It’s often acknowledged that the NFC South is the division of the QB. Outside of the New Orleans Saints, the other 3 teams spent premium draft picks to acquire their own QB. An interesting question is, How many of those are “system Quarterbacks?”
To answer that I must define what a system QB is. A system Quarterback is a QB who thrives in a particular offensive style and has that teams offense and game plan built around those strengths. So let’s look at the signal callers in the South.
Jameis Winston – With the amount of fluctuations the Buccaneers have experienced in offense since the Jameis was drafted shows that Winston is capable of taking any game plan and performing under that. Decision: Not a system QB
Drew Brees – When the Saints traded for Brees they took on a pure pocket passer. It took a few seasons for Brees to develop into the game changer he is and he was certainly helped by the New Orleans front office, who built the team around Brees and his talent. With his longevity in the NFL, Brees has seen plenty of offensive change through the big easy but this hasn’t affected him. Decision: Not a system QB
Matt Ryan – Matty Ice as Falcons fans refer to him. The offense in Atlanta has been built around Ryan’s skills and the offensive system has stayed basically the same. It would be hard to see Ryan perform in a different environment than one he is in. Decision: System QB
Cam Newton – Newton was drafted first overall by a Panthers team in need of some swagger and a spark. Newton certainly delivered both as Carolina changed their draft strategy and offensive philosophy overnight. Specific player types were drafted on offense and those that didn’t fit were cut or traded away. Whilst Cam has been successful in Carolina it’s been down to the coaches and front office maximizing what they have. Decision: System QB.
Calling a player a “system player” generates a disservice to that player I honestly don’t feel that this is a bad thing to have as, I have so often preached this, the job of the coaches and the franchise is to put players into a position to win. Whilst it’s true these system Quarterbacks might not have the same success elsewhere, the coaches have done their job and established a team identity. Maybe something that could be learned in Tampa?