Joe Montana explains the quarterback position

Here’s a quote from Joe Montana:

“The game is changing. Nobody wants to throw with pressure anymore. But the guys who can win in this league are the ones who can make throws from the pocket.”

You can read the article for more context, as Montana is discussing how he likes the game of Colin Kaepernick but sees room for improvement. Kapernick is part of the new wave of mobile quarterbacks, but give him and head coach Jim Harbaugh credit as they have tried to limit how often Kaepernick takes off and runs. He’s starting to look more like a young John Elway as opposed to a “running quarterback” like year one RG3.

But as Montana points out, the most important part of a quarterback’s game involves throwing in the pocket, and particularly the ability to make the right throw accurately under pressure. This is where many young quarterbacks struggle, but it can be even more difficult to develop this skill for mobile quarterbacks who take off running when the pressure gets too hot, as opposed to shifting in the pocket and making the big throw. Relying on scrambling will cause a quarterback to leave some big throws on the field, limiting some big plays.

We’ll see if Kaepernick or Russell Wilson can actually win a Super Bowl. One of them will be matched up against a classic pocket passer in either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. And yes, the game is changing and we’re seeing more mobile quarterbacks. But Montana is pointing out a critical element for ultimate success in the NFL, and this gives us some perspective as we enjoy the rest of the NFL playoff season.

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Top 10 active NFL touchdown leaders

Sometimes when deciding who you’re going to pick at your fantasy football draft, it’s easy to be infatuated with yardage and not with touchdowns, but TDs are really where the points are at. With the 2008 season now over, here is a look at the all-time active NFL leaders are in touchdowns, either rushing or receiving. Some names will not surprise you, but a few others might, but either way, you fantasy geeks can file this article away for when you start your preseason research:

1. Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys (141)—T.O. causes trouble everywhere he goes, but on the field he has a knack for finding the end zone, usually after he’s blown past a defender. And the best part for fantasy GMs is that you don’t have to actually interact with the guy like Jerry Jones does.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (141)—The scary thing about LT is he’s only 29. The really scary thing, though, is that he’s gone from a league-record 28 rushing scores in 2006 to 15 in 2007 to 11 in 2008. He probably won’t be drafted first overall again in 2009, but LT is still a first rounder.

3. Randy Moss, New England Patriots (136)—Moss has had an up and down career, but the one number you can never ignore is 23—the NFL single-season receiving TD mark he set in 2007 when he and Tom Brady were lighting up scoreboards. And Brady should be back in ’09.

4. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts (128)—A knee injury ended Harrison’s 2007 season prematurey, and he was not as effective in 2008 usual, scoring only 5 times. Throw in some off the field issues, and while Marvin has put up huge career numbers catching passes from Peyton Manning, you have to believe the end of that career is in sight.

5. Shaun Alexander, free agent (112)—Has anyone seen a running back’s career decline so sharply? Dude broke the NFL record with 27 rushing TDs in 2005, but an injury limited Alexander to only 20 starts since then with two different teams. 112 might stay at 112.

6. Edgerrin James, Arizona Cardinals (91)—James reached double digits in touchdowns four times while playing in Indianapolis. And he’s reached double digits in Arizona too—16 scores, but over three seasons. He showed in the playoffs that he still has some juice left, but on a Cardinals’ team focused on the pass, don’t expect James to reach 100 before 2010.

6. Isaac Bruce, San Francisco 49ers (91)—Fifteen years in the league will give you a chance to put up close to 100 touchdowns, but it’s not like Isaac Bruce doesn’t have skills, even at the ripe old football age of 36.

8. Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay Bucs (83)—Galloway is another guy who has sipped from the fountain of youth, but he missed most of the 2008 season.

9. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs (76)—Gonzalez caught 96 passes for 1058 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008, one of his best seasons yet, to earn first team All Pro at the age of 32. He may not be back in KC in 2009, but no matter where he lands, he’s always a good fantasy tight end.

10. Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins (76)—With 76 career rushing and receiving touchdowns, Portis is a solid fantasy player, but no LT. Then again, LT is no LT anymore either.

Source: Pro Football Reference

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