Having a hard time understanding the narrative against Mac Jones and the athletic QB requirement

UAinAthens

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Every time I listen to some media pundit argue against Jones, the argument starts with the lack of athleticism, and ends with the argument that he has "reached his ceiling" compared to the vast possibilities of the other prospects. The basis always seems to be that if your QB can't beat the other team running they cannot make it in today's NFL.
I thought I must be missing something, as I've been watching the NFL since well before Randall Cunningham first ran around, and while I've always believed that being able to escape was a nice to have ability, I've never believed in the run-first QB.
So I decided to do some research:
While there are a lot of factors beyond just the QB to making and winning a superbowl, some "napkin math" should be able to at least indicate if I'm missing something.
There have been 24 different QB to make the SB since 2000. Of those 24, I would argue that only 5 could be said to include "athleticism" (read as running around either to extend the play an inordinate amount, or taking off to run) as a significant part of their game.

McNabb
Kaepernick
Newton
Wilson
Mahomes

There are others in the list that would be considered more mobile that others, but the remaining 19 are primarily passers. (I would argue that Mahomes and Wilson still lean more to pass than run)

The SB record of these 5 QB is 2-5, with only Wilson and Mahomes winning one each, and both lost one each to Tom Brady.

The SB record of the remaining 19 is 20-15 (Warner won one SB outside of the years listed).

So the evidence, at least at the SB level, doesn't match the narrative. You would expect a higher number of running SB QB and a better record. If the NFL is "shifting" to running QB, you'd expect this list to be more current, but in fact only Mahommes has been in the SB in the last 5 years.

And then the argument regarding ceiling doesn't make any more sense. It is true that MJ isn't as fast or as strong as some of the others, but if arm strength was the only measure of success, Jamarcus Russell would be in the HOF.

Obviously there is a lot of speculation in what a prospect will become. What I don't understand is the idea that MJ cannot get better. Maybe the right comp is Matt Ryan, but if I was going to say what is in the realm of possible, I'd look for another comp based on brains and competitive nature.

For a potential of the best he could be, there are two other QB I would use, if I based my measure on brains, processing ability and a notable lack of ability to take off and run. If Sunshine is supposed to be the next Andrew Luck (what exactly did AL accomplish), and Justin Fields is the next Deshaun Watson (same), why couldn't MJ be the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. The pundits seem to offer up unobtainable expectations for the ceilings of the first two, but supposedly MJ is what he is and isn't going to get any better.

My point isn't that MJ is a HOF player before he takes the first NFL snap. I just continue to remain confused as to why the fact you can run fast and throw hard you must be destined for greatness, while evidence would show that brains and moxie seem to have better history.
 

CullmanTide

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I know quite a few "athletic" people and not one of them can do what Mac does. If anyone doesn't think it requires special ability to play quarterback at that high a level, they are mistaken.
 

CoachJeff

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If you don't think that Aaron Rodgers is athletic and can extend plays with his feet I don't know what to tell you. It is an important part of his game. He's not much of a runner but he can move around plenty.

 

81usaf92

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If you don't think that Aaron Rodgers is athletic and can extend plays with his feet I don't know what to tell you. It is an important part of his game. He's not much of a runner but he can move around plenty.

Well it’s also a huge detriment to him as well. How many season ending injuries has he had compared to Brady or Manning? Rodgers is starting to figure out what Roethlisberger refused to for years, and it is when you hit 30 you start to break more often.

Brady’s footwork is a lot more effective than Rodgers footwork in the long run.
 

UAinAthens

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If you don't think that Aaron Rodgers is athletic and can extend plays with his feet I don't know what to tell you. It is an important part of his game. He's not much of a runner but he can move around plenty.

I wasn't saying he isn't, nor that he cannot extend plays. BUT, the point of my argument was QB that had running as a SIGNIFICANT part of their game. MJ can move around. He's not Dan Fouts or Marino. He may not be as mobile as Rodgers, but he can move.

My point was related to the comparison to Fields and Lance. I'm not even arguing that either of those two won't be good QB. My point is that the pundits argue that if you aren't a running back playing QB you can no longer succeed in the NFL, and the data just doesn't support that.

I also was arguing that it is a false argument that the ceiling on a less mobile QB is Matt Ryan. That is also not supported by data. There have been some extremely good QB, including the best ever, that were not considered mobile. Again, not arguing MJ will be that good, just that it isn't impossible.
 

