Wednesday, December 17, 2014

QB Training Begins In January!

Unlike previous years, we have started the new season of football training the Sunday following the Super Bowl.  This year we will begin on Sunday January 11th.
Youth QB's through middle school will train from 3 PM until 4:30 PM.  High school QB's will train from 4:30 PM until 6 PM.
Please contact Jeff Carlson at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Romo resurrects Cowboys and self

A while back I posted that Tony Romo may be riding into the sunset, at least with the Cowboys, but in the first few games of this season, he has given the long-suffering Big D fans something to get excited about of late.
After enduring a painful back injury last season, he seems to fully healed and having fun again, along with his teammates.  A great running game will do that for you and has been getting fabulous support from his offensive line and a record-tying sixth 100 yard performance on the ground from DeMarco Murray to open the season!
It really is good to see smiles all around from Jerry in the box, to Jason (Garrett) on the sideline as well as Jason (Whitten) on the field.
It has been long enough for the most valuable NFL franchise to sputter around the lower half of the league.  Now they are 5-1 and go up against their NFC East foe New York Giants, who have been as Jekyll and Hyde this season as any of the teams that can't figure out who they are going to be thus far in 2014, but don't be surprised if both Tony Romo and the Cowboys, like Mr. Hyde, revert back to their former selves and stub their toes along this long and winding season.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brady Handles Media Perfectly

When an NFL team makes their draft picks each year, the higher the pick, the more immediate impact is expected on the field this season.  Second round picks are usually expected to get regular playing time, but not necessarily walk right into the starting spot.  QB's are always an exception, with many more rookie first round picks expected to walk right into the starter's role, but this season year's crop of signal-callers seem to have gone back in time a bit and will get a small chance to develop before being thrown to the wolves.
The New England Patriots took Jimmy Garappolo from Eastern Illinois in the second round, which immediately sent the media into a frenzy to see what incumbent super star Tom Brady thought of the selection.  Brady is nearing the end of his career, whether he likes to think it is or not, but I wouldn't put it past one of the best pocket passers of all time, to extend it out further than most have been able to do.  Ryan Mallett was a third round pick a few years ago and he looks to be on the move out of New England soon, leaving the small school Garappolo as the heir apparent even though Brady thinks Garappolo will be an old man before getting a chance to lead the Patriots from under center.
With the media and behind the microphone following the draft, Brady was brilliant as he so often is on the field, saying that Bill Belichick is always interested in fielding the best team and that he (Belichick) doesn't care who is the quarterback.  No whining or crying from Brady, just the acknowledgment that in the NFL, they are always looking for the next guy that can get the job done.  Tom Brady turns off a lot of people around the country due to the appearance of his attitude on and off the field, but most of that is simple jealousy or just the competition factor of wishing their team could be his.  In this case he was masterful at handling the media and many around the league can learn something from him when they are posed with the same challenge of a high draft pick.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NFL Draft Goes As It Should

