The Young Guns Are Playing Well

How good will these young guns become?

The young guns or the new kids on the block, are living up to the hype!  Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen are playing at very high levels for first and second year starting quarterbacks.  Looking back at the start of some of the current super stars, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson.  Other than Russell Wilson, the rest of them did not have the early success these young quarterbacks are experiencing.

I think the reasons why are simple.  When their teams made the commitment to draft them so high, they understood they were going to need to surround them a strong supporting cast, both on offense and defense.  Adding better offensive players is obvioous, but improving the teams defense and their productivity by creating turnovers, improving starting position for the offense and stopping teams on third down.  I don’t think there is anything worse for a young quarterback in the NFL than having the feeling and attitude that it’s all on me.  They just aren’t ready for that kind of pressure.  When teams can take any undo pressure off a young quarterback, those quarterbacks tend to play relaxed, play with confidence and become more productive.  A great example is Jared Goff of the Rams.  His rookie year was a bit of a disaster.  By adding really good players to their defense, the Rams have become one of the most procutive defenses in the NFL.  There is no question it has made all the difference in helping Jared Goff and the Rams offense.   A few new offensive players has also contributed to Jared’s and the Rams success this year too.

The same can be said for Baker Mayfield.  His talent and the addition of key players on offense and defense has turned the Cleveland Browns season around.

As far as Patrick Mahomes, the best thing that happend to him was the luxury of playing behind Alex Smith.  He leard how to become a quarterback in the NFL.  Also, the Chiefs had put together one of the best surrounding cast of offensive players in the entire NFL.

These young and upcoming quarterbacks are going to fun to follow for the next several years.

The Outdoor Quarterback

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Good Guys Do Get Hurt!

Stranger things have happen in the NFL, but I would need to see it!

Yesterday one of the good guys in the NFL, both as a  player and person, suffered one of the most horiffic injuries you can imagine.  Tragically Alex Smith, Chiefs former quarterback, broke both is tibia and fibula.  An injury like that is not only painful but demands immediate surgery.  For fans watching it was nausiating.

I vividly remember watching the Redskins game when Joe Theisman had a similar injury.  Both Joe’s and Alex’s, who I know personally, injuries made me sick to my stomach and caused me to break out in a cold sweat.  Having seen both of their injuries when they actually happend, made me think about how many times I had been in a similar position and nothing happened, just extremely lucky!

The fact that Joe’s injury happened 33 years ago to the day, is just incredible.  How about this note, Joe was at yesterdays game.  You don’t think it brought back nigtmarish memories?  Spooky doesn’t do justice to this coincidence.  Both played quarterback for the Redskins!

There isn’t much you can say, sometimes good guys get hurt.  In this case it was a real good man.

Thinking about you Alex!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Chiefs vs. Rams

Chiefs vs. Rams could be the best Monday Night Game ever!

This coming Monday night game features the 9 – 1 Chiefs vs. 9 – 1 Rams.  A lot of football fans are calling this, potentially, the best Monday night game ever.  Only time will tell.

What do the Chiefs need to do to win this game?  The obvious answer is to score more points than the Rams!  All joking aside, the Chiefs can not afford to turn the ball over in their side of the field.  Defending the run may be the real factor in this match up.  The Rams have the leading rusher in Todd Gurley and the Chiefs have the leading passer in Patrick Mahomes.  The Rams need to pressure Mahomes and the Chiefs need to limit Gruley’s yards per carry.

To prevent the Rams from getting to Mahomes, the Chiefs offensive line will have to play their best game of the year.  The Chiefs will also have to run the ball effectively to set up their play action pass offense.  One other important aspect that can not happen is for the Chiefs offense and defense to go conservative.  They have been winning because of the free wheeling offense!  They need to stay that course.  The Chiefs defense must defend against the run.  Make Jared Goff, the Rams talented young quarterback, beat you with his arm.

Like the Rams, the Chiefs defense must put pressure on Goff.  If the Chiefs can get Goff uncomfortable in the pocket, get him out of his rhythm, then the Chiefs have a very good chance of winning this game.

I am confident that the Chiefs offense will move the ball, what I am not confident in is the Chiefs defense stopping Todd Gurley and the Rams running game.

It should be a great game and I am glad it is being played on a good field!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Chiefs Lucky to Win!

You can’t take any team lightly in the NFL!

It was a good thing the Chiefs played the AZ Cardinals.  If they had played any other team, with maybe the exception of the NY Jets, they would have lost.  They were lucky to have won that game!

Pass protection was horrible, 5 sacks on potentially the league MVP.  At least in my opinion Patrick Mahomes is one of three contenders, Todd Gurley  and  Drew Brees are the other two.  Make no doubt about it, the Chiefs are where they are today because of the play of Patrick Mahomes.  Up until this game against the Cardinals, the offensive line has played very well, but the NFL does not allow for any team to take another team lightly, just ask the Falcons, Patriots, Jaguars and Eagles.

