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[Alumni] Jason A. W.’s Post NFL Draft Random Thoughts

Marvin Jones will be coming out of smoke in striped orange and black in the near future.

Just like that, the 2012 NFL draft has come and gone. There were a record number of deals on day 1, followed by a ton of surprise picks in day 2 (one notably, Bryan Anger by the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick #70), then a whole gang of Cal Bears picked up in day 3 followed by free agency.

– I’d like to take a section to post on commending the Colts for making the right choice and taking Andrew Luck #1. There seemed to be a huge steam and bandwagon building for Robert Griffin III after a Heisman season capped with that 67 point swiss knife through butter thrashing of Washington’s defense which lead to the firing of Nick Holt. The case I kept hearing for RGIII was #1 Big XII was a better conference than the Pac-12 last year (not going to disagree) and #2 the “mobile” quarterback and the “new era” of having a QB’s feet be a weapon. The Big XII hasn’t been stellar product lately producing quarterbacks in the early rounds (Colt McCoy, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman).   Furthermore, last I checked, the most freakish and physically gifted quarterbacks (Michael Vick and Vince Young) still haven’t been able to advance their teams past the Conference Championship game. We are still a throwing/QB driven league. Yes, Aaron Rodgers and Big Ben are mobile. But mobile enough just to keep plays extended. I wouldn’t say there are too many drawn up run plays for them. In addition, I would say Luck is pretty mobile himself and strong (just ask Sean Cattouse) and his combine measurable compares more favorably to Cam Newton than RGIII’s. I hope Sam Bradford and Luck’s story prove to seniors, staying an extra year won’t necessarily damage your stock unless you have dis-functional franchises such as the Redskins or Raiders picking first.

– I’m excited to see Mitchell Schwartz line up with Alex Mack and create stellar running holes for Trent Richardson. The offensive line did wonders for the Browns 2 years ago making a huge name out of Peyton Hillis.

– Mychal Kendricks will get a great chance to start immediately for the Eagles joining Nnamdi in what should be a much improved Eagle’s defense. The linebacking core for the Eagles is no doubt still small (Casey Matthews, Clay’s “little” brother, started for the Eagles last year). Kendricks is a bit under-sized but plays with a huge motor and intensity and I believe he will represent the Pac-12 player of the year well.

– I feel happy for Bryan Anger to be drafted in the 3rd round. But I feel bad in the sense all the experts/gurus/writers out there will be slamming Jacksonville again for drafting another Cal player (remember Tebow vs. Alualu two years ago? I am curious on how well Tyson will do in a 3rd season healthy). 3rd round is probably a bit high for a punter, but I would love to see Anger boot a bunch of 70 yard punts for what will likely be a struggling Jags’ offense this coming year.

– Marvin Jones will have a great opportunity as a #2 receiver in Cincinnati. Jones would play opposite of rookie sensation A.J. Green. Rotoworld believes Jones should beat out the field.


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A Short Interview with Former Cal Bear Cameron Jordan

This past Saturday at Cal’s Spring Game. Cameron Jordan was gracious enough to give Cal Football Blog an interview while he was watching the game from the sidelines. I couldn’t get in all the questions I wanted to ask him but here is what I got out of him!

CFB: What’s the difference between playing defensive line in college compared to playing defensive line in the NFL?

CJ: Now its more like honing in on techniques. In college you can get away with just being more athletic than other people, but now you have to deal with 350 pound men that are sort of used to your speed and if not are a little bit faster. You have to focus more on your hand placement and more on your techniques and more on where you are driving and getting your power from instead of going out there every Saturday and rolling around getting after the quarterback. It is a little more studying.

CFB: What’s it like playing against Drew Brees in practice?

CJ: As always you can’t touch the quarterback, but you CAN come close. He’s the pronounced prince of New Orleans (laughing)!”

CFB: What’s it like playing inside the Super Dome?

CJ : That is actually amazing. You think you’ve been to the Coliseum, you’ve been to Oregon where everyone is on top of you, but you get out to new Orleans and it is legitimately the loudest crowd I’ve been in. The stadium is closed not open and it has thousands of fans going absolutely bananas, and we’re talking about old ladies screaming and shaking their heads off.

CFB: Who is the hardest offensive lineman that you played against last season?

