Bortles says he’ll throw at Combine, media predictably approves

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Before we can check the offseason box next to the phrase “Underwear Olympics,” we’ve got to check the boxes that say “Quarterbacks say they’ll throw at the Underwear Olympics” and “media shouts approval.”

(They’re the boxes right after “Quarterbacks say they won’t throw at the Underwear Olympics” and “media criticizes the decision.”)

Former Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles has announced on Twitter (where else?) that he’ll throw at the Scouting Combine.

“Dreamt about the combine since I was a kid!” Bortles said.  “Fired up to compete in all aspects of it, especially throwing!”  On cue, media members who would otherwise have less to write and/or talk about if none of the key quarterbacks throw, applauded the decision — as part of the year-in, year-out effort to shame those who choose not to throw now, and to influence those who may choose not to throw in the future.

Really, do any of the people who are saying, “Good for youuuuu, Blake” really care about whether the kid will be helping or hurting his draft prospects while wedging a throwing session to receivers he doesn’t know into a multi-day excursion of being poked and prodded by doctors and asked all sorts of questions by team after team after team?  Or does the media simply want the dog-and-pony show to have the most possible dogs and/or ponies?

“But Florio you’re part of the media!”

Maybe I am.  But maybe I’m also willing to point out the obvious disconnect between guys doing a bunch of things in the latest Under Armour fashions and guys actually playing football.  There’s no vertical jump in football.  There’s no three-cone drill in football.  And as Warren Sapp says every year, they don’t put a weight bench at the 50-yard line.

Most importantly, guys run 40 yards in a straight line on a football field only when something really good has happened.  Or when something really bad has happened.  And unless something really unusual has happened, they’re always wearing pads and helmets.

We collectively care about the Combine because there’s nothing else going on right now, from a football standpoint.  So we obsess over the excruciating minutiae of apples-to-oranges activities that will long be forgotten by the time the next football season begins.

We do it in large part, as decorated philosopher George Costanza once said, because it’s on TV.

None of it is a competition, especially as it relates to the jumbled cluster of a revolving door of quarterbacks throwing passes to a revolving door of receivers.  For most players, the hay was put in the barn once their college careers ended, and the rest of this is just killing time until the draft arrives.

“But Florio quarterbacks may be changing their mechanics to succeed at the next level!”

Yeah.  Just like Tim Tebow.  He got rid of the Deliberate Catapult motion when he was throwing in the non-game sessions before the 2010 draft.  It helped get him picked in the first round.  And as soon as he got back onto the field and things started to get hectic, Tebow reverted to thousands of hours of horrible habits that his previous coaches (we’re looking at you, Urban Meyer) didn’t fix.

I’m not knocking any of it.  Interest in the Scouting Combine translates to interest in the media publications covering the NFL.  But we’re not big fans of making things seem like something than what they are.  And the Scouting Combine isn’t football.

It may fill the void of the non-football months, but it’s not football.  And no participant should choose whether to participate based on the artificial idea that it’s any type of competition remotely related to the game they’re about to finally get paid to play.

31 responses to “Bortles says he’ll throw at Combine, media predictably approves

  1. If you’ve done your homework, the combine should be a fine tuning of your draft board at best. It should have very little to no impact on who you actually select.
    And didn’t spandex shorts die a painful death in the 80’s?

  2. If you’re a top QB prospects it’s best to just throw during your pro day with receivers you have chemistry with. You don’t want to throw around to guys they you’ve never seen before (several won’t even get drafted) and end up looking bad yourself.

  3. No one mentions that a QB willing to risk a poor performance throwing to unfamiliar WRs is also showing confidence in his own abilities and a willingness to put everything on the line.

    It’s hardly as though any QB will see their own WRs drafted by the same team and so had better get used to new guys catching the ball. Free agent receivers can be signed at any time by an NFL team following an injury – or third team players can be brought on at crucial parts of a game. Do you think that Brett Favre throws that ball to Greg Lewis against the 49ers if he didn’t have trust in his own abilities, and respect that the receiver was there to do a job!

  4. Well for me a lot of watching the combine is about looking for weaknesses in players, to me it’s not as much about looking for who scores points but rather more about who is losing points so I’m more focused on the list of negatives a prospect has relative to another. It may not be football at all, but you can learn a lot and pick a lot of things up about what some of these athletes are like. If you want to know how they play in the pads and in the games, you have the game tape for that. This is an opportunity for players to be exposed in a multitude of unique ways that you don’t get a chance for quite like this. Not everybody’s draft position will get jostled by what they show at the combine, but some of them will rise and some of them will fall and every team needs to have somebody that is doing a good job of ascertaining who those movers are.

  5. “Dreamt about the combine since I was a kid!”
    Most players dream about playing in the league.
    He dreams of the combine?

  6. Jacksonville should draft this kid. He’s loved by the state of Florida, would put fans in the seats, and surely couldn’t be worse than what they already have.

  7. I agree… If you haven’t done your homework game film wise these combines don’t really amount too much… Two days in Indy vs 20-30 games as a prospect.. Do the math

  8. Blake Razorstorm should easily go in the first round once that name change app is approved by the judge.

  9. When he shows up a rookie minicamp, he’ll be throwing to receivers he doesn’t know. Most of them won’t even make the opening day roster.

    And for every year he is in the NFL, he will be handed new receivers he doesn’t know.

    Best get used to it now.

  10. When guys don’t participate in the combine drills, I automatically start to question their motivations/aptitude/desire/confidence. As has been stated every year, the combine is a giant interview (several of them). Would the average person refuse to demonstrate their skills if asked to during an interview? (My resume says that I can type 60 words per minute so I don’t really need to take your test, etc.)

    My beef with the combine is that they aren’t in pads. I agree that it is the “underwear olympics” but there are still things the teams can learn. Many tests measure strength/explosion/general athletic ability. 40 yard dash happens each kickoff and many of the guys getting drafted will be playing special teams. As for the 3 cone drill…watch some Barry Sanders highlights and see if the agility drills aren’t represented.

  11. Demontre Moore had the Tape to suggest he should be a top 5 pick.. Most Mocks had him going to the Raiders at 3 .. He put up crappy combine numbers and he slipped to the 3rd round and had 11 tackles his rookie year.. The guy supposedly did well against Joeckel and Mathews at Texas A & M .. The Combine isn’t the tell all .. but neither is game tape.

  12. Combine has provided countless hours of background entertainment on the tv for many years. Sometimes you catch some good stuff. I’m a fan.

  13. Combine doesn’t mean much for the top players, it’s a bigger deal for the “sleeper” players and if the test high the scouts will go back and review their game tapes

  14. Remember the combine in 2011? Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett all threw in the passing dill while Blaine Gabbert sat on the sideline and brushed his hair.

  15. bet hell be better then manziel and bridgewater , but the best i feel is going to be some random late round pick . if the texas pass up on clowney there retarded

  16. This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my favorite PFT article ever. The only thing you left out is the fact that the same media members who are applauding Bortles today for deciding to throw will crush him if he throws poorly.

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