Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune has been selected as the 2013
winner of the prestigious Dick McCann Memorial Award for distinguished
reporting and will be honored during enshrinement week ceremonies in
August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There are times when I write this blog that you would have thought
that Pompei’s articles are the only ones I read all week. In fact, I
read dozens of newspapers and magazines but the Tribune articles in
general and Pompei’s articles in particular are most often the ones
that teach me the most about the game. This award is well deserved.
Josh Alper at profootballtalk.com discusses the fact that the Rams will have the same offensive coordinator two years in a row for the first time in quarterback Sam Bradford‘s career:
“”The day Sam walked back into the building [this offseason] we started making adjustments,’ [offensive coordinator Brain*] **Schottenheimer said, via Mike Sando of *ESPN.com*. ‘We are a thousand years ahead of where we were last year.’
“While an increased comfort level with the offense is significant, it isn’t the only reason why the Rams might feel like they’ve gone from working with stone tools to the Industrial Revolution in a matter of months. Adding wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in the draft after signing tight end Jared Cook and tackle Jake Long has given the Rams offense a very different look than it had last season.
I don’t know about those additions but I can guarantee the offense will be significantly different with the loss of running back Steven Jackson. Jackson, for my money the best running back in the NFL, was a work horse. Daryl Richardson looked good in the role in limited duty last year but a lot is riding on his ability to pick up the slack.
Drew Sharp at the Detroit Free Press puts his finger on the problem when commenting on the Lions lack of discipline:
[Head coach Jim] Schwartz didn’t take the off-field nonsense seriously last year. It reflected his head-coaching inexperience. Commitment is a 24/7 proposition in the NFL. It isn’t a light switch you can flick off when you’re not at minicamp or OTAs and then flip it back on when reunited with your teammates and coaching staff.
It always bugs me when I’ll write something about an off-field problem with a player and fans will come back at me with “I don’t care about what kind of citizen they are. I just want a good player on the field”. The problem is that you are talking about players as whole people. There is no “here’s how I am off-field” and “here’s how I am on the field”. Its always just “here’s how I am”, period.
Bottom line, a lack of discipline off-field will almost always show up on the field in some way. It won’t always hurt you as badly as it has the Lions. But it will hurt you.