QuarterBack ~ Jameis Winston ~ Florida State Seminoles ~ 6036/231
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 Cannon, it says here, the more likely that they're going to rely on that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card as often as they can, and 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?
Precision: Mediocre. Raw Mechanics, particularly a long wind up, which he's been working on. He's young, so there is obviously a lot of reason to hope for considerable Improvement in this area, if he puts the Work in.
Pocket Presence: Magnificent. A true Field General, Winston is incredibly Poised & Patient Under Pressure. What I find most impressive is that, despite excellent Agility, he is a committed Pocket Passer who rarely bails out and runs. Furthermore, his Spatial Instincts within the Pocket are remarkably developed for one so young.
FirePower: Tremendous. Exceptional Velocity and DownField Precision.
The only things that've been proven about this kid is that he's a Donkey, as most kids are.
He clipped a few Crab legs.
And he shouted a few Obscenities.
Mature? God, no.
Should he stay in School another Year while he grows into his Fame? Quite possibly.
But until somebody proves that he's a Rapist, Gods Forbid, then all that's been proven to be anything but unproven Allegations ~ Innocent Until Proven Guilty, yes? ~ has been the usual foolishness that young men get into.
My focus is of course on how he projects as a potential Draft Pick in 2015.
And that...is dramatically less optimistic than is generally perceived.
I started off seeing far too much Brett Favre in'm for my liking.
That may come across as a Right Handed Criticism, as it were: Favre is an Hall of Fame QuarterBack.
But I consider Brett Favre to've been considerably overrated...And believe that he didn't so much drive his Team to'is one Championship so much as ride them...and would be far less venerated if he hadn't gotten so lucky.
And in any case: Further Review ~ this is my Version 3.0 on Winston ~ draws my Perception of'm far lower.
I'm starting to see far too much Jay Cutler in Jameis Winston.
My gut is telling me that Winston took his foot off the gas after last Year's spectacular Success.
His Play has gotten sloppy and inconsistent, and my instincts are telling me that it's from a lack of Preparation.
I'm not calling the kid a Slacker. Hell, no: the phenomenal extent to which he had already evidently developed his Game before he took a single Snap last Year speaks volumes about the Work he's willing to put in, when he's focused.
I have few concerns about Winston's Motor...But I do have doubts about his Focus, and how consistently he can be expected to sustain it at the next level. He's got a bit too much HollyWood about'm, and it makes me nervous.
We'll see. I'll probably crank out a Late Update or some such on Winston in April, after I spend a few more months pondering my Impression of the kid, while integrating whatever else comes out between now and then.
As for now: I wouldn't, in retrospect, have given Brett Favre a #01 Rank. He was always careless with the freaking FootBall, and it seems to me that for every 3 Games he won for'is Team, he cost'm 2. Yet SportsCasters tirelessly lauded his GunSlinger mentality. And for the last 13 Years of'is Career, I get the strong impression that he just cruised.
Well, many do.
And a few can actually get away with it, as Favre did.
And Jay Cutler is a Poor Man's Version of Brett Favre, as I see it.
He's the sort of guy who the Media Morons jerk themselves off about for his entire Career, waxing on and wacking off about his Golden Arm and alleged Command...but who seems always to fall just short of Glory.
The fact is: The Jay Cutlers and Matt Staffords kill their Teams. They fall in love with their own Arms ~ and their Press ~ and never learn how to become Field Generals. They rack up Stats and always fall short when it counts.
Their Teams would be far better off with moderately talented Scrappers who've learned how to Move The Chains.
You know: The guys who aren't focused on Stats.
The guys who're focused on winning.
I perceive far too much Jay Cutler in Jameis Winston's Game for my liking...And while Jay Cutler gets a lot of Love because of'is alleged Potential...I consider the guy vastly overrated..and wouldn't give but a MidRound Pick for'm.
My point is that HollyWood thing. There's just something about Winston's makeup ~ my Impression of it ~ that suggests to me that Sustained Focus is not only possibly but likely going to be a problem with him over the Years to come.
Don't get me wrong: I don't doubt the man's Passion for the Game. And his Pocket Presence is magnificent.
But his Mechanics are still shaky, and his Processing Speed & Field Vision seem to've actually regressed.
Yet he has often displayed phenomenal Instincts. That suggests to me that if he puts aside all distractions and focuses exclusively on this Game, that he could develop elite Field Vision and Processing Speed.
Should he do so, I believe he'll be worth not only the #01 Pick in the 2016 Draft, but a parcel of Picks on top of that.
But as it stands, I don't believe he has yet evolved into that guy.
Not even close.
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!