Tag Archive: Colin Kaepernick


Nerves up, Heart racing, sweat on brow and upper lip.  Ball hiked pass thrown, pass tipped, and intercepted.  In a surge of anger/rage/disappointment I toss my 49er hat and Kick it up the hallway, while yelling FUUUCCCKKK!!!!  I walk right into my room strip down and go straight to bed.  Why do sports drive us so insane?

As I lay dreaming, I’m hoping that in my fit that a penalty is called, and I missed it. That the 49ers lead by Kaepernick won the game and I missed it all (granted my DVR would have been viewing).  That I would wake up to the 49ers repeating as NFC Champions.  Sadly enough that was not to come true and would remain in my dreams.

I was MISERABLE for two days.  My wife knew not to talk to me, my team members at work didn’t mention the game.  Even an open Seattle Seahawk fan I work with didn’t mention the game.  Everyone knew I was in a bad mood and it showed on my face.  How can a game that I placed no money on, that the result wouldn’t effect my life, except for my mood which is a direct result of me, change so much.  The Answer:  Passion and Love!

Sports fans all over the world know the feeling.  Some how we have built up this emotional tie to a team or person that can dictate or lives based on the results.  Even in the defeat the feeling lets us know we are alive, and in victory the joy can put a pep in our step like no other.  I have met people that their life is God, Sports, Children, Spouse, and Family.  Yes in that order!  And you can make an argument that the God is really a sport’s god.

I always say to myself, “Self if you could have that same passion for your work, or Blog you would be the most successful person ever”  and it’s true the same Passion and Love that can change my life for two days (or a week when the 49ers lost the Super Bowl) can be harnessed into my other loves then life would be even better.  So basically I’m writing this to say this year, I’m on a mission to learn how to build Passion and Love in all my walks of life and challenge everyone to do the same.  But we can never deny the rush that Sports give us and I’m thankful for the good/bad reminder that I’m ALIVE!

Written By:

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

If you want more Man Stuff (bad way to say that) fun talk about Sports, Movies, TV, Books, and just general things Follow me @UnSportsMenBigJ

If you want to guest write on UnSportsMenMic please tweet me, or email me jas.b.allen@gmail.com  All articles wanted and accepted!  I mean We Are The People’s Hope!

 

Advertisements

NFC Championship Game

I want to start off by saying that I am biased.  I’m a die hard 49er fan through and through, and that I dislike the Seahawks (but I admit I’m starting to like them more and more being a follower of a sport and not a fanatic).  I dislike the Seahawks only because of Pete Carroll.  I thought the way he left USC was terrible, but those are the brakes, and even now how he has changed his coaching style and influenced his players is winning me over.  With all that being said, I’m officially nervous as crap for the game.

I’m nervous, not because of the “12th Man”, not because of the way we have been dominated in Seattle, not even because of the talent Seattle has.  I’m nervous because of the 2nd Coming JIM HARBAUGH.  If you have read anything on this site you know I think Harbaugh is the second best coach in the league behind Empreror Bill Palpatine Belicheck.  So why the worry?  Well I worry because I think Harbaugh will not feature Frank Gore like he should.  He has been limiting Gore all year so he would be fresh for these games.  Harbaugh has been smart enough to know he didn’t need Gore to run 20+ times in the regular season to win.  When Gore carries the ball 20+ in a game in the last 2 years the 49ers are 12-1, when carrying under 20 times a game 15-8, including 19 carries in the Super Bowl (when everyone thought they should have ran Gore in the red zone during the final drive).  Now it’s time to unleash Gore.  Harbaugh scares me too because he has a bit of Don Shula in him, where he has fallen in love with his star QB ala Shula and Marino.  Harbaugh might try to feature Kaepernick to show the world and doubters (Joe Montana) that Kaepernick can make plays totally from the pocket with precision and accuracy, just like last year in the Falcons game.  That is not how you beat the Seahawks.

