There’s plenty of derp to go around in this Dennis Dodd piece (I know, I know) responding to this bit of criticism from Bruce Arians about spread option quarterbacks at the next level:
“So many times [in the draft] you’re evaluating a quarterback who has never called a play in the huddle, never used a snap count. They hold up a card on the sideline. He kicks his foot and throws the ball. That ain’t playing quarterback. There’s no leadership involved there.”
Wait, he’s not done.
Spread offense quarterbacks, Arians said, “are light years behind.”
Dodd chastises Arians for his boorishness, saying he should know better. Why? Because Tom Brady plays out of the shotgun… or something.
“I tell everybody I think the new pro-style is the shotgun,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “You can take a sixth-grader and take 10 minutes to take a three-step drop under center. But to take a kid and teach him how to catch and throw a quick game out of the shotgun, now that’s a learned skill.”
Hey, look, this is all really stupid. Dodd coaxes the obvious out of Rodriguez – “To judge the success or lack of success based on what system they’re in … it’s whether they can play or not.” – but Arians doesn’t necessarily disagree with that. He’s just saying that it’s harder for purposes of the draft to evaluate players coming out of systems like Arizona’s.
The real issue here is that spread gurus like Rodriguez and Malzahn, whom we heard extolling Nick Marshall’s quarterbacking skills for any NFL personnel guy listening, want to have it both ways. They want the right quarterbacks to run their systems so they can win at the college level. But they don’t want to scare away talented kids with talk that their systems will be an impediment to playing on Sundays after that.