Plenty of men have the potential to be great NFL quarterbacks. Few ever get there.
The difference comes from commitment. How devoted is the quarterback to being the best he can be? By demanding the absolute most from himself, the quarterback then has credibility when demanding the most from his teammates.
One of our favorite pin cushions on that point has become Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Undrafted nine years ago, he seems to be content where he is and unwilling to take his own commitment to the next level — as evidenced by the fact that he spends enough time golfing to be good enough to do it professionally, if he wanted.
A former quarterback who was good enough to win the league’s MVP award has another current quarterback in the cross hairs. Boomer Esiason of CBS believes Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman needs to take his job more seriously.
“Here is Josh’s reputation in the eyes of a lot of us that cover this league: tremendous talent, tremendous arm, tremendous football player,” Esiason told WHFS in Tampa, via JoeBucsFan.com. “The sky is the limit for him and usually what makes people get to that next level is his commitment that he makes to his craft: the study in the playbook, understanding where you are in the offense and taking everything you do as a quarterback and taking it seriously and not hanging out on Friday nights and not hanging out on Tuesday nights and being above all the stuff that unfortunately a lot of young men find themselves in the midst of, and that is young men enjoying themselves when they are on their off time.
“I get all of that. We all went through that as players and that other stuff. But he if wants to be the next group of players, if he wants to be mentioned in same breath as Drew Brees, who you will see Sunday, or Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger, and even Ben Roethlisberger had some growing up to do, and I remember us challenging him to grow up as well, then he is going to have to take his craft a helluva lot more seriously.”
Though Freeman has yet to fulfill the potential many perceived him to have after he joined the NFL as a first-round pick in 2009, his numbers compare very favorably to those generated by another guy taken even higher that same year — Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. While Sanchez, unlike Freeman, has been to the playoffs a couple of times and in turn to a pair of AFC title games, Freeman generally is regarded to be farther along in his development. But for the low profile of his team, Freeman would get more attention nationally.
If Esiason’s perception is reality, Freeman could be one the reasons the team has a low profile.
Either way, the quarterback will get two chances in five days to improve his standing in NFL circles, with a game Sunday against the Saints and a Thursday night nationally-televised contest against the Vikings.