Jim Trotter Of NFL Network Gets Lesson In RPOs and Slants From Zennie Abraham

Jim Trotter on NFL NetworkJim Trotter on NFL Network (photo courtesy of Bing.com/NFL Network)

The NFL Network’s Jim Trotter got a good lesson in the relationship between the “RPO” or “Run, Pass, Option” concept from me, Zennie Abraham, on Twitter. But, the unfortunate exchange was really a lesson in more than that, as you will learn.

It started innocently enough. A simple tweet comment by me in response to Mr. Trotter’s comments on the NFL Network about the now former Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Amari Cooper joining the Dallas Cowboys. Here it is:

And my tweet:

And his response:

So far, so good, I think.

I felt it necessary to mention via tweet to Mr. Trotter that the Dallas Cowboys Offense changed since Tony Romo left.

In fact, as Brandon George wrote in Dallas News Sports Day and while at the 2018 Senior Bowl, that Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said he wanted to make the Dallas Offense more “Dak friendly”, saying “We just need to take advantage of what we have in Dak. A part of that is expanding the playbook and becoming more problematic for defenses. That’s what this offseason is about. That’s what these positions coaches are about. To change it up, change it up more during the season, from the beginning to the middle to the end of the season. I think you’ll see a lot more variation in what we’re doing. Variation in terms of schemes, technique.”

Thus, my tweets:

After that, I was totally floored by the tweet Jim Trotter issued to me in return, writing this…

Again “Throwing a slant doesn’t have anything to do with an RPO.”

That’s what Jim Trotter wrote: “Throwing a slant doesn’t have anything to do with an RPO.”

How would one read that? It’s as if he’s saying I’m stupid for mentioning RPO concepts and that you can’t run an RPO with a slant pattern. That’s what he seemed to be saying – hard to see it another way.

What’s so lovely about the Internet and Mobile Age, is the fast access to information. In this case, I was able to pull up image after image of RPO plays with, yep, slant pass patterns in them! Read these tweets; I couldn’t believe Trotter tweeted that:

But Trotter didn’t make it any better with “ Do I need to draw up a QB throwing a slant without an RPO? But nice try.” Wow.

So, I tweeted back…

And he was. But on the subject of that slant pass, without an RPO, I’ve made the point before that the Dallas Cowboys version of the slant pattern isn’t made with the proper attention to spacing and timing…

So, I’m not about to rubber-stamp any comment that supports the design of their pass-pattern system, and that was certainly the case in my exchange with Trotter….

And then, I felt it was a good idea to inform Jim that he doesn’t know my background at all; and I certainly don’t pretend to know his. By this time, I was rather disappointed that a fellow African American in media would not be supportive of me, and assume I was not against Jim, but just making a technical comment on play design. That was my only intent. I enjoy the fact that Trotter is on the NFL Network, and have personally told him so. But I realized he doesn’t know me.

Here, Trotter was being sarcastic, which is unfortunate, as you will see. He didn’t pass my test…

I really just went with what I saw. Again, I was really disappointed that a person, a black man in media who’s work I enjoy, would, as they say “come at me” like that. I suppose it’s one more example of why text communication is so inefficient with respect to human interaction.

I figured, since it seemed like Trotter was laughing at me, I would simply break out the Super Bowl: Oakland Bid Book of 2000:

And to that, I tweeted….

Toward Blacks In Sports Media Supporting Each Other

Given the many ways that racist actions are tossed at black men, in particular, and the low numbers of blacks in sports media, it’s a good idea to support each other. I am a blogger, not a journalist. That said, I receive the same level of protection in the law as a journalist, even though bloggers have a different set of ethics that leans more toward personal expression.

The number of African Americans who own their own media companies is even smaller, and then how many are on the White House Press List and cover the NFL, and CES Las Vegas, and tech as does Zennie62Media. So, it’s hard enough out there dealing with the sad isms of America without being attacked by a member of your own set of folks, if you will.

For my part, I probably should have not tweeted to Jim at all. If I had any idea that would be the way the exchange unfolded, I’d have backed off. Again, I respect Jim’s work. I just ask that Jim realize there are others who are black and in media who have valuable insight and stories to tell, too. I’m one of those people.

Jim Trotter could have learned a lot about Oakland’s quest to land a Super Bowl. There’s a story, there, and stars many members of the NFL Family from Commissioners Goodell and Tagliabue to Jim Steeg, Mike Silver, Amy Trask, Al Davis, Bob McNair, and Jerry Jones as well as legends like now-California Governor Jerry Brown, who was my boss, along with then-Oakland City Administrator Robert Bobb, who’s a star in Washington DC politics, as well as American municipal government circles.

But Jim Trotter missed all that. Sad.

In closing, I have to praise my NFL Network friend Steve Wyche. Steve’s always ready with a hello and a pleasantry. I enjoy talking with him, when I have the chance. He gets it. Thanks.

Stay tuned and subscribe to Zennie62 on YouTube for my livestream on the Amari Cooper Trade!

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Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media

About the Author

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media