The week ahead

Tomorrow I’ll be flying back to Vancouver for a week, this will include a flying visit to Seattle for the Seahawks/Bengals game on Sunday. I’m hoping to keep the blog ticking over as usual, but if it’s a little slower over the next seven days you’ll know why. I’ve programmed the Stanford vs USC game to record and also the Oklahoma vs Kansas State game, but hopefully I’ll arrive in Canada in time to watch both.

For now, here’s tape on a couple of defensive lineman (thanks to Mario_clp) – Brandon Thompson (DT, Clemson) and Kendall Reyes (DT, Connecticut).


  1. Michael (CLT)

    So. This will not be a popular comment. And it is off topic. Thus, it is doubly poor in taste. That said, I feel compelled.

    Matt Barkley is the reincarnation of Jimmy Clausen. Same bad athletic skills. Same lack of arm strength. Same dependence on wide outs to make you better than you are.

    Matt Barkley will not declare.

    Matt Barkley = Jimmy Clausen.

    I hope like hell I am wrong.

    • Rob

      Hi Michael,

      With respect, I disagree strongly with that comparison. I was one of Clausen’s biggest critics – even at a time when many people had him pegged as a possible #1 overall pick. When I watched Clausen he just looked like a completely limited player. The Weis offense in college has provided two high profile yet completely mediocre players who both struggled entering the pro’s, and it’s obvious to me why that’s the case. There are so many high percentage throws that require no diagnosis or reads – Clausen would often snap and fire to either Golden Tate or Michael Floyd. He had a good grasp of play action, but that was just about the only positive I could think of. Technically he was poor (low release, lots of batted passes at the LOS) he threw almost exclusively off his back foot beyond an intermediate level and lost an awful lot of velocity because of it. He was severely limited in terms of mobility in the pocket. His deep ball was poor and not being a great technical player, his lack of elite physical qualities were exposed.

      I see why people make the comparison to Barkley. They’re both similar in terms of size, both California guys. There are a lot of screens and high percentage passes in the USC offense. Both players are strong in play action. However, aside from hair color that’s pretty much where the comparison ends for me. Barkley is vastly superior as a technical passer in terms of mechanics, decision making and ability to improvise. Jimmy Clausen was never taking a snap, making three quick reads and still devilering the ball to a primary receiver not the checkdown option. Barkley does that consistently and in a fashion I’ve not seen from any other college QB. He’s surprisingly shifty in the pocket and can move, but he’s also so aware of not only his timing but also sensing pressure. His footwork is first class and he has the ability to avoid pressure with one step up into the pocket when other QB’s would make life difficult scrambling around or in Landry Jones’ case – just take the sack.

      Barkley hasn’t got elite arm strength, but it’s more than good enough and through his mechanics he gets more out of his arm despite his limitations. His release is superb, quick and over the top and I don’t see anywhere near as many batted passes – it’s like night and day. This is a much more complex offense, and it’s a system that Barkley has mastered on the run. He’s shown true development over three years – this isn’t a flash in the pan one year wonder like Clausen’s one good year at Notre Dame.

      As far as I’m concerned, there’s absolutely light years between the two. Barkley has elite potential and could be another Matt Ryan at the next level – not dominating but ultimately capable of managing an offense with high field intelligence and execution. Any team in the NFL without a franchise quarterback would love to have Matt Ryan right now.

      I would encourage everyone to watch the tape of Barkley vs Notre Dame from last weekend (see link below). It really flashes the kind of pro-potential on display with MB.

      • mattlock3

        I need to stop watching film of Barkley, because I’m gonna fall way too in love with him, then I’ll lose out on him, because Seattle sports fans can’t have nice things.

        That was an impressive display.

        2:56 — great accuracy and zip on this pass (he has plenty of arm).

        3:13 — 50 yards in the air, just barely overthrows his receiver (better than underthrowing, here’s to you, Charlie)… the pocket is giving way in front of him, so he can’t really step into this throw, and still has no problem hucking it 50 yards.

        3:42 — Quick pass, excellent touch, leads his receiver perfectly, which actually probably adds 4-5 yards to the play.

        3:58 — This is the kind of play that I think really sets Barkley apart from anyone not named Luck. Under pressure, maintains his composure, and not only makes a catchable pass with a lineman around his ankles, but has the presence of mind to wait for his receiver to gain just a bit more separation before making the pass. Such presence of mind. Many NFL QBs wouldn’t make a play like this.

        4:22 — This is a seriously impressive throw. Weak arm?? Give me a break. A bullet into triple coverage, placed exactly where only his receiver can catch it. You’ll never see a Colt McCoy/Andy Dalton/Jimmy Clausen/Christian Ponder make a throw like this.

        4:54 — I have no earthly idea how Barkley sensed the CB blitz. Quick release, places the ball perfectly (again). Should have been a TD.

