Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stars of the Draft: Andrew Luck

     Andrew Luck walked off the field in disappointment. All around him was celebration, as Oklahoma State won the Fiesta Bowl thanks to an overtime field goal. It is not normal for Luck to be on the losing side; in his entire Stanford career, the star quarterback lost just 8 times (a record of 31-8). But now was different...this was his final college game before entering the 2012 NFL Draft. Luckily for Luck, he is the heavy favorite to be picked first overall by the struggling Indianapolis Colts. So what makes Luck so different? What characteristics does he own that forces experts to call him the greatest QB entering the draft since Peyton Manning? The NFL Report will analyze this future star, and what should be expected from him in later years.
Andrew Luck
     It was the first game of the 2011 season, and Andrew Luck started off with a bang against San Jose State. There was 14:55 left in the 2nd quarter. Luck lobs a ball 41 yards for the score, and goes on to win 57-3. As the season progressed, Stanford fans witnessed their quarterback put up great statistics day in and day out. By the end of the regular season, Andrew Luck had 3,170 passing yards, 35 TD's and a passer rating of 169.7. Sadly, these statistics were unable to beat out Robert Griffin III for the Heisman Trophy. Still, Luck managed to win the Maxwell Award along with being a First Team All American. Along with several awards, Luck now owns countless records, whether it be single season or statistics throughout his entire career. Even if he were to fail in the NFL, Luck should go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Stanford history.
     Size, strength, accuracy.... all three are characteristics that differentiate Luck from the average college quarterback. First of all, fans have witnessed Luck's extraordinary accuracy time and time again, for it is rare to see him miss an open wide receiver. In fact, Luck owns record for the highest single season completion percentage in Pac-12 history (71.3%). As Luck enters the NFL, open wide receivers will become more scarce, meaning his ability to thread the needle will only help him. Though he does not have the arm strength of Aaron Rodgers, Luck is still able to throw a deep ball down field, while staying on target. Unlike college stars like Tim Tebow, Luck has spectacular throwing mechanics, very similar to Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. These mechanics allow him to have consistent passes on target. However, his best trait is the ability to march down the field. Though he has the capability of bombing balls deep down field, it is more common for Luck to throw short passes that help move the chains. Many rookies in the NFL make stupid decisions because they feel rushed. Luck on the other hand will try and get in the end zone one step at a time. The number one prospect has also proved to have great pocket presence when being rushed by defenders. Countless times in the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma State put pressure on Luck, but he was still able to throw accurate passes down field. He may not be a Michael Vick when it comes to escaping the pocket, but Andrew Luck has the speed needed to escape defenders, and getting some extra yards in the process. In fact, Luck had the same 40 yard dash time as rookie sensation Cam Newton (4.59).
       Being drafted first overall comes with high expectations, for everyone is watching you. In the past, many quarterbacks have folded underneath the pressure. However, there have also been several success stories in the past few years. For example, Eli Manning was selected first overall by the New York Giants in 2003, and has already won 2 Super Bowl Rings. I believe Andrew Luck is the real deal; any quarterback who is compared to superstars like John Elway, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees has to be a sensational athlete. I am not saying by the end of his career, he will own every major passing record, but I can see many Pro Bowl appearances in this guy's future. Andrew Luck will be selected by the Indianapolis Colts first overall, and I know he has many great years ahead of him.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Believe in Matt Flynn

     Throughout the Green Bay Packers long and storied history, numerous quarterbacks have come and gone. The names range from Bart Starr, to Brett Favre, to present day Aaron Rodgers. However, there has been one quarterback whom has silently sat on the sidelines for close to 4 years. Matt Flynn was drafted out of LSU after winning that year's National Championship. The 7th round pick has had little playing time under coach Mike McCarthy, mainly due to the up and coming quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. After a stunning performance against Detroit last season, Flynn is back on the radar. Football fans have speculated on if the game was just a stroke of luck, or a true superstar in the making. At age 26, he is on the market as a free agent, and teams in need of a passer are willing to make the gamble.
Matt Flynn  (Getty Images)
       How can an entire team depend on one guy, who has only started in TWO games, to resurrect their franchise? It was just like any other game day at Lambeau Field; freezing. Fans piled in by the thousands to watch their Packers battle it out with Detroit in the last game of the season. Due to the fact McCarthy’s team had already clinched the number one seed, his star quarterback would watch from the sidelines for the entire game. This meant it was Flynn’s time to shine. With time winding down in the 1st quarter, Flynn quickly passed to Jordy Nelson who galloped into the end zone for the score. From there, Flynn led the Packers to a win over Detroit, throwing for a whopping 480 yards and 6 touchdowns in the process. Social networking sites, along with sports shows, all were talking about the Green Bay quarterback and his record setting performance. In 2010, Flynn also played very well against the rolling Patriots at home, and even came close to upsetting New England.
     In the two games Matt Flynn started, he averaged a passer rating of 118.3. Several experts believe the Packers will use a franchise tag on Flynn as the deadline for their decision approaches. If this were to be the case, Flynn would end up making more money then reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. I just can not see this happening, which is why I believe Flynn will not be wearing a Packers uniform come September. Players like Brandon Marshall have already reached out to the quarterback in an attempt to convince Flynn on playing for their team. With so many options at the quarterback position (Manning, Luck, RGIII), it is unclear where Flynn will end up. Though he lacks experience, Flynn will dominate the league in 2012. Arm strength, accuracy, and confidence are all apparent attributes, so don’t be surprised when Flynn leads his team to the playoffs next season.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Preview

