Thursday, February 26, 2015

Suits Power Rankings - #SaveDonna

Suits keeps Suiting along in that they are lawyers who love to prematurely celebrate cases that they haven't won yet. It is especially embarrassing as they love to skirt the law, and go from getting big money from their clients to having their firm ripped apart at the seams. So that's happening again. But maybe this will have a happy ending. You can find my one tweet rankings from last week here. This week's rankings may be short, but it's not the size of the blog post, it's the emotion caused by the notions as I plan on taking my readers on an island of innuendos.

1. Rachel Zane
Since we're keeping it sexy this week, there is no better #1 than Rachel Zane. She randomly pointed to a paper to find the one name that would sue the train company that Mike hadn't thought about. With fingers like those, I'm surprised she keeps Mike around.

2. Harvey Specter
Harvey seems to have a thing for sexy lawyer ladies with dude's names. First Scottie, now Evan, I predict his next love interest will be Butch, both in name and in lifestyle; I mean, this is a guy who wants what he can't have. Unfortunately, Harvey is very uneducated that it is a buyer's market when it comes to secretaries, so he has to do everything he can to keep Donna. Also, he told Donna that he loves her, but I'm scissors deep on my Butch idea, so I'm hoping they cut it out with the Donna/Harvey love angle.

3. Evan Smith
Sexy lawyer lady is like O-Town: She wants it all...or nothing at all. She ends up helping her client, but a secretary doesn't go to jail. I feel like she's going to be okay with this. She'll probably even brag about it to her boyfr...oh, wait, Harvey zinged her into asexuality. Tough break.

4. Jeff Malone
Once he broke up with Jessica, he wasn't sure of his future, kind of like being on a 10-day contract all over again. But instead of taking a flyer on a liar, he took his man-vine to the unemployment line.

5. Mike Ross
Mike hands out his word like he hands out his number at a strip club, and both lead to him getting an itch that he just can't scratch. He could have made millions in a settlement. Instead, he had to drop his suit and his firm had to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to take over pension payments for a couple of ol' fashioned train workers.

6. Terrance Wolf
Terrance is clearly not a ladies man, as intent is not the same as committing the deed. Even if you have intent to cause an orgasm, taking a nap on top of her instead is not the same thing.

7. Louis Marlo Litt
Louis loves two things: Donnas and saunas, which is odd as going to the latter and thinking about the former get him to the same place: Toweling himself off while crying alone.

8. Jessica Pearson
Lost her bae, probably wishes she had Rachel's fingers.

9. Donna Paulsen
She is a liar, but luckily a bunch of working class people getting screwed out of millions of dollars and a company being able to continue to kill people is all it took for her to walk free. I really don't have any sexy words for Donna, so here's a video instead.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sean Mannion - 2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the college football season over, the 2015 NFL Draft season immediately starts up to fill that void. I plan to take a look at all of the top quarterback prospects but will also be willing to take suggestions if there are prospects at other positions that you would like to see analyzed. But my bread and butter is quarterback play (a position I still feel is underrated in the draft). Today, I am taking a look at Sean Mannion from Oregon State University.

Mannion is a guy who built up a little momentum early on in the 2013 season, but he struggled down the stretch and never really found that rhythm during his senior season. I'll admit to not watching a lot of the Beavers football, so I came in very fresh for this breakdown. Unfortunately, I couldn't find videos of his 2014 games, but since I never heard anything about any great progression he made during his senior year, I felt fine taking a look at Mannion's 2013 games against Utah and Hawaii (As always, thanks to Draft Breakdown for the videos).

One thing that most quarterbacks struggle with is the ability to go through progressions. Coaches have gotten the most out of quarterbacks who cannot do this by giving quarterbacks pre-snap reads or making simpler high-low reads after the snap. Sean Mannion actually does do a good job of going through his progressions.

Here, he looks to his right, sees that he will not be able to make that throw and quickly looks to the middle of the field and delivers a pass to his tight end who settled in a hole in the zone. It's not a flashy play, but it is effective.

This was probably the most impressive pass I saw from Mannion.

There is a single-high safety on this play, so the first thing Mannion does is look to his right to move the safety. He never has any intention of throwing it to that side, but it frees up his receiver running deep on the left as the safety will not be able to make a play over the top. Then, despite pressure coming in on him, he is able to drop the pass into his receiver for a big completion.

Mannion throws off of his back foot ALL OF THE TIME. That is a slight exaggeration, but he still does it way too much.

He completes these throws, but he could easily set his foot and deliver a strike instead of barely generating velocity with these mechanics. This works at the college level where receivers get good separation, but floating balls like that will lead to interceptions and your receivers taking big hits from the defense.

He has room to make this throw, but he still doesn't, because there is a defender within a few yards of him.

If he steps through his motion, he can deliver a strike and make a play. Instead, he is recoiling from a possible hit while throwing the ball and he cannot deliver an accurate pass. I don't blame the guy for not wanting to be hit by a defensive tackle, but if he can't step up and make that throw, I don't see any way he can be a successful NFL quarterback.

Another thing that bothers me is that he will often not square his shoulders towards his target. It's amazing that he can be fairly accurate with the mechanics he uses, but he can occasionally make the stilted mess into a work of art. But the poor mechanics more often lead to ugly throws than a masterpiece.

The Oregon State offense played to his strengths, as he threw a bunch of dumpoffs and deep balls. There was very little crossing patterns and out routes. This was necessary as although he can go through his progressions, he is not always great at telling what is and isn't open in the middle of the field. Plus, with his mechanics, I don't see how he could consistently place those balls without making big mistakes.

When he actually does plant his front foot and fire a pass, it works out really well.

That's a throw that will be successful at any level. He makes a quick drop, generates velocity by stepping into his throw and delivers a strike to Brandin Cooks coming across the middle. Unfortunately, those passes are incredibly rare.

