Dual-threat QBs wave of future in NFL

Athletes replace stand-still statues behind center
Jan. 23, 2013 @ 02:48 PM

Pocket passing is a facet of football, but your NFL quarterback better be able to extend plays with his feet in the coming years.

Most of the accomplished statues who struggle to throw on the move are on their way out: Peyton Manning is 36, Tom Brady turns 36 in August and Drew Brees is 34.

In the future, if your quarterback can’t move his feet and create something out of nothing, the chances of your team hoisting a trophy goes way down.

Because a lot of the defensive ends move like linebackers now, the pocket collapses in micro-seconds.

I love watching Brady, Brees and the Mannings go to work, but I also think they’re part of a dying breed.

These new-wave quarterbacks with the springy legs and make-ya-miss moves can take a franchise from good to great, often overcoming their inexperience with play-making agility.

Playing a rookie quarterback used to be code for “rebuilding year” because they so often looked like a deer in headlights.

Immobile quarterbacks have no choice but to stand there and hope to see a friendly jersey pop open down field. But the dual threat can listen to the alarm clock go off in his head, know it’s time to flee the scene and figure it out on the fly.

When you have an athlete like Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers playing QB, he doesn’t have to take the sack when his first receiver is covered up. Instead, he might tuck it and go untouched on a 56-yard touchdown run — as Kaepernick did in helping San Francisco eliminate Green Bay from the playoffs.

Kaepernick is 6-5, 230 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds. He already has a chance to win a Super Bowl at the age of 25. Kaepernick makes San Francisco a title contender for many years to come.

The Indianapolis Colts were a surprise playoff team this year, thanks to their strapping 6-4, 235-pound rookie quarterback who runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. Andrew Luck fits the mold of the modern-day dual threat who can sling it from a seven-step drop or out-run an end to the edge and keep the chains moving with his legs.

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Luck is 23, and he’s already figured out how to win the NFL. The Colts have a great chance to contend for multiple Super Bowls as long as Luck is there.

The Carolina Panthers also have a 23-year-old stud taking snaps in 6-6, 250-pound Cam Newton, who runs the 40 in 4.58 seconds.

Like Luck, Newton seems to be figuring out how to win in the NFL, and I expect to see him raise a Super Bowl trophy before he retires.

Seattle’s Russell Wilson could also be a Super Bowl champion one day, although his size (5-10, 205 pounds) stacks the odds against him.

Wilson, 24, runs a 4.55 and has shifty moves. He also has all the intangibles to play QB, which is why he led the Seahawks to a playoff win and nearly got them into the NFC championship game as a rookie.

And let’s not forget Robert Griffin III (6-2, 220) in Washington. Griffin, 22, is a speedster (4.41 in the 40), and the Redskins are thrilled with his leadership skills.

Kaepernick, Luck, Newton and Griffin all have the combination of size and athleticism NFL teams are looking for at the QB position.

Because defenses keep getting bigger and faster, the field keeps shrinking for the offense — thus, having a stand-still quarterback is becoming less effective.

Having someone like Kaepernick or Newton, who can turn a perfectly-defended play into a big gain by flipping into tailback-mode when there’s green pasture ahead, gives the offense a much better chance to put points on the board.

If I’m the Giants, Broncos, Patriots or Saints, I ride my precision passer with the cement feet until his arm falls off — but the guy I’m training behind him better be a stud of an athlete, because opposing defenses aren’t getting any slower.