Left out: Southpaw quarterbacks nearly extinct

This is my December feature.

Provo, Utah. Fall of 1980. BYU offensive coordinator Doug Scovil calls 18-year-old Steve Young into his office and breaks the bad news.

“You’re not going to play quarterback here,” Scovil explains to the future Hall of Fame quarterback. “I don’t coach lefties. It ain’t happening.”

Scovil suggests Young play safety instead. Scovil believes Eric Krzmarzick, a right-hander, is BYU’s quarterback of the future. Scovil becomes San Diego State’s head coach a few months later and, in the winter of 1981, BYU replaces him with Ted Tollner.

Call it divine intervention.

Cut to spring of ’81. A glum, 19-year-old Steve Young walks into Tollner’s office.

“Look, Steve, Jim McMahon is the starting quarterback and we’re slow at safety. Our defensive coordinator, Fred Whittingham, wants you to play safety so you can start instead of backing up Jim. But I don’t want you to play safety. I want you to be a quarterback. Do you want me to represent you in this battle? Do you want me to bargain for you?”

“Do you really think I can play quarterback?” Young asks, surprised.

“I really do,” says Tollner. “There are some things you’ve got to learn, but I think you can be a heck of a starter. You’ve got the instincts, the accuracy and the quick release.”

Young perks up. “Well, then I’d like to be a quarterback.”

You know the rest — he becomes the greatest left-handed quarterback who ever lived. But he wouldn’t have become a quarterback at all if not for Tollner. Scovil almost robbed the world of Steve Young.

Scovil had his reasons and they made total sense. Football is a right-handed game. The best receiver usually lines up on the right side of the formation, the tight end typically lines up on the right side of the offensive line and the quarterback generally rolls out to his right. Quarterbacks are almost always right-handed and offensive coordinators think right-handed.

Offenses have to flip everything to accommodate a left-handed quarterback, have to play football in a mirror. Or, the left-handed quarterback has to learn to play right-handed, so to speak, to accommodate everyone else. Kenny Stabler, one of the greatest left-handed quarterbacks ever, played right-handed. John Madden did not flip formations for him. Sorry, Snake.

Left-handed quarterbacks almost are an extinct species. Only two currently receive checks from NFL teams — Michael Vick and Kellen Moore. Both are backups. Lefty quarterbacks are not treasured like lefty pitchers. Lefty quarterbacks are problems. They complicate things. Some coaches, like Scovil, avoid the problem altogether. Some college coaches won’t even recruit lefty quarterbacks, and some NFL teams won’t draft them.

“You see that kind of bias everywhere,” 53-year-old Steve Young said over the phone. “Luckily, Bill Walsh loved lefties, I think because he was a lefty. But there are a lot of lefties that coaches just discourage from playing. (Brief pause) Which is nuts. (Voice rising) How freaking bizarre is that? (Shouting now) That’s kookiness!

“If a guy can throw it, you can teach the same things. In fact, I learned how to throw and how to drop back and how to play quarterback from watching Jim McMahon. It’s a mirror image. It’s really easy. It’s like Phil Mickelson learning golf from his dad — mirror image. It’s like Simple Simon. Just follow that guy.”

To Young’s everlasting good fortune, Walsh wasn’t biased. Neither was Sam Wyche, who coached Boomer Esiason, another great lefty quarterback. Wyche also coached for the Niners under Walsh. Walsh once called Wyche the most creative assistant coach he ever worked with.

“Most coaches are right-handed,” Wyche explained over the phone. “That’s why you see right-handed offenses. When they draw the diagrams for the game plan, most of the time it’s in a right formation. They have a right-handed mindset. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything else that I know of.”

In other words, the bias is coach-created. Coaches impose their own right-handedness on their offenses. It’s arbitrary. Offenses just as easily could be left-handed or ambidextrous.

But certain plays are right-handed in nature. Here’s an example. This is a famous West Coast Offense goal-line play in which the quarterback sprints out of the pocket to the right and throws on the run. You know it as “Sprint Right Option.” You also know it as “The Catch.” It’s really called, “Red left switch tight closed Z right sprint right G U corner halfback flat.” That’s a lot of syllables. It sounds like something Albert Einstein would have written, something he got the Nobel Prize for.

