At several points in the career of a quarterback, he asks himself if he is good enough. My coaching mentor used to say that the one thing all successful quarterbacks have in common is that, at some point in their playing careers, they managed to win the starting job.
Now, that may seem obvious, but the importance of understanding my mentor’s message is not in what he says, but in what we must infer. What is not stated is that quarterbacks are of all sizes, foot speeds, religions, personalities, throwing motions, levels of academic intelligence, and arm strength. But, by gaining a starting job somewhere along the line, they got a lot of practice reps and game experience.
Because they played they picked up two things: 1) they learned how to anticipate openings in pass defenses and 2) they learned how to recognize danger and avoid throwing into it. All successful QBs eventually learn this.
One interesting thing about the quarterback position is speculating on the future success of young ones. That’s why I wanted to head out to Skyline this past Friday night to check out young quarterback, Max Browne, who is garnering a lot of attention in the Northwest and beyond.
While I had heard and read a lot about the young signal-caller, I wanted to see him for myself.
The checklist of attributes that seem to interest fans, and even some coaches, is there:
- He’s tall – 6’4” or taller.
- He has a quick release – he is consistent in where he holds the ball and he takes the ball from there directly upward
- He has an over-the-shoulder release
- He feels the rush and keeps his eyes downfield while moving in the pocket
- He moves efficiently in the pocket – small movements
- He throws the ball on time
- You can see him go through progressions and he does so without advancing too far up in the pocket
- He seems to have average to above average arm strength – it is difficult to tell because most of his throws are slants, screens or downfield, high trajectory throws
- While he does not appear to possess outstanding foot speed, he gained yards by making smart decisions on when to run. I actually believe not having good foot speed can accelerate a QB’s learning of the passing game. Often, these guys work harder on timing, anticipation and accuracy, while a faster QB is learning how to run the ball to gain first downs. Just ask Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers.
While all of the above attributes make for interesting conversation and serve as tangible evidence of a QB’s future success, they differ so widely from QB to QB that now some NFL teams are using a different standard to predict how a QB will eventually perform.
The benchmark that NFL teams are now using to evaluate quarterbacks is that of 30 to 35 or more college games/starts.
Let’s use that same benchmark for Max Browne. By the end of his high school career, Max Browne is on pace to start over forty games.
As important, he is on pace to throw more that 1,200 passes.
That means that he will see lots of coverages and lots of blitzes. Throwing 1,200 passes means he will experience success and adversity.
He will go through slumps and triumphs. He will learn how to throw under duress. He will learn how to throw when he has just been hit and can barely breathe.
He will learn how to block out crowd noise. He will learn how to ignore website writers who critique his game, good and bad. Mostly, he will learn how to anticipate openings and avoid danger.
There are only two questions that remain in my mind and what I would like to research further.
1) How did Max win the starting job? I have my hunches, but this is valuable information for aspiring quarterbacks
2.) Will his experience translate into future success? I have much too little information on Max Browne to make any kind of accurate prediction, but I foresee a research project in my future. However, he has demonstrated an ability to be consistently accurate, which is usually a direct result of experience.
Editors Note: Catch QB READS Right Here at Northwest Prep Report and over at our Rivals.com affiliate site http:www.washingtonpreps.com