Friday, April 29, 2011
The past 25 years, the primary way Minnesota has found it’s starting quarterback is by finding a player who is past their prime and hope he can resurrect his career. As much as division rival Chicago is mocked for its inability to find a quarterback, the Vikings have had just as many problems finding some to replace Fran Tarkenton (3 Supersbowls, 9 Pro Bowls, 1975 MVP, Primary starting QB from 1961-1978 with a 4 year hitatus play for the Giants).
Here’s a look back at the primary starting quarterbacks who have been used for Minnesota the past 25 years starting with the most recent.
2009-2010: Bret Favre
Age 40 when he started playing for the Vikings and had already been in football for 18 seasons. Won a Super Bowl in Green Bay and played in another one. Was able to lead team to 2009 NFC Championship game before getting hurt his second year.
2008: Gus Frerotte
Age 38 when he started playing for the Vikings, had been in the NFL for 14 seasons and had primarily been a back up for the past 8 seasons for Denver, Cincinnati, Miami, St Louis and Minnesota. Went to a Pro Bowl as a member of the Washington Redskins. He Led Vikings to 8-3 record before getting hurt.
2007: Tavaris Jackson
Tavaris was drafted by the Vikings with the last pick of the 2nd round the previous year. He drafted to be the Quaterback of the future, but never panned out.
2005-2006: Brad Johnson
Age 37 when he started playing for the Vikings again and had been in the NFL for 13 seasons. Won a Super Bowl in Tampa and went to 2 Pro Bowls with Tampa and Washington. Went 7-2 in 2005 missing the playoffs by 1 game. Midway through the 2006 season, he had already set an NFL record for passes completed short of a first down on third down in a season.
2001-2005: Daunte Culpepper
Culpepper is the one success story for the Vikings. They drafted him 11th in 1999 and by 2001 he was starting. He was a 3 time pro-bolwer and graced the cover of Madden 2002. His stint with the Vikings didn’t end well with the boat cruise dilemma
1999: Jeff George
Age 32 when he started playing for the Vikings and this was already his 4th team in 9 Season. He was the 1st overall pick in 1990 and had medicore success with each of his first three stops Indy, Atlanta and Oakland. In 10 games as a starter went 8-2 and put up excellent numbers (23 touchdowns, 8.6 yards per attempt, a 94.2 rating) in leading Minnesota to the playoffs and a round 1 victory of the Giants. After the season, Minnesota did not resign him
1997-1999: Randall Cunningham
Age 35 when he started play for the Vikings and coming off 1 full season of retirement. Was a three time pro-bowler with Philadelphia. In 1997 he came in to replace Brad Johnson and led the Vikings to the 2nd round of the playoffs. In 1998 he guided the Vikings to a 15–1 regular season record with 34 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions and took them to the NFC title game where the heavily favored Vikings were upset in Overtime by the Atlanta Falcons. After playing 6 games in 1999 he was benched due to poor performance
1996-1998: Brad Johnson
Johnson was taken in the 9th round in the 1992 draft and was primarily used as a back-up. He started only limited time in 1996 and had injury shortened 1997 and 1998 seasons.
1994-1996: Warren Moon
Age 38 when he started playing for the Vikings and had already been in football for 15 seasons. He was a 5 time Grey Cup Champions (CFL Title) 6 time pro bowl QB for Houston. Moon passed for 4,200+ yard in his first two seasons, but was injured and not resigned in 1996.
1993: Jim McMahon
Age 32 when he started playing for the Vikings and had already been in football for 11 seasons. He had won a Super Bowl with Chicago and went to one pro-bowl. He then bounced around 2 more teams before landing on the Vikings in 1993 and led them to the playoffs before being replaced by Warren Moon
1990-1992: Rich Gannon
1986-1989: Wade Wilson
Both of these two quarterbacks were late round draft picks that didn’t have much potential. They both had some success but were unable to sustain it for the Vikings
So that’s the past 25 years of quarterbacks for the Vikings. Four draft picks that didn’t pan out (3 of which were taken past the 4th round (4, 8 and 9) and were never expected to be good) 7 quarterbacks who were past their prime but were able to have one last good season for the Vikings and Daunte Culpepper.
