Peyton Manning…Well again Peyton seems to be primed to hold on this top spot for a while, as he continues to dominate the regular season.
Phillip Rivers has simply been amazing after two games, and the San Diego Chargers could easily be 2-0 if not for the defense in week one against the Arizona Cardinals.
Aaron Rodgers was at his best after falling behind the resurgent New York Jets . The speed and accuracy of Rodgers mid range passing is second to none!
Jay Cutler has never been given proper credit for being an NFL iron man, but after taking a horrific shot against the 49ers, AND still stay in the game?! Not to mention his leadership under duress was a sight for my throwback eyes.
Nick Foles is quickly becoming this decades’ Dan Fouts with his ability to spread the ball accurately to a variety of receivers.
From my perspective. This weekend has left me shaking my head. First, the good. Talk about happy endings. ”Jerry Freaking Neuheisel!!”
#11 was born for this very moment. ”I’m so pumped, and excited to watch this all unfold,” said head coach Jim Mora, who showed America exactly what your supposed to do when life gives you lemons. This is not the first time Coach Mora has displayed such great leadership.
Remember last year while playing at Nebraska just after the death of Nate Pasquale, UCLA got off to a very slow start. Then at halftime Mora reminded his team how best to honor their fallen teammates’ memory with a fiery speech. UCLA went on to blow Nebraska away.
Then…this Saturday happened. UCLA’s unquestioned leader goes down, and when it seemed UCLA’s season was headed down the drain as only Jim Mora could do…he delivers again! Jerry Freaking Neuheisel is going to win the game! Are you kidding me?? (That is what Mora told a FOX sideline reporter on a live television broadcast.) Apparently not! UCLA wins 20-17 to the Texas Longhorns.
Some of my thoughts about Friday under the lights in Southern California.
1) Just how good is Mater Dei? Last week they simply boat raced Corona Centennial, who last night almost beat Bishop Gorman (number one team in the country according to USA TODAY)
2) Long Beach Poly may be the most difficult team to beat in the new PAC 5 Division, now that they finally have a college caliber quarterback, Josh Love who is a 6’2 215 pound senior. If you are a college looking for a great prospect, hear he is!
3) Speaking of quarterbacks…Jack Lowary of Mater Dei High School reminds me a great deal of Matt Cassel former USC QB now playing like a PRO BOWLER with the Minnesota Vikings.
4) Loyola HS playing a night game on their campus is an…”Its ABOUT TIME!!!..moment.
5) Head coach Casey Clausen is on his way to being named Coach Of The Year. People are now starting to fear a program that…before he got there had just won probably 2 games in a Decade! They’re off to a 3-0 start with a rising STAR quarterback, Tristan Gebbia Class of 2017.
6) Thousand Oaks Highschool quarterback Max Gilliam, Class Of 2016 is a name to remember! Thousand Oaks is now 3-0 and he’s a large part of that.
7) If you’re a fan of Hart Highschool’s QB Brady White…Then you’ll love his younger brother Brevin White, freshmen quarterback at Mission Hills Alemany HS.
8) Lastly…Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. You remember him? The 8th grader who Steve Sarkisian (the new Head Coach at USC offered while at University Of Washington) If you haven’t seen him play, then go to the kitchen and get the popcorn out and GOOGLE this Human Highlight…Enough said!
Peyton Manning: He seems to own this spot week after week and this week is no different. At the age of 38 he still seems to be evolving…it seems he reinvents himself with quicker decisions making it almost impossible to get to him before the ball is gone.
Ben Roethelisberger: With his week one performance against Cleveland brought back memories…He reminded us all how gifted and physically challenging he is to defend. Which was very evident on the final game winning drive!
Russell Wilson: To actually think that some thought he was just a game manager?! However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. His ability to throw from the pocket and extend plays outside of it, make him one the best in the game today.
Matt Ryan: Is this the year that he finally is mentioned amoung the NFL’s elite quarterbacks? Well, if his game against the New Orleans Saints is any indicator then the answer is a resounding yes! He finally showed why the Atlanta Falcons rewarded “Matty Ice” with that fat contract.
This may surprise many, but making my TOP 5 this week is Matt Cassel of the Minnesota Vikings. Going back to the pre-season in which he had to compete with first round pick Teddy Brigewater, Matt Cassel has been the most consistent player in the league and in my opinion when given playmakers to work with he had proven to be a solid starting quarterback. I think he has a very good shot at making the Pro Bowl this year.
I forecast that this years’ most interesting man WILL NOT be “Johnny Football”, but the NFL’S newest genius. This trendsetter is none other than Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
Every decade has brought a unique innovator, responsible for some of the greatest coaching trees the NFL has ever seen; Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, Bill Walsh, and Bill Parcells are most credited for how championship teams are built, until now.
Chip Kelly I believe has the chance to take the game to a place no one ever thought imaginable. It was just a few years ago while at the University of Oregon that his quarterbacks led an offense only seen on EA SPORTS VIDEO GAMES. The big question, however was will it ever work in the NFL? Most believed no! Simply because the quarterbacks would get killed with the simplistic blocking schemes used to run Chip Kelly’s system. The thing most people who watched from a far assumed was that it was based on the the quarterback having to expose himself. This was assumed because of unnecessary hits, due to various zone read packages, and the extremely fast pace in which they play.
The truth is that the quarterback rarely runs, and the system is built largely with the the ability to set up the pass. This would be set up by a very effective running game designed to lure more defenders in the box. Once this happens and you start playing more single high coverages, they know what your going to do before you do. This is a huge advantage not just for coach Kelly, but any play caller.
The biggest concern with Chips’ offense is the number of plays ran in practice and in games. The stress it would leave on older players with less numbers to work with. After all, in college you could have as many as 104 players to get thru practice, with the average age of 19 years old. In the NFL your working with a 53 man roster with a average age of 29 (just an estimated guess).
The key to the Philadelphia Eagles this year will be Chip’s ability to create miss matches with timely substitutions, and always staying one step ahead of the defense. To truly be successful at running this scheme…positive yardage on first down is the key. This means 4 yards or more. By doing this, it puts defensive coordinators in a huge bind.
(For example…When to employ or not to employ Nickel and Dime packages. Whatever the defensive scheme, Chip has a counter for it! If your caught with a dime package on a rushable down your now having defensive backs playing in the box against running formations i.e. "fish out of water!")
The biggest reason I believe Chip Kelly will succeed will be his ability with his offensive schematic to take ordinary quarterbacks and have them play better than most experts ever thought they were capable of. Even with all of Chips offensive innovations, the thing he will have the biggest impact will be on the defensive side of the ball. Now that Chip Kelly’s offense are being imitated he better than anyone knows what it takes to make his offense slow down,and that’s a huge advantage!
Every week I’ll post my top ten college football teams based on that week’s play only. My top ten will not have a roll over effect! In other words it would be entirely possible for my number one team from the week before not even to make my top ten the following week. Even if my number one team at the time was victorious that particular weekend. Stay tuned throughout the season!
2. Texas A&M
3. Florida State
9. Michigan State
Come back next week! Any input? Feel free to tweet us!
My Takeaways Of Saturday's SoCal Football: USC & UCLA
In one word…Wow! I loved their sure dominance in how they handled all the distractions of this week. They pretty much dismantled Fresno State…I know, after all it was Fresno State we’re talking about, but opening games are usually the easiest to struggle with. Just ask Alabama, Florida State and UCLA!
The biggest thing about USC that jumped out at me was their team speed! As only Robert Dinero would say…”This team has great Ju Ju!” AKA…Ju Ju Smith, one of a handful of true freshmen who have tons of speed to burn. The speed on this SC team was evident everywhere! Cody Kessler was simply brilliant in his new coaches’ offense, and showed great ability getting the ball off quickly and accurately to 9 different receivers.
I know it’s only one game, and some may be concerned about what they witnessed Saturday playing against University of Virginia. I want to tell you all to pump your breaks on the panic button! This is the first year in my lifetime of 53 years that UCLA has come into a football season with so much hype and expectation.
The obvious bad news is a very ugly win…and I’m being kind with that! My biggest concern for this UCLA team is a lack of real speed at the WR position. Also, the fact that your QB Brett Hundley remains your best and leading rusher?!
The Bright Side:
I’m going to give UCLA a pass on this one, and so should the supporters/hater, this is why.
