ESPN is televising a 30-part Jaws' QB Countdown series where NFL analyst and noted film room guru Ron Jaworski examines each of the league’s veteran starting quarterbacks and Tim Tebow. The daily series began June 11 on the 9 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter and culminates with Jaworski’s top-ranked quarterback Tuesday, July 10.
The three-minute segments -- produced by the NFL Matchup team at NFL Films -- also air on NFL Live (4 p.m., ESPN), NFL32 (6 p.m., ESPN2) and other editions of SportsCenter.
Today, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was unveiled as the third-ranked NFL veteran starter. Below are transcribed comments from Jaworski’s assessment:
“Number three on my big board entering the 2012 season is Tom Brady. Brady is outstanding in so many areas, but what really stands out is his total command in the pocket. Few quarterbacks in NFL history move within the pocket better than Tom Brady. Pocket movement is an essential attribute to play NFL quarterback at a consistently-high level. Think of it this way: the ability to move within an area no larger than the approximate size of a boxing ring. Sometimes it’s a strain, just a step here or a step there. Other times, it’s more pronounced. The corollary, and it’s equally as important, you must maintain your downfield focus while you’re moving. You cannot look at the rush. It’s a far more important trait than running out of the pocket.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more comfortable pocket quarterback than Brady. There have been times over the years he’s literally been a statue in the pocket – static, stationary, motionless. I can tell you from experience that’s a rare trait. Everything is happening very fast. The ability to slow down your body like that, that’s remarkable.
“Another attribute that Brady has mastered is controlling the game at the line of scrimmage. Brady is outstanding at the subtle nuances of quarterback play. It’s a highly-disciplined craft, and Brady has expertly refined the small details. His ability to immediately locate mismatches in man coverage, like Wes Welker on a linebacker, and to move defenders in zone coverage is as good as it gets. Manipulating and controlling the defense is advanced quarterbacking.
“Here, Brady read the cover 2. He had Deion Branch running the dig route. He had to get this linebacker out of the passing lane. He pumped to Rob Gronkowski. That’s all it took. The linebacker moved and the window opened. I know this term is overused at times, but when I plug in a tape of Brady, I know I am watching a professional quarterback in every single way.
“I’m not necessarily a big stat guy, but how about this? In Brady’s last four full seasons – now remember, he missed the 2008 season with an injury – he has thrown 153 touchdown passes and only 37 interceptions. Brady is number three on my big board right now, but he could easily move up to number one."
New Orleans' Drew Brees and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers are the remaining quarterbacks to be ranked.