Category Archives: NFL

NFL articles

Wilson and Kaepernick – Why the Better QB is More at Risk

Wilson and Kaep

By Jim Bearor

Every football fan is pretty familiar with Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, and how similar they seem to be.

Almost everyone has seen the Madden 25 commercials, where the two young stars are made out to be lifelong pals who are always competing in a buddy-buddy way. To clear things up, that was just a commercial and there is no real-life relationship between the two outside of their budding rivalry.

There is no doubting their parallels on the field, though. Both are young, very talented quarterbacks who were lucky enough to fall into the situations they have.  There might not be any better surrounding casts in the NFL than the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks – both teams are stacked across the board, so the developing quarterback doesn’t have to be the hero all the time.

Wilson is about 5 inches shorter than Kaepernick, and doesn’t have the same incredible arm strength, but he has this innate understanding of the game of football that helps him compensate for that physical advantage – for example, he is a bit less trigger happy to tuck the ball and run, he instead uses his legs to create plays in the passing game. Kaepernick is a hair faster than Wilson, but not enough to set him apart (Wilson’s 40-yard-dash at the Combine: 4.55; Kaepernick’s: 4.53).

            They lead different personal lives as well, although they are made out to be different versions of the same person by much of the media.

 Russell is married, leads a low-profile lifestyle, and is very humble and grounded (just watch how he acts when he isn’t taking the snap). 

Colin seems to have a very different persona, he is single and often out with friends and just doing what one might expect from a young celebrity.  He is more energetic and outgoing with his emotions (he has his own touchdown celebration, if that says anything), but – to this point – has stayed out of trouble.

            What I take from all of this is that Russell Wilson – appearing to be the more focused and mature of the two – has the mental makeup of a successful NFL quarterback more so than Colin Kaepernick does.  If you haven’t noticed by now, if I had my choice between the two, I would go with Wilson.  However, if I had to pick the team that is more conducive to the success of a young quarterback, I’d definitely go with the 49ers.

            Although the Seahawks and 49ers are not so different in their makeup – both great defensively and in the running game – I would argue that Kaepernick is in a better situation, because it’s tougher for opposing teams to put pressure on him. 

San Francisco’s offensive line is what really sets them apart from most other teams in the league.  I’m not talking in terms of pass protection necessarily, but the holes that are opened up for Frank Gore do wonders in slowing down the pass rush of the opponent.  San Fran runs more than any team in the NFL, and because of this, the defense makes stopping the ground game its primary focus. Now, when Kaepernick works the play action – something he does very well – the defense is more off-balance than usual. Another advantage for Colin is a talented group of pass-catchers, especially now that Crabtree is healthy. With Crabtree, Boldin, and Davis all on the field, anyone could be the primarty target on any given play.

While the “Legion of Boom” will likely handle this trio effectively, they will be put at a disadvantage by the mismatches created by the running game.

Russell Wilson is handing the ball off to the more talented running back, but he doesn’t have the same caliber line as that of Kaepernick.  Also, his best receivers are currently Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, instead of Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin – assuming Harvin is still concussed.  It also should be mentioned that this depleted Seahawks offense has to deal with the best front 7 in football, so the pressure will always be on.

Wilson has been vulnerable as of late, and his stats have suffered. In Seattle’s last 5 games, Wilsons Total QBR has fallen from 67.5 (above average) to 30.4 (significantly below average) and on average, he is holding on to the football for nearly a half-second more than usual.  Even though Wilson is a quarterback who tends to extend plays longer than most, this statistic shows that he is having difficulty finding open receivers.  You can only draw a play out for so long before the defense catches up to you.

So what I think I’m trying to get at here is that if the two were in a vacuum, I would pick Russell Wilson. But that isn’t the case, and Kaepernick is more set up for success with all things accounted for.  It is going to be much more difficult for Wilson to have a standout performance than his counterpart, but who knows, this is the NFL we’re talking about and the avid fan knows to expect the unexpected.


Some links I reference about the two quarterbacks:


McAdoo Signing Signals New Era for Giants Offense

McAdoo 1

by Jim Bearor

     Eli Manning and the Giants offense were very, very bad last season.  The Giants just signed Ben McAdoo to a two-year contract to become the team’s offensive coordinator.  Ben McAdoo has been the Quarterbacks Coach of the Green Bay Packers for the past two years, and has been working under Mike McCarthy for the past seven years.  Despite injuries at the position, the quarterback play for the Packers this season was very good.  Aaron Rodgers is a very, very good quarterback.

     These are all facts.  But anything that is said or heard about the move before McAdoo and the Giants take the field is merely projection or speculation.

     That being said, I have a very good feeling about this.  Like, a REALLY good feeling about this.

     Those who know me know how much I despised the play calling of Kevin Gilbride.  Since 2004 – so, since Eli Manning has been in the NFL – Kevin Killdrive has been pulling the strings on an offense that was conservative, predictable, and most irritating of all, underperforming.  No other playcaller that I know of would consistently call a run on first down, second and long, and then call a draw on third and long.  As a Giants fan, Gilbride’s offense was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching – and that includes the Tiki Barber fumbling years, the tipped ball interceptions, and Bill Sheridan’s defense (if you can even call it that).

     But finally, the pain is gone.  Even if the Giants don’t come close to resembling the offensive juggernaut that Green Bay has been in these past few years, us fans can rest easy knowing that we won’t always know what play is coming – and hopefully opposing defenses won’t either – before the huddle even breaks.

     McAdoo has already said that he wants to completely change how the offense operates.

     “We’re going to be an up-tempo, attacking-style offense,” he said. “We’re going to play with good energy. And we’re going to rely on fundamentals.”

     Everything in that statement is reason for excitement among New Yorkers, even though no tangible results have been produced yet. For years and years, I know many of us have been waiting to see what Eli can do in a more aggressive offense.  Excluding this atrocity of a season, the offense looks like a completely different animal when Manning is working the 2-minute offense and calling the plays at the line. And of course, relying on fundamentals – like the quarterback and wideouts being on the same page about how a route is supposed to be run – is an obvious need for this team.

     I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Eli needs “fixing”, but he sure as hell needs something.  I can’t put this disappointing season solely on his shoulders, because his line was practically non-existent, and the lack of chemistry with his receivers is a shared problem.  That being said, something didn’t seem right with Eli this year, he didn’t look like the same player he has been throughout his career, whether it is a mechanical issue or a problem with reading defenses.

     Whatever it is, I have to believe that Coach McAdoo will bring something to the table to help.  After all, he is a quarterbacks coach, right?  I’m not going to be naïve and assume that this change will answer all the problems for the New York Giants, but it’s nice to know that whatever we see on the field in 2014-15, it isn’t going to be the same stale, ineffective product as years past.



New England: The Land of Misfit Wide Receivers

 Brady and Edelman

by Jim Bearor

One of my favorite football clichés is the quarterback who makes everyone around him better.  I love this because everyone eats it up and writes up great seasons by no-name receivers as just a product of the guy throwing them the ball.

Sometimes this isn’t the case, but when someone like T.Y. Hilton has a breakout year, Andrew Luck gets credit.  The biggest example of this in the league right now has to be Julian Edelman, Tom Brady’s newest small athletic white passcatcher.  Coming into the year, many thought Danny Amendola would fill that void left by Wes Welker, but apparently not.  However, in a parallel universe where Edelman doesn’t exist, I’d bet that Amendola is the guy that hauled in 100 passes this year.

What I’m trying to say is: Maybe Wes Welker isn’t as special as Belichick and Brady made him look.  Maybe any shifty little slot receiver that is smart enough to understand the offense can have success in New England.  After all, Tom Brady deserves most of the credit for all of these catches being made by his not-so-talented teammates, right?

Yeah, probably. Outside of Randy Moss for a brief time, Brady has never had one of those wide receivers that commentators and fans marvel at the second he steps on the field.

            A Patriots Christmas Story

It might be hard to visualize this because of the lifestyle he lives outside of the lines, but think of Tom Brady as the kid who never got the Xbox or laptop for Christmas.

 He’s the kid that got very little and never complained. Tom’s toys might be a set of Lincoln Logs, a ball in a cup, and maybe an old dog from the local pound if he was lucky, yet he played with them in such a way that made every kid on the block jealous. 

These toys were certainly not broken, but they weren’t as big and shiny as the holiday season’s top sellers.  For a while, people might have thought that all of these things were diamonds in the rough, toys that would look great in anybody’s hands if they knew where to look for them.  But as time passed, and Tom gave his toys to the other kids and had just as much fun with the “new” things he was picking up from the Salvation Army, everyone else realized what had been happening all along – Tom made his toys look better than they really were.

This little story – as cheesy and stupid as it is – is exactly what has been happening in New England for upwards of 10 years.  Papa Belichick never spoiled his kid, but he never needed to, because Tom Brady was raised the right way in a great home.

While Wes Welker might not be a ball-in-a-cup, and Julian Edelman would surely be upset if he heard me comparing him to a set of Lincoln Logs, it should be clear to everyone what is going on with the Patriots – Tom Brady is making the best of his surroundings, and everyone else is benefitting from this.

Lincoln Logs and Ball-in-a-Cup

On a slightly different page, let’s compare “Lincoln Logs” with “Ball-in-a-Cup.” How special is Wes Welker in everyone’s eyes now that Edelman has done a great job in his old role with New England?

            Well, Wes has shown that his career with the Patriots wasn’t a fluke – he’s having a respectable season in Denver, considering the level of talent above him on the depth chart.  He caught 73 balls for 778 yards and 10 TDs, and he is always an option out of the slot for Peyton Manning.

            Edelman though, brought in 105 catches for 1,056 yards and 6 touchdowns.  These numbers are not so dissimilar, but they show that Edelman played a bigger role in his offense.  In fact, he played a different role than Wes did when he was with the Pats.

            We all know that both of these guys have abilities that are conducive to being a slot receiver: they are small, shifty, and good at finding a zone’s soft spot.  What isn’t so commonly known is that Julian Edelman only played the slot position 49 percent of the time that he was on the field, compared to Welker’s 84 percent (Pro Football Focus). 

You might say that it would be foolish to put Welker anywhere else outside of the slot, especially when those spots are occupied by bigger, stronger wideouts with better hands like Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas – and you would be right.  But the point I’m making is if that Edelman is filling Welker’s shoes and then some, doesn’t that diminish Wes’ perceived value?

If I had to pick one of the two to be on my team right now, I would go with Edelman.   He can play outside the hashmarks, he has proven that he has a great understanding of the game – he made a great transition from college quarterback to professional wide receiver – and I have more faith in him catching a ball for my team in a big spot.

But then again, nobody bothers comparing Lincoln Logs with a Ball-in-a-Cup.  We like talking about the shiny things.