Tag Archive | "Quarterback"

Conroy: How To Train Your Quarterback


Michael Conroy is a freelance sportswriter and Flyers fan, and a guest writer for Spike Eskin Dot Com. You can find him on Twitter @MichaelConroyPM.

The 2012-13 NFL Regular Season was nothing short of remarkable. It was a season that should radically change the way we view Quarterback prospects. In the wake of the success that talents like Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have enjoyed, we must now question just what our criteria should be for a “Franchise Quarterback” moving forward.  With 35 players hearing their name called before Kaepernick and 76 before Wilson, it’s fair to assume that our current definition for the ideal signal caller may be outdated.

A “Worthy” Pick

In any discussion of the immanent 2013 NFL draft, seemingly the first point made is that there is no clear-cut “Franchise Quarterback” available. Not only is that statement completely unfair to those prospects, it is unfair to the people who evaluate them. Let’s examine just what makes a player a “worthy” selection in the NFL Draft.

When personalities like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd Mcshay decry this year’s Quarterback class, they do so based upon prospective draft value from a largely economic perspective. These draft experts didn’t rate Russell Wilson based upon what they thought he’d eventually become in the NFL – Although that is a small part of their thinking – they were rating him based upon his value in a draft scenario. To put it another way, draft pundits base their rankings heavily upon availability at any given time during the draft. From their perspective, the timing of a draft selection is just as important as the quality of the prospect.

Keeping that in mind, when the statement “There are no first-round caliber Quarterbacks in this year’s draft” is made, in no way does that mean there is no Quarterback worth drafting. That is a leap that many Philly fans seem to have made and I hope, for their sake, that the Philadelphia Eagles organization has not. If, at any point during the past few months, Chip Kelly or Howie Roseman saw something special in a prospect, their perceived value in a draft scenario should not enter into their decision making process.

In summary, it is absolutely absurd to proclaim that the Philadelphia Eagles cannot find their Quarterback of the future in this year’s draft. Players like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Matt Schaub, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, and, yes, even Tom Brady are active testaments to that sentiment. What is important is whether or not the Eagles believe in his skillset enough to make him an early pick.

Playing a Name Game

Chip Kelly claims that he can adapt his system to any player. Until he proves otherwise, I’m inclined to believe him, especially considering his only youthful alternatives are Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon. Ignoring their perceived “Draft Value,” there are certainly a bevy of intriguing prospects at the Quarterback position in 2013.

Geno Smith tops the list as the most prospect most likely to be selected early on. In short, he’s a stud talent with great tools. Smith is capable of being everything you’d want your franchise Quarterback to be. He’s accurate, tall, athletic, and above all, he makes good decisions. The drawback with Geno Smith is the fact that his production fell off a cliff down the stretch during this past college season. There’s also the issue of his drop off in decision making when placed in high pressure situations. Overall, the potential outweighs any cause for concern.

Where I stand on Geno Smith: I’ll take him.

Matt Barkley is not Mark Sanchez. I have to tell myself that at least three times a day as long as he remains a candidate for the Eagles’ starting Quarterback position. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve followed his career religiously. Any opinion I have about Barkley stems from about four or five nationally televised games that I made it a point to watch. That being said, I didn’t see anything in those opportunities that would make me think about spending a pick in the first two rounds on him.

At a glance, the offense that he operated seemed to be of the down-the-field, low-percentage variety. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how his numbers could have changed so drastically from one year to the next. Still, inconsistency at the Quarterback position can be infuriating to a fan base and I can’t imagine Philadelphia fans giving him too much time to sort things out.


Tyler Wilson is an interesting prospect…okay I lied, he totally isn’t. In Wilson, you’ve got possibly the most stereotypical Quarterback that could go in the first round. Don’t get me wrong, that could be a good thing in the long run. I know everyone is swooning over Colin Kaepernick and this new “read-option” mobile attack, but as we’ve seen, these things are cyclical in the NFL. Despite what Trent Dilfer might think, someone is going to “write the book” on that offense and the teams employing it will be forced to adjust. If you’re looking to avoid that eventual obstacle, you might be inclined to take Wilson, an accurate, intelligent pocket passer with good size and some athleticism.

Where I stand on Tyler Wilson: Not a great fit.

Mike Glennon is a guy that I’d like to avoid for one simple reason; he’s inaccurate. Above all, my biggest pet peeve regarding Quarterbacks is an inability to hit your targets consistently. A player like Glennon could have major struggles in the NFL.

