2020 NFL Draft: Wither Jalen Hurts – Shameful Impatience with Black QBs Take Two

As we approach the 2020 NFL Draft one of the interesting questions is “Why isn’t Jalen Hurts thought of as a 1st round draft pick?” At first glance this is a throw back to the plight of the disrespected black quarterback.

Another take is how Hurts and Oklahoma were overwhelmed in a 63-28 Peach Bowl loss to eventual champion LSU with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Was the moment too big for Hurts??

Of course not..

Didn’t Jalen Hurts quarterback Alabama to the National Championship Game as a freshman 4 years ago?? How did he become the most forgotten signal caller in this year’s draft class??

One of the attributes Hurts has been able to forge was his strength of character after his controversial benching during the 2018 National Championship Game. Hurts had struggled all season in maturing with hitting the open receiver downfield. Speculation loomed that Coach Saban would turn to the new flavor of the month in Tua Tagovailoa. When he did at halftime of the championship game, Hurts took it admirably. He didn’t sulk, make any tense moments on the sideline and displayed a team first mentality throughout. This was a benching with 50 million viewers watching.

Isn’t this an attribute NFL teams profess they want to know all the time? How will a franchise QB respond when things go against him??

Hurts didn’t say a word backing up Tua the next season and then became a graduate transfer to become an Oklahoma Sooner. Under the watchful eye of Coach Lincoln Riley, Hurts developed into a QB no one saw when he left Alabama. The ability to read coverage and deliver the medium to deep throw was now a sharply refined part of his game. Hurts became the 1st QB to lead two different teams into the College Football Playoff and was a Heisman Trophy Finalist.

His passing improvement in Norman vs. his last full season at Alabama?

  • Alabama 2017 – 154 of 255 (60.4%) for 2,081 yds 17 TDs 1 int. (150.2 rating)
  • Oklahoma 2019 – 237 of 340 (69.7%) for 3,821 yds 32 TDs 8 ints (191.6 rating)

He learned a completely new offense and improved on his skill under a new coach to this degree in 4 months while being voted a captain!

Isn’t this the number one issue with quarterbacks making the jump to the NFL?? Quarterbacks ability to learn in the classroom then translate it to the practice field then into the game. Talk to me about Marcus Mariota, Mitch Trubisky, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston, Dwayne Haskins over the last two years.

Now add his rushing statistics from Oklahoma: 233 att for 1,298 yards and 20 TDs and now you’re in Lamar Jackson territory. Upon further review Hurts had 52 combined TDs to Jackson’s 51in his last season at Louisville. Wasn’t Jackson last year’s Taylor Blitz Player of the Year along with a unanimous NFL MVP??

If Hurts is perceived a better passer than Jackson how is he thought of as a 3rd round selection?? This is the next in line of dual threat QBs behind Super Bowl MVP and former NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson and is given the cold shoulder by a media that keeps devaluing black quarterbacks at draft time.

So here we are again with the sequel to The NFL’s Shameful Impatience With Black Quarterbacks.

Heisman winner Joe Burrow had a season for the ages and deserves to be the number one pick but no one else should be up with Hurts. Google the top QBs in the 2020 draft class and Hurts isn’t even in the top 5 according to Athlon Sports. They have him 8th behind Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason, and Nate Stanley of Iowa. These guys can’t be serious…

Nate Stanley of Iowa??

Justin Herbert of Oregon??

Jacob Eason of Washington??

Jordan Love of Utah State??

Hurts starred facing SEC defenses and faced ‘Bama’s 2nd string in practice which is better than any Pac 12 defense. These guys are going to try to match up to NFL speed on defense based on what? Thanks to the Corona Virus… no OTAs either so when are they going to be up to speed?

No wonder I stopped reading Athlon and started writing. These teams that keep drafting by the book and have been losing for 30 years need to do something different and look at the trend at QB. Hurts’ entire college career has been a trial by fire to match what he will have to go through entering the pro ranks. No one, including Joe Burrow has proven they have the mettle to do it more than Hurts.