For about 4 weeks now they’ve been hearing on ESPN and other media platforms how they are the best team in college football, and how they now own the city of Los Angeles.
Jim Mora is exactly what the doctor ordered for UCLA. This will be a great teaching aid for the coach to get after his troops for expecting just to show up and have their opponents roll over.
UCLA’s defense was outstanding, and adding 3 touchdowns to the board! Myles Jack is a lock for the Butkus award, and if he continues to play like this they may have to change the name of this award to…The Jack ‘N’ the Box Award. Yeah, I know that was a cheap plug!
A few things to consider for which this game was played.
A: UCLA played a game at 9am! PST!
B: They had to travel across the country and play on the road in extreme humid conditions, which usually takes days to get used to.
C: On the other side Virginia was really prepared and certainly was tired of hearing how they were just road kill on the way to Dallas.
D: There is a whole season ahead of you to turn things around…
Meet Mater Dei Highschool's Quarterback Jack Lowary
Jack Lowary or Captain Jack as we all call him around here. Captain Jack has always impressed me with his larger than life persona. The highly charismatic quarterback will have a major impact on the Mater Dei’s football program this year. Jack reminds me of a cross between Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer. Jack may be one of the Nation’s best kept secrets…but trust me he won’t be for long! As his quarterback coach, I can’t wait for him to show everyone what I have seen for years!
Back in May at our San Diego Quarterback Retreat, Greg Biggins-National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout.com was able to sit down and meet with Southern California’s powerhouse Mater Dei Highschool’s upcoming QB 1 Jack Lowary. See below for full article breakdown:
Very few programs anywhere in the country have the track record of
producing next level quarterbacks like Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei.
Jack Lowary will be the guy for the Monarchs next season and he has
all the physical tools to play at the next level as well.
Jack Lowary was one of several talented quarterbacks who attended the
Steve Clarkson QB Retreat in San Diego over the weekend. Physically,
Lowary has everything you’re looking for in a college quarterback and
just needs game experience.
He’s a big, strong 6-4, 230 pound kid with a huge arm and the ability
to make all the throws. He’s a pocket passer but has some mobility and
can throw on the run with plenty of velocity and accuracy.
“I’ve been working out with Steve since the 5th grade and it’s always
fun to come out and get together like this,” Lowary said over the
weekend. It’s a time to catch up with some of the guys and talk to
Wilton (Speight) and Max (Wittek) and learn from them.
“The Retreat is more about family and having fun. We put in a lot hard
work on Sunday’s training with Steve but this is more about having a
good time with the other guys. Steve has been great for me though and
I’ve learned a ton.
“He has really helped me with my foundation and not using my arm so
much. Now we’re just fine tuning some things, using my base and lower
half more so it’s not just all arm.”
As a junior, Lowary played a backup role to Chase Forrest who signed
with California. He’ll be the guy as a senior and said he can’t wait.
Since the retreat in May Jack had been working hard and preparing the best he can. We were able to catch up with him and get some final words on his upcoming senior season.
"What I’m looking most forward to is the opportunity to finally play and be at the helm of the offense. It’s such a honor to be the starting quarterback at a great high school like Mater Dei. Mater Dei’s quarterback legacy is 2nd to none. I’m very excited to be able to show everyone what I can do and I have great teammates and a coaching staff to support me." -Jack Lowary
(Travis Waller and the Downtown Los Angeles City Scape)
To begin this piece I would like to go back to where it all started…Just another example of a parent (his mother Bridgette) wanting the best for her quarterback.
“The search to prepare my son to compete with other top QB’s brought us to the group training program led by Steve Clarkson. As I sat and observed I noticed that there was about 8-10 QB’s out there that appeared to either be headed to the next level or had already secured a QB position in college. My son had a challenging task to rise up and compete with these guys. As the weeks passed his confidence and willingness to learn brought him the results he needed to compete. Between the on field workouts and classroom sessions he is now aligned with some of the other top QB’s. There’s still more work to be done and he looks forward to it. The entire program is run professionally with a sincere focus to transform all the players who attend. I was impressed that all players were treated the same and that many of them created new friendships. Though they have tremendous and tedious workouts the players all walk off the field like they had a good time.” – Bridgette Waller (October 2013)
(Travis and his mother)
The first time I met Travis Waller I was amazed how a kid so new to the quarterback position could already be so dominant. Travis currently plays at Servite High School, which happens to have an SEC type schedule for their level. Travis was always the best player on the field.
In a very short time Travis made himself a national top-flight recruit with his ability to show how accurate he was in the pocket, and even more his dangerous ability of extending plays outside of it. A lot of times in my business evaluators are always looking for comparisons instead of believing that he might just be what others will some day be compared to. Travis is the very definition of what it truly means to carry the moniker of Trendsetter.
One of the things I value most when it comes to evaluating a quarterback is the player’s work ethic. I’ve been training quarterbacks for 30 years, and rarely have seen a player with Travis’s desire to be the best. Each Sunday my program offers training sessions year round. Every session, even during the season he was relentless in his pursuit to being greatness. At the same time he became a role model for my young aspiring quarterbacks.
“It is very difficult to attend every Sunday training session because I have to wake up very early. Which means I have to go to sleep on Saturday night at 10:30 or so. What teenager goes to sleep at 10:30pm on Saturday night? I believe this is what separates me from a lot of people. I dedicate everything towards training. Sometimes in life to get where you want to be, you have to give up some things.”
- Travis Waller
From my experience, to be a successful quarterback you must have the unique ability to balance the personalities in the huddle, and the expectations of those who aren’t. You must be able to demand respect by your play on the field and be willing to take the blame when others don’t quite measure up. Travis has that special gift. He has the ability with his simple approach of looking at each game as an opportunity to conquer impossible odds. Southern California’s, Servite HS was an underdog in most games during the 2013 season. However, the mere presence of number eleven made the opposition less optimistic about their chances for victory. Travis has that special thing they call the “it factor”. You get the feeling that there’s nothing Travis couldn’t do, and that’s what makes him so special, because there really isn’t.
When it came down to where Travis should play his college days the choice was simple. Right from the beginning Travis saw himself as an Oregon Duck. Their offense was well…..Trendsetting! So it was only fitting that the two would eventually come together, and today on July 1st, 2014 Travis decided that the (school that NIKE built was the perfect place to showcase his off the chart skills set.) Oregon!!!…
For all you Ducks….You may possibly in fact be losing Marcus Mariota to the NFL DRAFT, but you got yourself a new LEADING MAN!! Yes, Oregon you’ve lined the Ducks up in a row just perfectly!
Greg Biggins- National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout.com comments on Travis and his offer to Oregon.
"Waller would be an ideal fit in Oregon’s offense. He’s a mobile quarterback who can run around and make plays but he has the pocket presence and arm talent to make plays with his arm as well. Oregon’s offense has always worked best with a quarterback who can stretch a defense as a running threat combined with being able to make throws down the field.
Waller can do both, he’s a very good athlete and can run like a deer but has made huge strides as a pure passer and can make all the throws on the field. He’s a natural leader, very likeable and should be able to attract plenty of talent to play with him at Oregon.”
I had the chance to ask UCLA’s quarterback Brett Hundley his own thoughts on Waller…
"I had a chance to get to know him at the the Steve Clarkson Quarterback Retreat this year, and he is a natural born leader. The first thing I noticed was that the other QB’s gravitated towards him. He is an amazing passer who just so happens to be a great athlete. Which is a major plus in today’s game! Travis is a defensive coordinators worst nightmare!”
-UCLA’s QB Brett Hundley
(Travis being coached up by Brett Hundley, May 2014)
I am very excited to see how this #trendsetter’s journey unfolds, and I am certain it will be too bright for anyone NOT to notice.
The “O” is going to be very happy!
(Travis with his mother Bridgette and brother Austin, and his new Oregon Family)
Check out Travis’s Trendsetter page and his 2013 highlights!
One on One with Wilton Speight at Steve Clarkson Quarterback Retreat
Each year we are lucky to have our college quarterbacks attend our Quarterback Retreat as college counselors. What works perfectly is that they are able to give the younger players their insight on the game, and being at the next level. We also welcome Greg Biggins-National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout.com who was able to sit down with the following gridiron #trendsetters.
Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight has been a regular at the Steve Clarkson QB Retreat three years running now and two weeks ago, the big signal caller took part but this time as a camp counselor.
