Marvin Lewis says Combine prep is "asinine"

a_smith_090311_blog.jpgBengals coach Marvin Lewis, who showed last year that he’s willing to overlook a bad Pro Day workout featuring a shirtless watch-it-wiggle, see-it-jiggle donut run, recently commented on the process of preparing for the pre-draft T-shirt-and-shorts workouts.

Appearing with our pal Dan Dakich of 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis (via, Lewis called the concept of Scouting Combine and Pro Day prep “asinine.”

“[T]hey spend three or four years with a strength coach on a college campus and as soon as the season’s over they go somewhere else to some guy who doesn’t know them from a hole in the wall and pay this guy a bunch of money,” Lewis said.  “It doesn’t make any sense at all.  It used to be that they had to pay for it and now it’s part of the agent deal.  They’ve cultivated a whole industry out of it.  It doesn’t make sense.  It’s actually asinine that if I go to school in Florida, now I have to go to Arizona to train.  If I go to school in Arizona, I have to go to Georgia to train.  These guys have the best facilities and the best people working with them year round and now all the sudden they got to go somewhere else.  You don’t need to go away.  A football player is a football player.”

Though we think the entire process is asinine, the reality is that as long as teams believe that tangible measurements are important, agents charged with getting these guys drafted as high as possible realize that success depends in part upon a great showing in the Underwear Olympics.  So while Lewis is right — a football player is a football player — the Scouting Combine and the Pro Day workouts don’t entail playing football.  They require football players to engage in specific track-and-field activities, and the paid experts to whom the players go after leaving school are far better suited to get the players ready than the guys who were responsible for getting them ready to play football.

38 responses to “Marvin Lewis says Combine prep is "asinine"

  1. Though we think the entire process is asinine
    Let me ask you Florio: would you buy a car without actually looking at it or taking a test drive? Would you buy a house without actually measuring it? If so, you’re an idiot.
    Same thing with the combine. Its not asinine to kick the tires on these guys, its asinine to think that teams shoul pay them millions of dollars and put their team’s futures on their shoulders without any actual tangible measurements.
    Get over it Florio. The combine is here to stay, because the people who actually run football (hint: NOT YOU) realize its value.

  2. “And I personally believe that the likelihood that this planet of ours was created and populated with plants and animals by accident is even slimmer than the chances of dropping a bowl full of eggs, flour, and sugar and having it land as a five-tiered wedding cake.”
    Nice work, genius. Apparently you’ve never heard of evolution, which is neither an “accident” nor god. Also, babies don’t come from storks, the world is more than 6,000 years old, and the earth goes around the sun, not vice versa. Now that you’re caught up to fifth grade science, I hope you at least have the sense to spare your own children from the pathetic, catholic “education” your parents forced on you.
    Otherwise that Tebow post was right on, though.

  3. I looked up “asinine” in the dictionary.
    It reads: Using the 15th overall pick of the 2008 draft on a 1-AA wide receiver named Jerome Simpson when you could have gotten him in the forth round.

  4. You can think the workouts are asinine all you want but when late round gems like 7th rounder Chaz Schielens (poor production at SD St. Calvin Johnson like measurables), 6th rd. Adalius Thomas (4.5 40 at 260 lbs despite being said to not be quick), and 6th or 7th rd. Jay Ratliff (4.8 4o and being called a possible situation player that didn’t have enough strength). These guys were drafted mostly due to their workout numbers, and now they are all very good players.

  5. “Using the 15th overall pick of the 2008 draft on a 1-AA wide receiver named Jerome Simpson when you could have gotten him in the forth round.”
    Way to do your research Laxer. While Simpson appears to be a bust, I didn’t know 15th in the 2nd round was also 15th overall. To my calculations that is actually the 46th player off the board, but hey keep trying, someday you’ll succeed.

  6. Simpson was a second round pick. In the 40’s. I know it makes your post look more funny but at least get the facts straight. They passed over DeSean Jackson.

  7. Mike Brown’s cheapness has Bengalized Marvin. If you can place all of your trust in your college coaches, why is Tim Tebow frantically struggling learning how to throw the football like a professional player? Marvin is just tired of running back and forth from Cincy to Indy for a week b/c Mike “Grinch” Brown is too cheap to pay for a hotel…(not sure if that is actually true, but it wouldn’t frickin’ surprise me!!)

  8. @Lost says:
    March 1, 2010 8:06 PM
    Bengal = Not a Road Team
    Seemed to be a Road Team in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland last year!

  9. Laxer37 says:
    March 1, 2010 8:56 PM
    I looked up “asinine” in the dictionary.
    It reads: Using the 15th overall pick of the 2008 draft on a 1-AA wide receiver named Jerome Simpson when you could have gotten him in the forth round.
    Are you retarded? 15th overall pick? Is that in the second round because that is where Simpson(bust) was drafted.

