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Is Byron Leftwhich A Good Fit For The Bucs?

by: AnthonyP On  Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Byron LeftwhichTotal Pro Sports – This Monday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich to a two-year 7.5 million dollar deal that will net him 2 million this year.  I just wrote an article on how I thought Luke McCown might do given the reigns to the Bucs offense for a full year and now the signing of Leftwich might mean that he never gets a chance.  On the other hand, it makes me wonder if Leftwich is actually a good fit for the west coast offense that is going to be put into place by Jeff Jagodzinski, the new offensive coordinator.

When it comes to Leftwich the NFL has always known about the amount of talent he has, after all he was the 7th overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft.  Leftwich has a strong arm that can make every throw on the field and is an accurate passer that is known for his leadership.  However, all of this came with a few caveats, he is injury prone, has a long delivery, and he isn’t very mobile.  None of these characteristics tell me that he is a 16 game starter for a west coast offense.

McCown, on the other hand, has a skill set that very much seems to fit the mold of the west coast QB.  He has a quick release, is good about getting the ball out of his hands quickly, a strong arm, good mobility, and the ability to throw accurately on the move.  Also, McCown has already shown that he does a good job of hitting the slant route and quick outs, both plays are part of the foundation of a west coast passing attack.

When I am trying to figure out whether a QB will work well with a certain system I like to look at the skill sets of the most successful QBs to run that system. For the west coast system the prototype has to be Joe Montana, the QB drafted by the creator of the system (Bill Walsh) to run it.

Its easy to see how different Leftwich and Montana are, Leftwich is 6-5 245lbs with a long release and a canon arm that is best suited launching the ball around the field from the pocket.  Montana played at 6-2 200lbs with quick footwork, a quick release, below average arm strength but excellent accuracy within his arms range.  Luke McCown is 6-3 208lbs with quick feet, a quick release, does a good job of getting the ball out of his hands quickly and has average arm strength for a starting QB.

Montana and the west coast system are all about being quick, the west coast offense is an offense that is based on quick decisions and quick releases from the QB to get the ball out into the hands of his play makers.  There is nothing too quick about Leftwich’s game.  Leftwich is best suited for a system like the one that Pittsburgh runs and that he ran in Jacksonville, one that is based around a strong running game that it uses to open up its passing game to drive the ball deep down the field.

Raheem Morris is saying its an open competition for the starting QB position, and both Leftwich and McCown are making the same amount of money so it does seem like that is the case, and if I were to take a guess I’d say McCown wins an open competition.





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