Wilson is probably the NFL’s most important man as the leader of the defending champs. He’s not the fleetest of foot, running just a 4.55 40-yard dash. He’s not particularly big, at only about 5-11 and barely 200 pounds. But he’s shifty enough to get the job done, rushing for 1,028 yards in his first two seasons, as well as five touchdowns.
Wilson isn’t the type to spring 76-yard runs, like RG3, or the type to bowl over defenders, like Luck. He’s more likely to evade a potential sack, break containment, and pick up a first down. He’s smart, doesn’t fumble (only four of them in two years on the ground), and doesn’t take big hits. He’s a smart runner, a dangerously smart runner.
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Aaron Rodgers. Ryan Tannehill. Jake Locker. Terrelle Pryor. All are names you could’ve potentially included on this list, but as a duel-threat, there’s no one else more dangerous than Johnny Manziel. Of course he hasn’t played in a regular season game yet, and hasn’t even won Cleveland’s starting job. But you know he’ll be on the field at some point. And when he gets there? The dude has always made plays.
At Texas A&M, his rushing numbers were off the charts: 2,169 yards and 30 trips to paydirt through two years. He won’t come close to those in the NFL but like Brett Favre before him, Money Manziel should be able to move around in the pocket and fling passes from almost any angle. He’ll be turnover-prone, but he’ll be exciting, too. Now he just needs to win the job.
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For a long time, the NFL feared the duel-threat quarterback, and not in the way today’s defensive coordinators stay up at night sweating bullets. QBs were supposed to be one thing and one thing only, tall, sturdy pocket passers, with arms made of steel and legs from mush. They didn’t run because it was dangerous to their health. And they didn’t take shots because it was dangerous to their health.
There were exceptions. Fran Tarkenton. Steve Young. Kordell Stewart. Donovan McNabb. But for the most part, the league’s decision makers stuck with tradition. If you were an athlete, you played a skill position.
That’s not the case today. Out of last season’s 12 playoff teams, four teams (Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers, Colts) wielded running threats at QB and another (Philly) started the year with one as their starting quarterback (Michael Vick). The duel-threat is here to stay, adding another dimension to a league with no qualms about their interest in protecting their offensive players and increasing scoring.
With Kaepernick one of the headliners of the next Game Plan from Champs Sports this week — stay tuned for more info — we’re breaking down the NFL’s biggest duel-threat quarterbacks this season.
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