X’s and O’s With The Bros: Quarterback Play in the West Coast Offense

by Cleveland Frowns on December 21, 2011

Welcome to the latest edition of “Xs and Os with the Bros” by Xs and Os editor @rodofdisaster. This feature represents a basic attempt to dive deeper into the game of football, learn something about the X’s and O’s, and try to appreciate the games within the game by taking a close look at a play or aspect of the game. It’s called “Xs and Os with the Bros” because you don’t have to be a rocket surgeon or a former player or coach to get something out of taking a close look at a football play, so please enjoy the post and the discussion in the comments. Alright, here’s Rod:

The position is like no other in sport; so important that it’s name has become a synonym for “leader” and “director.” First, a look at a play from last Sunday’s Browns/Cardinals game.

Situation: 13:53 left overtime, Browns have received the kickoff;
Score: 17-17;
Down & Distance: 2nd & 7 on Browns 32.

I. Presnap

The Browns  come out in “11” personnel (1 RB, 1 TE). The strength of the formation is to the left with Smith (the “Y”) lined up next to Thomas. We see Mohammed Massaquoi lined up as the “Z” (bottom of your screen). Josh Cribbs is the “X” at the top of the screen and Greg Little is in the slot.

The Cardinals counter with 2 linemen, 4 LBs and 5 DBs, in a nickel package. There is one safety deep directly in the middle of the field. The other safety, Wilson, #24, is lined up 10 yards off of the line over the TE, which tips off that the Cardinals aren’t playing press man coverage. From here the two most likely coverages are Cover-3 zone and Man Free (1 safety deep and man under). While the DBs are a little far off the line for the latter, this could be a disguise of man coverage (in which case they’d run closer to the line just before the snap to play man. Each receiver seems to have a man lined up over him (I have highlighted Little’s relationship with the defender here). Though Wilson’s position strongly indicates cover-3 zone. In cover-3, the SS covers “curl to flat” on the strongside (i.e., defined by an area where a hook or curl would end up to the sideline ). In this photo, he’s already lined up over there.

In the second pane, we see Little has gone into motion (jagged orange line). Notice that his defender has stayed put, which tips off the zone, confirming the read.

II. Dropback

  1. Here we see Seneca Wallace drop back to throw. It’s a 3-step drop which means he’s probably trying to throw a slant to Cribbs. He’s making this read as he drops. The protection appears good as the Cardinals rush four. Hillis comes up to block Sam Acho on the edge.
  2. Notice the defender here moving out to cover the curl to flat on the weak side. He will be in the way of the throw,
  3. This is where Cribbs is trying to go. He won’t be open.

III. Alternate Receiver

Here we see Wallace look to his alternate receiver. In the West Coast Offense this tends to be a tight end. Alex Smith is running into the coverage (#1). Since the defenders are somewhat close together, there isn’t much space for Wallace to put the ball.

IV. Throw

Here we see that Wallace has read across the field, passing up Cribbs, Smith, and MoMass (who ran a Hitch or “2” route).  Instead, Wallace has opted for Little in the left flat who ran an out. He completes the throw for a two yard gain.

PLAY ANALYSIS:

There are several reasons why I chose this play for a close look. First, it represents a second-down play where the Browns chose to pass against a front that they could have blocked well enough for another 3-5 yard run to bring up a third and short (if not a first down). It’s a good illustration of the way the West Coast Offense relies on the short passing game to replace the running game. As it turns out, 3-yards and a cloud of dust would have been a better result here.

Secondly, and more importantly, it showed me something from Seneca Wallace that I have not seen from Colt McCoy: The ability to read across the whole field.  He started weakside, it wasn’t there; He went to the alternate, not there; Finally, he comes all the way across to Little for a completion, albeit a short one. I went back and looked at the last three games’ worth of pass attempts from Colt and only once did I see him read the whole field in this way. Instead, the furthest he gets is to sometimes come off of the primary to the alternate in the middle of the field. I suppose it’s not uncommon for a young QB to fail to see the whole field, but to see it just once in three games raises serious questions. Are the Browns giving this kid one and two-option plays? We can’t know the answer to that but whether by design or ability the use of two receivers on any play leaves three eligible receivers running essentially wasted routes. If you look at the interception that McCoy threw to Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh, he looked right and threw right. The receiver running the backside post was open deep (or so it looked on the replay as Polamalu cheated over). In the Baltimore game, he threw the interception before the half where he’s looking right and throwing right.  He’s not exactly locking on to one receiver but if he or his coach are limiting his play to half of the field, that’s shrinking the area the defense has to really cover.

DISCUSSION:

Heading into last off-season and again into this one, it appears that the most important question facing the Cleveland Browns is whether the signal caller of the future is currently on the roster. One of the worst mistakes an NFL front office can make is to misclassify its starting quarterback. A wrong assessment can cost you years (as it did the Lions with Joey Harrington or the Dolphins passing on Drew Brees), though incorrect evaluations can go both ways. For as many rules as we are given for what constitutes a great QB prospect there are always exceptions to those rules, but to break down some of the basics:

Mechanics – How the Parts Move

In short, the QB’s feet and arms should exhibit an “economy of motion” (i.e., the less wasted movement the better). Poor lower body mechanics leads to poor upper body mechanics. What to look for here:

Lower Body
– The QB accepts the snap and has basically four movements immediately off of the snap. He has a 3, 5 or 7 step drop. He also has different mechanics to hand off. When he accepts the exchange from center he’ll then drop step with his throwing foot (i.e., the same side foot that corresponds to his throwing arm. Right for righties, left for lefties). He then has to cross with the contralateral foot for step two. The next step is with the first foot and so on and so forth. The reason the drops are numbered as “odd steps” is that the same-side foot has to be the last one because they have to drive off of that foot to initiate the throw. For instance, a three-step drop is quick and is a throw to short routes, so the rhythm is 1-2-3-throw. The crossing of the feet is key. Some guys are very smooth with this and others are uncoordinated and shuffle/stumble their way back. Other guys are frequently caught in between steps. At the appropriate depth of the drop, that last step has to plant firmly and the player’s stance should be athletic with a good base for balance. They push off of the back foot and drive their weight forward with the the front foot rotating their hips (Tom Brady is particularly good at the drive and hip turn). You don’t have to have watched much football to know that throwing off of the back foot should generally always be avoided.

On handoffs, the QB has to open his hips right off of the snap. On the stretch they have to have some mobility to get to the handoff point. There is some agility required here as well.

Upper Body– On dropping out from center the QB’s head and eyes are ideally downfield. Some guys do keep their head centered so it’s harder to see where they’re looking (Brett Favre did this well) but they should still be going through their reads as they drop. The shoulders should be perpendicular with the line of scrimmage when possible and the ball should be held high (with two hands) near the upper shoulder/ear hole area (see Peyton Manning). The positioning of the ball helps avoid fumbles from carelessness but more importantly it gets rid of a hitch because the ball is already in a good starting position for the throw (Steve Young). The throwing motion should be compact (see Tim Tebow or Byron Leftwich for counterexamples here). The arm angle is important in the sense that a QB makes himself shorter with a sidearm throw, and for some guys that’s an issue. The follow through should end up with the throwing hand almost in the opposite pants pocket (Tom Brady). The release point should ideally be in the middle of the throw and the wrist snap offers a tighter spiral (important for bad weather) (Marino, Warren Moon; Michael Vick has a great wrist release).

These are just the physical mechanics. Obviously there’s much more to this than just the physical. Some QBs are able to overcome mechanical shortcomings by reading the field, while others trust their arms too much.

Characteristics of an NFL QB

Professional analysts all have their list of what makes up a great quarterback. While they tend to look for the same types of traits, it’s rarely that simple in the analysis. Some analysts may favor the important traits in some order. The main traits that one should look for in an NFL QB are:

1) Intelligence- The history of the NFL keeps marching on and the broken dreams of many strong-armed college QBs litter the landscape because they weren’t able to grasp the complexities of the NFL at the speed required. Guys with major league fastballs who can’t read defenses are essentially useless. When an NFL quarterback has a breakthrough year, comb the transcripts and I can guarantee you’ll find him telling at least one reporter that “the game has slowed down for [him].” Of course it’s not the game that’s slowed down, it’s his brain that’s sped up. Relativity.

2) Accuracy/Arm Strength- Accuracy and arm strength are hard to separate because there are different ways that an arm can be strong. I.e., it requires certain physical ability to be able to put the proper spin on the ball to deliver consistently accurate throws. (For instance, while Drew Brees isn’t a big man, but throws an excellent ball due to his ability to “spin it.”) In any event, there’s no question that a successful NFL QB needs to be able to fit the ball into tight spaces. Give me an accurate QB who can read the field and I’ll pick you apart. Wildly inaccurate passers tend to spend a lot of time overcoming their poor plays, and tend to put their teammates in vulnerable positions. The NFL QB should aspire to the accuracy of a Tom Brady or Joe Montana (note that Montana was not at all known for having a cannon). Though the “big arm” of course helps as well. The quintessential benchmark for arm strength is the deep out (20+ yards). Obviously, the college hash marks make the distances different so look for the throw to the field (“bigger side”) out to gauge arm strength. You also want to see how they throw off balance because NFL QBs have to make off balance throws routinely. The guys with the biggest arms out there right now are Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, and Aaron Rodgers.

3) Quick Release- A quick release is a commonality shared by all top QBs. A slow release can throw off timing between QB and receivers. It can also result in sacks and/or fumbles under pressure. Dan Marino, Warren Moon and Joe Namath all had ideal releases. Again, arm strength is a factor here.

4) Footwork/Pocket Presence- While this is somewhat difficult to separate from intelligence, proper footwork is a cornerstone for successful play at every position in football and the QB position is no different. Not only does good footwork set the QB up for accurate and strong throws but it also plays a big role in the timing of the running game and any play action. Of course, this also requires the quarterback to know where the rush is coming from and where their escape lanes are. Think Joe Montana here.

5) Leadership- There’s a personality element here as well. The quarterback’s ability to communicate with his teammates and make them see what he sees is as important as anyone else’s on the field. Again, a lot of overlap with intelligence here, but see the difference between say Peyton Manning and Jeff George.

6) Size- The prototypical NFL QB is 6’3”- 6’6.” Too much shorter and they can’t see over the line reliably. There have been plenty of successful 6’2” QBs.  There seems to be some magic drop-off at 6’7” as these players tend to have trouble avoiding the pass rush. The trajectory on their passes is different in the short passing game. Drew Brees is the major exception here at 6’0.”

Bill Walsh and “the West Coast QB”

Bill Walsh is the father of the West Coast Offense run by the Browns. Whether you’re a fan of the premise of running all five eligible receivers into the pattern and using the “short pass as run” concept or not, you can’t deny this man’s ability to evaluate and coach quarterbacks.

This post at Smart Football titled “Bill Walsh’s 49ers Notes on Dropback Passing” will give you a better idea of what the WCO requires of a quarterback. An hour of your time is well spent watching the seven part series on YouTube titled “Quarterbacking by Bill Walsh” as well.

You’ll see that Walsh was looking for at least the first four traits mentioned above and you can get a better appreciation for how those traits make this offense work. He is a stickler for footwork and releasing the ball on time. He expected different footwork depending on the throw being to the inside or the outside, and understood how the timing between QB and receiver was a key to success. His offense was almost unstoppable.

It’s hard to think that Walsh would be crazy about either of the Browns quarterbacks. Colt’s interception against Baltimore (not to mention the preceding passes that were almost intercepted) probably made him spin in his grave, having broken one of his cardinal rules of quarterbacking. When you take three or five step drops, you never look right when throwing right until you are ready to actually throw. If Walsh wanted to say something good about either guy he’d say they both have generally good footwork, but given their relative lack of arm strength, it’s hard to think they’d have come close to the league if they didn’t.

Another Bill, Parcells, has come up with a list of  “11 Quarterback Commandments,” also instructive:

1. Press or t.v., agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers on, ignore them on matters of football, they don’t know what’s happening here.

2. Don’t forget to have fun, but don’t be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don’t mix. Clowns can’t run a huddle.

3. A quarterback throws with his legs more than his arms. Squat and run. Fat quarterbacks can’t avoid the rush.

4. Know your job cold. This is not a game without errors. Keep yours to a minimum. Study.

5. Know your own players. Who’s fast? Who can catch? Who needs encouragement? Be precise. Know your opponent.

6. Be the same guy everyday. In condition, preparing to lead, studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

7. Throwing the ball away is a good play. Sacks, interceptions, and fumbles are bad plays..Protect against those.

8. You must learn to manage the game. Personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock, clock, clock, don’t you ever lose track of the clock.

9. Passing stats and td passes are not how you’re gonna be judged. Your job is to get your team in the endzone and that’s how you’re gonna be judged.

10. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have panic buttons.

11. Don’t be a celebrity quarterback. We don’t need any of those. We need battlefield commanders that are willing to fight it out everyday, every week, and every season, and lead their team to win after win after win.

The Browns’ “Quarterback of the Future”

While Colt McCoy embodies some of the required characteristics at times, he quite clearly is not the prototypical NFL quarterback by the standard measures. The main questions surrounding Colt relate to whether he can overcome his physical shortcomings with an ability to read the field, and an emphasis on mechanics. The complete inability to make his way through his progressions noted above is highly discouraging here, and is at least partially explained by the fact that Colt never had to read a defense in college, where his read was dictated to him in the huddle in Texas’s spread scheme. Contrast this with the advantage that pro-style college quarterbacks have coming into the league (remember Andrew Luck’s coach at Stanford explaining how his quarterback “controls the game at the line of scrimmage,” and that they “call three/four plays in the huddle”).

