Saturday, April 28, 2012

Conversations Overheard In NFL Draft War Rooms

By Charlie Scaturro

Have you ever wondered what actually goes on in an NFL war room during the draft? Me too. When you think about it, those rooms contain highly paid executives, coaches, and scouts making multi-million dollar, pressure-filled decisions that will determine the future of their respective franchises in the most popular (and profitable) sports league in this country. I honestly can’t think of a more nerve racking, adrenaline filled, high stakes game of chance that directly affects so many different people. Based on the enormity of the situation, you would have to assume that everyone involved in this process is highly intelligent, informed, and aware of everything that is going on around them, but I think we know a little too much about certain coaches, general managers, and owners to say that this isn’t necessarily the case.

While it would be amazing to know exactly what Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett were discussing right before they called in their pick, unfortunately, I don’t have the inside sources or access to any kind of Mickey Loomis-style eavesdropping equipment to find out. But what I can provide is my best guess as to how things went down in some of the more entertaining war rooms during the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Let’s take a look…

Indianapolis Colts:

**Jim Irsay distractedly fiddles with his phone and looks longingly at himself in the mirror as the clock winds down on the Colts pick**

Chuck Pagano: Um, Bill? Don’t you think we should make it official and draft Luck?

Irsay: Hold on, I’m trying to change my Twitter avatar…

**15 seconds of silence**

Irsay: Ok, my avatar is changed. Do you think my followers want to hear about what I ate for lunch today?

Pagano: I don’t know Jim, can we deal with that after the draft and just pick Luck already?

Irsay: You’re right…I’m going to put on my diamond-encrusted crown and get up on stage myself to announce the pick

Pagano (ignoring the crown comment): I think the commissioner is the one who announces all the first round picks

Irsay: Oh yeah? Who has more Twitter followers?

Pagano: Actually Jim, he does

**An awkward silence ensues which ends with Irsay cracking the seal of a nearby bottle of Jack Daniels**

Washington Redskins:

**indistinguishable noises and general sounds of elation**

Suddenly, a collective:




“f*#k Rex Grossman!!!!!” thunders out of the Redskins war room as if it were New Years

**Mike Shanahan pops a bottle of champagne**

Shanahan: Should I send Rex Grossman that angry, hate-filled email I’ve been holding onto for the last year right now, or should I wait until Monday?

Kyle Shanahan: Do whatever you want to Grossman, but on the first day of training camp I’m getting Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to help me give John Beck a swirlie.

Daniel Snyder: Now everyone has to pay attention to me, I mean us, right? I just traded my unborn son to move up four spots so we can draft the Heisman Trophy winner…this will show the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles

Cleveland Browns:

Mike Holmgren curled up in the fetal position in the corner of the Browns war room quietly talking to himself: I mean, I…I just had to trade up to make sure we got Richardson. Cause…cause if I didn’t pull the trigger on that deal the Jets would have snatched him right out from under us, and if it wasn’t the Jets, then the Buccaneers would have. If not the Buccaneers, the Cowboys would have. And if that happened, what the hell does our offense look like? Colt McCoy throwing the ball to Greg Little, while Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya grind out 2.5 yards per carry? No, I’m not doing that for another year and Brad Childress is the guy who’s gonna make all of this work

Childress: Wait, seriously? I’m actually the offensive coordinator here? That wasn’t a joke?

Pat Shurmur ignoring Childress like everyone else in the world does: Hey, Mike it’s ok, don’t beat yourself up for trading away a fourth, fifth, and seventh round pick to move up ONE spot when you know that the team you’re trading with isn’t interested in the guy we want, and it seems unlikely that anyone else is actually going to move ahead of us to steal Richardson. You absolutely had to do that. And I mean, hey, at least we didn’t spend our first round pick on a quarterback who turns 29 in October…that would just be a disaster

Holmgren: Yeah, good thing we didn't do that. Um Pat? How bout you take the rest of the first round off?

Minnesota Vikings:

Zygi Wilf: I can’t believe it actually worked. I mean, I know we were transparently desperate to trade this pick and the rumors that a bunch of teams wanted to make a deal with us to take Richardson was a long shot, but the Browns fell for it. After this thing’s over, somebody needs to remind me to send a nice fruit basket to Mike Holmgren, bless his heart

Leslie Frazier: Actually, I already sent him one, so we’re covered on that. Now about this pick…what are we thinking here? Kalil? Claiborne?

Rick Spielman: Well, you know, we’ve got a young quarterback and an offensive lineman like Kalil would be perfect to keep him upright. Plus, picking a lineman with the fourth overall selection just seems like something you do when you’re about to move your team from Minneapolis to LA, doesn’t it?

