American Football

How smaller QBs can win from the pocket

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Atlanta Falcons v Arizona Cardinals
Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images

Could Kyler Murray take a page out of Brock Purdy’s book?

This morning on Arizona Sports Radio, Bickley and Marotta tweeted out the following question:

In my opinion, what Kyler Murray needs to do most:

  1. Use his feet to create clear passing lanes from in and around the pocket, which includes, at times, climbing the pocket (something he has been loath to do thus far in the NFL).
  2. Start escaping through the middle of the pocket the way he used to do his first couple of years (and stopped doing after he injured his shoulder trying to escape up the middle against the Seahawks) —- this is what NFL defenses would fear the most from Kyler —- and if and when he poses that threat again, it will slow down opposing pass rushes and make the pass rushers significantly more tentative.

One of the main reasons why Sean Payton was so successful with Drew Brees was the result of the ways in which Payton taught Brees how to maneuver his feet in the pocket to buy that precious extra second of time and to shuffle his feet and eyes into clear passing lanes.

Can a #1 pick QB take a page out of Mr. Irrelevant’s modus operandi?

What Brian Baldinger is profiling here is an absolute clinic from 49ers’ QB Brock Purdy, whom they won the lottery with in the last selection of the 2022 NFL Draft at pick #262, to be exact.

Brock Purdy is listed as 6-1, 220…but that may be a bit of a stretch. By NFL standards, Brock Purdy is a small QB.

As you can see in this video, Purdy has the poise and the patience to work his feet into the most suitable position to then be able to deliver downfield strikes with precise timing and touch.

Can a QB be taught how to “feel” his way in and around the pocket?

Some QBs like Tom Brady have a kind of sixth sense about them in terms of shuffling away from pressure. However, QB coaches can teach and rep the “feel” and “footwork” that can make all the difference between a batted down pass thrown too soon (or too late) and a chains-moving downfield strike thrown to a WR in stride.

“Finding the eye of the tornado” drill.

Now that you have watched this clinic once —- do yourself a favor and watch it a second time in order to imagine what each play would have looked like had Brock Purdy stayed more stationary or at the original back end of his drop back.

Kyler Murray would be well-advised to make his pocket a true pocket —- that would include taking shuffle steps forward when necessary and possible.

And if he starts to bolt up the middle of the pockets —- look out!

For those of you who play Pac Man —- the most advantageous way you can dominate in that game by out-maneuvering the ghosts, is to escape through the middle, whenever the occasion presents itself and ghosts, especially when “Blinky” and “Pinky” are breathing down your neck.

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