Tag Archives: NFL quarterback

NFL17: A Patriots Peer, It’s Back To Top-Tier or These Packers Turn Flat-Beer

28 Mar

Pretendership: It’s an NFL station most Green Bay Packers devotees have never knelt before in prayer for guidance and delivery. Anyone rooting for the Acme club yet having no recollection of the play that made John Brockington and Lynn Dickey house-hold names in the badger state is probably in that blessed group.

But that’s for later.

For now, just imagine rooting for an NFL team, one that not only wins most of its regular season games but will have on display any given year a future Cantonese or two roaming the turf, that for most of your conscious life has been an NFL contender. Imagine that. Easy enough for New England Patriots faithful but for the rest of fandom it’s a little hard to picture even in the mind’s eye.

Twenty-five years of pretty much football bliss in Northeastern Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, thanks in large part to two men (GMs), four if you count the coaches (Holmgren / McCarthy), six if you include the QBs (Favre / Rodgers).

Sure, there were some struggles, a few 8-8s seasons, even a couple losing campaigns, but there was always an easy scapegoat to find (Ray Rhodes, Mike Sherman, Bill Schroeder) and soon enough the Good Ship Green & Yellow would find its contender course again and all was ship-shape.

The Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson Packers have never dominated the sport as did former Green Bay juggernauts under Vince Lombardi (60s) or founding father Curly Lambeau (20-40s) but playoff births have been nearly automatic since 1992 and the two Super Bowl victories (1997 & 2011) have given the period of prosperity a legitimacy that can only come with championships.

While the Patriots recent reign of championships is incomparable in this still newish century of play, it’s not hyperbole to write that it is actually the Packers, hang with me here, by way of a crafty continuity in success that’ve been the more impressive of NFL’s two most juggernautious franchises these past 25 years.

Sure, New England coaching genius Bill Belichick and his sure-to-be 1st ballot HOF quarterback extraordinaire in Tom Brady are likely the most terrific title tandem in the Super Bowl era (See also; Noll & Bradshaw, Landry & Staubach, Walsh & Montana), but the manners in which both Wolf and then Thompson engineered their respective coach – QB tandems-in-terrificness are the templates in ‘How To,’ 1) Acquire a diamond-in-the-rough bench-warmer (Brett (ATL)), and 2) draft a replacement (Aaron) for a living legend.

Just imagine, two consecutive GMs who respectively displayed an expertise in post-draft patience (Ron) and then prediction on player longevity (Ted), that player in Favre being, to Wisconsin sports fans, next to God, making it very risky business to draft any heir apparent in 2005 (Aaron).

Wolf’s persistence and then shrewd calculation in extracting Favre from Atlanta’s roster in trading a #1 pick (respectful enough to get their interest but not so generous to get ’em wondering) should be an example to every GM and fantasy fan, i.e., that post-draft follow-up can be of greater value than draft day doings.

And Thompson, in showing Brett the door by drafting the Berkeley Bear Rodgers in 2005, took one humongous gamble. To appreciate just how bold a move it was you have know just how popular was the man from Southern Miss.

Directly north up in Wisconsin, Favre was bigger than Lombardi had ever been, in part because every female sport fan in America’s Dairyland had become enamored with the dude. And that’s putting it mildly.

You think Tom Brady’s huge in 2017? He is, but Brett Favre was huger. Hell, Brett was bigger than the NFL. The Green Bay Renaissance that he and his team fashioned, back-to-back Super Bowls and plenty o’ playoff action, briefly put them in the America’s Team seat, after the Aikman Cowboys disbanded, a starry status that played no small role in facilitating formation of the still budding international game in the early 2000s (Mexico City (05), London (07)).

Consider that when “Onslow (Geoff Hughes)” dons Packers gear on the hit British TV comedy, Keeping Up Appearances (1990-95),” it’s not because of NFL rules changes or networks addition of female sideliners. It was Favre, plain & simple.

So if Rodgers doesn’t pan out when handed the offensive reins in 2008, Ted probably gets run out of paper-mill country on a rail, figuratively speaking, after hustling out the family dog first (See; Devine ‘74). But instead, the pan turned up gold and Ted will get a street named after himself, if he hasn’t already.

“Mississippi,” as Falcons Jerry Glanville referred to the rookie QB in smirk, had a couple good seasons left in the tank when he exited Lambeau: An injury-affected Jets campaign (10-6) and two seasons with arch-rival Minnesota, the first in 2009 which would be his best single statistical show and see the Vikes fall to the Bounty-gate Saints in the NFCC10-OT and finale when he dragged himself back for one more go before hanging up his Canton-bound cleats.

♫ Shades of Mediocrity ♫

Mercurial might aptly describe the 2016-17 Green Bay Packers.

Hovering around .500 to the midway, then going three (losses) in the hole, the Pack found some consistency the rest of the way (6 + 2PS) until getting stomped in the NFCC at Mercedes-Benz (Georgia) Dome (44-21 (24-0 H)).