If Joe Montana got hurt during a game, Walsh couldn’t call that particular right-handed play for Young. Walsh had to flip the play in his mind, flip the formation, the protection scheme and the direction of the rollout so Young could run to his left. After all that flipping, the name of the play changed. It became, “Red RIGHT switch tight closed Z LEFT sprint LEFT G U corner halfback flat.” Those types of adjustments can confuse even a genius like Walsh.

Jon Gruden hated flipping plays. In 2004, the Buccaneers drafted Chris Simms to back up Brian Griese and Brad Johnson. Simms no longer plays — he’s a football analyst. Gruden bluntly told Simms, “You’re a lefty; you’re a pain in the ass. I have to call the formation the other way for you so you can roll to your left.”

Wyche wasn’t fazed by lefties. “You’re going to roll the lefty out more to the left,” he said, “but you’re going to roll him out to the right sometimes, too. You’re just going to feature one way over the other.

“After that, honestly, I never found a difference. I had Joe Montana in San Francisco who was a right-hander and a good player. I had Boomer Esiason in Cincinnati who was a left-hander and a good player. The thing they had in common was they were good players.”

Coaching a lefty really is pretty easy if a coach applies himself. Let’s visualize the life of a left-handed quarterback step by step.

The center-quarterback exchange

Young took snaps right-handed for years. Yes, there actually is a right-handed way and a left-handed way to take snaps.

Young signed with the L.A. Express of the USFL in 1984. Sid Gilman, the godfather of modern football, was the head coach. Gilman didn’t like coaching the center-quarterback exchange differently for righties and lefties. To keep things simple, Gilman taught all of his quarterbacks, including Young, to take snaps like righties — right hand on top, left hand on bottom.

Centers snap the ball so that the laces hit the quarterback’s throwing hand, usually the top hand. But Gilman taught Young and other lefties to put their throwing hand on the bottom. For Young, the center had to turn the laces into the ground when he snapped the ball to make sure the laces hit the fingers of Young’s left hand.

That was all well and good as long as the grass wasn’t wet. In a rain game, the laces would be soaked by the time Steve got the ball.

Did Young remember that?

“Yeah!” he said as he laughed. “That’s so interesting … ” and he paused to recall an enemy he battled and conquered 20 years ago.

“So every center is right-handed. They snap it righty because they’re right-handed. The angle at which it comes from with your left hand on top, you get the short end of the ball. That was also hard.”

Let’s pause to explain what Young is talking about by “short end of the ball.” Try to picture the exchange. The center snaps the ball and turns it parallel to the line of scrimmage on the way up to the quarterback’s hands. If the center is a righty, the long end of the ball including laces is on the right side of his hand and the short end of the ball is on the left side. Joe Montana, a righty, got the long end and was ready to grip the ball. Young got the short end and needed to adjust. You might say he got the short end of the stick.

Got it? Back to Young.

“For years, I’d get the muddy part of the ball, the wet part of the ball if it was bad weather. Later in my career, I finally switched and put my left hand on top and my right hand on bottom. I got Jesse Sapolu to turn the laces up. It wasn’t as easy for him — he couldn’t grab the laces with his fingers that way. But he could grab them with his thumb. And then I got the laces on my fingers. And the laces were dry. So that was nice.”

The spin

Young ran into Esiason once in a while when they were pros. Young liked playing catch with him, another lefty, a freak like him.

“We’d have a catch,” said Young, “and I would think, ‘Man, that guy throws funny.’ ”

Visualize Esiason’s pass flying at your face. It’s spinning counter-clockwise. A righty’s pass spins clockwise. Esiason’s rotation is the opposite of normal. It looks different and, according to Brent Jones, it feels different, too. Jones caught passes from Montana and Young, so he should know.

“Maybe it’s because I grew up always catching a right-handed quarterback,” Jones said. “All of a sudden, to add a left-handed quarterback into the mix is like, ‘Oh, wow.’ ”

Receivers have the best hands in the world and they’re the best athletes on the team, but the spin still feels funky at first. So, receivers spend extra time at practice catching passes from the lefty quarterback to grow accustomed to the feel of his throws.

