Going back to Pittsburgh over the weekend and being surprised to find out my hometown, Braddock, PA, named Sunday, March 18th after me put me in nostalgic mood for Schooled with The Professor. That’s why we reached out to former NFL quarterback Charlie Batch.
Batch played for the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers, but he grew up in Homestead, PA, a steel mill town just across the river from Braddock. With the downturn in the steel industry, both towns had major drop-offs in business. Both were tough towns.
When I was going up in the 1960s, Braddock and Homestead thrived with businesses. That isn’t the case now, but that’s why we talked to Batch. He is developing businesses and opportunities in Homestead with his foundations. Batch is also working on scientific evaluations tools for football injuries for colleges and pro teams.
Quarterbacks are in the news both in free agency and the draft. On SCHOOLED with the Professor, we caught up with former NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.
Gradkowski is getting into broadcasting and scouting after his NFL career. He offers great perspective and opinions on the current state of quarterbacks in the NFL and also what’s ahead in the draft. He studied the current group of first-round picks and offers insight on whom he thinks could have promising NFL career.
We also talk about how the big contracts given to quarterbacks impact the game and the value of quarterbacks currently. With quarterbacks being such a big topic, it was a good time to catch up with an educated student of the QB position.
The salary cap number was announced this week: $177.2 million. And teams have to be under the cap by March 14.
On SCHOOLED with the Professor, we talked to cap expert Andrew Brandt. When the salary cap started, Brandt was an agent. He then spent almost a decade as the Green Bay Packers capologist and now writes about the salary cap for MMQB and The Athletic.
We go through the history of the salary cap and talk about how it has evolved. Brandt talks about how the league changed for negotiations in 2011 when the NFL and NFLPA agreed to have a lower paying wage pool for rookies.
Learn about the salary cap this week on SCHOOLED!
On this week's SCHOOLED, National scout and General Manager of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services Dan Shonka breaks down the combine and NFL draft prospects with our one and only Professor John Clayton.
Dan shares his analysis of the top quarterback prospects, his favorite running backs in what he says is a loaded class, and the weakest position group in this year's draft.
Quarterbacks are in the news in the NFL: Alex Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins is a free agent. Patrick Mahomes takes over the Kansas City Chiefs. Jimmy Garoppolo signs a $137.5 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
With so many quarterback topics making headlines, we went to Joe Theismann, former Redskins quarterback, to get his opinions on the quarterback position in the NFL. Theismann likes the Smith trade and believes he fits in well in Jay Gruden's offense. He's really looking forward to see what happens to Cousins in free agency.
Theismann is a big fan of Russell Wilson and spends plenty of time talking about Wilson's virtues and how Brian Schottenheimer will do as his offensive coordinator. Theismann is a big fan of players who love the game, and believes Wilson loves it as much as anyone he's ever run across. He also talks about some of the creative things young coaches are doing with their offenses.
Today on SCHOOLED with the Professor, Lesley Visser joins John Clayton live in Minneapolis to discuss her new book "Sometimes You Have To Cross When It Says Walk."
Lesley is the only woman enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and shares her experiences being one of the pioneers of women in sports broadcasting, shares some great work stories about John Madden and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and she and The Professor make their Super Bowl picks!
Offensive line is a big topic these days. The Seahawks changed offensive line coaches, going from Tom Cable to Mike Solari. Next week, Kevin Mawae and Steve Hutchinson are in the final 15 for voting in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Howard Mudd, a legend among offensive line coaches, joins us on SCHOOLED with the Professor, to take about the current state of the offensive line in the NFL. He didn’t waste time getting into the Seahawks offensive line, and raves about the hiring of Mike Solari.
Solari executes a theme that Mudd followed through his years of coaching. Mudd says it’s the job of the offensive line coach to get the job done regardless of the talent. He stressed technique. Mudd details how Solari improved a troubled New York Giants offensive line last season.
Mudd talks about how unique he was in his coaching and how he tried to adapt to the talent he was given. He also gives an overview of what he sees about the trends of offensive line blocking in the NFL.
Everson Walls played 13 seasons at cornerback in the NFL for the Cowboys, Giants, and Browns. Walls led the NFL with 11 interceptions as a rookie in 1981, which still stands as the most by a first-year player in NFL history. Walls is also the only cornerback in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions 3 different times. He is one of 15 finalists for the 2018 NFL Hall of Fame in his 20th and final year of eligibility. Walls discusses how much the game has changed, how much he hates "diva" wide receivers, and asks the Professor to get up there and "preach" to get him into the HOF on this week's episode of SCHOOLED with the Professor.
One of the things the NFL has been watching is the development of wide receivers. Wide receivers have been getting bigger and better through the years. Herman Moore, one of the big receivers who started that trend, joins us on Schooled with the Professor to discuss the development of the receivers. He talks about the changes in offenses over the years. The NFL is a quarterback driven league but the receivers are gaining more stature. Moore talks about how offenses have grown and developed. He also talks about some of the top receivers in football on SCHOOLED.
