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SCHOOLED with The Professor

Can't get enough of the NFL? Get SCHOOLED with 'The Professor' John Clayton. Each week, 710 ESPN Seattle's human database dives deep into all the news in and around the National Football League. Interviews, analysis, and stories from a Football Hall of Fame career. Further your football education with new episodes each week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Andrew Brandt: Are Rule Changes Ahead?

The controversies from this past weekend’s NFL conference championship games remain as strong as ever. Could the non-call of an interference penalty in the Rams/Saints game could lead to rule changes and the chance for coaches to challenge interference calls? In this week’s Schooled with the Professor, we chat with Andrew Brandt. Brandt was an agent and a contract negotiator for the Green Bay Packers. Normally, Andrew and I talk salary cap and contract negotiations, but Andrew has a great read on the business part of the league and how it operates, and explains why you shouldn’t expect much change as far as the rules based on this weekend’s controversy. He also doesn’t see any rule changes in overtime, so the coin toss can still factor into the winner of a pla

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Playoff Preview with The Ringer's Danny Kelly

After a disappointing Divisional Round of the playoffs, the NFL is braced for what could be an exceptional Championship Round. New Orleans is hosting the Los Angeles Rams. The New England Patriots are traveling to Kansas City where there will be an artic blast and possible minus temperatures. To preview these games on Schooled with the Professor, we checked in with Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) of The Ringer. We start off by discussing the current trend toward offense. The top four offenses and four of the top offensive play-callers are in these games. Danny and I discussed how offenses rose to the top this year. So much of it was because of the way the league wanted rules enforced that made it tougher on defenses. This is a trend that is going to take time. It’s hard to say when defens

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Isaac Bruce on His Career and The Rams - Then vs. Now

Schooled with the Professor had a great catch this week! John Clayton chats with one of the greatest receivers of all time: former St. Louis Rams WR Isaac Bruce. Once again, Bruce made the list of the final 15 candidates for the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame. On Schooled, Bruce does a great job of discussing history and the present. Bruce goes into great detail talking about how far ahead the St. Louis Rams offense was when they were the Greatest Show on Turf. He breaks down which routes were so successful and how Mike Martz put together one of the best offenses in NFL history. He compares what the Rams did in those days to what the Los Angeles Rams do now. The big difference, he said, was the Greatest Show on Turf used the pass to set up the run, while the modern day Rams use the run to set up th

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Tim Cowlishaw on The Cowboys ahead of NFC Wild-Card Game vs. The Seahawks

The Seahawks face the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night in a key NFC Wild-Card game. This week on Schooled with the Professor, Tim Cowlishaw from the Dallas Morning News joins us as we take a close examination of the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most interesting teams in the league. There were plenty of things to study: The Seahawks have faced the Cowboys in four of the past five years, and the Seahawks have won the past three games. What's amazing is the Cowboys are "America’s Team" but they have done so poorly in the playoffs. Tim goes in depth breaking down the play of quarterback Dak Prescott. He talks about a good, young defense that started to come together after the Seahawks beat the Cowboys in Week Three. We get into a deep discussion on the successes and failures of Jason Garrett

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

"The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football" with Merril Hoge

Concussions are a huge topic in the NFL. The league is constantly trying to improve its ability to make the game safer for players, largely due to the worry about concussions leading to CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and how it will affect the future of the game. Many mothers are no longer allowing their kids to play football for fear of concussions.Merril Hoge played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers and had to retire early because of concussions. But he has written a controversial and fascinating book called "Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football." He joins us on Schooled with the Professor. Hoge isn’t saying CTE doesn’t exist. His position is that many of the evaluators on concussions are embellishing their reports to get extra a

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Next-Gen Stats with John Pollard, VP of Zebra Technologies

This is a great education week on Schooled with the Professor. This is the first full season Zebra Technologies has put their expertise into closely studying and analyzing the data it tracks in NFL games and NFL practices. Zebra is a Seattle-based company and more teams are jumping aboard and getting their information. John Pollard, Vice President of Zebra, joins us to give us a detailed look at this season. Many of the results are found in Next Gen Stats, which is put out by the NFL. Pollard gives us a detailed look at so many of the metrics that give team accurate information. We get into the successes of Russell Wilson. His ability to make difficult throws ranks among the best in the league. Because of the technology, Zebra can precisely measure throws in tight windows, time to throw, s

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Judging the Officials with Kevin Seifert

