By Anthony Armstrong
Every NFL season there are some significant roster moves that can affect the team’s ability to be successful – especially when the moves involve the quarterback position. It’s no secret that there is a direct correlation to the success of a team and the performance of the quarterback.
In this 2017 piece, eight teams had the same quarterback for at least 10 seasons. Over that decade, those teams had more playoff wins than the rest of the entire NFL, including seven of the nine Super Bowls. Every name is one you would recognize: Brady, Brees, Eli, Rodgers, Big Ben, Rivers, Ryan, & Flacco.
Fast forward to 2019 and the list is damn near the same, minus Flacco (traded to Denver), Eli (benched for Daniell Jones), Roethlisberger started the year, but was injured and will miss the 2019 season. New to the list is Russell Wilson and Matt Stafford…that’s it.
The point of the post has nothing to do with the one third of the league that benefits from the rare combination of high performance and stability. But rather, we touch on those “other teams” who just can’t seem to get it right with the most important position on the field.
I spent time with two of the more dysfunctional franchises in professional sports – Washington and Cleveland. I’m extremely grateful for the chance to play the game I love for any team, but you gotta call a spade a spade. Let’s not get into the records, just focus on the carousel of who is under center.
There have been damn near 30 different starting quarterbacks in The Land since 1999, DC has named 21 of them QB1 for the day. That’s not good. In fact, only Kirk Cousins (3) and Jason Campbell (2) have started all 16 games in a season.
Instability at the QB position can obviously kill your team’s chance to make it out of the dumpster, but it affects the players up and down the depth chart, as well.
Every quarterback is a different machine, from their delivery of the play in the huddle to the snap count, ball trajectory and speed, and so much more. It’s not a plug and play situation, it takes time to get on the same page. Consistency and continuity rule the day.
In Dallas, I got to work with Tony Romo and Kyle Orton, and they were completely different in the huddle and in their delivery. Tony was talking with his hands and putting emphasis on different words. Kyle was cool and calm in his delivery and threw a “heavy” ball. Not a lot of zip but landed with a thud. But we all knew that Tony was “the guy”, no doubt about it.
The opposite end of the spectrum is a dark and dreary place, full of confusion and anxiety. All you ask for as a pass-catcher is to have the ball thrown to you in a predictable way. I had an understanding of the Washington offense that would alert me to expect the ball in certain coverages. Ideally, all 11 guys are on the same page from what is seen and what is executed, but when the bus driver is using Waze to your Google Maps, some wires get crossed, and indecision and interceptions happen. And you lose ball games. That’s not good.
My advice to the Redskins front office would be to fully commit to Dwayne Haskins. If not for the organization’s sake, for the guys on the field. You’ll get the most out of Scary Terry, and Guice if you do. You can decide to let these guys grow together and gel, or you can continue down the same bumpy ass road to nowhere good and take your QB count to 22. The choice is yours.
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