I originally went to Grantland.com because, like many Americans, I think Bill Simmons is funny. But thanks to his website, I’ve discovered a gem of an article (and site, really, because Chris Brown knows his stuff).
Terry Pluto (Browns writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer) has made a lot of comparisons between Alex Smith and Colt McCoy. What he’s never done is explain why Smith has been so successful this year, and not in the past. Only mention that they’re vaguely similar, physically and athletically, and both pretty smart and “winners” in college football.
Chris Brown’s analysis, on the other hand, is brilliant. Peyton Manning adjusts receiver routes all the time (or he did before he got hurt). He can do this because A) he’s one of the most talented quarterbacks in the history of football and B) he’s worked with the same receivers for a long time. But “sight adjustments” rely a lot on mind reading between a QB and WR. So what did Jim Harbaugh do?
Got rid of them.
Like anybody who’s ever played Madden, the best plays have escape hatches in case your downfield route goes wrong (and it probably will). Without calling for hot routes or any of that, these let you get out of a bad play with a positive gain. That’s what Harbaugh did. Build even downfield plays with routes in case the QB needs to make a quick decision.
His video is awesome, and explains it perfectly. I recommend Smart Football to anybody who is smart and likes football (which anybody who reads this site probably is).
PS: I swear, I will finish my series of Madden draft and player analysis. I’ve just been really busy.