Paxton Lynch’s decision-making as a reflection of leadership, and points about decision-making and leadership of most young quarterbacks.
All quarterbacks are game managers. Most fans have a negative association with the phrase “game manager,” because the term has been conflated with the notion that a game manager is a player lacking top-shelf skills at the position.
Game management is one of the most vital skills of quarterbacking and, like management in the non-sporting world, it’s a learned behavior that requires layers and layers of experience and continuous learning to develop it. There are a lot of super intelligent, highly skilled, articulate, charismatic leaders in the world who are bad managers because they often got the job based on their individual achievements.
They fail because they don’t know how to put other people in position to do a great job. Most great quarterbacks become great when they learn to delegate.
The way I characterize Lynch reading the field may not be exactly as I describe it: Lynch feels interior pressure from a 2×2 shotgun set, climbs the pocket, flushes left, spots his receivers to the left, pump fakes to give the deeper receiver a chance to work deep, and gets sacked trying to set up for a deep throw.
It’s very possible that Lynch pumps the ball because the slot defender is in his passing lane to the shallow receiver in the flat. At 6-7, I don’t think this was the case for Lynch, but I’m open to the fact that the basis for my analysis in the video below is not true.
Even so, it doesn’t invalidate the broader point of the analysis, which is the primary point of this piece: Quarterbacks must learn to manage situations and balance aggressive, attacking mentalities with the context of the game’s down, distance, field position, and score. Because they had a great blend of practical experience and instruction, some have a better grasp than others. But I don’t expect college quarterbacks to understand this any better than I expected college graduates with little workplace experience to understand the craft of management.
The second video is a look at Lynch in the red zone. The Memphis quarterback does a fine job working with his back to connect on a touchdown in this compressed area of the field, but see why it wouldn’t have worked out in the NFL and what Lynch–and most college passers–has to learn about identification and execution at the next level.
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