He received the Sammy Baugh Trophy after a stellar college career.
Although Kingsbury was a talented athlete, he had to wait his turn at Texas Tech. He started in the season finale against Oklahoma and appeared in six games overall, completing 25 of 57 passes for 492 yards with four touchdowns to just one interception. He was the starter from that point on, and the Red Raiders managed to put together some successful seasons with him under center.
Texas Tech finished the 2000 season with a 7-6 record, going 5-3 in conference play. They started out 4-0, and wins over Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma State earned them an appearance in Galleryfurniture.com Bowl against East Carolina. Kingsbury completed 62% of his passes for 3,418 yards with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Kingsbury was better the following season with a 69% completion rate and 25 touchdowns. However, the Red Raiders, now led by Mike Leach, finished with a similar record. The bright spot of the year was a three-game winning streak in late October and early November, which included a win over No. 24 Texas A&M. The team earned a spot in the Alamo Bowl against Iowa but was defeated 19-16.
Kingsbury was at his best in 2002. With Leach coming back as his head coach, He threw for 5,017 yards, completing 67.3% of his passes, and tossing 45 touchdowns. He led the Red Raiders to another bowl appearance — this time a 55-15 win over Clemson in the Tangerine Bowl — and wrapped up his college career as the third player in college football history to have more than 10,000 passing yards, gain more than 10,000 total yards of offense and complete more than 1,000 passes.
In addition to getting his third All-Big 12 honor and being named the National Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press, Kingsbury also received the Sammy Baugh Trophy, which is awarded to the best passer in college football. He was the first player from Texas Tech to receive the award and fifth overall, the most recent being Patrick Mahomes in 2016.
Peters, who was hired as the Washington Commanders’ general manager last month, has gone through several “firsts” over the last few weeks as he gets adjusted to his new role. Most of the work he’s done since his introductory press conference, notably adding input in finding a new head coach, has been unfamiliar territory for him.
Evaluating prospects and figuring out how they could improve the roster is nothing new to him, though.
“I got to relax a little bit, watch this last practice and see the guys run around,” Peters said. “I got to meet Chris Paul, one of our players. He was watching his younger brother [Patrick Paul], which is a neat deal. It was fun today.”
Scores of players packed the stadium at the University of South Alabama last week for the 2024 Senior Bowl, providing scouts, coaches and executives with an in-person look at what they can offer to a team at the professional level. No team is going to draft a player solely on what they showed during the three days of practice and the game (for those wondering, the National team won, 16-7), but the all-star game is an important piece to help Peters and the Commanders figure out how they should use their nine draft picks.
Bullock’s Film Room (subscription)
Taking a deeper look at the style of defense Dan Quinn is looking to run in Washington
Quinn announced at his press conference yesterday that he’ll be taking a more CEO style approach and overseeing the whole team, meaning he’ll allow new defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. to call the plays on defense and set the defense up as he sees fit.
Obviously, Washington doesn’t have the same personnel that Dallas has, so the system will have to change at least slightly to fit the new personnel. But Quinn did mention in his press conference there will be a lot of similarities with the system he ran in Dallas and what Washington will do, rather than reverting back to the old Seahawks Cover-3 scheme. So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what we can expect from the Washington defense under Dan Quinn.
The first thing that stands out when watching Quinn and Whitt’s Cowboys defense is how aggressive they are. The style is to attack and try and make plays, but you can only do that effectively with total buy in. You can immediately see when watching the Cowboys defensive backs, for example, that they are ready to jump any route without any hesitation or fear. They trust their eyes and go hunting for the football.
A possible name has emerged as Washington’s next secondary coach.
Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Commanders requested — and were granted permission — to speak with defensive passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Jason Simmons.
Simmons spent last season with the Raiders and was with the Carolina Panthers in 2020 and 2021 in the same roles. Before coming to Carolina, Simmons spent nine seasons with the Packers, where he worked with Whitt.
A fifth-round pick in the 1998 NFL draft, Simmons was a college teammate of Pat Tillman. He played 10 NFL seasons with the Steelers and Texans.
According to Art Stapleton, a beat reporter and NFL columnist for The Record and NorthJersey.com, the Commanders reached out to the New York Giants with a request to interview their assistant special teams coach Mike Adams.
Adams is rather new to the coaching world, having just retired from 16 16-year playing career in 2019. Adams played for six teams throughout the course of his career and was a former two-time Pro Bowl selection.
He entered the coaching ranks in 2021 as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Bears. In 2023, he moved to the Bears as an assistant special teams coach.