Frazier: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think we should leave that whole moving to LA thing out of our explanation, but getting a left tackle for our young quarterback should keep the media off my ass at least until training camp starts

Jacksonville Jaguars:

**The entire war room was actually contained inside Shad Khan’s mustache, where this conversation took place**

Mike Mularkey: I’m so sick and tired of everyone saying that Gabbert had a bad rookie year because he didn’t have any weapons. Let’s go with a receiver, Blackmon looks like a real playmaker

Gene Smith:
Oh come on Mike, you’re no fun. I was thinking of taking a defensive line prospect everyone else has pegged as a mid-second round pick

Mularkey: Gene, it’s the first round, we just traded up for the 5th overall pick, don’t you think we should go with a proven commodity this early?

Smith: But Mike…the NFL Draft is a marathon and you can’t win a marathon without putting a few band-aids on your nipples!!!

**Mularkey and the rest of the Jaguars war room is dumbfounded and sits in silence for 60 seconds**

Smith: Fine, if you guys just want to play this one by the book and take a player who has first round talent, I guess we can do that. But it won’t be nearly as much fun as taking a chance on a guy no one likes, but that’s fine

Mularkey: Blackmon should really help Gabbert’s development, and if he doesn’t, at least he gives us a response for people who say we haven’t done anything to bolster this passing game. Because, you know, when you’re developing a young quarterback you just spent a high draft pick on, it’s good to make future picks that also serve as escape hatches when that quarterback turns out to be a complete bust

Smith: I didn’t think of it that way Mike, I’ll call in the pick. But I’m telling you right now, I will be taking a punter in the 3rd round to pay you guys back for this. Our team has neglected the field position aspect of the game for far too long and I’m rectifying that issue this year

Dallas Cowboys:

In the corner of the Cowboys war room, Rob Ryan and Jason Garrett are seeing who can blow the biggest snot rocket while Jerry Jones pouts about the Cowboys prestige falling off in recent years

Ryan: Whoa!!!! Beat that one, Garrett!! That’s a Hall of Famer right there!!

Garrett: You’re embarrassingly good at this…maybe if you spent as much time blowing snot rockets as you did…**trails off for fear of being crushed by a 500 pound human being**

Jones: Idiots, I’m surrounded by idiots. We’ve won exactly one playoff game in the last decade, the Giants have won two of the last five Super Bowls, the Eagles have that whole dream team thing going on, and the Redskins just traded up to get the Heisman Trophy winner. Where does that leave us?

Garrett: We’re still America’s Team Jerry

Jones: What the hell do you know about America’s team Garrett? Do me a favor and don’t speak unless spoken to for the rest of the draft. Hey Ryan, what happened to our defense last season? It was a disaster

Ryan as he wipes his nose: Yeah…um…it didn’t exactly go according to plan, we really needed some better cover corners on the outside so the rest of the defense could focus on harassing the quarterback

Jones: I got you Carr from Kansas City, so you’re good there right?

Ryan: Yeah, that was great, but we could probably use another corner. I know our offensive line could use some help, but to be honest isn’t Tony Romo wearing out his welcome here?

Jones: Don’t get me started on Romo. Fine, I’ll trade up and we can take Claiborne. Maybe the Redskins traded up and got RG3, but I won’t be outdone, I’m Jerry Jones, I won’t just sit by and watch the rest of our division load up on offense and not do something about it. I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!

Miami Dolphins:

Stephen Ross: The Jets have Sanchez AND Tebow, the Patriots have Brady…

**45 second pause as he tries to think of the third team in the AFC East**

Stephen Ross: That other team we play twice a season also has a quarterback they just gave a big contract to…we need to make a splash at quarterback. Take Tannehill!!”

Joe Philbin: Hold on a second here, I like Matt Moore, I think he can be an effective player. We have plenty of needs in other areas, shouldn’t we at least consider another need instead of trying to make a splash?

Ross: Matt Moore? Who the hell is Matt Moore?

Mike Sherman (completely ignoring Ross): I don’t think we should take him just to make a splash at quarterback, but Tannehill’s got a lot of potential, I coached him at Texas A&M

Ross (as if he hadn’t heard anything Sherman just said): I wonder what Tony Sparano is doing right now… man, I fired his ass good at the end of last season

Philbin (nervously): Yeah…um…I think he’s with the Jets now…anyway, what are we doing with this pick?

**Ross falls asleep**

Philbin: Hey Mike, wake him up see what he wants to do

Sherman: No way, I’m not going near him

Philbin: Fine. Since he’s asleep, I guess we have to take Tannehill

Philadelphia Eagles:

Andy Reid as he sweats profusely and wipes his brow with a discarded Snickers wrapper: Boy, that clock’s really moving fast, I’m getting a little flustered here guys

Howie Roseman: Seriously Andy? You’ve been the coach here for 12 seasons and you’re still so flustered by the draft that you’re sweating bullets right now?

