Thursday, October 20, 2005


Something that Atticus3 said a few days ago has been rattling around in the back of my head and has sparked a few thoughts about the difference between Joey and some of the more successful NFL starters. I've come about with the theory that the biggest difference is one thing - Confidence. You definitely see it when you watch some of the other QB's in the league - Manning, Brady, McNabb - they're just overflowing with confidence that somehow their team will get the job done. It's clear to me that right now, Joey has no confidence - not just in his receivers catching the ball or his line blocking for him, but in himself. The looks on his face and the tone in his press conferences tell of a QB who has completely lost confidence in everything going on around him. A lack of confidence may have more to do with his erratic performances than anything else.

It bears repeating that I'm not a Joey Lover or Hater. I simply want the Lions to win, irregardless of who the QB is. Personally, I like the guys attitude and hope he can be successful because if he is, then the Lions will be as well, but he simply hasn't been successful yet. I've watched Joey enough to think that he has all the necessary skills to be a successful NFL QB, but something else non-physical is just missing. This is just a theory of mine to try to understand what we see on the field.

It's easy to see how Joey's confidence could have gotten so low - constant losing will do that to anyone. He has little confidence in his receivers because of how little help he has gotten from them. This may be part of the reason he checks down so much - he may think if he does throw downfield that the receiver will simply drop the ball. Again, I'm not sure if this is the reason, but it seems possible based on previous games.

He almost definitely has little confidence in his line because of the hits he's taken. We can all see when he gets nervous as he starts to get 'happy feet' in the pocket and fails to set them properly or dances around too much. Every time I've noticed that behavior, it's been after he's gotten hit early and often in a game.

If my guess is correct, and Joey's only real issue is confidence, then the obvious question is how does he regain it? The answer is surprisingly simple and difficult at the same time - he needs to have success in a tough situation.

There have been several times when we as fans thought he may have been ready to turn the corner and become the QB we all thought he would be. A key drive by Joey to win a game could easily do just that. On the other hand, a key game where the team falls just short can have the opposite effect. Think of one game last year - the Minnesota extra-point game. He led the team down the field, poised for a comeback, and then we missed the extra point. Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. That kind of a let-down could be crushing to a player's confidence. The feeling that "no matter how well I play that we can't win" sets in. Especially when any real success has been so limited already.

This year, I'm almost wondering if the Bears game followed by the end of the Tampa game is having a similar effect. After taking the beating he did against the Bears, compounded with the interceptions, the blame was laid on Joey, and much of it was justified. His confidence had to be pretty low at that point. Then against Tampa, the Offense did little for 55 minutes before coming alive. Finally, the O marches down the field, and Joey looks good moving them. The drive is capped off when they score the game winning touchdown. His confidence had to have taken a boost from that series. Then the unthinkable reversal happens - and shatters his confidence. He digs deep, and follows with the next play, where he once again throws what could have been a game winning pass, only for BMW to not drag his toes. By that time, he's spent what little confidence in reserve he had, and sails the last pass over Roy's head, and the Joey bashing commences.

The fact that everyone in the world knows that Pollard was inbounds is of little consolation to the fact that the Lions lost in the record book. Had the Lions pulled out that game, it could have sent his confidence soaring. Instead, it's the kind of a defeat that can send a players confidence into a free-fall, especially when everyone points their finger at that player as the reason the team lost.

Joey had another opportunity to re-gain his confidence this past weekend. He once again faced some long odds with 30 seconds left and needing to get 20 yards with no timeouts and none of his top 3 receivers in the game. Again, had Glenn Martinez made the catch, and then Hanson kicks the field goal, Joey would have had a genuine reason to be proud of the team's performance in the clutch - irregardless of the rest of the game - and his confidence could have received a badly needed shot in the arm. Unfortunately, we all know the outcome.

The most sure-fire way for Joey to regain his confidence is to have success. A come from behind victory can do exactly that. Joey's had 3 chances for that in the last 8 games - Minnesota, Tampa and Carolina. At some point he is going to need some help from one of his teammates to get the Lions over the hump. He definitely is running out of chances.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uncle Milty, thanks for your honest assesment of the games. Your exactly right about Joey. He has lost and I don't really think he has ever had total confidense since he has been in the NFL. It's obvious his coach covets another QB and cuts Joey nothing. The other players can see this. If there is any crack in anyones confidense in someone,when you see the man in charge questioning their play, you start questioning it too. That alone not having the confidense of your coach is enough, just ask Terry Bradshaw. Then if your wr's aren't running the right routes sometimes, it's hard to throw a timeing route which the majority of the WCO's passes are when the last time or the time before, the guy ran something totally different then what he was suppose to and your ball went flying almost for an INT or even did get intercepted.

The only way Joey makes it here or else where is to really take charge and know that he can do it, to heck with what happens he's going for it. Whether that will happen or not is only something he can answer. I like Joey and his demeaner, if this confidense thing gets solved I think he blows Garcia out of the water with talent alone.