The party isn’t over, not by a long shot, not while perennial MVP entry Aaron Rodgers has his legs underneath and maintains his pin-point passing precision. But some of the good-times have started to head for the exits and a few of those that remain are looking a bit green around the gills (gulp).

One of those always in attendance is the Green Bay defense. It’s a curiosity for even as they helped raise a Lombardi for head coach Mike McCarthy in 2011, it’s also a unit that’s looked wather wobbly since the Reggie White – George Koonce – Sean Jones – LeRoy Butler bunch broke-up.

Team ranks tell the tale. In 2016, the Green figured about where they usually do in the McCarthy era, 22nd in yards allowed per game (364), 21st in points (24+). In the NFCC17 those middling marks came home to roost as Atlanta feasted.

At the center of the defensive scheme has been The Hair, sack-minded linebacker Clay Matthews. Never a top tackler, perplexing for a middle-man, Clay’s numbers have been trending down since that Super season to the point where real value should be a real question for GB staff. He does make a fun soup commercial.

The run game, as party-goers go, hasn’t had much to say lately.

The weighty part of the ball-carry was spending most of its time at the buffet. But Lacy’s gone now and won’t find better eats in the greater Seattle metro, that is unless you really like salmon. And maybe that‘s the point. Bon appétit, Eddie.

Ty Montgomery (2y-SU) filled the void nicely in 2016, for a time, then faded late, 2010 draftee James Starks was not re-signed of , another 2d-yr. in big guy (6’1 255) Aaron Ripkowski (Sooner) will full-back just fine (4.4 – 2td), F/A pick-up Don Jackson (Nevada) had 10 carries last year while former Seahawk Christine Michaels was inked to a deal but has much to prove (9-GS from 2013 (4.3)).

Finding replacements, not mockery, is why the draft matters.

And then there’s Mike ‘What Have You Done For Us Lately’ McCarthy.

Coaching the Green Bay Packers, an early NFL entrant (1921) with accolades enough to fill a cruise liner (sink it along with its Captain in rough waters), is like riding a tiger: When times is good, everybody purrs, but when the champagne rarely flows, the big kitty pitches a fit and sometimes eats its own (gulp).

Mike’s got a monkey on his back clutching an NFCC runner-up trophy in symbol of GB’s disaster known as Cheese-Melt 2015. Packers 1st half lead frittered away and overtime nailed their coffin shut as the Seahawks returned to the Super.

Mike McCarthy has been suffering the “slings and arrows” of regional critics with no return trip to the Big Game. But the rather disappointing playoff runs, enabled by a rather terrific career regular mark (.651), is just part of a pattern he’s displayed since being hired to replace Mike Sherman in 2006. Some good years, a few pedestrian and patience, more patience.

There’s only one Bill Belichick, folks.

Mike’s big mistake was caving to pressure after the Melt to concede offensive play-call, a concession he…revoked (?) at last season’s midpoint. Trust then becomes an issue. But remember, MM turned Packers back into champions when all looked discombobulated, six (6) years after the guy who was prone to sideline temper tantrums left for the State of Washington.

It wasn’t easy filling Favre’s sizable shoes…wait…come to think of it, it actually was pretty easy for Thompson. But Brett was bigger than life and there’s only been one mobile pocket-passer the likes of Mr. Rodgers, a player who, as he will enter his thirteenth (13) NFL summer camp shortly, I’d give four (4) 1Rs in trade today if by some fluke he became free and I a GM in need.

Such a smooth succession in kingly QBs in Packerland in pass of the bejeweled scepter of signal-caller royalty, the Patriots (Belichick – Brady) have not yet displayed. Course, they haven’t had the need. When Tom retires, likely same time Bill hangs up his headset, we’ll see how they do it in Foxborough.

But the Pack are on the championship clock. They need to return to elite status in 2017 (12-4) or their royal carriage may turn pumpkin before anyone expects it.

Last season’s road to the Halas Trophy (NFCC) was not exactly strewn with pot-holes in serious contenders. It was more like the E-ZPass® highway.

The Atlanta Falcons were the real deal in 2016-17 yet may still feel the reel this upcoming campaign from their colossal collapse in SB51.

To write that the rest of the NFC was deficient would be an understatement.

Though much ballyhooed after a W1 loss to the Giants, the Cowboys much anticipated playoff turned Texas-sized soufflé in loss at home to Green Bay; G-Men and Lions proved pretenders, not because they lost in the PS which, by itself is no fraud, but in both getting shellacked; Seattle, never quite the same since losing SB49, gave one of those shellackings (DET) but then got one themselves (ATL); and while Tampa surged to respectability, Redskins never got rhythm, Vikes were extra-mercurial (6-0), Panthers licked their wounds all season (SB50 – L) and pre-season hopeful Arizona never got going.

