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Southern Showdown

Written by Jimmy O'Brien on September 30, 2012

Civil War Cover Shot

A Civil War Between Aaron Mellette & Demetrius McCray

Click Here For Video Of The Match-up

On a crisp late autumn afternoon, in a scene much like the ones played out a century and a half before, on battlefields throughout the North and South, two armies emerged from tunnels at opposite ends of Rhodes Stadium for a Southern Conference showdown.  The November 19, 2011 matchup of Appalachian State versus Elon University was not only a rivalry game between two North Carolina schools, just 130 miles apart, tucked tightly into what had been the cradle of the Civil War, but also an epic battle between two of the FCS’s finest players, Elon wide receiver, Aaron Mellette, and Appalachian State cornerback, Demetrius McCray.

It was a war waged on the Carolina plain all afternoon, in a series of small skirmishes and bigger battles, (read more…)

Manuel or Automatic

Written by Eric Stoner on September 26, 2012

Wake Forest v Florida State

It’s up, over at Rotoworld Draft:

E.J. Manuel‘s career up to this point has been marked with inconsistency – a guy whose size, athleticism, and arm make you drool over the possibilities, but possessed too many holes in his game to overlook or bet on him at Party Casino. His biggest flaw (holding the ball too long) has been a notable career killer for many an NFL quarterback. Holding the ball too long can be a symptom of many factors, but the root of the problem almost always goes back to the quarterback being unsure and uncomfortable with the defensive coverage and how it affects his progressions. Further, Manuel would exacerbate this problem by “shrinking” in the pocket (squaring up to the line of scrimmage and crouching, entering a running stance) and trying to improvise – often leading to self-induced pressures and sacks. Even (read more…)

Proving Me Wrong: Chandler Jones

Written by Andrew Parsons on September 19, 2012

Football

I was wrong about Chandler Jones. I try not to be over reactionary about these types of things, because doing so will usually make you look stupid. But in watching countless tapes and meticulously analyzing Chandler Jones, I’m already looking dumb, so why not? Honestly, I could have easily done this after Week 1. Chandler Jones is already standing out. Chandler Jones is already an impact player,  just 2 games into his career, which is more than I ever expected from him.

Did I call Chandler Jones undraftable, or anything like that? No. What did I say about him? I recall saying something to the effect of, “Chandler Jones is a 4th round talent, and that’s mostly based on his long arms and natural power.” I thought his upside was Ray Edwards. (In his Vikings days, remember, I didn’t say Jones was undraftable.) A nice complementary pass rusher who would (read more…)

Ay Bray Bray

Written by Eric Stoner on September 19, 2012

Tennessee v Florida

It’s up, over at Rotoworld NFL Draft:

I’ve been highly intrigued with Tyler Bray as a prospect since the Volunteers played the Gators last season. During that game, Tennessee lost then sophomore receiver Justin Hunter on the first drive. Bray showed a ton of grit, helping to keep the game close while getting hammered behind a completely overmatched offensive line – not to mention, the velocity he could put on some of his throws absolutely jumped off the screen. While the rest of Bray’s year was derailed by injury, I thought the arm talent and pocket toughness he exhibited in that game against Florida could lead to a potential breakout season if Bray could iron out other facets of his game.

For the rest of it, click here.

Film Session: Breaking Down the Jaguars Defense

Written by Eric Stoner on September 15, 2012

Jags D

It’s up at Big Cat Country this week.

Announcers and analysts often talk about coaches “scripting” out their first 10-15 plays, but fail to elaborate why. It has everything to do with “tendencies” – distinct playcalling or decision-making patterns that can be tracked through detailed playcharting. It’s how you figure out whether a team will run or pass out of a certain formation, what their go-to play is on 3rd and medium, or what protection the offense is likely to use with a particular personnel grouping so you can get a blitz with a free rusher. Conversely, offenses can pick up on what fronts, run fits, sub-packages, and coverages a defense will use against certain formations and personnel groupings. Figuring out these tendencies is what coaches spend all their time breaking down film and charting plays for.

Read the entire thing.

