Here are some notes from around the NFL and behind-the-scenes at BerniesInsiders.com from Art, Lane, and our network pals.
Early 2004 Draft Note I: To improve the level of interest and ability for teams to scout prospects in a more comprehensive manner, some schedule changes have been made to accommodate requests from college and pro team departments.The Hula Bowl, which was held on the same weekend as the NFL's Pro Bowl has been switched to January 17th. Ohio State's Jim Tressel, coach of the 2002 National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes and Ralph Friedgen from Maryland will coach the 2004 game. - Lane
Two Furious Days of Summer: BerniesInsiders.com has gone two entire days without a new story getting posted and it's all my fault. I've been on vacation since last weekend, and my fill-in exited on Friday. While pondering life, cigars, cold beer and other important things on the shore of some unpronounceable Finger Lake, I had an idea about how to make the site more responsive to breaking news around the web. My wife and kids tolerantly let me leave a couple of days early, so I came back to Cleveland and have been working furiously on it since Thursday night. Yeah, my priorities are all screwed up, but I'm buzzed about what this new stuff will mean to Bernies Insiders.
This is nothing you will see directly on the site, but should show itself through more free updates and links to breaking NFL news around the web. Part of it involves a new way to crank out the Dawgotron 3000, which has all been hand-crafted in the past and was kind of a pain in the neck. Now the Dawgotron can be generated almost-automatically when we find out about something new. That's how we slammed up Dawgotron 3000 updates on breaking news almost instantly yesterday. More technology means slamming out updates is faster, and faster updates means more info for news-hungry Dawgs.
Anyhow, it's all tech-dweeby and boring, but I get wired up on that stuff, so I
had to write about it. Please forgive the lack of updates and slow response on
customer service emails... we're getting back to regular business starting
today. - AB
Early 2004 Draft Note II: Here is a listing of the top 15 players according to National Scouting Inc, one of the two scouting services used by the NFL. One of the players, Tony Hollings has been declared ineligible and has entered the supplemental draft that will be conducted on July 10th. Players with a 6.5 rating or better are deemed first-round material.
WR Roy Williams Texas 7.9
WR Lee Evans Wisconsin 7.7
OT Robert Gallery Iowa 7.5
RB Greg Jones Florida State 7.3
QB J.P. Losman Tulane 7.2
OT Vernon Carey Miami 7.0
RB Tony Hollings Georgia Tech 7.0
TE Ben Watson Georgia 7.0
LB D.J. Williams Miami 7.0
WR Rashaun Woods Oklahoma State 6.9
OT Max Starks Florida 6.8
DT DeMarco McNeil Auburn 6.5
OT Jacob Rogers USC 6.5
DE Will Smith Ohio State 6.5
LB Jonathan Vilma Miami 6.5
Art Bietz Revealed!: Thanks to everyone who wrote to me about my real name / alias dilemma that I was nattering about on the Ask the Insiders forum. The folks at the magazine have made the questionable decision to have me write a column, but they don't like aliases, especially one as juvenile as "Art Bietz". Even, though, um, he does, you know. "Bite". I've used the "Art Bietz" alias since 1996, as my sophomoric protest against team-swiping, It's part of who I am.
Anyhow, I've decided to write under my real name in the magazine and, when appropriate, on the web site. I'll still be "artbtz" on the message boards and chat, for the foreseeable future, since that's how most folks know me. I'll also use the moniker on the website most of the time.
If you want to see Art Bietz columns under another name, and to be horrified by my undeniably average, albeit deformed, visage, pick up a copy of Bernies Insiders magazine. I won't put my picture on the web site because our visitors come in all age brackets and younger children are easily frightened. No sense in having the youngsters flee the site just because they saw "the Elephant Man looking wasted" where Browns news was supposed to be. I'll keep using the picture of a pipe-wielding Ward Cleaver because it's less frightening and somehow subversive. I like that. - AB