Friday, August 24, 2007

The next Five...

Well, it’s that time again. We here at SuperbowlHomeboy have picked five NFL-related questions, sat down, and discussed. Each writer has their own opinion and here are our thoughts on some current burning questions:

Question #1: In Cleveland, Romeo Crennel has yet to decide on a starting quarterback. Browns fans are clamoring for Brady Quinn after his successful debut (against Detroit’s fourth string defense). It brings up an interesting question. When drafting what you believe will be your quarterback of the future, do you sit him for a year while he learns the offense, play him right away, or bring him in midway through the season?

Fuzz—This is a hard question to answer in my mind. First off, I’m just a fan of the NFL and not so much a student of the game. I know football, but when it comes to giving judgment on such a big decision like this one, I’m probably not the guy to ask. Secondly, I think it depends on each individual athlete not as a whole. But, this is all for fun, so I’ll give it a whirl…

Personally, I think you should play right away. There is something to be said for sitting and learning the playbook, but for a whole year? That’s crazy. You have the summer and training camp to get used to the plays and the offense. I’m a hands on guy, so I’m much more effective if I do it first and then examine my mistakes later. You can put a bunch of directions in front of me but it’s going to be worthless until I actually start using them. This can be applied for these QB’s. The best experience they can get is to GET experience. Don’t give me the practice thing either. It’s not the same as actual game experience. Play them right away and ride the ups & downs. If you’re paying them that much money, you have faith they can do it. Just play baby.

Q—I’m going the complete opposite route of Fuzz here. I think it’s absolutely necessary to have the kid sit and learn for a year. NFL offenses are ridiculously complicated, especially in comparison to most college offenses, defensive players are faster, and the game is just too difficult for a rookie QB to thrive in. Let him stand on the sideline with a clipboard and relay messages while he gets an on the field view of the top level of the game. That way he can watch how the game is played, pick the brain of the incumbent quarterback, watch film, talk to the offensive coordinator, etc. By the time he’s entering his second year, the mental part of the game will be there to compliment the physical aspect and you have yourself a quarterback. Plus, by throwing him to the lions (not the kind from Detroit) immediately you run the risk of him losing confidence, the home fans turning on him, and the whole thing blowing up in your face. Think about it. The growing trend has been to have these guys start from day one. Now consider the number of highly touted rookie QB’s that have turned into absolutely nothing. Give the kid some time and you won’t have to draft another “quarterback of the future” in three years.

Dogg—I think it depends on the QB that we are talking about. It seems to me that pocket passing QB’s are usually more ready to start immediately in the NFL than the scrambling, run to make a play type QB’s. Most of the QB’s that scramble in college can’t just rely on that in the league because the LB’s are just too fast these days which means they have to learn how to read defenses and actually hit WR’s on their original pattern. A guy like Brady Quinn who was in college for 4 years and ran an NFL type offense under Charlie Weiss is probably ready for the NFL. I would go ahead and start Brady Quinn from the start. Let’s get serious, his competition is Derek Anderson.

Question #2: I know people are tired of the whole Michael Vick story, but we can't just ignore one of the biggest NFL-related stories of all time. Let's look at it from the football side of things: will Vick ever play in the NFL again? Why or why not? What team will he play for? Will he still be a quarterback? Can he ever be successful (in the football sense) again?

Q—I know my cohorts will disagree with me on this one, but I don’t think he ever plays in the NFL again. And it will be a shame. It’s not like he doesn’t have the talent, and he won’t lose it in the clink (if anything, he’ll get bigger). People, like Fuzz and Dogg, are going to say that he can come back at another position because NFL executives are always looking for talent. But I think they will a) all be warned by the league not to sign him, and b) be so afraid of the PR hit their team would take that no one is going to gamble. Mike will play again, but it will be in the CFL, Arena League, or whatever crazy faux football league Mark Cuban is thinking about creating.

