I’m currently reading Bruce Feldman’s newest book called “The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks.” It’s a good book so far with excellent insight into today’s quarterbacks, including some nice tidbits on Aaron Rodgers (and even a few older stories about Brett Favre).
But there is a prevailing theme throughout the book so far that bugs me. The book’s main focus has been on ex-NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer and his work with the Elite 11 quarterback competition. Dilfer seems like an interesting and thoughtful guy, but he really hammers on something he’s labeled as “dude qualities” in quarterbacks.
“Dude qualities” refers to the “it” factor in a quarterback. What is the “it” factor? That’s my problem with Dilfer’s “dude quality” obsession. There’s no way to define “it” factor or “dude quality.” The whole concept seems like something else for athlete trolls like Skip Bayless to harp about instead of an actual concept to truly evaluate how good a quarterback is.
A quarterback seems to get labeled as having “dude qualities” when he achieves a certain level of success. After a couple of big wins or a strong performance during an Elite 11 drill, the quarterback is suddenly viewed as something more than just a good quarterback with a strong, accurate arm, a sense for the game and the work ethic to pull it all together.
It’s often said in the book that a quarterback with “dude qualities” takes over a room when he enters. Ummm…..ok. What does that mean exactly? Typically, everyone wants to hang out with the stud quarterback. Does he take over that room because he fired the winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter? Or because he has some unexplainable “it” factor aura that draws others towards him?
If Aaron Rodgers is the longsnapper instead of the MVP quarterback, would people like Dilfer still marvel at his “dude qualities” and his ability to “take over a room?” Probably not, because Rodgers is the longsnapper. Phrases like “dude qualities” and “it” factor are part of the manufactured narrative that surrounds the discussion of well-known and visible quarterbacks, not obscure longsnappers.
I’m not arguing that personality and certain character traits don’t play a role in quarterbacking. Like with any profession, you want good people doing the job. And certain jobs require people with the personality traits to match the physical talents and mental requirements of the position.
But I feel like all this talk about “dude qualities” and “it” factor is just a distraction, something to make us seem smarter than we actually are when talking quarterbacks. Football isn’t the easiest game to understand and quarterback is one of the more complicated positions in sports. I think we come up with things like “dude quality” and “it” factor to try and simplify it as much as we can. We think we sound smart when we utter those phrases, but in reality, our knowledge is regressing.
Coming up with subjective quarterback qualities might simplify things a bit, but it doesn’t do much to help us understand why certain quarterbacks are better than others.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- What should the Packers do with Tramon Williams? I still think he can play, but he tailed off a bit down the stretch. Is that a sign of age and declining skills? Or just a handful of inevitable plays where a corner whose asked to man-up on talented wide receivers gets beat? Hopefully Ted Thompson and the Packers have a better handle on those questions than I do and make the right decision.
- What was your favorite Brad Jones moment in Green Bay? The Packers released Jones on Friday afternoon. Jones was bad the last two seasons. Very bad. But overall, for a 7th round draft pick, he gave the Packers some decent value in 2009, 2010 and then as a fill-in inside linebacker in 2012.
- Both Richard Rodgers and Davante Adams played better later in the season. Sam Barrington also steadily improved. If you want to get excited about the Packers in 2015, imagine those three players continuing their improvement, and maybe even seeing one of them make a Mike Daniels type of jump from “Hey, this guy is playing better” to “Holy crap! This guy is REALLY good!”
- Ted Thompson spoke at the NFL Combine and said absolutely nothing, per usual (although, he did open and close his remarks with a few good one-liners). McCarthy also spoke and didn’t offer much that we didn’t already know.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
- If you’re unfamiliar with ISIS, what they represent, what they want, and why they’re different from Al Qaeda, read this piece from the Atlantic.
- “Parks and Recreation” is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. Sadly, it’s final episode is Tuesday. The Packers would win the Super Bowl every season if they hired Ron Swanson as head coach.
- The Vikings signed an ex-Packer and the Timberwolves traded for a former star now well past his prime. In other words, it was a typical week in the Minnesota sports scene.
- Oscars predictions: Best picture, “Boyhood.” Best actor: Michael Keaton, “Birdman.” Best actress: Reese Witherspoon, “Wild.” Number of times some dimwitted celebrity will lecture us about a political topic or social cause they know next to nothing about: 8.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .