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Old 03-25-2010, 01:22 AM   #1
tony hipchest
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Default Kirwan: Notes and quotes from the meetings

today on his radio show, he said in regards to the fans (his listeners) this is his favorite weekend of the year. he said during the season he can really only watch and analyze games, but at the owner meetings is when he can talk to all the movers and shakers, get down to the nitty gritty, and really bring the average fan up close and personal to the inner workings and deliver the most information.

he said how just about every owner, gem, and coach gives him and tim full access. some on the record in the form of interviews, but many off the record at the breakfasts or enjoying a brew in the evenings.

he is granted access denied to many others because he used to be one of them, and is an analyst who never pretends to be a reporter. they know he will not spill any beans (and he says as much).

some good stuff here-

ORLANDO, Fla. -- On Tuesday afternoon, at 2:55 p.m. ET, I was sitting at the NFL Annual Meeting with a team owner who said, "I don't think Roger Goodell will even let overtime come to a vote because it will not -- pass but it should by the May meetings."

An hour later, Competition Committee co-chairs Rich McKay and Bill Polian were addressing the media to announce the new overtime rule.

Of course, many of the coaches were on the golf course at the time, taking part in in the annual coach's tournament. But they were not the only ones in the dark. I had a GM sit with me while the news conference was going on and I asked him if he knew what was going on across the hall from us. He did not. When I told him it was the announcement that overtime had passed 28-4, he immediately texted his head coach -- in a state of disbelief -- to let him know.

As for the new rule, Falcons owner Arthur Blank felt it was good for the game and felt there was enough evidence as to how much fans wanted a change in overtime to pass it. And I agree, the majority of fans wanting a change.

McNair takes his shots
I had a very interesting conversation with Texans owner Bob McNair on subjects ranging from the free-agent loss of cornerback Dunta Robinson to his role in the organization and the decision to retain Gary Kubiak as coach to luxury boxes. On Robinson, he said: "It was time to let him go. We made a fair offer and he thought he could make more money elsewhere."

On his evolving role with the club: "When I first owned the club, I thought it wise to sit back, listen and learn. Then I learned who to listen to and not listen to. Now I have a clear vision of how things should operate and I extended coach Kubiak because I believe in continuity." With three head coaches in the league operating as lame duck coaches this season and a looming lockout in 2011, a number of owners would not extend their coach right now. McNair didn't let that factor in as he tries to build his franchise.

On luxury boxes, McNair actually took a shot at the Commander-in-Chief. McNair recognizes these are tough economic times, but he pointed out that businesses don't disappear in hard times -- instead, they must work harder to do business. And he's not a fan of those who think companies shouldn't be spending money to entertain clients. "President Obama, that was his idea," McNair said. "That’s not how business works."

Personnel business
A few nuggets of information after talking to some of the GMs and personnel executives at the meetings:

» Kevin Colbert, director of football operations for the Pittsburgh Steelers, told me Ziggy Hood -- last year's first-round draft pick -- was ready to make a bigger contribution in his second year with the team. He said receiver Limas Sweed was working at the facility and still is very much a part of the Steelers' plans. Like many Steelers faithful, Colbert is very happy to have Antwaan Randle El and Larry Foote back with the team. Even after Randle El left in 2006 to join the Redskins, Colbert said, he always was a Steeler.

» Rams GM Bill Devaney will be a very busy executive the next two weeks, with quarterback workouts with Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen. In regards to Bradford, the Rams will let the Oklahoma QB orchestrate the first part of his workout and then "jump in" and get the work they want done. Also, expect the Rams to sign a solid veteran running back like Willie Parker in the near future.

» Thomas Dimitroff of the Falcons is very comfortable with his team's corner situation right now, noting two solid veteran starters in Dunta Robinson and Brian Williams, along with youngsters Brent Grimes and Chris Owens as backups. Now, as Dimitroff said, "I can look at the draft board and stay true to the grading system."

» Jerry Angelo, GM of the Bears, feels the Rod Marinelli factor is going to really help Julius Peppers. Peppers, who signed as this year's marquee free agent, will be pushed hard by the Bears' defensive coordinator and he may reach and sustain his potential. Marinelli will have Peppers in fantastic shape and so keyed into formation tendencies and all the tips he will teach him about the game. As for Angelo's new offensive coordinator, I was surprised to hear him say that Mike Martz doesn't want a lot of receivers on the roster even though Martz works them hard every day.
in regards to the steelers, and hearing the colbert interview, i expect aaron smith to be on a pitch count for the 1st time in his career. remember woodley subbing for haggans or timmons subbing for foote?

not sure what sweed being "in the steelers plans" really means. those were pats words not colberts. he did say that not only is he at the OTA's but he is also a player on the steelers charity basketball team (not sure if thats a good thing). they will be making a statement soon (i can only assume to try and reverse the unintended deflated value for a trade).

im only speculating by reading inbetween the lines, but pat may be doing the same as well, by releasing this little nugget. he was always high on the kid out of college.

also he pimped mike mayock pretty hard. he said many owners, gm's and scouts pay attention to his evaluations. called him the best in the business and that his entire job is devoted to the draft and breaking down tape.
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