FREE RICKY STANZI!!!!
By Carlo Rivieccio
Let’s make things very clear at the start. I don’t follow College Football. I didn’t go to a College where athletics really mattered (the basketball team made the NCAA Tournament my senior year and CBS cut away from the game about 4 minutes in to the second half). There’s too many teams, too many conferences, too many conferences that don’t make sense (the Big 10 has, what, 28 teams?), too many conferences that don’t matter (I went to an NEC school) and then of course certain schools don’t even have to be in a conference. To put it simply, I don’t get College Football. And I don’t get the appeal.
If I wanted to watch 50 guys not talented enough to play in the NFL, I’d watch the Jags.
I do enjoy the National Football League. And I can even get into the NFL Draft, even though I have heard of about .8% of any of the names. One name I had heard of, when he was finally called in the 5th round of the 2011 Draft was Iowa Hawkeye Quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
A 3 year starter, Stanzi made statistical improvements each year, culminating in his best season his senior year (64% completion, 25 TDS, 6 INT, 2 rushing scores). The scouting reports on Stanzi generally read
- Elite Leadership and intangibles
- Great confidence
- Pro-Style experience
- Strong off of Play-Action
- Can throw on the run
- Improved Accuracy
- Mechanics Need Work
- Locks onto Receiver
- Tries to force ball into tight windows
- Needs to improve decision making
- Accuracy Decreases on longer throws
Now this isn’t exactly glowing, and Russ Lande from the Sporting News stated the following when summing up Stanzi’s combine performance: “Stanzi stepped up and threw passes into the ground in front of his receivers. Stanzi had a poor week at the Senior Bowl and was equally unimpressive Sunday. He simply lacks athletic skills and accuracy.”
But that’s what is to be expected of a 5th round pick. A good head on his shoulders, some decent ability and potential upside. It’s that upside that is concerning. Ricky Stanzi is the Kansas City Chiefs 3rd Quarterback. 3rd. As in, behind both Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. Yes the same Brady Quinn that couldn’t outplay Derek Anderson, Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and for one game as a rookie Charlie Frye.
And here’s what I don’t get. The Chiefs are currently 1-9. They have, due to injury, started to pu-pu platter of terrible Qb’s of Cassel and Quinn and Cassel again. If the Chiefs are set with Cassel and think he’s the starter of the future and this is an odd hiccup in his career, then fine, there is nothing anyone can do about it. But Matt Cassel has given them no reason to trust him or keep him (6tds 12 Int 7 Lost Fumbles). There is talk that Cassel will be heading for the bench permanently and Quinn will take over. But Why? We already know that Matt Cassel isn’t the answer and there is no question about quarterbacks to which “Brady Quinn” is the right answer. Why aren’t we seeing Ricky Stanzi?
What could Ricky Stanzi be doing in practice that he’s not going to get a whiff of the freshly mowed grass in Arrowhead. Is he throwing passes underhand like a Rick Barry Free Throw? Is he knuckleballing passes like Tebow? Does he piss himself when he sees a pass rush? No one knows?!?!
The Chiefs have to play Stanzi. If only to find out what they have. He’s an actual question mark. If he’s terrible, he’s terrible. So what? You can’t lose the same game twice. You will lose the same game with Quinn or Cassel. But what if he sparks something? What if, reunited with Tony Moeki, he can move the chains? What if the Chiefs show a little spark? His strength is in play-action which could help KC’s real stars, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. And what if they win a few games? It might actually help GM Scott Pioli keep his job (understandably not a plus to Chiefs fans, but they’re not the decision makers).
The downside is you have the same crappy record. The Plus side is you may have a slightly more mobile Chad Pennington, keep your fans happy, keep your job and salvage a season. It makes too much sense for it to actually happen.
When you draft a player like Stanzi, you are drafting a project. You are looking towards the future. At what point do you say to the Chiefs what must be said to Dippin’ Dots, “It’s been enough time. THE FUTURE IS NOW!”
The season is over Chiefs Fans. Sorry. You may as well be given a glimmer of hope. Even if he sucks. You deserve it.
FREE RICKY STANZI!
To contact Carlo, or any other AFR Columnist, E-mail us at – Contact@AFRSPorts.com