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Recipe for young QBs rarely varies

February 16. 2013 3:28PM
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Patience, commitment and faith.

Those qualities are just as important in developing NFL quarterbacks as strong arms, good vision and a love for the game.

Super Bowl winning coaches and current offensive coordinators who have worked with some of the NFL's elite passers agree that any other approach simply won't work, no matter how talented the quarterback.

With such an influx of young arms in starting spots throughout the league — 11 teams could have No. 1 QBs with three or less years of pro experience, although one is 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden in Cleveland — the teaching regimen is more intense than ever.

Yet, it still needs to be old school.

"The key is to commit to one guy once you decide he is the player who you think is it," Browns President Mike Holmgren says. "You know you will go through some bumps and bruises with him, you will get criticized, but you have to commit and then stick with it.

"There needs to be a mutual trust between coach and player, and a need for sticking by your guns. Be willing to take the heat. Hopefully you are in a position with the owner where there won't be any knee-jerk reactions."

With the upcoming change in ownership in Cleveland, it's uncertain that Holmgren and his hand-chosen staff led by coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress, will have that stability. But they certainly have the credentials to turn Weeden into a star.

Holmgren, of course, has worked with a Hall of Fame worth of quarterbacks, including Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre. Childress helped make Donovan McNabb into a winner. Shurmur nurtured Sam Bradford in his first pro season, and the Rams' signal-caller was the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

They all follow the same guidelines, whether they come from the Bill Walsh, West Coast offensive coaching tree, or from another.

"It's also important to have continuity with the head coach and offensive coordinator and the player," Holmgren says. "It only makes it that much harder when you're changing coordinators or offensive systems. He's going to be all screwed up in the beginning, anyway, so you need to provide stability."

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