If your Seattle you should feel confident that you are playing at home with a team you have dominated at home.  Even with the subpar play of Russell Wilson (and everyone back off the man, he has no WRs, Kaepernick with no Crabtree subpar, Luck without Wayne subpar.  Young QBs need a go-to-guy in the line up to make them comfortable and better) you have to feel great that you know your guy can win the game down the stretch with either his legs and arm.  The key for Seattle will have to be one of the WRs/TEs stepping up and making plays.  What no Beast Mode?  You will need that too, but Lynch gets his yards vs the 49ers when they only have 6 in the box.  If a WR can become a threat to keep the safeties and outside linebackers honest Lynch will have lanes and then the Seahawks are tough to beat.  Also Carroll doesn’t have to out coach Harbaugh to win (where Harbaugh has to out coach Carroll to win), but Carroll has to make sure he doesn’t make a coaching mistake (look at last years Divisional Playoff game vs the Falcons.  Carroll made a few questionable coaching decisions, Hell “Big Play Ray” wrote an article about it “Pete Carroll Is Who We Though He Is”) that will cost them a game.

I know this will be a beat’em up game.  This plays in both teams hands, the question is who will make THE PLAY!  My homer attitude is going 49ers all the way, but the follower in me has to be honest and pick the…  THE 49ers to win it.  I feel like it is our time and not only that, I think the refs will call more Pass Interference or Holding calls than usual against the grab happy Seahawks ( I though the league got rid of the Belicheck way, of holding secondary, to favor Manning’s Colts?).  I know I know, but this begins a Dynasty like no other #QuestforSix!!!

Written by:

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

Follow me @UnSportMenBigJ

 

By:  Jason “Big J” Allen

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

When you soar so high it’s only a matter of time until, before you crash back to earth.  Some call it regression to the mean, others will say this is what you are (especially in Seattle).  I think the world is trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with Colin Kaepernick, myself included.  Trent Dilfer came out and had a fair assessment of Kaepernick’s struggles, even last year when Kaepernick ruled the world I had my hesitations and gave reasons why.  So now the Niners are sitting at 6-4 and everyone can see the offense is the problem, more importantly the guy pulling the trigger looks less than stellar.  This is not a “How to Fix”  segment rather a statement that going forward Kaepernick will get back to form and what hindered him in the beginning of the season.

1.  Jim Harbaugh-  How can I blame the struggles on the coach that made him?  It’s easy or it being easy and simple is the problem.  Last year Harbaugh simplified the offense for Kaepernick, he actually used a lot of schemes from Kaepernick’s college years, especially the Pistol.  Thus the huge success of Kaepernick last year.  This year Harbaugh is forcing Kaepernick to run the Power Run West Coast offense.  You can see how uncomfortable Kaeprnick looks every week, most will tell you it takes about two years to learn the West Coast offense, and by the second half of the second year the QB starts to grasp it.  When Dilfer commented he is correct, you take away the first read you can see that Kaepernick is not sure where to go, that explained why he destroyed Green Bay week one, they never took away the 1st option (Boldin and some plays Davis).  Why this will change:  Slowly you can see Kaepernick getting used to the offense and making quick decisions.  Last week out of his 17 completions 7 went to players not named Anquin Boldin or Vernon Davis.  This is good because when you can throw to your non stars that is usually a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th read.  Which brings me to my next point.

2.  WR Core and Trust-  We have heard all year about not having the weapons on the outside, but it is less about not having the weapons, more about the trust in the weapons.  Right now the 49er’s boost a 4.8 drop percentage, which lands them at 16th in the league.  That wouldn’t be to bad except for the fact that the 49ers throw the least amount of passes in the league.  So out of the 25 attempts a game  for Kaepernick 1 to 2 passes will be dropped (especially that huge one that Frank Gore dropped in New Orleans last week, forget the sack fumble being turned over, that drop cost us more in my opinion because that was controllable.).  Kaepernick usually completes 14 passes a game, add 1 or 2 more completions a game and the number may look a little better, but usually those drops come from the Vance “I’m not as good as Delonte Walker” McDonald, and the Bruce Miller’s of the WR core, so he loses trust and the WR’s are not looking for the ball.  Why that will change:  Yes easy to say that Crabtree returning will help that, but going further (that’s what we do here) Crabtree’s return will allow Mario Manningham to get into the slot more, where he is more effective.  Also this will change because as Kaepernick gets more accustom to the West Coast offense, these 3rd, and 4th options will be expecting the ball more.