        5:56 — For people saying he’s not athletic enough or doesn’t progress through reads… he clearly begins to run after at least his FOURTH read–and gains 7 yards. Not an explicitly “mobile” QB, but he’s smart, knows when to tuck and run, and where to go to get yards.

        6:58 — Just look into those blue eyes, and let Mayock do the analysis. Reads, baby, reads.

        7:18 — Again with the eyes, man. I’m starting to feel like this may be love.

        7:54 — Runs the play-action bootleg to perfection. Nothing available, no problem, just juke the would-be tackler and run 12 yards and pick up the first. Man, imagine how good he’d be if he was athletic!

        8:23 — This is when I knew it was love. Look at the big boy hustling downfield and throwing blocks. Reminded me of another Matt… on another note, how many times did Woods run straight into his blockers in this game?? Haven’t watched enough of him specifically to tell if this is a regular issue with him, but goodness — have some patience, man.

        8:52 — This is another bullet. Mayock makes the point that this could have been a TD. I think he meant if he hadn’t let him quite as much, so he didn’t have to dive, then it would have been a TD. I think that is a good point, but my god, are we picking nits now.

        9:39 — “(A)n uncanny, innate sense of timing”… how many times has something like this with the ‘Hawks turned into a sack and sometimes a fumble? Ball protection, no turnovers, no sacks. This boy is a Pete Carroll disciple–or at least just a good QB.

        10:26 — I think he has at least one throw like this every single game. Gorgeous pump-fake followed by a picture-perfect pass that only Woods could catch. How do you defend something like this?

        Sorry this comment got so long, but man was this a pretty performance. Full-blown man-crush here now.

        • Rob

          An understandable man crush and a great review of his performance against Notre Dame. Enjoyed reading it, Mattlock3.

        • Tom

          Barkley played a very nice game managing QB. Barkley is better than Clausen but lets do a side by side of Sanchez at USC and Barkley and you’ll similarities across the board.

          How many intermediate to deep throws did Barkley attempt and complete in that ND game? 4 or5?

          Of 10:46 of tape, I saw 10 minutes of check downs and bubble screens. Not only does that look like Sanchez at USC, that looks like Sanchez in NY.

          • mattlock3

            With respect, Tom, I think you’ve missed the point entirely.

            Yes, Barkley checked down a number of times, and threw a lot of bubble screens, but that has a lot to do with the type of offense USC runs. They don’t run a lot of deep pass plays. In my opinion, that’s one of the reasons their offenses are always SO good. Deep pass plays can be good, but they inherently have a low rate of completion and are much more likely to result in turnovers. Additionally, when you’re playing with a lead, you want to run a lot of high-percentage plays that will burn the clock, and that does not call for big pass plays.

            However, when Barkley does throw the deep ball, it is with precision, timing, and excellent touch. Who cares if he doesn’t do it often? He CAN do it, unlike just about any other QB in college. If he was only capable of checking down and passing out into bubble screens, you’d have a point. But it’s pretty clear that’s not the case.

            You said that Barkley “played a very nice game-managing QB”, but that is an inaccurate statement. He played a very nice point-guard QB. Limited turnovers, mixed short, deep, and intermediate throws, and extended plays with his legs and excellent downfield vision.

          • Finnian

            You bash Barkley for ‘managing the game’ but let’s not act like Luck is throwing deep bombs all game long. He throws quite a few bubble screens and short throws aswell. Like mattlock3 says, Barkley is playing the point guard QB perfectly. He’s not asked to go deep often, but when he does he shows he can do it.

          • Tom

            How did I miss the point entirely, mattlock?

            Barkley doesn’t throw a deep ball with precision, timing and excellent touch. How many over throws and throwing off the back foot on deep balls do you need to ignore from Barkley.

            I don’t care if the new catch phrase for QB play is “point guard”. I’m old school and in my thesauras, that’s called short throw conservative QB playing and is just game management.

            Where did I ever say it was “bad”? I’m just stating what Barkley shows in this USC offense. His fault or not, I’m not drafting a Mark Sanchez, game managing QB, in the top 10.

            If you like Mark Sanchez and his point guard style of NFL play then you’ll like Barkley.

            Personally, I’m not a fan.

          • Tom

            Hey, Finnian, I was talking about the USC / ND game as my post was way before the commencement of USC/Stanford contest, so why are you referring to Luck and that game?

            Barkley was again, mr checkdown and bubble screen boy for most of that game, too.

            Besides, who says “game managing” is a bash? I don’t care if the new catch phrase is point guard QB play. It’s still having a plethora of weapons around you and you dink and dunk the ball into your playmakers hands on short conservative passes.

            Barkley doesn’t make his receivers and team look good, but rather the object is for his receivers to make him look good with their yac yds and diving catches.

            Phrase it how you want, it’s still captain checkdown or mr bubble screen boy into his playmakers hands. That’s “game managing”.

          • Colin

            “Neither guy drops back, stands in the pocket with composure, scans the progressions and fires the ball.”

            Bull. Look at the Notre Dame gamefilm. Not one time did Barkley just panic and run. The few times he did run, he had already made several reads. He stayed in the pocket, shifting one way or another to avoid pressure and got rid of the football. Not everytime was it downfield for huge gains, but he did not take sacks or turn the ball over. On top of it, he completed a high number of passes- all highly valuable qualities at the NFL.

            As for the bubble screens comment, cmon Tom, be a little smarter than that. Lane Kiffin is not sitting at USC everyday going “Gee, what plays can I design and call that will impress pro scouts with Matt Barkley”. It’s an offense that works, and Barkley flows within that offense extremely well. He’s not a limited QB in the sense of his mental capacity.

          • Tom

            So, Colin, did you agree or disagree when you opened up those 3 vids that Barkley and Sanchez at USC looked extremely similar?

            The on field similarities are matched by their high school recruiting similaries where both were the #1 pro style QB recruits and both went to USC.

            Be honest. If you have any eye for QB play like you talk, you can’t deny it.

            Neither Sanchez or Barkley are your stereotypical pocket passers. I think you want to see what you want instead of what is actually happening. It doesn’t mean that they’ve never done it or can’t do it, c’mon, but it’s not their forte’.

            Well, maybe Kiffin needs to re-design the offensive concept more because USC had shown that they have opponents down but don’t know how to put their foot on their throats.

            I like Barkley but am far from in love with the guy compared to the rest of this forum. I see his positive attributes but recognize his limitations and that would be his ceiling which I don’t see as very high. Solid pro, game manager, but not elite to carry an offense on his back.

        • Colin

          I am so sick of this matt Barkley/ Mark Sanchez comparison. There is very little similarity. It’s laughable. Sanchez has a really herky jerky motion and seems to get hot feet in the pocket and he struggles to complete passes. Barkley possesses neither. Very fluid motion, good arm and incredibly accurate.

          You are not limited at all with what Barkley can do. The guy does everything pretty darn well. No, he isn’t the most mobile and doesn’t possess the cannon arm, but you don’t need that. Tom Brady makes a living off 15 yard and less passes. Don’t see anyone complaining about him.

          • Tom

            I guess you never paid attention to Sanchez at USC.

            Now you look at this video and tell me you can’t see similarities, you’ll be a liar.
            Same roll out, same athleticism, same arm, similar delivery, same height, same game management.

            Based on the Sanchez USC video, it may be an insult to Mark in the comparison.


            Besides, Colin, Sanchez was drafted #5, so stop acting like it’s an insult of a comparison. Barkley could be drafted #5 and will be a nice game managing QB. Everyone acts like “game managing” is a negative term or comparison to Sanchez is negative. It is what it is.

          • Tom

            One more for you, Colin.

            Sanchez’ Rose Bowl game effort was more impressive than what I’ve seen from Barkley in any one game.


            Matt and Mark look like brothers.

          • Colin

            The fact that you are so confident Barkley is a complete mirror image is baffling, and frankly, stupid.

            They will not be the same, PERIOD. And I like the odds that Barkley will be a better pro.

          • Tom

            It’s all good, Colin. Sorry to make a comparison you don’t see or appreciate the similarities between.

            I thought Sanchez looked pretty good in the highlights and excellent in the Rose Bowl game vs Penn State. He’d look off Williams and find Johnson. He found our own McCoy. He ran a nice Td screen. He felt pressure and dumped the ball off.

            Kiffin has Barkley running a similar book that Carroll had Sanchez running.

            They both love the play action roll out to the right, the quick slants, they both keep their eyes and feet moving in the pocket. Neither guy drops back, stands in the pocket with composure, scans the progressions and fires the ball. Both will look off receivers one direction and come back to the other side of the field. They’re both heady athletes in the pocket. Both like the shoulder pump fake. Both will run when necessary. both are in that 6’2″ 220 lb range. Similar delivery and trajectory. Similar arm strength.

            I’m not saying they’re mirror images as that’d be twins but the similarities have them easily ranked as college brothers.

   rose bowl 1st half

            Barkley vs ND:

            Barkley could be an excellent pro QB. I have absolutely no idea what he’ll do and how he’ll progress at the next level. All I’m saying is I see strikingly similar Qb’s with similar receivers (Johnson/Williams for Mark) and (Woods/Lee for Matt) though Woods is the best.

            Barkley could be NFL awesome but when you look at the vid’s I’m not sure how you can say they aren’t similar looking QB’s and couldn’t be the same in the NFL.

          • Rob

            I haven’t scouted a QB that does a better job than Matt Barkley dropping back, scanning progressions and firing a pass.

