Sunday, November 30, 2008

Best QBs in the NCAA 2008 Edition

The List for NFL "Suitability" and then Analysis...

5. Tim Tebow
4. Colt McCoy
3. Mark Sanchez
2. Sam Bradford
1. Matt Stafford

First off, no seniors. Secondly, no Ball St. QB will be on my list as he plays no one. Third, no Texas Tech QBs as they run a system that makes anyone look good. Fourth, the NFL now wants pocket passers with great pass rush awareness and QBs who are mobile. Fifth, I don't go beyond 5 QBs because in reality there are never 5 QBs that are good fits for the pros in one draft class (not even 83).

This year's senior class is very very weak. Feels like that 1990 or 91 draft. Tim Tebow at no. 5 for a variety of reasons. He has a solid frame and open field speed uncommon in QBs. Sadly, he has low skills in reading defenses, throwing an crisp short pass, mechanics look weird, and he's taken a beating at Florida. How many games can he get hit 30 times between carries and dropbacks at age 18-22 and survive intact for 12 years in the NFL? Tebow runs the option spread, and I think comparisons to Tebow are Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch more than Michael Vick. He will be a giant project that has boom and bust written all over it. Watch when he drops back to pass. He locks in on a receiver and then has this slow delivery that is awkward. I also do not like that he sometimes leaps when he throws. This means he is throwing all arm, and I have no clue why a person would leap when they released a ball. I did it once at age 5. I see him staying for his Senior year to polish his passing skills and to go on more missionary work since he is super Christian.

Colt McCoy is someone I have soured on as the season has progressed. Yes, his numbers are sick. Yes his accuracy is great from a pure numbers standpoint. Yes he has wheels. He doesn't get pressured much. He reads defenses well, and has lots of time to do so. One thing I noticed in UT games I watched this season was how McCoy would leave balls high. His receivers are tall, so maybe that is why, but he left them out to dry over the middle, and some of the throws look like they sailed rather than had deliberate high placement. He is a tad smaller than the other QBs listed, and I love how his height changes on different websites. I like him for the pros more than Tebow because his accuracy. I do not like him more than the next 3 guys for the size, arm strength and not from the cozy confines of Austin bad vibes I get from all UT guys.

Mark Sanchez, which I might be biased on, has the playing style and feel of an NFL starter. He is agile in the pocket, has great arm strength for those slants and 15 yard outs, has nice touch on sideline throws, and is a gym rat and preparation freak. His downsides are that nagging knee injury and his inability to know when a play is dead and he should just throw it away. Sanchez takes some sacks he should not and throws some balls he should not because he gives his guys time. part of this is because of USC's line and part is his inability to shrug off and elude defensive linemen (a la Big Ben). He has great touch at age 21. Watch when he throws a wheel route to a RB. He leads his receiver and understands the window of time he has and his receivers "hands". His wideouts get bullets on slants and outs, and his RBs get softer throws on wheels and screens. McNabb, you douche, take note. He has the problem of letting his guard down versus bad defenses. He has had a couple of games where after some quick strikes and a lead has been built, he forgets about the crappy safety because they failed to stop USC the last 3 drives. Besides his physical tools, the best thing about him is his preparation and work in the gym. This is what you want to hear from a QB's coaches. This is more than what USC said about Matt Leinart.

Sam Bradford has the strong arm, the release, the size, the ability to find the 3rd or 4th option, defensive reading skills that Tebow and McCoy would kill for, and to top it all off, he has a frame that could add 25 lbs on it in an NFL conditioning system. I loved how in the Oklahoma St game he kept finding his third option for a backbreaking conversion or deep crossing route completion. My one knock on him is that Bradford has not faced tough defenses, giving him plenty of time to make his great decisions. That's it. I kind of view him as an unknown vs. real competition. I know he played against all of those wonderful Big 12 teams that are somehow all ranked in the top 12 week after week, but do any of those teams stop each other????? If Bradford leaves after this year, we will not know how he faced against good defenses, but I still think he is worth the risk of a top 5 pick.

Well between Bradford and Stafford, you're splitting hairs in my opinion. He has all of the physical tools like Bradford, but he has not played behind a great offensive line. Each year, his YPA and completion percentage have gone up. This is impressive in the SEC. Look at Stafford's stats versus the tough SEC defenses. His blemish is that Florida game, which was gawd awful. He made some poor decisions, and started to gamble with his throws to try to jumpstart a comeback. Georgia runs more of a pro style offense than those Big 12 teams (or Florida). I can't add anything about Stafford that others have not already said better.

