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.

Turkeys & Tics and the NFL Draft

The spring turkey season is now here, in some states, and the woods are sounding off with the gobble of the toms and the yelp of the hens.  It really is one the best times of the year to be in the woods.  There is nothing like the thundering sound of an adult gobbler early in the morning.  It is also when the tics are attaching themselves to everything they come in contact with.  My boyscout motto, be prepared, wear tight fitting clothing under your hunting clothes.  Make sure the tight fitting clothes are snug around the ankles, wrist, waist and neck.  Better to be a little warm then to be picking tics to all hours of the night.  I have found out the hard way that once you are in bed, those little devils will move from you to your wife, that is really a bad thing!!  There are some sprays out in the market than you can use to spray on your clothes to help ward off the tics as well.  Even if you are not turkey hunt and are just out and about near or around the woods, watch out for those critters, limes disease is not laughing matter.  At least check yourself every time you have been around a woody area.

The NFL Draft is just around the corner.  This has become such a huge television event that Network Television and the NFL are going to do it during prime time television.  I must admit it is entertaining to watch.  I will be at Arrowhead Stadium with other former Chiefs Players and current Chiefs Players signing things and watching who the Chiefs will select.  It is always a bit of a mystery.  We have many needs, offensive linemen, inside linebackers, safety and a burner wide receiver.  Then there is always the chance the Chiefs could trade their 5th pick for additional draft picks.  This years draft may be the best ever for offensive linemen.  There will be some quality linemen taken late in the first round and in the second.  I would be interested to hear what you think your favorite teams need are.

Don’t forget to check for tics and the get ready for the NFL draft, Thursday night April 22nd.

The Outdoor Quarterback !

MyOutdoors is now live!

I am happy to announce the launch of MyOutdoors.com.  MyOutdoors.com is a referral site for hunting outfitters and fishing guides and Captains for North America and soon for Mexico, Central and South America.  Then on to the rest of the hunting and fishing world, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.  If you are looking for a guide or outfitter MyOutdoors is where you will want to go.  Check it out and give me your thoughts, ideas or suggestions.

The Chiefs are out in the free agent market and seem to picking up some quality players.  Thomas Jones, running back from the Jets.  Thomas had over 1,400 yards rushing last year.  He will be a great addition to the Chiefs.  Over the weekend we resigned Casey Weigmann, who was the Chiefs starting center for 7 years and has been the starting center for the Broncos for the past two years.  One of those years he was selected to the Pro Bowl.  We also signed a run stopper in NT (nose tackle) Shaun Smith.  Another new face is WR (wide receiver) Jerheme Urban who played with the Cardinals and coach Todd Haley.  He will be a good addtion to the receiving core.  He has great size for a wide receiver. 

I like what the Chiefs are doing and I believe we will be looking for offensive linemen in the upcoming NFL Draft.

I will keep you posted.

The Outdoor Quaterback

Super Bowl Aftermath

As always, if you want to bet on a team, just pick opposite of what I predict!  Although I told everyone I was a Drew Brees fan because of his size, something we have in common.  It was a great game, maybe one of the very best and based on the information from the networks, the most watch program in history!  That says a great deal about the two teams and most important the quarterbacks, Brees and Manning.  They both played well.  The interception by the Saints was back breaker for the Colts.  I think everyone felt like it was a bad pass, but from my perspective, the receiver gave up on the route and left Manning out to dry.  In playoff games, the Super Bowl being the biggest, turnovers are magnified.  Normally both teams are strong defensively and to stay in these games the offense must minimize their turnovers.  The one in the Super Bowl was huge!  Over all, exciting and well played.  The onside kick to start the second half may have been the most unpredictable call in Super Bowl history, gutsy!  Congratulations Saints!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Super Bowl Week

