What We Learned: The 2012 NFL Season Showed Us Two Things About Quarterbacks

11 02 2013

1) The “Elite Quarterback” Discussion Got Blown Up

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The Super Bowl essentially was the induction of Joe “Gummy Bear” Flacco into that silly media-created status of “elite quarterbacks.”  Joe Montana’s Right Arm has the best run-down as to why even the most ardent Flacco-haters now have to stifle themsleves, but this piece is more about how the whole discussion about “elite” is obsolete.

Not only is it a silly notion, but it got destroyed by the emergence of a crop of dynamic young signal-callers.  In his piece, JMRA makes reference to “Game Manager University,” and I’m going to extend the academic concept to rate NFL quarterback in 2012 on a simple grade scale.

A – The Head of The Class

  • Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers

B – Not Quite Living Up To Their Potential…But Still Above Average 

  • Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson

C- C’s Still Graduate

  • Sam Bradford, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Kyle Orton, Matt Schaub, Matt Stafford, Ryan Tannehill

D – You Might Want to Think About Community College

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Flynn, Josh Freeman, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Michael Vick, Brandon Weeden

F - Hope You Enjoy The Food-Service Industry

  • Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Lindley, Kevin Kolb, Carson Palmer,Mark Sanchez, John Skelton, Brady Quinn, 

Incomplete – Course Work Not Yet Completed To A Point Where An Accurate Assessment Can Be Made

  • Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, Thaddeus Lewis, Terrelle Pryor, Tim Tebow

On “Double Secret Probation”

  • Ben Roethlisberger

To me, Roethlisberger has been a complete enigma until Mrs. Dubsism cleared it up for me. Her theory is that Big Ben is like that guy who shows up on campus on an athletic scholarship. He totally has his shit together and is dead-on target for his freshman ans sophomore years.

Then he turns 21.

Next thing you know, having a legal relationship with John Barleycorn fucks up everything. The former “golden boy” is now on academic probation and sleeping on his buddies’ couch because he got kicked out of the dorms. Roethlisberger is the inverse of that guy. He won two Super Bowls while living like an overgrown frat boy, then he cleaned up his act and now is an 8-8 quarterback. You explain it to me and we will both know what he is all about.

2) Tim Tebow Deserves A Legitmate Shot

FACT: Tebow did fine with the Broncos. He’s got more play-off wins as a Bronco than Peyton Manning does.

FACT: The situation with the New York Jets was a complete debacle.

FACT: There are a shitload of teams who need a quarterback.

Let’s start with that last one. The teams who need a quarterback are looking for that “classic” pocket passer because that is what the conventional wisdom of the NFL says you need to win. But, there’s a new generation of quarterbacks coming along who don’t fit that mold.  In other words, the same people beating on Tebow are the same ones who back in the day didn’t want to draft Drew Brees, or more recently Russell Wilson.

This begs the question…what do you do if you are an NFL general manager who needs a quarterback? There just aren’t enough “pocket passers” to go around, and there isn’t another Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck in this upcoming draft. Like it or not, Tebow is available, he has experience, and he’s a proven winner.

tebow single wing offense

Yes, I am going to keep finding ways to use that All-Tebow Team picture.

But here’s the trick. To make Tebow your guy, you really have to build your offense around him. You are going to have to reject conventional wisdom and go to an offense that isn’t predicated on throwing the football. People are going to recoil in horror at this, but it might be time for some general manager and head coach to get ballsy and trot out an old offense with some tweaks. Mike Shanahan already teased us a bit with the modernized “triple option” stuff the Redskins did for Robert Griffin III, but somebody is going to full on embrace some sort of revisited “Single-Wing” or (gasp) “Wishbone” offense.

Face it, Tebow is a leather-helmet era quarterback, and the college game is going to produce more like him. Somebody is going to have to go back to the future at some point.

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7 responses

11 02 2013
ChrisHumpherys (@SportsChump)

Interesting grades, I have to say.

I also have to say I had no idea Terrelle Pryor was even on someone’s roster.

11 02 2013
J-Dub

The Raiders…where else?

11 02 2013
Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC

I am neither pro or anti Tebow. I think he is a damn good NCAA QB that can’t succeed in the NFL. Charlie Ward, Akili Smith, David Klingler etc…

The Pro-Tebow movement baffles me for a couple reasons:

1) Your admission that for Tebow to succeed – the NFL team must go all-in and build their roster around him. I interpret this as choosing players that are suited to run a grinding type NFL offense. 2 good tight ends, 1 super dynamic scat back, 1 workhorse running back and an OL with at least one stud to anchor a scheme that is largely non conventional blocking packages. Oh and who cares who your recievers are.

