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Schein 9: Eli unable to lead Giants?
We are in the middle of a nasty work stoppage, but that doesn't mean the NFL lacks drama.
Do the Giants have a leadership problem?
Do the Raiders actually have a leader?
Do the Redskins actually have a quarterback?
Is it Tim Tebow time in Denver?
Is this the year the Browns finally get back to the playoffs?
We examine with strong takes, Schein 9 style ...
1.) Hello, Hoboken?
With the omnipresent lockout, NFL quarterbacks and team leaders have been organizing workouts for their teams, trying to develop some necessary chemistry for whenever we actually have football.
I think it is important to give guys like Drew Brees, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez and Eli Manning credit for setting up opportunities for their teammates to work. Go talk to the Green Bay Packers. Chat up Aaron Rodgers. They will tell you that the groundwork for their run to the Super Bowl was set during the offseason program, formed during Mike McCarthy’s quarterback school.
So why was the attendance at Eli Manning's organized workout so low?
Cue the usual refrain, the regular questions about Manning’s leadership. And when you play a little game of comparing and contrasting these workouts, it doesn’t look so hot for Eli.
Manning’s camp was set up at Hoboken High School. Reports made it seem like Pop Warner practices were more highly populated or structured. Eli was throwing passes to Dan DePalma. It begs the serious follow up question. Who the hell is Dan DePalma?
Manning and Mark Sanchez share the spotlight in the biggest market in the country. Sanchez, for the second straight offseason, organized a program called “Jets West.” Like last year, it was well attended. In fact, even more players, veterans like LaDainian Tomlinson and expected free agents like Braylon Edwards, came to show support. Sanchez flew the Jets to Cali and put his teammates up in gorgeous villas.
The third-year quarterback had cutups prepared on his laptop and on projectors. Meetings were run as if offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was presiding. Sanchez’s brother Nick organized lunch featuring food from legendary In-and-Out Burger. The players ate every meal together. Heck, Sanchez even took everyone to a Lakers playoff game.
Eli has his Super Bowl ring. He always will have that incredible season. But take a look at what has happened to the team since. Obviously, Plaxico Burress, the defense and injuries have had a lot to do with it. But after a sizzling first half, look at how Eli played in the second half of the year last year. Even in a win against Minnesota, it was marred by a couple of gruesome looking interceptions. Look at how Eli played in the fourth quarter of the ill-fated game against the Eagles. Look at Eli on third down last year.
When we talked to Tom Coughlin at the NFL Scouting Combine, I thought his head was going to explode talking about all of the turnovers in the Week 16 ill-fated Green Bay game, when Eli was at his worst.
I’ve always been a Manning fan, but the lack of attendance goes noted. Is it a lack of respect? Is it a lack of loyalty? Did his teammates want more than orange slices and water?
Interpret how you will. But anyway you cut it “Camp Eli” was a failure. And that reflects poorly.
2.) Tebow time?
Talking to Broncos football czar John Elway on the SiriusXM Blitz last week, he was noncommittal on having both Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton on the Denver Week 1 roster. Hmmm. I think the Broncos would deal Orton if they got a second-round pick in return. But now go around the league? Who would make that trade? I think Kevin Kolb is going to Arizona. Could Elway and Mike Shanahan ultimately be trade partners on a quarterback? How juicy would that be?
3.) John Beck gets it
You’ve watched my FOXSports.com video on Beck and the Redskins. If he’s the answer, I’d love to know the question.
But you know who doesn’t give a damn? John Beck.
In an interview with us on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Beck showed a ton of swagger and confidence. He craves the starting job in Washington. He is eager to show that his role in the disasterous 1-15 Dolphins was simply a neophyte making rookie mistakes.
His road from Cam Cameron’s handpicked savior in Miami to total NFL afterthought hasn’t affected his confidence. If you didn’t know any better, you would think we were interviewing Peyton Manning.
Beck told us, "I believe I'm a starter in the NFL."
He is also happy the team is parting ways with Donovan McNabb. Beck said, “I have to say I’m glad it happened. If I want my opportunity, I have to have stuff like this happen so I can get an opportunity. If McNabb stays as starter of the Washington Redskins, I remain a backup, and I want to be a starter. So, I have to hope for things like this to happen.”
Beck told us that the Miami debacle has helped him get ready for being in the mix to start in Washington. “I feel like I’ve been there when the crap’s hitting the fan. Did it suck back then? Yes. But I’ve spent the last three years preparing myself mentally and physically so that when it comes up again, if it does, I’m ready.”
And it is John Beck trying to get the band together for workouts in D.C.
