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Redemption for Quentin Groves.

auburn_quentin_groves

Down goes JaMarcus.

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Quentin Groves had a nice day at camp yesterday.  He’s shaping up as a fascinating story to me.  He got on my radar with a YouTube clip I found when I was doing the college bands post.

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[No really.  Click that YouTube link.  I’ll wait.]

Groves was quite the star for Auburn.  The Jags traded up to take him in the second round.  Now he’s on his fourth team in five years and this might be his last shot.  We’re all about learning from mistakes and love redemption stories here at Kanick.  So we’re pulling hard for Groves because the guy was on top of the world just a couple years ago.  We want to him to get back there.

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Chronology of fail. disappointment. non-meeting of expectations.

Groves came into Jacksonville with Derrick Harvey and the idea was instant pass-rush.  Didn’t work out.  Harvey* held out and is now out of the league.  Groves was shipped to the Raiders for a fifth rounder two years later and here’s the report from the time:

… Groves failed to get a sack last year while starting seven games.  He had two in his rookie season.  Groves played in every game his first two seasons and played significantly on special teams.  He might have had trouble making the final roster this season.

Groves was a kind of tweener in Jacksonville; he struggled at both defensive end and linebacker as he couldn’t duplicate the pass-rushing ability he showed at Auburn, where he tied for the school’s sacks record with 26.  At 6 feet 3 and 264 pounds, he couldn’t overpower offensive tackles.  When he tried to speed rush, he typically was blocked past the quarterback.

And also this from Oakland getting their fans up to speed on the Raiders’ new tweener:

In two years with the Jags, Groves had just 2.5 sacks.  The Jaguars were expecting Groves to be a pass rushing presence, but in 2009, in seven starts, he provided little and the team ultimately ended at the bottom of the league with a total of 14 sacks.

The faint praise preceding him carried through into Raiders camp with at least one writer predicting he’d be cut from the Raiders before the 2010 season:

He has shown little in camp or preseason this year, and there are too many talented players ahead of him who probably bring more special teams value.  The only thing that may save Groves is that he is a system fit for the new Oakland defense…

But Groves has never achieved as a pass rusher, and is a liability in coverage.  Those inadequacies might just be too much for him to stay.

Gaah.  Groves wound up sticking with the Raiders for a couple years, started fifteen games in two years, but no sacks.  In 2012 he was signed to one-year $700k contract with the Cardinals.

Unreported in the excerpts above was that Groves’ circumstance in the 2012 off-season had something to do with Groves’ comportment off the field.

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Groves with the Cards.

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Arizona wake-up call.  Or snooze alarm.  

Kent Somers did an excellent preview on Groves prior to last year.  Groves was not in high demand as a UFA in 2012 and he indicated it was a wake-up call.

He didn’t need to increase the minutes on his cellphone to handle the calls because there weren’t that many. And it cut deeply when one team Groves did visit, the Giants, told his agent that Groves wasn’t athletic enough to play linebacker in their system.

It’s not that Groves partied often, but he tended to do it at full speed. And it wasn’t unusual for it to take days for him to feel normal again.  “I just said, ‘Man, cut the drinking out. If you go out, go out with your wife, have a nice glass of wine and chill. Don’t try to buy a table and do all this extravagant stuff. Because at the end of the night, once the bottles are empty, the friends are gone, there’s nobody left to foot that bill but you.’ And you have to say, ‘OK, what was the point of all this?’ ”

Groves said he began to change a year ago, when his daughter, Quejaah, was born. He and his wife, Treska, also have a son, Quemani, and there are other family members who depend on Groves.

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Welp.

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With the April arrest, the words Groves mouthed in the Somers interview are shown to be less than a wake-up call.  But still, you can’t mouth such words without some heightened awareness.  So I would call Groves’ 2012 talk about chilling with his wife more of a snooze alarm.

I’m not in the finger-pointing business when it comes to these things, believe it or not.  I’m a DUI offender (2006, BAC 0.08, six month suspended license).  I mean I *just* squeaked over the legal limit.   But even though I was within the ‘margin of error,’ the incident inveighed some perspective to me.  I.e., there were plenty of times I’d DUI’d prior to that and just didn’t get caught.  It is the ‘getting caught’ that is the changer.

And so it is, or may be, with Groves.

Eight months prior to the public viewing his escort service negotiation skills**, he was paying lip-service to learning life lessons and the effect of his new daughter on gaining this wisdom.  Obviously that was just so much horse shit.  Only time will tell if the April arrest is the real changer for him.

I don’t want to play naive fan-boy, but I tend to think it will be.

I see a guy from Greenville, MS***, who was a top HS recruit and all that entails, who got to play tip-top SEC CFB, lived the NFL lifestyle.  But the difference between him and Josh Gordon (that I can tell) is that Groves sure looks like he absolutely loves football.

