After finishing my player review on Offensive Guard Travelle Wharton, I cut on my television and decided to watch a video on DVR that has been there since January 24th. This was an ESPN replay of the 2005 NFL Pro Bowl Skills competition. One of our beloved Wide Recievers, "Moose" Muhsin Muhammad was in this Pro Bowl due to his 1,405 yard, 16 TD season after Steve Smith and Stephen Davis suffered season-ending injuries. He placed 3rd in the "Best Hands" competition, with 11 catches in 15 seconds. After that competition, they had a segment where all the receivers and quarterbacks were discussing what would be the ultimate quarterback. More about this...after the jump.Keep in mind, this was from the 2004 to 2005 season. Quarterbacks like Josh Freeman, Ben Rothlisberger, and our very own rookie phenom Cam Newton had yet to play for the NFL. Keeping this in mind, this is what the players answered when asked about what would make the ultimate quarterback. They were all asked to pick legs, body, arm, head, and heart to determine the ultimate quarterback.
For legs, they almost unanimously agreed upon Micheal Vick due to his pure speed when running. Micheal Vick himself said he would pick Donavan McNabb's legs due to his great footwork. A lot of them said he was possibly the fastest man in the NFL.
For body, they all said Daunte Culpepper. They cited his power not just against other quarterbacks but also against defensive linemen. They also commented on his ability to take a big hit but keep coming. Ironically, Culpepper's career as a starting quarterback was essentially ended against the Panthers.
For arm, they unanimously agreed that Donavon McNabb had the best arm. Moose himself stated he would want Donavon McNabb's touch on long balls and ability to throw it deep. Peyton Manning stated for accuracy on a deep ball, he would pick Donavon McNabb.
Next, they touched on the head. The players all agreed that the perfect QB would have to have the mind of Peyton Manning. They referenced the fact that he is obviously a student of the game and is adept at making audibles at the line based on what he can see from a defense.
Finally, they touched on heart. In a decision that seriously surprised me, they agreed the Perfect Quarterback would have the heart of Tom Brady. Tony Gonzalez commented that Brady is a quarterback that knows he will get in the face yet he stays in the pocket til the last second to deliver a perfect throw. He also commented on his poise under pressure.
The body of Culpepper, arm of McNabb, mind of the elder Manning brother, and the heart of Tom Brady? Does that kind of sound like anyone we might know? I had to pause the show and come on CSR, because combining those attributes I came up with one person....our very own franchise quarterback, Cam Newton.
Perhaps I am being a homer due to my love for the Cardiac Cats, but think of it this way. Micheal Vick is fast, blindingly fast in fact. But our very own Cam Newton is no slouch in the legs department himself. At his combine he ran a 4.59 40-yard dash and his vertical leap was 35 inches. His 10 1/2 foot broad jump tied for number 1 among all the quarterbacks of the 2011 draft. How many times did Cam Newton escape the pocket before it collapsed, uking and jiving before turning on the burners en route to a big run?
The body for a perfect quarterback would be like Dante Culpepper. Culpepper in his prime was 6 foot 4, 260 pounds. Cam Newton is 6 foot 5, and his weight fluctuates between 248 and 262. It takes a big quarterback to sustain big hits especially when he's as mobile as Cam Newton. Case in point, Micheal Vick. The man has speed....but one good solid hit and he was out for most of this past season. How many times did we see Cam Newton take a big shot in the back, like the one from Jared Allen or Brian Orakpo....and then come up like it was nothing? How about that 49 yard TD against the Buccaneers where he dragged 2 of the defenders with him into the endzone?
For the arm, they chose Donavon McNabb. We all know Cam Newton has a rocket arm and is much better with his long throws than with medium throws. Most of Cam Newton's picks occurred either by tip balls or overthrowing his receivers. That tends to happen when you're at least 4 inches taller. This is something he will have to improve on, but his deep-throw ability and accuracy is beyond reproach. How many times did he put it up on a wing and a prayer and it lands in sync with Steve Smith 30 or more yards down-field? He threw for 1,062 yards on 81 passing attempts in passes of 20 yards or more.
No one can deny Peyton Manning has a great mind for football. When his quarterback days are over, I believe he would make a great offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach. Cam Newton has shown glimpses of a great mind as well. It was reported that as early as week 1 at Arizona, he was already reading defenses and making adjustments at the line. Jordan Gross stated as such in an interview and both times Cam Newton read the play right, made adjustments and prevented a loss. This is what he was able to do with no OTAs or training. With a coach like Mike Shula training him year to year, just imagine what he will be able to do in the next few years!!
Now, perhaps the Tom Brady of 2004 was much different from the Tom Brady of 2011...I don't follow the Patriots too much. Cam Newton most definitely has HEART! So many times we saw him stay in the pocket in the face of pressure and deliver pinpoint throws to his tight ends and receivers. How many times did it look like a play was dead and yet Cam would spring loose and make something out of nothing? Sure, you can say he has athleticism. But all the athleticism without the heart and courage to use it is useless. So many times Cam fired up the team, led them down-field and took massive shots while getting his team into the endzone. For stat lovers, Cam Newton had the highest rookie total quarterback rating, 96.6, when being rushed by 6 or more rushers and when in danger of being sacked.
I pose 2 questions to you, the readers. First, how great do you think Cam Newton will be within 3 to 5, and then 5 to 10 years? Do you agree with me that these players portrayal of the perfect quarterback was a premonition of Cameron Jerrell Newton? The second question I pose is in today's era of the NFL, who would you use as the legs, body, arm, mind, and heart of the perfect quarterback?