I'm really not a fan of meta-critique of sports writers as while their job is highly enjoyable it is also fraught with deadlines, story requirements, and the same things us brethren known as bloggers run into on a regular basis during the off-season and that's an almost complete lack of quality stories to cover. With that in mind, you can speak ill of the work of others as much as you please, but at the end of the day it must be done with a whole pile of salt.
With this in mind it pains me to take issue with a story by Brad Biggs, a writer for the Chicago Tribune. The story in question is about one of our favorite sons, Rashied 'Droppapotumus' Davis, and how the new system Mike Martz is installing means a new life for him on the team. Follow me below the fold where we'll take a closer look at this story, and the extremely disingenuous conclusion it jumped to.
Let me say first and foremost, while i have nothing against Rashied Davis as a person, I have everything against him as a player at this point. He is valuable on special teams, and he does offer experience as a back up, however the only actual above average skills he had related to his speed and agility, two things that greatly decline in receivers as they age. Now then, with that out of the way we're going to look at the two specific quotes made by Darryl Drake, the receivers coach and the apparent basis of Brigg's story.
"He hasn't had a lot of opportunities," wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. "A couple years ago we probably put him in a situation that was too much for him, being a four-phase special teams guy and then trying to be a starter because of injuries and things like that. Things kind of snowballed on him."
"This should be new life for him in this offense being able to do some things as a third guy and as an inside guy. Just like all of them, the ball is in his court. We're going to put the best players out there that give us the best chance to win."
When you look at the quotes away from the framing Briggs gives them, it is much less of a vote of confidence for Davis and his regaining his position as the third receiver on the staff, but as an assertion of where his chance of making a starting spot on the receivers chart at all lie.
Why is this a problem? Because the rest of his post talks about how the positions that Davis was put in didn't play to his strengths, and that was the reason for his lack of production. It even goes further to point out the few glimmers of good play contained within, hinting that such good things could return if he was only placed where belonged.
Again, we must live in reality, and while we all have players that we are fond for, and we all have stories and deadlines that we'd like to meet, combining the two to create a page of complete nonsense is extremely disappointing. You'd be hard pressed to find a single WR that became a force to contend with at the ripe age of 30, and you'd be even harder pressed to find one that did so having never been that guy at any point previous in his entire career.
If you want to see Davis stay on the team, more power to you, but let it be for what he actually brings to the table, not some imaginary ability to quite literally teach an old dog new tricks.
Now, why do I take exception to this kind of story? I take exception because Biggs is a supposedly a quality outlet of information. It is his full time job to come up with interesting stories and bring them forth to his readers across the world. By that token, he also has extremely high level access to not only coaches, but players, and other insiders on which to base his stories. I'm not decrying conjecture, or hyperbole, I'm taking serious issue with not just turning nothing, into something, but misleading readers when the writer himself should know better.
Would that story have been much better if he had taken that quote, and some of the others given by Drake, and talk about the young receivers, and how they felt good about them? You know, maybe adding some meat to the hyperbole that had been generated by Jerry Angelo, and even myself at times in regards to the quality that many people see in our WR group. I think so, but instead we get a story drummed up about a receiver who is on the last year of a contract that should at best end up a four phase special teamer, and at worst be cut by the end of training camp.
But hey, the job of a sports writer is a tough one, but when given the choice between Kobe Beef and McDonalds, it'd be nice to see something that didn't come from a wrapper from time to time.