Originally Posted by desi-patsfan
...... Johnson is a savvy veteran and just used the tools around him.
Well, you have probably identified a key aspect of QB style and in particular, Culpepper, and which is probably very pertinent as part of the answer that Keegs posed.
QBs that are 'loose' in the pocket, like Culpepper, are a double-edged sword. There are significant positives but also very signficant subtle negatives.
The positives tend to be flashy and obvious to most folks watching and tend to be overemphasized by the pundits. (A similar dynamic applies to other positions - Freeney comes to mind .... but that's another thread) Those positives are when the QB comes loose from the pocket and either is able to buy enough time to make a spectacular pass or runs for the first down. Certainly making first downs is the name of the game and such plays are of significant value - no question.
But you can see the subtle negatives if you watch thoughtfully. How does the OL block for a QB that is loose in the pocket ?? Tactics that work great for QBs that stay in a tight pocket, like blocking the DE outside and finally pushing him back behind the QB might actually block him into the path of the QB if the QB is sliding sideways. The tackle simply doesn't have an idea of where to block the end to keep him away from the QB. The best tactic is, of course, for the DE to block like he would if the QB is staying in the pocket and it's the QBs problem if he moves into the path of the DE. But the problem is that the situation works subtly on the minds of the tackles. Why do you want to put maximum effort on blocking if it might be wasted when the QB slides to the other side. Or even if you give maximum effort, that may be pushing the DE right at the QB if the QB is sliding to that side. So you get some uncertainty and possible lack of maximum effort blocking. It's very different when you have a strict pocket passer because what constitutes success in blocking is well defined and can be worked on. The QBs who can sense how to make small moves (not major loose moves) in the pocket add to the success of that kind of OL pass blocking (Tom Brady is a premier example of this). If it's bad for the OL, it's worse for a TE in motion to block or a back kept in to block. They have to have their eyes forward and can't know where the QB is so the only block left to them that is always good is a standup-stopdead block against a DL or LB that has penetrated. Good luck with that kind of block. They have no idea if they wanted to block to one side which side to block to.
The same uncertainty exists for the receivers also. If the QB is loose, chances are he is not always set up to hit the receiver on his initial break in the pattern. And what is the long term reward for a receiver to work on precise pattern running when he's probably not going to get the ball on a great pattern run much of the time. So, over time, what you get are receivers that are going thru the motion on patterns without top effort because they expect to have to scramble at the end anyway. DBs are able to recover to the receivers a lot of the time and maintain closer coverage when a receiver is scrambling and looking back to see when the QB might be throwing to him. The interesting exception to this would be a Randy Moss who is so egotistical that he isn't going to change his routes because of the QB. It's up to the QB to adapt to him. And with Randy Moss, he is a viable target for a LONGER period of time than most receivers because if he is tightly covered because of longer time before the QB gets the pass off, he will still win most balls; and if he is flying long, he is open for a longer extended period of time on the fly pattern. This works really WELL for a QB like Culpepper because even if he needs more time because of being loose in the pocket, he is also pretty good at staying free. The flip side of the coin is the situation when Moss was gone. While the receivers may have been very decent receivers, none of them were 'go-to' guys where they could win contested balls like Moss could or could run long fly patterns beating the DB. Moss still attempted the passes but with a higher probability of interception or pass defensed.
The interesting issue to consider is - ? - how will Culpepper's style fit in with Saban's preferences for coaching and execution ??
(I think fans and even, surprisingly, the media (actually maybe not much of a surprise), don't pay anywhere enough attention to the meshing of the QB and the coach. Even if a QB is (hyped) considered to be a top QB, if his style doesn't mesh with the type of execution of the offense that the coach believes in and wants to coach to, the mismatch will cause a dichotomy of solid wins and headscratching misfire losses. An interesting example might be Belichick and Bernie Kosar. Also it's obvious that pedestrian QBs who will work effectively within a coach's scheme can be very successful even tho not highly hyped. Example might be Sims with Parcells.)
So back to Saban and Culpepper. If Saban has any flavor of being a 'Belichick' clone, he's going to want methodical, consistent, and predictable offense. I seriously doubt whether Belichick would ever use a QB like Culpepper. It will be interesting to see whether Culpepper and Saban can mesh. My bet is no - it's just a matter of how long Saban will try and my guess is that the Dolphins will be a somewhat erratic team while that is going on. Sorry Dolphin fans. There is going to be a lot of head scratching while this is going on but it is certainly unlikely to have the Dolphins seriously challenging for the AFC East.