Can the Browns really afford to invest in any more “on the job training” for Colt here? Josh Cribbs’ public commentary on the Browns offense this season (“what we’re doing ain’t working,” etc.) reads like nothing if not the frustrations of a receiver whose been forced to play with a quarterback who only uses half of the field (notably, Cribbs was effusive in his praise of Wallace after Sunday’s game). The dropped passes that have scandalized the Browns press all season weren’t an issue at all last Sunday with Wallace at QB, and it’s hard to see that as a coincidence. How many more years can you spend waiting to see if Colt eventually picks it up, knowing that he’ll still never have the arm to make “all the throws”? I’m a University of Texas alum and would love to be wrong about McCoy, but the Browns don’t owe him a lot of money, and investing any more time on him requires assuming he’ll be able to develop a high proficiency at something that he’s never shown an ability to do, at the very highest level. NFL teams develop in cycles, and you’ve got to synch your quarterback’s with the rest of the group.

—————

It’s taken seven years and over $50 million, but Alex Smith showed us on Monday night what a WCO quarterback should look like.. Note the footwork, timing throws, and decision-making. The TD to Vernon Davis is a classic WCO play called a sweep pass — the QB takes a straight drop and then sprints to the outside – just like the famous Montana to Dwight Clark TD. And there really is no better benchmark for the WCO than Montana

—————

The “Xs and Os with the Bros” archive is available here.

  • Peter

    I can’t agree more about drafting a QB. The NFL today is all about the QB. if you have one, you are always a contender, if you don’t, you are the Browns,Fins, perenial loser…

  • Etjohns_420

    I am now a better football fan for having read that. Great stuff

  • Ess Eh

    I really wish we had access to the All 22, b/c in that play I really want to know where the safety is. He is at the 47 pre snap, so he has to drop at least 5 to 10 yards post snap.

    The LBs are within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage which should make Cribbs open in the 2nd window on the slant at say the 42 or 43 yard line. So while Seneca went through his progression quickly, it actually worked against him.

    I realize the ball is supposed to come out quick on the 3 step drop, but no one is even close to Seneca on the pass rush. Why the need to throw the ball for 2 yards? Would Big Ben, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers dump the ball off for a 2 yard gain with no pressure around them?

    It shows me, that we need a playmaker at QB. I think both McCoy and Seneca suffer from the same “got to run the offense exactly as it is drawn up” mentality. It’s like they have a mental checklist and they are just checking it off one line item at a time.

    That is what I like in RGIII over Barkley, RGIII just seems to have the big play mentality. Granted I have only see a few games for each. So it’s hard to judge.

    • Hopwin

      I think that is Holmgren and Shurmur dictating that they HAVE to run the play as originally called for in the WCO. No one we bring in will do any better so long as they are hamstrung by the playcalling.

      • Anonymous

        Ding!

        I would offer Hopwin that when Colt McCoy is in the two minute offense, he’s much more effective because he has more control over the play.

        • Hopwin

          I couldn’t agree with that more. Is it a coincidence that one of his biggest plays of the year was drawn up in the huddle between him and Cribbs?

  • Anonymous

    someimes I wonder if all the other teams in the North salivate when they see random “dont give up on Colt just yet” articles that have peppered our media outlets.

    Dont give up on him sure, but realize he is simply a backup.

  • Anonymous

    One of my favorite parts of the week. Great job as per usual Rod.

  • Zulads4

    So Rod, who do you think the Browns should go after this off season? Assuming Luck is out, do you take Barkley or RGIII? I have my heart set on RGIII, but he also comes from a spread offense.

    I think arm strength goes deeper than just being able to throw the ball down field 60 yards. I have noticed throughout the season that Colt tends to throw a slow wobbly ball. I finally got to see Cam Newton play, and it is so much different; tight spirals on a rope. Slow or arching throws can throw off timing, and give the defense a little more time to react. Wobbly throws are much more difficult to catch than the tight spiral, which may account for at least a few drops this year.

    That is why I would like to get RGIII. All of his throws are strong spirals on a rope, even when he scrambles.

    • Anonymous

      I like both but I have to admit I have seen a lot more of RGIII. Obviously, they are slightly different players when you look at them but I wouldn’t be disappointed with one of the two. I have seen RGIII do things to carve up some really good defensive teams as if they weren’t even there. He’d get my vote.

      • Zulads4

        Thanks, I was just making sure I didnt have the beer goggles on when watching him play.

        I would take him, then Wright, the WR from Baylor and a Mike Wallace clone. They would already have the chemistry. Then add Burfict in the second round and you make this team much more exciting.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for the education Rod’o.
        On throwing motion I have two important words, Bernie Kosar.
        Perhaps an anomaly, but throwing motion, ideal size, et cetera, are not as important as staying away from what I like to call “Happy Feet”. Although you said it more eloquently.
        The problem with the entire “which QB”, “franchise QB” conundrum is that it takes a couple of years for the game to slow down for some very good NFL QB’s.
        Where did Brees play his rookie year? Favre?
        What was the general consensus about Alex Smith before this year?
        Where would Tom Brady be if Drew Bledsoe had stayed healthy.
        I suggest that the Browns use all of their draft choices on the defense and pick up a used QB from the scrap heap.
        I am certainly not a Colt McCoy fan but Rod’o, in the spread at UT; Colt went through his variety of progressions and usually made good choices.
        Is there that big of a difference in a “pro set” offense? (Yes, I am using the term with a liberal poetic license,)

        • Anonymous

          I’m not saying dump Colt. I am saying they need insurance because the early returns aren’t showing him to be the savior.

          • Anonymous

            I may be saying “dump Colt”.
            The situation that is perplexing for me is how to tell the Tom Brady’s from the Jeff George’s.
            I thought Jeff George would hook on to a team 4 years in to his career and perhaps have some success.
            He is just the first example that popped into my head, but I have no ability to tell which QB will blossom in the future.
            When they lose their “happy feet” it becomes easier to see, before that I am at a loss.
            Rod’o, how can you pick the great ones?

          • Anonymous

            If I knew the answer to that, I’d be in an NFL front office or in Vegas ;-)

            My thought on personnel is obviously to have some stability in your personnel evaluators and that often requires stability with the philosophy or coach because it takes about 3 years (or so I am told) for the scouting staff to really learn what a staff wants in a particular player. For instance, the example Pat Kirwan gives in his book is Aaron Glenn. When the Jets drafted him, he was an undersized 4-3 corner. He made the Pro Bowl and was great in man coverage. Enter Bill Parcells and Aaron didn’t fit what they were looking for (over 6′ and better in zone coverage and run support). That, in my mind, is THE key reason that the Browns have been unsuccessful since their return. They keep changing what ingredients they want so often that it’s not giving their scouts a chance to catch up.

            As for QB’s I think my philosophic approach to them would be different. For QBs I think that the approach Holmgren had in GB was the right one. You draft one every year even if it’s seventh round. You keep turning the bottom of that position over because a) it’s so important to find ones that can play and b) it’s so hard to translate it to the NFL. There’s less room for error and you don’t want to find yourself without a good one and a reasonable backup.

