Tag Archive: Andrew Luck


Written By:

Raymond "Big Play" Miller @bprunsportsmenm

Raymond “Big Play” Miller
@bprunsportsmenm

The Broncos, Saints, Chiefs remain undefeated; Seattle and San Francisco are Super Bowl contenders.  However, the one team we’re not talking about are the 4-1 Colts.  Now look I’m not crowning these guys (granted last year JD crowned Andrew Luck in his article); man I didn’t even pick them to make the playoffs.

The Colts remind me of the 2011 49ers, a physical, smash mouth team on both sides of the ball. Now those 49ers made it to the NFC Championship game, and yes I know the talent isn’t comparable but the mindset is.  The acquisition of Trent Richardson made a statement to the league.  That statement is, while we have an upcoming star in Luck we still believe in being physical.  This style works for Luck, because it’s reminiscent to how Luck’s Stanford teams played (enter Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamiliton).

Fans of Indianapolis have embraced the new style of play.  This style is much different than it was when The Sheriff (Peyton Manning) ran the city, who will be making his return in a few weeks.  Funny thing is that this style fits the image of the city better anyway.  Peyton had the team as more finesse team, where this Colts team is physical, grind it out, hard worker, Blue Collar attitude like the city.  The Colts have had victories over two extremely physical teams (if not the most physical teams in the league).  They just totally beat up the 49ers and outlasted the Seahawks (finally the Seahawks trash talk caught up with them), and with the way the Texans aka Matt Schaub, (who are number 1 in pass Defense and my pick to make the SB) are playing the possibility of them winning the division doesn’t seem so farfetched.  Could a Super Bowl appearance be on the horizon?  I don’t know, but the style they play can be played any and every where, the rest of NFL you have just been put on notice!

Raymond “Big Play” Miller

Thank you for reading and follow me @bprunsportsmenm

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By:  Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow me @UnSportsMenBigJ

A lot has been made of the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.  A lot of the MAKING has been in my face.  Since the two game losing streak I have heard it from every NFL fan not a 49er.  All the return trash talk is my fault, because last year I told everybody how great the 49ers are.  How NO-BODY! Has it better than us.  How our parts are the best in the league.  Also how we have the 2nd best coach in the league, I used to make jokes that if Belichick was Emperor Palpatine, Harbaugh was Yoda.  Now the if I asked “Who has it better than us?” you can reply “3/4th of the LEAGUE!”  So what’s wrong and how do we fix the Gold Rush?

Problem:  Rushing game- It starts just with that, the RUSH-ing game.  Now I know its very easy to say run the ball, better or more efficiently, but have you read anything on this site?  In three games the 49ers have rushed for 305 yards, that’s about 101.5 a game.  Last year by Week 3 the 49ers had rushed for 423, that’s about 141yds a game.  So you can see that the rushing total and average yards vastly different.  The thing is that the 49ers have not rushed the ball less (77 attempts in ’13 and 79 attempts in ’12) its the effectiveness of the running game.

Solution:  Harbaugh and the 49ers need to get back to the creative running game that was on display when Alex Smith was under center.  They ran a power heavy run style with a West Coast twist.  Remember the sets of Far and Near, off set I-Formations, running the same play from numerous formations, and using play action out of run sets to open up the pass?  Well where has that been in the first 3 games?  NO-WHERE! Coaching staff has fallen in love with Kaepernick arm strength and the read option.  The 49ers got an up close and personal mirror image of the team they used to be last week with the Colts. We haven’t seen that team since the 2012 regular season.  Get back to the creativity of the running game.

Problem: Passing game-  Let it be said “Seattle Seahawks Exposed the 49ers passing game!”  They showed the world that NO-BODY on our team except Davis and Boldin can beat man coverage.  So now we will see every game; every team run, man to man, bump and run coverage, with a single safety high, with a cover 1 scheme.  Thus putting everyone else in the box to stop the run.

