||11-10-2008 06:29 PM
Everyone's a Bust?
The answer to all your questions of every second/third/first year player is.
No. Not everyone's a bust.
Sometimes, there's extenuating circumstances that most people cannot comprehend because they aren't in the middle of conversations between coaches. They're not in the locker room. Talking heads don't get it sometimes. We don't get it sometimes.
Lets take a quick run down on a list of things that people don't think about when hastily calling people busts.
Are they a bust, Question to ask yourself before opening your mouth.
Number one: Have they gone through massive system changes or coaching changes?
if yes, then you should hesitate to say: hey. things may not be working out so well for them, they've possibly had trouble adjusting to the new system... example would be: like johnathan vilma did when the jets moved from the 4-3 to the 3-4.
if no, proceed to asking yourself question two.
Number two: have they been in a state of limbo as far as supporting cast?
if yes, then you shouldn't be saying: they're a total bust. football more than anything is a team sport. if you have 10 D2 players and one NFL caliber player playing against an NFL team. Let me tell you. That NFL caliber player will look like a below average free agent player in the NFL. For example, did the edge look really good in Arizona those first few years? Ehhhhhhh, no. Did he have peyton manning, reggie wayne, and marvin harrison around him? also no. Supporting casts are just as important in musical theatre as they are in football. No man is an island. Unless he's dick night train lane.
if no. continue to question three.
Number three: was his draft slot in the first round? in the top 15? is it a difficult position? is the learning curve high for the system?
if the answer is yes, you have to remember, there's a learning curve to the system of the nfl. around 30% of players probably won't get it the first time around. most 'bust' quarterbacks finally start figuring out things in the 4th, 5th year of their career. That's when they become the most productive. Sure, not every quarterback will be the second coming of Dan Marino, but, I do think that everyone is so American in thought that they want their quarterbacks, and all of their players, to be producing from day one. And i mean, who can blame them with the contracts that they're commanding from day one. The problem is that most players won't get it the first time. I actually will guarantee that most players won't understand their responsibilities and how to use their physical tools to their advantage within four years. Sure, you can look to Matt Ryan as the exception to the rule, but look at players such as Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Kyle Orton... Look at Michael Turner, Albert Haynesworth, Lee Evans, and other players that really start making a name for themselves 3+ years after they enter the league? Coincidence? No way. Patience is the key here, and no one, from GM's to Fans, to Media, no one has any patience. And even less patience with first round picks. Now, here's something. I've heard people called busts here who are first round picks who are performing mediocre. I think that's a little misleading, because to start, you shouldn't be surprised... because your expectations as to what is a translatable skill and statistics to the NFL are probably skewed. So, before you shoot your mouth. Fix that skew. First round picks can behave like fifth round picks, and fifth round picks can behave like first round picks. The only difference is the amount you pay them. So. In order to actually remove yourself and determine HOW they play is to take yourself out of the mindset: this person did what in college? they were drafted where? how much money they make? if you knew none of those things and were asked to evaluate talent based on their game film from the NFL. You wouldn't be able to tell sometimes. Tis the beauty of the NFL draft.
If you answered no the questions, read my final question to ask yourself:
Number four: is the player on the following teams: the detroit lions? the oakland raiders?
if you answered yes. you should be bright enough to understand that. If not. well. We need to talk about some private lessons.