Tag:Rob Chudzinski
Posted on: November 2, 2011 4:09 pm

Phil Simms not alone in calling Luck overrated

Former Super Bowl MVP and CBS' analyst Phil Simms made waves yesterday with his proclamation that Andrew Luck was being "hype[d] a little too much" and that he didn't see "big time NFL throws" from the Stanford redshirt junior quarterback.

By ranking Luck as the top prospect I've seen in 12 years of scouting, obviously I disagree.

Simms isn't the only one who has concerns about Luck, however.

During the Stanford-Southern Cal game I spent about 45 minutes talking to a high level scout who also had reservations about the Stanford quarterback.

The scout began the conversation about Luck by asking my assessment of Luck's arm strength. I told him that I did not believe that arm strength was Luck's greatest asset, but that having scouted Luck in person and off of video I believed him to have plenty of zip on the ball to make every NFL throw. I also pointed out that Luck's anticipation and accuracy -- arguably his two best features -- more than made up for a lack of a howitzer for a right arm.

The scout agreed that Luck's anticipation and accuracy "were what make him special" but used April's No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton as a comparison to drive a point home about how much Luck has been over-hyped thus far.

"I'm not so sure that after scouting each of these guys closely that some scouts wouldn't favor Newton over Luck," the scout said. "Newton is so much more of a physical specimen. He's bigger, stronger, faster and has a gun. Luck, for all of the things he does have, doesn't have an arm like that. I think the perception is that Carolina would have taken Luck in a heart beat over Newton. Maybe they would have. But I think it would be a closer call than most people think based on the hype."

Newton's instant and continued success in the NFL has taken many of us by surprise, so I asked the scout if perhaps this fact wasn't clouding his comments. He chuckled and acknowledged the quality work that the Carolina Panthers (specifically offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski) had done in adapting his offense to tailor to Newton's strengths, but also pointed out that "talent is talent and when you've got a lot of it, a little coaching can go a long way."

"The reality is, Luck is a pretty special talent, but he's not Superman. I don't know that anyone could be as good as the hype he's getting right now." 

Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:23 pm

Panthers got a steal in veteran TE Olsen

The opening days of the NFL's free agency/trade "season" has led to several brow-raising moves from clubs. Whether it be the Seahawks choosing Tarvaris Jackson over Matt Hasselbeck, the Chargers giving up a Pro Bowl contract to safety Eric Weddle or the release of several starting caliber players by various teams, there have been plenty of surprises already.

One of the more interesting ones happened yesterday when the Chicago Bears traded away former first round pick Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a third round selection in the 2012 draft.

Olsen, 6-6 and 254 pounds and having been timed at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2007 Scouting Combine is one of the league's most physically gifted tight ends. His statistics won't show it. After all, he's averaged only 10.2 yards per catch over his career and his "breakout" 2009 season (60 catches for 612 yards and eight TDs) resulted in nearly double the touchdowns as any other season of his career. While only an average blocker, his size, speed and secure hands would have resulted in a Pro Bowl nod or two already had he been in an offense that catered to him.

Now, he's going to one that will.

This trade had everything to do with scheme. The Bears run a multiple-receiver offense under offensive coordinator Mike Martz. It is the same offense that Martz ran to great success in St. Louis (and considerably less so in Detroit). The scheme didn't put Olsen (or any tight end, really) in position to be a significant part of the team's passing attack.

The Carolina Panthers, on the other hand, are incorporating former San Diego Chargers' tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski's offense. Chudzinski, you might recall, had the benefit of working with Antonio Gates, so it is safe to say that he understands the value of a mismatch of an athletic tight end.

But, that isn't the end of the Chudzinski-tight end connection. Prior to his NFL gigs (including being the offensive coordinator under Romeo Crennel with the Cleveland Browns), Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami where he coached All-Americans Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow II. Chudzinski left Miami the year before Olsen arrived at The U.

Considering their strong running game, deep threat in Steve Smith and young quarterbacks in Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen, the Carolina Panthers appear to be an ideal fit for Olsen. The young passers have been given a Pro Bowl caliber security blanket and the Panthers gave up just a third round pick to get him.

With the exorbitant prices of free agency, player trades being seen this week, Olsen could prove the best value thus far this year.
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