On Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson and Terrible Advice

Adam Schein can’t make enough terrible predictions for one week — he went back to the well, folks!  Here’s some choice selections from his most recent column:


“I didn’t think Tannehill should’ve been the eighth overall draft pick in April, but he has displayed great touch and poise since then. He is a hard worker who sets a good tone in practice.”


I think I can paraphrase: you don’t want to admit you were wrong on Tannehill, so you credit his “hard work” since the Draft for his success.  Tannehill may be a hard worker, but he is also an extremely talented quarterback, and his performance over the weekend showed it. He showed good anticipation, hitting receivers quickly when they flashed open, and put savvy placement on downfield throws (the backshoulder down the left sideline was probably the most professional play any of the rookie QBs made last week). I slammed the Browns for going Richardson-Weeden in April’s Draft, when they had a golden opportunity to go Tannehill-Martin. This past weekend was no fluke.


“[Russell Wilson] hasn’t disappointed in practice or the preseason; he is the real deal. There is no need for Seattle to have three signal callers. The Seahawks should cut Tarvaris Jackson and make Wilson the backup.”


First, every team carries three quarterbacks — who would you have holding all those clipboards? Seriously, Tavaris Jackson may not be the choice of anyone (not named Brad Childress) as a team’s starter, but he’s not a bad third-stringer or something.  Cut him and go with two quarterbacks? No thanks.


Second, you might want Russell Wilson to throw against more than third-string defensive backs before you anoint him “the real deal.”  Players were admitting in on-camera interviews over the weekend that they stuck to vanilla defensive schemes. Russell Wilson hasn’t even taken the Pepsi Challenge yet, let alone proven himself a reliable NFL starter.


Why is this different than Tannehill?  I’m glad all three of my readers (wordpress counts them for me) asked, because this goes to an issue I have with one of Michael Lombardi’s comments: the tape tells you. Lombardi essentially says that, for the reasons I just mentioned, you can’t tell anything from early preseason games, except in extreme cases like Kevin Kolb’s continuing meltdown going into his 6th professional season. If the point is not to get carried away, I agree. But even as an amateur, I know this much: no matter how bad the competition is, you still get to watch the tape to try to identify things that carry over! How else do you make any kind of educated guess at, say, which college players will succeed in the pros? You make educated guesses.

If you do as Lombardi says, you walk away from Week 1 thinking Tannehill and Wilson both had nice games, but neither means much. If you watch the tape closely, you see this: Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill both got credit for long completions on the exact same play — but Tannehill’s throw was right on the receiver’s outside shoulder, a completion against almost any cornerback in the league; whereas Wilson’s was underthrown, right at a cornerback with position on his receiver, and Braylon Edwards simply outmuscled his man for the ball. Are there other factors that mitigate how excited we should be about Tannehill’s completion? Sure. Maybe he doesn’t make the same throw under pressure, facing a scheme with more sophisticated pre-snap looks, against a more talented DB (I’m convinced Darrelle Revis can defend any catchable throw). But one guy’s performance portends good results under those extreme circumstances; the other guy’s was lucky, even given the low level of preseason competition.


“Long holdouts don’t end well. … Sitting out now only hurts your chances to make more money down the road, MJD. Show up. Dominate. Get paid. It’s that easy.”


I spoke to MJD, and after he got done ripping your Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson commentary, he had this to day: ‘Easy for a terrible sportswriter with no skin in the game to say!’


And I back MJD. When MJD reaches thirty, and no one wants him, Adam Schein will shrug it off and say, ‘MJD made his, this is how the business works, …’ and forty other things that make you yawn, before talking about how Ryan Tannehill’s hard work has overcome the most pathetic skill set of any draftee in NFL history, fashioning himself into the top-flight NFL quarterback no one thought he would become. NFL players play an average of 3.5 years, during which time they suffer 37.5 concussions, only 1.5 of which they allow coaches and fans and Adam Schein to hear about, and after which time we forget about them while they drool on the couch they bought with the one paycheck their agent allowed them to cash, and Adam Schein has the nerve to tell them during their playing careers which practices and pretend competitions to attend? How does Schein sleep at night?


Let me summarize Adam Schein’s advice: the team suffers when players hold out, because those players come in out of shape.  We should not look to management, the very people charged with ensuring the best performance of the team, to resolve this conflict.  No, no, my non-advice-giving friends out in the non-blog-o-sphere.  The employee with the extremely tiny window of income-earning potential must sacrifice, for the good of management and all other 52 players.  He must play for his current salary, and hope to earn more money in his next contract when he is two years closer to retirement.


Did I mention the Jaguars are $25 million under the salary cap — $6 million more than any other NFL franchise?


As Adam Schein would say “That’s all the advice I have for now!”


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