The glaring issue is still the Chiefs deffese.  From my prospective watching the game in person, whoever is resonsible for calling the defensive plays, fronts, coverages and blitzes, are totally confused or have no clue.  When I can see from the stands that no one on the Chiefs defence is in postion to cover a back to the  single receiver side (TE) you can assume the apposing quarterback can see the same thing.  Sure enought the back runs a swing route and no one picked him up.  The back catches an uncontested pass for a touchdown.  I can assure you, when they ran that play in practice, he was never that open!

In the NFL you have to put your players in position to win every play.  It then comes down to are your players better than your apponnets on that play.  You can never allow your defense to be so out of postion that they don’t have the opportunity to succeed.    This has happened time after time this year.  Sometimes you get beat because someone, on a particular play, is better than you or your defense.  But to be put in situations where no matter how well you play the play, you can’t defend, and it is frustrating and demoralizing.  If it weren’t for an instinctive play by Justin Houston, when he intercepted a screen pass, the Chiefs could have easily lost this game.

Sometime changes are needed to get to where you want to go!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Looking Good So Far!

I can’t see anyone stopping the offensive engine of the Chiefs, at least for now. Keep the foot on the throttle.

I know it is only three games into the 2018 NFL season, but the Chiefs look good so far, at least on offense.  Patrick Mahomes is the real deal.  Playing like a seasoned veteran.  I am really impressed with his poise under pressure, nothing seams to rattle him.  The stage doesn’t appear to be to big for him either.  He is seeing the whole field very well and reading coverage’s quickly.  I can tell you that being in the system for one year and playing behind Alex Smith has taught him what it takes to be a professional NFL Quarterback.  It is one of the major factors in Patrick’s early success.  Having thrown 13 touchdown passes to nine different players with no interceptions is impressive, and not to mention historical!

Now for he Chiefs defense.  Talking with former Chiefs defensive players, they are literally embarrassed with the Chiefs performances to date.  It amazes me, and them, that a defensive team can give up points as quickly as the Chiefs do, particularly when they have a 21 or 28 point lead.  The Chiefs have several good defensive players so that convinces me, and all my fellow Chiefs alumni, that the play calling on defense and the overall scheme is not up to the level of playoff teams.  There is a time and place to play soft and keep plays in front of you, but I am not sure the Chiefs know when that is.

The only thing that could stop the Chiefs offensive machine are injuries.  If this team can stay healthy, I look for them to win 11 games and make the playoffs.  How far they go is up to the defense.

The Chiefs Kingdom  is on the Patrick Mahomes bandwagon, and rightfully so.  I know I am!

The Outdoor Quarterback.

Preseason Done, Thank God!

It will take three regular season games for most starters to be in game shape.

In all the years I either played played professional football or have been associated with the NFL, I have never seen such terrible performances by virtually every team I watched, including the Chiefs.

The other part of my observation was, several veteran players, starters specifically, haven’t played a complete half of football, in total, in the four preseason games.  My question is, how are any of these players going to be in game shape come the first regular season games?  The answer: they aren’t!  If you disagree, just watch the sidelines of the first half of the opening regular season games.  Watch how the offensive players look and act after a long drive.  Check out the defensive players after a 10 play drive by their opponents.  They will be bent over hands on hips and towels around their necks.  I promise the most popular guy on the sidelines will be the trainer with the oxygen bottles.  Now with the limited practice time the players have, due to the current CBA, none of them can get in the shape and condition they need to be in without substantial playing time in preseason games.  From what I saw this preseason, there were more than usual missed tackles, dropped balls, bad throws, players who couldn’t finish plays and just overall inconsistent play.  In my opinion it will be that way until about the third week in the regular season.  That’s about how long it will take for most of the players to get in game shape.

There is light at the end of the tunnel: fantasy football is just about to start.  Fantasy Football does make the season much more fun to watch.  Now if I could just pick the right players this year, the season will be far more enjoyable.  Two years in a row my top pick in the draft got injured in the first game and was out for the entire season.  Is that bad luck or terrible drafting?

The Outdoor Quarterback

Testing The RV Road!

Recently we purchased and RV, a Unity FX Leisure Travel Van, and we are about to take it on our and its madden voyage!  As a private pilot I feel very comfortable getting in the cockpit and operating any single engine and some multi engine airplanes.  But the RV has me really nervous.  Dealing with the hook ups and then emptying the grey and black tanks, filling up the fresh water tank, getting everything leveled and then, the most important function, making sure both TV’s work, has me a little concerned.  No pun intended, you just have to go get your hands dirty!  This is one of those situations that the practical experience is the only thing that will build your confidence!  Looking at videos and dvd’s can only take your so far.  At some point you need to take the plunge.  That time has come.

I know there will be some frustrating moments, it’s handling the challenges as they come up will be the real test.  Also, being in close quarters with your spouse when something goes wrong and neither one of you have clue what to do, will be the biggest challenge!  We have always traveled really well together, but in a confined space and nowhere to escape, per say, the situation exists for a little tension.  Only time will tell, that’s why the first adventure is only going to be 360 miles and relatively close to the dealership where we bought the RV.  Why take a chance!

Don’t get me wrong, we are both very excited about traveling around the country, seeing new places and experiencing new things like the worlds largest ball of twine –  as long as those experiences don’t include RV break downs.

