Reads Listens Views 4/25/2014

Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down. Photo by Fraser Elliot.
Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. Photo by Fraser Elliot.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Wobble Masters and Teddy Bridgewater, Donny Hathaway, and a good daddy.

What is Reads Listens Views?

If you’re new to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio blog, welcome.  I post links on Friday to content I’m saving for later consumption. You may not like everything listed here, but you’re bound to like something.


Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked about Harvard President Lawrence Summers’ comments about genetic differences with men and women in science and gave a compelling answer about race in America. A great listen that only takes a few minutes.


I read Greg Cosell’s take on Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles two days ago and there were two things that surprised me about Cosell’s views. The first was this quote:

Bridgewater doesn’t spin it very well; too many passes came out wobbly. If you don’t think that’s a concern for NFL coaches, then you are not watching the NFL.

I watch the NFL. In fact, I watch this guy a lot who has been known for his wobbly throws since his days as a Volunteer.

This guy that Cosell has great affection for as one of the best pocket passers in the game. A guy, whose wobbly passes in the video below are harder to see here, but the Boston Globe’s beat reporter seemed to have no problem seeing them (or dozens of fans and writers and Twitter) all season when in January, he said that “Rivers hasn’t thrown a perfect spiral in forever…

Here’s a guy who threw flocks of baby ducks interspersed with some aesthetically beautiful passes throughout his MVP career.

And I grew up on this guy who said “I’ve never been a guy who threw a tight spiral. Everyone who plays with me says I throw a tight wobble, not a tight spiral.”

And if you think he’s kidding, here’s another quote from Joe Montana talking about his wobbly passes.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s no question that a tight spiral is preferable on a deep ball.  And I’m not attacking Greg Cosell, who is a fine analyst of the game–I’m questioning his points.

Cosell is an aesthete when it comes to quarterbacking. While it’s a fantastic quality to possess and it comes from three decades of experience studying football, there’s a degree of nitpicking with the wobbly pass analysis.

In light of Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Steve McNair, and Joe Montana’s work, I think his inference  if you don’t agree with me then you aren’t watching football is melodramatic.

I also have questions about what Cosell means when he  says Bridgewater and Bortles can be starters, but not “top quarterbacks” if they don’t improve their deep game. I don’t know what his definition is for a “top quarterback.”  Is it a handful of passers or half the starters in the league?

If it’s the latter, I could find more NFL successful quarterbacks who throw wobbly deep balls as supporting evidence–and I don’t have to go back to Billy Kilmer’s era to do it–but I want to address the second piece of this analysis of Bortles and Bridgewater that runs counter to what I’ve seen on film.

Cosell says Bridgewater “had to put a lot of body into those [deep] throws; as a result, he struggled with trajectory and accuracy.” In contrast, he said, “Bortles will improve his lower body mechanics with more coaching and more refinement.”

Did Bridgewater “put everything” into this throw that covered 48 yards from the line of scrimmage and 56 yards from his release point?

I don’t see an overcompensation to drive the ball. If anything, there wasn’t enough use of his legs to drive through the pass.


On the other hand, I see Bortles putting far more into his throws to deliver a downfield pass. This one is a 34-yard throw from the opposite hash covering 43 yards from the release point.

In fact there are numerous opposite hash throws in the short and intermediate range where Bortles wheels his entire body through his release with the hope of generating momentum.



When I watch Bridgewater, I see a player who had smaller adjustments to make with his throwing motion than Bortles to deliver a ball with greater velocity. If I’m right, add it to the list of reasons why people are grossly underestimating Bridgewater. If I’m wrong, this will be another learning opportunity for me with quarterback mechanics


Thanks, Bloom . . .

Download the 2014 Rookie Scouting Portfolio

Friday’s are also my chance to thank you for reading my work, encourage you to follow the RSP blog, and download the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication.

The RSP is available every April 1 for download. This year’s RSP is nearly 300 pages in the draft guide section and filled with analysis of  164 skill position prospects that has earned a loyal following:

  • Rankings
  • Draft history analysis
  • Overrated/Underrated analysis
  • Multidimensional player comparisons
  • Individual skills analysis by position

You can learn more about the RSP here. If you want to see samples of the play-by-play notes I take to write the analysis, you can find them here. If you want to know what my readers say about it, look here. If you want a quick video tour, here it is:

If you don’t have time to look into details, know that once you look through the RSP, there will be no question in your mind that I do the work, that I have a plan about the work that I do, and that you get more than your money’s worth. It’s why more and more draftniks every spring can’t wait until April 1.

If you think that’s a ton, you ain’t seen nothing. When you purchase the RSP, you also get a free post-draft publication that’s available for download a week after the NFL Draft. Fantasy football owners tell me all the time that this alone is worth the price.

Best yet, 10 percent of each RSP sale is donated to Darkness to Light, a non-profit devoted to preventing and addressing sexual abuse through community training in schools, religious groups, and a variety of civic groups across the U.S.

Here is what the RSP donated to D2L this year. According to D2L, the RSP’s 2013 donation amount was enough to train 250 adults in communities across the country.

Pre-order the 2014 RSP and/or download past versions of the publication (2006-2012).

In Case You Missed It/Coming Soon

Reads (Football)


 Reads (Life In General)


This dad clearly knows how to talk to his kid like a human being in an age-appropriate manner that’s not condescending. Also, he obviously spends a lot of time with her. Great video.


