The latest trend around the NFL has been the Spread Offense. This Offense puts more emphasis on speed over basic and essential passing skills that are needed to excel at the highest level in the NFL. The danger of this craze is that players in this system also lack the necessary footwork that a Quarterback needs to have.
The perfect case study for this would be Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford. In Oklahoma, Bradford succeeded under the spread-based Offense. However, he has learned the hard way that the NFL is a completely different world and that it takes fundamentals and IQ along with the talent to become a complete and well-rounded Quarterback.
I am not here to say that players in the spread offense are not smart. I am just saying that they are not exposed to enough of the mechanics that their position requires.
Now that Bradford is in Chip Kelly’s system, his weaknesses continued to be a red flag in the Monday Night Game versus the Falcons. He rallied the team in the second half, but it was too painfully obvious.
Players like Bradford and others may have the talent, but the lack the throwing mechanics, footwork and the ability to read defenses. This has been a prevalent issue throughout his career. An even bigger example of this would be a player who went from 2nd Overall Pick to 3rd String QB, Robert Griffin III.
RG III excelled at Baylor in this Offense on his way to winning the Heisman. He won NFL Rookie of the Year under this Offense under Coach Mike Shanahan. However, his weaknesses would be exposed once the Offensive Scheme changed to go along with his injury.
Since the Spread has been eliminated, everyone can see his lack of mechanics, pocket footwork, and inability to read defenses properly. He is not a sound drop-back passer by any means at all. Same goes for Bradford and others who have not been able to adjust to the fundamental system of the Pros.
Players like Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton have been able to quiet some of the skeptics. Kaepernick played in a Super Bowl as a spread QB by nature and Newton has managed to lead the Panthers to the playoffs. Marcus Mariota was able to silence some of the doubters on Sunday when he dismantled rival Jameis Winston’s Buccaneers 42-14 in their pro debuts.
However, it is not a system that you build around in the long term. That is the concern of quarterbacks specialists such as Terry Shea of the Eagles, who saw Bradford’s flaws for himself.
Vaughn Resper Jr
Spark Sports NFL Analyst