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Ryan's Reality: A Weekly Sports Blog. Volume One.

Updated on March 11, 2014

What is this?

So this is a new thing I'm doing. Instead of flooding the Facebook or Twitter feeds with my rambling football thoughts, I'm gonna post them all right here, so it'll fit into one tweet and one status.
And hey. It doesn't hurt that I'll make a little cash on the side.

Jared Veldheer, Superstar Left Tackle, Gym Rat, Avenger.
Jared Veldheer, Superstar Left Tackle, Gym Rat, Avenger.

Jared Veldheer and my Raiders.

Rumor has it, from NFL Network and their seemingly reliable sources, that tackle Jared Veldheer has agreed to a 5 year, very lucrative contract with the Oakland Raiders. This is outstanding news for the Raiders, a Jared has quietly been the most talented player on their team for a few years now, and is a huge part of the rebuilding process. His absence from the team for most of last season was definitely a big part of their 4-12 record. The inability to protect Terrelle Pryor, or establish a running game essentially ruined any offense the Raiders might have had before the play even started. With Veldheer, Center Stefan Wisniewski, and youngster Menelik Watson in place, the Raiders have the pieces for a very good offensive line. That makes it possible for the Raiders to draft a fun skill position player with their #5 pick, assuming they don't trade down.
If they do pick at five, I have a hard time seeing them taking anyone other than Teddy Bridgewater or Sammy Watkins (if either are available).

Speaking of Sammy...

UPDATE- Screw NFL Network, and everybody they employ for getting my hopes up. This was not the case, and now, he and Carson Palmer are drinking caprisuns in the dry desert heat.

Clemson wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, catching the ball at the highest point, in crowded coverage for a touchdown versus Ohio State.
Clemson wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, catching the ball at the highest point, in crowded coverage for a touchdown versus Ohio State.

Sammy Watkins.

I'd say I've watched about 75% of his game tape, and the more I see of Clemson's star wideout, Sammy Watkins, the more I like.
He's got great on the field speed, ( and performed extremely well in the combine.
At the ultimate showcase, Watkins ran a had a 34 inch vertical, had a 4.34 shuttle run, and ran a 4.43 40 time... After a false start.
The guy cuts well, does a great job of grabbing the ball at the highest point, and bringing down in traffic. He does the unusual things too. He's good at shaking off tacklers, is willing to go across the middle, and more importantly, he blocks for the run game.
I can't tell you how rare that is among receivers coming out of college.
One thing I look for in judging a young wide receiver is how dominant they really were in college. If somebody looks pretty good in college, I don't like em in the pros. If he can't beat Joe Blow from Cornfield University Tech of Miami (Ohio), how the hell is he supposed to beat Richard Sherman one on one?
He isn't. And he won't.
Another thing? The scheme's that they run.
If the stat line reads 100 catches, 1,500 yards, 20 TDs, you and your fantasy team are jumping for joy. However, if he played at say, Texas Tech, with their "Air Raid" offense, where they don't run the ball and just find creative ways to pass, his numbers will be inflated. More passes means more passes thrown at him means more catches. It's that simple.
Well, fortunately, Watkins made everybody they played look absolutely silly all of the time from the moment he set foot on campus. He dominated as a freshman, he excelled as a sophomore, and was just fun to watch as a junior.
And while it isn't your standard pro offense... Hold on, let me write down that we need to discus the concept of a "pro offense"... anyway.... While it isn't your... "standard" offense, Clemson runs a balanced scheme. In fact, every year that Watkins played for Clemson, they ran slightly more often than they passed (52% doesn't seem like much... but it is bigger than 48).
My only issue with Watkins is that he's barely 6'1.
And while 6'1 isn't exactly short....
The best wideouts in the game are all big dudes.
IMO, the best receiver in football, perhaps in history, is Calvin Johnson.
That monster is 6'5.
The guys after him? The Julio Jones', the AJ Greens, the Brandon Marshalls of the world?
They're all 6'3, and 6'4.
The upcoming trend in the NFL is to draft taller corners, you can thank the Seahawks for that.
At 6'1, I just don't know if Watkins is big enough to be the true number one guy.
Usually, the shorter guys get designated to the slot or are labeled "possession receivers".
I'm not saying he's done for. There have been tons of guys who were even shorter who thrived as number ones, Marvin Harrison? Only six feet tall. How about Freddy Biletnikoff? He was also 6'1.
But those guys are legendary for their commitment to running every route, and making every catch, even when they weren't open.
Randy Moss spent an entire career relying on physical ability to thrive, but he was a super freak. Watkins is insanely talented and a great athlete, but he'll have to learn to be a student of the game if he wants to be the great number one receiver I believe he can be.
It really doesn't hurt that his former teammate, DeAndre Hopkins was also 6'1, and has turned into a solid number two option in Houston. Hopefully Sammy still has that phone number.
(Whoever the Texans get to play QB is one lucky son of a...)

It's not fair that some people are just insanely gifted athletes and don't put in the work.
I wonder if there are any prospects like that in this years draft...

