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Rich Gannon: NFL quarterbacks aren't being taught well enough


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http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-rich-gannon-20120129,0,3635365.story

The way former NFL quarterback and most valuable player Rich Gannon sees it, the development of quarterbacks in the league is seriously lacking.

Drafted by New England in 1987 (the Patriots envisioned him as a safety), RICH GANNON was a reliable backup quarterback (and occasional starter) for Minnesota, Washington and Kansas City, before getting the starting job in Oakland under new coach Jon Gruden. Gannon flourished, making four Pro Bowls. He was the NFL's most valuable player in 2002, and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl. He is an analyst for CBS.

I don't think we're doing a good enough job developing the quarterback position. Some teams do a much better job, with the Green Bay Packers being one of the best.

There are situations in the league where the quarterback is struggling, and you say, "Who's coaching him?" It's, "Well, it's the guy who was the receivers coach two years ago, but we elevated him to the quarterback coach." Well, did he ever play the position? No. Did he ever coach the position? No. And that's part of the problem.

I remember when I played in Kansas City in the off-season we had eight-page quarterback tests. First page would be an essay; second page: multiple choice; third page: fill in the blank; fourth, fifth, sixth pages would be protections, where you had to draw up a protection versus eight different fronts. Then there would be short-answer questions. Honestly, it was about a 45-minute test. It was unbelievable.

There was some peer pressure to get a good score, because there were other quarterbacks in that room, and you didn't want to be the one to miss five or six questions on that test. Second, it allowed the coach to know who knew what and who didn't know what. What were your areas of strength, and what were the areas where you needed more work?

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy coached the quarterbacks in Kansas City at the time, and he took those tests to another level.

The first question on one test: Describe in 250 words or less our version of the West Coast offense and the Kansas City Chiefs' philosophy as it relates to playing the quarterback position. That was the question.

Another of the questions was "Describe 24 and 25 Protection — solid seven-man protection — and draw it up against these eight different fronts."

I can go into some teams right now and I can ask the quarterback, "Tell me everything you know about protection." And you'd be blown away at the guys' responses, what they don't know. You'd be just stunned.

You'd think you could ask about everything they know about protections and the guy would say, "OK, let's talk about five-man protections, then six-man protections, then seven-man protections, eight-man protections. Let's talk about slide protections. Let's talk about quarterback movement, the boots, the nakeds, the keys. Let's talk about the quick reads."

But I go in and ask some quarterbacks, "Who makes the calls at the line of scrimmage?" and it's like, "Oh, the center does that." I'm thinking, the center? He's in a three-point stance and he's got some nose tackle in front of him. He's bent over and can't even see the safeties.

If you asked Peyton Manning or Tom Brady to talk about protections, you'd get the PhD answer.

When they're talking about the quarterbacks who haven't missed a start, people say, "They must be tough guys. They don't get hurt." Well, part of it is they're so smart. They understand protections, they understand where they're vulnerable. Not only that, but they understand defensive football. So they're not going to be surprised by a weak-safety blitz or a corner where you get hit in the back of the head.

As a quarterback, when you hear the play in your headset, you're thinking about a lot of things. You're thinking about the protection, footwork, the read, the concept, who's hot. My point to the young quarterback is, if you break the huddle and you're still thinking about those things as you walk to the line of scrimmage, you're about five or six steps behind me and all the other guys, the veteran guys.

When you've run that play, and you've heard that play, and you've conceptually drawn that play up against every protection. You've repped it time and time again in practice, in preseason games, in playoff games, then it becomes second nature to you.

The only way I can explain it to you is if you're a 16-year-old and you just get your driver's license, you're driving down the road for the first time and it's almost like you have blinders on. You don't see oncoming traffic, you don't see a pedestrian in the crosswalk, you don't see the three cars behind you, you don't see what's going on six, seven, eight yards up the road.

You just see the car in front of you and the traffic light, that's all.

Meanwhile, if you're an experienced driver, you see everything. You're able to anticipate. You're able to avoid collisions. That's really the difference. It's experience. It's being a master of your domain. It's being so prepared that the game really slows down.

I can remember late in my career, I could walk up to the line of scrimmage and I could see a corner at 10 yards, and the other one at like eight and a half. I could just see that. I could visually say, "OK, there it is."

You're so far ahead of it.

I think this says alot about Sanchez.

