Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines 2018 NFL Draft QB Prospect Mason Rudolph and the speed of his recognition-to-action versus coverage.
Processor speed is an incomplete term for what this week’s RSP Boiler Room covers on Rudolph. It’s really about emotional intelligence, which on this play is the combination of recognition and action. The best quarterbacks exhibit an instantaneous recognition-to-action. They’re confident in what they see and their ability to make the play.
The best quarterbacks exhibit an instantaneous recognition-to-action. They’re confident in what they see and their ability to make the play. It’s a lot like a great musician taking a solo and not thinking about what he’s going to play but reacting to what he hears.
This isn’t the simplistic idea that less educated people can have of improvisational or abstract work. They equate abstract art as some elitist conspiracy of the society crowd making an industry out of “work” that they think their kid could finger paint.
A musician playing a solo has mastered his instrument, become thoroughly familiar the form of the music he’s playing, and he has established a rapport with his fellow musicians on a level where he isn’t thinking about technique, chords, scales, and time signatures. He’s just “playing” — interacting with what he experiences in a concise, timely, and creative way.
Great quarterbacking isn’t hesitant. There are no “umm’s” or “uh’s” or awkward pauses. It’s smooth. Even the spaces left between recognition and action are well-timed and fit within the overall story.
This is part of the “NFL Lens” that I use when evaluating quarterback decision-making at the college game. On this play, Rudolph exhibits the correct feel but doesn’t show the confidence to act on it.
He doesn’t make a big mistake on the play, which is a fine result for what he’s doing as a college starter. However, what is considered “covered” in FBS can often be considered an open opportunity in the NFL.
Quarterbacking at the next level can often be summed up with the proverb “He who hesitates is lost.” If Rudolph learns to act more often on what he sees, his potential will grow. This is true of most NFL quarterback prospects, including DeShone Kizer, Mitchell Trubisky, and DeShaun Watson.
It’s still true of many NFL starters. It’s one of the key skills that separates the best from the rest.
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