What happens in January when the bowls are done and final stats compiled? From the looks of the current crop of senior QBs, which has the media talking up a QB from Ball St., Stafford and Bradford would be crazy to stay in the NFL. Even though he is a 3rd year Sophomore, I think Bradford will jet for the NFL with the Heisman under his arm. After reading an ESPN article on how UT players love Austin and adjust to the pros weird, I think McCoy stays another year, and Sanchez and Tebow follow suit. This would place them at the top of the 2010 QB class, but they better watch out because if Jimmy Claussen makes strides, he can creep up on them.

Where will Stafford and Bradford land? I see both as top 10 picks. As of right now, KC, Detroit, Seattle, St. Louis, and San Fran are in position and could use new faces at QB. I think Detroit will go after whomever is rated highest just to please their fans, who will give the new GM the benefit of the doubt after the Matt Millen fiasco. KC's draft decisions rely on whomever is the new GM, if they do get rid of the GM, which is a rumor I have read. KC has a shit buffet of QBs right now. Seattle could go in a new QB direction since Hasslebeck is just wrapping up year 4 of a 6 year deal with some minor brain damage. Keep in mind that cap number in 2009, which is 4 mil more than his base salary, which would show the savings they would receive by cutting him (5.25 mil). St Louis is earlier in the contract extension for Bulger, but could bring in a new guy to sit for 1/2 or 1 year and cut Bulger after 2009. There are a limited number of possibilities because the idea of needs vs. best player available, but I do not see either guy lasting beyond pick 10.

Where Will Matt Leinart End Up?

Matt Leinart is the talented but tarnished young QB of the Arizona Cardinals. Since Kurt Warner has found the fountain of youth and Ken Whisenhunt has proclaimed Warner as his guy, Leinart has been wearing the headset and carrying the clipboard in his pivotal 3rd year. I firmly believe Leinart will be a good QB sometime in the future, and I think he is in love with his celebrity status in that Southern Cal to ASU corridor of hot, young women. He's built like a prototype QB, makes good decisions, and looks like a movie star. This can be problematic unless you have Bill Belicheck as a coach. This is the pivotal year for Leinart with Arizona because this is the 3rd year of his contract after which the base salary jumps and the signing bonuses have been deferred enough that cutting Leinart makes economic sense as he is a lower cap hit when cut vs. kept, or you have to give him an extension to save cap space. Still, that extension is based on his draft status, not his poor production. This is how the Texans gave David Carr an extra $9 mil for keeping him one more year. Warner is 37, and the Cardinals might see a 2-3 year window with Warner that would allow them the freedom to use the Leinart cap space on other needs that could help them win it all now. Leinart most likely will be gone, but the question is where?

Even if you automatically want to send him to the Lions, you shouldn't because the Lions are looking at the number 1 pick, which leads us to this question: who is coming out? There are 5 names in college football at the QB position that could merit first round pick status, negating the need to risk it with Leinart. Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Matt Stafford of Georgia, Mark Sanchez of USC, Tim Tebow of Florida and Colt McCoy of Texas. All are underclassmen. McCoy has said he will stay for a senior year, which I doubt if he wins the title and/or Heisman, but let's remove him. Sanchez could easily stay another year as his skill position players develop even more, giving him "Leinart in 05" stats for his resume. Stafford & Bradford most likely will come out as both have skills & size that the pro scouts love, plus they do not want to suffer Leinart-Quinn-Brohm disease where you drop 20 spots for staying an extra year and being picked apart for 12 months. Tebow is a mystery. He plays the spread with a 1 read offense. He has a gun, but mechanics, style and decisions are still an issue. Two years ago, I would have said he'd be out in a heartbeat, but with the dearth of success for "mobile QBs" in the NFL, I think some teams would shy away from him. John Elway, Randall Cunningham and Steve Young paved the way for Vick, McNabb and Vince Young, but people forgot that the old 3 were pocket passers who could run. I think Tebow is so raw that if he were drafted, he would sit for a year, maybe two. He isn't the youngest guy on this list despite being the only true junior as Matt Stafford is almost 4 months younger than everyone at 20. I see Stafford and Bradford entring the draft with McCoy or Sanchez coming out depending on how their seasons wrap up. Sanchez keeps climbing draft boards, and Pete Carroll is loaded at QB at USC so it might be a good move for all involved. If I were either guy, I'd stay since Stafford and Bradford will go early with the big money. Most likely it's Stafford, Bradford and "wildcard". Since Stafford and Bradford are projected top 10 picks, let's eliminate the Chiefs and Lions. Wildcard could fall to the mid or late 1st round and that's where I think a team like the Seahawks, Iggles or Dolphins make a move. Yeah I said Iggles, they need to start fresh with a new guy.

