Winston vs Mariota- Rose Bowl Rumble

An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of college football’s two best quarterbacks.

Jameis Winston: 3,559 yards, 24 TD’s, 17 INT’s, 147.0  Passer Rating.

Marcus Mariota: 3,783 yards, 38 TD’s, 2 INT’s, 186.3 Passer Rating.

Jameis Winston: The Skinny

Jameis Winston has had an up and down season that hasn’t held up to the high standard set by his impressive debut campaign. Winston and FSU have struggled in the first half of many games and narrowly avoided losses to inferior teams. Winston relies heavily on two receivers, Rashad Green and tight end Nick O’Leary. Winston had a similar reliance on NFL first round pick Kelvin Benjamin last year. Without his favorite targets, Winston struggles. If Oregon takes Green and O’Leary out of the game, Winston will have to adapt. At times, Winston has struggled making the correct read in 2014. However, Winston is prone to catching fire late in the game and completing 5 to 10 passes in a row. Winston easily marches his team down the field when he is in a good rhythm.  He has a great arm and possess killer accuracy when in rhythm. The key to stopping Winston is to disrupt that rhythm. Winston is a big QB and is very difficult to bring down. He slips out of sacks and shakes off tacklers very easily. Winston can run with the ball when the play breaks down, but FSU does not run designed runs for him. Winston is an above average runner but is not at the level of JT Barrett, Brett Hundley, or Mariota. Winston struggles mightily at times but has played well in the fourth quarter all year. He makes big plays when it counts and has the best arm talent in the country. When Winston is at his best, there are very few better.

Mariota: Mariota is by the far the most intelligent QB in the country. He very rarely makes the wrong read and almost never throws picks. Mariota is also the best dual threat QB in the nation, racking up 669 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. A master of Oregon’s offensive machine, Mariota leads an unstoppable force capbable of putting up eye popping numbers. Mariota is a master of the touch pass, especially down the sideline where he drops it in where only his receiver can catch it. Mariota’s arm strength has never been an issue, but his arm is not extraordinary by college football standards. Mariota plays nearly a flawless game every time out. Oregon has faced adversity in just one game this season, an loss to Arizona. Other than that, Mariota and Oregon have been error free and stress free. Mariota’s favorite receiver is Byron Marshall, who lines up all over the field. Mariota is elusive and and shifty in the open field. Mariota’s terrific season was capped off with a Heisman Trophy.

Advantage: This one is impossibly tough to call. Marcus Mariota is far more consistent quarterback. With Mariota, every game you are going to get good to great play from him. He can hurt you so many ways and the Oregon offense is so versatile. When you look at Winston, there are seemingly weaknesses that can be exploited. However, the most important stat in any sport is wins, and Jameis Winston hasn’t lost a game since high school. 27-0 as a starter, defending national champion, and the most arm talent coming out of college football since Andrew Luck. On paper, it seems as if Mariota is a better quarterback. But one can’t judge  soley based on what the numbers say. Watching Winston, one feels that he has the “it” factor that some quarterbacks have and some just don’t. He always pulls it out in the end and watching Winston in rhythm is like watching Ben Rothliesberger when he gets hot. Every ball is perfectly placed with deadly accuracy and unmatchable velocity. Winston has had his struggles this year, but he always answers the bell and is on top of his game when it counts. Mariota is a great quarterback, and he may have the “it” factor that separates the best from the rest as well, but Winston has proven it over and over. With the game on the line, one knows Famous Jameis will deliver the goods. That’s why I’m picking Florida State University as the winner of the 2015 Rose Bowl.The Rose Bowl will almost certainly be a classic. A QB dual for the ages is in store, the likes of the Vince Young vs Matt Leinart in the 2006 Rose Bowl. It’ll be fun to watch.

Information on Mariota and Winston:

http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/530308/jameis-winston

http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/511459/marcus-mariota

Pictures:

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/florida-state/2013/10/jameis-winstons-pregame-speech-like-you-havent-seen-it-before.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/07/sports/la-sp-1208-florida-state-duke-20131208

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1813754-teddy-bridgewater-vs-marcus-mariota-comparing-the-top-qbs-in-2014-nfl-draft

http://www.denverpost.com/colleges/ci_26994055/marcus-mariota-dominates-no-2-oregon-handles-colorado

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College Football Playoffs-Round One Predictions

Playoffs?! We’re talking about playoffs?!