Stapleton says Adams would be interviewing to be Washington’s secondary coach if the Giants grant permission.
Podcasts & videos
Episode 756 - #Commanders introduce Dan Quinn. Officially hire Kliff Kingsbury & Joe Whitt Jr. Fire Eric Bieniemy. Analysis & discussion of all of that & more from a busy day. All of the key audio from the Quinn presser. He was impressive. A lot to like.https://t.co/jrHYPuEaJS— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) February 6, 2024
A big thank you again to @john_keim for talking with us this morning on the Sports Phone w/Big Al— ESPN Richmond (@ESPNRichmond) February 6, 2024
29 minutes of really good insight https://t.co/mWOA4eB2Ag@ZachSelbyWC is up next with @spidervoice on the Sports Huddle at 4:30pm talking Dan Quinn!
NFC East links
Blogging the Boys
The defensive assistant said ‘no thanks’ to interviewing for the Cowboys defensive coordinator job, but why?
Why would Joe Whitt leave Dallas, a team contending for a championship, to coordinate a defense that is among the worst units in the NFL, for a team that needs a rebuild from the ground up? In contrast, the Cowboys feature three All-Pro defenders presently under contract: Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, and DaRon Bland. The Cowboys’ defense has also led the NFL in takeaways in two of the last three seasons. From outward appearances, based on the talent on the roster, the Cowboys should be an attractive defense to coordinate, let alone for a candidate who has overseen their growth over the last few years. However, all that glitters isn’t gold, and there are reasons for Whitt to turn it down. Let’s speculate on some.
Whitt and Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy have worked together since their days in Green Bay, from 2008 to 2018. That’s a long time to work with someone to fully understand their habits, coaching values, and preparation, which are all characteristics that have come into question about McCarthy. McCarthy’s contract status with the Cowboys likely factored into Whitt’s decision to leave since there are no guarantees that McCarthy will be the coach beyond this season. The Cowboys’ ownership has yet to offer a new contract to McCarthy, and unless the Cowboys have tangible success in the postseason, he likely won’t get a new contract. Whitt hitching his wagon to McCarthy’s job could be a risk he is unwilling to take.
Another risk Whitt might be unwilling to gamble on was the makeup of the Cowboys defense down the road. There is the recovery of Trevon Diggs, who was injured during the season with an ACL tear, and the free agent status of Stephon Gilmore and Jourdan Lewis. If anyone has a good barometer of what state the pass game’s defensive personnel is in, it’s Whitt. Also, Parsons’ looming contract status casts a shadow on the future of the defense. Parsons is entering the final year of his rookie contract, although the team still has the fifth-year option. Parsons has already been effusive in his praise of Quinn. Would Parsons be a tough player for Dallas to re-sign? Would he be itching to follow Quinn, or try his luck elsewhere? The Cowboys have mechanisms to keep him around for a while, but does Whitt have insight into that?
Jerry Jones not concerned Mike McCarthy’s contract will restrict his search for defensive coordinator
Jerry says McCarthy’s contract situation irrelevant to new defensive coordinator hire
There is one hurdle when it comes to the new hire, Mike McCarthy’s contract. McCarthy is now in the final year of his contract with no discussion at present of his tenure being extended. That means whoever Dallas decides to hire this season for defensive coordinator would effectively be on a one-year contract. Jerry Jones was asked this very question and whether this would restrict the search, but he made comments to the Dallas Cowboys media team last week that would suggest that’s not a concern to him.
“I don’t anticipate that being an issue at all. If they take the job, they will be coordinator of the Cowboys. They would be looking at that right there and all that goes with that. If they’re aspiring, they know there’s a chance to be a head coach someplace, because the one that just left is.”
Big Blue View
Can Rattler reach his potential in the NFL?
Rattler is going to be a polarizing prospect in draft rooms.
It’s easy to fall in love with his highs and let the “wow” plays there will be scouts who want to like him and coaches who are sure they can fix the warts in his game. Highlight reels of him scrambling and throwing 40-yard passes make comparisons to Patrick Mahomes or Caleb Williams roll off the tongue.
Visions of Houdini-act heroics can make it easy to ignore the bad plays and raise the possibility of him reaching the lofty expectations foisted upon him after 2020.
The flip side is that there will be evaluators who won’t be able to ignore Rattler’s issues against pressure or precision as a passer. That’s the flip-side of the 40-yard bombs and “wow” plays – that Rattler wasn’t able to keep the offense on schedule well enough that heroics were necessary. There will also be teams who move him down their draft boards simply due to his stature.