Reid: To be fair Howie, I sweat all the time regardless of what’s going on, and there’s just something about clocks winding down that really makes me nervous. Hey, do you think Goodell would let us use one of our timeouts from our first regular season game so I can compose my thoughts about this pick? I think we could use the extra time after trading up

Roseman: Didn’t we trade up with the idea that we were going to take Fletcher Cox to solidify our defensive line?

Reid: Yeah, that was the idea, but now that we’re here and the clock is ticking, there are so many options that I think we should consider. Also, where’s that intern with my ranch dressing IV?

Jeffrey Lurie under his breath: Again with the ranch dressing IV, Jesus…

Lurie speaking up: Hey Andy? Why don’t you track down that intern, while we make this pick?

Reid: Good idea, I’ll see you guys in a little while

St. Louis Rams:

**Before the Jaguars drafted Justin Blackmon**

Jeff Fisher: This is going great, we added a bunch of picks from the Redskins, and now we’re going to be able to take the best receiver in the draft to help Sam Bradford

**Right after the Jaguars drafted Justin Blackmon**

Fisher: Wow, what the hell was that? Seriously Jacksonville? Ok, that’s fine, it’s not a big deal…we’ll just…we’ll just…

Stan Kroenke: Well, we should still be looking at a receiver. What about taking Floyd here?

Fisher: No, it’s too early, we’ll trade back again and get him at 14. We’ll add more picks in the process and still get our guy. By the end of the draft the city of St. Louis will throw me a parade for all the picks I was able to stockpile by trading back and still getting one of the top receivers in the draft

**Right after the Cardinals drafted Michael Floyd**

Fisher: REALLY ARIZONA?!?!? I give up…let’s just take a d-tackle, we couldn’t stop the run last year anyway.

Kroenke: What about getting a receiver for Bradford?

Fisher: Oh, don’t worry about that, we’ll be spending our later picks to help him out. I mean, it worked so well in last year’s draft I figured we might as well do it again this year. Also, this whole trading back thing and just missing out on the guys we wanted is a great way to distract people from the fact that I hired Greg Williams before the whole bountygate thing came out. See? No one’s even talking about that now

Seattle Seahawks:

Pete Carroll: Here we are guys, it's draft day!! I don’t know about everyone else, but I woke up this morning and really felt like reaching on a prospect most people don’t have pegged as a mid-first rounder. What about everyone else?

**45 seconds of silence**

Carroll: Ok great, we’re all in agreement. I say we go with Bruce Irvin, and after we take him we play the “he wouldn’t have lasted any longer, there were at least three other teams that were about to take him” card. Man, I love this whole NFL head coaching thing, it’s really great

**45 seconds of silence**

Carroll: Hey, by the way, did you guys know that I used to be the head coach at USC?

New York Jets:

Rex Ryan (in mid-sentence and with a mouthful of Cheetos): … and I tell the guy, listen, we already traded for a quarterback we don’t need just to draw attention to our team, we might as well throw out a bunch of bogus rumors that we’re trading up 12 spots to draft Trent Richardson. That’s how you stay undefeated on the back pages, baby!!!

Woody Johnson: Right, very good. So now that the posturing is done, who are we actually going to take with our pick?

Mike Tennenbaum: Hold on a second there Woody, floating out draft day propaganda is what’s going to keep this team interesting and compelling, Rex is right

Johnson: Isn’t building a good team on the field what would make this team interesting and compelling?

Ryan: Unbelievable…here I am busting my ass to fuel the hype machine, and all this guy can think about is building a team that will win games but has no back page sizzle. Ok fine, what should we do with this pick? I don’t know, why don’t we ignore Melvin Ingram, Shea McClellin, and Chandler Jones and take a guy whose work ethic has been questioned? How’s that sound guys?

Tennenbaum: You’ve struck gold yet again Rex, I’ll call in our pick of Quinton Coples

San Diego Chargers:

Norv Turner’s thoughts: I can’t believe I’m still here, I can’t believe I’m still here…

A.J. Smith’s thoughts: Doesn’t he realize that by keeping him around it takes the heat off me?

Norv Turner: Hey, A.J.? Do you think we could make our pick as fast as possible tonight? I’ve got a commitment at Walmart early tomorrow morning and I should get some rest

Smith: Walmart?

Turner: Yeah…I um…well…towards the middle of last season I figured I would need a job so I put my name on the Walmart greeter waiting list, and wouldn’t you know it, the day after the first round of the draft is when they called me in to start training

Smith: Norv, you’re the head coach of the San Diego Chargers…this is the NFL Draft for chrissakes! I think it’s a little more important than training for a job you don’t need at Walmart. Just blow it off.

