The quarterback position is considered to be the most important in football. At the professional level, you simply can't win without, at the very least, an adequate signal caller.
As defensive ends and linebackers become faster, and offensive lines have less time to practice together, the margin of error for QBs is dropping. They have to make incredibly quick decisions, and especially this past year, we've seen that they aren't always the right ones.
At the top, quarterback play is still as high as ever. Tom Brady‘s first four games after his suspension have been spectacular. This past week, we saw Aaron Rodgers return to form in a narrow loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Russell Wilson and Cam Newton have flashed brilliance throughout their young careers, as well.
But, collectively, the play at the position across the NFL harkens back to the 1970s more than the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s. According to Hall of Famer Warren Moon, this has led to the perception that the quality of the NFL product has dropped.
From Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports:
“If this is going to be a quarterback-driven league, the quarterback has to be coached better,” Moon, a Hall of Fame quarterback, told USA TODAY Sports. “There’s a lot of bad quarterbacking out there.”
The focus on development at the amateur level is higher than it has ever been. The number of camps and position-specialized training programs is astounding. But, with many high school and college offenses running a form of the spread, the reps needed to succeed in the NFL are eluding most young quarterbacks.
Moon offered an interesting solution for this problem:
“The NFL needs a farm system, like it used to have with NFL Europe,” Moon said. “It gives them those reps. Think about guys like Kurt Warner, Jon Kitna, and Brad Johnson, who all played overseas and benefitted from the experience.”
Even if a farm system isn't profitable for the league, funding one might be essential to improving QB play moving forward.