Protecting the Horseshoe

An NFL Blog with an Indianapolis Colts Focus

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell: RG3 is Superior to Andrew Luck

I’ve always enjoyed Greg Cosell of NFL Films–particularly on the actual NFL Films blog. I get the feeling he watched a lot of tape and he has a weekly column or two dedicated to the scouting of certain players of interest.

This weekend he became the latest to take to task RG3 vs. Luck, and he says that Robert Griffin III is a bit more toolsy.

I have watched 5 games of both Luck and Griffin, all from their final collegiate season. Is that enough? Some might say yes, others no. Here’s what I saw. Luck ran a very controlled and condensed offense that featured multiple tight end personnel and a high percentage of compressed formations. He had a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage to call plays and make adjustments based on defensive fronts and coverages. That’s an essential attribute as he transitions to the NFL, one that has dramatically increased in importance in the last number of years with the complexity and sophistication of defenses. There’s no question Luck is well ahead of the learning curve in that area.

Folks, he’s just getting started here.

Overall, Luck was not asked to make many tough throws at the intermediate and deeper levels. I did not see those. I will not say he can’t make them, but based on the 5 games I evaluated it’s a projection. In addition, Luck had a tendency to lift his back foot off the ground before releasing the ball. That prevented him from driving through his throws and at times negatively impacted his velocity and accuracy. He would lean over his front foot and push the ball. That can be corrected with coaching and repetition, but it’s a concern that must be addressed.

He also added that Luck was “not a special passer based on film study” and that Luck “was an economical player who was at his best as a timing and rhythm, short to intermediate passer.”

And here’s where it got interesting to a degree, with comparisons to Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, and even the great Peyton Manning sprinkled in.

He is not the same kind of arm talent as Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton. While charting Luck, I was compelled to reflect on Manning. Was Manning a special passer coming out of Tennessee? Most would probably say no. It raises the question: what is the connection between arm talent and high football IQ as it relates to NFL success? We know where it led with Manning. Also remember Peyton’s arm strength increased as played in the NFL.

Cosell then moved on to Griffin, which by the tone of this post you could probably guess he’s very high on.

Griffin predominantly ran a shotgun spread offense with 1 back and 4 wide receivers. What immediately jumped out was arm strength. He had a very compact and easy delivery with natural velocity. There was a snap to his throws.

There were two more aspects of Griffin’s game that Cosell really liked. The first was his patience and composure in the pocket, and the second was his ability to throw from different arm angles (Cosell refers to them as “platforms” and remain accurate.

This is just one man’s opinion that will have no bearing on the selection of these two players, but it makes for an interesting read. Cosell even suggests in the final line of his post that only time will tell who will be the better NFL player. But it’s nonetheless interesting to see the differing opinions pile up before draft day arrives.

And there’s little to no guessing going on as to who the Colts see as having the brighter NFL future.

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March 25, 2012 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts, NFL Draft, NFL Films, Washington Redskins | , , | 1 Comment

Andrew Luck’s Pro Day

This pas Thursday was Andrew Luck’s Pro Day at Stanford. I was at work, watched a lot of the workout on a grainy monitor video view that only allowed me to hear some of Mike Mayock’s comments on NFL Network.

Here’s some cited tidbits that came out the morning of the workout:

“I would think it’s a mere formality,” one scout told me. “I didn’t write him up or study him, but just from crossover tape, you say, ‘Oh my God.’ He can do a lot of things. He can move. He can throw. He’s smart. He’s in a pro-style offense, so there won’t be a big learning curve …”

“He would have to have a catastrophic workout for him not to be the guy, in my opinion,” said a second scout. “The one thing he has to do at his workout in the Colts’ eyes is to come out healthy. That is it. He is easy to scout. He is ready to play now and will play at a high level in a short time.”

And from former scout Russ Lande of the Sporting News and GM Jr.: “I think more than anything, since they are going to both [RGIII] and Luck’s pro days, they want to be sure about Luck’s arm strength as that is a concern amongst some. Other than that, from what I have been told they have already decided on Luck and would only change their mind if something completely unforeseen were to happen.”

Now for the scouting of what I saw.

Effortless throws all throughout the routine. All throws appeared to be crisp spirals. It was a cold and windy day in Palo Alto, and it did not seem to impact on the throws. This would be an added bonus for a Quarterback that is headed to presumably play all home games in a dome.

Luck tossed a few deep balls starting the routine. Still effortless, tight spirals. First throw was a little underthrown, the rest have been in stride and good. He gets it out there effortlessly. The touch throws seem to be the best that he has within his arsenal.

His footwork is tremendous. Also, his ability to dodge the guy with the broom (QB coach George Whitfield) and get back into throwing motion with such quickness is remarkable.

Luck threw one ball to the left while running left and it was spot on. Here’s my favorite throw from the pro day, a 70-yard ball into the wind that was requested by some scouts.

He tallied 46 of 50 completions, and as I said before a few drops were mixed in there.

I thought that Luck showed everything he had to so that people like me and the experts could say that he’s “as advertised”. I also thought that Coby Fleener showed that he should be a 1st round pick (or get heavy consideration for the Colts 2nd round pick if he falls that far).

Here’s a few of the videos from the pro day:

And here’s an interview he did with the ESPN crew immediately following the workout:

March 25, 2012 Posted by | NFL Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

Scout-Speak on Andrew Luck & RGIII

There’s a reason I love this time of year so much. It’s getting to hear scouts talk anonymously about the guys in the draft. I like to dig up this stuff years later and see what was accurate and what was way off. Thanks to Yahoo’s Jason Cole (via Pro Football Talk) we’ve got some good old fashioned pre-combine and pre-draft scout talk.

This time, it’s the declaration that 14 of 15 NFL scouts would take Andrew Luck as the top selection over Robert Griffin III.

Something that echoes what Colin Cowherd has said about Luck for months that I agree with:

” … He can walk in, run a team right now and do enough things that you can play competent, winning football. That’s the worst he’s going to be. He’s going to be a player on your team for 10 years, barring injury, and in this business that’s saying a lot.”

I’ll say this, his floor is probably around the Eli Manning or Tim Couch range. Yes, I can put those two men together because physically I don’t think there was a huge difference but the difference came in team talent around them. His ceiling is probably something similar to Peyton Manning or Joe Montana.

You’re not getting a guy who will bust in the NFL. You’re getting a guy who at the very least is going to allow you to compete every year and a few of those years when the ball bounces your way and you have the right talent around the guy; you’re going to compete for a title.

Sound familiar?

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Andrew Luck, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III | Leave a comment