Residence in the once vaunted North divsion, f/k/a Black & Blue, always boosts the Packers pre-season rank which sits just under Atlanta as NFC favorites, ahead of Seattle (Lacy ≠ Lynch), then Arian’s Cardinals sure to rebound, the Giants, Lions, Dallas who won’t surprise in 2017, D-Vikes, maturing Bucs and sometimes capable conundrums in Redskins, Eagles, Saints and Carolina.

Procuring a reliable run-game is not the challenge that is finding a top-flight, resilient pocket passer, but good ball-carriers don’t grow on trees, either.

Letting lunch-a-lot Lacy exit looks prudent now, but if McCarthy, Thompson and OC in former GB ball-carrier Edgar Bennett cannot in trade or late-April draft find that impactful runner(s) to spell Rodgers and give opposing DCs a ground-attack to diagram, and then the bodies to shore-up a defense that too often turns leaky in rough waters, Packers will continue to get bounced too early from playoffs, Mike will get pink-slipped with no contribution to anyone’s awareness and this era of exuberance will creep to a close, great QB, notwithstanding.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: A.Rodgers-M.McCarthy, wc.cca, M.Morbeck, 9.9.12; Packers-print, wc, 1959; B.Belichick, wc, K.Allison, 8.28.09; A.Rodgers, wc, M.Morbeck, 12.7.08; Minnesota-Vikings-GreenBay-Packers, P.Loadholt-C.Matthews, wc, 11.14.11, M.Morbeck; M.McCarthy, TJ.Grant, wc, 8.11.07; NFL-symbol, wikiproject, Ixnay-Beao
Posted: 3.28.17 @ 11:39am EST, edit 11:01; 3.31; Copyright © 2017

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NFL16 Cherry Picks W4: Presidents, Field Generals & Super Chiefs

28 Sep

One down, two to go. Phew!

With the first presidential debate of Election 2016 now in the books* and media spin-cycle on full-tilt, this NFL fan got to thinking about the prestigious prize Dollar Don and Capital Hill are both eyeing, the Commander-in-Chief job (adjustable hat included), and then what it takes once you’ve been voted the reins of leadership to make it a memorable tenure.

This phase in the Oval Office Chase is a little like the playoffs in sport: The TV camera test for the candidates is a whole ‘nother season, with both contenders starting over at 0-0.

On a gaffe (Ford, “No Soviet domination of E.Europe,” Carter using Amy as a “nuclear arms” standard (76), Dukakis playing opossum in failing to dress-down question-poser Bernard Shaw (CNN) for needlessly making Mike’s wife Kitty part of a crass death penalty hypo (“raped and murdered“) (‘88) and Papa Bush checking his watch (‘92)), a lead in the polls can evaporate faster than a fat NFL lead at the half (Swing Time), just as the candidate who tosses a tight, talking spiral for TD can make-up a poll deficit quicker than Tom Brady finds pay-dirt.

ford-851k-wc-grfl-1933-umFootball forensics aside, an NFL quarterback won’t bear near, nor near beer, the burdens of our Chief Executive, to be sure. He is, however, often referred to as a field general, empowered to muster his offensive troops in a Ulysses S. Grant-like forward-thrusting campaign to gain territory and vanquish an opponent. That’s the plan, anyway.

On the other hand, it’s also fair to say that while Presidents can sadly suffer the greatest of physical harm (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, JFK (JV squad Harvard), Reagan wounded), rarely, if ever, must they bear the weight of a 200+ lbs, muscled-out, charging defender landing on his person as does Joe Quarterback.

In truth, QBs and CICs are pretty much worlds apart in the duties department. They do, however, have one thing in common: As Big Kahunas, both get the credit in victory, nearly all the blame in a loss.

So with that as backdrop, it’s a champion time to honor all those who bear lonely burden of leadership, in whatever endeavor, but here in particular, today’s top NFL field generals teamed with our nation’s finest Presidents over these past 240, both who’ve supped the champagne yet most certainly “suffer(ed) the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (Hamlet (de Vere)).”

Note: No QBRs have been referenced (I can read a stat-line) and no greenhorns considered (R -> 2y). As in politics, top candidates must be vetted and the highs & lows assessed with a dispassionate eye in order to gain a substantive read.

