We recently published a story on Andy Dalton from the eyes of renowned quarterback coach, Todd Krueger. However, the topic of Cincinnati’s embattled quarterback was just one talking point in a conversation that spanned a variety of topics, both from his experiences, and his knowledge of the football world.
But allow me to provide a brief preface. Todd Krueger is best known as a youth quarterback coach, but every coach has a story of how they got there. In Krueger’s case, he was drafted out of Northern Michigan as a player in the 1980s, where was on the roster for both the Bills and the Vikings. After his time practicing with the pros, he left the sports for a little while – but sometimes, things come back full-circle in the most intriguing of ways. Krueger ended up following in the footsteps of his father, who was a coach. Since the beginning of that stage of his career, he’s worked with numerous youth quarterbacks, as well as professionals in the field. His success has ultimately stemmed from the success of his players, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him last week about a great deal of those achievements.
What follows is a transcription of our conversation in an exclusive Q&A.
Alex: Thank you for sitting down with me today, Mr. Krueger. Now, to start, I’d like to talk a little bit about your background, where you come from in football with where you’ve played and where you’ve coached. You were drafted by the Bills?
Coach: I had a cup of coffee with the Buffalo Bills back in the 80s. I actually come from a football family. My father, Gilbert Krueger, was a star football player at Marquette University – I’m really dating myself here with the Marquette football team – and he played in the NFL. And he went into coaching. So my father was a high-school coach, college coach, pro coach. So I grew up with football. I can remember myself at six years old on the sidelines, watching my dad coach college football games. So I came from a football background, and was a multi-sport athlete in high school. I played basketball, baseball, football. I was a very good basketball player. I went to school on a basketball/football scholarship to a school called Northern Michigan at the time. I was lucky enough to get drafted by the bills, made the team – I didn’t get to play unfortunately, but it was a great experience. And then for the last eight years, I’ve been doing private training at a website where I was a computer guy selling coaching products, and then I got asked to start working camps, junior rank, offense and defense, and all the different camp companies – and then from that, people started asking me to train with them on the weekends. And once that started, I got invited to coach at a high school in Massachusetts in 2008, and we were back-to-back champs. From that, the whole private training business just exploded, and so now all I do is private training around the country, mostly on the East Coast, specializing in youth, high-school, and college quarterback training.
Alex: Fantastic. So would I be correct in assuming it was your dad that was your biggest influence in becoming a coach?
Coach: Yeah, I guess so, but it’s a funny story. When I got out of pro football, I kinda felt like I didn’t get my full potential in the NFL – I’m sure everyone feels that way when they get cut – I felt like I could still play. But the NFL teams didn’t see it the same. I tried to get into Canada, but there weren’t as many leagues, there wasn’t Arena Football back in the day, so I was not happy that I got cut. So initially, I didn’t want to get into coaching. I got into the internet, computer sales when all that stuff was taking place. So when I got into selling coaching products online, it all circled me back. And I realized I had become my father, but in a different way with the whole idea of private training and camps, and so now these last eight-ten years, this area has just exploded with all-star games and all that type of stuff for all the different football positions – I think because of the value of a college scholarship. Because people forget it used to cost 40-50k to go to college, whereas now, it costs 250k to go to college, and that’s why scholarships are really valuable.
Alex: Well as a college student, I can certainly empathize. You’re definitely talking to someone who knows a bit about scholarships and needing them. But on another note, I know you’ve been asked this next question a million times: Who’s your favorite quarterback of all time? Any league, whoever it may be.
Coach: Well like I said, I remember football through my father telling me stories about football, and my youngest days of seeing quarterbacks. So old school, I would say as a little, little kid growing up in Minnesota, I loved Frank Tarkenton. He was maybe the greatest scrambler ever. But currently, I would say that I’m really impressed with Tom Brady. I just think he’s an over-achiever. A lot of guys – a lot of quarterbacks – are first-round picks, you know, Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel. Brady wasn’t that way. He wasn’t heavily recruited out of college. He was a back-up. He wasn’t a first-round pick. But he’s an over-achiever, a hard-worker, and he really deserves everything he’s achieved. So for the modern quarterbacks, I really like him. I really like Aaron Rodgers – similar story. I love the underdog, I guess. And for the up-and-coming young guns, I really like Andrew Luck. I think that in three or four years, when Peyton and Brady retire, he’ll be the face of quarterbacks for the future.
Alex: I have to agree with that. I think after watching Andrew Luck the last few years, you can see how he gets better every year, how he knows how to utilize every single weapon on the offense. I think they’re going to run that division for quite a while.
Coach: And you know what, it seems like he’s turned into Peyton Manning! I’m dating myself with a small story, but I went to camp with the Houston Oilers before they became the Tennessee Titans, and his father, Oliver Luck – he and I went to training camp and I was the last guy cut for the Houston Oilers when I was there. And Oliver Luck was a quarterback for West Virginia. People don’t realize that his dad was a great college quarterback. I knew that when Andrew went to Stanford, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Krueger goes on to discuss the changing dynamic of the NFL, and with it, the evolving role of the quarterback.
He speaks on popular subjects such as Tom Brady’s suspension and his innocence from the perspective of someone that has been on the inside. He talks about some of his prospects that he’s trained, and he finished by telling me how he has his first projected starter at the college level in Chris Laviano at Rutgers.
Listen in here to hear audio of the full interview:
Furthermore, Coach Krueger is always ready to talk football. If you’d like to reach him, his contact information is at the end of the second audio segment. You can reach him by email at Nflqbtoddkrueger@gmail.com, or his check out his website here!