No matter how well you dash your passes, if your opponent’s QB can get the ball out in less than two seconds, you probably won’t kick him out. Unless the offensive line completely forgot to block Micah Parsons – which it does!
So it makes sense that if you want to avoid being sent off, get the ball out quickly; “One, two, go!”
But not all QBs can do this, not all plays allow it, and not all schemes are designed for it.
It’s still early in the 2022 season, but two games have already been played, and we now have “pocket time” for those two games for all of the NFL QBs. Pocket time measures the average time QB spends in the pocket between a sudden hit and a ball throw or a pressure that collapses the pocket, in seconds.
And this pocket time number, even if it changes as more games are played, indicates that there may be three levels of QBs in the NFL:
- “Red” QBs that take the ball out in less than 2.4 seconds on average and can be difficult to drop.
- “Yellow” QBs that eject the ball in 2.4 seconds, which is the average value in the NFL.
- “Green” QBs that hold the ball for longer than 2.4 seconds which may provide opportunities to include stats for passers.
Here’s the full list, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com:
|Rk||player||It was completed||PktTime||Rk||player||It was completed||PktTime||Rk||player||It was completed||PktTime|
|1||Cooper Rush||DA||2.0||T10||Ryan Taneyhill||ten||2.4||T23||Tree Lance||SFO||2.5|
|T2||Josh Allen||BUF||2.1||T10||Baker Mayfield||Sentences||2.4||T23||Jeno Smith||Sea||2.5|
|T2||Joe Borough||CI||2.1||T10||Aaron Rodgers||GNB||2.4||T23||Marcus Mariota||ATL||2.5|
|T4||Tom Brady||Complete||2.2||T10||Jacobi Brisset||Total||2.4||T23||Lamar Jackson||Pal||2.5|
|T4||Davis Mills||ho||2.2||T10||Galen Hurts||PH||2.4||T23||Russell Wilson||den||2.5|
|T6||Duck Prescott||DA||2.3||T10||Jared Goff||DET||2.4||T23||Matt Ryan||IND||2.5|
|T6||Mac Jones||North West||2.3||T10||Trevor Lawrence||jax||2.4||T29||Kirk Cousins||minute||2.6|
|T6||Mitchell Trubesky||pit||2.3||T10||James Winston||Nor||2.4||T29||Carson Wentz||I was||2.6|
|T6||Matthew Stafford||LA||2.3||T10||Patrick Mahomes||It was||2.4||T31||Daniel Jones||NYG||2.7|
|T10||Derek Carr||LVR||2.4||T31||Justin Herbert||Latin America and the Caribbean||2.7|
|T10||Keeler Murray||AR||2.4||33||Justin Fields||chi||3.0|
|T10||Joe Flacco||New York||2.4|
The Cowboys have already faced two “red” QBs in Tom Brady (2.2 seconds) and Joe Burrow (2.1 seconds) and collected two sacks against Brady and six against Burrow.
And that may bode well for the rest of the 2022 schedule, at least from an impulse standpoint. The remaining 15 games only feature other “red” QBs in Davis Mills (2.1) and Matthew Stafford (2.2).
Using the red, yellow, and green mapping, here’s what the remainder of the season could look like from the perspective of the Cowboy Passover adults:
|4||Carson Wentz||I was||2.6|
|18||Carson Wentz||I was||2.6|
Of course, opponents may expect a strong rush to pass the Cowboys, and come up with a game plan with lots of quick throws. But this can be a double-edged sword.
The fast-throw game plan necessarily favors the short pass over the long pass, thus also reducing (though not eliminating) the big play threat. Also, if you’re considering changing your game plan just to protect against the rush of passes, you might also decide to keep an extra blocker to help protect (maybe Micah Parsons doubles up with an extra TE?), leaving only four men on offense to run the roads.
If the Cowboys can only hold QB with four passes (and that’s been the key to success in both games thus far), you’ll probably have seven players drop in coverage to defend against four runners, and this match will favor defense every time.
As an opposing attack coordinator, do you trust your offensive line to protect against the Cowboy passing rush, do you base your game plan on a faster passing game, or do you avoid the passing rush entirely by just running the ball a lot? How the rival teams answer that question will be fun to watch this season, starting with the Giants football team Monday night.