Solution:  Before the break out of Kaepernick last year, the word was the 49ers had no one on the outside that could win in man to man situations.  So everybody game planned to just stop Vernon Davis.  Crabtree was hindered by Alex Smith so even if he did win man to man match ups Smith was reluctant to the throw the ball his way (sorry Dwayne Bowe it will be a long season).  So to help that situation, you saw overloaded line formations showing run, but running play action to expose Corners peeking and move safeties.  Also the bunch formation makes it hard to bump and run and sometimes confuses corners on who to pick up.  Also putting one WR (preferably Davis or Boldin)  on one side by themselves, with 3 WR on the other side to promote an one on one situation, and if the safety cheats to help you have 3 WR on the other side getting free releases on one on one opportunities.

Problem:  Defense is not creating turnovers-  The 49er Defense has created a lot of turnover and if has been with its personnel.  Losing NT and safety to free agency, and players to injury, has changed what the defense used to be.  This is no excuse, because every team has roster turnover.  But the outlook is no better going forward, with Aldon #WishHeWasMoreCharlesHaley Smith seeking help, Patrick Willis nursing a leg/groin/hamstring injury, Nnmadi Asomugha injur…  Honestly he has been playing like a bum and I can’t take myself serious writing him as a key loss, and Eric Reid battling through being a rookie in the National Football League.

Solution:  Get back to the fundamentals, with all the changes the biggest concern is the lack of tackling.  In both the Seattle and Indianapolis losses terrible tackling plagued the team.  The 49ers were one of the most sure tackling defenses in the league.  Look at Reggie Wayne break like 3 to 4 tackles on a 3rd and long last week to see how the tackling has gotten terrible.  If we start tackling better and getting our offense more chances to score which forces our opponents offense to press and that creates…  TurnOvers!

Problem:  Kaepernick turnovers-  It’s plain and simple, WR can’t get open, and the running game hasn’t protected him.  So naturally Kaepernick is forced to try and make plays by relying to heavily on his arm strength.  Watching the game you can see a lot of balls get away from him, that is usually of symptom of bad mechanics.  His bad mechanics are coming from indecisiveness.  When the timer in his head goes off to get rid of the ball he can’t because no one is open so now he is in a fire drill (when all players break off their routes to get open) and that creates forced passes or throws into coverage sometimes.  One thing about the Alex Smith days, Smith would take the sack and live to fight another down, with the help of the 49er defense.

Solution:  Harbaugh has committed the Cardinal Coaching sin, no not having your mistress ride on the back of your motorcycle, but falling in love with his Player’s Talent.  Ask Don Shula what one of his biggest mistakes was?  Loving Dan Marino’s arm too much that he never built the proper team around him.  Well Harbaugh has fallen in love with Kaepernick’s ability and has put a lot on him.  He has changed his offensive strategy to fit the strengths of Kaepernick, instead running his philosophy and using Kaepernick’s strengths to transcend the offense to another level.

Solution:  Just a bonus for everyone out there especially 49ers who are hitting the panic button, we will get healthier soon and see the return of Mario Manningham, Crabtree will not be the same player immediately but getting him back can help with teams keying on Boldin.  Also we might get a Marcus Lattimore appearance later in the year which could help with fresh legs.  Lets not forget the chance of a trade to help, we do have a pile of draft picks.

Basically all the 49ers ills can be fixed easily by going back to basics.  A semi conservative offense that lets the Defense keep us in games while we grind away at the competition.  Somewhere between week 10 last year til now the 49ers have slowly lost their way.  Hopefully two blow outs in a row will bring Harbaugh and Co, back on the right track.  With that being said I fully expect the 49ers to be 1-3 by next week this time, because the Rams play us tough and without Davis and Willis at least 90% I don’t think the 49ers can win it.  So while everyone is hitting the panic button next week I promise you will see a return to the elite 49ers and things being turned around.