    • Anonymous

      http://youtu.be/myAMiNYTstk

      Look at the throw RG3 makes around the 0:42 mark. That’s a throw from far hash to near sideline. Colt McCoy can’t make that throw.

    • Anonymous

      http://youtu.be/myAMiNYTstk

      Look at the throw RG3 makes around the 0:42 mark. That’s a throw from far hash to near sideline. Colt McCoy can’t make that throw.

      • Jon

        What do you think of RG3s mechanics?

        I like RG3 a lot but I think Barkleys the better QB.

  • Zulads4

    So Rod, who do you think the Browns should go after this off season? Assuming Luck is out, do you take Barkley or RGIII? I have my heart set on RGIII, but he also comes from a spread offense.

    I think arm strength goes deeper than just being able to throw the ball down field 60 yards. I have noticed throughout the season that Colt tends to throw a slow wobbly ball. I finally got to see Cam Newton play, and it is so much different; tight spirals on a rope. Slow or arching throws can throw off timing, and give the defense a little more time to react. Wobbly throws are much more difficult to catch than the tight spiral, which may account for at least a few drops this year.

    That is why I would like to get RGIII. All of his throws are strong spirals on a rope, even when he scrambles.

  • Zulads4

    So Rod, who do you think the Browns should go after this off season? Assuming Luck is out, do you take Barkley or RGIII? I have my heart set on RGIII, but he also comes from a spread offense.

    I think arm strength goes deeper than just being able to throw the ball down field 60 yards. I have noticed throughout the season that Colt tends to throw a slow wobbly ball. I finally got to see Cam Newton play, and it is so much different; tight spirals on a rope. Slow or arching throws can throw off timing, and give the defense a little more time to react. Wobbly throws are much more difficult to catch than the tight spiral, which may account for at least a few drops this year.

    That is why I would like to get RGIII. All of his throws are strong spirals on a rope, even when he scrambles.

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff Rod!

    HUGE offseason coming up for the Brownies, Mangini would probably call it the most important one ever, because it’s the next one. The decision on what to do for the QB position is I’m sure Issue #1 for the Browns to sort out this winter. If anyone has close to the domain expertise on the WCO and being able to gauge if a QB has the tools to effectively run it as well as Bill Walsh, would be his OC for many of those record breaking years, Mike Holmgren. They have 144 days to sort it out.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t doubt that Holmgren recognizes QB talent when he sees it but I have to admit disappointment in the fact that he’s carried only these two QBs this season. It’s such an important position and you mean to tell me that he couldn’t find a third guy to work on as a project preferably with a big arm?

      A favorite analyst of mine always says “Pay a quality veteran $3 million and sleep at night [knowing you have a quality backup]” . I don’t have a problem with Seneca as a backup per se but when you look at the two QB’s on this roster they are both of similar overall ability. Seneca is at his ceiling and we aren’t sure about Colt. I don’t get the feeling that Seneca really pushes Colt.

      This isn’t how Holmgren did things in Green Bay (or maybe that was Ron Wolf). He was always developing someone (Brunell, Aaron Brooks, Hasselbeck, etc) who at a minimum ended up commanding serious trade value.

      • Anonymous

        Aaron Brooks = Thad Lewis?

        I mean, when Holmgren took over, it was pretty clear that the team had a serious void at QB, but unfortunately we have voids all over the place. It seems to me that their best laid plans went awdry starting with Jake and Seneca’s injuries last year and then having to throw Colt into the fire without really getting to groom him properly. Then draft position and what seems to have been relatively weak QB prospects the past couple years have also played a role.

        So who knows, maybe Thad Lewis ends up being the next Aaron Brooks (who actually wasn’t all that great and his numbers are very similar to Colt’s).

        It seems like Colt was supposed to be the guy they wanted to develop on the side, but it didn’t pan out that way. We’ll see how it plays out if we draft QB, do we continue to groom Colt or do they trade or cut him altogether. We shall see.

        • Anonymous

          Aaron Brooks was traded to the Saints when Jim Haslett took them over and he took over for Jeff Blake and QB’d that team to its first playoff win ever throwing 4 TDs to beat the defending champs (The Rams).

          • Anonymous

            I have no doubt Brooks had some great games in his career, i def liked the guy, remember spot starting him a few times in fantasy. He was also a 3rd rounder, so maybe Colt was Holmgren’s Aaron Brooks experiment. But as circumstances had it, Colt’s number was called well before they wanted him in and after he showed some moxie there was no turning back, unfortunately for Colt. Seems like he needed some more time to get a grasp of the WCO.

      • Anonymous

        Aaron Brooks = Thad Lewis?

        I mean, when Holmgren took over, it was pretty clear that the team had a serious void at QB, but unfortunately we have voids all over the place. It seems to me that their best laid plans went awdry starting with Jake and Seneca’s injuries last year and then having to throw Colt into the fire without really getting to groom him properly. Then draft position and what seems to have been relatively weak QB prospects the past couple years have also played a role.

        So who knows, maybe Thad Lewis ends up being the next Aaron Brooks (who actually wasn’t all that great and his numbers are very similar to Colt’s).

        It seems like Colt was supposed to be the guy they wanted to develop on the side, but it didn’t pan out that way. We’ll see how it plays out if we draft QB, do we continue to groom Colt or do they trade or cut him altogether. We shall see.

      • Hopwin

        Who was it again that jumped on the table and told Heckert that they WERE drafting Colt McCoy last year? I eem to have forgotten as the season has worn on………..

        • Anonymous

          Colt was projected as a 2nd or 3rd rounder, so I don’t think we stretched to get him at #85, but there turned out to be what appears to be quite a few gems right after Colt as well

          #85 pick – Colt
          #87 – Eric Decker – def could use him
          #91 – Navarro Bowman – BEAST
          #93 – Tony Moeaki – hurt this year, but a baller
          #95 – Jimmy Graham – YIKES

          • Hopwin

            Heckert didn’t want to draft Colt but Homgren over-rode him. Who is the better judge of talent? I firmly believe Holmgren was a terrible GM in Seattle and at best a mediocre coach throughout his career who benefitted from other’s excellent personnell choices.

          • Anonymous

            i mean, i don’t think you can fault them for taking a flier on Colt there as a project QB, it’s not like we traded up to the 1st round to get him like we did for Brady, nor did we have to break the bank for him.

            it’s still way too early to know how good the kid could potentially be as an NFL starter. whether he deserves to start again next year, that’s another story, but maybe in his 3rd or 4th year of knowing the ins and out the playbook, maybe. Drew Brees is obviously a helluva player right now, and it took him 3 full years as a starter no less, before he turned it on.

  • kjn

    As always, awesome. You have erased any lingering hope I had for Colt.

    “Our ships can’t have panic buttons” is my new favorite mixed metaphor.

  • Anonymous

    good stuff.

    although, it really makes me want Luck more than ever. it seems super cool if we had a guy like RG3 tearing up the league, but this system we are forced to deal with under Holmgren doesn’t seem the right fit for RG3. And I don’t know where Barkley fits on this spectrum.

