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

How Important Are NFL Kickers and Punters?

NFL punters and kickers now play a more strategic role than at any time in league history.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the comment ” kickers aren’t athletes!”  Not true my friends.  I had the privilege of playing with, and holding for, up until this year, the only kicker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Jan Stenerud.  Jan went to college on a skiing scholarship.  Ryan Succop from the Tennessee Titans played on his college golf team.  I know several punters who played other positions and other sports.  Hall of Fame punter, Ray Guy, was a defensive back at Southern Miss.

I will admit they aren’t the greatest tacklers on the team. I have seen many punters and kickers fail in their attempt to tackle a punt or kick off returner.  They always make the highlights on ESPN when that happens!  A bit embarrassing for the kickers and punters, but they are used to it and just roll with the punches.  But when one of them actually hits someone, the guys on the special teams go ballistic!

Punters are a lot like soccer players in that when they get hit you would have thought someone had cut their leg off with a dull knife.  But, shortly after the penalty is called, they get up and run off the field like nothing happened and you wonder, what acting school did he attended?

All kidding aside, punters today have a unique talent for kicking the ball and having it land inside the ten yard line.  Punters have become a real offensive weapon.  The Chiefs punter, Dustin Colquitt, is year in and year out the best in the NFL for punting the ball inside the 20 yard line.  By the way, he is and avid outdoorsman and golfer.

I have seen several games this year where the Punters were the best offensive weapon the team had and that the place kickers were the only reason the team won.  During the Monday night game just recently played between the Colts and Titans, Ryan Succop kicked 5 field goals in their win against Indy.  His 43 yard field goal set a new NFL record for consecutive kicks made inside of 50 yards, 47! 

Just ask the teams who have lost games because their kicker missed a last second field goal, or had a punter shank a punt and giving their opponents great field position.  What would they have given for a stud kicker or punter?  A lot!

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

How To Prepare For The Bird Season

Shake off the rust and go to your local shooting park and brake a few targets.

It’s about this time of the year that you will find, if you have one in your area, the shooting parks are much  busier than any other time of the year.  Why is that?  Well, all of the upland game bird and waterfowl seasons are just around the corner and the majority of hunters had put their shotguns in cases or safes for the summer.  Now it is time to shake the rust off and get your shotgun out and shoot a few clay birds.

Most hunters don’t forget how to shoot they just don’t practice enough and most of the time they are a little late with their shots and end up shooting behind their pray.

There is a ideal comparison to the shooting sports, bird hunting and several sports activities.  Yes, football for one.  Quarterbacks On the majority of their passes quarterbacks have to lead the receivers.  From my own experiences practice is the only way to condition the mind to consistently find the target.  Baseball, hockey and basketball all have similar aspects to the concept of follow through and lead.  The same applies to shooting.  The pitcher in baseball must follow through with every pitch to be accurate.  Have you heard the comment, repeat the motion?   It applies to all sports including shooting.

Consistency also plays a major roll in becoming a good and accurate shooter.  Taking advantage of shooting at clay birds is the ideal way to develop and maintain your shooting techniques.

All of the shooting sport activities such as trap, sporting clays, 5 stand and skeet all assist in improving your shooting skills.  When you can continually repeat the proper stance and placement of the shotgun to your shoulder and cheek, which are the basic fundamentals of shooting,  your consistency will dramatically improve.

It never hurts to find a shooting instructor to analyze your form.  In my case I always had a coach to watch and video my throwing motion.  There is nothing better than to have another set of eyes to help get you get back on track.

The Outdoor Quarterback

A New Way To Book Your Next Fishing Trip

Take the guess work out for your next fishing adventure, go to OpenAngler.com

My daughter, Jennifer, connected me with a contact she made at her company.  The company is OpenAngler.com and was started by Alicia Aloe, a entrepreneur, who has developed an online booking concept for all types of anglers; saltwater and fresh water.

It’s the times we currently live in when you can use your computer, phone, I-pad or any other form of electronic device to select a guide for you next fishing adventure.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.  You select the state, time of year, and the type of fishing you want to do.  OpenAngler.com does the rest, provides available dates, sets you up with your guide and then handles all the fee transactions.

In the past to plan a trip for you next or even your first fishing experience, you had to do a tremendous amount of research.  That research may include phone calls, emails, browsing the internet just to locate a specific type of species guide.  Also, you may be looking for a guide who specializes in fly fishing, OpenAngler.com has that capability.   Putting you with the right guide for the fishing adventure you are looking for is a great idea.  Alicia’s background is in reservation processing, which is a perfect segue for her new venture, OpenAngler.com.

Before you plan your next fishing trip, and if you don’t have a favorite guide listed in your phone or in your email address, take a look at OpenAngler.com.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Brady, Most Regular Season Wins, Super Bowl Wins, Playoff Wins and ETC….

I believe Tom Brady will go down as the greatest quarterback to have ever played the game.

As a former quarterback who played in the NFL, I am always amazed when I watch Tom Brady play.  At 40 years old he still has one of the best arms in all of football.  I have always said his foot work, release point and overall fundamentals are better than anyone who has ever played the game.  He has Dan Marino’s quick release, Aaron Rogers arm strength with Payton Manning’s, Drew Brees’s and Joe Montana’s command of the game.  I could mention other quarterbacks to compare Tom’s abilities too, John Elway, Brent Farve, Warren Moon and Dan Fouts come to mind.  You would have to roll up all of their collective skills and successes to have one Tom Brady.

He now has the most regular season wins along with the most Super Bowl Wins, add to that the most playoff wins.  The list of his career achievements and where he stands with all time rankings, among NFL quarterbacks, is historic.

All of the quarterbacks I have mentioned are either in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or will be.  They all have had incredible careers in the National Football League.  When all is said and done and the dust is cleard, Tom Brady will be recognized as greatest quarterback to have ever played the game.

There is a short list of players I would stop what I was doing to watch play, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Joe Montana, Joe Namath and Gayle Sayers.  You can now add Tom Brady’s name to that list.

What makes all of this so amazing is that Tom is 40 years old!  If I were still playing, I would be studying Tom’s tapes and would try to duplicate his fundamentals.  Something all these young quarterbacks should be doing.  That’s my compliment to Tom.

The Outdoor Quarterback

October Deer, Where Should You Sit and Why?

October is the perfect month to scout your deer hunting areas, so get off the couch and get in a stand.

Over the years I found that hunting in October is an opportunity to see what deer are showing up at either your food plots or your feeders.  It is a great time to harvest a doe or start your herd management program.  Occasionally someone will get lucky and stick a monster buck who is on a feeding pattern, and gets too close!

If you live in an area where you are getting some early fall temperatures, you will see much more deer movement than those of us living in the mid west where the weather can’t make up it’s mind to start the fall or continue the late summer trends.  Nevertheless it is a chance to get in a tree stand or in a ground blind with your bow and check things out.  I know it happens, which we have already seen this year, that some of the normal deer patterns from the past have changed, because of that, we have relocated our stands.  Ponds dry up, row crops change or acorns are better at one location than another.  There are a number of factors that can redirect the deer.  This is another advantage of going out in October before the pre-rut or rut begins.  See for yourself what the deer are doing, don’t just depend on what is showing up on the cameras.

Use October as a time to find the deer and identify changes in their behavior.  It is a good time to start looking for early signs, rubs, scrapes and heavily used game trails.  Don’t get stuck on one location because the tree fits your stand really well.  If you do your homework during October it will pay dividends in November.  One other note, don’t forget to bring your video camera.  It’s an ideal time to get good footage of the deer in your area.

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