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By: Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow Me @UnsportsmenBigJ

Remember in all creative genres it goes through stages.  From creation, the silver age, the golden age, mass produced saturation, and return to creativity.  As a 29 year old I grew up in the “golden age” of hip hop and Quarterbacking.  Looking at the NFL landscape and where it has been, I didn’t realize how privileged I was to witness the “Golden Age” of NFL Quarterbacking in the 1990’s.  Also let’s not forget the 1990’s birthed some of the best hip hop and MC’s ever.  So lets go over this “golden age” and now this new era.

The ’90’s had some of the greatest QB play ever.  No! you say, well look at the list here.  Joe Montana (I know he was near the end of his career, but he was still in the ’90’s and we didn’t buck when he came back against the Broncos in the playoffs),  John Elway, Dan Marino, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Phil Simms, Brett Farve, Randle Cunningham, Boomer Esiason, Peyton Manning (ok I cheated on this one but he was drafted in ’98), Jim Kelly, and Drew Bledsoe (before you say WHAT!! look up those Patriot numbers and he did lead them to a Super Bowl).  I’m not even going to include Vinny Testaverde, or the wildly talented but dysfunctional Jeff George.  The point I’m making is in the ’90’s a league where it was still run, by the running backs (pun intended) we had 9 Hall of Famers, and at least 13 good/great QB’s in the league at once.  Like I said the “Golden Age”.

In hip hop it was still fighting for position in the music world, but by the time the ’90’s hit, Hip Hop had arrived.  Just think back to some of the ’90’s artist the ran the radio waves.  Biggie, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube (before the kids movies), Snoop Dog (before he became a Lion), Big L, Redman, Common, Eminem (taking my Peyton Manning liberty with this one and don’t forget Slim Shady LP was feb. 1999), DMX, Big Pun, and the list could go on and that is not even including groups that were awesome.  I mean Wu-Tang loved the kids, the Fugees, the immortal OutKast, and on, and on, and on.  But with all things, once it gets popular the levee breaks and we got saturated copycats.

In the 2000’s we fell into the trick of ranks and saturation, or should I say the word everyone wants to utter “Elite”.  Who’s ELITE!  I never heard this uttered in the 90’s, probably because it would have started a conversation that we all would still be arguing.  So after those great players retired, we were left with Manning, and Farve.  We had some new comers to the party, hell instead of me going over this list I’m going to let Bleacher Report do it for me….  I will give you a second to go over it.

………………………………………………………………….Break ………………………………………………………………………….

     I bet after the list up top I presented you, this best of the 2000’s doesn’t look or feel that great.  I know right, I mean Mike Vick, who admitted he didn’t take his craft serious is ranked.  Even Chad Pennington made the list with the water pistol arm (no disrespect Ray “Big Play” Miller but it is what it is), I love Jeff Garcia, but he couldn’t make the league in the 90’s and had top play in Canada.  I know some of you will point to Warren Moon doing the same, but that was more of a race issue rather than an ability issue.  This also why we started to see the emerging Diva Wide Receiver, and other positions self promoting.  With no strong or overly talented QB’s; the NFL looked to any talented player to market the league.  Enter the T.O., Moss, Ocho, and every wannabe Cornerback that thought they are/were Deion “Primetime” Sanders (Fred Smoot, and DeAngelo Hall to name a few).  Look at the strong QB’s of the 2000’s Peyton, Brady, Farve, Brees, and Warner, how many of them had the “Diva” player on their team? NONE, because they were the team, point blank.  When we look at hip hip a lot of the earlier names, were getting older, richer, dying, or just stopped making music.  This led to the terrible Hip Hop of the 2000’s, it was still good Hip Hop, but now you had to find it and look hard for it.  This started the trend of the illegal download.  People didn’t feel comfortable buying a Hip Hop cd when its a huge chance it would be terrible,  It even prompted a lot of older artist to say “Hip Hop is dead”.

