables aside, if a guy can flat out make plays in the face of adversity, he’s a guy coaches should want.
    3.  “Physical” – Like having a high-motor, teaching a timid player to be physical is another aspect that’s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to coach. It’s what sets apart great run blockers, physical running backs, and great tacklers and cover men in the secondary.
    4. “Proven Winner” – There’s something to be said about adding a player to your locker room that that comes from a culture of winning big games. It’s an attribute that can be contagious.
    5. “Character issues” – There’s a reason that so much time is spent combing through the finer details of a player’s background including disciplinary actions. Rarely do you see players with character red flags get drafted and shake that image to go on to long and successful NFL careers.
    6. “Passion” - There is no substitute for guys that take the field on Sunday’s that have a true love for the game. If they didn’t absolutely love it in high school and college, chances are pretty good they’ll think of the NFL as more of a job than a passion. These are the first guys in the building and the last ones out.
    7. “Intangibles” – This may be the strangest, and most controversial on the list because no one can really define what intangibles really are, but it’s that “it” factor that some guys just have and it’s obvious after spending some time with them (especially on the field, in the heat of battle).
    8. “Work ethic” – Work ethic has the unique ability to make average players great, and great players average. Want a great example of an elite work ethic in the NFL? Look no further than JJ Watt – the poster boy of hard work.
    9. “Attitude” – Attitude is one of the few things on this list that guys have ultimate control over, and it’s also something that takes zero talent. Attitudes have a tendency to be infectious, so coaches want good ones in their locker room.
    10. “Fundamentals” – If you can get your hands on a player that has a passion for mastering the fundamentals of the game, he’s got a chance to be special.

    Here are the 5 most overrated for coaches. Think of these as the cliche ones that drive most of those in the coaching profession nuts.

    1. “Freak” – The list of freakishly athletic/fast/strong/gifted athletes that have entered the NFL is long, and so is the list of busts. Being a “freak” doesn’t even come close to predicting NFL success.
    2. “Strong arm” or “Can make all the throws” – Being able to make all the throws means nothing if you can’t process complex fronts and coverages.
    3. “NFL Ready” – I’ve already stated my thoughts on this one.
    4. “Potential” – It’s a nice way of saying “this guy could be good, but he’s not that good right now”
    5. All of those weird measurements – Go ahead and put hand size, wing span, or any other odd measurement in this category. I’ve never understood why we try to equate combine measurements to NFL success, because everyone knows that it couldn’t be further from actual science.
    6. “Speed” - Long ago, someone said “speed kills”, and coaches (and GMs like Al Davis) everywhere bought it and have based entire draft classes on it. While it’s important, and has its place, many coaches will opt for most of the top 10 underrated buzzwords.

    I know there have to be some out there that I’m missing, so as you watch ESPN (or your favorite provider) over the next few days, pay a little closer attention and shoot me suggestions for each list to, or via Twitter @CoachSamz.

  • Video of the Day – UNC’s first spring practice

    Monday March 2, 2015

    Video of the Day

    UNC’s first spring practice

  • John Chavis and LSU are suing each other

    USA Today

    USA Today

    Six successful, harmonious seasons shared between LSU and its former defensive coordinator John Chavis will end in a courtroom. The two sides sued each other, Chavis first filed suit in Brazos County, Texas, and LSU countered in East Baton Rouge Parish, La. At the center of the dispute is $400,000 the Tigers believe Chavis owes them for a brief of contract.

    Texas A&M is also named in Chavis’ suit, though it’s not a sign of squabble between the man they call Chief and his new employer. Rather, it’s a strategy play by Chavis and the Aggies. A&M is fully committed to paying its new defensive coordinator’s buyout, though, like Chavis, it doesn’t believe it should have to.

    It’s a stark contrast from the way A&M’s rival has handled a very similar situation. Texas co-offensive coordinator Joe Wickline is in the midst of a testy lawsuit with his former employer Oklahoma State, whom believes is due a $600,000 buyout. That one has gotten to the point where Charlie Strong was asked to provide testimony clarifying whether or not Wickline actually calls the Longhorns’ plays. Texas athletics director Steve Patterson has stated on multiple occasions the lawsuit is Wickline’s problem, not UT’s. That’s not the case here.

    As for this case, this extremely uneducated legal amateur believes LSU has a strong case. Chavis’ contract, which expired Dec. 31, 2015, dissolved the buyout if he accepted another job 11 months before its end date. Chavis says he did, evidenced by the fact A&M did not officially announce his hiring until Feb. 13. In reality, Stevie Wonder could see Chavis started working for the Aggies well before that.

    Unless the Aggies have a few legal rabbits to pull out of their hat, the guess here is that A&M will pay LSU a sum between zero and 400,000 dollars. And for its part, LSU says if it does not receive buyout money it at least wants A&M to float the costs associated with finding Chief’s replacement. There would be your middle ground.

    Regardless of the final verdict, it doesn’t take a law degree to see Joe Alleva and the LSU administration should never have let it reach this point in the first place.