Saturday, February 28, 2009
Matt Cassel was America's Best Quarterback in 2008 because he was called to lead the Patriots from the back-up position in the first quarter of the first game of the season and took them to an 11-5 record. Yes, they did not make the playoff, but Cassel had a number of outstanding performances along the way and not too many 1105 teams have missed the playoffs in NFL history.
The Patriots thought enough of his performance to put the "franchise" tag on him, guaranteeing him over $14 million next year. This caused wide discussion about having almost $30 million wrapped up in their two quarterbacks, but that is no longer an issue as the Kansas City Chiefs traded for Matt Cassel today. The new General Manager of the Chiefs, Scott Pioli (formerly of the Patriots) thought enough of his performance last season to stake his career on the move as well.
I don't think Cassel is just a system quarterback any more than Tom Brady is a system quarterback. His mechanics are clean like Brady's, which means he will be a consistent, accurate quarterback in any system.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I went to the NFL Combine in 1989 to show my skills to the powers-that-be in the NFL. I roomed with Troy Aikman who came to get a physical and go home. The combine has grown in popularity over the years and access from a fan's standpoint has increased incredibly. It was top-secret stuff back in the day. Getting to see someone's film to see the drills that they did was Iron Curtain stuff (that is an old reference to the Russia during the Cold War).
Matt Stafford is thought to be the top QB in this year's draft and is not going to be participating in the on-field throwing, running, etc. Hearing executives say things about being scared to compete with the other participants is not the issue for most, I would guess. The issue is that everything is graded and examined and throwing to unknown receivers that you aren't familiar with is not easy and could cost a kid millions. Guys like me that are from small schools and trying to establish themselves have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Matt Stafford, like Troy Aikman and every other top prospect since, should control their environment to guarantee the best showing possible. Not throwing at the 1989 combine didn't drop Aikman's status as his contract was negotiated before the draft began and he was the #1 pick and now in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. I don't think Matt Stafford is worthy of the #1 overall pick, but he is certainly making the right decision not to participate in February in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I have been a loud and consistent supporter of Luke McCown as quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jeff Garcia was the right starter this year, given his leadership to the 2007 NFC South title. But, it looks like the Bucs' brass is agreeing with me (and not with Jon Gruden) that McCown should have been given an opportunity somewhere in the 2008 season to really see with this ultra-athletic guy can do.
With the onset of the Raheem Morris regime, it is the perfect time to give him a legitimate shot to win the starting job, regardless of who else is in the running come training camp. Luke McCown is one of the most athletic QB's you will ever see. Take a little off Steve Young's and Michael Vick's running and you have Luke. Take a little off Tom Brady's or Joe Montana's throwing abilities and you have Luke (OK, the Brady/Montana reference is a stretch at this point). The point is that he has legs and throwing ability, not very often seen and that is why the Buccaneers just made a wise investment in this "kid". Use the force Luke.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
It was 25 years ago this week that I got lucky enough to sign a national letter of intent to Weber State. Many kids today realized a dream to earn a college football scholarship. Many will dream of an NFL career, but it is this day that matters most.
The were no surprises for the top-rated QB's from around the country as Matt Barkley is now a Trojan, Garrett Gilbert (son of former NFL QB Gale Gilbert) will stay in his home state with the Longhorns, Aaron Murray already left Tampa for the University of Georgia and A.J. McCarron also stayed home, signing with the Crimson Tide.
The ride will not be without a few bumps along the way, at least at the beginning, but congratulations to these and every single player lucky enough to continue playing football in college!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Great quarterbacks come in lots of shapes and sizes. Big Ben Roethlisberger comes by his name honestly. He is tough to bring down because he is so big and just agile enough to keep alive in the pocket to make plays out of nothing. He did that time and again last night in Tampa. Roethlisberger didn't win the MVP, which he deserved as much as Holmes, but he put himself into a very elite category with another Lombardi Trohpy in his case. He also put himself into Super Bowl lore with a two-minute drive that won the game!
Ben Roethlisberger fits in Pittsburgh better than any other QB fits the persona of his team's town, even better than Favre in Green Bay. Ben doesn't get it done in a pretty fashion, his blue collar style is the epitome of the Pittsburgh Steelers.