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 More Stanzi

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Giver of Life
Giver of Life

Posts : 4463
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Age : 28
Location : Iowa

PostSubject: More Stanzi   Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:53 pm

Some general managers pound the pavement and press the flesh, traversing the country to get as much first-hand knowledge they can about as many draft prospects as possible. Others take the approach that they need to know everything about their own team, and subsequently stay tethered to home, poking their noses in every office in the building on a regular basis. Still others go the mole route, spending most of their days and nights in darkened rooms with only a remote control to keep them company.

There is no right or wrong way to do it. Different men have succeeded using each of the approaches. But the general managers who have stayed close to their scouting roots by making multiple college visits have one advantage: easier access to information that usually bubbles beneath the surface.

Among the general managers who log a lot of time on the road are Ted Thompson of the Packers, Kevin Colbert of the Steelers, Jerry Reese of the Giants, Thomas Dimitroff of the Falcons and Scott Pioli of the Chiefs.
To understand why those men believe trips are beneficial, allow me to take you back to an afternoon in Iowa City last fall.

Pioli, who typically makes more than 20 mid week visits to schools during the college season, is set up to watch tape in the Iowa football offices by himself in a quiet room. He hears someone enter the room next to the room he is in. Eventually, he pokes his head around the corner to see who it is. He recognizes quarterback Ricky Stanzi from the back of his head. Stanzi, who Pioli had met earlier that day, is watching tape at the front of the room with his back turned to the door. He doesn’t see the general manager of the Chiefs, and Pioli says nothing.

Pioli keeps checking back throughout the afternoon. Stanzi doesn’t budge for the next five hours. He is taking notes on a pad. Stanzi isn’t listening to an Ipod. He isn’t answering his cell. He isn’t texting or emailing. He is focused on the tape.

Eventually, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz comes by to say hello to Pioli. He explains the routine is normal for Stanzi. “He told me he came down every day and locked himself in a room,” Pioli said. “He would watch tape after tape after tape. He said Ricky had developed into a workaholic and a student of the game, and a lot of his improvement on the field had to do with what went on in that room.”

And so Stanzi became a Kansas City Chief in the fifth round.

What Pioli heard from Ferentz that day was powerful. But what he saw was even more powerful. “Someone could tell me all day that a player is a hard worker,” Pioli told me. “It’s a little different when you see it.”

Pioli would call it a “Carl the Janitor” experience. For those who don’t remember or never knew, Carl the Janitor was a character in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, which was about a group of high school kids. Carl, the self professed “eyes and ears” of the school, knew everything about those students. He saw what was in their lockers. He read their personal letters. He had heard private conversations. Usually, people don’t pay much attention to Carl the Janitors. The blend into their surroundings, often without saying much. But savvy information gatherers like Pioli know they have value.

Draft prospects have become better and better at massaging the truth and air-brushing the facts. As a result it has become more difficult than ever for NFL teams to know and understand exactly who it is they are drafting. Carl the Janitors know how players act when those players think no one is watching or judging them. They can provide critical information.
In the anecdote about Stanzi, Pioli was Carl the Janitor himself. But a lot of people can be Carl. He can be a secretary, a strength coach or a grad assistant. He can be a teammate or relative. He usually isn’t a head coach or a position coach. Those men usually have their own agendas when talking with NFL teams.

Getting truthful information prior to the draft was critical for the Chiefs, who made three controversial selections in receiver Jonathan Baldwin, linebacker Justin Houston and defensive tackle Jerrell Powe. And so Pioli, assistant GM Joel Collier, director of college scouting director Phil Emery and their staff of scouts had to kick over a lot of rocks. “There are a lot of people were not close to the surface or necessarily the more obvious sources that were very helpful in the character evaluation of the players we took,” Pioli said.

It isn’t possible for one man to experience personal revelations about most prospects like Pioli did with Stanzi. But a general manager can rely on a network to provide him with information that the competition can’t always get. “We tell our scouts to own your area,” Pioli said. “Find ways to cultivate relationships to get real information. These processes have changed. The players by the time we get to start talking to them say all the right things. They need to get sources in those places who tell the truth. You have to have relationships with people at universities. When you go into a school, spend quality time, develop sincere relationships with people. Don’t just ask a couple questions, check a couple of boxes.”

Part of good scouting is developing trust. For Pioli, the best way to do that is face-to-face.

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PostSubject: Re: More Stanzi   Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:51 pm

This is the type of prospect you need at QB. Someone who does everything he can do make himself and the team better. All he needs is a good trainer, and a QB coach. He is in good hands here.
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Mod Lord
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PostSubject: Re: More Stanzi   Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:26 am

This is really good to hear! He could be our "Cassel" as he was for New England. He could eventually be our starter or have some good trade value if Cassel becomes a franchise QB.

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