AJ McCarron was part of three National Championships in his time at Alabama. He was the starter for two of those, and was penciled in as the unproven redshirt freshman backup in 2009’s BCS game against Texas.
Had McElroy gone the way of Colt McCoy’s early exit in Pasadena, you would’ve seen McCarron at the helm, not “back-ups” Star Jackson or Thomas Darrah, who took snaps all season. An untested true frosh in a game with all the marbles on the line.
In 2011’s BCS National Championship win (they all run together in my head, there are so many), McCarron’s pinpoint accuracy was one of the major factors in the Tide bringing home their 14th National Championship. Often throwing over “the Honey Badger,” the nation’s media darling that year.
In 2012, McCarron did it all again, leading the Tide to yet another crystal football playing for the unmatched greatest coach of the present era.
Yet tonight, in the 2014 NFL Draft, McCarron’s name most likely won’t be called until other QB’s have been tapped for service at the next level.
Names like Teddy Bridgewater, who didn’t compete against a single ranked opponent in his final year at Louisville. Not one.
Or Fresno’s Derek Carr, who while competing in the pressure-packed Mountain West Conference also didn’t face a ranked team until the “Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” a 25-point drubbing at the hands of the then impotent #25 USC Trojans.
Of course there’s Johnny Manziel, or as I like to call him, this year’s Tim Tebow. Manziel will sell tickets for the first year or so, but interest will soon wane as coaches and owners slowly acknowledge what they already know…that Manziel is not a starter, and the backyard antics that worked against collegiate competition won’t fly against grown men. Ask Cam Newton how dominate his game has been at the next level using his feet. (The difference is, Cam is 6’6″ with a frame for the contact. Manziel isn’t as tall as I am, wearing booster shoes.)
And don’t forget about Jimmy Garoppolo…and if you can tell me with a straight face that you knew where this guy played in college without googling it I’ll buy you lunch. I’m sure the pressure to perform in front of the home Eastern Illinois crowd was off the chain.
Fact is, John Gruden and other experts are saying McCarron will likely go no sooner than the 3rd round in this weekend’s draft. Gruden knows his stuff, though some draft surprises always happen. But to me…and you have to believe me, I’m taking the Crimson glasses off here…that scenario is just incredible.
All the guy has done in his three years as a starter at Bama is win, and do it A LOT. 36-4 and three Natty’s ain’t too shabby, especially this past year with an offensive line that was probably the worst in his tenure in Tuscaloosa.
Experts say the Oklahoma game “exposed him,” though I find it hard to believe that the 39 previous games he competed in (and won 92% of) didn’t provide evidence of a competitor able to perform when the pressure was the greatest. I’m not talking about a bad game here and there. I’m talking about the landscape of a career at a place where winning is everything, and all he did was do it time and time again…and again, and again…
Whatever happens this weekend, I can’t feel too sorry for the guy. He’ll be fine. His job description will include the word “play.” Even at the league minimum he’d be rolling in it — at least in the world of the common man, like myself. And I’ll go to my grave believing the best job in the world is 3rd string NFL QB. Sign me up for that RIGHT NOW.
But all this said, Bama fans are excited about the arrival of Jacob Coker, who experts are saying will have the best arm the Tide has seen in decades. Able to make all the throws. Can throw it off his back foot 80 yards. Has mobility to get out of trouble and beat you with his feet as well as his arm. Is a fierce competitor. And has the frame to stand in the pocket and make you pay.
Maybe with this kind of quarterback we’ll finally have some success in Tuscaloosa under Nick Saban.
Yes, it’s going to be fun watching this kind of athlete under center bring us another Championship. At least until all the draft experts tell us he isn’t worth anything.
(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)
18 thoughts on “With McCarron finally gone, Bama fans look forward to the future with a good quarterback in Jacob Coker”
I just loved how AJ McCarron was always called a “game manager” and that’s the exucse people sometimes cite for why they think he won’t be successful in the NFL.
Then I think, “oh, that ‘game manager’ title didn’t seem to hurt Russell Wilson too much in the Super Bowl.”