    So hopefully we end up with like the 4th pick and the Colts are willing to take our #4, Falcons pick and another 2/3 round pick….make sense by them….are they really going to trade Peyton Manning?….they’d have to think about that deal….and Big Walrus would have to love a the apparent disciple of the WCO.

    ugh, all this is too exciting. need to stop thinking positive. just going to be disappointed when we draft some D lineman…or worse, Trent Richardson…and then our big offseason signing is someone like Steve Breston (although that would be amazing, based on last years signings)

    • Anonymous

      btw, Alex Smith (QB for SF, not FB for Browns) is a free agent this offseason.

      • Anonymous

        same with Jason Campbell who is also well versed in WCO

        • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

          smh.

          • Anonymous

            he was playing pretty well in the system until we knocked him out. still a young guy too.

          • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

            triple like here.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-White/100000446546049 Steve White

          Either could be the old, seasoned QB we need for the next two years while H & H develop a project QB drafted in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th round. Remember that’s Holmgren’s MO.

          • Anonymous

            it’s been rare that Heckert or Holmgren have had high draft picks, so that may be one of the reasons Holmgren didn’t take one high. and they were both always fortunate to have a good QB on the roster. In Seattle, he brought over Hasselback who he was grooming in GB and we all know Favre’s story.

    • Anonymous

      With so many holes in the roster, how does it make sense to give up all those picks for one guy? Even if Luck is “The One,” he’ll still have no one to throw to, a weak right O-line, a shallow D-line, suspect linebackers, a partial secondary AND no running back (unless somehow Hillis has been brought down from his Madden cover cloud and decides to sign for a reasonable amount).

      I think it would be great to land Luck, but last time I checked there are still 11 players per team on the field at any one time. Or in the 2011 Browns case, 10 or 12 players on the field at any time in the game.

      • Anonymous

        i get it. but probably only agree if you draft Barkley at #4.

        look, we desperately need a franchise QB. and we haven’t been sitting in this type of position to get one in a long time.

        2004: drafted Winslow 6. could have reached and drafted Rapistberger, i suppose.

        2005: had #3 pick in terrible QB draft (albeit Rogers went late first round, but they were never making that pick #3)

        2006: had #13 pick, next QB selected Kellen Clemens. nough said.

        2007: we reached on Brady. thank good we didn’t reach at the #3 pick, like some thought.

        2008: no first round pick, because we used it last year on Brady. again, showing how reaching on a guy the mid/late first round can be boom (rogers) or bust (quinn).

        2009: wisely, we didn’t chase Sanchez. i assume we mostly agree he would not be our savior. serviceable, probably. i guess that would be nice.

        2010: reached again, this time on Colt. at least he’s not jimmy clausen, right?

        2011: no need for QB again….we got Colt.

        2012: okay, Colt sucks. WE NEED A FUCKING STARTING QB THAT IS EVALUATED AS FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND (that stuff Rod talked about) AND PROJECTED TO BE A STAR*

        *and this is why RG3 scares me too much. he has a special skill set, but one that may struggle to fit

        • Zulads4

          What special skill set does RGIII have? Really the one issue I see with him is the spread offense. He has pretty good pocket presence (tends to ditch the pocket a bit prematurely) but he makes good decisions on the run and his accuracy and arm strength are very good.

          As to the skill set that fits this offense that we are currently running, I do not know who fits it because I really do not know what type of offense it is. We pass when we should run, we run play action on 3rd and 12, we mish and mash personnel with no rhyme or reason, every running play and misdirection play feels like it takes a year to develop. Really I think the best QB for the team would be one that disregards the plays from the sideline and draws up his own plays (ala Kosar)

          • Anonymous

            i’d say his running ability and his improvising are unique, at least compared to that prototype we are used to.

            if they do take him, they think it could work with the system, so i am happy

            (note: i am resigned to wanting this dumb WCO offense and Shurmer to “work”….becuase i cannot take 3 more years of losing and another rebuild….unless it was a rebuild led by Tressel)

          • Anonymous

            I think people are getting poisoned to the WCO theory when really what they are reacting to is just a bad team trying to run it.

            The Packers are a WCO team. You either make it work or you don’t.

          • Anonymous

            Zul,
            What do you think?
            I have noticed that QB’s who “ditched the pocket early” in college out ran the defense and had some success.
            In the pro game that “ditch the pocket” translates into happy feet and the QB will run up against players who know how to stay and contain, or can just out run the QB.
            I am not really fond of any QB in this draft, but I am not an NFL scout, I am just a dum guy with a keyboard.
            What I do like about RGIII and what may set him apart is the Copperas Cove, boot camp lifestyle. Whether he is an army brat or not…. (Looked it up, he is an army brat.)
            The mentality in that Killeen/Cove area, (I have sold stuff there), is very straight forward and business like. I think that may help play a part in the all important “work ethic” intangible that I love to see in players.
            Does anyone have more background on this aspect of RGIII’s personality?

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know. Have you really watched RGIII or are you assuming his style and substance is similar to other “running quarterbacks?” He’s a much better tosser than Newton coming in. His speed and elusiveness is used primarily to extend plays and find a target.

          RG is an exceptionally smooth pocket passer with an accurate cannon, and seems to make great reads. If he’s there at 4 I think it’s crazy not to take him. Yeah, I’d take Luck over him, but no one else. I know Montana is the old model, but there’s nothing like having that cannon in your pocket to loosen up the D and make the WCO flow like water. Witness Rodgers in GB.

          • Zulads4

            Exactly, he can make plays with his feet, but when he steps out of the pocket or gets away from the rush, his eyes are still downfield. He makes most of his damage with his arm not his legs.

          • Anonymous

            no, i haven’t watched a lot more than his highlights.

          • Anonymous

            Similar to Rothlisberger, his first thought is to stay alive and wait for the defense to fold. And the defense does fold because they know if they don’t show for the scramble he’ll put 17 yards on them in a blink.

        • Anonymous

          I agree with a lot of what you just said, but my counterpoints are:
          1. Rothlisberger: drafted by one of the most fundamentally sound teams from the top down over the last 20 years. How many 5th round picks does Pittsburgh have that they’ve developed into All Pros? They always seem to only have one need to fill then the rest of their picks are for the future.
          2. How many years did Rodgers have to learn under Favre? GB is another team that has had it’s shit together the last 15/20 years.
          3. Sanchez–I don’t think is much of a QB. This is a case where I think his supporting cast makes him look much better than he actually is. If he were drafted by the Browns he’d be a backup in Arizona by now.
          4. Peyton Manning–Colts always had middle of the pack teams before Manning. Then they had one of those years where the ball just wouldn’t bounce their way, and they couldn’t buy a win. They picked Manning over Leif and have made the playoffs every year since. Last year, Manning’s O-line was atrocious. Three neck surgeries later, the Colts are in position to draft number one again.*
          5. Of the guys you listed, I think Manning would be the only one who could have “fixed” the Browns, but I also think that there is a great chance that he would be out of the league now if we did draft him. He would also likely be the subject of many “Whatever happened to…” and/or “Biggest Draft Busts of All time” articles.

