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Old 02-08-2013   #1
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Default The Importance of Football Character

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Drafting is the easiest and most efficient way to build a team, as NFL general managers are acquiring talented players who are fast, healthy and entering into the prime of their careers. Drafting talent is easy. Drafting talent with character and a good medical report is the ultimate challenge for any personnel evaluator.

Projecting anything or anybody is no easy task. As a rule, half the players drafted in the first round will fail to meet expectations and most will be considered a “bust” within three years. Only 25 percent of first rounders will play to a pro bowl level while the remaining draft picks will play to a rank and file level.

Most teams have their own reasoning and beliefs that they adhere to when deciding on who to draft. Some teams have no real philosophy and those teams usually wind up drafting high every year.

I’ve found that the most intoxicating and overrated trait that teams use to justify their draft picks is speed and/or athletic ability since speed & raw talent are the real separators between the average and above players in the league. There are much better ways to evaluate a football player than on just speed or athleticism.
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Old 02-08-2013   #2
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

MSR. I'd rep you 10 times if I could for posting this article. There are so many truisms within. Some of them so obvious they could bite you in the rear. Others subtle, until you really stop and think. There's always the exception out there, but following common sense usually helps save you from losing your rear most cases.
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Old 02-08-2013   #3
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

Good find. I hope that the 31 other teams don't find it.
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Old 02-08-2013   #4
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

He misspelled gauge.

Yes, I am cursed that way.

Great article though. As often as I have questioned coaches/coaching staffs (staves?), I liked this part a lot:

Quote:
When I was In Tampa, we drafted a player who had also been drafted by baseball. Prior to drafting him in the 3rd round, we got him on the phone and made sure that if we drafted him that baseball would not be in the picture. He assured us that his first love was football and that it wouldn't be a problem, but all we had was his word. He was not fast or overly athletic, but he was a good player.

Once the player was on the team, the coaches at that time did not like him because of his lack of speed. There was a point when we were seriously entertaining cutting him. In fact, we even tried to make him a LB to see if we could get something out of him. He added 15 or 20 pounds and he looked bad and played worse at the experimental position. That staff got fired and we told the new staff what was said about him. They said they would work with him and see for themselves. That player had very high football character and it was a real credit to the player that he never lost hope or his will to be great. His name was John Lynch.
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Old 02-08-2013   #5
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

I believe the LB he was talking about was Broderick Thomas. He was drafted #6 overall out of Nebraska in 1989. So after reading this article how many still think we need to take chances on talented but troubled players in the draft?
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Old 02-08-2013   #6
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

I just posted this article over on the Cowboy board...saw it through LZ's twitter, not here. The conversation I posted it in was dealing with a quote by Nate Newton where he disputed a Dallas radio announcers assertion that the Cowboys could have easily been 10-6 vs 8-8. Nate said no they couldn't have because they didn't have the attitude and willpower to make the extra plays to go 10-6. I agree with him. There are clueless people...IMHO..who think that talent wins out no matter what. The problem is the playoffs or a late regular season game where you have two talented teams. This is when character and work ethic and attitude make the difference. Great read.
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Old 02-08-2013   #7
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by mussop View Post
I believe the LB he was talking about was Broderick Thomas. He was drafted #6 overall out of Nebraska in 1989. So after reading this article how many still think we need to take chances on talented but troubled players in the draft?
I think you may be misconstruing Angelo's message. Warren Sapp was no boy scout. He dropped due to a failed drug test in college. 11 teams passed on him. None of those players are in the HOF. On the other hand, David Carr was a boy scout. A model citizen. But, the game didn't mean enough to him.
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Old 02-08-2013   #8
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

Newton/Irvin/Tuenei(SP)/Williams were all chior boys on those Cowboy teams.

They also were SB champions.

