Now that we've previewed the AFC and NFC with our good friend Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's "NFL Matchup," it's time to turn our specific attention to a few (mostly young and developmental) quarterbacks. In our latest podcast, Greg gets forensic with some of the league's more intriguing signal-callers. A few highlights:
On Kevin Kolb's struggles: "One of the things you're always concerned about with true spread college quarterbacks, as Kevin Kolb was, is how do they drop back with their footwork in balance, which is totally different when you're dropping back and setting? And how do you function when the pocket gets a little muddied? A lot of spread quarterbacks take the ball, and it's literally a one-step passing game, and the ball comes out. Unless you're going to run that type of offense to that extreme, your quarterback is going to have to drop back from under center and be able to execute. What Ken Whisenhunt wants to do, especially with an offensive line that isn't well-suited to that high-percentage pass game, is to run a bit more of a conventional offense.
"Where Kevin Kolb has run into problems in his entire career, and it's exacerbated now as he's asked to take more snaps as a potential starter, is that he's always struggled with pressure. He tends to drift backward, or he tends to break down. He's not particularly mobile, so his efficiency drops significantly [under pressure]. You asked the question: Can he function in this offense? All you can do is to look at the track record up to this point, and the answer would be, 'I don't really think so.'"
On Matt Flynn's potential: "Flynn is a quarterback with some arm limitations, and therefore, he needs to be manipulated and managed by the offense. The routes. The run game. The things that help a quarterback be efficient. Because of that, Flynn is a four-quarter player. He will never look great in limited action, which is what this preseason is. I went through this past week's game against the Broncos defense very closely, and I thought Flynn played perfectly fine. I thought he threw the ball well -- he made some tight throws that turned out to be incompletions because receivers could not separate against man coverage. One of the incompletions was a great post route to Terrell Owens that should have been a touchdown."
On Russell Wilson: "He's been fortunate through the preseason to have clean pockets and functional space in the pocket. And his throwing ability, which is clearly very good, has come out. Now, if he is to be the starter, and teams game-plan for him, and there's more pressure, that will be the litmus test. Which of course gets back to the reason why there haven't been 5-foot-10 starting quarterbacks in the modern era. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's impossible and can't happen, but history suggests otherwise. You're just pausing for a moment, but it's no knock against Russell Wilson."
On Andrew Luck through two preseason games: "I watched the Steelers game on TV, and then, I watched the tape. I was more impressed after I watched the tape. The Steelers practiced their blitzes, and they're a very good blitzing team. But Luck was very decisive with his reads and throws against a difficult defense. I thought that he was aware, before the snap, of what he was looking at, in terms of the Steelers' alignments. His footwork at the top of his drop was very, very good. He was balanced and ready to deliver. His pocket command and composure was excellent, and his ball location has been outstanding."
On Robert Griffin III through two preseason games: "Griffin played very well in his first preseason game, and in his second game, I thought there were times when he was a little fast. A little frenetic. His offensive line didn't play well, which played into that, but he definitely overreacted at times. And then, you'd see him make a great 16-yard throw to Santana Moss on third-and-3, where he sat on his back foot and drove the ball with great velocity. His ball comes out a little better than Luck's, but we knew that going in. The Shanahans know what they're doing, but I wish I had seen more snaps of Griffin through the first two games."
Greg also discusses Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill, Jake Locker and Philip Rivers. As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link (in iTunes, go to "Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast," and paste this link in: http://ysportspods.podbean.com/category/shutdown/feed/). You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.