Quarterback Roulette!

Pick a quarterback any quarterback! It’s time to play quarterback roulette.

You know that teams are in trouble when they switch quarterbacks every other week, or trade for one in the middle of the season.  In the case of the Browns, they totally screwed up a potential trade for the Bengals backup A.J. McCarron.  How does that happen in today’s world of technology?

I somewhat understand the Broncos making a change at quarterback, but I was at the Chiefs game against the Broncos and most of the offensive miscues were not all Trevor Siemians doing.  He had several passes dropped, one for a easy touchdown.  He did have a couple of unadvised throws, one particularly.  Quarterback training 101 and an absolute no no is, don’t throw back across the middle of the field late!  Very bad things usually happen, and it did.  Now the Brock Osweiler experiment begins.

Next, the 49ers have traded for the Patriots backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, which I think is a great move.  The only problem is he won’t have the supporting cast that he did in New England.  Even if they would have traded for Tom Brady they still would have a difficult time being competitive.  You need a good offensive line, an effective running game and an above average receiving core.  If they don’t improve in all of those areas, Jimmy may wish he was still the backup with the Patriots.

Let me get this correct, the Patriots trade Garoppolo and then sign Brian Hoyer, the quarterback that Garoppolo replaced at the 49ers. Interesting!  I am not sure I have seen this much activity around potential starting quarterbacks, this late in the season, ever.  I understand injuries will cause general mangers to find replacements. That’s not the case in these quarterback changes.

The current carousel of quarterback is difficult for everyone: the players, the teams, the coaching staffs and most of all the fans.  I have been in this position as a player myself.  Everyone thinks the backup quarterback is the answer. Not true.  A supporting cast of good players is a must.  It really helps if you add a few great players to the lineup as well.

Good luck to all of them!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Tight Ends Are Key To Today’s NFL Offenses

NFL teams are building their offenses around tight ends.

In the past you could count the number of really good tight ends on one hand.  Today every team has at least one outstanding tight end.  Today the Chiefs have three.  Many other teams have figured this out and are adding tight ends to their rosters every year.

Here are the names of just 10 tight ends who are having significant impact on each of their teams offenses; Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, he is injured and his back-up Ed Dickson, is playing great, Tyler Eifert, Jimmy Graham, Kyle Rudolf, Eelanie Walker, Zach Ertz and Jack Doyle.  I haven’t even mentioned a first ballot Hall of Famer, Antonio Gates, who just broke Tony Gonzalez’s touchdown receptions by a TE.  The majority of these TE’s are big time receivers, not just blocking TE’s.  They can run and are huge targets.  In 2016 the Chief’s TE Travis Kelce led all receivers, both tight ends and wide receivers, with yards gained after the catch.

I remember back in the late 60’s and early 70’s the Chiefs had a TE who was 6’10”, Morris Stroud.  You talk about a target!  How would a 6′ strong safety defend him, they couldn’t.  Now days most of these TE’s are 6’5″ to 6’7″ tall and weighing from 245 to 265 lbs.  As a matter of fact several of the TE’s today are coming from college basketball programs, like Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez.  One of the current TE’s for the chiefs, Demetrius Harris, played college basketball and not football.

Just to show you what type of premium NFL teams are putting on TE’s, the 19th player selected in the 2017 NFL draft, by Tampa Bay, was Alabama’s TE, O.J. Howard.

If you play fantasy football don’t leave any of these TE’s of off your starting lineup.  My starting TE is someone I haven’t even mentioned, Martellus Bennet, TE for the Green Bay Packers.

The Outdoor Quartback

October Bass Fishing, Don’t Miss The Opportunity

October is still a good time to catch trophy Bass!

At lot of bass anglers, including myself, have a tendency to put away their rod and reels and pick up their bows, shotguns or firearms for more traditional fall activities.  There is a feeding frenzy that bass go through in October before the waters get to cold.  This is an opportunity to get in on some incredible fishing.

