Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hoos in the NFL

In football, the pinnacle of accomplishment is making it to the NFL. It's what every single college players dreams of, but so very few achieve. At the University of Virginia, several players have gone on to the money and fame that is the National Football League.

Tiki Barber is the quintessential example. Playing in a super bowl and currently one of the top running backs in the nation. His twin brother Ronde won a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers. Patrick Kerney went to the Pro Bowl last year as a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons.

Taking a look at Al Groh's current products in the NFL appear to be something special as well. TE Heath Miller for the Steelers scored a touchdown in his very first game in a win over the Titans. RB Alvin Pearman has seen some time for the Jaguars. The biggest contradiction of current Cavalier talent in the NFL is an interesting one, Al Groh's best player in the NFL is the only one that never plays.

QB Matt Schaub is a solid player. He has continually improved and worked on becoming an all-around quarterback. The problem is, he is the backup for the NFL posterchild Michael Vick. Besides Philly, Indianapolis and New England, there are few other place where the QB is so ingrained into the team. What makes things even more frustrating is the fact that Vick went to Virginia Tech, his rival school. So Schaub sits. His talent left to holding a clipboard...that is until the Falcons guarantee a playoff bye week and sit Vick down. have what happened last Sunday.

In the second quarter against the Vikings, Vick took a brutal blow by Erasmus James and would not return. Panic time for Atlanta? Matt Schaub stepped in and what did he do? He went 5-14 for 39 yards and ran an amazing 55 yards (very Vick-esque). Maybe those numbers are not jaw-dropping, but imagine coming off the bench with little preparation or playing time. Schaub provided enough of a passing threat to let RB Warrick Dunn do his thing and did not turn the ball over once (Which is more than superstar Daunte Culpepper could claim).

So how will this situation end? Stuck in a west-coast system nearly identical to Al Groh's, and yet never being able to play in it. Well, watching him this weekend proved to be an audition tape. He may not be great but there will always be a need for a solid quarterback. Especially if your name is New York or Chicago.

CASE 1: The Jets lost QB Chad Pennington for the year. They have brought in 269 year-old Vinny Testeverde as a backup to greenhorn Brad Bollinger. Seems to me the J-E-T-S need some M-A-T-T. (Plus Groh coached the Jets, it'd be a nice circle)

CASE 2: The Bears lost QB Rex Grossman and are dealing with rookie Kyle Orton. Though Orton has some serious skill, he's not ready to carry a team yet (Neither necessarily is Schaub).

Matt might be a good addition to these teams struggling for an offense, if he succeeds he could finally blaze his own path on the gridiron. Until then, let's buy some more Tiki Barber jerseys!


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