Quarterbacks

Greater than Great

From the Great Pumpkin to Alexander the Great to the Great One(Jackie Gleason-look him up you will thank me) as a society we obsess about greatness.

It is never more prevalent than in the sports world. The greatest slugger or a great center or in the NFL great quarterbacks.

Enter Tom Brady. In a fourteen years career he has thrown 392 regular season touchdowns and compiled a career passing rating of 96. Brady is the definition of a great quarterback. This most recent Super Bowl win was his fourth tying Joe Montana for the most ever.

This is where the problem comes in. Some feel the need to anoint him as the greatest quarterback ever.

Great is not enough? He has to be the greatest?

The first problem with this is simple: Super Bowl championships are not a quarterback statistic. It may seem like it when listening to the national media but there are actually 52 other players on those teams. Fifty-two other players along with a number of coaches, trainers and other men(and women) who all work together to led any given team to victory. The quarterback is only one part of the equation, not the entire equation.

The other problem is that naming any quarterback the greatest ever simply diminishes so many other incredible players. To say Tom Brady is greater than Joe Montana or Dan Marino or Bobby Layne only serves to disrespect all of them. It is purely subjective. There is no way to fairly compare playing in the different eras, just as it is difficult to judge who is the greatest quarterback today. While some may claim Brady others will champion Peyton Manning and personally I would pound the table for Aaron Rodgers.

Tom Brady is no greater today than he was the day before the Super Bowl. He is a great quarterback. Twenty years from now he will still be a great quarterback.

That should be enough.

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Football, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, Quarterbacks, Tom Brady | Tags: | 1 Comment

Championship Sunday

ccham

After this Sunday there is one more game. The one that everyone is striving for. The Super Bowl. Players dream their entire lives of paying in the big one. But today. Today is when the legends are made. Today is the money round.

The Drive. The Catch. Those did not happen on Super Bowl Sunday. They happened in the Conference Championships.

The Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers are up first in Seattle. The Seahawks are fierce at home, the ’12th man’ not a small reason why. Few believe the Packers with a limping Aaron Rodgers have much of a chance. Then again, Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL today.

That is not the reason I believe the Packers will pull it out, no the Pack will win because of Eddie Lacy. I watch Lacy run and I do not see Eddie Lacy, I see ‘Sweetness’. Something about the way he moves and spins and throws himself into the end zone simply makes me think of the great Walter Payton. It is the presence of Eddie Lacy that will let Rodgers be Rodgers and lead his team to victory.
Green Bay 27-20

In the evening we have Andrew Luck versus Tom Brady. Some seem to want to connect this game to the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots rivalry of the past. It simply does not fit. That was Peyton Manning against Brady, two titans facing off. The teams are different, the showdown is different. Now it is the a question of the changing of the guard. Andrew Luck is the future, clearly. The question is if the future is now?

Luck has been special during this years playoffs and he will need to be special again to upset the Patriots. The more important factor is the Colts defense. Last week they played phenomenal against the Denver Broncos and Mister Manning. Can they do it again? If they can prevent yards after catch today they can limit the Patriots offense. Outside of Rob Gronkowski there is not one receiver on the Patriots that should concern the Colts deep, but stopping Gronk is a tall order.
Indianapolis 37-31

No one can predict what will happen today. If they say they can they are liars.

Time to sit back and enjoy.

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Denver Broncos, Eddie Lacy, Football, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, playoffs, Quarterbacks, Seattle Seahawks, Tom Brady | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just One

Jim Rassol/Sun-Sentinel

Jim Rassol/Sun-Sentinel

Just one.

Just one play changes a win to a loss. One throw, one catch. One stop.

Single plays throughout the course of a sixty-minute, sometimes longer, game mean all the difference. These plays separate pretender from contender. These plays build a champion.

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins just needed one play from their defense. They needed one stop that is all. One field goal instead of a touchdown. Just one more tackle, one pass batted down, one sack. Any of these would have gotten the job done.

That did not happen. If it had this would be a much different column.

Going into the Denver game defense was not the concern. No one worried if the defense would do their job. This was a top-5 defense, they had gotten it done all season long.

