Dictating Rhythm of Movement In Football And Fighting, Baker Mayfield and Our Desire for Celebrity, and Cory Wong and Dirty Loops: Matt Waldman’s RSP: Reads Listens Views 11.11.22

Matt Waldman’s Reads Listens Views is back and devoted to a short list of recommended reads, listens, and views for the week.  


If you’re new to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio blog, welcome. Friday is my one day off from football. It’s a day I devote to music lessons, reading, movies, and other mediums of value.

On Fridays like today, I post links to pieces that I’ve found personally compelling or to content I hope will eventually scratch that itch when I get around to it.

You may not like everything listed here, but you’re bound to like something.

Views: Rhythm in Boxing (And Football)

Boxing Life is a great YouTube channel and many of the insights cross over to elements of football. This video analysis of boxing rhythm carries over to trench play, ball-carrying, and route running.

The best competitors dictate their rhythm of movement on their opponents. I’ve seen this over and over as a film analyst.

Jamaal Charles did it well as a physical genius of elusiveness. This run against Oklahoma is an example of why I saw a prospect who could do it all when he emphasized efficiency over boredom-inspired daring. It features three cuts, each smaller movement in succession that is so well-timed that Charles creates an 80-yard touchdown from a play that easily could have ended with a four-yard gain. He’s dictating the rhythm.

Charles stretches the play to the right, cuts back to the middle behind good blocking, and makes the second dip away from the linebacker to generate a solid gain, but he still maintains the wherewithal to spin off the backside pursuit and turn this into a transcendent gain.

Charles makes this all look easier than it is. He’s so decisive in his movements at the right time and it includes how he attacks the backside defender to set up his spin move. Note how he dips his left shoulder into the defender before he completes the spin.

Charles has the advantage with this interaction because he made the first contact and put the defender on his heels. This is a great way of dictating his rhythm. Now, Charles can use his free hand to push off the defender while he spins into the open field. It’s these small details that are all set up by an attacking mentality. But you can’t be the first to strike unless you’re the first to see the opportunity to attack.

The fact that Charles attacks his opponent after two cutbacks in succession is also a great example of a player who processes information fast and doesn’t get overwhelmed by heavy traffic. He didn’t freeze; he was fully aware of where he was and what to do.

This is a man in control of his instrument at a breakneck tempo.  Marshawn Lynch lacks Charles’ breakaway speed and some of Charles’ high-end agility, but he’s always attacking and anticipating defenders.

This is also true of receivers like Davante Adams with release moves. Really, every good player knows how to establish their rhythm and, as a result, break the rhythm of the opponent. The more ways a player knows how to do this or the more unstoppable his few methods are, the more dominant he is.

Listens: Cory Wong And Dirty Loops


Reads: Baker Mayfield–Silly Football Shit Or Something More?

Fame is dangerous in large doses. Celebrity should be classified as a psychological disorder.

Best-selling author, Elizabeth Gilbert described fame as an event that takes the essence of who you are and flings it far beyond your immediate grasp. It’s intoxicating at first, but the hangover is powerful.

Fame often leads to celebrity and trying to lead the celebrity life is an unhealthy experience. There’s an addictive aspect to being celebrated on a mass scale.

As with all things that have addictive properties, many have the resources to manage their intake. While we are still toddler’s in this respect, our society has a basic understanding of the effects and some basic treatment plans for alcohol, drugs, and sex on the addictive personality.

Fame and celebrity aren’t new things, but the technological advances from the slow drip of oral history and the printing press to the quick and exponentially powerful hit of smartphones and social media are in their infancy.

Screens, large and (especially) small, efficient delivery devices of dopamine. You can trace it back to the thrill that people got from being filmed in the audience of a studio television show or as a bystander to a nightly news report.

Television producers realized that as much as the general public enjoyed watching the glamorization of individuals, they loved seeing real people in all their humanity, which is filled with foibles, ignorance, and awkward behaviors. They found comfort and humor in it.

Candid Camera was a great example. So were America’s Funniest Home Videos and Kids Say the Darndest Things.

