Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 NFL Combine

The NFL Combine starts this Wednesday in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.  As I said last week, it is time to “Go to Work on the 2010 Season.”  The lucky college football players that were invited to the NFL Combine are getting ready for one of the most exciting, yet intense experiences of their lives.  They are going to spend a couple of days being tested, measured, drilled and interviewed.  Over 600 NFL personnel will watch the players complete drills specific to their position, but here are the workout drills that are measured.

1.    40-yard Dash - This is the most popular event at the Combine.  Players are timed running 40 yards.  Like track sprinting events, this drill is all about speed.  After this week, you will hear a lot of people refer to the “40” of draft prospects.
2.    Bench Press – This test is for strength and endurance.  Players bench 225 pounds as many reps as they can.  This will show who really spent time in the weight room in college.
3.    Vertical Jump – Players stand straight up and stretch their hand to the sky.  The measurement of this point is the reach.  The player then jumps to hit a flag.  He must jump without running or rocking.  The difference between the reach and the flag is the measurement for the “vertical.”  This will show scouts the strength of the lower body.
4.    Broad Jump – This is like a long jump without running.  Players stand and jump frontward as far as they can.  This is not only about the distance. The key is landing and not falling.  Scouts are looking for good balance.
5.    3 Cone Drill – Players run around 3 cones in an L shape and back.  This is to test an athlete's ability to change directions at a high speed.
6.    5-10-5 – The actual name is the Shuttle Run.  Basically the player has to run 5 yards to his right and touch the yard line, run 10 yards to his left and touch the yard line, then run a final 5 yards to the right to finish.

I have never attended the NFL Combine, so I asked a couple of my friends to share their feelings on the process.  Of course they are Michigan Men! 

"I was very excited when I received my invitation to the NFL Combine. Considering, 70% of the players that get invited are drafted, I felt as though I was another step closer to my dream of playing pro-football.  The process of interviews, medical examinations, and test of physical and mental ability was a unique and fascinating experience.  It was tough, but I'm happy and fortunate to have participated in the process."

“As a student athlete you understand anytime you are invited to the NFL combine you probably have a 70% chance of being drafted so it is an exciting experience at first. Once I was there, I realized how extreme the entire process is because the league and teams do a top level investigation digging deep into your background. This includes family life, kid, law suits, drug usage, academic standing – EVERYTHING!  Of course there are some players who have a longer rope to hang themselves. For example, I remember taking a long questionnaire test for the Atlanta Falcons. I had already taken probably 5 test at the time for other teams and I was mentally exhausted considering each test will take as long as 1 hour. After 40 minutes into my exam Curtis Enis (who was a running back from Penn State and 1st round pick for the Chicago Bears) comes into the room and starts his test. Dude finished within 10 minutes, got up and dipped out. He didn’t read a single question.  Those Falcon scouts were pissed, but it was hilarious!

While the guys with the coveted invitations to this year’s Combine are making sure that they are in great shape, I am too!  I have called on the expert, Pete Leibman, at BetterFitness BetterHealth to help me “go to work on Heels Helmets 2010 Season.”  Just as the NFL season starts with the Combine this week, I’ll be starting my training.  Are you going to work on your 2010 Season?  Come on ladies, we need to make sure that we are looking good in our heels this summer!  Let's get to work!

Don't forget you can watch the Combine on the NFL Network.  I'll keep you updated on twitter, so follow me @heelsnhelmets.


Heels Helmets

Monday, February 15, 2010

Going to Work on the 2010 Season

College Bowl Games are over and we have our new Super Bowl Champs, but this does not mean the end of football.  Things are just getting started!  College programs are completing their recruiting and preparing for spring practice.  In the NFL, it is building time!  All 32 clubs are now taking serious looks at their rosters and checkbooks to determine which players are staying and which players are going.  They are also preparing to head to Indiana for The 2010 NFL Scouting Combine.

