What Makes a Great Quarterback?

I was having a conversation yesterday with my brother in law that really got me thinking on my way to the doctor. What makes a great Quarterback? I mean really! Is it the arm strength, the ability to move on his feet or maybe his ability read a defense? Just because a kid has a strong arm doesn’t make him a great quarterback. Just because he can run a forty yard dash in times like 4.58 or 4.4 doesn’t mean that will effectively equate to the field. The breakaway speed will transfer but that’s about it. Or is it the fact that he can walk up to the line of scrimmage and read that the defense is showing man coverage but actually the cornerback is showing a tell tell sign of actually a quarter coverage.

There is enough on these players to come out and win every Saturday in college where there is a lot on the line where they might have an average of 30-40,000 fans and that’s not to include bowl games. Then you add the draft and these guys wanting to make an impact in the League, the added stress for the entire first round draftees, not to mention the top 10. Teams and fans have this inclination that if they draft a quarterback that it will automatically change the team and they will start winning. This has only happened a handful of times in the last 6 or 7 years.

What makes a great quarterback is the ability to come into a team and understand the tools he is working with. He doesn’t come in with an ego like he is the top dog and everyone on the team should bow down to him. He is only as good as his lineman, receivers and defense are. There is a time for an ego as long as it is beneficial for the team. Cam Newton is a great example of a positive impact. While he and DeAngelo Williams had their differences and Williams is now with the Steelers; Cam has since made a positive impact on the team and helped them to winning seasons.

Great quarterbacks excel at the next level because they are able to add positive impact within the organization. Meaning enabling a great atmosphere for the team and being a leader both on and off the field while creating an environment where other players would want to play and work. He understands and works with the team and the team will work him to develop his arm strength, his speed, his ability to read a defense. Reading a defense is not just looking at the player placements, its the ability to scan the field and utilize their peripheral vision and understand the areas where receivers should be open.

Great quarterbacks work well with others and can take criticism, while it is sometimes difficult. Egotistical players are a liability to the team, especially when it becomes more of a distraction. GM’s and Owners are growing tired of the sideshow antics and such that players are bringing to the NFL. However, they are growing accustomed to the different Brands that players are creating and supporting the players as long as it is not a distraction to the team. After all this is a business and not just a sport. It is these qualities that really make a quarterback great in my opinion.


D. Oaks