Dogg—If Mike Vick wants to play football in the NFL again, he will 100% have the opportunity. There are owners (Al Davis) out there who don’t care about the reputation of their players and he is just too talented to not be on the field. He probably shouldn’t have been a QB in the first place so I think he returns to the field as a WR/RB like a Reggie Bush. The team who gets him might be getting an X-factor who lounges their team to the top. This is all determined if Vick is willing to step on the field again because you know he’ll be hearing it everywhere he goes, “Who Let The Dogs Out”.

Fuzz—The joke would be, as long as Al Davis is still living. In all seriousness, I put him being in the NFL again at 100%. Nothing short of that either. He’s 27 years old only and is still one of the most talented athletes EVER in any sport. After Vick gets through his prison sentence and his league suspension, one of the 32 owners will take a chance on him. I don’t blame them either. Look, it’s one of the most repulsive acts a human can do. Torturing something that can’t defend itself versus a bigger creature is just wrong. However, I also have the opinion once you serve your time that you’ve paid for your actions in a legal sense. I may not ever root for the guy again, but I believe he has the right to still earn a living and if that’s being in the NFL again, so be it.

I don’t think he’ll come back as a QB though. I don’t. He was already on the brink of losing that role right now. I don’t know how many more years Atlanta was going to experiment with the “Mike Vick Project.” He could come back as either a running back or a wide receiver. It doesn’t matter; he’s a freak on the field. However, by the time he makes it back to the NFL, he’ll probably be 30 years old. It would be hard for a guy with zero running back snaps at 30 to make it. A receiver would be just fine though…

Question #3: It was reported the other day that Denver safety John Lynch was upset about the amount of blitzes the Cowboys ran against them in their preseason game. He said there is an unwritten rule that you don't do that in the preseason. Is he correct? Should this be a "rule" that all teams follow?

Fuzz—He’s dead wrong. Preseason games were set up to get game experience before the real season starts. If you don’t like it, don’t play your stars or pick up the damn blitz. Pretty easy. It’s really hard to hold back in any sport. Your competitive juices get flowing no matter what the game is or what the game means. I have no problem with any of it. If I were the other teams, I’d bring the house every time at Denver the last two preseason games.

Dogg—Q knows how I feel about the “unwritten rules” of sports. They are about as cool as Spencer Pratt from “The Hills” and for those of who don’t know him, he’s the biggest tool this world has to offer. Why can’t you blitz in the preseason? Seriously, what’s the point of the preseason then? Is it supposed to be played like a flipping Pro Bowl? The first year players need that to get ready for the real thing. Pick up the blitz and air it out downfield. It’s not that hard. Hey John, you’re over the hill and if you can’t take the heat, get yo a** out the kitchen.

Q—This is where Dogg and I have major disagreements. I’m a big believer in “unwritten rules” in just about every sport. I don’t think that you should steal a base when you’re up by 7 or more runs in baseball. I believe you should pull your starters in a blow out in any sport. And I think Lynch has a point…sort of. It has been widely reported that NFL players and coaches hate the preseason and seem deathly afraid of injuries in these meaningless games (see: Tomlinson, LaDainian). It is because of this that I believe they’ve come to an understanding about how much and at what level of effort the starters will play. If everyone knows about this “understanding”, and a lack of blitzing is part of it, then he has a point. On the other hand, it’s completely part of the game and if a team is introducing a new defense, they need the practice. Offensively, you want to see how your line, tight ends, and running backs handle blitz pick ups, so why would it be a bad thing? It seems like a very thin line to walk. When to blitz and what is too much? Who can say? Oh yeah, and John Lynch is a baby.

Question #4: Purple talk: what do you think of the Robert Ferguson signing? Should the Vikes go after Jeremiah Trotter?

Q—I have no problem signing Fergy, but I think too big of a deal is being made of the move locally. Yes, he was a big name a number of years ago, especially in Minny since we hear all about the Pack all the time. But he’s been nothing for quite some time now and won’t have any significant impact.

