After reading a post by a fellow member about Floyd and Blackmon, I decided to dig deeper and go more in-depth on the subject to shed some light on the situation. Its easy to look at stats/production/highlight tape and hurry in your opinion of a player based on that information. But I want to take time to break down every factor of their game, their team, the systems they played in, their QBs, and everything that contributes to said production.
This arguement is eerily similar to the arguement between Fitz and Megatron.
As a true freshman at Notre Dame, Floyd played in 11 of Notre Dame's 13 games on the year, he missed 2 games due to an injury sustained in a game against Navy. Floyd had seven touchdown receptions on the year, breaking the record for an Irish rookie, while catching 48 balls to break another Notre Dame freshman record in receptions. His 719 receiving yards also set the mark for a Notre Dame first-year player.
Hit the jump for more.....
In his Sophomore season Floyd started with a bang. He recorded 3 touchdowns and 189 receiving yards on only 4 receptions. Shunning the notion that Floyd wasnt good at racking up YAC. Later in the season, Floyd suffered a fractured clavicle, which halted his production and playing time, and led to him missing 5 games that season. Floyd returned from injury and came back to finish the season with 9 receiving touchdowns and almost 800 receiving yards in just 7 games.
In 2010, Floyds Junior season, he started every game leading the Irish to an 8-5 record. He ended the season with 79 receptions for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 79 catches ranked second in Notre Dame single-season history, while his 12 touchdowns tied for fourth most in a season and his 1,025 receiving yards ranked seventh. Floyd was then named MVP for Notre Dame at the Sun Bowl.
In 2011, Floyd started every game leading the Irish to an 8-5 record once again. He finished the season with 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and 9 touchdowns, including one rushing touchdown. His 100 catches marked a new career best, and also set a new school record, surpassing former teammate Golden Tate's 93 receptions in 2009. He also set new school records for career receptions (271), career 100 yd games (16), receiving yards (3,686), and receiving touchdowns (37).
Floyd enjoyed the first of his 2 college seasons spent with eventual 2nd round draft pick Jimmy Clausen. Clausen was a very good college QB, but thats about it. As far as panning out in the Pros, Clausen so far hasnt shown that he has what it takes. After Clausen entered the NFL, thats when Notre Dames QB situation got a bit shaky. There were 3 guys up for the starting position. Two freshman and Junior Dayne Crist.Crist eventually won the starting job in 2010 and 2011.
In 2010 Crist completed 59.2 percent of his passes in 2010, passing for 2,033 yards, 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, before suffering a ruptured left patella tendon that ultimately ended his season. Tommy Rees took over and finished the season with 1106 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
In 2011, Rees stole the starting job from Crist once again, this time after the first half of the Fighting Irish' first game of the season. Rees passed for 2,708, 19 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions to end the season.
When Michael Floyd began his career at Notre Dame, he started under Head Coach Charlie Weis. Weis was well known throughout the football ranks, having coached under Bill Parcels for the Giants, coaching on the Patriots staff, and coordinating offense for the New York Jets. Weis was exceptionally good as an offensive coordinator, leading the Jets to the 4th ranked offense in the league his second year.
After his 3 year stint in New York with the Jets, Weis left to take the offensive Coordinator position in New England under new HC Bill Belichek. Weis installed the EErhardt-Perkins offensive system, which he learned under Bill Parcels. Weis helped lead the Patriots to 3 Super Bowl championships in his four year tenure.
Wies was then Hired by Notre Dame as the Head Coach in 2004. He installed his offensive system and ran the team the only way he knew how, as a professional football team. Many of the systems and schemes were pro style and it helped his QBs Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen excel as college players.
Weis was fired at the end of the 2009 season and Notre Dame brought in Brian Kelly.
Kelly reworked the entire offense and defense of the fighting Irish and went to more of a spread offense. You would think the spread would produce better results, but with Tommy Rees being so limited and lacking as a QB, they really couldnt take advantage of it. I visited Notre Dames sbnation page and found this article about their offense:
In it the author talks about his frustration with Notre Dames offensive playcalling and brings up many valid questions. He had this to say about Notre Dames use of the spread offense,
"Now, I know that technically Notre Dame is in fact running a spread offense, but if a spread offense is a car, we're rolling on three wheels, with a cracked windshield, and desperately in need of an oil change."