Ravens this yrs SB champs

Lewis/Suggs/Jimmy Smith/McKinnie etc.... were all role models... to win a SB you have to have a mixture of chiorboys that can play and badboys too. But they all have to be able to shine the brightest when the stakes are at the highest, This is what the Texans are missing and it starts at the top with Rick/Gary/Wade and the players follow their lead of not being at their best when the playoffs/SB are on the line.
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Old 02-09-2013   #9
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Default

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Originally Posted by steelbtexan View Post
Lewis/Suggs/Jimmy Smith/McKinnie etc.... were all role models... to win a SB you have to have a mixture of chiorboys that can play and badboys too. But they all have to be able to shine the brightest when the stakes are at the highest, This is what the Texans are missing and it starts at the top with Rick/Gary/Wade and the players follow their lead of not being at their best when the playoffs/SB are on the line.
This is how I feel as well. You gotta have a mixture. But to have that you need solid leaders.
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Old 02-09-2013   #10
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by srrono View Post
Excellent read, thanks for posting srrono
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Before we go further, let’s first define “football character.” Football character entails a player’s work ethic, competitive nature, threshold for pain, football IQ, overall passion for game and level of play within these characteristics.
Never thought about character so inclusively, but it makes perfect sense.
Quote:
The two things most players don’t have in college that they’ll have an abundance of at the next level is time and money. How a player handles his idle time and new money will have a big impact on whether he’ll have a future in the NFL.
As soon as I read that, I thought about Gronkowsky. Too much time & too much money.
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Old 02-09-2013   #11
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by steelbtexan View Post
Newton/Irvin/Tuenei(SP)/Williams were all chior boys on those Cowboy teams.

They also were SB champions.

Ravens this yrs SB champs

Lewis/Suggs/Jimmy Smith/McKinnie etc.... were all role models... to win a SB you have to have a mixture of chiorboys that can play and badboys too. But they all have to be able to shine the brightest when the stakes are at the highest, This is what the Texans are missing and it starts at the top with Rick/Gary/Wade and the players follow their lead of not being at their best when the playoffs/SB are on the line.
So, are you saying they need some "badboys" on team so they can win a SB? That no team can win it without some "badboys" on their team? And who or what defines a "badboy?" Where do you, or the GM/Coaches/Owner draw the line? One drug bust in college? 2 or 3? Do we go after "Honey Badger?" Does Posey qualify as a "badboy" for his NCAA infractions?

I think the point that Jerry Angelo was trying to make about "Football Character" is that it's better to take someone with maybe less talent, but heart and drive for the game, over someone who has all the talent in the world, but no drive or heart, regardless of whether they are a choirboy or not. But, the odds are that someone who is a "party boy" or doesn't workout, misses practices, etc.. in college is probably someone to stay away from in the draft IMO! In other words, the Texans need more like JJ Watt and Cushing who have the heart and drive to be the best.
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Old 02-09-2013   #12
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by mussop View Post
I believe the LB he was talking about was Broderick Thomas. He was drafted #6 overall out of Nebraska in 1989. So after reading this article how many still think we need to take chances on talented but troubled players in the draft?
I think he did a good job of discerning between football character & citizenship.
Quote:
While both “citizenship” and “football character” are important to his future success as a football player, I would say that the latter carries more importance. That’s the reason I would always say “we’re not looking for boy scouts” because our jobs are to win football games. We weren’t hired to serve the community. That’s not to say a player’s citizenship isn’t important because I feel like it is very important. I’m just saying that football character is more important.
The LB he was talking about wasn't a "troubled" player, he just had low football character.
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Old 02-09-2013   #13
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by HoustonFrog View Post
I just posted this article over on the Cowboy board...saw it through LZ's twitter, not here. The conversation I posted it in was dealing with a quote by Nate Newton where he disputed a Dallas radio announcers assertion that the Cowboys could have easily been 10-6 vs 8-8. Nate said no they couldn't have because they didn't have the attitude and willpower to make the extra plays to go 10-6. I agree with him. There are clueless people...IMHO..who think that talent wins out no matter what. The problem is the playoffs or a late regular season game where you have two talented teams. This is when character and work ethic and attitude make the difference. Great read.
I completely agree. I think our late season breakdown was two fold. One, we don't have the leaders on field that inspire each other to give 10% more on the next play again & again & again. We've got guys like Jj Watt & Andre Johnson who "lead by example" but that doesn't focus everybody on the next play. I think our defense faltered down the stretch & looked lost vs the Patriots, because they lost that focus.

Secondly, I'm sure Kubiak's message was to stay calm & don't panic but we reached a point in each of those losses that we should have realized a sense of urgency. A couple of the games, it looked like we recognized that point too late & the other two we didn't recognize that point at all. Our offense just didn't "get it"
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Old 02-09-2013   #14
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by steelbtexan View Post
Newton/Irvin/Tuenei(SP)/Williams were all chior boys on those Cowboy teams.

They also were SB champions.

Ravens this yrs SB champs

Lewis/Suggs/Jimmy Smith/McKinnie etc.... were all role models... to win a SB you have to have a mixture of chiorboys that can play and badboys too. But they all have to be able to shine the brightest when the stakes are at the highest, This is what the Texans are missing and it starts at the top with Rick/Gary/Wade and the players follow their lead of not being at their best when the playoffs/SB are on the line.
I can say this from a ravens perspective: Since the Ray Lewis incident in Atlanta and the 2000 Super Bowl featuring a nasty defense, the perception around the NFL was that the Ravens were "a bunch of Thugs" when in fact thy have one the best non-Arrest records out of the 32 team.

Lewis was deemed "too small", "too slow" when the Ravens took him 26th overall. The Atlanta incident has haunted him forever (I'm not going to retry it here but I am sure alot of people will take their pot shots and insensitive comments from their glass houses). But no off field incidents since then.

Suggs had an incident in college (accused of aggravated assault- exonerated by a Jury trial) and had a slow 40 time at the combine- Brian Billick was asked about the slow time and responded "If my DE is chasing a QB 40 yds down the field, I have bigger problems to worry about". Suggss was accused of Domestic Violence last fall by his fiancee but has since married the woman and charges were dropped (He said/she said)

Jimmy Smith 1st rd pick who had off field issues inc ollege- none since being in Baltimore for 2 years.

Bryant McKinnie- he of the famous "Love Boat" scandal in MInn- FA pickup who seems more contet to eat himslef ino trouble than actually go out and commit any trouble.

"Ozzie always made a point to ask the important questions during NFL draft meetings. These were the two that he repeated most often:

1) "How will he fit in our locker room?"
2) "Does he help us beat the Pittsburgh Steelers?"

Newsome never got too carried away with height, weight or speed. He wanted football players. Period. That philosophy helps explain the makeup of this current Ravens roster."
http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story/0...-ozzie-newsome
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Old 02-09-2013   #15
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OK, reducing the Atlanta "incident" to a misplaced fear of insensitive comments coming from those living in glass houses is laughable. Two folks are DEAD. They didn't commit suicide at that club. Awfully hard to complain about glass houses when most of us haven't been present when folks were killed in front of us.

I can't take you seriously until you recognize that wasn't some "run of the mill" off the field incident.
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Old 02-09-2013   #16
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by thunderkyss View Post
I think he did a good job of discerning between football character & citizenship. The LB he was talking about wasn't a "troubled" player, he just had low football character.
Sorry, "troubled" was a poor choice of words. I have seen people post here saying that we need to take chances on really talented players who have issues. Some of those players "issues" fall in line with "football character" that is described in the article.