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New Roughing The Passer Emphasis is Ruining The Game

Roughing the quarterback where you cant land on them is going to lead to really hard hits on the quarterback. Defenders are going to speed into the collision so the hit knocks them down instead. This will lead to plays that cause concussions not lessen them.

Matthews flagged again under the new bogus “roughing the passer” emphasis.

This isn’t about fantasy football… this about the game of football. Defense, hitting, and tackling are the essence of the game. What is ironic is they keep flagging Clay Matthews for the take down tactics that Anthony Barr injured Aaron Rodgers with last year when he got hurt. The NFL in a knee jerk reaction made a stupid rule change and doesn’t want to admit they were wrong.

Every former NFL player is talking about how idiotic the rule is and only those who haven’t played the game could come up with something so impossible to do.

The act of a tackle that has been taught for nearly 100 years is a simple one. Make contact with your shoulder with your torso lowered into the offensive player. Your head is to be in front to impede the ball carrier or quarterback’s progress. Then take them down with your weight on the ball carrier. It doesn’t matter what position the offensive player is deployed…take the man down with some force.

No one wants to see injuries however they are a part of the game. Its a tough sport and the corporate soft men at the top who never played have too much sway. They don’t understand the visceral side of the game that many of us love and why we played the sport and appreciate NFL players who took their craft further.

Make the game safer? Yes.

Make the game softer? No! Do you remember when former President Theodore Roosevelt saved football at the turn of the 20th century??

After a string of deaths during games in 1905, President Roosevelt met with elite coaches in a closed door meeting at The White House to save college football. It was there that Roosevelt revealed that collegiate men had become soft and a gladiator game like football was needed to keep men hardened. In fact he went on to reveal his “Rough Riders”, the first voluntary cavalry in the Spanish American War of 1898 were made up of football players.

Instead of the game being abolished new rules were made to make the game safer. Of those who met with President Roosevelt that day, Walter Camp went on to father the forward pass as an offensive tactic. The 10 yards needed to gain a first down was another rule change. So the game remained a rough tough  sport however fatalities were reduced.

The men who President Roosevelt summoned for that closed door meeting in the White House went on to found the NCAA. Pro Football was in its infancy and took it’s cues from college football at the time. It would be another 15 years before the NFL began play in 1920.

In the game of football either you want to hit or get hit, if not go play lacrosse or one of those sports Roosevelt was talking about that was making American men soft. If you want to watch a man fling a ball all over the field and not get hit go watch lacrosse. All these roughing the passer penalties are ruining the game and giving teams cheap first downs. It’s a sport first not a television show. So every week your favorite actor (QBs) won’t be in each episode because there are injuries in a game.

So we have to wait all year with this dumbass rule because they won’t pay players in the concussion settlement. They are trying to act as though its about player safety. Its about limiting potential legal litigants later when this group currently playing retires. It’s about protecting the shield. Then also to water down the product where quarterbacks don’t leave the field after being hit….however

If Don Majkowski doesn’t get hurt in 1992 we wouldn’t know who Brett Favre was…

If Trent Green didn’t get injured in 1999 we wouldn’t know who Kurt Warner was…

If Drew Bledsoe didn’t get hurt in 2001 we wouldn’t know who Tom Brady was…

Be careful what you wish for. It was injuries that led to each of these Hall of Fame quarterbacks to emerge in a sport and not a television show.

You cant have a gladiator game without gladiators.

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Robert Brazile Should Be in The Hall of Fame – HOF Edition

Dr. DoomOriginally Published 2, March 2011 w/ Postscript 21, August 2018 

There are many former NFL players swept into the dustbin of history who aren’t given their due. There are those that are victims of where they play as much as who they lost to that defined how they are remembered historically by the sporting press.

