Monday, February 26, 2007

Mozes combine diary finale

Former Washington High School football player Dan Mozes is at the NFL Draft Combine this week in Indianapolis.
As part of his daily routine, the All-America center from West Virginia has agreed to write a daily diary of his activities for the Observer-Reporter.

Here’s what Mozes did in his first full day in Indianapolis:


“Today was a really long day. It started at 6 a.m. with breakfast then we got a little time to relax before we went over to the RCA Dome at 8:30 a.m. This was the worst part because they made us strip down to our boxers and they shipped us through like cattle. They took height (6 21⁄2), weight (293 pounds) and had to display flexibility in different ways.

“Then we went onto the turf of the dome and we did flexibility for our shoulders. They made us lay flat on out face with our chin on the ground and lift a broomstick. Then they made us lift it behind our back as well. From there they checked the flexibility in our back, groin, hamstrings. I’m pretty flexible, so I was happy with that part.

“From there we did the 40 (yard dash). A lot of guys there are really fast. I ran a 5.3 which I kind of expected. Down at West Virginia (for the pro day) I’ll probably run a 5.2.

“Then we did position drill. We started with the mirror drill, which you have to do exactly what the person on the opposite side of the line is doing. Then we did pull blocking and pass steps from an angle. I think I did pretty good on that.

“Next it was the broad jump which showed your explosiveness. I jumped 8-6, the best was a 9-9 so I was pretty average there. After that we did the 5-10-5 drill. I thought I was going to do really well in that but I didn’t because they changed the rules. Then we did the three-cone drill which you move around three cones in the shape of an L. I thought I was going to do good there too but I was the first one to go and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to.

“My vertical jump I did just as well as everybody else, though I didn’t get to do the standing reach. I was rushing to make my plane (at 3:10 p.m.) and I didn’t leave (the dome) until 2:30. By the time I got back to the hotel it was 3 p.m. and I knew I wasn’t going to make my plane so I adjusted and tried to get on a 5:55 p.m. flight to Philadelphia. But that got canceled so I tried to make a 4:15 p.m. flight to Philadelphia but that got canceled as well because of the weather. So now I’m stuck here overnight until my 9:45 a.m. flight and I will leave Indy happily because it has been a long, tiresome weekend. Everyday we were up at 5 a.m. and weren’t getting to bed until 11 p.m.

“I was most worried about the 40. I didn’t know what other guys would run. There are some freaks who can run really fast like (Wisconsin’s) Joe Thomas (4.92 seconds) and there are some other guys at the end of the spectrum and then there are a lot in the middle and that’s where I fit in.

“Everyone wants to stand out here and I did OK, but when they put on the game film I think that’s when they’ll see how hard I work. Our pro day is March 8 and hopefully things go well there.”

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Diary of Mozes part II

Former Washington High School football player Dan Mozes is at the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis this week.
As part of his daily routine, the All-America center from West Virginia has agreed to write a daily diary of his activities for the Observer-Reporter.
Here’s what Mozes did in his second full day:

“Things went very good today. We got up between 6 and 6:30 a.m., had breakfast and then went for psychological testing.
“It was questions like, ‘Would you be a librarian, yes or no? Do you like poetry? Do you have a temper?’ I had already taken some of those at the Senior Bowl, so I only had to take one. Other guys had to take four.
“Once that was over, we headed over to the RCA Dome for the Wunderlic Test.
“I got 40 questions done and skipped three and probably missed three or four. That should give me a score somewhere in the high 20s or low 30s, hopefully. That would be a good score.
“After the Wunderlic, we went for the bench press, which is getting 225 pounds up as many times as you can. The average (for offensive linemen) is 27 or 28, and I got 28, so I guess I was average. Some guys were getting up in the 30s and a couple got into the 40s.
“A lot of guys were locking out their arms.
“My roommate Josh Beekman and I were talking about that here in the room. One guy barely brought his arms out at all. And if you don’t lock out, they don’t count.
“After we finished there, we were free for a little while before we started interviewing with teams.
“I met with eight teams. I got a chance to meet coach (Mike) Tomlin of the Steelers and that was a great honor to shake his hand and to shake Mr. (Dan) Rooney’s hand. Mean Joe Greene was in the room as well. That was really an honor to be there with them. My dad and I had season tickets to the Steelers games for about four years when I was a kid, so that was really great to be there with them.
“I also got to meet with the Bills’ former coach (and current general manager) Marv Levy. That was really an honor as well.
“I also spoke with Arizona coach (Ken) Whisenhunt, who used to be with the Steelers. I really got to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t normally have had a chance to and it was really an honor.
“We got back to the room at about 9:30. Tomorrow is another big day. We have to be up at 7 a.m. We have the 40, the 3-cone drill, broad and vertical jumps and then some position drills. After that, we have some more interviews.
“My flight back to Pittsburgh is at 3 p.m., so I’m really going to be rushing to get everything done.
“It’s a big day for me. There are some freaks out there who will run really fast, but that won’t be me.
“But when it comes to the pro agility drills and the football drills that are just playing, that’s where I hope to shine.”