    • Kip Earlywine

      If “Matt Barkley = Jimmy Clausen” then why wouldn’t he declare? Barkley is a junior, and Clausen declared as a junior.

      The two have a petty surface level resemblance in some ways, which is why I think Barkley is being downplayed. I hope it keeps up.

  2. Kip Earlywine

    Which Vancouver? WA or Canada?

    • Rob

      Canada, but travelling to Seattle on Sunday.

  3. Jim Q

    Back on topic, DT is probably a Seahawk need after a QBOTF is selected (hopefully in the 1-st. round). Thompson & Reyes may or may not be available when the Hawks pick in the upper rounds so I think the next task is to find DT’s somewhere in the later rounds. IMO, other needs to be addressed include RB, CB, DE & OL.

    Possible candidates:
    —-Devon Still, DT, Penn St., 6-4, 310, 5.06/40 good run defender. (mid Rd. 2)

    —-Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut, 6-4, 296, 4.99/40, (Rd. 3)


    —-Mike Daniels, DT, 6-0, 280, 4.84/40, Iowa. Has experience all over the Iowa defensive line. He is a little light for the position, but he is plenty bulky enough to be able to add weight and be fine. He’s all over field. (Rd. 4-5)

    —-Renard Williams, DT, 6-2, 300, 5.00/40, Eastern Washington, 31 TFL, 20 sacks thru 2011, A SLEEPER=? (Rd. 7/FA)

    • Colin

      I think a DE is more of a need really. Outside of Clem, who rushes the passer? Mebane and Branch and Hargrove are a nice group of DT’s. Bryant is great at end in early downs but offers nothing as a pass rusher.

      • FWBrodie

        If you read through that piece that’s floating around the internet in which PC breaks down his defensive philosophy in detail, a pass rusher from the 3 tech spot is a huge part of it. I know he’s made adjustments since rejoining the league, but I doubt he’s happy with not having a prolific penetrator in the middle of his defense.

        That being said, this DT class looks pretty damn weak so far.

  4. Jarhead

    See, we need to get run stoppers. The NFC West is going to become a run first hard-nosed division. The OL play in the NFC West is terrible and QB play is mediocre. So an edge rusher would clearly be just be decoration. If we has 3 or 4 interior lineman would could rotate and stuff the run on 1st and 2nd down, with the subpar QB in division, we could create pressure from blitzes and stunts. Besides, take a look at the stats: how good are the teams with the leading sackers? Allen in MN? Babin in Phi? How are THEIR seasons going? Stop the run, create interesting blitz schemes, cover the receivers on 3rd down. The Colts have had Freeney and Mathis but have NEVER been considered a great defense. Think about it…

    • Billy Showbiz

      I thought we already had a pretty great run stopping defense?

  5. troy

    Jarhead, you just described our defense as it is right now. Great at stopping the run, with a reliance on the blitz to get pressure.

    If anything I think this team needs some good pass rushing lineman because, as we saw against Atlanta, it’s nearly impossible to stop teams with multiple good offensive weapons when you can’t get pressure with your front four.

    • FWBrodie

      Agreed. The one man pass rush isn’t working.

      • Alex

        which is precisely why we need more pass rush from the 3 tech position. In Carroll’s scheme, the 5 tech focuses exclusively on the run and contains the right side (from the QB’s point of view), the 1 tech gets double teams and generally controls the run through the middle. The Leo and 3 tech are the single lane pass rushers. For the most part, Bryant, Mebane, and Clemons have gotten the basic job done. Though we’re getting solid run defense out of the 3 tech position now, its purpose is to RUSH the PASSER.

        I still consider QB by and far the #1 need, but a distant #2 would probably be a pass rushing 3 tech. The problem? This is a weak draft for the DT position especially after having 2 good DT classes the 2 previous years. A distant #3 need would be a cornerback and this draft has some decent ones (though none in the elite category of PP or Jimmy Smith). Heck, if all else fails, we can just draft another WR since its the strength of this draft.

  6. Jim Q

    This is a site I recently discovered that seems to have prospect statistics updated weekly. If ya’ll haven’t been there, your missing a good evaluation tool. Check it out!

  7. Rob

    Just a heads up that I’ll update the blog on Monday. I’m typing this on the bus to Seattle – exciting times. Barkley went toe to toe with Luck again yesterday, just liked he did last year. Two elite QBs who will both be high draft picks.

  8. cliff

    Do you think the Cowboys would take a QB in the first this year if one fell to them? I could see Tannehill/RG3 and mmmaybe Jones available by the time they are drafting. Could they be a sleeper for a QB this year?

    • Rob

      Absolutely, in fact the more the season drags on the more likely I think it is that the Cowboys are going to start to look like a prime candidate to draft a QB.

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