The week has been full of heated arguments about the former San Fransisco QB and current free agent’s hair style. A lot of people think that he needs to cut his hair and to regain a starting QB position or even to be picked up for a team. But is the hair the real issue here? A lot of people see him cutting his hair as conforming to “white owners” and essentially alienating himself.
Michael Vick, who was charged with Tax evasion and dog fighting while he was with the Atlanta Falcons seems to think that he needs to cut his hair and go clean cut to get a QB job somewhere within the league. But really is that the issue? Since Colin started taking a knee during the National Anthem before games for a reason he felt personally responsible to take a stand for, he has been blasted from everyone including myself.
I couldn’t believe an individual that was being payed to play a sport and I was overseas away from my family not even making a fraction of his check for a game, was infuriated about his actions and refused to watch him or any other player that took a knee. It was a sign of disrespect to the Military and those sacrificing time away from their families for a higher cause, college tuition, or U.S. Citizenship for a vast majority. Here these people were using a platform that we used to get away from the bombs and long hours and poor internet to make a political statement.
Colin’s hair is not the issue, and he can get a starting job somewhere if he truly wants to. His hair is apart of his character. Once I learned and understood more about what his reasoning were, I understood but still don’t agree with the platform or method he went about addressing the Social injustice that is going on in America. Colin really should have chosen a different platform to take this stand, but he definitely got everyone’s attention.
Football is used to escape the day to day rhetoric and stress that many have during the week and look forward to watching on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. Political statements should be done throughout the week. Colin could have addressed this issue with local government leaders and been able to really shed more light to the situation and would have garnered more support for his cause. Getting to the brass tacks of the issue is that many owners feel that Colin Kaepernick will be a liability to their organization and could be infectious to the locker room. They see him as bring undo attention to an organization and this could cause serious issues within the locker room and all the off the field antics would affect the performance.
What should Colin do some ask? In my opinion he needs to rebrand himself and show the owners that he is not a liability or infectious to a locker room. He needs to take his actions on the field that infuriated millions and start interacting with the local government and bring some light and assist. There is no progress to be made by pointing the finger and continuously creating a divide that was evident so many years ago. Those years aren’t forgotten by anyone, but many are trying to figure a way to move forward and evolve from the past and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Rebranding himself does not mean that he has to change his hairstyle one bit or change his goal of bringing social injustice to the forefront. Rebranding would be him showing that he is educating himself or getting assistance to address the issue in a more aggressive manner that would get faster results. By faster I mean, spending more time throughout the week working for his goals while he can focus on football and getting back on the field if he really wants to play again. This type of action would show owners he has learned and evolved and more focused than ever on the issue and still able to focus on football. A lot of athletes has foundations setup for various reasons and causes and Colin is no exception to this. He just needs the right team to help him with this process and understand that not everyone is against him. He just really needs to approach the topic at a different angle. But to blame him not getting picked up by a team because of his hair style is absolutely ridiculous.
To be continued………
The 2017 NFL Draft is in the books! I am sure a lot of people are shocked at some of the picks and the moves that GM’s made. I, for one, was shocked that Bears traded up and got Trubinsky at the #2 pick. This is a great choice for me because they can mold and work with him. They have some good coaches and they need someone that can relate to younger fans and they can rally around. Whether he starts this fall is another question.
However, with the Draft over with it is time to evaluate these rookies in their progress throughout the summer and see whom can fulfill and come through with all this new pressure put upon their shoulders. It is going to be a great season this year for sure and there will be some teams coming out of no where this year and this could prove exciting.
Meanwhile, we will have to start evaluating the College Athletes that are making a move to help their teams make it to the post season as well as continue their football careers. As the season progresses, I will focus on some of the prominent standouts and try to pick them apart for positive gains. But I will also be looking for those sleepers that will show themselves late in the season! Players will get injured this season and this will impact a lot but nevertheless everyone will be watching, evaluating and grading.
We will have to keep an eye on off the field issues, especially during the summer months because this is when most things happen! It would be nice to see someone step up at these schools and try to be a positive impact on these young players and help them make better decisions.
Best of Luck,
I was having a conversation yesterday with my brother in law that really got me thinking on my way to the doctor. What makes a great Quarterback? I mean really! Is it the arm strength, the ability to move on his feet or maybe his ability read a defense? Just because a kid has a strong arm doesn’t make him a great quarterback. Just because he can run a forty yard dash in times like 4.58 or 4.4 doesn’t mean that will effectively equate to the field. The breakaway speed will transfer but that’s about it. Or is it the fact that he can walk up to the line of scrimmage and read that the defense is showing man coverage but actually the cornerback is showing a tell tell sign of actually a quarter coverage.