Enter Robert Brazille.  During the late 1970s the Houston Oilers were overshadowed by the perennial champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the players that comprised those teams that bested them in the ’78 and ’79 AFC Championship games.

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the greatest strong side outside linebackers in Jack Ham in a 4-3 defense, the Houston Oilers fielded the epitome of the weakside linebacker in Robert Brazile for the 3-4 defense.  Yet we must go back to NFL rule changes earlier in the decade that necessitated changes that had repercussions for years to come.

The 1974 NFL season saw several rule changes, kickoffs were moved back to the 35 yard line, goalposts were moved to the back of the end zone and the hash marks were narrowed on the field.  This brought the necessity for more speed to cover additional field at outside linebacker, where a new type of player was needed.  Enter the thought process of deciding if it was best to go after the passer or cover the flank from the outside linebacker position.

Several teams adopted the “53 defense” that the perennial champion  Miami Dolphins instituted part time which saw DT Bill Heinz replaced with LB Bob Matheson, who wore #53, and could rush the passer as well as drop back into coverage. This change from 3 linebackers to 4 linebackers clogged the underneath passing routes.  Many teams that were desperate for a winner went for this new tactical defensive adaptation of the old’50’s  “Oklahoma” Bud Wilkinson defense full time.  The 3-4 was just the old “Wilkinson 5-2” which had the two ends take their hand off the ground and become trackers.

Robert Brazile was the first truly great outside linebacker that was based out of the 3-4 alignment and was the start of a new breed of linebacker.  He was the 1975 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and broke the mold for what was expected from the outside linebacker position. He took home 5 defensive and rookie of the year honors. Before him, the Jack Ham 6’1 215 lbs outside LB, was the prototypical build, Brazile was the breaking of that mold weighing in at 6 ft 3 inches and 235 lbs. More like Bobby Bell and David Robinson from the 1960s.

He was strong enough to take on offensive tackles and tight ends at the point of attack, speed to chase down ball carriers from behind and power to rush the passer.  Brazile was the only player to make All-Pro from 1976-1980 at any position and was the player that the late George Young envisioned when he drafted North Carolina’s Lawrence Taylor.

This talent, who was a collegiate teammate of Walter Payton, played at a time where sacks weren’t recorded as a statistic. It wasn’t until 1982 when sacks became official stats. Had this happened earlier, Brazile could have gained more acclaim as the best outside linebacker of his era.  In fact do you realize Robert Brazile is a member of the all decade team of the 1970s as voted by the Pro Football Hall of Fame?? In fact he’s on their 2nd all decade team right next to Jack Lambert who is inducted, and remains the only linebacker within that group, not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An injustice that needs to be corrected.

Again Robert Brazile was the prototype to the heavier more athletic linebacker, in a 3-4 defense, bred to cover a wider field circa 1974 to the present, that played with an intensity that Lawrence Taylor,  Andre Tippett, Hugh Green, Rickey Jackson, and E.J. Junior carried into 1980’s stardom.  Yet that notoriety started because Lawrence Taylor landed in New York and the sporting press lauded him as the greatest defensive player ever.  Rightfully so… If that’s the case, what do you call or gauge the 7 time Pro Bowl, member of the All Decade team of the 70’s, 5 consecutive year All Pro linebacker selection he replaced and was patterned after??

Brazile,Robert4The biggest difference is the Oilers didn’t realize what they had and should have sent him crashing off the corner more. He should have been blitzing 40 – 50% of the time. Even though statistics on sacks weren’t kept until 1982, he finished that year with 6.5 sacks when the strike shortened the year to 9 games. It was the last of his 7 straight trips to Hawaii.

Robert “Dr. Doom” Brazile, an all time great that should not be swept into the dustbin of history because he played in Houston and not Dallas.  The fact that the sporting press has failed to stand up for a great player who didn’t play for a great team or self promoted gives way to why we see those players who do.

