For years, NFL teams have coveted the prototypical quarterback. Now there isn’t one.
By Adam Kilgore, Washington Post
Convention regarding size has changed, too. Once a prerequisite, height is now overlooked in favor of other attributes. At 5-10, Murray was the shortest quarterback drafted, in any round, since at least 2000, and his selection first overall came the year after 6-1 Baker Mayfield went No. 1. By previously overlooking smaller quarterbacks, the NFL cut its possible talent pool significantly.
“The thing I like about what’s happening is that there’s a broader evaluation now,” said David Morris, who owns the quarterback coaching company QB Country and works with several NFL players, including the New York Giants’ Daniel Jones. “They’re not going to say, ‘Yeah, he’s 6 feet, he can never play quarterback in the league.’ There’s attributes that are starting to be differentiators — athleticism, twitch, foot speed. When you study it, when you look at it, Lamar Jackson is a great passer. So is Kyler Murray. They can kill you with their feet, but they’re great passers. I just like it because quarterbacks aren’t getting put in such a box from an evaluation standpoint.”
Coaches have also welcomed a more varied group of quarterbacks by accommodating them. College plays have filtered into the NFL. Coaches have simplified playbooks and verbiage, relying on motion and play-action more often — simple concepts for an offense that are difficult for a defense to decipher. NFL teams once attempted to find quarterbacks who could perform an incredibly difficult job. They have now made the incredibly difficult job a little less difficult.
“Football has gotten a little easier on the quarterback,” Morris said. “I’m not saying it’s easy to play quarterback. It’s not. It’s very hard. I do think offenses are built to make decisions easier, to create more space. The [run-pass option] and what it does. … The game has slowed down a hair for the quarterback in general. Just a hair.”
Morris pointed out how dual-threat quarterbacks operating fast-paced offenses had given Alabama Coach Nick Saban fits until Saban decided to employ the same approach in his own offenses. Now Saban’s good friend and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is getting his first chance to try the same, with Newton taking over for the statuesque Brady.
“There’s a reason Cam is now Belichick’s QB,” Morris said. “Kind of says it all.”