The question was if the offense and more importantly quarterback Ryan Tannehill would do their part. They did and then some. Tannehill went shot for shot with Peyton Manning going 26 of 36 for 228 yards and three touchdowns. The offense scored 36 points, the fourth time this season the team had scored over thirty points.

36 points should have been enough for the Dolphins defense to win two games. Not this time.

The defensive line, a strength of this team all season long, rarely pressured Manning. He would go on to throw for 257 yards and 4 touchdowns, three of them to wide receiver Demaryuis Thomas. Even worse they allowed the Broncos to run over them for 201 yards. There were receivers running free throughout the secondary and runners fighting for extra yards.

All the Dolphins needed even after all of that was one stop. Just one.

The offense had put in its work. The defense simple was not up to the task this day. One stop would have given them a chance.

These are the growing pains of a good team getting better. This team has shown that it belongs on the field with the best. Now they need to show that they can beat them, consistently.

 

Categories: Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Peyton Manning, Quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill, sports | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Showdown at Mile High-Miami Dolphins v. Denver Broncos

Snow game

Sunday afternoon the Miami Dolphins take the field against the Denver Broncos in the most important game of the 2014 season. At this point in the NFL season every game is the most important game. Each game sets up the next as teams jockey for playoff position.

This particular game sets up a faceoff with the New England Patriots on December 14th. Win this game and the Patriots game could be for the AFC East title, it could also be for the best record in the AFC. Lose, lose and it may be time to fight and claw for a wildcard berth.

The advantage heading into the game with the Broncos is simple: Everyone expects the Dolphins to lose. All over social media, across the television dial, pretty much all the national media has already given the win to Denver. This does not come from some matchup advantage or even some deficiency on the Dolphins part. No apparently Denver will win because they are Denver and oh yeah because “Peyton Manning”.

Fortunately for the Dolphins the games are played on the field. On the field Miami has a chance, actually they have a really good chance.

Denver is beat up. Tight end Julius Thomas and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders are recovering from injuries, while their offensive line is just bad.

“It’s worse than bad — it’s horrendous,” ESPN analyst and ex-Broncos Pro Bowl offensive lineman, Mark Schlereth said to the Denver Post. “If I was grading, giving an F would be kind.”

Coming to town are the Dolphins with the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL. The pass rush led by Cameron Wake and his 8.5 sacks will try to harass Peyton Manning throughout the game. Getting pressure on Manning is the only sure way to disrupt the hall-of-fame quarterback and Denver’s potent offense.

On the other side Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on a hot streak. Since the game against the Oakland Raiders in London, Tannehill has posted four games with over a 100-quarterback rating. This brings his rating up to 92.2 for the season, a nice improvement over last season 81.7.  It seems as if offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense is finally clicking, with the rest of the offense pulling their weight as well.

For the first time in far too long it seems as if the Dolphins are playing as a complete team. The timing could not be better.

No game against Peyton Manning is every easy. This week however the Dolphins can walk onto his field with no fear.

 

 

Categories: AFC East, Denver Broncos, Football, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, playoffs, Quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Quarters: Miami Dolphins v. Green Bay Packers

Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald

Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald

Sunday morning I decided I would do things a little different this week. Instead of the usual review/preview I thought I would try to write about my thoughts as the game was going on. Quarter by quarter. So here goes…

Four Quarters: Green Bay Packers v. Miami Dolphins

First Quarter.

Green Bay started out with the ball. They moved down the field with ease. The Dolphins secondary were playing off the receivers and Aaron Rodgers made them pay with a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson.

After a great return by rookie Jarvis Landry the Dolphins started in Green Bay territory. The Packers defense came to play forcing Miami to settle for a Caleb Sturgis. The score now sat at 7-3 Packers.

After blocking a punt the Dolphins once again had good, no make that great field position. Unfortunately even after getting the ball down to the Green Bay one yard line they could not find the end zone. Missing out on a scoring opportunity against a team like Green Bay is dangerous.

The good news as the quarter ended was that the defense had finally come to play, bad news was the running game was stuck in neutral.

Second Quarter.

