Meaningful moves! Meaningful moves!

Finally, Cleveland signed two quality free agents today: DT Randy Starks and CB Tramon Williams.

Starks is a very solid defensive end, possible DT (although he’d be smaller than I’d like for a nose tackle). He’s provided consistent production throughout his career, and best of all, has been very healthy. A good choice with good value.

Williams is an even better pickup. He’s had double digit passes defensed every single season except his rookie season, has been very durable, and gets quite a few tackles for a DB. He would be an excellent #2, provided they don’t trust Gilbert, or a stellar nickelback, if they do.

Now, about that offense… Jeremy Fowler makes some good points and pushes for Cleveland to sign Dwayne Bowe. I look at Bowe’s stats and ask myself the following question: What does he have that Brian Hartline doesn’t?

In his entire career, Bowe has had one outstanding season (2010), two good ones (2011 and 2008), and the rest have been mediocre to decent. Bowe isn’t a number one guy and hasn’t been for three years. He’d be a nice depth signing, but he’s not the playmaker everyone makes him out to be. I have the feeling Cleveland will target receiver and/or tight end in the draft. I would be very okay with that.

Pluralsight Review: Management 101

Jason Alba’s Management 101 is a good primer on management, especially in a technical environment.  Managers have two jobs:  get the most out of their employees and protect their employees from the outside world.  Alba’s quick course is filled with interesting tips on how to do that, as well as handling difficult scenarios like managing people significantly older or more experienced than you.

This course got me thinking about people I considered good managers.  The most important thing about a good manager is knowing that different people have different buttons to push:  some people need and want to be micromanaged; others (like me) despise micromanagement and want specific long-term goals and extremely broad scope to achieve those goals.

Early thoughts on Dragon Age Inquisition

I’ve started playing Dragon Age: Inquisition over the last couple of days. I’m not going to talk much about the plot, but I figure a brief discussion of the mechanics won’t hurt.

After the prologue, you find yourself in charge of something called the Inquisition (you don’t say). In order to support this enterprise to give everybody in Thedas a comfy chair (or so one assumes), you complete missions to build up your army. Sometimes, you send people out on timed missions (ala Assassin’s Creed or, if you remember, Mass Effect III) where you have to come back later.

Sticking to the Mass Effect III thing (you’d think they were made by the same developers!), the combat is more complex than DA 2 but not as complex as DA Origins. I think that’s a good thing — a lot of the complexity in Origins was, to be frank, useless. Lots of spells/skills were nigh useless or had only limited utility. You get stat boosts as you unlock new skills/spells, which adds a nice element of strategy. Do I go for this seemingly innocent passive boost, which features a +3 to Magic, or go for a bigger fireball spell?

There’s crafting (because of course there is), which isn’t as well done as Skyrim, but still good. I’m sure there’s lots of other things that are new, but I haven’t found them yet.

So far, I like it. There’s a Mass Effect/Dragon Age 2 feel to the combat, except you can pause and issue orders more directly. We’ll see how it turns out!