It has been an amazing transformation watching Wilton Speight over the last few years. From a player who barely looked like a legitimate Div I prospect three years ago to a player now playing for one of the nation’s premier programs, it has definitely been fun watching Speight grow as a quarterback and a person.
“I always have a ton of fun being out here,” Speight said while in San Diego. “The last two years, I had a lot of fun competing with the other quarterbacks and this year was fun being a camp counselor and working with some of the younger kids out here.
“It’s a great experience and a fun environment. Steve (Clarkson) has been great for me and has helped me a lot. He really developed me as a quarterback and a player and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Speight graduated early from high school and was able to take part in spring ball at Michigan.
“Spring ball was awesome,” Speight said. When I got there, I hit the ground running and tried to prove myself to the older guys in the locker room. I wanted to show them I was ready to compete and win and it was a great experience.
“There was an adjustment because I was only there for a few days when I found out Coach Borges was getting fired. I was obviously disappointed since he was the one who recruited me and I had a great relationship with him. Once I heard Coach Nuss (Nussmeier) was coming in though, I was very excited and it has been great learning from him.”
Speight said he had already developed a relationship with Coach Nussmeier prior to signing with Michigan.
“Nuss is a great guy, really intense and a perfectionist,” Speight said. “Anything less than perfection is considered a failure and that’s our mindset right now as a team. He brings a fast pace, high tempo system and I’ve learned a lot from him already.
“I had talked to him while he was at Bama and I knew what a great coach he was. He’s a great fit in our program and we’re all very excited to have the opportunity to play for him.”
Speight said the receiver corp is loaded and will definitely surprise some people.
“Devin Funchess is unreal and makes 2-3 catches every practice that make your jaw drop,” Speight said. “Amara Darboh is a beast and he’s 100% now and ready to go. Then we have two young guys that came in with me, Drake Harris and Freddy Canteen, and they’re going to be special.
“Drake is my roommate and is a great guy. Unforunately, he hurt his hammy and also got Mono so he missed some time. Freddy is a freak and is going to shock everyone. We called him Freddy ‘Footwork’ because his feet are so fast. He loves to work, we worked out a lot after spring practice and he’s just an unreal talent.”
As for his role, Speight said he won’t be content just being a backup, he’s looking to compete.
“Devin (Gardner) is the No. 1 guy and if we had to play a game tomorrow, he would be our starter,” Speight said. “He’s a great person and has helped me a ton. I watch him as much as I can and try and learn as much as I can.
“I’m always taking mental notes and reps and want to keep getting better. This fall camp is going to be big for all of us and I’m going in with the mindset that I want to win the starting job. Nuss did a good job of getting all of us reps during the spring and I’m happy where I’m at right now and ready to go.”
Disclaimer: Now before you read this blog, let’s make it clear that I am an AJ McCarron fan. I think he is poised beyond his years and if you need proof, just check my tweets.
This is a huge weekend for the “quarterback position” for this years’ upcoming NFL draft. It’s the time of the year when the top college QB prospects will get grilled and prodded like a Bone-in Rib-Eye. Yes! You guessed it…The NFL Combine.
For a few it’s a time to build your case on why a team should select you. Others will be left to pick up the pieces on what was once a promising career. For some of these prospects the wheels were wobbly even before getting to this point. Example: AJ McCarron of Alabama, who I love coming out of their bowl game. Only to not participate in the Senior Bowl, and to follow that up by NOT participating in the throwing drills at the combine, this I just don’t understand. AJ’s biggest asset is his LEADERSHIP qualities! Furthermore, his very impressive resume, which includes two National Titles (which could have easily been three), and a possible Heisman Trophy (had it not been for a freak field goal return for a touchdown).
Up until this point AJ McCarron has done everything right……However, by not playing in the Senior Bowl AJ missed the chance to show just how valuable he could be to a team. Especially those looking for a potential franchise quarterback in the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Joe Montana. By doing so he went against what he has always done best, and that is to COMPETE!
Again, I want to be very clear…I’ve always been a huge fan of AJ and I’ve taken plenty of heat for doing so. I just don’t agree with this approach when he has so much to gain and not nearly as much to lose. What is the down side? That your arm wasn’t the strongest in draft? No secret, we all know that. But we also know that there is no other quarterback who was better prepared to seize the moment, like AJ, the Quarterback that played for Americas most demanding Coach (Nick Saban) and Fan Base (Alabama).
Furthermore, to make things more frustrating you have decided to PASS at the NFL Combine, where the throws are very simplistic and not as challenging as most people think. So by skipping the Senior Bowl AND the throwing portion of the combine you are taking the all or nothing approach, (just throwing at Pro Day) which could lead to the biggest upset of your career.
AJ, you are a true competitor and champion. But you know better than anyone what can happen when you put all yours eggs in one play! #GoingForTheFieldGoal instead of playing safe for overtime! You Remember…
Good Luck AJ!!! Hope you have a Rabbits Foot! If not I’ll put one in the mail.
Finally, someone else agrees with my way of thinking…
The top tier quarterbacks should be exempt from the salary cap, which has gone in reverse since 2009. Even though at the same time individual NFL Team profits have gone up! Did you know that the NFL just set a world record for views on a “single telecast” with more than…………….One-Hundred- and-Eighteen- MILLION viewers who tuned for the #SuperBowl48. Yes, Peyton Manning was awful but he WAS, and will continue TO BE box office! This was accomplished by Peyton playing his entire career in a small market!
Due to the all salary cap restrictions…the NFL’s richest team owner, Paul Allen has had the luxury of owning a Porsche while only having to pay for the price of a Volkswagen! What a deal? Or steal?
Let’s face it…Eddie Murphy hasn’t made a good flick since “Coming to America," yet he still gets 20 MILLION a film!
"Ba,ba,ba,ba,ba,ba, BOOM! Help! Eddie! Aunt Bunny fell down the Steps!"
He talks about his drive to be “better than yesterday & better tomorrow than today.” I think the biggest asset to Russell Wilson’s game is his ability to HANDLE THE MOMENT. He doesn’t ever look at what WAS or what WILL be, just what IS and the importance of being the most efficient player on the field every single down! As a quarterback coach, one of the first things I look for in a QB is his ability to create a NEGATIVE into a POSITIVE.
Russell Wilson continues to impress me with his ability to come up with big timely plays when needed the most. There have been times this past season where Russell has not had a great game statistically, but when needed most has made a key throw or run to keep drives alive. Which then led to game winning moments. Maybe the most impressive thing about his game has been his ability to avoid the big hits and remain heathy. Today’s game is very challenging for the style in which Russell plays so that’s a huge accomplishment! Just ask RGIII!
Over the course of fourteen weeks we have all watched as the #WashingtonRedskins, a once proud franchise dissolve right before our very eyes. It seemed like not too long ago that Joe Gibbs was the chief architect (no pun intended) of one of NFL’s most stabled franchises! Well, that was then and this is now…
The glory days of this must see team of the ages have been replaced by the daily soap opera known as All My Children. The once highly respected #WashingtonRedskins are at a major crossroads, and that’s putting it mildly! Washington’s head coach Mike Shanahan, who may I add has not one, but TWO Super Bowl championships under his belt, has been second guessed. The “second guessing” has been done by many people for his handling of the Redskins, and in particular #RG3. This has always been debatable, but there’s no debate where the majority of the blame lies! Daniel Snyder must be held accountable for all the bad Karma and what ever negative result comes of this union.
With this being said, this is a correctable situation. First, we must truly understand how it got this point. Let’s go back to the very beginning.
A. Dan Snyder needed to hire a coach who had credibility and proven track record for building a team that could compete year in and out. Someone who had the cache, which would attract Free Agents, and more importantly a coach who had a reputation for developing #quarterbacks! Bingo! This was accomplished by the hiring of Mike Shanahan.
B. Draft a franchise #Quarterback to be the face of the franchise for years to come. The #Redskins accomplished this by selecting Robert Griffin III. Robert was a hot commodity and was just awarded #TheHeismanTrophy, which is college football’s highest honor. #RG3 was a very rare combination of top end speed, a deadly accurate arm with the charm and charisma. This combo was the perfect recipe of what could make your franchise one of NFL’S hottest tickets.
C. Dan Snyder needed Mike Shanahan to know that he “Dan Snyder” wanted to have a hands on approach when it came to running his ball club, which brings us to the problem. There’s no way that Mike would have accepted this job under those circumstances. Dan needed someone who was clearly just happy to be employed and would’ve been more receptive to his philosophy, but of course that didn’t happen.
So what do you do now? For the #Redskins and most notably Daniel Snyder, he must, as the owner meet with Mike and give him assurances that this is Mike’s team to run as he’s sees fit. Now here is where you can save face…
1. Extend Mike’s contract as a token of good faith.
2. Ask him to work this offseason with #RG3 to make him the franchise player you both thought he was when you drafted him. Then ask Mike to give #RG3 a year to prove himself. If he doesn’t work out then the franchise will need to move in another direction as far as the #quarterback position goes.
3. Bring #RG3 in your office with Mike at your side and inform him that they will trade #KirkCousins so that he can truly develop as a #quarterback without looking over his shoulder. The biggest thing is that you make sure Robert understands that he must get off his #RG3 Island, build a better relationship with Mike, and put himself back in the locker room with his teammates. It must be very clear that #RG3 MUST play well and LEAD this franchise back to box office status or he won’t be here!
4. Schedule a press conference with Mike and #RG3 at your side and make a public apology for putting everyone in this situation…including the fans who have supported this organization for the past couple of years. Vow that this will never happen again!
5. Also you need to come to grips that times have changed and with that so must the team name, which has been symbol or your ball club from the very beginning. By doing so could give the team the good JuJu that it so desperately needs!
Right about now your asking yourself, “Why in the world would I do this?” It’s simple, look at the alternatives…If you fire Shanahan then… #RG3 is the biggest loser because he’ll lose the support of the locker room, which you need to succeed as a #quarterback. You will also lose, because you’ll never get a more qualified head coach again and the fans will stop supporting your hobby! Finally, Mike loses because he’ll be remembered as the coach who quit on his team, and was not equipped to handle the modern day player!
So by extending Mike, trading Kirk and recommitting to the long-term stability of your franchise. You will be enabling the rehabilitation of your once Pro Bowl caliber #FieldGeneral #RG3, and you’ll put you and your franchise in a win, win, Win situation!!!
Ps. I do have a suggestion for the new team name! The Tribe! The helmet logo would go back to the spear, which is part of your past! Instead of what currently offends many! Forward progress…forward motion only leads to success!
After 8 weeks into the 2013 NFL Season there has been some changes from my first quarter report. My report is not base on QBR or any other matrix, but more on what my eyes tell me. In others words, the look, style and feel for the game are the intangibles of this position you can’t teach!
5. Tom Brady- The numbers are obviously down from last year, the Patriots are 6 and 2 so far and if not for Tom they could easily be 0-8. No other quarterback could piece meal these cast offs, and no names to a wining record. Due to this point alone Tom stays in my top 5, but just by a thread.
4. Tony Romo- Even though the Dallas Cowboys are leading the NFC East by two games with a only a 4-4 record don’t let that diminish what Tony has done thus far into season. Romo single handedly kept the Cowboys from a complete free fall with his ability to create something out of nothing, countless times. Romo passed for over 500 yards against a then undefeated Denver Broncos team. However, going head to head with Peyton Manning resulted in victory for the Broncos due to consistent breakdowns in protection, which cost the Cowboys the game. Tony Romo has nonetheless been a huge bright spot at the quarterback position this year and is deserving of one of my top 5 spots.
3. Drew Brees- Since the return of Sean Payton Brees has found his groove again. Last season was incredibly taxing being all things Saints, Drew was the GM, the Coach, the Team Spokesman, and not mention the Quarterback! That was much too much for one person to handle. The Saints once again are at the top of their division battling the Seahawks and 49er’s for the best record in the all important NFC race. Securing home field advantage is most important for an indoor team, and Drew has the Saints in prime position to do just that!
2. Andrew Luck- In only his second season Andrew is well on his way to being the one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time! Never has a player mastered the NFL’s most difficult position in such a short time. Andrew has managed in making Jim Irsay look like a genius. All for letting the face of the CITY let alone franchise Peyton Manning leave. In a week seven match up against an unbeaten Denver Broncos team lead by the former Colts Legend Peyton Manning. Second year starter Andrew Luck showed the national audience that he was more than worthy of all the praise!
1. Who else but the Book of Football himself…Peyton Manning. It was no secret that just like my first quarter report he still stands alone at the top of my list, even though the LION KING…aka Andrew Luck is the future of the NFL. Week after week Peyton has played at history making level, but even with that said its Super Bowl Champion or bust! Fair or not Peyton’s season will be judged by getting the ring or continue carrying the huge gorilla on his back as the greatest regular season quarterback of all time instead of GREATEST EVER!
NFL is the greatest brand in the market place, but trouble is looming around the corner, and it needs to be addressed before the SHIELD loses it luster.
What was expected to be a night watching the NFL’s MARQUEE matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants, turned out to be a night watching recorded programs on my DVR. Simply put, this game was UNWATCHABLE! How could the worlds’ greatest brand not have enough quality quarterbacks waiting in the wings ready to step in for an injured or ineffective starter???
After some internal deliberation I’m sure, the Vikings decided to go with the recently released Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman as their starter (who keep in mind had only NINE days of practice and a very limited knowledge of the Vikings Playbook), instead of a healthy Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder. Well…as you might have imagined the end result was an absolute disaster! Josh Freeman played like it was a local park pick up game, where he and his teammates just made up plays on the fly.
(As I was writing this blog it was reported that Josh Freeman would start again on a Nationally televised game on ESPN this Sunday night…….This would be followed shortly after with an announcement, claiming Josh has a convenient headache…..) Is this an attempt for the Vikings to avoid another Prime Time TV disaster, and reconcile the first? Was the backlash too great for starting an ill prepared Freeman?
If that wasn’t enough…before I could ponder the thought (no pun intended), I saw that Jeff Garcia called the Cleveland Browns asking for a tryout! That’s right, 43 years old Jeff Garcia! Hell, you might as well had said Jerry Garcia (who would have been GRATEFUL for the opportunity might I add.) That one was a reach…I know. However, my point is… How bad it has been at the QB position for the bottom half of NFL teams! After all, how many teams are going to kick the tires on Brady Quinn? The Rams just signed him to fill the back up spot, to replace the injured Sam Bradford who is out for the season. The truth is the NFL is in a state of emergency, and they are as prepared as the Obama Care Website (and we all know how that’s panning out!…Lol)
Now more than ever the NFL needs to look into some sort of farm system. This by no means needs to be as large as Major League Baseball’s minor league. So think more of an expansion of the old Taxi or Development Squad, (and not JUST for players but COACHES in waiting as well.
Here’s my vision: The NFL signs an additional 22 players for development, and they ‘ll go thru an “in season” apprenticeship. These players would serve on the scout teams organized by the coaches in waiting. Other responsibilities would be to organize the “cut ups” their club would use as part of their scouting…”opponents tendencies” and such. The players could be paid roughly $3,000 a week for the experience.
Once the season is over you add a few players to the Taxi squad and send them and the coaches in waiting with a few current NFL players and coaches as Ambassadors /Mentors, (kill two birds with one stone)…developing the future stars of tomorrow, while continuing the NFL brand development World Wide.
Maybe this should be done before Brett Favre calls you. Ahh hah! I spoke too soon…#StLouisRams just called him as I was wrapping this up!
Now that I’ve fixed your problem I got to call Obama back before it’s to late!
4th & 9 What You Didn’t Know About One of College Football’s Greatest Rivalries
Let me set the stage:
Matt Leinart and the USC Trojans were about to invade South Bend, Indiana, riding high on a 27 game winning streak. The country was anticipating the possible end of one of college football’s greatest streaks.
Before the 2005 season began, newly hired coach Charlie Weis raised more than a few eyebrows with a bold statement. At his first press conference he told the Notre Dame faithful, "I surly hope when that team from California comes to town that they’re still undefeated." Charlie’s statement set the tone for what was to be one of the most epic games in college football’s history.
A LOT was riding on this matchup, and to add to the drama…the Nation’s TOP high school recruit at the time Jimmy Clausen, had recently committed to Notre Dame OVER his hometown powerhouse USC. The hype was building, ESPN’s College Game Day was to be on site as well as a plethora of highly ranked high school football players.
Behind the scenes, Matt Leinart was starting to feel the burden of it all…A 27 game winning streak, a possible Heisman Trophy repeat winner, and a rivalry game hosted in enemy territory. On top of everything there was a huge demand for tickets (for family and friends) and interviews that came with being the leader of a “defacto” NFL team, (since Los Angeles had none).
