Why Accuracy, Not Arm Strength, Is Most Important for Today's NFL Quarterbacks

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Why Accuracy, Not Arm Strength, Is Most Important for Today's NFL Quarterbacks
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The age-old question of "accuracy or arm strength?" in an NFL quarterback has been answered time and time again with a resounding "accuracy."

But why?

The short answer is JaMarcus Russell.

That name alone is sufficient enough for Oakland Raiders fans who watched their quarterback—time and time again—throw really hard, really far, but nowhere near his receivers. Countless balls crashed either to the turf or into the arms of the defense.  

Now for the slightly longer answer...

Every elite quarterback—from the days of Johnny Unitas to Joe Montana to Aaron Rodgers (who completed 68.3 percent of his passes in 2011)—has elite accuracy. An absolute requirement.  

The same, however, cannot be said of elite arm strength. Montana often looked as if he were tossing a Frisbee around with a bunch of friends at the park. But he knew when and where to throw it, and it worked.

It's not about hitting, or rather, denting the broad side of a barn; it's about throwing into that little barn window. The one about six feet high, to the left of the napping dog and between the curtains. 

Even the strong-armed quarterbacks—the Brett Favres, Dan Marinos and Tom Bradys of the world—know it too. Favre, who had a rocket for an arm, never tasted meals of success (only crumbs) until he developed accuracy; the ability to throw the ball to where only the receiver can make a play. 

Accuracy is the remedy to tight coverage. Not arm strength. It is the single most important trait for today's NFL—or any level of competition—quarterback.  

Unitas had it. Montana had it. Rodgers, Brady and Drew Brees all have it.

JaMarcus Russell didn't.

 

 

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