Hey man, if being the best checkdown passer of all time was easy, everybody would do it.
This is going to sound like an insult, I swear it's not:— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) January 21, 2019
Tom Brady is unquestionably the best checkdown passer of all-time.
Quickness and ball placement is unrivaled. It's so underrated what that does for an offense to continually churn positive plays.
And maybe this is the Kool-Aid talking, but with Tom Brady looking more and more like he was holding pocket aces when he told us all he wanted to play until he was 45, the Patriots have a little time to play with when it comes to finding the right man to sling the rock once Brady has pwned all the records. Given that Bill’s track record when it comes to drafting quarterbacks lately might make you look like your dog when you hide the tennis ball behind your back - this is the same Bill the GM that drafted Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy G, and Ryan Mallett, by the way - it’s worth asking:
The heck are the Patriots actually looking for when they evaluate these dudes?
Just in those 3 guys we just mentioned, you have Jacoby, the Bill-Parcells-approved dual-threat that packs at least an extra 10lbs of muscle over TB12. You’ve got his fellow Wolfpack alum Jimmy G (the Tom Brady Wolfpack, not the NC State Wolfpack, obviously), with a rifle-bolt-quick throw release and borderline scary resemblance to Brady when he was calling checks and audibles at the line in ‘16. And then Ryan Mallett may be the best example this side of Joe Flacco of a cannon arm that you wouldn’t trust to win you a game of cornhole.
That’s not even the difference between iPhone and Android, that’s car shopping and being like “Well I need a daily driver, plus gotta have some fun on the weekends, so let’s check out a Mustang, an Audi, and a Wrangler”.
Fortunately, Masslive’s Andrew Callahan caught up with former Pats assistant coach Jerry Schuplinski during the craziness of Super Bowl Media Week, and now we’ve at least got something to go on right in time for Draft SZN™. Jerry was with the team as an offensive assistant from 2013-2015 and then moved up to assistant quarterbacks coach from 2016-2018, which obviously puts him on the team in the middle of 3 different Super Bowl runs and two titles, not to mention an AFC Championship game every year he was in town (yawwwwwwwwn). Here’s what he had to say:
(hint: what’s between your ears is more important that deadlifting more than JJ Watt)
“Outside of the physical fundamentals of the game, it’s the intelligence factor and the commitment factor it takes to be successful,” Schuplinski said. “It’s not just about knowing our offense and knowing our playbook. It’s more so knowing the defense; what they’re doing, how are they aligning, what kind of information we can gather from the defense — coverage indicators and things of that nature — and how we can use that information and use their strengths and weaknesses to execute better.”
Remember what I said earlier about Jimmy G going through his presnap checklist every play and calling the defense? Yelling who was the Mike linebacker on almost every single snap and making checks based on what they showed him so throws like this dime to Chris Hogan look like schoolyard ball?
So how does one scout for the coveted HIGH FOOTBALL IQ?
“What’s important to us is we need to put them through a pretty decent grind when we meet with them. We need to put them through some stuff — it doesn’t necessarily have to be their (plays) per se — but we want to teach them something and see how they learn it,” Schuplinski said. “Teach them something, then test them on it and see how their retention is. And that’s usually a relatively good indicator.
”It’s doesn’t tell us automatically whether this guy’s got it, but we’ll know if he doesn’t have it. And if he does, we’ll know he has a chance.”
Kinda puts those rumors last year that Josh Rosen asked too many questions cause he wanted to know how everything worked and wanted to be mentally challenged in a different light there, eh?
(we’re just waiting for the “Millenials Killed Quarterbacking by trying to understand it too well” article now)
We’ll have a lot more coming on this year’s quarterback class in the weeks leading up to this year’s NFL Draft, mostly from people far, far more qualified to do #analysis than I am, but in the meantime, expect the Patriots to do their due diligence on any and everyone before April 25th, even if they don’t have a snowball’s chance at getting them.
It’s what they do, it’s their thing.