I’m not suggesting AJ McCarron and Russell Wilson are identical QB’s, all I mean to suggest is intelligent decision-making is a seemingly important character trait, albeit an often overlooked one in the grand scheme of pro football. Nevertheless, raw talent will only get you a bye-week for the first round of the playoffs, not a championship.
Still, getting picked late might be for the best for AJ, rather than, say, spending the next four years in Cleveland or with the Charlotte, North Carolina Panthers.
And in comes Coker.
I know he hasn’t been named the starter yet, but it’s hard to dispute his level of talent. I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed with Bateman and Sims from A-Day, but only time will truly tell.
Perhaps more importantly though is Coker’s talent coming to Tuscaloosa at the same time as Lane Kiffin. You see, Kiffin has a knack for success with quarterbacks like Coker.
“But maybe that was all Sarkesian’s fault instead, Gump!”
True, maybe it was. So now we’re just doubting Saban’s choice. Frankly, I’m willing to take the benefit of the doubt on that one.
“Kiffin only got the job because of his daddy, Gump!”
Place the credit wherever you like, but the simple truth is Coker could be to Kiffin at Alabama what Lienart was to Kiffin at USC.
And while I don’t expect Coker to immediately be as “Saban-esque” as McCarron was with ball control (at least certainly not initially), the weapons and support staff around Coker for the next two seasons of his eligibility are epic. Amari Cooper is finally healthy, Christion Jones is well-prepared, the young offensive line that matured last season has recovered from injuries including the starting center as well as adding more immediate talent and even depth, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the indisputable best running back corp in the nation to help set up the pass in the first place.
I can understand some of the disputes about AJ’s talent vs other QB’s in the draft, particularly because he was always surrounded by other talented players, but I still don’t understand that part of the NFL regardless. I’d suggest Aaron Murray over many others, too. Then again, Tom Brady was a backup picked in a very late round only to become the best bargain in pro sports history, while Mark Sanchez was another moderate performer in college who was picked early and became a 35 million dollar mistake.
PS – it doesn’t feel like a 21st century NFL draft without an Alabama running back in the mix. I guess there’s always next year…
Yeldon ain’t a first rounder, but Henry will be.
Who is saying that Coker has the best arm that Alabama has seen in a decade? What are they basing all this off of? His college career stats? He’s thrown a total of 41 passes and only completed 21 of them. Blake Sims actually has better college stats than Coker does.
A serious question for you peachy:
What was Nick Marshall doing in 2012? Somehow I don’t think he was tearing up the statbook as a QB for anyone.
You have a point that Coker is unproven, but that’s the case for many QBs that are starting at the D-1 level.
And for your Sims comment, do you honestly believe if Sims is better than Coker that Saban wouldn’t use him? And I suspect you’ll go to the racecard next, but Saban started Marcus Randle and later JeMarcus Russell at LSU so that argument holds no water.
I appreciate the irony of the article already including the same question about AJ McCarron winning his (first) championship without having stats beforehand to support that he might be one of the best ever at the Capstone.
To answer peachy’s question though, Coker has remarkable arm strength. That’s not exactly a stat. You can see videos of it online, then let us know what you think. Be critical, not deliberately controversial.
Blake Sims is a better passer than Nick Marshall RIGHT NOW.
Sure he is. Spring game and career stats back that up for you……
Nick Marshall spent 2012 in Junior College throwing for 3100 yards and rushing for another 1000. He had quite a bit of experience coming into Auburn last year.
Coker has thrown 41 passes in his college career. He’s never been able to do anything at FSU but he’s the answer for Alabama?
I think he’ll be a decent QB, but he will cost Alabama 2-3 games.
You really do think too much.
Or not enough. I can’t tell.
It’s just that those thought are always about Alabama.
That’s where you and I are different…
I forgot that you never talk about, discuss or acknowledge Auburn. Ever. You’ve never posted anything about them or even typed their name into one of your posts.
Auburn had their flash in the pan last year….they’ll be quiet for a while, as always. Only thing worth mentioning about Auburn is their delusional fans who wish Bama would lose 3 games in one season. Because it happens so often.
Yep. Just like McElroy and McCarron when they were new. Oh wait. They won National Championships.
