Follow The Leader: Three Tests to Separate an Elite Quarterback from a Good One
Talent is overrated.
In order to take a single snap from under center it takes so much more than talent.
If you want to quarterback any football team at any level you need grit, toughness, physicality, intelligence, leadership, pride, power and most of all fearlessness.
A quarterback is so much more to a team than just an arm propelling it down field.
A quarterback defines a team and everything it's about.
So how do we determine a good signal caller from a great one?
Let's take a look at three tests that will help you grade any quarterback in the league from Peyton Manning to Josh Freeman.
1. Leadership Test
There are those who lead and those who follow.
Any good quarterback must lead.
He must get down on one knee in the huddle and be sure his teammates would run through a wall for him.
But how can you determine whether or not your team's quarterback is a leader?
It's simple: Execution under pressure.
No, I don't just mean in the fourth quarter.
Does he keep things in order and manage the clock towards the end of a half?
Do his teammates commit stupid penalties?
Do he and his receivers ever seem to not be on the same page?
However, the test most detrimental in determining whether your quarterback is a true leader is how he finishes.
Does he quickly get his team to the line for a spike?
How well does he run the hurry-up offense?
And most of all, does he lead his team down field on a game-winning drive when they need him so desperately or does he crumble under pressure?
2. Mental Toughness Test
In order to be successful in any sport you must have a short memory.
In order to be a successful quarterback you should not remember anything but your playbook and names of your receiver's throughout the course of a game.
But how do you know if your quarterback has a short memory?
It's all in the body language.
Does he involve himself in prolonged touchdown celebrations?
Is he able to shake off an interception and move on as if nothing happened?
Is he able to shake off a touchdown and move on as if nothing happened?
Does he possess the look of fear in his eyes after every sack he takes?
Is he willing to continually do what he needs to do, even if it involves taking a beating?
Is he willing to scramble out of the pocket to draw the defense and take hits time and time again?
Can he forget what the scoreboard says and play every possession as if it is the final possession of the Super Bowl?
Is he afraid to throw back at a cornerback that just picked him off?
3. Intelligence Test
Intelligence is as much a part of football as it is everyday life.
You won't get very far in life without using your brain, and you won't get anywhere in football without using it.
Want to know just how smart your quarterback is?
All it takes is a closer look.
Does your quarterback stare down a single receiver on a play or does he look the other way until the last possible minute?
Does your quarterback look off the safety on a seam route before firing?
Does your quarterback walk in and out of the huddle with that swagger about him that says, "I know exactly what I'm doing?"
Does your quarterback recognize mismatches and take advantage?
Does your quarterback often miss an open receiver?
Is your quarterback afraid to pull back his arm and release open fire to launch the ball 50 yards down field?
Does your quarterback make damn sure that he NEVER fumbles the football?
Does your quarterback often get into trouble off the field?
Can your quarterback adjust the play at the line to best counter the defense's attack (cough, Peyton Manning)?
Can your quarterback recognize a blitz and protect against it?
Does your quarterback feel the pressure before it gets to him?