Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Tom Cable wasted no time lamenting the lack of preparedness for the NFL that he saw among offensive players in college football following this year's NFL draft. But for St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead, the onus is on the NFL to adjust to what the college game is producing, at least at the quarterback position.
The widening void between college passers and the demands on NFL quarterbacks comes from the proliferation of the spread offense in college, and the hurry-up, no-huddle style that often comes with it. College quarterbacks in spread offenses don't have to learn or relay as much terminology, nor do they have to read defenses quite the same way as they do in the NFL. Adjusting to the pro game is nothing new, and quarterbacks have struggled to do so long before the advent of the spread attack.
"Honestly, I wish I'd done a little bit more as far as being proactive to get into a pro style [offense]," Petty said. "It was things I have never seen before."
Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton offered this frustration assertion: "You have to teach these kids the absolute basics."
SMU coach Chad Morris reportedly summarized the trend this way:
Of course, the college game isn't totally devoid of pro-style passers. Former Florida State star Jameis Winston operated a more traditional offense, and that was one reason he was considered a slightly better prospect than Oregon's Marcus Mariota this year. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter isn't having to teach Winston how to handle a huddle or how to read a defense, at least not at the rudimentary level that some young quarterbacks require.
But the spread quarterback is getting drafted, too, and as Snead suggested, NFL offenses will be forced to change as a result.