Turner: Well, yeah, I thought about that, it’s just…it takes a really long time to get to the front of the waiting list, and well…who knows where I’ll be six weeks into the season

Smith: Good point, do whatever the hell you want. It’s not like you were going to help us make personnel decisions anyway, and somehow the Jets didn’t take Melvin Ingram so this this pick is a no brainer

Turner: Great, I’m just gonna slip out the backdoor then. If anyone asks I wasn’t feeling well and had to go home early

New England Patriots:

Bill Belichick’s been sitting in the Patriots war room with the lights off since 4 am. Robert Kraft, Josh McDaniels, and the rest of the Patriots personnel walk in at around 8 am

Bilichick: Put the f&%#@ing lotion in the basket!!! I mean, leave the lights off!

Kraft: But Bill, it’s dark in here, how are we going to see anything?

Belichick: I said leave them off goddamnit!!!

Kraft: Ok fine, sorry. So what’s the plan for the draft today? Some more trading back to stockpile picks?

Belichick: Well, if it was up to me that’s what I would do but…

McDaniels: But what?

Belichick: I’m pretty sure that Brady would kill me if we keep trading back, especially with his career winding down and when we really need to add some impact players to our defense

McDaniels in as douchey a tone as humanly possible:
Don’t forget about Giselle, am I right Bob?!?!?

**Raises his hand to give Kraft a high five and is promptly left hanging**

Belichick: Hey Josh, why don’t you wait outside?

**McDaniels shuffles out the door like a cockroach when the lights are turned on, which are still off by the way**

Kraft: So we’re staying put and actually using our first round picks this year, great

Belichick: Well, actually, we’re trading up. I didn’t want to agree with McDaniels when he was in here, but I’m seriously afraid of Giselle. We gotta get Brady some help to shut both of them up

Denver Broncos:

John Fox (to the rest of the scouts and coaches in the Broncos war room): Hey, our pick is coming up, has anyone seen Elway?

**10 seconds later John Elway bursts through the door with a lampshade on his head and a bottle of whiskey in his hand**

Elway: HEY MOTHERF#%*@^&$!!

Fox: Hi John…um…our pick is coming up, what’s the plan?

Elway: Yeah, yeah, we’ll get to that in a minute but seriously, were you guys taking notes of all the GMing I did in the past year? I mean, first I pretend I like Tebow and was committed to him as our quarterback, and everyone fell for it; hook, line, and sinker! Then, he somehow managed to pull a couple of wins out of his ass, which inflated his trade value and I pawned him off on some unsuspecting team that thought we were parting with our franchise quarterback. Suckers!! Oh yeah, and I signed Peyton Manning!!! Peyton freaking Manning!!!

Fox: Yeah John, we’re all very impressed. About this pick, do you think we should be looking to shore up our defense? And could you take that lampshade off your head? Where the hell did you even get that from?

Elway (ignoring everything that was just said): PEYTON FREAKING MANNING IS OUR QUARTERBACK!!!!!

Fox: Yeah, we got it, what about this pick?

Elway: The pick? I don’t even care, you want to know why? BECAUSE PEYTON MANNING IS OUR QUARTERBACK!!! You know what? Let’s just keep trading back

San Francisco 49ers:

Jim Harbuagh: Ok guys, what’s the plan here? We don’t have too many glaring needs and we were a couple of bad bounces away from the Super Bowl last year

Jed York: Well, I’d say quarterback is somewhat of a need, but how in the hell we convinced Alex Smith to re-sign after we flirted with Peyton Manning for a couple of weeks is beyond me

Harbuagh: Yeah, I had to do some pretty regrettable things to smooth it over with Alex after that whole Peyton Manning debacle…

Tret Baalke: Thanks for taking one for the team with that John. Here’s my issue, yeah we went out and got a couple of receivers in free agency, but how sure can we be that Randy Moss will actually show up to training camp or even report to the team when the regular season has started? And furthermore, even if he’s here, what are the chances he actually tries?

Harbuagh: Good point, so we’re thinking receiver here?

Baalke: I think that’s the play…

New York Giants:

Jerry Reese between taking puffs from a two-foot gold plated cigar: “Well, I think we’re all in agreement that our pick will be the best player available here, but really, we’re just doing whatever I say we’re doing”

Tom Coughlin: “Sounds good, Jerry. But hey, can you stop smoking that huge cigar? It’s filling the room with smoke and I can barely read my notes”

**Reese waves hand like Obi-Wan Kenobi talking to a Storm Trooper**: The smoke isn’t causing any problems, and we’re taking David Wilson

Coughlin: You’re right, the smoke isn’t causing any problems, and we're taking David Wilson

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