Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2009 Round 4 #101 – Dallas Cowboys – QB Stephen McGee

The Cowboys chose Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, the consensus best-available QB, with their first pick in the 4th round.  The 6’3″, 225 pounder is raw but has tremendous upside.

Obviously, this is yet another pick spent on a backup, since Tony Romo is a Pro Bowler and under a lucrative, long-term contract to start.  Still, the team needs to start grooming a backup and the 4th round means he’ll come cheap by NFL standards.

Here’s what says about him:


Few quarterbacks will ever be drafted after starting only three games their senior year, but McGee has the tools worthy of consideration. A fine Texas high school quarterback recruited by several top programs, McGee went to Texas A&M to make his own name. While his statistics under former head coach Dennis Franchione were solid enough to earn NFL attention (60 percent completion rate for 4,606 yards and a 24-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio), McGee was hardly developing into a pro-ready quarterback through Franchione’s read-option offense.

With former Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman taking over the helm in 2008, optimism was high that McGee would enjoy a big senior campaign. Then he suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder early in the season, limiting him to only the three starts. A solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game – and this year’s weak senior class of quarterbacks – could result in McGee earning a surprisingly high grade from some teams who are willing to look past his stunted development and focus on his undeniable tools. Had an arm span of 32 inches and a hand span of 9 inches at the combine.
High School

Three-year starter at quarterback for Class 3A Burnet High School, leading his team to a combined record of 36-5 (including a 28-2 mark as a junior and senior). … Burnet appeared in the 3A state finals in 2002 and 2003. … did not throw a single interception in the 2003 regular season. … finished his career with 8,256 passing yards and a 3A state-record 101 passing touchdowns. … as a senior, McGee completed 196 of 313 passes for 3,579 yards with 47 touchdowns and three interceptions. … as a junior, he completed 155 of 276 passes for 2,841 yards and 34 touchdowns and five interceptions. … as a sophomore, he connected on 93 of 176 attempts for 1,829 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. … two-time all-state selection and three-time all-district pick. … named the 3A Offensive Most Valuable Player after his senior year. … also earned Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine Super Team second-team and Austin American-Statesman All-Centex Co-Player of the Year honors. … coached by Bob Shipley. … also played basketball and track and field. … all-district on the hardwood as a sophomore, but was injured as a junior. … advanced to the regional meet in track with the 400- and 1,600-meter relays. … an excellent student, McGee was Burnet’s No. 1-ranked student-athlete and ranked No. 9 overall in his senior class of over 250.


Positives: Legitimate NFL frame. Good toughness. Has absorbed a lot of hits throughout his career and is willing to play through pain. Legitimate arm strength. Good zip on his passes, especially on short and intermediate routes. Flashes the arm strength and trajectory for deep passes with touch over the top. Good athlete who can buy time in the pocket and also make plays as a runner in the open field. Good agility and strength for the position as a runner. Solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game offers hope that he can develop with time in a pro-style offense. Excellent intangibles. Natural leader who was voted permanent team captain in 2006. Twice led the Aggies to upset victories over rival Texas.

Negatives: Raw as they come. More of a thrower than a passer at this point. Inconsistent footwork and delivery. Inconsistent accuracy, mostly due to flawed technique. Still acclimating to reading a defense from a passer standpoint. Lacks patience in the pocket and will either run or force passes too often, rather than check down. Needs to be cleared medically due to the torn labrum suffered during his senior year.
Injury Report

2008: Limited to three starts due to a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. says, “McGee will be one of the most sought after quarterbacks in the country. Last season as a junior, he threw for over 2,800 yards, 34 touchdowns and only five interceptions. McGee has a strong arm, good mobilty and makes great decisions with the ball. He carries a 4.0 GPA. ”

Scouts, Inc. gives him mixed grades.