There is enough on these players to come out and win every Saturday in college where there is a lot on the line where they might have an average of 30-40,000 fans and that’s not to include bowl games. Then you add the draft and these guys wanting to make an impact in the League, the added stress for the entire first round draftees, not to mention the top 10. Teams and fans have this inclination that if they draft a quarterback that it will automatically change the team and they will start winning. This has only happened a handful of times in the last 6 or 7 years.
What makes a great quarterback is the ability to come into a team and understand the tools he is working with. He doesn’t come in with an ego like he is the top dog and everyone on the team should bow down to him. He is only as good as his lineman, receivers and defense are. There is a time for an ego as long as it is beneficial for the team. Cam Newton is a great example of a positive impact. While he and DeAngelo Williams had their differences and Williams is now with the Steelers; Cam has since made a positive impact on the team and helped them to winning seasons.
Great quarterbacks excel at the next level because they are able to add positive impact within the organization. Meaning enabling a great atmosphere for the team and being a leader both on and off the field while creating an environment where other players would want to play and work. He understands and works with the team and the team will work him to develop his arm strength, his speed, his ability to read a defense. Reading a defense is not just looking at the player placements, its the ability to scan the field and utilize their peripheral vision and understand the areas where receivers should be open.
Great quarterbacks work well with others and can take criticism, while it is sometimes difficult. Egotistical players are a liability to the team, especially when it becomes more of a distraction. GM’s and Owners are growing tired of the sideshow antics and such that players are bringing to the NFL. However, they are growing accustomed to the different Brands that players are creating and supporting the players as long as it is not a distraction to the team. After all this is a business and not just a sport. It is these qualities that really make a quarterback great in my opinion.
My steal of the 2017 NFL Draft is Brad Kaaya from the University of Miami. This kid has phenomenal pocket awareness. His ability to step up in the pocket as well as hang in there and take a hit to complete a pass. His ability to read the field and understand where the receivers will be open is a huge key for success. This is one thing I think that separates him from the rest of the field and will be a great add to any team.
His ability to come to the line of scrimmage and take control is admirable and shows that he is a leader. He doesn’t know allow his emotions to over take him and his composer is one of the best I have seen. It is amazing that no one has really been talking about this kid which could turn out to be a blessing because it will allow him to actually sneak higher in the draft. A few things that needs to change is that he needs to look away from his go to receivers a little bit more. He tends to eye his receiver as the play develops when he is in the shotgun.
Kaaya’s ball placement when he has the ball is ideal because it allows him to make either a quick throw to a hot route or check off his receivers as the plays develop. His arm strength is there and his accuracy is great but has on a time or two under thrown his receivers making them either stop or come back for the ball forcing them to lose that forward motion and yards. Kaaya has been one of the best I have seen to hold a play action and read the defense and make them commit and then he comes off to complete a pass behind the defender.
The other thing that I think he will need to do is add some thickness to his legs and beef them up so that when a 300 pound lineman lands on him in the NFL that he doesn’t break anything. This was one of the downfalls for RGIII, in that his legs from the calves down were brittle because there was no muscle there. Kaaya needs to add some muscle to his legs during the off season and during his rookie year to ensure he has a lengthy tenure in the NFL.
I think the Kaaya would be a great addition to either the Jets or the Texans. He could also be a plausible fit for the Bills and they would be able to build a team around him and make him their franchise QB as long as he continues to excel at the next level and they can keep him from getting sacked the 61 time he did in his college career.
Photo courtesy of: https://athlonsports.com/college-football/brad-kaaya-miami-hurricanes-next-star-quarterback
Patrick Mahomes II has probably the absolutely strongest arm coming into the draft this year and one of the most assertive as well. He will openly admit he loves showing off his arm strength and when you are drafted in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball draft it says something.
This kids arm strength is phenomenal and speed to back it up to make him a dual threat QB for sure. His one downfall is that he is heavily reliant on his arm and is used to being in a spread offense with no time under the center. I think with this kids ability and field of vision, if he could master being under the center and controlling the flow of the game with an I formation, Two Tight formation, Wishbone any run scheme that would allow him to utilize his speed and agility and arm strength to mix in play action passes will make him a true triple threat QB at the NFL level and make him one of the greatest.
