Dual-threat quarterbacks change the game

Marvin West
Sports

Now that Joshua Dobbs is back from his airplane analysis internship, we can resume the discussion of dual-threat quarterbacks.

Those who can comprehend the awesome NFL numbers achieved by Peyton Manning can score debate points on the advantages of a pro-style quarterback.

In theory, the pro stands tall in the pocket, protected by great blocking boulders. He looks to see if receivers went where he told them to go. He identifies the designated one or the alternate most likely to succeed and delivers a dart.

This formula sounds good and often prevails, game after game, season after season, for half a lifetime in Peyton’s case.

When coupled with great defense, it may win Super Bowls and lead to many lucrative endorsements of pizzas and Buicks.

The dual-threat quarterback changes the game, adds dimensions, the possibility of premeditated runs, guaranteed scrambles when the pocket collapses and blockers and rushers are falling over each other.

Immediate relocation improves the temporary chances of remaining upright and may transform nothing into something. Crowds cheer.

There are potential complications. If the dual-threat quarterback is to throw, it is often on the run. In theory, a moving thrower will miss a moving target more often than a pro-style quarterback might.

There is another problem. Belligerent NFL linebackers, pugnacious corners and mean-spirited safeties will occasionally catch the pesky dual-threat quarterback as he zigs and zags. Their goal, at a minimum, is to discourage him, thus reducing the yards they have to sprint and the sweat to be blotted from their brows.

Down deep, they would like to disable him, punish him for being such a brat. Sometimes, in their exuberance, they send him to the hospital. Think RG3, formerly of the Washington Redskins.

College football is different. The pro-style quarterback is less certain to dominate. Flaws often pop up in the protection plan. What the dual-threat quarterback adds to the game keeps defensive coordinators up late at night. Think Johnny Football – before he totally ran astray.

Remember Dewey Warren? He was a classic pro-style quarterback. He stood his ground, defied the rush and completed a pleasing number of meaningful passes. He became a legend based on how long it took to successfully complete a one-yard run.

Remember Condredge Holloway? He was a terrific dual-threat quarterback. Ben Byrd dubbed him “The Artful Dodger.” Even when defenses hemmed him up, they could never be sure Condredge was officially hemmed up.

Condredge was more than an escape artist. He was an efficient passer. He set a school record for low interceptions-per-attempts. Only 12 of his 407 were picked off.

Jimmy Streater came along a little later. John Majors called him one of the best athletes he ever coached.

In a dramatic victory over Notre Dame, Jimmy displayed versatility with a 48-yard pass completion, a 51-yard scamper and a five-yard touchdown on an option keeper.

Heath Shuler was hard-nosed. He liked to run into and over opponents. Sometimes he pulled the ball down and sped away when he might have been better off staying where he was.

Tee Martin once completed 23 consecutive passes. He threw for 32 Tennessee touchdowns. He ran for 17. Tee, dual threat, was best known for guiding a national championship season.

Peyton is in the Vol record book with 11,201 passing yards and 89 touchdowns. Except for one stunning naked reverse, Peyton runs were usually desperation moves to save his life.

Dobbs can run well and throw some and think deeply.

That creates numerous exciting possibilities. Getting hurt would not be the best one.

Marvin West invites reader reaction.
His address is westwest6@netzero.com.

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