“I can’t tell you how many times I was throwing with a new receiver,” said Simms, “and either I would make the joke or one of the equipment guys would make the joke, ‘Oh, I forgot to bring out the left-handed footballs.’ And you’d be shocked at how many receivers would bite on that. ‘Oh, really? There are left-handed footballs?’ ”

The tail

When the quarterback throws the ball, the spin hits the air and the ball tails one way or the other. For a right-hander, it tails to the right. For a left-hander, it tails to the left. The tail is subtle on shorter passes and dramatic on deeper ones.

Think about it from the perspective of Fred Biletnikoff, the Raiders’ Hall of Fame flanker in the ’60s and ’70s. No team threw deep more often than the Raiders.

Biletnikoff lined up on the right — always. When Daryle Lamonica, a righty, threw deep to Biletnikoff, Lamonica’s pass would tail toward the sideline. If Biletnikoff ran a comeback route, Lamonica’s pass would tail away from him.

When Stabler threw deep down the right side, Biletnikoff knew the ball never would sail out of bounds — it would tail back into the field. And if he ran a comeback route, Stabler’s pass would tail toward him, not away from him.

“I thought it was more of an advantage, for me anyway, to have the flight of the ball coming in that direction,” Biletnikoff said of Stabler’s passes.

Biletnikoff could be biased. He grew up playing catch with a lefty — his little brother, Bobby Biletnikoff. Bobby was a minor-league baseball player for the Yankees in the ’60s, and he was Fred’s quarterback in high school.

Catching Stabler’s passes must have felt like going home.

The temptation to be a pitcher

The top-three left-handed pitchers of all-time:

1. Lefty Grove.

2. Warren Spahn.

3. Randy Johnson.

You also could make arguments for Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Whitey Ford — any number of lefties. The list goes on and on.

Who are the top-three left-handed quarterbacks of all time?

1. Steve Young.

2. Boomer Esiason.

3. Frankie Albert? Jim Zorn? Mark Brunell? It’s murky.

Not a lot to choose from. There simply haven’t been many left-handed quarterbacks, let alone great ones.

You could argue Kenny Stabler is one of the top-three lefty quarterbacks ever — he went to four Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl.

Sam Wyche didn’t pick Stabler. Wyche picked a wild card — Bobby Douglass.

“Do you remember Douglass?” Wyche asked over the phone. “He was a runner, kind of like Tim Tebow. Big guy. Played for the Chicago Bears in the ’70s. Really had up-and-down years, a lot of criticism. They were down on him because the Bears weren’t winning and he missed a few wide open guys, but he was better than people gave him credit for. He was darn good. You should call him.”

I called. The next day, he called back.

“It’s Bobby Douglass,” he said.

Talk about a standup guy. If you try to contact Stabler, forget it. You’re out of luck. The Snake must have burrowed himself deep down a hole somewhere in Alabama.

Whom does Douglass consider the greatest left-handed quarterbacks?

He laughed. “Who are we picking from? Kenny? The guy in San Francisco?”

He meant Steve Young.

“Yeah, I would say Kenny and Young. How many are we talking about? Jim Zorn? Jim was a great quarterback. But I thought I was as good as any of them. I actually went to training camp with Kenny in 1978 and I thought I threw the ball as well him. And I had another asset — I could run. But I never really had a team to play with. Quarterbacks need good teams around them. I’m not saying that because I didn’t have a Hall-of-Fame career. That’s just the way it is.

“You have to get into an offense, get comfortable with it. You have to mature. You’re not one-on-one in football. It’s a team thing. I loved pitching because it was one-on-one. I’m throwing against a batter — if I’m good, I can prove it.”

Did Douglass consider pursuing a career in baseball instead of football?

Douglass didn’t pause to think like Young paused to think about the center-quarterback exchange.