Eric Dickerson stood along the Los Angeles Rams sidelines during the 42-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Even though he played in Indianapolis during his career, Dickerson was cold. He was shivering. But he looked like a proud father looking at a Rams team he was so happy to get back to Los Angeles.
On SCHOOLED with the Professor, Dickerson talks about how the Rams have bounced back from a horrible first year in Los Angeles. Dickerson opens up about his struggles with the Rams front office last year. Disappointed with an offense that he thought had the design of a high-school offense, Dickerson was critical. The team told him they didn’t want him along the sidelines anymore while Jeff Fisher was the coach. Fisher lost his job.
Sean McVay has brought one of the most exciting offense into the league since the St. Louis Rams when they were "The Greatest Show on Turf." Dickerson also talks about the current state of running backs and how different it was when he was having his Hall of Fame career.
The Los Angeles Rams come to Seattle on Sunday to determine which team is going to win the NFC West. Get ready for the game with a history lesson from a player and coach who has been on both sides as SCHOOLED with The Professor catches up with Nolan Cromwell.
Nolan is a former Rams defensive back who made the league’s all decade team. He’s been an assistant coach twice with the Rams, and also coached in Seattle on Mike Holmgren's staff.
Cromwell starts by discussing the buildup of the Rams. He goes into great detail into how good Sean McVay is as a coach. In Green Bay, he coached on a staff with Jon Gruden as an assistant. Nolan makes the comparisons.
He gives an evaluation of the Seahawks and where they are. Russell Wilson has many comparisons to Fran Tarkenton. His opinions are interesting because he gives the specifics of how they play and how tough they were to stop.
This week on SCHOOLED with the Professor former NFL cornerback Ronde Barber (now a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and an analyst for Fox) educates us on pass coverage in the NFL.
Ronde talks about how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two-deep zone defense worked under Tony Dungy. He details how the Cover Two has morphed into the Cover One, Cover Three defense used by the Seahawks and several teams in NFL. And he goes into the evolution of the cornerback position back when he played and where it is now.
The Seahawks/Eagles game is scheduled for prime time Sunday, so we're going prime time with former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. You can hear Donovan on ESPN Radio every Sunday starting at 9 PST.
On this week's SCHOOLED, Donovan goes in depth describing how Andy Reid coached him into being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He breaks down the rapid rise of Carson Wentz, talks about the differences in the current offenses from when he played, details how more trickery is involved with the play calling, and talks about the play of Russell Wilson.
He also breaks down the benching of Eli Manning, the future of Kirk Cousins and what he thinks about Dak Prescott in his second season.
With Apple Cup Week here, it was a great time to catch up with former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf on Schooled with the Professor.
Leaf was the perfect Cougar to discuss the Cougar-Huskies rivalry. He remembered his first start being against the Huskies in 1995. In great detail he takes us through the three-year process of getting the Cougars to the point in which they could beat the Huskies. In 1997, the Cougars, with Leaf at quarterback, beat the Huskies and won the PAC-10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Leaf gives a great scouting report about Luke Faulk, whom he respects for his toughness and leadership. Ryan gives an incredible breakdown of the differences of the offense he ran for Mike Price and what Mike Price is going with the Air Raid in Washington State. Leaf also told us he might have better served himself by staying at Washington State for one more year as opposed to turning pro early.
This SCHOOLED with the Professor, we're going old school: the evolution of quarterbacks with veteran sportswriter and winner of more than 250 journalism awards Lew Freedman.
Lew is publishing a book that comes out December 15 that does a great job of discussing the history of passing offenses in the NFL. "Baugh to Brady: The Evolution of the Forward Pass" is going to be a must read.
What I respect is Lew’s great feel for the history of passing offenses and each stage of quarterback’s development. Sammy Baugh was the first true passing star in this NFL. Freedman talks about how he opened the eyes of NFL coaches that a quarterback can do more than just make handoffs. Baugh had great throwing skills and was probably two decades ahead of the league. Freedman takes us through the year. He talked about how Johnny Unitas set up the look of current NFL passing offense. He talks about how the 49ers and the quarterbacks of the 1980 moved the sport more to passing. We get into a discussion about current passing offenses.
I have the fortune to be the main fill-in on Movin’ The Chains on Sirius XM NFL radio with is hosted by Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. With the NFL at mid-season, it was a perfect time to catch up with Pat and discuss the trends of the league.
Kirwan remains high on the Seahawks chances of winning the NFC West even though he has plenty of great things to say about the Los Angeles Rams. On SCHOOLED, we discussed the problems with offensive lines in the NFL this season. He went into great detail to identify why scoring is down in the league and the problems offenses are having. We talked about the dropoff a team has going from a good quarterback who is injured to a backup. Kirwan offered some great suggestions to improve the quality of play.
Dr. David Chao is one of the best injury experts around the National Football League. Former team doctor for the Chargers, Chao breaks down NFL injuries as they happen. He joins me on Schooled with the Professor to discuss the current state of injuries in the NFL.