Personally, I don’t think the Vikes need to go after Trotter. The Eagles have always had a very good defense and if they got rid of him, there’s something wrong. They also seem to know just when to cut the cord with veterans before they hit the wall (Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Hugh Douglas, etc.). I like our LB core a lot. They’re young and showed a lot of promise last year. Let someone else handle the disappointment that will be Jeremiah Trotter.

Dogg—Robert Ferguson = AVERAGE. If you think he’s going to help us win games, you’re wrong. Jeremiah Trotter got cut from a team with plenty of cap room for a reason. He can stop the run but cannot defend the pass which doesn’t fit with our core of LB’s. The purple have always had LB’s that can stuff the run but can’t defend the likes of Bubba Franks.

Fuzz—I already blogged about the Ferguson signing earlier this week, so I don’t want to sound too redundant on this subject. But, overall it’s an all right acquisition. He was cut by the Packers who were 8-8 and don’t have a lot of depth at the WR position. So, what does that tell you about Ferguson? I guess he has been around since 2001 so he has the most experience of out of any WR on our squad. He’s not a star and I don’t see the difference between Fergalicious and a guy like Bobby Wade or the other no name receivers we have. You might notice him in a few games, but in the end he’s just an average receiver we picked up to add depth.

On the other hand, Trotter at least has been a star before. He might be a little over the hill, but I think he still has some juice left. He is only 30. The Vikings have been laughable at the linebacker position for many years now, seen slight improvement last year. With the return of Chad Greenway, a Trotter acquisition could get us out of that laughable state. I would welcome a JT to this team for sure.

Question #5: Heading into the most important game of the preseason, when the starters should play the entire first half, what things are you most looking for from the Vikings?

Dogg—I believe that if this team gets solid play from Tarvaris Jackson, we could be right there at the end of the year fighting for a Wild Card spot. This defense is going to be rock solid so we need ball control by handing off to our 2-headed monster and Jackson just hitting the open receiver whether that is Williamson 50 yards downfield or Mewelde Moore coming out of the backfield. If he stays consistent and limits his mistakes, this team will be hovering around .500 all year. The QB/WR combo will be the most intriguing aspect of this 3rd and most important preseason game.

Fuzz—I’ve been on record that our defense is going to be top five this year and after last week’s performance, I’m even more confident in that statement. So, I won’t be looking at the defense on Saturday. I will be examining our offense closely, especially Tarvaris Jackson. It’s still amazing to me how much we don’t know about this guy. He’s been the anointed starter and yet we haven’t seen more then a couple of quarters of play from him. He hasn’t shown me anything that he’s going to make it but he also hasn’t shown me anything that he’s not going to make it. Last week he was 2-4, for 12 yds. What? He needs to play at least two quarters to get more practice in game situations. I don’t think a NFL team in the history of the NFL will start a less experienced QB then we will this season. At least the rookie quarterbacks that have played immediately played in some big time games in college against plenty of NFL talent. T-Jack played for a Division I-AA school. The minor leagues of college football. You can physically see the tools he possesses, but he needs experience. Play him the whole game Chilly…

Q—I’m on record as well. Mine says that I hate the preseason and it is completely worthless in determining how well a team or player will do for the upcoming season. But, I’m a Vikings rube and I’ll definitely be watching the game. We’ve seen that the D has a chance to be very good this season. We saw a couple flashes of brilliance from AD. Most people want to see “more” from T Jack in this game. As far as I can tell, there’s not much more to see. It looks to me like we’re going to have a very conservative offense that runs the ball 75% of the time, grinds it out, and hopes our defense can provide us with field position and the occasional turnover or touchdown. I just don’t think you’ll see Jackson putting the ball up 30 times a game—he’s just not ready for that yet. What I’m really going to be looking for is the way Taylor and Peterson are used in the backfield. How many passes are thrown at Taylor (I think a ton)? How often do they play together? How often is Taylor going to get the rock? Those are the kind of things I’m excited to see as we head into the second to last preseason game.

No comments: