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Former Georgia football quarterback Jake Fromm

Buffalo GM: How Jake Fromm made Bills roster; similar to Georgia success

ATHENS — Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane explained why Jake Fromm made the Bills’ 53-man roster last weekend

From the sounds of it, Fromm made the roster for the same reasons he beat out Justin Fields for the Georgia quarterback job in the 2018 preseason and held the position throughout the year.

“I think one of those things Jake did well was in 11-on-11,” Beane told Syracuse.Com. “He did move the ball for us when he had some opportunities. He got better (as camp progressed).”

Moving the team in real-life football action — while not turning it over — is the bottom line for Kirby Smart when it comes to assessing quarterbacks.

In a Pro Style offense it’s also managing the huddle and the line of scrimmage — skills that are often downplayed or overlooked by outsiders.

NFL quarterback guru George Whitfield has equated it to flying a jet.

“I equate it like this: NFL offenses, they are much like fighter jets … and most college systems, they all have aircraft, every offense you see is basically looked at like an aircraft, and most systems are like helicopters,” Whitfield said.

“You can be a helicopter pilot and be a great one, but when you get out of that helicopter and try to make it to the NFL, you have to learn all over again because very few things translate.

“You have to learn they take off different, they land different, they are just different. (Only) a few quarterbacks in schools in college football are flying fighter jets — playing under center, reading more than one receiver at a time or reading the full field.”

Whitfield said quarterbacks coming out of spread offenses — and he has worked with several — operate more simplified systems that require fewer skills.

“Sometimes they have automatics, meaning before the ball even comes to me in the shot gun, I know the exact person I’m throwing to and there really is no determining factors, I’m going to him automatically,” Whitfield said.

“He could be behind the line of scrimmage, he could be downfield, he could be over the ball, no matter what, it’s an automatic, the play is built for that.

“Pro-style systems, they are dictated by what the defense does, that’s what makes them all so hard to stop. So (a QB) is reading downfield as he’s dropping back. , If a linebacker steps a certain direction or if a safety does a certain thing, they are put into a bind, because he’ll read that and do the opposite thing with the football. That’s what happens in the NFL.”

Of course, odds are against Fromm replicating in Buffalo what he did as a rookie at Georgia.

Fromm took over the UGA offense after Jacob Eason was injured in the 2017 season opening game and won a playoff game and was on the verge of a national championship.

But it certainly appears Buffalo coaches like the same things about Fromm that Smart did it UGA.

“Leadership, talking creates toughness, so if you can talk to your offensive line, your backs, your receivers, command of huddle, command of the offense, decision making,” Smart said, circa 2018 fall camp.

“When you are in the red area are you secure with the ball, we got points, are we going to make sure we get a field goal, or are we going to take a risk and take a chance on losing it?

“Are you securing the ball in the pocket, what’s your turnover to touchdown ratio … “

NFL teams are looking for the same things, and that’s what Buffalo saw in Fromm when they selected him in the fifth round.

Every draft pick and free agent signee counts, making a 53-man roster is ultra-competitive as many former Georgia football stars find out each fall.

Beane indicated the Bills took their investment seriously,  as they selected him even though the franchise didn’t have an apparent need and Fromm appeared a fish out of water in Buffalo’s inclement weather.

We invested in Jake in the fifth round,” Beane said. “You don’t want to give up on that position this early. I’d hate to release him and never have seen him play in a game for us.

“I think he’s earned that opportunity, and again, no, he’ll have to turn his attention to being ready, not only due to injuries that can happen, but due to the Covid stuff. So he’s got a lot of work ahead of him, but I think he’s up for the task.”

Fromm had a well-documented rough start in Buffalo after a former girl friend publicized his misguided attempt at gun control humor involving a racially insensitive text message from years past.

“Everyone understands that Jake made a mistake,” Beane said. “He’s very humble, contrite, and that’s something that he’s got to learn from. To this point, I think he’s handled it as well as possible.”

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