Who does this leave? The Rams, Jets, Vikings, 49ers, Titans, and Bucs. The Rams have Bulger who gets injured more and more often, costs them a pretty penny, and could be cut since they are now a couple years into that big extension they gave him in '06. Bulger surprisingly has only played one complete season. Could Leinart be a cost effective replacement, freeing up cap space for other investments that the Rams desperately need? Yup. The offense could become Steve Jackson centric and say goodbye to the high flying turf show, becoming more of a west coast offense. The Jets have the aging gunslinger Brett Favre at $12 mil per year. He is a vampire. You will not kill him, and even if you do, he will come back to haunt you. The Jets could sign Leinart, have him learn their playbook for 1 year behind Brett and then let Brett go at age 41... if he even comes back next year. It also appeals to Brett's vanity as Leinart's contract would be back up money (with tons of incentives) which would not threaten Brett. The Titans currently have the other deflated QB from the 06 draft class, Vince Young, sitting on the bench as Kerry Collins leads the Titans to victory every week. Young's contract is even worse than Leinart's so his @ss will be cut loose and he'll probably end up dead in his bedroom closet hanging with a sign that says "the fans didn't love me enough" taped to his chest. Collins is 36 but still throws a good deep ball and makes good decisions. It would be hilarious to see Jeff Fisher end up with Leinart since he tried to sell the Titans' ownership on him 3 years ago. Leinart has a backer in Fisher, can step in immediately if needed but will most likely sit behind Collins a year or until he phucks up enough. These teams have one thing in common, older QBs that get the job done. It's a tougher sell than the next 3 teams. Plus, what happens to Vince Young? That's for another post.

This leaves three teams with even bigger problems: the Bucs, Vikings and 49ers. The 49ers will cut Alex Smith loose, who should send royalty checks to Matt Leinart for not coming out early and to Aaron Rodgers for being "too arrogant" in his pre-draft interview with the 49ers. There is a gaping hole on any team that is using J.T. O'Sullivan as a QB, which sounds like a great bar name. The 49ers could get Leinart for backup money with tons of incentives. Draft a WR and suddenly they have a nice collection of young talent in Leinart, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and whatever WR they grab (Crabtree or Maclin). It would be ironic that the team Leinart spurned to stay in school an extra year would be the team to give him a second chance. Determining Leinart's chances of going to San Fran will be who the next head coach will be. The Bucs have an odd situation. They have a 39 year old QB who we should call Captain Checkdown. Luke McCown and Brian Griese are not going to add anything above what Garcia brings. Gruden loves reclamation projects as he turned Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson into efficient SB QBs. Leinart has the tools and would be the youngest QB Gruden's had with an intact spleen. They can sign Leinart and throw him into the mix. Watch a Bucs game. It's pathetic. Garcia throws WR screens, RB screens, 3 yard outs and then the once a half bomb to Galloway. Gruden is also a hard@ss. Leinart could use this. This leaves us with the Vikings. Anyone else think they'd be a SB contender with a competent QB who would force the safeties back? Anyone else think they should have traded for McNabb or Derek Anderson? T-Jack and Gus gus are an abysmal pairing on the depth chart. Purple jesus and chester taylor would love to have a QB that can hit Bernard Berrian in stride and not throw into triple coverage on fade patterns. Leinart is made for this squad. I think a funny touch would be for Leinart to start in Minnesota with JD Booty as his backup. Honestly, JD Booty must be licking his chops at Gus Gus and T-jack's inadequacy as he learns the system and prepares to take snaps. It would only be fitting that Leinart would be the royal jerk that he was to JD Booty at USC and swoop in to steal that starting job in the NFL as well. The Vikings are an interesting case because they could gamble and go after McNabb or Derek Anderson this offseason as well when both will cost less compared to last offseason (when they should have grabbed either guy). On the other hand, McNabb will be 30-something and is a health risk while Anderson was exposed this season as a fluke. Anyway that you slice it, Leinart will be given a chance to start somewhere, he'll just have to deliver when that opportunity comes. I expect him to.