Game 1: (2) Oregon vs (3) Florida State

It seemed as if the College Football Playoff committee was doing everything in their power to drop Florida State. The undefeated Seminoles dropped as low as No. 4 before the committee realized they couldn’t leave the undefeated reigning champions out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Wins haven’t come easy in turbulent season for FSU. Quarterback Jameis Winston seems to rarely use his brain off the field, involving himself in a number of incidents that have created character concerns for NFL teams. Winston got himself suspended for the Clemson game and FSU barely pulled out a much needed victory. FSU doesn’t win emphatically, but they get the job done week in and week out. The real MVP for Florida State has been their defense. FSU’s big, athletic D-Linemen plug up rushing lanes and consistently harass the quarterback. They will get all they can handle from Oregon in that position. Oregon is led by none other than the 2014 Heisman Award winner, Marcus Mariota. Oregon is fast, flashy, and scores points in bunches. Mariota and Co. avenged an early season defeat that saw them slip in the AP Poll with a dominating 51-13 victory over Arizona. Mariota leads a overpowering offense that utilizes all sorts of trick plays to confuse the defense. Mariota can hurt you with his legs or his arm. If anyone is equipped to contain Mariota, it’s this Florida State defense. Florida State’s best shot is to consistently get Mariota on the ground early. If they can get into his head and cause hesitation or  make him throw it before he wants to, he can be beaten. However, Mariota is a big, tough, QB who is a high character individual who I don’t think will crumple under pressure. When considering this game, you can’t forget about Mariota’s counterpart, Jameis Winston. Last year’s Heisman winner vs this year’s is a big attraction of this game. When’s he’s on the field, Winston has been one of the most clutch players in College Football.  Winston is even bigger than Mariota and is nearly impossible to sack. Winston has developed very good pocket presence and has a rocket launcher arm. Winston tends to rely too heavily on his favorite target, Rashad Greene. Oregon should look to keep him contained and prevent anything big over the middle of the field. Oregon’s defense lacks big names other than corner Ife Epkre-Olomu but has done a nice job this year. Florida State is defending their title and Winston plays well in big games. Mariota and Winston duke it out in a thriller that Florida State takes on a Robert Aguayo field goal. 45-42 Florida State due to Winston’s clutch fourth quarter play and FSU’s ability to stop the run.

Game 2: (1) Alabama vs (4) Ohio State

Ohio State just finished a 59-0 thrashing of Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. They contained Melvin Gordon, holding him to a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. The same Melvin Gordon that set a NCAA record for rushing yards in a game, 408 on only 25 carries. That’s 16.3 yards per carry! And Ohio State locked him up and sent a message to the College Football Playoff committee. The absolute whipping of one of the nation’s best teams was enough to vault them over TCU into the playoffs. However,  Ohio State is on their third QB this season. JT Barrett was an excellent stand in for Braxton Miller, playing well enough to merit whispers of potential QB competition next fall. But Barrett broke his ankle in the Michigan game, so it’s up to Cardale Jones, who began the season as the third string quarterback, to win a playoff game against big bad Alabama. The Crimson Tide have been the most dominant college football team in the past six years. Alabama faltered early this year, losing to Ole Miss and narrowly escaping a mediocre Arkansas team. They righted the ship with a 59-0 obliteration of Texas A&M and reclaimed the number one spot with a 25-20 victory over Mississippi State, who was number one at the time. It’s been smooth sailing for ‘Bama ever since. They erased the haunting memory of last year’s “Kick 6” in the Iron Bowl by hanging 55 on Auburn’s previously well regarded defense. Alabama is led by a trio of stars on the offensive side of the ball. First is TJ Yeldon, the latest in a long list of great Alabama running backs. One of the key match ups in this game will be Yeldon against an Ohio State defense that effectively neutralized Heisman runner-up Melvin Gordon. The second star for Alabama is quarterback Blake Sims. A relative unknown entering this season, Sims has emerged as a prolific passer who is smart and has a good arm. Sims is far more athletic than predecessor AJ McCarron, and he can extend plays with his feet. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin doesn’t usually draw up designed runs for Sims, but he will be looking to mix in some trickery if necessary. After all, it is a playoff game. The third and most prestigious star is wide receiver Amari Cooper. Far and away the best receiver in the country, Cooper will assuredly go in the Top 10 of next year’s NFL draft, if not Top 5. Cooper is better than Sammy Watkins, better than Mike Evans, better than Brandin Cooks, the Biletnikoff Award Winner last year as CFB’s best receiver. Cooper destroyed Auburn in the Iron Bowl to punctuate a season in which he has been absolutely unfair. Cooper is strong. fast, has great hands, and terrific instincts. If you’re looking for a receiver to compare him to, think AJ Green of the Cincinnati Bengals. Cooper has 115 catches for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The combination of these three will be tough to stop for Ohio State. Ohio State overcame numerous injuries and played well when it counted this season, but the Tide will Roll right over the Buckeyes. Decided early, Ohio State puts in effort all night long and scores late to make this one look better in the box score than on the field in a 35-24 Alabama victory.