If McCarron gets with a team that can protect him, then his heart and loyalty(not just being fine with stealing a team’s money without trying) is going to make him a great QB. If he doesn’t, he’ll be Wuerffel or some other bust. What if the teams that drafted Marino, Aikman, both Mannings, or Brady had not been good at pass protection?! They all would have been monumental busts! What about Warner?! a bust!
Did you see some of the throws McCarron made at Alabama–sometimes in draping, gluey coverage?! He also made great decisions with the ball when the Oline protected him–even when only for a couple of drives in a close game(i.e., UGA)! What about how the passing drills since have shown how great his anticipation was?! Other than clutch ability, that’s what Montana was known for! McCarron didn’t shy away from throwing at the combine and his ball placement was impeccable! If the late Bill Walsh were here, he’d champion McCarron, as that had to be what he saw in Montana! He also looked the same at Gruden camp! He’s tall, too! Decision making, accuracy, and ball placement! I reiterate; if you protect him, he’ll be 1 of the 6 afforementioned QBs! Gurus just overlook the fact that some QBs need that Oline to protect them! None of them ever use this criteria to say why a QB should go here or there! Never! Really. Teams also–whether they admit it or not–peak at what they say, too! Teams with bad Olines choose a QB that needs a solid Oline! I don’t know, but they seem like they get paid for going through the motions! Give him that and it’s all good!
Also, Coker seems like a potentially great QB! It seems like before he leaves Alabama(if he plays both years) could be so much better than McCarron, because Coker could wind up as accurate as McCarron and light years ahead of him in the mobile department! I saw the Aday a year ago and it seems like that what Fisher said about Coker wasn’t coach-speak and minimalization to spare Coker’s feelings! You wonder how Winston beat him, though! Winston can throw the ball very well, but so could Coker(I’m judging from the Aday game) and he’s far more mobile, too! I wonder if it wasn’t so that Fisher could be better at recruiting black athletes! Some black recruits love to see blacks in high positions. Hey, Ole Miss got rid of their racist propaganda–not in 1980, but way in 2008! Granted, the Ole Miss situation is far more severe, but ulterior motives and business decisions are being made all the time! How you gonna win if you can’t guarantee black talent? That’s rare! Anyway, maybe Coker did win the job and he’s that good! If he’s good enough to beat Winston(or come close as Fisher claims), then he’s better than anything Alabama’s got! Even citing Sims reported improvement and Bateman’s ball placement against that defense in the Aday game this year. If you haven’t seen Coker’s Aday from last year, you must see what he did to FSU’s defense! Also, Coker reportedly works very hard, has an arm that is amongst the best in the NFL, and is very mobile! That’s is a scary combination when college defenses have to stop it with what Alabama already has! LSU couldn’t McCarron who wasn’t mobile, what are they going to do now?! That gives you some idea about the trouble that Coker and Alabama’s offense potentially pose for college defenses!
WHITE POWER! oops sorry , thought I was at a bama QB meeting.
STFU! Oops, sorry. Thought I was getting ready to hand out the bracelets with that inscription worn by AU QB’s at their Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting.
I think there are going to be a lot of teams regretting the decision to let AJ McCarron slip so far and not take an earlier chance at getting him. This guy came up big time in the biggest games and won a ton of football games. I get that NFL gms, execs, etc… found him arrogant and he had a horrible interview process. And while I find that hard to believe he was that big of an a-hole, since he came across we’ll in the interviews I saw, he must have done something to rub so many people the wrong way. THE other thing I found extremely surprising are the rumors that he was not liked by teammates and not respected in the huddle or lock e r room. While this says a tremendous amount about how great a coach Saban is, if true, it doesn’t look good for AJ and this leadership ability. Just find it hard to believe all this is true. And I definitely don’t think there were 8 qbs in this draft Better than AN. Also, if you think Simms is a better parser right now than nick marshall something is wrong with your eyes or you are just that biased. There is better than average chance that his the 4th qb on auburn football team. Definitely not good enough to be their backup. And after watching heir aday game it’s apparent to me that marshall is a much better qb in all.areas than last year. Looks really good passing the ball and auburn’s offense going to be pure hell to deal with this year
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