The NFL Lens: Holding the Safety w/Tom Brady and Paxton Lynch


Tom Brady by Jeffrey Beall

If Brady truly is “bad WR-proof” he’ll be a fine value even with MacGregor’s long-term deal. Photo by Jeffrey Beall.

When it comes to quarterback analysis, the arm gets way more coverage than the eyes and the feet. Tom Brady shows Paxton Lynch how it’s done. 

Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength.

Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength. Arm strength.

Shut the fuck up.

It’s the most overrated analysis point about quarterbacking around. It’s like saying that a singer has a good voice, a writer has a way with words, a sprinter is fast, water is wet, and a bear shits in the woods.

Yes, there are tiers of arm strength in the NFL and some offenses demand more of it than others. There are certain plays that only specific quarterbacks can make because of their arm.

When I say “specific” I mean specific starting quarterbacks. There are a lot of backups and free agents trying to get jobs with big-time arm strength. What they lack is the fluid connection between what they see and how their feet respond.

Another sport where everyone and their momma talks about the upper limbs of the anatomy and ignores vital importance of the lower limbs is boxing.

Tom Brady studied boxing and made it a part of his training early in his career. With the way he maneuvers a pocket and delivers the ball with accuracy in a confined space, I’m not surprised.

If I were to sum up a huge percentage of what great quarterbacking is with four words, I’d choose awareness, manipulation, reaction, and poise.

How a quarterback’s feet work in tandem with what the eyes see speaks volumes about those four words in his game.

Paxton Lynch is a promising player. Last week, Lynch had his first NFL start. The play below served as a gauge of his present awareness, manipulation, reaction, and poise as a young professional.

Hold the safety and this INT is a REC

A post shared by Matt Waldman (@mattwaldmanrsp) on

Lynch possessed the awareness to spot the single coverage to the left and the pressure up the middle, but he lacked the other three qualities to hold the safety and maneuver the pocket to create the time and space for an accurate throw.

While the lane for Lynch to climb was narrow, a quarterback with his eyes and feet in sync could do it while also holding the safety with his eyes.

We see Brady do exactly that against Cleveland. While the pocket isn’t compressed as tightly for Brady as it was Lynch, his smooth, practice response to the pressure is evident. He’s practiced and experienced these events unfolding so often that his reaction seems anticipatory and natural.

Second of two long shots to Hogan

A post shared by Matt Waldman (@mattwaldmanrsp) on

Brady knows that there must be a balance between getting the ball out of his hand with urgency to the streaking receiver and setting a physical platform to do it with control and accuracy. That extra 0.4-0.8 seconds that come with 1-2 hitch steps won’t put the receiver out of reach or give the defender time to make up ground.

Most passes where we see defenders make up ground come on rushed throws with bad footwork that sail and force the receiver to slow down. When a quarterback can deliver the ball from a good base, he can drive the ball and allow the receiver to maintain his stride and pace to the target.

This is easier said than done. Brady and other top quarterbacks have delivered many an inaccurate deep ball. After all, the vertical game is a low-percentage process compared to the short game. But the point is that Brady knows what to do and when he can create the space and time to do it, the results come.

When I watch college quarterbacks, it’s great to see them show deep accuracy and arm strength. But I’m more concerned with how his eyes and feet process the information the defense gives him. It’s why I liked Russell Wilson and Drew Brees.

 

 

Categories: Analysis, Matt Waldman, Players, Quarterback, The NFL Lens

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