A minor football-related update

Submitted by Bodogblog on July 17th, 2013 at 7:57 AM

It's been noted earlier this week that Gardner was turning heads at the Manning camp.  As I listened to Sirius this morning during the SEC meetings, two more voices chimed in.  The host asked Florida QB Jeff Driskel for two names out of the 40 college QBs in attendance who impressed him - the first person he mentioned was Gardner.  Really good player and a great guy.  And though I didn't hear the converstation, the host (Packer maybe?) noted that Eddie George had also mentioned Gardner among the best while he was down watching the camp.

Also Jadeveon Clowney was asked for the two best tackles he faced, and the first person he said was "the guy from Michigan."

That is all I said it was minor.



July 17th, 2013 at 8:03 AM ^

Lewan's performance against Clowney was awesome. Too bad we all know what that game will be remembered for, though.

I'm excited for Gardner. I'm not as bullish as most people around here (I don't see Heisman campaigns or early departures in his future), but I've seen more than enough to be really pumped for what the offense could do this season.


July 17th, 2013 at 9:06 AM ^

I still get so annoyed when that hit is shown on ESPN every time someone mentions Clowney's name. Lewan handled Clowney all game long and then a communication error between Lewan and Kwiatkowski leads to that hit and that's all anyone remembers from the game.

ESPN is determined to drive the Clowney hype-train full speed, hell or high water so I don't think Lewan was going to get proper credit for stopping Clowney no matter what. Unfortunate for him because he did awesome


July 17th, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

Agreed, this single play is not reflective of the entire game AT ALL.  I can't even say it's the best football hit I've ever laid witness to...and that's me trying to be as objective as possible.  

And yet I've been subjected to the repeated torture of seeing it over and over and over and over, etc...though I did take a little satisfaction in seeing Vincent Smith pop up and stare down Clowney the last time I saw the replay which was...oh uh, this morning for the ESPYs!  Ugh.


July 17th, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

I don't know, it's pretty close to the perfect play for a defensive lineman. Giant athletic freak is left unblocked, perfectly form tackles tiny RB whose helmet flies a dozen yards backward, ball pops out, which the defender picks up himself. I'm not sure you could write a more perfect play for a defensive lineman. Hard, clean, flashy, behind the line, and included both a forced fumble and fumble recovery.


July 17th, 2013 at 10:15 AM ^

Plenty of plays have blockers missing assignments that don't lead to plays like Clowney's. Yes he was unblocked, and he took full advantage to make a very dramatic and crushing play that other defensive linemen have failed to make when they were left unblocked.

Yes it sucks that it happened to V.Smith, but saying that Clowney doesn't deserve any credit or that it was just physics is ridiculous.


July 17th, 2013 at 1:38 PM ^

totally agree...sucks that Smith was on the receiving end...but Clowney is living up to the hype he was recruited with...whatever NFL Team he ends up with he should he a superstar. kd has freak talent. the fact Lewan controlled him 99% of the game says a lot about Lewan.
all homerism aside, Clowney used the opportunity to showcase what he has...how many others might have overpursued the play? or freaked under pressure. call the play for what it is...


July 17th, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

Curious as to what your best football hit is?

Clowney's hit, while shitty for us, is f*cking awesome as he blasts off the line, stays low ( as best as a 6'6 guy can do), wraps up, and drives through VS.  In essence it is a textbook football tackle, which to me is what makes it great unlike great "hits" where a player just launches himself at another player. 

EDIT: ...I see I was a bit slow on the trigger 

Come On Down

July 17th, 2013 at 10:18 AM ^

I think that sort of depends on what you mean by "proper credit." NFL scouts will absolutely watch film from the entire game and come away impressed with what Lewan was able to do against Clowney, thereby elevating his draft stock and making it more likely that he becomes a top 10 pick.

If by proper credit you mean praise by the media then yes it's unlikely that ESPN is going to spend a lot of time praising a left tackle, no matter who he is

Wolverine 73

July 17th, 2013 at 10:37 AM ^

they will beat this drum until the next best thing comes along, then it will go into the file with the BC/Miami pass play, the Colorado/UM pass play the Reggie Bush TD run and all the other big plays you get sick of seeing before they get archived.  And we'll have a chance to see another play run over and over again as they hype the next guy.

His Dudeness

July 17th, 2013 at 10:40 AM ^

I feel like I always play devils advocate, but you have to admit that hit was some crazy video game shit. He even one handed the fumble recovery. I mean... it doesn't get much better than that. That hit will go down like the LaVar Arrington line jump. It sucks it was against us, but dude it was a legit "remember that" highlight.


July 17th, 2013 at 9:07 AM ^

Re. not as bullish

Understand your view, but I'm beginning to let myself fall into the hype.  Watch the Ohio and South Carolina games last year again.  Gardner wasn't intimidated or fazed in either environment, he just wanted to win.  The whole team just wanted to win.  The last offensive drive in the bowl game was outstanding.

