In our last two editions of Succeed in Football, we’ve spoken to two of the trainers we work with at Inside the League, Dave Spitz of California Strength and Darryl Wong of Sparta Science. They are two of the 30-plus combine prep specialists we work with every day at Inside the League.
Today, we talk to former NFL and CFL quarterback Alex Brink of E-Force Football in Lake Oswego, Ore. Not only is he a former NFL draftee (7/223, 2008, Texans), but he was one of the quarterbacks on the 2008 Hula Bowl roster assembled by ITL’s Neil Stratton.
Tell me about your career, who you learned the most from along the way, and how you’ve incorporated that learning into what you do now.
“I was fortunate to play for a number of great coordinators and QB coaches during my career. My college OC (at Washington State), Timm Rosenbach, is one of the best QB mentors I have been around. His experience playing at a high level at Washington State as well as being a first-round pick in the 1989 supplemental draft gave him a depth of knowledge that few coaches I know can match. I was also fortunate to spend time with (49ers head coach) Kyle Shanahan during my time with the Houston Texans. Kyle is by far one of the smartest offensive minds I have been around and I have drawn on his coaching throughout my career and in my coaching of quarterbacks.”
What are some classic mistakes that quarterbacks make during the pre-combine process that negatively affect them?
“Too often quarterbacks focus only on the physical aspects of preparing for the NFL. They put too much emphasis on combine drills and fundamental work, but when they end up getting picked up by a team do not know how to handle the mental rigors of being an NFL QB. Although fundamentals are important, the most important work a QB can do pre-draft is learning how to process an NFL playbook and how to handle the mental stress of playing the position.”
What percentage of a QB’s success is dependent on work off the field (film, board, character, leadership)? How do you relate/explain that to QB prospects?
“Obviously physical tools are important — you have to be above a base threshold of talent to make it in the NFL — but more important are the mental and psycho-social elements of playing QB. This is 90% of where a quarterback’s success comes from. I was below-average physically as a player, but was able to extend an eight-year professional career because of my commitment to studying film, understanding playbooks and being a great leader. I am able to relate to prospects because I have been in every possible position you can be in as a pro: making a team as a rookie, battling for a roster spot as a vet, being a starter, being a backup, going to a new team, etc. During our preparation, we constantly focus on how to digest a playbook, break down film and develop all necessary tools to be an NFL quarterback.”
What percentage of a QB’s potential is purely dependent on raw arm strength? Is it the most important characteristic? If not, what is?
“Arm strength plays a role, but it is a very low percentage of a QB’s potential for success. As long as a QB has the base level of arm strength they can make it at the next level as long as they process information well; that is the most important characteristic a QB can have. Do they process all of the information pre- and post-snap in the most efficient and accurate way possible?”