Football is a demanding sport. There are plenty of sports that require such a balance, such a perfection of strength, size, speed, agility and stamina. But football forces an athlete to do all that - and more. See, physical tools aren't enough for football; you need intelligence, instincts and a natural ability to play. This is why so few high school football players make it to college, and even fewer go to the NFL. It's a demanding sport, and you know that those who have played long enough to be in the league excels at least one or more of the following qualities above.
So it is only ironic that the highest paid position in football is also the ones that requires least amount of work. A good Quarterback does not have to be fast. He does not always need to be agile or mobile. He does not need to bench press 20+ times in a combine. Hell, he doesn't even need to be athletic. Put that in contrast to the demands of a running back, or a left tackle or a middle linebacker, and you have to admit that this is some kind of sick joke.
Why is a quarterback so important then? Quite simply, it's because he leads. He has the leadership to carry ten guys with him on offense, the responsibility of an entire offensive scheme, the hope to carry a comeback win when you're down by a field goal with 1:20 left to play in the 4th quarter. A quarterback is counted as the face of a franchise, and without a good one, it would be hard to have any success.
Of course, there are many different types of QBs in the league, and all of their success can be counted on different traits too. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady passed with a strong, mechanical right arm. Joe Montana and other West-Coast QB's rely on a quick, accurate passing game. Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham used agility and speed to change the QB role. Tim Tebow survived mainly on luck. There are many ways to judge how "good" a QB is, but in the end, their main role is this: to provide good results and to give his team every possible chance they have at that "W" column.
We have already read plenty of reports of what Pete Carroll and Co. wants their QB to be: Smart, Agile, and a Game Manager. Carroll doesn't need a playmaker - he's building the passing game and the QB around the tough-nosed running attack created by Tom Cable, punishing defenses and forcing them to stack more guys in the box and thus, opening up the passing lanes. This is why a player like Andrew Luck, or Robert Griffin, or even Matt Flynn, while glamorous for the position, isn't really necessary.
At the 11th or 12th spot in the draft and little ammunition to trade for players, I fully expect the FO to look for other diamonds-in-the-rough to pick their QBOTF. And I bet it's this guy up on top. Here's why...
In all honesty, many believe that Moore's chances of succeeding in the NFL is quite low, and their reasons are sort of justified. Playing for Boise State limited his chances to play against a top tier defense, and likewise, there are concerns about his own offensive scheme as well. He's also been cited for playing with a great WR crop in Titus Young and Austin Pettis, and his size (6'0, 190) is an issue against NFL defenses. Short arm strength rounds out the cherry on top.
Again, all of these reason justifies why many believe Moore will have little chance of succeeding. And it's true.
But that's only if you put Moore in a role of a traditional QB.
The big mistake NFL coaches do is building their playbook and scheme based on what players they have. (I cite John Fox and his option plays as an example.) I think Pete does the exact opposite. The players are the pegs, not the holes. Pete believes in both Bevell and Cable's philosophy of offense, and has shown no hesitancy in trying to get the players that fit. This is why I think Moore is such a great fit - he provides tremendous accuracy, is somewhat mobile, has great awareness and most of all, smart.
Here's some I selected game film against Georgia earlier this year. (The time on the left indicates where the video is at the time, so you can follow along)
0:44, 1-10 @ Boise 20. Under Center. K. Moore passes left to 87 for 13 yards.
From the onset, this looks to be a very Bevell-esque or Cable-esque play to run. Singleback strong right, motion the TE to the left side setting up the to kick out on the end. Instead, this is a play-fake to the back. 87 runs a short corner to the left and finds a gap between the LB, FS and DB. This is a very quick throw that Moore does not hesitate on doing, and in the process, avoids the sack and pressure made by the DT against the C.
1:06, 3-3 @ Boise 40. Shotgun. K. Moore pass short left incomplete to 20.
This is a good look of what I think is good about Kellen Moore - the ability to analyze and take advantage of a defense's weakness. Let's look at it frame by frame:
Moore knows that either one or both of the circled guys here will rush. Nevertheless, he is confident in his pass blocking - he has 5 O-Lineman, a TE and a RB - 8 guys vs. 5, maybe 6. He snaps the ball.
Play begins and as expected, 5 guys rush the passer. However, there's trouble - both the right tackle and running back lose against their guys and Moore can already see that the DT has beaten the left guard, coming straight at him. There's no much time left. He sees a direct opening near the 50 yard marker, but knowing that the wide receiver is running a curl, instead tries to loft it over the defender's head. Moore also takes the hit by the DT full on, and doesn't scramble or panic immediately. He trusts his receivers to make a play, and knowing that the protection has already been faltered, calmly throws it away rather than risk an interception.
1:47, 1-10, Georgia 30. Shotgun. K. Moore passes middle to 89 for 20 yards.
This is one of the easier plays for Moore to run. All 4 of his main targets end up open, yet Moore makes a good choice with his throw.
Georgia's defense has a blown coverage and does not cover the middle. 22 and 86 are both run short end curls, while 20 runs a flag and 89 a post. Moore throws it accurately down the middle and picked his target carefully - since the protection was secure and well blocked, Moore took a shot at the 89, who beat the corner and the safety coming in, and it worked.
3:05, 3-7, Georgia 29. Shotgun. K. Moore deep left pass INTERCEPTED by 1. Intended for 89.
Here's where things get tricky. Georgia sends the pressure with 6 guys on the line, and one of them manages to break through to Moore. Again, he knows that he's going to get hit, but he doesn't move much because he sees a gap to throw to. He saw 89 already had beaten both guys down the field, so I understand where he's throwing from. Some might think that this was a bad throw, but I think it was just a good play by the DB #1. I think Moore underestimated his jumping height, and the loft he did, while had good process, did not have much results.
3:38, 2-7, Georgia 37. Shotgun. K. Moore passes left to 2 for 14 yards.
Your standard quick slant route, this really stands out Moore's accuracy and knack for good throws. By pre-snap, he already knows that 2 is one-on-one with the DB. However, he motions the RB all the way out to shift the LB's as well. That, along with the in route by the TE, draws both the backers in, and opens up Moore's throw to #2 near the sideline. A smart move, and a smarter play.
4:48, 3-2, Boise 32. Under Center. K. Moore short pass middle to 2 for 8 yards
Placed in a short yardage situation, one would normally run the ball. Moore audibles out of the play and instead calls play action, seeing that Georgia is crowding the first down line. He motions the TE into a run right play, and throws it right into the middle of coverage into the hands of 2. Moore also knew that the defense was going to at least rush 6-7 guys to stop the run, left his guys running levels between the defense to make a play.
6:23, 1-10, Georgia 28. Under Center. K. Moore passes left incomplete to 20.
Again, let's take this frame by frame.
Moore audibles this play because he notices that the FS is playing up on the field, leaving #20 man on man with the cornerback in hopes that he could be him. In order to further isolate him from the defense, he shifts his running back to the right. Now as the linebackers align himself more to the right, Moore launches the deep throw. It ends up incomplete, but it shows his mind and his way of thinking - he's trying to exploit a weakness, not just simply run a play. This is what makes a good game manager QB.
These are just a few hints of what Kellen Moore is, and the jury is still out on what role he will play in the NFL. There have been comparisons to Drew Brees of course, by Moore is definitely a intriguing prospect out there that will perhaps set a new standard and method of success by a quarterback.
Stay tuned for Exhibit B.