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….





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



-By: Steve Clarkson

Steve Clarkson Academy in The New Yorker by Ben McGrath

Steve Clarkson Academy in The New Yorker by Ben McGrath

“Lighting Strikes Twice.”

While travelling across the country looking for the next great quarterback one of the most common things I look for an important key attribute:

 Do they command the room?  At one of my most recent football camps I came across a young aspiring quarterback by the name of Tate Martell.  There were over 300 quarterbacks in attendance and he absolutely owned the room. 

Some of the things I immediately noticed:

  • He was a fierce competitor, pushing his way through all the quarterback drills
  • He never walked anywhere on the field
  • His athleticism and accuracy was advanced for his age

First thing I wanted to know about Tate was what grade he was in? I was guessing he was a sophomore in high school.  When I asked him how old he was he said he was in the 6th grade and he was 12 years old.  I immediately asked myself, “Does lighting strike twice?” 

In trying to make an assessment of young Tate and what quarterback he compared to, I couldn’t come up with anyone.  After some thought the answer was quite clear, no single quarterback can best describe this young man’s talent.  Therefore I came up with two that fit the bill:  a perfect hybrid of Brett Favre and Fran Tarkenton. 

Remember when I referenced “lighting strikes twice?” i.e. David Sills? David was 10 years old when he came to me for quarterback training, three years later in 2010 he was making national news headlines.  It was during Super Bowl XLIV…#44 (Colts vs. Saints) that the young David stole the spotlight from Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.  A small one liner scrolled across the bottom of ESPN, “13 year old David Sills verbally commits to Lane Kiffin and USC Class of 2015.”   Again….this was 2010

Fast forward…two and a half years later and Tate Martell verbally commits to Steve Sarkisian and the University of Washington Class of 2017.

Coincidence?  Or planned?  You be the judge.

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