Ka'Deem Carey Says Look at All The Numbers, Not Just One............

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  1. soulman

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    Judge Ka'Deem Carey on the numbers, not the number

    Though 4th-round pick ran slow 40 at combine, Bears prefer his 3,814 rushing yards, 5.8 yards per carry and 44 total TDs

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    By Dan Wiederer, Tribune reporter
    3:13 p.m. CDT, May 24, 2014

    The question hasn't been finished and Bears rookie Ka'Deem Carey already is laughing because he has heard the number. Forty. It's reflex. Say the number, Carey laughs.

    Since February, 40 is the number he has been asked about most often, the number that took his impressive career as a running back at the University of Arizona and punctuated it with a question mark.
    At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Carey sputtered through his 40-yard dash. He just didn't explode.

    One straight line sprint. Stop watches clicking. Scrutiny inevitable. His official time came in at 4.70 seconds, 27th best among the 35 running backs who participated at the event. A week-and-a-half later, he tried again at Arizona's pro day and improved his time — but only minimally, to a 4.66. Suddenly, that's all many folks want to ask about with some variation of the same question.

    So, Ka'Deem, what response do you have for critics who were put off by your 40 time?
    Are you concerned about what you showed in the 40?
    How do you explain what happened with that 40?


    Carey's laugh often features a shrug. "My 40 time was my 40 time," he says this time. "I guess I needed to work on my start."

    His apparent lack of concern? If a lack of elite speed was a major problem for him, he wouldn't have all those other numbers to boast about from his final two college seasons — 3,814 rushing yards, 5.8 yards per carry average, 44 total touchdowns. That's the type of production the Bears believed in when they drafted Carey in the fourth round. And the rookie running back is confident his new team made a smart investment.

    "Football? 40 speed? I think football is about quickness," Carey says. "You never run just 40 yards in a straight line. You have to make a move, then go. That's where I feel best. Stop, then go." Besides, Carey believes those 4.70 seconds of his life — slow as they may seem — should not trump the countless hours of "hungry running" he put on tape at Arizona, using feel and instinct and power to stampede through defenses.

    The Bears dissected Carey's skill set and came away believers in his feet and vision, excited about the way the 5-foot-9, 207-pound back lowers his pads yet keeps his balance to plow for extra yardage. Carey, coach Marc Trestman said, looks like a versatile three-down NFL back.

    "Everybody's talking about his speed, but he plays fast and he's tough to take down," Trestman says.
    Adds offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer: "I'm glad I watched the tape before I found out he ran a 4.7. Because I didn't see a 4.7 on tape."

    Instead, Kromer noticed a runner who can make up a 10th of a second with his assertiveness, another 10th with his ability to identify a hole quickly and still another with his decisive cuts. "When he decides to put his foot in the ground he doesn't dance," Kromer says. "He just goes. He's gaining yards. And that's what we like about Ka'Deem."

    To be clear, Carey's NFL arrival is almost certain to begin in an apprentice role, something that will become evident to him Tuesday as organized team activities begin. Matt Forte is coming off a career season, is signed through 2015 and will remain the Bears' workhorse while healthy.

    So that will require Carey to accept a new role in which he will see the ball far less than he's accustomed.
    In his favorite performance of his college career, Carey handled 48 carries and rolled up 206 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-16 upset of No. 5 Oregon last fall. Michael Bush, Forte's back-up last year? He took his 48th carry of the season in December, in Week 14, averaging 6.3 rushing attempts per game overall. So, yeah, patience will be required. Yet Carey insists he's OK accepting a reduced workload.

    "The way I look at it, I got the ball (48) times against Oregon. That's a pounding," he says. "I'm actually excited I don't have to get it that many times, that I can slowly work into this system. … Working behind Forte and seeing how he does things may be the best thing ever to happen to me."

    Emerging as the Bears' No. 2 running back also will require a sharp focus on pass protection, a top prerequisite for Trestman. Carey isn't fully proven in that area. But the consensus at Halas Hall is that he has the right combination of toughness and reactive instincts to get there. Carey says he quickly came to understand the Bears' intense emphasis on pass blocking during a workout for Kromer, running backs coach Skip Peete and scout Mark Sadowski shortly before the draft.

