QuarterBack ~ Luke Falk ~ Washington State Cougars ~ 6033/216
But I believe not only that Pocket Passing remains the Heart & Soul of successful QuarterBacking, but that the capacity of Speed QuarterBacks to master Pocket Passing can be and often is crippled by the Siren Song of Scrambling: A QuarterBack who has always had that "out" is far less likely to develop the skills that really matter.
Power QuarterBacks ~ The Men with the Golden Arms ~ are equally susceptible to falling Prey to the seductive allure of their own physical Talent: The more powerful their Cannons, the more likely I believe it is that they persistently depend upon that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card, and thus fail to develop a more comprehensive Skill Set.
And thus I perceive a Great Irony, one that continues, astonishingly, to elude most: The more explosive a Scrambler that a QuarterBack is, or the more powerful an Arm he boasts, the less likely that he is to achieve Greatness.
Conversely, it's the boring guys who consistently Move The Chains that give you the best Chance to win.
After New Year's Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played, History has been relentlessly savage to Power QuarterBacks and Speed QuarterBacks who failed to develop their Games: Once the weaker Teams have been eliminated, the PlayOff Defenses have invariably proven far too much for The Unprepared.
And if you're not prepared to compete after New Year's Day, why play at all??
In consideration of these thoughts, which, like many of my thoughts, fly in the face of what is amusingly considered to be Conventional Wisdom, this is how I break down the Criteria that I focus on, when evaluating QuarterBacks:
1 ~ Processing Speed
2 ~ Precision
3 ~ Pocket Presence
4 ~ FirePower
Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape. It's crucial at all 22 Positions, but utterly vital for a QuarterBack to succeed...or to even survive. Reading Coverages, working through Progressions, and selecting the best Receiving or Running Option.
Precision speaks above all to Mechanics: A QuarterBack's consistency with his Stance, his Set Up, and his Delivery. I refer to consistent Accuracy in the Short & Intermediate Zones, where the best Offenses all make their Bread & Butter. In breaking it down, I'm looking at Timing, Touch, and Trajectory: Leading Receivers to DayLight.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure is about Poise, or how one's Processing Speed and Precision stand up Under Pressure, and about one's Temporal & Spatial Instincts in navigating an often chaotic Pocket.
FirePower is a Category that I value, though not as much as others. I refer to Velocity and to DownField Precision, which I don't consider as crucial to Success as Short & Intermediate Precision. DownField Precision makes for tremendous HighLight Footage, but it's Short & Intermediate Precision that Moves The Chains and wins Championships.
Please note, if you will: I don't list 40 Speed among crucial Attributes at all.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Please Note: This is entirely about how rapidly the QuarterBack scans the Field and makes successful Decisions.
* Many College Offenses feature simple Offenses that make this challenging to evaluate.
* It is, nevertheless, far and away the most crucial Aspect of QuarterBacking.
* Accuracy ~ Placement that maximizes the Receiver's Advantage and minimizes that of the Defender.
* Timing ~ Being temporally In Sync with the Receiver. The Ball arriving precisely when the Receiver does.
* Touch ~ The right Speed for the right Play. Only throwing FastBalls when FastBalls are warranted.
* Trajectory ~ Being spatially In Sync with the Receiver ~ enabling him to catch the Ball In Stride.
* Processing Speed Under Pressure.
* Precision Under Pressure.
* Spatial & Temporal Instincts.
* Velocity, irregardless of where he's throwing it: How fast is'is FastBall?
* DownField Precision ~ can he through the Bomb accurately?
What that means, therefore, is that, as aptly stated by an anonymous AFC Personnel man in this excellent Monday Morning QuarterBack Article: “My concerns with a guy from the Air Raid are the same as any guy who ran a spread offense: Only a fraction of the snaps they take are transferable to the NFL.” In other Words, NFL Defense throw far too many Tactical Improvisations at you ~ and indulge in far too much HornSwoggling and general Phuckery ~ after the Snap for a QuarterBack to thrive or even survive based on what the Defense's PreSnap Alignment showed'm.
He must Improvise, Adapt, and OverCome...and he must do so rapidly and effectively...under Live Fire.
Both Falk's Game Tape and Testimony from his own Coaches and that of his Rivals make it clear that his Diagnostic Acuity is excellent: He can clearly read the Defense before the Snap at a very high level, and with consistent Success at Washington State. That, combined with Coach Leach's Testimony about his intensive Tape Study, bodes well for his Chances of eventually translating Diagnostic Acuity into sufficient Processing Speed to succeed.
What does not bode well for his Chances of Success, also mentioned in that tremendous Article, is that the Gutters are littered with the Corpses of successful Air Raid QuarterBacks whose struggles to translate their Skills to the NFL are legendary. And the best Argument for why this is so seems pretty clear: These QuarterBack Prospects played Years of College FootBall in a System ~ the Air Raid ~ that egregiously neglected the Development of their understanding of complex Changes in Blocking, Running, and Route Running that QuarterBacks need to instantly recognize and communicate to their Huddle, in response to Defensive Machinations both before and after the Snap.
That and of course the terrifying way that a QuarterBack's sense of Space & Timing must change when he transitions from ShotGun ~ plenty of Time & Space ~ to Under Center ~ very little Time & Space!! ~ after Years of playing in the relative Comfort of ShotGun...impose two gigantic impediments to Success in the way of Air Raid QuarterBacks.
Tremendous Article. Here's the Link, again: Luke Falk and the Air Raid Conundrum.
Bottom Line, as close as I can approach to it considering the dearth of Data that the Air Raid imposes: Luke Falk's intrinsic capacity to develop the effective level of Processing Speed that he's going to need to succeed seems to be there, as indeed does the fundamental Diagnostic Acuity that it'd be based on and the Drive to develop it.
But he faces a long, arduous mental Journey to get from where he currently is to where he needs to get, because the Time & Training that he's received over the last 3 Years has simply not been of the type that he's needed.
One other thing, though, and this highly in his Favor: His Timing & Trajectory are excellent, and that is directly attributable to superior Field Vision, which in turns strongly supports the Idea that his intrinsic Processing Speed is superior...and requires only the Time & Training to develop it. Whether or not he'll get it is unfortunately uncertain.
Precision: Excellent. Tremendous Touch, Timing, and Trajectory on the Short Stuff, and impressive on the Intermediate.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Impressive. Tough and Instinctive. Not many Bad Decisions.
FirePower: Mediocre. Excellent Mechanics, but mediocre DownField Precision. Sufficient Velocity, though.
As I set it, we have tremendous Intrinsic Potential coupled with an enormous Chance of Failure ~ or perhaps Delayed Development ~ due to what I perceive to be woefully inadequate Time & Training in College.
Optimally, I'd like to see'm drafted and developed by a Team with the Wisdom and Patience to invest in all the additional Coaching that the kid can handle...Because one gets the Idea that he can handle quite a lot.
I always evaluate based upon what I consider to be the Optimal Scenario. These guys deserve nothing less, don't you agree? And in that Scenario ~ as opposed to the old "Throw'm in The Fire" Scenario ~ Falk's Chances of Success, even more so than that of your ordinary young QuarterBack, all'f whom'd natrually benefit, would, I believe, improve dramatically: He would have a Chance to learn what he missed at Washington and he would have, I believe, a very realistic Chance of developing into an NFL Caliber QuarterBack, due to his Intelligence, his Diagnostic Acuity, and his Drive.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!