Checking in on Brock, Jaxen and Tiana

An eventful end to 2016 for local athletes

By Jeff Epperly

The last couple of weeks of 2016 were eventful for some of our locals in the sporting world. Brock was benched in Houston. Jaxen continued to dominate for the Wolfpack, and Tiana was terrific for the Bravettes.

Many are not sure about the future of Brock Osweiler for the Houston Texans. They say he has under-performed at a catastrophic level in relationship to his salary. The pundits have all but dismissed him as a serious quarterback in the NFL. But hold on a minute! Is there really no hope for Brock in Houston?

First of all, let it be said that it’s extremely difficult to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Without question, this position is the most demanding in football, requiring a quick mind, keen athletic ability, and a deep understanding of the game. I think Brock has these things. Why then is he struggling so much? 

Some would say he often does not throw the ball on time. They would go on to mention he has a habit of trying to make up for this late passes by increasing his velocity, causing him to miss the touch passes required for many throws in a top-tier NFL passing game. Secondly, they would say he pre-determines his targeted receiver before the ball is even snapped. This means his reads are biased toward certain receivers. As a result, the defense can pick this out rather quickly. And finally, his inability to buy more time by moving around in the pocket makes him a sitting duck who can’t get the ball to his talented receivers and backs. One recent ESPN commentator said that Houston’s offense is being choked by Brock’s flaws. 

What is the issue then? In my opinion, his troubles are mental, which affects his confidence. In short, Brock does not trust his own abilities. He doubts what he sees and has become hesitant. Maybe it is pressure or maybe he has become too mechanical. Part of this may be that he’s simply trying too hard to make things happen instead of letting them happen. In short, Brock has not found his way of playing well in the NFL. He can’t be like anyone else. He must be himself and let it rip and make plays. I believe the big fella will be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Give him some time.

In local high school hoops, Jaxen Hashley has been a game changer for the Wolfpack so far this season. His ability to score, pass, and rebound has been outstanding, but more importantly, Jaxen has helped build chemistry on the Wolfpack squad. Glacier was picked preseason to be the fifth best team in the Western AA. Now, with Hashley’s presence on the floor, this Wolfpack team might just be the favorite to win the West and a potential favorite to win the state title. Looking back at last season when Glacier struggled for consistency, Jaxen’s absence may just have been the missing part to a team that had a lot of good talent but lacked the guy to help facilitate great team play. Jaxen missed last season because of a serious knee injury. The 6-foot-6 Hashley has signed to play football at Montana State University. 

Tiana Johnson has been great for the Bravettes. It is early, but Tiana has played some of the most efficient basketball by any Bravette in recent memory. She has done it all. She can shoot the three, play inside, rebound, pass and inspirationally lead her team to be better. Patience will be the key for Tiana going forward. Teams will try to slow her down, maybe even double-teaming her or denying her the ball to prevent her from scoring. But she must persist with her relentless play and take advantage of every opportunity to help the Bravettes succeed. The 6-foot-2 multi-positional Tiana is headed to Sacramento State University next year on a basketball scholarship. 

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