Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green (Roomed)

Now that Cam Cameron has hitched his star to Ted Ginn's bandwagon and Brady Quinn is a Brown, let's examine the happenings of Saturday.

First off, include me among those who don't believe Quinn's draft position reflects poorly on him or on ND in general. If a number of teams who needed QB's passed on him, that'd be one thing. But only one did, and they're being eviscerated in the press and by their own fans right now. If a number of QB's had been selected in front of him, that might have been a strong indictment. But only one was, and Quinn can probably be thankful he didn't get sucked into the career-destroying vortex that is the Oakland Raiders organization. Yes, Charlie Weis went to bat for Quinn and may have overstated his case. But I'd rather see the coach go too far in support of his player than not going far enough. Players should know the coach has their back.

But having said that, let's examine what the talking heads said about Quinn. Some of it has some basis, while some does not, with the truth, as usual, sitting smack-dab in the middle.

Accuracy. 60+ percent passing in his junior and senior seasons is nothing to sneeze at, nor is his TD-to-interception ratio. Quinn obviously makes good decisions and sees the field well. But it seems every game there was a pass or two that had us wiping our brows because it didn't quite go where it was intended. The first pick against Michigan this past season comes to mind -- the ball that bounced of an ND player's trailing shoulder before finding its way into the end zone courtesy of a Michigan defender. While most of Quinn's throws were on the money (especially the over-the-middle tosses to Carlson that always seemed to go for big gains), I also can recall a number of times where receivers would have to reach back for the ball, disrupting their rhythm and reducing the potential yards made after the catch, or would have to leave their feet to make the completion. Searching for such pinpoint accuracy may be a nitpick on my part, but it's not like unease on the subject is coming out of left field.

Arm strength. My one knock on BQ has always been the long ball. To me, a lot of passes over 20 yards ended up being jump balls between the Irish receiver and the defensive back covering him. When you had guys with tremendous leaping ability like Mo Stovall on the other end, the results usually ended up good. This season, with McKnight and Samardzija going up for the pigskin, the results were, as a noted Irish fan would say, good but not great. When your receiver has to camp out under the ball, it neutralizes whatever separation speed he brings to the table. Hitting a guy in stride on those 35-yard strikes allows him to make use of his talents more.

Blitz handling. This is one where I don't see the talking heads' point. I do remember a number of times the OL had to go to max protect mode to make sure Quinn had enough time, but I think this said a lot more about ND's OL quality and depth than it did Quinn's ability to handle it, not to mention the lack of a starting fullback for most of the season to help in pass protection. If Quinn was indeed bad at handling the blitz, I would have expected to see a lot more interceptions thrown and/or a poorer completion percentage, and we saw neither. I don't think Quinn's decision-making is an issue.

Now, do I also believe (a) all these applicable issues are correctable, and (b) BQ has both the intelligence and the work ethic to make that happen in relatively short order? You betcha. Do I believe Miami was stupid for passing on him given those things? Right again. And do I believe Quinn has the chutzpah that so many quality NFL quarterbacks have, which is a quality in high demand? Three for three. It all adds up to him being a value pick where he was, and I believe his career will validate that.

I also think it's probative the quarterback that was chosen first spent the last season throwing to two wideouts that were taken in the first round of the draft. Samardzija's decision to play baseball and Carlson's return to ND for his final year aside, none of Quinn's targets have been drafted yet. McKnight and Walker's names weren't called on Saturday, and both hope to be tagged on Sunday. But one must wonder -- give Quinn Russell's receiving corps, and would he have gone first instead?

All that matters now is Quinn's performance on the NFL stage. He'll probably have to step in sooner rather than later, and I have no doubt he's up to the task. Good luck to him.

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Anonymous MikeL75 said...

Two things, as a NE Patriot fan I am glad BQ was not picked by Miami. He has identifiable assets and according to some pundits any deficiencies recognized are coach-able The Browns got their OLT in Thomas and now Quinn, solid combination.

Your point on Weis backing his players and offering supportable evidence is beneficial all around.

4/29/2007 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Browns made out like bandits and I'm glad that they had the cojones to make the move they made - it's about time. I am a Patriots fan but I respect the Browns and their history (Jim Brown greatest running back ever end of discussion) and the only team in Baltimore should be called the Colts.

But that is for another day.

The Browns made out like bandits and I am happy for them.

BQ should be starting by mid-season.

4/29/2007 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

qvFrom Ginn to Quinn: After Miami chose somebody they hope can be like Devin Hester was for the Bears, there were 12 players chosen before Brady - 11 of them Defense, plus one running back. Cleveland's going to appreciate Joe Thomas for protecting Brady in the pocket. Can he catch the ball? Tackle eligible? Brady can celebrate the offensive line.

4/29/2007 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there wasn't more commentary on Cam Cameron selling out the Dolphins to bring his friend's son on board. He even mentioned, repeatedly, in his lame speech defending his decision that we got the whole Ted Ginn family. What? Is his dad gonna play too? Seems like he was either blinded by loyalty or just wanted his friend's son to do well.

4/29/2007 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I listened to Denny Green basically call the Miami pick for them...I don't think he's exhaled quite yet, for two reasons...1) Stupid Pick...2)New Head Coaching opportunity in Miami in the near future.

Folks...Ted Ginn is no Rocket fact Miami would have been better to take BQ and call the Rocket back as a free agent :)!

Only time will tell what BQ will be in the NFL...but if I were ole' Cam I'd have a BQ pin cushion on my desk cause his job depends on some bad voodoo happening to BQ.

4/29/2007 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article. I disagree with one point. I don't think Weis' overstating was particularly useful to Quinn or future ND players who are looking to get drafted. It's a credibility issue and I think Weis lost some. I would rather have seen him lean towards understatement for this reason. Perhaps Weis was appropriately realistic in his private discussions with the nfl coaches and gm's, and perhaps his public cheerleading was done to show potential recruits that he will do whatever he needs to to get them placed at that the next level, but I think he went at least a little too far and it hurt him.

4/30/2007 06:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the last person on Weis hurting Quinn...that is still up for debate and only time will tell. If Quinn turns out to be a stud, then Weis was right and people will need to listen more. If not, then people will question Weis' talent evaluation. In other words, in 2 or 3 years, people will believe whatever Weis says about a QB.

5/01/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article but you left out one important note. Brady and the offense were forced to throw because the ND defense could not keep the other teams from scoring. The opposing defenses were playing pass D on almost every down. This plus having having only one running back put more pressure on Brady in almost every game.

5/03/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just look at how many "weapons" Brady had last year by the fact that Walker and Mcknight went undrafted - that speaks volumes. I think Weiss spoke out for who he felt strongly about - I think he was pretty silent on Walker or privately expressed concerns. Is that bad for future ND players? No, because his NFL connections know that he is going to give them his honest opinions.

Obviously, Miami made a mistake in passing on BQ and an even bigger mistake in who they drafted, but Minnesota made a mistake too. Yes, Peterson is a great back, but just look at the shelf of life of a "true" NFL star running back - it is typically only 5-7 years before their skills start to deteriorate - it is rare that they stay at the top of their game beyond that. Minnestoa is banking on Tavaris Jackson to be their FRANCHISE QB - they had a chance for a franchise QB in BQ but passed. In the end, that is good because Minnesota has ZERO proven wide receivers - they cut their last year's receiver with the most catches on the team. BQ is far better off in Cleveland in the long run. Go Irish!!!!!

5/03/2007 06:40:00 PM  

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