*Matt wasn’t squaring his front shoulder to his intended target.
*This was caused by having his feet improperly placed at the point of release.
*Ironically, one of the things that we particularly paid close attention to were his fade passes. The ball was consistently sailing out of bounds due to bad footwork.
*The other thing we worked on was his ability to read the safeties in their Cover Two look. (Notre Dame did a nice job of mixing up all the variations of that coverage.)
Matt had a great workout, and was more than ready for the challenge of Charlie Weis and Notre Dame.
October 16th, 2005- PREGAME: This was my first trip to the Golden Dome stadium and it came with mixed feelings. It would be my first meeting with Charlie Weis despite Jimmy Clausen being my client since he was 13 years old, so this meeting was little different to say the least. Obviously Charlie knew my ties to USC and was sympathetic to the situation.
During pregame warm ups, I was throwing the football on the sidelines with Pete Carroll and I could tell he was a little apprehensive. We both noticed that we could not see our shoes due to the high grass.
Yeah, Coach Weis was no dummy, he knew Notre Dame couldn’t match up with the Trojan’s speed.
Pete also wanted to know how Matt was doing and was he ready??? I assured him he had been prepared his entire life for this stage…
Then the scene was being set inside the stadium and resembled a Hollywood Premier. The who’s who from the rivalry’s history were in attendance: Joe Montana, The one and only Rudy, and Joe Theismann for Notre Dame. Anthony Davis aka (The Notre Dame Killer), Marcus Allen and Ronnie Lott for USC. The stage was set for what was to be an ESPN instant classic.
THE GAME: The game was a slugfest from the start to the very end. Reggie Bush was having the first of what would be many “Heisman moments” during his final year at USC.
On the Notre Dame side, Brady Quinn was having a Heisman day of his own, and had just led the Fighting Irish to a late forth quarter lead. Irish faithful were on the edge of their seats anticipating a possible victory and end to college football’s longest winning streaks.
I was on the sideline for this game just like so many before, but this one was and always will be special. The knot in my stomach was so large I could only imagine what these players were feeling.
I also took the time to remind him of that Cover 2 look, and that in reality what Notre Dame was REALLY playing was the Cover 1, which was MAN FREE.
USC’s Dwayne Jarrett was beating his man all day and had a height advantage over his man on our sideline. The first three plays netted a whole one yard and this prompted Pete Carroll to call a time out to design a 4th down play.
Meanwhile Dwayne Jarrett was trying to pull himself from the game because he had been previously poked in the eye. I told him he HAD to play and that Matt was going to check out of the play called, only if he thought he could beat his man on a fade pattern. I washed out Dwayne’s eye with a water bottle and back on the field he went. Matt indeed had noticed Notre Dame DB Tom Zbikowski cheating towards the middle of the field, which meant Dwayne would have single coverage. Matt gave the fade signal behind his back and the rest was history…setting up the most dramatic seven seconds in college football.
On the next play Leinart would scramble towards an apparent touchdown only to be hit in mid air and fumble the ball out of bounds at the one yard-line. The clock struck zero and the Notre Dame fans stormed the field. That’s it! Game over!…
“Not so fast,” as Lee Corso would say. Pete Carroll managed to argue that there should have been time left on the clock giving Trojans just enough to run another play (or possibly two) if they spiked the ball. Pete won the argument and the black and whites put seven seconds back on the clock.
During all the commotion the #Field General, Matt Leinart was quietly whispering to his lineman that he was going to sneak it in, but was going to make the kill sign which was to spike the ball and stop the clock. I remember watching Pete on the sideline giving the kill signal, he too had no idea what Matt had privately instructed his o-lineman to do. The most important player to all this was Reggie Bush, who until right before the snap was unaware of Matt’s plan.
What would happen next, no one could have ever predicted. The ball was snapped to Matt and you could see Reggie flying towards Leinart’s back, providing huge momentum for Matt to cross the goal line. The outcome would stun the fighting Irish, for only seven seconds earlier they were celebrating the end the USC 27 game winning streak.
This moment will be forever remembered as the “Bush Push.”
Make no mistake about it for me, the game will forever be known as 4th&9!
One last footnote: Not everyone at Notre Dame was a loser. Charlie Weis was given a 30 million dollar extension because of how they played against USC…HELLO!!!
My Top 5 NFL QB'S So Far This 2013 Season…And What Do They All Have In Common?
1. Peyton Manning has put away any doubts about who is far and the best quarterback in the NFL. P. Manning is on pace to shatter all single season passing marks, leaving me to wonder will he eclipse 6,000 yards?! Or dare I say it, 60 touchdown passes?
2. Drew Brees is on pace to win the comeback player of the year. Which seems ridiculous…considering he’s only a few years removed from that Super Bowl MVP, against the before mention. The Saints are 4 -0 to start the season with a flawless game plan against the previously undefeated Miami, Dolphins. Drew Brees has the chance to challenge Peyton Manning for the greatest statistical year ever now that Sean Payton is back on the sidelines.
3. Tom Brady comes in at 3rd this week but could very easily be number two. I guess this just shows you how great the quarterback play has been. Leave it to “Tom Terrific” to do the unimaginable. Which is to have the Patriots undefeated at 4-0 with a whole new supporting cast. Note: (The NFL has never had a quarterback win so often with out a PRO BOWL caliber WR.)
4. Andrew luck, sophomore jinx?? PLEASE! This quarterback was the number one player coming out of the NFL DRAFT three straight years! Luck is a natural born leader and was a no brainier for the Colts to select him number one over all…despite having maybe the greatest quarterback and first ballot HALL OF FAMER of all time on your roster. What Luck has done thus far is make us all reaffirm that the NFL is a passers league! The ability to extend plays and get out of bad ones is truly remarkable. The only thing that comes close in comparison is Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan, in other words watching Andrew is like watching the sequel to Peyton Manning! Enough said!
Philip Rivers…who was left for dead at seasons end, has found his groove and has the San Diego Chargers playing at a high level. Thanks to Rivers, he’ll make the Chargers a team that no one wants in the playoffs. The Chargers could quite easily be 4-0 right now instead of 2-2, but make no mistake about it…Rivers and Chargers are for real!
I conclude with this question…What do all these quarterbacks have in common? My answer would be…These are still the GOLD STANDARDS when it comes to how the position is to be played. For a quarterback to succeed in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE he must be able to Pass accurately FIRST, extend plays SECOND, and create on the fly THIRD!
The NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE assassins make cowards of them all! A clear message from the NFL ‘s Defensive Coordinators to those Zone Read Option quarterbacks, “The NFL stands for….
His wink is a play, he quarterbacks with no arm, he runs without moving.
His shadow is the backup QB.
He doesn’t always get paid, but when he does he gets very little! (allegedly)
He is the most interesting man in College Football!
Being in this business for 30 years playing, coaching, and advising I felt the need to weigh in on this subject that is most topical for all parties: coaches, players, parents, general sports media, and the college sports world.
If I had the chance to advise Johnny Football…(NCAA ruling non withstanding) (If he had a mulligan) I would’ve advised that there is a right way and wrong way. I think the rules regarding giving your name and likeness away are almost criminal. Check out this prime example: SBNation.com Article by Peter Berkes. Some people think a scholarship is equal value of an athletes use of likeness. I beg to differ. Furthermore, athletes have no representation, which exaggerates the problem.
Let me set the scene for you …
Right before fall camp the team gathers in a meeting room where compliance offers explanations to the new rules and regulations. When they’re finished they hand each player a form that must be signed before they take the field. No one tells these players really what they’re signing. Really? These kids have no idea about their legal rights whatsoever. Even walk-ons (full tuition paying athletes) have to sign their likeness away. So basically the University is saying,”Pay us 50K and we’ll exploit every monetary opportunity of your likeness away.” Fair?! I don’t think so!
Johnny…you can put a stop to this.
Johnny, you can be the ultimate team leader and take on this challenge legally and in the courtroom.
Johnny, I’ve outlined a few courses of action that must take place.
