I know you took a look at this and are wondering:
Why am I looking at a picture of Fran Tarkenton?
It all started with a comment I made the other day on twitter:
Every so often a dual-threat quarterback comes out of college and all you hear is how they will change the way the game is played in the NFL.
I have heard this song and dance before. We heard it about Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Vince Young, Michael Vick. All the way back to Randall Cunningham. Each of them was going to be the new standard for the NFL quarterback.
I only felt it was fair to remind everyone of who started it all. The term scrambling quarterback was coined just for Mr. Tarkenton. He frustrated opposing defenders by slipping away from a would be sack. Not simply to run for first downs, often he would scramble with an eye for throwing the ball downfield.
But what about the talk of Athletic Quarterback v an Athlete playing Quarterback.
Well that still stands. See there are some superior athletes that are put at quarterback to simply take advantage of the natural mismatches. At the high school and college level they often have a great deal of success. Their natural athleticism lets them succeed against lesser talented defenses. Everyone loves those big plays. They love the ‘shiny’.
Unfortunately once they hit the NFL they can In the NFL those running lanes close up quickly. Once these mobile quarterbacks lose that advantage the ability to play from the pocket and read defenses becomes so much more important.
Now a more natural quarterback is often more polished at the normal drop back passer requirements of the position. When you couple that with the athleticism of say an Aaron Rodgers it is difficult to beat. Running is not such a large part of his game but a very dangerous tool in his tool belt.
This is not to say someone like Lamar Jackson cannot succeed in the NFL but it will not be easy. He will need the right team and the right coach. They will need to design an offense around his unique skills. They will also have to disguise his limitations(and all young quarterbacks have limitations). The problem with this is if he gets hurt, which is a definite possibility for a running quarterback, then do you have a backup that can run this new offense. Or do you have to recreate the wheel for a more stationary playcaller?
Each team has to decide which type of quarterback they prefer. I know my choice. Where do you stand?