Nationalfootballpost.com is a relatively new site which I really like, and find myself looking at on a daily basis now. Mike Lombardi (who also writes for SI,) Andrew Brandt, and Matt Bowen are the key players. Lombardi analyzes blurbs of beat writer articles each morning (Diner News) and talks about selected topics and mailbag inquiries at night (Tavern Talk.) Brandt deals with the business end of the NFL, and Bowen writes a weekly feature about NFL schemes, which is pretty in-depth and very worthwhile. They also have guest writers a lot, usually people you wouldn't think of, who end up adding value. A recent example was former NBA head coach Eric Musselman. There's a feature about making your woman love the NFL today.
In today's Diner News, Lombardi reacts to a (typically asinine) Jim Armstrong article in the DP about Javon Walker, by posting his actual evaluation of Walker which he did for the Broncos before departing their employ. See below.
When I worked for the Broncos last year, before departing I wrote up every player on the roster. Here is my report on Mr. Walker:
JAVON WALKER WR 6026 215 4.50 28 YEARS
2007 PLAY TIME: Started first three weeks, and then was injured and has been off and on for the last fourteen weeks.
2007 MEDICAL/INJURY REPORT: He went to go and clear out some particles from his surgically repaired knee.
STRONG POINTS: Has size, has been productive in the NFL, hands, can run with the ball after the catch, capable of breaking tackles.
WEAK POINTS: Injury situation, lack of competitive fiber, not running hard, does not show great deep speed, does not play with passion, will get jammed on release, hands are inconsistent, will make mistakes on and off the field, durability, the ability to play through pain, does not trust anyone right now, will not give effort in blocking, lacks awareness in his route running, is not handling the success of Marshall very well.
SUMMARY: He starts the year off with two 100-yard receiving games and looks like he can be a real factor in the offense, then the knee and the season went to hell. He does not run hard, he does not look or appear as if he has any power in his lower body. He looks like he cannot make a play on his own and does not show the deep-ball threat he once possessed. What is most alarming is that he cannot handle the Marshall emergence and he does not have the mental toughness to work through the difficult times. He sees himself as a star and a player that has natural talent and does not appear to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices in his game to blend into the team concept and the fill an important role in the offense. He has much to overcome this off-season and not sure he has the mental capacity to handle the off the field issues and play the game for the love of the game. He is not the player that his current salary for 07 commands, and it is going to be difficult to get him to understand that his career is at a crossroads.
2008 PROJECTION: Must get his mind and body right. Rework contract.
CRITICAL AREA OF OFF-SEASON: May be the most important off season of his career. He needs to gain the confidence in his knee and he needs to work on his lower body to gain strength and power. He seems to have lost some of the power. He then needs to prepare and work in the classroom to have a better understanding of the offense.
FINAL GRADE: 3.4 GREEN 6 ALERTS
ALERTS: DURABILITY, CHARACTER, MENTAL, INJURY, DECLINING PLAYER, COMPETITIVENESS
All of that gets you $27 million for three years. Amazing huh? But I don’t think I was wrong and it appears the Raiders don’t have a pro passing game.
This is exactly the kind of analysis you never see on ESPN or other outlets, and Lombardi has gems like this virtually every day. He also makes fun of the Raiders a lot, and calls them Hotel California. I highly recommend this site.