With the start of the underwear Olympics in Indianapolis this weekend, the NFL has officially entered silly season. This is the time of year where the teams, media and fans start moving players up and down on the draft board for hundredths of a second on a 40 yard dash, a couple of dropped passes or a minor injury. Players work for months with trainers trying to shave hundredths of second from their times or bulk up to pump out a few more reps on the bench press. Silly, silly, silly. However, this is the game that is played. There is some good going in Indy, but there is quite a bit of silly. This is why you hear smart talent evaluators talk about ‘game speed’ and not 40 yard dash times.
The case of Michael Crabtree covers some of these points. Like some elite prospects of the past, he decided not to fully participate. The NFL doesn’t like this, but he is not hurting himself here. The biggest question about him is can be get separation in the NFL. Running a 40 yard dash will not answer that question. Scouts are going to have to break down game tape to determine if he has enough of a burst to get separation from NFL corners. Does it matter if he runs a 4.51 or a 4.56 in the 40? No, no and no. Crabtree did come in to get weighed and measured. Like some athletes, he is now the incredibly shrinking Crabtree. His 6′ 3″ frame must have shrunk on the plane. The player that came to Indy was a shade over 6′ 1″. Does this make a big difference? No, but it does make a minor difference. Does this drop him? I don’t think so. Then, word of the stress fracture in his foot comes out. Again, this is a minor deal. Some of the silly season talking heads are dropping him on their boards. All this does is put his foot on your radar. Teams would like him to be available for training camp. They will monitor when/if he has surgery and whatever rehab he does. Unless we get worse news, this should not affect his draft status.
Of course, when you show up out of shape and skip town early, you don’t help yourself at all. In my opinion, the interviews are more important than the dog and pony show on the field. Workout warriors will shine, others will fade. Let other teams become infatuated with the latest workout warrior (Michael Johnson anyone?). The good teams value the game tape more than the combine workouts. From player reports, the Chief scouting department was well prepared. Considering all the turnover in the front office, I am pleasantly surprised. Would it be asking too much of Kremlin Scott to let us know if Bill Kuharich is staying on?
One final note on this time of the year. This is the time to disregard what teams are saying about their needs and players they are targeting. In addition to silly season, this is also bullshit season. The bull will be flying fast and furious. Forget about it and stick to what you see, not what you hear. I would like to know what base defense we are running and who the defensive coordinator is.