America’s Best Signal-Callers

brady-8-28-9-k-allison-wc-cca-2m-dc1) Tom Brady: New England Patriots, pocket-passer;

FDR: The only Commander-in-Chief besides the Cherry-chopper who could’ve been king (4x), his economic vision (New Deal) prescribed emergency medicine in seriously Depressed times, taking federal policy beyond simply feeding the greed, then he and his wife Eleanor undertook to save the world (WW2);

2) Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers, mobile-PP;

Lincoln: Made the union whole, more human and gave his life in the process;

3) Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers, mobile-PP

Washington: Iconic leader who led world’s first revolt against Imperium slavery since Spartacus (d.71 BC), gave the new office stature and nation a good start;

4) Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints, pocket-passer

Jackson: Old Hickory was the first non-elitist President who fought Indians, British invaders, banker thugs and brought the people and democracy to DC;

wilson-edithbolling-galt-wc-11m-6-1920-harrisewing-loc5) Eli Manning: New York Giants, pocket-passer

Wilson: Professor President (1856 – 24) with steely resolve to make America a world leader in war (WW1) and peace (LoN), whose 2nd wife Edith (Ellen) co-ruled after his stroke (1919) making her unofficially the first female U.S. President (1872 – 61);

6) Joe Flacco: Baltimore Ravens, pocket-passer

JFK: He saved planet Earth (CMC (’62)) and then lost his life in the risky battle against entrenched power;

7) Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks, mobile-manager

Cleveland: Should’ve been first 3-term Prez, designing the template for modern-era “government of the people, by the people, for the people;”

8) Phil Rivers: San Diego Chargers, pocket-passer

Jefferson: Crafty Purchase (Lou.) doubled nation’s size decades after he drafted America’s Declaration of Independence (‘76) and our first public college (UV);

lbj-fdr-allred-5-12-37-wc-259k-nara9) Alex Smith: Kansas City Chiefs, manager-PP

LBJ: Mis-policy in foreign war (Vietnam) did not derail efforts of this legislative juggernaut in making civil rights reality and honoring America’s seniors;

10) Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons, pocket-passer

Polk: Pragmatic, fiscally sound and productive, James was Mr. Manifest Destiny, adding thirteen (13) States in whole or part to America’s family of stars. Worn to the bone, he died 3 months post-term;

11) Andy Dalton: Cincinnati Bengals, pocket-passer

Truman: Plain-talking, former farmer, WWI major, haberdasher and pianist (Bacall) proved critics & premature press-men (Chicago Tribune, etc.) wrong with a strong, spirited & common sense administration;

12) Tony Romo: Dallas Cowboys, pocket-passer

Teddy: “Big Stick” policy boosts US clout, trust-bust sent checks monopoly-greed and initiates our national parks system. Celebrity turned progressive;

teddy-wc-loc-thmRounding Out Top 15

13) Cam Newton: Carolina, run-QB / James Madison;
14) Carson Palmer: Arizona, PP / Andrew Johnson;
15) Andrew Luck: Colts, mobile-PP / William McKinley

 

cherries-ripe-chirak-wc-605k-6-24-7Cherry Picks Week 4: “Nothing to fear but fear itself”

Miami (1-2) @ Cincy (1-2): 9.29 NFLN 8:25: Bengals win
Seattle (2-1) @ NY Jets (1-2): 10.2 Fox 1:00: ‘Hawks win
Bills (1-2) @ New England (3-0): CBS 1:00: Patriots win
Carolina Panthers (1-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-1) (GTW): Panthers win
Oakland Raiders (2-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-0) (GTW): Ravens win
Denver Broncos (3-0) @ Tampa Bay Bucs (1-2): CBS 4:05: Buccaneers win
Los Angeles Rams (2-1) @ Arizona Cards (1-2) (GTW): Fox 4:25: AZ wins
New Orleans Saints (0-3) @ San Diego Chargers (1-2): Fox 4:25: Saints win
Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) @ Pittsburgh (2-1) (GTW): NBC 8:30: Steelers win
NYG (2-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-0) (GTW): 10.3 ESPN 8:30: Giants win

Record: 14 – 17

* No clear winner from Monday night’s dialectic (WU in STL), though, there was little debate in the contest directly South in the Big Easy (ATL 45-32). But as Ms. Clinton, pre-debate poll leader, former White House decorator (1992-00) and of a much lengthier political résumé than her veritable newcomer opponent in Mr. Trump, her failure to deliver a haymaker of sorts might give the Don the win on points. But there are more rounds to go and whomever claims victory in this first foray had better not rest on their laurels and come out swinging-with-style in the next. Like NFL16, it’s still anyone’s fight to win or lose, i.e., wide open.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL Hunch Line
Photo credits: G.Cleveland, wc.cca, 1903, Library-of-Congress, F.Gutekunst; G.Ford, wc, GRFL, 1933, UM; T.Brady, wc, 8.28.9, K.Allison, DC; W.Wilson, Edith-Bolling-Galt-Wilson, wc, Harris&Ewing, 6.1920; Edith-Bolling-Galt-Wilson, First-Lady, 1915-21, wc, LoC; FDR-Allred-LBJ, wc, 5.12.37, NARA; T. Roosevelt, wc, LoC; cherries-ripe, wc, Chirak, 6.24.7; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 9.27.16 @ 9:22pm, edit @ 11:38 EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: No Herschel Heist (’89), But ‘Holy Crap,’ Vikes!

5 Sep

The Herschel Walker deal. If you followed NFL football 25 years ago you know what those words mean.

