Monday, April 23, 2007

Anthony Morelli spells "football" with extra quotation marks

Today's victim comes to us from State College, Pennsylvania, where the local paper has created scores of blogs, most of them authored by you, the general public. It's enough to make Colin Cowherd throw up in his mouth.

But wait! Before you dismiss these blogs as populist garbage, perhaps there's someone who posts on here who knows a little something about sports, or is a football expert or something. Work is really boring, and I could really go for some well-written, insightful football analysis right now. What have you got for me, Ben Goldberg-Morse?

We all know that quarterback is the most mentally challenging position on the entire football field. He has to have the demeanor of both a coach and a leader, needs to inspire confidence in all of his teammates, needs to make the right decisions and be smart both on and off the field. Even for a quarterback who brings the total physical package to the table, it is not enough.

I guess this will do just as well.
Forget about physical tools. They don't mean as much as the intangibles, right? That's why Doug Flutie is the single greatest quarterback of all-time, and Vince Young is a fad, like snap bracelets. Intelligence is something you like to see in most human beings, but it's not necessary to excel in certain professions, one of which is football. Granted, football players have a lot to learn, regardless of position -- even offensive linemen have to learn blocking schemes, and that can be especially difficult playing for a team like the Steelers, whose blocking schemes have been unusually complex for the last ten or so years. But are we to believe that a quarterback is better-served to be smart than physically gifted?

Look, it's no secret that Vince Young isn't the sharpest spoon in the spoon cabinet, but he's got the makings and the look of an excellent quarterback. I wouldn't trust him to house-sit for me while I went on vacation to Italy, I wouldn't trust him to cook a spinach and feta omlette without burning my kitchen to the ground, and I probably wouldn't let him help my hypothetical children with book reports. But everything I've ever read about or seen from Vince Young leads me to believe that he's got an incredibly bright future as an NFL quarterback.
The point is, while it certainly helps to be smart, plenty of really dumb guys are good quarterbacks. Terry Bradshaw -- he's pretty dumb. I don't know anyone who looks at Ben Roethlisberger and thinks, "now there's a guy who's got something going on upstairs." Chad Pennington does a pretty good job, and he seems to inspire his teammates despite being a blithering idiot.

How will physically dominant players like Jeff George or Ryan Leaf be remembered? I, for one, will only remember them as quarterbacks who were perfect from the neck down, but just couldn't cut it psychologically, and it ruined any chance of success.

Ryan Leaf was a physically dominant quarterback.

Ryan Leaf couldn't win games because he was too focused on his pre-game routine of physically dominating Chargers' groupies and the occasional homeless man. Ryan Leaf skipped team meetings to drive around San Diego and beat up nuns. Ryan Leaf challenged each of his teammates and every member of the Chargers' press corps to the "Feats of Strength" after practice every day.

I don't know how Jeff George got lumped in here. George was actually a pretty servicable NFL quarterback for a very long time -- he even led the league in passing yards once, and regularly finished in the top-10 in completions, touchdowns and adjusted yards per pass. He had a reputation for being a huge whiner, and he definitely got June Jones fired in Atlanta, but he was nowhere near the egregious waste of space that Ryan Leaf was.

Comparing Jeff George to Ryan Leaf is like comparing Jeff King to Bobby Bradley.

While Penn State starting quarterback Anthony
Morelli doesn't appear to have the attitude problems that plagued George and Leaf, I fear the worst for him; I really don't think he's up to the task of making effective decisions within the current offensive system to lead this football team to greatness.

Now, we're into the meat of the argument! Anthony Morelli is Penn State's starting quarterback -- a Penn Hills product who just about scored his weight on the SATs. Remember, intelligence isn't essential for a good quarterback, it certainly helps -- especially if you're not the most mobile of signal-callers. Peyton Manning? Not so mobile, but great at reading defenses and calling plays. He's a smart quarterback. Vince Young? Still learning to read defenses, but his right arm is a surface-to-air missile launcher and he can always beat you by running. Anthony Morelli has a fantastic arm, but he's easily confused by all the moving parts, and wouldn't be much less mobile if chained to a flagpole. He's a yinzer Patrick Ramsey.

I've already tempered my expectations for him -- he has a great set of receivers to throw to, and will be successful if he can only perform at an "effective" level, I'm not even asking him to be "good."

I'm not even going to "try" to justify Ben's use of "quotation marks" here, because I don't "understand" it. It "makes" no "sense."

How a quarterback can attempt 386 passes in a season and only 11 touchdowns boggles my mind.

Anthony Morelli is a bad quarterback.

You'd think, from looking at that statistic, that he's a dink-and-dunk passer, a Rich Gannon/Chad Pennington type who effectively throws short patterns. God, I actually wish that was the case.

Anthony Morelli is a bad quarterback.

He completes a very low number of his passes, and seems to force the ball into coverage when it is totally unnecessary.

Anthony Morelli is a bad quarterback.
And he's about to get worse, as Ben Goldberg-Morse "explains":

The problem is, he holds the key to Penn State's success in 2007, and he doesn't have [running back Tony] Hunt to rely on anymore. He also doesn't have All-American left tackle Levi Brown protecting his blind side, and as such, he will undoubtedly face an even stronger pass rush this season than last.

Right. So without question, this guy is going to be worse than he was last year. His supporting cast isn't as good as it was, and even if you factor in maturation, Morelli clearly doesn't have the tools to succeed, as evidenced by his numbers from last year, his third season in the system:
208-of-386 (53.9%), 2, 424 yards , 11 TD, 8 INT, 19 sacks for -165 yards, -88 rushing yards.

Hopefully tomorrow's Blue/White game will mark the first public display of Morelli's turnaround

Despite losing every decent member of his supporting cast, having no discernable ability to read defenses or consistently throw a football with any measure of accuracy, a stragely under-developed sense of depth, a tendency to be distracted by movements and shiny things, an inability to properly spell his own name and agility that makes him look like he's trying to jog while wearing cement shoes, Anthony Morelli should absolutely turn around his career in tomorrow's intraquad game. It's gonna happen. I can feel it.


Unknown said...

Okay, but ripping a Penn State sophomore for being a lousy writer is like blasting Morelli for being a bad "quarterback." It's not this kid's fault you have unfair expectations of him. Like literacy.

Matt said...

I was feeling snarky today.

Unknown said...

Does CDT have a cow tipping expert?
Not like when my friend James goes to State College, gets hammered and hooks up with overweight girls, and refers to the activity as "cow tipping," but an actual expert on the unbalancing of bovine beasts? Cuz if there's a vacancy, I bet this guy can move up into that position.

Ben Goldberg-Morse said...

Hey, I'm Ben, the guy that writes the blog for the the way, Morelli didn't look great, but he did look a little more comfortable in the Blue/White game than he did last season. If I might defend myself for a moment, I wasn't comparing Jeff George to Ryan Leaf, I was comparing Morelli to that type of quarterback -- someone with all the physical tools for greatness, but for some reason has a mental block that doesn't allow him to realize his potential. While George was a good quarterback in the league for a few years, and a mediocre journeyman for a few more, there is no question that he had everything going for him, but was mentally unable to reach his peak. Thanks for reading and responding to my piece -- keep on doing what you're doing man.

P.S. I'm not really sure what the quotation marks were all about, but I'd bet I had a good reason for using them at the time.