I feel compelled to begin by mentioning the tremendous job our resident film-room inhabitant Nate Geary did evaluating a handful of Tyrod’s plays from last Thursday’s loss to the Jets.
Just wanted to provide some of my own general thoughts on Tyrod, many of which echo what Nate wrote in his analysis piece.
All offseason, I said, tweeted, and wrote that we’d be able to gauge Tyrod’s progress simply by watching how often and how long he stays in the pocket.
He wasn’t just a one-read-and-go quarterback last year and did flash some pocket-drifting ability that often led to productive plays within the intended structure of the offense. But, overall, he needed to be more patient as a passer more often.
So far in 2016 — which ironically happened in the first two games of 2015 -- Tyrod has panicked and run a few times when his pocket has been kept relatively clean by his offensive line. He must settle down and relax. Last season, Week 3 was a huge step for him, as he shredded the Dolphins in Miami to the tune of three touchdown tosses, 277 yards while going 21 of 29 and scrambling just twice on more than 30 dropbacks.
From a tactical, in-game, standpoint, Tyrod must be fully aware that his supreme athleticism is something he always has in his back pocket, it’s a last resort, if you will.
His arm talent is plenty good enough. So is his accuracy. It’s just that, he tends to get a little freaked out if and when his first and second reads aren’t open and when he thinks pressure should be mounting. Because he has shown that he’s capable of sliding away from defenders in the pocket, we know Tyrod possesses the apparently innate skill, which is crucial.
And, if he can’t calmly drift away from pressure on a consistent basis, it’s not out of the question to ask him to harness his dynamic athletic gifts for mastery level use inside the pocket.
For example, let’s say an oncoming defender is three yards away from Carson Palmer. At that point, the mostly statuesque veteran quarterback would have to begin stepping up or to the side to avoid the rush.
If he elects to adapt his springiness to his in-pocket game, Tyrod wouldn’t have to start his pocket drifting as early, thereby giving him even an extra half second to survey what’s going on down the field. That should be huge for him.
It can be likened to a baseball player being able to wait an extra fraction of a second on a pitch before starting his swing due to immense bat speed.
While Tyrod has almost always kept his eyes downfield after he vacates the pocket — undoubtedly a positive — more often than not we’ve seen him drop his eyes when trying to subtly move within the confines of the two offensive tackles — undoubtedly a negative.
From that, in somewhat of a public barb, members of the Ravens and Jets defense have gone on the record saying “we tried to make him a quarterback,” and until things change with him, Tyrod knows, I know, you know that type of comment will continue.
And given his perpetual battle to defend his standing as a quarterback, all that has to drive Tyrod crazy.
With a brand-new, first-time offensive coordinator now at the helm, I’d assume Tyrod has been given a fair amount of freedom to provide his specific input on the plays and reads he likes as well as what he wants to stay away from and what he wants to be a bigger part of the offense.
Above all, Tyrod needs to use his rare physical talent as a last-ditch secret weapon, not his go-to weapon. He must tap into that rare physical talent to utilize it as an instrumental force in taking the necessary next step as a unique but productive franchise quarterback.