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View Full Version : Cossel Talks: The Other Quarterbacks of 2012 (Parts 1 and 2)


Von Dumbass
04-18-2012, 11:53 AM
http://nflfilms.nfl.com/2012/04/18/cosell-talks-the-other-quarterbacks-of-2012-part-1/

http://nflfilms.nfl.com/2012/04/18/cosell-talks-the-other-quarterbacks-of-2012-part-2/

http://nflfilms.nfl.com/2012/04/18/cosell-talks-the-other-quarterbacks-of-2012-part-3/

I am often asked how I evaluate college quarterbacks. Remember, there’s only one objective: project and transition to the NFL. On Sundays, quarterbacks must be able to pass the ball against sophisticated defenses designed specifically to challenge them. Passing the ball well demands particular and identifiable attributes. These traits are necessary for all quarterbacks to succeed at the NFL level. There’s no question that different players possess these characteristics in distinctive and varying degrees. The overriding point, however, is consistent play requires a tangible skill set that can be quantified.

Accuracy can be measured. The better term is ball location. It’s the primary factor that determines run after the catch for the receiver. Anticipation can be measured. The ability to pull the trigger before the receiver makes his break can be studied and calculated watching film. You can see it.

Pocket movement can be measured. You can analyze a quarterback’s capacity to move within an area that approximates the size of a boxing ring. The corollary, also quantifiable with film study: maintaining downfield focus while looking for a relatively quiet area to make a throw.


Pocket toughness can be measured. That’s the ability to throw effectively when a collapsing pocket has reduced functional space to deliver the ball comfortably. The willingness to make tight throws into small windows is another essential attribute that can be grasped from careful film evaluation.

Decision making can be measured. Watch enough film, and you understand route combinations and reading progressions based on the alignment of receivers, the defensive front and the coverage. You know where the ball should go within the precise timing of the play’s design. It may be the primary read or a secondary read, but there’s a defined sequence.

This raises another point, an addendum to decision making, but also reflective of the other points previously discussed. If you play the position properly, you will play within structure a large percentage of the time. Improvisation and sandlot play occasionally might look spectacular, but they are random and arbitrary. That’s not the recipe for success in the NFL.

All these traits are visible and discernible on film. They are the subtleties of quarterback play, the nuances demanded at the NFL level. It’s a highly disciplined craft, and the only way consistency over time can be achieved.

This explanation was a prelude to my film evaluations of the second tier of quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft. I have already written about Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Ryan Tannehill. Now it’s time to focus on the consensus next group, a trio that, if recent history is the barometer, could be gone by the end of the second round.

Here are three snapshots of three quarterbacks, each with specific strengths and distinct limitations. Much more can be said, of course, but I placed them in the context of the attributes necessary to play NFL quarterback at a consistently high level. All three will become members of a very large quarterback fraternity of players who need to be coached and managed to maximize the skills they possess. They must be defined and enhanced by the methodology and the concepts of the passing game. That’s the way it works in the NFL.

Kirk Cousins: At Michigan State, Cousins played in an offense that featured NFL route combinations and progression reads. He operated effectively both under center and in the shotgun. At his best, Cousins was a timing and anticipation passer who was quick and decisive with his reads. He was a plant-and-throw quarterback, most effective when he could hit his back foot and deliver the ball on time, in rhythm. He was efficient in the play-action pass game, with the often overlooked ability to get his head around quickly after he turned his back to the defense. As a corollary, he executed well the boot-action game, showing accuracy on the move.

Extensive tape study also illustrated some significant concerns. Immediately evident was his inability to drive the ball at the intermediate and deeper levels. He was a touch passer without much snap to his throws. That must be accompanied by outstanding decision making and precise ball location. Cousins was not as consistent as he needs to be in both areas given his arm-strength limitations. He also needed functional space in the pocket to be efficient. He had a tendency to drift backward in response to pressure. Pocket movement is certainly an attribute he must work on in his transition to the NFL. His struggles in a “muddied” pocket, in the eye of the storm, must be cleaned up for him to become a quality starter.

For Cousins to be successful, he must be managed and manipulated by the schematics of the passing game and the play calling. At this point, and that’s the critical caveat, he’s primarily a pocket passer with neither great size nor the overall skills of a pocket passer. The specific concepts of the pass game and how he’s coached will be the determining factors in his development.

Brock Osweiler: The 6-foot-7 Arizona State prospect is very intriguing. He has a naturally live arm with a lot of velocity on his throws. What jumped out right away, however, was his tendency to overstride when he delivered the ball, especially on intermediate throws. That lowered his arm angle significantly and at times forced him to push the ball, hindering both velocity and accuracy. Can that be fixed? Theoretically, any flaw that’s a function of technique can be corrected with proper coaching, but it must be addressed. You cannot be a quality NFL starter without consistent accuracy; it’s as simple as that.

