Byron Leftwich is accustomed to the criticism. It's the one weekly constant in his life as an NFL quarterback. No matter how well he plays, his critics will point to his immobility, as though Leftwich plays quarterback in a wheelchair.
"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but I know by far I'm not the slowest guy in the league," Leftwich said. "You can't worry about those things. I just know every week I'm going to go out and do the best I can to help this team."
There are less mobile quarterbacks – Peyton Manning – for sure. There have been great quarterbacks – Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino – who couldn't run. It's quarterbacks such as Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper who have turned fans on to the mobility factor in today's game. All of a sudden, quarterbacks are supposed to run.
So, how many do run? How many of today's quarterbacks are guys who can honestly do something with their legs outside the pocket? Vick, McNabb, Culpepper are three. Steve McNair may be beyond those days. The Losman kid in Buffalo has some running ability. Jake Plummer was once very good on his feet. Those days are behind Brett Favre. David Carr can move, but every time he left the pocket he was sacked – eight times, in fact – by the Steelers last Sunday, and Texans fans' complaints of Carr is that he won't stay in the pocket. Aaron Brooks can run, but does it really matter?
"There are not a lot (of quarterbacks) who can get outside the pocket and do something. The rest of us are in the same mold. I believe you have to win games from the pocket. You have to be able to get the ball into your playmakers' hands," Leftwich said.
That's the way it is for the vast majority of quarterbacks in the NFL.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Jets.
- Forget about the Colts—The Jets will require full attention.
- Run the ball—The quarterback is coming off a body-wrap game. Let him hand-off and go home.
- Stop the run—It's time to get back to basics. Curtis Martin may be on a bad knee, but he's still Curtis Martin.
- Protect the quarterback—You can't run the ball on every play.
- Reward protection—The best way for Byron Leftwich to reward his offensive linemen is by making big plays when he's given time to do so.
- Play tight coverage—There's no need to fear the deep ball because Chad Pennington can't throw it. Don't let him nibble at you.
- Get it to Matt Jones—That seems to be what all of the fans want, so let's find out if he can be a touchdown-maker.
- Rush the quarterback—Three sacks in two games isn't good enough.
- Know where you are—This is New York. Want respect? This is where you earn it.
- Take a quick look ahead—Two home games follow. This one could be pivotal.