"This isn't even about Rees' lack of running ability or even his physical limitations per se---but just think about what this offense looked like in the early stages of last year. I think you could argue there's been some decent improvement with some fundamentals, specifically with the running game, but there's hardly been the improvement that a second year jump usually brings."
He also talk about how vanilla and limited the offense is. Kelly refuses to move players around to try and confuse defenses. He runs the same ol plays every game, and expects different results. Every team that faced Notre Dame the past 3 years knew one thing.... The ball is going to Michael Floyd, Take Floyd out of the game and it significantly improves their chances of winning. The author had some great quotes on this subject as well:
"Look at what Pitt did this past Saturday: they came out with a junk defense that they'd never used before this season, they took Floyd out of the game, and were able to stand up to Notre Dame's offensive line with a decent amount of pressure and penetration."
I suggest you read the entire article to get a good feel of just how one dimensional and incompitant Notre Dames offense could be at times.
The whole point of bringing that to light is to point out how productive Michael Floyd was in an offense that was struggling and lacking any playmakers outside of himself. Sounds very similar to our own offense last season when Larry Fitzgerald carried us on his back.
Floyd is a gifted receiver who transitioned well between offenses. He is a tremendous red zone threat that high-points the ball in his jump and has great body control. Floyd has lined up at all three receiver spots to take advantage of mismatches and is a willing receiver over the middle. He is also very tough to jam at the line because of his siz, which is very important in the pro game.
"A very reliable receiver who can work defenses anywhere on the field. He is very good at the point of attack and displays a great knack at beating press coverage. Whether it is using his hands to disengage or simply shielding defenders away from the ball, Floyd can separate from his man in short spaces. Gifted with long arms and the ability to climb the ladder, he can make plays on deep balls. He is not blessed with elite speed, but can adequately challenge corners down the field."
Many people have compared Floyd to Dwayne Bowe and Anquan Boldin based on the fact they have the same question marks coming out of college, mainly if they had the speed to be true number 1 WRs. We all know speed means nothing. You cant be a slug, but Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have taught us technique and route running trump speed everyday of the week. Dwayne Bowe has also showed us the same thing, he is a reliable #1 WR for the Cheifs who had a monster year in 2010 with 1100 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Michael Floyd had every quality you look for in a potential #1 WR for the NFL. Size, adequate speed, hands, seperation, jump ball ability, red zone threat, route running ability, tough, physical and a great competitor.
Blackmon received a scholarship to play football at OSU, where he played for coach Mike Gundy from 2008 through 2011. He was redshirted as a true freshman in 2008, but quickly earned a starting position in 2009. He was named the 2010 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, the first receiver to earn the honor. On December 9, 2010, he was awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. Blackmon also holds the NCAA records for most consecutive games gaining 100 Yards or More and most games gaining 200 Yards or more.
Blackmon caught 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns in 11 games during the 2010 regular season and also added a pair of scores with a 69-yard run and a blocked punt return. This performance earned him the 15th-best season in NCAA history.
Blackmon finished the 2011 regular season with 121 catches for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. He led the Big 12 in receiving and ranked second nationally in both receptions per game and total receptions. His 15 touchdown catches led the league and represented the third-highest total in the nation. For the second consecutive year, he earned the title of unanimous All-American, and he emerged as the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver. He joined former Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree as the only players ever to win the Biletnikoff Award more than once.
Justion Blackmon enjoyed security and stability at the QB position in his tenure at OSU. In 2009, his first season as a starter, he had a successful college QB by the name of Zac Robinson. Robinson fits in the mold with Jimmy Clausen, a very good college QB that hasnt quite translated his skills to the pro game yet. He has bounced around the league and landed several practice squad gigs after being drafted in the 7th round by the Patriots in 2010. He is now the third string QB for the Bengals.... Matt Leinart anyone?
In 2010, Brandon Weeden was named starting QB of the OSU football team. Brandon Weeden came out on fire. His first season as the starting QB he threw for 4277 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only 13 INTs with a QB rating of 154.1.
In 2011 Brandon Weeden started the season where he left off throwing for 4727 yards, 37 touchdowns, 13 INTs with a QB rating of 159.8.