Where I stand on Mike Glennon: I’ll pass…

Landry Jones would be a solid addition to any franchise. He’s accurate, experienced, and as statistically consistent as a college prospect can possibly be. Jones has played in plenty of important games and won some on the road. the University of Oklahoma enjoyed their time with him and I believe that the city of Philadelphia would as well.

I have no real criticism to offer regarding Landry Jones. I like him a ton and wouldn’t fault the Eagles for taking him off the board as early as the second round.

Where I stand on Landry Jones: I like him.

Tyler Bray reminds me a ton of Jay Cutler. I like Jay Cutler. I hate Jay Cutler. This could be one of those toss-up relationships where either the fan base despises him or adores him. He’s got a sensational arm, great size and a bad attitude. I’ve seen him stick his facemask right in the grill of a defensive lineman after the whistle. I don’t know what was said between the two players but Bray was grinning from ear to ear. In short, I think this could be a homerun pick for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is an immense talent, a strong leader and doesn’t take any guff. Inconsistent in the best possible way, if anyone else on this list is a first round caliber talent, Tyler Bray is as well.

Where I stand on Tyler Bray: He’d look good in green.

So You Have Your Quarterback

Regardless of which Quarterback (if any) the Eagles eventually settle on, it will become Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur’s (Shurmur? Really, guys?) responsibility to make sure that the offensive system is tailored to suit his strengths. This isn’t as simple a task as one might initially assume. Though we’ve seen Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll and the Shanahan(ahan)s have early success in this area, there are also ample examples of this sort of endeavor dooming a coaching staff, i.e. Shurmur’s Browns and Mike Mularky’s Jaguars.

I’d like to think that, given enough time to polish things off, any coach could cultivate a system that would suit their specific talent at the Quarterback position. The problem, however is that few coaches can reasonably expect to be afforded that kind of time before organizational changes are made. The trick to being successful in this situation in maintaining patience within reason. The Philadelphia Eagles have hired a coach in Chip Kelly whose approach to football allows for that patience while also demanding constant measured evaluation. In theory, Kelly seems like the best possible candidate for the job. Still, as Eagles fans have been made painfully aware of in recent years, what looks good on paper doesn’t always come to fruition.

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AOL / Sporting News Columnist Thinks QB’s Shouldn’t Have Tattoos

I grew up reading The Sporting News. It was one of those publications that you’d get excited when it would arrive in the mail. You’d know it was The Sporting News too, because it was on newspaper paper instead of magazine paper. I think it was The Sporting News and Sports Collectors Digest that excited me most. As you can tell, I led a pretty exciting life.

In any case, I can’t imagine back in the day The Sporting News would ever print the sort of garbage contained in “Colin Kaepernick ushers in an inked-up NFL quarterbacking era,” the AOL/Sporting News site, by a fella named David Whitley.

The title seems harmless enough, as I figured that the piece would just be about Kaepernick’s tattoos. I noticed the same thing while watching Sunday’s 49ers game. Well, it’s not harmless. Scratch that, it’s not so much harmful as it is embarrassing and stupid.

I’d like to get a few things out of the way here. First, I’ve got tattoos, quite a few of them. I understand not everyone has them, and I understand not everyone wants them. My father’s not a particularly big fan of them, and I get it. That said, you’ve probably noticed they’re sort of popular, and the notion of judging someone’s ability to professional and intelligent based on whether they have tattoos or not is not effective in determining either attribute.

Second, writing is hard. Today’s world and major media sites want you to push out content, and lots of it. They like it even more when you write something controversial. This is still no excuse for being stupid or ignorant, something it appears David Whitley is.

Enough of the introduction, let’s get down to business, shall we?

San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big-time NFL quarterback. That must make the guys in San Quentin happy.

He starts early. I imagine those sitting in maximum security prison are concerned with things other than tattoos. I don’t think they sit around watching MTV and go wild when they see the guys in Good Charlotte. Something tells me they’re not waiting around to see Chris Carrabba and popping champagne because they’ve finally gotten a little prison into emo music. “YO BROS, LOOK, DAVID BECKHAM IS ALL INKED UP! WE GOT ANOTHER ONE!”

Approximately 98.7 percent of the inmates at California’s state prison have tattoos. I don’t know that as fact, but I’ve watched enough “Lockup” to know it’s close to accurate.