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When Sanchez comes off the field and sits there on the bench with that pout on his face without talking to anyone nor looking at any photos(ya know like a real QB does), it really pisses me off. He isn't engaged in his job. And I'm not sure how someone like that gets better no matter who the OC is. Effing up is one thing; no one is perfect. Not learning anything from it is way worse. granted we don't know what he does in meetings or in practice but based on that one thing,don't see him improving. Because other QBs, the good ones, come off the field and he's talking to a coach or his OL or receivers and he's looking at photos of formations from upstairs. Our QB doesn't do that.

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Well I do too and it's very disturbing. Sanchez won't make it through next season.

It's ridiculous. Let's say his first read, as they break the huddle, is going to be Holmes. He can't tell when it's obvious that Holmes is going to be blanketed and, before he crouches behind Mangold, change his first read to where the coverage seems likely to be the lightest? Brady and Manning and the league's best QB's are masters at this. Instead our QB sticks with Holmes (in this scenario) and doubles-down on it by staring only at him from the snap for a minimum of 3-4 seconds. Then the ball is released and there's about a 7' x 7' area where it's any guess where the ball will end up being thrown to. Is it any wonder Schottenheimer - for all his well-documented faults - called so few plays that take time to develop?

What makes it all the more disturbing is, if you believe Rex and Mangold and Schottenheimer and Tannenbaum, is they claim he spends so much time breaking down film and he still can't identify and correct these things. Sure he'll get better over time, but his growth curve is far too slow considering its starting point. Someone this raw is expected (and needed) to make giant strides, not incremental ones.

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I agree that he'smost likely talkin about Sanchez...now is the problem...that Sanchez doesn't want to learn or the coaching staff has not demanded his attention...and failing to learn, will Rex bench his dumb a$$?

Nice point on the coaching of Mike McCarthy...and we wonder why Flynn is the next hot QB? I liked him a lot coming out of LSU...but coaching does have an impact...

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It's ridiculous. Let's say his first read, as they break the huddle, is going to be Holmes. He can't tell when it's obvious that Holmes is going to be blanketed and, before he crouches behind Mangold, change his first read to where the coverage seems likely to be the lightest? Brady and Manning and the league's best QB's are masters at this. Instead our QB sticks with Holmes (in this scenario) and doubles-down on it by staring only at him from the snap for a minimum of 3-4 seconds. Then the ball is released and there's about a 7' x 7' area where it's any guess where the ball will end up being thrown to. Is it any wonder Schottenheimer - for all his well-documented faults - called so few plays that take time to develop? What makes it all the more disturbing is, if you believe Rex and Mangold and Schottenheimer and Tannenbaum, is they claim he spends so much time breaking down film and he still can't identify and correct these things. Sure he'll get better over time, but his growth curve is far too slow considering its starting point. Someone this raw is expected (and needed) to make giant strides, not incremental ones.

Is this REALLY true when you think about it? Stafford just broke out last year with more favorable conditions (best WR in the game, a dome to throw in) and he was a far more experienced QB coming out of college (and the better overall prospect).

I think if there's a QB who should expected to come along even more slowly than usual it'd be the junior who left college after 13 starts...I realize that only holds up for so long, but that window is still open IMO. Giant strides are entirely possible still, though it's a long shot and not someone anyone should bank on too publicly.

That said....completely agree on most everything else.

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It's ridiculous. Let's say his first read, as they break the huddle, is going to be Holmes. He can't tell when it's obvious that Holmes is going to be blanketed and, before he crouches behind Mangold, change his first read to where the coverage seems likely to be the lightest? Brady and Manning and the league's best QB's are masters at this. Instead our QB sticks with Holmes (in this scenario) and doubles-down on it by staring only at him from the snap for a minimum of 3-4 seconds. Then the ball is released and there's about a 7' x 7' area where it's any guess where the ball will end up being thrown to. Is it any wonder Schottenheimer - for all his well-documented faults - called so few plays that take time to develop?

What makes it all the more disturbing is, if you believe Rex and Mangold and Schottenheimer and Tannenbaum, is they claim he spends so much time breaking down film and he still can't identify and correct these things. Sure he'll get better over time, but his growth curve is far too slow considering its starting point. Someone this raw is expected (and needed) to make giant strides, not incremental ones.

I don't think spending time in film study matters that much. He has keys that he reads and teams are bating him. I believe that Baltimore specifically said that they did that. They know what he is looking for and they fake keys so that he doesn't see what he expected.

As for whether this article is specifically speaking about Sanchez, check the rest of the NFL. This discussion fits Mark, but the rest of the league is full of sh*tty QB play. He is not alone.

