Quarterback School

What to look for in a Quarterback

By QB Coach Ron Raymond
Date: December 12th 2012

It’s one of the age old debates around the gridiron, what do you look for in a Quarterback?

The answer is simple; their strengths and weaknesses!

Now their strengths and weaknesses don’t necessarily mean athletic skills.

In fact, you hear it all the time about a quarterbacks performance, he didn’t have a good game, he wasn’t on today, he’s panicking in the pocket, not making his read, he’s “pooping the bed”, too many turnovers, we can’t hear the play in the huddle, etc.. Couple of things you have to keep in mind, a) the source it’s coming from and b) excuses are for losers!

Therefore, instead of tearing into your quarterback and bringing their confidence even lower, why not work on what happened and how do you get them back on track?

One of the coaching tools I use is called the (5 WHY’S).

For instance, let’s say your QB is panicking in the pocket and he’s rushing his throws. Ask them the following questions:

  1. Why did you rush that throw? QB Answer: because I felt the pressure.
  2. OK, did somebody miss their block or was there a blitz? QB Answer: no
  3. Did you feel the offensive lineman where backing up into you? QB Answer: yes
  4. Did you take your proper drops or did you attempt to kick step or move your feet to find clear lanes while keeping your eyes down field? QB Answer: yes, I think so.
  5. If you felt the pocket collapse, why didn’t you either run with the ball or go to your check down? QB Answer: Obviously, there’s no clear answer to this question, because we had to start this debate.

By asking your Quarterback the (5 WHY’S); then you will get to the root cause of the problem.

Now, one of the main things I look for in a Quarterback is their competitive work ethic. If I see at training camp we have quarterbacks who are not afraid to work and compete, that’s half the battle. The last thing you want to do as a coach is ask your quarterback to pick up the pace. In fact, it’s very difficult to work with lazy Quarterbacks, because they bring absolutely nothing to your team and it sets a bad example.

Now, you don’t need a raw-raw type quarterback, you cannot ask somebody to be something they are not! There are many ALPHA type leaders in this world, if you have an emotional quarterback that’s great, if you have a silent leader who lets his action do the speaking, that’s fine. Bottom line, as long as your quarterback is leading your offense to success, they’ve done their job!

I’ve talked to coaches who said to me, I want my quarterback to be a raw-raw guy who demands respect on the field and shows us who’s in charge. I normally tell that coach, if players need another person to motive them, then that player is not focused or a self-starter or the coaching staffs has not done their job! Quarterbacks are field generals, not Dr Phil with a wristband to make sure people are motivated. Motivation can come from inspired play or a simple nod to say; hey its 3rd and 18, I’m coming your way #88.

One thing you must have in a quarterback is honesty, in order for them to get better; they have to tell you the coach what went wrong in that situation. If they look for a bail out answer or blame another player, they will never get better.

As you can see, we didn’t even talk about arm strength, footwork or athleticism because they must have the right frame of mind and the desire to succeed at any price. In order to have a great Quarterback, they must have the 3 most important criteria;

  • Work Ethic
  • Positive Attitude
  • Honesty

Once you’ve found a Quarterback with these 3 assets, then you can start working on their physical attributes. Quarterbacks must have the attitude that “Winning must be expected when you take the field, not desired. “

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