Week 1 Player Review: Dontari Poe

Written by Andrew Parsons on September 12, 2012

poe

It’s not hard to let the mind wonder about former Memphis, and current Chiefs DT Dontari Poe. We’re talking about a 6’4, 350 pound man (read: freak) that’s putting up 45 reps of 225 and running sub 5 forty yard dashes. I considered myself to be squarely in the “Pro-Poe” camp throughout the draft process, but it’d also be unfair to say that there were no concerns. If you were in love with Dontari, it likely wasn’t entirely based upon his play. Much of the time at Memphis, Poe was rather underwhelming, especially considering his level of competition. There were certainly a lot of things that needed to be adjusted technique wise in order for him to be a productive football player. However, I felt as if he showcased some natural skills that made him very much worthy of where he was drafted. These feelings weren’t solely due to his (read more…)

Tim Flanders: Clark Kent In Cleats

Written by Jimmy O'Brien on August 25, 2012

grizkat

Before this gets any further, no, he’s not Barry Sanders.  Despite the similar build, identical number, and rhyming last names, Tim Flanders lacks Sanders’ explosiveness, breakaway speed, and lower body power.  Still, that doesn’t keep the Sam Houston State fanbase and players from calling Flanders “Clark Kent,” for his mild mannered off-field demeanor, coupled with his superhuman efforts between the sidelines.  Recognized by teammates as the most humble player on the squad, Flanders routinely plays the part of the superhero who needs no medal, thanks, or adulation.  Without fanfare, he was the Southland Conference’s 2011 Player Of The Year, and second team All American, while setting conference single season records for rushing yards (1644), points (144), and touchdowns (24).

Faster than a speeding bullet could aptly describe Sam Houston State’s meteoric rise up the FCS ranks since Flanders’ arrival in the East Texas Piney Woods.  The (read more…)

Guest Post: 2009 NFL Draft Review

Written by Will Spencer on August 21, 2012

Matthew Stafford

Originally posted at NFL Draft Geek.

Once again, we are clearly shown by the 2009 NFL Draft, just how much of an uncertainty the NFL Draft really is. Everybody thinks they are getting a superstar with their 1st round pick, but the truth is, only about 17% of 1st Round Picks make multiple Pro-Bowls. This year stuck right to that mold, as currently, only 6 of the 32 1st Round Picks have made the Pro-Bowl (18%). Four out of the first 7 Picks were total busts, but the “Bust Rate” (F) wasn’t too terrible (25%) Compared to a usual average of 30%. The “Hit Rate” (B or Higher) was actually pretty high, at 46%. However, the real problem with this draft class proved to be a severe lack of depth, with very few “Gems” found in the later rounds. After Round One, you can (read more…)

Player Review and Outlook: Tyron Smith

Written by Andrew Parsons on August 13, 2012

tyron_smith_video_feature

In 2011, Tyron Smith started all 16 games for the Dallas Cowboys at the RT position, which he played at USC. The fact that he played RT in college was seen as a source of concern to some. Others pointed to the fact that he was reportedly only 280 pounds during his time at USC. Due to this, people questioned his run blocking ability, his strength, and his ability to add weight to his frame. He was also just 20, and despite starting for 2 years, he was looked at as raw.

 

Tyron Smith appeared destined to be a Late 1st, or Early 2nd round pick, mainly based on his tremendous upside. However, his post season weigh in of 307 pounds, combined with his monster Pro Day vaulted him into top 15 talks. While watching him as a college player, you could tell that he was more than (read more…)

Film Session: Ryan Mallett, Because Mechanics

Written by Eric Stoner on August 12, 2012

Mallett

Most of you know Ryan Mallett’s story: highly touted pocket passer transfers from Michigan to Arkansas after the Wolverines bring in Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense.  Puts up pretty prolific passing numbers in the SEC.  Drug rumors off the field and bad decisions under pressure on the field kill his draft stock and he falls to the third round – to the New England Patriots, a team that knows how to develop quarterbacks over the long term.

While studying Mallett’s week one preseason debut, I noticed something contradictory in his game.  For a big, slow-footed quarterback, he is surprisingly adept at moving and re-setting in the pocket, as well as playing in confined spaces.  This goes back to his college days, actually.  While Mallett’s decision-making under pressure was really questionable during his college career, from a skillset standpoint, he always displayed the arm talent to make throws with bodies (read more…)

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