Different QB styles on display Sunday

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There will always be a place in anyone’s starting lineup for a Peyton Manning, who is in the conversation for greatest quarterback in history regardless of whether he adds a second Super Bowl ring on Sunday. Teams will simply construct their offense around a talent like that.

Whether most teams will stick with convention or choose the route the colleges - the NFL’s farm system - have gone, building around mobile, creative and elusive passers such as Wilson, won’t be decided by who wins at the Meadowlands. But it could play a significant role in a copycat league.

The evaluation systems won’t change no matter what species of quarterback is prevalent in the pros.

“As a talent evaluator for college and even free agency, the toughest thing to evaluate is process,” Broncos quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp said. “Can the guy process in the pocket during the heat of battle?”

Everyone knows Manning has had that skill throughout his career, and Wilson has provided strong evidence in his two NFL seasons that he’s got it, too.

Peyton might be one of the best I’ve ever been around that can process, ‘Ok, I’ve got these tools to use, and in 10 seconds I’ve got to make a decision, and execute in less than four,’” Knapp added.

Wilson’s multi-faceted abilities on the field might differ in method to Manning‘s, but Carroll sees many similarities off the field.

“He’s an incredible competitor in every way,” Carroll said of his quarterback, who at 25 is 12 years younger than Manning. “In preparation, in game day, he’s the epitome of what you want in your competitor. He’s got tremendous work habits. He’s got extraordinary athleticism. He’s got a general all-around savvy that allows him to make great decisions under pressure.

“He’s extremely confident, too, so no matter what is going on, he’s not going to waver in his focus and ability to handle things.”

Manning believes elements of all styles will always be in demand.

“I think I could describe the perfect quarterback. Take a little piece of everybody,” he said. “Take John Elway’s arm, Dan Marino’s release, maybe Troy Aikman’s dropback, Brett Favre’s scrambling ability, Joe Montana’s two-minute poise and, naturally, my speed.”

After the laughter stopped, Manning continued:

“I could take a piece of everyone, of some of my favorite quarterbacks, and I could take 30 traits from different guys, and put them in that perfect quarterback.”

But will that perfect QB in years to come feature more of Manning and his mold or of Wilson and his ilk?

Sunday’s game could provide a glimpse into that future.

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