The Minnesota Vikings, specifically, their brain-trust of Mike Lynn (GM), head coach Jerry Burns and owner Max Winter, bet a good share of the fjord (farm) on the Dallas Cowboys All-Pro ball-carrier in hopes it would put ‘em over the top, i.e., get the Norsemen back on the Super stage.

The date: October 12, 1989.

The details: Vikings received former Heisman-winner Herschel Walker (UGA), who’d run wild in the defunct USFL (5562 (3)) and vacillated from exquisite to pedestrian in parts of four seasons with Dallas (3), plus four mid-round draftees (J. Reed). Cowboys got five Purple players and an armload of draft picks, most conditional but realized as three (3) 1Rs, three (3) 2Rs, a 3R and 6R., a pool from which toppers Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson and Emmitt Smith were had.

The general impression of the day? Lots o’ shock and a bit of awe.

..........Spielman.wc.8.4.14.M.Deery.wideMy personal take: Gilding the lily or, in those famous words of Elizabethan penmeister Edward de Vere (Shake-a-Spear), the Norsemen were “add(ing) another hue unto the rainbow (King John (1590s)).”

Talented Vikes had been knocking on the door the season prior, making NFCC and taking eventual winner DC down to the wire, unable to punch it in as final seconds ticked off. Darrin Nelson was their top ground-man (6-800 / 4.5+ per) and had a fine QB in Wade Wilson, a stout line (Zimmerman, Lowdermilk & Irwin), All-Pro TE Steve Jordan and all-everything in Anthony Carter. D wasn’t too shabby either with padded-up Pro Joey Browner in the secondary, Studwell & Solomon in the middle and pass-rush ruffians Chris Doleman and Keith Millard.

Pretty nice “rainbow.”

The result: Herschel was competent in his 2.75 years in purple (4.1 (3.2 PS (89))), but then so was Nelson. Some say he wasn’t employed properly. And that’d be balderdash. Imagine Gale Sayers, Chuck Foreman or Jerome Bettis failing to be used properly. Not possible. Hersch was rated the same (1514 (‘88)). When the handwriting was on the wall, Walker ran like he’d hit that wall and showed no interest in scaling it, not in Minneapolis.

Dallas parlayed 3-4 of Minnesota’s umpteen players & picks into key contributors to three Super Bowl wins in the 90s. Good but not a great result, and even then could’ve just as easily produced nothing of serious value.

..........Walker.5.14.10.wc.USArmy.J.VannucciDrafts are always a dice roll, regardless of research and pre-draft hype. Just as often as not, no matter the # of selections, any draft can be a bust, resulting in few or no long-term player benefits for the club.

More than the benefits Dallas received from Minnesota’s largesse, due in credit to the Cowboys and luck, it was the high expectations for Walker, poured by Jones and guzzled up by Minnesota dealers, that went unfulfilled and borne by the Vikings, which constitutes the crux of this historical trade.

And that’s the backdrop for what transpired last week on the NFL wheeler-dealer front, to offer some perspective on Saturday’s surprising Sam Bradford deal engineered between the Vikings current brain-trust in Rick Spielman (GM), Mike Zimmer (HC) and owner Zygi Wilf, and the Eagles inner-circle of Howie Roseman (GM), head coach Doug Pederson and their owner Jeff Lurie.

You can’t say Philly got a Herschel haul like Dallas did, getting two draft picks and cash (1R (‘17) + 4R (18) + $7M ($18M)), or that Minnesota mortgaged their future on the 6th-year signal-caller from OKC, (b.1987) as they did in 1989. But to those fans with a long memory, the vibrations that emanate from this present song will strike familiar flat notes with the former ditty of disaster.

.........Bradford.wc.USEmbassyLondon.thm.10.23.12Sam’s got real upside, there’s no doubt about that.

He’s a quality pocket-passer in his prime, more NFL vetted than was Walker. When healthy, he averages 3500+ pass, C% 60+ and a 20-13 TD-ratio. Not elite #s but solid, enough to help get one to the Conference title.

Bradford’s downside is that he’s injury-prone, beginning at close of his college days in Norman (UO) and a state which has subtracted time from two of his five pro campaigns (2010 / ‘13). One more concern not so easily quantified as injury debits and TD credits is Sam’s leadership level, more specifically, clutch capability. A question (?) mark.

Most perplexing and vexing about Minnesota’s adding Bradford, as too in the Walker case, is its arguable non-necessity. No gilding the lily here but the need is questionable because the quarterback spot appeared already well in-hand with veteran field general Shaun Hill’s patient presence on Vikings’ roster.

Some media report that Hill has been penciled-in as Vikings’ Week 1 starter.

The 10-year QB who’s been clip-boarding and offering insights to the project that has proven to be TD-challenged Ted Bridgewater, had been prepared for just such a circumstance yet couldn‘t have expected he’d be used merely as a bridge-QB, to bide time for a newly signed rosteree in Bradford to get acclimated.

