Posted by Andy Benoit
INDIANAPOLIS -- The show was stolen Saturday by Cam Newton (stolen is probably the wrong word – the media was more than happy to give it to him). The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback was extremely well coached and well prepared – and he benefitted greatly from following Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett at Podium C (Mallett’s press conference was essentially a train wreck).
Newton’s stock will likely rise after this weekend, though talking to people in the know, there are concerns about his accuracy. He has a rifle of an arm, at least. But the belief is that Newton’s running game will not translate to the NFL the way many expect. Thus, his precision passing becomes all the more important.
Earlier in the afternoon, I had an opportunity to meet with a highly respected front office exec. One of the most interesting things that came out of the conversation was his assertion that the tight end position is facing extinction. He named another big-time exec who believes tight ends will soon go the way of the fullback. This isn’t necessarily shocking; many can look at the game and figure that the No. 3 receiver will soon become a cog in every starting lineup. But don’t be surprised if this change occurs quicker than expected.
Friday night I joined the Football Outsiders crew at Scotty’s Brewhouse near Conseco Fieldhouse. Peter King (one of the greatest people in the industry, by the way) was holding court with a room packed full of hardcore football fans. George Atallah, NFLPA spokesman and Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens’ player rep, were both there. The media has been saying for months that fans don’t care about the details and legalese of the labor strife– they just want to know when football will be played. But if last night is any indication, this is simply not true. Fans care very much about the labor strife. The evening at Scotty’s lasted two and a half hours. The first hour of the Q and A was solely about the labor situation. And all of the Q’s were coming from fans.
Albert Breer of NFL Network was on hand. Interestingly enough, just about everything he told the room seemed to be favorable to the players. Foxworth was openly surprised (and appreciative) by Breer’s candor. It put a mild damper on the whole evening hearing about how a lockout is inevitable (this was prior to the union decertification rumblings , of course). But that’s fitting, given that labor talk has dominated the discussion all week here.
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