So now we can ask the question, what does this all mean? Well as you can see, the Vikings did have some success with their old QBs, but none of them could sustain it for more than 3 seasons. They have been competitive using the model so why not look to sign Donvan McNabb for a year or two? It’s worked before and it can work again.
The only time they used a high overall pick on a QB (Culpepper), they had him sit on the bench for two years behind past their prime quarterbacks. After the two Years Culpepper thrived in the system and gave the Vikings their longest run of consistent quarterback play in a decade. The other quarterbacks they drafted were late round picks and never had much hope that they’d become the franchise quarterback even though they did spend time behind past their prime quarterbacks.
So is Minnesota the place QBs go to die? If they sign McNabb I think we can agree it is, but if you can get 1 more run out of them, that might not be a bad thing.
Chicago, picking 29th, and Baltimore, at 26, finalized a trade that would have had them switch slots, with the Ravens getting the Bears' fourth-round pick in return. Chicago would take Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi, and the Ravens, if Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith was still on the board, would take Smith at 29. With two minutes left in the Ravens' period, the deal was done.
Under NFL rules, each team has to report the trade to NFL draft headquarters at Radio City Music Hall. The Ravens called it in. They assumed Chicago called it in, but due to a miscommunication in the Bears' draft room, no one from Chicago ever called the league. As the clock ticked down to zero, and with Chicago on the phone with Carimi to tell him he was going to be their pick, Baltimore noticed no one at the league had announced the trade and Chicago's pick of Carimi. Meanwhile, Kansas City, with the 27th pick, rushed its card to the desk at Radio City, taking Pittsburgh wideout Jonathan Baldwin.
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, on an open line to New York, demanded to know why the trade hadn't gone through. Chicago never called to confirm it, Newsome was told. Baltimore was infuriated. The league didn't allow the trade. The Ravens picked Smith at 27 (not 26; Kansas City was awarded the 26th pick and took Baldwin, because the Chiefs got the pick in before the Ravens did), and the Bears got lucky, getting Carimi at 29.
"Whatever you hear, Baltimore did everything the right way," Bears GM Jerry Angelo told Chicago media. "There were a lot of things happening in the draft room. We were getting a lot of calls, we just ... dropped the ball. I dropped the ball. I can't say anything more than that."
All's well that ends well, you say? Not so fast. Angelo called Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti to apologize, but Bisciotti wanted the fourth-round pick anyway, claiming it was part of the deal they'd agreed to. In fact, I'm told Bisciotti today will push to get the fourth-round pick, or to make the situation right in some way.
The league is under no obligation to do so, because the trade was never official. And maybe all's fair in love and draft-night trades, but as far as Baltimore's concerned, I don't think this one's over. I think the Ravens will ask the league to award them some compensation from Chicago before the draft resumes at 6 p.m. Eastern today. Stay tuned.
Cam Newton being the #1 pick: I think he could be good, but I don’t trust him. He was a 1 year wonder, and he has a very checkered past. He got in trouble while at Florida or he never would have left, then he “shopped” around for a new team to play for, but didn’t know about it. Great. I just heard Mike Lombardi from the NFL network say, “With one year guys, you don’t look forward, you look backwards. You look at what reasons made the guy a 1 year wonder.” I think that’s the case here, let’s see why he wasn’t better longer.
Also, TMQ brought up an interesting point. Look at BCS winning quarterbacks in the pros? Here’s a list of the 12 BCS winning QBs who have played in the NFL.
1. Tee Martin – Tennessee: Never did anything in the pros
2. Chris Wienke – Florida State: Never did anything in the pros
3. Josh Huepel – Oklahoma: Never did anything in the pros
4. Ken Doresy – Miami: Never did anything in the pros
5. Craig Krenzel – Ohio State: Started a few games for the Bears
6. Matt Mauk – LSU: Never did anything in the pros
7. Carson Palmer – USC: Good NFL Career with multiple pro bowls.
8. Vince Young – Texas: Started off promising, but didn’t sustain his level of play
9. Matt Lienart – USC: Never did anything in the pros
10. Chris Leak – Florida: Never did anything in the pros
11. Matt Flynn - LSU: Never did anything in the pros
12. Tim Tebow – Florida: Won two games as a rookie in limited action.
We’ll let Tebow be TBD and not count him. So 1.5 out of 11. Not a high success rate. These guys had great players around them which helped them thrive. Brees carried Purdue around for 3 years. Tennessee was good, not great when Peyton was there. Brady had great players around him at Michigan, but had to constantly fight with Drew Hensen for a starting job. These players learned how to play in tough situations which made them better. So needless to say, I’m penciling in Newton as a mediocre, but never great player.