The NFL Scouting Combine is the annual job fair for prospective NFL players.  I describe it as an intense, invitation-only audition for the best college football players to get a role in the NFL.  This year, from February 24 to March 2, prospective NFL players will participate in physical and psychological exams, interviews, tests and drills.  They will work to show all of the coaches, general managers and scouts from all of the teams that they are tough enough physically and mentally to handle a job in the NFL.  It’s an exciting time!  Some players will improve their stock going into the draft and others unfortunately will drop. 

The combine will air on the NFL Network.  Visit the NFL Scouting Combine Official Invite List and check to see if anyone was invited from your alma mater.  Better yet, look for players from schools that your sweetie likes.  Imagine how pleased he’ll be when you serve dinner in front of the TV because you want to know how a player from his school is doing at the combine.  I think he just might have a beer and stay at home to watch it.  Next week, I’ll explain the workout drills, so you can add something about the "40" or "Vertical" and seal the deal. ;)

I love this time of year!  It takes me back to my roots in football – watching tapes of high school players at Schembechler Hall.  It is because of the research, analysis and negotiations that happen off the field, teams do well when the ball is snapped in the fall.  When I worked for a NBA team and a NFL team, after the last game people would ask, “What are you going to do now?”  Shocked, I always laughed and said, “WORK!  This is when we really get things done.  We can’t prepare for the first game on that day!” 

So, let’s get to work!


Heels Helmets

Monday, February 8, 2010

WHO DAT with the Lombardi Trophy?!

Congratulations to the Super Bowl XLIV Champs, the New Orleans Saints and MVP, Drew Brees!

That was an exciting game!  While it was not the offensive shootout that I was expecting, it was one of guts and persistence.  It was a battle that kept me interested the entire game.

We all know that Drew had a stellar game.  He completed 32 of his 39 passes and had two touchdowns.  He entered the second half of the game with composure as if the first half did not matter.  It is also easy to notice that the defense truly stepped up.  Maybe they were feeling neglected by all of the talk about the strength of the offense, but they demonstrated that they are a factor on the team.  Just look at Tracy Porter's interception in the 4th quarter that really ended the game.

So, I want to highlight the Saints' Special Teams.  You know I believe that this unit can make or break a team.  I had a feeling that one of the Special Teams would make their team and fans feel very special.  That is exactly what the Saints' Special Teams did.  Coach Payton made a courageous (and shocking) move when he called for an onside kick to start the second half.  Thomas Morstead executed with the poise that he is known for.  The rookie kicked 12 yards and the Saints recovered.  This was the real game changer.

The Saints now had momentum and confidence.  The offense boldly came onto the field and started the drive that ended with their first touchdown of the game.  This set the tone for the remainder of the game.  As always, half of it is what you do and the other half is how you think.  The Saints had the skill set, but they were not assertive until the second half.  That change in mindset started with Special Teams, so I had to give this unit some special attention.  The New Orleans Saints' Special Teams receives the Heels Helmets first Super Bowl REAL GAME CHANGER AWARD.   Congratulations!   

Heels Helmets

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's Game Time!

Super Bowl XLIV is here!

Practice is over.  What the media says does not matter.  The regular season does not matter.  The only thing matters is what each player does on each down.  

I don't have anymore to add to this story except that it looks like not only is Dwight Freeney going to play, he is going to start.  Guess whatever he is feeling in his ankle is not going to stop him from blitzing tonight!

This is war.  Each player has to step out on the field and treat each down as a battle.  As they said in The Program, "Let the paramedics sort 'em out!"

Follow us on twitter (@ heelsnhelmets) and we'll let you know what the paramedics say.

Heels Helmets

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Champs Are...

This Super Bowl is going to be a high scoring game!  As you saw this week, both offenses are superb with very talented quarterbacks.  This game is about the #1 Offense going against the #2 team in passing yards.  So you can expect that they both will put up a lot of points.

