Cold Outings for the Colts

  1. Before the season started, many viewed the Colts as a potential Super Bowl contender. Their offseason acquisitions (Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, etc.) were viewed as great moves.
  2. Last 2/3 years, the Colts defense was the weak link, not offense. Thus, in my opinion, they should have used more resources to improve the defense.
  3. And here they are at 0-2 start. But don’t hit the panic button yet. Colts faced 2 very good defenses in the 1st 2 games. First one was against the Buffalo Bills, which is well-coached by Rex Ryan. And in game 2 they faced the Jets who are possibly going to be the best defense this year’s NFL. Revis and Cromertie, arguably the best Defensive Back duos, came back to the team during the offseason.
  4. The schedule is going to be much easier. They are facing 3 divisional opponents (Titans, Jaguars, and Texans) in the next 3 games. Therefore, by week 5, they have a good chance of improving to 3-2.
  5. Week 6 to 10 will be tough again. They will be playing the Patriots, Saints, Panthers, Broncos, and Falcons during that stretch. Out of these games, they may be able to win 2 games. Thus their record will be 5-5.
  6. Out of the last 6 games of the season, they’ll face 2 tough teams: Steelers and Miami. Thus they can possibly bag 4/5 wins, and by the end of the season, their record could improve to 9-7 or 10-6.
  7. This should be enough to win the weak AFC South division.

Quarterback Options for the Dallas Cowboys

  1. Tony Romo got hurt today in the 2nd week of the 2015 NFL season. It’s the same shoulder that he broke before and he won’t probably be back in 8-10 weeks. The question is who should the Cowboys bring in?
  2. Brandon Weeden, the only other QB on the roster right now is average at best. He shows flashes of brilliance on occasion, but he cannot carry the team. Add to the fact that Dez Bryant, their number one receiver is also going to be out for 8-10 weeks.
  3. Kellen Moore (former Boise State) and Jameill showers are the QBs in practice squad. Following QB names are being mentioned too: Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell, RGIII, and Josh Freeman.
  4. Kellen Moore has good accuracy, but has serious issues with deep balls. However, his ability to pick up the Dallas offense is a question. Jameill Showers never really got into the limelight. He was thought to be big prospect with golden arm before he  backed up Tannehill and Manziel at Texas A&M. He later transferred to UTEP and played a few good games (at least 2 games with 4+ TDs). However, it is difficult to evaluate him on how NFL ready he is.
  5. Out of the available QB on the market, Campbell is already (early) retired and it is uncertain how good of a football shape he is in right now.
  6. Redskins will not let RGIII go to the division rival. So he’s out of the question too.
  7. Josh Freeman proved that he has difficulty picking up new offenses. Several teams kicked the tire on him before cutting him in  a short period of time. So he is not a going to be a wise option either.
  8. I like Matt Flynn the most. I think he can hold it up for a few wins before Romo comes back to the field. He saved Packers season couple of years ago when Rodgers got hurt.
  9. Flynn also showed he can adopt new offense pretty quickly and is already used to being a journeyman. Flynn should be signed immediately and put as Weeden’s backup for now. Let him learn the offense next couple of weeks, and if Weeden is struggling still struggling by that time, put Flynn in.

Kaepernick Can Throw

  1. This is interesting: Last year I wanted to write a blog about how Kaepernick’s throws had no touch. His fast balls were pretty difficult for his WRs to catch.
  2. To top all, he had significant weakness in reading defenses. If his 1st read was not there, he couldn’t progress through his 2nd/3rd.
  3. A big part of me thought, since the defenses already had figured out how to contain the running QBs, Kaepernick was going to be out of the league this year.
  4. Well, I watched the 2015 Week 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and I changed my mind already. His throws and mechanics seemed significantly improved with great touch with nice trajectory. His balls were spinning well. No more fast balls!
  5. Many players (i.e. Tim Tebow) talk about getting offseason helps, but it really doesn’t reflect during regular season. Looks like Kaepernick put in some work and it showed. Kudos to him.

Where’s Hoyer’s Confidence?

