Charlie Weis wonders why teams went with rookie quarterback over veterans

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Last Thursday, a pair of NFL teams gave up a pair of first-round draft picks to get potential franchise quarterbacks. For the Chiefs (who invested two first-round picks and a third-round pick to get Patrick Mahomes) and the Texans (who gave up two first-round picks to get Deshaun Watson), an obvious question arises, as posed by former Patriots and Chiefs offensive coordinator and former Notre Dame and Kansas head coach Charlie Weis on Thursday’s PFT Live.

Before giving up a pair of first-round picks to get quarterbacks who may never thrive at the NFL level, why not offer those picks for quarterbacks who have shown that they can? Whether Jimmy Garoppolo or Kirk Cousins or A.J. McCarron, why didn’t the Chiefs or the Texans (or, for that matter, the Bears) opt for a safer gamble when placing their bet?

History shows that, when it comes to quarterback (and every other position for that matter), the draft is a crapshoot. The Chiefs and Texans were willing to invest two first-round picks despite the unpredictable nature of the draft. Why not offer those picks to a team with a proven commodity?

It’s possible that either or both did, and that no one has leaked it yet. It’s also possible that the combination of the draft-pick compensation and the contractual expectations made a move for a veteran quarterback impractical. Regardless, if the goal is to find guys who can get it done in the NFL, why not look for guys who already have gotten it done?

On that point, Weis gave his assessment of the factor that most determines success as a pro quarterback: The ability to lead. It’s a cousin to the “he’s a winner” cliché, but there’s merit to the notion that a guy who can inspire teammates to do the right things during games, on the practice field, in the weight room, in the film room, at home, in the offseason, and pretty much every day of their lives can be successful in part because his influence helps the rest of the team succeed.

It’s not the kind of thing that shows up in the stats sheets or through analytics or any other form of advance football study. But it’s a real dynamic of human nature; we’ve all been influenced by a compelling personality that we seek to please in some way, or that we don’t want to disappoint. A quarterback who can draw that quality out of as many players as possible in as many ways as possible elevates himself by ensuring that those around him are elevated.

True franchise quarterbacks have that. Some of the guys picked this year will, and some won’t. The Texans and Chiefs won’t know if they guessed wrong on that front until it’s far too late to do anything about it.

49 responses to “Charlie Weis wonders why teams went with rookie quarterback over veterans

  1. True franchise quarterbacks have that. Some of the guys picked this year will, and some won’t. The Texans and Chiefs won’t know if they guessed wrong on that front until it’s far too late to do anything about it.
    _____________________________________
    Not entirely accurate, when most of the front office of these teams will no longer be around “to do anything about it”.

  2. the “solid starter” class of QB helps you compete for playoff births but to truly compete for a championship you need an elite QB. You are not going to be able to trade for one of those so you might as well try to draft one.

  3. I listened to Coach Weis preach common sense to the front offices of the teams desperately trying to draft a competent QB – organizations that seem to value the unknown college students (some of whom have never called a play or taken a snap from a center) in lieu of the trained and semi-proven veterans. Coach Weis made tremendous sense – and I believe that many teams will regret not putting together a “can’t refuse” offer for Cousins, McCarron or Garoppolo. Perhaps there is a reason Belichick stays on top?

  4. Uh, the veterans are not proven commodities by any means. If they’re not good enough to be starting on their respective teams, they’re probably not good enough to be starting on other teams.

  5. To clarify what I said: AJ McCarron isn’t that great. It’s the Matt Flynn effect. Some back up wins a game, and looks okay while doing it. Nobody is going to be a convincing QB starter until they’re in year 3, minimum. At the very least you have to wait two years to see a veteran QB play, because then defenses have tape on the guy. If a QB is not good by at least then, he’s probably never going to be more than a backup.

    Garoppolo might actually be okay, and is likely the heir apparent with the Patriots. Cousins certainly can be a starter, but is he “Elite”? Is he worth the huge amounts of money or possible draft capital? Does anyone think Cousins will win a Super Bowl? If so, yes go get him. He’s certainly not an “Elite QB”, but he’s a serviceable option.

  6. Love Weiss. Never forget the group hug after winning the Super Bowl with Belichick and Crennell when they were both leaving. Sympathise with his health problems as well. But, I think Parcells hired him out of high school in NJ. Glad he made some dough, but what’s he ever done that gives him any credibility?

  7. Ummm, didnt the Texans just try this approach with Osweiler last year?

    Osweiler wasnt brilliant in Denver, but he did “get it done” while manning was hurt…. He held serve while manning healed, and made it so his team could win a SB.

    Hard to blame the Texans for not wanting to try Charlie Weiss’ prestigious advice a second time in 2 years

  8. Rookie QBs are cheap. A veteran QB will cost over $10 million. Plus every coach has the ego that they can mold and develop a young guy into a franchise QB.

