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Bruce Arians is no fan of the spread offense

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If/when the Cardinals draft a quarterback while Bruce Arians is still coaching the team, don’t expect the quarterback to come from a college spread offense.

“[T]hat damn sure ain’t what playing quarterback is all about,” Arians writes in his new book, The Quarterback Whisperer. “The most important trait needed to become a QB is leadership. But there is no leadership required of the quarterback in [the college] version of the spread. He doesn’t talk to his teammates in the huddle, he doesn’t change the snap count — hell, he barely even reads the defense. The college spread quarterback doesn’t learn the mental and physical skills needed to execute the intricacies of the NFL game. That puts the college spread QBs who aspire to play and succeed in the NFL at a distinct disadvantage.”

Arians adds that any NFL team drafting a spread quarterback “can expect him to fail early in his career,” which means he’ll need the mental toughness to deal with failure. “Most rookie quarterbacks are going to suck anyway . . . but he’ll really be at a disadvantage if he’s coming from a spread team and has no idea of the pro concepts.”

These passages suggest that the Cardinals would have taken neither Patrick Mahomes nor Deshaun Watson with the 13th pick in round one, if the Chiefs hadn’t sprung to No. 10 for Mahomes and if the Texans hadn’t jumped to No. 12 for Watson. However, Arians claimed to admire Watson’s leadership and his game before the draft; if Watson had still been on the board, who knows what Arians and the Cardinals may have done?

Here’s what we know for now: The Cardinals have no rookie quarterback to develop behind Carson Palmer. Appearing last week on PFT Live, Arians said that Drew Stanton would be the replacement if Palmer retires before Arians does. The coach also expressed positive reviews regarding free-agent acquisition Blaine Gabbert. (Yes, Blaine Gabbert.)

However it goes, one thing is clear about the Cardinals of the last decade. When they have Kurt Warner or Carson Palmer, they contend. Without either guy, the Cardinals struggle.

Of course, that’s probably true for every other team and their good or bad quarterbacks, further confirming the importance of having a guy who can play — and who can lead.

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26 Responses to “Bruce Arians is no fan of the spread offense”
  1. joetoronto says: Jul 17, 2017 9:13 AM

    The spread offense is for teams that don’t have a real QB, like the Bills.

  2. sheikhpat says: Jul 17, 2017 9:27 AM

    If only that homeless guy in Cleveland had read this book.

  3. Iknowitall says: Jul 17, 2017 9:28 AM

    Can we P L E A S E stop with all the Bruce Arians stories?

    Geez, this guy is the most overrated, career assistant coach ever, and this site publishes every single statement the guy makes as if he is Gandhi.

  4. paulland81 says: Jul 17, 2017 9:38 AM

    The spread offense in college is like college coaches playing Madden with real players in real games. They have ALL the control.

  5. jonathankrobinson424 says: Jul 17, 2017 9:46 AM

    The Bruce Arians shtick has’nt gotten real old.

  6. factschecker says: Jul 17, 2017 9:53 AM

    The NFL is a spread league now days. I don’t think the NFL could go full air raid like some colleges do but the NFL is a spread offense league. 3 or more WR’s is pretty standard these days and not just on 3rd down but on first down.

    The NFL turned into a spread league when Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning and The Great Tom Brady started opening games in the shotgun running the two minute offense right after the opening kickoff.

    It’s been 20 years. I’d be more than surprised if I was the only fan that noticed. It’s the main reason the FB position is more or less been phased out. Even when teams run 2 TE sets, these days one of them are split out wide or stacked in the slot with a WR (or WR’s).

  7. N JAIL U MY HOE says: Jul 17, 2017 10:04 AM

    Im sure Carr and Jimmy G both ran a spread offense. Arians sound like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.

  8. Cleanosaur says: Jul 17, 2017 10:10 AM

    Since when did Bruce Arians become Bill Walsh.. The NFL is so desperate to create legends its embarrassing

  9. vusnu says: Jul 17, 2017 10:13 AM

    Bruce Arians especially was no fan of the spread when Chip Kelly’s Eagles beat the Cards in 2013 with the spread.

  10. yankees2009 says: Jul 17, 2017 10:25 AM

    Nor should he be. Carson Palmer ran a hybrid of a spread/west coast offense his first several years at USC and he was pitiful. That all changed his senior year when norm chow came in an installed an air Coryell-type offense and Palmer won the heisman.

    Stick to Carson’s strengths

  11. nhpats says: Jul 17, 2017 10:28 AM

    No wonder he has won absolutely nothing

  12. thenewguy12 says: Jul 17, 2017 10:32 AM

    Brees, Big Ben, Flacco, Rivers, Mariota, Carr, Cam(who kicked the Cardinals butts in the NFCCG), Dak Prescott all played in spread offenses. Russell Wilson played in a spread offense for the majority of his college career before moving to Wisconsin. Get with the times Old Man River.

