2012 NFL Draft

So, how did your team do in this year NFL Draft? My team, the Kansas City Chiefs, did a really good job of filling needs with some outstanding combine workout standouts. Now if they can all translate their workout numbers to on the field results, I think the Chiefs have a real good chance of making the playoffs.

Last year the Chiefs lost several key players, our starting running back, Jamaal Charles, our starting free safety Eric Berry and our starting tight end Tony Moeaki.  All three of these player would have been game changers for the Chiefs and were out either from preseason injuries or from injuries suffered in the first two games.  These where all huge blows to the Chiefs organization.  Along with some internal issues with the head coach, it just wasn’t in the cards for the Chiefs in 2011.

With the 2012 draft choices and the return of key players and the off season moves and signings, the Chiefs may have the best team, on paper, going into the 2012 season.

We are all hoping that Dontari Poe, the Chiefs first round selection, is able to make the transition from college to the NFL as the coaching staff expects him to.  If he doesn’t, that will add to a long list of first round defensive line failures that included Junior Siavii, Ryan Sims, Tyson Jackson and to some degree Glenn Dorsey.  I think Glenn has done decent job at his position. He just hasn’t lived up to all the hype from his college days at LSU.  Let’s hope that Dontari Poe is the player we all think he can be.

Other teams that had great drafts, at least in my opinion, were the Steelers, Rams, Tampa Bay, Eagles and Patriots.  Only time will tell how good these teams did.

I hope your team lived up to your expectations in this years draft.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Manning Mania or Turkey Trott

The country is eaten up with Peyton Manning and where is he going to play. Being from the AFC West I hope it isn’t Denver but it is looking more and more like number 18 will be wearing another shade of blue, with a little orange. If that happens I think the AFC West will be a very powerful force in this upcoming season. San Diego is good and you can never rule them out. The Raiders always have great athletes with tremendous speed. I think Denver and Kansas City are the closest to having playoff ready teams, particularly if you add Manning to the mix. They have a strong defense and they can run the ball very effectively. They need some receiver help but overall they are very close. The Chiefs are almost in the same position, with the exception of the offensive line. The Chiefs need to bolster the offensive line. They need a tackle along with adding quality depth to the roster. We have very good receivers and with Jamal Charles back, the running game with help balance the offense. In both cases, Denver and the Chiefs, the running game will be a huge factor in how well Matt Cassel and Peyton Manning play this year.

With everyone being able to attend OTA’s (off season training activities) and the ability to work out with teammates, the 2012 season should be a very exciting. Just look at how well the 2011 season was played, with limited training camps, no contact with the rookies and free agents, it was impressive. I was shocked at how well the quarterbacks played with very little time and work with their receivers. Numbers should go up again in 2012.

Either it is talking about Manning or the Spring Turkey season. Seeing how football is months away and the Spring Turkey Season is, in some southern states, just days away, so thoughts and conversations are all about Turkeys.

Just got all my gear out, checking my calls and looking at the new things on the market that a hunter can add to his or her list of gadgets. What I have found over the years is that the person who can sit the longest and pay attention will still be the most successful taking one of the 4 or 5 species of the North American Thunder Chicken (Turkey)! My advice is get a really good pad to sit on, The butt can only take so much and it makes sitting by the tree a lot easier. The hunter with the most patience will always prevail.

Thanks for reading,

The Outdoor Quarterback

Back To Football?

So, I keep hearing that we are now back to football.  From where I am sitting I am not sure it ever went away.  There was more conversation and discussion about the NFL this off season than in any off season in recent history.  Something was in the news morning noon and night.  The NFL very seldom gets that much attention in a normal year, do you think that maybe that was the plan all along?

First they had the draft and if I am not mistaken they are now playing preseason football games, on schedule, and for the first time since I can remember every first round draft choice was signed and in camp before the preseason games began, pretty damn suspicious.

So who won, I am not sure but I can tell you who lost, the retired players!  We are still getting information from the Players Association about our new benefits, of which I still have questions, as do many of my former teammates.  The major issue that the retired players wanted addressed was medical benefits, not more retirement money.  Many of the former players are not insurable due to preexisting conditions (injuries) directly related to their football careers.   Many of the retired players are at or beyond the retirement age of 65, and because of their current physical conditions, are just hanging on.

The reason the NFL is so popular today is because of the great players from the past.  Lifetime medical coverage should be made available to those players who are unable to receive any medical insurance now.  Don’t get me wrong, more money in our retirement plan would be nice too!  I am all for helping out those players who made the game what it is today.

