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Ryan Michael: QBS Interview with Former Pro Bowl Quarterback Jim Everett

Posted on May 7, 2018 at 5:55 PM
In the 1980s and 1990s, former Pro Bowl quarterback Jim Everett stood out as one of the most productive players of his era. During the 5-year stretch of 1988-1992, Everett's 19,024 passing yards were the second most in the NFL, most in the NFC and more than Hall of Fame quarterbacks: John Elway, Jim Kelly and Warren Moon. Everett led the NFL in touchdown passes, twice, faced Joe Montana in an NFC Championship game and continued to play at a high level in his 30s with the Saints.

I talked with the 12-year veteran about his career, what it took for him to succeed in the NFL, how he measures success and what he's up to these days.

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Ryan: Jim, thanks for taking the time to talk football. I begin a lot of interviews by asking vets what they miss most about playing the game. I’d like to change that up a bit. What do you enjoy the most about your post-football life?

Jim: "First of all, I feel so very blessed to have had an opportunity to play a sport that I love and respect. My 12-years in the pros along with the many years before taught me a number of lessons in life, more than I could have imagined.  These experiences have translated into who, what and where I am today. Sharing and applying what I learned on and off the field has led me through the financial industry and has guided me in helping companies in many ways.

Possibly the most rewarding part of a post-career is giving back to the sport that has been so darn good to me. Coaching, mentoring or just supporting our local youth in our great sport of football motivates me. Sharing our stories and creating more are keys to living a good life and I am unlocking that door daily."


Ryan: To have played in the NFL at all puts an athlete in rarified air. To have played in 163 games is something truly remarkable. You were successful in your 20s with the Rams and in your 30s with the Saints. What did it take to play for so long and to find success with two different teams?

Jim: "Success can be measured in many different ways Ryan. I consider every snap and every game I played a success. Sure, there were times we won and there were times we learned. Winning is similar to mixing a cake recipe with a correct combination of quality ingredients, yet no team is the same on an annual basis due to many factors including injuries, Free Agency or even coaching changes.  What is consistent is change and every player has to evolve with change or move on to something else or do it elsewhere.

I attribute my successes on the field by acknowledging all the people of support, which includes my family, the support staff, the teams, my teammates and of course, recognizing that I really wanted to be the best at my craft, even if that effort didn’t translate into Super-Bowl recognitions. My efforts were 100% my best and reflecting on every moment of those times make me smile with pride."


Ryan: You led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1988 (31) and 1989 (29)—finishing 10-6 and 11-5 respectively—only to be snubbed from the Pro Bowl both years. You went 5-11 throwing 23 touchdown passes in 1990 and were selected to the Pro Bowl. Do you feel the prime of your career remains underrated?

Jim: "Hmmmm. Ryan, the quarterback gets way too much credit for victories and losses. But nevertheless, we as fans, associate with champions. So having no Super Bowls to show for a career as a quarterback, well, this is the measuring stick by public opinion. Yet, there have been some remarkable NFL careers that are fantastic but will go rather unnoticed without a ring to show for their effort."


Ryan: What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of your NFL career?

Jim: "Leading by example and staying positive in the face of adversity. Matter of fact, [that] still applies. Beating the Eagles and Giants in the playoffs on the road in 1989 was special.  Lastly and openly, multiple victories as the Saints quarterback vs. Chuck Knox’s Rams teams was very gratifying."


Ryan: Fellow Purdue Boilermaker Drew Brees (70,445) is only 1,496 yards short of eclipsing Peyton Manning (71,940) to become the NFL’s all-time passing leader. He’s 4,286 yards head of Tom Brady (66,159), and younger. Does any part of you relate to Brees as it pertains to out-producing your peers only to see others receive more recognition?

Jim: "[The] public measures by Super Bowls. Drew is having a spectacular career and he’s in the right place at the right moment and he’s seizing the opportunity. We’ll look back after the clock spins a few more times but at the end of the day, Drew will receive his recognition as being one of the game's best ever to play the position."