4 responses to “Reads Listens Views 4/25/2014”

  1. Hi Matt,

    I enjoy reading “Reads, Listens, Views” each Friday. To be honest, I began reading regularly because of the football articles, but now I enjoy the non-football related articles more.

    I have noticed a fair number of articles that I would consider “negative” towards law enforcement. It causes me to think perhaps you personally have a strong opinion of law enforcement in general. I’m writing to ask you about that.

    The reason I ask is because I was a police officer for 33 years (retired two years ago). I worked as a patrol officer in the inner city for several years and ultimately became a Chief in my department. My career included a three year stint in charge of internal investigations. I believe I have a balanced and realistic understanding of police work having worked in the industry for many years and in varied assignments. I am sometimes disgusted with what I see, but understand it’s generally a small percentage of officers that damage public opinion and create mistrust and/or misunderstanding within a community. It’s a constant struggle for law enforcement executives who strive to create a positive relationship with the community, political leadership, unions, department personnel, etc. Often the goals of these respective groups are at odds with one another (big surprise, right?).

    Please understand, I’m not being critical of you or trying to pick a fight. I respect your right to voice your opinion. I ask because I’m always looking for ways in which law enforcement can improve – and you can only really get to the core of issues by asking people questions and creating dialogue. Having spoken to many civic groups and organizations over the years, I’m curious to understand people’s perspective on law enforcement and how they came to develop their views. I also enjoy helping people to understand the “other” perspective which sometimes can be illuminating for people.

    If you don’t care to share your thoughts with me I certainly understand.

    Thanks for your time.


  2. Tony,

    Thank you for writing and asking and I really appreciate your question. My interactions with law enforcement have been mixed, but I would actually say most of them have been positive. I’ve heard and seen positive and negative from people of all races affiliated with or interacting with law enforcement.

    My father in-law was an undercover vice and narcotics detective for decades with an inner city department and my brother in-law is an officer who become a department chief recently. My sister in-law is in forensics and we have multiple family members who work in the prison system. I’ve also had a friend of the family when i was growing up who served over 25 years in the Philadelphia police as a vice and narcotics detective who also had experience with extraditions.

    I’ve heard the once-in-a-career type of stories or the really odd, interesting stories that are entertaining, but I’ve also heard what I considered to be fairly balanced views about their experiences–the good, the bad, the corrupt, and the above-board.

    As someone who had a lead foot in the early part of adulthood, the way the police officers handled the process of a traffic stop was fair and professional. I’ve also had a police officer living in my neighborhood make threatening statements to my family when his kids and mine started to become closer friends and the little boy began to like my daughter and told his family. We didn’t know the father was a police officer until we called the police to have a discussion about this matter.

    When the officer went to the house to speak with the family he returned to our house and told us he really couldn’t do anything about the matter, because the father was a police officer. That’s exactly what he said–and he looked visibly shaken. He told us to contact the chief, who he explained was black and would be very interested in hearing this story. That father and his family moved out of our neighborhood 3 months later. That wasn’t want I wanted to see happen–I would have preferred the harder path of some understanding and education, but that was his right to run away (and I can’t account for what was said between the Chief and this office living in our neighborhood).

    I’ve also seen awkward, rude, and scared officers in terms of their behavior when they interacted with people in my family who aren’t law enforcement in situations that were nearly the same as mine. I’ve walked into situations where officers interacting with my family in public are much more aggressive and even rude until they realize that I’m not some white bystander who needs to move along, but the husband or father of the person they were talking at. Or the officer who pulls my wife over in a car that he doesn’t think fits her skin color and grills her about whether “she was allowed to drive my car” despite the fact that both our names are on the insurance papers and her last name is the same as mine on the papers and driver’s license.

    The law enforcement stuff I do mention for the most part is often about a larger issue of racism in society and not my intent that law enforcement is always bad or corrupt. It’s a good thing for me to consider as I’m posting stories so I can offer a more nuanced explanation for why I’m posting something–especially where the pattern of stories begin to highlight a specific group or part of society.

    My overarching interest in stories has often come from a variety of angles of racism in our society. Unfortunately, the anyone who engages in these bad behaviors earns magnified coverage and if the individuals are part of an institution, that institution is linked to it.

    As a white individual, my interactions with police tends to be positive or neutral. As a white individual with a black family, my interactions with police in those situations tends to be neutral with multiple, but fortunately small instances of negativity that I didn’t experience when I’m just the white individual in the same situations: grocery store entrances when the alarm goes off, traffic stops, calling the police due to something happening in the neighborhood, etc.

    However, you must understand that those small instances of negativity–especially with an officer who has a weapon and the authority to lock you up or make life more difficult for you–in a society that overall still has some things to learn is not just a small number to me. It’s the lasting feeling of distrust, fear, and extra concern about any interaction that I never had to think about before.

    The fact that I feel compelled to coach a young member of my family a little more than I would have ever given thought to when I was growing up is not so much a statement about police, but a statement about our society. Every institution can sometimes embody ignorant, awkward, and fearful perspectives–my connection to police wasn’t a conscious thought as much as it was a story about the larger issue at hand, in my opinion.

    Glad you like the football stuff and I am even happier to see you were interested in the non-football content that I often link here to go back and read as I have time.



    • What an excellent reply Matt!

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I appreciate your candor and take to heart the experiences and feelings you’ve shared.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: