Break-Out Candidate: Anthony Richardson

Edward Anthony
Letters from a Sports Fan
3 min readJul 28, 2022

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Anthony Richardson. Photo Credit: Alex Shepherd.

I read a post recently by sportswriter Tony Thomas regarding his list of the Top Five quarterbacks in the SEC. Looking at the rankings made me think of Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson, who as of right now doesn’t have the numbers to make a list like that, but I think that will change soon.

Although he played in spots last year as the backup to Emory Jones, who transferred to Arizona State, I saw the immense potential and upside in the young man formerly known as “AR-15”. He announced he’s discarding that nickname, but that’s another story. Even in limited playing time, I noticed that the offense was more explosive and simply better when Richardson was in the game versus Jones, who seemed to be more of the ball control type. On a side note, I think Jones will be a perfect fit for (head coach) Herman Edwards in Arizona State because as long as I’ve been watching Herman Edwards-coached teams, going back to his days in the NFL, the offense has always been conservative.

Thinking back to Richardson’s season, one would say he had an up-and-down year, which I won’t argue, but that’s to be expected of a Redshirt Freshman, and I’ll point out again that he played in spots last year, plus he dealt with injuries.

With that, I’ll give my reasons why I think Anthony Richardson is a break-out candidate this year. You could also say this is sort of a scouting report. At 6–4 240, he’s freakishly athletic. He clocked in with a 4.5 40 time, which is extremely fast for a dude his size. I still find that 4.5 timing hard to believe with his acceleration ability.

With the aforementioned, he’s a big play waiting to happen, as he demonstrated with long throws and runs last year. I went back and looked at some of his tape, and while I still think this is an area where he needs to improve, he showed signs of being able to make plays from the pocket. He can make all the throws, he can complete passes under duress, and I never realized how lightning quick his release is until I went back and watched him again.

I think some areas where he can improve is becoming a more balanced quarterback, and not relying too much on his legs to make plays. Now, a guy with his big-play ability, you don’t want to take it away completely, you just don’t want him to over rely on that. Improving his pocket game will make him more dangerous, and it will keep the defense honest.

Also, he plays with a “linebacker’s mentality,” as some coaches would describe it, referring to a quarterback who tends to take on and absorb hits and run over people in some cases, versus playing smarter and sliding or getting out of bounds to avoid unnecessary hits. This is usually the case with big quarterbacks such as himself.

They tend to have too much pride to protect themselves by sliding or getting out of bounds because of their size. While watching Richardson truck people during a run will make highlight reels, taking too many hits will eventually land him on the sideline with injuries. I understand it’s a physical game, but he has to play smart at the same time.

That aside, I think he’s going to make life easier for head coach Billy Napier, who has him watching film of guys like Josh Allen, who I see shades of from the way he plays, and Aaron Rodgers to help him improve his game. From listening to him, he seems to be committed to being a complete quarterback. Combine all of this with the fact that he’s now the full-time starter in Florida, and if he continues to develop his game, not only do I see a break-out candidate, I see a potential Heisman candidate.

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Edward Anthony
Letters from a Sports Fan