While watching NFL games this weekend, I kept hearing the same claim over and over — young, extremely mobile quarterbacks who are as comfortable running as throwing are going to dominate the NFL. Personally I’m a bit skeptical.
First, note that the best quarterback in the league at the moment, and maybe one of the best quarterbacks ever, Kurt Warner, has barely attempted a serious rush. His stats for rushing are 9 attempts, for a grand total of 14 yards.
Okay, fine but aren’t Duante Culpepper and Donovan McNabb proving a running quarterback can create nightmares for a defense, and isn’t Michael Vick, who just ran for 215 yards the other day, going to light the NFL up after going number one in the draft.
Sure, just like Kordell Stewart lights up defenses with is running/passing combination. What? Don’t tell me Stewart has more interceptions than touchdowns and abysmal 56.4 passer rating. What happened.
First, defenses adapted, and second, the concentration on the running game distracts from the passing game. Notice how Randall Cunningham made a lot of thrilling plays while he was in Philadelphia, but never got his team close to being a serious contender until he became largely an immobile pocket passer with the Minnesota Vikings and now the Dallas Cowboys.
The main thing that makes me skeptical, however, is what happens once Culpepper, McKnown and Vick start getting taking a lot of hits from NFL-sized defensemen. Look at all of the problems another mobile quarterback, Steve McNair has had staying healthy (and he tends to be inconsistent even when he is healthy, though not to Stewart’s extremes).
Donovan McNabb’s performance against the Falcons last night was very impressive, as was Culpepper’s domination of the Detroit Lions, but I want to see how these quarterbacks stand up to taking the punishing hits that are headed their way before declaring the era of the pocket passer to be over.