    Carey was sent to a whiteboard and grilled on pass protection principles. He felt a connection. And when his reunion with the Bears staff came at rookie camp, he reminded himself over and over to focus on his pass blocking fundamentals.

    "Feet before hands — always," Carey says. "Keep that square base. Don't give 'em that one shoulder."
    Then during three days of practices, Carey kept his feet shuffling and his head on a swivel in the backfield.
    "But they didn't throw one blitz at me," he says. "The full three days. I was a little confused. I'm like, 'You want me to work on pass protection and you don't throw one blitz?' I'm eager for those blitzes to come so I can pick it up and see how fast they come and get used to the process ASAP."

    Carey's eagerness quickly is leaving an impression. But his character will face added scrutiny as he transitions to the pros. That, he understands, will be inevitable for the foreseeable future given the misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct he faced after an argument with his female roommate, an former girlfriend, in December 2012.

    According to a report from the Arizona Daily Star, a petition against Carey contended that during the dispute, the running back was looking for a lighter to smoke an illegal substance, tried forcing his way into the woman's room, slammed her fingers in the door and knocked her to the floor.

    Carey insists he did nothing wrong and all charges eventually were dropped. "All I can tell people is things happen," he says. "As long as you learn off those things, learn from your mistakes and grow as a young man and prove you can move forward, it will be OK."

    Still, the Bears assert they did their full due diligence in assessing Carey's character and maturity. General manager Phil Emery continues to be a big believer in second chances and has scored big rolling the dice on guys with troubled pasts such as Brandon Marshall and Kyle Long. The hope is Carey can follow a similar trail.

    "The most important thing is are you trying to get back on path and go the right way?" Emery says. "Are you trying to improve as a person? We certainly were very comfortable with his honesty about past situations that he has had and we're certainly comfortable he's on the right path."

    dwiederer@tribune.com
    Twitter @danwiederer
     
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  2. BelieveInMonsters

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    Good article.

    I tend to agree with this assessment. His 40 time is vastly over analyzed. If he was slow, he wouldn't have even come close to putting up such monster numbers in College.
     
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  3. BSBEARS

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    I agree, give me 1800 - 2000 yds a season in the NFL and he can run a 10 sec 40 for all I care.
     
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  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler
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    Beardownzona loves this pick and I hope we all end up in that same boat with him.

    We needed a RB with a little different style than Matt Forte and it looks like we accomplished that. Forte has always been somewhat of an upright runner who often lacked the power to push through tackles at the goaline or on short yardage carries. I feel he's improved quite a bit in that regard but Matt Forte would never be called a power back. His game is to get loose, make you miss, and then turn on his speed which is good enough that he rarely gets caught from behind once he has a clear field in his front windshield.

    From what we've been told and have been able to see in his highlight videos Carey does have a different running style. He may not be all that big but he seems to have a nice combination of power and quickness that makes him a tough runner to bring down. Too many people may look at smaller backs like Carey an assume they have to run 4.5 forties in order to be effective but they often miss an important point that would be more obvious is they watched more tape.

    It's a backs vision and quickness that gets him to and through the hole and into the second level. There it's quick feet and a certain degree of shiftiness that gets him a few extra yards and if he can run low and square behind his pads he becomes very tough to stop dead in his tracks so he usually finishes his run still moving forward not getting stood up on the spot which was an earlier criticism of the way Forte ran.

    Carey ran a 4.7 forty. So what? I don't know for certain but I don't believe Walter was any faster than that, or at least not by much, much and it never hurt him or several other top RBs who are known far more for their toughness than for their breakaway speed and gazelle like moves in the open field. That's not the kind of runner Walter was and it's not the kid of runner Carey is either. But before anybody gets the wrong idea I'm not saying he's anywhere near the player Walter was only that a RB doesn't need to run a 4.4 or 4.5 forty in order to be productive if he knows how to run.