If he can get back to being the baller you saw in front of the Auburn band, we might have ourselves a stud.

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Other notes:

Doerschuk’s notes from Sunday:

  • Third-year Brown Jabaal Sheard beat Joe Thomas on one pass-rushing drill.  “I think he’ll be a breakout player for sure,” Kruger said.
    Cool and I’m not even thinking about the use of the sixth overall pick to be Sheard’s back-up.
  • Defensive tackle Desmond Bryant is day-to-day with back spasms, head coach Rob Chudzinski said.
    Back spasms?  That doesn’t sound great.  That got fluffed over a little too quickly.  Let’s keep an eye on this.

Masterson is awesome.

Here’s the must-see Justin Masterson in-game interview from last night.  He gets completely abused by his teammates in the course of the interview and never breaks.

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* Derrick Harvey, drafted eighth overall, washed out of the league in four years.  Another cautionary tale about college rush specialist DEs.  It’s remarkable how hit-or-miss this group of players turned out.

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** I part company with those who think the $20 À la carte extra was savvy negotiation on Groves’ part.  If anything, that there’s your tip-off that you’re being stung.

*** I’ve been to Greenville, MS.  It’s pretty out there.  As delta as it gets.


9 Comments

  1. bupalos says:

    From a strictly football perspective, de-escalating from all-night body-trashing benders to aerobic hour-long hired-lady keister-bopping sessions already showed growth. From a “social cost of crime” perspective, both are marginally better than DUI (of which most of us have been guilty) and of course orders of magnitude less damaging than the kind of structural global destabilization the owner is involved in. “Redemption” seems more apt for the latter case, but I’ll join you in hoping for a story of “resurgence” in the former.

    • jimkanicki says:

      nothing to argue with here. (except, of course, the presumption of greedy environmental exploitation assigned haslam that fails to allow that environmental exploitation doesnt happen in a vacuum and thus vilification of an individual tends to let society/govt at large off the hook.)

      i’m re-thinking the word choice of ‘Redemption.’ … my focus when i set out on this topic was to explore how groves had fallen from the pinnacle in 2007 and how he might redeem his athletic standing to where it was. i’d like to have written it completely amorally w.r.t. boozing, hookers, and deceptive athlete-speak. but there’s an intersection there somewhere so the ambiguity, i think, works.

      • bupalos says:

        So we’re both in perfect agreement. (though to be even more fair, I’ve never argued that this stuff happens in a vacuum or that cutting edge fossil fuel profiteers are the whole of the problem, any more than Hitler was the whole of the problem in Germany. But there are times where it’s fine to vilify Hitler and forget the nuance, because it’s really hard to arrest or fight general desperation, anti-semitism, race-or-species-pride, etc. without putting faces and names on it, especially when those faces and names are the ones pushing the admittedly pre-existing social conditions to their outer boundaries. CF. Monty Python Church Police.)

        I do hope Grove’s underperformance can be remedied by work ethic, because it seems to me if the heart of the other critique is right (that these speed-rush tweeners can’t cover and just have no place) then the Browns could have a much higher investment at risk than Groves in Mingo. Early reports in camp seem to jibe with what I saw in his LSU action– just get hands on the guy and he may as well not be there. They are going to have to be creative with scheme to utilize his admittedly intriguing mix of talents.

  2. mgbode says:

    Quentin Groves and Jarvis Jones had similar college careers. Here’s hoping that it takes Jarvis more than 1 team to find his way in the NFL as well.

    on Groves, he is a system guy. Luckily for us, we have the guy whose system he needs.

    • jimkanicki says:

      You could actually say Groves did more in college with less. Jones benefitted from Ogletree and Jenkins needing to be accounted for; Sen’Derrick Marks was the only other NFL-er from the 2007 Auburn team.

  3. tmoore94 says:

    Some guys it just takes longer to get their head together than others. Hoping that is the case with Groves. In addition, the places where he failed – Jacksonville and Oakland – are not necessarily the most-structured and best NFL franchises for continued success and growth.

    The fact that Groves had some success under Ray Horton and that the Browns are not asking him to be “the guy” provide hope that he can bring some production on the field this year.

  4. DK says:

    Speaking of the cautionary tales, remember Lombardi’s line about drafting only SEC players?

    Take another look at that list of NFL washouts.

    • jimkanicki says:

      the guy who figures out why charles johnson turned into charless johnson while derrick harvey wound up derrick harvey is really going to be in high demand.

      altho…

      … if you look at ‘non-sack TFLs’ you’ll see that Willis and Johnson and Mayo score high.

      … shit. titus brown does too. :-/

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