Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens shares a play where 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo displays quiet feet under pressure.
I heard the term “quiet feet” during last year’s Saints-Rams telecast. Tony Romo used it to describe Jared Goff’s precise footwork in the pocket and noted it as one of the big reasons he believes Goff will be a top passer in the league for years to come.
In this context, “quiet” means subtle movement in a confined space to remain in a balanced throwing position while adjusting to the pressure or the next route so the throw will be accurate. The combination of Jimmy Garoppolo’s quick throwing motion and quiet feet makes him a dangerous young quarterback.
This play against the Titans a difficult throw under pressure and many will confuse Garoppolo’s movement as a sign of nervous or panicked behavior when in fact, it’s Garoppolo using his feet to maintain a rhythm with the route and make small adjustments to set up his throw in a confined space.
The difference between quiet feet and “happy feet” is whether you can link the movement to part of a process and holding the timing of that process together. Happy feet often results in breaking down a process through unnecessary delay or acceleration that doesn’t fit the rhythm of the play.
Keep this in mind when studying college quarterbacks. Passers with quiet feet tend to move with their eyes still downfield, the movement tends to keep their feet with the width of their shoulders, and the movement is designed to maintain the rhythm of the route break.
Passers with happy feet often drop their eyes, take strides longer than shoulder width, and break the rhythm of the route designs when time and space are available for quiet feet.
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