It’s been a tough year for NFL officials. The league made some of the most significant rule changes and changes in what they wanted called. Four referees retired, so this is the youngest group of referees in league history. Kevin Seifert from joins us on Schooled with the Professor to judge how officials have done this year. The main debate this offseason was how officials were going to call personal fouls with helmet hits, particularly on quarterbacks. As it turned out, the number of calls for helmet hits haven’t been a much as expected. Instead, roughing the passer penalties have taken the main stage of controversy. Kevin breaks done how those calls have been made. Out of the blue Tuesday, the news from league is it wants to upgrade the punt return roles. As Kevin st

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Current NFL Scouting with Scot McCloughan

The game has changed. The NFL is going through the best offensive year in the history of the league. On Schooled with the Professor, we get a Master’s Degree on current NFL scouting from long-time general manager and scout Scot McCloughan. Scot goes position by position regarding how the scouting game has changed. He discusses the new ways to find a quarterback, the difficulty of finding good offensive linemen, how different it is for defensive players. Interior defensive tackles are getting better and better in college. Scot tells you why. Scot’s current company is Instinctive Scout, which gives scouting reports and personnel evaluations for teams in the NFL. Finding the right offensive parts is now the challenge of talent evaluators. We get into the difficulty of scouting the

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

From the 90s to Now with Herman Moore

Herman Moore would have been a perfect receiver in this age of high-scoring offenses. He is 6'4" and 218 pounds. Bigger receivers are coming out of college nowadays and they are doing so well in this quarterback driven league. He played 12 seasons but he played in the 1990s when receivers were smaller. Moore joins us on Schooled with the Professor this week to discuss how the game has changed since he was in the league. Believe it or not, he said he prefers the days when defenses were dominating. It's a surprising statement for a top receiver and top offensive talent. Moore goes in depth on how the game has made a transition from the 1990s until now. Good football talk on Schooled.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

D'Marco Farr: Sideline with The Rams

This is an incredible stretch for the Los Angeles Rams. Last week, they lost to the New Orleans Saints, 45-35, in the battle for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. This week they host the Seahawks and they have a game coming up in Mexico against the Kansas Chiefs. On Schooled with the Professor, we go straight to the sidelines of the Rams and get a scouting report on the Rams from D’Marco Farr. The former Rams defensive lineman who was on the Rams Super Bowl team known as the Greatest Show on Turf does sidelines for the Rams broadcast. What’s great for me doing the opposing team sidelines on the Seahawks broadcast is I get to spend two games a year working with Farr on the sidelines. His insight on the team is spot on. Farr discusses why the offense is so good, what is needed to get t

Thursday, November 01, 2018

John Powers: Fridays with Bill

Bill Belichick is difficult for reporters to get information from. He’ll shy away from giving detailed injury reports. He makes it tough to get into his thinking and his planning about his team. But, John Powers of The Boston Globe found out Belichick tells reporters more than you can imagine! In his book Fridays with Bill: Inside the Football Mind of Bill Belichick, Powers did a remarkable job of digging through 10 years of Belichick press conference transcripts. From those transcripts, he wrote about what made Belichick the football coach considered to be one of, if not THE, the best in NFL history. He detailed some of the philosophies in personnel that make the Patriots strong. He grabbed great anecdotes about things Belichick likes on and off the field. From those Friday intervie

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The AAF with Hines Ward

The Alliance of American Football, a developmental league that has been much needed, is set to start the week after the Super Bowl. Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is working as a Players Relation Executive with the AAF. He joins us on Schooled with the Professor. Hines goes in depth on how the league is being set up and some of the unique rules that will be tried. The mission of the league is to keep players developed for the chance to get into the NFL. Ward talks about how the AAF won’t have kickoffs or the point after touchdown. On the football front, Hines talks about the LeVeon Bell holdout. He discusses how the rule changes have made it easier for receivers to get into the middle of the field to make catches with limited fear of being hit. Plenty of goo

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Bill Williamson on The Oakland Raiders

The Seahawks fly to London to play the Oakland Raiders this weekend, and The Raiders remain one the most interesting stories in sports. Jon Gruden returned to the NFL after a decade on Monday Night Football to sign a 10-year deal to be the coach. He’s also making the personnel decisions. With that in mind Schooled with the Professor went to Bill Williamson of Raiders Snake Pit to breakdown what is going on with the Raiders. Gruden traded Khalil Mack, who is having an MVP season and has gotten rid of or benched several of the Raiders most recent high draft choices. Derek Carr has thrown eight interceptions, including five on first downs. The Raiders are giving up seven yards a play, which could be the worst since the merger if that continues. What is the story on Raiders? We give it t