While we are in Auburn, let’s talk about Nick Fairly to Detroit. Instantly everyone is excited to see Fairly play with Suh. I don’t think Fairly is anywhere near as good as Suh, and I am not convinced he’s going to be a good player in the NFL. He’s a one year player, and let’s take Lombardi’s advice and look back. He had to go to Jr College for 2 years before he could get into to Auburn cause he didn’t have the grades (think about that). He plays very high and tries to avoid contact, neither of which you want to see out of an interior lineman. If he plays high, the O-line will beat him up which could lead to injuries. He has to engage a player (or two) and then beat them to help the linebackers stay clean and flow to the football. He has a questionable work ethic, and we know how that turns out right after you pay that type of player a lot of money. I am predicting a very short NFL career for Mr. Fairly.
The Cardinals were smart, there was an obvious need for this team at QB in a very winnable division. However, they saw this draft had quarterback depth and didn’t value any of the top guys as high, so they took the best player in the draft in Patrick Petersen. I think Petersen is going to be a star, and playing inside can only help him utilize his speed. I see them grabbing Dalton or Mallet with their 2nd round pick.
The more amusing parts of the night came when the Falcons traded a whole bunch to get Julio Jones. Way to hold the Jersey the right way buddy. I can’t understand trading that much to get a WR. WR are a benefit, not a need. A smart d coordinator can eliminate a WR’s impact on the game easier then any other position. Unless they feel this guy is going to be a Randy Moss like talent (he’s not) or a Jerry Rice like work ethic (he won’t’) then I can’t see him making a big enough impact to warrant trading as much as they did. As ACSS draft expert Ryan Parrent pointed out, the Bears traded less for Jay Cutler, a proven NFL player. I don’t get it.
The dumbest part of the night came when the Vikings selected Chris Ponder with the 12th pick. I thought I had blacked out for 24 hours and it was the 12th pick of the 2nd round. I was just dumbfounded by this pick. I saw him play live against a very sub-par Boston College team, and I was not impressed. He doesn’t have the arm strength necessary to throw the 15-20 yards out which are necessary for playing in the NFL. He also has not proven to be durable, missing time in his final two years at FSU. While I am glad the Vikings took him, so they can waste 3-4 year figuring out he’s not that good, I don’t understand the pick.
Finally to the Bears. I think the trade they were trying to get through with Baltimore was to get Smith from Colorado, I don’t see any other reason why they’d try to move to that spot. Taking Camri at 29 is a good choice. He’s a solid offensive lineman who can play either tackle or either guard. I think they are going to try to get him to start at LT, but if he can’t beat out Williams or Omieyle then they can play him somewhere else until he gets the confidence and the ability to make that spots his a year or two down the line.
Looking at the Bears line I see positives and negatives now. The positives are we have 3 guys who can play both guards and both tackle spots (Omieyle, Williams and Camari) along with Garza who can play either guard, Webb who proved he can at least hold his own for a full 16 game season, and one last run for Kruetz (still think the Bears should get an interior lineman 4th or 5th round to be his eventual replacement). So the Bears will have depth and flexibility on the line that will give Mike Tice the ability to find the best fit for the team. The problem with all this flexibility is there are no players who own the position. Knowing from day 1 where they are going to play and building together from there. I think if Tice gets these guys in defined roles early in Camp (if there is one) it will be better for the team as a whole.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
"The only bigger coach than Tressel in Ohio State history was Woody Hayes, winner of AP national championships in 1954 and '68 and the all-time leader in Big Ten conference victories with 152. Yet when Hayes shamed the university by punching Clemson's Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl, igniting a bench-clearing brawl, the school fired him the next day.
If Ohio State could fire its greatest football icon, it can fire Tressel."