  9. All of the chatter around Garappolo was involving the Browns, but wouldn’t it have made so much more sense for the Texans to be interested? They have the rest of the pieces put into place to be competitive. So why give up more in draft equity to take Watson than it would have cost to get Garappolo? Were they gun shy about getting burnt after the Osweiler situation?

  10. As many non-elite QBs win Super Bowls as win them in today’s NFL. Flacco? Eli? Ben? Wilson? Not elite. Peyton’s last season he wasn’t playing at an elite level, anymore, either. You need a good defense and a good OL and a good coach. That’s what wins championships. Elite QBs are a luxury.

  11. For other than a handful of guys ie elite QBs that can work their skills anywhere, it’s still a crapshoot. But a much more expensive one. No guarantee a previously successful QB will continue to be when put in a new scheme etc.

  12. and Charlie, Brady Quinn had this but he couldnt be accurate enough nor was a natural passer. So the ability to have a magnetic personality is key only if the QB already is elite as a passer

  13. They did try this with Osweiler and how did that turn out? Still they could bring in some experience to tie them over until the young guys get up to speed. These rookies are cap cheap now. Fitzpatrick, Cutler, even Mettenberger could be useful additions.

  14. The cost of being wrong about a guy like Mahomes on a rookie deal is a lot less than the cost of being wrong about Garapollo at 15-20 mil per.

  15. 1. Jimmy G and McCarron are both entering contract years.

    2. Both are FAR from proven commodities.

    3. $25 million Kirk also has no contract.

    4. If Kirk was worth that kind of money, the skins would have signed him already.

    The only QBs I would give up two firsts for without even thinking are: Prescott, Luck, Carr, Mariota, Winston, Newton, Ryan, Wilson. Rodgers would possibly be worth the price if he was guaranteed to play 5 more years, but he’s getting up there in age.

    All other QBs are either too old (Brady, Brees, Ben), too mediocre (Dalton, Tannehill, Bradford, Stafford, Flacco), or a combination of both (Eli, Rivers, Palmer, Smith).

  16. If the general consensus was a good crop of soon-to be-ready QBs existed in the draft, then yes, absolutely take the shot. But all I heard from all the pundits was it was not a strong class for QBs. It will be interesting to see who was right – the Mike Mayocks of the world or the personnel departments who drafted the QBs this year.

  17. I’m liking (most) comments on this post. People get enamored over a win or two without considering the system or the fact that there is no tape on these guys. My team was supposed to go all out on Jimmy G – he played what? 3 games? Takes 4-6 to get tape and THEN you have to consider that the system he is in can make a star out of anyone. That isn’t my team’s system, and he might not be successful in it.

    The draft really is a crapshoot. But so is free agency. We do what we do and hope what we do works out. When it doesn’t (Matt Flynn in Seattle is a good example), we move on. That is the business of football.

  18. It’s their contracts, stupid. And the fact they’re known to be avg to below avg players. With rookies, you get a cheap contract and potential to hit a home run. Guys like AJ McCarron are a dime a dozen…

  19. The Chiefs went the retread QB route for 3 1/2 decades. It doesn’t work.

    Charlie Weis is the worst offensive mind in football history. He has Brady to thank for any job he ever had.

  20. What have all those veteran quarterbacks won? Nothing, zilch. Look at the winning teams Charlie. The winners keep their veteran QB’s, the constant losers don’t. The league is passing you by coach……..

  21. I don;t have much respect for Weis. He left the Chiefs high and dry right before a playoff game. he also referred to his kansas football team as a “pile of crap”. He has stolen multi millions all because he worked with tom brady.

  22. There is equal evidence to the contrary as mentioned above. Matt Flynn, Matt Schaubb, Matt Cassell (maybe just avoid Matt’s), Matt Moore, Chase Daniel, Brock Osweiler, veteran back-ups RARELY if ever turn out to be franchise type QBs.

  23. BB not likely to trade garoppolo when the 3rd string quarterback has so little experience.

    If brady is still brady in the pre-season and brissett performs well, BB may be more open to browns offers.

  24. maust1013 says:
    May 4, 2017 4:20 PM
    TheDPR says:
    May 4, 2017 1:58 PM
    As many non-elite QBs win Super Bowls as win them in today’s NFL. Flacco? Eli? Ben? Wilson? Not elite. Peyton’s last season he wasn’t playing at an elite level, anymore, either. You need a good defense and a good OL and a good coach. That’s what wins championships. Elite QBs are a luxury.
    =======================

    They’re a luxury alright, as in the way Brady luxuriated all over the second half of the Super Bowl, lol. You may not need an elite QB to win a championship but having a top QB goes a long way toward getting you there. It also shouldn’t be discounted that it is far easier to make repeated playoff trips with a top tier QB at the helm than it is to count on a top tier D staying together long enough to get you more than a couple of bites at the apple. 13 of the 17 Super Bowls since the turn of the century have been won by top 10 QB’s. BTW, Roethlisberger was playing at an elite level when Pittsburgh won Super Bowls with him

  25. Don’t know off hand what Texas gave up and don’t care, nobody thrives there. However, the Chiefs only gave up 1 first round pick, not 2. They traded 1st’s this year and gave them next years. Also gave them a 3rd, which we had 2 of.

