By Featured Blogger Niral Patel
The NFL is in crisis mode. Not because it’s dealing with performance enhancing drugs, heightened awareness to domestic violence issues and yet another Patriots scandal, although none of that is helping Roger Goodell sleep at night. The supply of top-tier quarterbacks―heck, serviceable quarterbacks―is drying up at precisely the wrong time. Owners want a high scoring, thrill-a-minute league so rules are constantly tweaked to enhance offensive play. But weak-armed, imprecise quarterbacks make it hard for general managers to create a reality out of that dream. Consider this: Ryan Fitzpatrick was ninth in NFL passer rating last season, not a good sign football fans.
Who’s to blame? Some point the finger at college ball; the proliferation of spread offense and quick-toss, one option reads sets a low bar for young passers. Others suggest the combination of training, coaching and scouting coupled with precise diets and lighter athletic equipment has defensive players better equipped to make quarterbacks look bad. Everyone complains. Few seek solutions. Good news, George Whitfield Jr. has the answer.
George Whitfield Jr. makes good quarterbacks better. Ben Roethlisberger tasked him with that job back in 2010. He teaches them to react faster in pressure situations, putting QBs like ‘Johnny Football’ through their paces in the backfield. He improves technique, form and arm motion, Andrew Luck can attest to that. And he challenges them to be more efficient passers—just ask Cam Newton. Dozens of quarterbacks, including this year’s number one pick Jameis Winston, have entrusted Whitfield Jr. to make them sharper, efficient, franchise quarterbacks. Prospects and professionals alike have a lot of confidence in someone you’ve never heard of.
The former college and arena league quarterback is becoming one of the most well-known private quarterback coaches in the nation. The all-time leading passer at Division-2 Tiffin University uses his decades of quarterbacking experience and observation to help others reach their potential. And, while his on-field successes were minimal, Whitfield Jr. has spent years studying the position; he understands that talent alone won’t keep you in the league. Technique, training and competition make the best better and separates winners from losers.
George Whitfield Jr. founded Whitfield Athletix to help fix the National Football League’s quarterback crisis. Whitfield Jr., and his team, offers up much more than cookie-cutter quarterback coaching—he fashions himself a quarterback engineer. “Your No. 1 job is, can you improve him?… Can you either improve it, or build it? It really kind of comes down to that. That’s why I love the term ‘engineer.’…” Whitfield Athletix offers a lot and promises to challenge all comers in all aspects of the position.
The team at San Diego-based Whitfield Athletix sees each quarterback as a unique challenge. And their leader, the QB engineer, appreciates that each thrower is his own snowflake. “It’s different for different guys. For Cam it was like training a gladiator. Luck, it was like working with Mike Tyson, it was just such a direct, purposeful, hard, encouraging deal. Johnny and Jameis are bigger personalities, you got to kind of get a feel for the culture, tap into them, kind of meet them where they are and then continue to challenge them….” His staff—a team of 7 that includes coaches, a Wonderlic Professor, an Operations Director and a photographer— has spent nearly a decade developing programs that can teach the masses as well as work on an individual basis. At #BlackOPS Quarterback School, young quarterbacks are observed, analyzed and given tools to make them more successful. The Academy is weekly training run by Whitfield Athletix trainers in sunny, Southern California. And George himself coordinates Pro Days for NFL prospects and offers a variety of tools and skills programs to ready QBs for the next level. And, in the end, it’s all about preparing throwers for their next challenge.
It’s George Whitfield Jr.’s willingness to adapt to each QB’s needs that sets him apart from the dozens of camps around the country that put each tosser through a pre-defined set of drills. As Whitfield says, “meet them where they are and then continue to challenge them”. NFL fans don’t know it but he is creating NFL-ready quarterbacks, one throw at a time.