CJ: I’d have to say the left tackle from the Green Bay Packers (Chad Clifton), but that may be because that was my first game out there. I didn’t know the difference in tempo from the preseason to the regular season. They say that the preseason is just getting the feeling, but it has nothing to do with the speed of the game in the regular season. It is almost like transitioning from college to the league. [In preseason], you are like “I can do this. I can do this”, but then you get to the regular season and everyone is like two times faster than they are in the preseason. Only rookies sort of stay in regular mode while the veterans understand that they are out there in the preseason [not regular season] and will get better but they won’t break themselves over.

CFB: Well thank you so much Cam!

CJ: Yeah, no doubt.


Thank you Cameron Jordan for the interview! I will have to make note to not take the preseason so seriously when deciding who to pick for my fantasy football team!




[Alumni] Mychal Kendricks and Mitchell Schwartz make appearance on Todd McShay’s Big Board

Hope to see these guys get their names called Friday (or maybe even Thursday!). Best of luck guys and go Bears!

Mychal links:

Mitchell links:


[Alumni] Cal Bears Rising in NFL 2012 Draft

It’s almost draft time. While there doesn’t appear to be any Bears likely to sneak into the first round, (our three year streak: Alex Mack, Tyson Alualu/Jahvid Best, Cameron Jordan is likely over) Cal will likely have a handful of 2nd day picks, as well as several late round picks who could compete early for playing time.

Marvin Jones works out in Indianapolis at the NFL combines

Marvin Jones has had favorable comparisons to another former Cal Bear’s (DeSean Jackson) teammate, Jeremy Maclin. Jones has been commented as “having a big catch radius” and here’s a good in depth draft review. Marvin has been rumored and targeted by many teams including the: Patriots, Niners, and Texans.

Mychal Kendricks is soaring up the draft boards. Kendricks was originally projected as a 4th or 5th round grade earlier in the season, but his high motor/speed and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award has definitely helped his cause to rise into the 1st round range. Kendricks might be a bit small for MLB, so a move to OLB could be possible, especially in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Mychal has visited the Ravens (Ray Lewis replacement?), Steelers, and Rams in recent weeks.

Mitchell Schwartz had a good article written about him by the Washington Post. There’s a lot of Schwartz to Redskins rumblings. Remember, the Redskins gave up a ton to get RGIII, so any of their remaining picks comes at an absolute premium! Mitchell has also had ties to the Falcons, Rams, and Texans.

Bryan Anger has been rumored to get drafted by the Broncos, Panthers, and Rams. It would be nice to see Bryan slip into the 5th round (high for a punter). It’s good to see Anger’s two shanks in the Holiday Bowl hasn’t hurt his draft status.

D.J. Campbell is receiving heavy praise and flying under the radar as a safety prospect. Campbell has had two authors tout him as a potential draft day steal and has worked out with the Chargers since excelling at Cal’s pro day.

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Young Blood Stepping It Up

Cal hosted a practice open to local high school coaches and local media this past Saturday April 7.

There are several great reports from:, Bear Talk, CGB, Rivals, and ESPN

We won’t go through too much of the practice, since there are more than enough reports out there. Instead I’ll look at the best young player on offense and defense that stood out during scrimmage this past Saturday:

On Offense: Brendan Bigelow

Bigelow logged eight carries for 41 yards in full pads. He showed everyone how good he can be without the knee brace that he had to wear last season. One of the best plays of the scrimmage was during a red zone play where Bigelow took a handoff and just blasted by the defense to get the endzone (though he did end up fumbling it at the goal line). He ran with confidence as he was able to cut to open holes and plant his feet to spin off defenders, which also seems to be his favorite move. One of the best qualities that Bigelow showed during practice was his resiliency. Almost every time Bigelow was tackled, he would carry the defender an extra two to three yards until extra defenders came to bring him down. It seems that Bigelow is showing flashes of his potential, with his speed and great toughness. Let’s hope he continues to improve under Gould and Blasquez.

For more on Bigelow, check out John Crumpacker’s report.

On Defense: Jason Gibson

While Bigelow was spinning around all over the field, guess who was tackling him? Jason Gibson. During the scrimmage, Gibson tallied six tackles, two tackles for losses, and a pass breakup. He is one of the many players trying to fill the hole at inside linebacker after Kendricks and Holt graduated. Currently, Robert Mullins and JP Hurrell are the current starting inside linebackers, but the other main contenders are David Wilkerson, Nick Forbes, and now Jason Gibson. Gibson showed great instincts and awareness, which were the main reasons why he had those two tackles for losses. An X Factor for Gibson is that he has good speed. During one play, when Bigelow burst past the line, Gibson was able to run him down from behind for the tackle. Gibson may not be as fast as Kendricks, but he is definitely one of the faster linebackers in the group.