  13. usedjock says: Jul 17, 2017 10:46 AM

    I agree that in some ways many NFL offenses are spread like but it still is way more complex to play than in college. I cannot remember which college spread QB it was that said he didn’t even know how to read what the linebackers were doing in the NFL because in college he never had to read a defense.

    I also agree with many posters here with the thought of what exactly has Arians done to be a QB whisperer?

  14. aarons444 says: Jul 17, 2017 11:01 AM

    I also agree with many posters here with the thought of what exactly has Arians done to be a QB whisperer?
    =====

    He worked with Manning and Roethlisberger early in their careers…. I’d say in Mannings case, success was a certainty.

  15. kcflake says: Jul 17, 2017 11:04 AM

    Might be sour grapes from Arians, that his GM couldn’t deal for mahomes or Watson. I had heard the Saints, Cardinals and Giants were trying to move up to get Mahomes.

  16. cruzcowboy says: Jul 17, 2017 11:08 AM

    I’m no fan of this website posting an article on all of Bruce Arian’s opinions! Win something and we might care after that.

  17. factschecker says: Jul 17, 2017 11:18 AM

    I also agree with many posters here with the thought of what exactly has Arians done to be a QB whisperer?
    ———–
    Peyton, Roethlistberger, Luck and Palmer is probably having his best years of his luke warm career under his tutelage.
    You don’t have to like him, but I feel he’s more than qualified to discuss the QB position. He’s either played or coached QB’s since 1975.

    Now lets hold ourselves to the same standard. What are our qualifications? I got nothing other than being a fan.

  18. granadafan says: Jul 17, 2017 11:30 AM

    Old conservatives like Arians are stuck in their ways and refuse to adapt to the newer strategies and styles. Just about every college uses the spread in one way or another. It’s time NFL teams started adapting to the talent coming out of colleges instead of whining about it. Or better yet, if conservatives are unable to adapt, then how about having a development league to unteach what the kids were taught in colleges.

  19. jmc8888 says: Jul 17, 2017 11:32 AM

    vusnu says:
    Jul 17, 2017 10:13 AM

    Bruce Arians especially was no fan of the spread when Chip Kelly’s Eagles beat the Cards in 2013 with the spread.
    —————–

    Sure, pick out the one game you’ve won.

    Act like that is the most recent one, and forget to mention all the other ones, including the TWO since then that Arians coached teams have beat you.

    Also forget about the game Kevin freaking Kolb beat you and John freaking Skelton with Whis.

    Definitely forget about that playoff loss Warner handed you guys.

    EDP’s meltdowns on youtube before and after the game are hilarious.

  20. cookerduff123 says: Jul 17, 2017 11:40 AM

    The spread offense is the ticket. Just need to do it really quickly over and over again and you’ll be golden. By the way, are you hiring currently?
    -Chip

  21. Drunk Uncle says: Jul 17, 2017 11:41 AM

    He has won 2/3rds of his games as a head coach. He knows what he is doing.

  22. usedjock says: Jul 17, 2017 11:48 AM

    granadafan says:
    Jul 17, 2017 11:30 AM

    Old conservatives like Arians are stuck in their ways and refuse to adapt to the newer strategies and styles. Just about every college uses the spread in one way or another. It’s time NFL teams started adapting to the talent coming out of colleges instead of whining about it.

    I think one of the main reasons that the NFL doesn’t fully go to the spread is that they don’t want the QB running as much as they do in college. I don’t think they want their 20 million dollar a year investment running a ton.

    And thanks everyone for setting me straight on which QB he has coached as an assistant.

  23. jbaxt says: Jul 17, 2017 12:22 PM

    When Carson Palmer is your QB, you can’t like the Spread offense.

  24. vjllsduckfan65 says: Jul 17, 2017 3:39 PM

    It amazes me that Arians talks so confidently about something he obviously doesn’t know much about. Oregon QB’s like Mariota do read the defense, and change plays frequently. There’s a lot more to it than how Arians describes it. Oregon also uses a lot of NFL concepts. If you watch Mariota, he didn’t have a tough time transitioning. His biggest learning curve was calling plays in the huddle, which he mastered his first year.

  25. stuvian says: Jul 17, 2017 11:23 PM

    to be a QB whisperer you have to take an unproven commodity and make him into something. Arians has done nothing but ride the coat tails of proven vets and will be the first coach fired in 2017

  26. mojodoa says: Jul 20, 2017 7:11 AM

    Arians is a fan of Bruce.

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