.........Hill.wc.10.4.15.J.Beall.738kLoyalty is no favored virtue today, neither is composure (v. panic), but Hill under center gave Minnesota an experienced, proven presence in what could be Adrian Peterson‘s swan song in Land of 10,000 Lakes.

When given the opportunity, Shaun Hill has proven a quite capable matriculator.

The Maryland Terrapin began in brief with the Vikes in 2005, then moved to San Fran. As a starter for parts of 3 seasons he compiled what could be called an impressive rookie record in W-L (10-6), C% 62+, TD-ratio (23-11) and pass (3400+). That was a 49ers club that, like this current Minnesota group, was building to contendership (Singletary to Harbaugh) while his next stop was in Detroit which hasn’t had an NFL title since Bobby Layne.

As to Mr. Bridgewater, sidelined for the 2016 season with an ACL tear, he’s gotta’ be scratching his head as well.

It’s one thing to have your back-up fill the breach when you go down but to bring in a hired-gun still in prime, that can change the 2017 dynamic drastically, depending on the Vikes 2016 and if Ted returns in-tact, not unlikely given the wonders worked by today’s surgeons (See; All-Day (ACL)).

......Bridgewater.8.4.14.wc.M.Deery.6.5mCommentators must remember to tailor their views in knowledge they are not often privy to all facts and devilish details which imbue these sort of deals (moi). But as that wise Assyrian named Ahikar wrote many centuries ago, ‘a sparrow in thy hand is better than a thousand sparrows flying (Wikipedia)’ or an Eagle who went 7-7 (25-37) with 14 INTs. Put another way, ‘If it works, don’t fix it,’ Mr. Spielman.

If this deal proves a win-win for both teams, that’s just terrific. God knows Philly and Minnesota could use some good fortune.

While Eagles roll the dice in going all-in on rookie Carson Wentz who’s cut his QB-teeth on FCS competition (NDSU), then enticed Vikings to bite by assuming lion’s share of Bradford’s 2016 pay ($11M ($18M)), it’s the Purple who engage a slightly more risky game of chance in the Bradford deal in betting multiple top draft picks in apparent pass on a ready n’ able substitute in Mr. Hill.

Curses don’t exist except in minds of the malleable. The many misfortunes borne by NFL’s Minnesota franchise come not from boogie-men and demonic spells, nor a lack of generally wise management (2009 pick-up of Brett Favre, while costly in salary, proved sage (NFCC10), for a season, anyway), but instead from the lack of two All-Pro virtues: Patience and trust.

Of course, knowing when to make “adjustments (SB4)” and employing the art of tackling (NFCC 1999, ‘01) rank pretty high on that list, too.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Vikings, wc.cca, wordmark, 2004; R.Spielman, wc, M.Deery, 8.4.14; H.Walker, wc, USArmy, 5.14.10, J.Vannucci; H.Walker, RepPeterson, wc, 5.5.4, wc, PE4Life; Viktor, wc, M.Mekuk, 11.7.10, MN-NG; S.Bradford, wc, 10.23.12, USEmbassyLondon; S.Hill, wc, 10.4.15, J.Beall;
Posted: 9.5.16 @ 2:32am EST; Copyright © 2016

Inking Kaep Krusader & RG3: ‘Strange Destiny’ or ‘Experiment(s) Perilous?’

6 Apr

It’s a strange destiny that has brought me to this new life, a new home (“Ben-Hur (C.Heston)” speaking to a gathering in celebration at the house of his adopted father Counsel “Quintus Arrius (J.Hawkins) (Ben-Hur (‘59))”).

Or…

Life is short, art long, decision difficult and experiment perilous (Hippocrates & “N. Bederaux (Lukas)” in movie by the same phrase (Experiment Perilous (44)).”

Rome would prove a strange place for “Judah” to call home.

Formerly enslaved on a charge of attempted murder upon the Governor (his jailed sister “Tirzah” the true culprit) then freed for saving the life of an Admiral (“Quintus Arrius”), the City was capital of the vast Italian empire and base for the army which occupied his own land of Judea.

Likewise, the Forest City on the banks of Lake Erie, even with it’s industrious people who ♫ rock ♫ the cradle in the State that theoretically gave birth to pro football (See; Canton, AAFC, NFL, etc.), could not have been where Bob Griffin even imagined a residence 4 years back when his newborn NFL career took it’s first baby steps in our own nation’s capital, DC.

I’m the metaphor guy, what can I say?

.....RG3.Baylor.8.15.9.wc.Caesarscott.thmBut like the charmed chariot racer and Christian convert “Ben-Hur,” Cleveland’s newest add-on at the quarterback spot in the former Heisman hoister and Redskins’ hopeful (2y, $15M), Rob too may find his new home provides the place where he can re-charge his battery to power a similar rebirth in spirit and success, sans any grizzly bone-crushing horse-trample (See: “Messala (S.Boyd)”). Ouch!

