Insider: NFL Notebook

Will Claiborne’s Wonderlic Hurt Him?

There’s a report that claims LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a 4 (out of a possible 50) on his Wonderlic test. The Wonderlic is used to measure intelligence and a higher score is always better, but how big of a deal is it really?

Greg Gabriel of the National Football Post explains the Claiborne situation in this piece.

Our take: Claiborne has been diagnosed with a learning disability which effects his ability to perform on standardized tests, not the football field. Although he may not appear on Jeopardy anytime soon, he’s one of the very best cornerback prospects in the last several years of the draft and there’s no reason a team shouldn’t select him very high in the first round.

New Jerseys, Same Style

After months of anticipation, Nike unveiled it’s new uniforms for the 2012 NFL season. The Nike media site claims these brand new fatigues to have several upgrades over the ones provided by Reebok over the past ten or so years.

THE NIKE ELITE 51 – A COMPLETELY INTEGRATED SYSTEM OF DRESS
Key features include:

LIGHTER –The Nike jersey and pant, wet or dry are lighter than previous versions.

FLYWIRE TECHNOLOGY- Eliminates layers, reduces weight, and provides lockdown fit.

ZONED MESH VENTILATION – Provides cooling zones for optimal thermoregulation.

ZONED STRENGTH – High tenacity, stretch material, for light weight lockdown strength.

CUT FOR MOBILITY – Four-way stretch, hydrophobic materials enable range of motion wet or dry.

STRETCH TWILL NUMBERS – Four-way stretch even on numbering system.

CUSTOMIZABLE BASELAYER PADDING – Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong baselayer with integrated lightweight, Deflex padding offering customizable flexible protection.

DEFLEX PADDING – Lightweight, flexible impact protection integrated into top “hit zone” areas.

ALUMINUM D-RING BELT – Aircraft-grade aluminum D-ring belt reduces weight.

The uniform also features the Nike Vapor Game Sock – a highly innovative sock designed specifically for football. The knee-high design combines compression, Nike Pro inspired cushioning, mesh venting and structure precisely where needed.

The Nike Vapor Jet 2.0 Gloves deliver a lightweight, breathable and articulated fit combined with innovative Magnigrip on the palms and between the fingers for a tacky grip suitable for all weather conditions. The team logo is featured prominently on the palm when athletes interlock both hands.

The Nike Vapor Talon Elitecleat is designed to maximize speed with premium performance attributes including adaptive traction, Hyperfuse construction and carbon fiber strength. Utilizing the best of Nike’s proven technologies, it provides lightweight traction and durability and a lockdown fit. Built for diverse ground conditions, the adaptive traction system utilizes on-demand forefoot talon cleats for multi-directional field movement.

Our take: It’s unclear if these new uniforms are going to revolutionize the game and make 300+ pound men run sub 4.5′s but players will likely be happy with the lighter unis. Aside from the Seahawks and Saints uniform changes, most of the teams look identical so there’s probably not a great need to run out and purchase the new jerseys right away if you have a 2011 Reebok version.

Blount Wants No Part of Richardson

Many mock drafts have suggested that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take Alabama running back Trent Richardson with their fifth-overall draft pick. Although Richardson is an exciting player, the Bucs already have a former 1,000 yard rusher in the fold in LeGarrete Blount.

Yahoo Sports Mike Tanier expounds upon Blount’s refreshing honesty when asked about the situation.

Our take: It’s impossible to imagine the Bucs not being a better team with Trent Richardson in their backfield. With a pair of Pro Bowl guards such as Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph, Tampa needs playmakers on offense and Richardson is one. It’s refreshing that LeGarrette Blount didn’t give a politically correct “best thing for the team” type of answer, but if Richardson is still on the board at the fifth-overall pick they have to consider him.

Parcells is a Wanted Man

It was widely reported that the New Orleans Saints are trying to convince former Giants, Jets, Patriots and Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells to run the show in “The Big Easy” this season while head coach Sean Payton is suspended. It appears that New Orleans was not and is not alone in their pursuit of “The Big Tuna.”

According to this Pro Football Talk report, the Minnesota Vikings are trying to get Parcells to board their ship in the hopes of climbing out of the NFC North cellar.

Our take: Perhaps I’m missing something but I don’t think Parcells is still the genius that maybe everyone else does. In New Orleans’ case, they would likely be better off just promoting offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to head coach for the year to maintain continuity. In Minnesota’s case, lots of people including Parcells would be an upgrade over general manager Rick Spielman. That would make a little more sense.

Brief Ponderings

- Last week Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, III refused to take part in a private workout for the Indianapolis Colts. Griffin not working out for the team that holds the top pick virtually ensures that Andrew Luck will go to the Colts and Griffin to the Redskins.

Perhaps Griffin feels that Washington is a better fit for him, in that bigger media market. Or possibly Griffin doesn’t want to work out for a team that will likely not draft him anyway? Either way, Griffin will play in a division that already has Eli Manning, Michael Vick and Tony Romo in it and the NFC East will undoubtedly be the most interesting division in football, if not the best.

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- Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and his agent are trying to negotiate a new contract following their playoff run. Flacco lacks no confidence as he said this in a radio interview.

“I assume everybody thinks they’re a top-five quarterback. I mean, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way,” Flacco explained.

All professional athletes are confident, that goes along with the job. Quarterbacks have to be confident and when you’re discussing a contract extension you need to promote your worth.

With all of that said, Joe Flacco is insane if he thinks he’s anywhere near the best quarterback in football. He’s a game manager who can be great at times and awful at times. He’s pretty much an average quarterback by most accounts.

A better way to handle the “Top 5 question” would have been to point out the team’s success with himself under center and say he believes he’s among the elite. That may have even provoked some backlash but at least it’s respectable.

Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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