Overall, the thing that I was most impressed by was Brandin Cooks. He consistently made cuts to get significant separation from the defender and was also able to adjust to balls to make plays on them. I think that is a huge reason why Mannion got much more love from scouts during his junior year. To be fair, Mannion was able to throw some nice deep balls and shows the ability to scan the field. But those mechanics of constantly leaning back and throwing off his back foot any time that he doesn't have at least five yards of free space all around him is something I can't get over. It looks like he's afraid to be hit. I don't blame him; I wouldn't want to get hit by 300 pound linemen either. But he's been playing football for a long time, and I can't see that facet of his game changing. With those mechanics, he cannot be a successful quarterback in the NFL, so although there are some aspects of his game I like, I wouldn't do anything more than drafting him in the 7th or signing him as an undrafted free agent and see if my QB coach paired with a sports psychologist can't get him over things. I think it's a longshot, but in this class of quarterbacks, at least there's a shot.

Quarterback Prospect Rankings:
1. Jameis Winston - Florida State
2. Shane Carden - East Carolina
3. Sean Mannion - Oregon State
4. Garrett Grayson - Colorado State
5. Blake Sims - Alabama

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why I Still Believe In Derrick Rose

Let me just be up front about something: I have an irrational love for Derrick Rose. It has a lot to do with my lifelong fandom of the Chicago Bulls, but just as important is how entertaining Derrick Rose was early on in his career. He wasn't always great, but he would always do great things. He was the most exciting player in the NBA, because he would just do these ridiculous things that would make your jaw drop.

Then he got injured.

Things haven't quite been the same since. At first, it was only bad, but this year the turnaround has begun. He hasn't been the MVP candidate that he used to be, but he has shown glimpses of his former self. It is those moments that I grasp onto as a fan. I see those moments as seeds, and I continue to think that they will blossom into what he once was. And I do still believe. 

While the mainstream media treats Rose as more of an afterthought, I still see the potential greatness, and I believe that he will turn that potential into a reality. 

Point guard is the most loaded position in the league right now. Even teams that are weak at point guard almost all have decent options. And most teams have guys that are All-Star caliber or at least borderline. There are guys below the elite class like Jeff Teague who is a really good player, and yet, if you gave me the option, I wouldn't take him over Rose.

Sure, those guys can consistently give you good performances, but there is a distinct ceiling on what they can bring to the table. Meanwhile, Derrick Rose is maddeningly inconsistent. He has had plenty of 8 point games on 30% shooting, but he'll also throw up 30 points on a random night and look like that unstoppable force that he was before he was maligned by injuries. 

When it comes to the playoffs, I'd rather have the chance of greatness as opposed to a guaranteed good performance. A lot of people are doubting Derrick Rose, but I'm not close to giving up. Jeff Teague is an All-Star for his consistency, but their best is never going to match Derrick Rose's best. 

That's why I still believe in Derrick Rose.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

1-2-3 Kid Beating Razor Ramon Was The First Iconic Moment of Monday Night Raw

X-Pac is one of the most reviled characters in wrestling history. He has been made infamous through the term "X-Pac Heat" where people do not boo you because you are a bad guy, they boo you because they just want you to go away. But well before that, he started off as a random jobber but became part of the first iconic moment in the history of Monday Night Raw.

During his first appearance on Raw, he was billed as the Kamikaze Kid. He lost. The next week he was the Cannonball Kid. He lost. Through all of these early matches it said "L. Kid" with thunder bolts on his tights so he likely started as The Lightning Kid, but I suppose it is possible that he was just given a horribly misinformed Luchador gimmick.

After losing week after week, he came out simply as The Kid to face Razor Ramon, a guy so bad, he was known as The Bad Guy. It should be noted that Raw was a fledgling show that was not yet as important as some of the other more established shows that the WWE was producing at that time. Because of that, it was fairly formulaic. There was usually one match between two actual superstars, and outside of that, it was jobber squash matches. This definitely figured to be the latter as Razor Ramon was getting a push as a top heel and The Kid was basically a joke.

Razor Ramon slapped The Kid around like the jabroni that he was and looked well on his way to victory. Razor missed one move and it gave The Kid the opportunity to hit him with a moonsault and get the surprise three count while 69ing him.

This led The Kid being dubbed the 1-2-3 Kid and using that momentum to "win" $10,000 from Razor Ramon and then beating The Million Dollar Man (he was very good against rich people). After that, he became a tag team champion with both Marty Jannetty and later with "Spark Plug" Bob Holly before later changing his gimmick and being one of the most hated people in wrestling history. Still, even the haters cannot take away how important that moment was when he was able to shock the dedicated wrestling fan world and beat Razor Ramon on Monday Night Raw.

The only other argument for first iconic moment that can be made is Mr. Perfect beating Ric Flair in a Loser Leaves Town match. It was an important moment, but Ric Flair is about as non-Raw as it gets when it comes to wrestling in the 90s, so I can't give it to him and Perfect. Plus, it is impossible to give credence to anything that involved Rob Bartlett on commentary.

That is why The 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon has to be considered the first iconic moment of Monday Night Raw.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jameis Winston - 2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the college football season over, the 2015 NFL Draft season immediately starts up to fill that void. I plan to take a look at all of the top quarterback prospects but will also be willing to take suggestions if there are prospects at other positions that you would like to see analyzed. But my bread and butter is quarterback play (a position I still feel is underrated in the draft). Today, I look at the most controversial player in the draft, Jameis Winston from the Florida State Seminoles.

Now, obviously, the biggest questions around Winston involve what he does off the field. You can read my thoughts about that by going here. Today, I just want to look at Jameis Winston the football player by watching his games (thanks to Draft Breakdown) against Notre Dame, Louisville, and Oregon.

The first thing that stands out about Winston is his ability to lead his receivers to maximize their ability to make plays after the catch. Too many people look at completion percentage to judge the accuracy of quarterbacks, but even though Winston had a lower completion percentage than some of the other quarterbacks in this draft, there is nobody that matches his ability to hit his receivers in stride. Here are back-to-back plays that show this.

The receiver catches the ball in stride. He does have to reach out for the pass, but it is not so far out that he cannot maintain his steps and continue moving forward. It is close enough where the receiver can slow down to bring the ball in after the catch without taking a big hit from the safety. The second play does not require as impressive as a throw as the receiver is wide open, but that doesn't mean that the ball from Winston is not just as impressive. Even had there been a defender in sight, it would have taken an immaculate effort to stop this from being a completion.

Winston's accuracy is most valuable in the short-to-intermediate game, but he also knows how to lay out a nice deep ball when the opportunity arises.

This is about as easy as it gets for a quarterback, and Winston is able to take full advantage of his receiver running free.

It is time to address the elephant in the room. Jameis Winston is a black quarterback, but no, that does not mean he is a running quarterback. Still, the guy can move as demonstrated here.

Although he can move, it would be silly to make it a habit. If a team drafts him and starts doing a bunch of read option plays, they are setting him up for failure.

What is more important about Jameis Winston is his pocket presence. He makes subtle movements to maximize his time to make plays. Here, he steps up into a crowded pocket to deliver a touchdown pass.

Anybody can see that this is a great throw, but we've been over the throws. What is more impressive is that Winston can see that there is a big blitz coming and he is not going to have much time to throw. However, he doesn't panic, and he steps into his throw despite his offensive lineman being pushed into him as he releases the ball. It's not a complex read as if Notre Dame is true to what they're showing presnap, he has the slant, but he steps up and delivers a great ball despite not having a rapidly closing pocket.

Decision Making
Sometimes, Winston tries to do too much with the ball. Part of the reason his interception total was so high is that he was always trying to make a play no matter what the situation was. Learning when to push his luck and when to throw the ball away to live another down will be an essential part of his development. Sometimes you can get lucky, but this first example is not one of those times.

Honestly, I really like Winston as a prospect, but you cannot make a dumber pass than that. He throws this ball into a crowd off of his back foot. This is what the big question with Winston is, because he tries to make plays when there is no play there to make. That is a big reason his interception total was so high.

On the previous throw, the pressure was obvious in how it affected what Winston did on his throw. On this throw, it is not as blatant, but it is still very harmful to Winston's accuracy.

The good news for Winston is that he stays solid in the pocket and uses his legs to drive the throw. Unfortunately, he gets sloppy with his upper body mechanics in that he doesn't turn his shoulders to aim his throw. That leaves the ball behind the wide receiver, which gives the defender the chance to undercut the route and make the interception.

Trying to make a play all the time can lead to costly turnovers. However, there is a reason that it has become a habit for Winston -- sometimes it works.

Here, Winston gets pressured up the middle, gets engulfed in a crowd of Louisville defenders but manages to give himself just enough room to flip the ball out to his running back who runs for a first down. These plays remind me a lot of Andrew Luck, another guy who gets grief for trying to make plays when he would be better off throwing the ball away to live another day, but who can also shut up critics when he turns nothing into something amazing.

Along with his decision making is his ability to scan the field quickly on throws. This is something that he will occasionally struggle with, but at times, he can make it look effortless. The following gif is one of the most subtle reads of the field you will see, but it is incredibly effective.
In just a short period of time, he is able to look at the outside wide receiver, realize nothing is there, transition to his tight end who appears to be faking an outside cut before going up the seam (possibly an option route), and then finally checking down to his back who finds space in the middle of the field.

With the way he places the ball, he was consistenly able to carve up man coverage, but he did show consistent struggles with recognizing underneath defenders as shown on this pass against Louisville.

From the sideline view, it looks like that safety is playing the robber technique to break in front of the route and make a play, but this is an area where I did see struggles. I also saw him wisely place balls as he recognized where the holes in the zone were, so I believe that he will become better handling zone defenses with experience. Early on, I think he will struggle against zone blitzes.

Jameis Winston is very solid in his fundamentals. He sets his feet, has his shoulders aimed at his target, and has a quick delivery of the ball. What is even more impressive is how good he manages to keep his mechanics while on the move. This touchdown pass is an excellent example.

This takes amazing work from Winston as he rolls away from the pressure but is still able to flip his shoulders on his final step to make an accurate throw to his receiver. Out of the prospects in this draft, nobody can manage his feel for the game.

NFL Throws
People talk about the lack of NFL throws Marcus Mariota has had to make and how many NFL throws Jameis Winston has to make in his offense. This is an example of what they are talking about.

That is a tight window, and Winston threads the needle and delivers a catchable ball for his receiver. It's not necessarily a bad drop, as there was tight coverage, but it's a ball that you would expect a pro receiver to catch. You can't throw a better ball than that, and the fact that scouts have seen Winston make these throws are the reason that some have him rated as the top quarterback in the draft.

Jameis Winston may have concerns with his lack of composure and maturity off the field, but he has those traits in abundance on the field.

A lot of people made a big deal out of him yelling at Jimbo Fisher, and Fisher threatening to bench him if he didn't cool it. Some looked at that situation and saw a lack of maturity, but it was a guy who was angry that his team was losing, because he wanted to do everything he could to win. It is basically exactly what Tom Brady does anytime that the Patriots struggle in a game.

My ultimate concern with Jameis Winston is not his actions on the football field, but how his actions are interpreted. Perception is reality, and actions that would be tolerated from most young players will be scrutinized because of his past. There's a fine line between a fiery competitor and someone acting like a baby. It may not be fair, but it's also not totally undeserved.