Weeden finished his career at OSU with these records and accomplishments:
- Passing Yards, Season - 4,278 (2010)*
- Total Offense, Season - 4,209 (2010)*
- Completed Passes, Season - 342 (2010)*
- Completion Percentage, Season - 66.9 (2010)*
- Passing Yards, Single Game - 435 (2010, versus Baylor)*
- Completions, Single Game -34 (2010, versus Baylor)*
- 2010 All- Big 12 Quarterback, First Team
- 2010 Player of the Year Award (3rd, behind teammates Kendall Hunter and Justin Blackmon)
- 2010 Manning Award Finalist
Blackmon also had stability with his coaches. Mike Gundy has been the Head Coach at OSU since 2005. He has enjoyed recent success with the program and had his contract extended through 2015.
The best thing that Gundy did for his team was bring in Offensive coordinator and now HC at WVU Dana Holgorsen. Dana Holgorsen is an offensive genius to many. He was responsible for Texas Techs offense from 2000-2007 and was the coach of perhaps the best college WR in history, Michael Crabtree. While at Texas Tech Holgorsens offenses increased the amount of yardage from 324.8 yards of total offense to 529.6, an increase of more than 200 yards per game. The Red Raiders were No. 7 nationally prior to Holgorsen becoming offensive coordinator and raised their yardage total to No. 4 in 2005, his first season directing the offense. In his two years as offensive coordinator, his squad was nationally ranked No. 8 in 2006 and No. 3 in 2007. In 2007, Texas Tech led the nation in passing (470.31), was No. 2 in total offense (529.62) and was No. 7 in scoring offense (40.9). Quarterback Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense and Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree led the nation in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. In 2006, the Red Raiders ranked No. 3 nationally in passing offense and No. 6 in total offense. Harrell once again was outstanding, finishing No. 3 nationally in total offense with 344.38 yards per game. Texas Tech led the nation in passing in 2005, was No. 4 in scoring offense (39.4) and No. 6 in total offense (495.83). Quarterback Cody Hodges was No. 2 in the nation with 396.08 yards per game.
As the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Houston Dana Holgorsen gained prominence and recognition as one of the most promising, up-and-coming offensive coaches in the country. During his two-year tenure with the Cougars, Holgerson's offenses posted earth shattering numbers, accounting for 563 yards of total offense per game, passing for 433.7 yards per game and totaling more than 42.2 points per game. His offense ranked No. 3 in total offense in 2008 with a duo of freshmen quarterbacks and No. 1 in 2009 behind the arm of Heisman finalist and All-Conference quarterback Case Keenum. In 2008-2009, Quarterback Case Keenum, led the nation in total offense totaling 403.2 yards per game as a sophomore and 416.4 yards his junior season. He also ranked among the Top 10 nationally in pass efficiency both years. Under Holgerson's tutelage Case Keenum would go on to become the all time leading passer in the College Football with more touchdowms than any quarterback in the history of college football. At Houston, Dana Holgorsen demonstrated his own brand of the Air Raid offense that often used motion to confuse opposing defenses, as well as wearing them down. In 2009, Holgorsen developed a set called the "diamond formation" which, features multiple diverging running backs in the backfield who adeptly use spread gain yards after catching short passes. Houston's extremely fast wide receivers were ideal to the style of spread Holgerson ran and Houston continued using much the same offense after Holgorsen departed to lead the NCAA with over 50 points per game, and 600 yards of offense per game in 2011. At Houston, Holgorsen not only mentored Case Keenum but offensive coaches including Kliff Klingsbury and Jason Phillips who continued running a Holgorsen inspired air raid offense at Houston.
When he got to OSU in 2010, the results didnt stop.
When Holgorsen was hired at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys' offense was ranked No. 61 nationally in total offense. In his first season the offense led the nation in total offense, averaging 537.6 yards per game, was No. 2 in passing offense, averaging 354.7 yards per game, and No. 3 in scoring offense, averaging 44.9 points per game. The Postseason accolades have been plentiful for Holgorsen’s offensive players in 2010, quarterback Brandon Weeden became the first OSU passer to ever earn first team All-Big 12 honors. He was also finalist for the Manning Award, given to the top quarterback in the nation. Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon was named the recipient of the 2010 Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in the nation, and running back Kendall Hunter was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. Weeden, Hunter and Blackmon become only the second trio in NCAA history to pass for at least 3,000 yards, run for more than 1,500 yards and finish with more than 1,500 yards receiving in the same season.
