How Defense And Coaching Factor Into Quarterback Rankings

How Defense And Coaching Factor Into Quarterback Rankings

August 21, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


The quarterbacks who appear in this book who
are the quarterbacks who would be on most lists of the greatest ever virtually all played
on teams with uh with better than average defenses top ten defenses most of their careers
you know Joe Montana uh keeps coming back to Montana but that’s just the way it is with
arguing for the for the greatest agaisnt the greatest Joe Montana played on teams with
better defenses by and large than Tom Brady has played on uh Terry Bradshaw is arguably
has four Super Bowl rings because he played on a team with a great defense Terry Bradshaw’s
job was to hand the ball off to a running back and to not let the defenses god work
go to waste uh uh but for the most part you’re you’re looking I’m looking at people who who
played on offenses that were uh that were supported by great defenses uh maybe to a
lesser extent Peyton Manning’s Colts and and uh Tom Brady’s recent uh New England Patriots
uh other than that uh and and you know you also look at in the current NFL uh the Green
Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers has had great success though he had most of his success with teams
that that did have great defenses he’s now having success with a team that that does
not by any sort of standard have they have a good defense uh you know in the same way
that the Patriots have a good defense they round into form at the right time they’re
anota great defense but for the most part again going back through history you don’t
you just don’t find successful quarterbacks on teams with with lousy defenses you’re always
trying to make up you’re always trying to catch up and how much of a role does coaching
play in this both in terms of quantity and quality I think most if not all of the quarterbacks
you compare him to in the book played under excellent or Hall of Fame coaches right and
that’s the that’s the uh that’s one of the factors that’s sort of hardest to work around
uh rarely in NFL history do you find uh great quarterbacks without great coaches great coaches
without great quarterbacks uh I say that and then I’ll tell you that that’s not true there
certainly have been great coaches who weren’t paired with great quarterbacks and great quarterbacks
who weren’t paired with great coaches we just don’t talk about them because they didn’t
achieve success you have to have both uh one of the criticisms that’s frequently leveled
at Tom Brady is that he’s a system quarterback uh every great well not every great quarterback
most great quarterbacks certainly the best of the best have been system quarterbacks
they’re they bring a lot to the field one of the things they bring to the field and
this was true of Bart Starr was true of Joe Montana certainly true of Tom Brady and we
see it in people like Rodgers and Brees nowadays their their great ability is their ability
to execute or one of their great abilities is their ability to execute their coaches
system they’re system quarterbacks uh you have people Johnny Unitas wasn’t anybody’s
idea of a system quarterback Johnny Unitas went out there and chucked the ball around
and and made things happen because he was a great athlete and a great leader on the
field uh Peyton manning is not a system quarterback uh he’s he is the the coach on the field uh
so he is the great quarterback and the great coach rolled together and you know no insult
to Tony Dungy but uh you sort of have this notion that Tony Dungy is a great defensive
coach who uh whose great offensive accomplishment was looking at Peyton Manning and saying well
you know what you’re doing just go do it uh but more often than not the the the two things
are are inseparable great quarterback great coach uh if you’re gonna achieve a level of
success uh so then you get to start to asking the question of well how much was quarterback
and how much was coach uh it’s hard to tell with Tom Brady because he’s only played under
one coach a little easier with Montana who played under two coaches uh one in San Francisco
and one in Kansas City and had success in both places uh seems to be indicative of the
fact that he could succeed in different systems uh Peyton Manning has now translated his success
from Indianapolis to Denver but again Peyton Manning is ort of doing his own thing uh Bart
Starr is one of the places where you run into some some trouble because Bart Starr didn’t
have a lot of success before Vince Lombardi came along uh and particularly Vince Lombardi’s
system which much like Bill Walsh’s system in San Francisco uh years later was revolutionary
at the time and set up a lot of success Bart Starr also didn’t have a lot of uh success
after he was uh divorced of Lombardi uh there it’s pretty clear it’s and this does not to
my mind take anything away from Starr he was fantastic at executing the system but that’s
a clear case of where coach and quarterback uh needed each other and where the quarterbacks
success is substantially attributable to the coach I don’t know how to I don’t know how
to uh I don’t know how to correct for that with Brady and and I suspect that I never
will have that ability ’cause I don’t think he’s ever playing for another coach This excerpt
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