“I’ve thought about that many times,” Douglass admitted. “I probably should have played baseball. My dad was a football coach at a junior college in a small town named El Dorado (Kansas). I was obviously the best athlete growing up in Kansas — I could probably do just about what I wanted. Some of my high school baseball coaches said, ‘You need to sign a baseball contract, you can play in the majors tomorrow.’ I was left-handed and I threw the ball 100 miles an hour. I probably could have pitched a long time. But my dad wanted me to go to college. And I had a passion to play football. That’s what I wanted to do.

“When my football career ended, I signed with the White Sox. Tony La Russa was my manager. I really didn’t play very long — I was pretty successful in the real estate business at the time and I had five kids. I didn’t know if I wanted to hang around in the minors. I should have. I wish I would have. Baseball would have been a more natural career for me.”

Question: why would any lefty choose football over baseball? Look at Barry Zito, a pitcher with a winning percentage of only .536 and a fastball that travels about 85 miles an hour. Because he’s a lefty, he earned more than a hundred million dollars and, at age 36, he’s contemplating a comeback after sitting out last season. Life for lefty pitchers never ends.

Even Phil Simms wanted his son Chris to be a pitcher, not a quarterback.

“There’s no doubt about that,” Chris said. “I could throw 90 as a freshman in high school. I was one of the best pitchers in the Northeast area (of the country growing up. People would make a big deal of it: ‘Oh, you’re a lefty and you can throw it that hard, you should be a pitcher!’ I had parents and coaches saying that to me from fifth grade through freshman year of high school.”

Chris went against Phil’s wishes and chose football. Chris ruptured his spleen during a game in 2006, started just 16 games in his professional career and retired in 2010.

“Every now and then,” said Simms, “there are mornings when I wake up and think, ‘Man, if I had just picked baseball I’d probably still be pitching instead of sitting here working at Bleacher Report.’ ”

The identity crisis, or how genetics rules football

Simms sighed.

“You know, I have had moments when I wished I was a righty,” he said. Suddenly, the interview became a confession like he was talking to a priest sitting behind a lattice. “I was very aware of being left-handed as a young kid. Of course, my dad was playing in the NFL when I was growing up and he was right-handed. I knew there weren’t really any left-handed quarterbacks except Boomer Esiason. As I got a little older, Steve Young came onto the scene, but my idols were my dad, Troy Aikman and John Elway. So, I did wish I was right-handed.”

How can you blame him? Left-handed quarterbacks face obstacles, battle prejudice because of a genetic quirk shared by merely 15 percent of the population.

Handedness is genetic — that’s the predominant theory. Everyone gets a “D” gene, or a “C” gene. If you get the “D” gene — most people get the “D” gene — you’re right-handed.

Simms got the “C” gene. But he wasn’t sentenced yet to a lifetime of smudging ink with his hand. He still had a 50-percent chance to be a righty like his dad. Half of the people who get the “C” gene become right-handed, and half become left-handed. Simms is in the second half.

Lefties are right-brain dominant. Don’t ask why. Creativity happens in the right hemisphere. Meaning lefties tend to be more creative than righties. Or is it nuts? Think Bill Walsh, a notorious southpaw, who did everything against the grain and was considered a mad genius.

Are left-handed quarterbacks more creative than right-handed quarterbacks? Could that be one advantage a left-handed quarterback has over a right-handed quarterback?

“Ooh, that’s a great question,” Brent Jones said. “I think so. Steve (Young) did have a more creative mindset, maybe more of a wild streak, or outside the box. I’m not sure how to completely explain it.

“I think it probably showed itself in some of his runs and scrambles and big completions down the field after ducking a few guys and scrambling for 40 or 50 yards behind the line of scrimmage and then making a play. I think the creative side of the brain, for whatever reason, goes hand-in-hand with being left-handed.”

Jones paused, seemed to relive one of Young’s insanely great plays. “I could sense it. I could feel it,” Jones said, his voice rising.

Will the NFL feel it too?

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

This article has 114 Comments

  1. Great read. Another benefit to having a lefty qb, the left tackle (blind side) for an have to be your highest laid lineman because the qb can see the pass rusher coming. That’s at least a 2-4 million dollar swing in the salary cap.

