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NFL Combine Postscript

Robert Gallery’s name popped up a lot in Indianapolis. He hasn’t exactly become synonymous with Tony Mandarich, but he has come to represent the risks inherent in judging football players. When the Raiders drafted Gallery with the No. 2 pick in 2004, the pick was almost universally lauded. Gallery has started ever since, but is viewed as merely adequate. He isn’t close to the superstar the Raiders and others envisioned as he was leaving Iowa. True, he has worked under… Read More »

NFL Combine, Day Four

Just when you think NFL football is the only game in town, you are reminded that other worlds exist – even right there in the Indiana Convention Center. The Oakland Tribune’s Jerry McDonald and I were in the hallway chatting with Curtis Fuller, the Raiders’ new assistant special teams coach, on Saturday. Fuller has no idea how Lane Kiffin found him, but it could be a good move – the 28-year-old assistant seems very bright. Anyway, Fuller was mid-sentence when… Read More »

NFL Combine, Day Three

The NFL scouting combine is an exercise in self-parody. You can’t walk 10 paces without bumping into a huddle full of NFL coaches and executives, many of them recognizable. It often seems like a TV commercial trying to pack in too many celebrity appearances. While ridiculous, it does give you that center-of-the-universe feeling. A colleague of mine wound up talking to a sports agent on a connecting flight to Chicago; while at O’Hare Airport, he listened in while the agent… Read More »

NFL Combine, Day Two

First of all, my apologies for posting so late today. Here’s my excuse: 10:00 a.m. – Dolphins coach Cam Cameron 10:15 a.m. – Bears coach Lovie Smith 10:45 a.m. – Packers GM Ted Thompson 11:00 a.m. – Giants coach Tom Coughlin 11:15 a.m. – Vikings coach Brad Childress 11:30 a.m. – Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio 12:00 noon – Lions coach Rod Marinelli 12:15 p.m. – Chiefs coach Herm Edwards 12:30 p.m. – Colts coach Tony Dungy 12:45 p.m. –… Read More »

NFL Combine, Day One

Welcome to Indianapolis. Here’s your stopwatch. I’m wrapping up my first day at the 2007 NFL scouting combine, and it feels as though I’ve been here two weeks. The pace is swift, and will only get more frenetic over the next couple of days. First, let me set the scene. Most of the organized activity takes place in one meeting hall of the Indiana Convention Center. The look is what you’d expect – fluorescent lighting, banks of long folding tables… Read More »

As combine approaches, Raiders’ scouting unsettled

First of all, a notification: I head to Indianapolis on Wednesday for the NFL scouting combine. I’ll be in the RCA Dome from Thursday through Sunday, and will be filling this blog space with daily reports on the news, nuances and nuttiness of the league’s annual draft-eligible cattle call. Now, on to today’s topic- Score round 5 to Mike Lombardi. When Art Shell publicly called out Lombardi back in November, it looked like the personnel chief’s days in Alameda were… Read More »

Good signs in Alameda

It will be months, at least, before we find out whether the bold Lane Kiffin experiment restores Al Davis’ position as the NFL’s maverick genius or simply greases the Raiders’ descent from Gruden glory to gross ineptitude. In the meantime, I find the Raiders’ recent coaching transactions very encouraging – for two reasons. The first is pace. Tomorrow is Feb. 10, the date the Raiders reached an agreement with Art Shell in 2006. When Feb. 10 dawns in 2007, Oakland… Read More »

Lombardi in Limbo

In hiring Lane Kiffin as his new head coach, owner Al Davis managed to bring a spark to what could have shaped up to be a chilly offseason in Oakland. Kiffin is highly inexperienced, and he never seemed like the Raiders’ first choice. But the football fans of Oakland were hungry for a new approach – as opposed to Whack-a-Mole coaches like Norv Turner or Art Shell, guys who manage to pop up time and again after they have been… Read More »