Offensive Coordinators Vs. Defensive Coordinators–QB Preferences

This MMQB.com discussion about Colin Kaepernick raised an interesting issue–namely, the different preferences that offensive coordinators (OC) and defensive coordinators (DC) have with regard to QBs. Benoit says he asked about a dozen well-known DCs, who they preferred to face: Peyton Manning or Colin Kaepernick (and I assume this was when both were doing well). He said a vast majority chose Manning, which seems shocking. On the other hand, my guess is that if you ask OCs which QB they’d want for their offense, the vast majority would choose Manning. What’s going on here? What does this say about OCs and DCs? I’ll share my thoughts on this in this post.

Coaches Like Predictability and Hate Unpredictability

What’s going on here, in my opinion, involve predictability–coaches have a strong preference for it. OCs want a QB that will paint by the numbers, so to speak, versus improvise. Similarly, DCs prefer facing a predictable QB because they are easier to prepare for. Preparing for a sandlot QB is very limited. My guess is that coaches feel helpless because of it–and they hate that. It makes complete sense to me. Coaches–maybe especially football coaches–are about preparation and control. Coaches have a lot of control over preparing their teams–it’s really the heart of what they do. Facing an opponent that is difficult, if not impossible to prepare for, is unsettling.

This is why head coaches who were former DCs like the sandlot QBs (or at least that’s my sense). They know how hard it is to prepare for these QBs–so they want to have that advantage. However, I must say that I think the DC HCs overrate this advantage. In my opinion, a really good pocket QB is that is largely immobile is far superior to a great mobile QB that is shaky in he pocket. It’s not even close in my view. (The right offense could create an exception for this, but in general I stick by this claim.)

Now, I should qualify these remarks by saying that I’m assuming better pocket QBs have better ball security. If that’s not the case in a specific comparison, then would change my position. That is, I’d favor the QB with better ball security, no matter what style they played. That brings me to the last point.

The Unicorn of QBs

If you could have a mobile QB who could also play from the pocket (and protect the football), that would be the ideal. Steve Young (although I don’t think of him as a scrambler) or John Elway come to mind. Russell Wilson might be better than both, at least in terms of merging all of these features into one package. (Actually, no–I think Aaron Rodgers is better than Wilson with regard to merging these qualities.) The thing is, these type of QBs are extremely rare. The improvising QBs often don’t protect the ball as well, and the pocket QBs aren’t as good at improvising–not in terms of scrambling to extend the play. Because of this, I think it’s almost always better to opt for the pocket QB (although it’s not like those QBs grow on trees, either.)

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