A couple of positives stood out the more I watched Osweiler. First, he was a confident passer, willing to pull the trigger on tight throws into small windows. There’s always a balance between sticking throws and forcing the ball, but the aggressive mentality to let it loose is a positive as he transitions to the NFL. Secondly, Osweiler showed the courage to look down the gun barrel and make difficult throws in the face of collapsing pressure. That’s a defining attribute of high-level NFL quarterback play.

The bowl loss to Boise State provided a microcosm of Osweiler’s concerns. His pocket command was erratic. At times he was patient and delivered strikes, but in other instances he perceived pressure that was not there and broke down unnecessarily. He locked onto his primary receiver. He was inaccurate on some routine throws.

The raw throwing ability is there, along with the other traits I mentioned. But Osweiler is far from a finished product.

Brandon Weeden: When Weeden has time and functional space to deliver the ball comfortably, he’s the purest and best pocket passer in this draft class. He has outstanding lower-body mechanics; he was balanced with his left knee flexed at the proper angle, and he drove off his back foot with excellent weight transfer and core body torque. He was a short strider, which made him deliver the ball taller than his 6-foot-3. You could make the argument that Weeden was a robotic player, in a positive way. He repeated his fundamentals throw after throw.

He was particularly good on seam throws, and they’re not easy. They require a delicate combination of touch, to get the ball over the underneath defender, and firm but not powerful velocity, to prevent the safety from factoring in to the throw. Weeden made many of those throws. Overall, he threw with a nice balance of touch and velocity, and his ball location was consistently precise. All those attributes translate well to the NFL.

Of course, in the NFL, the ideal scenario of a comfortable, secure pocket does not happen quite as often as quarterbacks would like. You must be able to function effectively in the eye of the storm or you won’t play on Sundays. That’s where Weeden had some problems. The sample was small, given how well he was protected, but it was there nonetheless. When blitzed, Weeden struggled with both recognition and execution. Mentally, there were times he panicked, and physically, he did not exhibit the kind of subtle pocket movement that must be part of a pocket passer’s game in the NFL.

Dave Lane
04-18-2012, 12:12 PM
Part 3

Brandon Weeden: When Weeden has time and functional space to deliver the ball comfortably, he’s the purest and best pocket passer in this draft class. He has outstanding lower-body mechanics; he was balanced with his left knee flexed at the proper angle, and he drove off his back foot with excellent weight transfer and core body torque. He was a short strider, which made him deliver the ball taller than his 6-foot-3. You could make the argument that Weeden was a robotic player, in a positive way. He repeated his fundamentals throw after throw.

He was particularly good on seam throws, and they’re not easy. They require a delicate combination of touch, to get the ball over the underneath defender, and firm but not powerful velocity, to prevent the safety from factoring in to the throw. Weeden made many of those throws. Overall, he threw with a nice balance of touch and velocity, and his ball location was consistently precise. All those attributes translate well to the NFL.

Of course, in the NFL, the ideal scenario of a comfortable, secure pocket does not happen quite as often as quarterbacks would like. You must be able to function effectively in the eye of the storm or you won’t play on Sundays. That’s where Weeden had some problems. The sample was small, given how well he was protected, but it was there nonetheless. When blitzed, Weeden struggled with both recognition and execution. Mentally, there were times he panicked, and physically, he did not exhibit the kind of subtle pocket movement that must be part of a pocket passer’s game in the NFL.

Direckshun
04-18-2012, 12:21 PM
Hates Cousins, likes Osweiler but he has a way to go, and Weeden is the most polished but will need to improve in the face of a rush.

suds79
04-18-2012, 12:37 PM
Surprised Foles hasn't received more run around here. Maybe that's on its way.

Dave Lane
04-18-2012, 01:19 PM
Surprised Foles hasn't received more run around here. Maybe that's on its way.

I watched more tape of Foles and became much less impressed with him. I'm in the Osweiler or Weeden camp if we don't get Tannehill and failing that Lindley or Wilson.

BossChief
04-18-2012, 02:29 PM
If we don't get Tannehill, don't even draft a quarterback this year.

Seriously.

kcbubb
04-18-2012, 02:31 PM
If we don't get Tannehill, don't even draft a quarterback this year.

Seriously.

This, except if we don't get Tannehill after we trade down to the 20's. I don't believe he's worth the #11 pick. A 7th rounder would be acceptable.

Bewbies
04-18-2012, 03:19 PM
LMAO a QB worth 20 is worth 11.

ChiefMojo
04-18-2012, 05:29 PM
I'm higher on Cousins then some. I think his leadership ability, football IQ and general intelligence is going to bring him to new heights once he gets to the NFL. With a quality QB coach like Coach Zorn, I think Cousins can turn into a big time QB. He is more of a game manager but with proper coaching could become special. I see a lot of Tom Brady in Kirk Cousins.

The more film I watch on Cousins, the more he grows on me. I love that he makes quick decisions and if given ample time, he is very accurate. His main weakness from watching film on him is the fact if he gets quick pressure, he steps back from that pressure and throws off his back foot. Proper coaching of stepping up in the pocket will elevate this weakness.

I know Coach Zorn LOVES Cousins!