Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens: QB Drew Brees and Smart Footwork


The best NFL players have the most precise methods of movement. Saints Drew Brees is a master craftsman of quarterback footwork. 

Bill Walsh told anyone who listened that the secret in the sauce of quarterback play was the footwork. The precision that a player moves his feet is an indication of how well he’s processing the events on the field.

A quarterback’s footwork can tell you a lot about the player’s mindset from one play to the next. Tom Brady’s footwork is as practiced and prepared as his words when interviewed on television after a game, although you detect moments of excitement and aggression when he sees an opening before he can set up to deliver the strike.

Peyton Manning’s feet were precise but moved with a jangled rhythm. Many mistook the behavior for nerves when it was an impatience rooted in knowing what was supposed to happen and it felt to him like each passing millisecond was too long for him to wait until he could pounce. Think of him as that television ER doctor whose yelling at the staff to hurry up as he’s thinking three steps ahead of every action.

Drew Brees’ movements are sneaky. He’s often doing accomplishing multiple tasks with one process. This drop back is quintessential Brees altering the path of the drop to anticipate the open throwing lane.

It was Brees’ skill for doing this that helped me see that Russell Wilson could be a good starter in the NFL before the 2012 draft. They both possess incredibly quick and precise minds for processing the game.

This adjustment of the instep of his back foot as he’s throwing the football on a quick drop and release to Michael Thomas is a subtle adjustment that I haven’t seen many quarterbacks execute.  You don’t see quarterbacks make last-second technique adjustments with this kind of precision — especially off a drop where he was so quick to bring the ball up.

When I watch Brees’ feet, I see an acrobat on a tightrope juggling axes with greased handles with the ease of a dad carrying on a conversation with his kids while driving them to school.

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Categories: Matt Waldman, Players, Quarterback, The NFL LensTags: , , , ,

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