3.  Jim Harbaugh–  Not him again, but yes HIM again.  I have noticed this the first 2 years Harbaugh has been the coach of the 49ers, Harbaugh hides his tricks until the playoffs and the big moments present themselves.  Every year around this time the offense gets very predictable and stagnant, as if Jim Harbaugh gives his opponents enough tape and then heading into the final 2 weeks of the season and playoffs explodes and shocks teams.  Why this will change:  Typically about this time in the season the 49ers have a better record and have a firm grip on the NFC West, but this year not so much.  Which means Harbaugh may have to pull out the big plays a little earlier than normal, and what better way to silence the World then on Monday Night Football versus a terrible Washington Defense.

4.  Colin Kaepernick:  He has done and said a lot in the media to make him a target,  The Miami Dolphin hat incident, the Twitter for motivation comments, and the mass amount of commercials, magazine covers, and etc.  Reminds me of the Randall Cunningham fever pitch, and how people started to feel like Cunningham only cared about his popularity not his on field success.  We all know that Kaepernick is a workaholic and everyone will vouch for that, but his image is not that, thus the fans taking shots at him.  Kaepernick  has to make sure these struggles don’t kill his confidence.  If he needs to kiss some biceps in the mirror every morning to reassure himself do it.  A broken confidence at this point in his career could make him…  Alex Smith part 2!  Why this will change:  Because of everything I just mentioned, he will turn it around, only thing is when he turns it around he needs to be humble and out of the limelight.  At least win one Super Bowl and you can cash in.

5.  Colin Kaepernick:  This is what he does, look at his college career.  His freshman year he exploded on the scene 53%comp, 19tds 3ints, and 2100 yards passing, but he didn’t start until the 5th game of the season, because the starter got injured (sound familiar).  His sophomore year the number look better, but he played a full season, 54%comp, 22tds 7ints, and 2800yds passing.  Junior year 58%comp, 20tds 6ints, and 2000 yards passing.  Then his senior year 64%comp, 21tds 8ints, and 3000yds passing.  Why this will change:  Look at the numbers, he redshirted his first year in college and the NFL.  Eventually took over for an injured starter and the rest is college and eventual NFL history.  With that being said 49er faithful expect another average year next year and then we will get to the good life in his 4th year in the league.

Kaepernick will be alright and we just have to give a young guy time, because everything in him shows that he can be a great QB, maybe not the best of all time Jaws, but at least great.  He will help with the 49ers quest for 6, 7, 8, and….

Jason Allen

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

The Read Option is here to Stay!

By:  Jason”Big J” Allen

Follow me and tell me why and how the Read option is a Fluke @UnsportsmenBigJ

A lot has been made of this new NFL, the “Passing/QB” league.  Now the most important person to a franchise is the Quarterback.  Gone are the days of the high paid, highly essential Running Backs, now running backs are as good as the Quarterback throwing the ball.  Look at the recent trade of Trent Richardson, this trade would have never been made in the 90’s or even the early ’00’s.  With these new rule changes and extra attention/protection to the Quarterback and Wide Receiver position, a lot of college “gimmicky” offenses are popping up more and more.  From the Fun ‘n’ Gun, Spread HD, Wildcat, and the Read Option, some of these college concepts have staying power and others don’t, but I’m here to tell or convince you that the Read Option is here to stay!

First thing is my deciding what is considered successful or having staying power.  If a team running the Read Option doesn’t win a Super Bowl doesn’t mean that the Offense is not successful.  If the Read Option never breaks offensive records and numbers doesn’t make it a failure.  My idea of success and staying power is know if you can run this offense in majority of situations, or create a culture of this offense that can win a good number of games.  The Fun ‘n’ Gun is/was successful, it won a lot with Warren Moon at the helm.  The Wildcat didn’t win anything, but Ronnie Brown running over the Patriots.  When I see the read Option I see a staying power for many reasons and here are some:

1.  Biggest reason I see the continued use and success of the Read Option is because of the evolution of the Athletic Quarterback.  This is not going away and with the Read Option it gives the athletic QB the opportunity to utilize another part of their skill set.  Imagine Terrell Pryor without the read option.  You thought about?  Yes you are correct he wouldn’t be in the league (holla at Tebow… who should be in the league with this offense).  The Read Option makes game planning against a QB with an average arm harder because of the ability to create with their legs.  This also eliminates the keep them in the pocket and make them pass, because now your not putting pressure on the QB which allows him to pick you apart on the back end.

