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Old 03-19-2008, 08:00 AM  
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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What the Hell is a "System QB" and why is it bad to be one?

I just saw this in another thread (Ryan's Pro Day workout at BC) and it brought to mind why this phrase gets tossed around all the time as some kind of insult. As I understand it, "He's just a system QB" is generally thrown out there to say that a QB looks better than he really is, presumably because the "system" that he is in MAKES him look better. In other words, it's not the QB that is good/great, it's the system.

This entire concept makes NO sense to me. EVERY QB, especially in the NFL, plays in a fantastically complicated offensive "system" that is DESIGNED to make him look good. Coaches and players spend hundreds of hours every week (combined) analyzing weaknesses in the opposing defense and trying to adapt their "system" and plays to take advantage of the weaknesses.

The only way this makes any sense is to suggest that a system QB isn't as good as a "non-system" QB in the sense that when the play breaks down, the QB can't improvise. In other words, he's not a Favre or Elway.

The severe problem with this statement is that there are very, very few Favre's or Elways. If by "system QB" you mean that he's not a highly athletic runner who also has a shotgun, accurate arm and is one of the top 10 QBs in history, then that's no insult at all. It applies to 99.9% of the quarterbacks in NFL history.

I note, also, that if this is what you mean by "system QB", then Marino, Brady, Manning, Fouts, and god-knows how many other awesome QBs who couldn't run well are also "just system QBs" and therefore subject to insult.

I don't get it. Am I missing something?

I honestly would like to see this phrase disappear from NFL-fan lexicon. It's worthless as a statement.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:03 AM   #2
vailpass vailpass is offline
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Good analysis, I agree with the way you define 'system QB'. I'd add Montana to that list, he was definetely a system QB. Things didn't turn out to bad for that little guy.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:07 AM   #3
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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I also note that "non-system" guys might be freelancers like Michael Vick, Kordell Stewart and a number of other guys who think that the play call is more of a suggestion than anything else.

And those QBs tend to suck at the NFL level because the defenses are too disciplined for all that freelance stuff to work consistently. SOMETIMES it turns out great, but soemtimes it's a disaster, and/or your QB gets blown up.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:09 AM   #4
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The few great ones are more that "system QBs"

Farve, Elgay, Montana, ....


the rest are just good system QBs. If they adapt and move around in enough systems they can get to the next level maybe.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
I also note that "non-system" guys might be freelancers like Michael Vick, Kordell Stewart and a number of other guys who think that the play call is more of a suggestion than anything else.

And those QBs tend to suck at the NFL level because the defenses are too disciplined for all that freelance stuff to work consistently. SOMETIMES it turns out great, but soemtimes it's a disaster, and/or your QB gets blown up.
Yep. Another way to say 'system QB' might be 'QB who knows the offense front and back and can run the team accordingly'.
Vick et al don't have what it takes to go outside the system.
If you are going to go off script and improvise you had better be damn good, Marlon Brando good, or you mess the whole scene up.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by StcChief View Post
The few great ones are more that "system QBs"

Farve, Elgay, Montana, ....


the rest are just good system QBs. If they adapt and move around in enough systems they can get to the next level maybe.
I respectfully disagree with you about Montana.
Montana was every inch a system QB. If he would have lived outside the play, outside the pocket, where Elway and Favre regularly played little Joe would have been killed. He had neither the arm nor the body for it.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StcChief View Post
The few great ones are more that "system QBs"

Farve, Elgay, Montana, ....


the rest are just good system QBs. If they adapt and move around in enough systems they can get to the next level maybe.
So Marino, Manning and Brady are "just good system QBs"?

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Old 03-19-2008, 08:12 AM   #8
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vailpass View Post
Montana was every inch a system QB. If he would have lived outside the play, outside the pocket, where Elway and Favre regularly played little Joe would have been killed. He had neither the arm nor the body for it.

His success was primarily in the West Coast Offense which was patterned on very precise timing.

So unless someone here wants to tell Vailpass and I that Hall of Fame Coach WALSH!! didn't have a very advanced system....
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:16 AM   #9
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I've always defined system QBs as guys who put up ridiculous stats in a wide-open, pass-happy system but are easily replaceable by other guys that can put up the same stats. Thus, they get undeserved hype based on their stats, and most of the time they underperform in an NFL pro offense.

System QBs that come to mind right now are Hawaii QBs (Colt Brennan, Timmy Chang), Tedford QBs (Kyle Boller, Aaron Rodgers, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith), and Spurrier QBs (Rex Grossman, Danny Wuerffel).
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eazyb81 View Post
I've always defined system QBs as guys who put up ridiculous stats in a wide-open, pass-happy system but are easily replaceable by other guys that can put up the same stats. Thus, they get undeserved hype based on their stats, and most of the time they underperform in an NFL pro offense.

System QBs that come to mind right now are Hawaii QBs (Colt Brennan, Timmy Chang), Tedford QBs (Kyle Boller, Aaron Rodgers, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith), and Spurrier QBs (Rex Grossman, Danny Wuerffel).
And Chase Daniel.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StcChief View Post
The few great ones are more that "system QBs"

Farve, Elgay, Montana, ....


the rest are just good system QBs. If they adapt and move around in enough systems they can get to the next level maybe.
Montana was the poster boy for the System QB.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:26 AM   #12
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Montana was the poster boy for the System QB.
Complete horse shit.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:28 AM   #13
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eazyb81 View Post
I've always defined system QBs as guys who put up ridiculous stats in a wide-open, pass-happy system but are easily replaceable by other guys that can put up the same stats. Thus, they get undeserved hype based on their stats, and most of the time they underperform in an NFL pro offense.

System QBs that come to mind right now are Hawaii QBs (Colt Brennan, Timmy Chang), Tedford QBs (Kyle Boller, Aaron Rodgers, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith), and Spurrier QBs (Rex Grossman, Danny Wuerffel).
This definition would make much more sense to me. College QBs who put up absurd stats based on a run-and-shoot or other wide-open system in the NFL that won't translate well to the NFL.

But by definition, you couldn't use that label on an NFL QB because no NFL team runs such a system. Adn yet I've seen that label applied to Tom Brady nad other NFL QBs.

If your definition was used by everyone, I'd have no problem with it.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:36 AM   #14
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And Chase Daniel.
That's funny.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:43 AM   #15
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All great QBs are system QBs. Nobody plays on an island and, in football, nobody can really "take a team on his shoulders." It's a nice sentiment to hear, but the reality is that every star is the product of the team around him, and QBs fit that bill more than anybody else. Success is a combination of a line blocking for him, most often a back providing some kind of threat to keep defenses honest, receivers capable of getting open and then catching the pass when they do, and an offense that takes advantage of his singular strengths while mitigating whatever weaknesses he may have in his game (and they all have weaknesses, make no mistake...). If he doesn't have all of that, any QB is going to fail.

That's why football is such a great game. It's as "team" a contest as you'll find in sports.
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