Understand this, the next time you see Clay Matthews Jr., James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley blitz off the corner from a 3-4 linebacker spot, you’re watching what started with Robert “Dr. Doom” Brazile in 1975 and not Lawrence Taylor and 1981.  For the Hall of Fame, I present Robert Brazile… an all time classic.

Postscript August 21, 2018: Just a few weeks removed from a glorious trip to Canton. He was presented by his father and Brazile let us know how he had lost the love of football and now the game was showing him it loved him back.

my.spot.brazile.inductionIt was great to hear Lawrence Taylor share the phrase “He was LT before LT” …now where had we heard that before?? Even Black College Football Hall of Fame LB Thomas Henderson was in the house for Brazile’s induction and The Chancellor got to catch up to him.

brazile.chancellorIts an honor for me that Brazile was the very 1st player written about in this series of all players who belonged in Canton who had yet to make it. Keep in mind when Brazile went into The Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame in 2016 the words of this article before this postscript was read to introduce him on that June night. It was great to catch up to him late in the evening after The Gold Jacket Dinner at the hotel and again at the airport as we were all leaving Canton.

brazile.lockerCongratulations on your induction and I told you I’d be there. You’re forever in the Pro Football Hall of Fame now.

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Will Jon Gruden Be Successful In This Stint in Oakland??

It’s a question that begs to be asked seeing Gruden has been away from an NFL sideline since the end of the 2008 season. Most people amid the hoopla of his rehiring in Oakland forget he was let go after a 4 game losing streak knocked his Buccaneer team from the playoffs.

Now it has to be acknowledged Gruden was successful in his 1st tenure in Oakland. The Silver & Black posted a 40-28 record from 1998-2001 where they made the playoffs in the last two seasons. His Raiders built on the momentum of a 41-38 defeat of the Chiefs in an overtime season finale that knocked KC from the playoffs.

Over the next two years he built upon signing veterans who played in the West Coast system in RB Charlie Garner and WR Jerry Rice. Gruden and journeyman QB Rich Gannon had fashioned a short to intermediate passing game which pushed Gannon into the upper echelon of signal callers as the new decade dawned.

Although the Raiders made the postseason for the first time since 1990, then owner Al Davis struggled with Gruden over the offensive philosophy of the team. Davis still wanted the downfield passing approach he had helped pioneer with the Raiders since the 60’s. The problem was he didn’t have “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams receivers nor Mike Martz passing attack he fancied. Davis watched as over in the NFC the Rams and Vikings 1998-2000 were setting league records throwing it deep and making it to Super Bowls.

Everyone had been telling Davis for years the game had passed him by and his system of football was dead. Yet he kept seeing Tory Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Randy Moss and kept envisioning Cliff Branch going deep and wanted it. So the inner struggle within the organization began.

Another struggle that started to surface in the 2001 season was tension between Gruden and some of his veteran players. His “Chucky” act was seeming to wear thin in a veteran laden locker room. That pushy constant grimmacing play to the camera demeanor and personality was coming off phony. To casual fans it wasn’t but long time football observers knew what they were watching. Go back and check the press clippings as the ’01 Raiders limped to the finish with a 3 game losing streak and lost the chance at homefield advantage as they had in 2000. Their reward?? You guessed it… a fateful trip to snowy Foxboro, Massachusetts. “The Tuck Rule” a playoff loss and Gruden became the first coach in modern history to be traded.

All of this was masked when the Buccaneers went on to win Super Bowl XXXVII. Gruden inherited a defense that turned in one of history’s finest performances allowing just 196 points and scoring 9 defensive touchdowns. With all that accidental scoring Gruden’s 2002 Bucs (346 points) barely outscored Tony Dungy’s 2001 Bucs with 324. They did have better play calls in the playoffs but Tampa had grown up and matured and it was just their time.

Ironically for Gruden’s ego and “Chucky” persona he has struggled with strong personalities over extended periods of time. Once the euphoria of the Super Bowl in Tampa  faded they were a struggling 4-6 team the following season when this happened.