Many people think that this game will only be about the offense.  I am excited to watch because I know that Drew and Peyton are going to put on a great show!  However, I agree with Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and still believe that defense wins championships.  The teams are equally matched up on defense.  While both defenses have struggled this season, it did not stop either team from reaching the Super Bowl.  The Saints have an All-Pro Free Safety, Darren Sharper to watch out for Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon.  The Colts have an All-Pro Defensive End, Dwight Freeney who is #3 in sacks in the league and will focus on chasing Drew.   Whichever defense steps it up gives their team an edge.

So, with equally matched teams, who does the advantage go to?  I don't have "a team."  I just enjoy watching the game.  If this were the regular season, I would just pick the team with the most former Michigan players to have someone to cheer for.  However, these two teams are equal there too!  The Colts have Mike Hart (Running Back) and Marlin Jackson (Defensive Back).  The Saints have Jonathan Goodwin (Starting Center) and Adrian Arrington (Wide Receiver).  Congratulations guys, GO BLUE!

With anything, I believe half of it is what you do and the other half is how you approach it.  I think that the Super Bowl Champs will be the team that has the experience and the right mentality.  This will allow them to be poised under pressure.  This team is focused and understands that business for this season is not over until Sunday, the championship game.  This was displayed when they won their conference title.  One team celebrated as if the goal had been accomplished.  This mind set will cause them to feel proud just to be in Sun Life Stadium.  The other team did not celebrate as if they had reached their goal.  They were enthusiastic about another win, but ready to prepare for the next game.   

So, the 2010 Super Bowl Champs and winner of the Vince Lombardi Trophy are the Indianapolis Colts with a final score of 42 - 35.

If you need a reminder on any parts of the game that we have discussed go back to a previous post.  Otherwise send an e-mail to

Enjoy watching the game!

Heels &  Helmets

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV: Special Teams

Last week I talked about Special Teams and told you that "Special Men Will Make or Break You."   With two great offenses going against inferior defenses, this could easily be the case for Sunday's Super Bowl.  Remember this unit is responsible for securing field position and they put points on the scoreboard in three different ways: Extra Point (1 point);  Two-point Conversion (2 points); and Field Goal (3 points).  In the NFC Championship Game, Special Teams scored the final points of the game with a field goal in overtime.  So, I think we have to take a look at the key players on Special Teams for the Colts and the Saints to predict who will be Super Bowl Champs.


Pat McAfee (#1) - Punter.  Rookie with an average of over 37 yards per punt. 

Matt Stover (#3) - Kicker. One of the NFL's all-time kicking leaders.  Clutch kicker, but does not have long range.

Chad Simpson (#35) - Kick Returner.  Did not do much in the playoffs, but during the season he averaged 23.6 yards and had a 93 yard touchdown.

T.J. Rushing (#20) - Punt Returner.  Averaged 5.7 yards on punt returns.
The Colts may use Wide Receiver, Pierre Garcon, to return some punts.

Thomas Morstead (#6) - Punter.  Rookie who has gained a reputation for being poised.  Solid punter and kicker and he did both in the playoffs.  

Garrett Hartley (#5) - Kicker.  His kick in overtime won the NFC Title.  Did not play a lot during the regular season.  He was out because he used a banned substance and on the bench when he returned.  Has been accurate since coming back in December and playing in the playoffs.

Courtney Roby (#15) - Kick Returner.  Strong runner (ran track in college), but injured his knee during the NFC Championship Game.

Reggie Bush (#25) - Punt Returner and starting Running Back.  Returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown in the playoff  game against Arizona.  This is the third longest return in NFL playoff history.

I have a feeling that one of these groups is going to make Sunday a very special day for their team and fans.

