Friday, February 20, 2009

On Location: Mike Singletary & Rex Ryan At Indy

Traits from an undersized MIKE and a new head coach

Do you remember in the mid ‘80s the tales of a tackling machine who didn’t blink upon collision with the ball-carrying victim? Considered undersized for playing middle linebacker, Mike Singletary made up for his physical stature several orders of magnitude over with his intensity, culminating in beaming eyes that seemed to read the play out of the quarterback’s helmet before breaking the huddle. It’s no surprise to see the same intensity from Singletary now as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. What’s very telling seeing him describe players he meets at the combine is that the most appealing characteristics from the future pros are those same characteristics that made Singletary a Hall of Famer: “character…mentality…physicality…chemistry”.

Singletary goes on to describe his ideal quarterback: “Accuracy, makes all the throws, smart…[but] what it comes down to is what happens after he makes a bad play, how does he respond? What are his intangibles? Is he a leader?”

Rex Ryan, newly appointed head coach of the New York Jets weighs heavily on character as well. “[Does the player have the] will to win? Love for football? A gym rat? Have passion? Know the history of the game? Want to be a Jet? A team player?” Both Ryan and Singletary seem to be stressing character as the anchoring point of the ideal future draft pick.

So just as we have known Singletary’s eyes to be a tell all, he reads his players the same way, “You want to be able to look in to their eyes to know their ambition. Are they hungry? Do they want to be part of something special?”

For future Jets, be prepared for a history test on the NFL and the Jets and a lot of soul searching for your passion. For those future 49ers, Coach Singletary is watching. Like a hawk. (And yes, he blinks; I saw it once during the interview).

Stay tuned for more from the NFL combine.