As everyone dissects every word and every report from OTA’s, there’s one line from Mike McCoy’s recent presser that deserves more focus. Before we address it, let’s look at some NFL passes. For more information on who the great Don Coryell was, click here on a good read. It’s a sacrilege he’s not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Maybe next season.
For a quick recap, Coryell was an aggressive coach who favored a pass first philosophy that helped the run game. He hated conservative dink and dunk offenses and wanted to force opposing teams to play catch-up. In short, 180° from Gary Kubiak’s conservative run first game plan. Since then, the Coryell system has undergone a few transformations, but it’s the style Mike McCoy favors.
There are three really tough throws to make in the NFL: the back shoulder corner fade, the out route and the comeback. They’re high risk, high reward passes that can win games and dictate the tempo and defense coverages. Make them and you’ve an offense with swagger and juice. In a high flying offense, they’re critical. They also help the run game because of the distance they’re thrown, they keep defenders from loading the box. (having a defense play close to the line of scrimmage)
Many go routes (fades) are easy for QB’s. Some only require the QB to launch up a rainbow pass in the general area of the WR and let him look back and adjust to the ball. Shake his defender. Like a jump ball in basketball. It’s more about what the WR can do than the QB because he’s running while looking backward to see the ball coming.
However, the back shoulder fade means the WR is blind. If he’s running towards the corner of the end zone, the ball is coming over the top of his left shoulder. Away from the QB and the DB. That pass needs accuracy and the right touch, plus velocity. That route requires the ball to be thrown at least 12 yards.
Unlike the post or even a straight fade route, the QB can’t just lean back and toss one up. These aren’t high arcing rainbows, these do have some arc, but not as much, requiring more touch on the ball. The one good thing about these are if you’re good, no DB is getting it. It’s thrown on the other side of him and dropping down in the bucket.
It doesn’t take as much courage as the out route because usually these are thrown closer to midfield or farther. This means if intercepted, he has to turn around and run the other way allowing the offense more time to stop him.
The out route requires timing and rhythm with the WR. It’s thrown in anticipation and has to be bang on the money. It is thrown in the intermediate range, 12-15 yards. On third down want to see who has guts? See who throws these. They are a staple in a hurry up drive. It’s aggressive and stops the clock so another play can get off. Peyton Manning loved these when his arm was still good. He and DT were magic at them. (I see visions of 2012 coming).
Finally, there’s the comeback, where the good and bad separate. QBs are judged on these. Why? Because once again, the QB is throwing the ball at least 12 yards, throwing in anticipation, and in a small space. On the rope throws. And usually, like the two above, the WR doesn’t have the time or space to adjust to a poor throw.
These are dangerous because if the coverage can read the play and jump in front of this pass, he’s already facing his end zone and not a lot of people between him a pick six. This is a pass the QB absolutely can’t telegraph and can’t throw poorly. Want to see a QB who tries and completes them? Your franchise guy who is kept a very long time.
The easiest are flats, slants, digs and curls. While a flat is thrown towards the sideline, it’s a short pass. The RB, TE or slot aren’t going but a yard or two before making a cut to the sideline. These are meat and potatoes plays for the big TE who can use his body to shield the pass and for speedy slots and RBs who can get open quickly. Dink and dunk heaven throws.
Slant is also a short pass, a good friend for the same as above. A curl is the opposite of a comeback, the WR is now facing the QB, same for digs, he’s in open field. This gives the receiver more opportunity to adjust to the ball.
Bottom line: the less a receiver is looking at the QB to make adjustments, the harder the pass. Those thrown beyond ten yards, but not a jump ball where the WR can see the ball coming well, are the hardest of all.
When people talk about arm talent, that’s what they’re referring to. Making those throws. That’s why for two years we’ve heard several coaches refer to one our QBs as being talented.
However, there is more than having arm talent in being a good QB, and this is the thin sliver Siemian has over Lynch. According to McCoy when asked what Lynch needs to work on, “really learning our system and executing our system. All of the quarterbacks, that entire offense, it’s not just the quarterbacks.”
That means understanding every concept, what to do in every situation and why. Knowing the end goal front and back, not just playing sandlot football. While the playbook and system is new to both QB’s, having all those reps and games, gives Siemian a leg up on this. The only way for this to even out is more reps and playing time for Lynch. That won’t happen until a QB is dubbed number one.
Based on passing charts and stats, Trevor wasn’t making the tough throws and his overall accuracy was only .5% better than Lynch. Based on this, it only leaves that his mind is so great, he can overcome lack of arm talent and aggressiveness. Siemian’s ALEX was 1.5, Lynch was 3.0. That measures how often a QB throws beyond the sticks on third down, showing mindset.
After several days of reports from Andrew Mason, Lynch is calm under pressure. He’s going through his progressions. He’s making plays with his feet.
Per Mase: ‘As was the case Wednesday (Day 3 OTA), Lynch showed good composure and decision-making when the defense cranked up its pass rush, and he spread the ball around to a variety of receiving targets.’ Also this in a tweet: Paxton Lynch showed decisiveness and the ability to quickly read a D under a heavy pass rush Thursday (Day 6 OTA).
According to Mike McCoy he can make all the throws:
“He’s a very talented player. He can throw. He can make every throw that we’re asking him to make and that he needs to make to win a football game and move the ball up and down the field. He’s very athletic and you love his size with his ability to sit in the pocket and see the whole field. He’s just poised in the pocket and throw those comebacks and out routes effortlessly.”
The toughest passes he throws effortlessly. Plus he is poised in the pocket. Seems like the last hurdle is executing the mental part as easily as he does the rest. Unfortunately for Trevor, McCoy has said he will tailor the playbook to what makes the quarterbacks comfortable. The last time McMoy mentioned Trevor was in January when he was hired, or I would have included a quote about him, too. Back then he said the same as Vance Joseph, that he was calm and made good decisions.
If one QB can make all throws, handles Von Miller in his face, goes through his progressions, isn’t easily hurt and Elway wants him, one can guess which way the playbook will lean. Making all the throws is the key.