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Kyle Shanahan Talks To Larry Michael, And Other Links

Posted by Matt Terl on March 9, 2011 – 2:38 pm

As you know if you read Gary Fitzgerald’s story on Redskins.com, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan spoke to Larry Michael the other day. Now you can watch the entire interview online — right here. Well, right below here, anyhow. See?

The most interesting part of the interview, for me, comes toward the end, when Michael asks Shanahan about the quarterback position.

“We still haven’t solidified that spot,” Shanahan says. “Going into the draft, [we’re] evaluating them just like we would any other position. You’re always looking for that guy, you always want that franchise quarterback to be that guy for your team for the next 10 years.”

And, Shanahan adds, the Redskins aren’t alone in that position. “I feel if you look at all 32 teams there’s probably about only eight of ’em [franchise quarterbacks] — just saying that off the top of my head. And if you’re not one of those eight, pretty much in every city they’re trying to replace you. So it’s a tough position, probably the toughest poistion in the world, in my opinion, as far as athletes. You’re always looking for that guy and you know if you can get one then good things will happen.”

Not the most earth-shaking news in the world, but also not exactly a ringing endorsement for the return of Donovan McNabb to his starting role here.

And some other links that are worth your time….

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More On Mike Shanahan Drafts, Via Scorecasting

Posted by Matt Terl on March 9, 2011 – 10:49 am

I disagree with the conventional (i.e., negative) wisdom on Mike Shanahan’s drafting prowess; I’ve mentioned that at length before. He’s had some misses, yes, but there are very few (if any) player personnel guys who only have hits. He’s got a stronger track record at picking offensive players than defensive guys, but even Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore — inarguably one of the best in the business at the draft — is better at one side of the ball than the other.

Anyhow, all of this resurfaced in my head last night while I (like nearly every other sports blogger in America) was reading the new book Scorecasting. Scorecasting is, essentially, Freaknomics for sports — or, as the subtitle puts it, it’s about “the hidden influences behind how sports are played and games are won.” It’s a good book, one of those readable-but-smart pieces of non-fiction, and the whole thing is worth picking up, but the chapter that caught my attention last night dealt with the draft pick value chart.

It’s an excellent chapter as a whole, detailing how the Draft Pick Value Chart that Jimmy Johnson used to such great effect in the early 1990s is surprisingly arbitrary and inaccurate, but one chart really leapt out at me (click to enlarge):

The left column is the first overall pick in each draft from 1999 to 2009. The next two columns are the offensive and defensive rookies of the year, and the final column is other Pro Bowl players from that draft at the same position as the first overall pick. It’s an inherently limited chart, designed (obviously) to speak mainly to the point of the chapter (which is that trading back is almost always better, and that the first player picked at a given position is often not the best player at that position in the draft), but within that limited framework a few of the names stood out. Read more »

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