QuarterBack ~ Jared Goff ~ California Golden Bears ~ 6040/216
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?
Precision: Formidable. His Mechanics can use some Work, and if he cleans them up some more, he could very well jump to Exceptional or flat out Outstanding. He flashes Greatness in Timing, Touch, and and above all in Trajectory, and sometimes seems simply unstoppable when he gets in The Zone. He just needs to keep refining it.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Impressive. Yeah, I'm going to try really hard to ease up on the adjectives, as I suspect my effusive use'f'm can be distracting and confusing. But in this case it's simply coincidence that I perceive'm as just about at the same level in all regards, though in different ways. Goff is certainly not above tweaking out Under Pressure, making a stupid Throw, or fleeing the Pocket when a Pass might still be there, but for the most part he consistently keeps his eyes DownField, displays spatial awareness of the Rush, and executes effectively.
FirePower: Formidable and potentially Great. Goff does not possess an Howitzer, but that doesn't matter. What matters is his DownField Precision, and while his Mechanics do indeed need more Work, Goff already displays something of an innate talent for Timing, Touch, and Trajectory that translate far down the Field. He's got both impressive Power and exceptional Velocity, and he does far more than simply flash Greatness throwing the Ball DownField.
And I don't mind admitting that I love to denounce Conventional Wisdom.
I also readily admit that when I popped in the Tape ~ so to speak ~ to watch Goff's 5 Interception Performance against the Utah Utes, I was expecting to see a QuarterBack who padded his Stats in a User Friendly Offense but who suffered MeltDown when faced with a formidable Defense, as I witnessed with Geno Smith back in 2013.
I gave Smith a 4th Round Grade back then, when he was expected to go Top 10.
But Goff surprised me. There were certainly a couple of idiotic moves in that Game, but I've seen Tom Brady make stupid Throws: Nobody is immune. The important thing is that while Goff did make a dumb move or two, he immediately went back to Work, and he never seemed fundamentally flustered. He sustained Command of himself and his Crew.
I by no means consider Jared Goff a Sure Thing. He is indeed lanky, and I won't pretend that that doesn't concern me. And I believe that the concerns about his Learning Curve, going from Cali's Super Simple Offense to the Big Leagues, are legitimate: I think not only that he's going to need more time to learn than say a Jameis Winston would, but also believe that such a transition translates to considerably more uncertainty and thus: genuine Risk.
The simpler the College's Offense, the less certain we can be about how effectively the Prospect will understand and ultimately take Command of a professional Offense...and indeed if he'll ever master it at all.
Geno Smith's Failure was a classic Case of the Risk inherent.
So what I'm evaluating is my perception of Goff's Diagnostic Talent and Processing Speed, inferred from the Tape that I've watched, and how I extrapolate his Chances of transitioning from a simple Offense to a complex one.
I think that he's a strong Bet.
Goff does not quite overwhelm me with Confidence, mind you, but while the Risk of Failure is legitimate, I think, so too is the Potential for Success substantial...and Greatness is definitely not out of the question.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would not be possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!