Now going into this new era everyone should enjoy this youth movement.  The league has made it easier for a QB to come straight out of college and be successful.  We have these young guns (Newton, Dalton, Wilson, Kaepernick, Luck, RGIII, and Stafford) who are breathing life back into the position.  Now we are seeing how to creatively use these new athletic QB’s to the best of their abilities.  In Hip Hop we are starting to see a new creative movement of cross genre music.  Lil’ Wayne with a rock album, Kanye West singing?  This is not my “Golden Age” of hip hop this is something new…  Something creative.  Even our pure Hip Hop artist are making some of the best music in 10 years.  Listen to a  Kendrick Lamar, Tech9, Lupe Fiasco, and again the list can go on.  They have figured out to be lyrically great, mixed with catchy beats, and know how to massage the mainstream, while staying connected to the underground.  If this generation pans out we will be debating what was the best generation of QB’ing and MC’ing for years to come.  Hip Hop and NFL fans, to steal a line from Jim Harbaugh “Who has it better than us? NOO-BODY!!!”,  “Since this is a New Era and I got a fresh new hat!”

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By: Jason “Big J” Allen
     We have gotten so excited about the new 2012 trend of the new improved model of quarterbacking, with athletic mobile runners.  Yet I have realized that the running QB is devolving instead of evolving.  I got the idea for this article from reading “QBs in 2013: To Run or Not to Run” by SportsAsToldByAGirl (remember everyone reading is fundamental and you’re not biting if you give credit)…  (Also the website is an awesome read for different perspectives).  So let’s pull out our “time-turner” from Harry Potter (I use the Delorean reference a lot so let’s change it up) and go back to 1972…  Hold on, your telling me one turn is for one hour back?  That means I would have to turn this thing 359,406 times!  Forget it bring in the Delorean.

As we land in 1972 we are looking at the Chicago Bears with coach George Halas, as he decides to go with Bobby Douglass as his starting QB.  Why is this important, well for the NFL it signifies the first legitimate running QB.  By running QB I mean that they designed plays numerous times a game for Douglass to run like the wind.  So much so that Douglass ran for 968yds and 8tds that year.  Yet the Bears finished 4-9-1.  The problem really lied in Douglass’ in ability to throw the forward pass.  So Douglass and the Bears crashed and burned with this experiment.  But now modern teams picked up the pieces and modified it.

Now a lot of football historians will cry that Fran Tarkenton was probably the first running QB and to those people, I say yes you are partially right.  Fran never had run plays designed for him to use that ability.  Don’t forget that Vikings coach Norm Van Brocklin hated…  Yes, HATED that Tarkenton scrambled and ran like he did.  Yet in Fran Tarkenton we got a glimpse into what a mobile running QB could and should be.  Tarkenton definitely paved the way showing that you can and need to be an outstanding passer to go with your running ability.  We also had greats like Roger Staubach that pushed the plight further.  Then we had John Elway progress the cause even further. We were starting to see a new era of passing QB’s that are athletic and can run, now they were never the fastest but could get out there and gain yards.  The pinnacle or should I say “The Prototype” was Steve Young.

 

     I’m not just saying this because Young is my favorite QB of all time, but because Young over his career learned that his ability to run was an asset or rather a bigger threat if he could execute through the air.  For a three year period 1992-1994 Young probably was the most deadly QB or player on the field.  Why because he was pinpoint accurate with passes (still holds the QB rating career record) and if the play fell a part he could play sandlot football and use his legs.  After that zenith point with Young I think the plight of the mobile QB started to devolve.  A big portion of that has to do with the emergence of the Black QB.

 

     I don’t know if coaches felt that these athletes couldn’t grasp a complete passing game, or that the coaches never wanted to stifle their talent.  We start to see a ton of athletic guys playing QB, but a lot had question marks about their throwing ability.  Buddy Ryan literally made Randle Cunningham train to get faster in the off season, instead of teaching him how to become a dominant passer.  Kordell “Slash” Stewart at one point was played everywhere on offense except QB.  Then we get to Donovan McNabb who was an elite runner and inaccurate QB when he first entered the league.  As his career grew he wanted to prove the media and critics wrong and became a solid pocket passer only problem is he was so tentative to run I think it hurt his effectiveness.  Around that time we had the Daunte Culpepper, and a few others in the mix.  Until the arrival of Michael Vick, and that is where the devolving of the running QB hit lightning speed.