Ryan: If you had to pick one game, that in your opinion best represents who you were as a quarterback, what game would it be and why?

Jim: "One game? Tough question. Here’s a go. Almost any game against the Giants, or the comeback in Tampa Bay (coming back from a 27-3 deficit to win 31-27) or the Rams/Saints game in 1989 where Flipper [Anderson] set the record with 336 receiving yards."


Ryan: What are you up to these days?

Jim: "Overall retired, but Ryan, loving that our Rams returned to Los Angeles. [I'm] doing some additional TV work for CBS, helping as a Legends Community Ambassador. [I was] recently was named a board member of the NFL Alumni and I assist local athletic programs in our area. Family life keeps me very busy and that in itself is truly rewarding."

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Follow Jim Everett on Twitter: @Jim_Everett

Follow Ryan Michael on Twitter: @theryanmichael

Ryan Michael: QBS Interview with Former Dolphins Quarterback Jay Fiedler

Posted on April 21, 2018 at 4:10 AM

As a quarterback in the NFL, Jay Fiedler started 76 games, played for 5 different teams (Eagles, Vikings, Jaguars, Dolphins and Jets) and passed for over 10,000 yards. Between 2000 and 2003, Fiedler's 35 wins as a starter were 5th most in the NFL—below only Peyton Manning (38), Steve McNair (40), Donovan McNabb (41) and Brett Favre (43).


I caught up with the former Dolphins quarterback to talk about how he worked his way up with depth chart, what it was like to replace Dan Marino, who he would take No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and how he's helping to develop future athletes with his football camps.


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Ryan: You've been retired for over a decade now. What do you miss most about playing the game?


Jay: "I certainly miss the camaraderie around the locker room and the relationships with teammates, coaches, support staff, etc. But relationships can go on and camaraderie can be found in all walks of life. What I miss the most though is the competition. Knowing that each week you get to spend 3 hours competing in a physically and intellectually demanding environment against the best in the world is something that is difficult to duplicate."


Ryan: From the very beginning of your career, you had to work your way up, spending time with the 1994 & 1995 Philadelphia Eagles and the 1998 Minnesota Vikings before getting your first start with the Jaguars in 1999. Tell me a little bit about that experience and how it helped prepare you to become a full-time starting quarterback.


Jay: "Well I didn’t take the traditional path to becoming a starting quarterback. Having to prove yourself every step of the way and always knowing you can quickly be out of a job helped me to develop resiliency and an unwavering self-confidence that definitely prepared me for becoming a starter. During those first few years in the NFL, I also learned how much politics and business go into personnel decision making. I was cut by two teams whose coaches told me that I was a better player than the one they were keeping. Getting cut by a team can have a damaging effect on a player’s ego and confidence, but fortunately I was able to always maintain a high self-confidence to keep the dream of starting in the NFL alive even when others closed the door on that dream.


My path also gave me the opportunity to learn the game in many different ways. By playing with four different offensive coordinators in my first four years in the league, I was able to absorb the game from coaches who each had varying perspectives of quarterback play. I was able to learn from some of the best coaches in the game, like Jon Gruden, Brian Billick and Tom Coughlin. I was able to take a bit from each coach to continue developing into a better quarterback each season."


Ryan: Your first postseason experience, ironically, was against the Miami Dolphins in the final game of Dan Marino's career (a 62-7 win for the Jaguars). You stepped in and averaged a whopping 15.6 YPA, tossed two touchdown passes and finished with a 108.9 passer rating. How much do you think your performance in that game influenced the Dolphins' interest in you as the successor to Marino the following season?


Jay: "I know that it played a part in the Dolphins interest and decision because people in the organization told me so. The bigger factor from that game against the Dolphins was the fact that leading up to the game, Miami didn’t know if Mark Brunell was going to return from injury to play. That forced the Dolphins staff and pro scouts to analyze my performance from the week before when I played well in my first NFL start in Week 17 of the [1999] regular season."


