General Sheridan for QB... misc thoughts RE: gameplanning, etc

Submitted by griesecheeks on September 7th, 2008 at 12:36 AM

So- I see all these comments about Threet as the guy for the rest of the season. I am far from sold on his ability to direct this offense. To be fair, Sheridan isn't going to be a great QB either. Threet's lack of accuracy is incredibly frustrating, and his mechanics seem very very sketchy.

 What I do prefer about Sheridan is the accuracy I've seen on the short routes. If he can refrain from spazzing out and heaving ducks downfield (and that is a major if), he should be our guy. Granted, if we get down and have to play from behind, I think we're screwed anyway(and in those cases, Threet's "armstrength" might be advantageous). If Sheridan can channel his inner Brian Griese and be a "caretaker" kind of QB, and we can establish some consistency in the ground game, there might be something to work with. Quite honestly, there is not a receiver on the squad I trust to make big plays down the field with any kind of consistency. If Mathews can get back healthy, Magee should work on a gameplan that incorporates lots of slants and short, quick throws that took Sheridan to the point of being 11-14 at one point against Utah. The pessimist in me thinks the only way yardage is going to acrue in the passing game is via WR's and RB's making people miss (ala McGuffie, Odoms, Shaw).

This is not an attempt to ballwash Nick Sheridan! I do not think he's a great QB by any stretch or the long-term answer to anything. But if constrained to a gameplan that minimizes his chances of fucking up, I think he can guide the team to a few wins.

 I also definitely agree with some others when they suggest that a decision needs to be made either way so one of the QB's has a chance to get more reps in practice. If it's Threet - great, get him more snaps so he work on timing and accuracy (eeesh, ugly). If it's sheridan, fine, get him going!

 If the "D" can continue to be physical and well-conditioned, we should at least be able to prevent situations where the offense has to play from behind - of course, several games are unlikely to be winnable regardless.


Ellipses Man

September 7th, 2008 at 12:43 AM ^

"IF Sheridan can channel his inner Brian Griese(Inner Brian Griese???) and be a "caretaker" kind of QB, and (IF)we can establish some consistency in the ground game, there (MIGHT) be something to work with. Quite honestly, there is not a receiver on the squad I trust to make big plays down the field with any kind of consistency."

NIce article, you have good paragrpahs. I MIGHT like it IF it offered a solution rather than a preference. Keep drinking buddy!


September 7th, 2008 at 12:57 AM ^

not drinking at all... quite sober.

at this point, I'm not sure there is a solution. unfortunately, opposing defenses are going to gang up on the run.
like I said, Rodriguez might as well go ahead and pick one guy and stick w/ it to see if there's something to build on... regardless of whether it's Threet or Sheridan. I don't think either has the potential to be a big-play, gamebreaker type who can make highlight reel throws. I'm just thinking that Sheridan has shown more ability to hit the easy short throws and move the ball. Of course, if he has more Utah-INT moments, my opinion certainly could change.

Ellipses Man

September 7th, 2008 at 1:30 AM ^

I know you're not drinking. There was a guy on the FREEP just now who wrote,"I wonder if Sheridan has naked pics of RR or something." We play a lot of teams who are not trying to find a QB, they have one. And those teams will have a QB in rhythm. We have no effing rhythm offensively. This is obvious. I can understand why they have played both and I like it. Dating two girls who both need training is also fun. But when one starts to go haywire and wants more attention you quickly realize you either pick one or lose them both. It's time to pick one of these guys. RR knows what he's doing. I have faith

chitownblue (not verified)

September 7th, 2008 at 1:35 AM ^

The only thing to suggest that Sheridan has an "inner Brian Griese" is that they were both walk-ons. That is to say, there is nothing to suggest it.


September 7th, 2008 at 2:06 AM ^

i disagree... i definitely see some similarities between sheridan and griese... that was my first thought when Nick started throwing the ball around against Utah. Griese was more of a posession/short pass QB rather than a gunslinger like Henne or Brady or Henson. Neither of our current QB's are going to be like those guys. But it seems to me that there might be some potential to develop Sheridan into a guy who can at least hit the short throws w/ some accuracy.  Threet hasn't shown that. He's been wild as hell and I think will be more of a liability as the season goes on.

chitownblue (not verified)

September 7th, 2008 at 8:32 AM ^

Ellipses - by writing coherent sentences with a semblance of grammar.

That means, Griesecheeks, that you're essentially saying the main similarity between Griese and Sheridan is that they both have weak arms - which is true. But just because they share the same primary negative quality doesn't mean they share the same positive ones.

I agree Threet has been "wild as hell", and I thought Sheridan did "fine" in the last TD drive, though he wasn't really asked to do anything other than to throw screens and swings, which is something Carlos Brown can probably do.

As for Threet, one of his main bouts of playing time was with a huge deficit against Utah, where Michigan had been shaken out of their base offense, and no longer even tried to run. Threet's time was all throwing, and deeper routes, which makes it easier to defend.


September 7th, 2008 at 12:24 PM ^

I'm essentially agreeing w/ you. I just see similarities to how Griese played in his first year as a starter. Yes, they both have pretty weak arms, but both also have been statistically accurate w/ short throws. hell, throughout his pro career, Griese has even been known to have sheridan-esque spaz moments throwing the ball where he shouldn't be. at no point have I meant to suggest that Sheridan IS Griese or is going to be. But if they take what he is best at and build around it with a focus on establishing the run, there might be potential for something workable.

If Threet takes over and gets better, hey, that's awesome, the armstrength would be nice to keep defenders honest and even get a big play once in awhile. but I'm not sold that he'll take command like people want him to.

