#CATweetbag: If I was GM for a Day…

Welcome back to the infamous #CATweetbag, or the Cat Weebag as it's affectionately known. Every Friday, I answer your questions submitted either via email or Twitter.

Today we get started with a hypothetical that makes my mouth water.

The actual answer is far less creepy than that description.

Q:

A: They key, as all GMs for a day can tell you, is to make the team better without disrupting the long-term plan.

I'm assuming for the purposes of this exercise that any move made by me would be binding and have the same effect as if the regular GM made it. Now, we know that continuity and sticking to the plan are assets in football as it takes time build a core of players that fit the system.

In this case, the best thing you could do for your team would be to educate your coach.

So I would bring in Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats or some other numbers guru and have the whole coaching staff sit down and listen about the perils of punting.

I believe the problem with NFL coaches is that their internal calculations on the topic are mis-calibrated. They think punting is "safer" than it is, and they think going for it is more risky than it is. I would ask the consultant to quiz them on what they think the odds of conversion in various situations is. I would ask him to explain "expected points".

I think a day-long seminar in game theory could drastically help the team in the long-run without causing disruption to the plan. I would also have a someone do a clinic on timeout strategy, assuming there was time.

In just one day, I could potentially net me team an extra win or two on the season.

 

Q:

A: Why be so negative? Anything less than five Hall of Fame players from a draft would be an embarrassment and a sign of decline.

In all seriousness, this is a huge draft for Grigson. His 2012 draft was epic, but if he can follow it up with a solid effort in 2013, this team will be a Super Bowl contender by 2014.

These first two drafts are about putting down a foundation, and while I think Indy will struggle to get nine wins in 2013, a big draft would make them real AFC contenders sooner rather than later.

 

Q:

A: Hilton stands at just 5'10", so I think it's fair to compare him to other short receivers. The best of the recent receivers 71 inches and shorter were Derrick Mason, Steve Smith and Laveranues Coles.

Smith represents the absolutely ceiling for Hilton. He's 5'9", 185 lbs, and was taken with pick 74 with an eye on kick return skills. Hilton is 5'10", 183 and was taken with pick 92 in the third round as well.

Smith's second year was 54/872/3 and 16.1 yards a catch. Hilton's rookie year was 50/861/7 and 17.2 yards a catch.

If you are looking for a comp as to what this guy could be in a perfect world, you'd find Steve Smith and hope he gets to that level.

 

Q:

A: It's a CBA holdover. At this point, it servers precious little purpose. The NFLPA can talk like it has free agency for those players, but in reality we know that restricted free agents seldom even receive offer sheets, much less change teams.

I think teams could take great advantage of it, but the fact is that first-round picks make so little money now, that teams are loathe to give them up for an expensive veteran.

It's the vestigial tail of the NFL offseason. It's time to amputate it or just let it fall off on it's own.

 

Q:

A: At this point, there's no urgency on players and teams to get deals done. Teams are content to wait for the draft, hoping they might fill their pass-pass rush need there. Freeney and his fellow free agents know that after the draft, teams will start getting serious about plugging the remaining holes.

I still think he lands a reasonable deal before its all over.

 

Q:

A: Well, obviously, Peyton was Michael Bluth. Andrew Luck reminds me of George Michael. He's got that same geeky wide-eyed look, but he's smart and you get the sense he'll keep the family together in the long run.

Jim Irsay is Uncle Oscar, no doubt about it.

Reggie Wayne is Carl Weathers.

Dwight Freeney had a touch of Lindsey about him. Always nice to look at, but gave the impression he wasn't putting out as much as he should. Also he struggled with insolvency.

Finally, Donnie Avery was Buster. He would have been more effective with a claw hand.

 

Q:

A: It's easy to poke fun at Mr. Irsay, but if you are under the age of 25 and don't remember a time when he wasn't the owner of the Colts, it was bleak.

From the moment he took control of the team, the franchise has been on the way up. They've made the playoffs all but three years of his tenure (1998, 2001, 2011).

He spends money. He gives money away. He's accessible. He cares. He's involved but not too involved.

He's about as good as NFL owners get.

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