Step One: File Injunction
Getting a temporary injunction will allow you to schedule autograph signings & personal appearances etc. This will stop the University and NCAA from profiting off your name and likeness until your case is heard before the court. Don’t worry about repercussions from either party,…they can’t touch you during this process, (because that would lead to even more damages on top of the already brewing legal nightmare ex: Ed O’Bannon/EA Sports etc.) Furthermore, your coaches are employees of the Universities so they can’t OPENLY support what your doing, BUT they won’t stop you either. Believe it or not, in my experience with coaches, most hate the bylaws regarding your ability not to make money on your likeness. (This makes their job a lot more difficult to enforce and not worth the hassle.) Coaches just want to coach. By filing this injunction surely your message will get across, the NCAA will be fearful of the unknown. What could be next…safety issues? monetary concerns? This will put them on their heels to bring them to the bargaining table. If nothing else this will open dialogue, which will be good for all parties involved.
Step Two: Stage a Solidarity Pre-Game Handshake
Pick a nationally televised game and plan a solidarity hand shake before kickoff…show the country you stand united amongst your fellow collegiate athletes, in being able to rightfully profit off of their own name and likeness. Communicate this with your collegiate athletes, by using direct message communication through Facebook and Twitter. You will have created the perfect example of “Planned Spontaneity.” By doing so you will have shown America what a natural born leader does when the meek need a voice.
You, Sir Johnny could be that voice and the topic at every water cooler in the country Monday morning.
Step Three: Go to Capitol Hill
If Step 2 goes without resolution then gather as many online signatures as possible and deliver them to Capitol Hill.
With an outgoing US President who is a sports junkie, he would love to leave a lasting legacy…
Step Four: Be a Trendsetter
Speaking of legacy, yours will go from Goat by many to Hero my most, for believing in something and taking a stand. Even if in the short term you will get blasted, in a strange way you will be the modern day Abe Lincoln. You will be freeing the many athletes that will and have been effected for decades.
Side Note: Just think of the possible Marketing opportunities?
I got one for you! Picture this…your playing a night game at LSU TIGER STADIUM, it’s a nationally televised game and 20,000 LSU FANS are rocking JOHHNY SUCKS and JOHNNY GOT $$ t-shirts! OK, ok I know what your thinking, why would you want to deface your self? Johnny, this what I call MARKETING! You’re already hated in other parts of the SEC, so why not capitalize on it?
It was reported you may have received as little as $7,500 for 6 different card signings. No one really knows for sure, but heres a little math for you…20,000 t-shirts retailed at $20.00 each. That’s a cool $400,000 with built in margins of 60 to 70%. (You like that don’t you Mark Cuban & Mr. Wonderful? #SharkTank) How does that sound Johnny Boy? I could see it now…you running on to the field at LSU to the chorus of “JOHNNY SUCKS! JOHNNY SUCKS!” The camera pans to you blowing kisses to the local faithful all the while you’re thinking…yes I do suck!
As you scan the stadium you calculate $20 there, $20 over there…and another, and another! You haven’t even touched the people who love you who are sporting GO JOHNNY GO & JOHHNY BE GOOD shirts! Just a thought?! LOL!
So back where I started…
His wink is a play, he quarterbacks with no arm, he runs without moving.
His shadow is the backup QB.
He doesn’t always get paid, but when he does he gets very little! (allegedly)
He is the most interesting man in College Football!
#SteveClarksonRetreat In Studio Photo Shoot Contest
Hello all you fellow bloggers,
I wanted you all to try and visit our Face Book page and cast a vote aka (LIKE or SHARE) on your favorite picture in the album. Each QB was able to take their very own professional shot and now we are doing a contest for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners with the most LIKES and SHARES!
All, I have rated my top 7 QB’s in the 2013 NFL Draft below. These ratings reflect the QB’s best fit, given their skill set AND what round they will be selected in.
1. Matt Barkley- Cleveland Browns
How this will happen? Barkley is a pro style passer and Mike Lombardi (Browns GM) is an “old school guy” who believes that the pro style QB is still the way to go. No other QB in this draft ranks higher in that skill set than Barkley.
Side note: Many believe Barkley would have been the 4th pick overall if he had come out last year.
2. Ryan Nassib- Buffalo Bills
How this will happen? Nassib is also a pro style passer with strong athletic ability/strength. With Nassib’s knowledge of Doug Marrone’s system, the transition would be easy. Even though some have him projected as a possible 8th pick overall based on his relationship with Marrone, I don’t believe that even Bills can take him that high. My guess is that Bills will trade down for additional picks or trade back in to the latter part of the first round for Nassib.
Side note: The next two QB’s on my list are a toss up in terms of how the QB position is being played today. Personally, I would give more upside to EJ Manuel, but that is open for debate. The real hand of poker will be played between the Eagles and the Raiders. If these are truely the two QB’s they covet, expect one to possibly sneak back into the first round. With this scenario, I would guess that Geno Smith will be taken in the first by the Eagles. (Below is my prediction based on each team moving forward with their original picks).
3. Geno Smith-Oakland Raiders
4. EJ Manuel-Philadelphia Eagles
5. Tyler Wilson-Kansas City Chiefs
How this will happen? Pro Style guy that I assume reminds Andy Reid a lot of Nick Foles. I think if Wilson had come out last year, he may have been a first rounder.
6. Landry Jones-Jacksonville Jaguars
How this can happen? Big guy, big arm, and great pocket awareness. First round talent but lacked signature wins in his college career.
7. Tyler Bray-San Diego Chargers
How this will happen? First round talent with a few drawbacks: questionable leadership skills and maturity. Given the chance to go back to his hometown and learn from Philip Rivers could do wonders for his future NFL career.
Several months ago, I wrote about the impact a proper game plan can have for quarterback prospects heading into the draft. I also noted some of the more important things to add to their “to do successfully “checklist. At this time, I’d like to give my most recent report on how a few of the top QB prospects performed, and how their preparation affected them.
I thought Geno did the best overall. Smith was the top QB heading into the draft and didn’t do anything to drop from his spot. However, he may not go as early as people thought due to free agency signings, and recent trades to “quarterback hungry teams”. For the most part, Smith’s workouts were solid, but he did leave many pundits questioning his ability to grasp NFL offenses. I find this a bit premature, and feel that if given the right situation, Smith has a chance to be a solid NFL Quarterback.
Notes to consider for Geno Smith: (Strong arm, has shown the ability to throw a variety of touch passes, teams must be careful in thinking he is the next Kaepernick….Smith is not nearly the athlete.)
This one is a little closer to home so it’s a bit difficult to say the following. I think the world of Matt and he’ll go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in school’s history, but clearly not the best (when compared to former Trojan alums such as Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer). I make this statement based off of what these players brought to USC Football. Palmer and Leinart will always get higher marks due to their outstanding achievements i.e. Heisman Trophy winners and National Championships, (and of course, ultimately they were 1st rounders in the NFL Draft). I wish I could say this about Barkley, but his senior season and his Pro Day workout would make that a “reach” at this point.
Notes to consider for Matt Barkley: (4 years starting quarterback for both programs he played with i.e. Mater Dei HS (first 4 year starter) and USC , despite senior year…he should not be undervalued, Barkley is an intelligent player and has a ”Manning” like control & feel for the game)
This guy could be a sleeper in this year’s draft class. Nassib has a very strong arm with Steve Young like athleticism. While in college, Nassib lead his undermanned Syracuse football team to a bowl game in 2012. He ended his college career breaking the school total passing yards record (9,060), pass completions (780), and passing yards per game (201.3). Clearly, with this much talent, the early 2nd round if not late 1st would be a realistic choice for someone of his skill set and upside.
Notes to Consider for Ryan Nassib: (He may be a steal in the 2nd round, his old coach from Syracuse, Doug Marrone is now head coach for Bills, Nassib has a gunslinger mentality similar to a famous 2nd rounder who played for the Packers…Brett Favre ring a name??)
Unfortunately and interestingly, the best quarterback in this draft may be a veteran. If all indicators are correct about the Philadelphia Eagles leaning towards drafting Geno Smith with their 1st round pick, then Nick Foles will be a hot prospect! Remember Matt Hasselback’s early career? Matt started his career in Green Bay before he was traded to Seattle and there his Pro Bowl career began!
On the surface this quarterback draft class appears to be weak, but I’m betting that after all the dust is settled…these guys will be solid productive starting quarterbacks in the NFL……. in the very near future.
It was only a few years ago when the New York Jets had unveiled a promising bright new star. He was the player formerly known as the “Sanchize.”
