Monday, March 30, 2009

QB's Can Use Madden to Improve Knowledge

Years ago I was in an off-season quarterback meeting learning the offense of the new coaching staff, when a second year QB (from the ACC) was asked to draw a defense (X's and O's) on the board. He couldn't do it without a little help. That was lightyears away from what is expected of college QB's making the jump to the NFL in today's world.
Matthew Stafford just had a private workout with the Detroit Lions brass to gauge his mental knowledge of the game, since the arm-strength part has been satisfied.
A good way for young quarterbacks to improve their knowledge of reading defenses is to spend time watching the movements on "Madden". You can't just play it for fun and hope that reading defenses becomes second nature, but check the movements of the safeties on blitzes. If linebackers blitz, the safeties will have to cover the tight ends and backs. If there is no blitz, watch the safety movement and expect to throw away from their slide. If the safeties stay put (cover 2), stay on two receiver side (Rule 1: Don't throw to single receiver side in cover 2).
Madden 09 has too much garbage all over the field (e.g. shields, hand-grenades) for me to concentrate, but the older versions are great learning tools.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don't Compare Eras for QB's

My kids found a tub of old videos the other day with VHS tapes of my playing days. They haven't seen them and I hadn't seen them in a long time. As I train youth QB's day in and day out, I am very particular about their A, B, C's-Alignment, Balance, and Control (specific body parts). I teach throwing differently than the way I threw it then (I am looking for players to be much better than I ever was, but I never had anybody tell me how to improve the technical aspect of throwing).
As I train my sons to throw "perfectly", they were quick to point out the deficiencies in my motion (although many of my passes were beautifully perfect completions--I must point out).
So the 2009 version of Jeff Carlson's throwing motion is much better than the 1991 version on the videotape. As the tape went on, a receiver got pushed out of bounds about 10 yards down the field and my oldest said, "That's pass interference!!" I said, "Not back then". That made me think hard to the point of comparing QB's over the years, like Montana to Brady or Dan Fouts to Peyton Manning. Are today's QB's that much better prepared through programs like my "America's Best Quarterback" training or did the rule changes help open up the game like never before. The answer is yes to both. Players are better prepared and the rules make it that if you don't jam at the line, there is virtually no contact to wide receivers until they catch the ball. And defensive ends used to unleash on the QB's high, low or late. Now defensive ends have to think about a 15 yard penalty on every play that involves the QB.
I say all this to say that there is no way to compare QB's through different eras, especially by stats alone. I don't think QB's are "juicing" on steroids, but with all of the 4,000 and 5,000 yard passers these day, their statistics say they are playing in the "live ball" era.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Disgruntled leader is oxymoron

How many disgruntled players have left their bad situation to prosper in a new one? There have been a few to be sure, Corey Dillon did OK in New England after splitting with the Bengals, but there are more Terrell Owens and Randy Moss' creating more trouble for the next club than fixing their own personal issues. However, those guys may be Prima Donnas, but they aren't quarterbacks. John Elway forced the Colts to trade him after drafting him and Eli Manning played the same hand 20 years later, but they didn't play for a club, get "disenfranchised" with the situation (coaching or otherwise) and then go somewhere else and flourish.
Jay Cutler is saying he had a conversation about keeping the offensive coaching staff intact with the Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen and Bowlen says it didn't happen. Regardless, now Cutler is a whiner to Denver fans that see him wanting out as soon as he doesn't like the team's moves to get better. Throwing for a lot of yards doesn't always mean that you or your team is any good. Bowlen likes success and is trying to improve the team. Did Cutler not like what Josh McDaniels and the Patriots offense has been doing the last few years? Give it a chance kid. Instead, you now just look like a baby that is taking his ball and going home--where home is, nobody knows at this point.
Please respond to this post if you can give me an example a QB demanding out of one city and doing well in another.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2009 NFL Draft Reminds of Recent Year

Only a few years back, Alex Smith of Utah and Aaron Rogers of Cal-Berkeley were neck and neck going into the final days leading to the draft. The San Fransisco 49ers did a great job of not tipping their hat to which QB they liked best, but as we all know, they went with Smith and Rogers slipped and slipped down to the Green Bay Packers.
The Niners needed Smith immediately, while Rogers got to sit by while Favre finished up until this past season.
Being the #1 pick is a great thing and it comes with a lot more financial security up-front, but can mean the end of your career more quickly in the long run (Tim Couch).
Mark Sanchez is starting to move up the draft board as time goes on (I'm on record that he is my favorite in this draft). He may not want to make it all the way to the top, because the Detroit Lions are probably more than a rookie QB away from being good.
Matt Stafford has been atop the draft lists for a long time and was recently quoted as saying he wants to play for the Lions so he can throw to Calvin Johnson. I say, be careful what you wish for, it just might come true.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Warner back with Cards for 2 more years

Was there ever a doubt that Kurt Warner would eventually sign back up with the Arizona Cardinals? Sure he was upset about Todd Haley, his offensive coordinator, leaving. Sure he had to take an obligatory trip to San Fransisco to make the Cardinals get off their duffs and finalize the deal. But there was no chance in the heat of the Phoenix desert (almost as hot as you-know-where) that he was going to leave the offense that got him another appearance in the biggest show on earth in the waning years of his illustrious career.
To leave the Cardinals for the 49ers would have been worse than the immortal Joe Montana leaving late in his career for the Kansas City Chiefs. That didn't end well and neither would this, but there was no chance of that ever consummating. Great luck to a great QB. Let's see if the Cards can stay on top as they will be the hunted for the first time in franchise history.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tom Brady gets hitched

Congratulations goes out to Tom Brady on his marriage to supermodel Gisele Bundchen. For as much as I like Tom Brady's football skills and throwing mechanics, this is a time for young quarterbacks to learn from this football hero's mistakes as well. Do not get your girlfriend pregnant, as it significantly complicates your life. Tom Brady can afford to have multiple homes across the country, but his 1 1/2 year old son from his former girlfriend only has his dad near him a small portion of his life. And the wedding announcement reads something like, "a small affair attended by close family, including his son from actress Bridgette Moynihan" (who lives in Los Angeles while he plays football for the New England Patriots on the other side of the country). Follow his footsteps on the football field, but take note and do not make his mistakes off of it.
We wish him the best of luck with his new wife.
And speaking of mistakes, I was just reading about former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett and his excitement to get back on the field, now for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He was arrested over the weekend on a alcohol related incident. Again, learn from others mistakes.

Jay Cutlet Miffed at Trade Rumors

Denver Broncos Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler did not like the idea of being part of a trade deal, no he did not like it one bit. But, when you lead a team that is coached by a two-time Super Bowl winner and he gets shown the door, there might be some rumblings about who is the on-field leader as well.
Throw in the fact that the new head coach is the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator who just coached Matt Cassel into a franchise tag and there just might be some interest in continuing that relationship.
Now that the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs consummated the trade that makes Cassel the new Chiefs QB, Jay Cutler continues as the Broncos signal caller for the time-being. And the time-being may be key as Cutler is upset enough at Broncos management to cut off communication with them, for the time-being anyway.
The rumor was that Cutler would be going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that wouldn't have made Luke McCown very happy, as he was just told he would get a chance to win the starting position, but that would not have happened if the Cutler deal went through. McCown will have to wait it out as free agency continues, because if they were looking at that deal at the start of free agency, then there will be others considered as well.