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Monday Morning QB - 10/19/09


Have Greg Paulus' Problems Gone Bye-Bye?
Editor’s Note: The following article is a weekly feature from Orange::44 correspondent John Brennan (twitter @jbren) that runs every Monday morning called Monday Morning Quarterback, assessing the quarterback situation of Syracuse football.

Welcome to the eighth edition of Monday Morning Quarterback here at Orange::44.

Coming off a huge victory over the Bye Week, the Syracuse Orangemen are ready to see some real action again. And theoretically, the upcoming game against the Akron Zips should get them halfway there. But just where is this team and the quarterback situation, a week after nearly everyone was calling for Greg Paulus’ head?

I think people don’t feel any differently than they did a week ago. Doug Marrone still wants Greg Paulus to start against Akron. So do I. And no doubt many of you out there think it’s time to let Ryan Nassib take that opening snap. A week off may not have changed people’s opinions, but it hopefully has given people a chance to separate themselves from the West Virginia loss and hopefully cool down a bit.

Look, the bottom line here is that Syracuse needs to beat Akron. There’s a lot riding on this game: revenge from last year; a chance to go 3-4 on the season; gaining some momentum going into the Cincinnati game; saving my Nachos Grande from total destruction. And to that end, I really don’t care who lines up at quarterback, at the beginning, middle, or end of the game. As long as that person leads Syracuse to victory.

Victory. That’s what Doug Marrone is looking for. So obviously he will use the players that can best position the team for victory. Without even thinking about it, he knew that Greg Paulus taking that first snap would be a winning formula for the Akron game. OK, fine, I’ll take that. And what if that’s not working? In goes Nassib. It’s an easy switch, really. You go up to Greg and say “Hey, stay here,” and then go up to Ryan and say “Go kick some kangaroo ass!”

I alluded to this last week, and I still believe in it: Greg Paulus will be on a short leash. This is game #7, and this team simply cannot afford to wait until game #11 or #12 for Greg to shake off the rust. If it’s not off by now, then let’s say the Paulus Experiment had mixed results, cut our losses, and throw Nassib in the game. For someone to be the starting quarterback, that means that the coach thinks he can best lead the team to victory. It means he has the confidence of his offense. It means he has confidence in himself that he’s the #1 QB on the team. And I think those are all important things.

But do I think it truly matters whether Paulus or Nassib starts the game? No. Because they will both see action in every game from here on out (barring injuries, God forbid!). I think it will be interesting to see, when it eventually does happen, what Nassib will look like as the starting QB. Will he step up his game with the boost of confidence he’ll have?

And let’s not forget just how good Greg Paulus has been this year. His completion percentage of 63.9 sits atop the Syracuse all-time list. In average yards per game, he ranks 6th, at 197.8. That’s all pretty impressive. Sure sure, I know about the 10 INTs vs. only 8 TDs. And I know that the 10 INTs have been very ill-timed (not that there’s ever a great time for an INT). I know it’s the mistakes that make us scream with reckless abandon. And I know you can put up Heisman-like stats and lose a bunch of games and be considered a failure at QB. Because the most important stat as a QB isn’t completion percentage, or yards, or touchdowns. It’s wins. And right now, Greg Paulus only has 2.

So I get it. I know why I’m in the minority in wanting Greg to stay out there as the starting QB. But if Greg’s most important stat doesn’t become a 3 by about 6:30PM this Saturday, then I think it’s time to usher in the Ryan Nassib Era.

The Weekly QB Watch
Going into the upcoming game against the Akron Zips, the probability of starting is as follows:
Greg Paulus – 100%
Ryan Nassib – 0%
Cam Dantley – 0%
Charley Loeb – 0%
Other – 0%
Doug Marrone said so. But even if he hadn’t, I would still pick him as the starter. Maybe not 100% though. Maybe 85%. Assuming Greg doesn’t completely collapse, I do think he’ll take at least 75% of the snaps against Akron. But if Syracuse doesn’t score on its opening drive, look for Nassib to suit up real fast.

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1 Responses to “Monday Morning QB - 10/19/09”

  1. # Blogger Russianator

    Agreed. This weekend is a huge opportunity to get Greg back on track and get a W. If he plays poorly again I've got no problem pulling him, but he deserves another shot this week.  

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