Month: January 2015

Where They Are Now

Grab your wings, grab your booze, and grab your friends.  If your team is still in the race, don’t forget to perform whatever weird superstitious rituals you think will help.  It’s championship Sunday, ladies and gentlemen.  So buckle up, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.  Today we dive into the careers of the 4 quarterbacks who will be taking the field, both what they have accomplished and how far another Lombardi trophy will take them.

  1. Andrew Luck – the new kid on the block

This will be the grizzly-faced Stanford grad’s first appearance in pro football’s final 4.  Colts management took a monumental risk in prematurely terminating Peyton Manning’s career to draft this young stud, and he has not disappointed (3rd in the regular season in passing yards, 1st so far this postseason).  However, Luck’s conquest today will be the bane of his existence: Tom Brady, whom he is 0-3 against in his career, losing by an average of 68 points.  Despite the season ending injury to workhouse Ahmad Bradshaw and the relegation of Trent Richardson to special teams duty, the Colts running game has held its own, thanks to the rise of 3rd year running back Daniel “Boom” Herron.  The defense has been outstanding as of late, giving up just 33 points in its last 3 games since a week 16 collapse in Dallas.  Ultimately, Luck could throw for 5000 yards every year, but it will all be for naught if he doesn’t have a ring to show for it.  If Luck and the defense continue to play at elite levels, and the running game provides an ancillary spark, this team has a chance, and the roots for the conversation of Luck as an all-time great can begin to form.

  1. Tom Brady – seeking redemption

In the early 2000’s Brady appeared to be on his way to being the best to ever play the game.  His clutch antics led to 3 Super Bowl victories in his 1st 4 years at the helm.  In 2007, he came within a game of completing the 1st 19-0 season ever.  However, the Giants relentless pass rush would prove to be too much, as it would again in the championship 4 years later.  Brady has gone a decade without tasting football’s greatest fruit, though his squads have averaged 12.3 wins a year in that span.  The criticism remains that he has failed to capture a Lombardi since the “Spygate” accusations arose, so he certainly has something to prove.  However, this might be one of the best teams he has every played on thanks to the defense, led by superstar offseason acquisition Darrelle Revis.  They will have to be better than they were against Baltimore, a game which snapped a streak of 12 games without giving up more than 25 points.  The running game will have to be better, as it managed just 14 yards against the Ravens.  All things considered, I like Brady’s odds in this one. (more…)

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Play the School

The name Coast to Coast Sports might insinuate that we’re not showing the Midwest enough love.  However, though the ACC’s Jameis Winston and the Pac-12’s Marcus Mariota command most of the spotlight, inaugural college football playoff champion quarterback Cardale Jones of Ohio State is holding things down in between.  With playmakers Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett on the shelf, he took the wheel and won three postseason starts on his way to the ‘ship.  The 22 year old faced a crossroads: to cash in on 180 minutes of immortality, or to return to Columbus and potentially risk falling down both the depth chart and the draft boards?  Ultimately Cardale bet on himself, deciding to “play school” another year.

It’s not just the numbers that trigger a Pavlovian effect amongst scouts whenever his name is brought up.  Cardale is a BIG BOY.  At 6’5, 250, he would be the heaviest quarterback in the league (somewhere, Jared Lorenzen sits on his couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and scowls).  The best pro comparison for Cardale would be Panthers franchise QB Cam Newton, another hulking figure who also won a title at Auburn.  Since he towers over most defenders, Cardale already possesses some crucial tactical advantages: fewer of his passes will be batted down at the line of scrimmage, and he won’t have to worry about leaving the pocket to see over defenders.  So, why would he not ride the momentum of the past month into the professional ranks? (more…)