Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room: Leverage-Reading and Processing of QB Davis Mills (Stanford)

Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines a few clips from Stanford quarterback Davis Mills and is reminded of the challenges of the most difficult position in team sports. 

Most people don’t have jobs where they have to possess an insane combination of physical, mental, technical, and intuitive skills with a margin of error that can span less than three seconds. And those who do this job the best actually have the makeup to create a “fudge factor” that can extend that window another second.

As we see with these three plays from Davis Mills, one second can make a huge difference. Mills has a fundamental understanding of how to read the leverage of the defender facing his intended target.

However, not all routes and decisions are this easy—trust and believe that easy is a relative term here. This Smash Concept with a tighter split of its twin receivers raises the difficulty level for reading leverage because Mills has to read the leverage of both defenders and make the correct decision to complete a pass.

And if a quarterback misses his window of opportunity, only the fastest level of processing—that amalgamation of physical, mental, technical, and intuitive—can give him that one-second fudge factor.

The best quarterbacks can do this regardless of whether they are a baker or a chef, as Mark Schofield characterized it (or as Eric Stoner and I have labeled it as task-oriented or creative). They just get there with a different mindset.

I’m referring to the best NFL quarterbacks, which amounts to a collection of people you can count with one hand. That’s the standard that teams hope its first-round picks at the position will live up to.

Tough gig.

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