Why aren’t there enough good Quarterbacks?

It’s the most important position on the football field and the most desirable for players, but a sought-after “franchise quarterback” remains missing for several NFL teams.

The LA Rams made an audacious move for their own starting QB in the draft, giving up a bundle of picks to take Cal’s Jared Goff with the first overall pick, yet he remains on the bench as Case Keenum and the offense continue to test the organisation’s endless patience with coach Jeff Fisher. While it’s unfair to judge Goff yet, the Rams’ reluctance to give him a chance in a failing offense seems ominous.

Similarly, Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting quarterback Blake Bortles came into this season as a contender to have a breakout year, following a 2015 season that saw him throw 35 touchdowns. What happened? Well, depending on who you ask, he either forgot how to throw and/or lost the confidence of the team.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Another first round pick, Andrew Luck, is almost single-handedly keeping the Colts in contention in the AFC South. Derek Carr has shown extraordinary form with the Oakland Raiders, too, displaying excellent poise to lift the team to some nail-biting come-from-behind wins.

However, a franchise quarterback can only develop under the right tutelage and here are some of the reasons why teams are getting it wrong.

Teams are not showing enough patience

We know that first round quarterback picks are exciting, especially for teams who have long missed that key component in their team, but moving from college to the NFL is an enormous transition that has to be managed properly.

Everyone knows of spread offenses in college, but it seems like fans and teams forget just how simple many of these systems are. With the use of signage to indicate plays, offensive coordinators do not need to concern their offense with lineup adjustments – they just show a different sign depending on how the defense reacts.

Compare this to the NFL, where quarterbacks have to deal with disguised blitzes and linemen like Aaron Donald and JJ Watt, who can apply pressure from almost anywhere on the line of scrimmage. Teams study hours and hours of tape to try to identify plays before they happen and work out the preferred tendencies of individual players. It’s a whole different game and, without proper development and patience from coaches, new quarterbacks can completely lose confidence.

For a detailed insight into what it is like under center in the NFL, take a look at this ESPN article featuring Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who comprehensively explains the advancements in defenses. Considering Denver and Seattle’s dominance on defense in recent years, it’s easy to suggest that perhaps quarterback play hasn’t quite adapted yet.

Offensive coordinators can be too stubborn

Even in an era of huge changes in the game, offensive coordinators often find a way of playing and stick to it, especially if it suits their personnel. What is often forgotten is that the quarterback makes it all tick and an offense must be tailored to him first and foremost.

Look at the Dallas Cowboys last season with back-up Matt Cassell. He inherited Tony Romo’s offense and was expected to emulate him 100 per cent. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, he wasn’t able to do it, yet he received a lot of the blame for an offense that disregarded his limitations. With Dak Prescott, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has come up with a system that suits his abilities as a runner out of the pocket and masks his inaccurate passing with short routes, allowing him to release the ball quickly.

Similarly, Russell Wilson thrives in Seattle thanks to his ability to escape from pass rushers. In his first two years. Wilson relied on his legs and the immense power of Marshawn Lynch and defenses struggled to contain them both. It was only last season when the Seahawks passing game properly flourished as Wilson developed fantastic chemistry with Doug Baldwin, who led the league with 14 touchdowns. In the three previous seasons with Wilson at quarterback, his highest total was 5, highlighting how a low-risk, run-first offense can take pressure off QBs and allow them to evolve.

Plus, a new offensive coordinator or a playbook revamp can make a huge impact on form. Matt Ryan was heavily criticised for throwing redzone interceptions last year, but the continued emergence of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman as receivers in the backfield has put the Falcons top of the league for points scored. Matt Stafford is also showing MVP form for the Lions after some great work with OC Jim Bob Cooter.

Unless offensive coordinators exercise patience and see their quarterback as a part of their offense, rather than its saviour, teams will continue to see disappointing play. Even then, playing under center is and always will be the toughest position in football and no matter how long teams persist with the same mediocre play (hi, Jay Cutler!), it’s sometimes best to try again.