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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Thoros of Beer, Feb 3, 2016.
OK flying the Clemson flag at the north end of the stadium is a cool move.
Dexter going to the senior bowl. Good for him
Not sure if he was officially offered the position, but Chip Long apparently received heavy interest on the Colorado head coaching position and eventually took his name out of the running.
Time for the Purcell Offensive Coordinator label.
ND has to be throwing around money. They can't build that practice facility and not start paying dudes even more than they were.
It's already endowed by the arlottas
Missed that one. Makes sense.
Wimbush's instagram with Book post is pretty cool. Really happy that BW has been this cool about everything.
Not sure how to post IG stuff.
i wish all the best for Wimbush wherever he wants to go next in his FB career but the smart move for him would be to switch positions and audition himself for the NFL. he's never going to be a QB in the NFL so might as well start playing RB/WR right now
Not sure he cares. every vibe I get from him is that he wants to get an ND degree and move on. I'd be thrilled if Jurk can be good enough to make it possible for him to move next year though.
well fuck. i'm glad i had the door to my office closed so none of that dust got out into the hallway
Brutal watch but damn, Love Rudolph.
Watched that this morning. Rudy is the man
Is he even going to transfer? If he does my guess it's to a high academic school to pursue a mba etc
I doubt it. He seems like a kid that want's to kick around here. I'd just like to see him find place on the field since he has been such a great dude.
I’d be very surprised if BW is on the roster next year. Scholarships are too tight for him to just hang around
My guess is he goes pro in something other than sports after this season
Wow that Rudolph video
If not needed as backup QB he's a versatile enough athlete to be quite a weapon on offense imo, and be an emergency QB if necessary.
Agree, pull Doerer's scholarship if the numbers are tight.
Wimbush to kicker. That Krpo would be nuts.
Undefendable on fourth down.
If we make it to the title game we should try to install that. Alabama would never see it coming.
I'm just looking forward to the KRPO becoming a thing and Kirk Herbstreit saying it 10,000 times per broadcast.
id say punter for the prpo, think punting is easier to learn tbqh
Saint Kelly wins a humanitarian award. Proud that a man of such moral integrity is leading this program. #blessed
Credit to me for nominating coach for the Stallings Award
Saint Killy imo
Redempting all the sins one football game at a time
Wow Saint Brian to the Buccaneers? Say it ain't so
Serve and protect: Rookie guard Quenton Nelson has a lot to do with Colts’ change in culture, attitude and production
Bob Kravitz Dec 6, 2018
Every Monday, NFL analyst and former offensive lineman Brian Baldinger pores over video of the previous day’s games. He catalogs them, contemplates which ones to feature, and time after time, he reaches the same conclusion.
I want to watch Quenton Nelson.
“The guy is a left guard,’’ Baldinger said of the Colts’ rookie offensive lineman, chosen No. 6 in this year’s NFL Draft from Notre Dame. “And I can’t take my eyes off him.’’
There may be no more anonymous position in football, outside of maybe the long snapper. Nelson operates in a mosh pit of oversized bodies, lives in the middle of the maelstrom, far from the layman’s eye. But to experts like Baldinger, a former NFL offensive lineman who breaks down games and does TV commentary f0r the NFL Network, Nelson is appointment viewing.
What sets Nelson apart? His exquisite violence. He plays with controlled fury, a burning desire to not only block his man but take his opponent’s manhood away. During the NFL combine, he spoke of his desire to impose his will and take his opponent’s will away, and while he’s not sure that it’s happened just yet through 12 games as an NFL player, it’s a goal that he is still pursuing.
Nelson is never out of control, but he plays the game with a simmering anger that goes right up to the line of acceptable NFL behavior. He’s not the Michael Oher character in “The Blind Side,’’ blocking a player and carrying him out to the parking lot … but close.
“He loves pancakes,’’ teammate and Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo said, and no, he wasn’t talking about Nelson’s breakfast choices. “Honestly, it’s like he has fun being mean, as weird as that sounds. When he really finishes a guy off, he comes back to the huddle with this huge smile on his face.
“I wasn’t sure you could (take a guy’s will away) in this league, but after seeing him play, I think it’s possible. I’ve never seen anybody just flat-backing people the way he does, and that’s what he does every game. You get landed on over and over again by a guy 350 pounds, your will is going to be shaken.’’
Baldinger already has seen the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Nelson do things to defenders that he’s never, or at least very rarely, seen anybody do in the NFL.
“He takes real glee in putting guys on their backs and then almost sitting on them like a lion sitting on his kill,’’ Baldinger said. “Honestly, I’ve never seen a player that literally sat on a player after he decleated him. It’s like he gators him.’’