  2. Enjoyed the read, Grant. Well done.

    I noticed you ended a sentence with a preposition. Just out of curiosity were you taught that this is now acceptable for a journalist? I’m not picking on you or calling you out, I really am curious to know what the current “wisdom” is on this issue. Thanks.

      1. Sorry, that rule is long outdated and not based in grammatical fact as opposed to the teaching of fat English teachers in primary schools across this great land. And if those are the two worst things in your life you are one mighty dullard.

        1. Ghost:

          I have to do a fair amount of writing and at times I find it cumbersome to have to rewrite a sentence to avoid a preposition at the end. I thought I was politely asking Grant for an update on this particular issue since he is an English major and writes for a living; but apparently it’s not coming across that way. Cheers.

          1. I can tell you for sure that the prep at the end is forbidden in Tokyo. I know that for a fact. My editor pointed it out to me more than once. But it’s pretty much out of the style manuals at this point…

    1. In English it’s perfectly okay to end a sentence with a preposition. It’s also okay to split an infinitive. The idea that it’s not derives from prescriptive grammars of the 18th century which took Latin, then the language of “learnedness,” as their model. In Latin, it IS bad grammar to end a sentence with a preposition and to split an infinitive. (Ghost’s “forbidden in Tokyo” reference is interesting and perhaps ironic because, if I remember correctly, in Japanese prepositions MUST come at the end of sentences.) :-)

  3. Very enjoyable. It never occurred to me that Steve Young and Frankie Albert were always getting the muddy end of the football. Excellent work.

      1. You’re welcome. Your take is original and goes much deeper into what’s going on than anything I’ve ever read about lefty quarterbacks. Maybe righty sports writers don’t like to write about them either.

  4. I grew up watching Frankie Albert, who was truly a great little left-handed QB. One season he threw 29 TDs and 12 INTs, but was never going to be named first string All-Pro because of the presence of the great Otto Graham. Frankie was so good that season they made him All-Pro, first string, AS A RB! He didn’t play a single snap at that position. Says something about how great little Frankie was. In 1949, he also punted for an average of 48.2, with a long punt of 84 yards. (Andy Lee led the NFL with a 48.1 average more than 60 years later. After he retired, the fiery Albert became HC of the Niners. I’d rank Frankie just below Young and Stabler.

    1. After Albert retired, I came out of a basketball game at Stanford and happened to be walking beside Albert and Dink Templeton. Albert wasn’t tall but it seemed to me that he was thick. In the “one platoon” days (40s) he played safety and linebacker.

  5. Yeah, being a lefty can be a pain, I know. I bat right, play guitar right, write left, surf goofy foot and shoot pool left-hand back. Interestingly, a little known fact — except for other lefties — is the gene for being a lefty is paired on the same strand as that for big weenies, so we are forced to put up with both…

  6. Gore agrees #7 sucked this year….

    ““I know there will be changes, but I think the guys at the key positions, that’s what matters,” he said. “Next year, I think Kap will get back to himself. Anquan Boldin will come back. Stevie Johnson is still under contract. Vernon Davis is still under contract. Joe Staley, Anthony Davis. I look at Patrick Willis will be back, Navorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, for the season. So I think the guys at the key spots are good enough for me to say, ‘Yeah, I want to be back.’””

    1. Not bunk. And three of the last four presidents were lefties too as I recall. Face it, being a Celt AND being a Leftie makes a man top of the heap…

  7. Grant
    Very interesting read. I have been hard on you this year because I feel like you have mailed it in with respect to thoughtful articles that required research. This particular article while not earth-shattering provided some insight that otherwise we would not have been privy to (interview with Young , Wyche and Simms) And not a hint of an agenda. More articles like this one would serve you better than TMZ sensationalism

  8. Grant,

    Do consider providing links in your blog to selected Niners articles in SRPD by other writers.