Off my soap box!

September is just around the corner and that means the archery elk season is almost upon us.  For me that also means I am getting in shape to take on the mountains in northern New Mexico.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Everything will still be green and the elk are beginning to break up.  The herd bulls are establishing their territory and selecting his harem!

Normally I don’t head out west until the second or third week of September right in the middle of the rut (boys chasing girls).  This year I want to try and get a heard bull to take on the challenge of another bull violating his area- that would be me!  My plan is to sound like the new stud on the block, get one of them fired up to come in withing bow range (60 yards or closer) to defend his status as the Heard Bull!

I will keep you posted on the outcome.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Locked Out

The NFL and the Players are at a crossroad and as a former player and someone who has an ongoing relationship with the Chiefs organization, I see, and somewhat understand, both sides of the issues, I am just not sure where its going and how quickly it is going to be resolved.

Of course as a former player I would love to see more attention payed to the benefits of the retired players, because one fact that does exist is that all the current players will, at some point in time, become retired NFL Players.  Those great medical benefits they now receive will no longer be available once their football careers are over.  If you played long enough to qualify for a pension then you most likely sustained many of the normal injuries that go along with the sport, shoulder, knee, back and head and sometime in the future, severe arthritic conditions.  If that is the case, these players along with thousands of retired players, will find and continue to find it very difficult to obtain medical insurance.  Insurance companies are just not willing to take on those preexisting conditions.

There are so many retired players who are suffering from major medical conditions who cannot get affordable insurance, if they can get any insurance at all.  Adding to that, most of them cannot go back to their former employers for workers compensation.  The facts are, most if not all of their disabilities came from their football careers.  The most disappointing part of this is, the NFLPA and the Pension have more than enough money to take care of every retired players medical insurance and their premium expenses.

It’s just my opinion, but addressing these issues will go a long way in securing a strong CBA and a much needed closer bond between the active players, the retired players and the Owners.

Now addressing the Lock Out by the owners.  It is simple, it is the money!  I can’t say that I blame them.  With the uncertainty of the CBA and with millions of dollars due for roster bonuses, restricted and unrestricted free agent player issues, it is difficult if not impossible for them to do business.  The owners need clarity in order to operate.

The problem I see is that in the last CBA the owners made a bad deal and they realize it.  Now they are trying to figure a way of turning the table around and restructuring the revenue splits.  Time will tell the story on that issue.  What I do think is that the addition of two regular season games is just a negotiating  ploy.  It isn’t a good idea, period and everyone knows it.

The next month or two are going to be very interesting.  The guys I feel sorry for are all the new drafted players who are wanting to get their new careers started, the coaches and all the support staffs for all the teams, they are all caught between a rock and a hard spot.

There isn’t much we can do as fans, just hope that sound and logical minds get this settled, and soon!

The Outdoor Quaterback

Super Bowl Wrap UP

Thank you all for following my blog, your comments are very rewarding and motivating.

Now on to the SB!  During my playing career I never had the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, but had several teammates that did.  The obvious response from all of them was, without question, the single greatest memory they had in playing football, that comes from players who both won and lost.

Momentum is, in my opinion, the most critical thing you can have going for you entering the SB.  Of course being healthy is a huge factor, but look at the Packers this year, they had 13 players on injured reserve, some of them starters.  What they had going into this game was confidence and momentum.  The best example was Arron Rogers.  He was playing at a level, I don’t believe, that has previously been matched.  The Packers offense had incredible momentum coming off all their playoff games including the NFC Championship.  The offensive game plan was designed around Arron, they road the horse that got them there, plain and simple, end of story!

I keep thinking of all the passes he had dropped, no telling how many more yards he could have had or how many more touchdown passes he would have thrown.  It was a remarkable performance on the greatest stage, in front of the most viewers in the history of television!  That’s impressive.

We always hear, defense win championships, in this case they played a significant role, but from what I saw, it was all on the shoulders of Arron Rogers, he excepted it and performed like it was a Saturday practice.

Congratulations to all of you Cheese Heads, it was one of the best Super Bowls I have ever seen, and I have seen them all.  Unfortunately for many of us, I don’t think this will be the Packers last under Arron Rogers!

Something to remember in the future during the playoffs.  Whoever scores the second touchdown in the game wins 90% of the time.  It is amazing, but held true in all the playoff games I watched.  And yes, the Packers scored the second touchdown in the SB.

