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The Perfect Quarterback

Updated on July 30, 2014

Don't Worry. It's not JaMarcus Russell


Why test Sherman?! Seriously!?


Football intelligence is tough.
It's something that you either have or you don't have.
The ability to read defenses, study mannerisms, adjust the play type, receiving routes, offensive line formations, and all within the brief period before you snap the ball.
It's insane. Some guys just don't have it, despite all the god given physical ability in the world.

QB with the best NFL IQ- Is there really a question? It's Peyton Manning. He's been calling the offensive plays for his teams for over 10 years on his way to 4 MVPs and 3 Super Bowl appearances. Forget John Fox, Screw Jim Caldwell, it's all about #18.
QB with the worst NFL IQ- Colin Kaepernick doesn't do a whole lot for his team from a mental standpoint. He doesn't call audibles, he doesn't have a complicated passing offense, and he relies almost completely on his legs.

How long was that in the air?

What went wrong?

Arm Strength

Many people will argue that arm strength isn't important in the modern day NFL, and to an extent, I agree with them.
On one hand, Joe Montana didn't have an incredible arm. Drew Brees doesn't blow anybody away with his rare deep passes. Hell, Peyton Manning's arm is far from what it once was and he threw 55 touchdowns last year!
And on the other, Kyle Boller, Jeff George, and Jamarcus Russell have had some of the most impressive arms and least impressive careers in recent memory.
So does having a big arm help? It can, but it's not enough to put you into the "elite quarterback" conversation.
However, it really does help. There's a certain velocity and distance that you have to be able to pull off to really lead a team.
If the other team finds out that you can't throw a ball past twenty yards, they will beat up your receivers on the line and wait for you to toss up a duck.

QB with the best arm in the NFL- I'd probably say that Joe Flacco can sling it the farthest of the starting QBs.
QB with the worst arm in the NFL- Of the established starters, I'm gonna stick with Peyton. He just doesn't have the "lazer-rocket arm" that he once bragged about. He relies on the system and his own football genius to move the ball.

That play vs New England? Damn.

Oh god. Oh jeez. C'mon Peyt.


There are different kinds of mobility.
The average fan probably immediately thinks of the scrambling kind of mobility.
You think of RG3, Colin Kaepernick, or Cam Newton. The guys who would rather run than sit in the pocket and make a play happen.
That does count, but I'm talking about mobility in the pocket.
I'm taking about a guy who can move around in the pocket and extend the play.
Cornerbacks have an impossible job.
They have to shut down a player from getting any separation without knowing what route that person is going to run.
Imagine that pressure. Imagine having to run as fast as you can, trying to prevent somebody from getting any separation for a few seconds a dozen times a game.
A QB that can make the play last a few seconds longer? Is going to see more open receivers.

QB with the best feet in the NFL- Russell Wilson hands down. While you might think that I'm contradicting what I just said about scrambling QBs, Wilson is different. He's very elusive in the pocket and manages to extend the play longer than anybody I've ever seen.
QB with the worst feet in the NFL- Peyton Manning is now. He didn't used to be. When he came out of college, he was actually a solid athlete, but unfortunately, the option QB didn't have a home in the NFL in the late 90's.

Rodgers Ball Placement.



Obviously, this can't be undervalued.
It doesn't matter if your QB is a genius and can throw a 70 yard bomb, if it doesn't go where he wants it, he might as well get to coaching.
The ability to put the ball where only the receiver can get it and with enough touch that he can easily haul it in is something that is so hard to find by studying college film because of poor corner play.

QB with the best touch in the NFL- Easily Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers has fit the ball in windows so small, you didn't even know that they were open. This, mingled with his physical gifts, is what makes him an elite QB.
QB with the worst touch in the NFL- IMO, it's Carson Palmer. He shows off that great arm and has an understanding of the offenses he runs, but his ball placement is rarely on target. Hence- That game that the Cardinals somehow won against the Seahawks.

It was this or the high-5 video

"Suggestion Box"


This is what separates the game managers from the elite passers.
The intangibles.
Does he come up big in the clutch?
Does he fire the team up when they need to be?
Do you associate him with the franchise?
Does he get back up after he gets slammed?
Does he lose his mind after an interception?

More rare than touch, harder to find than intelligence, it's impossible to scout or teach intangibles.
But at the end of the day, it becomes pretty obvious.

QB with the most prominent intangibles in the NFL- Tom Brady. Is there a question? He brought his terrible Patriot team to the AFC Championship this year, and has been filmed throwing a fit on multiple occasions. If Brady were to leave the Patriots, they would immediately sink to the bottom of the division.
QB with the least prominent intangibles in the NFL- Cam Newton. Despite having some pretty stats, the guy doesn't really elevate the Panthers offense and he is just terrible in interviews. If you replaced him with RG3 or Colin Kaepernick, I don't know that the Panthers wouldn't be a little better.

The Closest Thing We've Got...

Andrew Luck.
The kid has it all.
Intelligence- He graduated from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in architectural design, and despite playing with some questionable talent, he was able to move receivers around and torch the infamous "Legion of Boom."

Arm Strength- While not known for his arm, Luck has proven on multiple occasions in college and in the pros that he can make any throw. He can't throw the ball 70 yards, but honestly... when do you ever have that kind of time in the pocket?

Mobility- Luck ran a 4.5 40 time coming out of college, and it's translated into the pros. He averages about 5 yards per carry and has found the endzone on his feet 9 times over two years. The term "deceptively fast" isn't a fair fit on Luck. Just because he's a talented passer, that doesn't mean that he should automatically be slow.

Accuracy/Touch- Just watch the attached highlight reels and pay attention to the area around your jaw region. The way this kid places the ball is unreal.

Intangibles- Imagine this. You start dating somebody, and they're amazing. You're crazy about them, they're crazy about you. You're really happy. Now imagine that one night, you have to go to dinner with them and the ex that they were with for 13 years. The ex that people constantly compare you to and that you suspect their parent likes better.
Yeah, that's what Andrew Luck had to do when Peyton Manning and the Broncos came to town last year.
And not only did he handle himself better than we would've, he won the freaking game. Convincingly.


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    • Ryan Daniel Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ryan Smith 

      4 years ago

      Thank you very much Mr. Bartz.

    • Sam Bartz profile image

      Sam Bartz 

      4 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Great article. Nice job.


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