Larry Burton (PCB, Fl) There are a few things the casual viewer needs to know when watching any college Senior Bowl, East-West Game, or All-Star Game. To help your enjoyment while watching the 2010 Senior Bowl on the NFL Network this Saturday, read on.
1. The offensive linemen aren't really as bad as they look.
It takes a while for an offensive line to gel, and they never seem to in these kinds of games. That's why some games have rules concerning blitzes and stunts. It just wouldn't be very fair in most cases.
Sacks are usually going to happen, so just look for your man in matchups that interest you in this area.
2. Quarterbacks look worse than they really are.
Really, this is common sense.
At Florida, Tim Tebow takes over 90 percent of his snaps from the shotgun position. This week, being under center is foreign territory. Even the QBs who do take snaps under center are taking them from someone who doesn't do it like the guy who's given the last 1,000 snaps to him.
Then there's the throwing. Quarterbacks and receivers develop a chemistry and instinct with one another that you can't develop in just a week of practice. So you won't see eight or nine completions you may see every Saturday.
3. Punt returners really aren't as good as they appear.
In All-Star games, players who really don't ever play special teams are pressed into service, so they make more mistakes, get out of lanes, and give returners an edge every time.
4. Only kickers show you what they're really like.
Punters and kickers have no excuses, and what you see is what they are.
5. Defensive linemen from the South that simply kill Northern offensive linemen may not be such beasts in the NFL.
Because where they're from, they're used to speed.
In the South, there's a saying about football—speed is life. Players from southern schools have defensive linemen the same size as northern linemen, but they're just a whole lot faster.
Just for fun, see if the southern teams double the northern teams in sacks and hurries. You'll see quickly what I mean.
6. Yes, the players really care who wins.
I've interviewed some who said if you go through the trouble of playing, it's just ingrained in you to try and win. And in case you were wondering, yes, they'll risk a bad hit to make that happen.
After all, they're the All-Stars and there's a reason they're in this game to begin with.
7. Tight ends look better in All-Star Games.
Remember how QBs and receivers don't have to get synchronized?
Well, the tight ends are usually a closer and easier-to-hit target for QBs, so they usually get more catches and have more chances to shine.
Keep up with the number of completions your favorite gets and compare that to his season average. You'll see what I mean.
8. Running backs have a hard time making their rushing average in All-Star games.
This is really common sense. How many normally run against a whole team of All-Stars?
Combine that with not knowing their linemen and their blocking tendencies and you have a problem that few can overcome.
9. Is this game important to the player's relative draft pick?
Some first-rounders will go first round with a bad game, but some players have picked up two to three rounds easily with a standout game.
10. Are these games really worth watching?
Yes, and even more so if you have a dog in the hunt. Pick your one, two, or three favorites and see how they do in regard to their normal play.
It's the small game within a game that makes these contests so interesting.