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How Do NFL Teams Know When a Young QB is Worth Building Around? (good article)

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https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2019/11/5/20941743/nfl-young-quarterback-evaluation-gardner-minshew-baker-mayfield-mitchell-trubisky

Cool article on the Ringer today at the above link. Basically, after talking to talent evaluators and players, the noticed these three questions recurring as the basis for whether or not a QB is worth keeping and building around. 

This criteria, I would think, should open up some nice discussion about our OWN young QB.

 

1. Is this is a player you can win because of, and not in spite of? This is the portion of the evaluation where guys like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson quickly show that they’re worth a long-term investment. And it’s a question that many quarterbacks—even some who earn lucrative extensions—may never fully answer.

 

2. Do the player’s strengths outnumber his weaknesses? This line of thinking is paramount when considering the futures of QBs like Mayfield and Jameis Winston, whose highs are undeniably attractive, but whose deficiencies still leave doubts at these (admittedly very different) points in their careers.

 

3. Has the player had enough opportunity—with proper scheme, coaching, and personnel—to show whether he is a QB you can consistently compete with? The exact time frame needed to answer this question differed among the folks I spoke with, but the ballpark seemed to be around 45 starts, or about three seasons’ worth. That number dovetails nicely with the practical realities of most young QB contracts. Players on rookie deals can be extended after their third season. First-round picks must have their fifth-year option exercised after that year, as well.

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Awesome post.

#1 will be a question that we're asking for awhile, I think. 

I'm happy to say that #2 seems to be going in a good direction--his accuracy has improved, he can run with the best of them. But we're gonna need him to learn to avoid hits, ball security when running, and refind his touch with the deep balls. He's seemingly made better choices with the ball since Tennessee, no more ridiculous picks.

#3 seems to be the most important point in the article! 45 starts! What are we up to? 18? so we got a long way to go with this yet--also, perhaps an indicator that it's worth holding on to Dabol for another season or 2? Or at least, promoting from within to maintain continuity with guys who know the system and can keep running it?

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9 minutes ago, JohnnyGold said:

Awesome post.

#1 will be a question that we're asking for awhile, I think. 

I'm happy to say that #2 seems to be going in a good direction--his accuracy has improved, he can run with the best of them. But we're gonna need him to learn to avoid hits, ball security when running, and refind his touch with the deep balls. He's seemingly made better choices with the ball since Tennessee, no more ridiculous picks.

#3 seems to be the most important point in the article! 45 starts! What are we up to? 18? so we got a long way to go with this yet--also, perhaps an indicator that it's worth holding on to Dabol for another season or 2? Or at least, promoting from within to maintain continuity with guys who know the system and can keep running it?

 

To your second point, and I have no proof, but my gut tells me if Dabol were to leave for good reasons, Dorsey would be the next OC.

 

But if Dabol is fired, his staff probably goes too.

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10 minutes ago, JohnnyGold said:

Awesome post.

#1 will be a question that we're asking for awhile, I think. 

I'm happy to say that #2 seems to be going in a good direction--his accuracy has improved, he can run with the best of them. But we're gonna need him to learn to avoid hits, ball security when running, and refind his touch with the deep balls. He's seemingly made better choices with the ball since Tennessee, no more ridiculous picks.

#3 seems to be the most important point in the article! 45 starts! What are we up to? 18? so we got a long way to go with this yet--also, perhaps an indicator that it's worth holding on to Dabol for another season or 2? Or at least, promoting from within to maintain continuity with guys who know the system and can keep running it?


#1 is such a complex question. I would argue that there have been games where the Bills won in spite of Josh AND games where they've won because of him. I could easily point to his 4 game-winning drives this season as games that they won because of him, but it could just as easily be countered that a game-winning drive was only necessary in the first place because of his poor play in the previous quarters.

I do think the three benchmarks laid out in the article make sense, though. Clearly, the jury's still out on Allen.

