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Old 01-04-2009   #1
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Lightbulb A GM's Life

I found this article interesting......

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A GM's Life
Scott Pioli and Marty Schottenheimer are flying around the country, entertaining offers to resurrect down-and-out franchises. Bill Cowher met with the Jets but didn't like what he heard; soon, Mike Shanahan will hear the same pitch. Names like Eric DeCosta and Chris Polian keep popping up on the news wires as the Chiefs and Browns search for new top executives. Some of the names are familiar, some new. We learn the names, review the resumes, then scratch our heads about the men who will soon be among the most powerful people in the football universe.

The casual fan has no idea what an NFL general manager does. Listen to talk radio and you'll get the impression that the GM spends his days with his feet on his desk, chomping a cigar butt and barking out orders like Mister Spacely or J. Jonah Jameson. "Get the Patriots on the phone and offer a No. 1 pick for Matt Cassel! Offer our prima donna receiver eight mil, and tell him to like it or lump it! Tell the head coach he's fired, and get me Jim Schwartz on line two!"

Of course, it's not really like that. But even veteran sportswriters have only a cloudy idea of what the GM does. When the season ends (as it just did for 20 teams), we lump credit or blame on the GM for personnel decisions, then offer the kind of quick "smash or trash" appraisal best reserved for new songs on a Top 40 station. Jeff Ireland: Smash! Phil Savage: Trash! Ted Thompson switched categories in the course of one season. These executives don't go from smart to stupid in a few months, so there's obviously more to a GM's job than drafting the best players or making the right trades.

Aaron Schatz and I visited NFL Films a few weeks ago. We enjoyed our annual film session with Ron Jaworski and Greg Cosell, but there was a third wise man in our midst this time. Charley Casserly was general manager of the Redskins from 1989-99 and the Texans from 2002-06. He now works for NFL Network, and he broke down film with Jaws and Cosell during our visit. Over lunch, Jaws and Cosell asked Casserly a few questions about the nuts and bolts of general management. Soon, we were treated to a symposium by Casserly on the life of an NFL executive: the schedule, the procedures, and all the things that happen far below the surface of the "Jets sign Favre" headlines.

Casserly wasn't speaking on the record, and I wasn't taking notes (I was eating panini) so I won't use any names or specifics. Even in general terms, the typical regular season week in the life of a general manager sounds fascinating and exhausting:

Monday: Players get injured on Sunday, and the general manager must work on Monday to restock the roster. Often, this process starts on Sunday, just minutes after a player is injured. It's not unusual for a team to sign a street free agent before the final gun on Sunday, assuming that the free agent is on the team's "ready list." More often, though, the coach and GM must discuss needs and available replacements, then the GM and his staff must contact free agents or schedule tryouts.

Once the GM and head coach meet to discuss roster shuffling, it's time for film sessions. Different teams handle Monday film study in different ways, but the GM is usually present for some of the sessions. Many GMs sit in on coaches' sessions, then watch game film independently and conduct their own player evaluations.

The GM and team owner also usually meet on Monday to discuss the current state of the franchise. With 31 other teams also making roster moves, the GM must work quickly to bring in available talent and to stay abreast of league news, making Monday the busiest office day of the week.

The rest of the article can be found at www.footballoutsiders.com


I just found out about this site(it's been around since 2003) and I'm like a kid in the candy store. Lots of information/stats there.
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Old 01-05-2009   #2
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Default Re: A GM's Life

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Aaron Schatz and I visited NFL Films a few weeks ago. We enjoyed our annual film session with Ron Jaworski and Greg Cosell, but there was a third wise man in our midst this time. Charley Casserly was general manager of the Redskins from 1989-99 and the Texans from 2002-06. He now works for NFL Network
I stopped reading right about there.
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Old 01-05-2009   #3
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I stopped reading right about there.
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Old 01-05-2009   #4
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While listening to Casserly, several big ideas struck me.

1) An NFL general manager is just like a high-level executive in any business. He's a chief of staff who must spend a huge portion of his time doing non-glamorous tasks like supervising his subordinates and processing data. First-round picks and major trades are just the tiny tip of a vast procedural iceberg.