Heels Helmets

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV: Saints On Defense

The New Orleans Saints is not a defensive powerhouse.  They have an aggressive style, but it has not translated to big success.  They ranked in the bottom 8 this season.  Even worse, they were 26 in total passing yards allowed.  This is not good for a defense that has to play Peyton Manning who passes all day long.  Especially, considering he was tested during the playoffs.  He beat the #3 defense (Baltimore Ravens) and came from behind and won against the best defense this season (New York Jets) in the AFC Championship game.  The pressure is on the Saints to put some pressure on Peyton.
When going against a team with a good passing game, it is important to have strong Cornerbacks and Safeties. The good thing for the Saints is that they have a Free Safety that is a threat to the best quarterbacks, Darren Sharper.  He is an All Pro Free Safety.  He can catch, run and tackle.  He tied for first in the NFL for interceptions with 9 and three of those were returned for touchdowns.
Here are all of the players that will most likely start or play a major role on Sunday.  Go back to Defense Wins Championships! to review the responsibilities of each position.
Tackles and Ends 
Remi Ayodele (#92) - Defensive Tackle 
Sedrick Ellis (#98) - Defensive Tackle.  Missed a lot this season with knee injury.

Bobby McCray (#93) - Defensive End

Will Smith (#91) - Defensive End.  Best pass rusher on the team. Second in sacks in the NFC with 13 sacks.  


Scott Fujita (#55) - Missed 5 games because of knee injury, but still had 75 tackles. 

Jonathan Vilma (#51) -  Decent season with 130 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 sacks. Also had an interception in the NFC title game. 

Scott Shanle (#58) - Third on the team in tackles.  


Jabari Greer (#32) - Started the season strong with 2 interceptions and a touchdown, but missed almost half of the season with a sports hernia.

Tracy Porter (#22) - He is a big reason the Saints made it to the Super Bowl.  He intercepted Favre in overtime which set up the Saints to score.  During the regular season he had 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 69 tackles.

Roman Harper (#41) - Strong Safety. Second on team with 127 tackles.

Darren Sharper (#42) - Free Safety.  He'll be ready for Dallas Clark or Reggie Wayne.  He Set the NFL record with 376 yards on interception runbacks and one was for 99 yards!  Peyton needs to be careful throwing to his side.

The Saints' Defense needs to stop Peyton from throwing the ball.  To be successful, the line needs to step up and the linebackers and cornerbacks need to blitz.  All of this is much easier said than done!

Heels & Helmets

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


OK, My goal was to get you all ready for Super Bowl, so I was dedicating this week to talking about both teams playing in the Championship Game.  But, today is a really important day for College Football and my Michigan Wolverines, so I had to fill you in.  Today is the first day that a high school player can sign a binding letter of intent to play at a university.  So, it's appropriately called National Signing Day.  All of the months college coaches spend traveling, making phone calls, arranging tours of the university and scheduling attendance at games all come down to this day.  

It has been a rough couple of years since Rich Rodriguez (Coach Rod) took over as Head Coach of Michigan Football.  He has not been on the sidelines of a Michigan Bowl Game, since he watched Coach Carr coach the Wolverines to a victory over the Florida Gators in the Capital One Bowl, on January 1, 2008.  This was the day before he started his job at Michigan.  Well, I am convinced that the 2008 and 2009 seasons are in the past and Coach Rod's third year will be a charm!  I'm looking forward to see who will be added to complete the offense and strengthen our defense.  GO BLUE!

I feel so excited that I am inviting all of you to come join me for my Super Bowl Happy Hour this Friday!  Here are the details:

Join Heels & Helmets for the "Final Practice" before the big game. Come chat, have a cocktail and get key elements to the game. Yes, he'll be surprised on Sunday!

The Reserve: 1426 L Street, NW; Washington, DC
Open Bar: 5 - 6 p.m. (Select cocktails)
$5 Rails
$5 Select Tapas

You can get information on the newest Wolverines and watch the press conference at 3 p.m. (EST) at

Heels & Helmets

Super Bowl XLIV: Colts Are On Offense

The AFC Champs, may not have the best defense in the NFL, but their offense more than makes up for it.  The Colts have one of the best offenses in the league and it is centered around the 2009 NFL MVP, Peyton Manning.  Peyton is a great quarterback who is blessed with a great line that protects him.  One problem for the Colts offense is their running game.  While they were #2 in passing yards this season, they were last in rushing.  However, their passing game is so good that even with poor rushing, they are one of the top offenses in the NFL and they are playing in the Super Bowl.  