For those of you who live in the south where your waters don’t change temperatures dramatically, like those of us in the Mid West, keep on fishing.  But for us Mid Westerners, this is it!  I have personally caught two of my biggest bass in mid October, both where in the 8 plus pound range.  I have never been much of a spinner bait fan, more of a plastic bait guy like worms, crawdads and lizards, crank baits and top water plugs.  But both of those two October fish were caught with a chartreuse and white two bladed willow leaf spinner bait.  Now I am a bit of a convert and never leave home without at least two of those baits in my tackle box.

I primarily fish out of a two man bass buggy type boat.  The main reason is that we fish a lot of farm ponds, two to 30 acre size ponds, instead of large lakes.  I really enjoy catching fish and well stocked and older farm ponds are an excellent place to catch a bunch of fish, and big ones.  The early fall is a perfect time to fish these smaller bodies of water because they normally turn colder much quicker than large bodies of water, like lakes or reservoirs, that are considerably deeper.

Take advantage of these final weeks of October while water temperatures are still good and the October Bass Feeding Frenzy is on.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Are The Kansas City Chiefs That Good?

It’s okay if you want to jump on the Kansas City Chiefs ban wagon, they are for real!

I keep getting emails and text messages asking me, “are the Chiefs really that good”?  The simple answer is yes!  My next comment is, and that’s without All-Pro Safety, Eric Berry, starting running back Spencer Ware and our center Mitch Morse.  Eric Berry and Spencer Ware are out for the year, which are both tremendous losses to the Chiefs.  Mitch Morse has a foot injury and should be back soon.  Fortunately we replaced Spencer Ware with, right now, the best running back in the NFL; Kareem Hunt.  It is difficult to loose a player like Eric Berry and expect the defense to play at a high level, but they are picking up the slack very well.

They have already played on the biggest stages starting the 2017 season.  The opening game on Thursday night against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots and on Monday Night Football against the Redskins, a really good team.  They are the only 4-0 team in the NFL, which no one predicted.  How is this possible, several of my non believers have asked!

For the first time, in a very long time, the Chiefs have more offensive weapons at their disposal than at any time I can remember, dating back to 1975.  Alex Smith, the quarterback, is playing exceptionally well, making all the plays and keeping drives alive with his legs as well as his arm.  The Chiefs have four other players that opposing teams have to account for on every offensive play, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and in my opinion the sleeper, Chris Conley, a 6’3″ 205 pound wide receiver who has tremendous speed, 4.35 in the forty.  Defensive coordinators are literally spending sleepless nights trying to figure out a scheme to stop them.  A luxury for the Chiefs.

Offense can’t win games by themselves.  The Chiefs defense has done a very good job of stopping the run, a weakness of the 2016 defense.  With the loss of Berry at safety, the Chiefs secondary has had to step up their play and have responded very well.  Still one of the top defensive teams in creating turnovers, which is a key statistic the offense loves to see.  What is more impressive is who they have played against, Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers and Kirk Cousins.  Four of the top ten quarterbacks in the league.

Let’s not forget the Chiefs may have the most effective punter, Dustin Colquitt, in the NFL.

It’s the Okay the jump on the Chiefs Ban Wagon!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Try The Katy Trail

The Katy Trial offers more than just a place to bike or hike, it has great history!

Years ago, nearly twenty, my oldest daughter told me she wanted to run a marathon!  Knowing her she needed someone to train with to keep her focused and challenged.  So I said if you are serious I will train with you and we will run one together.  Our simple goal was to run the marathon without stopping or walking.  We had no specific time we were shooting for, just run the entire marathon.  Next we had to select a place to run.  My vote was to run the flattest marathon we could identify.  Hello Chicago!

At the time my daughter was a student at the University of Missouri.  We agreed to do our short runs and training during the week and I would travel to Columbia every other weekend to do our long runs.  That is when I was introduced to the Katy Trail.  It was a great place to run, nice and flat for us novice runners, but had exceptional views with many historical places.

