Senior Bowl, After-School Reading

Senior Bowl and All-Star Games            

Watching former teammates Stepfan Taylor and Chase Thomas play in the Senior Bowl on Saturday is both exciting and nerve-racking (the same will go for watching Andrew Luck play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday). I’m confident that both will practice well and work hard during the week to impress NFL scouts, coaches, and management. It’s their safety that I worry about.

            At such an important time in their career, an injury just before the NFL Combine could be very detrimental to any player’s draft stock. The aggressive and violent nature of football makes injuries a regular occurrence during a career. On top of the already dangerous sport that they are playing, the fact that the hopes, dreams, and ultimately money of many college seniors are on the line makes it a high stakes endeavor for all involved. Knowing this, delivering a harder hit or trying to blow-up a top draft prospect becomes well within the realm of possibility in order for a player to make a name for himself.

These all-star games are interesting for all the decision makers in the NFL for a few reasons:

-It’s a giant NFL staff family reunion.

-They get to see how a player prepares for a game during the week.  Do they practice hard? Do they learn quickly? How do they respond to coaching?

-It’s extra time to sit down and talk with the players outside of the Combine setting.

            In the Pro Bowl, it is different (Full Disclosure: because I am watching it on television after my rookie year, it should tell you that I have never played in a Pro Bowl. I can only go on educated guessing and information provided by anonymous sources—I haven’t talked to Luck about the game. Good guess though.). Every player realizes the value of staying healthy in order to play in the NFL. Nobody wants to hurt another player or get hurt. The players are not being evaluated on their play, and it won’t have any impact on their future financial standing. Simply put: The Pro Bowl is not fun to watch or play in because the motivating factors for the players are not there. To be clear– I do not condone motivating the players to try harder in the Pro Bowl by using carrots or the sticks. The season is already very long.

 

Odds and ENDS

1. The 49ers are leaving a day early! Oh my gosh! What news! It can only help. Any time you travel it takes a little while to acclimate. The more time in the environment the better.

2. I’m really excited to start working with Coach Hamilton. The only one more excited to get back to work is Pep himself. I’m sure he is excited and eager to prove himself. Undoubtedly he is already game-planning and watching ever bit of film he can find.

3. Looks like Te’o is innocent. Better than the alternative, but still embarrassing for him.

 

After-School Reading

I’m finished with school… for now. Hooray! But that hasn’t stopped my curiosity on a variety of topics. I’d like to add this section to the blog to share some of the things I am interested in, as well as allow for more dialogue with the readers about the stories. Any stories I find interesting throughout the week, I will link to them below, and include my two cents (my opinions may be worth less than that though).

 

1. How to Cut Megabanks Down to Size (http://goo.gl/vd0bS)

-This seems like a reasonable idea in order to attempt to control big banks that don’t have to worry about risk because the American people will bail them out. I’m not well versed in the nuances, but the basic concept seems sound.

2. Thumb on the scale: How mandatory minimum sentences distort plea bargaining (http://goo.gl/393cG)

-The tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz has had the technology and law world upside down recently. Hopefully we can change the justice system for the better. Everything (businesses, government, individuals, etc.) should constantly look for ways to improve.

3. Finishing what Aaron Swartz started with PACER (http://goo.gl/3GFfy)

-A creative way of making trials more fair in light of the Aaron Swartz case.

4. College Degree, No Class Time Required (http://goo.gl/9I7U0)

-The University of Wisconsin may soon offer degrees just by passing a test.

5. IBM improves nanomeds that kill bacteria where antibiotics fail (http://goo.gl/i5eyy)

-I don’t know how close to the market something like this actually is, but it looks promising, especially taking into account how much Americans over-medicate and help to create drug-resistant super bugs.

6. Quantopian Brings Algorithmic Trading To The Masses (http://goo.gl/ja2sB)

-Who wouldn’t want a money tree in their back yard? (If you have any knowledge on the topic, I’d be interested to discuss further)

 

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