UAinAthens

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My point exactly. I know all of this is going to be as much about circumstance and opportunity as it is about each one's ability, but it just seems that the so called experts continue to focus on the wrong things. I often wonder how much is actual opinion and how much is a producer in their hear telling them to create controversy to get attention.
 

davefrat

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it also seems that the pundits focus on scrambling as opposed to efficient movement in the pocket.

Mac isn't a scrambler, but he has great footwork in the pocket.

all the "athletic" criticism seems more like they're looking for something to hammer him for than anything of real substance.

is he the athlete that Mahomes is?...no.

does that really matter all that much?...no.

you'd think from some of the criticism he's received that he moves around like a 60 year old in need of a hip replacement.
 

CoachJeff

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Mac is an average athlete. Plenty of very good QBs are the same. His ceiling is limited by that, but it doesn't really matter. He could be as good as Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, etc. That's pretty good company. His success will, like most QBs, be determined by his situation. If he goes somewhere with a great defensive mind and offense that gives him easy passes he could win multiple Super Bowls. If he goes somewhere else he could wash out of the league in 3 years. No one really knows. I think he'd be better off in San Fran than anywhere else.
 

jthomas666

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"athleticism", as these pundits are defining it, is a measurable. Mac's measurable may not be anything special, but all of the QB traits that you can't measure --reading defenses, going through progressions, etc., are, IMO, off the charts.

There was one time late in the season after Smitty made yet another TD catch, when Gary Danielson commented something like, "This is hardly the first time I've said this about Jones, and it won't be the last...but that was a perfectly thrown ball."
 

Bama9001

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Brady moved and found the open receivers. Mahomes opportunity to hit the open receivers evaporated while he was 'creating' with his legs. Go back and watch the last super bowl again. Watch the replays. The opportunities were there, and missed, while Mahomes was entertaining us with his scrambling ability.

The 'mobile' QB thing is as much about entertainment value as it is about winning. The NFL really is about entertainment and money.

Very good analysis from the OP...thanks. I'd like to see one on longevity and which type of QB ends up being a better value, long term. Cam Newton may be the most athletic QB ever but when's the last time he took a snap with anything meaningful on the line.
 

4Q Basket Case

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I think a couple of things are in play here.

First, there is an undeniable tendency of media types to nitpick Alabama athletes, as if emphasizing their weaknesses will somehow make the talking head more astute and discerning.

Second, what Mac does exceptionally well — read defenses, process information, buy time by moving in the pocket, throw incredibly accurate passes, and lead by example — doesn’t make for spectacular replays.

In fact, you could make the case that he’s so accurate that he makes it look easy. IOW, there are very few spectacular catches / highlight moments because the ball always hits the receiver in stride.

And then there’s the possibility that a team or teams are putting out misinformation in the hope that he falls to them.

Cry no tears for Mac, though. Come Thursday, he will be a wealthy man.
 
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crimsonaudio

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Go back and watch the last super bowl again. Watch the replays. The opportunities were there, and missed, while Mahomes was entertaining us with his scrambling ability.
Missing both starting tackles while playing against the best front seven in the NFL in 2020 also played a (massive) role.

Mahomes really is a good (potentially great) QB - and you're correct that players like him tend to bail on the pocket more quickly as they can generally make plays with their legs. But the Bucs were built to beat a team like KC last season and when their OL got hammered, the writing was on the wall.
 
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DzynKingRTR

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I think a couple of things are in play here.

First, there is an undeniable tendency of media types to nitpick Alabama athletes, as if emphasizing their weaknesses will somehow make the talking head more astute and discerning.

Second, what Mac does exceptionally well — read defenses, process information, lead, and buy time by moving in the pocket — don‘t make for spectacular replays.

And then there’s the possibility that a team or teams are putting out misinformation so that he falls to them.

Cry no tears for Mac, though. Come Thursday, he will be a wealthy man.
Plus as I have mentioned there is a lot of BS talk, especially this week from GM's that want players to fall down the draft to them. There was one out there today that said Barmore was "uncoachable".
 

Bama9001

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Plus as I have mentioned there is a lot of BS talk, especially this week from GM's that want players to fall down the draft to them. There was one out there today that said Barmore was "uncoachable".
I read that he only started 6 games in his Bama career. Why? He didn't play a single snap as a freshman. Why? He's the one guy we have in the draft that I just don't know what to make of. If I was a GM I'd want him, and even pay him what a first rate DT makes, but it wouldn't be guaranteed, up front money.

I can see Barmore tearing up the NFL for the next 6-8 years. I can also see him going on permanent vacation if he gets a large guaranteed paycheck. Hopefully he really is the guy we saw the last half of his last year. The sample size is just so small.
 
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