Random notes from my 2 days covering the combine - Part I

I saw none of this.

-          Covering the combine wasn't completely what I had in mind.  Media generally isn't allowed in the stands, so you can't even watch the players work out.  Everyone is instead in a large club level area, where they have monitors that show the combine on TV.  In this large club level area, they have several clear double doors that look out onto the field, but unfortunately, they cover those doors up on the other side with thick black curtains.  I'm sure there's a good reason for that, but I haven't figured out yet what it is.  In the club level, the prospects come in randomly and step up to podiums where the media can fire off questions.  GM's and coaches also step up to the podiums, but the majority of them went up on Thursday and Friday, which I missed.  The only GM's that fielded questions publically over the weekend were Jerry Reese and Tom Heckert, and the only coach was Pat Shurmur.  I actually moved up my flight on Sunday and cut out a little early.  If I go in the future, I think I'll make sure I get there for the first two days.

-          My MVP from a journalist standpoint goes to Rich Gosselin. There isn't a guy here that's more prepared than him.  He carries around this big binder with writing that's like 4pt font. The notes in that thing are ridiculous, and he has a smart question for pretty much every prospect no matter how big or small.  If there's a prospect talking, it's almost a certainty that Gosselin will be standing there with his arm up holding his recorder next to the speaker.  It's actually kind of impressive.  If I'm holding up my recorder, my arm starts to get tired after like 5-6 minutes.  In the same way Oregon St DT Stephen Paea broke the record for the most bench press reps, I think Gosselin broke the record this weekend for the most amount of time holding his recorder in the air.

-          I flew out super early Friday morning and had sales meetings all day with potential new customers for my real job, and had a chance to see a bunch of Indiana.  If your perception of Indiana is that there's not a whole lot there, well... Your perception is correct.  The highlight of my trip was of course my embarrassing interaction with the Redskins brass, but a close second had to be while I was driving way out in Richmond, IN, I saw a billboard that was against domestic violence.  Two disclaimers here: Domestic violence isn't funny, and I have a sick sense of humor.  Anyway, I found the billboard online.  I guess what I find funny is the photography direction that must have taken place for that shot.  "OK, let's put this kid in some leaves.  Good.  OK.  Have him kneel down looking extra helpless.  Great.  OK, now, kid... Don't look at the camera.  Just look ever so slightly to the side, and put on the mopeiest face you can.  More mopey.  More mopey.  More mopey.  You want your right eye to match your left?  More mopey, dammit.  Nope, that's too mopey.  OK, perfect.  Hold still (Click)." 

-          I had a chance to talk to a number of Eagles beat guys about Quintin Mikell, and everyone I spoke with seems convinced he's a goner.  They also mostly agreed that it would be Kurt Coleman stepping in as the starter, as opposed to a free agent.  If Q leaves, that opens up a pretty significant need for safety depth, and you can add it to the wish list during the draft.  One kid that impressed me during his interview was Rahim Moore from UCLA, who is generally considered a late 1, early 2.  Moore mentioned the Eagles among 4-5 teams that interviewed him.  The Eagles won't draft a safety in the first round, but if Moore falls far enough in the 2nd, he could be a target.

-          Not to sound like a spoiled brat, but the spread at the combine was weak sauce.  Ham and turkey sandwiches both days, with chips, soda, water, coffee, and cookies. And you could buy a hot dog for $4.  The soda kept running out, and if you didn't get to the cookies quickly enough, all the chocolate chips were gone in less than 2 minutes.  During Eagles games, they have a carving station, chicken fingers, all sorts of deli meats, soft pretzels, salad, ice cream, cheesecake, cookies, burgers, hot dogs, double-digit soft drink choices, nachos, and a bunch of other things I'm forgetting.  Come on, Colts.  Step up your game.

-          On Sunday, ESPN's John Clayton sat next to me.  I asked him where Mel Kiper was, and Clayton informed me that Kiper never attends the combine, which I found interesting, and maybe even a little strange.  Anyway, a quick John Clayton anecdote: The seats were all very close together, so it was fairly cramped.  At some point during lunchtime, my weak turkey sandwich must have been pushed over toward Clayton's stuff, and mustard from my turkey sandwich got all over his media book.  Clayton wasn't there at the time, mind you.  I cleaned it off as best I could, but to little avail.  His media book now has a permanent mustard stain on it courtesy of JimmyK from Bleeding Green Nation.  I wanted to come clean and tell him what I had done, but I never saw him again.  If you're reading this, John... Sorry.

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