Saturday, April 20, 2013

QB's Struggle At All-Star Competition

I love compeitions.  That is why I named my company America's Best Quarterback.  I wanted to develop a series of competitions for all QB's (young and old, pro, x-pro and amateur) to compete across the country and see who was the best.  We had a great even a few years ago, but just didn't have the abitlity to grow it the way I had envisioned. 
I happened upon a college All-Star competition this afternoon that pitted "teams" against each other.  The NFL prospect QB's (EJ Manuel, Jordan Rodgers, Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib).  Each of the four had issues dropping a single ball into a large net only 20 yards away and each of them had problems for different mechanical reasons.
EJ Manuel opened his body up to the throw (his chest was facing the target before his started his throwing motion) so that he reach back behind his head too far.  Stay "sqare" to the target with your your front hip and shoulder pointed at the target as long as possible (like a golfer) for the best accuracy.  You can see in the photo that he does this in real football as well.  Opening up like this reduces his accuracy and power.  He seems to have enough natural power, but even though his college completion percentage was very good, in the NFL, this mechanical flaw will haunt him.
Jordan Rodgers completed the task faster than the others, but he too had accuracy issues.  He drops the ball on first movement and then brings the ball behind his head and back, pointing the front end of the ball to the sky, creating an elongated delivery and making it hard to bring the ball back down the target in time.  He should watch his brother's mechanics a lot more closely and mimic those, where Aaron Rogers keeps the front tip of the ball facing the ground much more often by keeping his ball on top of his elbow with a straight wrist (which is the best way to throw).
Mike Glennon embarrassed himself in this meaningless competition.  He threw the ball short of the target many times because he was throwing directly at it and not giving it any loft.  This was an OK strategy as the ball would have gone in the net, but he was short and didn't correct his error.  The reason he was short was because he kept throwing with a stiff left knee.  Like shooting a free throw in basketball with stiff legs, the ball will be very flat.  To get proper trajectory, the shooter should have some bend in the knees, which fixes balance.  QB's should always have bend in their hips and knees.  The front knee bends even more after release and then goes straight after the ball is well out of the QB's hand.
Ryan Nassib had very much the same problem as Jordan Rodgers, but even more so.  He takes the ball so far behind his head he almost touches the ball to his back.  It is very difficult to bring the ball around in time to make consistently accurate throws and when he meets NFL quality competition, he and others that throw like him, will find that they don't have the luxury to take that much time throwing the ball.  These type throwers either get hit while throwing more often than others or decide they can't make the throw and pull the ball down more often, which causes more sacks and broken plays.
Ultimately these manufactured QB competitions don't prove anything about how a player plays when there are 22 guys on the field, but they are fun to watch and do
uncover some mechanical issues for them to improve so that their transition to the next level will give them their best chance at success!

Look Out For Landry Jones

Following Sam Bradford at Oklahoma wasn't an easy task and Landry Jones did not keep the Sooners in the National Title hunt like he or any OU fan would have liked, but he may just be the best NFL prospect in this year's QB draft class.
After watching him on "Gruden's QB Camp" and reading Charlie Casserly's thoughts about Jones' prospects, I too believe he is at the top of a relatively mediocre class of hopefuls.  Jones throws with great balance, ala Joe Flacco.  Because of this, he has better accuracy than most of his peers.
After showing Jones some poor decisions during his college career, Gruden pointed out that he needs to learn how to give up on some plays and not turn the ball over or make bad decisions trying to do too much.  If he can learn this philosophy, he has the throwing mechanics and ability to make a very successful move to the next level.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Train Hard Swim Hard

I read an article a few weeks ago about San Fransisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh being a bit concerned that his new star quarterback might be spending a little bit too much time in the weight room getting a little bit too muscled up in the off-season.
When I was in high school, my coach told me to lay off the weights for the same concern of Harbaugh.  I did lay off the weights for a short time, but went right back to them and never stopped trying to get as strong as possible, but I did add stretching into my lifting routine throughout the training session and always maintained really good flexibility in my shoulders.  The other thing that I did and recommend to every QB regardless of how muscular or strong you are and that is swimming.  Swimming every stroke (freestlye, back stroke, breast stroke and butterfly) is a great, great workout and a fantastic way to maintain flexibility while building strength in parts of your body that you cannot really hit with weights alone.
If Tim Tebow really wants to take playing QB in the NFL seriously, he should take up a very rigorous swimming schedule and lose about 15 pounds.  He has a slow arm swing and swimming and weight loss would probably help with both.
As for Colin Kaepernick, I don't worry much about him getting too big in the off-season, but adding swimming to his colorful off-season activities wouldn't hurt his exciting and emerging game either!

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 QB Draft Class

The 2013 NFL Draft is one of the most unimpressive in recent memory for quarterback talent.  USC's Matt Barkley was thought to be the eventual first pick in the draft before the 2012 college football season derailed that path.  Barkley may be improving his stock a little bit coming off a major injury to his throwing arm, but the recent talk that West Virginia's Geno Smith could possibly be moving closer to that top spot held by the Kansas City Chiefs is reaching at best.
There seems to be quite a few mid-round talent QB's that should go in the second, third, fourth and later rounds with Florida State's E.J. Manuel, NC State's Mike Glennon, Tennesee's Tyler Bray and others, but none of the above should go in the first round. 
As the Tim Tebow draft showed us though, it only takes one team to make a player a first round pick, but taking Geno Smith or any of these QB's as the top pick, would continue the move the Chiefs down the unsuccessful road that they have been traveling for some time.
I wish all of these QB's the very best luck when the draft actually happens, but unless a desperate team or two make a reach beyond the real grade, we shouldn't hear their names until late on day one at best.