In my next blog I will talk about he CBA (Collective Barganing Agreement) and how it may affect the NFL.  I will also talk about the upcoming Spring Turkey Season and what you should be doing to prepare.

Thanks again!

The OutdoorQuarterBack

Best Time Of The Year

Thanks to all of you for your encouraging comments.  I will do my best to keep bringing you interesting and accurate information about subjects where I feel I have some unique perspective.

Saying that, it is my opinion that this is the best time of the entire year and here are my reasons.  The NFL is getting started, college football is off and running as well as your favorite High School.  Friday nights are full of electricity and all of the high schools are fired up for their games.  It brings back great memories from years ago.  I personally love college football.  There really isn’t anything more fun than heading to a college campus on game day.  Living on the Kansas and Missouri boarder, there is some real love and hate relationships when it comes to football, but one common bond is everyone around here hates Nebraska!  It is fun to watch and listen to all the fans and supporters talk about their schools.  What I like most is the energy and effort of the college players.  They play every down as if it were the key to them winning or loosing.  How about Boise State!  If they can get by Oregon St., they have a chance at the National Championship Game, pretty incredible!  Thank God for fantasy football!  It actually makes the NFL much more fun to watch.  I am lucky because we have the Chiefs right here in our backyard, plus I played for them, so I do have a rooting interest.  Many of you have to pick a team to follow or support because you don’t live in a city that has a NFL team.  Fantasy Football gets you involved and you actually are rooting for several players from multiple teams, it’s great.  I will say this about the Chiefs and Arrowhead Stadium, it is without a doubt the loudest stadium in the NFL, which makes it a true home field advantage.  I believe the Chiefs are going to be competitive, but are a year away from being a really good team.  Time will tell!

Next, and just as important, the fall hunting seasons are about to happen.  I am leaving for my archery elk hunt in Mew Mexico.  I get the same rush and feelings as if I were about to start a football game.  Not nervous just excited with anticipation of what is going to happen and what I will experience.  Dove season is open, early teal season is just a week away, and the first youth deer hunts will take place in a few days.  Some of the best fresh water fishing is just around the corner so don’t put the rod and reel away yet.  I am not sure it gets any better than a early morning weekend hunt or throwing a line in the water then an afternoon of football.

I am off to the mountains and hopefully I will have a few good stories about my hunt.

Hope your teams, HS, College or NFL all have good weeks and if you are in the woods or on the water be safe and enjoy the experience.

The OutdoorQuarterback

Are You Ready For Some Football & Tunning up for your Fall Hunts

The NFL preseason is about to kickoff and everyone around the Kansas City area is pretty pumped up.  The Chiefs have moved their training camp from River Falls, WI to St. Joesph, MO; just hair over an hour from Kansas City.  The move has really created some excitement around the area, from KS, MO, IA, NE and even OK.  I will be heading up to camp directly to see for myself.  Yes, going up to training camp always brings back memories, but anyone who says they miss training camp, practiced way too many times with their helmet off!  It is very hot and humid around here this time of the year and it makes for long and miserable practices.  Enough about the Chiefs, at least for now.

It looks like all but a couple of the first round draft selections are all signed and in camp.  That is good for everyone particularly the players.  Missing those first few days of training camp are almost impossible to replace or makeup.  You get so far behind in such a short time and for most of these young players the speed of the game just went from highway speed to NASCAR speed.   And when you are trying to learn an entire new system and compete for a spot on the team, every day is critical.  The best way to describe what is going on for them is that everything is a blur.  It is when they can slow that blur down to a speed they can successfully compete at, is when they will start seeing real progress and productivity.  Keep an eye on all the rookies and you will see what I mean.  One rookie I think will do well, is the Detroit Lions number one draft pick Nadamukon Suh the defensive tackle out of Nebraska.  He has a great motor, incredible work ethic and the drive and desire to play the game.  If he stays healthy, he will be a impact player for them.

Getting tuned up for the upcoming hunting seasons is a lot more enjoyable than going to training camp, no one is hitting me as I practice shooting my bow.  I can do my cardiovascular training without someone yelling at me and I can do it on my own schedule and at a pace I like.  The two key words here are, practice and do it!  Even if you are using a firearm, this is the time you should be out practicing.  If you are hunting out west, it is important that you shoot at long range.  If you become confident at 300 plus yards, your opportunities for success will significantly increase.  The same philosophy applies with a bow.  If you are hunting out west, practice at 50, 60 and 70 yards.  You will be surprised at how much better you are at 30 and 40 yards.  At least you will find out what your limits  are on taking and making an ethical shot.