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mozes combine diary

Former Washington High School football player Dan Mozes is at the NFL Draft Combine this week in Indianapolis.
As part of his daily routine, the All-America center from West Virginia has agreed to write a daily diary of his activities for the Observer-Reporter.
Here’s what Mozes did in his first full day in Indianapolis:

“Today was a long day. I actually got into town (Wednesday) around 11:30 a.m. I hit the hotel room and then we went straight to the hospital from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. for X-rays, blood tests, eye tests and MRIs. Everything was really hurry up and wait.
“The MRI was the worst experience because those things were made for normal-sized human beings, not 300-pound offensive linemen. I was getting a shoulder looked at and I had to put my other arm up behind me and my face was about two inches from the wall of the machine. If you’re claustrophobic, that’s not the place to be.
“We came back at 6:30 and had dinner and then from 7:30 to 11:30 we went and interviewed with position coaches. They were really quick interviews, like they were just getting to know us a little bit.
“At 11:30, I got done, went back to the hotel room, had a protein bar and then it was off to bed.
“We got up at 5:30 a.m. and they took us straight out for a drug test and then we had breakfast. Then, it was back to the RCA Dome to meet with team doctors and trainers. That was a good four hours of prodding and poking. They pulled on your arms and legs. I had to go back to the hospital for another MRI on my other shoulder, but that was done between 11 and 12.
“We came back to the hotel for lunch and then it was time for more interviews. I met with a bunch of teams. I probably met with more teams than I didn’t.
“Tomorrow will be another busy day. We have the Wunderlic Test and the bench press scheduled and then we’ll start meeting with the head coaches.
“The first meetings were kind of like speed dating. We were in a ball room and you just kind of went from table to table, talking to coaches for a few minutes. These interviews (Friday) will be from 15 to 30 minutes and it will really give teams a chance to pick our brains.”

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Keep or curb Max Starks

The new coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a busy schedule, studying the team’s current roster, readying for the draft and settling itself in Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to help them out a little by breaking down the team’s free agents and whether they fit into the team’s future plans or should be allowed to look for work elsewhere.

Next up on our list is right tackle Max Starks, a restricted free agent.

The only starter from this year’s team who is eligible to be a free agent, Starks could be someone opposing teams target among Steelers players.

At 6-8, 337 pounds, you’d expect Starks to dominate opponents with his sheer size. But more often than not, Starks’ size seems to work against him. He has trouble with outside speed rushers and just seems to lack overall consistency.

You could certainly make the argument that Starks is young and still has plenty of upside. At 25, he’s still maturing as a player and is young enough that he could play another 10 years. That alone could be intriguing considering he’s already got two years experience as a starter and has already started a Super Bowl.

But Starks has also had knee problems in back-to-back seasons, something that forced him to miss the team’s final two games of 2006. That opened the door for rookie Willie Colon to start the final two games and he played well enough to show the team it has other options at right tackle other than Starks.

And considering Starks’ size, you have to wonder if the knee problems won’t become a serious issue for him on down the line.

The guess here is that the Steelers will tender him with a mid-level offer to retain the first right of refusal to match any offers for him on the free agent market. That means if another team signs Starks and the Steelers choose not to match the offer, they would receive a third-round pick in exchange.

If Starks doesn’t get any offers, they’ll bring him back and let him play another season before making a long-term offer. He may have to go to camp with Colon pushing him hard this year, something that could bring out the best in Starks.