Remember a few other run ins with DE Simeon Rice along with finally deactivating Johnson? Now we fast forward with a Gruden 15 years older and he is going to get along with and manage millenials who have their own voice through social media?? Yeah right. Ask middle management America how that is going all across the country. Its the only reason we saw Gruden release P Marquette King when all accounts considered it a surprising release in the middle of June. Has he met outspoken DE/LB Bruce Irvin yet?? He was the first Seattle defender who openly questioned Pete Carroll’s goal line decision after Super Bowl XLIX.

For all his QB guru persona while on ESPN what is lost is how poorly his quarterbacks performed after Rich Gannon. Brian Griese, Tim Rattay, Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski, Luke McCown, then a retread Jeff Garcia and Brad Johnson. Yes he won the Super Bowl with a steady but unspectacular performance not turning the ball over. Yet Johnson was gone within 3 years. Somehow he is thought of as this great QB whisperer. He has one in Derek Carr and hopefully he can help him reach his full potential. Gruden doesn’t do well with young signal callers. Check his record.

Raider fans are praying this is going to work but we’ll see how long this “Chucky” scenario will last. Retread coaches rarely see success in their second tenures to the level of their first stop. Time will tell but The Chancellor of Football doesn’t see it happening.

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The NFL’s New Anthem Policy Is Bullshit

So let me get this straight…. if a player takes a knee during the national anthem his team is assessed a 15 yard penalty before the game even starts?? That is easily the dumbest rule ever passed in the NFL and the owners should be ashamed of themselves.

A sport that has been nearly 70% black since the 1970 merger doesn’t care of the plight of it’s players or what they see in their communities. Nor what they experience. What started out with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality is growing into a watershed moment that hasn’t come to a head yet. He and his teammate S Eric Reid are both unsigned and taking the NFL to court on collusion charges.

Everyday on social media is another post of law enforcement beating, tasing, killing and outright harassing my people at an alarming rate. These racist gestapo tactics have been known in the black community for years, it’s just being recorded for all of America to see. Yet many in white America want to turn a blind eye and make (the protest) seem disrespectful to our military or to our country and defend law enforcement while hiding behind a veil of white privilege.

Why do they kneel?? Go ask a black friend of their experiences with law enforcement.

When it comes to the law enforcement community it has been overtly racist for years in the difference between how blacks are treated vs white. Ironically every one of the altercations you see daily on Facebook and Twitter are unarmed black men being assaulted by 4 or 5 cops every time. Over a tail light… or leaves on their car window or golfing too slow. Yet not one white armed mass shooter has been taken into custody roughed up. Why not?? You’re judge jury and executioner whenever someone black has a tail light out.

When the officer who shot and killed Philando Castille was acquitted Kaepernick was in the spotlight again on police reform when he tweeted:

harkening back to a not to distant past how law enforcement tactics in the U.S. and their treatment of blacks was borne of the old slave patrols. Yet through the years many law enforcement agents were in the KKK. How do we know this?? Fifty years ago J.B. Stoner, Grand Wizard of the KKK, told Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad cryptically ““In the future we would not wear the white robe, or the white hooded sheets, but we will be in the police department, we will be in politics, we will be in the courts”

In the documentary “OJ Made In America” during the 1st part they offered:

 

In 2006 PBS had a special on the FBI as they warned white supremacists had infiltrated all of local law enforcement. Its purpose is to disrupt investigations against their members and to recruit new members. With all of this going on people still want to turn a blind eye to all these racist tactics that go against the freedom we profess to have in the United States. Well unless if you’re black and want to exercise your 1st amendment right and peacefully protest at the beginning of a football game.

In the future when we look back at these tumultuous times we will remember Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid as heroes. They are having to sacrifice the same as Tommie Smith and John Carlos did after their 1968 Olympic protests. In 1964 when the AFL’s black all stars decided to boycott the game in New Orleans and caused the game to be moved to Jeppeson Stadium in Houston. Forgotten is the fact KC Chief RB Abner Haynes & RB Cookie Gilchrist were blackballed after being traded from their teams in the aftermath. In 50 years….nothing has changed.

Malcolm X once opined “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Not here at Taylor Blitz Times… never in a million years. All these owners took a weak way out and got Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins to sell out his brothers to try to quell the protest. Its why Reid and several prominent players walked away from the coalition.

The owners decided to offer money to several charities black players cared about as more hush money than anything else. Now they should have stood by their players causes and they didn’t. Just as nefarious as the concussion settlement of $865 million dollars, its a p.r. move as families of former players have had to fight tooth and nail with their claims. Where the owners could have shed their privilege and used their power to influence societal change. They chose to uphold the status quo.

The best thing all black NFL players should do is all protest and take a knee together at the beginning of this next season. To be forced to stand at the National Anthem seems patriotic until you look up and vendors are still selling concessions while it’s being played. Fans are still walking around the mezzanine so it’s never been about patriotism. Its just a white privilege pivot to not pay attention to these racial atrocities taking place on American streets. If this is the land of the free we’ll find that out when Reid and Kaepernick have their day in court.

Until then lets all take a knee in solidarity.

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The 2017 Taylor Blitz Times Offensive MVP: Carson Wentz

As we near the end of another NFL season, it’s time to hand out the accolades for those players who made the season. For the second straight season the best offensive player didn’t finish the regular stanza. Yet Carson Wentz is deserving of this award as he guided the Philadelphia Eagles to the best record and homefield advantage throughout the 2017 NFC playoffs.

The fact the Eagles are in Super Bowl LII with replacement Nick Foles at QB is a testament to Coach Pederson adjusting the gameplan to their strengths.

Keep in mind Wentz had an All Pro season completing 265 of 440 throws for 3,296 yards 33 TDs to just 7 interceptions while losing a star Tackle in Jason Peters and RB Darren Sproles. He breathed confidence in his offense and during his 11-2 record before his injury, the Eagles had scored 404 points or averaging 31.7 ppg. He finished 2nd in the NFL in touchdown passes to Russell Wilson (34-33) even though he missed the last 3 games. Carson was on pace for 40 TDs and had the Iggles doing the “Electric Slide” at the 2 minute warning with games well in hand.

With all eyes on Wentz he came through in big wins against Carolina and a 51 point outburst on Denver and the “No Fly Zone.” He saved the best for last with the grit he showed against the Rams in the showcase game of the season.

On a late season road trip where many NFL observers still questioned the Eagles legitimacy. Rumblings continued after a 24-10 prime time Sunday night loss in Seattle. The high flying offense which scored over 30 points in 6 of their last 7 games looked overwhelmed that night. Now at 10-2 they had to travel to Los Angeles (9-3) to play another rising team in the Rams. The winner of this game would have to be taken serious with homefield advantage looming.

After spotting the Rams an early 7-0 lead, Wentz took control tossing 3 TDs on 3 straight possessions taking a 24-10 halftime lead.  Wentz injured his knee late in the 3rd quarter when he was sandwiched near the goal line trying to score. Although he tore ligaments in his knee he stayed on the field to throw his 4th TD before giving way to Nick Foles. Carson would finish 23 of 41 for 291 yards 4 TDs out-dueling fellow 2nd year QB Jared Goff in a 43-35 win.

That win helped cement the Eagles belief they could finish off the Rams who rallied furiously in that game. That inspired belief carried the team through the doubters now circling to say the team would lose in the postseason without him. This is what makes an MVP in our eyes and now this team is playing in Super Bowl LII.

Tomorrow the Eagles would have a better chance to win with Wentz on the field, however they wouldn’t have made it there without him. Fly Eagles Fly!

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