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 2004: Texas A&M red shirts McGee. 2005: McGee starts one of the eight games he appears in completing 24 of his 53 passes for a total of 283 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He rushes for a total of 235 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries. (5.5 yard avg.) 2006: McGee starts all 13 games completing 194 of his 313 passes (62-percent) for a total of 2,295 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushes for a total of 666 yards and four touchdowns on 146 carries. McGee catches one pass for a 12-yard gain and he punts twice for a total of 71 yards. He places one of those punts inside the opponent’s 20-yardline. 2007: McGee starts all 13 games completing 211 of his 364 passes (58-percent) for a total of 2,311 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He rushes for five touchdowns and a team-high 811 yards on 181 carries. (5.0 yard avg.) 2008: McGee starts three of the six games he appears in completing 56 of his 85 passes (65.9-precent) for a total of 586 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He finishes the year with -50 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Marginal height and bulk but above-average top-end speed.
Durability 4 2007: Injures non-throwing shoulder during Alamo Bowl. 2008: Undergoes surgery on non-throwing shoulder and is held out of spring ball. Injures throwing shoulder during New Mexico game and then re-injures it against Army two weeks later.
Character 1 Great competitor and teammates rally around him. Works hard on and off the field. Voted Permanent Team Captain in 2006. One of if not the toughest quarterbacks in the nation.
Quarterback specific Traits
Game Management 3 Played in the read-option offense for the first three years of career and started just three games in head coach Mike Sherman’s pro style offense last year but has the mental toughness to make the necessary adjustments. Generates a lot of yards when after plays start to break down. Shows above-average poise in the face of pressure and isn’t afraid to take the big hit.
Accuracy 3 Mechanics need a lot of polishing, especially his footwork. Throws off his back foot sometimes and doesn’t follow through as often as he should. Also has a tendency to over-stride with his front foot, which occasionally can cause his ball to sail high. Does a decent job of changing up velocities. Throws a ‘catchable’ ball underneath. Has shown the ability to throw efficiently while on the run.
Release 3 Ball jumps off hand and can throw from different arm slots. He flashes the ability to get rid of the ball quickly on three-step drops but he has a tendency to cock the ball back and wind-up on deeper throws. Pats the ball too much.
Arm Strength 2 Underrated arm strength. Gets adequate-to-good zip on the ball when throwing the deep-out and can drive the ball downfield on vertical throws when steps into the pass.
Mobility 2 While not an elite athlete, he’s certainly one of the most mobile and experienced runners in the 2008 quarterback class. Competitive ball carrier that displays excellent vision and toughness.


Former San Diego Chargers safety Terrence Kiel dead at 27

He died in a auto accident late last night. If not for Kiel’s arrest for shipping cough medicine two years ago, I would most likely not even remember him. RIP.

SAN DIEGO – Former Chargers safety Terrence Kiel was killed after he was thrown from a Chevy sedan he was driving, police said Saturday.

Kiel, 27, was driving alone after leaving a party at about 10:15 Friday night when he hit a wall in San Diego’s upscale Scripps Ranch neighborhood and was thrown from the car, police Sgt. Alan Hayward said.


Cowboys Sign WR Danny Amendola

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Dallas Cowboys have signed Texas Tech wide receiver Danny Amendola, who went undrafted, to a free agent contract.

He had 109 catches for 1,245 yards and six touchdowns for the Red Raiders in 2007. The Cowboys would really like to see Amendola develop into another Tech receiver, Wes Welker, who lit it up last year in New England. They have similar builds – Amendola is 5-10, 183, Welker is 5-8, 185 – and excelled as slot receivers in Mike Leach’s offense.

It can’t hurt to give the kid a look. Certainly, there have been some solid players who went undrafted for whatever reason. Still, the Cowboys had plenty of opportunities to draft a wideout and instead reached for several players they didn’t need.


NFL Draft 2008 – Round 2 #61 – Dallas Cowboys – Martellus Bennett

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Dallas Cowboys took Texas A&M tight end Martellus Bennett with their second round pick, bypassing several quality wide receivers, their position of greatest need.

These are the same Dallas Cowboys who drafted Anthony Fasano in the 2nd round in the 2006 draft and just shipped him off to the Miami Dolphins, along with starting linebacker Akin Ayodele, for a bag of magic beans 4th round pick. This makes no sense whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada.