Or basically – the 2012 Minneota Vikings. (Rudolph, Carlson – Harvin – AP – average OL anchored by Kalil)

***Win the game used batting gloves from the 2004 Wallball game where I went yard in FOUR FUC*ING CONSECUTIVE AB’s off of Ken Caminiti if you can name the 3 top WR’s on the Vikes without Googling it.***

The problem with this specific Tebow argument is that do you really think exchanging Ponder with Tebow makes the Vikings a better team in 2012? As bad a Ponder was/is I have a hard time believing Tebow wins 11 or more regular season games and ALSO wins a playoff game with this offense.

Unless you think he is truly a Hero to the Caucasian Community and can influence the productivity of the D and ST.

2) Here is the real deal breaker. Let’s say that a middling team with nothing to lose decided to try to revamp it’s roster thusly. What happens if the QB gets hurt, the HC gets fired or the experiment just plain fails? What GM/Owner wants a roster specifically designed for the Single Wing? No trades are ever made in the NFL!!! It would take years to recover a normal roster suited for a conventional offense.

3) Lastly – if nothing else has been learned by the 2012 NFL season – it should be this: In order to have a shot to win every game – you MUST be able to comeback from a 14-20 point deficit. I grant you – Tebow has shown alot of skill in limited chances, but at no point can you say “Well, were down by 14 at half – I am confident we can rattle off 24 points and hold them to 10 or less in the second half with the Tebow/Single Wing/Wishbone/Leather Helmet offense.

11 02 2013
J-Dub

1) It’s not just the 2012 Vikings. It’s the right-now Jets, who already have Tebow, no other real option, and really nothing to lose. I tried to Google “Viking WRs” and my screen flashed “Harvins’s a bust” – then the drive crashed.

Ironically, the key to making this offense work would be the defense, which is really the challenge area for the Jets. The 2000 Ravens proved that with a crippling enough defense, you can win a Super Bowl with a can of Spam as your quarterback.

2) There really isn’t a need for a re-vamp. You can find the parts needed for this offense in any free-agency season. Like you said, all you need are tight ends, o-linemen, and a variety of running backs. That also means recovery from such a system wouldn’t take as long as one might think. Besides, like I said, what else do the Jets have to lose at this point?

3) Just because the 49ers made a living out of 3-score comebacks doesn’t mean everybody can do that. Granted, the flaw of this system would be no quick-strike capability; it would be the inverse of the Patriot-style “can’t run the ball when needed” model. An offense built this way would a) depend on the defense to not give up a lot of points and b) make time of possession a meaningful stat. This offense would have to hang on to the ball for those Jurassic nine-minute drives. Think the Penn State offense from 1969 and you get the picture.

Yeah, I get this idea flies in the face on conventional wisdom. I understand I would be releasing the football version of Jacque Lemaire’s “neutral zone trap” on the world, which would lead to football games with final scores of 9-6.

But if you are the Jets, what are you realistic options right now?

11 02 2013
Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC

Let’s be honest – the Jets are stuck in mediocrity for a while no matter what happens – unless someone is really stupid enought to give up a “Herschel Walker Lite” package for Revis. Tebow’s ceiling is a like a poor man’s Mike Alstott running game crossed with a destitute man’s Brad Johnson QB skills.

Last thing on Harvin – Ironically this Tebow/Single Wing thing is what made Frazier basically tell Harvin to go fuck himself with the IR designation at the end of the season. Harvin’s rehab was almost complete with 4 weeks remaining and they IR’ed him anyways.

Allegedly – Harvin refused to go back into the “animated argument on the sideline” game unless:

A) They put Joe Webb in for Ponder

B) They direct snapped the ball to Harvin every play

C) They direct snapped the ball to AP every play

11 02 2013
ChrisHumpherys (@SportsChump)

God, that’s right. No wonder they sucked.

Maybe he can convince them to give Maurice Clarrett a shot and they can get the band back together.

11 02 2013
Jsportsfan

I have a gut feeling Tebow will get a shot with another NFL team. However, I’m not certain about a coach going to use an offense centred around Tebow’s skills. Every coach wants to turn a running quarterback to a pocket passing quarterback. I hope Pete Carroll doesn’t do this to Russell Wilson, but I have a bad feeling he might. Where will Tebow go? I’m not sure but he’ll go somewhere.

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