    I'll be very interested to watch Carey run and we should see a lot of him in preseason. "Zona" had him pegged as a guy we should draft long before the draft began and I questioned his size, lack or speed and his off field issues but after having heard from both Carey and Emery on the subject and after hearing Kromer's comments after watching Carey run in the rookie OTAs I no longer have those concerns. I think 5 years ago a kid like this may have been a late first or high second round pick just as Forte was but the importance of drafting RBs early has declined and we may have gotten ourselves a really nice pick here. I'll be anxious to see how well he develops this year.
     
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  5. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    We'll wait to see what he can do in the NFL. But I have high hopes
     
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  6. soulman

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    Yep, the NFL HOF is full of guys who were considered too slow to ever be great. Some of them are even WRs who didn't run any faster in the 40 than Carey did but put them in football gear on a gridiron and suddenly they either got faster or everyone else got slower.

    What I want to see is a tough inside runner who can't help but get 3 or 4 yards every time you hand him a football. A guy who can keep drives alive with positive yardage and who can get those tough yards with consistency. That's who we need.
     
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  7. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    NFL draft: Is the 40-yard dash really that important?

    We need a hed
    By Jon Wilner jwilner@mercurynews.com
    Posted: 05/04/2014 01:11:27 PM PDT
    0 Comments
    | Updated: 20 days ago