This draft has all the makings of the worst drafts in the bad old days of the post-Jimmy Johnson, pre-Bill Parcells era.
Scouts, Inc.: 70th

Strengths: Has a massive frame, including long arms and big hands. Former basketball player for two seasons at A&M; he’s aathletic for his size. Knows how to get a clean release when linebackers try to jam him at the line, does a good job of tracking the ball downfield and, while doesn’t have elite speed, is fast enough to stretch the seam a little bit. Appears to read defenses well and locates seams when working against zone coverage. Uses wide frame to shield defenders from the ball and can make tough catches in traffic. Snatches the ball out of the air and flashes the ability to pick up yards after contact so can produce after the catch. Shows good focus, has adequate body control and can adjust to passes thrown outside frame. Fights for the ball while it’s in the air and is capable of coming down with the ball in most jump ball situations. Has experience lining up flexed to the outside, size caused matchup problems for defensive backs and is somewhat versatile. Works from the snap until the whistle and flashes the ability to sustain blocks. Does a fairly good job of staying low considering how tall he is and can get under defenders’ pads. Shows adequate lateral mobility and can seal the edge. Takes adequate angles to blocks and can get into position at the second level.

Weaknesses: Takes too long to change directions, doesn’t explode out of cuts and is going to have a harder time separating from man coverage at the NFL level. Isn’t going to make many defenders miss, lacks breakaway speed and isn’t much of a big-play threat. Lacks elite foot speed and has a harder time beating press coverage when lines up outside. Doesn’t show great lower body strength, doesn’t always get good hand placement and is going to have problems driving two-gap defensive ends off the ball. Durability is not really a concern but he did miss 2007 Nebraska game with an ankle injury.

Overall: Bennett started five of the 11 games he appeared in during his true freshman season in 2005. He started all 13 games of the 2006 season recording 38 catches, 497 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. Bennett started 12 games during the 2007 season recording 49 receptions, 587 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. Bennett lacks explosiveness and strength elite of an elite prospect, but he has the frame, toughness, and hands to develop into a starting tight end in the NFL. He also is a smooth athlete with adequate speed for his size. Bennett projects as a third-round pick.

Rick Gosselin: 46

Mel Kiper: 5th best TE in class; not on Big Board

A total headscratcher.

UPDATE: Tim McMahon disagrees.

To put it bluntly, the A&M passing offense stunk under Dennis Franchione. Bennett didn’t get the ball nearly as often as he should have, but he did develop into a solid blocker.

The knock on Bennett is that he doesn’t have breakaway speed, but tight ends that do are few and far between. He’s 6-7, 250 pounds and athletic enough to be a contributor on Billy Gillispie’s basketball team. He has the size and versatility to line up as a traditional tight end or in the slot, and he has the hands and leaping ability to be a prime red-zone target.

This guy is an upgrade over Anthony Fasano on the field.

You’d hope so.


Mike Sherman New Aggies Coach

Texas A&M has hired Mike Sherman as their new head football coach.

Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman was introduced as Texas A&M’s coach Monday, three days after Dennis Franchione resigned.

Sherman, 52, has been an assistant head coach with the Houston Texans for two seasons under Gary Kubiak, a former quarterback for the Aggies. Sherman also has ties to A&M. He was the offensive line coach from 1989-93 and then in 1995-96 under R.C Slocum. Kubiak was A&M’s running backs coach in 1992 and ’93.

Franchione took a contract buyout and stepped down Friday, less than an hour after Texas A&M beat Texas 38-30. Defensive coordinator Gary Darnell was named the interim coach Saturday and will lead the Aggies (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) through their bowl game. The Aggies are expecting an invitation Sunday.

That was quick. Sherman doesn’t have much of a record as a head coach or as a recruiter, which makes this a rather odd choice.


Franchione Out at Texas A&M

Dennis Franchione‘s days as head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies appear to be numbered, ESPN reports.

Texas A&M is talking about buying out Franchione’s contract, sources have told ESPN college football analyst Andre Ware. Texas A&M said Monday it would wait until the end of the football season before deciding Franchione’s fate. At least one national Web site reported that Franchione had already accepted a buyout before backing off the story.

“There are several false rumors circulating regarding the Texas A&M football program,” the school said in an e-mailed statement. Athletics department spokesman Alan Cannon said athletics director Bill Byrne would wait until the end of the season to evaluate Franchione, as he does with all coaches. Cannon added, “I have received no indication that he has changed his stance.” Cannon said Franchione is still A&M’s coach and is preparing the team to play Missouri on Saturday.

Franchione has been in hot water with the university for a newsletter he was sending out to donors willing to pay $1,200 for inside information. In mid-October, Texas A&M officials admonished Franchione for his secretive, for-pay newsletter and said the embarrassing episode would be a factor in deciding whether he returns next season.

The school said it would report the results of an internal investigation to the NCAA because of possible rules violations, and Franchione was ordered to shut down his Web site, He also will receive a “letter of admonishment.”