From least likely to most likely..... Rams, Titans, Jets, Bucs, 49ers and Vikings.

Hold on, some uncertainty arises about him leaving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Favorite Pitcher Retired

Mike Mussina is retiring from baseball. He came up with my favorite team, the Orioles, and was a star for them during my teen years. He is an incredibly smart athlete, as he graduated from Stanford in 3 years, and is not a braggart or psycho like Clemens or Schilling. He was a power pitcher who became a living on the black pitcher as he aged, and was consistent. Some will argue he is a Hall of Famer. I am a huge fan, but I disagree in this age of heightened Hall of Fame standards. One thing I hope happens is that his candidacy for the Hall of Fame causes voters to re-evaluate their standards of the Steroid Era. If they will discount hitters' numbers from the Roid Era, will the give a boost to pitchers from the same era?

I've got plenty of Moose memories. I remember him mowing down the Indians in the ALCS only to see the Orioles piss away great starts and lose. Reading interviews where he talked about the art and science of pitching at a high level in the MLB. I remember my sister having a crush on him and cutting out pictures of him to put up with her Troy Aikman photos. While in college, I remember watching him warm up one start versus the Red Sox and walking down to lean on the fence 5 feet from him as he warmed up. A high school friend of mine was at the game as well and we kept talking to him about what he would do next season. We kept saying "Anywhere but the Yankees". The movement on his pitches was amazing to watch from directly behind the mound. It was a joy to see him get to 20 wins this season, and I am glad he goes out on top. I wonder how long he could have goen and if he could have reached 300 wins, and I also wonder how many times he saw leads blown by bullpens slowing his march to 300. That is life... missed opportunities, moments of joy, and some what ifs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you Veterans

Thank you for your efforts and your sacrifices defending freedom.

Special shout out to my relatives who served in World War 1 which was the original source for this holiday, Armistice Day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Type of Environmentalism

I am for limiting deforestation, protecting endangered species, and recycling. I am for clean air from toxic and harmful chemicals. I am for clean water and clean oceans. I am for double blind scientific funding so researchers do not know if the hippies or the oil men are funding a project. I am for the unity of people who love nature which includes hunters, sportsmen, tree huggers, lovers of Gaia, snowmobilers, and people who just love to spend time outside. I love nuclear, wind and solar where applicable & possible at a reasonable cost. I understand that coal and oil have their problems, but that they have a place until we can harness energy from cleaner sources and better store & manage those sources. I believe in research and development of the best ways to live in ecosystems and harness energy as science has brought us out of the Dark Ages and will continue to lead us forward.

I am against the religion known as environmentalism. I am against mixing science with politics. I am against people from California wanting to cap the "carbon" emissions of poor countries who hope to bring millions out of poverty. Chicago used to be called the "Black City" because they burnt so much coal fueling the city. Should we deny poor Indians and Chinese the joy of electricity? I dislike rich celebrities telling poor people to not drive their pick up trucks as they fly their private planes from convention to convention. I dislike retired politicians, who lose elections that they should have won if they had not been stiff as a board, hanneling their repressed energies and need for attention into wagging their fingers at people and telling them to watch their carbon footprint while they use more energy annually than a thousand poor Indonesians.

I like to tell the story of the greatest environmentalist I know who has no clue he is an environmentalist. My dad is an accidental environmentalist. The more I look back on stupid things my dad forced me to help him with through 22 years of living together, the more I find hidden enviro-friendly things. My dad has many faults, but he is a shining star when it comes to the environment. He's recycled in our town for 18 years. He uses recycled paper to wipe his ass. He uses everything until it is worn out completely, including keeping cars on the road with regular maintenance for 15+ years. He and I installed those foam insulators in the toilet tanks in our home to use .5 fewer gallons each flush. He is a hawk when it comes to the thermostat and oil usage. Most importantly to those carbon footprint folks, he's been part of a carpool for 20+ years and has driven the car pool of 4 (sometimes 5) guys for 15. For the global warming doomsters, that's removing 3 "commuters" worth of CO2 particles for over 20 years. This is also with older cars in the late 80s that were not as clean as today's cars.

