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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I tend to agree with this . . .

Mike Leach to NFL Coaches: "I only need a three-hour window. I'll have a great clinic for all the NFL coaches who are so horrible that they can't teach a guy to take a snap under center and go backwards."

What prompted this? Tim Macmahon of the Dallas Morning News asked Leach what he thought about the argument against his former Graham Harrell -- and many similar "spread" quarterbacks -- that it is troubling that they don't know how to take a snap from under center and drop back because they were in the shotgun so much. Macmahon reports:

"You bring up easily the most pitiful NFL cop-out of all!" [Leach] hollered. "And you can send that message to the whole NFL. Any coach who has ever said or uttered those words or considers that a concern, here's my message for them: How could you possibly look yourself in the mirror and consider yourself an NFL coach and not be able to teach a guy to run back three steps, five steps and seven steps? I can teach a child that!

"Any coach in the NFL who can't do that ought to be fired!"
An issue? Maybe. I understand this with respect to lineman who have never been in a three-point stance, and there are related quarterback issues, but this reason (so often given) does not pass the smell test.

5 comments:

Tom said...

Leach hit the nail on the head. Why do some NFL coaches not get that footwork and dropbacks are easily taught, and in some cases will even increase the consistency of the QB as a result of the rhythm inherent in drops and the fact that it is easier to maintain proper footwork.

The shotgun does one thing: Puts the QB deeper more quickly than he would otherwise be able to get. On those long 5 and 7 step drops in obvious passing situations the QB will probably have more time to read the field from the gun, especially if the opposing pass rush is able to get upfield quick. On shorter drops, though, it can be more of a hinderance than a benefit as a good center can get the ball to the QB in a fraction of a second with the laces already there and the QB can keep his eyes upfield immediately, giving him far less to worry about, a point which you've made before.

That said, I believe refusal to use the gun by some at the NFL level (where practice time is unrestricted) is absolutely as big a sin as they think using it exclusively at the college level is. It can be a great tool when used in the proper situations, and does not mean the elimination of the running game.

Anonymous said...

"I tend to agree with this . . . " and you say this after you spent hours explaining the basis of the spread and run and shoot? How does a quarterback, who learned (in the words of Harrell) to follow one script for four years ("the script we're running now is the same one as four years ago, we run the same plays") suddenly learn a new one and immediately succeed? It isn't the dropping back or the number of steps, except on a pure pass play. It's the change in how the defense reacts, and where the key reads are. From under center the options are more limited, the blocking schemes more complicated, and, on the whole, the level of NFL defensive talent is higher. Yeah, Leach can teach the drop in three hours. Can he add success against bigger, faster, quicker? I'm not saying Harrell can't handle it - but three hours isn't gonna do it by a long shot.

Anonymous said...

"Can he add success against bigger, faster, quicker?"

The answer is yes.

Do you have anymore questions?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that the physical movement of dropping back is the issue.
It is how the angles of sight are affected by the QB moving backwards and how his poise may be affected by being closer to the onrushing defenders.
A QB in the Gun essentially gets a huge head start in his drop. He gets to setup earlier, and is therefore stationary for longer whilst reading the coverage.

brad said...

This is just silly. Leach's system may make average guys look great but it is not the shotgun to undercenter transition that kills them.

Philip Rivers was mainly a gun passer in college and went to a mainly undercenter system and lead the leage in pass efficiency last year. Ditto for Ben Roethlisberger at Miami OH. Drew Brees was also a gun spread QB and has torn it up in the league.

Plus both Manning and Brady mainly pass out of the shotgun.

BTW Football outsiders did an analysis of gun vs undercenter and found that passing performance was better from the gun. So maybe the pros need to move more in the direction of TT.