Throw these camp showings onto the pile, plus the "footbal junkie" prep he's put in solely at QB, and I'm getting there.  The only caution is that he didn't have the full pressure of the job last year - getting thrown in when you've been at WR is very difficult, but expectations are lower.  He's the guy from the beginning now, and that brings pressure.  But I don't think Gardner is one to crumble under pressure, and I think he's already dealt with a good bit of it so far. 


July 17th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

I tend to be a pessimist when it comes to my sports fandom, so I'll always be on the bearish side of things. So I'll be perfectly happy to be wrong and for Gardner to develop into a defense slaying Heisman winner. I'd love to see Gardner at his best out there. The guy definitely has the skill and is a hell of a lot of fun to watch when he's on.


July 17th, 2013 at 8:22 AM ^

"Gardner displayed superior arm strength in drills, showing the kind of zip and velocity to rival big-armed NFL passers like Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick," wrote Bucky Brooks. "Additionally, he demonstrated outstanding accuracy and ball placement in the throwing exhibition."

"More importantly for Gardner's future, he impressed the scouts who swarm to the high-profile camp every year. Several NFL analysts tweeted that they were being told that Gardner was raising his NFL draft stock with a powerful arm and athletic ability, with the obvious comparison being drawn to Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill."


Space Coyote

July 17th, 2013 at 8:50 AM ^

But he is clearly able to make all the throws. He doesn't have Chad Henne ability on his outs (Henne was probably the best Michigan QB ever at throwing out routes), but he still threatens sideline-to-sideline.

Gardner's issue has always been decision making and properly reading the defense. A lot of his mistakes have been reading man and it being zone, reading the wrong zone, etc. Now, they tends to improve when you start getting a lot more reps, but that's the thing that needs to be looked at more than the physical tools when it comes to his future success.


July 17th, 2013 at 9:49 AM ^

He throws a beautiful corner route though, does he not?  Seems like I saw a lot more of those when Gardner came in, and I thought he did extremely well with them.  Don't remember as many deep outs, and maybe that's a very different type of pass.

And with decision making, isn't a lot of that still based on spring games?  Before the end of last season, we had a very small sample of what Devin could do at QB.  I always bristled at the conclusions made based on those small sample sizes, especially given a lot of it was in junk time or spring games.  I pointed to the Illinois game, when he came in and got us a TD under a ton of pressure when Denard went down.  But I thought last year his decision making was fairly good (NW being the one major mistake)


July 17th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

Gardner throws outstanding corner routes, pretty much every highlight video from last year will show his passes to Gallon against Minnesota and South Carolina where he just laid it right up in the corner over the DB's head.  With taller receivers coming in, and Funchess and Gallon returning, this could be his signature throw.

M Wolve

July 17th, 2013 at 10:14 AM ^

routes are the hardest routes for a QB to throw in all of football, so one would expect a QB to throw a better corner than an out (which Gardner does).  Getting full reps at QB this offseason and going into the season as THE MAN will likely result in a greater abundance of out routes seen on gameday.  

Space Coyote

July 17th, 2013 at 10:25 AM ^

If you go back and watch - and you'll likely have to find full game footage because they aren't WOW! plays - but watch him throw a 10 yard out from the opposite hash to the far sideline. Has very good ball velocity and it typically gets the ball out on time (I believe he showed this as early as the Minn game).

As far as the decision making, you could still see it a bit last year as well. You saw it in his picks against South Carolina and even in other later games. It's something I'm sure he's improving with experience, but the overall point is that seeing the game and anticipating the game is much more of what's holding him back than his arm.


July 17th, 2013 at 10:37 AM ^

Ah, my fault.  I thought you were saying he didn't throw a good out route, reading your post again that's not at all what you're saying (quite the opposite).

Maybe I'm letting the glow of Gardner good news cloud my judgment, but some of those bad decisions just seem like football.  Every QB makes poor choices and gets caught, and I hadn't really seen Gardner standing out in this way more than the average quarterback. 

And in terms of decisions in a non-throwing sense, he seems to have a very good sense of when to take off and run.  Tremendous asset for a QB with a deep arm.


July 17th, 2013 at 9:19 AM ^

Mike Maycock was specifically watching draft-eligible quarterbacks had his thoughts on Gardner quoted in this NESN article (LINK). 

"Gardner is 6-foot-4, he’s 210 pounds, he’s got a buggy whip for an arm, he’s highly athletic,” Mayock said. “He’s raw as can be, but trust me — he’s a redshirt junior, and this kid’s got some ability. I’m really anxious to watch him develop this year.”

A full year of Devin Gardner at QB has me excited admittedly. A full offseason to work with the first-unit offense as QB will hopefully help him at least produce at a similar pace to the last third of last season if not better. Granted, it's a small sample from which to extrapolate, but even if he just produces at that average rate he did last year, he'd throw for 3,000 or so yards - I would take that.