Both teams defenses stood tall. The Packers struggled to move the ball and Aaron Rodgers began to feel the effect of the Dolphins pass rush. On the other side Green Bay forced Miami quarterback into two interceptions costing the Dolphins the opportunity to put points on the board.

I feel there are three types of interceptions: 1. The receiver simply fell down on his route, offense has no chance. 2. The defense just makes an incredible, highlight-reel kind of play. and 3. The quarterback had no business throwing that ball whatsoever. The first two are forgivable offenses, the third-well the third you want to kill the qb. In this case the defense simply made a great play on a contested ball. It could easily have gone the other way.

Needless to say the half ended with the Packers up 10-3

Third Quarter.

The Dolphins started the second half with the ball. Ryan Tannehill hoped to erase the memory of the first half quickly. On the second play of the drive he took it himself and ran 40 yards, surpassing the Dolphins rushing total of the first half. Watching this first drive you would never think that this was the same team from the first half. Jarvis Landry caught his first NFL touchdown pass to tie the game. Both teams would trade drives during this quarter leading to a tie game at 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter.

Rodgers is not simply one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he is THE best. On this afternoon Ryan Tannehill showed he could stand toe to toe with the best the NFL has to offer. This is something Tannehill’s critics should remember.

Sadly we tend to remember what we saw last.

What we saw last was Aaron Rodgers being Aaron Rodgers and the Dolphins defense falling apart when they were needed most. With a 24-20 lead the Dolphins failed to get a first down and gave the ball back to Rodgers with 2:04 left in the game. It would be just enough.

There was blame to go around on the last drive. Brent Grimes falling down while covering Jordy Nelson. Cortland Finnegan trying a very lackadaisical tackle of Davante Adams inside the ten yard line. Worst of all was the coverage by Philip Wheeler on the touchdown play. It is not that he got beat by the tight end for a touchdown that will happen. It was that he did not even try to engage Anthony Quarless until he was already in the end zone. By that point he had already lost. If he made contact before Quarless entered the end zone he may have had a chance. It was not to be.

A great comeback fell just six seconds short. All of the good things we saw in the second half came of naught. Time to move onto the Bears.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill, sports | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Everyone Loves the Backup Quarterback.

Al Diaz/Miami Herald

Al Diaz/Miami Herald

There are times when I think the fans are the ones who need to be drug tested.

This is one of those times. Over this past weekend I have heard fans suggesting that the Miami Dolphins start Matt Moore over Ryan Tannehill. This was after Moore gifted the Dallas Cowboys with a pick-six during their preseason game Saturday night, against the backups no less. I can understand getting excited by Moore moving the offense down the field, he is an excellent backup quarterback. I even understand the frustration of Tannehill having difficulty connecting on the long ball with Mike Wallace(perhaps the receiver should receive some of the blame). But start Moore over Tannehill? I do not see it.

Do these fans remember the last time Matt Moore played during the regular season?

I will remind you. Moore took over for an injured Tannehill during the 2nd half of the Buffalo Bills game. He manage to complete 2 out of 6 passes, worse still he completed the same number of passes to the Bills. Two completions and two interceptions. It was a bad day for Moore. Not that he cannot do better, he has, but with that memory is that who you want replacing a very promising young quarterback?

Fans love the backup quarterback.

Last season I had a friend of mine suggest that Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions should be benched for his backup Shaun Hill. Matt Stafford who has thrown for over 17,000 yards and over a hundred touchdowns should be benched for Shaun Hill.

It seems ridiculous. But it is understandable. Every fan wants that elite quarterback, they want Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. The problem is there are only so many of those going around.

It is not that Matt Moore or Shaun Hill are not starting quality quarterbacks, they would easily start for the Houston Texans or Oakland Raiders this season. It is that in those situations, behind Ryan Tannehill and Matthew Stafford, they understand their role as the backup. While Moore and Hill have tremendous ability, Tannehill and Stafford have that extra something that puts their ceiling just a little higher.

Enjoy your backups, cheer for them when the time does come for them to come into the game. Just try to have some perspective. Understand there is a reason they are the backup and the other guy is the starter.

 

Categories: Football, Matt Moore, Matt Stafford, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Preseason, Quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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