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Are NFL experts biased against certain quarterbacks? NFL Unfiltered Wildcard Edition

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When analyzing NFL quarterbacks, particularly young ones, the national media changes the narrative more than a Christopher Nolan film.  

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton struggles in another playoff game and the feeling is he deserves patience because he just finished his third season. Never mind the fact he has 51 career starts, including the postseason.    

Conversely, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, looks lost at times and he receives criticism for the “remedial” (per Trent Dilfer) way he reads defenses.  It doesn’t matter that he has less than half as many starts as Dalton.   Andrew Luck photo: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Yet Kaepernick’s two road playoff wins are two more than Hall of Famer Steve Young, who managed a Dalton-like 0-3 record in road playoff games.  But that isn’t good enough when your game differs from Tom Brady.    

Meanwhile, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck wins in an historic comeback and the storyline is about how he did it all by himself.  As if wide receiver T.Y. Hilton couldn’t produce anywhere but Indianapolis because of Luck’s mastery of the position.  

It’s all too confusing and tiresome.  

Consider Dilfer’s remedial comment about Kaepernick.  Taken in full context, he tried to make the point Kaepernick only looks at and throws to his primary receiver on pass plays. Fair or not, he provided an honest assessment of the young signal-caller.    

However, when pressed by Tom Jackson on ESPN’s post-game show Sunday, he deflected any criticism of Dalton, instead deferring to the Bengals’ defense and key drops by Dalton’s teammates.  Has Dalton acquired his Ph.D. in defense reading?  Why the double-standard?

Then on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show, former journeyman Tim Hasselbeck, another supposed quarterback authority, suggested Dalton’s $700k salary somehow mitigated his poor showing.  

Was he kidding?  Did he really try to make the point that a player’s salary is relevant to how he plays?  That is far and away one of the most foolish comments ever made on sports radio.  

We need more transparency from the media.  If Dilfer or Hasselbeck have quarterback preferences, they ought to say so instead of protecting guys who play a certain way.     

It’s as if NFL insiders and other experts are so starved for the quarterback fable, they are willing to compromise their own credibility to get it.  If Dalton is in over his head, it’s not his fault; A.J. Green has to make that catch. If Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill only leads one scoring drive in the last two games with the playoffs looming, we must study his offensive line.  

Utter nonsense.    

In my view, there is a bias among NFL analysts against Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Kaepernick.  Not because they are African-American, but because of how they play.        

Too often, experts like Dilfer, Hasselbeck and even NFL films’ Greg Cosell provide agenda driven analysis in an effort to protect a particular style.  

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Wildcard Edition 

-It is surprising an unconventional thinker like Chip Kelly opted for conventional wisdom during the Eagles game Saturday night when it mattered most.  He simply allowed the New Orleans Saints to dictate how the game ended.  

-Drew Brees is on his way to the Hall of Fame, but when he throws a duck like he did on that deep pass intended for Darren Sproles, it is okay to say so.  Are you listening Cris Collinsworth?

-It is fascinating to watch NFL owners bumble their way through the hiring of a head coach.  Someday, they all ought to take the Wonderlic Test, then publish their scores so we can see what may or may not be going on inside their brains.

-Sometimes, I think Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is allowed to toil in mediocrity so the league has a way to defend itself against charges of racism.  

-Too often, the media compares all the young impactful quarterbacks to their older, legendary brethren. That’s unfair to both. The more apt comparison is to the likes of Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Tannehill, Christian Ponder and Dalton.    

-Wouldn’t you love to see the Bengals scouting reports on Dalton and Kaepernick?  I bet it reads something like this:

(Dalton) good feet, above-average arm, nice delivery, solid athlete, very intelligent, mature, a winner and great leader of men.  Doesn’t have ideal size but is tall enough, also thick enough to withstand NFL hits. Carries himself like the face of a city and a franchise and is extremely coachable.  Work ethic should shorten his NFL learning curve…late 1st – middle 2nd round.  

(Kaepernick) A project.  Played in a spread offense so must learn to play from under center.  Questions about his competition while at Nevada but dominated that level.  Odd delivery, but arm strength is A+.  Much better athlete than quarterback. Tall, but gangly, so he must gain weight.  Likeable and respectful but reserved. Little charisma…visible tattoos disconcerting for the face of an organization.  Hard worker, but a long NFL learning curve…might take three full seasons before he starts a game. Could use him sooner in certain packages.  With proper tutelage, might become a productive starter…late 2nd – middle 3rd round.

-Perhaps the most interested observer of this year’s playoffs is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.  If Newton, Wilson or Kaepernick win the Super Bowl, Manziel’s NFL prospects improve dramatically. 

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Andrew Luck photo: sportsillustrated.cnn.com