Unstoppable Force meets Immovable Object #BamavsOSU

Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.al.com/alabamafootball/index.ssf/2014/09/not_too_early_to_mention_amari.html

Famous Jameis

Credit for the Image goes to: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1883168-jameis-winston-wins-2013-davey-obrien-award

Marcus Mariota has been en fuego this season.

Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000361817/article/jameis-winston-marcus-mariota-to-attend-manning-camp

Can Cardale Jones (#12) step in effectively for JT Barret?(#16)

Credit for the Images: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/2014/12/45204/cardale-jones-in-his-own-words-ohio-states-newest-quarterback-is-still-great-on-twitter

http://scarletandgame.com/2014/11/29/j-t-barrett-confirmed-season/

Rotten Robbie-How Robert Griffin III went from Heisman to Benchwarmer

September 9th, 2012- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin the Third, aka RG3, starts an internet sensation called “griffining” after he emphatically raised his arms on a touchdown pass to beat the New Orleans Saints. Coach Mike Shanahan gushed about his decision making and accuracy, whispers started for the Rookie of the Year Award, people began murmuring that perhaps the Colts should have drafted the electrifying playmaker from Baylor rather than the prototypical pocket passer Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick. RG3 was a popular man in Washington, and it seemed as if he was to be one of the crop of young quarterbacks that was going to bring the NFL into the dual threat age.

But that wasn’t the beginning.

The beginning was in 2011, RG3’s final year at Baylor. Coming into the season, Andrew Luck was seen as the favorite for the Heisman. Following a terrific junior year in which Luck narrowly lost to Cam Newton for the Heisman, it was expected that he would capture the award in his senior year to cap a terrific career at Stanford and springboard him into the NFL on a high note. Luck was seen as the best Quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning.

As the season wore on, Griffin began to gather interest. People started taking notice of his ability to break ankles in the open field and sling it like Stabler. Baylor put up huge offensive numbers, and the fever pitch around Griffin began to escalate.

After being the favorite for Heisman for the entire year, Luck slipped behind Griffin in the voting and lost narrowly for the second straight year, despite playing another excellent season. Luck did, however, capture the Maxwell, Walter Camp, and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards.

Griffin was now a media darling and seen as an impact player that could immediately turn around a team’s fortunes and push them into the playoffs. Some NFL analysts reported that RG3 could be better than Luck, that perhaps the Colts preferred Griffin to Luck, and could select him with the 1st overall pick. The Colts announced prior to the draft that they intended to select Luck and the controversy died there. But now the issue was who would have the privilege of drafting RG3. The St. Louis Rams held the second overall pick in the draft, but they had a young quarterback of their own. Sam Bradford, a former No.1 overall pick himself in 2009, had a promising rookie season and appeared to be the Rams franchise QB. Bradford had dealt with various injuries in his short career, but the St. Louis front office felt that he was the answer for their organization. The Washington Redskins had gone many years without a franchise QB. In 2011, they tried career journeymen John Beck and Rex Grossman without much success, as well as a washed-up Donovan McNabb. After years of futility, Washington was desperate. In a bold and shocking move, the Redskins traded three first round picks and a second round pick for the right to move up to the No.2 drafting slot and select Robert Griffin the Third.

That trade had implications that resonated throughout the league. The pressure was now on Bradford to succeed with the Rams, and on RG3 and Washinton to win immediately. The only other time so much had been given up for one player was the infamous Herschel Walker trade of the 90’s that built a Cowboys dynasty.

At first, it appeared that Washington’s big gamble would pay off. Griffin and the Redskins surged late in the season to a 10-6 record, the NFC East crown, and a home game in the playoffs. During a game late in the season, Griffin tweaked his knee.  It was determined that Griffin had suffered an LCL sprain and he missed the Redskins’ game against the Cleveland Browns. There were concerns due to his ACL tear during his sophmore year at Baylor, but the coaches decided to let him play in their opening round playoff game.