Remember, if you can’t breath when it is time to take your shot, all that practicing will have been wasted, so make sure you get your conditioning in.  I have found that I enjoy my western hunts much more if I am able to handle the elevation I am hunting at.  A little work everyday will go a long ways.  One other suggestion, take a vigorous walk or jog long enough to get you breathing pretty hard and your heart pounding, then try shooting  your bow or firearm.  That should give you a good idea how much more training you need to do.  It’s not too late to start.  Good luck and using a couple of old football cliche’s , ” no pain no gain” and  “practice makes perfect”.

For now, the Outdoor Quarterback

Mid Summer, Now What

We are just weeks away from NFL teams going to training camp, which means it is hot and humid, at least it is here in the mid-west!  And from what I hear, it is going to be that way at most training camp sites.  This is about the time you are going to hear about contract negotiations.  Here in Kansas City we haven’t signed a single draft choice, but the time is near for those announcements to start taking place.  This will be one of the most difficult years to sign players because of the pending hold out or strike for the 2011 season.  There will be no collective barging agreement in place after this year.  I have a feeling that will make the agents look for more guaranteed money and up front signing bonuses.  We will know that answer as  soon as contracts begin to get signed.

It has been my opinion that it is critical to get your draft choices signed and in camp as soon as possible.  Even missing one or two days is a huge set back for the young players.  The transition from college to the NFL is must greater than the transition from high school to college.  The game is so much faster and everyone you face was either an All-American in college or he is a All-Pro.  The needs for most teams are revealed in the draft.  Which would translate into, we need you at your position and on the field from day one.  It never fails, most of your high draft selections don’t get signed until after camp begins.  That is a tremendous mistake for both parties, the player and the team.  If you are going to compete for a championship in the NFL, everyone needs to be on the same page, starting the first day of training camp.  It will be interesting to see how quickly we start hearing about draft choices being signed.  Keep a watch out for signing announcements.

For those of you who love top water action, this is the prime time.  All the bugs are hatched and are on the top of the water, easy prey for the fish.  I love fishing this time of the year, early morning and late afternoon.

If you have the ambition to learn to fly fish, there is no better time to learn.  Get with someone who can give you the basics on fly fishing and then get to the nearest farm pond so you can practice your casting and retrieving techniques.  The best part about this is you will catch top water feeding fish while learning how to master your fundamentals.  A little reward will always keep you coming back.  I know this, you will be one step ahead of your fishing partners or buddies.  Ladies, you will love this type of fishing.

The OutdoorQuartberback

Farm Ponds and Training Camp

First I want to thank all of you for your comments regarding my blog.  They have been incredible and have been a motivating factor for me to continue putting information out there that seems to be interesting to most all of you.  I wasn’t much of a English student in high school or college.  Early on I eliminated English teacher from my list of potential career opportunities.  Many of my teachers and professors would be shocked at your comments regarding my writing style.  Thanks again for logging on.

Now for these early days of summer and my favorite kind of fishing, farm ponds.  They come in many different sizes, from a  one acre pond to a 50 acre pond (small lake).  What I like most about fishing them is that I know the fish are there, it’s just how many laps around pond before you start catching them.

Recently I took a trip down to Oklahoma to see my dad and visit with my sister and brother in-law.  My brother in-law is now retired and he has access to several great ponds and loves to fish.  Our first morning we fished on a 18 acre pond and in 3 hours we caught and released 42 fish, yes we kept count, he is charting each summers catch.  It really is a good idea, you can collect some pretty good data about the pond.  Time of the year, water temperature, outside air temperature, wind direction and the type of lure and tackle used.  I think it helps plan your next trip to that pond so you can maximize your opportunity.  That evening we went to a 50 acre sand pit that had some pretty deep water, for a farm pond, 35 feet.  The third fish I caught was a 7.2 pound black bass (large mouth).  No question it was exciting.  That fish pulled our little two man bass boat around in circles several times before we landed him.