2.  The Read Option gives running backs a rejuvenated career, especially average or over the hill running backs.  It helps take mileage off of running backs, because backside hits or being slowed by DEs and OLBs staying home.  Also you can run this offense with unspectacular running backs and make them look good.  Which means you can use committee style backfields and still have a dynamic running game.  The Read Option creates running lanes, look at Shady McCoy in Philly, regardless of Vick’s issues McCoy has had huge holes to make plays.  It helps running backs with a good ability to cut back (Gore, Lynch, and even Mcgahee), because the DE again have to stay home and can’t over pursue which creates a hole on the back cut.

3.  The Read Option is here to stay because you can do EVERYTHING you normally do in a typical offense with it.  If you want to power run attack, just move to the pistol.  If you want to get the ball deep, you can run play action out of the Read Option.  Almost every type of Offensive scheme you run can be accomplished with a Read Option twist.  This is what makes this offense so dynamic, unlike other “gimmick” offenses, it just doesn’t have one way to run it.  Some run it from the Pistol (San Fran), some run it from the Shotgun (Seattle), some have run it under center (Washington, Oakland).  The Read Option is an organic offense that an wear many faces.  Making it hard to know exactly what a team is trying to execute.

A lot of people are comparing this offense to the Wildcat.  It is not the Wildcat that used non-QBs (Ronnie Brown) or QBs with huge flaws in their game (Pat White).  Some say once QBs get injured teams will stop running the offense.  As for that argument; we see QBs getting injured while in the pocket, and most QBs in the Read Option type offense are told to get down, out of bounds, or don’t take on defenders.  Ask defenders how much/often they hit Russell Wilson.  Yet QBs like Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Ben Rothlisberger don’t use the Read Option, but are some of the most hit and sacked QBs in the league.  While Wilson, Kaepernick, and RG III (for the record RG III didn’t get injured running the Read Option got injured running out of the pocket on a broken play) are not being sacked as often.  Look at RG III recently with him not running the Read Option, he has been getting pummeled.  Lastly the thought that once defenses catch up they will neutralize it.  Well defenses have caught up to the West Coast offense, but when ran properly with the right personnel, it is still extremely dangerous and effective.  So all the doubters relax, this offense is here to stay as long as QBs are running and athletic.

Follow me and tell me why and how the Read option is a Fluke @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By:  Raymond “Big Play” Miller

Follow me and tell me if you agree or disagree with my pick @bprunsportsmenm

From week to week I will be looking at a matchup that I consider the game of the week. This week I’m looking at 49ers @ Seahawks (or Forty-Whiners @ the She-hawks) In a matchup of two teams that not only division rivals, but both are Super Bowl contenders as well.

49ers advantage: With how dominant the Kaepernick-Boldin combination was last week look for Seattle to put Sherman on Boldin and double Davis.  Which will then open up the read option for the 49ers and allow Kaepernick to run wild.

Seahawks advantage: To just say the 12th man would be to easy.  Beast Mode (Lynch) has ran for over 100 yds on the 49ers in two of the last three match ups.  With the subpar performance Lynch (17 car. 43 yds) had last week he’ll have them skittles ready.  Therefore, allowing Russell “last name” Wilson to go deep off of play action.

Who will win and why:  This game will be a tougher matchup than the 42-13 beatdown the Seahawks handed the Niners at the end of last season.  However, Seattle is strong and somewhat dominant at home; Wilson has never last a home game as the starter.  Plus Wilson doesn’t make many mistakes, and you’d have to assume Lynch continues his success against the 49ers defense.