Fiedler on 1/2/00 vs. the Bengals: 28 of 37 (71.8%) for 317 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions = 104.3 passer rating


Ryan: Towards the end of your first season with the Dolphins (2000), you faced a quarterback in the postseason who went on to finish his career with a record "9 one and done's" (Peyton Manning). You had a rough game that day, but your team won. Is football the ultimate team sport, or do quarterbacks really deserve the heat they take when their season ends short of a Super Bowl ring?


Jay: "I had a rough first half but was able to make a number of plays in the second half and lead the team to a last second touchdown that got us to overtime and ultimately helped us win the game. A quarterback can have the most impact into the outcome of any game, but he can’t win or lose one by himself. Without our defense keeping the game close, Lamar Smith having a career day (227 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns), and our receivers making some key catches, I never would have had the opportunity to lead our team on that final drive of regulation, throw the game tying touchdown and ultimately finish with the win. Football is the ultimate team sport."


Ryan: Lets fast-forward to 2001, which I really feel was your breakout season. You finished with an 11-5 record, ranked second in the NFL in fourth quarter comebacks (4) and finished with a higher YPA average (7.3) than Rich Gannon (7.0) or Tom Brady (6.9). What do you remember most about that season, besides gracing the front cover of Sports Illustrated?



Photo credit: Sports Illustrated (October 2001)


Jay: "Having a year as the starter under my belt and the continuity of being in the same offensive system for another season helped me perform well in 2001. It was the first time since college that I didn’t have to learn a new system going into a season and I felt I had great command of the offense.


There were lots of highlights from that season, including of course, the game against Oakland in the first game back after the 9/11 tragedy which led to the Sports Illustrated cover shot. That game had so much emotion going into it and then ended in dramatic fashion with the last second dive into the end zone for the game winning score."


Ryan: On paper, the quarterback class of 2018 is said to be the strongest we've seen in over a decade. If you're the Cleveland Browns picking No. 1 overall, who are you taking?


Jay: "This is a very deep crop of quarterbacks from a talent and production standpoint, but it’s too early to label it the strongest in recent years. I think the guy with the biggest upside to be a long term franchise quarterback is Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen). He would be my pick at 1."


Ryan: For those who may not know, you are very involved with football camps, teaching young people how to play the quarterback position. Can you tell me a little bit about your camps and what they can offer young people seeking to develop their skill sets?


Jay: "I have two different sports camp businesses. One of them is Prime Time Football (www.primetimecamps.com), which is a year-round football training platform for beginners up to pros. I have run my own overnight football camp under the Prime Time brand for 20 years now, since early in my playing career, and have expanded that into multiple offerings of clinics, camps and private instruction. I have been able to work with kids as young as 7 years old as well as college prospects preparing for combine and pro days. In the past few years I had the opportunity to help prepare Trevor Siemian and Joe Callahan for their pro workouts. It’s been great to see unknown guys that I have worked with perform well and make it against the odds.


In addition to Prime Time, I also run The Sports Academy at Brookwood Camps (www.brookwoodcamps.com) each summer along with my brother Scott. Brookwood has been a family run summer sleepaway camp for over 30 years. We provide top level world-class instruction in a variety of sports and activities for boys and girls ages 6-17. The camp combines the best of a sports camp within a traditional summer sleepaway camp framework, all set on 160 beautiful acres in the Catskill region of upstate New York. Campers learn from the best while having great fun and making new friends from around the world."


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Follow Jay Fiedler on Twitter: @JayFiedler


Follow Prime Time Football on Twitter: @primetimecamps


Follow Brookwood Camps on Twitter: @brookwoodcamps


Follow Ryan Michael on Twitter: @theryanmichael

Ryan Michael: QBS Interview with 2x All-Pro Running Back Larry Johnson

Posted on April 8, 2018 at 11:00 AM

At Penn State, Larry Johnson was an AP All-American running back. After being selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, he went on to earn AP Second Team All-Pro (2005) and AP First Team All-Pro (2006) honors. He set the Chiefs single-season rushing record with 1,750 yards in 2005 (in only 9 starts), then broke his own record by rushing for 1,789 yards in 2006.


