Mark Schofield’s RSP NFL Lens: QB Drew Brees (Saints) and No-Throw Decision-Making

Photo by eschipul.

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.

For college, NFL, and NFL draft analysis (and occasional stuff like this), subscribe to the RSP site and receive notifications of the latest post via email. Scroll to the bottom of this page and simply enter your email address. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.