After a bad snap, Griffin’s knee bent awkwardly as he attempted to corral the loose ball. He tore his ACL and LCL, and the Redskins lost 24-14. Things were never the same.

Griffin wasn’t allowed to play in the Redskins preseason in 2013, and he struggled in the regular season. Griffin seemed to have lost the electricity of his days at Baylor and his rookie season. In addition, he regressed as a passer. Washington was so horrible that Griffin was benched for the last three games to avoid injury risk.

The worst part was, the Redskins wouldn’t even get the second overall pick they “earned” as one of the league’s worst teams. Instead, the St.Louis Rams were able to select one of the premier offensive linemen in college football as they sought to create a powerful ground game.

2014 was supposed to be RG3’s comeback year. Almost a full year removed from the catastrophic injury, Griffin looked to redeem himself as the player he was during his rookie year. Things did not go to plan. Griffin was supposed to learn how to slide to prevent injury when running in the open field. This was a concept he never mastered. Griffin was so horrible at sliding that it became more of an injury risk of him catching his cleats on the turf and injuring his knee again than it was to let him get demolished by linebackers. In addition, Jay Gruden was brought in as the Redskins’ new coach. Reports surfaced late in 2013 about Griffin clashing with former Coach Mike Shanahan. Griffin was becoming a high-maintenace player, and Washington owner Dan Snyder seemed to be coddling him.

2014 didn’t go much better that 2013 for Griffin. The year he was supposed to reclaim his spot as a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback instead ended up with him being written off as a draft-day mistake. Griffin never learned to make reads at the NFL level, or learned the difference between “college open” and “NFL open”. Griffin’s accuracy also seemed to vanish into the wind so quickly, it makes you wonder if it was ever there.  Griffin got injured, came back, and was benched for Colt McCoy, the former Texas star that many doubted would succeed in the NFL.

With the incredible play of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers,  Andrew Luck, and Peyton Manning, as well as the demise of Colin Kaepernick, RG3, and Cam Newton’s struggles, many have suggested that this could be the end of the dual threat era. It took the league by storm, but defenses learned to adjust. What may work in college does not always work in the NFL. Players are stronger, faster, smarter.  Perhaps the dual threat Quarterback was not even an era, but more of a fad. These running QB’s never learned to make reads, and couldn’t adjust to changing defenses. It will always help a team if their QB can make something happen when everything falls apart, but running as a first or second option will gurantee you a short career in the NFL. Some QB’s have made it work, such as Steve Young or Russel Wilson, but only because they are excellent passing quarterbacks as well.

Griffin will go down infamously in NFL history. There have been other busts of epic proportion before (JaMarucs Russel, Ryan Leaf), and you could argue that Griffin was not as bad as all that, but the cost to acquire him was more than any other rookie coming into the draft. Washington has been stripped bare of young talent due to the RG3 trade, and they look to be a franchise doomed to mediocrity until they find their franchise QB. The hype surrounding him coming out of college will also soil his legacy as an NFL QB. To suggest that he could have been better than Luck-who has established himself as an elite NFL QB and an MVP canidate-seemed logical at the time, but Griffin was too unproven in an NFL system to merit such high praise. In the coming draft, expect teams to exercise caution when considering dual threat QB’s such as Brett Hundley and Dak Prescott. To have success in the NFL, a quarterback must be able to throw accurately and consistently make the right read. “Dual Threat” quarterbacks is really a misnomer when considering RG3 and Kaepernick, because they can’t throw with any consistency. There still is time for Robert Griffin the Third to live up to his billing-but that time is running out. Baylor was the beginning, “Griffining” was the peak…is this the end?

I cross checked my facts with these websites, and I supplemented my knowledge from these websites.

Bibliography:

Information on the Redskins 2012 season:

http://www.nfl.com/schedules/2012/REG/Redskins

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Griffin_III

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7668243/washington-redskins-acquire-no-2-overall-pick-st-louis-rams

Information on Andrew Luck:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Luck

Images:

http://www.sportressofblogitude.com/2012/10/23/adidas-now-selling-robert-griffin-iii-griffining-shirts-photo/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/robert-griffin-iii

http://becuo.com/robert-griffin-iii-baylor-heisman

http://blogs.denverpost.com/colleges/2011/10/05/pac-12-notebook-andrew-luck-becoming-major-public-figure-in-bay-area/20951/