    Shayne Skov trained three months for the most important five seconds of his life. But the Stanford linebacker was far from his best when the moment arrived. With NFL scouts watching his every step during a predraft workout, Skov chugged along to an underwhelming time in the 40-yard dash.
    A few yards away, one of the greatest players in NFL history watched the proceedings with indifference. "The 40 is overrated," Jerry Rice said. "I never ran a good 40, but they couldn't catch me."
    The Hall of Fame is filled with players whose 40-yard dash times were considered mediocre, yet fans, media and draftniks alike are obsessed with the 40. Unlike many of the tools used to evaluate prospects, the 40 is visible, it's quantifiable, and it plays to our visceral love of speed.
    In short, it's great theater.
    "We've made it into an event," said ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, a former coach of the Jets and Chiefs. "We can't wait to talk about the 40. Who runs the fastest?"
    That's not to suggest it's irrelevant on draft day. Every player card in every draft room in the NFL has four things: name, height, weight, and 40 time.
    How did a training camp drill conceived six decades ago become an essential tool for scouts and a tireless topic for talking heads? Does it really matter if one wide receiver runs a 4.40, the benchmark for elite speed, and another runs a 4.45?
    And why the heck is it 40 yards?
    Copycat concept
    After a record-setting career at Mississippi Valley State, Jerry Rice did what every draft prospect has done for eons: He worked out for NFL scouts on campus and at the scouting combine, a one-stop-shopping event in February that's used to evaluate the top prospects.
    "We timed Jerry in the 40 nine times," said former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt, "and he never got under 4.55."
    Brandt popularized the 40, but he wasn't the first to use it. In the 1950s, Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown is believed to have timed his players in the 40 in training camp as a means of evaluating potential starters. Why Brown picked 40 yards is a secret he took to the grave.
    "I'm not completely sure Paul had them run 40 yards," Brandt added. "Nobody seems to know for sure."
    Brandt took notice of the concept, and when the Cowboys were formed in 1960, he began timing draft prospects over 30, 50 and 100 yards. Eventually, he refined the system, determining that 40 was, in fact, the best distance for skill-position players and 20 yards the ideal for linemen. Soon, the competition was doing the same -- it was a copycat league back then, too.
    Times were recorded for every top prospect at every position. Charts were compiled and used for historical reference. At one point, Brandt said, the Cowboys determined that if a receiver ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds, he had a 1 percent chance of making the Pro Bowl. Faster than 4.65, and the Pro Bowl odds climbed.
    So meticulous was Brandt that he visited famed Stanford track coach Payton Jordan to learn more about speed and sprinting. The meeting included a lesson from Jordan in how to time more precisely.
    When the NFL created the combine in 1985, the 40 was the centerpiece. It has retained the exalted position, providing a historical standards and test of athleticism.
    "It's about filling in the boxes," Edwards said. "The combine gives you the ability to measure certain positions by the traits of players in the past.
    "If a wide receiver runs a 4.4, he gets a blue (sufficient) check. If he runs a 4.6, he gets a red (warning) check."
    All about the combine
    As Skov struggled through his workout, David Spitz looked on anxiously. A strength and speed coach from San Ramon, he spent months preparing Skov for his session in front of the scouts.
    "I'm always nervous when I watch the guys," he said. "It's a helpless feeling."
    Spitz is the founder of California Strength, a gritty gym tucked away in an East Bay office park. Spitz spends most of the year training 100 junior high and high school athletes, but for two months every winter, he prepares draft prospects for the combine and on-campus workouts.
    The prospects spend all day, every day at California Strength. (Many drop out of college for the winter, then re-enroll in the spring.) They train twice daily and undergo massage therapy. Their meals are prepared by a chef and specifically designed for each player's nutritional needs.
    Spitz began training prospects for the combine five years ago. Most of his clients are from the Bay Area, and many attend either Stanford or Oregon, including tight end Zach Ertz and linebacker Kiko Alonso. ("I haven't clicked with the Cal kids," Spitz said.). The two-month sessions, which cost approximately $10,000, are typically paid for by the players' agents.
    Spitz, 37, and a team of former NFL players prepare prospects for every drill at the combine -- ex-49er Brent Jones handles the tight ends -- while former general managers parachute in to provide insight into the interview phase.
    But the heart of Spitz's training program is the 40, and he isn't alone. With millions of dollars riding on a prospect's draft position and with draft position partly dependent on the 40, combine training centers have sprouted up across the country. Two of the best-known are the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and Athletes' Performance Institute in Phoenix.
    "I look at it this way: Film and statistics are like a player's grade-point average, and the combine results are like the SATs," said Spitz, who attended Monte Vista High and was a hammer thrower at USC.
    "And at the combine, the 40 is everything."
    A prospect's 40 time is a function of stride frequency and stride length. The former is "tough to manipulate," according to Spitz. But stride length, which results from the force with which each foot strikes the ground, can be improved through weight training and proper body mechanics.
    Spitz studies tendon and muscle structure, examines spine and head positioning, overhauls dietary habits -- all with the goal of shaving a few tenths of a second off the baseline 40 time.
    His clients start training in early January and run the 40 once to establish a baseline number. They won't run the full distance again until the combine and instead focus their training on the various phases of the 40.
    A prospect who covers the distance in 4.5 seconds typically takes 1.5 seconds to cover the initial 10 yards, which is called the drive phase, and then 1 second for each 10-yard chunk of the acceleration phase.
    "The first 10 is critical," Spitz said. "That's where you set the arm mechanics and head position. That's where you can shave the most time."
    'Film doesn't lie'
    Skov didn't run the 40 at the combine. As some prospects do, he opted to train for an additional month and run at Stanford's annual pro day in mid-March. A hamstring injury days before the event forced him to reschedule, and he hadn't fully recovered when scouts from 10 teams convened on a warm April morning.
    Hoping to post a time in the 4.8s -- within the accepted range for run-stopping inside linebackers -- Skov clocked a 5.1. He couldn't hide the disappointment in his eyes but tried to with his words.
    "It's a metric," he said. "My film is the greatest piece of my resume."
    Most NFL teams would agree. In the words of 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, "the film doesn't lie," and Skov has dozens of high-level performances to his credit.
    More significant than the 40 time, not only for Skov but all prospects, is what scouts call "play speed." It's established by analyzing film and determining whether a prospect plays above, below or to the standard for his position.
    Does an offensive lineman possess the quickness to get to the perimeter in time to make a vital block? Does a linebacker have the lateral speed to drop into pass coverage? Does a running back have the burst to reach the so-called second level of the defense?
    No one would ever confuse Marcus Allen for a sprinter, but the Hall of Famer had a knack for knowing just when to cut, thereby forcing would-be tacklers to break stride, and thus played faster than his straight-ahead speed.
    Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, ran a 4.63, below average for the position.
    Seattle's Richard Sherman, regarded as the best cornerback in the league, ran a 4.53 at the combine, the 23rd fastest time for his position.
    At the same time, only two of the 10 fastest players to enter the NFL this century have become All Pros: New York Jets tailback Chris Johnson (with Tennessee) and Houston kick returner Jerome Mathis.
    "We rate their play speed, then go to a pro day or the combine and get the real time," Baalke said. "You hope they match. What's hard is when you like a player and think he plays fast, and then he runs slow. Then you have a real tough dilemma to sort through."
    The 49ers weight 40 times differently for each position. It's far less important for linemen -- many teams use 10- and 20-yard dash times to evaluate the big fellas -- than skill position players. Schemes also matter. An outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, for instance, spends more time chasing down the quarterback than an outside linebacker in a 4-3.
    "The position where the 40 holds the most weight is cornerback," said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Browns, Ravens and Eagles. "If you're a receiver who runs a 4.6 like (Anquan) Boldin, but you have short-area quickness and strong hands, the 40 isn't a big deal.
    "But if you're a cornerback who runs a 4.6 and you're facing a receiver who runs a 4.4, it doesn't matter how good your ball skills are."
    That might explain the case of Tye Hill, a cornerback from Clemson initially projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2006 draft. After posting the fastest 40 time at the combine (4.31 seconds), Hill shot up the draft boards and was ultimately selected in the middle of the first round by St. Louis.
    Six years and four teams later, he was out of football.
    "The 40 doesn't equate to football speed," Rice said. "A guy could run a great 40, and then you put pads on him and he doesn't have lateral movement or he can't come out of his cuts. He just doesn't have it."
    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or [​IMG]408-920-5716.
    Infobox1

