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Quarterback Qualities

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  • Quarterback Qualities

    With the recent thread on Walterfootball's assessment of Bradford vs. Clausen, I thought it would be a good time to ask what everyone values in a QB. Obviously different people have different qualities they rate higher than others, for instance Walterfootball values arm strength, and I value accuracy. I have put together a list of what I deem important traits in a QB. Note that not all of these are things I believe you can measure from an armchair, and it is not exhaustive, just a top 8.

    1. Decision Making - No matter what your physical tool set is, accurate, gun for an arm, speed demon, all of the above, if you make poor decisions, you will be a poor QB, end of story. This includes everything from not throwing into too much coverage, to knowing when to cut losses and throw the ball away.

    2. Accuracy - The most important physical attribute to me. Not to take away from others which are still important, but if you can't get the ball on target, then what good is everything else? This does not mean you need elite accuracy, but enough to hit your targets. If your throws are always high or wide by too much, you'll never be a success.

    3. Intangibles - Successful QBs don't roll in at noon and leave at 2. First in, first out, or close to. You need a guy who not only loves the game and cares about being the best (Or trying to be) but who has his head on straight outside the game as well. You will crash and burn at QB with no work ethic. I initially had this lower, but then I thought about QBs like LeaF and Russell who just don't care. They had the skill sets, but their loafer attitude made them bad QBs.

    4. Release - I value this higher than arm strength because a quick release can make up for a certain amount of lack of arm strength on short and intermediate routes. A quick release gives D-linemen less time to put their hands up, and coverage backs less time to read and react. Angle of release is also important in terms of how well the ball travels, and how likely it is to get batted down at the line.

    5. Arm strength - Although I believe you can get away with just adequate arm strength, I will readily admit that if you have to float balls because you can't throw hard enough, you are going to have a bad time. Floating balls are easy to pick off, or at least get a hand on. You want to be accurate, but you don't want to give too much time for the defense to get in front of it. Also helpful for stretching the field when you need a desperation play, or have a speed receiver who finds himself with a mismatch.

    6. Footwork - I am not good at identifying good footwork, I admit that. However I will also admit that it is important. Bad footwork can lead to falling down, missed handoffs, failed play action, and an assortment of other problems with throwing a good ball and hiding it from the defense as long as possible.

    7. Football I.Q. - Good QBs can beat you with their skills. Great QBs beat you with their brain. Manning and Brees are the best not only because they have great accuracy, releases, and all that good stuff, but because they study hard. They can read defenses and adjust like no one else. Ryan Leaf is proof that you can't just rely on talent to win in the NFL, you have to be intelligent and constantly adjust your game plan. Knowing the defense is a must, as well as knowing your own players and what they are capable of.

    8. Mobility - The last item on my list. Some guys love love LOVE a running QB. I do not. I want one who is willing to stand there and risk a hit in order to make a play. Why? Because they in general move the ball better. I find good rushing QBs take off too early and don't let the play develop, and they don't gain as many yards as they could have. I remember watching Vick highlights, and there are times when it was clear he was not looking at a pass but reading the linebackers and looking for a lane to run in. You can be as mobile as a telephone pole and be successful if you have the above. However, you can run as fast as you want, if you can't make the pass, you aren't going to be a good QB. I recognize that ability to escape the pocket is a plus. However from my viewpoint, you should look at the above first, and if they have all that AND can run, consider it a bonus. It will make a good QB better, but you must have the above attributes first. That is why this comes in last.

    That is all for my list. What does everyone think? Anything I missed? Anything you disagree with? Please, post your own, I like to know what others think about these things too.

  • #2
    Re: Quarterback Qualities

    Just to clarify - is this a ranking of attributes from most to least important, or a general list of things you think are important for quarterbacks to demonstrate?


    • #3
      Re: Quarterback Qualities

      They are my valuation from most to least important, but I am torn on some of them. It is hard to push some things down the list, and I am lucky I don't have to do this for a living, because football I.Q. is hard to put at #7 for instance, I think that is very important. I just didn't want to do any ties, so something has to go lower than something else, but I feel they are all important attributes, and there are certainly more to consider than those 8, I just wanted to keep the post short-ish.

      Edit: And I should clarify, I am very open as to changing my list, and hearing criticism. I find that receiving criticism is the best way to improve.


      • #4
        Re: Quarterback Qualities

        My top qualities would go something like this:

        1. Quick Wits. Making good choices is important, but it's just as important that the quarterback is able to do so quickly and decisively. Bulger, for example, is a good decision-maker but not a quick one. This also comes into play with the quarterback's ability to pick up on any tells that might give away what the defense is doing, audibles, salvaging broken plays, etc. You want cleverness more so than book smarts.

        2. Vision. The quarterback needs to be able to read the field. An open receiver isn't much good if your QB doesn't see that he's open. Your QB won't last through the season if he doesn't see where the blitz is coming from.

        3. Accuracy. It doesn't matter how smart you are or how far you can launch the ball if you can't make the ball go where it is supposed to. On the other hand, an extremely accurate quarterback is extremely hard to defend against even if he has a noodle arm.

        4. Leadership. Once you have the basic qualities that are fundamental to the quarterback position, then you get to what makes a quarterback truly great. You want a guy who can lead comebacks, keep morale up, coordinate the offense, etc. There's something to that idea of the field general.

        Arm strength to me is mostly just a prerequisite. Either you can make all the basic throws or you can't. How well you can make the throws past say 30 yards just doesn't make that much of a difference. That along with mobility really are secondary features. It's nice if your guy happens to have a big arm or he's got some wheels, but neither is necessary to be an elite quarterback. At any given time neither the fastest nor the strongest starting quarterback in the league is likely to be considered the best quarterback in the league.


        • #5
          Re: Quarterback Qualities

          The top three attributes I value in a QB are:

          Decision Making



          Coincidentally, they are also your top three. To me, besides the mental things, accuracy is the thing that separates QBs. Arm strength is good and all, but look at J. Russell. Look at Derek Anderson.

          Accuracy is key, and Bradford has top notch accuracy.


          • #6
            Re: Quarterback Qualities

            All are good attributes but too bad every QB can only have some of them. My ideal qualities of a QB are Accuracy, Arm Strength, Intangibles, Decision Making, and Football I.Q.

            Accuracy is vital for having WRs be able to catch it pretty easily and like RockinRam says, Bradford has it top notch.

            Arm Strength meaning be able to fire the bullet far shows a good way of moving the offense, combine that with accuracy and decision making and you have an elite QB comparable to that of a sniper, but even snipers need good positioning which compares that to a good O-line.

            Decision Making; just by seeing Kyle Boller and J-Mac go into panic mode under pressure shows you need a QB that can make good decisions in releasing the ball, and too bad they would just throw a pick instead of towards the sidelines like Marc Bulger.

            Football I.Q.; probably the most important attribute IMO, just by looking at Peyton Manning's amazing ability to read blitzes, he's comparable to that of Erwin Rommel being the general and in translation to the NFL, being able to turn no names like Pierre Garçon and Austin Collie into somebodies with his own charismatic inspiration.

            Intangibles; good work ethics are required for greater success, 'nuff said.

            ♪ R.I.P. Nujabes ♫


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            • Guest's Avatar
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              AT CP YDS T LG I RAT
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              Your opinion:
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              I'd like to know who devised this system however nobody seems to know.
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              2. Add into the formula how well QB's recognize blitzes?

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            • EvilXenu
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              You can go by playoff performances.

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