Rookie Scouting Portfolio writer Mark Schofield shares a play of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s that reveals skills not commonly attributed to him but is a vital part of quarterbacking.
A quarterback has to wear many hats on the field, and off. He has to be a general — a leader, who inspires those around him to raise their level of play so that the organization can achieve their ultimate goals.
He needs to be a computer, who can intake and process external information and make immediate, snap decisions all while large men are trying to cause him bodily harm. He needs to be a CEO, serving as the face of the organization off the field — putting the team in the best possible light. He also needs to be an athlete who can extend plays with his feet and legs and contort his body as necessary to make throws in and out of the pocket.
And sometimes, he needs to be an actor.
Beating coverage sometimes comes down to whether the quarterback can influence a particular defender to give up on his assignment, to forgo everything his coaches have told him, and to move out of place. Whether it is done with a pump fake, a turn of the eyes, or a subtle movement of the shoulders, when a quarterback influences a defender out of position he puts the defense in danger and creates an opportunity for a huge play for his team.
Here is Matthew Stafford using “full body manipulation” at the quarterback position to accomplish this objective:
Full body manipulation starring Matthew Stafford: pic.twitter.com/S42Cv7D2cJ
— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) May 15, 2018
Stafford makes for a fascinating evaluation at the quarterback position. The focus on him is often in the “gunslinger, arm talent” vein but it is important to take a step back and illustrate plays like this where Stafford seems to step out from that box and show that he can do things on the football field well outside of that role.
Manipulating defenders is a trait that QBs need to possess as they develop in college and into the professional game, and it is important to identify this in college passers. In a recent RSP Film Room on Jarrett Stidham, we identified Stidham’s ability to manipulate and influence defenders. Watch for more plays like this from both Stidham, and Stafford, as the 2018 season unfolds.
Each move sets up the next while forcing the opponent to overreact throughout. Like wide receiver play, pass-rushing is story-telling and this rush from beginning to end is an ungodly tale of lies.
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