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Good list, and I agree with most of the points.

 

On point #1:  After a QB gets paid (following his 4th or 5th Year), a team cannot afford to surround him with tons of All-Pro talent and a Top 5 Defense.  He needs to be capable of carrying the team to wins without help.


On point #3:  This is a really tough question for many GMs, because each Quarterback is totally different.  While some players prove themselves to be "the guy" early in Year 2, there are some guys who don't hit that point until late in Year 4.  A great example is Drew Brees, who struggled badly early in his career, watched his replacement (Phillip Rivers) get drafted, and then suddenly turned into a Hall of Famer.  I think what teams need to watch for is the plateau.  Each QB starts at a different place, and learns at a different pace.  Which is OK.  But there will be a point when a player simply stops progressing.  At that point, if he hasn't reached #1, you must cut bait and start over.  

 

In terms of Josh Allen, I think most experts would agree he started Year 1 behind most of the other QBs in his class (Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen).  But he seems to have progressed very quickly, caught up and even passed those guys early in Year 2.  He's already made big strides in accuracy and mechanics, and has shown better decision-making over the last 3-4 weeks.  He definitely hasn't reached #1 yet, but we also haven't seen any kind of stagnation is his development.

 

 

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I thought that the criteria was much simpler . Didn’t our resident offensive and and qb gurus say that we just need to see if the qb throws for 300 yards within a few games . If they can’t do it ,  move to next guy .

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I would add a fourth criteria/test: Highs and lows notwithstanding, does the young quarterback show continual improvement and the ability to learn from his mistakes.  That's the one I'm primarily and continually looking for with respect to Josh Allen.

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If the Bills were smart, they’d just consult the legions of armchair GMs on TSW. They already know Allen isn’t worth building around, and the team should move on. This will prevent them from wasting any more time. 

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Allen has a killer mentality that gets the job done when the chips are down so often that it’s hard not to think that #1 is checked... I dunno, I’m sure time will tell; but I don’t think Mitchell Trubisky picks his team up in the 4th quarter like Josh does. 

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3 hours ago, CSBill said:

 

To your second point, and I have no proof, but my gut tells me if Dabol were to leave for good reasons, Dorsey would be the next OC.

 

But if Dabol is fired, his staff probably goes too.

I hope so.

If you (anyone) haven't read the book "Take Your Eye Off the Ball", I highly recommend it.

One part that stuck with me is the explanation for the offseason of an NFL QB, and how it differs from the other players on the roster. The long and short of it is, as soon as the season ends, the QB is working with the coach to pick the playbook for the coming year, which then dictates personnel decisions in both FA and the draft, as well as the progression of install through the minicamps/training camps. The QB is the "coach" on the field, essentially, in that they are an extension of the philosophy of the man designing the offense, which, by extension, is an extension of the man designing the team--which becomes cyclical in nature. Hey--think of the Patriots. It's not simply Brady or Belichick, it's Brady AND Belichick. And it's why they're able to change out every other piece and keep rolling.

How does this apply to Josh? Well, to me, he seems smarter and more mature than Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and honestly, Pat Mahomes. He strikes me as being somewhat witty, which requires a fairly high IQ, ala Manning, Brady, Brees, Rogers. The fact that he seems to still be improving in his craft, with good coaching, tells me he just might be cut out for this. Don't get me wrong, if brains were all that mattered, Fitz would be going on his 15th ring, right? Well, athletic ability matters too, as well as surrounding casts, and luck. Fitz can't make all the throws, but it seems like Josh can. 

Overall, I'm sold on him. I would be comfortable rolling with him for the next decade and a half like Eli Manning, and letting Beane and McDermott steer this ship. With continuity, it feels like the pieces are there where we might get lucky once, twice, or maybe 3 times in that stretch and win a title(s). And honestly, he's a good kid, so he's easy to root for, and I'd rather root for a good guy and win 1 title in 15 years, then continuously convince myself every offseason that the new draft pick or FA signing behind center is the answer and we're just 3 years away.

