The term has been thrown around the football ranks for quite a few years now; more specifically in the NFL defining a quarterback as having a "risk taker," mentality. He’s the kind of guy that will rare back and chuck a deep ball at any time with any cost.
Many a fan likes to compare the side-shooter with the "game manager." You know, the guy that dinks and dunks his team down the field with nary a risk taking pass attempt. Furthering said comparison is perhaps the contrast in intelligence on (and maybe off) the field. A few weeks back WCG posed the question Which QB Would You Choose? [Props needed to the author—sorry, I cannot recall who.]
I chose the gunslinger mostly on the basis of ability. I’m like most in that, I dig seeing a well thrown deep ball or the laser pass over the middle. Some current NFL QB’s that fall under this moniker for me are: (obviously) Jay Cutler, Brett Favre, ex Bear Rex Grossmann and Tony Romo. I’m sure more are out there, but these four will be used for the basis of this writing.
My focus here is on the footwork of the gunslinger.
I’ll start with Jay Cutler since he’s the main QB of the 4 that I’ve watched almost every game. It was evident to my eyes that Jay throws primarily off his back foot. A term I’ll use is, "heel throws." Hence, the player’s weight is on the heel of the back leg.
It has been pointed out numerous times during telecasts Jay doesn’t follow through to his front foot. He doesn’t step into his throws. Granted, in Jay’s as well as the other 3 QB’s case, a strong arm allows for this poor technique to happen.
It could be argued that the heel throws are a byproduct of a player either at his legs or in his face. In either case, this would restrict his front leg going forward. You can see in the video that in many cases this is true. However, there are a few videos where the throw is rushed. In fact, there are times when Jay is flat footed while making his throws.
It could be argued (and frankly is) that Brett Favre is the greatest QB to play the game. That subject is open for debate elsewhere. For now, let’s focus also on his footwork. You’ll see a few instances similar to Jay’s. But, there are some nice replays where Brett’s form is text book.
Sorry, fellow Bears’ fans. I know there’s some not so pretty evidence if his mastery over Chicago. But hey, that’s history, right?
Perhaps not one of our favorite subjects, but Rex Grossman clearly defines the gunslinger style of quarterback. As mind numbing as some of his multiple INT games were, Rex did possess the strong arm and attack at all costs mentality.
I read somewhere recently Tony Romo falls into the gunslinger terminology as well. To be honest, I haven’t seen him play as much as the others. You’ll see from the videos he does possess similar characteristics.
Is good footwork necessarily the key to success? I’m on the fence with that question, so I pose that to you, fellow Bears’ fans. As a separate item, the gunslinger mentality can hurt a team by forcing throws. We’ve all seen our Bears’ QB’s confounding us by questionable throws. I’d say the mindset coupled with a strong arm can be a recipe for disaster. Still, I’m ok with Cutler at the helm. My hope is to limit his decision making to take a reasonable risk. I really don’t think reasonable is in the gunslinger’s dictionary.
All videos courtesy of YouTube.