The park is the largest unbroken rail trail corridor in the country, stretching nearly 240 miles across most of central Missouri. The history of the route can be traced back to the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (a.k.a., the Katy, or the MKT), and the corridor was part of its main line to St. Louis.

I have a double major from Utah State in History and Geography.  Training on the Katy Trail was more than just a place to run for me.  It was a living historical site that dated back to 1865.  Several locations we ran were along the Missouri River.  Some of the areas were historical sites where Lewis and Clark stopped and camped during the expedition.

Today the Katy Trial is an excellent place to walk, run or ride your bike.  I highly recommend to all outdoor enthusiast.  You should plan a trip to visit the historical Katy Trial.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Chiefs Ruin Patriots Championship Flag Ceremony

The Boston Tea Party replayed as the Chiefs spoils the Patriots celebration.

Make no mistake the Patriots and Tom Brady had a bad night against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Or was it that quarterback, Alex Smith and rookie running back Kareem Hunt both had great nights.  The Chiefs defense played really well most of the game.  They still have that bend but don’t break defensive philosophy, which works most of the time, but against a QB like Brady, normally he is going to get you if you keep giving him opportunities.  The Chiefs defense did a great job on two fourth down attempts by the Patriots, one of the many keys to their victory.

It was pretty obvious that the Chiefs needed to put pressure on Tom Brady, make him move in and out of the pocket, in other words, make him uncomfortable.  They did that in the second half which was the turning point for the defense.

The Chiefs offense was playing well from the start of the game.  Rookie running back Kareem Hunt played more like seasoned veteran than a rookie.  Now he will be a marked man!  He will also be on everyone’s fantasy team!

As a former quarterback I can tell you that Alex Smith’s performance was incredible.  80% completion, you can’t do that just playing catch on the sidelines.  368 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes, two of them over 75 yards.  But it was the situation he was playing in, Thursday night, first game of the 2017 regular season, the only NFL game for the nation to watch, against the defending Super Bowl Champs and Tom Brady!  I would say he handled the pressure way beyond expectations.

One of the better team efforts I have seen from the Chiefs in several years.  Like Alex Smith, “it is one of sixteen”.  I am sure what coach Reed said was, great win, now let this one go, learn from the good and bad, then move on to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Spring Gobblers/NFL Draft

Strutting Turkeys
Strutting Turkeys

Two of the best things happening in May are the Spring Turkey Season, which is going strong in many areas of the country, and the NFL Draft. The Draft has become one of the most watched events on TV. It basically announces the start of the 2017 NFL Season. Bad teams are very optimistic and good teams just seem to reload. This is one of the deepest years for wide receivers. I have seen as many as 8 wide receivers projected to go in the first round.  The Kansas City Chiefs may be in the market. Watch for at least that many to go in the first round.

For the first time, as far as I can remember, there is a devaluation at the running back position, which is a clear indication in the change of the NFL offensive philosophy and strategy. It has become a passing league, no question. I still believe you have to have a consistent running attack to be a championship team. If you can move the ball by throwing and control the clock by running, then you are putting yourself in position to make the playoffs and win a championship.  Look for a good running back to go early.

Looking forward to the draft is exciting but the first gobble you hear during the Spring Turkey season is a rush second to none. You turkey hunters know what I am talking about. My ideal draft day is to go to the woods, harvest a turkey and participate in the Chiefs Draft Party. What is that they say, “It just doesn’t get any better than that”.