His development will depend on learning to anticipate pressure and have an answer ready before the ball is snapped. Whether it’s changing to a better play, adjusting the protection to account for a free rusher, or understanding when getting to a hot read soonest is absolutely necessary. Rattler will also need to do a better job of playing with anticipation and understanding when and where to look for the big play.
The most fair analysis of Rattler is that multiple things can be true at the same time.
He absolutely has exciting physical traits and the ability to generate game-changing plays and there’s a reason why he had so many people so excited after his 2020 season. It’s also concerning that there are still persistent issues regarding his processing, mechanics, and ball placement across four years at two different programs.
Rattler is the type of player who can look like a first-round pick in one series, then an undrafted free agent on another.
Development isn’t linear, and it’s possible that Rattler can still develop into a game-changing player. However, it’s also possible that his issues with identifying pressure and playing with consistency are part of who he is. That uncertainty could make Rattler the biggest boom/bust prospect in the draft. His flashes of brilliance can convince a coach to just keep trying, but his lows could get a coach fired.
Rattler will be drafted, and likely much earlier than he would have been a year or two ago. However, he also comes with a bright “buyer beware” disclaimer. Just how early Rattler is drafted will likely depend on each individual teams’ assessment of his risk.
NFL league links
The Athletic (paywall)
Teams have traded up or into the first round to select a quarterback 28 times in the past 30 drafts dating back to 1994. Mahomes has won 14 playoff games in his six seasons as a starter entering Sunday’s game against the 49ers. The other 27 quarterbacks who were selected after a team traded up have combined for 36 postseason wins. Ten of those victories (one in the Super Bowl) belong to Joe Flacco, who was selected 18th by the Ravens in 2008 after Baltimore moved up by trading the 26th pick along with third- and sixth-round selections to the Texans. Eight of those wins (two in the Super Bowl) belong to Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick of the Giants in 2004 after New York traded the No. 4 pick, a future first-round pick and other compensation to the Chargers.
That leaves 18 playoff wins for the other 25 quarterbacks.
Seventeen of the 28 quarterbacks who were acquired via first-round trade never won a playoff game with the teams that drafted them, and only nine of those quarterbacks signed an extension with the teams that drafted them before the expiration of their respective rookie contracts. (Note: Jordan Love of the Packers, Justin Fields of the Bears and Bryce Young of the Panthers are all still playing on their rookie contracts with their original teams and could land extensions.)
Missing on a first-round quarterback stings less, though, when you don’t have to give up a pile of draft picks to select him. The Buccaneers made the most of their full cupboard of draft picks in the years after selecting Winston. They drafted players like Ali Marpet, O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin, Ronald Jones II, Vita Vea and Devin White, all of whom were key contributors for the 2020 team that won the Super Bowl — a championship that came after Winston’s rookie deal ended and Tampa Bay signed Tom Brady to replace him.
There are playing-surface issues at a second consecutive Super Bowl and none of it makes sense
During his Monday press conference, Roger Goodell defended the condition of the field. He said that, while the surface is softer than the 49ers are accustomed to, it was approved by experts.
Last season, the Super Bowl surface issue was the game field at State Farm Stadium. Players from both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles were critical of it after the game when speaking to the media. Frank Clark said that it was “kind of terrible.” Jordan Mailata said “it was like a water park out there.”
A league that is pulling in nearly $20 billion in revenue every season, and sells Super Bowl tickets for thousands of dollars, is struggling with the basics. It is bad enough that MetLife Stadium swallows achilles and ACLs whole, but that is an artificial surface. As much debate as there is surrounding field turf, the NFL cannot even get natural grass right. There were complaints about the grass at Levi Stadium for Super Bowl 50, too.
The man who worked on every Super Bowl field from the first to the 57th, George Toma, spoke last year about how he has been forced to deal with more field problems in recent years than in the past. He was not about to take the blame for what happened in Glendale, Ariz. Both of his Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz interviews will sound silly to those who aren’t familiar with the show, but Toma made a strong case that the league has an institutional problem with the way that it maintains its playing surfaces. According to a Kansas City Star profile from 2018, Toma is a genius when it comes to taking care of fields, so while he rambles a bit, he does know what he is talking about.
In the words of Johnny Tapia in Bad Boys II, “This is a stupid f-cking problem to have.” Stadiums are built in the NFL with 200 luxury suites and world-class amenities, but the actual playing surfaces leave much to be desired.