Terry Bradshaw views the 70's with excitement but bewilderment. There's
been plenty of talk about his being the next great quarterback but no
one realizes better than Bradshaw that it's much too early to know.
As the very first pick of the 1970 draft, the 6-3, 215-pounder from
Louisiana Tech joined a club which was eager for a change and he
received an immediate opportunity to play. But most of the Pittsburgh
players were almost as young as Bradshaw, so there wasn't much
experience on the field to help steady him. He had frequent slumps and
occasionally was benched in favor of second-year man Terry Hanratty, but
all of this eventually may contribute to his seasoning. Who knows?
The most certain things about Bradshaw right now are this: he's a fine
natural athlete with good size and an exceptionally strong arm.
"Bradshaw has great, great potential," said a scout who's not easily
carried away. "One question about him: can he pull the string on the
long one? He has such a strong arm that he sort of whistles the ball,
and doesn't finesse it sometimes when he should. But the kid has
everything else. Some people question his mental ability, but I think he
has it. And he's a great leader- an all-American type guy who can take
charge in the huddle. Sure, he's had slumps. His completion percentage
has been low and he's been booed, but he's playing a game of experience
right now. It's all ahead of him."
A star in one of the NFL's best defenses came away from his first
competition with Bradshaw impressed by what he saw.
throws a very good ball," the player said. "Once he scrambled and threw
the ball across the field to a back I was covering. I thought I had a
good chance to pick it off but the ball had such zip on it that I
couldn't get around to it. He has all the tools: good size, good range,
quickness. He has the physical equipment to throw under a lot of
pressure. Physically, he's a damn good quarterback right now. But he
lacks experience. He reminds me of Joe Namath, with his natural
delivery. He's scrambling too much now, getting out of there and trying
to make something work. If he continues a lot of this, he's likely to be
hurt and learn his lesson the hard way. But if he gets out of the habit
of scrambling, I think he'll be a great quarterback."
A veteran NFL quarterback observed that Bradshaw had better be prepared
to study a lot and take his lumps.
most important thing for a quarterback to do is to train your eyes to
look for things until they become second nature, until it becomes part
of your natural action to look at people and know what they are going to
do. Until you can do this, you're just wandering around. You may have
some outstanding games, but you're not going to be the competent
quarterback you should be until you can read those defenses."
A rugged course awaits Bradshaw but perhaps he'll master it.