Tag Archives: Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2015 Preview

Last year there was a lot of hype around the Buccaneers.  That hype was quickly killed.   This year the hype is back – but expectations are realistic.  The hype is more about the “future” and less about the “now” which is exactly where it should be after a 2-14 season.

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The “future” lies in the hands of the number one over-all pick in this year’s draft: Jameis Winston.  Winston came into the league with character issues upon character issues, but the Florida State quarterback has been none-the-less been handed the reigns of the Buccaneers franchise.  He has innate leadership abilities on the field and is a polished enough passer at this early stage, to have the confidence of the coaching staff.  Pairing up Winston with head coach Lovie Smith, should benefit for Winston early.  Smith is a tough-old-school coach, who believes in players on his rosters.  Smith will do everything in his ability to not put a lot of stress on the young quarterback, although Winston seemed to look his best in pressure situations while in Florida State.  The scariest thing about Winston becoming a pro, has nothing to do with his character though – it has more to do with the last two Florida State quarterbacks who were taking in the first-round: Christian Ponder and E.J. Manuel.  Yuck.

Behind Winston is an unsteady group at running back.  Doug Martin is looking more and more like a one year wonder and Charles Sims appears to be a guy who is more of a receiving back than a bell-cow.   It seems that the Bucs only go to Bobby Rainey when there is no where else to go which makes no sense.  Rainey isn’t a world-beater but he’s the best they have at the position.

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The lack of success in the running game can’t be all attributed to the ball carriers though.   This offensive line was atrocious last season and it seemed that they made a steal in an early trade last season with New England when they acquired guard Logan Mankins, but it was obvious New England gave them damaged goods.  The Bucs are depending on two rookies to start right away.  Penn State tackle Donovan Smith is a strong lineman who played in a “black and blue” style, but he will have growing pains in trying to protect Winston’s blind side as a rookie.  Ali Marpet was drafted out of division three in college and played at Hobart University.  Marpet is a product out of Hastings, New York who is being cheered on throughout the nation as the kid from the small school to make the NFL leap.  Marpet was a beast in Division III football, but the level of competition he faced was below average.  A good Senior Bowl and combine showing, gave his supporters some confidence.  He will get his chance early.

The Bucs were happy with their 2014 first-round pick, Mike Evans.  Evans became the team’s number-one wide out surpassing 1000 yards and accumulating 12 touchdowns in his rookie season.  There was talk the Bucs might cut ties with wide receiver Vincent Jackson, but the veteran (who pulled in 1000 yard season as well) is still here and it’s a good thing.  Jackson has been underrated his whole career and he is actually a perfect compliment to Evans.  Jackson isn’t afraid of contact and is actually a strong outside blocker as well – Evans can still learn from the veteran.

On the defensive line, Gerald McCoy continues to be a handful against anybody and this year he is joined on the line by Henry Melton who is still young enough to believe that he can resurrect his career hear and get back into Pro Bowl form.   The Bucs signed defensive end George Johnson, who may have looked better than he actually was in Detroit, while playing with a great defensive line.   Clinton McDonald was acquired from Seattle and pretty much, anybody from that Seattle squad is considered a positive get for any defensive unit.

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The Bucs figured they’d better extend the contract of linebacker Lavonte David before it’s too late, and that’s just what they did on August 10th.  David signed for $50.25 million in his extension and the Bucs.  Last year David totaled 146 combined tackles.  Bruce Carter is a Tampa 2 style middle line backer who was signed less for his tackling abilities but more for his zone coverage skills.

The secondary may still be an issue in Tampa as Alterraun Verner is still they’re number one and although is far from washed up, he was not the player they thought they were getting in free agency last year.  Johnathan Banks is okay, but at times gets too over confident and jumps routes often.  Lovie Smith’s loyalty to former players may be his undoing at the safety spot with former Chicago Bears Major Wright and Chris Conte.

Predicted Record: 6-10

Predicted Pro Bowlers: Gerald McCoy, Mike Evans, Bobby Rainey

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

The Aftermath of the Draft

Maybe we as fans have given the sport we love too much power.  Seriously, think about it.  The NFL has taken over our lives so much that even something as trivial as a schedule for the upcoming season being released becomes the buzz across the nation.  One could even argue that the NFL releasing it’s schedule during the NBA and NHL playoffs was another way football just flexed their muscle on the other sports brands.

The NFL Draft has become almost as big as the first round of the NFL Playoffs.  Advertisers line up to get their time in, fans set up “draft parties” for the first round and the football pundits have been rehashing arguments and repositioning players on their “big boards” for over a month – adding to the intrigue the draft presents.

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It’s all a big spectacle at the expense of exploiting these college kids one last time.   The word “exploit” may be a bit harsh, but there is nothing else left to call it.   The lead up to the draft becomes tiring though, as the same rhetoric gets spit back and forth on sports radio/tv for months.   Every year around draft time we get reminded of how much of a bust Jamarcus Russell was as a number one overall pick and that Tom Brady was drafted with the 199th pick of the 2000 draft.

We hear these stories every single year. . .

This year’s draft brought it’s own little story lines and now it’s over.  For better or worse, each team has made their draft picks and are now hoping these young kids will earn roster spots and be building blocks for the team’s future.  With that being said, here are five reasons why, we all should be thankful the draft is finally over.

1. No More Winston / Mariota comparisons:  

It was pretty clear from day one, Winston was more of the prototypical quarterback that came with off the field issues, while Mariota was the untraditional quarterback who is a model citizen.  That was it but every blow hard with an opportunity felt the need to bring that up to the media whenever given the chance.    The debate of who should go number one and why, has been given the same story by a hundred different voices.  It was enough to make you not like either or both of these young men for no reason what-so-ever other than that you were tired of hearing their names.

2. No More Mock Drafts: 

While acknowledging that their are a lot of folks out there who put in the hours and energy to watch film and break down team needs in order to write up a decent mock draft – it’s over-bearing.   Everybody who is anybody with a blog site or twitter handle makes up their own mock draft.   Sometimes it’s not even one mock draft either.  You have some guys who do “Mock Draft 2.0,” “Mock Draft 3.0,”  “Mock Draft (with trades)” etc, etc.   Now that the draft is over, about 90% of  those guys see how wrong they were (uh, me included.)

3. The Term “40 Time” Goes Back to Meaning Nothing :

Everybody likes speed.  Fast cars, fast money, fast. . . everything.  How many times have we seen a player’s speed be talked about more than his actual skill-set, just to see it blow up in some NFL scout’s face?   There’s no other time but draft time when you hear people talk about an athlete’s “40 Time” as if a forty yard dash would shorten the gap between Amari Cooper and some wideout from a division two school who ran a 4.2 40 Time – just stop it.

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4.  Your Nerves Are A  Little More At Ease:

Whether your team made a steal in the draft or totally blew it in every round, at least now you have piece of mind.  For better or worse, at least this thing is over.   The football pundits lead you to believe your team will trade players for picks, move up or down in the draft or have their eyes set on “one player in particular” and it drives you crazy.  Yes, it was fun to believe that Chip Kelly would’ve traded away every and anything to attain the services of Marcus Mariota, but let’s all be certain that the Philadelphia Eagle’s fans were nervous as all hell, because there is absolutely no telling what Chip Kelly’s next move is.

5. Mel Kiper Hibernates For About 10 Months:

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Kudos to Mel for all the draft work he does and for all the research he’s done over the years, but there is something about him that makes us all cringe.  Maybe it’s because we’ve come to know Mel as the “do all, end all” of the NFL draft and we put too much stock into his words.  If Mel says your team should do something, and if it’s something you like, you just don’t want to hear from Mel or his ridiculous hair.   At least Mel doesn’t say bonehead things though as Jon Gruden did in this year’s draft. . .  After the Rams drafted running back Todd Gurley, Gruden said that the Rams franchise hadn’t had a featured back since Eric Dickerson.  Gruden must’ve been asleep during the reigns of Steven Jackson, Marshall Faulk and Jerome Bettis – but it’s cool Jon, you still have “Gruden’s Quarterback Camp” every draft year in which you try to convince us that a quarterback with 4th round talent is going to be a steal.  .  . riiiiight.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

My Mockery of a Mock Draft

For the last month or so the internet has been flooded with mock drafts.  Some writers do 3 or 4 different mock drafts which either change one or two things here and there or totally find themselves on the opposite spectrum from where they once stood.  Is it over-done?  Probably.  One would say it’s over-done to the point of exhaustion, but there is obviously an audience for it or it wouldn’t be done in such abundance.  This mock draft is a “lighter side” of what the importance of draft day may mean to many.  In no way is this draft being done to discredit the work and countless hours put in by those who take this seriously and handle it exceptionally well.  If you want in-depth and worth-while draft analysis, there will be a list of those folks at the end of this draft that you can follow on twitter.

With that being said, here it is: “My Mockery of a Mock Draft.”

1st Pick: Tampa Bay Buccanneers – Nobody should ever listen to nonsensical rumors put out by Ron Jaworski.  This is the same guy who said at the start of last year that Colin Kapernick was on his way to becoming the best player in the NFL.  Okay. . .  Jaws put out a rumor that the Bucs would probably end up taking Mariota – not likely.  Bucs don’t think too hard about this one and knew that as soon as Jameis Winston announced his eligibility for the draft, that’s who they were taking.

Jameis Winston, Florida State

2nd Pick: San Diego Chargers – The Chargers decide to trade Philip Rivers and their first round pick to the Tennessee Titans for their second overall pick and a fourth rounder.  The Titans reunite head coach Ken Whisenhunt with Philip Rivers and Rivers gets a team with young wide receivers and a place NOT looking to move to Los Angeles.  The Chargers decide to enter the realms of “below mediocre” by drafting Marcus Mariota and in the long run, making head coach Mike McCoy’s light dim faster than anyone would’ve thought.

Marcus Mariota, Orgeon

3rd Pick: Chicago Bears – The Jags want a running back and the Bears are currently over-paying one.  The Bears trade Matt Forte and their seventh overall pick to the Jaguars and select Dante Fowler of Florida.  Many will fault the Bears for not taking one of the stud wide receivers or USC’s defensive end Leonard Williams, but the Bears’ new regime wants to build it’s 3-4 defense and see Fowler as the athletic linebacker who can be their guy for years to come.  Only time will tell . . .

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Dante Fowler, Florida

4th Pick: Oakland Raiders – Oakland knows they want a wide receiver here – but which one?  That’s easy, because according to Raiders’ logic you go with the faster guy.  Kevin White is the man chosen to be paired up with Derek Carr for the long run.

Kevin White, West Virgina 

5th Pick: Washington Redskins – The Redskins have no idea what to do here.  After  a phone call from Jon Gruden to Jay Gruden is made, the Redskins decided to draft Leonard Williams, the defensive end out of USC, who ultimately will go down as the guy the Bears should’ve drafted.

Leonard Williams, USC

6th Pick: Minnesota Vikings – The Jets kinda want Amari Cooper, but they fiddle around on the phone lines and see if there are any takers.  The Vikings call and give the Jets their first rounder, third rounder and the bust named Cordaralle Patterson.  The Jets figure with Patterson they have a special teams guy and gadget play guy – but the 1st and 3rd rounder are too much to resist.  At first it seems as if the Vikings over pay, but like the Raiders, they pair they quarterback of the future with a can’t miss wide receiver prospect in Cooper.

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Amari Cooper, Alabama

7th Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars – When the clock starts ticking on the Jags, they regret not getting an extra pick out of the Bears.  They decide to give Paul Posluszny some help on defense and draft linebacker Vic Beasley.  Smart move because it screws the team next up on the clock.

Vic Beasley, Clemson

8th Pick: Atlanta Falcons – Beasley is who the Falcons wanted initially but now are left to number two on their list.  They draft Shane Ray out of Missouri which doesn’t help this pathetic defense at all.  Shane Ray probably never becomes a starter and the Falcons are still terrible.

Shane Ray, Missouri 

9th Pick:  New York Giants – The Giants select an offensive lineman.  The Giants are boring.  They actually don’t want to draft anything but lineman this entire draft.  Weirdos.

Brandon Scherff, Iowa

10th Pick: Cleveland Browns – The Browns had tried moving up for Cooper or White but teams did not like their offers that included Johnny Manziel and they have a feeling that the Jets at pick 11 would take Nelson Agholor so the Browns make the jump up to take him and trade to the Rams their first and third round picks.  It’s a high price to pay for the 4th or 5th best wideout in the draft, who won’t catch more than 40 passes this year because this team is just awful – but come on, it’s the Browns.

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Nelson Agholor, USC

11th Pick: New York Jets – The Jets send a text to Cleveland after they pick that reads “We didn’t want Agholor.”   They draft Devante Parker, who should pair up nicely with the veteran wideouts the Jets already have in Decker and Marshall.

Devante Parker, Louisville 

12th Pick: St. Louis Rams – The Rams are tired of being that “good but not good enough” team and they play with the idea of drafting Todd Gurley but decide to go with a tackle for reasons unbeknown to anyone.

Ereck Flowers, Miami 

13th Pick: New Orleans Saints – The Saints know that they’re team stinks so they decide to take one of the biggest gambles in the draft and take Randy Gregory.  Gregory had a failed drug test and is for all accounts addicted to marijuana.  This is too easy of a segue to say one of those “Saints chances go up in smokes with Gregory” lines so, we’ll let it go. . .

Randy Gregory, Nebraska 

14th Pick: Miami Dolphins – No big deal here, they needed secondary help and they have their choice of the best corners on the market. They  go with the product out of Washington though, Marcus Peters, which makes Trae Waynes (who was invited to the Draft in Chicago) shake his head and take a sip from his drink like Kermit the Frog in those memes.

Marcus Peters, Washington

15th Pick: Philadelphia Eagles – Don’t let him fool you, Chip Kelly wanted Marcus Mariota.  He couldn’t make a deal happen with anybody for it to happen and he’s been steaming for over an hour.  When it gets to him that San Francisco wants Arik Armstead, Kelly flips out in total frustration and makes a deal with San Fran.  The two swap teams and Chip Kelly apparently tells San Fran he will trade his best offensive weapon to them at the end of the 2015 season.  Kelly will do anything to get his Oregon men.

Arik Armstead, Oregon 

16th Pick: Houston Texans – Bill O’Brien and the Texans were on the phones with New Orleans for a while in a move that would move Drew Brees to Houston, but nothing comes of it.  Texans realize they are going to have to ride with “it is what it is” potential of Ryan Mallet and/or Brian Hoyer at the quarterback position and add depth to their secondary in the process.

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Trae Waynes, Michigan State 

17th Pick: San Diego Chargers – The Chargers now have Marcus Mariota and no idea where to go with their 17th pick.  If the Titans played a little more hardball, the Chargers would’ve thrown this pick into the Mariota deal, but instead the Chargers take running back Todd Gurley.  The Chargers figure if this is truly a rebuild, they will go with a quarterback with questionable NFL skill and a running back coming off injury.  Thank God they have those sweet powder blue throwback jerseys though.

Todd Gurley, Georgia 

18th Pick: Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs will probably be terrible in 2015.  No other team behind them wants to move into their spot and they have nothing to trade (although those sneaky devils from Dallas tried trading for Jamaal Charles).  They just decide to take the best player on their board.

Eddie Goldman, Florida State

19. Cleveland Browns – The Browns are reckless and that’s why we love them.  The Browns decide to come out of nowhere and draft Devin Funchess out of Michigan.  Funchess won’t burn anybody, but he has great hands and gets to the height of the ball.  Good luck getting touches in this offense though.

Devin Funchess, Michigan

20.  Philadelphia Eagles – Reluctantly, Chip Kelly goes and drafts a player who is not on offense and is not from Oregon.

Landon Collins, Alabma

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis gets an extension although he’s never won a playoff game.  The Bengals are obviously drunk this entire off-season and draft and select defensive end Henry Anderson and laugh hysterically because it the name reminds them of the movie “Harry and the Hendersons.”  Every representative of the Bengals is asked to leave Chicago.

Henry Anderson, Stanford   

22. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Rooney family is upset the draft is not taking place in New York, because they wanted to be close to their casino in Yonkers, Empire City – to celebrate their pick, which might end up being the steal of the draft in offensive lineman, D.J. Humphries.

DJ Humphries, Florida

23. Detroit Lions – Detroit defiantly drafts Danny Shelton out of Washington.  Hoping it fills the void left by Ndamokong Suh.  Bears fans in Chicago moan, because it won’t fill the void, but it’ll do just enough. . .

Danny Shelton, Washington

24.  Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals were in trade talks with the Jets who wanted to take a chance on UCLA quarterback Brett Hundely in this spot.  The Cardinals were going to do it, but decided that taking Hundley is actually a good idea for a team that was riddled with injury in quarterback depth last season.  The Cardinals text the Jets afterwards “No hard feelings, K?”

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Brett Hundley, UCLA

25. Carolina Panthers – Thrilled that Peat is still on the board, the Panthers look to bolster a line that needs more of a push up front.  Cam Newton was hit  way too much last year.  Peat can be a starter for the next ten years in Carolina.

Andrus Peat, Stamford 

26. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens would’ve loved to get one of the top three wideouts in the draft but just didn’t have the tools to make it happen.  Instead they don’t reach and they draft the best player available, La’el Collins of LSU.

La’el Collins, LSU

27.  Dallas Cowboys –  Everyone expects the Cowboys to draft Melvin Gordon here, but instead they do the smart thing and draft linebacker Bud Depree out of Kentucky.  He may lack a “motor” but he has great athleticism to help bolster this defense.  It’s not a sexy pick for the Cowboys but it’s the smarter pick.   Plus, with a name like “Bud” it kind of sounds like he belongs in the state of Texas.

Bud Depree, Kentucky

28.  New York Jets – The Jets become unnecessarily nervous about not getting Brett Hundley and still having Geno Smith at quarterback.  They trade their second and fourth round pick to Denver to draft Bryce Petty out of Baylor.  Petty can own a room and will work the New York media at first — but prove he can’t own a huddle and get worked out of the starting job by week 4.  Come on, Jets. . .

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Bryce Petty, Baylor

29.  Indianapolis Colts – Colts decide on a corner at this spot.  The Colts are a weird team this year – Andrew Luck is a gem but a lot of wholes elsewhere.  This may be the year Luck flips out and says “Give me and Hilton more help.”

Byron Jones, UConn

30. Green Bay Packers – The Packers make a move that helps solidify the middle of the defense by selecting Shaq Thompson.  Teaming up the athletic and aggressive Thompson with Clay Matthews ends up being a nightmare.  For the second time tonight in Chicago, Bears fans let out a disgruntled moan. . .

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Shaq Thompson, Washington 

31.  New Orleans Saints – The team may have reached, but they go after a sort of hybrid pass rusher out of Virgina.  Drew Brees is bummed out because he almost got traded and then when he got over that, he was hoping the team would draft wide receiver Jalen Strong out of Arizona State.

Eli Harold, Virginia 

32. Minnesota Vikings – The Patriots held the last pick in the first round and realize that although they just won a Super Bowl, their window for winning another is quickly approaching.  The Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era has about two or three years at most left – so why not go for broke?  The Patriots decided to trade their first pick for veteran running back Adrian Peterson, who wants out of Minnesota.  The Vikings, who already gave Bridgewater, Amari Cooper in this draft, decide to give him help in the backfield and it ISN’T Melvin Gordon.  The Vikings draft Duke Johnson, who ultimately ends up being the best back out of this class.  . .  Bears fans never want the draft in Chicago ever again.

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Duke Johnson, Miami

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Thanks for checking out my “tongue in cheek” mock draft – hope you enjoyed it.  For all “real” draft analysis – check out these fine writers:

Joe Wedra @JoeWedra

Justin Higdon @AFC2NFC

Montell Hardy @MontelNFL

Vance Meek @vancemeek

Josh Zimmer @JZimmer_NFL

Bill Carroll @elevenbravo138

Brandon Pemberton @BrandonOnSports

 

 

 

The “Other” Quarterbacks in the Draft

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have gotten most of the attention going into this years draft and for good reason.   Winston displays everything on the field that you want from the quarterback position, while Mariota’s Heisman year was complete with eye popping video-game like statistics.   Believe it or not though, there are other quarterbacks in this year’s draft.   This isn’t the “sexiest” quarterback class to come out though and teams that are in need of that position, may want to tread lightly.

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Brett Hundley (UCLA) – Hundley entered last season with expectations to rival the hype around Winston and Mariota.  Although his season wasn’t awful, it also didn’t make many take notice.  In his three years at UCLA there is really no sign of growth statistically.  At 6’3″ and 225 pounds, he has ideal size and even brings a strong arm to the table, but his inability to read defenses consistently and relying on his athletic ability too much throw signs of caution.   Surprised that UCLA head coach Jim Mora didn’t shy away from running an offense that is predominately run from the shotgun to help Hundley’s transition to a pro style . . . Hundley is an intriguing prospect.

Best Fit: If the Arizona Cardinals get a shot at him in the second round, it would benefit Hundley greatly to learn behind a veteran like Palmer while being coached up by possibly the best coach in the league in Bruce Arians.

Bryce Petty (Baylor) – Much like Mariota in Oregon, Petty has a system at Baylor that is very quarterback friendly.  Unlike Mariota though – Petty was also blessed with having arguably the best wide receiver depth in college.  Baylor has become a place where top wide receiver recruits flock to because of it’s aerial assault.  Petty is a big, strong and confident player but his tendencies to stare down a single target and check down as soon as the primary receiver is covered are things seen week to week in Baylor games.

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Best Fit: If the Philadelphia Eagles resist the (rumored) temptation to trade up for Marcus Mariota in the first round.  They may just be patient and wait to see if Petty, who relies on a similar system will fall to them.

Garrett Grayson (Colorado State) : It seems like every year there’s some quarterback that was on nobody’s radar during the season and all of a sudden becomes a “sleeper” when it’s draft time.   This year that player is Garrett Grayson.   He brings what the previous two lack, and that’s that he played in a pro style system which gets the NFL scouts all giddy with excitement.  He is accurate but nothing special when it comes to arm strength or athletic ability.  The tape on Grayson is pretty clear though.  Coming out of the Mountain West conference, Grayson played well against the level of competition that was presented to him, and yes, that is a big deal.  Sure Grayson looked good against the likes of Wyoming, Hawaii and New Mexico, but once Grayson played against good defensive teams like Boston College, Boise State, Utah and Utah State, the struggle was evidently real. . .

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Best Fit:  Alex Smith is in no danger of losing his job but injuries are a part of the league.  The Kansas City Chiefs have Andy Reid as their head coach who once upon a time made Kevin Kolb and Koy Detmer look serviceable, so this would be Grayson’s best spot to land at.

Bo Wallace (Ole Miss):  Wallace is a great athlete with a pretty strong arm but he’s inconsistent all across the board.  He is a fiery competitor and will impress some NFL types with his athleticism and demeanor but sometimes that demeanor of his turns into cockiness which results all too often in him making bad decisions.   He likes to talk trash and sometimes lets opponents get in his head as well.   Bo is a gamble if there ever is one in the draft, especially at the quarterback position.  When his number one receiver Laquon Treadwell went down for the season, Bo Wallace was exposed even further as he totaled 6 interceptions and zero touchdowns in his last 3 games of the season.  It also doesn’t help that two of those games were losses to Arkansas and TCU in the Rebels offense was held to 3 and 0 points respectively.

Best Fit: Any desperate team that is primarily a run-based offense.  Buffalo Bills, maybe? . . .

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G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

The Perception of Jay Cutler

The NFL is a weird place.  Especially now-a-days.   Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, has often been recognized as a player who fans place their disgust with, by default it seems.  The NFL has child abusers, wife beaters, drug addicts and players who use performance enhancing drugs – yet, Jay Cutler is often the villain.  Why?  Because he’s moody.  Great call, America.

On the football side of things, Jay Cutler is without a doubt, one of the more frustrating players to watch on the field.  Great athlete, cannon for an arm and looks the part of a franchise quarterback.  After 9 NFL seasons, some football pundits still use the word “potential” in describing Cutler.  The truth is, at 31 years of age, he is what he is.  That’s when the more intelligent questions arise.  What is Jay Cutler’s true value to the Chicago Bears?

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Cutler has one Pro Bowl selection (for whatever that in itself is worth now-a-days) in his nine year career and has forever been depicted as a “black cloud” and a not a “true leader.”  Players from Cutler’s past and even today all have conflicting stories about Cutler, but for the most part the notion has been that he is a competitor but isn’t about all the hype and excitement.

Just to show how perception of Cutler has done more damage than his actual play on the field, let’s compare him to Eli Manning of the New York Giants.  Eli has two Super Bowl titles under his belt, but those who give quarterbacks the credit for “wins” are obviously working with half a brain, so let’s not even go there.   The numbers show that Jay Cutler and Eli Manning are pretty even in the touchdown to interception ratio;  while Cutler edges out Manning in completion percentage and quarterback rating.

Try to find Eli Manning haters in the world though, there is about one for every fifty Cutler haters. . .

Last season was a gift from the heavens for all Cutler-haters.  The Chicago Bears’ front office, coaching staff and team-as-a-whole were a week to week circus.  Between head coach Marc Trestman’s timid and predictable play calling and general manager Phil Emery’s bone-headed decisions – the Bears were set up (unknowingly) to fail.   It was a frustrating season for every player in that locker room, but more times than not the camera’s only found focus on Jay Cutler’s disgust on the sidelines.

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The defense was a complete joke and their offense, which was supposed to be innovative and explosive, turned out to be soft and lacking any creativity.  The Bears found themselves going three and out on offense often because one of every three plays seemed to be a wide receiver screen pass, Matt Forte could never get the tough-short-yardage and often times, the wide receivers were running the wrong routes.  This would lead to the Bears defense 85% of the time giving up a score to the opposing offense – but blame, Cutler. 

Don’t get this twisted though – Cutler does harbor blame during the Bears disgusting season.   He still trust his arm more than he should and in doing so, his ego not his arm, leads him to throwing ill-advised passes.   His awareness when under pressure is frustrating to watch as well.  It seems whenever he’s on the run, Bears fans hold their collective breath waiting for a defender coming from his blind side to knock the ball out of his hands.

Is Cutler the guy who can lead the Bears to a championship?  Honestly, who knows?

Look at guys like Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Joe Flacco. . . it took miracle playoff runs for these guys to earn the “yes” to that question.  Even then, only Eli has returned to the Super Bowl, while Flacco and Rodgers make more excuses than they make deep runs into the playoffs.

Once again though – it’s all about perception.  Aaron Rodgers, Flacco and Manning smile during interviews and do funny commercials so the American public thinks they can relate to them.  Cutler does none of that.  Instead he makes his rounds doing volunteer work helping young children with disabilities, started the Jay Cutler foundation helping less fortunate children to overcome obstacles and graduate high school and also visits hospitals routinely in his efforts to help against youth diabetes.  But nobody knows that because he doesn’t advertise it and since he doesn’t smile that makes him a jerk automatically.

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Once again, this is not a campaign to forget the ills of Cutler on the field – it’s just amazing how the perception of an athlete has nothing to do with the athlete himself and has somewhat vilified Cutler.

Back to football.

Getting rid of Cutler this season, would make little to no sense at all for the Bears.   Looking at the free agent quarterbacks that are available and outside of Jameis Winston, the lack of quarterback talent in this years draft, the Bears have no other option.   The next two to three seasons must include an over-haul of this team on both sides of the ball.  While the world screams “you need a quarterback to win in this league” – you really need the rest of a football team as well. Alex Smith can win in this league.  Hell, even Mark Sanchez has had success in this league – as long as there is a team and a system that can be successful around that quarterback.  Cutting Cutler, would still cost the Bears money and would leave the team in a worse quarterback predicament.  Trading Cutler is an option that is out there, but only if a team would be willing to take on the entire contract – which is not going to happen in all reality.

Bears fans forget, if Cutler hadn’t gotten injured in two separate seasons, the Bears would have had a legit chance of coming out of the NFC.   Have they already forgotten how this team looks without him?  Aside from that Josh McCown run of luck, the Bears have never had a quarterback with the talent of Cutler.  He already holds many of the all time Bears passing records. . .

Cutler may not be the answer, but at the same time – there are too many questions left unanswered in concerns for the Chicago Bears.

G.W. Gras

@GeeSteelio