Hey NFL don’t go changing running quarterbacks.

 I wrote recently about Cam Newton’s early criticism being unwarranted. My main reason for that is that rookie quarterbacks in the NFL will struggle we all know that. The Carolina Panthers can do some things though to make Newton’s transition from college to the NFL easier, and Gregg Doyel of CBSSportsline makes a very good point in his article “Pocket guide for NFL: Don’t go changing running QB’s.” 

You know who was the most dynamic player in the NFL last season? Michael Vick. With his ability to run and throw he may be the most dangerous player in the NFL. Now I’m not saying you can have a quarterback just line up and freelance in the NFL. There are just too many great defenders in the NFL. What you can do it utilize some of these guy’s running ability. Check out Tim Tebow last season, who seems to be forgotten man in Denver because he can’t throw it like Tom Brady.


 I remember watching Vince Young run a little option with Chris Johnson for a 15 yard gain last year. What a dimension that is if you can use the running ability of a player like that. Slowly I think the NFL is buying in. You see more and more Wildcat formations going on, and certainly Cam Newton and if Tebow ever gets the chance will have to become better passers, but if you try to turn them into pocket passers you are going to end up with JaMarcus Russell or apparently a valuable wasted draft pick like Tim Tebow.

The best I’ve ever seen as running/passing quarterback in the NFL is Steve Young. I’ve seen highlights of Fran Tarkenton and Roger Staubach, but I’m not quite old enough to have seen them play live, but I remember Steve Young. He’d break from the pocket and you just didn’t know if he’d break off and run or fire a pass downfield. He was such a weapon, and if utilized right maybe some of these running quarterbacks can be too.



  1. bginsc says:

    The difference between Steve Young / Fran Tarkenton / Roger Staubach and a player like Cam Newton is whether the QB in question is looking to run as his first option &/or at the first sign of trouble. The greats ran when they had to, not when they wanted to. The difference is in whether the QB is looking to run down field from the get go, or whether he’s looking to run around the backfield in order to keep the play alive… and taking off only if it’s what the situation dictates.

    An NFL QB needs to be a pocket passer first and a runner second in order to succeed. That’s why Young, Tarkenton, and Staubach did so well. They used the run as a change up, instead of being their primary choice of action. The defense had to honor the possibility, though, which opened up passing lanes. Vick is learning that, which is why he’s having more success.

    Kordell Stewart, Vince Young, etc. etc. etc… How many of them won on a consistent basis? Sure, a run-first QB is fun to watch, and they create excitement… but excitement is one thing, wins are another I’d rather have wins.

  2. Jfann says:

    Hi bginsc, Thanks for the comments and come back more often…

    I agree that even a running QB should not look to run first, but I think their running ability can be better utilized that you sometimes see. You don’t always to look for that dump off guy when you break contain. I think Vick has learned how to become a better passer, but I also think that the Eagles give him some freedom to freelance a bit.

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