Posted: Monday April 11, 2005 9:15AM; Updated: Monday April 11, 2005 1:22PM
There's a high correlation between Auburn's undefeated season and Jason Campbell's breakout senior year.
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Next I watched Campbell. My first question was: Where's this guy been hiding? The simple answer: Behind Brown and a very big Cadillac. Campbell is 6-4 3/4 and 230 pounds. His pass-drop is quick and textbook perfect. He sets up well in the pocket, bouncing athletically until he finds his receivers. He never flinches against a pass rush, moving deftly this way or that to avoid traffic. He throws on the run better than Rodgers or Campbell. On one throw against Kentucky last fall, he rolled out from his 46 to his right, then flicked a sideline throw 19 yards downfield for an in-stride completion. That's the kind of throw he'll be asked to make 100 times a year in the NFL.
I had to look up Campbell's numbers, because I'd been so focused on the two big names that I hadn't focused on the lesser-lights at quarterback. He was 31-8 as an Auburn starter. He shattered the school's completion percentage by three points, completing 64.6 percent of his throws. Why was he not considered a peer of the two top prospects?
I heard two things when I asked around on Friday. One: he scored a very pedestrian 14 on his Wonderlic test last year, then got it up to 28 this year. Teams are suspicious that he studied for his Wonderlic and the 14 is closer to what his true score is. Two: If he was so good, why didn't the Auburn offensive staff design the games around him instead of the great backs?
My rejoinders: In the case of the Wonderlic, wouldn't you want your quarterback to work to get better where he's deficient? I would. And look how the kid adjusted to four different offensive coordinators in his Auburn career. He obviously was able to digest a lot of X's and O's pretty well. In regard to play-calling, let's remember two things: First, SEC coaches voted Campbell the 2004 offensive player of the year. And he averaged 21 pass attempts a game. This isn't Bob Griese with Kiick, Csonka and Morris, folks. This is a guy who controlled a high-octane offense and was the ringleader.
I saw Frye bounce two short throws three feet away from uncovered receivers in his Indianapolis workout, and maybe that just soured me. But his over-the-top throwing motion looked cumbersome and labored. Anderson's been schooled well by former Chargers boss Mike Riley. He throws a tight, hard spiral with a nice touch on the deep ball.
But the 49ers won't be looking at those guys. I hope they take another look at Campbell. I sure would if I were Mike Nolan.
Stat of the Week
The Giants wanted Jared Lorenzen, the extraordinarily round quarterback from Kentucky they signed as a free agent after the 2004 draft, to report to the off-season program at 270 pounds. To say the guy has had some weight issues is putting it mildly. He tipped the scales near 300 pounds while playing at Kentucky.
Hmm, 270. Lorenzen must have wondered: In which leg?
When he came in this spring, Lorenzen weighed 338 pounds.
Now, he has been making some progress dropping some pounds, but imagine the weight problem this kid has if he reports to what may be his last NFL opportunity 68 pounds over the weight the coach wants him to weigh. I imagine Tom Coughlin might have had some stronger words than that for Lorenzen.
Factoid That May Interest Only Me
While we're on the subject of the next pope (uh, well, we are now), did you know the 46th pope, ruling over the Catholic church from 461 to 468 AD, was Pope Hilarius.
That's a real knee-slapper.
Quote of the Week
"I am absolutely shocked. Would you boo Sinatra if he hit a bad note?'' --Yankees TV play-by-play man Michael Kay, as the Yankee Stadium fans gave it to Hall of Famer closer Mariano Rivera as he left the mound after blowing his second straight save opportunity against the Red Sox last week.
Apropos of nothing, I can answer that question, Michael. I saw FrankSinatra at Radio City Music Hall during his last concert tour. I'm guessing he either forgot the words or was woefully late with the right lyrics to three tunes, maybe four. He was perfect on "Summer Wind.'' Anyway, at the end of his strangely short (for $150 per ticket) 57-minute concert, Sinatra got a deafening standing O.
I am no Yankees man, but there is something admirable and totally classy about Rivera, as there is with Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams. Fans have the right to do whatever they want. But I agree with Kay: It is a disgrace, on his home ground, for the Yankees' MVP over the last decade to get booed because he's losing his mastery.
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
Second time this has happened to me in less than a year: Riding the Acela up to Boston the other day, I overheard a fairly loud woman give a hotel her credit card name and number over the cell phone.
I also heard her on a conference call with her office, giving orders to some subordinates and giving her son quite a dressing-down.
Technology really is grand, except when you hear far too much of strangers' lives.