When I was a kid on the sandlots playing pickup games of any sport, there was usually a selection process. A couple of guys were named team captains and it was their job to pick teams from the guys available. Inevitably there was some player that no team wanted but had to select in order to balance the teams.
I was reminded of those days when it was announced that Jeremy Zuttah was named to this year’s Pro Bowl.
For years I was one of the few who actually watched the Pro Bowl. Back in the days when it was played in Honolulu the week following the Super Bowl, it represented that one last chance to say goodbye to the game until the following season.
I genuinely found the game to be entertaining back then. It was enjoyable to watch the sideline camaraderie amongst the players – bitter divisional foes, now teammates for one moment in time.
As a kid I took pride in seeing my hometown team helmets populating an all-star huddle and I cheered for my guys to make a difference in the game.
These are all now distant memories.
The Pro Bowl that I used to know is long gone. The one that exists today is a three-ring circus.
How appropriate that this year’s “game” is in Orlando, Florida, the Magic Kingdom – the land of make believe and now pretend football games. Some wonder why they even play the game anymore.
If the game didn’t yield a profit, the NFL wouldn’t play it.
It’s all about the Benjamins in the National Football League. If the game’s bottom line wasn’t in the black, it would fade to black.
Speaking of the bottom line, I had to laugh when Steve Bisciotti shared the following at the State of the Ravens presser.
“I still don’t know any owner that’s in this business because of the money.”
Anyone that’s followed me over the years knows how much I admire Steve Bisciotti. And I do believe that Steve isn’t in the business for the money. I also believe that his words were sincere but they’re spoken from his vantage point. From my vantage point there are few decisions that the NFL and its money grubbing commissioner do that isn’t fueled by the search for the legal tender.
According to a report from ESPN, the Ravens plan to move Kamalei Correa to inside linebacker in 2017 with the hope that he can claim the spot beside C.J. Mosley recently vacated by the retiring Zach Orr. This is yet another example of the Ravens scouts, front office and coaching staff not being on the same page.
Correa has outside linebacker written all over him. His play at that position is what attracted the Ravens to him in first place. Among his weaknesses are traits you DON’T want at inside linebacker, namely his inability to shed blocks and weakness at the point of attack. In other words, NFL guards will be licking their chops when assigned to Correa.
If Correa was a fifth or sixth round pick and the Ravens wanted to take a chance on moving him to a new position because his skill set matched up well with the position in the Ravens scheme, that’s one thing. But when you are the 42nd overall pick in the draft you need to be productive. And while it wasn’t all his fault, Correa was a failure as a rookie. Moving him inside sets him up for more failure.
And unfortunately for the Ravens, second-round failures are much more common for them than successes, in part because the coaching staff tries to jam the talents into a scheme instead of utilizing the talents in a way to help them succeed.
Maybe they should watch more Patriots games. They clearly understand how to put players in position to be productive.
After all, Bill Belichick makes stars out of undrafted lacrosse players.