|12-22-2006, 12:35 PM||#1|
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Bronco Nation
Simms on Rookie QB's
Not a bad article, anything about Jay I like
Top three rookie QBs as good as advertised
By Phil Simms
Special to NFL.com
(Dec. 20, 2006) -- The three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft have all shown themselves to be exactly what they were in college.
Tennessee's Vince Young has proven to be the big, physical presence he was at Texas. He has shown the ability to break tackles, which has allowed him to make big plays running and passing. It has helped the Titans tremendously. I liken Young's play to that of Ben Roethlisberger when he was a rookie in Pittsburgh -- he's every bit as big and strong, which was Roethlisberger's best quality as a rookie.
In Arizona, Matt Leinart uses his height as an advantage, just as he did as a USC Trojan. For lack of a better term, he can dish the ball out. I've seen quite a bit of his work on tape and on TV. He is accurate throwing the short ball, and has a good touch on the deep ball, too -- he gives his receivers a chance to make the play. Leinart ran a sophisticated offense in college, and he has learned to run the pro offense and be capable of checking off. He seems very comfortable in what he's doing.
Jay Cutler has little experience and is facing a lot of pressure, but he's making progress.
The third member of this trio to become a starter is shaping up nicely, too. Denver's Jay Cutler is proving to be a physical presence in the pocket, as he was with Vanderbilt. He's moving around better than people expected -- though he did run a 4.77 at the combine. His strength is that he can throw it hard and far, and he's doing both. He has stuck the ball into tight spaces with his velocity, and he's aired it out long, too.
All three of these quarterbacks are off to very good starts. As I've said before: When you're a high draft pick at quarterback, the team will build around you. It might take two or three years, but they'll give you every chance to have success. They will put players around you and also create an offense and call plays designed specifically to your abilities.
You might say, "Don't they do this for any QB?" Well, not really. When you're brought in as a free agent, they don't necessarily change the offense for you. In looking at free-agent quarterbacks, teams will bring in guys who fit the style that's already in place. That can be much more difficult.
I'm not saying it's easy to be a first-round quarterback. But it's interesting to see how the Titans, Cardinals and Broncos are shaping up around their talented young quarterbacks.
Playoff game in Denver
Cutler isn't officially the first of these three quarterbacks to make the postseason, but the Bengals-Broncos game this weekend is as close as it gets. In the scheme of things this season, it truly is a playoff game.
Of course, almost every game is "a big game" in the final few weeks of the season, but this is absolutely a huge game. There will be a playoff atmosphere in Denver for this game -- but more important, the team that loses this game will have almost no chance of making it to an actual playoff game. It's not even the last week of the season, and the players must all feel the incredible tension of knowing that a loss here will knock them out.
And how about the coaches? How do they react to a game like this? Will they be more conservative in calling the plays because of what's at stake? I find this very intriguing. How will the coaches react to the pressure of what is essentially a playoff game?
I would imagine calling plays here will be ever harder than calling an actual playoff game. At least once you're in the playoffs, there is some relief -- you've already accomplished the goal of reaching the postseason.
Carson Palmer should have better opportunities against a Denver defense that has only 29 sacks.
So I can't wait to see how both teams will approach this. Will the Bengals resemble the team that struggled in Indianapolis?
No, I don't think so, partly because this is not the dome, but mainly because there is no Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis here. Freeney was magnificent on Monday night; Denver's defense is good, but it doesn't have the pass rush the Colts have.
The Bengals' efficient and explosive offense has it all. The defense has played much better toward the end of the year. Will they play Denver the same way they played the Colts? Absolutely not. Cutler played well last week, but he's not Peyton Manning, so expect the Bengals defense to come with more pressure and try to force Cutler into mistakes. That's what you do with any rookie quarterback.
But we do know this: Cincinnati's defensive backs will try not to be too aggressive at the line of scrimmage -- they know Cutler can air it out, and that gives the secondary a little something extra to think about.
Battle of bullies
Once every five or 10 years, a team loses a game in the bizarre way Jacksonville did last week to Tennessee. How it reacts to that loss will be interesting. The Jaguars have shown all season they react very well after tough losses. They have responded well, and they like to use their great size to bully opponents.
But so do the Patriots, who happen to be their next opponent.
It should be fun for all of us to see two bullies going at it. These teams have very strict criteria for drafting players -- simply put, they like 'em big. There are very few small players on either roster.
The Jaguars got manhandled a little last season in the playoffs against the Patriots -- that could be in their favor here. Either way, it's a critical game for both teams, and I am intrigued to see how it unfolds.
|12-22-2006, 12:42 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2004