Tell me who you want your team to draft.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Today’s Officiating

College basketball officiating today is a JOKE. There is so much talent at the collegiate level these days, the athletes that is, until the whistle blows and the ball is tossed, then it rapidly goes in the toilet. If you watched the NCAA Tournament opening week and then watched the Sweet Sixteen, so far, someone ordered the officials to slack off on calling fouls. I saw charging where nothing was called, come on guys it has to be charging or blocking, one or the other! You’ve got a 50 50 chance of getting it right.  I thought for a moment I was watching the NBA, because of all the traveling that wasn’t called. The one play that irritates me the most in college basketball is when they allow a player to back himself into the key while the defender has position when the offensive player just keeps backing in until he secures a shooting position in the key, BTW, for well over 3 seconds, and there is a no call, IT’S CHARGING BOYS!  Oh yea, I had to look online to see if 3 seconds in the key was still a rule violation.  Twice in a Sweet Sixteen game, I took a stopwatch and played back a couple of plays where an offensive player was in the key, with the ball, for 7 seconds on one play and 8 seconds for another. I watched the official under the basket and never once did I see him look at the offensive player in the key for any length of time or start a 3 second count. Embarrassing is the only word that can accurately describe the officiating. This just wasn’t in one particular game, it was consistent in all four games played. Which leads me to the obvious conclusion, someone gave the officials orders to cut back on calling fouls or rule violations. These young athletes are extremely talented, but the talent can’t fully be put on displayed when the officiating is so unprofessional and inconsistent. Now for my last example of the butchery in college basketball officiating. Would someone please define carrying or palming the ball, because from what I have seen, no one, most of all the officials, have a clue. I saw two calls in games played this weekend of palming the ball, then looked at ten different plays in the same games of exactly the same dribble with no calls. How is anyone, particularly the players, suppose to have any idea of what palming the ball is!

I have learned the new slogan for College Basketball Officials, “I am going to do what I am ordered to do not not what is written in the official rules of basketball!”

The Outdoor Quarterback!

How Lucky We Are

Every year I believe many of us forget how lucky we are. The last two years, over the Christmas Holidays, I have spent my time recovering from bilateral total knee replacement, both knees at the same time, and this year, ankle surgery, to repair torn ligaments and a fractured fibula! I am not complaining, too much, but one was elective, the knees, tho other was not.
Yes, they were and are a inconvenience, particularly during the holidays. But it really made me stop and think about those who are disabled 365 days a year and for the rest of their lives. I bring this up because for the past two years I have had the privilege of taking a friend of mine deer hunting who is now a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I know how frustrating it was and is just dealing with my two surgeries. What I do know and have come to realize is that it takes a special person of tremendous courage and will power to endure the challenges of everyday life, I mean the simplest task’s many of us take for granted.
I honestly think, in this case, the love for the outdoors, his passion to do what he loved before his accident, has allowed my friend to move forward with his life in as normal of a way as possible. I believe it motivates him each and every day and I am certain that if it were not for the passion he has for fishing, hunting, 4 wheeling, snowmobiling and etc… he would have had a very difficult time.
For all of you who are like my friend, you are my heroes and you inspire people like me to overcome the minor challenges we face.
I am thankful too that I have a similar passion for the outdoors and all that it offers. I do know how lucky we are.
The Outdoor Quaterback

NFL Draft 2015

So, how did your team do in this years NFL Draft? I think the Chiefs did well, at least on paper they did. I will get a chance to meet all of our draftees and free agents on May 15th at the Rookie/Free Agent dinner hosted by the Chiefs and attended by the Chiefs Ambassadors, who are made up of Chiefs former players. We get a chance to talk abut the history of the Chiefs and why they should be proud to part the Chiefs organization.

Our first selection is a gifted athlete and ball hog as a corner back. He had some issues in college and was dismissed from the team. Hopefully he is beyond that and new life in football is going to begin for him. Time will tell. Our second pick was a offensive lineman from the Univ. of Missouri. A young man who can play all the positions on the offensive line, he will be a great asset for the Chiefs. The Chiefs added some additions to the receiver core, defensive line and to the linebacker group. So in my opinion they did very good job filling needs. Hats of the Chiefs staff and scouts.

Let me hear from you on how your team did. Hats off to Chicago for an awesome draft experience.

The Outdoor Quarterback