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  1. #1
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    Young's motion throws a curve to draft

    Friday, 04/21/06

    [size=18px]Young's motion throws a curve to draft[/size]

    Sidearm delivery just works for QB

    Staff Writer

    If NFL teams considering Texas quarterback Vince Young at the top of the draft don't like his unconventional throwing motion, they'd be wise to avoid him.

    That's the prevailing thinking among coaches and executives around the league, who say teams can do plenty of tinkering with quarterback mechanics involving feet and body positioning but should not plan to mess with a long-established throwing motion.

    Young slings the ball with sidearm action that makes some traditionalists cringe.

    "At this level it's hard to change some of the things they do," Cleveland Browns General Manager Phil Savage said. "There are some improvements you can make in terms of mechanics, using the body, using the legs more. The actual arm motion, the angle the ball's coming out, I think that's a difficult thing to try to change.

    "Philip Rivers had an unorthodox release a few years ago. You try to envision, watch the ball from his hand to the receiver. If you like that part of it, you like Philip Rivers. If you couldn't get past the release part of it, you probably struggled with grading him. Vince Young's probably going to go through some of those same questions this spring, quite frankly."

    Former Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, now assistant head coach of the Denver Broncos, said coaches have to come to terms with the idea that as awkward as a throwing motion may be, it's ingrained into the muscle memory of the quarterback who owns it.

    If it was good enough for Young to dominate the Rose Bowl and lead Texas to a national championship, it's got to be good enough for the NFL, where other changes can improve Young's effectiveness.

    "You know what his mechanics are. You're not going to change them," Heimerdinger said. "That guy's been doing that for that long, you might be able to speed up his feet, but you're not going change his throwing motion. You live with that. That's part of the evaluation before you pick a guy.

    " … If that was a bad throwing motion and it wasn't effective, it should have been changed before he got to Texas."

    Young's throwing motion is the most scrutinized element among the top three QBs in the draft. Many feel Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler needs to work on his mechanics, but his throwing motions seems to be accepted. The discussion is more about a tendency to throw off his back foot. Evaluators seem to feel USC's Matt Leinart is close to fundamentally sound.

    When the subject of his throwing style comes up, Young can get defensive.

    "The media, that's who keeps talking about the throwing motion," he said. "There's nothing wrong with the throwing motion. Just hearing from (the coaches, I need to) just keep continuing getting my mental part of the game better and better, and keep playing what I've been doing all my life playing football."

    New NFL head coaches Scott Linehan of the St. Louis Rams and Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings compare a quarterback's throwing motion to a golf swing.

    "Too many radical (alterations), I think you can set a guy back," Linehan said. "If you watch golf, there are a lot of different golf swings out there, but the mechanical part is making sure when you get back to that impact point, everything's the same. I'm sure there's somebody that tried to change Jim Furyk's golf swing. But I don't think you tinker with those things too much because they've been effective with it."

    Said Childress: "It would be like trying to change my golf swing. It would take a lot, a lot, a lot of work. But since you're trying to buy the best possible, you're not going to fool with that. It is more of a footwork thing and making sure that he's throwing with his legs and his eyes. You know what he's going to do with his arm."

    Rivers was the fourth pick overall in 2004 by the New York Giants but quickly landed in San Diego when the Giants and Chargers pulled off a trade involving No. 1 pick Eli Manning.

    Confident that Rivers is ready, San Diego let Drew Brees go and he signed with New Orleans.

    In college at North Carolina State, Rivers faced questions about his throwing motion. Like the 6-foot-4½ Young, Rivers is very tall — 6-5. Taller quarterbacks can get away with sidearm motions because they still release the ball at a level high enough to get it over most rushers.

    "You don't have to worry about the low throwing trajectory that he's going to have because he's throwing at a 6-3 or a 6-2 level which is still good enough," Titans scout Blake Beddingfield said. "If you have a short quarterback who's throwing that sidearm, well now he's a 5-10 quarterback, a 5-9 quarterback, when he's releasing the ball."

    Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said height aside, when he watches quarterbacks on film and assesses weaknesses to attack, he checks how many balls get tipped at the line of scrimmage.

    "Some guys can throw low but don't get very many knocked down," he said. "(Bernie) Kosar was about as sidearm as you could get, but I don't remember Kosar getting many balls knocked down. Doug Flutie, the ball doesn't come out any lower than David Carr. David Carr gets a lot of passes knocked down. Does Flutie? I don't remember it."

    In reviewing a season of throws by Eli Manning in 2005, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said he was amazed by how many different body positions his quarterback had to throw the ball from.

    Even if Young's team accepts his throwing motion as it is, coaches will have to be careful about how they discuss it, Coughlin said.

    "It's a constant,"' he said. "But you also sit there in evaluation when you are watching that player, oohing and ahhing when he makes all these plays. That's the same guy you're trying to harness. So I think it's always a question — you don't want to take that vital part of his game away because you are trying to mold him so stringently to one particular type of quarterback.

    "Perhaps that is part of him … like Flutie. I can remember (BC Coach) Jack Bicknell saying to me, 'Don't take that element of magic away from the guy just because you want him to be able to do this, this and this. Let him be.' "

    Young's motion throws a curve to draft

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  2. #2
    AngloVike's Avatar
    AngloVike is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Young's motion throws a curve to draft

    Good article and does raise the question of just how much emphasis can be out on a player's actions etc when he doesn't conform the 'standard' that a lot of coaches expect.
    It will be interesting to see how much Young's new team wants to modify his action/ mechanics - too much and it could backfire on them.
    A good example of someone not conforming to standard practice - Randal Mcdaniel. How many coaches over the years cringed at his stance and yet he was one of the premier guards in the league
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...

  3. #3
    DaunteHOF is offline Coach
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    Re: Young's motion throws a curve to draft

    COuld be a smokescreen from Childress, you never know
    Its not braggin if you can do it!!!

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