Matt Waldman’s RSP Cast Scout Talk with Russ Lande: Evaluation Intricacies

Matt Waldman and former NFL scout and current CFL Scout Russ Lande discuss a small but magnifiable flaw with Jimmy Garoppolo’s game, how they organize their film study sessions, and why a coach talking about a player’s potential to the media requires careful investigation as a scout.

Every other week, Calgary Stampeders evaluator Russ Lande—a former scout with the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns—joins Matt Waldman for a conversation about topics central to the craft of player evaluation. This week, Russ and Matt cover three meaty topics:

  • Matt has been waiting for years to see if an issue with Jimmy Garoppolo’s game would appear in pivotal moments under pressure. Between backing up Brady in New England to working behind an excellent scheme in San Francisco, Matt has only seen hints of Garoppolo perceiving and overreacting to pressure. Still, Garoppolo helped his team reach the Super Bowl, so how important is this flaw, really? Considering that a difference-making part of this game came down this flaw being exposed under the intense glare of the electron microscope that is the biggest game of his career, it’s worth discussing. So is the fact that an NFL team executive asked Matt about these issues before the draft and wanted to share Matt’s analysis with his player-personnel staff who were enamored with Garoppolo.
    • When do you discount a prospect with a flaw that can be hidden with surrounding talent in most cases?
    • Do you discount it?
    • Does Garoppolo’s performance that arguably wilted under the face of this atmosphere change our thoughts on the subject?
  • Aspiring analyst David Whitman, an avid listener of our show and enrollee in Dan Hatman’s scouting academy wants to know how we organize our work when studying players?
    • Ways we budget our time for specific aspects of studying players–is it a little bit each day, is it large chunks of viewing time on specific days of the week?
    • What have you found to work best for the organization and scheduling of work?
    • What are the differences of demands for a media scout (Matt) versus an organizational (Russ)?
    • Where can Matt’s recommendations help aspiring scouts reach the point of producing on Russ’s schedule?
    • Why is focusing on a few things in granular detail is an optimal starting point for those wishing to develop their chops?
  • RB Rico Dowdle shined at the Shrine Game and often flashed high-end skills on film. With NFL starter potential as a runner and receiver from the backfield, it’s notable that last May, South Carolina’s coaching staff said Dowdle could be truly much more than what he’s shown if he put in the effort. Dowdle spent a lot of time in the training room with a sports hernia, ankle, and knee injuries–none of them of lasting severity. When staff makes this kind of statement, what are some of the initial thoughts Russ and Matt want to explore further about the player?

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