By Bob Socci, 98.5 The Sports Hub
BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBS) — One is widely referred to as football’s greatest quarterback. The other has been called the game’s ultimate quarterback whisperer.READ MORE: Major Winter Snow Storm With Blizzard Conditions Possible Saturday
And when publicly opining on the position, each is often seen and heard dressing up his remarks with personalized headwear. Tom Brady’s is a “TB 12” ball cap. Bruce Arians goes with a “BA” Gatsby hat.
At the same time Brady and Arians deliver their fashion statements in monogrammed lids, their thinking caps on quarterbacking appear very much alike. Both link the mechanics of throwing a football to those involved with hitting a golf ball.
Brady did so last November, while comparing his short game as a passer to the throws he tries to drive downfield.
“As far as the mechanics, I’ve really tried to work on those,” he said. “A lot of them are probably pretty much the same whether it’s a five-yard pass or it’s a 50-yard pass. The mechanics of the throw are very similar. It would be like hitting a wedge or a driver. It’s the same swing. One is just, you know, there’s just a little nuance to it that may be a little different. So I haven’t hit the driver as well as I probably hit the wedges, but if I can hit the driver a little better, it would make things a little bit easier on our team.”
Wednesday it was Arians, as head coach of Arizona, who pulled a golf analogy out of his bag, noting that Brady’s counterpart Carson Palmer and his fellow Cardinals quarterbacks tee it up daily on the practice-field “driving range.”
“Carson probably has improved his footwork 100 times over since we first got him,” Arians said at the NFC coaches breakfast on the final morning of the 2016 NFL owners meetings. “He’s shortened his feet in the pocket and we do drill after drill, every day.
“I consider our quarterbacks going to the driving range every day and working on their fundamentals for 30 minutes.”
Arians also acknowledges what Brady advocates in word and deed by adhering to a strict diet and training regimen. Clean living, says the Cardinals coach, is increasing the football lifetimes of today’s players.READ MORE: Jayson Tatum Is On Quite The Hot Stretch
“Sports science today is so different than 10 years ago with the nutrition and all the training,” said Arians, pairing a red windowpane sport coat topped off with a white newsboy cap. “These guys can play late in their 30s like they used to when they were 25 or 28. You saw it with Peyton (Manning), you see it with Tom, you see it with Drew (Brees).
“We have a cafeteria (where) they only serve organic food. Everything’s organic in our building… Everything’s changed in that regard.”
He likes it that way, because Arians prefers players who are relatively lean, extremely lithe and possess a natural quality — pure speed.
“I don’t think you can have enough of it at any position,” he said. “I’m always intrigued with offensive linemen at 310 pounds that run five flat (in the 40-yard dash). That was unheard of before, and to see them — just watch them run — they’re athletes. They used to be lumbering guys. Now they’re athletes.
“You want athletes on the field, mainly because they usually don’t get injured as much as a bigger, stiffer guy. At every position — secondary, linebacker, obviously anybody at receiver, but even our offensive linemen — we want speed and athleticism.”
Finding exceptionally fast receivers is especially important to the offense Arians oversees, stretching the field more vertically than most. In it, Palmer often looks to burn defenses with long balls to the likes of J.J. Nelson (nicknamed “Fire”) and John Brown (aka “Smoke”).
As a student of all offenses — “this time of year especially,” he says — Arians’ style in Arizona differs from that of Brady and the Patriots, who surely appreciate speed but place a premium on quickness.
“When they had Randy they had speed. They’ve had speed,” Arians said. “They’ve always had quickness, going back to Troy Brown in that slot. Welker. Edelman. That’s what they do. I like guys in the slot that are quick, but really fast. So it’s just different styles of offense. They get (the ball) out of their hand real fast, we throw it up the field a little bit more.”
And as evidenced by their recent success, both look good doing it their way.MORE NEWS: David Mugar, Creator Of July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, Dies At 82
Bob Socci is the radio play-by-play voice of the New England Patriots. You can follow him on Twitter @BobSocci.