    Here’s an excellent piece by Phil Barber on Rick Drummond and PFF:

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/sports/3293161-181/santa-rosa-man-is-a?page=0

    As a big PFF fan, it’s interesting to read the following:
    “NFL teams have started use the company’s data and evaluations. Thirteen teams currently pay for a deep level of data that basic subscribers don’t get, with a preliminary report delivered Monday morning. Personnel directors and coaches like to compare their internal grades with PFF’s. Hornsby says the two sets of grades tend to jibe very closely. ………….. Both sides — agents and teams — commonly use PFF numbers in contract negotiations. And, yes, players are conscious of their grades. ”

    Marathe recently mentioned that PFF is one of the analytics services that he consults. I assume that Niners are one of the 13 franchises that get their deep dive data.

  9. Good piece Grant.

    My first year in coaching I ended up having a QB who was left handed. It was a bit different, so I can see why some coaches may be apprehensive with it.

    One thing that I’ve noticed with lefty QB’s is that they often don’t get their elbow up like a righty does, so their release point if a little lower.

    1. By chance I came across a statement elsewhere today that there’s a 1 in 10 chance a child is born a Lefty. (I realize that’s an odd way of saying it, but that’s how it was phrased in a section of the Old Farmers’ Almanac, and so that’s how I passed it along.)
      But there seem to be less than 10% of QBs at all levels are Lefties. So that might infer coaches’ selection and persuasion influence, as suggested.

  10. Did anyone watch the Louisana Tech vs Illinois game? Houston Bates DL/LB – heck the guy played every where. Had an extremely high motor. Finished with 5.5 sacks – in one game. Illinois wasn’t good, but this kid is someone to look at.

        1. Brooks seems to have the ability to do some of that as well. I remember in the playoff game against Carolina, he stopped their running back from scoring a short yardage touchdown while playing ILB. But no doubt, he will be gone and we’ll save a fair amount in salary cap.

          I’ll try to check Houston out on YouTube.

  11. An excellent and very well put together piece Grant. It opened my eyes to what left-handed QBs have to put up with and also how players around the southpaw QB have to adjust. This is one of your best articles yet.

  12. Ballke and Kim Jong York have been planning the Harbaugh ouster since summer. Hopefully, they have the right candidate lined up. Maybe they are thinking of a blockbuster trade to which all parties will benefit, e.g., Payton and Brees and the Niners’ first round pick for Harbaugh and Kap?

    1. Mood, I think they have been planning it since last years NFC Championship loss. In someone’s review of winning 49er coaches being fired (Seifert, Mariucci, and Harbaugh) they referred to “petulant ownership.” I think that hits the mark dead center.

      Enjoy the coming slide.

  13. i read Anthony Davis’ comments on GRo this past couple of days. He has missed half the season and ends up having a glass jaw and he is one to point fingers?

    1. He’s a p****! I really don’t think he wanted to play. That long with a concussion playing with a helmet? Again I kick boxed for years and I’m gonna say it again. Football had nothing on getting kicked or punched in your dome even with the protective head gear. The rugby guys must be laughing at his story.

      1. Davis is getting more well known for running off at the mouth and not backing it up. I don’t care if his absence hurts the strength of our OL or not. We do not need this type of malcontent on our 49ers team.

        1. correct me if im wrong, but didnt we pass over dez Bryant twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for A. Davis and iupati?????

          And Baalke gets credit for his drafts!!! lol. taking ok players at un-important positions over great players at premium positions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he and Jed are a couple of clowns!!!!!!!!

      2. …..@ninermd – not surprised you definitely sound like your dome has been leaking……….taking head injuries lightly is not something to condone or agree with….

        Reading all the news about A. Davis and his tweets (Te’o + Roman) this season confirmed to me he does have issues under his dome……

        Rugby players are actually taught how to prevent head injuries with their technique and playing style……

  14. This was a really in-depth and interesting piece. I hadn’t realised the bias left-handed QBs had to deal with. Good stuff Grant.

