INDIANAPOLIS - The term "best player available" isn't just a cliche for draftniks. NFL coaches and general managers, it turns out, like to say that too, but they all say it a little differently.
"You can't be too overly urgent trying to fix a problem and reach in the draft or reach in free agency," Dave Caldwell, Jacksonville's new GM, told reporters. "You have to be patient and when the opportunity presents itself to get a difference maker at a position and you need to be able to strike."
Kansas City's new GM John Dorsey was more to the point.
"I believe in the best available player philosophy," he said.
Les Snead, the Rams GM, expressed the "best player" canon in the most Zen way possible; "you're going to be better off drafting a player instead of a position." Mind. blown.
Jason Garrett is ready for Chip Kelly
"He's just a darn good football coach," Garrett said, just as 'aw shucks' as it sounds. "He's bringing that style of football to the NFL. I think we have seen glimpses of that the last couple of years where there has been a trickle up of college offenses to the NFL. And they are challenging. And his style is even different than some of the things we have seen."
Don't worry, beleaguered Dallas fans, Garrett and his staff are going to prepare for Kelly's Eagles, he promised.
"Often times when coaches move from staff to staff in the league, what you will try to do is go back and see what they did at their previous team. It is a little bit more challenging when you have a college coach coming in, but we've found ourselves watching college tape in the past when a similar transition happened."
Might want to dust off the VHS machine for Monte Kiffin so he can start watching some tape of Kelly's Ducks as well as that RGIII guy.
Bobby Petrino owes Knile Davis an apology
A television reporter fired off questions for the first half of the Arkansas running back's media session. It was the usual standard set of questions, the same ones used for the Playmate of Month. After revealing to the world his best asset that nobody knew about (blocking), Davis finally got asked about Petrino's wild motorcycle ride that pulled the plug on the Hogs' plans for 2012.
"I was disappointed," Davis confessed. "I feel like kind of letdown because it was a big season coming up. But at the same time I was motivated to make the season come out good anyway. We didn't exactly do that but we tried."
The mix of John L. Smith and Petrino's incumbent assistant coaches didn't help.
"At the time, we all thought it was a good idea just to keep all the coaches there that were there," Davis said. "When I say coaches, I mean assistant coaches. We thought it was a great mesh but it just didn't turn out the way we planned and we had to get used to that."
Not everyone likes Johnny Football
Texas A&M running back Christine Michael ran his way onto Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin's shit list.
"There was a lot to it," Michael said. "We had a coaching change, the whole staff. A whole new coaching staff, a whole new offense. It got shaky for me. I wasn't used to it.
"It was going from a pro-style offense, an offense with power, then going to a spread offense with a great quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, who does a great job throwing the ball and scrambling and rushing. It was just frustrating for me not to get as many carries and not to be that No. 1 guy in that offense."
Good thing for Michael, offenses never change in the NFL and scrambling quarterbacks will never make it in the pros.
Oh, he really is cool with Manziel, and the two shared a moment as friends after the Cotton Bowl, where Michael did not play.
"He's a great guy, a great friend," Michael said of his former teammate. "So I guess he knew my situation. I guess he was clueless too."
Wait, did he know or didn't he?
Lane Johnson prefers quantity
The Oklahoma left tackle, a potential first-round pick, understands the value of more. Asked if he would prefer a single 500-pound duck or five 100-pound ducks, Johnson went for the quintuplet.
"You got more," he explained. "That's probably the weirdest question I've ever had in my life."
Probably, but at least he didn't have to predict his 40 time or explain the conversion from tight end to offensive tackle for a fourth time.
Best player media session
Hmm, this is a tough call because Lane Johnson talked about ducks. Setting that one aside, we'll go with Alabama running back Eddie Lacy.
As questions go, it was pretty much a carbon copy of all the Combine media interviews. Lacy fielded them all with a smile, making you think that his answers were different, better than anyone else's.
"Whichever one is convenient at the time," Lacy said when asked if he would rather juke or run over a defender. "If it's short yardage, I'll just run into him. If not, and I have a little space to move, then I'll most likely do that."
Best coach/GM media session
Did you think that anyone would top Jim Harbaugh's batshit crazy 15 minutes? No way, not unless Trent Baalke pinned him down and mainlined 200cc of lithium.
"Got the paw in the ground, scratching ready to go," were the first words out his mouth when he walked up to the podium.
His Judge Judy remark made the rounds already. Another highlight came when he squelched, or tried to, talk about facing his brother in the Super Bowl.
"I think it's a fascinating thing, to use your word. What more can I tell you?"
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