Monday, December 12, 2005

NUFCED by wikkidpissah


There is no team-sport athlete more important to his team’s fortunes than a pro quarterback. As I’ve noted previously in this space, the play of the 2005 NFL season has revealed a wider gap between the best & the worst at this position than I have ever seen. Since there are a few QBs getting new chances to impress at the position, I thought I’d take a look at quarterbacks past, present & future for what special qualities it takes to be one.

QBs past – Otto Graham was the 1st QB I became aware of. I may have watched him play but don’t remember doing so. I DO, however, recall my elders talking football as they watched, and the wonder with which they would marvel at Otto’s ability to take his team on his back and lead the Browns to victory (he was 48-13-1 in his 6 seasons after the Browns joined the NFL from the All-American Football League, and led the to the NFL Championship Game all six years) left me with my first impression of the importance of the position.

The best I ever saw was Roger Staubach and, the funny thing is, I hated him with a passion for his entire career. But I’ve yet to see such a combination of skill & leadership, passing & running ability, and sheer will to win in another QB. He also called a great game, in the long lost era when QBs actually did that. My favorite was Joe Montana – growing up with the 60s Celtics gave me a taste for the intelligent side of sports, and football was never more so than when Bill Walsh & he reinvented the game, seemingly on the fly. I’ve also never seen an athlete placed more happily at the center of his universe than was Joe at his job. I must also mention Fran Tarkenton before I leave this category – though he was terribly overrated, to watch him scramble like a Popeil product was one of the singular pleasures of my youth as a fan.

QBs present – It is impossibly sad watching Brett Favre playing past his prime, for he is the QB I would most have liked to play for. To watch him roll out, throw a searing fastball on the move to a perfect spot, get simultaneously spun around by a monster hit, then get up and congratulate his assaulter, run back to the huddle and say “how bout that – let’s do it again” would have had me blocking like a maniac for him all day. He’s paying for that style of play now, and I wish he’d stop.

As a Patriots fan, Tom Brady holds a special place in my heart. When I heard that he fell asleep at halftime of his first Super Bowl, I knew I was watching something special. Except for Michael Jordan, I’ve never seen an athlete more certain he would get the job done than this young man.

QBs future – Even though Peyton Manning is older than Brady, I’m putting him in this category because he’s about to give us a half decade of QBing excellence which may well be unprecedented. Somewhere between Staubach & Robocop in his skill set, to watch him engineer & execute game plans is an oddly pleasing experience. As long as he has this supporting cast, the only possible way to beat him will be, in the way Roberto Duran brought down a seemingly undefeatable Ray Leonard, by exploiting his awesome pridefulness.

I think Carson Palmer will end up falling into a similar category as the Dans, Fouts & Marino. Supremely talented, more touch than Leo Buscaglia, he may end up being found to lack that li’l summin, that Kavorka, to be a dynastic figure at the position. As to ones we’ve yet to see on the big stage – if I were running one of the many headless franchises around the league, I would be drooling at the chance to meet the Chargers’ price for Phillip Rivers. I saw a lot more of his college games than I do most NCAA players and I really got a good feeling from his joie de guerre. My fears are greater than my hopes for Matt Leinart and considering his excellent decision to return to school, those hopes are high. Also, from what I’ve seen of Vince Young, I’m far more greatly anticipating his pro career than I did MrMexico’s – he actually IS a QB.

Now to a QB-oriented look at the week’s action, including many of the auditioning gunslingers.

CIN 23 CLE 20
Charlie Frye will be the Browns’ QB for the rest of Romeo Crennel’s tenure as their coach. Kid’s got a looong way to go, but he has the same “10 yards? 3 downs? BFD!!” attitude as the QB his coach left behind in New England & they should fit each other to a T...Bengals tried today to do the same thing Dungy did with Colts earlier this season, rein in their high-powered offense so they could play ball-control when needed down the road. Didn’t work out as well – CPalm’s still too young for his rhythm to be messed with, coach.

IND 26 JAX 18
The only possible way to stop PMan is to discover a way to slow down a kind of play he feels he should be able to make at will & hope he forces it to the point that you can pick him a couple of times...Don’t let the prevent-stats fool you – Garrard did NOTHING positive when it counted & I doubt he ever will. If Lefty (who ain’t much better) isn’t coming back, though, they oughta be practicing some shotgun formation to make better use of his running skills. He might settle in a little better that way, not unlike getting a layup helps your outside shot in b-ball.

MIN 27 STL 13
Brad Johnson continues to take nooo chances whatsoever under any circumstances. He only takes what you’ll give him which, when you’re playing the Rams, happens to be 27 points...Fitzy will try to take anything what aint nailed down, no matter how ill-advised. He reminds me of the old-school QBs who were free to walk the earth before coaches understood the true cost of turnovers. I’d like to see them bench him for the 1st half of the next one, just for some schooling before he comes in. He'll be a good’un, if they save him from some shellshock.