I intend to write the Outdoor Quarterback Blog on the road.  Our intentions will be to travel to NFL Cities, watch and report on NFL games as well as fish, hunt, bike and explore other outdoor adventures when the opportunities present themselves.  We are both history buffs and are looking forward to seeing as many of the historical sites as we can.  We have a lot to look forward to.

I know this is going to be an adventure in many ways.  I will keep you posted on the good, the bad and the ugly!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Honor The Contract!

Julio needs to honor at least one or two more years of his existing contract.

Since coming into the league, one of my favorite players, and has always been my number one pick in fantasy football, Julio Jones, is absolutely wrong holding out for an extension on his current contract.  I have always been, and will always side with the players, for getting as much money as they can.  But in this situation Julio needs to play and honor his current contract for at least one or two more years.  The Falcons gave him a great deal with a substantial amount of guaranteed money.  Now that a few other receivers have signed contracts making more annual salary then he is, Julio feels he needs to hold out and not honor his current contract, which still has three years remaining.  He wants a new deal making him the highest payed receiver in the NFL.  With his guarantee money (signing bonus) and his annual salary, he is right there with any of the new contracts being signed.

The Falcons just secured Matt Ryan to an incredible contract.  That means Julio has his quarterback in place for several years, a huge security blanket for him.  Why not go to the Falcons, tell them he will honor his current contract and work towards an extension including more guaranteed money.  That will help the Falcons get other pieces of the puzzle put together to complete their team.  I have no question that the Falcons will be contending for the NFC Championship this coming season.  Distractions like this, with arguably their best player, can become a real problem for the organization.  He will get his extension, no question.  If he just waits to see what some of the other outstanding receivers sign for, Julio can set the mark on what the top receiver in the NFL will be paid.

How does it go, pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered!

I am still going to make Julio my top choice in fantasy football.  If I could give him any advice it would to be smart, continue to prove to the Falcons you are the best wide receiver in the NFL and that winning the Super Bowl is all that matters and is his top priority.  That will get their attention.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Post Draft Vol 1!

Even with a young quarterback, the Chiefs could go deep in the NFL playoffs.

So, how did your team do in the 2018 NFL Draft?  I will tell you what I think about the Chiefs and few other teams I follow.  The Chiefs made a decision that defense was a major concern.  Loosing Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson a couple of corners, Marcus Peters being one, left very little doubt what the Chiefs were going to do.  Without a first round selection, the Chiefs had to wait for the opportunity to pick their guy, edge rusher Breeland Speaks, from Ole Miss.  Along with Dee Ford and Justin Houston, Breeland Speaks adds another pressure player to the Chiefs defense.

Another key free agent was wide receiver Sammy Watkins.  The question I have is how the rest of the league is going to defend the Chiefs offense.  If Patrick Mahomes plays to his potential, who is going to cover Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley and DeAnthoy Thomas?  Not to mention the leading rusher in the NFL, Kareem Hunt.  For the first time in many years the Chiefs have as good of skill players on offense as they have ever had.  Should be exciting to watch.

If the defense can improve to the middle of the defensive statistical charts, the Chiefs have a very good chance to go deep in the playoffs, even with a young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.  The Chiefs are playing in the most difficult division, the AFC West, in the NFL.  I like their chances based on the new additions to their roster.

Mandatory off season mini camps around the NFL are just about to conclude.  The Chiefs will have a, “First Look “, for sponsors and special guest this week.  I am looking forward to seeing how they look on defense, just as much as I am interested in watching Patrick Mahomes lead the offense.

Times are changing at Arrowhead stadium and appears to be for the good!

The Outdoor Quarterback

NFL Scouting Combine, Something For NFL Junkies!

The NFL Combine is now must watch TV, football junkie or not!

If you are a NFL football junkie, then this weekend you were in heaven watching the NFL Scouting Combine.  I will admit I watched it off and on from start until the last day.  Of course I spent a lot of time watching the quarterbacks.  A couple of the guys I really like threw very well and were faster than I thought, Josh Allen from Wyoming and Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma.  There were a few others I thought helped themselves and a couple quarterbacks, I think, may have hurt their draft position.

The wide receivers and tight ends looked good.  The Alabama receiver, Calvin Ridley, lived up to his billing.  Ran very well, showed soft hands and ran  great routes.  I was most impressed with the tight end from Oklahoma, Mark Andrews.  Caught the ball very well, looked comfortable running his routes and appeared to always be under control.  The question I have would have about Andrews is his ability to block at the next level.  The Stanford TE, Dalton Schultz, caught my eye as well, and my guess is he can block.

The one player that may have moved himself from the second overall pick to possibly the number overall pick is running back Saquon Barkley.  Saquon stood out in every activity he participated in.  His performance at the combine was very impressive.  I think the Browns would be making a devastating mistake if they down’t take him with the first pick.  Having the fourth overall pick as well, Cleveland should be able to grab one of the top three quarterbacks.  I can guarantee that one of these three quarterbacks, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold will be on the board at pick number 4.  Now that all changes if they can sign a veteran free agent quarterback before the draft.

We will find out in late April!

The Outdoor Quarterback