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….

N-OT

F-OR

L-ONG!

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The Sabotage Of The Quarterback

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.” 

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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

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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.

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  •  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. 

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  • 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 arguei.e. running back, fullback, wedge breaker, yada yada yada, he is A QUARTERBACK….. and if given the right setting, he WILL win. 

 

The Evolution of A Quarterback Part III

By: Steve Clarkson

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. 

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 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. 

 When I introduced the Evolution of the Quarterback Series, the first thing I mentioned was a specialized quarterback coach for each NFL team.  This coach would be brought on board full time to be a mentor/coach for an upcoming quarterback superstar.  Surely, for the amount of money spent on the quarterback position alone I think it warrants special handling!  In the Evolution of the Quarterback: Part I, I eluded to WHO might be one of those specialized quarterback coaches i.e Steve Mariucci, Brian Billick, Sam Wyche and Jim Fassel who are retired former NFL coaches with an excellent reputation for developing quarterbacks.   Here are a couple recommendations that I believe will lead to success:

 #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. 

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 Next…Tom Brady.

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)

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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)

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 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”… 

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In the words of Sonny Werblin, “We are here to BUILD stars, because that is what sells!”  Prime example: Broadway Joe 

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 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??? 

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The Evolution of A Quarterback: Matt Barkley


By: Steve Clarkson

 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….   

 1st Prediction

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?

         -His character

         -Work ethic

         -Ability to reach a higher ceiling

         -Intelligence on and off the field

         -The intangibles

         -Marketability

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.”

-By: Steve Clarkson

Steve Clarkson Academy in The New Yorker by Ben McGrath
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/15/121015fa_fact_mcgrath

Steve Clarkson Academy in The New Yorker by Ben McGrath

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/15/121015fa_fact_mcgrath

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