Whether you’re Joe Burrow, who was selected first overall in the NFL Draft, or a 12-year-old with a rocket arm playing in a flag football league, the basic mechanics of playing the quarterback position remain the same at any level.
Former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer spent some time focusing on three aspects of core movements for the position that every player should be focused on.
Base: A person’s base is their most athletic position. Palmer asks viewers to jump straight up into the air, as high as they can, without bending their knees or over accentuating their leap. On the way down, it is important to stick the landing, and observe how far apart your feet end up at that point.
Palmer points out that a lot of really talented high school players with impressive statlines don’t always have the best bases, as they are often distributing weight to their toes instead of operating on the balls of their feet.
Adjustments to the Base: If your base is your natural landing position after a jump straight up and down in the air, then anything that deviates from that is a variance to your natural base.
In a demanding position where many factors, such as oncoming pressure from up the middle or the sides, can change the weight distribution of your base, it’s important to understand how these affect a quarterback’s ability to stay efficient on the move.
Palmer gave the example of a quarterback moving backwards, and having their feet come closer together, and contributed another scenario where stepping up in the pocket can cause a quarterback’s feet to come closer together causing a less than ideal body lean.
Identifying Wasted Movement: “When I hitch up in the pocket, I probably take four steps, and I don’t need to. Or when I go to leave the pocket, I sink all my weight down, I take a false step, my next step doesn’t go anywhere, and now I’m taking my third step, and I’m finally moving.” Palmer cites these two examples as areas where quarterback mechanics sometimes fall short in not being as succinct or as crisp as they need to be. These tendencies are largely habitual, and with proper attention and dedicated training, are actions that can be trimmed out of a quarterback’s instinctive movements.
Palmer has worked with current starting NFL quarterbacks on these very topics, including the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen, who initially had a lot of wasted movements in college and in his rookie NFL season.