OK it’s Super Bowl Week, the big game is this Sunday, have you made your plans!  I am sure most of you have picked your team, having played in the AFC most of my career I usually root for the AFC, in this case  I think the Colts are going to win.  The biggest reason is Peyton Manning.  He has been there before and won.  This is a tough week for the players, all the media attention and family and friends wanting stuff from you as well as your time.  All those distractions take away from your concentration and focus.  Peyton won’t let that happen.  His role in running the offense is so critical plus his involvement in the preparation of the game plan is vital, he can’t afford to be distracted.  He can lay that stuff off on his father and brother!  I will be honest, I am a Drew Brees fan.  He and I are about the same size and I love it when us shorter QB’s have success.  He is a competitor no question, but so is Peyton.  It should be a good game, less than 10 points.  I know that sounds like a lot, but these two offenses can put up some points, Colts 34 Saints 28.  I am heading to the game on Thursday and will give my thoughts on the game when I get back.

Still hunting a few geese, but starting my preperation for the the Spring Turkey season.  I have few Ducks Unlimited banquets to attend and one tureky banquet to go to.  These banquets are great opportunities to catch up on everyones hunting seasons and to raise money to support the organizations.  Also, you never know what you might win, or what items you may bid on.  The monies go to great causes, and normally the food is not bad, KC Barbaque, the best!!

Hope you enjoy the Super Bowl!

The Outdoor Quarterback

January, What to Do!

Depending on where you live, January is the month when most outdoor activities slow down with a few exceptions, ice fishing, snowmobiling, late season goose and duck hunting, and in a few states, the last few days of deer hunting.  For all of you football enthusiast, the NFL Playoffs are in full swing!  If your team is still in, congratulations and good for you.  Our beloved Chiefs didn’t make it!!  Things are looking up, the Chiefs just announce the hiring of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, to former offensive and defensive coordinators for the New England Patriots.  Hopefully they will help jump start both the offense and the defense.  I personally believe it is a very good move, they both had tremendous successes with the Patriots and bring a wealth of playoff history.  When reorganizing a team I feel it is critical to have both coaches and players in place who have had playoff experience.  How can you coach about winning in the playoffs if you haven’t been there!  Making the playoffs is the first step in winning the Super Bowl and that is every teams objective.  Now we have coaches in place who have successfully accomplished both.  For the teams still alive in the playoffs, Dallas and their defense look hard to beat.  Being from the AFC, I still like the Charges, who I was originally drafted by, and the Colts.  You can’t rule out the play of Patton Manning.  Back to the outdoors!  This is the time to get all of your fall hunting, camping and fishing gear cleaned up.  Cleaning your firearms before putting them away is extremely important.    The obvious, make sure they are unloaded before working on them and putting them up.  This is a good time to take off all that old fishing line and tune up the reels.  Make sure all of your camping gear is dry before putting them in storage, mold can develop quickly and cause a lot of damage to your equipment.  For you Turkey hunters, this is a great time to work on your calls.  Some seasons are just a few months away!  Normally I can drive everyone out of the house with some yelps and cackles!

The Fall Is Here

No question the fall is my favorite time of the year.  High School, College and NFL Football, not to mention all the fall hunting activities.  Our waterfowl season just opened here in Kansas and Missouri.  It has been unusually warm but a front just move in the past few days.  I hope that means more ducks!  Kansas archery deer season is ongoing and the Missouri firearm season just opened last Saturday.  I have had some pretty good success hunting ducks.  I haven’t seen anything worth taking yet as far as the deer go.  The best news is that the Kansas Pheasant population is up and the weather is perfect for that.  We will be headed to western Kansas in about two weeks for a pheasant hunt.  Taking several former Chiefs players and Kansas City Royals players.  I will keep you all posted.

Now for football.  I have NO comments regarding the Chiefs, they are struggling to say the least.  We need help on the offensive line.  If our QB makes it through the season uninjured it will be miracle.  College football around here is also a little depressing.  Both KU and MU had great expectations coming into the season, which they have not lived up too.  Now on the other hand, Kansas State has exceeded everyone’s expectations, that is the lone bright spot.  Our area High Schools are deep into the State playoffs, which I really enjoy.  I head up the High School Coach of the Week and Coach of the Year program for the NFL and the Chiefs.  After this weeks games, I will be making the selections for both Kansas and Missouri, stay tuned!