I mentioned Andrew Luck earlier, but the comparison I keep coming back to is the ol' gunslinger, Brett Favre. They both have the arm strength to make any throw on the field. They are not running quarterbacks, but they are mobile enough to make plays with their feet. Let's not forget that before the controversies started with Winston, he seemed like a kid just having fun out there. And finally, they make unbelievable plays, some unbelievably good, and just as memorable are the ones that are unbelievably bad. If a team feels confident in the off-the-field behavior, he's without a doubt a top-5 pick.

Quarterback Prospect Rankings:
1. Jameis Winston - Florida State
2. Shane Carden - East Carolina
4. Garrett Grayson - Colorado State
5. Blake Sims - Alabama

Monday, February 16, 2015

Baseball's New Market Inefficiency

In every sport, each person wants his team to find an edge to help them gain an advantage over their competition. Basketball has used analytics, football has found ways to maximize talented square pegs as opposed to just trying to jam them in round holes, and baseball has a new market inefficiency every single year (usually it was the opposite of what was widely believed, as now using resources to build a bullpen is in as the Royals proved). The one thing that seems evident to me is the misuse of pitching prospects.

A saying that still gets used is TINSTAAPP, there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. Obviously, this is an exaggeration, but there is a lot of evidence that lets people know how unwise it is to fall in love with pitching prospects. They blow out their elbows, they never develop a third pitch, their velocity declines mysteriously. There are a ton of things that can go wrong.

Still, pitchers are brought along at nearly the same pace as position players. They are vastly different entities, yet they are widely treated the same. Pitchers' velocities tend to peak early on, many peak before they ever make it to the major leagues, so their hardest pitches are wasted on amateurs and minor leaguers. That is why it is imperative for teams to bring up their pitchers more quickly in order to give themselves an advantage over other teams.

Now do minor league pitchers get better with the instruction they receive there? No doubt about it, but the best coaches are at the highest levels (whether that totally makes sense is a debate for another day), so pushing them quickly will lead to the best possible instruction to maximize their abilities.

You have guys like Mark Prior and Stephen Strasburg who are ready to go straight to the major leagues from the draft. After dominating college to that extent, there is no justification for keeping a guy in the minor leagues just because that's what you do, and these guys were ones who were brought up to the majors incredibly quickly, but even that was a waste. There was no better Strasburg than the one that the Nationals signed. He was as good as he would ever be, but they wasted starts in the minor leagues. Most college first rounders are probably ready to pitch in the major leagues immediately. Could they refine some things? Yes, but their stuff is going to be taking steps back as the years go on, and not everybody gets that much better with command and mental aspects of the game to make up for that. Neither guy had to wait long, but they shouldn't have had to wait at all.

Jose Fernandez is a great example of what I'm proposing. He was brought up after one full year in the minor leagues where he never pitched above High-A. People thought they were crazy for bringing him up so quickly, and all he did was dominate the league to the tune of a 2.19 ERA. There are other guys that are plenty ready to play in the major leagues, not to that extent, but an ERA in the mid 3's could really help out teams that are struggling through their fifth starters.

The whole point of waiting to bring up prospects is to get their best years performing for your team. With position players, delaying their major league debut makes sense as they go through a lot of growing pains and tend to get better as they get deeper into their 20s before declining. With pitchers, it's different. Their raw physical abilities are peaking in their early 20s, so promoting those guys so they are using that stuff against the best competition would give teams a huge advantage. Replacing a fifth starter with a top prospect could add 2-3 wins and be the difference between slipping into the playoffs and winning a World Series or hanging out at home and wondering what could have been. Will they get injured if pushed to the major leagues? Yes, probably, but just about every pitcher gets hurt these days, and the increased danger to arms is negligible compared to the benefits a team could gain from this strategy.

There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. It sounds ridiculous, but with an aggressive promotion plan for top level pitchers, TINSTAAPP could become a wonderful reality.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Suits Power Rankings - #SuitsRoadTrip

I'm getting to things late this week, so no time for a drawn out intro, especially since it's a flashback episode. Instead, I'm going to make these my most positive rankings by pointing out every character's best features. Last week's rankings can be found here. Let's get to this week where one of the most important characters makes his triumphant comeback...through a flashback.

1. Louis Litt
Louis won a fight. Louis...won...a...fight. All law victories take a backseat, all life victories can sit bitch. This is the only victory that matters.

2. Mike Ross 
Mike preyed on law students by outlawyering them. Mystery couldn't pick up a law school student, yet Mike made it a hobby. Baller.

3. Donna Paulsen 
Donna doesn't follow her own rules, because her rules are made to be broken. Oh yeah, and she also signed MICHAEL JORDAN. Also, she's probably smart enough to know that his best shot was his game winner over Byron Russell, as it was the last shot in his career and won a championship (as far as I'm concerned, he never played anywhere but Chicago).

4. Daniel Hardman 
I wanted him to be number one so bad, and had this been for lawyering by your own rules, he likely would've been, but this is a week of positives, and nobody was topping Louis this week on that front. HARDMAN pits his lawyers against each other, as he loves the puppet show and uses that show to land a company three times as big as the one he sent his puppets after. As positive as all of that was, HARDMAN's greatest moment was calling Harvey an arrogant, little boy.

5. Harvey Specter 
I admire Harvey making people earn music by entertaining him. This is a good road trip rule. Made a very good choice of having thousands of fake yearbooks made up to fit any situation. If I were going to do that, I would have only changed all of the ladies' quotes to focus on what a great lover I was, but to each their own.

6. Mike Ross's Wrestling Opponents 
After watching Mike fight, it's pretty clear that all of his wrestling opponents had the easiest match ever, as the guy gets thrown around like a ragdoll by Louis, so I'm sure he led to the quickest pins of their career.

7. Rachel Zane 
She's hotter than Khaleesi's translator, but that thought probably inspired about 10,000 pieces of crossover fanfiction, most of which are being written by me.