This year's NFL Draft was the most exciting in years and full of intrigue at the top of the first round with Jadaveon Clowney, thought to be the best overall talent in years and the multiple teams at the top with quarterback needs and the enigma talent of Johnny Manziel.  The Houston Texans decided to pair Clowney with superstar defensive tackle J.J. Watt in what could be the most devastating duo since Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice disrupted the Oakland Raiders for a Super Bowl title in 2003.  This was the right choice, because none of the QB's on the board could have improved the Texans anywhere close to what Clowney has the potential to do.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had the third pick and the pick of the QB crop.  They took the least risky route by going with the big and mobile Blake Bortles from the University of Central Florida.  Many draft gurus will say that his lack of total college starts is a historical problem for those signal callers that have come before him (Mark Sanchez).  Bortles size, athleticism and work ethic seem to check out well and was the best bet for long term success.
Johnny Manziel was this year's Aaron Rogers.  Rogers languished in the green room after watching Alex Smith (taken by 49ers, now with Kansas City Chiefs) go #1, when he was considered for that top spot by most "experts."  The Cleveland Browns moved all around the in the first round before moving up to get Manziel at #22.  This is a good value pick and a good move by a franchise that desperately needs something to cheer for.  The Browns management has made it clear to everyone that they want him treated as a rookie that needs to come in and work for his spot--a back up spot at that.  With Brian Hoyer considered a journeyman at best, I'm not sure how long the Browns will be able to weather the call for their exciting back up QB to come in and turn on the magic!
Teddy Bridgewater was this year's "most NFL ready" quarterback, deemed by talking heads following the college season and into the longest NFL Draft season ever.  After failing to impress in his pro day, his stock dropped significantly, but the Minnesota Vikings still made him a first round pick, taking him at #32, the last of the day and round.  I have my own doubts about Bridgewater and was not part of the crowd that thought he was the best prepared for success.  I don't take away any of his accomplishments at Louisville and his production, but he isn't very big, not super elusive, and most of all I don't like how low his release is off his shoulder.  This will be a problem in the NFL, unless it is diagnosed and improved.
Aaron Murray and AJ McCarron went in back to back picks in the 5th round to the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively.  Both of these guys found good landing spots for themselves, as they will not have the same pressure as the others and can both play the game and be successful. 
One of the surprise moves was the New England Patriots taking Eastern Illinois prospect Jimmy Ga
rappolo with the 60th pick, before they had traded their long-time back up Ryan Mallett.  Rumors say they were close to dealing him to the Houston Texans, but that remains just that, rumor.
Overall, this was a very good class of QB's, some more ready than others to actually step in and be successful in the NFL, but where all the chips fell, it seemed that the teams that took the leap at QB, filled their needs very well!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Manziel is good--and scary

I really like to watch Johnny Football play football.  Johnny Manziel will most likely be a top 5 pick in next week's NFL draft and will sell many tickets to his new team's games and to many away games, much like Michael Jordan did in all the visiting cities his Chicago Bulls played in.
From a technical standpoint, he throws the ball really well.  He has the quickest release of all the QB's in the draft and has plenty of arm strength to be successful in the NFL.  Manziel's biggest problem is that much of what made him Johnny Football at Texas A&M is exactly what will make his NFL career an abbreviated one.  Mike Holmgren recently said he is a lot like Brett Favre and I agree very much.  Manziel's "gunslinging" style makes for great watching, but for big mistakes as well.  I believe Manziel is a better, more pure thrower than Favre and will make less mistakes overall.  It took Holmgren a long time to take some of Favre's wild plays out of his game and to a Super Bowl victory.  Favre continued to make great plays and some really bad ones as well as his career continued on what seemed like forever.  Unfortunately for Manziel, I think it is his overall style of play and lack of physical size (girth) that will give him a much shorter career than Favre, who played through much pain, but avoided the big injury that hit RGIII, the last phenom to hit the NFL.
I was wrong about Allen Iverson when he went into the NBA.  He had a much longer and better career than I thought he would.  But, I am not a basketball analyst and didn't play in the NBA.
Johnny Manziel will get drafted at or near the top of next week's draft.  He will be exciting as heck to watch. And God willing he will avoid the big injury, but like Michael Vick, who depended on his legs so much, Manziel will struggle to stay on the field full time.  So, whoever does draft him better really like their backup QB, because it's a good bet that he will be your starter more often than you would like.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

NFL Combine Quarterbacks 2014

The QB class of 2014 entering this year's NFL draft in May brought arguably more interest than any in recent years, especially with Johnny Manziel participating in the on-filed events except the throwing portion.
Teddy Bridgewater, still thought by many to be the most ready for the NFL, was in Indianapolis for the events as a bystander for the field events, but the other QB getting lots of attention was the lesser known quarterback from the University of Central Florida Blake Bortles.  Unlike Manziel and Bridgewater, Bortles has a prototypical NFL QB body and has a lot of athleticism to go along with it.  The biggest knock is that he didn't play against top-notch competition week in and week out in the American Athletic Conference.
I became a fan of his play as UCF found its way onto the television more often as the season progressed and he certainly showed well for himself in beating Baylor in his bowl game.
I don't think there are any questions with him and his abilities moving onto the highest level.  He is big, strong and athletic.  HIs arm strength is not a question, but his mechanics might be.  Looking at the photo from his combine throwing, he certainly takes the ball way too deep behind his head!  I haven't studied him enough to know if he does this all the time or just certain throws when he doesn't have his legs underneath him.  It can be fixed, but the QB coach that he lands with will need to know how to do it.
For our purposes here, know that the BEST way to throw the football is to keep the forearm vertical to the ground with the throwing hand directly on top of the elbow until the last second when the hand snaps toward the target, more like a boxer throwing a punch than reaching deep behind the head with the football.  This makes it much more difficult to get the ball's nose far enough around to fly properly.  Also, with a helmet and shoulder pads on, it makes it more difficult all around.  This "mistake" in his mechanics wouldn't be enough to stop me from drafting him, but it is a place for him to improve from now until his pro day!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Group QB Training Begins Following Super Bowl