Why did he do all of this? Each thing listed above has a common theme: easy money. Each thing is a positive economic gain for him or his family. Add to it accessibility. He didn't have to go far out of his way to do these changes. They were easier to enact because the market was there to provide options (cheaper TP, lower water bill fee, paying carpool customers). I am all for using the carrot when dealing with environmental problems because I think the stick does not work and can lead to worse economic and living standards damage. After all, didn't we force the world to give up cheap coolants and CFCs to keep food from spoiling because the ozone layer was going to burn away if we used them another 20 years? Didn't they tell my parents we'd run out of space for our garbage and were entering a new ice age? Isn't there always some boogeyman which the enviro-doomers use to scare us?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election 2008 Thoughts

Obama ran a great campaign and with the wind of a credit crunch, toxic environment for the GOP, Bush fatigue, nearly a billion dollars in fundraising, and an adoring media at his back, managed to win 53-46 in the popular vote. He is my president. I "hope" he does well.

The Oregon Senator who pushed for tax breaks for Boy Scout arrow manufacturers looks to be re-elected, it's too close to call right now but whatever. I guess those arrows did save his job.

Al Franken narrowly lost, but we have to wait for a recount. Minnesota nearly elected a former cokehead who was in one funny skit his entire time on SNL.

A convicted criminal was re-elected in Alaska for the Senate. How did Ted Stevens win? How? Don Young is likely facing criminal charges as well and he was re-elected. WTF Alaska?

So John Kerry is seeking the Sec of State position? Oh jesus-fucking-christ. Can't this guy just go away for both himself and his party? There are tons of capabale and fresh faced Democrats in Massachusetts waiting for attention.

Turnout was actually down from 2004. Very surprising, as I thought the number of dead voters would make up for any shortfall because the GOP was not enthusiastic.

No troops died in Iraq in October. Over 125K there right now, we handed over another province over for Iraqi control and went unscathed as far as casualties in October. Hey, you all remember we are fighting a war in Iraq right? C'mon, someone not related to a soldier has to remember?

I really wish the GOP would be warmer to socially liberal people. Why do they always force candidates to be so damn conservative with their social views? I think it hurts on nationwide tickets, and I can only hope that the GOP learns that they need to allow moderate voices in purple and light blue states if they think they have a shot at governorships and Senate seats. The Dems learned their lesson in the 90s and now you have guys like Jim Webb in the Senate.

In honor of Mr. George Carlin, I didn't vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Election Settled Thanks to Credit Crisis

Just look at the polling results change starting in mid-September. I still predict an Obama victory, and it will be much wider than I anticipated this summer. That is entirely thanks to the financial fuck up we have at least admitted is here. Seriously, that crisis was the best thing to happen to his campaign. No wonder Nancy Pelosi couldn't get the bailout bill to pass, prolonging the coverage of Wall St insanisty, despite her desire for it and her party having the majority in Congress. Hmmmm? Many people would say we have been in a messed up situation for a while and would be correct. It's just that we did not admit to it or realize it until recently. Even now, I do not think we are willing to accept what it will take to emerge on the other side intact.

Case in point: if the government sends us more stimulus checks in spring of 2009 instead of using that borrowed money on an infrastructure project or doemstic energy project (acceptable evils), I will be pretty ripped. This will not help. It's a band aid, but one laced with low doses of poison. We do not need checks in our pockets from some other country. We need to take our lumps with a recession, reduce consumption, save some money, and move along. Unless we build up our savings, we will not have a pool of money to use as domestic investment for the next recovery that doesn't come from others. The longer we deny this and push it off the worse it will be & slower the recovery. Similar to any bad college break up. This is why my college relationships lasted 3 months tops. Rip the band aid off.

Even though I am not voting this election, this is why I do not vote with my wallet. Most politicians are retards when it comes to economics. People like Obama think spreading the wealth around is good when all it is is taking the pie and shifting who gets what amount, or that government spending is good for 'creating jobs' even though that is just taking taxpayer (or foreign creditor) money and spending it. This doesn't help. It is confiscating taxpayer money earned that could be directed wherever people or businesses would want it to go for their happiness and putting it into an area that a politician wants it to go. Because politicians know best. Yup, I see. That's just the Mainer in me, anti-government to the core.

Go John Galt. Coming to a nation near you.