Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens examines a throw from Matthew Stafford that underscores his technical maturity, awareness, creativity, and grit.
Do you want to get a sense of what an NFL pocket feels like? This closeup of Matthew Stafford from the end zone camera gives you a valuable perspective of how crowded a pocket can get. It also reveals why quarterbacks must master the ability to create unconventional platforms to throw the ball with power and accuracy.
Moreover, this play illustrates why pocket maneuvering footwork is only the starting point for effective and accurate quarterbacking under pressure. As quarterback coaches like Rich Bartel have discussed on social media, prescribed footwork used during practices is only as helpful as its practical application.
Bartel often criticizes these techniques as unuseful. I’d argue that they’re incomplete building blocks. Many of these footwork forms give the player an exercise to remain aware of his balance.
If the coach can frame these exercises in this fashion and use it as a starting point to help the quarterback practice unconventional movements but always finish with a way to throw from as balanced of a position as possible, then the quarterback is learning how to improvise with fundamentally-sound, throwing mechanics as the goal.
Stafford’s throw on this play illustrates that idea. His feet can’t get into perfect position but he creates with good mechanics as a goal and that leads to creative and effective technique.