The Chicago Bears can’t afford to pass on QB Anthony Gordon

Chicago Bears (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Anthony Gordon
Chicago Bears (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

DWC: What do you hope to showcase to NFL scouts down at the Senior Bowl?

AG: I’m excited to get down there and compete first and foremost, but I’m also excited to put some of these questions and concerns to rest. Being an air-raid quarterback I know a big knock on me is not being able to go under center but I’ve been working tirelessly at that and am ready to put some of those questions to rest. I want to show I’ve been working really hard at that. I’m ready to go out and compete against the best in the country and showcase my talents and represent Washington State as best as I can.

DWC: I saw you have been training this offseason with Sage Rosenfels. What are some of the things you guys have been working on?

AG: Yeah we’ve been working on Xs and Os and board talk. The air-raid is a confusing system but simple when it comes to terminology. We’re also working on understanding protection schemes and how NFL defenses will disguise their coverages. We’ve been watching a lot of tape and discussing playbooks. You know Sage has played in a number of offensive systems and he really knows what he’s talking about so I’ve just been soaking up as much as I can from him and am ready to put it all to the test out in Mobile.

DWC: What about playing in an air-raid system do you think will benefit you at the next level?

AG: I think the number of reps I was able to get in one season. The number of attempts and completions was something that some people may get in two years. So being able to see that many defenses and different looks is something that is going to benefit me a lot. Also, a lot of concepts through coach’s offense — a lot of it has found its way to the NFL and you see a lot of teams running similar principles. Being able to make those second-level throws and drop the ball in between defenders will really help me out moving forward.

DWC: In the air-raid system you have a lot of responsibility to make calls at the line of scrimmage. Can you walk me through your process of what you do when you get up to the line?

AG: Coach gives us the wristband so he’ll hand-signal in a play, then I’ll take a look and evaluate. So many times there will be like four variations off of it. I’ll process the play he gives me and evaluate it and if I see say a good five-man box I’m going to be trying to give it to my running back. But I just take a look at space and look for easy completions. My whole approach is to look for an easy completion first.

DWC: The modern quarterback is so different than it was even a decade ago. Who were some of the quarterbacks you watched growing up that influenced your style?

AG: Being a Bay Area kid I always loved watching Tom Brady dissect defenses, and of course Peyton Manning. I loved watching the way they evaluated a play and attacked defenses — they always had a plan going up to the line of scrimmage. I also loved watching Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes — watching them throw from so many different arm angles. It’s inspired me a little bit and I think my baseball background has helped me be able to throw from so many different angles as well. So those are players I watch a lot of and think they’re unbelievable players.

DWC: One thing that stood out in your tape is that at times, you come to a standstill and it seems like things slow down for you. How are you able to be that calm in the pocket?

AG: We saw a lot of different coverages so we saw a lot of ‘rush three-drop eight’ and so there are eight defenders to cover four guys so I had to find the open man. I had all the trust in the world in our offensive line. Mason Miller did an outstanding job coaching those guys up and our offensive line works harder than anyone in the country and it showed.

DWC: Are there particular offensive concepts or schemes that best fit your game?

AG: A lot of these teams adapt and they’re making changes each year and you’re seeing a lot more college schemes trickling into the NFL. Then there are the more traditional offenses like San Francisco and Green Bay, they’re under center a lot more working play action. So I’m working really hard to not put any limitations on my game so I can fit any scheme.

DWC: What would you say are your best traits as a quarterback?

AG: I’d definitely say a quick release. My arm strength is pretty good. My anticipation and accuracy are also strengths of mine as well as the ability to process information. Teams threw the kitchen sink at us in terms of coverages and blitzes so being able to see what they’re doing, retain the information and use it to attack the next play is something else I think I do well.

DWC: Yeah your anticipation is phenomenal. At times, it looked like you were throwing the ball before the receiver was even into his break. Is that about understanding the leverage, your rapport with your receivers, or what?

AG: Yeah I think it’s a combination of all those things. Being aware of where our receivers are supposed to be — you know they are great at their routes. The air-raid is complex but simple. We only have a handful of plays so we really drill those plays each and every game. So it’s been really beneficial being able to build a rapport with the receivers who are meticulous with their routes, getting to their landmark, and breaking it off where they’re supposed to.

DWC: Is there an aspect of your game that you think might be underrated?

AG: I think some people think my arm strength isn’t as good, and the under center thing is a perceived weakness. But I’m ready to put all those concerns to rest when I get down to Mobile.

DWC: What is something that fans don’t know about you that they might be surprised to learn?

AG: Oh man, I don’t know. I don’t know if I have a lot of talents outside of athletics and my friends all kind of make fun of me for it because they’re all surfers and skaters. You know I’m pretty low key. I enjoy going to the beach and being outside and hanging out with friends. I like to imitate people so I guess I’m good at impersonating people so I guess that’s something interesting.

DWC: Did you get a chance to watch any Chicago Bears games last year? If so, how does their offense suit your game?

AG: Yeah I watched a few when they were on primetime. Coach Nagy is a bright offensive mind and gets pretty creative with a lot of his plays. And with Trubisky being able to move around like that I’m sure it’s a whole lot of fun calling plays for a quarterback who can move like that. So hopefully I’ll be talking with them down the road.

DWC: What are your thoughts about possibly playing in Chicago?

AG: Oh man, anywhere that would give me an opportunity but I’d love to play in Chicago. I’d love to play anywhere. Cold weather doesn’t bother me playing up in Pullman so anyone who would be willing to give me a chance to compete at the highest level, I’m ready for it.

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DWC: What do you want NFL general managers to know about you?

AG: I’d want them to know that they’re getting a hard worker and someone who loves the game. They’d be getting someone who is going to work tirelessly to improve each and every day. I’m a coachable player and I think the coaches will get a chance to see how hard I’ve been working to put a lot of questions to rest.

DWC: Anthony thank you again so much for taking some time to chat with us and we wish you the best of luck in the draft and in the NFL.

AG: Of course man — thank you. I appreciate you having me Patrick — anytime.