     For the second time in four years, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will battle for a Super Bowl title. When Super Bowl XLII arrived in Arizona, the Patriots were heavy favorites after an 18-0 record prior to the big game. However, the Giants were able to get inside Brady's head, bringing him to the ground 5 different times. With 1:15 left in the 4th quarter, Eli Manning eluded several pass rushers, and, in desperation, heaved a ball deep down the field. Somehow, wide receiver David Tyree managed to catch the ball, pin it against his helmet, and not let the nose of the football hit the ground. In the end, New York came out on top, defeating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 17-14, handing the Pats their first loss of the season. Since that game, Brady has not been able to win in the playoffs...until now. After beating Denver, and then Baltimore, the Patriots look to win their first Super Bowl in 8 years. And who better to play for a championship then the infamous New York Giants. Though the Pats had a better record this season, these two teams appear to be equal in skill, which should result in a close game. Both franchises have a successful history, combined for a total of 7 championship wins. As America's most watched sporting event takes place this Sunday, The NFL Report will give you everything you need to know for what should be a great championship game.

"The Catch"
     Eli Manning. Several years ago, the first thing I would think of when hearing that name would be "Oh, that's Peyton Manning's brother." Now, I think of Eli Manning as an elite quarterback in the NFL. As of late, many people begin to speculate whether or not a second Super Bowl win would guarantee him a spot in the Hall Of Fame. On the other side of the field, Eli will face off against Tom Brady, a future Hall of Famer, and in my opinion, the greatest quarterback of all time. Though Brady had a bad game against Baltimore, his 2012 playoff passer rating averages out to 105.8, 2.7 points ahead of Eli. Unfortunately for the Patriots, star tight end Rob Gronkowski has been dealing with an ankle injury these past few weeks, and will be questionable for the big game. If Gronk were to be missing, there would be a large hole in the Patriots offense, for he is a strong and powerful wide receiver capable of trampling defenders. Though a great running game does not necessarily win championships, rushing the ball should be key for both teams this weekend. During both the regular season and the postseason, these two teams were equal when it came to running the ball. Pats running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis has yet to fumble a football in his pro career, so Belichick will use him frequently when needed. As for Tom Coughlin's team, New York has the spectacular running duo of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs (327 yards 1 touchdown this postseason) which should give New England trouble.  When it comes to defense, the Giants pass rush may force Brady to make bad decisions, for they ranked third overall in sacks with 48 during the regular season. New England's offensive line does a great job of protecting their star QB, and they will have their hands full against the Giants. However, if the Giants are able to get to Brady early on like they did in Super Bowl XLII, New England will have a hard time putting points on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Giants, their offensive line looked very weak against the San Francisco 49ers, and Manning took many hard hits late in the game. If pass rushers like Vince Wilfork (6 total tackles, 1 sack against Baltimore) are able to hit Manning hard early on, the Patriots will control the entire game. The 18-1 season is still fresh in the minds of Patriots fans, along with those who played for Belichick in 2007. They will be hungry for yet another championship, and a win against New York would bring closure to die hard Pats fans. On the other hand, Manning threw 16 picks in the regular season, yet he has thrown just one this postseason. If he can stay consistent, Eli should give New England a hard time. Otherwise, Brady will win his 4th Super Bowl and be tied with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history.
Patriots over Giants 27-24
Super Bowl MVP: QB Tom Brady: 305 passing yards, 2 TD's











Via Stevie436