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I don't think spending time in film study matters that much. He has keys that he reads and teams are bating him. I believe that Baltimore specifically said that they did that. They know what he is looking for and they fake keys so that he doesn't see what he expected.

As for whether this article is specifically speaking about Sanchez, check the rest of the NFL. This discussion fits Mark, but the rest of the league is full of sh*tty QB play. He is not alone.

It certainly is, but Gannon specifically spent time with Sanchez, not the rest of the league of sh*tty QBs.

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Gannon and Schein's show on Sirius NFL is terrible... I don't have anything much to say beyond that... McCarthy wasn't a great a coach in NO or SF, but he is now with a great QB.. Coaching is important obv, but well overstated imo

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Is this REALLY true when you think about it? Stafford just broke out last year with more favorable conditions (best WR in the game, a dome to throw in) and he was a far more experienced QB coming out of college (and the better overall prospect).

I think if there's a QB who should expected to come along even more slowly than usual it'd be the junior who left college after 13 starts...I realize that only holds up for so long, but that window is still open IMO. Giant strides are entirely possible still, though it's a long shot and not someone anyone should bank on too publicly.

That said....completely agree on most everything else.

Shaun Hill had those same conditions. Somehow he didn't throw for 300 ypg. Maybe there's more to Stafford than just having Calvin Johnson on his team.

And I'm sorry but a year in college does not equal a year in the pro's. Plus Stafford missed 6 games in 2009 and 13 games in 2010.

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Shaun Hill had those same conditions. Somehow he didn't throw for 300 ypg. Maybe there's more to Stafford than just having Calvin Johnson on his team.

And I'm sorry but a year in college does not equal a year in the pro's. Plus Stafford missed 6 games in 2009 and 13 games in 2010.

Surely there's a difference in talent between Hill and Sanchez. Sanchez was a consensus first rounder while Hill went undrafted.

Oh and Stafford is significantly talented and I didn't intend to seem I give all his credit to CJ and the dome. Also i meant college starts...Though yeah, he might have broken out earlier if he stayed healthy...health is a flaw too...some guys get over early career bs while others never do...not quite sucking, but he's a little unreliable in his own way for the Lions.

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Sorry, but how can anyone look at this debacle and not be pessimistic? It wasn't all Schitty, and Schitty isn't the guy with 28 turnovers.

The only thing you can cling to is that Plaxico and Holmes were just so overbearing and toxic toward Sanchez that his confidence was ruined. If someone can get to Sanchez and rebuild that confidence, there's a chance that he gets in a good developmental track. That said, I don't think Rex is interested in waiting for Sanchez to regain his confidence.

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as Shane can attest to, all the season is over and sanchez suks tweets u made thruout the year, comical really

WHat's comical is you talking football

The same guy that predicted the Jets to win the East this year, and the Pats to go to sh1t

Unlike you, 1 poor season is not the final nail in the coffin for me with Mark...I saw enough in 2010 to say the guy has the "it" factor, and am not worried whatsoever that he's the QB for the future for this team.

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WHat's comical is you talking football

The same guy that predicted the Jets to win the East this year, and the Pats to go to sh1t

Unlike you, 1 poor season is not the final nail in the coffin for me with Mark...I saw enough in 2010 to say the guy has the "it" factor, and am not worried whatsoever that he's the QB for the future for this team.

Who do you have in the big game there, Jonny?

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we need captain to make a substantial wager on his beloved Patsies, need the JonEjinx 1 more time

You need to keep up the good work, calling yourself "The Most Hated Jets Fan"....Hahahahahaha Nobody gives a crap about you,,,,hahahahahah

What an old hack you are...Go shovel some snow

Edited by JonEJet
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WHat's comical is you talking football

The same guy that predicted the Jets to win the East this year, and the Pats to go to sh1t

Unlike you, 1 poor season is not the final nail in the coffin for me with Mark...I saw enough in 2010 to say the guy has the "it" factor, and am not worried whatsoever that he's the QB for the future for this team.

the jets would have won afc east if the jets had an average QB! i stand by that prediction, unlike Captain Flipflop

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Sorry, but how can anyone look at this debacle and not be pessimistic? It wasn't all Schitty, and Schitty isn't the guy with 28 turnovers.

I can. I really expected the Jets to take a step back before they stepped forward. I'm surprised they managed to repeat the AFC championship appearance in 2010. I don't blame Schottenheimer for all the turnovers, but I think that an offense actually designed to simply compliment the defense and a few tweaks on the D could result in them being a legit contender. Remember that as late as week 15 the Jets were considered to be in much better shape than the Giants.

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