Fouts spoke today about injuries and concussions in football

Midweek Gameplan 7-27-11

The Buccaneers’ Most Recent

The Bucs have starting signing their draft picks and have already inked their first round selection in Adrian Clayborn.  In addition, they announced the signing of Mason Foster, which was their third round pick.  I already wrote about what I thought of Clayborn prior to the draft, but I wanted to spend a paragraph on Mason Foster.

Mason Foster should translate to a solid NFL inside linebacker

I was able to watch a considerable amount of Foster over of the past few years as I live in Seattle and am a graduate of UW.  He really is as solid as they come in the middle of the field, and more importantly, he is really never out of position or blows an assignment.  He does not make a tremendous amount of splash plays and does not have the elite sideline to sideline speed that higher draft picks may have, but he can have a long and productive NFL career.   He is the type of defender who makes everyone around him better and he is a natural leader.

He reminds me a lot of Shelton Quarles when he first came into the league.  He did a great job in the middle of the Bucs defense when Hardy Nickerson left, and played the role very well.  He did make a Pro Bowl, but was never thought of as an elite linebacker.  Without him anchoring the middle, however, Derrick Brooks may not have looked as dominant.  In addition, any linebacker looks better with a good defensive line, and the Bucs definitely addressed this in the last two drafts.

Injury Updates and Commentary

Arrelious Benn appears to be fully recovered from his injury as noted on the Pewter Plank.  This is great news and if he is doing this well already, If he has the entire preseason to work on getting confidence in his knee and continues to build up his leg musculature, he should have a very productive year and not miss a beat.

I am still concerned, however, about Brian Price.  Pelvic bone injuries are odd and the recovery time can be so highly variable that it is hard to speculate on his recovery.  Unfortunately, he is a large man and this puts a lot of stress on the bones of the pelvis, and it doesn’t help that he is expected to get down on all fours and drive an opposing lineman backward as part of his regular job.  I am anxious to see how much he can do now that training camp is about to start.

NFL Matters

I had the opportunity this morning to listen to Dan Fouts (Hall of Fame QB for the Chargers) and some very prominent physicians speak about sports injuries and concussions this morning.  I can spare you most of the medical jargon, but it was interesting and there are a couple of points that Founts made, which I thought were very interesting.  I will paraphrase and sum up these points.

First, he stated that one of the great things that happened to the game was the improvement of the equipment and that the helmets are much better and more padded.  This we all knew.  He then went on to say that this may be having a paradoxical effect, because now it does not hurt the person who delivers the hit with their head, and so they use their head as a weapon more. I have long advocated that the NFL needs to penalize spearing (hitting an opponent with the top of the helmet), which is illegal at all levels of football and that you should hit with your shoulderpads.  One of my first coaches always told us you should see what you are hitting, and I think this rings true here too.

His other point, which was echoed by most in the room, was that a players who is known to have a significant concussion or have been knocked unconscious, should be removed from not only the game, but from the sidelines.  His point was to take the player to the locker room and they can only return if they change into street clothes.  I remember our trainer hiding a player’s helmet during a game in college to keep him from going back onto the field and I think this is probably a good idea.  Current research shows that the so called “second hit” is more damaging that the first, and thus to really protect players, this is a good rule.

Fantasy Focus

Keeping with the focus on Buccaneers and where to take them in your draft, this week’s section is dedicated to Bucs’ defense and special teams.  This might be the hardest and least predictable unit for the Bucs this season in terms of fantasy.  Last year, they generated turnovers, but they otherwise weren’t that prolific.  This year, they hope to be better with high draft picks along the defensive line.

One of the most frustrating things about fantasy football is that the best “player” on the actual field is not always the highest scoring player in fantasy.  The best example of this is defenses.  The best defenses will do well in fantasy, but they can be outscored by an inferior defense.  This is because if you get sacks, turnovers, and touchdowns from your defense, it really does not matter how many yards they give up.  Last year, the Bucs were horrible at getting sacks and generating touchdowns, and their fantasy numbers reflected that.

This year, they have new stud defensive lineman, and the hope is that they get more sacks.  Unfortunately, this is still based on hope.  I can’t recommend drafting the Bucs defense at this time, even in a deep league, but keep your eye on them.  If they have a great preseason, you may want to reconsider and see if you can sneak them in with a late pick.  Otherwise, pick them up on waivers for your bye week to show support.

At The End of the Day

I am usually not a big “I told you so” guy, but since only my parents and a few select friends make it to the end of the column from week to week, I will give you one here.

Back in March, when the lockout first started, I wrote that the players should have continued the negotiations and that it was not worth trying to battle it out through the court systems.  I thought they took too big of risk and that they would end up with less money in the end.  At that time the owners were proposing essentially about a 50/50 split of the revenue after the operating costs.

The players just accepted a deal that gives them about 47% of the revenue after the operating costs.  While this may not sound like much, when you start putting it in terms of billions of dollars of annual profit, it becomes a pretty significant number.  It was always about the split of the money in the end and all the other aspects of the new CBA were hammered out after that hurdle was crossed.  Thus, I think we could have not had this whole lockout in the first place had the players just stayed at the negotiating table in the first place.

Until next week, salad is what food eats.

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Sunday, Nov 22 Nov1:00at Cleveland BrownsBuy Tickets

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