  15. In my post above it says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I’ve never seen that before. Does this mean that I’ll be joining Claude in the ranks of the banned; forced to hop from proxy server to proxy server. :-)

    1. I see now that the “post above” may not be visible to many. I’ll post again with only one link per post.

      In another thread I mentioned that I wasn’t sure about the use of consultants when a team is looking to make a major change. If anyone cares below are links to two articles where consultants have recently been hired by the Falcons and by the Jets.

      http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/12/24/banners-role-as-a-falcons-consultant-provides-layers-of-intrigue/

      1. Cubus – The problem with consultants is the majority of them only consider those within their inner circles as potential candidates for the positions for which they are hired to provide their expertise. As a result, the individual or organization hiring the consultant has to understand the limitations/parameters of the pool of candidates to be brought them by the consultant. For example, if the Yorks reached out to Parcells as a consultant, odds are that he would recommend only those candidates for head coach who have coached with him because he has a loyalty to them and a familiarity. In essence, when you hire a Parcells as the consultant, you are hiring him as the HC because you are going to get a Parcells clone or a “want to be.”

        1. Mike: Yes, that appears to be an issue. One of the articles mentioned hiring several consultants in order to “even things out”.

    2. The one about Brooks? I reread it and couldn’t see a problem. Sometimes a filter will pick up a word as questionable, but I didn’t see anything unless the computer thought cap was too close to cr#p.

  16. Looks like I messed things up. My comments are not out of place and not indenting. It looks like that will continue through the rest of this thread. Sorry.

  17. Grant – I’m sure you will not allow the nattering nabobs of negativisim who attempt to post here to detract from the excellent piece you authored. Good research and in-depth work. Hope all of the Cohn Zohn family had an excellent Christmas.

    1. It’s because of juvenile moves like this that Ryan has no business being offered another NFL head coaching position. First he’s never been capable of backing up any of the boasts his big mouth can’t help but make and for the most part his teams have constantly been a source of bad rumors and even worse play on the field. I don’t know who’s responsible for the drafts on that team but if Ryan had any hand in the picks he deserves to lose his job on that merit alone.

      Habaugh makes himself an easy target for the media that don’t like him but at least he’s handling the fact that he knows he’s about to be fired with a modicum of integrity, dignity and not to mention maturity.

  18. Coach Harbaw (new press conference vocab list):
    will..will…won’t…won’t… and …happen (x4)
    [translation? “gobble, gobble, gobble….]

    “I’m going to ENJOY the players that I really ENJOY being around.
    I’m going to ENJOY the coaches and have a lot of fun coaching…”

    Is it really possible that not a single NFL team will challenge Michigan
    in any meaningful ($$$) way for the opportunity to hire Mr. Harbaw..??

    …do not let the door hit you in the butt when you exit the pro ranks…
    (the Super Bowl monkey is laughing apoplectically)

    1. At least the guy can talk without losing his breathe like your idol Andy Reed. Oh by the way Kaepernick is saving a spot on the couch for Alex Smith to watch the Superbowl.

      1. Geez, Michael

        You’re going to get after Andy Reed for being heavy?….Maybe JH can be on the cover of GQ…it seems like he was trying for it

      1. He must be something from the 49ers front office that is still bitter about the franchise trading Alex Smith. That’s the only way I can see him getting the record right.

  19. Nice article. I wasn’t aware there were so few lefty QBs left in the league.

    the only thing I would debate is:

    Look at Barry Zito, a pitcher with a winning percentage of only .536 and a fastball that travels about 85 miles an hour. Because he’s a lefty,

    Zito’s fastball was never his bread and butter so any commentary on it shouldn’t be the focus. Zito’s fastball was always used to set up his 12-6 curveball. Zito didn’t stick in the league for so long because he was a lefty, it’s because he could grind out innings even when his fastball couldn’t set up his curveball.

    1. Gordon’s contract is up after the 2015 season, meaning he can only accrue three seasons now, making him a restricted free agent after next season. It’s worth noting that Wilson followed up his previous Tweet with another, saying that this suspension was “motivated by team wanting to delay his free agency status,” citing an inside source.

