Trading in information

This post started out as a comment, but then blew up like JaMarcus Russell in the off-season and needed its own little post. Actually it's really just a question. One I've had before, but was reminded of again by a comment by Tomahawk44 (from Arrowhead Pride) in Sayre's post today about the Bronco's acquisition of Chief-waived Kolby Smith:

I think its more of the Broncos picking the brain of a player from a division rival....

I realized that I'm kind of curious about this brain-picking process, and how it works in the real life of the NFL. Maybe others are too. If so, join me below the jump...

It certainly seems to be common practice to pick up division rivals' cast-offs. I thought about it too when the Colts (Bronco opponent in Week 3...coincidence?) picked up Brandstater. It certainly makes sense that teams would look for any possible edge, and that a good deal of useful information could be gleaned from someone who only days before had slept with a rival's playbook under his pillow. But my vague notion of how this information gleaning might occur owes more to John Le Carré novels than to football knowledge. I have, frankly, no idea how the brain-picking happens, and more than a few questions. And who better to turn to for answers than Guru, HT, and the collective wisdom of MHR.
  • I picture a Manchurian Candidate-esque scene (Frank, not Denzel), where the new acquisition goes before a room of nodding, cackling Bronco strategists and spills his guts of all the secrets he can remember about his former team. Is there anything like such a debriefing, or is this whole scene a product of my fertile Bronco imagination, and is the process more informal-- little things gleaned over time during practice?
  • Do some teams/coaches emphasize it more than others? (I have to think that Belichick would be the evil scientist of brain picking...)
  • Would teams pick up a player they had no intention of allowing to compete for a roster spot, just for the goods?
  • Is there some kind of unspoken code around this stuff, or is any question fair game?

  • Might teams pick up non-divisional team castoffs just to get inside info for how an innovative coach or system works (i.e. Jim Johnson blitz schemes, Peyton's LOS hijinks)?

Thoughts? Answers? More questions?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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