Always great to get it out of the way that you’re not going to base your lede in any sort of fact.

I’m also pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that.

Three quarterbacks per team, 32 teams. That makes 96 quarterbacks. That means his second supposition is untrue of two NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. So I’m curious what his reasoning his that proves his probably-wrong guess.

NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility. He is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled.

Does this mean I look like I just got paroled? LOOK AT THE HORROR OF THE TATTOOS UNDER MY SHIRT!

Now along comes Kaepernick. Since taking over for Alex Smith two games ago, he has convinced everybody in the Bay area that he’s the second coming of Steve Young.

Smith is coming back from a concussion, ushering in the attendant QB controversy. But he is looking like Wally Pipp and Kaepernick is Lou Gehrig. All I can do is look in the mirror and sigh.

Wait what? Why are you looking in the mirror? Do you look like Alex Smith? I don’t get it.

Forgive me, but I suffer from tattoo-ism. I sport no ink, and I don’t want any. I know that attitude qualifies me for an AARP card, and I’ve tried to get with it.

This is where the writer feels like if he qualifies his article by saying he doesn’t like tattoos, it means whatever he says is a-ok. Can you imagine if it said, “look, I suffer from being a racist. I’m really trying but I just can’t stand black quarterbacks!” Just because you admit you’re stupid, doesn’t make you not stupid.

ALSO CHECK OUT: My buddy Tzvi Twersky’s response to the QBs and Tattoos post

Not having tattoos doesn’t mean you’re old, as the writer has already said, he doesn’t see tattoos on most quarterbacks. Most quarterbacks are not old. But when you think someone isn’t able to do a job based on their looks, it does make you sort of stupid. Maybe young, maybe old, but definitely sort of stupid.

I realize tattoos are ways to pay homage to your religion, children and motorcycle gang. I’m cool with LeBron James looking like an Etch A Sketch.


I still cringe when I go to the gym and see middle-aged women with barbed wire circling their biceps. They have bigger arms than I, so I never make fun. But I can’t shake the notion that a person’s body is a temple, and you don’t cover temples in graffiti.

Well if your body is a temple, you should probably make sure you’re in good enough shape to have bigger arms than the middle-aged woman. The “body is a temple” stuff always falls flat when you see the temple-wisher throwing down a cheeseburger.

For dinosaurs like me, NFL quarterbacks were our little Dutch boys. The original hero stuck his finger in the dyke to save Holland. Pro QBs were the last line of defense against the raging sea of ink. When our kids said they wanted a tattoo, we could always point to the Manning brothers.

For guys like me, QBs were white! Right buddy!

Did Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Doug Williams or Joe Montana have arms covered in ink? Do Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers? The world will end when Tim Tebow shows up a tattoo parlor.

“Wait, I’ve got to throw a black QB in this list so it seems like I’m not racist. I’ve got to. Quick, think of one. There’s got to be a black QB right?! DOUG WILLIAMS WAS BLACK WASN’T HE!? Let’s mention him along with Joe Montana and Tom Brady.”

I realize not all NFL quarterbacks are pristine. Ben Roethlisberger has a “COURAGE” tattoo on the right side of his upper body. Smith has one honoring his Serbian heritage. They can’t be seen when the players put on their uniforms.

Well and he’s been accused of sexual assault a couple of times but whatever.

Then there are Michael Vick and Terrelle Pryor. Neither exactly fit the CEO image, unless your CEO has done a stretch in Leavenworth or has gotten Ohio State on probation over free tattoos.

Yes, and you know, Vick and Pryor are also, well, ok.

I still think tattoo removal is going to be huge industry in the coming years. But for now, I might as well accept that Holland is probably doomed.

If you can’t draw the tattoo line at NFL quarterback, you can’t draw them anywhere.

He might be right. Tattoo removal might end up being a huge industry. Perhaps he should look into investing in it, as the “sort of racist writing industry” is drying up.



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Photoshop With Matt Mac: Vince Young In Invincible

I thought Vince Papale was in this movie, but Matt Mac remembers it differently. Follow Matt on Twitter (@_mattmac) for Photoshops that go a little over the line for the site.


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Michael Vick’s Crash To Reality Will Be His Biggest Test Yet

For Michael Vick, the honeymoon seems to be over.

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Chris Johnson’s Top Ten Most Beloved Backup Quarterbacks In Philly History

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