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Gary Myers: How 'Bout Them Cowboys

Two weeks ago, the Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys, 24-13. The Cowboys couldn’t get much going on offense. But they have a lot going on as a franchise: They're "America’s Team", generate the most revenue, have one of sports' most interesting owners, and are one of the most fascinating teams in the NFL. Joining us on Schooled with the Professor is Gary Myers, who covered the Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News before moving to the New York Daily News. Gary's on HBO and is known as one of the best football writers and reporters in the country. For his fifth book, he went back in history and wrote the definitive book on the Cowboys: How `Bout Them Cowboys, Inside the Huddle with the Stars and Legends of America’s Team. Gary gets into some of the major moves in Cowboys

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Mike Sando: 2018's Wild Start

Le’Veon Bell’s holdout...Earl Thomas’ hold-in, where he refuses to practice if he doesn’t feel right. The new helmet penalty rule. Controversial roughing the quarterback penalties. Upsets. Upsets. Upsets. It’s been a wild start to the 2018 season! To break it down on Schooled with the Professor, we get together with Mike Sando of to review the first crazy three weeks of the season. Mike gives perspective on the Bell and Thomas stories sharing with us what some of the front office execs and coaches are saying. We try to sort out whether these are going to be trend-setters for the future. We get into the escalation of roughing penalties and whether it is good or bad for the game. Sando breaks down some of the other observations over the first three week

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Doug Farrar on Modern Schematic Innovation

It's a creative time in the NFL. Scoring is up. Offensive innovation is at the max. And timing is everything. Doug Farrar just published a book that hits on the current trends and the history of schematic changes in the National Football League -- Genius of Desperation: The Schematic Innovation That Made the Modern NFL. On this week's Schooled with the Professor, Doug educates us on the current run, pass option trends and how it plays into the game. He goes into great detail on how tough it is to defend and he talks about its staying power in the league. Farrar takes us through the desperation that led to many of the changes in the NFL. He talks Bill Walsh. He talks Doug Pederson. On Schooled, we dig deep into the strategy that has made the game of football great and what is work

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Samoans in the NFL with Rob Ruck

Rob Ruck, author of "Tropic of Football: The Long and Perilous Journey of Samoans to the NFL," joins The Professor to give a complete history lesson on Samoans in the National Football League. It’s a fascinating subject because it involves some of the NFL greats: Junior Seau, Jesse Sapolu, Troy Polamolu and so many others. (For those who follow Washington Huskies football, they know the impact of great Samoan players.) Ruck digs back in the history of how football started on the islands and goes through all the big names and top stories. He takes us through the tough conditions the players have on the field, but how the dedication and love of the game has made these players special.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

2018 Seahawks Football Begins, with Steve Raible

The football season has started. For Schooled with the Professor, we thought it would be great to catch up with the voice the Seahawks and discuss one of the more interesting seasons in franchise history. Steve Raible talks about the re-set of the roster and the expectations for 2018 seasons. Steve’s long history with the team as a player and broadcaster captures what you need to know about the team. He puts the offense in perspective by discussing the impact of Russell Wilson and how much the running game should help. Steve shares his thoughts on Chris Carson, a seventh-round choice who has amazed everyone in training camp and in the pre-season with his running. He gives his evaluation of the offensive line, checks in on the receivers and talks about the turnaround on defense. He pa

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sal Paolantonio, "Philly Special"

The Philadelphia Eagles defied the odds last season, coming out of nowhere to win 13 games in the regular season. Doug Pederson became one of the most aggressive play-callers in the NFL. Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury and then Nick Foles shocked the world, beating Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Capturing the stories and excitement of the Eagles ride is ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, who just published the #1 sports book in the country, "Philly Special." Sal Pas had great access behind the scenes and he gives a great football perspective on what made Doug Pederson so good as a play-caller and a coach as well as some of the analytics that made the offense successful. Let’s fly with the Eagles, along with my good friend Sal Pal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Special 100th Episode Edition with Chris Mortensen

It's hard to believe, but we made it to 100 episodes! In recognition of a special moment, I link up with the most influential person in my career, my ESPN partner Chris Mortensen. Together, we take a look back a life and career in sports and all the stories that connected us as friends and co-workers. Chris shares cherished memories from our history and the differences between covering football in the 80's, when there was no internet or cell phones. He also goes in-depth on the helmet rule and how the league is trying to get everyone to understand it. Join us for this very special edition of Schooled!