I'm really tired of this place.
I don't mean that I'm not appreciative of being here. I don't mean that I'm not enjoying myself. I don't even mean that I'm sick of the weather, even though it is cruddy. No, I'm just sick of the culture of the combine. Tedious question after tedious question answered with carefully crafted hooey.
Here is a list of questions and their respective answers. Call it the combine drinking game if you happen to watch the interviews on NFL Network.
1) Have you, (Player X), been talking to (Team Y)? What other teams have you talked to? A: Yes, I've talked to teams. Lots of teams. There are more coming tonight, (8-10) of them. I'm losing track.
2) What do teams see you playing? What do you want to play? A: I will play whatever the team wants me to play.
3) (Coach/GM X), have you (tendered, talked to, discussed) (Player X)? A: I can't get into the details of that yet. Or we haven't decided.
4) (Player X), some people say you are behind (Player Y) in the draft, how does that make you feel? A: I let my tape do the talking and they can think whatever they want to think.
5) (Coach/GM X), discuss (some element of your draft board), what do you plan to chase? A: We really can't comment on that.
I'd love to blame it all on the media, but it's not just them. I tried to change things up a little bit after about one or so and start asking questions that I thought would get people talking. I asked Arkansas State defensive end Alex Carrington what the weirdest question he'd gotten during the process was. He stares at me. "I really don't know." Deadpan. "Probably this one." I look at him, there is no smile. He's looking at me like I just left a flaming bag of poo on his doorstop. I laugh nervously and scribble the results down.
Follow the jump for more nose tackles than you can shake a stick at, plus the case of the enormous 8 ball.
The most magnetic individual I talked to in the afternoon was Cam Thomas. To put it one way, this guy is just laughing at the whole process. 3-4 DE? He doesn't care if he is. 4-3? NT? Whatever. He doesn't want to know about his stock, and he doesn't care where he's going. I don't mean to make him out to be a jerk; he actually made it a really funny sitdown once we got him talking about food. "What's your favorite kind of food?" one reporter asks, and then he steals a wand microphone from someone else, and then repeats in there and into another camera "Pizza Hut, meat lovers, stuffed crust. SO GOOD. I didn't just say that, y'all can't prove nothin."
The reporters then jumped on the nose tackle trend to a ridiculous extent. Lamarr Houston was asked if he could play the nose at 300, and he said "I have the ability to play football. Nose or not." Simple, right? The surrounding media followed this up by asking him 5 different variations of "Have you played NT?/Would you play NT?" and he just answered them all gently, like he was on another moon. They asked Carrington if he would play NT. Carrington barely cracks 250. It got a little out of hand.
It slowed down a little after that, but after 4 the big guns started coming out. Daryl Washington said that he feels his biggest strength is open field tackles, and he was mostly looking at being an outside linebacker. 3-4 or 4-3. Hint, hint, Texans in second round.
Dan Williams came out at the same time as Ndamukong Suh, so he was relegated to a small table. Very soft-spoken guy, and after sitting down with him I agree with KC Joyner that he'll need someone cracking the whip on him to be as effective on the next level. Practically half of his answers included the words "Coach" and "Kiffin".
Sean Weatherspoon was a pretty good talker, actually gave the media some helpful tidbits. He said that most teams see him on the weakside. He told us what the teams were saying to him and how he was responding to it: they want to know why is junior tape looks better and he explained that he had a new defensive coordinator making him play inside more and he gained 12 pounds before the season. Then some teams asked him if he was putting on an act and he went on to explain that he has grade school progress reports that say he talks excessively. Pretty good guy, I liked him.
Finally, the myth, the legend, the Colt McCoy came out. He made a pretty boring account of himself, but John McClain was hovering around and it made the conference amazing. McCoy was surrounded before he could get there, so you have a guy dressed entirely in black, huge belly, and he's peeking around the sides of some of the reporter wall like he's carefully eying a cookie jar across the room. It took everything I had not to burst out laughing there. McCoy kept basic media relations going. There were lots of comparisons to Drew Brees, flattering but Mccoy rightly thinks they are based on height. He just seemed incredibly tired to me. He mentioned a few times that he's sick of the rehab, and I'm sure he's sick of the same questions over and over again as well. He did get off one good zinger when someone asked him if Rams GM Billy Devaney asked him whether he'd pick Suh or Sam Bradford, he had a long rambling nothing response for about forty seconds, then turned back to the asker and said "If Billy asks me, I'll answer him."
Tomorrow is my last day here, all defensive backs tomorrow. Let me know what questions you want on the front lines and I'll do my best.