Rookie Scouting Portfolio writer Mark Schofield showcases a throwing window that Saints quarterback Drew Brees decides not attack and why it was a great decision.
When evaluating quarterbacks, a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the decisions they make, the throws they attempt, and the production data that they deliver. But just as important as the throws a quarterback makes, are the ones he decides not to make.
“No-throw” decisions are a critical step in the evaluation process. On any given play a quarterback has a number of decisions at his disposal, and seeing those moments when a quarterback passes up a throw provides tremendous insight into their thought process.
A prime set of examples played out during the 2016 NFL Draft process. Two quarterbacks in that class came to the NFL with vastly different pedigrees: Carson Wentz and Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg was the blue-chip prospect at a Power Five school, who showed as a freshman all the talent that you would anticipate a future first-round quarterback having at his disposal. Wentz was a late bloomer, who went to a Football Championship Subdivision school and waited his turn at North Dakota State.
But they each faced no-throw — or potential no-throw — moments while in college. How they handled them might have been very illuminating for those who were evaluating these two.
I broke that down in this piece over at Inside the Pylon. Both quarterbacks — including Wentz making his first collegiate start on the road against Iowa State — face a weakside defensive end dropping into coverage. Wentz sees it, Hackenberg does not.
That brings us to Drew Brees. If you want to see incredible processing speed – and a no-throw decision of sorts – executed at a very high level, this is the play for you:
This play is a great example of a quarterback working through his progressions and, even late in the play, having to adjust his process in response to movement from the defense. Brees sees a defender jumping this dig route, so he pulls the ball down, adjusts his base in the pocket, and then throws the receiver open a step later. This is processing speed, and a no-throw decision, at a very elite level.
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