Chris Laviano: Game Manager
Anyone who views Chris Laviano as anything more than a game manager is simply wrong. He is clearly not trusted to throw the ball down the field and the most freedom he gets is when the coaches let him pitch the ball instead of handing it off. This isn't that bad of a plan, if you are Alabama and have the best coach and best defense in the country. However, this is Rutgers, and they have issues that run too deep to have Greg McElroy's long-lost tattooed brother manage a troubled team such as the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers is heading into the worst part of their schedule and it is time to get real. Chris Laviano: It's gut check time.
For the 2015 season, these are Chris Laviano's projected stats:
216/300, 2,382 yards, 18 TD, 15 INT, 94.3 Passer Rating
These numbers scream game manager, with the exception of the inexcusable amount of interceptions. There are already players with more than 18 passing touchdowns through 4 or 5 games this year. A B1G QB should not throw more than 1 INT per game.
These numbers tell me that the neither quarterback on the Rutgers roster has earned the slightest bit of the coaches' trust. Chris Laviano's leash is as long as they come and there have been plenty of appropriate opportunities for the coaches to give Hayden Rettig a chance. However, Kyle Flood has stuck with the man that Ben McDaniels clearly does not want running his offense.
More on the numbers: The Rutgers coaches are all very smart people. They are clearly aware of the mediocre numbers by Laviano and are clearly content with them. There really has to be something wrong with Hayden Rettig that fans are unaware of. Rutgers coaches are really doing all they can for Chris Laviano to not loose his job. They need to take the risk.
That's enough of bashing Chris Laviano. Coaches, you're up. There needs to be a mutual trust between him and his coaches. On this issue, I place all the blame on the coaches. They have selected Laviano as their guy and have made it crystal clear that they are sticking with him. They need to let the kid ball. Against Washington State, I saw flashes of Chris Laviano being a crunch-time baller who would lead the Scarlet Knights to victory. However, he proved me wrong that night. Regardless, it is time for the coaches to unleash Chris Laviano.
He is no AJ McCarron or Greg McElroy, he is Chris Laviano. Ben McDaniels needs to figure out his strengths before he calls plays around his strengths. We know Laviano can run, so why not let him run loose on the read option a couple of times each game? We know Laviano loves his tight ends, so why not call a TE screen once in a while? We know Laviano has a tendency to float the ball, so why not let him float it all the way down the field where his 6'4"+ receivers can make a play.
Even without Leonte Carroo, Chris Laviano has plenty of options to throw to. I think Laviano himself would agree with me when I say I am sick and tired of all these 3-yard intermediate routes. Coaches: cut the game-manager crap and let your QB sling it. Rutgers has the running game that lets them throw the ball effectively once in a while. Time to take advantage of that and turn the season around.