Debunking Common QB Misconceptions

Football is the world’s most esoteric sport. Ironically, it’s also the sport with the most passionate arm-chair general-managers claiming to have a firm grasp of the National Football League’s most intricate concepts. Never-ending access to resources like online-analysis, player and coach press-conferences and even the game-film used by the 32 teams are available at the click of a button. Social media certainly has its say in the matter as well.

Still, the same antiquated views perpetuated by main-stream media drive repetitive-narratives into the ground. When it comes to branding their network with the most-popular teams, that’s just smart business – but the misinformation that is then regurgitated among the masses creates a general-falsehood that creates a divide between coaches and journalists.

Quarterbacks are the A-list celebrities of the NFL. The faces of the franchise, signal-callers are the first players to shoulder the blame after a loss and the first to receive the effusive-praise following victory.

Unfortunately, the focus of these Monday morning quarterbacks is often misguided and passed off as gospel.

Choosing to buy into the propaganda is up to the viewer. For those that have sworn-off ESPN and NFL Network in search of alternative theories, here are three common-misconceptions when it comes to quarterback-play, and the proof that they are mired in fallacy.

1.) Playing with a star-studded surrounding cast diminishes the quarterback’s value

Every player in the league is his own business entity. While this bottom-line business focuses on wins and losses, each player is judged internally on their own individual-merits. There’s a reason Trent Dilfer was replaced as quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens following a Super Bowl victory in 2000. The converse can be said about Phillip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite some underwhelming seasons in the win column, LA’s newest team has never even entertained the idea of replacing the potential future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Dak Prescott is the newest example of quality-play getting dismissed because of the group he shares a huddle with. Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Fredric can all lay claim to the best play at their respective positions in football. Tailback Ezekiel Elliot had a phenomenal rookie year giving the first-year quarterback a running-game and pass-protection any quarterback would kill for.

Regardless, ideal circumstances still require a player to perform – and Prescott did that at a high-level in 2016.

 

Covering the debate with a blanket statement referring to his teammates is incredibly short-sighted and not fair to the player. Over the course of an NFL season, approximately 1,000 plays, the film will differentiate the ballers from the phonies.

 

2.) A quarterback’s reputation cannot change after a pre-determined number of years

Professional-quarterbacks and teenaged-girls aren’t often compared, but the parallel is appropriate in this instance. While one unflattering-rumor can derail a young-lady’s high-school experience, a bad season, or even one bad primetime game can unfairly place a quarterback in a particular box.

Sam Bradford is regarded as a journeyman that’s lucky to continue booking starting-gigs.

Carson Wentz was the second pick of the draft; therefore, the Eagles are set for the foreseeable future at quarterback.

Ryan Tannehill will never be more than a top-20 quarterback.

Eli Manning and Joe Flacco were once Super Bowl MVPs and are still playing at that level.

These are what are known as common-misnomers. Yet every football television program, every mainstream podcast piles onto these narratives relentlessly.

Bradford is on his third-team in five-years and Tannehill has played poorly in primetime games and neither has ever played in the post-season. This disguised the fact that both had stretches of brilliance in 2016 performances that were better than most of their peers.

Carson Wentz had the state named after him (Wentzylvania) following a hot September-start. Despite playing the position worse than most down the stretch, it’s widely accepted that he’s the answer for the Eagles at the league’s most important position. He very-well may be, but the jury is far from out.

Manning and Flacco have endured steady-declines that were punctuated with dreadful 2016 campaigns. Each has considerable mechanical-issues among a myriad of other concerning troubles.

Why is it that, in a league whose tagline is, ‘what have you done for me lately,’ that we harbor these outdated perceptions of players? It’s time to end the madness.

3.) “Quarterback X played the 32nd ranked defense, let’s see him do it against a real team.”

This argument is warranted under the correct context. If the secondary is leaving vast-windows to throw to, missing tackles every other play and playing bad football then yes, judge the performance accordingly. But to insist that it is impossible to praise a quarterback for making good throws against a bad defense is (here’s that theme again) short-sighted.

Just like the good teams, bad teams get paid to play too. They are professionals that were the best of the best in the college-ranks. Playing well on a consistent, down-to-down basis, is not a possibility for every team. However, professionals are going to have moments where they do their job, otherwise they wouldn’t be professionals.

Hitting a tight-window on a corner-route against a well-positioned cover-2 is impressive no matter what the decal on the side of the helmet looks like. Hitting a streaking receiver up the sideline for a long-touchdown is never easy.

 

There’s a reason the big networks gawk over the accomplishments of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers – those are two of the best players to ever buckle a chinstrap. Just remember that there is always more than what meets the eye in the NFL and the opinions with the most validity are the ones backed by study and research.

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