2) It's easy for a team to lose its way. When a coaching staff and front office have been in place for a few years, everybody knows everybody else's needs and responsibilities. When a team keeps changing coaches or shuffling executives, it can lead to miscommunication and breakdowns. The Dolphins spent most of this decade trying to merge last year's front office to next year's coaching staff. The results: squandered draft picks, quarterback-of-the-month free agent signings, and other evidence that the scouts didn't know what the coaches wanted, or vice versa. Bill Parcells brought in Jeff Ireland and a new top-down management system, and the improvement was so sudden that it was nearly historic.

At the same time, it's possible that a well-oiled front office can atrophy, with everyone so entrenched in their roles that they cannot change. That may be what happened in Denver: The Broncos have changed some pieces in the front office over the years, but Mike Shanahan called nearly all of the shots, and his system reached the point of diminishing returns about three years ago. The Eagles may have reached that point: The scouts and Tom Heckert know what Andy Reid wants, Reid knows what his execs can give him, and everyone has forgotten how to question or adjust the system. It's easy to see how a team like the Colts becomes more Colts-like every year under Bill Polian and Tony Dungy, with scouts churning out lists of affordable linebackers and coaches filling their Santa lists with top-shelf receivers and linemen who can pass protect on the fly. The Broncos, Eagles and Colts have been successful, and the alternative is far worse, but all teams need a shake-up once in a while.

3) This NFL stuff really is complicated. Aaron and I asked very few questions during Casserly's informal lecture. Jaws and Cosell asked the questions, and it was exciting to be part of a collegial environment where everyone wanted to learn more about football. But if Jaws and Cosell needed more information on the day-to-day life of a general manager, then it's clear that most of us are completely clueless. The television commentators know nothing. The talk radio hosts know nothing (surprise). I just told you everything I know, and it is all second-hand from Casserly; if I spoke to Polian or Ozzie Newsome, I would probably get a whole different story.

The minutiae of the NFL can be awe-inspiring. The general manager, flying to college campuses to talk to strength coaches about a player's work ethic. The scouts, carefully grading cornerbacks on their footwork and hip placement. The coordinators, watching one play 50 times in search of breakdowns and improvements. The team signs Matt Ryan and we cheer, or they sign Ryan Leaf and we scoff and accuse everyone of incompetence. But there's so much going on in those offices and film rooms that even the most respected experts need to educate one another.

So when a Schottenheimer or Pioli is hired, we may think immediately about his track record, his boom-and-bust personnel moves, and other products of that exec's last stop. We really should be thinking about the process: The new hire's skills as a communicator, delegator, and time manager. We have no way of measuring these attributes, of course, but these invisible skills will determine what makes or breaks teams like the Browns and Chiefs.
Polian is one of the best GM's ever. Ozzie Newsome has been a pretty good GM so far in Baltimore. It's a good read even though he did call Casserly a wise man, which he is but putting together a team is not one of his strong points. It shows how much work a GM does in a given week.
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Old 01-09-2009   #5
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I hear Charley Casserly and George Kokinis are also on the list of candidates in Kansas City, assuming Scott Pioli turns down the GM job. Kokinis may have options based on interest from Cleveland and KC.
http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/...avern-talk-93/
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Old 01-09-2009   #6
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Default Re: A GM's Life

How sad do you find it that some football employees spend their entire lives dedicating themselves to the game, and they still are worse than some of the armchair GMs here on the boards.
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Old 01-10-2009   #7
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Default Re: A GM's Life

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Originally Posted by gtexan02 View Post
How sad do you find it that some football employees spend their entire lives dedicating themselves to the game, and they still are worse than some of the armchair GMs here on the boards.


What I find sad is that some of these armchair GMs are ignorant enough to actually believe that.
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Old 01-10-2009   #8
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Default Re: A GM's Life

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Originally Posted by gtexan02 View Post
How sad do you find it that some football employees spend their entire lives dedicating themselves to the game, and they still are worse than some of the armchair GMs here on the boards.
Matt Millen
Charley Casserly

These are 2 great examples of what you are taling about.

The flip side is Millen & Casserly made Ford & McNair alot of money during their tenures. Even though it would be hard to field worse teams.
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Old 01-12-2009   #9
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Lerner is in no rush to fill the vacancy and might interview other candidates this week, including former Redskins and Texans general manager Charley Casserly and former Broncos G.M. Ted Sundquist.
http://www.morningjournal.com/articl...s/mj459745.txt
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