Reiss: Hand in Hand (legendary coach/star QB dynamics)
Some interesting observations.
“When you look at some of the great combinations, there is a trust,’’ said Dilfer, who is an analyst for ESPN. “The head coach trusts the player, and just as importantly, the player trusts the head coach. Quarterbacks are strong personalities, alpha males, and they’re not going to buy in if they don’t trust the person. That’s a big thing.’’
When assessing the Belichick/Brady duo, Dilfer sees it as a success in part because both push each other. He admires how Belichick has altered the team’s approach, playing multiple offensive styles the last 10 years within the same system, which has challenged Brady.
“They’ve been as multiple and flexible offensively as any team you’ve seen over the last 6-7 years,’’ he said. “Quarterbacks aren’t dummies. We see our coaches willing to do that, and we’re all in. As a quarterback, I’m jealous.’’
In turn, Brady has pushed Belichick and his staff when it comes to their responsibilities. Because Brady is so prepared, Belichick has said he must be meticulous in covering all bases to stay ahead of him, then communicating to him the key points.
Accorsi sees that coaching approach as one of the links between all the great combinations over the years.
“I think it starts with knowledge - if you look at some of these iconic coaches, they were teachers. You’re not going to influence Namath and Unitas unless you know what you’re talking about. If they don’t feel you can help them learn, they’re not going to respect you,’’ he said.
As for the quarterback, it takes more than a big arm or physical skills.
Accorsi recalled one of the early lessons he learned in that regard, from former Baltimore Colts scout Milt Davis. Having just broken into the business, Accorsi was evaluating a quarterback who could zing it and he asked Davis, a former cornerback, what he thought.
Davis told him that the strong arm was nice, but he was looking for more...
“You have to recognize there is something special about them, that they have something in them, and that when others look at them, they’ll believe he’s going to lead them down the field,’’ Accorsi said. “A lot of what makes a great quarterback, you can’t see. You just have to feel it.’’
And in those rare occasions when the special quarterback is paired with the iconic coach, it’s the football version of hitting the lottery.
“That’s when you know you’ve made it,’’ Lombardi said. “That’s football utopia.’’