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2 hours ago, I am the egg man said:

It's a crapshoot trying to figure what college QB is going to be "The One" at the NFL level.

 

Oh totally.  It's even a crapshoot trying to figure out what college QB is going to simply provide an adequate standard of QB play that a good team can win with.

Literally.

 

A few years back I developed sort criteria for the above which would make many TBD'ers pull out their feathers and screech like my neighbor's parrot because of how minimal they seem (but the guy has to hit all 4).  I looked at the NFL draft from 1998 to 2016 so that I'd have at least a couple years data.

 

First round, 34% success rate.  Success was >59% completions, >6.5 YPA, TD/INT ratio >1.5, and floor of 220 ypg.  (again, meet all 4) And while I believe no one would quarrel with my "No" list (OK, maybe 2 names), I think a lot of folks would quibble about with my "Yes" list, so their success rate would be even lower.

 

When we factor in that a successful draftee QB must pass for >300 yds and 3 TDs within his first 18 starts or whatever it is, well, Good Luck with that.

 

 

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4 hours ago, prissythecat said:

I thought that the criteria was much simpler . Didn’t our resident offensive and and qb gurus say that we just need to see if the qb throws for 300 yards within a few games . If they can’t do it ,  move to next guy .

this 🙂

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9 hours ago, prissythecat said:

I thought that the criteria was much simpler . Didn’t our resident offensive and and qb gurus say that we just need to see if the qb throws for 300 yards within a few games . If they can’t do it ,  move to next guy .

 

I know it's amusing to break it all down to just this, but if he's incapable of throwing for 300 yards, he won't be a franchise guy ever. 

 

Sorry, that's just the reality of the NFL today. There's not a single franchise guy that can't do it several times a year minimum. To never be able to do it means there's something seriously lacking in part of his game.

 

Like it or not, that'll have to change at some point or the Bills will be looking for a new QB in a couple years. 

Edited by BigDingus
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2 hours ago, BigDingus said:

 

I know it's amusing to break it all down to just this, but if he's incapable of throwing for 300 yards, he won't be a franchise guy ever. 

 

Sorry, that's just the reality of the NFL today. There's not a single franchise guy that can't do it several times a year minimum. To never be able to do it means there's something seriously lacking in part of his game.

 

Like it or not, that'll have to change at some point or the Bills will be looking for a new QB in a couple years. 

 

I agree. The Bills are good at avoiding games where they need their QB to throw for 300 yards because they have a good defense. But the one time this year they actually got into a game that was starting to get away from them defensively Josh was sub 50%, and threw for 169 yards. That won't get it done. I suspect there will be at least two more games this season that get away from the defense. In one of those Josh needs to put the team on his arm and sling it.

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47 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

I agree. The Bills are good at avoiding games where they need their QB to throw for 300 yards because they have a good defense. But the one time this year they actually got into a game that was starting to get away from them defensively Josh was sub 50%, and threw for 169 yards. That won't get it done. I suspect there will be at least two more games this season that get away from the defense. In one of those Josh needs to put the team on his arm and sling it.


That's a good assessment. It's not always necessary, nor is it the defining characteristic of franchise QB's, but it's an aspect of their game that's certainly there & a trademark of successful QB's.

Looking back at all the "franchise" guys the past decade, which one of these was incapable of throwing for 300+ yards? 

Peyton Manning
Ben Roethlisberger

Aaron Rodgers

Cam Newton

Eli Manning

Drew Brees

Tom Brady

Carson Wentz

Russell Wilson

Patrick Mahomes

Philip Rivers

Jared Goff

Andrew Luck

Matt Ryan

Tony Romo

DeShaun Watson

Joe Flacco

Matthew Stafford

 

I'm not even saying these guys are the best of all time, only they were/are the franchise guys that lead their team & proved capable enough to build around. Not a single one of those guys couldn't do it, even if some didn't do it often. When the time came, their teams could reasonably rely on them to air it out, some with more success than others, but they all could do it nonetheless. 