Peyton does not have any problems throwing the ball.  He does not need a lot of time to get his team down the field to score a touchdown.  If there is time on the clock, there is a possibility that he can score.  That's the scary part for the Saints.

Here are the players that will most likely start or play a major role in the game.  You can go back to Offense Controls the Game to review the responsibilities of the players on offense.   
Peyton Manning (#18) - Only four-time MVP in NFL history.  Throwing is in his blood.  His dad, Archie Manning, was a star quarterback for the Saints. (Yes, he grew up in New Orleans cheering for the Saints.)  Still confuses everyone calling plays at the line without a huddle.  He is known for studying teams and he has had two weeks to just focus on the Saints.  


Jeff Saturday, (#63) - One of the best centers in the league.  

Guards and Tackles - The reason Peyton was only sacked 13 times this season.

Ryan Lilja (#65)  - Left Guard
Kyle DeVan (66) - Right Guard
Charlie Johnson (#74) - Left Tackle
Ryan Diem (#71) - Right Tackle

Wide Receivers

Reggie Wayne, WR (87) - He is a super fast veteran and dependable catcher.   6 of his 9 seasons in the NFL he has had 1,000 or more yards.  Another Colts from New Orleans. 

Pierre Garcon, WR (85) - Coming off of a great playoff performance with 16 receptions and a touchdown.

Austin Collie, WR (17) - Great rookie season.  Tied for the most catches among rookies at 60.  He also got 7 touchdowns.  Peyton loves to develop young receivers and Collie is developing into a star. 

Running Backs

Joseph Addai, RB (#29) - Decent runner who can catch the ball.  His game improved during the season, but he only averaged 3.8 yards per run in the playoffs. 

Tight End
Dallas Clark (#44) - Peyton's fourth pass threat.  Strong and catches well.  He is one of only two Tight Ends with 100 receptions in a season.

The Colts' passing game will be extremely difficult to stop.  Tomorrow we will look at the men who are going to try on Sunday.


Heels & Helmets

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV: Colts On Defense

The Indianapolis Colts are not exactly known for their defense. They have a history of allowing other teams to get a lot of yards running the ball. Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, they rank in the bottom half on defense. They have shown some improvements during the playoffs, but as you learned yesterday, the Saints offense is good with everything. The Colts' Defense certainly has their work cut out for them.

The star of this defense is Dwight Freeney. He is a Pro Bowl Defensive End that is known for his toughness because he plays through injuries. He was #3 in the NFL this season in sacks accumulating 13.5 sacks during the regular season. He also owns the team's record for career sacks with 84. Clearly, he knows how to get to the quarterback. If he is healthy, Drew better watch out!

Here are all of the players that will potentially start when the Colts Defense comes out on Sunday. (Go back to the article Defense Wins Championships! to review the roles.)

Tackles and Ends - These guys are going after Drew and his Running Backs.

Antonio Johnson (#99) - Defensive Tackle

Dan Muir (#90) - Defensive Tackle

Robert Mathis (#98) - Defensive End

Dwight Freeney (#93) - Defensive End. Ankle is injured, so we will have to wait to see how much he plays.


Philip Wheeler (#50)

Gary Brackett (#58) - Leader of the defense. 99 tackles during the season even with the injuries.

Clint Session (#55) - Led team in tackles.


Kelvin Hayden (#26) - Only had one interception. Defending the Saints wide receivers will not be easy.

Jerraud Powers (#25) - Didn't play in AFC championship game because of foot injury.


Melvin Bullitt (#33) - Strong Safety. Not consistent because of injuries.

Antoine Bethea (#41) - Free Safety. Started every single game.

It is going to be tough for this group to handle the speed and versatility of the Saints Offense. If they do, their counterparts on offense will need to come out and score. This should not be a problem. You'll see why tomorrow when I take a look at the Colts Offense.


Heels & Helmets