First off, if the mods see this and feel the subject is akin to beating a dead horse & too closely mirrors other forum posts here, I'll have no issue with them removing it.
That said, I'm interested in the thoughts of other converted JT apologists like myself, and offer this thread as a place for them to respectfully explain their reasoning.
Like I said, I've been an apologist to the max. The receivers weren't doing their job, the O-line wasn't holding up in pass pro, the running game wasn't consistent at times (in my opinion).
Well about that pass pro, maybe it really does need to improve, that's a logical conclusion & an easy one to observe. But last week we watched Richard Lagow carve us up within the confines of an offensive game plan designed to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible. That was their game plan because they knew they couldn't hold our d-line at bay for more than 2.5-3 seconds max, and it was proof that the pass pro doesn't always have to be a hindrance, even if it isn't where it needs to be.
About those receivers.. we recruit some talented guys, their lack of development at times can be concerning. With that said, I'm glad our recruiting focus lately has switched from landing great athletes with the most potential, to landing more pure receivers. I find it hard to believe they're entirely bad, there really is a such thing as throwing receivers open, and as many have pointed out, JT rarely does that. It's clear he is hesitant to throw to them, and your QB can't be like that. Are Jalin Marshall, Michael Thomas, Noah Brown, Philly Brown, Devin Smith, & Curtis Samuel not proof that the receivers have at least been adequately developed during Smith's tenure? Even if we aren't on the level of Clemson, Bama, or OU in that regard? Should they really be regarded as THE problem in every game?
It's hard to see Mike Thomas having the second best rookie season since Randy Moss, or Noah Brown killing DB's with nice routes in Cowboys camp, and tell myself the receivers aren't being developed at all.
JT Barrett is a good leader. He is to this day, the best mesh point QB in the game. His masterful ability to sell a fake handoff can create a numbers advantage all on it's own. He seemingly always makes the right reads, and when things get rolling on offense, our read option is deadly effective. That's not even mentioning his talents as a runner. He's not the most athletic or elusive, but he's slippery in the open field and has the power to run up the middle too.
As a passer, I've seen him grow in regards to making reads. I watch him in the 2016 Wisconsin game & see his head scanning the field, I've seen him make some nice plays. I personally think he's become less mechanical & predictable when he throws the ball since 2014, & that he looks much more comfortable staying in the pocket than he once did.
But make no mistake, he is a system QB, and I for one have always been known to say something along these lines: "JT has everything you want in a QB besides natural arm talent, we can win games at the college level with him, this isn't the NFL".
His lack of willingness to throw to receivers who aren't open by a few yards, his overthrowing receivers, all of it is catching up to us unfortunately. The system is no longer benefiting the system QB, because the offense can't move the ball through the air. It's starting to affect our run game as the offense becomes more one sided & more predictable, and that's when the system fails. Teams have started to figure us out, and it'll stay that way until the offense becomes productive through the air.
Say what you will about the lack of carries for the JK Weber tandem. Say what you will about anything. I still believe we win a close game last night if the passing offense wasn't so ineffective. We defered to the 2nd half, we held them scoreless on their first drive, we had a chance to seize momentum and take a decent lead in the 3rd quarter. Problem is, at key moments our running game was stalled as the defense was expecting it, and it's because there was a lack of passing to supplement it into effectiveness.
We need some arm talent back there.