    I do kind of agree with him though and have always wondered the same thing when there is a really good player available. That contract is a killer though because you get someone you’re going to have to pay big time right out of the gate. Cousins got a long look but the others had little film.

  26. This must mean that Garoppolo truly wasn’t on the market

    JG has 3 years learning with Brady & Belichick, plus a handful of games, 5 TDs 0 INTs and a 106 QB rating and will cost a whopping $800k this season.

    Trubisky? No experience in the NFL and only a few more college games than Garoppolo has played in the NFL itself.

    He’s going to cost $28 mil over 4 years with $19 mil guaranteed upfront.

    If they didn’t offer the same top draft picks to Belichick, shame on them

  27. guyljr says:
    May 4, 2017 3:20 PM

    There is equal evidence to the contrary as mentioned above. Matt Flynn, Matt Schaubb, Matt Cassell (maybe just avoid Matt’s), Matt Moore, Chase Daniel, Brock Osweiler, veteran back-ups RARELY if ever turn out to be franchise type QBs.

    You can cherry pick the losers – but what about Brady, AR, Hasselback, Brooks, Brunnell, and probably a lot of others both those who played behind their mentors like Steve Young / Joe Montana and took over from them and those who left for other teams and had pretty good careers.

    I still say that it might have been better to trade for
    GB’s Hundley than picking and trying to start a rookie – He has had some training and some tape against NFL players and a few years on his rookie contract – sounded like a win win rather than a crapshoot.

  28. Charlie is such a deep thinker…

    “Why not pay 5x as much for a mediocre ‘veteran’ with four starts who has only proven that he is a backup QB than draft last year’s All-American collegiate QB?”

    How many times has the “pay huge for a backup” strategy worked? Twice in NFL history?

  29. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying that Jimmy Garoppolo or A.J. McCarron are proven commodities. They’ve each shown promise but in very limited showings. Maybe we know a little more about them than we do about Tribisky, Mahomes and Watson, but it would be just as big a gamble to spend 2 1st round picks on either of them. Actually, it’s a bigger gamble as you need to spend the picks AND pay them the going rate for a starting QB whereas at least with draft picks, the rookie scale applies.

  30. mikea311 says:
    May 4, 2017 1:02 PM
    “money.

    draft picks are very cheap for 4-5 yrs.”

    ——

    Exactly. Preserve your cap space for other positions.

  31. jakasssayswhat says:
    May 5, 2017 9:34 AM
    I’m sorry, but I’m not buying that Jimmy Garoppolo or A.J. McCarron are proven commodities. They’ve each shown promise but in very limited showings. Maybe we know a little more about them than we do about Tribisky, Mahomes and Watson, but it would be just as big a gamble to spend 2 1st round picks on either of them. Actually, it’s a bigger gamble as you need to spend the picks AND pay them the going rate for a starting QB whereas at least with draft picks, the rookie scale applies.

    The point of this article – is not to give up 2 high round draft picks – but to sign another street free agent ( probably for much less money) – or trade for another teams back up – ie Hundley or Garapolo – probably could have been had for a 2nd or maybe even lower. If these guys are sitting around and not picked up yet it is a buyers market and the price would not be that high. I am sure that Cutler and Kap and others price will continue to come down or they will have to retire to the experts booth. Use your high picks on sometime more tangible immediate assets like a defensive player or whatever is best on the board. I agree – too many teams reach – which causes other teams to reach. There is not a position out there where the percentage of first round flops is so high as at QB.

  32. Regardless of Weiss’s faults as a HC, he should know what makes a QB. He watched the greatest of all time walk onto the field and dwarf everyone who ever played the position.
    No one carries themself like Brady or has the same presence and command. You know you are looking at a winner.

  33. Whatever happened to Charlie’s “decided schematic advantage”?

    I pray that Charlie never gets near by beloved football team.

    As others have already set out:

    (1) Those veteran QBs are not exactly proven (with the exception of Cousins).

    (2) Cousins is going to get paid $25 million a year on his deal. And someone actually thinks it’s worth 2 first rounders to pay him that?

    (3) Garappolo is more proven than a rookie, sure, but we’ve also seen enough to lower his ceiling. (And he’s about to get his own $20 million a year contract.)

    (4) AJ McCarreon hasn’t proven anything and while I think he should get a chance the idea of giving up much draft capital at all for him is just ridiculous.

    (5) NE wasn’t trading Garoppolo for anything. They are still Super Bowl favorites with him if Brady goes down.

  34. if jg had been traded he wasn’t playing for 800k this year.

    he would have gotten a restructure and extension.

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