Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Five Good Questions Doubleheader - Brady Quinn and Joe Thomas

Today we have a doubleheader.....and none of that day-night crap either.....today’s segment of "Five Good Questions" is with Eric Hansen of The South Bend Tribune.....Eric covers Notre Dame football and provides some analysis on Brady Quinn.....in the second game of the doubledip, we have Jim Polzin of The Capital Times.... Jim covers Wisconsin football and provides some feedback about Joe Thomas.....

First, Eric Hansen about Brady Quinn....
Q1. Brady Quinn is one of the top rated quarterbacks in the draft. You have watched him over the past 4 years, describe his strengths and weaknesses.
His biggest strength is that he wants to and can get better. A lot of guys think they don't have room to imrpove. Brady wasn't just Notre Dame's most talented player last year. He was also the team's hardest worker -- in the weight room, on the field, in the film room. And he's got the kind of leadership skills, that he drags other players along with him for the ride. His knowledge of the game is so far ahead of the curve. That's going to show up in the pros. He is a good person, who stands for something, and in this day and age, I don't think you can overlook that. Weaknesses? I think sometimes he holds on to the ball too long instead of running or throwing it away.

Q2. It seems like many of the draft publications are purposely pointing out Quinn's negatives. How has Quinn handled this pressure and criticism?
I think he has handled it better than most people would have, certainly better than I could have. He hasn't just put his head in the sand and pretended the criticism wasn't there. He didn't overreact to it either and proclaim he was going to shut out the press. He pointed out when he thought writers didn't do their homework. He pointed out some inconsistencies in their arguments, but didn't dwell on it. He let his performances in the workouts do most of the talking.

Q3. One of the draft magazines stated that Quinn turned off some NFL teams at the Combine because he came across as being cocky and arrogant. What is the lowdown on Quinn's personality - is he cocky/arrogant - is he mentally tough?
I did not read that particular publication, but I was at the combine and didn't hear any of that. I don't know where that came from. This is the first I have heard of it. I think it's a fabrication on its surface, but I didn't see the story. If he received criticism, it was for not doing any throwing or running the 40. He earned big points for his personality and his interviews. That's why the question is so perplexing. It would be like asking "why was Woody Hayes so mild-mannered and shy?"

Q4. It looks like Quinn could go to the Lions or Browns. In your opinion, which of the those two teams would best fit Quinn and his style of game?
I think the Browns. I think it's an organization that's making better decisions all-around. Charlie (Weis) and Romeo (Crennel) are on the same page when it comes to coaching philosophy, so the transition would be close to seamless. I think Brady would win over Browns fans.

Q5. A question about this year's Notre Dame team. Since Jimmy Clausen enrolled at Notre Dame early, has Quinn been mentoring Clausen during the last few months? Is Jimmy Clausen going to be the starting quarterback for N.D.'s first game of the 2007 season?
I wrote about this in the paper. Quinn has spoken with all four quarterback candidates. The other positive influence on Clausen and the others has been Ron Powlus, the former ND quarterback who is in his first year as Irish quarterbacks coach. As far as Clausen being the starter against Ga Tech? I would say less than 50 percent. I think if the season started tomorrow, Demetrius Jones would be the starter. Clausen is a talent, no doubt, and mentally he is ahead of the curve. But those other three guys are all very, very good. We'll know a lot more when Charlie Weis narrows the four down to two after the spring game. My guess, the two will be Clausen and Jones, but I wouldn't be surprised if Zach Frazer snuck in there.

Now Jim Polzin about Joe Thomas.....
Q1. Joe Thomas is the top rated offensive lineman in the draft. You have watched him over the past 4 years, describe his strengths and weaknesses. Is he better at run blocking or pass protection?
Most Wisconsin offensive linemen come out of here as better run blockers because the Badgers like to pound the ball, but Thomas is better in pass protection. He's no slouch as a run blocker, but his combination of strength and athleticism make him a great pass protector. The offensive line coach at Wisconsin, Bob Palcic, coached Tony Boselli at USC and Jonathan Ogden at UCLA; Palcic said Thomas is in the same league as those two.

Q2. With the NFL cracking down on off-the-field problems with its players, what type of person is Thomas away from the football field?
Thomas is probably a better person than he is a player, and that's saying something. I think one of the things that makes him appealing to NFL teams is they know they won't have to worry about spending a bunch of money on a guy who's going to get in trouble. He never had any problems in Madison, was a respected captain and, if I'm not mistaken, managed to carry a 3.5 grade-point average while competing in football for four years and track and field for two.

Q3. A few years back, Iowa's Robert Gallery was drafted second overall and was supposed to anchor the Raiders line for many years. So far, Gallery has been a bust in Oakland. What are the differences between Gallery and Thomas?
After watching Gallery play at Iowa, I figured he'd be a star at the next level. I haven't seen him play enough in the NFL to know what the problem is. Perhaps the issue is playing for a poor franchise, and a change of scenery could work wonders for Gallery. I know this about Thomas: He's not training for the NFL Draft, he's training to be the starter in the 2007 season opener, wherever he ends up. And he wants to play in the league for a long time and play in Pro Bowls and be a Hall of Famer. He won't be satisfied with anything less.

Q4. Does Thomas have that "nasty streak" that many offensive linemen have in order to play in the NFL?
Thomas is competitive in whatever he does, whether it's playing darts against his buddies or trying to keep a defensive end away from his quarterback. I don't think you become a two-time All-American and Outland Trophy winner without a nasty streak. Perhaps some of that goes unnoticed because he's so polite and accommodating off the field.

Q5. We all know the NFL game moves at a faster pace and all the players are elite. Does Thomas have the quickness to handle a speed pass rusher?
Athleticism is what sets apart Thomas from the other left tackles in this year's draft class. Put it this way: He played tight end in high school and probably could have been a really good tight end at the college level. He was also athletic -- and versatile -- enough that the Wisconsin coaching staff moved him to defensive end on two occasions because of a shortage at that position. I think what attracted Thomas to the UW coaching staff in the first place was watching him play basketball in high school. He really moved well for such a big man and probably could have played basketball at the college level had he chosen that sport over football.

I want to thank both reporters for their time....Eric was on a tight deadline, but he still managed to find a few minutes to help me out.....and Jim came off the DL with tonsillitis to get me his thoughts.....once again, thank you both for your time....it is much appreciated!!!

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