Ray Ratto

Ratto: The black art of QB analysis


Ratto: The black art of QB analysis

Jan. 24, 2011RATTO ARCHIVERay Ratto

Comrade Maiocco is dutifully reportweeting the sizes and dimensions of each and every quarterback who parades half-naked through the Senior Bowl -- which as we all know is the pre-slave market to the NFL combine, which is the actual slave market.

The implication of all this duty, of course, is that somewhere in this gaggle of throwers is the answer to the 49ers dreams, and what we have learned from Sunday is that size aint the issue.

Size is good. Ask Stanford's Andrew Luck. He was actually poured into an NFL-standardized mold his father built in the family garage.

MAIOCCO: Top prospects weigh in at Senior Bowl

But Jay Cutler, who is being savaged like an arsonist at the Retired Firemans Hall, has all the size you could want, and the arm too. His name is currently mud, and some of the people slinging that mud are current players.

They have accused him of some level of cowardice in not finishing the Bears-Packers NFC championship game. They have questioned his tolerance for pain, his body language, his diffidence -- essentially, they have mocked him for what old-timers like to call the look on his puss. And as the off-season grinds on, and current Bears are pestered by their contemporaries about Cutler, they may also find doubt creeping into their souls.

So, anyone want Jay Cutlers size today?

This is the beauty of the quarterback game. The sure-fire sign of a great quarterback is the desperate need to apply oneself to be a great quarterback. Lots of failed quarterbacks have that (Alex Smith, come on down), but no great ones lack it.

NEWS: Cutler sustains sprained MCL

Problem is, theres no metric available to prove it. JaMarcus Russell, come on down. So all the size and whatnot is swell, but the dirty little secret about all this quarterback measuring is that nobody knows what they have until theyve already invested a boatload of jack on him.

So lets see a measurement on a quarterbacks heart valves. And then lets see a measurement on team decision-makers. Those are metrics that could make the metric system great. Then well know who has what, and in what useful amount.

In the meantime, Andy Daltons a little smaller than advertised. Im very worried about him.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”