300+ yard games are often byproducts of a successful passing attack or a QB being able to put the team on his back when the defense needs an assist. Of course it can be a byproduct of playing from behind as well & needing to catch up, but regardless, IT STILL HAPPENS. 

Point being, if you're losing & needing a comeback, the QB may need to air it out to catch you back up. If the Bills defense hasn't kept it close, the Bills might not be able to do that. Just like the Eagles game, you can't slowly run your way back to victory. There's only one option left, and not being able to do it does not equal "franchise guy."

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25 minutes ago, BigDingus said:


That's a good assessment. It's not always necessary, nor is it the defining characteristic of franchise QB's, but it's an aspect of their game that's certainly there & a trademark of successful QB's.

Looking back at all the "franchise" guys the past decade, which one of these was incapable of throwing for 300+ yards? 

Peyton Manning
Ben Roethlisberger

Aaron Rodgers

Cam Newton

Eli Manning

Drew Brees

Tom Brady

Carson Wentz

Russell Wilson

Patrick Mahomes

Philip Rivers

Jared Goff

Andrew Luck

Matt Ryan

Tony Romo

DeShaun Watson

Joe Flacco

Matthew Stafford

 

I'm not even saying these guys are the best of all time, only they were/are the franchise guys that lead their team & proved capable enough to build around. Not a single one of those guys couldn't do it, even if some didn't do it often. When the time came, their teams could reasonably rely on them to air it out, some with more success than others, but they all could do it nonetheless. 

300+ yard games are often byproducts of a successful passing attack or a QB being able to put the team on his back when the defense needs an assist. Of course it can be a byproduct of playing from behind as well & needing to catch up, but regardless, IT STILL HAPPENS. 

Point being, if you're losing & needing a comeback, the QB may need to air it out to catch you back up. If the Bills defense hasn't kept it close, the Bills might not be able to do that. Just like the Eagles game, you can't slowly run your way back to victory. There's only one option left, and not being able to do it does not equal "franchise guy."

Or you could have a QB capable of leading fourth quarter drives to win.  Allen is one of the top ranked fourth quarter QBs this year.

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I thought cybermetrics were supposed to turn the Browns into a world beater. oops

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14 hours ago, Seasons1992 said:

Remember kids..........we could have Trubisky.

or Dalton or tannehill etc.---overpaid avg QBs

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This "300 yards nonsense" is just the worst.

Fantasy Football has ruined football discussion/analysis.

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4 hours ago, oldmanfan said:

Or you could have a QB capable of leading fourth quarter drives to win.  Allen is one of the top ranked fourth quarter QBs this year.

But that’s the catch and where some posters are stuck on Allen.  My thoughts are with better, consistent qb and our really good defense, we don’t need those 4th quarter comebacks.  So maybe Allen is Joe Montana, Mark Sanchez had 9 game winning tds in 2 years with the Jets.  

 

What i I would do as a OC is maybe look at those 4th quarter drives and take something out of them. Maybe go a little more uptempo or spread things out more.

 

I just haven’t seen enough games where it seems like Allen is the major reason we won.  He’s done good things but I would need to see more before declaring him a franchise guy. Luckily, we have a 6-2 and he doesn’t have to win single games single handedly. 

13 minutes ago, Logic said:

This "300 yards nonsense" is just the worst.

Fantasy Football has ruined football discussion/analysis.

I agree it goes a bit overboard. But Bills fans have sub standards for good qb play.

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I 'd like to see them loosen the reins on Allen so he plays more in the first three quarters like he plays in the fourth.  I think the more experience he gets the less amped up he'll get early in games.  It seem to me sometimes he comes out really psyched up and overdoes it, for want of a better way to put it.  Maybe script the first 10-15 plays; as I recall Walsh did that even with Montana?

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