Chao explains how he watches games and then replays times when a player gets injuries. Not only can he pinpoint the injury but he can determine the length of time the player might be out. That’s huge for fantasy players, but the information is vital for all fans.
Chao goes in depth on how the studies the tape. He’s about 90 to 95 percent accurate on his conclusions. We’ll discuss some of the top injury trends in the league on Schooled with the Professor.
On Schooled with the Professor, mid-season is a great time to catch up on trends and what is happening on the field. That’s why it is a great time to catch up with Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network.
Jeremiah is one of the best in studying drafts. We took that information from the past couple draft and how they have played into this season. We talked about the difficulty of developing offensive linemen, and both agreed that more than two thirds of the league have offensive line problems.
Jeremiah talked about how great the current rookie class of cornerbacks is and how quickly they are making impacts on teams. Shaquille Griffin of the Seahawks is a classic example. We talked about how the NFL is on a great cycle of getting good, young running backs and how they are impacting the older running backs in the leagues. Trends. Analysis. A look ahead of next year’s draft. Great stuff on Schooled with the Professor.
Seven weeks into the 2017 season marked a great time to catch up Mark Schlereth and talk football. Schlereth is now at Fox doing game analysis and studio work.
For Schooled with the Professor, we got into a lengthy discussion about the bad state of offensive lines in the NFL. He recently did a Philadelphia Eagles game and came away thinking the Eagles _ at least for now _ might be the best team in the league. He is a big supporter of Carson Wentz, the Eagles quarterback.
Last week, he did the Los Angeles Rams-Jacksonville Jaguars game and went into detail why he thinks the Rams are for real. He has a great take on why Rams coach Sean McVay is a star in the making. He also sees some hopes for the Arizona Cardinals, who seemed to wake up with trade for Adrian Peterson.
Lots of great football talk on Schooled with the Professor.
Since his retirement from the NFL, Drew Bledsoe is aging well like the fine wines he produces.
Bledsoe joins John Clayton to go through plenty of topics: As you probably know, Bledsoe earned Rookie of the Year status with his Doubleback Winery. Doubleback earned instant acclaim and national awards for its Cabernet Sauvignon. On SCHOOLED, he revealed that he, Damon Huard, Dan Marino and Rick Mirer all wanted to get in the wine business together.
On the football side, Bledsoe goes into detail on how he was involved with the rebuilding of the New England Patriots, a franchise that had been struggling much like the current Cleveland Browns. He discusses how the Patriots had a vision of what was needed to improve and the Patriots turned it around with Bledsoe. Drew also talks about how he is developing two sons at quarterback, one at Washington State and another in high school.
Brandon Stokley was a great slot receiver in the NFL. He’s also a great story teller and historian. Stokley joins me on Schooled with the Professor at an appropriate time. Peyton Manning is having his statue unveiled at Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. Stokley was Manning’s slot receiver but he’s also became one of his best friends. He goes into great detail giving anecdotes on how hard Peyton made his offensive players work. That work led to a lot of wins and trips to the playoffs so the extra work had its reward. Stokley tells some great stories about Manning’s love for practical jokes. Stokley discusses the evolution of the slot receiver over the past 15 years. He gives an analysis of the top teams in the AFC West, which might be the best division in football.
It was a great time to catch up with Steve Hutchinson on SCHOOLED with The Professor. It's hard to believe Hutchinson has been out of football for five years, but he's still heavily involved in the league, working in the personnel office of the Tennessee Titans. He's also in his first year of eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Hutchinson and former Seahawk Kevin Mawae have chances of making the Hall this year.
Hutchinson gives a Hall of Fame performance on Schooled. He discusses how the offensive line grew and helped take the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in Detroit. He goes in depth explaining his strange departure to the Minnesota Vikings via the transition tag. Hutch also goes in depth discussing the state of the offensive line in the NFL now. He looks at the current offensive line problems both as a former player and a current personnel evaluator.
Former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom joins us this week on SCHOOLED with the Professor and he gives us great insight on the NFL franchise he started, and how he and others reached out and got billionaire investor Paul Allen involved in buying the Seahawks to save football in Seattle.
The timing of this podcast is perfect. On Sunday, the Seahawks celebrated the 20 years Allen has owned the franchise. Nordstrom goes into great detail on what was needed to bail the Seahawks out of a bad ownership situation with former owner Ken Behring, who was trying to move the team to Los Angeles. Nordstrom tells us his favorite memories of being the owner of the team, reveals how closely he follows the team now, and tells us about one of the former Seahawk players who lived near him: Marshawn Lynch.
I know I'm The Professor, but I sure gained a lot of knowledge about NFL offenses through the years listening to Brian Billick, former Baltimore Ravens coach - and one of the great offensive minds in the game - who now works for the NFL Network.
Class is in session in this week's edition of SCHOOLED with The Professor. Brian gets into why offenses got off to such poor starts in the first week of the season, why it's hard for teams to develop quality offensive lines, and we spend some time on the Seahawks own offensive issues.
Brian also gives us his opinions on some of the best defenses in the NFL. He likes what he sees with the addition of Sheldon Richardson.