Yes I know…he was only completing 54.9% of his passes, but he was also doing something very few rookie QB’s in NFL would accomplish and that was to lead his team within one game of the Super Bowl. He was the next Broadway Joe…he was Mark Sanchez, or as rabid Jets fans would call him…Mark Sanchize. That was THEN this is NOW…
The same quarterback with so much promise is now just a shadow of himself. A broken spirited quarterback with very little support. The good news is it’s not too late to rectify this situation.
- If I may, I would like to take this time and be NFL Commissioner for the day-
My first order of business would be to summon the owners of the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars to my NFL office. The purpose of this meeting would be to remind them the importance of “The Shield,” as the #1 global brand. My job as the NFL commissioner is to make sure that the shield comes first, and what makes good business for the shield is that both the Jets and the Jaguars are profitable.
I would then show the Jaguars an aerial view of their empty stadium on game day, which is not good business for anyone or any franchise.
I will then do what my great predecessor (Rodger Goodell) did when he hand walked an extraordinary quarterback talent, Mike Vick to the Philadelphia Eagles. He knew the Eagles Organization was the proper setting for him to succeed upon being released from prison, and that he did. So, in a round about way I would apply the simple process of “step and repeat”.
I would order Tim Tebow immediate free agency with the condition of him signing with the Jaguars. Being a hometown hero of Jacksonville, a proven winner, and true competitor this would solve the empty stadium issues and give the good people of Jacksonville something to hang their hats on…some HOPE.
Now back to what I do as a Quarterback Coach. When I trained Tim a month or so ago, I came away telling myself one thing….. despite what others may argue…i.e. running back, fullback, wedge breaker, yada yada yada, he is A QUARTERBACK….. and if given the right setting, he WILL win.
Through the years I have seen some unprecedented events happen to the Quarterback at the NFL combine, Pro Day, and everything in between. I have included just some of my thoughts and suggestions (in no particular order) to best prepare yourself for these NFL AUDITIONS. Enjoy…
Know Your Medical History…
One of the most important assessments the combine makes it a player’s HEALTH. Teams will want to know about ALL of your current or pre-existing injuries. Some may even discover a condition they were never even aware of. Know your body and make sure you are fully educated well in advance of the combine
Know who your potential employers are…
-Who is looking for a Quarterback?
-How does your style of play fit those systems?
-Look over what they are looking for in their future leader
Don’t Just Throw the completion, Throw The Route…
In the combine there are “impressive completions” and “unimpressive completions.” The throwing that takes place during the combine is pretty simple. The biggest mistake quarterbacks make is focusing too much on “completing the pass” as opposed to “throwing to the route” they were asked.
Example: When you are asked to throw a “square out route” make sure you have the ball thrown in a way where the receiver stretches to the sideline. They will assess the throw regardless of whether or not the WR catches the ball.
Do Know Your Management Team and who Represents You!
Making your own decisions as a player during the draft can be difficult. This is why YOU choose your team and supporting cast. These are the people who will help you LOOK YOUR BEST! It is their job and responsibility to know the draft class and what plan of attack is best for you, but make sure you know the gameplan.
Example: Are you a Top Rated player? Do you need to “make up ground” at the combine? Do you need to workout at the combine to help your draft status? I remember when I trained Ben Roethlisberger before the NFL Combine. He was in the same draft class as Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. Working out at the combine was a win-win situation for Ben, as he was previously rated below his true value. He prepared and delivered an excellent performance at the combine, which provided him a strong platform on pro day. We all know how their stories have played out…
Know Your Stuff!
Sometimes a quarterback relies too heavily on their natural talent. Do not come into the combine without doing some major studying! The interview process includes assessing your knowledge of the game, (whether it’s behind your O-Line or in the film room). They will want to know the following:
-Does the QB understand the game?
i.e. breakdown of protections & coverages and how each one effects the other.
-Does the QB have the ability to grasp new concepts of the game?
-Is the QB a quick learner?
-How well do they handle unexpected questions and scenarios in a timely manner?
Don’t Assume Assessment Only Takes Place On the Field
Teams pay attention to all aspects of what makes a great leader. This happens even before you ever get to the combine or Pro Day. Teams will pay close attention to the following:
-Interaction with other players, coaches, trainers and even reporters
-They notice if other players gravitate to you…are you a leader?
-Can you be respected by a locker room?
-Do they have the “IT” factor?
*Quarterbacks must always remember that they can make an impression WITH or WITHOUT the football in hand. (See Below: RG3 & his soon to be future coach…at combine)
Example:One of my clients was taken to dinner by one of his “potential employers” the night before his Pro Day. The dinner was quite the ordeal and was from 7:30pm-10:30pm or so. At the conclusion of the dinner they agreed to meet the next morning at 7:30am. Before they shook hands the they handed him the team’s play book…all 200+ pages. They wanted him to study it that night and see what he was able to remember by the next morning. By the next morning he was able to get through the whole book and remember most of it by “word association.” In this case let’s call it “play association,” He was able to match their plays with the ones similar to his college plays.
To Throw or Not to Throw at Combine???
Sometimes you can be successful, even without throwing the ball. There are some quarterbacks who take the “No Throwing at Combine Route.” This can either be because of a healing or current injury or just because they are preparing to just participate in the pro day. In many cases, if a QB doesn’t throw, they can be extra prepared for their over all performance. Teams will ask themselves the following:
-How long did the quarterback have to prepare for combine?
-Did they prepare enough?
-Did they attack the course as expected?
Example:Alex Smith followed the same plan of attack as the Manning Brothers. He chose not to throw at the combine, but took right to preparing for his best performance at pro day. At Pro Day Alex was very efficient in all aspects.
These are just a few notes that I have taken over the years. I would love to read any comments or questions from those with experience on the whole process.
At some point, each quarterback must decide if they have what it takes to be A LEADING MAN. This process is very long, and most of the time it begins at an early age. A quarterback is a rare breed, they must have the ability to take the criticism in defeat and pass out the praise in victory.
It is my opinion that every GREAT team should have a “Leading Man.” If you show me a championship team, it would be safe to say that 98% of the time they have just that. So, lets look at the current situation in the National Football League.
#1:Today’s game is very competitive and forever evolving. Imagine if each “Leading Man,” had someone to help them stay on top of these changes, and ahead of the curve.
#2:Each team must choose a quarterback that your fan base will BELIEVE in. Let’s face it, at the end of the day you must win over the paying audience. Once you pick your “Leading Man,” you stick with him and spare no expense to make sure of his success. Second guessing him will set your efforts back for years!
Some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time began with controversy. Take Rodger Staubach for example. Rodger shared snaps with Craig Morton before Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys settled on what might be one of the most beloved quarterbacks in franchise history.
I remember what I first met Tom Brady. It was on July 16th, 1994 at LA Wilson High for my Air 7 Quarterback Camp. I was so impressed with his release and footwork, which were supreme to all the other quarterbacks present at the time. The reason he stood out was mostly attributed to his early quarterback training with the late great quarterback coach Tom Martinez. All of those hours of training and hard work were certainly well worth the development of one the game’s greatest quarterbacks in present time. (Below:Tom Brady as a teenager)
The point I’m trying to make is that it takes years of preparation to get to the next level, and even more to stay there! Ask any of the greatest quarterbacks and I’m sure they’ll tell you their journey started when they were 8-9 years old. (Below: Eli and Peyton with their father Archie Manning)
Today, like no other time in history have we seen kids develop at such an early age. I’m sure if you followed the journey of most quarterback greats you would discover someone who worked with them along the way. Whether it was a knowledgeable father/family figure or quarterback coach, this still was a huge advantage to them.
While acknowledging that quarterbacks are highly paid, some cases are well deserved. It makes me wonder why the NFL team owners won’t spend good money on a quarterback coach to be their “Leading Man’s” full time quarterback expert. Imagine someone like Kurt Warner with a quarterback like…Mark Sanchez, helping him slow the game down and figuring out how to make the pieces work. It worked well for Eli Manning!!! “I’m just saying”…
In the words of Sonny Werblin, “We are here to BUILD stars, because that is what sells!” Prime example: Broadway Joe
I have been conducting an experiment on my Facebook Page. It’s called “name association”. We posted each NFL conference separately and asked people what word came to mind when they saw each team’s logo. It’s interesting to find that most of the answers did not consist of a quarterback name. However, you will notice that the most consistent quarterbacks mentioned were leading men of their franchises. Does your team have a Leading Man???