8. Jessica Pearson 
She's at the top of the best law firm in New York, because she sees the bigger picture.

9. Claire 
She fell for all of Mike's demonstrations of higher value, but as all ladies know who have been seduced by me, it is a privilege to be picked up by a genuine pickup artist.

10. Immigration Lawyer Guy 
Has friends at Columbia. I'm guessing it's Jessie Spano.

11. Edith Ross
With age comes wisdom, and that G knew what was up when it came to T-Money.

12. Avery McKernan 
He values loyalty and makes nice engines.

13. Dude Who Buys Manhattans For Random Ladies
Hey, he's got a job, so he can afford to buy drinks. Good for him.

14. Trevor Evans
Got a kickass place with his best bud. The good times are never going to end for this young go-hard.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blake Sims - 2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the college football season over, the 2015 NFL Draft season immediately starts up to fill that void. I plan to take a look at all of the top quarterback prospects but will also be willing to take suggestions if there are prospects at other positions that you would like to see analyzed. But my bread and butter is quarterback play (a position that teams should always be drafting). Today, I am taking a look at Blake Sims from the University of Alabama.

Blake Sims came from out of nowhere to surprisingly beat out Jacob Coker for the starting quarterback job for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Once he won the job, he did not disappoint, as he led Alabama to the first College Football Playoff before losing to Ohio State in the semifinals. So is this a guy who will only be known for one nice year with one of the best programs in the nation, or can he carve out a career at the next level? Thanks to Draft Breakdown, I was able to look at his games against LSU and Tennessee.

Blake Sims is a guy with strength, but his biggest strength is his speed, as he is always a threat to do damage running the ball.

On this zone read play, he does a good job of reading the play, finding the seam and then making a nice cut in front of the safety in the open field to get a few extra yards.

Now, although he is fast, his pocket mobility is not an impressive trait. He doesn't know how to take advantage of extra space in the pocket and will not avoid rushers with movement within the pocket.

He has a beautiful pocket with plenty of room to step into, but instead he makes it to the end of his drop and stands there. He has to fall backwards while throwing the ball to avoid the pressure from the single defender who could cause him even the slightest bit of grief. If he steps up, he can complete the pass and keep the ball moving forward. Instead, the pass never has a chance.

Blake Sims was 23rd in the nation in completion percentage. Looking at that, you would say that he was an accurate passer. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as he consistently struggles with accuracy, although the talent around him did do a good job of bailing him out.

This is a very troublesome pass, as he throws a drag route a few yards in front of the line of scrimmage, but he still puts it behind his receiver who has to adjust to catch the ball behind them which slowed their momentum. Now, the receiver was wide open, so he was still able to get quite a bit of yards after the catch, but that is an easy throw with a clean pocket that Sims needs to give his receiver an easy catch to maximize the yards they are able to gain.

This is another example of Blake Sims simply not helping out his receiver by underthrowing a ball that should have led the receiver to the sideline.

His tight end is running to the outside, but has to turn back towards the defender and duck to avoid getting annihilated by the LSU player. If he leads OJ Howard on this route, he not only doesn't have to worry about being concussed, but he can likely gain a decent amount of yards after the catch.

Now, there was a reason he was able to have success this season, and it was not all due to his supporting cast. This may be my favorite throw from him.

He throws a perfect ball all around as it is not only perfectly placed, but it is perfectly timed. Still, the thought I am left with after watching this throw is my own personal experience playing bags (or cornhole for them fancy folk). I am bad at bags. I barely pay attention, as it's pretty boring, and even when I do, I'm still not all that good. Still, I put some in the hole, sometimes I put a few in the hole in a single turn. This doesn't make me a good bags player, but just by throwing them enough, I manage to throw some good ones. This is Blake Sims in a nutshell, as he's not accurate, but much like me finding the hole, even an inaccurate quarterback can make a beautiful throw.

Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough of those throws for me to have any confidence in him having enough accuracy to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. This was a quarterback who was greatly helped by the talent around him, and I just don't see anything on tape that makes me think he could be a successful NFL quarterback. He had a nice year, helped Alabama get to the College Football Playoff, but I think that will be the peak of his football career unless he goes down under to learn the nuances of Aussie Rules.

Quarterback Prospect Rankings:
1. Shane Carden - East Carolina
2. Garrett Grayson - Colorado State
3. Blake Sims - Alabama

Monday, February 9, 2015

What If Kirk Ferentz Coached In The NFL?

I am a very calm and rational Iowa fan. With that being said, even I have finally reached the point where Kirk Ferentz drives me crazy. Nothing is going to change. He'll stick with his offense; he'll stick with his defense; he'll even stick with his special teams. They have worked in the past, and with execution, he believes they will work again.

Unfortunately, that is just simply not the case. The game has changed, and Ferentz's overall package will not lead to Iowa winning B1G titles. But this isn't because Kirk is a bad coach. In fact, I still think he's a great coach. He takes limited talent and develops those players to their maximum capabilities. He has had a great run of developing tight ends like Dallas Clark, Scott Chandler, Tony Moeaki, Brandon Myers, Allen Reisner, and CJ Fiedorowicz. Even better is his run of left tackles which included Robert Gallery, Marshall Yanda, Bryan Bulaga, Riley Reiff, and Brandon Scherff. He used to have a great run on cornerbacks as well (although many switched to safety in the NFL) with Charles Godfrey, Bradley Fletcher, Amari Spievey, Shaun Prater, and Micah Hyde. Almost all of those guys were 3 star recruits (or worse), and Kirk found a way to maximize their abilities. There is no denying that Kirk Ferentz is a very good coach.

The problem is the recruiting. Kirk used to be able to find those diamonds in the rough, but other coaches have gotten far better at recruiting, and the talent level that Iowa has brought in has not been good enough to consistently compete. That is why Iowa has struggled. The talent is simply not there, and Kirk Ferentz will not change to bring in that talent.

All of this made me realize one thing: Kirk Ferentz would have been a great NFL coach.

