I must have missed the memo. When did “he is just being asked to manage the game” become an acceptable euphemism for “he is a mediocre quarterback”? Now, I am no Professor Emeritus of Bristol University but I am pretty fucking sure that “managing the game” is the premise of every quarterback, and that the good ones do it well. Management involves authority and competence. When Joe Montana ran the 49er offense, he was managing the game better than most QBs could dream it. When Jim Kelly ran the Buffalo no-huddle offense and called his own plays, he was managing the game better than most QBs did. When (insert legendary QB here) was leading his team to (legendary win with time running out), he was indulging, above all, in a practical demonstration of the sublime art of managing the game.
So, if a coach prepares a super-conservative game plan for his mediocre QB, he is doing the equivalent of Crash Davis telling Nuke LaLoosh, “Don’t think. You’re only hurting the ball club”. If he doesn’t want his QB to throw a 20-yard pass it is not because the QB can’t physically throw it over the LBs, under the safety and away from the DB. Heck, pretty much every NFL QB has the ability to throw a ball effectively on most normal pass-trajectories, which is why they get signed in the first place. The trick is in figuring out what throw may be called for on any given play after reading the pre-snap defense, and then given the unfolding response of the defense if that (or any, for that matter) throw is warranted given the evolving circs. So a conservative game-plan implies that a coach doesn’t trust the QB to read the defense to accurately figure out where the LBs, DBs and safeties are going to be at the time he flings the pill---in other words, he does NOT trust his QB to manage the game.
Speaking of QB play, yesterday in the AM I tuned into Mike and Mike and they had Kordell Stewart (who is evidently now an analyst for the NFL network) critiquing the QB play of Ben Roethlisberger. Seriously, do we need to expose our impressionable children and youth to this nonsense? Pro-Football Reference.com gives me the following info: In Stewart’s eight-year career with Pittsburgh (five as a starter) he threw for 70 TDs, threw 72 INTs and had a career QB rating of 72.3 (with his highest season-long rating being 81.7 in 2001). By comparison in his four and a half seasons as the Steeler QB, Big Ben has won 70% of the games he started and thrown for 94 TDs and 65 INTs. His career QB rating currently stands at 90.1, with his worst QB rating (in 2006) being 75.4. Plus he has led the team to a Super Bowl win.
Kordell, I know it is your job now to comment but when asked to opine on the play of someone who has shown a better appreciation for the QB position from his first day than you did in your entire career, how about you go for something like “Ben knows how to play the position. Sure the recent INTs are a problem but I’m betting he and the team will figure it out”.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008