Seattle Wins 28-17

Raymond "Big Play" Miller @bprunsportsmenm

Raymond “Big Play” Miller
@bprunsportsmenm

By: Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow me @UnsportsmenBigJ

“I like him, I like him too, I wish I could draft the best players in the world!”  Sorry Lil’ Wayne for butchering your song, but Fantasy Football has changed the Football fan.  Now, for better or for worse is your decision.  The new age fan has an allegiance to a team, but they are more aligned to the players they decide to draft.  Now NFL and football purist have trouble conceiving how you can root against your team or draft a player off a rival team.  Yet this is the new fan, “The Fantasy Football Loyalist”.

A perfect example of this fan is my one and only fiance Jess (What’s your Fantasy? Football Team Name), she is a huge college football fan (Go Noles!), but not so much NFL.  Hell she was dumb enough to be a Jets fan at first (Sorry Raymond “Big Play” Miller) when she chose a team, she thought Rex Ryan would be a cool coach to play under, once they got Tebow she jumped off the Jets and joined me in 49er paradise.  I tell you all this to say she had an immediate advantage in Fantasy Football over me, because she carries no “Heart picks”.  You know the pick you do with your love (for me it’s always been Frank Gore, now currently it’s Kaepernick) of players on your team.  Instead Jess picks players solely on the “Janet Jackson Rule” aka the “What have you done for me lately”, she cares less about who you play for and if you play against the 49ers.  The new fan “The Fantasy Football Loyalist”.

We are seeing more and more of these types of fans pop up and a lot of them live by the thought of “If MY team wins the Super Bowl, I feel great, but if my Fantasy Football team wins I GET PAID (or at least bragging rights in non money leagues)”.  So now you are seeing fans that have huge allegiance to players.  Not the teams.  Not the organizations.  Not the legacy of a franchise.  None of that, just the player and what he can produce, that’s where the fandom ends and “The Fantasy Football Loyalist” begins.

These type of fans bother the purist who believe in one team, one rooting interest, and one goal of Super Bowl Championships.  Some purist go as far as to say that “The Fantasy Football Loyalist” are ruining the game, but I beg to differ.  These fans are changing and uplifting the game.  These fans will watch the dreadful Jaguars when I wont because they need Cecil Shorts III to catch a touchdown.  These fans a lot of times know more about players and the league than the single minded “I only care about my team fan” (I have lived in D.C. [Pigskin fans], Pennsylvania [E-A-G-L-E-S, Steel Nation], and now outside the ATL [Dirty Birds] so I know a lot about single minded fans), and that is what grows the game.  Teams you won’t watch they will, and root for their fantasy player as loud and hard as you will for your team.  Lets be honest these type of fans are the reason for the NFL RedZone Channel.  Thank You “The Fantasy Football Loyalist”.

All my NFL purist just face the fact that “The Fantasy Football Loyalist” is here to stay.  They have made old dogs like me learn new tricks if I want to compete in the Fantasy Football landscape.  So yes “I like Him, and I like Him too”, and if Russell Wilson is on the board at a reasonable pick, I’m taking him.  When he plays the 49ers twice this year, I will hope for 300yds 3tds, but a 49er victory.  Does this make me a bad fan?  Probably so, but I have lost to my fiance in a Fantasy Football playoff round and hearing her brag is worse than any Super Bowl the 49ers could lose to the Ravens.  Damn You “The Fantasy Football Loyalist”!

Fantasy Furnace for real Fantasy Football advice.  I lost to my Fiance so you know I need help @fantasyfurnace

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

 

By: Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow me @UnSportsMenBigJ

Super Bowl champs to the toilet bowl champs.  This is the sentiment from a lot of Raven’s fans and NFL Fandom as a whole.  Well not so fast, trust in Ozzie!  Yes, TRUST IN OZZIE NEWSOME.  He is one of the best Football minds in the league, especially when it comes to building a team.  Remember the Ravens we an expansion team…  Well sorta.  Since 1996 he has typically put together a competitive team.  Everyone jumping off the cliff about the Ravens is forgetting some key things like, time, the New NFL, and the division.