          *This may be a case where my memory isn’t as reliable as the actual facts. I’ll leave it to Biki or one of the other Super fans to substantiate.

          • Anonymous

            i agree with all that. looking up at Lerner and the jokers running the disorganized franchise, it makes it way harder for a guy to succeed.

            which is why we need a “can’t miss” guy….then there is a 50/50 chance he won’t miss…that’s better than anything else we can hope for.

        • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

          btw, the browns draft at #4 thing is the whole ‘if the season ended today’ thing and DOES NOT factor in two more games vs steelers and ravens.

          assuming these two games will be played (and w/l pct among browns/jax/tb stays the same), we slot at #5.

          i have no idea why espn does it the way they do it.

          • Anonymous

            Because Jax has a game against Indy and that throws everything to the dogs.

          • Anonymous

            Because Jax has a game against Indy and that throws everything to the dogs.

        • Anonymous

          85th pick was a reach for Colt?? And who knows if they wouldn’t have heeded Frownie’s advice and takend Dalton if he slipped past Cinci. It really is a fluke that Colt is even the starter this year. Damn you Jake and Seneca!

          • Anonymous

            How about damn the guy who brought Jake and Seneca here as #1 and #2 quarterbacks?

          • Anonymous

            really? if i recall you were #SUPERFAN for Jake around here when we signed him and repeatedly talked about the dearth of QBs available that offseason.

          • Anonymous

            really? if i recall you were #SUPERFAN for Jake around here when we signed him and repeatedly talked about the dearth of QBs available that offseason.

      • Anonymous

        also, consider Peyton Manning. I mean, this may be too high a praise for Luck, but Peyton Manning is a guy that runs the game at the line of scrimmage. obviously, that one player has an ability to make all that dog shit around him blossom into a great team.

        so its not a simple number game of good players at all the positions.

        • Zulads4

          Luck would be in about the same situation with the Browns as he is in now. He has a very good o-line with a 1st rounder in Kalil protecting his backside, an average running game and below average WR’s. Plus Owen Marecic.

          Here he would have a pretty good line anchored by an All Pro, a potentially very good running offense (if Shurmur learns how to call running plays), and below average WR’s. Plus Owen Marecic.

          He would probably have a significant impact on the team.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t think we are getting Luck (and shouldn’t unless he falls to us). If you did a similar comparison for Barkley and Griffin, how would that look?

            I ask because I have no firsthand knowledge/observation of any of these guys.

          • Anonymous

            >>>an average running game>>>

            WHAT???!!!

          • Anonymous

            I mean, just to follow up on that, Standford this year has one of the all time great rushing attacks in college football history. Probably has something to do with no one being able to sit on the run, but it also has something to do with it simply being really really really good.

    • Anonymous

      the last precedent of trading #1 overall was Eli.

      Giants gave up:
      2004 #4 pick overall (Rivers)
      2004: #65 pick (Kaeding)
      2005 #12 pick overall (Merriman)

      Eli was a great prospect, but don’t think the hype is nearly the same as it is for Luck, not to mention all the questions that linger about Peyton Manning’s health. It seems like it would take a lot more picks/players to move up and Polian is already throwing out smokescreens that they will not trade down.

      Only good news is that some scouts (albeit only 2 I’ve seen) have RGIII rated better than Luck.

      • Anonymous

        last year’s FA class was exceptionally weak, particularly at WR (Breaston was #1 WR). This offseason over 30% of the league will be FAs (with guys like Colston, Garcon, Manningham avail at WR) and we’re supposed to have over $30m in cap room to spend. Should be fun.

      • Anonymous

        that is interesting, but i’d still take Eli because of that one super bowl.

        • Anonymous

          absolutely, but just seems like they will be asking a lot more than what SD got for Eli.. Besides, is Luck THAT much better than RGIII or Barkely to have to give up 3-4 addition 1st and 2nd round picks? If Luck is as good as some say, then maybe so..

          • Anonymous

            just seems, especially after considering what rod said, that RG3 may not be that WCO guy.

            and i my concern with Barkley is that he is ultimately Sanchez. having said that, I think he is better and would be thrilled if he was our guy.

            but the important point is that this is the year for us to snag a QB in the top 10. as i laid out, we havent been in that position for a long time.

          • Anonymous

            Having not seen much of any of these top QB prospects, what is it about Barkley that makes you more sure of his success in the WCO than Griffin?

            There are a few schools where I don’t trust QBs to succeed from – USC is one of them, simply because they have so much talent around their QB that it often masks flaws and they end up overrated (Leinart is the prime example, Sanchez another).

          • Zulads4

            I cannot speak for Barkley, but I have followed Griffin since 2009 when he beat my Demon Deacons.

            Due to the spread offense and quick passes, it is hard to gauge the effectiveness of Baylor’s line. I can say that there are no lock top five picks on the line, like Luck has with Kalil. I would argue, however, that Kendall Wright is a better WR than any on Stanford’s roster. He does not have Owen Marecic either.

          • Anonymous

            Barkley has Kalil, not Luck. I would caution not to gauge the players based on other guys who came from their school. Some schools do tend to put out good players at certain positions due to great position coaches (e.g., Texas and DB’s, Auburn and RBs) but I wouldn’t hold the sins of Matt Leinart against Matt Barkley. They are two different people.

            RGIII is a guy that is a shorter version of Vince Young and dare I say a much better throwing motion and arm strength? It’s hard to know how much defense he can read or not but I don’t think we should pass on him because he’s a “running QB” or a “spread QB”. Sam Bradford was a spread QB. Tim Tebow was a spread QB. Cam Newton was a spread QB. I will add this about RGIII. He is from a military family. Every time I’ve heard him speak, he’s polite and well spoken. He seems to have a very supportive family and I think that drafting a great prospect who is also seemingly a good character guy is worth just a little something extra.

            Judging these two will be tough because a lot is going to depend on what Holmgren is going to value in his next QB choice. Watching some video of Barkley tonight, I would say that his arm strength is a concern. He also tends to throw a nose down football. He isn’t as athletic as you’d think but you can definitely see the wheels turning as he surveys the field. Both guys will need some coaching but I think if they impress enough on the chalkboard and in drills….the tape speaks for itself.

          • Anonymous

            fair points on USC.

            perhaps i am being unintentionally racist.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            usc runs a pro offense; baylor runs a spread.

            this, to me, is a greater factor than mark sanchez’ or matt lienart’s alma mater.

          • Anonymous

            Agreed I think you’re talking about more or less a year of transition with RGIII that you probably don’t need so much with Luck.

          • Anonymous

            Carson Palmer was a pretty god damn good quarterback in his prime, and really doesn’t look so bad now, either, fwiw.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            otoh, this is NOT the way to command a huddle… no doubt part of sanchez’ usc upbringing.

            maybe kamov is onto something.

          • Anonymous

            I TOLD YA.

            (re: Palmer – that’s fair. I actually thought he was gonna be an elite QB, but then since that knee injury he hasn’t been the same. I like him now – I won’t lie and say I would’ve trusted drafting him.)

      • Anonymous

        Why wouldn’t Polian blow smoke that Luck is untouchable? There’s no reason for him not to.

        • Anonymous

          exactly. all i said was that he was already starting the negotiations, but it seems to me that it will be a lot more than what they gave up for Eli, and I guess we’ll see if Holmgren/Heckert thinks the kid is worth sacrificing 2 drafts for him.

          • Anonymous

            Luck is either going to the Indimore Colts or to the organization that will henceforth be called the John Doe’s. You can’t get him without becoming a rape/murder victim.

  • kjn

    “This post at Smart Football titled “Bill Walsh’s 49ers Notes on Dropback Passing” will give you a better idea of what the WCO requires of a quarterback. An hour of your time is well spent watching the seven part series on YouTube titled “Quarterbacking by Bill Walsh” as well.”

    I’m pretty sure a Browns article just assigned me homework.

    • men4e

      How do you praise Alex Smith, which by your words, took plenty of money and years for him to finally develop? How did Alex Smith’s progressions, footwork, etc look during his first 16, 32, 48 games? If you are going to praise Smith for finally having the light turn on in year 7, why not give Colt the same patience of at least 2 full seasons in the same offense?

      BTW, love reading your analysis and want nothing more than the Browns to be respectable again. Colt or whomever the QB is a distant 2nd to winning.

      • Anonymous

        I think the point is that as nice as this season looks for them, the 49ers should not have stuck with Smith. They are lucky that some of their investment is now paying off, but they simply paid too much for it. And I don’t know his contract status but my guess would be they are still going to have to chase their own investment of time and money with lots more dollars.

      • Anonymous

        I have bashed Alex Smith in the past but there’s no denying that he’s playing very well this year. It’s unusual to see it happen after this many years but the point is that there are plenty of examples of what we should be looking for in terms of execution and talent.

    • men4e

      How do you praise Alex Smith, which by your words, took plenty of money and years for him to finally develop? How did Alex Smith’s progressions, footwork, etc look during his first 16, 32, 48 games? If you are going to praise Smith for finally having the light turn on in year 7, why not give Colt the same patience of at least 2 full seasons in the same offense?

      BTW, love reading your analysis and want nothing more than the Browns to be respectable again. Colt or whomever the QB is a distant 2nd to winning.

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      a little homework goes a long way around here. youll be glad you did when biki (ok.. or me.. and a few others) challenge your posts.

      put it this way: i know way more about osi umenyiora’s injury history than i ever thought i would and all for suggesting the browns make a play for him when he was holding out. not saying it wont happen again, but it’ll be a long(er) time before i shoot from the hip again.

      do that homework!!

  • Anonymous

    Pat and Uncle Mike need to go back where they came from, and take their silly offense with them.

  • Jaceczko

    Props to Braylon Edwards for shelling out approximately $1 million—which is his salary for this year in San Fran—to 79 Cleveland-area high school grads now in college.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Braylon-Edwards-gave-79-students-10-000-for-col?urn=nfl-wp14415

    • Anonymous

      yeah, he got some airtime on ESPN before the Niners/Steelers game too, they interviewed a bunch of the kids who got scholarships. FYI: he started this back in 2007, but this was first year the kids are in college. Over 1100 kids applied for 100 spots.

  • Jaceczko

    I’m fine with an accurate assessment of Colt McCoy, as long as that assessment does not conclude that we need to get rid of him. There is absolutely no reason not to keep Colt running this offense until a franchise QB has HAD AT LEAST A YEAR to learn the system before starting games.

    Like Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer, both of whom in their first year as starters were among the top 10 QBs in the league.

  • Anonymous

    Rod. Your stuff is great. Can you mark the players better? Maybe I just don’t know enough, but at times I can’t tell the linebackers, linemen and DBs apart when they are milling around the line of scrimmage.

    • Anonymous

      Done

      • Jaceczko

        Also, Rod, can you fix the Cardinals’ uniforms? I don’t know why, but they’re coming through on my screen in this hideous monochrome with some kind of a weird curving pointed stripe.

  • Anonymous

    Cuuuuuuuuuugs wants TCU as his money pick. Book it.

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      got it.
      so no cuuuuuugs essay this week.
      buuuuuuummer.

      • Anonymous

        As entertaining as they are, Cuuuuungs’ essays have about as much connection to his picks as mine do. He can and should still be expected to produce.

  • The Cuuuuuuuuuuugs

    Can I get TCU (-9.5) over Louisiana Tech tonight for my Cheddar Bay and Essay Pick. Don’t worry, I’ll write something once Cheddar Bay comes up for posting.

  • Anonymous

    On the 2nd day of Hannukah the bookie gave to me…
    TCU – 9.5
    And a lock of the centuryyy

    TCU -9.5 for 10 units (2-1 +10 units so far in Bowling for Units)

  • http://twitter.com/BrownsForum Cleveland Browns

    Being that this coach, nor this front office are going to be the long term solution …I hope we don’t draft a system QB, in particular an antiquated version of the WCO system QB. We need a QB that will be able to transcend a shitty antiquated offense, and also move on to and excel in a truly present day working offense with some ingenuity and inventiveness.

    Also, if this pathetic coaching staff is holding colt to 1 or 2 targets, which they most certainly were in the first half of the season …who could possibly have an accurate read on how good Colt can be? Certainly, he looked better last season under better coaching.

    This coaching staff has shown an inability, or a stubborn unwillingness to design it’s systems around it’s players …which has caused us to take 5 steps back instead of 3 steps forward.

    It’s sad & frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    Rod, have you had a chance to compare Colt’s play later in the season last year to what he’s done this year? I’m wondering if him being on a really short leash has caused him problems, or if he really doesn’t see the field as you’ve described. I know the offense last year was completely different, but I’m curious as to what it was about him that made Holmgren so sure he would succeed here?

    Thanks as always for a very well-balanced and informative post.

    • Anonymous

      CTIL, I haven’t had a chance to do that. It will likely take me some time if I can even identify the issues.

      That said, I have always had a concern about the West Coast Offense being run in Cleveland. The climate by the lake is harsh in December which is why the running game always seemed the more productive option. Throwing a precision/timing passing game as your primary offensive tool in that kind of weather honestly seems a little bit unrealistic but what the hell do I know?

      I will put the above request into my to-do list and if I can get some free time (yeah, right…) I will try to dive in and see what I can dig up.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t do any holiday homework on my account, I was just wondering if you’d already seen things that I am not equipped to see. I guess the relevance of my question will depend on the off-season. For Holmgren this will be year 3, time to s**t or get off the pot, you know?

        FWIW, I despise this offense, whatever they want to call it. It doesn’t feel right for who and where we are.

        • Anonymous

          I think it would feel more “right” if they had a go-to play or play concept that worked for them and a go-to guy. Last year, the offense wasn’t always great but the identity of who they were was Peyton Hillis. The new regime has seemed perfectly comfortable marginalizing him at the expense of a two-yard dump off to Greg Little who might or might not catch the ball. I am not absolving Hillis of any responsibility for how his season has turned out because he allowed them to marginalize him by giving them some degree of negative ammunition against him with his attitude.

          To your point however, I would say that if it had an identity and a go-to play when the needed yards it would look better.

      • Anonymous

        There have been many teams over the years that have run it extremely well in cold markets, even Paul Brown ran a version of it back in the day. Sam Wyche in Cinci, and of course the weather in GB and Philly is always so lovely. It can work anywhere, but you need to have a lot of reps to get timing down, and obviously some consistent execution by the players, which we’ve been lacking for many reasons (injuries, drops, poor pass protection, etc)

        • Anonymous

          Fair points all around

    • Anonymous

      I went back and looked at 2010…see above

      • Anonymous

        Thought so, thanks. Pity.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Thanks Rod. I had no idea they move around that much.

  • Leftyjsf

    A little bit of cherry picking in this analysis.

    Arizona’s defense is no where near the caliber of the Bengals, the Ravens or the Steelers (last three games of tape on McCoy). Of course Seneca is going to make better reads than McCoy…he has had 7 years in Holmgrens system compared to 1 for McCoy.

    While some clamor for Troy Smith, err Andre Ware, I mean RGIII or Matt Barkley, there are more pressing needs at LB, WR and potentially RB.

    Unless we have a shot at Luck somehow, we should stay clear of the rest of the bunch given the holes that need plugged.

    • Jon

      I guess all black QBs look the same to you? Besides race, I don’t see much in common at all between Andre Ware, T Smith and RG3. Those are three very different QBs.

      • Leftyjsf

        Race had absolutely nothing to do with my comments.

        What Heisman trophy winners who were great in College but fizzled in the pros should I have compared RGIII to? Danny wuerffel? Gino Torretta? Chris Weinke?

        Troy Smith – great arm, mobile, awesome at TOSU…crappy pro

        Andre Ware – great arm, high powered offense similar to Baylor….crappy pro.

        Yes, they happen to be Afro-american. Purely tangential to my argument.

    • Jaceczko

      I agree with the “unless we have a shot at Luck &c.” sentiment, especially since we’re going to have a shot at the #1 pick again next year (and the year after). Why should we buy the nonsense that coaches and GMs usually say in April, viz. “We’re not planning on drafting this high again for a long time”?

      *We* *are* planning on drafting this high—or higher—again next year.

  • Alexb

    for those of you clamoring for Luck, are you actually Cleveland sports fans? I ask this because what is our history with drafting high end prospects with any of our teams? We ALWAYS get stuck with near decade long contracts that hamstring what we can do in other areas that need attention and the prospect NEVER pans out. EVER What are we gonna do with Luck? Throw him behind that line? Who’s gonna be running behind him? Have we built a defense that can get off the field? This is why, imo, Cleveland sports teams SUCK…..cause the fans are always clamoring for something new. Pittsburgh doesn’t suck right now cause the Cowher era foundation is still there. But they were just as terrible as we are now for awhile when he got there. Bill Cowher understood how to build an AFC north f’ing football team. It takes awhile. The only reason I’m up for firing Shurmur after this season is because it doesn’t appear he understands where he is. You can’t fun this f’ggot f’ing twinkletoe bs in the AFC North. Unless the plan is to wait out till Lewis, Harrison, Suggs and those guys get too old….in which case we’re gonna be here awhile, and by here i mean the bottom of the AFC North cause even Cincy is finally catching on.

    Everybody stfu about Luck….let him go to some division that doesn’t have names like Suggs, Harrison, Woodley, Lewis etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    God dammit i’m really getting annoyed with “you people” lols

  • Anonymous

    Per CTIL request, I did go back and look at the last couple of games in 2010. None of this is scientific by any means but here are some observations:

    1) In the last two games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh (both home games) Colt threw six interceptions. One was a tipped ball. Several were clearly overthrown. One was a deep ball down the right side against Baltimore against a CB who had deep position on the receiver (that’s a “no-no”).

    2) The ineffective plays in 2010 seemed to be more variable in cause. To clarify, Colt’s main problem seemed to be holding on to the ball too long at times and at other times it was simply he made some rookie level bad decisions. Colt does not seem to hold the ball as long here recently in 2011.

    3) The 2010 Colt looked far more confident to me. His body language seemed more upbeat. Take that FWIW. He started the Baltimore game going 8 for 11. He seemed much more accurate and the timing was better.

    4) To the point at hand, Colt initially looked like he was only reading half of the field but then I realized that they were giving him more simplified coverage reads (where he knew where to go based on the coverage) and he was right most of the time/ Therefore he didn’t really need to go to a second or third guy. He stayed on the first guy too long some times. To his credit, however, Colt McCoy did progress off of his primary receiver and there were certainly more than a few plays where he came off of the alternate as well and looked for third and fourth guys.

    5) Watching what the Ravens and Steelers threw at him in terms of defenses at the end of 2010 it seems as those coverages were a lot more difficult to read than what anyone is doing this year. Not sure why that is but in those games, the Ravens and Steelers would shift defenses extremely late at the snap. I thought he reacted to those shifts much better than now.

    6) The offensive pass routes were based on different concepts. More intermediate routes and the length of the patterns was more appropriately timed to the dropback of the QB so it seemed more fluid.

    Finally I would add that besides the body language, the kid now simply looks beat up. It makes me wonder if anyone even gives a damn about this kid. Just a gut feeling but why would you let a young QB sit in there and take a beating if you planned on him being a QB of the future? Why would you not nurse his psyche a little bit? The more I look at how he was handled last year and this, it makes me wonder if they didn’t plan to move on from him after this year all along.

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      trying to think of the last qb the treated decently. hear me out.

      1. colt was treated like an after-thought last year. this year there is conflicting data but it sure looked like he was locked down in terms of audibles and hot routes.
      2. even though grossi et al reported that seneca was signed to be a backup, seneca seemed not to get that memo. who knows what was said to him, but he seems like a guy who thought he’d have a chance at (finally) starting.
      3. lot of bad written about delhomme, but i still say he looked decent when he didnt have a sprained ankle. but somehow he became a punch line.
      4. DA made a LOT of dumb mistakes. BUT. i cant count the number of drive-killing drops he suffered. no psychologist, but due to some sub-par play by his receivers he was playing from behind more than he should have been which leads to some forced throws. but the stats just say INT.
      5. BQ. who knows how things wouldve turned out if he’d reported to camp on time. no he didnt look good when he finally got in. but even then, he was playing with the spector of DA behind him. the main thing BQ mustve thought he needed to do was avoid turnovers, else he’d be benched. turned him into captain checkdown.

      and you can go back to charlie frye, jeff garcia, trent dilfer (his grievances with browns are well documented.).. more of the same.

      in any business, a manager’s first responsibility is to put his people in the best position to succeed. especially so if his charge is in a very prominent role.

      id have to go back to vinny testeverde to find a qb who was put in a real beneficial position.

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