 

     The excitement and pure highlight reel making action of this QB, sent the league into a frenzy.  In all that excitement we failed to realize that his ability to read defenses, and know the playbook was lacking.  We didn’t care because this QB was running a 4.2 so why did it matter that he wasn’t the best passer?  Oh yeah it was his lack of receivers, but Tom Brady wins with average to no name receivers.  Every time his inability to command the forward pass was questioned it was met with an excuse.  Because of the ticket sales and excitement he generated teams went out and grabbed QB’s of similar ilk.

 

     Now here we stand in the mist of all these athletic mobile QB’s that are relying on their ability to run instead of using it as an added weapon when plays don’t turn out how they should.  Very Bobby Douglass/George Halas of us.  I’m not saying that a running Mobile QB can’t win a Super Bowl, because Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers have won, but both of them when they won were way more dynamic passers than runners at the time.  So I look at RGIII, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Tim Tebow (who is the second coming of Bobby Douglass), and Russell Wilson and think these guys are doing in the NFL what Halas tried and failed at (I left Andrew Luck off of the list because he rarely has run plays called for him).  Yes I know the names I listed are really good passers too, but why risk your franchise player, when you can allow him to execute from the pocket successfully.
     The world and media looks at these players as evolving the game, but from where I’m sitting I see it as devolution back to a formula that didn’t work.  So coaches I’m pleading with you, take away the bootlegs, stop calling read option running plays (I’m fine with the read option fake and going to the pass), stop thinking that your QB running ability is an outlet to have another running back on the field and start seeing these athletes as players that can add a dimension when the called play breaks down, not as the play to break out!
Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

 

Andrew Luck: Is It Luck?

Written By:

James "JD" Davis @mrjdsir11

James “JD” Davis
@mrjdsir11

Is it luck that CBS Sports put you in the same class as LeBron James and Bryce Harper?  Is it luck that you hold multiple sport and academic awards in college?  Is it luck you were the first player selected in the NFL Draft?  No. It’s natural talent, hard work, and a will to win.  The only luck involved is in his name. Yes, we’re talking about Andrew Luck.

Being the son of NFL quarterback Oliver Luck (Houston Oilers) gave Andrew a winning hand to start with.  He was recruited to Stanford by Jim Harbaugh, who has been known to get a lot out of average quarterbacks.  So imagine Harbaugh’s excitement at recruiting a winning lottery ticket like Luck.  At Stanford, Luck racked up a lot of hardware.  In my opinion, however, the most important award he grabbed is the CoSIDA Academic all-American.  In winning this award, Luck joined the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and even Tim Tebow.  This award says that Luck has the cerebral ability to succeed in the NFL; a league that scratches off mentally weak players.

Everyone knew he would be the first pick in the draft.  He was so coveted that there were teams going “all in” even when they didn’t have a winning hand.  The Media called it “Suck for Luck” and teams openly participated in it.  The Colts ended up with the 1st pick and Luck finally “crapped out.”  Luck had to follow Peyton Manning, which we can all agree are some big shoes to fill.  So what does Luck do? Nothing…except make his first NFL pass a touchdown (Just like manning).

All that is good, but what really made me realize he is a Blackjack was one huge come from behind victory over the Green Bay Packers. Luck went toe to toe with the reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and called his bluff for the win.  Luck showed he can be cool when the stakes get high, and that he doesn’t have a tell.

I am usually a hard sell on quarterbacks coming into the league. I’m a “don’t believe the hype” guy.  I always say, “Show me the baby; don’t tell me about the labor.”  Why?  Because guys come into the league, show some flash, and are done in five years or less (Jamarcuss Russell, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf).  Either that, or they end up as career back ups (Matt Lienart, Charlie Batch, Derek Anderson).  However, every now and then a royal flush like Andre Luck grabs your attention.  I’m saying it here: there is a new Maverick in town.  Now he just has to form a posse to win the jackpot!

JD Follow me and I will follow back @mrjdsir11

Credited edit: Trent Austin

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