Small group quarterback training will begin on the Sunday following the Super Bowl February 9th at 4 PM.
Contact Jeff Carlson for further information.

Brady, Pats Blow Conversion Call and Game

In last year's Super Bowl, down to the final play, the 49ers opt for an all-or-nothing "fade" route to Michael Crabtree.  Everyone knows that didn't end well for the Niners.  It is a bad philosophy to call a play with only one option when you are down to your last play.  The 49ers should have rolled out their extremely athletic QB Colin Kaepernick and given him 3 or 4 receiving options (Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin aren't bad choices either) as well as Crabtree doing something other than a fade.  The 49ers weren't down to their final play in this year's NFC Championship game with the Seahawks, but their season ended in eerily similar fashion again, but this time it was Richard Sherman on a deep "go" route, tipping the ball away and sending Seattle to the Super Bowl.
In the AFC Championship, the Patriots were attempting to make another dramatic comeback from a large deficit to the Broncos and needed to convert a 2 point conversion to give them a chance to get within a two score difference.  I don't know who made the ultimate call, but Josh McDaniels is the offensive coordinator, so the blame has to fall to him unless someone else steps up and says something.  The Patriots took the ball out of Tom Brady's hands and handed it to a running back on what also has to be considered an all-or-nothing play.  Failing to convert and the game was certainly lost.  Brady is arguably the game's best signal-caller and willed his team to many wins this past season.  To call a play where any missed block means defeat and also handing the ball off from shot-gun reduces the success rate even further, was derelict and a complete coaching mistake.  Obviously, since these "mistakes" are being made at the NFL level, I shouldn't be surprised to see it at other levels, but let us all learn that when you have Tom Brady or any other QB in the backfield, when you are down to the last play of the game or similar situation, give your team a much better chance at success by rolling out and giving your QB 3 or 4 options to win instead of only one.  It hasn't worked out for the 49ers or the Patriots in some of the biggest games in recent years!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bucs Make Great Move, Bears Don't

After another disappointing season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parted ways with both their head coach and their general manager.  In a very quick turnaround move, they have signed their former linebacker coach Lovie Smith.  Smith also coached the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, losing to his friend and former head coach Tony Dungy.
This fast hiring by the Buccaneers seems to be a great move and will make it hard for any dissenters, but he will have to make a great hire to run the offense, which if reports are true, will be former Cal-Berkeley Head Coach Jeff Tedford.  This also seems to be a good move, on paper at least.
Tony Dungy is credited with turning around one of the worst franchises in NFL (pro sports) history and taking them to within one game of the Super Bowl in 1999.  His downfall was the lack of offense any of his coordinators could or were allowed to muster throughout his tenure, finally be fired after falling in the playoffs  to the Philadelphia Eagles by a wider margin than the previous year.  Dungy's philosophy of "keeping it close until the 4th quarter" was one that I think was ultimately did him in and hope that Lovie Smith learned that that belief system is just enough to get you beat in the most important games.  When Dungy's fantastic defensive mind and schemes met up with Peyton Manning's offensive genius, the Lombardi Trophy was finally won.
On another front, the Chicago Bears announced the 7 year contract extension for quarterback Jay Cutler.  While I don't have the long term answer at QB for the Bears, on the surface, this just seems to be a bad choice for the Bears organization.  Maybe the length of it is tied to the bonus and doesn't really hamstring them financially after a year or two, but Cutler really hasn't shown that he has the intangibles to lead any team to great heights.  Sure he has ability.  He can throw some throws as well as anybody in the league.  But, he can also throw many throws like Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo.  Clutch player, great leader are not the adjectives that first come to mind when you talk about those players or Jay Cutler.
Today's winners are long-suffering Bucs fans and the players that will play for Lovie Smith!