“The Aggies are embarrassed right now,” athletic director Bob Byrne said in October. “This has been a very unfortunate incident we do not want to experience again.”

Texas A&M is reportedly researching whether Franchione violated his contract with the income he received from the newsletter. If he is found in violation of the contract, the Aggies may not have to pay the coach anything upon firing him.

Franchione’s contract pays him $2 million per season and runs through 2012. A buyout will be $141,667 per month for the remainder of the contract, or about $8 million. Ware reported Monday that Texas A&M is looking for a buyout in the $2 million range.

Ware reported that Texas A&M wants to talk to Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville for a potential vacancy. He reported that the school is working with Chuck Neinas, who runs a consulting firm specializing in hiring coaches.

Franchione’s case isn’t helped by the fact that he’s underperformed since taking the gig.

Franchione came to A&M from Alabama, where he went 10-3 in 2002. He was never a perfect fit at A&M, where he replaced the popular R.C. Slocum.

Oklahoma humiliated the Aggies 77-0 in 2003, the first of three consecutive losses to end the season. The Aggies went 7-4 in 2004, but lost again to Texas before Tennessee’s 38-7 win in the Cotton Bowl. A&M lost its final four games in 2005 and finished 5-6, its second losing record in Franchione’s first three seasons.

The Aggies won nine games last season, but narrowly beat Army in San Antonio. They beat Texas 12-7, snapping a six-game losing streak in the series and getting their first win in Austin since 1994. But California ripped A&M 45-10 in the Holiday Bowl last December, rekindling A&M fans’ discontent.

Texas A&M is 6-4 this season, and Franchione is 31-28 overall with the Aggies. He is 2-12 against main rivals Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

As an Alabama fan left in the lurch by Coach Fran when he bailed on his team in order to pursue his dream, all I can say is Bwaaaaa ha ha ha.


Texas Tech Bans Vick Dog Hanging T-Shirt

A Texas Tech student designed a t-shirt using the Michael Vick controversy to make fun of the visiting Texas A&M Aggies. His school’s administration was not amused.

Texas Tech has banned the sale of a T-shirt bearing the likeness of Michael Vick hanging the dog mascot of rival Texas A&M. The red and black shirts, with text that says “VICK ‘EM” on the front in an apparent reference to the Aggies’ slogan “Gig ‘em,” was created by a Tech student who was trying to sell them before Saturday’s game in Lubbock. The back of the shirt shows a football player wearing the No. 7 Vick jersey holding a rope with an image of the mascot Reveille at the end of a noose. Vick, who faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal dogfighting charge, is suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Tech officials late Tuesday announced the fraternity that sold the shirts was suspended temporarily and will face judicial review for allegedly violating the solicitation section of the students’ code of conduct. The school said it wouldn’t allow the sale on campus of items that are “derogatory, inflammatory, insensitive, or in such bad taste.” No more shirts are being produced, the school said in a release.

A&M officials, in a statement, thanked Tech administrators for “their response and action regarding this matter.”

Good for Texas Tech, which showed class and sensitivity here. Hopefully, they won’t overreact in their punishment of the student and/or fraternity; kids do dumb things. It’s the job of the adults running the place to help them grow up.


Texas A&M and Seattle Seahawks Settle 12th Man Dispute

The Aggies and Seahawks have settled their suit over the use of the “12th Man” moniker.

The fight over the “12th Man” is over and both Texas A&M University and the Seattle Seahawks will be able to use the phrase. The university and the Seahawks said Monday they had reached a deal settling the university’s lawsuit over the phrase reserved for fans.

As part of the agreement, the Seahawks acknowledge Texas A&M’s ownership rights of the trademarked phrase. However, the NFL team may continue using it under license. Neither side admitted any fault or liability.

The Aggies hold a federal trademark rights to the phrase “12th Man.” They wanted to halt Seattle from using the “12th Man” phrase earlier this year. In February, the university filed a lawsuit in Brazos County over the Seahawks use of the trademark. Days before Seattle faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, a restraining order was issued calling on the Seahawks to halt any usage of “12th Man,” or “12th Mania.”

Origins of the term “12th man” aren’t exactly clear, but the traditions in Seattle and College Station date back decades.

Related: Texas A&M Angry Seattle Seahawks Fans Called ‘12th Man’

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