            Now Ozzie Newsome has been the VP/Football Operations, and GM since 1996.  In that time frame he has 2 Super Bowl rings.  So every 8.5 years he delivers on a Super Bowl, which means the organization trust him and will give him nothing but TIME to build a contender.  If you are not making moves to save your job every year you can take a chance on players and take your time developing talent.  Most coaches, players, and GM’s don’t have that luxury, so every decision Ozzie makes is with a Sniper Rifle, not a hand gun, or should I say he has the bird eye view of his team and future.

            Secondly we are forgetting that we are in a “New NFL”, what does that mean?  Dominate defense out the window.  The league is about bend but don’t break mentality now.  Look at the Super Bowl, everyone knew the Niners were a better team, arguably better defense and offense.  Yet the Niners lost, why? The Ravens got touchdowns while the Niners had turnovers or field goals.  The most critical point of the game the Ravens Defense bent, but didn’t break.  Or rather held and didn’t fall (I’m with Jim that was a hold on Crabtree), so why have high paid defensive players?  Pollard, Kruger, Reed, Lewis, and etc, with those players the Ravens ranked 17th in total defense and lets not forget the Giants won a Super Bowl with a terrible defense and faced a Patriots team that was in the bottom two of defense that year.

            In this New NFL, its all about offense and more importantly the Quarterback.  Now you hav looked up your QB for the future, and I know everyone thought that Flacco deal was no good or he didn’t earn that money, but just think for a second, who out there is better that the Ravens could get?  NO-BODY!  So you look him up for your future and let’s be honest Flacco numbers are comparable to Eli Manning’s, and Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers and we hold them in higher status, why, because of Super Bowl rings.  Now Flacco has one so now he is worth the money.  Also with this new NFL, the CBA has made it that if you sign a 1st round pick, they can’t, repeat CAN’T renegotiate until the end of their third year.  This means you get younger players that you can develop on a rookie pay scale for 3 years.  Even worse for 2nd round picks where you have to wait 4 years before you can talk contract, sorry Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.  This all means that you have time to build a team for the future because everyone you drafted now can’t sniff new money until 2016.  Add that on top of Ozzie having time and now locking up his most important offensive weapon, we are starting to equal a smart move to dump the older junk this year.

            Lastly if I haven’t sold you on everything else, the most important thing is the AFC North.  There is no real contender, so this was the best time to rebuild.  You have the same old Browns that have an offensive core the Richardson, Gordon, but questions surrounding Weeden.  So the Browns may not be a contender, then you look at the Steelers that are basically doing the same thing the Ravens are doing.  The Steelers are trying to get young in a hurry to compete.  Just like Ozzie, Tomlin (Steelers have only had 3 Head Coaches in their franchise history) has time and an organization that stands behind their people.  So basically your greatest rival is occupying the same space you are, you went and grabbed a ring while they were rebuilding and now your rebuilding so when they are back you will be back.  Then you have the Bengals, who have a young core, have playoff experience and are looking to take the next step next year.  You may have to concede the division to them this year, because they are a young team that has taken bumps and now are ready to go, basically what you are looking to be 2 seasons from now.  So let them win the division for the next year or two, and then the Ravens can return to contend.

            So Raven fans and the NFL slow down on counting the Ravens out or not realizing the bigger picture; Ozzie Newsome is setting this team and franchise up with future success.  We also have no guarantee that the Ravens won’t be good, you still have a good Ray Rice, an amazing Torrey Smith, consistent Dennis Pitta, you added Elvis Dumervil to go along with Terrell Suggs.  The Ravens drafted a safety in Matt Elam that everyone was high on to replace Ed Reed, Arthur Brown that might be a 2nd round steal ala Navarro Bowmen for 49ers, Brandon Williams has a great motor just needs to refine his technique, and John Simon is a rare talent that needs to better work against the run.  Also if Ozzie let Anquan Bolden go he must have a lot of trust or saw a ton of potential in Tandon Doss who didn’t play a down last year because of a sports hernia.  So trust in Ozzie Newsome and doubt him “Nevermore!”

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

%d bloggers like this: