What Morris looks for in a quarterback

I was driving home from work yesterday and made the mistake of was listening to Duemig talk to Coach Raheem Morris before the afternoon practice.  I like to hear what Morris has to say, the context he says it in, and if he happens to spill any useful information that we can use to look into.  Duemig brought up a good question and asked Morris, what are the skill sets or traits that he look for in a quarterback.  I expected to hear leadership, protection (ball security), and something along the lines of fundamentals.  

What did he say?  What can we read from it?  Click the jump to find out

Morris mentioned three specific traits; Leadership, skill set and mental approach.  Who has those three traits?  Does this give us any insight into who the starting QB will be?  Let the speculation begin.

Luke McCown

Leadership - From my standpoint, had the edge heading into camp and into the first game.  That edge is gone after his 4 for 8 performance.  But what about the three items Morris says he looks for in a QB?  I don't necessarily see the leadership on the field.  I don't get the feeling he is moving guys around, checkign to successful plays, and taking command in a tight situation.  Granted I'm not in the huddle or in practice, but I don't see an above average leadership quality out of him. 

Skill Sset - He has the tools.  He has a good arm, he has the mobility, he can make all the throws.  Able to get out of a jam using his legs (sometimes too much) and can fire the ball downfield. 

Mental approach - The mental approach is interesting.  Morris has said all the guys work hard in the classroom, and I can't dispute that.  But his mental edge, his ability to see the game, to study it, understand it and adapt just doesn't seem to be there.  From the game a few years back when he simply rolled out of the endzone for a safety instead of throwing it away, to taking a dumb sack, or not seeing the field, I'm not impressed. 

I'm surprised at my own assessment.  This is the guy I thought had the job in the bag, maybe I'm looking too much into the Tennessee game, but my thoughts have changed.

Byron Leftwich

Leadership - He has the ability to lead.  He has been in tight spots, won close games, battled back.  I don't raelly question his ability to be a leader and to get it done.  From an outsider's perspective he can command the huddle

Skill set - I don't think anyone will question his arm, just his windup.  While he can make the throws, the time it takes can be the difference between a sack/fumble and a TD.  Has no shot with his legs and isn't gonna bowl anyone over on the run.  But as a QB, I just want him to throw (assuming he has time).

Mental Approach - Again, I'm not in the classroom, but my concerns would be based on his failed attempts the last few years to be a quarterback.  Will that affect him?  Will he press?  Is he able to withstand the beating and deliver the ball?  I think he would be fine in this regards, but it's tough to tell.  Do you want him running the 2 minute drill down by 6?

Josh Freeman

Leadership - In all fairness, he hasn't even had a chance to develop this witht he current team.  I know he has taken out the other QB's and OL to a dinner and picked up the check.  Definite step in the right direction.  Can he command the huddle, tell other guys to shut up an play and have the team behind him?  I don't know, too early to tell. 

Skill Set - I don't question the skill set.  He has the arm, has the size, can move in the pocket.  Warming up or in practice he looks like the prototypical QB.

Mental Approach - This is the issue.  We just don't know at this point.  He has worked hard in camp and in the offseason, watching film. He did show goodbounce back after the Pick 6 last week, but will he study film, understand the nuances, and be able to get into the right play at  the right time?  Too early to tell.  Optimism says yes, Realism says maybe

Josh Johnson

Leadership - No way he has the leadership ability yet.  Not that he can't get there or isn't working on it, but as a guy who was drafted by the old regime, hasn't played a game, and is fighting to make the team, I don't see him as a leader.  That could change for him (or any QB) if they get named the starter. He led his team in college, maybe he can do it now.

Skill Set - So far so good.  Accurate, has an arm, can move around and make plays with his legs.  Fits well into today's mold of QB's. Needs experience, but thus far has shown good progression and abilities.

Mental Approach - The book on him reads that he's a film rat.  He's fighting from an underdog perspective so we know he's tough, but how will he handle the first interception?  Is he willing to put in the extra time and push over the next 2 weeks to make the team?  Tough to tell with young players, but just like Freeman, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

What does all this tell us?  It tells me that based on what we know as fans, Morris doesn't have that guy (yet) on the team.  Maybe McCown gets better and becomes a leader, maybe Leftwich shortens the release, maybe Freeman is a born leader, or maybe Johnson just dominates the huddle.  All likely, but tough to predict.  We do know Morris has said once they select a quarterback (after 2nd game, before 3rd), that's who he is sticking with, no flip-flopping.

I will say this; Hopefully Morris sticks to his time frame and names a QB in the next week.  There are alot of reports flying around that McCown is in the doghouse.  That being said, while it may not have been an original idea, I believe we were the first to look into the fact that Josh Johnson is impressing and McCown or Leftwich may get cut to make room to keep JJ.  As the story has heated up (particularly after the Titans game), more places are "breaking" that news.  We'll see what happens, but the idea has been floated around Buc 'Em for awhile now.

What do you think?  Based on Morris' three categories, who do you think he should pick?  Based on your categories, who do you think takes the job?

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