I would also make the bet that his stats in his rookie year would be better than those of Jameis Winston. I mean looking at Mahomes numbers at Texas Tech the three year he played, his numbers only increased (which they should), but they astounding numbers. He finished his career with just over 11,000 yards, 92 Touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
I would like to see Mahomes II go to the Jaguars to help their offense. His personality and confidence would be great for the team and I think that team would really be a great fit for him and allow him to grow, much like the Panthers did with Cam Newton.
Photo Courtesy of: https://wn.com/patrick_mahomes_(texas_tech_qb)_highlights_vs_lsu_2015
Leonard Fournette might be expected to be the best running back in the NFL draft for 2017, but he has some serious flaws that make him very over rated in my opinion. While he does weigh in around 240 pounds, making him a large framed running back, his 40yd time was 4.51 which is good for a man of that stature. However, given the agility of the defensive line in the NFL now and its only going to improve, Fournette can not be put in the same category as Bo Jackson or Adrian Peterson.
While their styles might be the same, there is one settle difference between them all. Making initial reads is a vital thing for running backs in the NFL and this guy is lagging in that department. If he can’t make an initial read from the time he gets to the line of scrimmage until the snap of the ball, then he is just a giant body on the field. His speed and agility are good but without the ability to read the defensive line and the outside linebackers and being able to make a decision on whom has the best path to the QB on his drop, this could spell disaster.
This is one thing that QB’s want in a running back and we have seen ample QB’s get hammered because the RB either didn’t make the block or they just straight up could not read the defense and cost the team an injury. I would take him in the late first round and would see him going to either the Redskins or even the Bills for a 3 yr deal and he would even be a great fit for the Arizona Cardinals as well.
Image Courtesy of: http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2017/03/nfl_draft_2017_mock_jets_7_round_leonard_fournette_deshaun_watson.html
Mitch Trubisky in his three year career at North Carolina only played a total of 31 games over his span at UNC and only started 13 of those games. He completed an estimated 387 passes on 572 attempts giving him a completion percentage of 68%. Trubisky’s best year was 2016 when he finished the season with 3748 yards but he was sacked 20 times throughout the 2016 season.
However looking at his videos, his poise within the pocket is one of the best if not the best that I saw this season. His ability to remain calm when the pocket collapses around him and he still would not become mobile and complete a pass that was typically in excess of 10 yards was phenomenal in my opinion. Many quarterbacks in the NCAAF would have decide to go mobile and take a risk running the ball instead of maintaining poise and stepping just outside the pocket to complete a pass.
One of the other things that I like about Trubisky is that his ability to hold a play action and actually read the ends and outside linebackers moves and make his read from that. He holds this longer and is very effective in this and one of the best this year at the option offense. While his speed is not blazing fast, his break away speed and unfearful of getting hit make him a solid triple threat quarterback. It does need to be noted that when Trubisky runs, he tucks the ball like a running back and runs instead of holding the ball out and away from his body like a majority of the quarterbacks are notorious of doing over the last few years.
Trubisky might have only started 13 games throughout his career at UNC but his ball position held by his head allowing his reaction time and delivery to be much quicker and make the throws into very tight windows. This ball position alone allows him to maintain his composure when the pocket collapses and he steps outside the pocket and complete a pass down the field. If he was holding the ball lower like Tim Tebow’s style his delivery would be slower and more difficult to complete in my opinion. Those passes are on a rope and delivered into a small window of opportunity.
He does not have the typical experience that all these scouts and coaches like and would discount. But the flip side to that coin in my opinion is that he is more coachable and his willingness to learn will benefit any team willing to take a chance on him. I would hate to see him go to the Browns because of their lackluster approach to protecting quarterbacks. They have had a bad span of luck with drafting quarterbacks in the first round. Trubisky is an apparent Browns fan and will love to be there, but I think he would be better fit for the Steelers and learn from Ben Roethlisberger or even the New Orleans Saints and learn from Drew Brees.
I would like to think that Trubisky would get a 4 yr deal totaling something in the $30 Million dollar deal but this is all dependent upon the team that decides to draft him and what they can offer the guy!
Image from: http://bearswire.usatoday.com/2016/11/29/2017-mock-draft-sends-mitch-trubisky-to-the-chicago-bears/