Yes, gators him, Nelson laying on his vanquished opponent like a gator sunning himself on a rock.
“Maybe somebody will come up with a term that describes it more aptly,’’ Baldinger said. “Listen, in Indy, I played with two of the Colts’ all-time great offensive linemen, Ray Donaldson and Chris Hinton, and this guy is right up there with those guys already, just (12) games into his rookie season.
“He (Nelson) said he want to be the best at his position ever, and I grew up in an era with John Hannah and I know Steve Hutchinson and Alex Mack and all the Pro Bowl guys, Hall of Fame guys, and this guy plays the game differently that all those guys.
“If you can project him playing at this level or improving over the long term, a 12-15-year career – and I don’t doubt that he can – he can end up in any conversation about the best who’ve played the position.’’
Now, before you say, “Whoa, slow your roll,’’ understand, the Colts offensive line has gone from one of the very worst in the league to one of the best in a single season, and Nelson has had a whole lot to do with that change in culture, attitude and production.
“You can’t tell me that Castonzo and (center Ryan) Kelly aren’t playing better this year because of Quenton’s presence,’’ Baldinger said.
From the time Andrew Luck arrived in 2012, the Colts had allowed an NFL-high 691 quarterback hits and 156 sacks in 70 starts before this 2018 season. One year ago, sacrificial lamb/backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett was sacked a league-high 52 times.
For years, former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson had a post-it note that read “Protect 12,’’ but for all his efforts, his attempts to sign free-agent offensive linemen and draft them in the early to middle rounds, almost none of those players panned out. And Luck took a beating, eventually succumbing to an array of injuries – most specifically a right shoulder injury – that forced him to miss all of last season.
When new general manager Chris Ballard came along, he made a mental note and followed through. He took no chances in his second draft with the Colts, trading back in the first round and selecting Nelson with the No. 6 pick. He later called it an easy, no-brainer of a pick, sending in his selection almost immediately, much to the chagrin of the TV types who wanted him to chew up more of the allotted 15 minutes.
Ballard knew it wasn’t a sexy pick and he was passing up pass-rush extraordinaire Bradley Chubb (another area of great need for the Colts). But in Nelson, he saw a generational player, the best guard prospect to come along in more than a decade. Sexy? No. Necessary? Clearly.
Mike McGlinchey (left) and Quenton Nelson helped anchor the Notre Dame offensive line. (Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)
“God made him (Nelson) a little different than he did the rest of us,’’ Ballard told the media after the draft. “This is a big man that can move and pull. Y’all laughed when I told you I could feel him (when he moved past). You can feel this kid come off the ball. He’s transcendent. He can play in any scheme.’’
The results have been dramatic. The Colts offensive line played one of its worst games this past Sunday, getting shut out, 6-0, by a ravenous Jacksonville defense, but until then, the offensive line had been among the very best in the league.
It’s not just Nelson, mind you. Castonzo has been a staple at left tackle. Kelly has been playing at a very high level at center one year after an injury-plagued season. Mark Glowinski has come out of nowhere to settle in nicely at right guard, and Braden Smith, a second-round pick from Auburn, was drafted as a guard but has made the complicated transition to right tackle, a position of desperate need for the Colts.
Entering the Jacksonville game, the Colts had the lowest sacks allowed per pass attempt (2.4 percent) this season and were tied for the league lead by allowing just 11 sacks. From Weeks 6-11, Indy went five straight games with no sacks allowed, the league’s longest streak this season and tied for the third-longest streak since 1982, From Weeks 5-12, Luck attempted 239 passes without being sacked, the third-longest streak in league history.
The running game? That’s been dramatically improved as well. In Weeks 7 and 8, the Colts rushed for over 200 yards in two consecutive games for the first time in the same season since 1985. It used to be, when the Colts ran for 100 yards, they’d schedule a parade down Meridian St. Times have changed.
On top of all that, Nelson was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October, the first guard in NFL history and just the seventh offensive lineman overall to win the award.
In the NFL, the book – well, it’s not a real book, but kind of an unwritten memorandum of understanding – states that you don’t select guards with the sixth selection in the draft. Guards can be found in the middle and late rounds, or even in undrafted free agency, and that’s all true. But game changers don’t all have to be quarterbacks and pass rushers. Nelson has shown that to be true this season. He has changed the Colts.
“We have to get out of this mindset that certain players at certain positions can’t be drafted high,’’ Baldinger said. “If Patrick Peterson was the best player in the (2011) draft, and he was, why wait (until the fifth pick)? If Adrian Peterson was the best, and he was, why wait until the seventh pick to take him (in the 2007 draft)?.
