9/23/16 (First Ever) Mailbag: Mizzou, the Packers, Coaching Psychology, and Black Quarterbacks

Welcome to the first Big Bored Mailbag! First, music.

Chris: How do I become a successful gambler when it comes to CFB and the NFL? 

You should ask a successful gambler. They don’t build casinos with gold walls because they lose money.

Connor: Why does nobody care about Mizzou? Back-to-back SEC East champs, back to back Big-12 North champs, they’ve put dudes in the league . I‘m biased, but we gotta be the most overlooked program in CFB relative to on-field and NFL success, and it bothers me more than it should so I always ask folks who aren’t from KC or StL what they see and think when Mizzou pops up.

Honestly, I think everyone reaches a point where they unconsciously black out all information on Missouri and Kansas because trying to figure out why Kansas City is in fucking Missouri and not Kansas is a traumatic childhood moment for anyone that doesn’t live in either state.

Mizzou’s run at the top of the SEC East kinda reminds me of when Georgia clamped down on the division in the early 2000s when both Florida and Tennessee were down. Nice teams during down periods, but they’re definitely in the shadow of Saban’s LSU championship team and the undefeated Auburn team of 2004. That’s the same spot Mizzou is in – they’re a good program, but the East is a little down, and they’ve been overshadowed by the SEC West.

Also, fuck Blaine Gabbert.

Adam: I just have a sort of extended question on Teddy Bridgewater. We were all part of the #TeamTeddy movement that supported him coming out of Louisville. My biggest admiration of Teddy is footwork and balance. He climbs the pocket with fluidity and throws from a solid base. However, there isn’t anything exactly flashy or fascinating about his play. Given this, and irregardless of injury, is Teddy a good NFL quarterback?

Teddy is a Rorschach test, and what people say about him says more about the evaluator analyst than Teddy’s play itself. There really isn’t a lot ton of nuance in evaluating in evaluating him – good (possibly elite?) movement and awareness in the pocket; accurate enough underneath; struggles with placement on both posts and streaks, but can hit the corner route decently enough; not particularly aggressive throwing into tight windows.

What’s interesting about Teddy is that he was drafted into an ecosystem that doesn’t particularly work well for his skillset. I guess the thing that gives me the most pause is: Norv Turner had no problem featuring Philip Rivers (who doesn’t have a cannon, but can throw vertically) in a shotgun, pass-first offense. And that started right when Ladainian Tomlinson started slowing down. So why has their offense so closesly resembled the Jay Fiedler/Ricky Williams Miami offense that Turner was in charge of? That was the most fascinating part of that entire situation. And now neither one is going to be playing any time soon.

Al: What is so wrong with the Packers offense? Obviously Jordy isn’t all the way back, but one WR shouldn’t sink the offense.

It shouldn’t, but that’s the offensive ecosystem that Green Bay has created and maintained for years. Right now, the Packers’ problem is that they don’t have a single skill position player where a defensive coordinator says: “if we don’t stop that guy, we lose.” When that happens, the defense can take away who they want, and force the system to actually work against the offense by making the team ball go to inferior players (any time Davante Adams is targeted should be seen as a win for the defense).

It’s not necessarily Aaron Rodgers’ fault as these were the exact same things everyone was saying about Tom Brady during his slump in 2013 and the beginning of 2014. Then Gronk got healthy and Brady was an MVP candidate again. Jordy is that type of important for Green Bay, and that offense will go as his knee goes.

Also, everyone forgets that when Brady doesn’t have elite talent pass catching talent around him, he’s essentially a 3800 yard/28 TD passer.

Chef B: You have the right “eye”… In any universe, this or alternate, do you see Ryan Tannehill as a playoff QB or are Dolphins wasting their time that could be invested in an actual QB and not an athlete trying to be a QB? Thanks.

I liked Tannehill more than most coming out (I actually had him above RG3), but I think it’s fair to say that he is what he is at this point. There really hasn’t been much growth in his game since he switched back to quarterback after moving from wide receiver. He’s functional, but his production is largely attributable to volume. Michael Lombardi recently said on Bill Simmons’ podcast that he’s a guy who the game speeds up for in tight situations down the stretch, and that’s when his critical mistakes come. I can’t say I’ve watched a ton of the dude in the NFL, but that’s believable to me because that’s exactly what his problem was at Texas A&M.

Luck’s Neck Beard: Trade Chuck Pagano straight across for Gus Bradley, who says no?

Goatee-for-goatee? This is the Jon Baldwin for A.J. Jenkins of coach trades.

Jason: Why won’t Jacksonville change their defensive scheme?

I think that because coach’s have such little control over the outcome of play that they try to maintain control in ways that are familiar and predictable to them. Losing in a predictable way is psychologically more comforting than losing in an unpredictable one. Remember Brett Favre talking about how many times Holmgren chewed him out for doing his own thing and changing plays to better ones?

Myfanwy365: Do you believe @AwfulWhiteQBs has a point when it comes to how black QBs are evaluated & drafted, not given a chanceDo you believe @AwfulWhiteQBs has a point when it comes to how black QBs are evaluated and drafted and not given a chance?

I honestly love this question. While no sane person should be dying on Tajh Boyd hill, I think @AwfulWhiteQBs does a good job of highlighting a lot of the discrepancies in how black quarterbacks are covered by the media, analyzed during the scouting process, and the patience given to them by teams when they do get an opportunity.

I still can’t help but think of how weirdly Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton were contrasted during the pre-draft process. The negatives that were discussed for Cam (spread offensive system, short track record of production were simply glossed over for Gabbert – and Gabbert had downright poor production in a very mediocre conference. There was the weird, dog-whistley Nolan Nawrocki draft profile.

The funny thing is that black quarterbacks are numerous in lower levels – where the outcome of the game can mostly be decided by putting the ball in your best athlete’s hands on every single play. The traditional NFL offense is very difficult to play for black and white quarterbacks alike.There are like five good quarterbacks at any given time in the NFL, and that’s a 32 team league. What the hell else are 100+ major-division college football teams supposed to do other than adapt to the talent at hand? While NFL teams are borrowing some concepts from lower levels, everything in the NFL is mostly a remix of what Paul Brown and Sid Gillman were doing back in the 60s. When people say “he’ll have struggling adapting as a running (code: black) quarterback, I always say: the number of bad, slow, pocket-passing quarterbacks vastly outnumbers any other type.

And I don’t think it’s that teams are necessarily consciously racist, but there are a lot of inherent biases that do exist. Like I said in amy nswer to the last question – coaches have little control outside of their systems and like to win and lose in predictable, familiar ways. I don’t know why losing with Christian Hackenberg is supposed to be any better or more preferable than losing with Geno Smith, but here we are.

Also, fuck Blaine Gabbert (again), I’m actually pissed he’s come up twice in the debut mailbag.

Leave a Reply