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2011 NFL Combine: Alabama QB Greg McElroy's Interview

Greg McElory is an intriguing prospect mainly just because of the intangibles in his game.  He is probably the smartest quarterback in this group, but he doesn't have the physical tools of some of the other guys.  I am as big of a McElroy fan as you will find, but I don't think he will ever be a franchise quarterback.  There is no doubt though that he is mentally prepared for the NFL after playing for Nick Saban at Alabama.

The full transcript of his interview from the combine is after the jump.

What's going on with your hand?

After about 17 physicals today I realize I have a fractured second metacarpal, which if you can believe that's what I knew two weeks ago.
The new bone is starting to come in. It's a little tender right now. There's been a lot of use on it the last couple of days. But I feel good.
i'm running this week. I'm going to do everything I possibly can. That's the competitor in me. I want to be out there. It's driving me nuts
watching these guys getting better and I'm kind of sitting here on the sideline. I'm going to do everything I can, and hopefully I get the
cast off on Monday and be ready to go start training.

Could you begin throwing next week?

I doubt it. It's probably going to take extensive rehab. There's probably going to be some tightness in the wrist. So much about throwing
is fluidity and relative motion and torque and things like that. It's going to take some time to get back. it's just going to take some
repetitions next week and the week after that to get back to where I want to be. As of now, the pro day is scheduled for March 9, but I don't
anticipate throwing. We'll see where I'm at as the days get a little bit closer.

Two weeks ago you knew about this?

Originally after the (Senior Bowl) they said it was a fracture, but they couldn't tell. So we just decided to hold off a little longer about
three days to see if anything showed up then. I went to Phoenix and got a second opinion declared not a fracture. They said we don't need a
cast we'll just keep you out, you can go do whatever you want to do. Sit out a couple of weeks and see how it feels. Two weeks later, of course
you know me I'm watching the clock counting the hours, I'm out there dropping back and throwing passes and the next thing I know I can't throw
a 5-yard hitch rout. And I've been able to throw one since seventh grade whether you can believe it or not. I couldn't get it there. I couldn't
grip it. That kind of threw up a red flag to say the least. I went and got an immediate MRI, and another X-ray revealed a fracture at the base
of my second metacarpal. Disappointing. I wish I they would have caught it a little bit earlier. Hey, it's part of the game. Unfortunately,
injuries are part of the game as well.

What did you measure today?

I was 6-1 and 7/8. I mean seriously you put this on top of my head I'm 6-2. So yeah, it's 6-1 and 7/8 and 220.

What do you tell NFL teams about strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths is just my ability to prepare. I've played in the big game. That's definitely a strength. I've been successful in the big game.
I've been fortunate to win at every level, I think that's a strength. These all being intangibles. As far as tangible assets and things you
can measure? I'm fairly accurate, fairly efficient within my offense. I do exactly as my coaches told me to do, and that's protect the ball,
get it into the playmaker's hands as soon as possible. Get us in the correct run play, pass play just do everything you can in order for us
to be efficient as an offense and I've done a good job of that over the past two years. I just talk about those things for the most part.
A lot of people kind of agree with my assessment. I'm fairly honest as far as the way I assess myself. Hopefully, I'll continue to get good feedback.

What do you feel you learned at Alabama?

I learned how to be a professional. At Alabama we're all professionals except we're not being paid. The fact remains we live in a professional
organization. Coach Saban runs a professional organization. He expects you to be punctual in the way you arrive in meetings. He expects you to
come and not wear a hat to meetings. He expects your hair to be a certain length. There's rules and regulations within the organization that
are run like a professional franchise. And I know that because of my background and history with the Dallas Cowboys and my dad's affiliation
with them. I've grown up seeing it. I've called defenses the way professional offenses call defenses. I understand the terminology fairly well.
So really Coach Saban and Alabama has prepared all of us. It's something I never could have anticipated. We didn't realize the headsup we
had until we got to our training sessions and the Senior Bowl.

Is that part of the draw for you to go to Alabama?

Really, I went to Alabama going to play for Mike Shula, who also had a professional background. I got to shake hands with him last night. That's
a story for another day. He's a great man, and I enjoyed seeing him again. It's something that crosses your mind. When I went and signed up at Alabama
I thought maybe four years down the road when i'm at the combine I'll be able to talk and it will roll off the tongue. Really for the most part I went
to Alabama for the tradition and the passion and the way that people react when Alabama's playing on TV or in the state. Just the draw and the passion,
that's really what it came down to for me. I was very happy and tickled that my career turned out the way it did. I never could have anticipated that.
It was everything I could have asked for and more.

Thoughts on Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett?

They're great talents. I wish they could give me 1/8 of an inch of each of their heights. They really are great talents. Ryan is a fantastic passer.
He's been as electric as anyone in the SEC the past couple of years. He's a guy that playing against him we understood from an offensive standpoint
we better give our defense a good look because they're going to get a heck of a look on Saturday. Ryan does a good job. He plays well himself.
Coach Patrino did a good job of getting those guys lined up and putting them in the right position. They really had a great offense in large part
because of his arm. Cam, his efficiency and what he accomplished last year speaks for itself. I think it's pretty remarkable what he's been able to do.
Just the difference between that team in 2009 and 2010, him being one of the few additions it's remarkable. Their defense played better because of him.
If that says anything he's a great player. I have a lot of respect for him. It's not fun when you have to line up and be in a quarterback matchup
with a guy like that. Got a lot of respect for him.

You watch Tom Brady?

Coach Saban doesn't ever say here let's throw on the flip and watch
No. 12 from New England, but you watch him. He's the most fun guy to
watch in the league right now. There's a lot of efficient
quarterbacks, but as far as his control, his balance, the way he sets
up in the pocket, the way he is so mechanically sound, it really is
such a joy to watch. It really is such a joy to watch. He's so fluid.
He never gets flustered. Just his subtle movements, all of his
subtleties, every little detail is addressed. Coach Saban would never
let me watch another quarterback play. He thinks that's soft or
something, but yeah, I obviously have spent time watching Tom Brady.
He's a hero of mine and a guy who I would love nothing more than to
try to pattern my game off of.

Do you see yourself backing him up?

In a heartbeat, absolutely.

What did you learn from backing up Chase Daniel?

I learned a lot. I was a young kid coming in. I'm 15 years old when I
first got the opportunity to back him up. Chase was a guy that had
done it, played. I'm sitting there and I'm watching this guy and I'm
seeing the way he carries himself from a leadership standpoint. I'm
seeing the way he enjoys practice. Chase really enjoys the game. It's
not a job to him. It's not ever something that he doesn't look forward
to. I think Chase genuinely enjoys playing the game. He enjoys being
good at the game, and he's been good at every level. I learned a lot
just from the way he carried himself, the way he approached big games,
his toughness and his competitiveness. He was definitely, along with
John Parker Wilson, they're very instrumental in the way I pattern my
game, and I'm very fortunate to have had their tutelage, Chase for a
year and John Parker for three years.

What do you think about Mark Ingram in the NFL?

He's going to be unbelievable. Am I biased? Absolutely, without a
doubt. Mark's going to be fantastic, just his approach, his
familiarity with the professional system. I think Mark is really a
special individual. Just seeing the way he works, we've lifted
together at Alabama and just the way he approaches a lifting workout.
He does it with a vengeance. It's like he's mad at the weights. He's
unbelievable. He's only going to get better. I think that's what's so
special about Mark is he was fortunate in our system to not have his
body worn down. He didn't have a million carries. He's going to the
league fresh and with a chip on his shoulder, ready to prove to
everybody that he can be a very, very effective player at the next
level. He's not just a system guy. I know he's anxious to do that, and
I'm anxious to see him do that.

What system in the NFL fits you best?

Quite frankly and Coach Saban would probably shoot me for saying this,
but really what our offense is, with a few power running plays, is the
West Coast offense. A lot of our terminology is similar. The way we
call it. The way we run it. The read progressions, the type of side
adjustments, the intricacies within each route, it's a West Coast
system for the most part. With Coach Shula, a lot of his offense was
drawn from a Norv Turner system, so that wasn't as much West Coast. It
was more numbers based. I think any system. I just want an
opportunity, and I'm ready to get that opportunity. I'm looking
forward to doing everything I possibly can over the course of this
weekend and the next couple of months to position myself accordingly
to be a professional quarterback.

Is there a scenario where you get drafted and you're not able to meet
with the team for months? Are the labor talks on the minds of you

We're aware of it. I assure you that, but fortunately for us, we're
all in the same situation. We don't know a lot about what's going on
with the labor situation. We know there's a lot of room in between the
sides right now, and I think we're anxious just like all the rest of
the players to find out what the situation is going to be. As far as
the way you approach it as a rookie, it doesn't help you. With no
mini-camp, no OTA's, it's going to hurt you. It's going to leave you
behind. It's going to be the guys that get the playbook and the guys
that study it meticulously and do everything they possibly can from an
intelligent standpoint to learn the things that they're going to be
asked to do. I think gives me somewhat of a heads up because I know
that I'm going to know that playbook, inside and out, the second I
walk on that field, and I'll just demand that of myself. It's going to
separate a lot of guys, not only from a talent standpoint, but from an
intellectual standpoint as well.

How many teams have you talked to?

12, or so, a good amount.

Yeah, I talked to the Packers last night, briefly. It was good. We
just talked system, talked some X's and O's. That's something I really
kind of enjoy. These are the best minds in the football game are the
guys you're talking to. The coaches just know so much, they're so wise
when it comes to the small things you can do to tweak a route or all
those things. Visiting with their coaching staff last night briefly
and their quarterback coach, it was a great moment for me.

Update on hand injury

It's frustrating. It's a fracture at the base of the second
metacarpal. It happened at the Senior Bowl, first play of the fourth
quarter. I was following through and hit it square on the back of a
helmet. I tried to stay in there, threw a ball 40 yards high and
that's when I knew something was wrong. It went about two weeks
without discovering it was a fracture, and then I tried to throw and
it just didn't feel so good. Once it didn't feel so well, I went an
got an MRI and got another X-Ray that revealed a crack right across
the base of the second metacarpal. I'm getting the cast off Monday.
We'll see how it goes, and hopefully I'll be back on the field, sooner
than later.

I haven't talked to Dallas. They told me they don't need to know any
more about me.