  1. The morning after week 1 game where Hoyer was relieved towards the end in favor of Mallet, Coach Bill O’Brian was asked who the week 2 starting QB would be. His response was, he would reveal that next Sunday.
  2. Coach O’Brian is very familiar with both QBs. He coached them in New England. He coached Mallett last year in Houston before they signed Hoyer this offseason. After watching both QBs during the offseason, his careful evaluation was to go with Hoyer.
  3. After so many weeks (and years) of observation and thoughts you decided to go with Hoyer. You should give him at least a few more weeks. What could’ve changed in just one week of play? What kind of message does that convey to other players and the organization? What would people think of his judgement?
  4. Any QB can have a bad day, but Hoyer didn’t throw 4 INTs. If you take out that pick 6 in the opening drive, I didn’t think his performance was that bad. That’s how he normally plays. That doesn’t mean you lose your confidence in your QB. This is not a confidence booster for the QB.
  5. What did Coach O’Brian expect, a 4 TD performance from Hoyer? Coach should’ve known better because he saw how average of a QB he was with the Cleveland Browns last year.
  6. Hoyer didn’t help much of his case during the presser. He said he had felt like he let the entire organization down. No. He should’ve said, “I made a mistake and I’ll correct them in the next game with more preparation.”
  7. Mallett, by the way, played pretty good and led the offense down the field to score a TD. He did show a good command over the offense in his limited outing last year before getting injured.
  8. Mallett showed some real passion for the game after Hoyer was proclaimed starter. He was so upset, that he missed practice next morning (rumor has it he overslept). This proved he had a feel of ownership for the team which is important for a QB.

Rams Found Their Franchise Quarterback

  1. What a win for the Rams and Nick Foles! Nick Foles is for real. He took total control of the offense and spread the ball all around like a veteran pocket passer. So far the Rams seem to be the winner of the big offseason trade. That doesn’t mean the Eagles lost in the trade though. Win-win trades do exist!
  2. Foles did not do anything extra ordinary. He played his normal game. He made a lot of screen passes, he connected on some medium to deep balls, and overall, he did a great job of finding open receivers.
  3. Nick Foles got a lot of help from his WRs and RBs. There were not many drops and Benny Cunningham did an awesome job running the ball all game long. Also the fact that Seattle played without Kam Chancellor helped too.
  4. Tavon Austin showed again how big of a playmaker he is. It is still a mystery to me why the Rams didn’t use him more often in his 1st 2 years with the team.

Akhter’s Laws of NFL Draft

Introduction:

History repeats itself. Every year, during NFL draft time, teams make the same mistakes. Therefore, I put together 9 laws of drafting that will help teams avoid disastrous drafts. First 4 laws provide guideline to be followed on draft day while the others focus on pre-draft evaluation of players.

Akhter’s Laws of NFL Draft:

Here are the Akhter’s Laws of NFL Draft

1.    Always draft the best player available at your position and work on depth.

2.    Avoid trades. If you have to, never sell the farm.

3.    Don’t be shortsighted in your draft strategy.

4.    Don’t draft out of desperation.

5.    Avoid kids from good football programs.

6.    If a player is injury-prone, he’s probably going to be injury-prone.

7.    Pro day performance or lack of it may not mean a lot.

8.    Don’t put too much importance on size and physical tools.

9.    Avoid players with drug or ego issues

Akhter’s 1st Law of NFL Draft: Always Draft the Best Player Available at Your Position and Work on Depth

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day. This law is very religiously followed by Green Bay Packers. They always draft the best players available and it automatically builds depth in different position. Drafting Eddie Lacy is a classic example of the Packers staying put and taking the best player available at that time. Raiders’ discovery of Derek Carr is the best example successful application of this law.

Akhter’s 2nd Law of NFL Draft: Avoid Trades. If You Have to, Never Sell the Farm

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day. Classic example of selling the farm is the RGIII trade by the Washington Redskins. There are many other examples, especially by the Buffalo Bills in recent times. Drafting of both EJ Manuel and Sammy Watkins required trading up and those picks were not as expected. Cleveland Browns violated this law when they drafted Trent Richardson and Johnny Manziel in recent drafts.

Akhter’s 3rd Law of NFL Draft: Don’t be Shortsighted in Your Draft Strategy

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day. Don’t think just because last year’s draft strategy worked, it will be the same this year. A lot of times if there was a good WR class in last year (i.e. 2014 draft, people tend to pick more WRs in next year (i.e. 2015 class).

Akhter’s 4th Law of NFL Draft: Don’t Draft out of Desperation

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day.  Especially QBs and RBs. Classic examples: Jake Locker, RG3, Trent Richardson. NFL may be overwhelming for them. May be too much pressure on the kid. Never draft a RB high either.

Akhter’s 5th Law of NFL Draft: Avoid Kids from Good Football Programs

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Chances are the players from good programs probably have reached their peaks. Plus they probably looked good because of their good teammates and good coaching.

Akhter’s 6th Law of NFL Draft: If a Player is Injury-Prone, He’s Probably Going to be Injury-Prone

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Jake Locker, Sam Bradford, RGIII – all were injury-prone in college and so are they now.

Akhter’s 7th Law of NFL Draft: Pro Day Performance or Lack of it may not Mean a Lot

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Tom Brady was horrible during pro day while Jamarcus Russell tore it up.

Akhter’s 8th Law of NFL Draft: Don’t Put too much Importance on Size and Physical Tools

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Russell Wilson and Drew Brees both lacked height. Brent Grime is too small to play the CB position. Blaine Gabbert had all the physical tools, but no success in NFL. Teams should put more emphasis on skills, body language, drive, etc.

Akhter’s 9th Law of NFL Draft: Avoid Players with Drug or Ego Issues

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Josh Gordon is a classic example. So is Johnny Manziel (well, it’s too early to say though).

Quarterback911: Nick Foles Is Legit

1. I read an article yesterday where the author described how miserable Nick Foles was against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 1 of the 2014 season. The author also suggested that despite Nick Foles’s poor performance, the Eagles ended up with a win because of Chip Kelly’s brilliant offense and support system. My question is: Who was Chip Kelly before he was forced to start Foles over Vick? Where was his offensive schemes and so called support system?

2. Kelly took forever to evaluate his QBs back in 2013. After his thorough and careful evaluation throughout the offseason, his well-thought (?) decision was to go with Vick. How great was he in identifying the right talent?

3. This particular author also had mentioned that Foles had one bad game against Dallas last year and he looked terrible in that game. Seriously? One bad game out of the season? You know what, I’ll take one bad game (and fifteen good games) a season any day. Needless to mention that some thought he might have had a concussion early in that game.

4. Nick Foles is a legit QB. He has everything you want in a QB. He has the poise, he has the pocket presence, he can read the defense, he can make a quick decision, he understands the route concepts, he knows which receivers are open even though they looks covered, he knows where to put the ball for his receiver to catch it easily, and he has the perfect zip in the ball. How many quarterbacks in today’s day and time have all this?

5. He’s not the most athletic guy on the field. We are spoilt these days. We want a QB to both beat with the leg and the arm. We want them to be athletic. Please stop! A real quarterback doesn’t have to be a running guy. A guy who plays with head does not have to run! I promise you, good things don’t happen when your QB wants to run.

6. A good QB creates receivers. Who heard of Riley Cooper before Nick Foles took over? Who are Greg Jennings or Laurent Robinson without Rodgers or Romo? Nick Foles created Riley Cooper. He owes it big time to Foles. Also, watch out for break-out seasons from a few more no-name Eagles receivers this 2014 season.

7. The quarterback should help his receivers help him. Give them a catchable ball, they will catch it for you. Hit him on the stride. Spot the ball right at his bread-basket. Nick Foles is your guy for all this.

8. Remember, Nick Foles finished the 2013 regular season with 27 TD, 2 INT and a season leading 119.0 passer rating and third in NFL history! He was a pro-bowl offensive MVP. Nick Foles doubters, please beware! He’s here to stay. He is legit. His last year’s stats were no fluke. Watch for him to have a similar, if not better, performance in the 2014 season.