How often does QB nirvana happen?

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How often do you have this scenario?

Robert Saleh gave us some insight into what they think the best way is to handle Derek Carr as a QB.

“If you can just get him to a place that can surround him with all the pieces to allow him to just play quarterback 10-15 times a game, it would be pretty cool,” Saleh said.

Why would you give a QB big money to minimize how much he needs to play quarterback?

What I think Saleh is describing is what the San Francisco 49ers and Kyle Shanahan have done with Jimmy Garoppolo over the years.

Strong defense and running game, and he only has to make a few key throws here and there, often playing off the running game.

Another example was with the Tennessee Titans a couple of years ago with Ryan Tannehill – good defense, Derrick Henry dominating on the ground ground, and Tannehill making a few important passes to complement this formula.

This is all fine and dandy as long as you don’t fall behind, or if you can’t run the ball, or if your defense is struggling.

Often when guys like Garoppolo and Tannehill have to stray from the formula and have to win in drop-back passing game, with let’s say 30-35 throws, it doesn’t look as good.

So this all sounds good on paper, bring in a QB like Carr, and minimize how much he has to throw the ball, and he will play his best ball.

But football often throws a monkey wrench into this formula, when the other team stops what you are trying to do, or your team has a lot of injuries.

And when that happens, you need a QB who can put the team on his back, like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, and help you overcome the shortcomings and still win games.

It’s also hard to win a Super Bowl with a formula QB. Maybe the Jets are just looking to make the playoffs at this point, after missing 12 years in a row. That last sentence wasn’t a shot, but just perhaps what the thinking is right now – “The Super Bowl would be great, but we just need to finally make the darn playoffs.”

Saleh said something about Carr’s skill set that Josh McDaniels might dispute (not publicly).

“He’s got an elite mental makeup with regards to football IQ,” Saleh said about Carr.

“Derek Carr threw the ball out of bounds on third-and-5 against Pittsburgh,” said VSIN’s Mike Lombardi. “You can’t do that.”

This happened late in a close game against the Steelers last season. They punted with about three minutes left after this strange throw, and then Pittsburgh drove down for a game-winning TD. Carr also threw three picks in that 13-10 loss to a rookie QB in Pittsburgh, and a Steelers defense that Zach Wilson carved up in the fourth quarter in a comeback win.

Don’t get me wrong. Carr’s a smart man, but his in-game decision-making is often suspect.

But getting back to what Saleh said about “allow(ing) him to just play quarterback 10-15 times a game.”

Two things about that:

First of all, this kind of goes back to that theory that we wrote about yesterday that the Jets are one player away, and they can just “allow him to just play quarterback 10-15 times a game.”

Well as we pointed out, they are not one player away – their D-Line run defense, linebacker coverage and safety instincts all need some work. And we have no idea what their all-important offensive line is going to look like for the new QB. Mekhi Becton and Max Mitchell are coming off injuries, George Fant is a free agent, and Duane Brown just had shoulder surgery. Who will the center be with Connor McGovern entering free agency?

So are they really a team that is so good, the QB just has to “play quarterback 10-15 times a game?”

And also, if you view Carr as a guy who you just want to “play QB play quarterback 10-15 times a game,” you really shouldn’t break the bank on him, should you?

What do you pay for a guy you want to minimize?

March 3, 2023

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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