“The Colts said, ‘Look, let’s stop fooling around, we’ve got Andrew Luck, we’ve had enough of this, putting a bunch of guys up front to protect him, we’re going to put elite talent in front of him.’ It was absolutely the right pick for that franchise.’’
He is a mauler, a man-eater, a wondrous combination of brute strength and a tactician’s skills. Watch his feet on tape. Watch his hands. Watch his positioning.
A few weeks back, Colts.com ran a video of Nelson pulling and then pulverizing an opponent on the edge. During it, there was what sounded like a primal scream accompanying Nelson’s nuclear block. Turned out, it was a bogus scream – the digital team foolishly dubbed the scream over the play – but at the time, everybody believed the video. Big Q, pulling out, yelling while he’s preparing to cannibalize a defender? Made sense. Except, like we said, it wasn’t exactly true.
But this guy has become a nearly mythical figure already, a Bunyanesque character in a position that is ordinarily ignored except by football types who watch the All-22.
Frank Gore, the Dolphins running back who played behind sub-par offensive lines during his time in Indianapolis, could only marvel at what his former team has built, and took particular notice of Nelson.
“Nasty, man,’’ Gore said. “He’s old-school nasty. He finishes blocks and once he get them down, he tries to put their head in the dirt. I like that. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.’’
And the motor? Those who get paid to watch the Colts for a living have noticed that after virtually every play, a 3-yard run or a 30-yard pass downfield, Nelson is the first player downfield to help his running back or wide receiver back to his feet.
“His hustle is ridiculous,’’ said wide receiver and teammate Dontrelle Inman. “His heart is ridiculous. The teammate that he is, that’s the teammate everybody wants. He’s not down there on some plays; it’s every play. It’s amazing how young he is. He’s got something in store for this league. He’s going to be one of the great ones, no doubt.’’
Said Dave DeGuglielmo, the Colts offensive line coach: “It’s the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen.’’
It makes perfect sense, though, to hear Quenton explain it. “That’s something we emphasized a lot at Notre Dame,’’ he said. “And you never know when the ball might come out, so you want to chase down the play and recover a fumble if anything happens. If not, you’re there to pick up your guy.’’
Two weeks ago, Miami’s Kiko Alonso made contact with Luck’s head as the Colts quarterback slid and attempted to give himself up. A second or two later, Nelson was on the scene, like a cop on the beat, moving Alonso aside and helping up his quarterback.
For the rest of the game, it appeared that Nelson was hell-bent on sending physical messages to Alonso. Nelson is baby-faced, still just 22 years old, but he makes everybody on his team bolder and braver. Already, he’s the enforcer.
“The things he did to Alonso that game,’’ Baldinger said. He laughed. “Whoaa.’’
Here’s the funny thing: Craig Nelson, Quenton’s father and a former player himself at Syracuse, wondered if Quenton was too nice to be a great football player. Speaking by phone from Holmdel, N.J., Nelson recalled showing up a bit late for one of his son’s junior-varsity games as a freshman at Holmdel High.
“You just missed the greatest hit in Holmdel football history,’’ the coach told Craig when he arrived.
“Oh yeah? Who made it?’’
“It was Quenton,’’ the coach said. (Nelson played offense and defense his early years of high school). “He read the screen to the flat, had a choice, he could have intercepted it or waited a split second for the kid to catch it and then hit him. He decided to hit him and the kid just laid there.’’
“And then Quenton ruined the whole thing,’’ the coach said.
“What did he do?’’ Craig Nelson wondered.
“He stood over him with his hand out, asking the kid if he was all right,’’ the coach said.
Now, Craig Nelson is saying how he wondered if his son, the youngest of four children, had the requisite mean streak to play football. Lord knows, he was big enough; he had to lose weight every season in order to play in a Pop Warner league with kids two grades above him. But mean? Not yet.
“I had it, his brother (Connor, who played at Villanova) had it, but for a while there with Quenton, it was just the opposite,” Craig Nelson said. “He was asking kids if they were all right.’’
Well … that didn’t last long. One year later, Quenton transferred to Red Bank Catholic High School, a powerhouse program, and he learned very quickly that only the mean survive. Once he got to Red Bank, he found himself playing with, and playing against, two of the best defensive tackles in the state, Josh Klecko (son of Joe, brother of Dan) and Joe Coscarelli.
“Joe used to drive Quenton to practice, he’d get out of the car, he had a full beard,’’ Craig said. “I’d tell Nelson, `Well, that was nice of the coach to give you a ride.’ `No, Dad, that’s my teammate.’ ‘’
“Honestly, one of the reasons I wanted him to go to RBC is because these two guys (Klecko and Coscarelli) kicked the shit out of him,’’ Craig said.
