with Tyler “Iceman” McGuire
(Enter at your own peril...seriously, you've been warned!)
Volume 4: Back Foot Blues
We all make mistakes in life. Fortunately, most of these mistakes are harmless. Like forgetting to text someone back, or waking up naked and covered in butter next to a live chicken in the parking lot of Red Lobster -- it happens to all of us. Oh, get off your high horse, it’s legal in this state! (EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: It is definitely, absolutely not legal. Like, anywhere. Even in Vegas. We checked, Tyler. And also, it is disconcerting that we have to keep going over this with you.) But the mistakes that really hurt are the ones you know are a bad idea while you’re making them. Those moments where time slows to a crawl and you can already feel the icy pangs of regret slithering up your spine before you’ve even finished screwing up. Like answering the question, “Do I look OK in this?” honestly, or finishing that White Castle Crave Case even though you’re still half an hour from a bathroom.
These are the moments I’m interested in for Tape Time, because I am a soulless glutton and YOUR TEARS SUSTAIN ME. Oh and also because I’m a quarterback who happened to make just such a mistake this week. But hey, on the plus side, we’re also going to learn how to avoid making such a mistake in the future! So return your friend’s text for once, don’t go to White Castle, put that poor chicken back where it belongs and for the love of all that is good and holy, exercise your right to remain silent once in awhile.
Let's Go to the Tape
Take a look at this decision by yours truly, then take a good long minute to point and laugh.
Done yet? I’ll wait. I have this coming.
Alright with that little bit of schadenfreude out of the way, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of what went wrong here. Let’s start with the timing of the play. The ball comes out late; you can see the pass rush is already in my face and the defense has had plenty of time to diagnose the play by the time I release the football. That means the windows available to put the ball into are much smaller, and the mistakes of trying to fit a ball into a closing window are much larger. In essence, this is a perfect example of a very poor risk to take.
The upside here is a completion of a few yards. The downside...well just go watch the clip again to see the downside. In fact I was lucky VI “Deez Nuts” Wilson made a heads up tag -- I should have been pick sixed so hard that my unborn children have a natural and unexplainable fear of Julez stealing them from their cribs and running them back to the house for six. Moral of the story -- do not throw the ball across your body into the middle of the field late in the play. It’s almost never going to end well.
The second mistake I made is illustrated a little more clearly by the clip below, however.
Woof! That is brutal. And no, I’m not just saying that to draw attention away from my own horrendous pick (spoiler alert: I definitely am). Timing is an issue with this play as well, as you can see the throw comes very late in the play -- just as the pass rush is on top of the QB. But more than that, the real issue here is mechanical. In this clip, all of the quarterback’s momentum is moving backwards away from the pass rusher. At least one of his feet aren’t even on the ground when he throws the ball
A quarterback generates velocity and accuracy first with his or her feet. Everything else flows upwards toward the football from there. Here, the quarterback doesn’t have enough velocity on the ball to beat the MLB to the throwing lane, and the ball is up high, not a good place to put a ball over the middle. It’s not hard to see why the QB got burned in this situation.
But what should both of these QBs have done then? Take a look below.
Here, the quarterback hangs in the pocket but never drifts backward or away from the wide receiver. He stares directly into the pass rush, steps up into the throw, and releases a great ball down field for a TD. This is textbook technique of how to play the quarterback position under pressure: remain composed and maintain your base throwing motion.
Now, of course, this comes with a caveat. Do not do so if you feel you are in serious danger of a head to head collision with the pass rusher. Better to take the sack or hurl the ball out of bounds than to step up into a crushing collision. Remember quarterbacks, there is no intentional grounding in the BMFL so long as you are not directly behind the center, or if you throw the ball out of bounds beyond the line of scrimmage. Sometimes the best play you can make is to not throw the ball at all, but to keep your offense on the field for the next down.
That’s it for this edition of Tape Time. I know it’s been awhile since the last iteration of this venerable column, but I’ve been busy. What do you mean “doing what?” I do stuff! Shut up you nosy bastards, YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE. As always, If you have ideas, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Or more likely, please direct your hate mail to me at email@example.com. (*please note: this email will send flaming piles of kargaroo dung to your inbox)
-Until next time, Iceman out!