Statement that means something to me: there is no better music to listen to when riding a bike in sweltering summer heat than The White Stripes. I love Jack White. I think he is an incredible musician; a great guitar player; a lyrically-gifted male incarnation of the muses. He rocks my socks off. Plus, anybody who can make such good music in which 50% percent of your band is Meg White deserves major props. Her drumming sounds like a slow rain pattering on pots and pans. And Meg, if you are reading this, I LUV U!!!!!1 <3!111.
Naturally, I think that The Dead Weather (Jack White's newest band) is, like, totally awesome, dude. They do a great post-Zeppelin blues-rock thing better than anybody since The White Stripes. So naturally their lyrics slowly start creeping into my life. Their new album Sea of Cowards contains a song called "Blue Blood Blues." In this song, there is one line that perfectly sums up my thoughts on Taylor Mays, "shake your hips like battleships."
Follow me after the jump so that I may explain away the effrontery of wasting your time with musical discussion on a football post. (Psh! Don't act like you didn't enjoy it...).
Taylor Mays has all the potential in the world. Physically. That adverb isn't to say that he has a bad work ethic or anything. I don't know the guy, so I cannot attest to his character. He could have mental potential or whatnot, but the pro-Mays argument was always that the man could only be some sort of god come down from Olympus. He is the Renaissance ideal of a man. Seriously. Just think of Michelangelo's David. If you don't know it off the top of your head, go look it up. I'll wait. Don't worry.
See? Wasn't that worth it? It is one of the greatest statues ever made, and if you ever wake up randomly in Florence after drinking too much one night or because the magic of a Disney movie transports you there, go check it out. It is pretty intimidating in person.
And that's my point about Taylor Mays. The dude is intimidating. Wouldn't you want that statue to play for the Niners? That's the argument for Mays. He has everything you want in an athlete - plus more. It's like his parents' genetic codes were feeling all extra-credit-y when they combined to form him. It's okay to think this about a player. Well, that is until you own a team. Then you're just Al Davis.
But man, then we get to those hips. Those hips like battleships. Let's put aside the fact that Mays takes horrible angles and plays like he had some sort of allergy to pigskin. Let's just look at those hips. When Taylor Mays decided to change directions and pursue a runner or a ball in the air, it takes like an hour and a half.
He just does not have coverage skills. Not by any stretch of the imagination. A better safety makes a quick and smooth transition between directions, using his hips and momentum to aid in the process. Somewhere, somehow Mays did not learn this skill. I'm not saying he won't ever. I hope he does and is a successful player. I like the guy and we all know Cincinnati needs it.
So at the time of me writing this, we might be getting a fourth round pick for Taylor. Maybe even third. Naturally, only idiots get decent draft picks for players the team was going to cut anyway, so I'm just going to assume that Trent Baalke is stupid. Sound good?
Look, this Mays trade has generated some talk about the 49ers front office, and I would like to weigh into the debate. I think Baalke has, thus far, been a fairly successful GM. Remember that Ted Ginn Jr.
signing trade? Pretty good. We got the returner we needed and a somewhat serviceable receiver to boot. Drafting Iupati? If everybody else in that draft utterly fail (and they won't - Bowman is looking really good), I still think it goes down as a good one just for the future Pro-Bowler we have at left guard. The patient approach in this year's free agency? It got us some quality talent without having to over sign.
I mean, I was on board with donating my left arm in case Nmandi Asomugha was a secret cannibal, but when it turned out that he only wanted a lot of money, I was okay with him going to the Eagles. We brought in a few guys who can contribute some serious talent to the secondary without having to break the bank. That money can now go to keeping Frank Gore around (front loaded contract, please!). That's smart managing, if I may be general about it. I mean, holy moly, he landed Jim Harbaugh, the guy we thought we might have to hire a reputable and experienced GM to lure away from Stanford.
So what do you do with a guy who is the most obvious holdover from the last coaching regime? Don't deny it now. Taylor Mays has Mike Singletary's fingerprints all over. The LAPD confirmed it. Caught him red-handed. Heck, I think even the CSI: Miami team came in to double check - sunglasses and all. And, if you don't believe me, I will go get those Law and Order guys out of retirement.
Sure, Baalke was in the war-room with Singletary. He probably tried to dissuade Singletary from the pick; it's not like he could pull rank or anything, however. He was still that weird fake-GM, and I think that he was still practicing that steely missile eye thing in the mirror.
What do you do? You trade him. So, instead of cutting him, Baalke turns Mays into a hot commodity. He e-mails everybody in the league and their mothers for good measure in a largely unprecedented move, or so I understand it. I find it brilliant. Now, teams with pennies don't have to outbid the rich teams in free agency. They can just give away one of those nice draft picks they have in storage. Golly gee, they weren't even going to use them for like another year anyway.
It's fun to criticize a team's GM and usually it's pretty easy (looking at you Brian Sabean). But when a man is making a lot of good decisions and bolstering the team in smart ways, let's not attack him because it has been tough rooting for a broken front office the last 500 years or so. Give this new one the chance to screw up, at least.