Happy Hour Replay: A conversation with Joshua Harris on NFL quarterback play today
Lamar Jackson's personal QB coach hangs out with Go Long subscribers for an hour-plus. It was a fascinating chat. Learn aspects of the position you never knew before right here.
What a blast this was.
Our Happy Hours are just getting starting but this was probably the best one yet. Joshua Harris, the personal quarterbacks coach to Lamar Jackson, spent over an hour on Saturday night chatting with Go Long subscribers. If you missed it, just ding play on the video above. (Note: This is the only place you can view it — since our Happy Hours are subscriber-only, I made it “unlisted” on YouTube.)
I greatly appreciate everyone for joining and can’t wait to meet new faces next week. Have a suggestion for someone you’d like to hang with? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, DM on Twitter @TyDunne or just drop it in the comments below.
Definitely give the whole chat a listen/watch if you’re able but, if you’d prefer to jump around, here’s a mini guide:
4:05… The wild youth football scene in South Florida.
So many neighborhoods. So many teams. So many leagues. Which all means so many volunteers… and the criteria to be a volunteer? No, it’s not that extensive. “You can have a couple felonies and, hey, help us out,” as Harris put. Thus, corruption surrounding a game played by five- and six-year-olds runs rampant. There’s a ton of gambling at the Pop Warner level down here. When Harris’ own son was a five-year-old QB — before one championship game, one guy in the neighborhood approached him to say he had $4,000 riding on this game.
Naturally, very early on, Lamar was a legend.
15:45… The major impact Lamar Jackson’s mother has had on his football life.
The most influential force in the QB’s life? Mom. But maybe not in the ways you’d expect.
“She would take him into the back yard to do hitting drills with her. She would get into a three-point stance and hit.”
19:30… Jackson’s contract situation will be quite interesting.
He doesn’t have an agent. Right now, it’s status quo but Jackson will be seeking quite a bit of money very, very soon. Harris breaks down this dynamic.
“It’s about to be showtime, right?”
21:47… How being an English teacher helps Harris coach an NFL quarterback.
His unique perspective clearly has had a massive impact, and is one reason Jackson is so unique himself.
“I think one of the things we’ve gotten away from, at least in Florida with high school sports, a lot of coaches aren’t teachers. They are guys who maybe know the game but they don’t know the psychology or the psyche of the student and how to get messages across. Especially with English and reading. A lot of people don’t like to read.”
29:30… The best type of offensive scheme for Jackson may not be what you think.
Anyone out there assuming Jackson can only play in a run-heavy offense, Harris says, is dead wrong.
“I personally don’t think Lamar needs a special kind of offense. I think sometimes you can overthink it because he has this great gift.”
33:57… The Lamar Jackson/Greg Roman dynamic. Roman never asked for all of these mobile QBs but here they are.
“This is me talking from the outside. There has been a pattern, from San Francisco to Buffalo to, now, Baltimore where it’s taken the league by storm but then people are kind of like, ‘Oh, that’s what you’re doing?’ That’s happened three times now. … I don’t know if he loves that kind of quarterback or if he… he may love the run game and know what to do in the run game. And if you have a running quarterback, it gives you better numbers.”
37:17… On if the stereotype that you’re not an “elite” QB if you’re not a pocket passer still exists, and why Jackson’s running ability is such a threat.
“If you even think about it logically, does it make sense to have 11 guys on the defense and then really only have 10 guys on the offense? That’s really what you do if the quarterback just drops back and passes. You’re now down one guy. … So when you bring in the quarterback who actually is a threat to run, you actually make it an even ballgame now. 11, 11. Now, the defensive coach really has to gameplan for that 11th man.”
“We’ve got this stereotype that if you run a lot, you’re not smart enough to pick up the coverages and I think people don’t pick up on the intelligence it takes running the football. Knowing when to run the football. People talk all the time about reading the defense — Tom Brady and presnap reads and all of these things. But do you understand how fast Lamar reads on that read-zone option? It’s the same thing a quarterback does on the back side. … Now, go watch how fast he does it. That’s the same mental awareness.”
52:25… On if there is any one guy he tells Lamar Jackson, “Don’t let them make you like this guy?” On who that one cautionary tale would be…
“It’s Michael Vick. It’s not so much the being put in the box. It’s the lack of preparation that he had.”
58:10… On being the guy who Jackson trusts when he didn’t play or coach in the NFL himself.
“I think a lot of people go wrong getting the person who played so long. … Michael Jordan may be the worst general manager ever. … ‘You’re not going to find you again, MJ,’ right? I think people who have played the position for all this time, there are certain biases that come in with how you play the position.”