“I basically say, 'Screw the awkwardness,’” he said. "I’m trying to be the starting quarterback. I’ll call whoever, try to set whatever up. If you don’t think you’re a starter and act like a starter, your teammates aren’t going to think you’re a starter.
"I’m furious that I don’t get to be out there running OTAs, running minicamps. I’m pissed I’m not doing football right now because I want to be practicing.”
Beck didn't sweat the NFL draft, with rumors that Washington would select a quarterback. And he's not naive. He knows he won't be the only quarterback on the 'Skins roster.
"If they brought somebody in, my mind-set was I couldn’t care less,” he said. “Just let me to go toe to toe with whoever they bring in. I believe in myself, and I never want to come across as somebody who is cocky or arrogant, but if you want to be successful, you have to believe in yourself.
"That holds strong in whatever situation you’re in. I’ve been through crappy situations, and I’ve tried to tell myself through this whole thing that I’m going to be a starter in the NFL.”
He welcomes competition and understands the naysayers. I don’t think he’s the answer. But I am now rooting for John Beck. And reliable sources tell me that the brass in D.C. likes John Beck. But how much?
4.) Campbell’s team?
Throughout his NFL career, Jason Campbell has been knocked for being a little too low key. Thus, it was encouraging to hear the Raiders quarterback reveal that he and Richard Seymour were organizing a camp for Raiders players.
I’ve always liked Campbell. He’s had wretched luck in the NFL with a constant change of offensive coordinators while playing for two of the most meddlesome owners in all of sports. And in theory I think he can thrive in Hue Jackson’s system. Jackson is a great playcaller and quarterbacks coach. But based upon last year and people around the organization, I am not convinced that Jackson truly trusts Campbell.
5.) Cleveland rocks
Tom Heckert was understandably upbeat when we talked on our radio show last week. The Cleveland police could’ve issued a warrant for his arrest after stealing the show at the NFL draft. This team, after firing the awful and overmatched Eric Mangini and energizing the building with Pat Shurmur, is finally headed in the right direction.
But the lockout really hurts the Browns.
They needed an offseason for second-year quarterback Colt McCoy to learn Shurmur’s new system. The defense is much better with rookies Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard and the brilliant hiring of defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. But the team is switching to a 4-3 defense.
The work stoppage mostly affects teams that changed coaches, changed offensive and/or defensive systems, have a young inexperienced quarterback. This is not good for the 2011 Browns.
But as hard as it might be Browns fans, be patient again. I love this brass and direction. 2012. I promise.
6.) Sleeping fine in Seattle
Seahawks general manager John Schneider is one of my favorite people to talk to in the NFL. He's always honest, appreciates give and take, is very bright and loves his job and Seahawks football. Schneider told us on the SiriusXM Blitz that he told his scouts that the pundits wouldn’t give them an “A grade” on the draft like last year. But he genuinely didn’t care. He laughed off my grade of a “D” on FOXSports.com and Trent Dilfer’s complete rip job on television.
Scheider tried to trade up and thought he had two potential deals to move down. I believe the Seahawks would’ve picked Jake Locker if he was there. Instead, according to Schneider, they drafted two starting offensive linemen who will help right away.
James Carpenter was the first-round pick. I thought he was going in Round 2. John Moffitt is not going to sell apparel. But Schneider thinks both players, coupled with the hire of Tom Cable to coach the offensive line, makes Seattle instantly better in a major area of weakness last year.
7.) Really, NFL?
So now the league is on a witch hunt to find coaches and staff who have communicated with players during the work stoppage? Fines and employment are being threatened? This is an absolute joke. Coaches and staff didn’t ask for this. I know rules are in place but if their teams lose, it will be these men who are out of jobs. Let’s have some perspective here.
And by the way, all 32 teams have employees who have communicated with players. You can take that to the bank. And I don’t blame them.
8.) Keeping up with Jones
One general manager sent me this text after reading my rip job on FOXSports.com of the Falcons trade up for Julio Jones:
"I didn’t love the deal either, but think about this. A fourth-round pick wasn’t necessarily making the Falcons. Julio Jones is a tough SOB. He will help Matt Ryan. They will add to the defense whenever we get an offseason. Thomas Dimitroff knows what he is doing."
The last line I agree with.
9.) Big fan of Faneca
Last week, Cardinals guard Alan Faneca retired from the NFL after 13 outstanding seasons at offensive guard. While he finished up with the Jets and Cards, Faneca will always be remembered for his domination and dedication wearing a Steelers uniform. I know how subjective the Hall of Fame voting is, especially for offensive guards. But if Faneca isn’t a Hall of Fame guard, then I don’t who is.