His problems are much more scheme than talent. He develops offensive linemen incredibly well, so his outside zone running scheme would have worked great in the NFL. Even a poor NFL running back is light years ahead of a guy like Mark Weisman in talent, so they would have the necessary skills to hit the hole at the right time. If he would have lucked into a good quarterback, then he would have a very potent offense at the next level.

On defense, his conservative scheme drives Hawkeye fans crazy, but there are a lot of very successful defenses that are fairly conservative in scheme. The Seattle Seahawks are an excellent example of this, as they do not do anything all that complicated, but they execute their Cover-3 incredibly well. His bend-don't-break defense may not get fans excited, but it has proven to be incredibly effective when he has the right talent on the field.

Plus, Kirk Ferentz has the demeanor to be an NFL head coach. He's not like Jim Harbaugh who wears out his welcome quickly and is perfect to only have players for 3-5 years. Kirk is even-keeled and players know what to expect from him. The only real knock on him is that he may be controlling and overbearing, but there aren't many great NFL coaches that couldn't be described in the same way.

Kirk Ferentz was an incredibly successful college coach, but the changing college game has left him in the dust. New schemes and large gaps in talent level has left the Hawkeyes in consistent mediocrity. But Kirk Ferentz was made to coach in the NFL. It accentuates his positives while limiting his negatives. He's always been great at developing talent, and although his scheme may be a tad antiquated, execution is far more important than a fancy scheme at the NFL level, because the talent gap is so small.

Although the opportunity has passed him by, Kirk Ferentz would have been a great NFL coach.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Suits Power Rankings - Respect

Let's face it. All that really happened last week was Louis becoming a name partner. Yes, there were ups and downs and highs and lows in between there, but it only lead to possibilities of other things happening. Instead of a quick recap, I want to focus on some career advice for all the young go-hards out there. Something that Suits has taught me is that hotshot lawyers (and likely just hotshots in general) love rooftops. It's where business gets done. I know there are a lot of people currently struggling to find jobs. May I suggest hanging out on a rooftop and waiting for name partners to have high level conversations? I mean, it doesn't happen often, but the rooftop probably can get some sort of Wifi, so it's basically just as effective as hanging out in your Mom's basement, and you get some fresh air. It's truly a win-win situation. Now, let's move onto this week's rankings where things get a little kinky:

1. Mike Ross - Mike has gotten much tougher this season. He's no longer being shit upon like he's an actress in a German film. Instead, he's fighting back against people if he feels they are not making the right decisions. He convinced Harvey to take the case and was such a hardass on Professor Girard that he breaks him before he testifies. That's some strong lawyerin' right there. Then Mike puts poor Ian in his place for trying to buy a grade. He really took no prisoners and was correct in every one of his calls. If he keeps this up, it's just a matter of time before it's Pearson Specter Litt Malone Gunderson Ross. 

2. Rachel Zane - She takes the high road in dealing with Louis who continually shits on her (metaphorically). Rachel finds the one thing that can save Louis with Joan Walsh, and she shoves it in his stupid face. Both Mike and Rachel showed much stronger characteristics, so maybe they can be the dynamic duo of lawyers without law degrees. Although the law may disagree, being a lawyer is not about getting a degree and passing the Bar; it's about the fire that burns inside of you to break people's wills (and usually the law as well) while looking fancy and making references to movies. Rachel gets it, and she's on her way to the top.

3. Harvey Specter - He always wanted the respect of Professor Girard. But Harvey couldn't savor his old professor asking him for help, because he was only doing it because Harvey wins, not because he is a good lawyer. Yes, those are somehow two separate things in this world where lawyers love to play by their own rules. Harvey eventually takes the case, because Girard may be a dick, but he's an honorable dick, like if Ron Jeremy's penis somehow got a law degree. Unfortunately, it turns out he's more like a part of Cytherea's cleanup crew, a scumbag. Harvey finally gets Henry Girard's respect, which is all he really wanted, but he paid $25,000 to get it. You can't buy respect; you've got to earn it. Did he learn nothing from Top Gun?

4. Garrett Brady - Garrett Brady is a fascinating character. He paid off TSA agents to get classified information in order to take down Gerard. What we know is that Girard was innocent of any wrongdoing in regards to the case, but Brady obsessively stalked down Professor Girard's comings and goings and questioned everyone until he could find a nugget that he would pay for to bring him down. Since there was no evidence, he did all of this on a hunch. If these power rankings were for detective work, he would deserve a spot at the top, but this is for lawyers, and he still lost the case (but wisely did not buy Harvey any falafel), so he could only go so high on this list.

5. Professor Henry Girard - This guy is basically the worst poker player ever. He doesn't even know how many Queens are in a deck, so nobody is ever going to buy his story that he won his money gambling. Instead, he won it the old fashioned way, as part of a bribe from one of his students. He didn't stop victims from getting paid, so he is ethical, but he also changed a student's grade for money, so he's not ethical? This reminds me of the classic law case, Black v. White. In the settlement, both sides compromised and agreed to a "gray" area. Either way, Girard ended up with his money, and he can still act high and mighty about his ethics.

6. Jeff Malone - Picked up takeout food by himself, and got full credit for cooking a meal. That's efficiency right there. It must have felt like that 1989-90 season where he had his highest player efficiency rating of 18.5. Ah, the good ol' days.

7. Donna Paulsen - Donna is the sensible one. She tries talking sense into Harvey, but his feelings were hurt that his old professor didn't like him. Then she steals a client from him to give to Louis. She then calls Louis "fatty baldy" in what has to be the worst insult of all time. I would expect wit sharp enough to cut diamonds from Donna. Instead her wit was so stinky, the only thing she was cutting was cheese. Still, Donna is all about the team, and she has to put Louis in his place to teach him a valuable lesson. She had some swagger back, but her insult game still needs work.