Record-breaking Cowboys offense under Holgorsen With one game remaining, these are the school records set by the Dana Holgorsen-coordinated Oklahoma State offense during the 2010 season:
- Total yards: 6,451 Old record was 6,340, set in 2002
- Scoring: 539 points Old record was 530, set in 2008
- Passing yards: 4,256 Old record was 3,414, set in 2002
- Pass attempts: 491 Old record was 454, set in 2002
- Pass completions: 332 Old record was 243, set in 2002
As you can see, the now Head Coach is an offensive mastermind. You cant argue the results from every place he has coached. He has turned offenses from worse to first many times over and continues to do so.
He knows how to get the best out of his players and knows how to put his players in positions to succeed, like our own Ray Horton.
Justin Blackmon was an incredibly productive WR in college. He was a two time Belitnikoff Award winner and an all conference player in his 3 years at OSU. He has great hands, is sudden in his short routes and cuts, uses his body well to shield defenders, and has the size and strength of your prototypical #1 WR.
" His best asset is an ability to get after the ball while it is in the air. Whether it is leaping up to make a tough catch or routinely securing passes anywhere in his wheelhouse, Blackmon catches everything and goes after the ball hard. He comes back to the ball and shields defenders with his frame to win at the point of attack.
Blackmon has accumulated a ton of production while at Oklahoma State, a team unafraid to let it rip offensively.
His route running lacks explosion, but he does well to confuse defenders using body language and quick feet. He is fast enough to get behind defenders and does great to go after deep passes. Blackmon can work between the hashes willingly. If not in the mix early, he can lose focus and not sell out on routes. He could improve after the catch and needs to be more violent when he secures the ball in order to break tackles and get free"
The main comparisons to Blackmon is Hakeem Nicks and Michael Crabtree. All three are about the same size and have very similar skill sets. Also, they both have the same question marks, and that again is their speed! Do they have the speed to be consistant deep threats and #1 WRs? Well Hakeem Nicks has proven he can while Crabtree really hasnt proven anything at all. But like I covered with Floyd, there are several possession receivers that have shown us speed isnt everything.
What I have found by watching games of both of these players, highlight reels of both players, and studying them both extensively on the internet is that they are very similar prospects. Both have the intangibles, both have the size, both have the ability and talent, both had productive college careers.
The difference to me is one produced at a very high level with complimentary peices, great QB play, an overall great and productive offense... while the other produced at a high level with crap, crap, and crap. But the thing is both were equally unstoppable. Can you guess whose situation Id compare to Megatrons and whose I would compare to Fitz?
Blackmon had a more stable college career. He had the same coach, played under one of the best offensive coordinators that college football has ever seen, had one of the best college QBs and a very good RB, in a system that loves to pass the ball, but more importantly had the ability to pass the ball at a very high level. He had weapons to take pressure off, had all the pieces around him to make his life easy, had a coordinator that did his job better then anybody has in the past 30 years of college football and has produced the same results everywhere he went. Blackmon certainly has the skills, just as Crabtree did, but he is as much of a product of the system as Crabtree was. The signs are all there to connect the dots to those claims. And until Blackmon proves otherwise, thats my final thought.
Michael Floyd accomplished everything he did with basically no help. A nobody QB who was mediocre at best, no run game, a one dimensional offense that was so bland and vanilla teams knew what they were doing before they did it, no other worldly offensive coordinator known for setting records with his offensive production, head coaching swap, offensive system swap. He basically overcame it all and was still shining.
We all heard that Floyd was second WR on the Cardinals board, which obviously means Blackmon was #1. What we dont know is how much higher he was graded, and why he was graded higher. Fact is, he could've been rated an 89 while Floyd was an 87 with Blackmon having the edge do to character concerns with Floyd. Point is, its foolish to think that teams had Blackmon rated as the better WR, when fact is we dont know. Almost every scouting report and breakdown I have read from day 1 says that when it comes to abilities, they are equal and many even had Floyd as the better WR, but his character had teams concerned and thats where Blackmon edged him out (which we now know shouldnt have been the case).
Ill leave you with some articles on this subject from around the web, and some highlights videos.... Enjoy!
Sources: Wikipedia.com, onefootdown.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, fftoolbox.com