Colin Kaepernick, RGIII, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton are leading a revolution of the QB. Are we seeing a changing of the guard at the position?
Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. They are regarded as some of the greatest Quarterbacks of all time, and masters of staying in the pocket and spreading the field with their passing abilities.
Their mobility? That’s a different story – between the four of them with a collective playing time in the NFL of well over 50 years, they ran for a total of 4,201 yards.
In this era though, the mobility of a QB was not as highly regarded as it is now, with the running game holding more importance in a teams offensive strategy, compared to the passing game of today.
Colin Kaepernick, RGIII, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton have a collective six years playing time between them. Their total rushing yards? 3,164
That’s also taking into account that Kaepernick has only played seven league games, and was able to run for 413 yards in that time.
It is clear that there is a change coming at the position, as teams are now looking for playmaking abilities with a Quarterbacks legs as much as with their arm.
Defences are currently struggling to keep pace with this new type of QB, as more and more are entering the the league, for the first year it is hard to game plan against these young, mobile players, as there is nothing but college tape to watch, which is irrelevant at the pro level.
When you have these Quarterbacks on your team, it is such an advantage right now, as you can trust the QB to create plays either way. These aren’t just glorified athletes; they can pass the ball exceptionally well too.
Another reason why the pocket passer breed is dying out is the dramatic shift to the use of the shotgun formation.
Instead of lining up right behind the offensive line and taking the ball, before dropping back, today Quarterbacks are already five yards back and are already in a position to throw the ball or take off with their legs.
NFL.com ran a piece last season, indicating how many times teams ran out ‘of the gun’ and the numbers were very high.
The reason behind the ‘under centre’ type formations was because teams ran the ball more during the 80’s and 90’s and this was a way of getting the ball to the running back quickly and with a running start.
Now however, with much greater emphasis on teams passing the ball, it seems stupid to waste time dropping back when a QB can already be in a position to make the throw if he was in shotgun.
While the athletic QB is here to stay and will grab more headlines, ‘pocket-passers’ will still find success. The revolution is not just coming at the position itself, but also the entire way an offence is run.