Yesterday I mentioned the report circulating that the Miami Dolphins are "inquiring heavily" into Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton. Yesterday was also Newton's "media only workout" out in southern California. That is where we start this week's Five.
1. Gentlemen, start the Cam Newton "hype machine." In fact, prepare for the machine to kick into overdrive already despite being months away from the draft. ESPN's Trent Dilfer called Newton's workout yesterday "phenomenal." He even claimed that scouts would have been "slobbering" if they had seen it. And while Dilfer's opinion is relevant because he does know a lot about the quarterback position, this workout raises the age old question - if a player works out and no NFL scouts are in attendance, does it even matter?
In general, I wonder if these Pro Day type of workouts even matter at all. So Newton looked sharp in shorts in a controlled setting taking part in a scripted one hour workout that he has probably practiced every day for the past month. So what's the big deal? Mike Mayock, one of the most respected of all the draft analysts, said he didn't attend the workout because he didn't need to see the workout. Mayock claims the biggest questions surrounding Newton are not about his physical ability but more about the kind of work ethic and attitude the kid will have at the next level.
Lastly about Newton's workout, Omar Kelly sums it up nicely. Newton and his camp are playing the pre-draft game to perfection. After all, half of the battle preparing for the draft is to try and control how the player is perceived by the media. And right now, Team Newton has got the "hype machine" working very much in his favor - though one NFL scout told Matt Bowen that "Cam Newton's media workout will have no impact on the grading process - and the entire event 'makes no sense.'"
2. We've talked a lot about the decisions that the Dolphins have to make regarding their own free agents. But what about the rest of the league? Assuming there eventually is a free agency period this offseason, there are scheduled to be over 500 free agents throughout the league. This article on ESPN breaks down where each team stands. The Dolphins are in a good spot - with only 11 scheduled unrestricted free agents. That's the fourth fewest in the league. Over half of the league has to make decisions on at least fifteen of their own free agents, improving Miami's chances to land any of the big free agents that might hit the market.
3. Is Chad Henne taking too much flak for his 2010 performance? Sean McCormick of Football Outsiders seems to think so. He presented a statistical analysis on ESPN.com that ranks Henne as the second most productive quarterback in the AFC East last year, trailing only Tom Brady. McCormick calls Henne's season in 2010 about average - which is a lot better than most Dolphin fans want to give Henne credit for. The biggest issue to me, though, is that Henne just didn't look like the same quarterback we saw in 2009 in terms of his confidence and his willingness to make plays down the field. McCormick does point out that while Henne did throw 19 interceptions, he had only had one dropped interception, Compare that to Mark Sanchez, who threw 13 interceptions and led the league in dropped interceptions with 15. Does this all this mean anything, though? Probably not. The Dolphins are squarely in the market for a quarterback to compete with Henne in 2011 and beyond.
4. Introducing "Johnny Mac, the trick shot quarterback." I don't know if this video is real or if it's an example of video editing at its finest. And I don't care. It's just awesome - five minutes of good, clean entertainment. UCONN quarterback Johnny McEntee is entering his junior season and hasn't even thrown a pass in a game. But I don't care. Just watch the video and enjoy.
5. I generally like Deadspin and dislike Mark Sanchez. But there isn't a bigger non-story than this thing about Sanchez hooking up with a 17 year old girl. It's legal in NY and NJ. So no law was broken. If anything, Mark should be congratulated. As this story in the NY Post points out, Mark might actually be a good influence on the girl, who has been clubbing with her mom since she was 15. Perhaps Sanchez is trying to get a part-time gig in the offseason with Child Services. Or maybe he's just trying to keep the girl away from these guys. You know what - I congratulate you, Mark. Protecting our youth, one 17 year old girl at a time.