The Brownies and their Super Bowl starved fans sure hope so. It’s been a downhill ride ever since Bernie Kosar (‘92) and then the original team left town for the Crab Cake City in 1995.

What may be more surprising than where Bob has ended up is how last season played-out in DC, or more correctly, didn’t play-out for Washington’s former starter as he didn’t take nary a snap in Redskins regular slate.

After starting summer camp fit & ready to re-prove himself (All-Pro ‘12), Bob got concussed in a pre-season contest where Detroit coach Jim Caldwell apparently had his felines go full-tilt and Bob got his bell rung hard. The Sporting Gods were not all too pleased with Lions’ decision-making and as they will often do sent bad karma the offender’s way in-season (1-7 start, W13 L-GB, Calvin exit, etc.).

.....Cousins.7.31.12.wc.cca.K.Allison.thumbThat’s all it took for coach Jay Gruden to insert the man who’d prove to be the season long #1 in Kirk Cousins who made most of his opportunity by leading ‘Skins to a 9-7 mark, NFC East title, playoff birth and Fatty Arbuckle-wide stats.

So girthy were the digits (70C%, 29t-11, 4166y) that KC & Agency have been engaged in an off-season duel of contract-swords with owner Dan Snyder over how much coin the new franchise face will collect. Corked tips, of course, nobody wants blood.

Considering that Kirk played for relatively (pro) peanuts his first 4 years ($2.5M) and that we’re presently and likely to remain in a seller’s market for pro-style NFL signal-callers for some time, the man from Holland, Michigan who’s set to turn 28 in August should get a princely sum.

Ask Bob about Kirk’s situation and he’d likely not begrudge his former ‘mate the moolah and the same opportunity to succeed as he received in 2012-13 when hope was springing eternal for the former Baylor Bear.

.....Manziel.8.2.14.ED.Drost.wc.thmb.headThe Browns signed the now well-rested if a bit rusty RG3 to a widening QB klatch in Cleveland that no longer includes Jon Manziel who unfortunately probably disdains the java brew, benefits & all.

So where does Robert stand (sit) in the depth chart?

Checking in with Ourlads.com “NFL scouting services,” Bob sits at #2 behind last season’s early starter Josh McCown (1-7, 64C%, 12t-4i) and ahead of Austin Davis (0-2, 59.6C%), Connor Shaw and Pat Devlin. Johnny ‘Uh-Oh’ Manziel (2-4, 57.8C%, 7-5) was released in March, maybe on his Tebow-esque techniques (2-4, 57.8C%, 7t-5, 37ra-230), sans the wins, but more likely on as his juvenile and addictive mental states.

Josh is bit toothy, set to turn 37 in July and has not made the most of his chances in five stops (18-39, 59.5C%, 73t-63i) AZ, OAK, CHI, TB, CLE). But he’s always had good size (6’4), mechanics and must be saying the right things because coaches keep giving him a shot. In his defense, the teams he’s led have been short on top talent. Cleveland in 2016 is not much different.

All that means Bob has a good chance of becoming Browns 20th (+/-) starting QB (10 HCs) since post-Kosar. On opposite end of success spectrum, Packers have had just two, Favre and Rodgers (Flynn 6gs). But that’s anomaly cheese.

.....Jackson.8.12.8.wc.K.Allison.thmWhether or not Bob earns the starter’s job in autumn, and I’m confident Browns’ brass expressed it as such and Griffin agreed, it will likely come eventually. Whomever gets the nod in September the pressure to win will be high at FirstEnergy Stadium, as unrealistic an expectation as that my be with the current roster.

The Browns have more holes than a nightshirt come April (I’ll be damned if I can’t find a pair of quality long-johns anywhere at any price anymore) and first year head coach Hue Jackson will have his hands full.

Hue will need to utilize every bit of offensive know-how in strategy and development to get the Brownies scoring game in gear. In 2015 Cleveland ranked 25th in ygpg (331.9), just two spots behind the QB-set Packers (#23 / 334) and 30th in ppg (17.4), topping the terrible Cowboys (17.2) and 49ers (14.9). Browns didn’t fare much better on the D-side where returning DC Ray Horton will be expected to shore things up (CLE ‘13 (TN ‘14-15)), coming in at 27 (379 / yapg) and 29 (27 papg) in the key components.

Will Cleveland draft a QB in May? Best guess, no, late Rd possible, of course. Instead expect them to plug top picks elsewhere, especially that the collegiate QB talent pool’s been rated shallow this time around. Rated, not necessarily reality.

If & when Bob does happen to win the starter’s job, big question on most minds will be what style of quarterbacking will he and his coaches implement?

.....RG3.LBoyd.MGreen.USMC-NY.wc.4.26.12.thmWill he work in the office, behind the line of scrimmage, refine his read skills and learn to love the pocket or will he go back on the road and revert to the run mode that served him well at Baylor and his rookie campaign when he scampered for 800+ and led Redskins to 10-6?