Considering what the Steelers have invested in him thus far and the position he plays, as long as he doesn’t receive an outlandish offer, he’s worth bringing back for at least another year. The Steelers have to find out what they have in Starks. And even if, by chance, he is beaten out by Colon, you can’t have enough offensive line depth.

Verdict: Keep him.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Keep or Curb Morey

The new coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a busy schedule, studying the team’s current roster, readying for the draft and settling itself in Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to help them out a little by breaking down the team’s free agents and whether they fit into the team’s future plans or should be allowed to look for work elsewhere.

Next up on our list is wide receiver Sean Morey, an unrestricted free agent.

Mention Morey’s name and you are very likely to elicit some kind of response, negative or positive. It’s certainly a strange situation considering Morey isn’t really anything more than a glorified special teams player.

Morey certainly doesn’t contribute much – if at anything – in the passing game. In fact, his two receptions for 29 yards last season doubled his career total, which is amazing for a five-year NFL veteran.

There’s no arguing that if Morey is playing a role in your passing offense, your team’s in trouble.

But though he is listed as a receiver – and that’s the position he played in college – Morey’s value is measured as a special teams star.

Morey had another solid season as a special teamer in 2006, recording 22 tackles and stepping in as a kickoff returner, where he averaged a healthy 26.1 yards on his seven returns. That was bolstered by a 76-yard return at Cleveland, but considering Morey wasn’t the deep man on the kickoff team – the 200-pounder was asked to be a blocker for 250-pound Najeh Davenport – his average wasn’t bad.

When the Steelers were successful in 2004 and 2005, they did so, at least in part, because their special teams play was vastly improved from previous years. And that was because the team was carrying special teams specialists like Morey, Chidi Iwuoma and Clint Kriewaldt on the roster.

But will new head coach Mike Tomlin take a similar stance and keep guys around who are nothing more than special teams players?

Tomlin said Monday that he will have a big emphasis on special teams and is not shy about using starters on special teams. But he also qualified that statement by saying that he would do that only in certain situations.

It’s likely that Morey would jump at that opportunity to re-sign with the Steelers for the veteran minimum. And you can’t have enough lunch pail-type guys around.

Verdict: Keep him.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Local combine invitees

Here's a list of players from local colleges or those who have local ties who were invited to the NFL Draft combine in Indianapolis:

QB, Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh
LB, HB Blades, Pittsburgh
CB, Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh
P, Adam Graessle, Pittsburgh

DE, Jay Alford, Penn State
LB, Paul Posluszny, Penn State
LB, Tim Shaw, Penn State
OT, Levi Brown, Penn State

C, Dan Mozes, West Virginia. Mozes is also a Washington native and graduate of Washington High School.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Keep or Curb Davenport

The new coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a busy schedule, studying the team’s current roster, readying for the draft and settling itself in Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to help them out a little by breaking down the team’s free agents and whether they fit into the team’s future plans or should be allowed to look for work elsewhere.

Next up on our list is running back Najeh Davenport, an unrestricted free agent.

The Steelers added Daveport to their roster after their opener last season against Miami and he slowly worked his way into the running back rotation behind starter Willie Parker.

At 6-1, 247 pounds, Davenport was used primarily as the team’s short-yardage back and, after a season-ending injury to Verron Haynes, a third-down back.

He also stepped in as a kick returner, averaging 21.7 yards on 19 attempts.

Davenport finished the season with a 3.4 yards per carry average on his 57 rushing attempts and also caught 15 passes for 193 yards. He scored one touchdown each rushing and receiving.

For a team that was searching for a big back to compliment Parker – especially after the failed Duce Staley experiment – Davenport was a free agent blessing for the Steelers. They were, in fact, lucky that he was released by Green Bay.

But let’s face the facts. As a short-yardage back, Davenport just doesn’t get much of a push, mostly because he runs too high. In fact, while his 3.4 yards per carry average doesn’t look bad for a short-yardage back, realize that he had a 48-yard carry against Kansas City that inflated even that.

Take away that 48-yard carry and Davenport’s average rushing attempt netted just 2.6 yards. That’s not getting the job done. Even in his final season, Jerome Bettis average 3.3 yards per carry.

Davenport did show something as a receiver and blocker on third downs, but can’t this team do better?

A draft pick would certainly come cheaper than Davenport at this point and would offer plenty of more upside.

Verdict: Curb him.