For more on Gibson, check out Rivals’ Robert Kenneth Clampett’s report.

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Spring Ball – April 3

Yesterday the team completed its first practice (in shells) after spring break.  The players were a bit rusty after a week off, but Coach Tedford was reportedly pleased with their conditioning and effort.  In a post-practice interview, Tedford praised some of the young guys, including WR Maurice Harris, TE Richard Rodgers, LB Jason Gibson, DB Avery Sebastian, and QB Zach Kline.

Several players were apparently limited or out due to injuries (Allen, Lowe, McClure, Wilkerson, Galas, Stevens) or perhaps class or undisclosed injuries (Bigelow, Lasco, Sofele, Tipoti, Whiteside, Anthony).  The usual media outlets have already posted reports and interview quotes/clips:

– California Golden Blogs (Avinash)

– BearTalk (Faraudo)

– Rivals (Gorcey)

– BearInsider (Tedford & Maynard quotes)

– Bear Blog (Tedford & Maynard video clips)

[Note: this post is cross-posted at California Golden Blogs]

Some additional observations:

Maynard participated in full, taking most of the first team QB reps, after having missed the first 2 practices due to study sessions.  Both he and Tedford confirmed in post-practice interviews that his academics are fine.  Tedford also noted that Maynard is more confident this spring:

“It’s night and day from last spring. Last spring he was scratching his head about what was going to happen. It was a brand new offense. Now he has great control of what’s going on, he’s got great command, great presence, great composure and you can tell he has a year of experience under his belt. He’s focused at practice. The confidence comes with the rest of his teammates and paying a lot of attention to them. This time last year, he was worried about himself, doing the right things, saying the snap count right, the 25-second clock. Now he’s a real field general and he relates well with the rest of the team.”

Maynard indeed showed good command of the huddle, despite missing the first week of spring ball.  His footwork and delivery seemed noticeably cleaner when compared to last fall (preseason) camp.  He threw the ball with authority at times, but also missed a few throws.  This is most likely due to rust and working with a depleted WR corps (see below).  Bridgford took a few #1 reps, plus most of the #2 reps.  He also looked composed running the offense, and his delivery seemed more compact than last year.  This is likely a sign of experience and confidence in his arm, which is fully recovered from shoulder surgery two years ago.  Hinder, Boehm, and Kline were next (in that order) in the rotation.  Kline has a live arm, and a quick release.  Coach Arroyo was very active coaching the QBs, and seems to have taken over Kiesau’s former role as the most vocal coach on offense.

Coach M was also very active coaching the OL, which didn’t have the best day – particularly in pass pro.  With Galas out, Schwenke (normally a guard) took over at center, leading to a few bad snaps/exchanges.  MSG and Rigsbee are apparently the tackles for now, with Crosthwaite and Gibson at guard, but this situation is likely fluid and open to competition.  Early entry true freshman tackle Christian Okafor is as big as advertised, and he saw action mostly with the 2nd & 3rd units.

The RB & WR corps were both limited for this practice, but apparently for different reasons.  Sofele, Bigelow, and Lasco were limited (not sure why), so Anderson and Ervin took most of the snaps at tailback.  Yarnway and Briggs saw time at both TB & FB, while Manuel worked with the receivers.  WR depth is limited this spring with Allen out and the Fab 5 freshmen not coming until fall.  Maynard had good things to say after practice about Maurice Harris and converted DB Joel Willis, who both showed flashes.  Walk-on receivers Bouza, McGovern, and Anderson got plenty of reps.

The defense, as expected, seems to be ahead of the offense at this point.  Several of the young guys made their presence felt, including DEs Gabe King & Todd Barr (both were active up front and in 1-on-1 drills), ILBs Jason Gibson & Nick Forbes (both saw plenty of reps with Wilkerson out), DBs Avery Sebastian (our ace recruiter) & Kam Jackson (both had nice coverage and a few pass breakups).

The team will practice in pads on Thursday and Saturday this week.  Lastly, here is what Tedford said when asked about Kline:

“I’m really impressed with him. He’s got a good sense of humor, he’s a really good leader. For a young guy to jump in the huddle and have a presence about him, you can tell he carries a lot of confidence. Anytime there’s a new guy like that they catch a little bit of flack here and there but he takes it really well. He’s a student of the game, he’s bright and he really works at it. He’s very calm and he’s very respectful of the investment the older guys have made. He understands he has a long way to go. He’s going to be a great player before it’s all said and done.”

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