At the same time, media produced shows that approximated the reality of the general public with game shows that often featured aspiring actors signed to studio contracts and assigned to appear as contestants. You can see how this thread runs through the reality shows of the 1990s through today.

We all want to be loved. Many of us don’t know how to love or be loved in a healthy way. Fame and celebrity look and feel like love to many who aren’t familiar with the real thing.

Not all celebrities are dysfunctional people. That’s as simplistic as saying that all people who drink, do recreational drugs, and have sex are addicts.

However, the ingenious dopamine delivery mechanisms of fame and celebrity have a magnetic pull on those who want to be loved and haven’t figured out how to get it. And because of its power, it can distort the perspective of those who had (or, if a young person, were on the way to) a healthy sense of self.

As is the case with any addictive substance, the person in its grip needs more of that substance to generate the feelings that approximate the love, peace, and self-worth they’ve been seeking. They’re willing to go to greater lengths to get that buzz, which often means crossing boundaries they set for themselves to get it and that activates their sense of shame and generates a vicious circle that drives the addiction.

When I see Baker Mayfield, relegated to a backup role, head-butting teammates without a helmet on a national broadcast, and I think about his college and pro career in the scope of our media-driven world, I worry about him.

Although I’ve never been a fan of his game as a franchise starter, he has NFL-caliber quarterback skills on the field. I didn’t like that the Cleveland Browns drafted him, especially this high. The comparisons to Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Russell Wilson confounded me.

I also dislike that Progressive did an ad campaign with Mayfield as the focus. It had nothing to do with Mayfield landing it — if they’re willing to pay that kind of money, I can understand the desire to get as much of it as possible and save for the rest of your life.

Not many NFL players ever get this opportunity. However, quarterbacks do. Usually, veteran quarterbacks who’ve proven their worth on Sundays. Mayfield wasn’t a proven starter when he became a national spokesman.

The argument around Mayfield’s TV gig becomes circular:

He should have waited until he was clearly a proven starter before taking an opportunity like this one. It would have sent the message that he was focused on the primary task of being a good quarterback. 

But do all proven quarterbacks get the chance he got? There’s no guarantee those opportunities might be there in 3-5 years.

True. At the same time, his on-field personality had an appeal that wouldn’t have gone away. It would have only been more refined as he refined his game. 

Also true. Whatever voices he listened to, internally or from the outside, that sold him on embracing celebrity and fame on a higher level, appealed to the part of Mayfield who feared that he better welcome the attention and the money right away. 

That part of him wasn’t confident about developing his game and waiting to earn the respect of his teammates on the field as the player the organization expected him to become. 

I fear Mayfield craves attention. He kept track of the public slights or criticism of his game. I’ve heard the counterargument that Michael Jordan and Tom Brady kept track and held grudges therefore Mayfield shouldn’t earn more criticism than them.

Brady didn’t begin his NFL career with the notoriety of a celebrated college star like Mayfield. Both Brady and Jordan hold grudges that fuel their competitive fire. I feared Mayfield kept track of public slights and criticism because he was more addicted to attention than winning.

Not that an addiction to winning is healthy, but it is definitely more productive in sports.

When I watch this video of Mayfield, his teammates don’t appear to welcome what he’s doing. At best, they’re surprised. At worst, it appears off-putting to them. He looks like someone jonesing for the buzz of the attention that he once had.

From all accounts, handling fame and celebrity is difficult. Part of the difficulty is that the general public mocks the problems of people who have money, especially people with money problems.

I get it. I went through financial difficulties in my life for a stretch. Worrying about eating, transportation, utilities, and caring for your family is massive stress. I’ve been there. Don’t ever want to go back.

However, I also have empathy for people who are in over their heads, especially when it’s a state of mind like fame and celebrity that is a societal issue but not widely understood.

Mayfield head-butting teammates without a helmet in itself is just a silly and questionable thing we’ve all done in some way in our late teens and 20s. Hopefully, that’s all it is. Probably so.

However, when looking at the scope of his career and public interactions, there’s a potential that this is a pattern of behavior common among those who are jonesing for another hit of fame and celebrity.

I hope not.

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2022 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95. 

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If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

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