Klecko was the tactician, the one who forced Nelson, by then playing guard, to play with his hands and his mind. Coscarelli was the mountain man, full beard and all, an adult among adolescents. There, the light went on. Nelson was challenged and he not only survived, he became one of the top line prospects in the country. No more nice guy, picking up vanquished opponents. Only teammates …
While Nelson routinely had high school opponents for lunch – sometimes saving them later for a midnight snack – his toughest competition came in practice. It was the reason Craig wanted him at Red Bank Catholic. If he wanted to be the best, he had to play against the best. Every day.
“I’m telling you, I don’t get too many transfers that look like Quenton,’’ Jim Portela, Red Bank Catholic’s former head coach, was saying. “He was around 6-4, 250 when we got him (his sophomore year) and he wasn’t a typical big kid who was a little flabby. Then we got him on the field and saw him move and we thought, `Wow.’… Practicing against those two (Klecko and Coscarelli) really helped him.’’
Nelson also benefited from having a good friend, Klecko, whose father, Joe, was a former high-level player for the New York Jets from 1977-’87 and the Colts in ’88.
“So when Q was a sophomore and really learning about football, his dad really wanted him to learn from my dad (Joe); not many better guys to learn from,’’ Josh said. “So we brought Q over to work out with us a couple of times during the summer. We even had my dad in pads; that was a sight to see, his old ass in pads.
“Then he’d have me and Q beat each other up, he’d teach us technique. Afterward, we’d go down in the basement and hit the punching bag because my dad always stressed hands. That’s probably why Q has such great hands now. And I’ve never seen anybody hit that punching bag that hard.’’
As the years went by, Craig continued to take his son to various camps, at Penn State, at Boston College and other schools, and without fail, the head coach would take Craig aside and tell him the school was going to come hard after Quenton. Some wanted him on defense. Others on the offensive line.
While at Notre Dame, Nelson did not allow a sack in his final two seasons. (Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports)
He ended up at Notre Dame, where he was tutored by then-Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Heistand and developed into the best guard in the country. In four years, he surrendered three sacks and none in his last two years. He started 36 of 37 games and was a unanimous All-American selection his senior year.
That’s how Castonzo and his former teammate, now-retired Jack Mewhort, discovered Nelson’s game.
“So Jack and I would watch the Notre Dame games the day or night before (the Colts game), and originally, we started watching (Irish teammate Mike) McGlinchey (now with San Francisco),’’ Castonzo said. “Then we noticed Quenton and we really started watching him a lot.
“The way he would move, the way he would end up so many plays with guys completely blocked out, his feet in a power position, just controlling guys and finishing. It was pretty impressive.’’
When Castonzo saw the Colts had gone against “the book’’ and drafted Nelson with the sixth overall pick, he couldn’t help but smile. This, he thought, could be something special. The Colts offensive line, the Achilles’ heel for all those years, was about to get a necessary face-lift. Nelson was on his way, and everything was about to change.
An extraordinary rookie
Most of the time, DeGuglielmo, the Colts offensive line coach, has little or no time for rookies. Not that he’s not interested in developing them – don’t get me wrong – but most of them don’t even have names – just “rookie.’’ They are there to be seen and not heard.
But with this young offensive line, which includes rookies Nelson and Smith, he has plenty of time, and plenty to say, about his youngest players.
“Quenton is growing as a rookie faster than any guy I’ve ever coached …’’ DeGuglielmo said. “… Did we know he would be this impactful as he is? I guess you would say yes. He’s not only had a great impact as a player but he’s got a tremendous personality, tremendous leadership skills. He does things different than your average rookie would do…
“Look, he’s a rookie and rookies do rookie things but he does much more than that. Being drafted where he was wasn’t just because he was a good offensive guard; there was much more to it than that. He acts like a professional who’s done it for a number of years.
“He’s changed the way the game is played by those guys (the Colts offensive line) and changed the accepted level of play beyond, `I’m blocking my guy.’ ‘’
Someone asked, “How so?’’
DeGuglielmo flashed a look of disbelief.
“What do you mean; you see him play?’’ he said. “You see him knock people down, go after linebackers? He plays with a nastiness and it brings out the natural nastiness in other players.
“Let me put it this way: I have a rottweiler. He’s the friendliest guy, you know, but you come in the house in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t want to be there. Now, he’s never messed with anybody while I’m standing there, but I wouldn’t want to be there walking in on him at night. Quenton and these guys (on the O-line), they’re perfect gentlemen, but when they get out there, it’s a whole different ball game.
