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CARSON PALMER: Playing tough against the rush. Nobody gets hit in college. You get hit on every single play in the NFL. I want my quarterback to get hit in the mouth play after play after play—and be accurate while it's happening.
MATT RYAN: I agree, especially when guys are forced out of the pocket. There are always people rolling around at your knees and things like that. You've got to be accurate while getting hit.
PALMER: I also want to see a quarterback who can change his arm position when he throws. In this league you have to throw sidearm sometimes; you're going to have to drop your arm, move while shuffling your feet. You're never going to be set. I want to see a guy who can stay calm, keep his eyes on the field and be accurate.
AARON RODGERS: Good fundamentals. With a guy who's a shotgun quarterback in college, you have to figure out if he'll adjust to the NFL drop. Can he get the ball out quick? Can he throw soundly over the top and three quarters? Does he waste steps? Those are the things in a split-second game that determine whether you can do this.
TONY ROMO: Vision downfield. Presence in the pocket. Matt's one of the best I've seen in a long time at those things, the best at that since Peyton Manning.
KING: What about toughness?
BEN ROETHLISBERGER: I don't think toughness is when a quarterback says, "I'm going to run somebody over." Toughness is playing the worst game of your life but not backing down. You don't want to sit on the sideline. You want to stay in there and win. You know, down 21 points and the defense is getting through in every single way, and you throw three interceptions. Staying in that game, keeping your head up, trying to drive your team down the field when everything's going wrong—that's the kind of toughness I want in my quarterback.
PALMER: I get asked all the time, "How good is [Jets rookie] Mark Sanchez going to be?"—probably because we both went to USC. I don't know how good he's going to be, because I've never seen him get hit in the face play after play. Even if you get hit in college, it's not by a 275-pound defensive end who runs faster than you and is coming at you full speed.
KING: That brings me to fear. You're facing the Vikings, you have Jared Allen coming around the end and the two monster tackles, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, coming up the middle. Is there ever a feeling of fear inside you?
RYAN: You just don't think about it. When you're watching [defenders] on tape, that's when you're thinking, Yeah, this guy's good. He brings pressure. But out on the field, to me, the defense is just nameless, faceless guys. You can't say to yourself, That's Brian Urlacher. That's one of the biggest issues as a rookie—you can't build up these guys to be bigger than they are. You just can't think about it, or you'll be in trouble.