If you’ve ever been fixed up with someone, and the person fixing you up says, “(She or He) has a great personality!” you know it’s time to sprint in the other direction.
Not so with quarterbacks.
The Indianapolis Colts were fixed up with Andrew Luck, and he has a great personality. Ditto for Robert Griffin III, in a relationship with the Washington Redskins. And also Russell Wilson, in the embrace of the Seattle Seahawks.
Luck has an excellent arm and all the intangibles. RGIII can throw and run in a dynamic and productive manner. Wilson is only 5-11, but he plays big in big moments.
But the common thread is personality. Listen to them talk. They’re upbeat, positive, confident, convincing, humble, determined and supportive. If they were politicians, you’d campaign for them.
Is personality that important? Well, yes, but everything else has to be there as well. The arm. An understanding of how to read defenses. The ability to stay calm in the midst of a pass rush. Durability. Accuracy.
But a lot of players have those things, and yet they have the personality of a turnip. That doesn’t radiate leadership.
Somebody should take snippets of press conferences involving Luck, Griffin and Wilson and make a video out of them. I bet it would sell.
Can’t anybody tell time anymore?
At the end of the Alabama-Georgia game, with nine seconds left, Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray — who did an otherwise terrific job of leading his team downfield for a possible winning score — should have spiked the football to stop the clock. Instead, he threw to a receiver in the flat, who caught it, but time ticked away and ‘Bama prevailed.
I know college football teams practice a lot of things. Do they practice clock management? I believe some do, but it’s similar to special teams. Some programs put a premium on special teams play, and it shows in games. In others, it’s an afterthought, and that shows as well.
But good clock management doesn’t just require preparation. It needs smart, savvy, poised leaders, on the field and on the sideline.
I think Georgia’s Murray is one of those. But he blew it Saturday. With only nine seconds left, stopping the clock becomes a priority over the number of downs you have. Obviously. Yet it wasn’t obvious enough apparently.
Kiffin should have done a better job of assessing the situation against Notre Dame. He’s an intelligent human, but he went dumb there.
You see it in countless other college and NFL games. It’s the most important area of study that teams pay the least attention to. And it shows. On the scoreboard.
Here's a thought: Don't fire Andy Reid
Here’s an outrageous, preposterous suggestion for the Philadelphia Eagles that will be met with cries of “What?!” and “Are you crazy?!” and maybe even “What planet are you from?!”:
Keep Andy Reid.
I know Reid is considered the lamest of ducks in Philly, the fall guy for everything that has gone wrong with the ballyhooed yet woeful Eagles. But Reid is not the problem.
Michael Vick was a major part of the problem, even though he had little protection or help. He’s just finished as an effective NFL quarterback. In Atlanta, pre-dog fighting scandal, he was a wondrous circus act who could dazzle you with his ability to run. Now he’s just a shell of that, and a turnover machine to boot.
But the Eagles have been ripped lately for lack of interest, although they seemed perkier in Sunday night’s loss to the Cowboys. Such desultory play isn’t always because guys are dogs. It’s often because players have little faith in their team’s fortunes because they see how awful the quarterbacking is.
With Foles and breakout running back Bryce Brown, however, there is now hope around that team, even though the Eagles have dropped a completely unacceptable eight straight.
If Reid is let go, the Eagles will be firing one of the best coaches in the NFL, who will snag a new job almost immediately – if he wants one and doesn’t need a break from the strain of it all. The Eagles, conversely, will be trying out somebody new, and there’s no guarantee that person will thrive in that hostile environment.
Memo to Eagles: Keep Andy Reid. Lose some other people.
Lakers are blowing it with Gasol
Again, perception is everything. And in the case of Pau Gasol, it’s also his career.
Right now, Gasol is a missing person in the Lakers’ offense under Mike D’Antoni. He’s getting ripped by fans and media for ineffective play. He’s being benched by his coach. Kobe Bryant even came out and told Pau to “put his big boy pants on.” I assume he meant big boy short pants, but you get the idea.
Yet if you plucked Gasol out of the Lakers’ lineup and placed him in a situation where he would be either the first or second option with another club, he would be a superstar again. He would be the player the Lakers were so thrilled to obtain in the first place from the Memphis Grizzlies. He would be the man who helped lead them to two titles.
He’s still one of the best players in the world. He showed it in the Olympics last summer, as he almost led Spain to an upset of the latest U.S. dream team.
But right now, because he’s struggling to find his role in D’Antoni’s up-tempo scheme, he’s a lost soul, an overrated softie. And that’s silly.
If the Lakers can’t figure out a way to get the most out of him, they should definitely trade him. But they should also be warned: Wherever he goes, they’re bound to develop a completely different perception of him than the one they have now.
A game of pepper
Michael Ventre is a regular contributor to NBCSports.com. Follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelVentre44
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