“… Everybody has a vision of those old-time nasty (offensive lines), tape on the arms, the J-pad, a little dirt on the face, some blood coming from their nose. Well, if you put the tape on these guys’ wrists and the dirt and the old-time face masks, these guys would be throwbacks to the ’50s and ’60s. That’s how they play the game, with Quenton being a shining example of knowing how to finish a football play.’’
Said Baldinger: “He’s changed the culture in Indianapolis. With certain guys, it’s just infectious. Alex Mack is the closest I’ve seen as a guard who played that hard. It’s something to watch.’’
It is not, however, something that Quenton Nelson really wants to talk about.
“He’ll tell you he wants to be the greatest guard who ever played,’’ his father said. Then he laughed. “Well, he won’t tell you because he would never say that to the media. But he’s said that to me. When it comes to Quenton, he’s a fun-loving kid with a great personality, but if he’s going to talk, he going to talk about his teammates.
“He just doesn’t want to talk about himself. He’s very humble. He’s always been that way.’’
Nelson was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October. (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)
Cracking the Quenton code
Craig Nelson isn’t lying. The Indianapolis media has tried to break the mirthless veneer of the Colts rookie guard, but without much in the way of success.
“I know how much you detest talking about yourself,’’ I told him. “I’ll try to keep this as painless as possible.’’
“That’s fine,’’ he said with all the enthusiasm of a man preparing to undergo wisdom-tooth extraction.
We talked – one media colleague noted it was the longest Nelson had ever endured a one-on-one interview – and while he was perfectly agreeable and answered the questions, he was never expansive, never gave a peak into his soul. Shyness, humility, a disdain for the media…hard to say.
But he’s consistent in his distaste for the limelight: When he was invited to the NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Dallas last year, given a chance to run around Jerry World and shake commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand and be the man of the moment, Nelson said, “No.’’
Or, more precisely, “Dad, I’m not going anywhere near that draft.’’
He wanted to stay home (where they watched the draft) with his friends and family, the people who were there for him from the beginning. The place was packed with Notre Dame teammates, and when Colts reporters attempted to do a post-draft conference call, Nelson had difficulty making out the questions over the raucous noise in the background. He didn’t need the pomp and fanfare, the Colts’ hat or the bro-hug with Goodell. He wanted the people who mattered the most.
“Dad, if there’s a reporter there (at the party), I’m not coming,’’ Quenton told his father.
Talk to Nelson’s friends, and they’ll talk about his big heart, his sense of humor, his generosity and team-first mentality. They’ll talk about how he used to protect kids in high school who were the target of bullies, how he and Klecko used to take less-popular students or football players with them on their treks to the diner most mornings – “just to help those kids come out of their shell,’’ Klecko was saying.
“He didn’t have patience for that kind of thing,’’ Portela said. “He was great in terms of being one of those big guys who looked out for others, like if he saw somebody being picked on he’d put a quick stop to it.
“Great leader, great friend to the other boys on the team. I don’t think the press has seen all of Quenton yet, honestly. I know it’s a lot of short answers now, but he’s really a great, emotional, sensitive young man. A very caring person.’’
Added his dad: “His personality is the antithesis of what you see on the football field. Just a nice, fun-loving young guy.’’
They’ll tell you he’s a football player through and through. Other interests? Yeah, he has some. But he loves the game. Loves the game.
“I’m not sure the switch ever gets completely turned off,’’ Castonzo said. “He lives it, he loves it. He doesn’t say much, but once in a while we’ll be out and something will pop into his head and he’ll be like, `We’ve got to double-team this guy, this is what we’ve got to do to that guy.’ I think he sits at home and things of ways to finish a guy. He doesn’t really turn it off.’’
Castonzo shrugged, “What can I say? He just lives for pancakes.’’
(Top photo of Quenton Nelson: Joe Robbins / Getty Images)[\spoiler]
I just checked twitter and nothings out there so I declare this rumor false
Wow it must be super secret
If Brian takes this shitty job just lol
Haha Pete thamel mentioned it in his column but it was just conjecture
This job looks so good right now that I am not worried
Bring on Matt Campbell
Yeah I'm not watching that
I’d trade a saint for a pope...
For real, it’s awesome.
So we are unveiling new uniforms for the playoffs?
Oh so we are just mismatching greens and blues again cool
Only thing I noticed is that we may have gotten the pants right Also I'm sure they'll have names.
Would be a huge development if we got the pants right, it's what is holding us back
must be mad ur not UCF ?
Watched the 1st 4ND thing. it's cool, but it appears the uniform change is a metallic gold around the numbers and maybe a more 90's pant, but it's hard to tell.
Our current pants are an affront to humanity