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Something about the idea of Taylor Martinez throwing the football that makes me cringe a little bit. I'm not sure if it is his slightly awkward throwing motion or the deer-in-the-headlights look he seemed to get at times when dropping back to pass.
Either way, the passing game is clearly Martinez's biggest weakness. I'm not saying the guy needs to be Peyton Manning or anything even close to that. What I am saying is that if Martinez can develop into even an average passer then he will become that much more effective as a runner and will be an even bigger nightmare for defenses.
Furthermore, developing as a passer will help Martinez stay healthy because it will keep defenses honest and they will not be able to load up on Martinez knowing he is only a threat to run.
The problem is, I am not entirely convinced that Martinez is capable of becoming a good enough passer to make this a reality. After watching plenty of his game type in both high school and college, I noticed something about Martinez that has me concerned about his ceiling as a passer.
When Martinez drops back to pass, he makes one read and if his first option is not open, he takes off to run. In other words, when his number one target is covered, he uses his feet to gain yards rather than using them to gain time to find an open receiver.
Because of his terrific running ability, this has usually worked out for him, but as we saw last year, if he loses a step for whatever reason (injury, fatigue, etc.) this plan is no longer effective. The best dual-threat quarterbacks almost always use their running ability to keep the passing play alive and only run as a last resort.
This is the case for two reasons. First, the longer a pass play is alive, the more likely it is that a receiver will break open and passing plays have more big-play potential than running ones. Second, it is a simple matter of self-preservation.
Quarterbacks are only useful if they're on the field to lead their team, which becomes much less likely the more they run down field and subject themselves to punishment.
I'm not saying it is impossible for Martinez to develop this ability, but I believe part of it is a natural instinct and that can be a very difficult thing to reprogram.