The Cleveland Browns may not need a primer on the qualities of good NFL quarterbacks, but if they want one it was all over TV last weekend.
All the Browns need to do is look at the quarterbacks still active in the four divisional playoff games Saturday and Sunday.
They have many elements in common that make them effective and, in some cases, great or about to be great.
Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have major traits in common: They all are big, strong guys who stand in the pocket and make a throw. Some of them can run, some of them can avoid a rush.
Break it down further.
Seven of the eight are at least 6-foot-2. The lone exception is Wilson, who is listed at 5-11 and a stout 206 pounds.
Wilson can run, and does so effectively. But he is more than a runner. He is a pocket passer who can run. Wilson’s career completion percentage is 63.4 percent and his passer rating has never been lower than 95 and has been above 100 in two of his three seasons. Even with Wilson included, the average height and weight of the final eight is 6-3 and 230 pounds.
Look at the previous week at the four losing teams. Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Matt Stafford are all at least 6-2. Arizona was reduced to their third starter, but all three starters are at least 6-3 and 230 pounds.
Is it a coincidence that the best teams in the league, the playoff teams, all had tall passers? Hardly. The NFL requires strong-armed passers who can think quickly, survey a defense, stand in the pocket and process information.
Discussions like these always lead to mentions of Drew Brees (and Wilson). But they are the exception and not the rule. They also are not scramblers; they are primarily pocket passers.
Carson Palmer was Arizona’s starting quarterback for much of the season, so include him with the other 11 playoff quarterbacks.
Every one of the dozen has been in at least two playoff games.
Total, the 12 have been in 118 playoff games, an average of just short of 10 each. Yes, Brady and Manning account for 51 of those 119, but it is not a coincidence that the best quarterbacks are the prototypical quarterbacks who win in the NFL.
In 2015, the Browns should be looking pocket passers who can stand tall in the pocket and make a throw, because those are the type of quarterbacks who win.