JETS 26 OAK 10
P-Tui!!! Marques showed unequivocally he’ll never be more than a backup. I’d say “bring on my boy Andy” but I’m not sure of the wisdom of subjecting ANY young QB to that godawful o-line...Brooksy seemed more comfortable without such an obvious 1st option as CMart on the field. Still sucked, tho.

PGH 21 CHI 9
Roethlisbergerfrickle is the ball-control QB Cowher’s been looking for his whole career and they will challenge for the playoffs every year they are together. That will be as far as it goes, however – the modern game has passed them by & any new-age offense will shitstomp them when it matters...KyleO has less of a clue in the pocket than a 1st-round American Idol contestant.

TEN 13 HOU 10
McNair could still help a team looking to buy a year or two for a QB prospect & that’s what I think he should try. He won’t go anywhere with the Titans & should turn it over to Volek...God, I hope the Texans can win a game or two down the stretch – they need Leinart or D’Brick a LOT more than Bush, but the hype (deserved) will prevent them from going that way if they have the #1 pick. Someday, David Carr’s PTSD will kick in and they’ll find him in the office of his car dealership biting the heads off Barbie dolls and molesting the water cooler.

TB 20 CAR 10
Chris Simms should join the “Up With People” musical troupe if they are still around. Those are the only circumstances under which I’ll ever appreciate his All-American good looks and incessant tap-dancing...Jake-Not-Snake’s ego is the best and the worst thing about him. He should put more faith in his teammates and game plan, cuz his skills aren’t what he thinks they are.

NE 35 BUF 7
You have Tom Brady on your team, you have a chance to win any game. But don’t let this late-season bum-of-the-week tour through AFC lEast fool you into thinking they are playoff-worthy....You have Loseman with his 1st morsel of confidence off the connection with Evans, you have home field in bad weather, you have a crippled defense to face. HAVE A FUCKIN GAME PLAN, YOU DUMB SHIT!!! Mularkey should never be allowed to coach another game off this snotburger alone.

Eli shows more of his old man’s stubbornness the more the season progresses. Sonny...pssshhhht...over here....Plaxico doesn’t run all his routes with equal vigor. Stop considering him as your possession receiver and go thru your freakin progressions!...Shotgun, Andy – if McMike is your QB, shotgun – he’s a running QB who ran ONCE today. And, while I got you here, the rook’s running circles around the Giants. He gets but eleven carries and not a SINGLE look as a receiver? Really?!

SEA 41 SF 3
OK, this is a stretch, but Hass faced the Niners so there aint much to say. Lofa Tatupu may end up being the best defensive QB since Mike-in-the-middle Singletary....Please, football gods, let Alex Smith be the last #1 draft pick at the position who doesn’t get a year’s apprenticeship. If teams are gonna make the investment (and I thought this particular one to be poorly made from the beginning) may they at least protect the investment. Pretty sad to have to begin your career as a David Carr wannabe.

WASH 17 AZ 13
Mark Brunell is very, verrry tired. And having but one wideout to target is flat exhausting both he & Santana...Having two great wideouts (and Bryant J as a 3rd option ain’t too bad neither) to target is having the opposite effect on Warner. He’s having a ball.

MIA 23 SD 21
After over a decade, I’m starting to understand the Frerotte pattern: suck, suck harder, don’t suck quite so bad, suck, suck so hard that you’re replaced, suck the coach’s bone til he gives you another chance, don’t suck, suck, suck harder, etsuckera.........I think I’ve said it before, but the most interesting decision made this entire offseason will be the Brees/Rivers one. If it’s me deciding, helloooo Phil!

DAL 31 KC 28
Good old-fashioned shootout. Sorry, Trent – if you go on the road and run up 500 yards of offense on a good D, you shouldn’t have to lose...all season I’ve been expecting the other shoe to drop and for Drew to revert to his shell-shocked back-footed ways, but I guess the faith Parcells shows in QBs he likes is the cure for what ails ya. Good to see.

DEN 12 BAL 10
You can always count on the other shoe to drop with Kill Boller. The Broncos reeeally wanted to have a letdown game, MClayton’s coming on as a receiver, Heap’s finally rounding into shape and ready to rejoin the ranks of top-tier TEs and Mason’s a steady as Dubya’s pulse but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! There was never any doubt that you’d do whatever it took to lose this one. Brian St. Pierre’s GOTTA be a better option than this recondite bum....Jake’s a good QB – no bum, no star. That’s relatively huge in the present state of affairs

GB 16 DET 13
The only way I got throught this snoozefest was by wondering how much better off both Brett and the Det WRs would be if they were on the same team.

I hope, if this season serves any purpose outside the coronation of an undefeated champion, that it is as a guide to the do's and dont's of the care & feeding of franchise QBs. Dunno how many more seasons of wincing I can take. Play hard -

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