A quarterback’s footwork often sheds light on either a murky thought process or a prepared and composed mind. RSP contributor David Igono illustrates how Rattler’s film shows more evidence of a cluttered mind.
By David Igono
Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler has gotten a lot of ink for postseason awards and draft hype although his technical game needs refinement. Rattler’s decision-making is sound although his legs betray his ability to consistently make clean decisions.
Rattler reminds me of Tom Cruise’s character “Algren” in “The Last Samuari.” He has technical skills. He has physical abilities. Yet he is thinking way too much.
As the young samurai told Cruise after another botched training sessions, “Too many mind.”
Rattler regularly drifts in his drops which affects passing windows downfield and forces into more rushed decision-making. Rattler seemingly has adequate arm talent yet he could generate more velocity and crispness with his targets if he used his legs more efficiently.
His ability to make plays down the stretch shows resourcefulness and his growth as a quarterback will hinge on polishing fundamental parts of quarterback play.
The following clip illustrates how drifting after his initial drop takes him out of making a plus decision to bordering on recklessness with his ball placement.
Every half drop step he takes away from the line of scrimmage he further handicaps himself from being able to make a positive play downfield. Rattler would benefit from more decisiveness. His overreliance on his athletic ability opens him open to taking more shots. It also makes it harder for him to make sound decisions as the following clip illustrates.
Rattler has the arm talent to give defense’s problem but he doesn’t use his lower body to generate the torque needed to drive the ball to his intended target. He is accurate for the college game, but as you climb the ladder towards a pro career, a quarterback must have accuracy and zip on passes to avoid plays like the one below, whic isn’t a touch-pass scenario.
This should have been fired into the window before the safety could close on the receiver. He doesn’t drive off that front foot with power.
The next clip is different part of the field but the same issue. Rattler’s receivers would benefit from his passes arriving sooner than the coverage.
When Rattler has to make plays he’s able to piece together the technical elements of his game that elude him the rest of the time. He is more than capable of driving the ball to all parts of the field, with authority.
The last clip demonstrates his ability to hang in the pocket, not drift, and use his legs to complete a pass. His aggressiveness on this play is fueled by a cleaner technical process.
When he needs to be aggressive, Rattler has the ability to crush defenses. This last play illustrates a quarterback who knows how to attack coverage when his thought process is smooth and his footwork is crisp.
Spencer Rattler is one of the top underclassmen quarterbacks who has gained notoriety due to his playmaking ability. While his decision making ability borders on an aggressive style, his capacity to generate consistent play is limited due to his lack of lower body utilization.
His accuracy and arm talent consistently suffers from a lack of velocity on targets. The key trait for Rattler’s development going forward will be his improvement on using his lower body to get him into ideal targets more often.
Much is often made of a quarterback’s “arm talent” dictating their ceiling as a passer. The truth is that a quarterback’s legs and how they use them in the passing game can be more of an indicator of future production than fixating only arm talent.
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