When the USC Football season started, quarterback Matt Barkley was regarded as the Top Quarterback in college and possibly the number one pick overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. At this time, USC was also picked to run the table on the way to a National Championship and Matt Barkley was expected to win the Heisman Trophy for a storybook ending. That was then and this is now. USC ended the season on a four game losing streak and finished with a 7-5 record. To make matters worse Matt Barkley was injured in the UCLA loss and his availability for the Hyundai Sun Bowl game is in doubt.
The Critics have come out, and like always, the starting quarterback becomes the culprit, trying to make us believe that Matt Barkley’s stock may have fallen at such a rate that he may no longer be a first round look.
The Evolution of A Quarterback is a long process. Before I dive into it, I would like to mention that this is free advice for Matt, his family, and all who represent him. This is what I would like to see happen between now and April’s draft….
When all is said and done, Matt Barkley will not only be in the first round, but a top 20 pick in April’s draft.
The last time the Spirit of Troy witnessed Matt Barkley, he was walking out on the field with arm in sling to the chorus of a standing ovation, in recognition for all he sacrificed for the good of the Cardinal & Gold.
Matt came back under the mantra of “unfinished business”. Of course, this season isn’t what he and his teammates had in mind, but I’ll argue that Matt accomplished quite bit given the situation of USC. I’m sure Matt has the urge to play in USC’s bowl game and be in that uniform one more time, but that would be a mistake!
1st Piece of Advice: Matt should continue to do what he’s always done, which is to keep USC moving forward. In my opinion, Matt playing in the bowl game is meaningless for his career. Playing too soon after his injury could do a lot of damage if not 100% healthy.
2nd Piece of Advice: The next game Matt should play in is the Senior Bowl, period! This will give Matt and his agents enough time to survey the landscape and come up with a proper strategy for Matt leading up to April’s draft.
I’ve been a part of this process for more than 25 years and what history has shown us is that trends change. Each quarterback has their own trend and it is ever changing. Barkley was the “can’t miss kid coming into college.” Now, there are whispers that Matt’s stock has fallen, and people are questioning his ability and thus his future quarterback success.
3rd Piece of Advice: There is no better time than now to take these months and get back to the “can’t miss kid coming into the NFL.”
Matt Barkley’s Check List:
9 weeks to prepare for the Senior Bowl-This is a time to work on all your weaknesses while still maintaining all the things you have done well up to this point.
Re-introduce the public to Matt Barkley-Highlight the attributes that have made you so special, i.e. all your charity here in the United States, overseas, your work with the Marines, and of course why you came back to USC in the first place…
Senior Bowl should be where you shine the most.- Your ability to communicate to your coaches will be noticed. This is the time where the evaluators will be more than impressed with your ability to make and execute all the plays.
Next up is the NFL combine. To work out? Or not to workout? That is the question…-This question will be answered based on your performance at the Senior Bowl. Let’s assume the game went well, very well…Because you played so well at the Senior Bowl, everyone will have just seen the incredible talent you have, with doubters hiding for the shadows. Your performance you will then be enable you to take the NFL combine as a time to focus on the personal interviews etc. Make sure to have your agents notify the NFL that you will only be participating in the physicals and the interviews at the combine.
Moving onto the Pro Day workout. This is more like a “Performance.”- The key is to write your script that highlights the needs of teams that are most likely to select a quarterback in draft.
NOTE: This process is made easier when your agents send out a request to the coaches asking for what they would like to see in your Pro Day workout.
Make sure your “Performance,” leaves the coaches and evaluators wanting to see more.
Always leave enough room in your “script” to execute the unexpected, i.e., coaches may request for a specific throw or movement
If you do well at the Pro Day, you will be invited to perform a private workout with those teams that are very, very interested in you.
NOTE: These workouts will most likely be with the coaches and the offensive coordinators.
Finally at the end of the day, everything that you’ve displayed over the last 8 years of your quarterbacking life will come down to this question…
How will they view Matt Barkley as the LEADER of their franchise?
-Ability to reach a higher ceiling
-Intelligence on and off the field
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, PEOPLE WILL FINALLY COME TO THEIR SENSES…THAT YOUR BODY OF WORK OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS WILL PROVE, ONCE AGAIN THAT YOU ARE WHAT THEY THOUGHT YOU WERE…”THE CAN’T MISS KID COMING INTO THE NFL.”
Ronnie Lott was one of the smartest, toughest players in the NFL. Ronnie was a team player and was willing to pay the ultimate price for his team’s success. Ronnie played for the San Francisco 49ers, and the Oakland Raiders.
Jack Ham was one of the league’s most versatile linebackers. His football I.Q. allowed him to recognize plays before they happened. Jack played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lawrence Taylor, aka LT, was the ultimate outside linebacker. His instincts were so incredible that Bill Parcells gave LT the green light to play his position how he saw fit. Lawrence played his career with the New York Giants.
Dick Butkus, the game’s most feared football player in the 1960’s. As a kid growing up, my vision of #51 was his bloody knuckles and physically/verbally tormenting his opponents. Butkus played his career with the Chicago Bears.
David Deacon Jones created the term famously known as “The Sack.” David was easily the game’s most recognizable defensive lineman. His ability to get to the quarterback was legendary. David played for the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, and San Diego Chargers.
Merlin Olsen played along side David Deacon and the two were known for being part of the “Fearsome Foursome.” Merlin was known as the gentle giant, but opposing offenses would tell you he was far from gentle. Merlin was a 14 time Pro-Bowler, enough said. Merlin Played for the Los Angeles Rams.
Reggie White lead the NFL’s all time record for QB sacks at the end of his career. Reggie was on the annual All Pro team and was the NFL’s most sought after free agent. Reggie was a two time defensive player of the year and 13 time Pro- Bowler. Reggie played for the Memphis Showboats, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and the Carolina Panthers.
ALL TIME OFFENSE
Jerry Rice, aka, “The Man With The Hands,” is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and among the greatest NFL players at any position. Jerry played for the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, and the Seattle Seahawks.
Lance Alworth, aka Bambi, for his slender build, speed, grace, and leaping ability. In 1970, he was selected as a member of the AFL All-Time Team, and in 1994, he was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Lance played for the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys.
John Mackey became the second pure tight end to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. John is known for revolutionizing the tight end position and averaged 15.8 yards per catch for his total career. John was a durable player and only missed one game in his 10-season career. Mackey played for the Baltimore Colts and the San Diego Chargers.
Anthony Munoz was the first Cincinnati Bengals player to be enshrined. In 2010 Munoz was ranked #12 on the NFL Networks Top 100 Greatest Players. Munoz was selected to the Pro-Bowl 11 times. Munoz played his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jim Parker, aka, “Jumbo Jim,” and regarded as one of the greatest lineman ever to play pro football. Parker was the first full-time offensive lineman to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Jim was selected to the Pro Bowl 8 times and was a 10 time All-Pro selection. Parker played his career with the Baltimore Colts.
Gene Upshaw, aka “Uptown Gene,” is the only player who was apart of three Super Bowls in three different decades with the same team. Upshaw was selected to Pro Bowl 6 times and was a two time Super Bowl Champion. Gene played his career with the Oakland Raiders.
John Hannah, aka “Hawg,” was the first Patriot ever to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Some thought John was a bit short for NFL standards, but he made up for it with his powerful legs and quickness. Hannah was selected to the Pro Bowl 9 times. John played with the New England Patriots his whole career.
Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” was the anchor of the Steelers offensive line during their 4 time Super Bowl reign. Mike was selected to Pro Bowl 9 times and was a 9 time All-Pro selection. Webster played his career with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jim Brown, aka, “First Down Jim Brown,” was the most dominant running back to ever play the game. At the end of his career Brown averaged 104.3 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry in his 118 career games. Jim played his career with the Cleveland Browns.
Gale Sayers, aka “The Kansas Comet,” was a 4 time Pro Bowler, 5 time All Pro, 2 time NFL Rushing Campion and a 3 time Pro Bowl MVP. Sayers is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame. Gale played his career with the Chicago Bears.
Joe Montana, aka “Joe Cool, Golden Joe, Comeback Joe,” had a unique ability to remain calm under pressure and lead his team to 31 fourth quarter come back wins. Joe will always be remembered for one of the most memorable moments in sports history, “The Catch.” Montana played his career with the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.