Red Shad 7 inch plastic worm was the magic bait.  I love to worm fish, it is what I have the most confidence in and I really believe that has a lot to do with being successful in fishing.  I know a lot of very good and successful pro fishermen who throw nothing but crank baits and swear there is nothing better.  As far as I am concerned it takes a little bit touch and feel to become a good worm fishermen, that includes you ladies as well.  That little tap you feel on the rod and then seeing the line move across the water,  it is awesome.  There is just something about it that is challenging to me.   I just have a hard time forcing myself to pound the water with a crank bait over and over and over!  The other great aspect about fishing farm ponds, when the fish start hitting top water, you can pretty much count on them doing it all around the pond and there isn’t anything more exciting, even us serious plastic worm fishermen would admit to that.

The farm ponds are absolutely the best place to get the young kids excited about fishing, for the mere fact they will catch fish, blue gill, catfish, crappie or bass.  A little success on the farm ponds will get most kids really excited about fishing and the outdoors, so take one if you can.  I promise, you will get as much fun out of it as they will.

NFL training camps are just around the corner.  Most of you are hearing about the mini camps or OTA’s going on around the league.  Being a player in the NFL today is a full time job.  I can remember my rookie year we had no off season training sessions (organized) and only one mini camp before going to training camp.  When I was playing our training camps lasted almost two months before we played our first preseason game.  In those days we played 6 preseason games, so add another 6 weeks to training camp and we were there over 3 months.  Most guys came in out of shape and played their way into shape by the time the season started.  Today there is so much competition at each position that you can’t afford to be in anything but incredible condition.  They have what are called OTA’s (off season training activities), which are supervised workouts with the coaching staff.  They also have unsupervised, all volunteer (ha) work outs that begin shortly after the Super Bowl.  Today’s NFL player only has two weeks of training camp before they start playing preseason games so they have to be ready to play from day one.  The off season programs the players are involved with today are essential for both the players and the organization.  Because of the limited time in camp the team doesn’ have a great deal of time to evaluate the players who are marginal and competing for a job.  Obviously it doesn’t give the players much time to impress the coaching staff either.  The big difference between the players of today compared to the players during my years is that these guys are being evaluated year round.

You are going to start hearing a lot about contracts and the signing of all the draft choices and un-drafted free agents.  It is a critical time for both management and the unsigned players.

My next blog I will talk about the consequences, from both sides, of not signing your top draft selections.

As always I look forward to hearing your comments.

The Outdoor Quarterback!

NFL Draft Wrap Up

The 2010 NFL draft is now history and we saw some interesting developments take place.  Three of the first four players selected came from the University of Oklahoma.  Five of the first six players selected came from the Big Twelve.  It says a lot about the Big Twelve and the Oklahoma Sooners.

As a former Chief, I was most interested in the fifth selection Safety Eric Berry from the University of Tennessee.  After some off season free agent signings of two veteran offensive linemen, Case Wiegmann and Ryan Lilja I felt confident that the Chiefs would be taking a serious look at Eric Berry.  According to most NFL insiders, Eric was rated as the best player in the draft.  There is no question that the Chiefs needed help in the secondary,  specifically the safety position.  We also added a couple other players to the secondary with defensive back and kick returner Javier Arenas from Alabama and Kendrick Lewis, safety from Ole Miss.  I believe we added some depth to our offensive line by selecting Jon Asamoah, offensive tackle from Illinois as well as tight end Tony Moeaki from Iowa.  One other addition to the Chiefs defensive line was Cameron Sheffield from Troy, a guy who can play the end position in the 3-4 denfense.  The one player that has really peaked my interest was our second round pick, Dexter McCluster, running back slash receiver slash kick returner from the University of Mississippi.  In other words a play maker.  Something the Chiefs needed to add to their offense.  Recently I had the opportunity to meet all the draftees and rookie free agents at a dinner during the rookie mini camp.  I was extremely impressed with all of them on many fronts.  They were excited about becoming part of the Chiefs family.  They understood the opportunity in front of them and the effort and commitment is was going to take to make this team.  What was impressive about the Chiefs draft choices, 6 out of the 7 drafted players, were captains of their college teams.  That says a lot about their leadership skills and their character.  These young men will be good for the locker room, believe it or not that is critical for team chemistry.  Over all I feel like the Chiefs upgraded the team and they are better right now, before playing a down, than they were last season.  The light is starting to look a little brighter at the end of the tunnel.

To me the surprise pick in the first round of the draft was Tim Tebow.  Debatably, the best college football player ever, but as a former quarterback, I feel he has a lot to overcome to become a starter, at that position, in the NFL.  What I know of the young man, he will leave no stone unturned to prove everyone wrong.  Love the attitude!

Next blog I will talk the Spring time fishing.

The Outdoorquarterback.