8. Jessica Pearson - I could throw Jessica under the bus for succumbing to Louis's demands in order to keep her relationship, because there is really no reason for Louis to expose Mike's secret to anyone else, because he would also be exposed to criminal charges, but whatever. Instead, here are things Jessica likes: Rooftop meetings, a Cuban restaurant, and paper plates. It seems she also likes Jeff Malone, but she may just like wearing his old Washington Bullets jersey as a nighty.

9. Joan Walsh - Joan loves dogs and lawyer jokes, but she does not appreciate stupidity, and Louis brought that in abundance to their dinner. Still, Joan has some serious self-esteem issues. Jessica gave her to name partner Harvey who later gave her to name partner Louis. It has only happened twice, and you still got switched to a name partner. You're a wonderful woman, Joan, and I'd love to have a fancy dinner with you (as long as you pick up the check). 

10. Louis Marlo Litt - Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Last week, he was number one, and now the only person lower than him can't even pass a college course in law. Louis really wanted the Girard case, but Girard wanted a lawyer who wouldn't play by the rules. It's a lesson that Louis is still learning as the only reason he became a partner is due to his shady backroom dealings. Since Louis can't get Girard, he settles for Joan Walsh, who he promises to impress with legal domination. Unfortunately, he instead of just enjoying a lovely dinner with a friendly client, he performs metaphorical bestiality and screws the pooch by sharing too much information with the board of directors. His only boss move was making Rachel get up to hand him the files, but even that gets cancelled out as he needs her help to clean up his mess. 

11. Ian - He gets punked out by Mike Ross. Looks like another year of law school for you, nerd. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Shane Carden - 2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the college football season over, the 2015 NFL Draft season immediately starts up to fill that void. I plan to take a look at all of the top quarterback prospects but will also be willing to take suggestions if there are prospects at other positions that you would like to see analyzed. But my bread and butter is quarterback play (a position that is still underrated in the draft). Today, I am taking a look at Shane Carden from East Carolina University.

Playing in a small conference, Shane Carden is not a guy that I have watched very much of, but he has had some decent buzz as possibly the best quarterback that is not coming from one of the five major conferences. Thanks to Draft Breakdown and College Football Dude, I was able to take a look at his games against South Florida, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina.

I would say that Carden has good mobility but is not a threat with his feet. Here is an example of where a quarterback can have good mobility without elite athleticism.

I like that he stays in the pocket until the rush forces him out instead of fleeing early. Also, as he scrambles to his right, he continues to look down the field. He can't quite make a good enough throw on the run, but there is a lot more positive on this play than negative.

On that one, he had to eventually bail out, but this next play, he utilizes subtle movement to give himself some space to make a play.

He does a really nice job of feeling pressure and making subtle movement within the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. A lot of quarterbacks will either bail out of the pocket or put their eyes on the rush and try to run the ball, but he does a nice job of keeping calm and making a short pass that allows his receiver to turn it into a first down.

One of his issues is that he would stare down a receiver waiting for them to get open instead of moving on to another option. He waited and waited, which showed good patience, but he cannot depend on an excessive amount of time. Still, there was an outlier that could show his ultimate potential in reading the field.

This may look like a simple throw, but it is actually a reason to be excited about Carden's potential. He takes the snap and looks to the left side of the field where he has a high-low read. Both options are covered fairly well, so he looks to the middle of the field and quickly gets rid of the ball to hit his other receiver in stride who is crossing the middle of the field. Even with good coverage, the defender really has no chance to break up the play. This play is a good sign in that he does have the ability to quickly scan the field, so it may be a lack of experience where he just needs to fine tune the skill.

On the negative side of things, his mechanics are a mess. He really only generates power from his hips up as his feet are too narrow so his legs do not extend to help him drive ball on his throws. A lot of his throws are just winged out there, but he can only generate below average velocity on his passes with that form. Nearly every deep ball he threw hung in the air, and at best, his receiver was forced to slow down to make a play on the ball. If he improved his footwork, it could make him a much more dangerous passer.

This is a good example of him not using his legs so he is unable to drive the pass and allows a defender to make a play on the ball. If this ball is driven, the corner would not have enough time to adjust and time his jump to deflect the ball, but that extra half second almost leads to an interception after the deflection.

Even with the poor mechanics, he does show a nice touch on his passes.

This one was especially impressive, as he throws the ball in the only place that his receiver can make a play on it. The defender has good coverage, but the receiver is able to high-point the ball and get a foot in bounds to make the touchdown grab.

When I first started watching Shane Carden, the mechanics immediately turned me off. He just wasn't generating enough velocity on his throws to be successful at the NFL level. But then I kept seeing glimpses of great attritbutes. He has good pocket awareness, he can scan a field and make quick decisions, and even with poor mechanics, he shows some nice touch on his passes. But it still comes down to this: If his mechanics do not change, he will not be a successful NFL Quarterback. But the flipside is that if he can alter his mechanics to generate strength from his lower half, he's a really interesting quarterback. The question for teams comes down to whether their offensive coaches are confident in being able to alter his delivery so he gains velocity without losing any of his other attributes that help make him interesting. So where does that put him? As an outsider, I would put him in the 4th-5th round range (I don't think I could pull the trigger until the 5th), but this is a case where seeing him at the combine, in private workouts, and interviewing him to get a better feel for him is going to be incredibly valuable. With what he flashes, he could be a steal, but if those mechanics don't change, he's likely just a wasted pick.

Quarterback Prospect Rankings:
1. Shane Carden - East Carolina
2. Garrett Grayson - Colorado State

Monday, February 2, 2015

Are Anti-Vaccine People The Worst Human Beings Ever?

With an outbreak of measles, anti-vaccination people have stopped being the charming dipshit that you know to an actual threat to people's health. Well, at least that is how I have seen them since I don't have children. I was more of the opinion that they were terribly stupid as opposed to terrible people, but it's pretty clear that they are now much more the former than the latter. So it's not a matter of whether they are awful people, it's a matter of how awful they are. I decided to look at some other awful people to figure out where they would land on the spectrum of awful people.

