Bruce Arians has a book coming out on Tuesday, and it figures to center on two subjects: his life as one of the most interesting dudes in coaching, and coaching quarterbacks.
First, we’ll focus on the latter.
Arians, who has worked with the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer throughout his NFL career, shared this anecdote about how he prepares his game plans around his quarterbacks.
To show my quarterbacks how much I believe in them, I let them pick their favorite plays that we’ll run in the game. On the nights before a game we’ll sit down in a hotel conference room and we’ll have six third-down calls for certain distances. On third-and-five, for example, I’ll ask my quarterback to give me his top three plays that he wants to run in that situation. Then on game day we’ll do that. Not only does this give ownership of the game plan to my quarterback, but it also makes him more accountable for what happens during the game. I want my quarterback to feel like we are tethered at the hip—and at the heart.
I’ll also ask my quarterback at our Friday meeting to give me his 15 favorite pass plays. Then I’ll get 15 running plays from the coaches and I’ll script the first 30 plays. If there is a pass play that I really want to include in those first 30, I’ll put it on the projector and make my case to the quarterback. But if he strongly disagrees, then I’ll let him win that argument. Remember: Players make plays, not coaches. So it’s vital that the quarterback be comfortable with the plays we will run. Because if he’s not, no matter how much I’m in love with a certain play design, it won’t work if my quarterback can’t execute it.
And now for the fun stuff: Arians tended bar while he played quarterback at Virginia Tech, a job that pushed him into coaching when he found himself dealing with a drunk patron and a gun pressed against his gut.
Head to Sports Illustrated for the full story.
Arians’s (and Lars Anderson’s) book The Quarterback Whisperer will be released Tuesday.