  10. I think perspective on the combine is skewed a little, its a one week event in a year long process in which the most important part is the medical evaluations…I don’t think the testing & timing is as important to teams as people may think…
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a lot of players have been helped a little by good workouts and a few players have been helped a lot, I’m just saying that I don’t think its as big a deal to teams as people think…I don’t think there are a lot of players who get drafted higher based on their workout numbers if they were not first and foremost good football players…I think the players who are “workout warriors” and can’t play a lick are in the vast minority…
    I do think it gets overblown in the public eye because it is somewhat interesting and exciting to see what your favorite player ran in the 40 and there’s a market for it, so the media covers it…and that’s great, its good for business to the NFL to have something that fans are interested in right after the season has ended…my point is, despite the increased attention the combine gets, teams haven’t changed how they approach it or react to it much…meaning, its a piece of the puzzle but not the biggest piece and certainly not the most important one…
    I do find it curious that this article defends Agents for their role. Its pretty common knowledge that many agents have partnerships with the so called “workout gurus” which, to me, creates an inherent conflict of interest…What I mean is, because of these “partnerships” it the agents interests are tied to the interests of the trainers but not necessarily tied to the player’s best interests.
    I also think the agent and trainer benefit far more than the player from this arrangement. The player may gain from getting drafted a little higher and maybe get a few hundred thousand dollars more than he would have but that is a short term gain and it pales in comparison to the benefit the agent gains in being able to further market and grow his and the trainer’s business…
    I also disagree with the idea that a player’s ultimate success depends on his “showing at the underwear olympics”. Like I said, his draft status may depend a little on his combine performance but his ultimate success, once he gets to the NFL, has very little to do with his testing numbers…this is why I think it’s a little disingenious to defend agents and criticize teams…meaning, if you’re talking about short-term financial gain then yes, maybe these trainers help and the agents are doing the right thing for the player…but, if you’re talking about success in the NFL, neither the agent nor these trainer have much to do with that so Marvin Lewis’ gripe has more legitmacy than what is acknowledged in this article. But, as I said, even though this trainer thing doesn’t really effect much in the long run from the player’s perspective, the agent does stand to benefit a great deal in a number of ways…which doesn’t seem right to me.

  11. Laxer37
    You should have looked up Draft History instead. Being that Simpson was taken 46th overall not 15th…but either way you are right he is bustier than a strip club.

  12. hey Laxer, we didn’t use the 15th overall pick. We selected him in the 2nd round of the draft. I’m sure you were saying the same thing about T.J. Houshmandzadeh after 03 too

  13. Laxer37…if you’re gonna blast a team at least get the facts straight. Simpson was drafted in the 2nd round at pick 46 not in the first round.

  14. I didn’t have to look up “asinine” in the dictionary because I am educated.
    What’s asinine is that someone thought the Bengals got Jerome Simpson with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 draft when in fact he was taken in the SECOND ROUND. Keith Rivers was taken in the first round in 2008.
    Do some homework before you insult someone.

  15. “Underwear Olympics?!”, Marvin you’re a funny guy. Hey remember the Alabama lineman Cody who arrived at 370 lbs. He’s at the combine weighing 354. He benched pressed 225 lbs, 44 times. One below the record for the combine and more than anyone else this year.

  16. Simpson may not end up being a bust, he hasent played because he is X reciever, which is where chad plays, the Bengals coaching staff has screwed up and not prepared him and has him only playing one reciever spot, i think if they get him playing the second reciever spot he may see the field and actually play well, after 2 years in the league and learning behind one of the best route runners in the NFL in Chad Johnson, he has to be better at routes by now, and he has all the physical tools to be a stud, teach the kid second reciever and let him actually play a few snaps and i think he will be good.

  17. Damn, I love this site. Unfortunately, it has by far the worst boards on any sports site I visit regularly. Most of the comments are made up of you all bashing Florio. I really don’t get it, I think he does a good job. Is there ever any intelligent football talk on here? Is anyone up for that?
    SC21, who the hell are you? Do you know more than Florio or something, I don’t get it. Stop bein a hater.

  18. “They require football players to engage in specific track-and-field activities”
    As a former track/cross country runner and current track coach, I’m very curious to learn how the combine is anything like track & field.
    the 40 yard dash is the most bullshit test of speed imaginable! What monkey decided to try and measure speed this way???
    Track w/ Fully Automatic Timing:
    A. The gun goes off, instantaneous with the clock beginning
    B. The runner must react to the gun, which constitutes a loss of some negligable amount of hundreths of a second.
    C. The finish line is filmed, reviewed by computer and calculated with still frames.
    NFL combine
    1. The runner starts whenever he’s ready.
    2. The coaches/prospectors start their watch.
    3. At the finish line, coaches/viewers then stop their watch.
    If you do the math to calculate how fast an Olympic 100 meter runner is running within the first 40 meters, you’ll discover that nobody *ever* goes faster than 4.4 something. And that’s when in spikes on the fastest surfaces on earth. Not grass.
    Where does the time discrepancy come from??
    A vs 1. Getting to start on your own initiative versus responding to the gun is worth over .1 seconds.
    B vs 2. A viewer of the combine takes about .08 seconds to recognize the motion of the runner and begin his watch.
    C vs 3. A viewer of the combine, subject to human error, can be off by over .1 seconds in catching when a runner finishes.
    NFL timing is horribly inaccurate, misleading, and, worst of all, INCONSISTENT BECAUSE IT’S BEING TIMED BY OLD FARTS LIKE TOM COUGHLIN.
    I’ve worked timing for high school meets, and I’ve seen mothers and fathers doing timing at the finish line, and their times are routinely false. I’ve never come consistently close to producing hand times of races that match up to the FAT.

