Is John McNulty aiming to reinvent the position of quarterback coach in the NFL? Uh, no.
"I saw Donovan McNabb taking drops in the ocean waist-deep in Miami with a quarterback guru, you'd have to explain to me what that was," McNulty smiled.
You mean the Cardinals new QB coach hasn't concocted a bunch of innovative drills that we've never seen before? Uh, no again. McNulty is more interested in refining his quarterbacks, instead of redefining the art of coaching QB's.
"We try to keep it as game-specific as possible and see if that helps ‘em," McNulty said about his OTA regimen. "How they would have to move in the pocket, how they would have to react to things, and how their feet would have to work."
Which is to say, there has been more emphasis on footwork this offseason than "Dancing With the Stars". Except, it's anything but glamorous. In fact, during our sit-down interview, I asked McNulty why he even pursued the switch from coaching receivers (where Larry Fitzgerald makes everyone Mirror Ball-worthy), to the challenge that (still) comes with replacing Kurt Warner?
"I think everyone has been frustrated the last couple years with the production or just the general play at that position. And no more frustrated than us who have to put our living on it," McNulty said. "So, I just figured that, well, you can complain about it...or you can try and do something about it."
So, between his firsthand knowledge of the Cards offense and the quarterbacks currently on the roster, along with the fact that he's coached the position before, McNulty stated his case to Coach Whisenhunt. Done. You're hired. And your assignment starting with OTA's - solve the inconsistency at QB.
"The only time to do that is in the offseason," McNulty said about returning to fundamentals. "If you understand why and you can talk about it every day, you almost have to hypnotize the guys with ‘this is why, this is why' then when it sinks in, it becomes habit and those things are easier to do."
Hey, if people can use hypnosis to quit smoking, then why not other bad habits, right? That said, let's name names and objectives. If Kevin Kolb has one priority here in 2012…?
"I think it's just getting settled and trusting the progression of the play. Just run the play. You don't have to make anything spectacular happen. You just have to operate the play the way it's meant to be operated," McNulty explained. "If you truly can work your feet through the operation of the play and make it work for you, we should be good."
And since John Skelton is getting equal snaps with the first team, what's atop his To-Do List?
"With John, it's just making sure you understand exactly where everybody is going to be as you operate the play and get your feet to your throw," McNulty said. "He's so tall and can stand so big in the pocket…and is able to get the ball there without even having to take his feet there. But the accuracy suffers when you do that."
How accurately are the Cardinals coaches tracking the QB competition? Put it this way, it's not just being recorded down to the incompletion, but the nature of the incompletion (drop, wrong route, incorrect read, inaccurate throw, etc.) But for all the hard data and number crunching, it still comes down to your eyes and your gut. What you see and what you sense.
"I think you just know. At some point, you just know who can handle all the information, who can operate the team, who the team believes in," McNulty said. "At some point, we'll know and when we do for sure, it'll be all in on that guy."