Mike Nolan quotations:
"Shaun Hill is resting his shoulder. So since it was his turn to work with the first group, that’s why J.T. O’Sullivan worked with the first group. Because if he’s going to replace somebody’s repetitions, in fairness that’s what you do. And it is still wide open. So they’re all competing, but that’s where it’s at.”
On whether J.T. O'Sullivan is "back" in the mix for a starting job:
“No, he’s been in it all along. We did say that it would be difficult to get repetitions for the third guy. And now that he’s getting some repetitions, we’re doing it in a fashion that keeps it fair . . . Again, J.T. O’Sullivan still has less reps, but he had an opportunity to get some, so he got them. But this quarterback position is open. They’re competing for it, as I said all along.”
Color me just a little bit confused. First, I'll talk about what I actually think I understand in all of this. Shaun Hill has thrown more passes in this training camp than probably every previous training camp combined. He's never been in a battle to be the starting QB so that makes sense. So, his arm got sore and they rested him, replacing his reps with J.T. O'Sullivan.
I start to get a little confused because they say they want to keep Smith and Hill's reps with the first team even. The problem is that Smith is already going to get more reps because Hill is missing time. Of course, now today I read that Smith might get a day or two of rest. Is J.T. O'Sullivan throwing a monkey wrench into the QB plans? I could have sworn that last week it was a 2-man battle. Did the rest for Hill open it back up? I was going to guess maybe O'Sullivan got a little pissy about lack of playing time, but I really don't think that's something that Nolan would allow.
I was going to use this to re-assess the QB competition, but I really don't know what to think right now. As would be expected with the installation of a new offense, things are a little sloppy right now. Martz says it takes more than a week for it to start to flow and that is certainly understandable. At the same time, we're all impatient because we've been waiting 3+ years for it to "start flowing" in a more general sense.
Obviously I'm willing to give Mike Martz the benefit of the doubt. The man is an offensive genius and helped turn an Arena Football QB and former grocery store employee into a Super Bowl winning QB. At the same time, I can't imagine things will be all that pretty in the first game. Martz says more repetitions will get the offense in sync and things will start to look better. Of course, the QBs in this case are splitting reps down the middle (maybe down in thirds now) meaning less reps for each QB.
While that has worried me recently, one thing has kept a little more positive lately. In 1999, Trent Green was the clear-cut starting QB heading into training camp. I believe it was during a preseason game that he got his knee shredded to hell and back, at which point Kurt Warner took over. I don't know how many reps Warner had with the first team before Green went down, but clearly he could handle that offense.
My biggest concern is in the timing. I'd imagine there is a bit of a difference between chucking passes to Jason Hill, Ashley Lelie and Josh Morgan versus Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson and Arnaz Battle.
So, I guess this opens up a few questions. What exactly is up with J.T. O'Sullivan in all of this? Will the offense really become fluid in the coming weeks? Or will the split competition water down the final winner?