      James Brady
      SB Nation

  20. http://www.first-pick.com/

    Round 1 Pick 14: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida (A-)
    Round 2 Pick 14: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma (A)
    Round 3 Pick 14: Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame (A)
    Round 4 Pick 31: Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn (A-)
    Round 5 Pick 14: James Castleman, DT, Oklahoma State (B+)
    Round 6 Pick 14: Jamon Brown, OT, Louisville (C+)

  21. From 2011-2013 49ers TE’s accounted for 49% of TD receptions, 30 of 61. In 2014 they’ve caught 12%, 2 of 17, and 0 since the first half of week 1.

    1. letting Delanie Walker go dosent look like such a good move now, does it ( good job trent) and passing on eddie lacy to reach for vance Mcdonald only compound th40’se error……. in fact, it forced us to go after hyde in last years draft when , instead, we could traded the ward and hyde picks to move up for odell beckham or mike evans. i was also hoping for J.Mathews of M. Bryant in rounds 2-3, but no, lets give our young qb a stable of old wr’s than run 4.7-4.8 40’s.

      One bad move by a bad GM depletes the roster at 3 positions!!!

      over the last 10 years, the Chargers have been notorious for this, not wanting to pay THEIR good players. This sends a bad message to guys in the locker room, but even worse, you waste draft picks on replacing guys instead of adding guys!!!!

      they didnt want to pay that drew brees guy……wasted a pick on rivers. didnt want to pay darren sproles, drafted ryan mathews ….. didnt those 2 guys win a SB ring in New Orleans??????

  22. Joe Pequeno ✔ @JoePequenoCBS5
    Follow
    Source says, 49ers and Michigan have worked out a deal. Nothing signed, but UM Officials feel confident Jim Harbaugh will be new coach

      1. I don’t know, so I’ll just throw a flyer. I wonder if Harbaugh doesn’t want to be officially fired. Maybe the 49ers just have to have an agreement with Michigan that they will cover Harbaugh’s last year salary. Now they can call his release something else that doesn’t make it look like Harbaugh has been fired.

      2. It’s likely that the Org wants to save face by a show of amicability in the impending divorce by allowing Michigan access to Harbaugh.

        This season is one that went south without the slightest warning. Like everyone else, I was blindsided by the sudden collapse.
        I feel for the veterans on the team that have played their hearts out through the tough times to make this team relevant again.
        The uncertainty of the future is something I never thought I’d be concerned about under the Harbaugh regime.

        1. The red flag for me is “Harbaugh realizes his style is better suited for the college game”. That sounds nothing like Harbaugh, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a ploy to get Davis to up the ante….

      3. maybe they’re picking up the $5M on the last year of Harbaugh’s contract. which is all well and good for the York’s pocket book. But does nothing for the football side of things.

  23. Just read an espn report that Josh Gordon has been suspended by the Browns.

    Is this guy worth the league and teams effort to reform him?

    1. I expect a close game given the Cards will start Logan Thomas.
      The 49ers will not do Seattle any favors by beating the Cards.
      They may have a carbon copy of last week’s game against the Chargers where they jump ahead just to make it interesting.

      1. They may have a carbon copy of last week’s game against the Chargers where they jump ahead just to make it interesting.

        You mean for most of the season right?

  24. Just for the record, no University needs any kind of agreement with an NFL team to hire any of that NFL teams staff. The rumor is that Harbaugh has reached an understanding with Michigan because he has come to understand that he is better fitted to college football than the NFL. It sounds like the rumor is based on Harbaugh critics ideas about Harbaugh’s short comings rather anything that Jim might be thinking. As my grannie used to exclaim, “Poppy Cock!”

  25. There is one lefty left out of this article his name would be , Greg Landry QB for the Detroit Lions in the 70’s I thought he was a pretty good QB

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  27. Hmm – they look cool, but I am EXTREMELY allergic to the Nutra-Sweet (aspartame)sweetener used in Diet Soda. (One drop = 3 day migraine intensity headache) (It IS a known carcinogen and when heated – well, look it up – you won't heat it up in a recipe again!)So can they be made with regular soda?

  28. I tried these a couple weeks ago, and they were dang near inedible because of the heavy handed application of the salt. I mean, seriously, there was enough salt in my one large order of fries to pay a Roman soldier for six months.Oh, and you and I are in complete agreement as regards the quality (or lack thereof) of Burger King fries.

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