Traditionalists have argued for years that the quarterback position cannot be altered. Even when guys like Micheal Vick, Daunte Culpepper, and Steve McNair came along, people still felt like only the pocket passer could be successful in the league of vanilla offenses and traditional play.
I seriously thought that Vince Young and Tim Tebow would lead that charge but neither of them ever really developed as passers. They were run first guys who just possessed the ability to lead and win.
Well it seems that the NFL has taken notice to the players who are not traditionalist players and when they get to the NFL, they aren’t being asked to change who they are. The transformation started with Cameron Newton and his success in an offense that was catered to his skill set. The emergence of Cam was considered to be an exception to the rule and then the Redskins validated it with the drafting of Robert Griffin III. RGIII’s success has only fueled the movement as fans in the DMV are excited to see what the young phenom will do next in his efforts to secure a victory for the Skins.
This year it appears that Geno Smith may be the next in line as the exception to the rule. More and more teams are looking at the dual threat quarterbacks and liking what they offer to propose challenges to teams and defenses on the next level.
Sure there are guys who are prototypical but those guys are pretty easy to prepare for in the early stages of their careers. Two years ago it was Cam vs. Jake Locker. Last year it was Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III. This year it is likely to be Matt Barkley vs. Geno Smith. In either case, the team that was choosing could have done well. It was more about diversification than it was about natural selection.
The NFL has been pretty transparent for most of the years of existence but the reality of change has been pushed as players are becoming more athletic and in many ways rules designed to protect them make change possible.
This is not to say that athletic quarterbacks haven’t made their mark in the NFL. Steve Young, Randall Cunningham, Fran Tarkenton, Doug Flutie, and the list could go on and on… However those guys were often overshadowed by the Joe Montana’s, the Brett Favre’s, and the Johnny Unitas’s of the world.
Today the NFL isn’t asking these athletes to be something that they are not. The game is personified now and offensive coordinators have the flexibility to cater their offenses to the dynamic abilities of their quarterbacks. In some ways, the new rookie salary makes it easier to do this because you won’t have sixty – seventy million dollars in guaranteed money invested in a guy who will be getting hit on three out of every five plays during a game.
Geno Smith’s Herculean efforts since last years bowl versus Clemson haven’t gone un noticed, and he is now the front runner for the Heisman after his performance versus Baylor this past weekend. Smith can run with the best of them but his talents are as a gun slinger. Granted the defenses he is facing in the Big 12 have been less than stellar, it appears to have translated well for RGIII in the NFL.
If Smith can continue to stay consistent and win games, no doubt he will be nothing less than the second quarterback taken off the board. In a lot of ways, he controls his own fate.
Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!