Many fans say the Ducks won't miss Darron Thomas, and they may very well be right. Bennett and Mariota have a world of talent. Each are better athletes than Thomas, faster, better throwers and runners.
But they don't have 26 career wins and 66 td passes, both Oregon records. Thomas did. Over his last five games as a Duck he tossed 14 tds against just two interceptions with 1212 yards passing while leading the Ducks to their first Rose Bowl win in 94 years.
photo left: Marcus Mariota's hang loose attitude will help him as he competes for the Oregon starting job and the chance to lead their drive for a fourth straight conference title (sportingnews.com photo).
Thomas was tough. Many times he took shots to deliver a td pass. He was rarely sacked and seldom hurt the Ducks with interceptions.
Somewhere during the year, the Ducks might miss his toughness, leadership and experience. Maybe not in the first two months, when they enjoy a home-heavy schedule in games they should be favored to win. But it'd be nice to enter the L.A. Coliseum with a quarterback who'd won there before, or faced that big of a game, national TV, ESPN, top five matchup, capacity crowd. It's a different kind of pressure, and there's no way to be sure how a young quarterback will handle it until he faces it for the first time.
Chip Kelly always says, "we'll miss you but we'll get along without you." Bennett and Mariota are confident and gifted. Bennett showed poise coming off the bench against Arizona State and Washington State last year, and Mariota looked calm and cool running the offense in the Spring Game. They'll have some tuneups to get their comfort level and find their rhythm.
The Ducks can't win another conference championship unless they do.
Dale: Did you notice the weight gain made by Marcus Mariota? He's now up to 211 pounds. As I noted a few months ago, I expect him to be the starter......and to be much like Kaepernick at Nevada. Kaepernick had 4.53 speed at the NFL combine (now with the 49ers) and is 6 feet 41/2 inches and is now at 237......so Kaepernick is just slightly taller, and 20 pounds heavier than Mariota. Looking for great things from Marcus THIS YEAR......and that might lead to other recruiting signings this fall at the wide receiver position. I expect more passing this year. Last year the Ducks were 60% run and 40% pass......expect that to be closer to 50/50 this year with the lack of depth at running back.
I think that the addition of Addison at receiver likely led to Tacoi Sumler's departure. Will be interesting to see if Addison plays this year. How would you like to defend against this group: Mariota at QB; Barner at RB; DAT at TAZR; Lyerla at TE; Addison at WR; Huff at WR.
Yikkkkeeeeesssssssssss. Time will tell......
I'm optimistic about both of our young quarterbacks but still have the "untested" reservations like most. While Darron Thomas was most likely taken for granted by most Duck fans, he had some amazing stats and was a proven winner and didn't make many critical mistakes. I think we might miss him more than we want to. (Although I still think he made a terrible decision in turning pro early.)
here is what ny giants lb coach had to say about paysinger today:
On Spencer Paysinger: “I like Spencer. He’s one of those young guys who physically has gotten bigger, he’s 246, 245 [pounds] -- stronger. He knows what the game is all about now. He’s got great promise.”
All the ducks draft and free agent walk ons are doin g well so far, no ones been cut, though weems was cut at vikings and immediately brought into patriots camp. Cliff looks sure to make roster at eagles, he draftees all look good to make rosters too, I read a piece by a duck fan saying they didnt think many guys who will be out for next years draft would make it in nfl.. to that i say, hogwash. That same person doubted michael clay, and therby im sure they would have doubted paysinger, and miami's kaddu, When these guys get to the nfl, they are not ;finished products'. They get developed alot further. The key is the raw talent and heart, to which kelly co duck players are showing to have heart in spades, and more importantly they are excellent clay to mold having become team first disciplined no problem kind of guys, which has a real value to many teams. I am noticing how many of them are sticking with teams and besting competition for roster and practice squad spots becuase of it. By the way, Paulson is looking good in Pittsburgh form what i read as well!! Go Ducks and all Duck alums!!