Six Zero

September 7th, 2008 at 9:43 AM ^

Griese: You may REALLY REALLY WANT one of our quarterbacks to step up, assume control, complete the long ball, etc.... but unless you've got some magic lamp it really doesn't help the situation. WE ALL DO, but be realistic.
If you ask me, I think Threet will be throwing mid-range balls so much in practice this week RR might as well hang a tire from a rope on the 40 inside Oosterbaan. Accuracy is a fundamental, teachable skill that Threet keeps losing in the thrush of full game tempo. If they can drill it into his head enough, sooner or later it becomes a subconscious skill. In my opinion, Threet's ability to manage the line makes him a better commodity. But then again, that's just WHAT I HOPE FOR. All this talk about Brady, Henne and Griese is really unfair to everyone involved... We've won without that talent before (2001 to 2004 anyone?) and we'll get it done again.


September 7th, 2008 at 10:11 AM ^

I'm trying to be civil here, but that post was absolutely ridiculous. First of all, Sheridan can't throw anything. His screen passes are frequently behind receivers and the receivers always have to make an adjustment just to catch the ball. Just because those receivers had wide open space and gained yards when Sheridan was the QB has nothing to do with Sheridan and everything to do with improved blocking. Threet's short passes are exactly where they should be, on the receiver's hands. No adjustments are made and the play goes from there. That is exactly the way it should be. Sheridan also can't run. He is indecisive and has a slow first step. He needs open space to accelerate, which is rare. He doesn't even have any passing skills beyond the screens, and he can't even do them right. Look, we all know Threet sailed some passes, but at least he could make those passes. Sheridan can't even identify open receivers, much less deliver a ball deep. Sheridan has been a walking disappointment. RR was desperate, so he wasted all this time developing Sheridan. I have completely lost faith in Sheridan, as I believe he bring nothing to the table.


September 7th, 2008 at 9:00 PM ^

I'm not a big proponent of the "The coaches know better than us, so we shouldn't criticize them" thought process.  However, I do think Sheridan offers more than what we've seen.  All the reports said that he's a better runner and has better accuracy on short passes.  Whether that shows up in games or not is obviously a big question mark, but he's obviously capable of performing better than Threet or else he wouldn't have beaten out Threet in the summer.

I don't know how Sheridan has been a disappointment.  He was a walk-on that nobody expected anything from.  He's led just as many TD drives, has just as many TD passes, has a better completion percentage, etc.  He has fewer rushing yards and has thrown one interception in two games, while Threet hasn't thrown one. 

It doesn't matter if Threet can throw the ball a long way if he throws it 8 yards out of bounds.  He hasn't won the battle yet.

chitownblue (not verified)

September 7th, 2008 at 10:20 AM ^

NJ Wolverine - please explain to me where I made a single argument for Sheridan to be the starting QB. I said he was "fine" on the three passes he threw on the second TD drive. You can get in a huff about it all you want, and call me Sheridan's Dad, but if you think I'm advocating Sheridan to be the starting QB, you're woefully misreading.


September 8th, 2008 at 10:44 AM ^

no- I'm not off base at all. you're acting as if I'm suggesting that Sheridan is the savior of michigan football. neither of these QB's is anything more than a placeholder until whichever speedy, undersized recruit matures enough to take the reigns. Threet has no future w/ this kind of offense period. Now, if RR were to budge and revert to a more classic I-form look to adjust to what he has, then YES, Threet is clearly the better choice - but that is another issue entirely. the short-range accuracy of Sheridan is much better for the spread.

Now I will concede the most recent response about teams clamping down on the short passes... that is a very legitimate concern... and maybe sheridan would be as much a failure as you all seem to think.

who knows


September 7th, 2008 at 1:41 PM ^

Griese wasn't really a walk-on. He was recruited like any other QB, but just happened to commit very late, right after we had run out of scholarships. Moeller promised him that when one would open up, he'd get it. Sheridan, on the other hand, is the son of an old assistant coach who otherwise might not be on the team.  Having said that, Griese was really, really bad as a sophomore - it wasn't until he became experienced that he learned to manage a game.  (Watch a tape of the '95 OSU game again - Griese's terrible play was the only reason that game wasn't a huge blowout.)

The reason people generally prefer Threet is because he has the arm to connect on deeper throws if he can get his timing down. As the year goes on, the short stuff will be increasingly taken away (really, it already is for the most part) and we're going to need to stretch defenses vertically. I don't Sheridan ever being able to do that.


September 7th, 2008 at 11:28 PM ^

to start the season. It was not a completely irrational act.

Sheridan is "quicker" than Threet. Quicker feet, quicker reads, quicker release (sometimes to the wrong people).

Threet is too slow to run the RR Spread, especially given the O-Line he has. He'll get eaten alive by a fast talented defense like the ones that are coming up. 

Sheridan gives more 1st and 2nd down, and short yardage options. Neither can do anything on third and long.

It will be interesting to see where RR wants to go. Sheridan lets RR take a shot at running the offense he really wants to run, but probably never very well.  It is unclear if Shridan can get Michigan to the six wins RR needs to keep the Bowl/non-losing season streak alive and spare a whole lot of greif.

To make Threet work out anytime soon, RR will need to change the offense to be based more on pre-snap read's instead of post-snap read and react's . . . a much heavier emphasis on "traditional" Pro I sets, quick slants, etc. More Michigan/Capital One Bowl, less WVU/Fiesta Bowl.

The true RR spread may need to be worked on in spots when the game is no longer in doubt, for or against.