    Inside
    Al Davis' emphasis on drafting for speed slowed the Raiders' progress. PAGE 6

    The Top 40
    4.24
    Chris Johnson's 40-yard dash time during the 2008 NFL combine, the fastest recorded since the league began keeping official records in 1999.
    For the complete list of the fastest times, go to PAGE 6.
     
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  8. BelieveInMonsters

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    I think a lot of Bears fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with Ka'Deem Carey. I think he's going to fill the exact role that you mentioned.

    He's going to get the tough yardage, he can block, and he can receive. Perfect Robin to Forte's Batman.
     
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  9. The Benjamin

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    In case you don't wanna read the whole article, here are some 40 times for some great players
     
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  10. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler
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    Nice post Benji. :drinking61:

    A couple of the guys I was thinking about when I made my post about it are mentioned here. Jerry Rice is one of the WRs and Cris Carter is another WR. Marcus Allen definitely as a RB and like I said Walter never ran away from people on 80 yard runs yet he was the best all around RB to ever play the game.

    Even Matt Forte wasn't a true speedster when he arrived and I think he may have improved his speed since but it's also his ability to accelerate quickly and to cut without breaking stride that makes his playing speed more than sufficient to break longer runs. But I still doubt his ability to out run a fast CB all the way down the field.

    If it's all that important to their game players can be trained to become faster. I don't know how many other teams may use this approach but when I lived in GB our house was only about two miles from Lambeau Field and the Packers practice field was right across the street from the stadium. At the south end was an earthen grass covered ramp that players would train on by running down it. In theory that helped them to increase their "stride frequency" as David Spitz talks about in this article. A guy has to keep his legs churning faster running downhill to keep his balance and keep from doing a face plant. Do it enough times and you train you leg muscles to move better and faster or at least that was the theory of it as their players described it to me.

    Anyway it's a great article and fits very well with this thread. Despite his less than stellar 40 time Ka'Deem Carey was an uber productive college runner and IMHO I have to agree. His short area burst, his vision, his toughness, and his quick feet will have far more to do with his success than his long speed in the 40. I'll take 20 runs of 20 yards per year over one run of 80 yards any day.
     
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