When it comes to being one of the new starting quarterbacks, the process is never a seamless transition. The time required to get comfortable with a new system and with their teammate’s tendencies can be lengthy. Thus the importance of offseason workouts, training camps, and the preseason for new starting quarterbacks.
This year, there are more new starting quarterbacks in new places than usual thanks to trades and free agency. Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, and Mitchell Trubisky are all facing new challenges. Most of those players were acquired reasonably early in the offseason. However, Baker Mayfield was acquired by the Carolina Panthers on July 6th, and thus he has missed out on a ton of valuable time.
Current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could be worse off as he’s on the trade block since they are transitioning to second-year quarterback Trey Lance. The longer a team waits to meet the 49ers’ demands, however, the worse situation they are thrusting themselves in.
Getting Enough Reps
It was highlighted earlier, but the importance of getting as many reps as possible with teammates during training camp and the preseason can’t be stated enough. Former NFL MVP Rich Gannon eluded to this recently when speaking to The 33rd Team. Gannon said: “All the reps…it’s on the backups to find what they can on their own,” when asked how many reps the starter should get when on a new team.
It isn’t selfish to have that mindset. New starting quarterbacks have so much learning and catching up to do. For players like Wilson and Ryan, they are in positions where they won’t have to share first-team reps. They are the established starters for their teams for a reason. The reps they get this training camp and preseason will help with protections, audibles and continuity within the offense.
Quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield or Mitchell Trubisky, who are in more fluid quarterback rooms, may be missing out on valuable reps.
Those physical reps are another point Gannon talked about with The 33rd Team. Gannon talked about how today’s NFL relies upon more mental reps and walk-throughs versus physical reps.
The Lost Value in the Preseason for Starters
Most NFL players, mainly new starting quarterbacks, don’t see the importance of preseason games, according to former NFL quarterback Matt Cassel. When Cassel talked to The 33rd team he said the preseason was important to him.
He added, “not all the starters like the preseason. I loved the preseason because of the valuable reps I was able to get.” The value for starters, especially starters new to a team, is tremendous. Everyone expects the Colts and Broncos to hit the ground running, but they may stumble out the gates.
Since there are only three preseason games, there could be more growing pains in the regular season. Miscommunications at the line are something preseason reps can clean up. There’s no substitute for seeing playing against a live defense. A prime example is Ryan in Indianapolis. That offensive line is one of the best in the entire league. They still need to get used to Ryan’s tendencies at the line, and how he identifies parts of the defense to make audibles.
While they should still be successful this season together, don’t be surprised if they take a game or two to find their groove.
Maintaining Health Remains Key for New Starting Quarterbacks
There is a benefit to the lack of physical reps during the preseason — health. The saying goes the best ability is availability and with the lack of more physically taxing reps, you have to be healthy.
Gannon eluded to it when he talked with The 33rd Team stating that “slow starts are due to not practicing,” and he is 100% right. The preseason and training camps have changed. There are not many difficult practices anymore, and there are fewer preseason games.
Being available and healthy so a player can take advantage of building a rapport with his teammates is monumental. When you are one of the new starting quarterbacks, health is everything.
Teams can’t afford their new quarterbacks to miss a thing in training camp or the offseason. It’s enough hard for some of the new quarterbacks already. Being hurt and missing time sets the entire team back even more.