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April 29, 2013

Dilfer really misses the mark with criticisms

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Over the weekend, ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Trent Dilfer had some harsch criticism about the OU offense in his defense of Landry Jones. I've actually watched every game Landry Jones has ever played at Oklahoma, live and in-person. I've talked to Jones and coaches after his games about every performance.

I've written about every game, broken down the good, the bad and the ugly. And this is my take on Dilfer's comments and Landry Jones' ups and downs over the past four seasons.

"I went through all Landry Jones' 2012 film and I just disregarded it." - Trent Dilfer, ESPN draft analyst.

I think a more accurate statement would have been for Dilfer to say he just failed to watch Landry Jones' film from 2012, I was busy, I had some friends over.

If Dilfer would have watched Jones' 2012 film, he would have realized last season was Jones' finest as a quarterback at Oklahoma.

Jones set career highs for completion percentage last season completing 66.1 percent of his passes.

"My final grade on Landry Jones goes back to 2011, he's a high-ceiling guy." - Trent Dilfer.

Here's the other big misconception about Jones in 2011. There was a lot of talk that he would have been a first rounder in 2011, that he got a first-round grade from the Draft Advisory Committee.

Did the draft advisory committee tell Tony Jefferson he would be drafted?

Here are the facts of 2011.

Landry Jones lost star receiver Ryan Broyles to a torn ACL against Texas A&M. Following that game, Jones' game fell apart. He lost his security blanket and he had no answers for the OU offense.

Jones actually went to Baylor the next week and put up great numbers. He completed 36-of-51 passes for 447 yards. He led his team back to a tie game in the final minutes until Robert Griffin III ended up winning the game, and a Heisman.

Then the wheels started to fall off.

Iowa State came to town. The Sooners ended up converting just 5-of-18 third downs. Jones threw 2 interceptions while completing 22-of-43 passes for 256 yards. The Sooners won 26-6, but trouble was brewing.

The Sooners then traveled to Oklahoma State, for a Big 12 Championship matchup with the Cowboys.

Jones literally went to pieces on the same field he had his greatest victory the year before.

He completed just 27-of-50 passes for 250 yards. He threw 2 interceptions, he fumbled away a ball near his own goal line for an easy OSU touchdown. Oklahoma got stomped 44-10 in one of the most embarrassing losses of the Bob Stoops era.

Then Jones got a break from it all. He got time to go back to the drawing board and find a way to overcome the loss of Ryan Broyles. He worked with Kenny Stills, Dejuan Miller, Kameel Jackson and Trey Franks in an attempt to get the offense back on track.

The Sooners faced Iowa in the 2011 Insight Bowl.

The OU offense landed in Arizona with a thud.

You think any NFL team was going to draft Landry Jones with a No. 1 pick after watching those performances in 2011?

What 2011 were you talking about Trent Dilfer?

"I do not hold him accountable for what happened last year. The offense is a joke. It's spitball. The receivers are brutal. The playcalling is brutal." - Trent Dilfer

What happened last year, is that Landry Jones and the Sooners had a career best in third-down conversions, something that had been a major issue in Jones' tenure.

The OU offense converted on 52 percent of their third-downs in 2012. That bested 2011, the year Dilfer said was so good, but 11 percent (41% third-down conversions in 2011).

A large part of that success was due to Jones finally stepping up in difficult situations and making plays on his own. He learned to trust receivers in a way he wouldn't following the loss of Broyles in 2011.

How is that a joke?

By the way, two of those brutal receivers were drafted over the weekend Trent.

"The whole offense is built around getting flashy numbers and not scoring points" - Trent Dilfer

In 2012, the Sooners scored 38.2 points per game. It wasn't as good as the 39.5 points per game scored in 2011. But 2012's totals were the second best totals in Landry's career as a starting QB at OU.

I can get if Dilfer hates the Belldozer concept. If I'm a QB, I hate it too. But there was a rhyme and a reason for it. Go back to the game in Lawrence in 2011 and you'll see OU struggle to punch the ball in from the 1-yard line against the Jayhawks. Against the Jayhawks!

I know fans love to jump on offensive coordinators at OU for playcalling. It's almost a national pastime. But Dilfer was just plain wrong. Jones had a fantastic season in 2012 after that Kansas State game.

He didn't start fast, but he got going stronger than he ever did. We can even say we saw the best of Landry Jones during his career last season.

What you can't change is the fact Jones had the ending he had to 2011. George Whitfield wasn't going to erase that. Trent Dilfer wasn't going to erase that.

I was as critical of Jones as anyone coming into 2012. But my hat was off to his play over the final nine games of the regular season.

Jones just wasn't a first-round talent.

Unlike Dilfer, I can actually say I watched it.




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