The QB Guru


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A clarification on the titles.

After Robert Saleh was hired as Jets coach, he hired Rob Calabrese as quarterback’s coach.

And also hired Gregg Knapp as pass game specialist.

But watching the spring practices, it seemed like Knapp was the most hands-on coach with Zach Wilson.

So often after a play, when Wilson came to the sideline, when another QB was getting a rep, he would huddle with Knapp about what happened.

Basically, what is going on here, are the titles are a little misleading.

While Calabrese is listed as the “quarterback coach,” Knapp, even though he is called, “the passing game specialist,” he’s essentially the team’s “quarterback coach” and Calabrese is the assistant quarterback coach.

How do I know this? Knapp said it recently.

“That is what coach Saleh and LaFleur wanted me to do, be the voice more or less in the quarterback room along with Rob Calabrese assistance to pass on the information of what Mike wants to do offensively speaking,” said Knapp.

Knapp will also assist LaFleur on gameplanning and game day management.

So while Calabrese is listed as the QB coach, Knapp is head QB coach and Calabrese is essentially the assistant QB coach.

And that makes sense. While Calabrese has a good reputation in coaching circles, and a lot of potential in the coaching world, Knapp has a lot more experience coaching NFL quarterbacks, something he has done since 1998 (starting with San Francisco).

Knapp is 58, and Calabrese is 31, coming off a two-year stint as an offensive quality control coach in Denver.

So Knapp is the top point man in the development of Wilson, obviously along with LaFleur. Calabrese is assisting both of them, and also learning from them as a coaches, and he moves up the coaching growth curve.

Knapp is a great selection to mentor LaFleur. This man, who has coached Peyton Manning, Steve Young and Matt Ryan, certainly has the bona fides to handle the molding of Wilson.

Knapp took an interesting approach to teaching Wilson (and the other quarterbacks) this spring. He had them focus on learning the offensive playbook in the spring, and not worry about what the defense was doing against him.

Then at the very end of the spring practices, he started to go over videos of what opposing defenses are going to do to them. And he will continue teaching them reading defenses throughout the summer in training camp.

In other words, don’t overwhelm them with too many things in the spring, but just let them learn the offense, and not worry about what the Jets’ defense was doing to them.

So some of the interceptions need to be put in that perspective. Wilson hadn’t really been taught much about what he was looking at yet, just focusing on learning the playbook and all the nuances of the offense.

“You teach the offense first, learn your side of the ball. That has been a big point of emphasis from phase one to this point now,” Knapp said.

July 6, 2021

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