  19. The combine is the equivalent of a interview for sports. I have had to demonstrate my skills in the course of an interview many times. It is not unreasonable to ask someone to do so. What is a little over the top is to take these results, and value them more than a career’s worth of demonstrated ability. If business was done this way, there would be many more managers out of work than there are today. The entire combine should be worth no more than 25% of a player’s entire grade. Interesting to note how the influence of agents has pushed this thing to such a high level of importance for both team and player. The agents have spawned a whole business around this, and round the clock television and media (read: blog) coverage. Since when did blogs become media? Since NBC made a big deal out of one.

  20. The Bengals don’t put stock in the combine, police blotter, background checks, etc. Maybe this is why they fold in the clutch.
    For all his faults, Andy Reid tends to draft guys with “high character” (though that has been loosened in recent years). This rationale was that such guys keep fighting, they don’t quit. And, while the coaach and gameplan frequently fizzles in the playoffs, this team has consistently fought back on November and December. So he may be onto something.
    But the combine is one thing – a marketing tool for the NFL. There is no way it goes away. It keeps fans in the game right up to the draft. They’ve done a great job with it.
    Randy – I agree with your points, but that isn’t what is taught in Catholic schools. I went from 1977-1989 and then three years at Catholic colleges – and never once heard evolution challenged. In fact, we also were taught that keeping someone alive on a respirator when higher functioning was gone was a sin – in stark contrast to enangelical beliefs about someone like Terry Schiavo. We were also taught that torture was immoral and a sin, war was a failure of human beings, and charity to poor / care for the sick were key standards to live by.
    Catholics belong to a religion. Evangelicals belong to a club advancing a political / economic philosophy. Key difference.
    And if Tim Tebow can throw for 4,000 yards and 30 TD’s (unlikely, I admit) the public will be Ok with him talking about his faith, or running a dog fighting operation, or getting multiple DUI’s. Or pretty much anything.

  21. The only thing the combine should be used for is to talk to a guy and figure out if he’s a gangsta g or not.

  22. Peter King recently commented that teams draft boards are 90% in place before the combine.

  23. Some of you people are idiots. Did you even read the article?
    “[T]hey spend three or four years with a strength coach on a college campus and as soon as the season’s over they go somewhere else to some guy who doesn’t know them from a hole in the wall and pay this guy a bunch of money,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t make any sense at all. It used to be that they had to pay for it and now it’s part of the agent deal. They’ve cultivated a whole industry out of it. It doesn’t make sense. It’s actually asinine that if I go to school in Florida, now I have to go to Arizona to train. If I go to school in Arizona, I have to go to Georgia to train. These guys have the best facilities and the best people working with them year round and now all the sudden they got to go somewhere else.”
    He’s saying that the combine PREP process is stupid. A kid from Florida has access to the strength and conditioning resources at his school, so he doesn’t have to spend a bunch of money on a training program somewhere else or sign up with some package deal with an agent just to PREP for the combine.
    He’s NOT saying that the combine itself is a waste of time.

  24. wildstile – No higher than the 4th round. The guy has the physical tools, but he just doesn’t seem to understand the game. BUST

  25. Sorry about that long one, here’s the abridged version…
    Who stands to benefit the most from all the hype surrounding the combine?
    AGENTS…why? Because they are basically irrelevant for anyone who doesn’t get drafted in the first round, all the other pick’s $ is slotted. The hype surrounding the combine gives the agents relevance because they can then recruit players by telling them…
    1. The workout at the combine is critically important!
    2. I have a guy who can prepare you better than your college strength coach or anyone else.
    3. If you sign with me and go to my guy you’ll get drafted higher because you’ll be better prepared for the “all important workout”.
    In reality, team’s have never changed how they view the combine, as a small piece of a much larger puzzle. What’s changed is the hype surrounding it and that is largely driven by the people who stand to benefit from that HYPE…AGENTS AND THEIR TRAINERS…
    That was Marvin Lewis’ point and that was also why it’s dishonest and inaccurate for Florio to commend agents and criticize teams for their roles in this whole thing.
    No one ever agrees with my posts, could someone please, just once, agree with me? Consider it charity, thanks.

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