Wise answer: The former, no matter the learning curve. His knee can’t handle the latter, not for long, anyway.

The prediction: Something in-between, a half-measure which’ll prove impotent. But life’s full of surprises and maybe Hue has one or two up his sleeve.

Old dogs, new tricks

Bob’s still fairly young in NFL terms (26) but like Shane (A.Ladd) said, “Man has to be what he is, can’t break the mold…the brand sticks.” That’s a high drama and flowed from a situation much hairier than Bob’s, but it does hold true most often for mature athletes, as well.

Once a flash-QB, always a flash QB.

There’s a stubbornness, an arrogance-in-athleticism, fed by the occasional burst of brilliance or playoff run, that will likely inhibit the conversion from run-under-pressure to cool-as-cucumber in the pocket. Those hunker skills are honed over time, a process starting in Jr. High when you learn to brave the first hard hits and fight natural instinct to rabbit. It’s a long, painful, educational process, not something you just pick-up spending a few extra hours in the film room on Wednesday before your next shoe-wear photo-shoot. Only those dedicated to the switch will survive and thrive. Maybe that’s Bob.

.....Kaep.2.3.13.wc.cca.Au.Kirk.thumbAnd it’s why Denver might be wiser to take a pass on the Colin Kaepernick deal, Super defense aside. But then maybe finding, fashioning that elusive good fit ain’t exactly keeping John Elway awake at nights anyway, feeling his oats & all after piecing together a team that made one of the best championship runs in NFL annals.

After letting Peyton retire (showing him the door?), arguably greatest QB in history, one I believe wanted to be ‘wanted back’ for one more, hopefully healthy and celebratory season in Broncos blue & orange (It’s just not the same on the links), and then parting ways with a ready-man starter in Brock Osweiler who should’ve been reminded that he will not be passing to J.J. Watt in Houston colors, the Mustangs seem…content.

Denver’s defense has Kaep Krusader déjà vu-ing “all over again (SF 2012-14).” And he’s got some call to feel cocky: He’s been there before (two NFCCs (SB47)), is not careless with the ball (brass love that) and he’s presently shopping his services in a seller’s market for established QBs.

But while Kaepernick will do his best to bust through brick walls, he’s so cautious, slow-to-read routes he won’t easily thread-the-needle (59-C%), is dealing with the #2 franchise in negotiation wherewithal (GB #1) and tenses-up in the red-zone (See; SB47 & NFCC14). Guy’s still a project of sorts and then not exactly made from the Denver Broncos‘ mold of quarterbacking.

Broncos clearly have the edge here, budget or not. Kaep & Co. are well advised to give some ($) now to make the deal, then make it up later, if he can win over the guys in the locker-room who already got their rings (SB50). Keep in mind new Denver QB in Mark Sanchez has guided teams to Conference games himself (Jets), though, like Colin (10-14 post-NFCC14), has looked more like a caretaker-QB (PHI 4-6) than a take-care-of-business field general (See: Patton).

What’s more, the run-around routine won’t often catch Ds off guard anymore.

.....Newton.2011.wc.thm.Pantherfan11Sure, their ‘athleticism’ will see they break off a 80-yarder now & then (See: Mariota), and it’s most successful adherent to date in Cam Newton did lead Carolina to only their 2d Super Bowl (50) last February, garnering the MVP in the process.

But Carolina got thumped like San Fran (SB47), before the lights went out.

Camster-the-Hamster is a special player. His size (6’6”) and not yet fully unrealized pass potential will extend his tenure beyond most (See; Young, Vick, Tebow, Manziel), that is if his ACLs can take the add’l tackles to which run-QB subjects himself. And like other flash-men, Sir-Runs-Alot is plagued by the same foible: Red zone funk: An indecisiveness wherever advanced reading skill is required (SB50). A deficiency Elway and Jackson may compensate but never overcome: Old dogs, new tricks.

And it’s why a setting like Cleveland is a good fit for RG3.

If Browns’ front-office can muster the patience, a rare virtù these days in any operation, a mindset that allows Bob to develop his own patience in the pocket, and then fashion an O-line that can protect (53sk 2015), find a pair or two of go-to hands that can assist and a ground-man who “run(s) to daylight (See; NFL Draft.16),” this “experiment” can be less “perilous” and more profitable for the history-laden franchise on the lake.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credit: Ben-Hur, Berti-Heston, MGM, 1959, wc; R.Griffin, wc, 8.15.9, Caesarscott; K.Cousins, wc, 7.31.12, K.Allison; J.Manziel, 8.2.14, ED.Drost, wc; H.Jackson, wc, K.Allison, 8.12.8; RG3-Lboyd-Mgreen, wc, USMC-NY, 4.26.12; C.Kaepernick, wc, 2.3.13, Au.Kirk; C.Newton, wc, Pantherfan11, 2011; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc-11;
Posted: 4.6.16 @ 3:05pm EST; Copyright © 2016