For example alot of people wanted us to take a chance on Dez Bryant.
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Old 02-09-2013   #17
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Excellent read, thanks for posting srrono
Never thought about character so inclusively, but it makes perfect sense.
As soon as I read that, I thought about Gronkowsky. Too much time & too much money.
You mean the Gronk that's in the AFC championship/SB regularly?
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Old 02-09-2013   #18
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

Enjoyed the read but I am still a speed guy, it cannot be taught. I'm not saying a 6'2" WR with 4.4 speed and bad hands or who cannot run good routes is better than 5'10 4.5 guy who is all around skills guy with good route tree. I am a supporter of no thugs on Texans. I don't want an ankle biter, eye gouger, kick 'em in the groin, hit 'em out of bounds player. My idea of the "badboy" I like is Antoine Smith. Plays straight up until you go after him or one of his teammates & then the gloves come off.

I believe some teams, Texans are currently one, that would rather be safe than to take a risk and possibly blow a first. Risks are for lower rounds.
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Old 02-09-2013   #19
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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OK, reducing the Atlanta "incident" to a misplaced fear of insensitive comments coming from those living in glass houses is laughable. Two folks are DEAD. They didn't commit suicide at that club. Awfully hard to complain about glass houses when most of us haven't been present when folks were killed in front of us.

I can't take you seriously until you recognize that wasn't some "run of the mill" off the field incident.
I never said it was a "run ofthe mill" incident; I didn't emphasize it because one can never talk on a non-Ravens message board about Ray Lewis the player without a reference to Ray Lewis the accused murderer.

For the record: I was responding to post where a Texans fan named Lewis by name s well as other players.
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Old 02-09-2013   #20
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Default Re: The Importance of Football Character

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Originally Posted by Insideop View Post
So, are you saying they need some "badboys" on team so they can win a SB? That no team can win it without some "badboys" on their team? And who or what defines a "badboy?" Where do you, or the GM/Coaches/Owner draw the line? One drug bust in college? 2 or 3? Do we go after "Honey Badger?" Does Posey qualify as a "badboy" for his NCAA infractions?

I think the point that Jerry Angelo was trying to make about "Football Character" is that it's better to take someone with maybe less talent, but heart and drive for the game, over someone who has all the talent in the world, but no drive or heart, regardless of whether they are a choirboy or not. But, the odds are that someone who is a "party boy" or doesn't workout, misses practices, etc.. in college is probably someone to stay away from in the draft IMO! In other words, the Texans need more like JJ Watt and Cushing who have the heart and drive to be the best.
Every team that wins has some badboys on it. The key is that a team has 1 badboy who's a leader, who can party with the hardest partiers, but when it comes time to work they are not only willing to work but the party players will follow his lead. (Example Lewis/Irvin)

Yes, every team would love to all Watt/Cushing etc.... on it. Point is for every John Lynch you find, you'll find a thousand Barber/Keo's of the world. Give me the guy with talent. The higher the rd you pick a guy in the greater the risk. But the greater the reward. That's why a guy like Mathieu is a better bet in the 4/5th rd than a guy like Rodgers in the 1st. But if you draft Rodgers in the 1st at 27 and hit, then you get the best WR in the draft. IMHO

It comes down to how much $$$$ are you willing to risk on a guy like Rodgers who has a great work ethic, but has character (Pot) flaws. Irvin was drafted 9th by the Cowboys and became a HOF. Guys like Lawrence Phillips (domestic violence) busts out.

This is the risk and I dont blame BoB/Rick/Gary for not being willing to risk high draft picks/$$$$ on guys like these. But in rds 4-7 that's where you can find guys with 1-2nd rd talent if your willing to take these risks. If they fail you really haven't lost anything. ($$$$ wise) If they hit your ahead of the game. BoB/Rick/Gary are still unwilling to take these risks and this is where I disagree with their philosophy. They are too conservative for my taste.

BTW, Why cant Angelo find another GM job? There were many GM jobs open this yr and nobody even interviewed him except for the Jets who could barely give the GM job away. This speaks volumes about how Angelo is viewed around the league. Kind of like Casserly.

Last edited by steelbtexan; 02-09-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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