Training Camp 2013

The start of NFL training camps are just around the corner which means the NFL buzz while begin soon. For those of you who are the men and women outdoors who read my blog, this should be your training camp time as well.

The beginning of training camps for the NFL is one of interest and excitement, I know it is for the players. They have been involved with off season workouts, OTA’s and mini camps for several months. Now it is all for real, they have a target to look forward to, the first preseason game or the first regular season game. The same is true with the hunter who getting ready for his or her fall elk, bear or deer hunt. This is the time to get rid of those extra pounds put on over the winter. Getting into shape can make the difference between a miserable experience and great experience. That is what happens to some players who think all they have to do is show up to training camp and all is well, ie the veterans. That player is one who is in for a big surprise. The NFL is so competitive now that even a seasoned veteran can’t afford to show up out of shape and in marginal condition. Big difference from now and when I played. My rookie year we played 6 preseason games and was in training camp nearly 3 months. In other words everyone thought they could use camp to get in shape. Today they have two weeks or less of training camp before they play the first preseason game, that would have been nice.

For the outdoor enthusiast, using this time to hone your skills get in shape will make a significant difference in your trip and make your experience that much more enjoyable. Showing up out of shape, limited practice time with your bow, muzzle loader or rifle will limit your opportunities, I guarantee!

If you live by a NFL training camp, I encourage you to take yourself, your kids or grand kids and experience the NFL players up close, I know they appreciate your support.

The Outdoor Quarterback

What To Do Now!

Now that all the hunting season are finished, spring bear being the last for me until elk season. NFL is on vacation, at least most of the coaches and players until training camps begin. What to do now! Well, for me, it is a great time to go through all my equipment, make repairs, clean things up, check to see if there are any new toys that I can’t live without. Or, which happened to me, replace something I lost. From a football perspective, check out all the free agents who changed teams and the rookies who may be good finds for my fantasy football league. The bottom line is, there is always something to do until the next hunting season comes along or until the NFL camps open. If nothing else, go shoot your bow, get more proficient with your firearms, take the kids outdoors, camping, hiking or biking. Find the newest NFL magazines and catch up on your teams. What is the boy scout saying, be prepared. Well, this is the time of the year to do just that.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Draft Day 2013

Great draft for quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs and defensive lineman. The NFL and the draft is becoming a event to watch.

The NFL Draft is a life changing moment for many young men both financially and the realization of their dreams.

Don’t ever think for a moment that one of these young men didn’t work their tails off for this very day. In many cases a player has a dream but, realistically speaking, is never sure it will be realized until the moment comes when his name is called. At that instant he will quickly reflect on all the work it took to be selected by a NFL team. There are so many unknown factors that a college player faces to get to this point, did he play up to his potential, did he develop physically and mentally. Did he escape injury during his college career. And in today’s NFL world, the players character will be the deciding factor for a team to select one player over another. Now with the scouting combine playing such a significant role on a players future, it is difficult for a player to slip under the radar and be judged primarily by his college statistics or the success of his team. He will be put under the microscope and will be tested ever way possible, mentally and physically in a very unique setting. Hundreds of sets of eyes watching your every move, how you communicate, your strength, your speed, your quickness, your physical build, how you run, throw, catch or defend. At this interview, one bad day can cost you, literally, millions of dollars even a career in the NFL. The best part of this process though, even a player from a small school can become a household name overnight. I am confident that no other sport scrutinizes it’s potential employees like the NFL.

So at the draft, watch the emotions of the players, they will tell you about their dreams coming true and what this moment means to them.

Good luck to your team.

This is for my dad who passed away recently at the age of 93. For it was dad who gave me the talent and support to eventually play in the NFL, thanks Dad!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Super Super Bowl

Every year the Super Bowl is played with as much fan fare as any athletic event world wide, including the World Cup or the Olympics.  For the first time in many years I am truly excited for this years game.  The primary reason, the quarterbacks! Two young and athletic guys exceeding everyone’s expectations, except their own, putting the deep ball back in the game with a dramatic change in traditional offensive football.  Most Super Bowls are won by great defensive minded teams, not this year.  The Pistol offense will test the Ravens defense from start to finish. The only advantage the Ravens have is the time they have had to prepare for the game.  If I were the DC (defensive coordinator) I would have gone back to look at some of Kaepernick’s college game tapes.   He has had limited starts in the NFL and believe the Ravens could really have a better chance of controlling him by how he executed the Pistol offense for a entire season.  He is feeling comfortable in this offense and will revert back to how he played in college, he has more starts at Nevada then he does with the 49ers.  A player under pressure will always refer back to what is instinctive to him.  Then there is Joe Flacco, in my opinion a taller Tom Brady with a better arm, now he just needs Tom’s moxy! I anticipate Flacco will air out the ball at least 3 time in this game, in other words pass attempts over 40 yards.  If the Ravens running game is working, then the deep pass will be a major part of the Ravens offensive strategy.  I have no dog in this hunt and I will be pulling for both teams, because of the QB’s, I just hope they both play up to their capabilities.   If they do we are all in for great game.  There is one thing I know for sure, Mr and Mrs Harbaugh will have a Super Bowl winning Son!

Super Bowl Bound!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Open For Business, NFL Camps

It is that time of the year, the hype is where it always is during the last of July and early August, at all the NFL training camps.  The fans who are the most excited are those fans who have MLB teams that are playing poorly and out of the playoff picture, like the Kansas City Royals.

Right now the Chiefs can’t do anything wrong, but then again they are only at training camp.  We see it around here every summer, the Royals are on track to loose a 100 games and the loyal sports fans jump ship and get on the NFL and Chiefs band wagon.

Now that the Chiefs are holding camp nearer to Kansas City, St Joesph MO, just 50 minutes north of down town.  The access to watch practice for Chiefs fans is much more available creating a stronger following and a air of excitement.

I think a lot of teams in the NFL have figured out, keeping their team close by is not only a good idea, but has become very profitable.  Just look at the fans showing up to see Payton Manning at the Bronco’s training camp in the Colorado, you don’t think they aren’t selling a truck load #18 Jerseys, wrong!

Even though the Olympics are going on, baseball is just past the halfway mark, NFL Football is getting the majority of attention from the media, at least around here they are.  Watching ESPN, there is a tremendous amount of NFL conversation and information being broadcasted on radio and television, not to mention on the internet.  You can’t hardly look online and not see something about Tebow and Sanchez.  That is getting old.

As a former player, I don’t get that excited about training camp or preseason.  Regular season is a different story.  Like millions of others, I am a huge fan of the NFL and can’t wait for the real games to begin, and yes I play fantasy football!

I am a sports fan, and even though NFL camps are open, I am watching as much of the Olympics as I can, great stuff with the exception of some of the NBC reporters.  Some are better than others and then there are a few who are an embarrassment to their profession, mainly in the swimming.

That is all for now, good luck to your team and go USA!

The Outdoor Quarterback.

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