There isn’t much NFL pundits agree on when it comes to quarterbacking, but there are a few items. First, if you’re drafting in the first two rounds, you have enough talent to play in the league. Second, coaching is the difference between the never got a chance, and the franchise guys. Third, it takes 2-3 years, with weapons and the right coaching to see.
Stats don’t tell the whole story and neither do a handful of starts. Whether Denver brings in Cousins, who was 2-8 his first two seasons, or they draft a quarterback, fans should be prepared for it to take a while. Cousins could flounder on a new team. He’s been with the same team for six seasons and had little changes. The rookie will for sure have a rough time. Ask 0-7 Jared Goff about his first season.
Bucky Brooks on judging quarterbacks:
A small handful of guys, like Kurt Warner, have been bounced from team to team, but had enough talent to eventually land in the right spot at the right time.
Names like John Elway were considered busts. Heck, Elway was benched twice for Steve DeBerg. Jared Goff went 0-7 and called the same. So was James Winston after his first game. A few weeks later, he threw 5 TDs and no interceptions.
Kirk Cousins, who many believe is elite, took four years to start. While Robert Griffin III was seen as elite as rookie, he dropped off fast. Injuries, friction inside the franchise, power plays and egos can jettison a career.
Cleveland is the pinnacle of what not to do. Every single GM in the NFL should look there and do the reverse. They have ruined more careers than Von Miller has sacks, all because they go through the position more frequently than an oil change.
Stars in college do flounder in the NFL, if the tools they possess don’t fit or teams can’t scheme to them. But more than anything, the right coach and scheme, continuity, and weapons determine a QB’s career. One that takes time to judge.
This post season could signal a change for the better in how teams approach the position.
Right now, we have four guys one game away from a SB who are testaments to this. Had Tom Brady* been drafted to a different team, he’d be an office manager. In his first starting season at 24 years old, he turned the ball over 21 times to 18 TDs. He threw 2,843. That team won a SB. They didn’t get there because of him, they got there because that team was balanced and well coached.
At 25, Brady* threw for 3,764 yards with a 62% Completion. He threw 28 TDs and turned it over 19 times. Brady has had one head coach and three offensive coordinators in 18 years.
Blake Bortles is 25 now. 3,682 yards, 60% completion. He’s had two head coaches, three offensive coordinators and three quarterback coaches in four years. His top three WRs went out hurt. He’s played most of the season with late and non-drafted guys and two rookies. To say one QB has had instability and the other hasn’t is an understatement; and yet, their teams are about to face off.
Case Keenum and Nick Foles have also been on the merry-go-round of changing coaches, only both have had several team changes, too. Unfortunately for them, that’s going to continue because both are back-ups and most likely won’t be kept next season. Hopefully, Foles finds a forever home with a coach who builds the team around him.
The one and only item these four share are balanced teams, good coaching, a run game and top-notch defenses. Plus, for three of them, good fortune to be on the right team, at the right time.
“His talent was suppressed,” Janet Elway said. “We never got to see John go out there and just play. What was it – nine, 10 years under that system?
There is no magic 8-ball to tell if a guy can make it until he plays. Even if he starts, without a good team around him, you still don’t know. On top of that, one or more mocked and/or non-franchise QBs, will be playing in the SB. How many believed any of the three had a shot?
Denver fans who are demanding a new QB this year along with a SB Run should sit down and face reality. Do themselves and the new guy a favor, throttle back snap judgements. Especially with a rookie as he could be RG3, Bortles or Goff. You don’t know until they play. Even then, the team around him will matter more, than the hand holding the ball.