Matt Waldman’s RSP examines a sample of 2018 NFL Draft prospect Chase Litton’s game management.
Quarterbacks are not CEOs. They don’t determine the vision of the organization. They aren’t ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the company.
Most accurately, they are operations managers that run one of three shifts. They’re the bridge between the middle management of the coaching staff who create the game plan and the front-line employees who execute it.
The best NFL quarterbacks are more like operations directors who have proven that they should have more input into the vision of the day-to-day. Tom Brady with a tape recorder in hand recording missives to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel as he studies film is a good example. So was Peyton Manning’s final say over position coaches instructions to running backs on pass protections or route adjustments.
Although most young NFL quarterbacks won’t remotely earn these roles anytime soon, they still must understand the details of the gameplan and the potential obstacles and opportunities that appear moment-to-moment.
Just as vital, they must know how to speak up in a timely and efficient manner to do something about it. When football fans gushed over Jimmy Garoppolo’s mic’d up segment this fall, they were witnessing competent management of an offense.
While some may take issue with my characterization of Garoppolo’s work as merely competent, let’s give a 26-year-old player with limited professional starting experience some room to grow. After all, we may encourage young adults to pursue leadership opportunities in college but we inherently know that — with notable exceptions — early adulthood leadership experiences at school pale in comparison to the pressures and complications of life outside of campus.
Even so, college quarterbacks who demonstrate the skill to spot potential opportunities before the snap, communicate them efficiently, and execute them effectively deserve credit as promising operations managers. While there’s a lot to like about the physical qualities of Marshall quarterback Chase Litton, it’s the flashes of mental aptitude for the position that caught my eye during my initial viewing of his college career.
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