Oh. Wait.

A little quiz.

view quiz statistics
Jadeveon Clowney crushing Vincent Smith, writing himself a fat check from salivating NFL teams.
Jadeveon Clowney crushing Vincent Smith, writing himself a fat check from salivating NFL teams.

Jadeveon Clowney

Anyone who even kinda likes sports has seen the hit that Jadeveon Clowney laid on Michigan runningback, Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl last year.
You haven't?
You just woke up from a coma?
You got back from space?
You were trapped on a desert island with beautiful men/women?
Well. Then I'll post the damn link.


Seen it?
Yeah. Pretty damn impressive.
I mean, he seems like the perfect prospect right?
He's 6'6, runs a 4.5 40, and can deliver hits like that? Obviously he has to go to Houston at number one. Obviously he and Watt are about to revolutionize sacking the QB.
How about two defensive linemen with 20+ sacks?

Hold your horses.
In fact, make some glue.
I'm not sold.
Maybe it's because he's only 265 pounds.
Maybe it's because a punter can bench more. (Not a joke. Miami Punter, Pat O'Donnell did 23, and Clowney only did 21).
Or maybe it's the fact that Mr. Fantastic only had 3 sacks in his senior season.
Three. Sacks.
That's the guy who's gonna go number one overall?
He's better than Sammy Watkins?
He's better than Teddy Bridgewater?
3 sacks versus teams like Coastal Carolina, Vanderbilt, UCF, North Carolina, and Kentucky?
I can understand seeing a dip in numbers because everyone tries to block you...
But three sacks?
In 2012, JJ Watt did Clowney's season in two different games.
Against teams like New England and Denver.
Hell. Even Antonio Smith, the guy that Clowney is slotted to replace, had 5 sacks last year.
Some guys just struggle through college until they get that NFL payday and then fizzle.
As I said, I'm a Raiders fan. Even if I didn't know because of Jamarcus Russell, I know because of Darren McFragile.
Some guys don't have the heart, and judging from that pathetic statistic and his attitude in interviews, I've gotta say, I don't feel great investing the future of my franchise in this kid.
I'm not saying he couldn't be good. He played well in the previous two seasons. 21 sacks, 35 tackles for a loss, 8 forced fumbles, I'd buy that.
But he's lost weight since his sophomore season, and was almost a non-factor for the gamecocks all last year.
He could be a great one, hell, if JJ Watt and Brian Cushing are able to get through to him, they could be a destructive force in the NFL.
But I'd rather have a guy like Anthony Barr, who isn't as gifted physically, but is committed to the game.

What do you think?

Will Clowney be a bust?

See results

Mike Tomlin.

Ya know, I used to really like Mike Tomlin.
He was fiery, entertaining, and modernized the Steelers.
He turned the iconic smashmouth offense into a finesse passing attack that delivered the Steelers their NFL record 6th Super Bowl championship in 2008. And just a few, short years later, he got them back to the big game. Of course.. they weren't successful versus the Packers.
And that's when things started coming undone.
With their extremely talented group of receivers, Aaron Roders was able to spread the vaunted Steel Curtain out and expose their supposedly talented secondary, torching them for 300 yards and 3 TDs.
After that, things were never really the same in Pittsburgh.
They've made one post-season appearance since then... Also known as Tebow's playoff miracle, and haven't really been competitive.
Hell. They've lost to my Raiders twice. Not something either of us feels proud of.
Part of it is... The Steelers defense just doesn't work against elite passing teams, they just spread it out, and without the ability to get pressure, the lack of coverage ability in the secondary is pretty obvious. Just ask Tom Brady who only threw for 4 TDs and 432 yards against them this year in their dominant 55-31 win.
"Yeah, but it's Tom Brady"
Yeah, but Tom Brady only had 25 TDs all year. He got nearly a fifth of his season total versus an allegedly talented defense.
And do we need to bring up Terrelle Pryor?
I don't want to.
You don't know what I'm talking about.
Sorry about the low quality. The NFL has gotten really stingy with copyright, and that one was cool because it had that BA Bo Jackson run next to it.
What does any of this have to do with Old Mike?
I mean, he has a great excuse. His team is getting old
That's my problem with him.
In fact, take notes 49ers fans, because this here is what your future looks like.

Mike Tomlin inherited a very talented team.
He added the passing game to an old fashioned franchise, and they took off.But since then, he hasn't added anything to the team.
There's a revolving door at the wide receiver position (Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace, and now Emmanuel Sanders), they haven't been able to find an answer at runningback, and the defense is old and decrepit.
And now you're saying they gave Troy Polamalu a contract extension?! Are you kidding me?

Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin? Meet Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden. Same old story.
Got a great team.
Was pretty good.
Kinda good.
And seriously Jim Harbaugh, your team was... pretty good this year.

I for one, would love to see Mike Tomlin broadcasting. Very funny guy, and significantly less narcissistic than Gruden.

Which coach inherited a better team?

See results


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