Juggalos drink Faygo and do drugs. Their opinions on women are antiquated, but if you are a juggalette, they seem to treat them with respect. Their stupidity, like not understanding magnets is harmless. Overall, Juggalos just really just like to party; anti-vaxxers are so much worse than that.

As a cult, scientologists are a tad dangerous. They definitely put people in some bad situations, but they still never outright murder people. I feel like the anti-vax crowd can really relate to scientologists. Scientologists are usually super happy people. Just look at Tom Cruise. Also, anti-vaccine people are super happy, because if ignorance is bliss, then these people must constantly feel as if they are inhaling nitrous oxide. I mean, these people side with Jay Cutler, who may not even be anti-vaccination as much as he is just too lazy to take his kids to the doctor.

But the big difference between the two is that Scientologists only harm their own. They don't put everyone in danger. Therefore, anti-vaccine people are way worse than Scientologists.

Okay, it's time to step it up. Racists are truly awful people. I find charm in Juggalos and have no real issues with Scientologists, but even I can't defend racists. I mean, they're racists. That's really bad, but is it worse than anti-vaccination people?

Racists these days more work in systematic racism as opposed to outright dangerous racism. Now, there have been recent issues with police being quick to pull the trigger on minorities, but that topic is a little too nuanced for me to address here. Most racists aren't physical threats, and even the really hardcore racists at least go after adults, so their ignorance doesn't usually endanger the lives of children. The anti-vaccination community is stupid, but it's stupid dangerous. And just like racists, both of their stances are completely based off ignorance with no scientific or real-world backing. If somebody is screaming the n-word, they are going to be put in their place, anti-vaccination people should suffer the same scorn for spouting off their ignorant bullshit as well. Systematic racism is something that is truly awful, yet people who are anti-vaccination still manage to be worse.

At least terrorists come up with reasoning behind why they want people dead. And although I do not agree with that reasoning, a lot of terrorists have had family and friends killed which definitely spurns their hatred of America (and our freedom, they SUPER hate our freedom). An anti-vaxxer wants to endanger innocent children's lives because noted science expert and Male Gigolo, Rob Schneider, believe it causes autism. How is exposing the United States to deadly diseases that have been wiped out in this country not considered chemical warfare? If a terrorist did that, they would be arrested and at best, spend the rest of their lives in prison. But there are somehow not laws against these anti-vaccination disease terrorists. So yes, anti-vaccine people are even worse than terrorists.

I know what you're thinking: Nobody can be worse than Hitler. He's Hitler. He has to be the worse, right? Well, just hear me out. Both used their own ignorance to intentionally harm innocent people. Hitler targeted Jews, which is super bad, but anti-vaccination people targeted children. That's as bad as it gets. Still, Hitler's methods were gruesome, and his grew out of a place of hatred as opposed to simple ignorance.

Hitler still takes the crown, because, well, he's Hitler. So congratulations, anti-vaxxers, you're just behind Hitler in awful people in this world. Now go get your child vaccinated, you dumbfucks.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hulk Hogan Was Actually A Great Wrestler

Hulk Hogan is seen by most as one of, if not the single greatest professional wrestler of all time. He truly changed the game and helped pro wrestling get mainstream acceptance. Sports Illustrated covers, movies, appearances on all the daytime and late night talk shows, none of those things were happening without Hulk Hogan's larger than life physical appearance and personality.

Despite all of that, it is commonly accepted that Hulk Hogan was terrible in the ring. It is fairly easy to dismiss Hulk Hogan's in ring ability, as he has a limited moveset, and the power of Hulkamania is based off of irrationally being able to bounce back from anything to become invincible late in a match. The other thing that kills him is that Hulk Hogan kept wrestling far longer than he should have, and his performance in the ring got worse and worse as the years wore on. Even early WCW Hogan wasn't nearly as good as WWF Hogan, and he had another run in WWE that was especially bad.

Recognizing all of that, Hulk Hogan wasn't bad in the ring; in fact, he was pretty great. Hulk Hogan may have not had a lot of moves, but he knew how to get the most out of the moves that he did. Everything Hogan did in the ring was oozing with charisma. His atomic drop seemed to break asses. His big boot was enough to put down any opponent. Nobody made a bodyslam feel bigger than Hogan, and it is not even close. Also, his early era legdrop was as good as it gets as he was actually young and athletic enough to jump instead of just drop. When he Hulked up, it gave fans chills; I know it gave me chills, and that matters.

Also, Hulk Hogan's matches are still rewatchable. Hogan vs. Andre, Hogan vs. Savage, and Hogan vs. Warrior are matches that I can watch 25 years later, and I'll still be able to watch and enjoy 50 years later. Wrestling is not just about doing flips and doing amazing physical things, it is also about the delivery, and Hogan's Hulk Up was delivered perfectly to get the maximum response from anyone watching. It may not be flashy, but it is an essential part of being an effective in ring performer.

My only big issue with him is that he would always put his feet straight up in the air right when someone started their pin which telegraphed that he was going to kick out. Had he not done that, it would have added to the drama, but showing vulnerability was never Hulk's strength, and give the man credit; he played to his strengths. On a smaller scale, Hogan had the worst chair shots in the history of wrestling.

And remember how I said those late WWE years for Hogan were especially bad. That is totally true, and yet one of my favorite matches with Hogan was his match against The Rock at WrestleMania 18. The Rock was supposed to be the good guy; Hogan was supposed to be the bad guy, but by sheer force of personality, the crowd decided that Hogan was their guy. Even though he was physically well past his prime, he still got the absolute most out of himself to put on an amazing match for the fans.

If that's not great pro wrestling, I don't know what is.