Guest columnist: Giants have a real quarterback

by Gary Shelton on November 7, 2015 · 3 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Filip Bondy

Filip Bondy

Saturday, 10:37 a.m.

First off, let me point out what an honor it is to appear as a guest lecturer on Gary Shelton’s website. I know Mr. Shelton well, consider him a friend, and am aware he has covered football for some time. I remember, in fact, a column he wrote after the wild card playoff game in January, 2008, between the Bucs and Giants. Mr. Shelton opined then that the result was actually meaningless, because neither team was going anywhere, in any case.

Then the Giants beat the Cowboys, Packers and unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl.

So whenever the Giants face the Bucs, Mr. Shelton’s opinions should be taken within
that context. In other words, they should be largely ignored. But that is beside the

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point. I am instead here as an invited, arrogant guest to lecture the Tampa Bay population on the fine art of pigskin flinging.

Since the Bucs are the only team in history to win a Super Bowl without a real quarterback, it might be tempting for folks in your neck of the bay to think that, just maybe, the position is optional.

That is not the case. You see, quarterback is actually a somewhat pivotal part of most National Football League teams. The quarterback takes a snap from center and either hands off to a running back or drops back to throw a forward pass. A forward pass is when the quarterback hurls the football forward toward an intended receiver wearing the same color uniform.

That last part is very important, and it helps if the result of your quarterback’s passes is better than a coin flip. In New York, for example, the Giants’ quarterback, Eli Manning, completes 66 percent of his attempts. In the case of Jameis Winston… well, let’s just say it’s a lot less.

Anyway, there are about 10 or 12 NFL teams with real quarterbacks, and then there are the other teams that have what are best described as snap-takers. Sometimes, they are optimistically dubbed “game managers.” Game managers are largely unwatchable and are rarely seen in the postseason. For real quarterbacks, I direct you to watch video clips of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and a fellow visiting your region right now, Eli.

In New York, we have one team that has a quarterback, the Giants, and one team that in recent years has had only a series of snap-takers, the Jets. So we are a perfect lab experiment, with other variables held to a minimum (the two teams even play in the same gray, sterile stadium). The results indicate that having a decent quarterback is, in fact, directly correlated to the number of Super Bowl victories.

I understand there was an honest effort by officials in Tampa to improve at that position with Winston. I understand that Winston has shown significant improvement, but that the jury is out. Let me warn you of something: having the jury out is never a good thing. The Jets had the jury out on Mark Sanchez for four seasons and still have the jury out on Geno Smith. The jury is often hung, and never really comes back with a verdict. The trial goes on, and on. Coaches are fired. Fans unfurl banners. Unhappy banners.

So my advice is: Don’t stall. I know this is just his rookie season, but take a good look at Jameis Winston on Sunday afternoon, and start passing judgment. If he doesn’t score 52 points and throw seven touchdown passes against this terrible Giants’ secondary, the way that Drew Brees did last week, it’s time to give up on him.

OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh. But if Winston is slow-footed and whip-armed this season, he’ll probably be slow-footed and whip-armed next year, and the year after that. That’s what we learned up in New York watching the parade of Jet quarterbacks who eventually got Rex Ryan fired.

Or else, you can simply read Mr. Shelton’s opinions and go by those.

Just  not sure you want to do that.

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