I caught up with the 2x Pro Bowl selection to reflect upon his NFL career, to discuss how Saquon Barkley's Penn State career compares to his and to see what he's been up to since retirement.


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Ryan: You were drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. What was it like to join a backfield that already featured one of the league’s best running backs, Priest Holmes?


Larry: "It was frustrating at first because I had worked all my college career to be the lone wolf in the backfield. If I was going to be a backup coming in as a rookie, than I was blessed that it ended up being Priest Holmes (2002 NFL Offensive Player of the Year)."



Ryan: What advice would you give running backs entering the 2018 NFL Draft?


Larry: "Running backs coming into the draft need to learn the history of their craft, their position. Learn why we love and cherish the game we play. Most importantly, learn defensive schemes and know where to put the ball. Not every run will be a home run."



Ryan: This is a tough one and you don’t have to be modest. Who was the better Penn State running back: Larry Johnson or Saquon Barkley?


Larry: "No modesty needed. I am. My single-game records haven’t been eclipsed and neither have my single season records. While I started fewer seasons than him, I’m the only running back in Penn State history to hit 2,000 yards in under 252 carries. [Barkley] will always be faster and shiftier than me, like an Ollie Matson or Gale Sayers. I preferred to be Earl Campbell, Jim Taylor, Marion Motley. I love the kid but in this social media age, popularity always overshadows facts."


(Melvin Gordon eclipsed 2,000 yards on his 241st carry in 2014, making him and Johnson the only two running backs in FBS history to eclipse 2,000 yards in under 252 carries. Barkley's career high was 1,496 in 2016.)



Ryan: Out of the 85 games you played during your NFL career, which one stands out as the best representation of who you were as a football player?


Larry: "My career against the Denver Donkeys [Broncos]. There wasn’t a game against them that didn’t feel like a High School Homecoming. Those games showed my patience and vision as a runner, along with being able to carry the ball past 30 when the team really relied on me. I say Denver because honestly, those are the only games I can really remember."



Ryan: What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of your NFL career?


Larry: "My greatest accomplishment was my 416 carry record. Everyone says that it was the downfall of my career but those carries showed how tough I was as a runner, being a big back that didn’t have much agility or top speed. Having the reputation of a warrior, [being] tough and hard to bring down came from that 416 carry season and that’s all I wanted to prove as running back in the NFL."


(Johnson's 416 carries in 2006 remain the highest single-season total in NFL history.)



Ryan: What are you up to these days?


Larry: "These days I volunteer a couple of hours a week helping The Motivational Edge, a non profit as a member of the Board of Directors. I try to raise funding and awareness for South Florida youth from all walks of life and backgrounds, to teach them about the dangers of mental illness. I try to help our youth out here as much as I can because I know what it feels like to be lost inside your mind with no one to help or care."


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Follow Larry Johnson on Twitter: @2LarryJohnson7


Follow The Motivational Edge on Twitter: @motivedge


Follow Ryan Michael on Twitter: @theryanmichael

QBS2 Profile: Kirk Cousins

Posted on January 5, 2018 at 12:15 AM

Below are the QBS2 results, ranked by season, for Kirk Cousins' career.


Kirk Cousins Season Rankings


  • 2015: 85.41 (5)
  • 2016: 85.41 (6)
  • 2017: 56.25 (14)

  • Career average: 75.69

QBS2 Profile: Marcus Mariota

Posted on January 5, 2018 at 12:05 AM

Below are the QBS2 results, ranked by season, for Marcus Mariota's career.


Marcus Mariota Season Rankings


  • 2016: 67.70 (10)
  • 2015: 39.58 (22)
  • 2017: 29.68 (23)

  • Career average: 45.65

QBS2 Profile: Jameis Winston

Posted on January 4, 2018 at 11:50 AM

Below are the QBS2 results, ranked by season, for Jameis Winston's career.


Jameis Winston Season Rankings


  • 2017: 62.50 (13)
  • 2016: 52.08 (17)
  • 2015: 35.41 (23)


  • Career average: 49.99

Ryan Michael: QBS Interview with Former Purdue Running Back Akeem Shavers

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 8:15 PM

At Purdue University, Akeem Shavers averaged 4.8 yards-per-carry, produced 1,818 yards from scrimmage and scored 16 touchdowns. In the 2013 offseason, he spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. In the CFL, Shavers helped lead the Edmonton Eskimos to a Grey Cup championship. In this exclusive, Shavers shares his thoughts on his journey through Junior College, to NCAA Division I, to the NFL and to the CFL.


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Ryan: Growing up, What running backs did you most admire?


Akeem: "I admired Ladainian Tomlinson and Reggie Bush as I was growing up. Their versatility and running style inspired me a lot."



Ryan: What was it like to transition from Independence Community College, to Tyler Junior College, to Purdue?


Akeem: "It was honestly in the plans, to work my way up to the D1 level. It was always a huge dream to play on one of the highest levels, coming from a small town, trying to prove to myself that I could do it."



Ryan: In 2013, you spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots. What did you take away from that experience?


Akeem: "I learned a lot during my time with those two organizations. The most important things were how to take care of my body and how to really be a professional."



Ryan: How would you compare the feeling of earning MVP honors in the 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to scoring a touchdown and winning the 103rd Grey Cup with the Edmonton Eskimos?


Akeem: "I would say that they both were huge milestones for me. I believe that the being selected as the MVP of that bowl game was a huge honor after seeing some of the performances that we had that day."



Ryan: Any exciting ventures that you'd like to share with the fans?


Akeem: "I guess the one venture that I'm most excited about is a podcast that I am in the process of launching. It's going to focus on mentoring younger athletes who want to play professional football but lack the mentoring and guidance of a professional athlete."

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Follow Ryan Michael on Twitter: @theryanmichael

Follow Akeem Shavers on Twitter: @PrinceAkeem24

QBS2 Profile: Derek Carr

Posted on January 3, 2017 at 1:45 AM

Below are the QBS2 results, ranked by season, for Derek Carr's career.


Derek Carr Season Rankings

 

  • 2016: 71.87 (8)
  • 2017: 53.12 (15)
  • 2015: 45.83 (18)
  • 2014: 7.29 (28)

  • Career average: 44.52

QBS Profile: Cam Newton

Posted on January 2, 2017 at 8:55 PM

Below are the QBS results, ranked by season, for Cam Newton's career.


Cam Newton Season Rankings


  • 2015: 14.0
  • 2012: 0.0
  • 2013: 0.0
  • 2014: 0.0
  • 2016: -1.0
  • 2011: -1.5
  • 2017: -4.5

  • Career total: 7.0

MVP for Ryan, Another Silver Medal for Brady, Another Record for Brees and a First Time for Rodgers

Posted on December 31, 2016 at 11:55 AM

1) If on-field performance is the measure, Matt Ryan should run away with 2016 NFL MVP honors.


If you follow Football Outsiders, and you should, you may have already caught Scott Kacsmar's fantastic breakdown of why Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is most deserving of 2016 NFL MVP honors. No quarterback since Aaron Rodgers in 2011 has finished a season with a 100.00 QBS2 (ranking No. 1 in passer rating, DVOA and QBR), a feat that Ryan can reach with one week left in the regular season. The lowest ranked scoring defense in NFL history to support an MVP quarterback was the 2013 Denver Broncos (22nd), backing Peyton Manning. Through Week 16, the Falcons rank 25th. Domination with bottom-feeding support on one half of the ball, vs. the hardest schedule of defenses any offense has seen this year could leave Ryan's 2016 amongst the best passing seasons ever.


2) Tom Brady is the ultimate silver/bronze medal winner, and that's an amazing accomplishment.


Brady's consistency, year in and year out, in spite of advancing age, is an incredible accomplishment. While I've never quite bought into the mythos of "Tom Brady the super-dietitian" (the same man who has spent 39 years avoiding a single sip of coffee to keep his body in supreme condition is the same man who sliced his thumb open digging out an obstruction from his cleat), his elite level of performance at this stage of his career is special. Brady would have a strong argument for MVP honors if not for Ryan's dominance, his team's 75% winning-percentage without him, Jimmy Garoppolo's 41.7% DVOA (vs. Brady's 30.9%) and the fact that he's missed 1/4 of the 2016 NFL season. Brady's performance ranks him amongst the best, but true to the long-standing theme of his career, he doesn't stand out as the best.

 

  • 2nd in passer rating
  • 2nd in Y/A
  • 3rd in DVOA
  • 3rd in QBR
  • 4th in passing yards per-game
  • 7th in completion-percentage

 

99% of all NFL quarterbacks would trade their careers for Brady's and as is true in the acting world, being an Oscar nominee is nothing to shrug your shoulders at. Using QBS2 to adjust for era, Brady's 82.45 career average stands amongst the best in NFL history. Perhaps more impressive is his 88.74 QBS2 Prime (the average of his ten best seasons). If Brady finishes 2016 with his current QBS2 mark of 94.79, his QBS2 Prime would increase to 90.41—ranking him below only Joe Montana (90.53) and Peyton Manning (96.93) amongst all qualified quarterbacks since 1937.


3) Drew Brees is closing in on a major single-season record, only nobody is talking about it.


In the history of professional football, only eight quarterbacks have completed 440 or more passes in a single-season. One quarterback, Peyton Manning, completed a then-record 450 passes in 2010 (his final season with the Indianapolis Colts). Former Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, also completed 450 passes during his 2013 MVP campaign. The remaining six quarterbacks to reach this mark all have one thing in common.


Most Pass Completions (Single-Season)

 

  • 1. 468 Drew Brees 2011
  • 2. 456 Drew Brees 2014
  • 3. 450 Peyton Manning 2013
  • 3. 450 Peyton Manning 2010
  • 5. 448 Drew Brees 2010
  • 6. 446 Drew Brees 2013
  • 7. 442 Drew Brees 2016
  • 8. 440 Drew Brees 2007

 

At his current pace, Brees will finish the 2016 season with 471 pass completions, breaking the mark he set himself in 2011 (468). It would also leave him with the three highest single-season totals in NFL history. Imagine, Brees in his third best pass completion season will have completed more passes than any other quarterback, in any season, in all of NFL history. Brees is also on-pace to finish 2016 ranking No. 1 with 5,181 passing yards. If he eclipses the 5,000-yard mark again, that would leave Brees with five 5,000-yard passing seasons. The rest of the NFL, in all of NFL history, combined, has produced four 5,000-yard passing seasons (Marino in 1984, Brady in 2011, Stafford in 2011 and Manning in 2013). If Brees finished the 2016 season ranking No. 1 in passing yards, he will have accomplished this feat a record 7x. To put that into perspective, Dan Marino led the NFL in passing 5x, Peyton Manning 3x and Tom Brady 2x and Aaron Rodgers 0x, which brings me to my next topic.


4) There's a first time for everything and Aaron Rodgers may finally be No. 1.


Like Brady, Rodgers has often ranked highly amongst his peers. But in respects to touchdown passes, passing yards and completion-percentage, Rodgers has never ranked No. 1 in the NFL. Including 2016, he's been a starter for nine seasons, giving him a total of 27 opportunities to finish with a No. 1 ranking in any of those three categories. True, he missed 1-start in 2010, 1-start in 2011 and 7-starts in 2013, but he was only pacing a No. 1 ranked finish in one category (touchdown passes) during one of those seasons (2011). 2016 may be Rodgers' first time. Currently leading the NFL with 36 touchdown passes (to Drew Brees' 35, Matt Ryan's 34), Rodgers is on-pace to finish 2016 with 38.4 touchdown passes. That's a ton, although, lightyears short of Manning's 55 in 2013, a record many, including Manning himself, expected to be broken shortly after it was set. Rodgers' 2016 has been better than his 2015 season, but if you think a quarterback ranked 14th in Y/A is an MVP-candidate, you might want to look back above to topic-1.


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