In the brief hiatus between minicamp and training camp, players typically cap off their offseason training, and that is no different than the Buffalo Bills’ recently signed quarterback, AJ McCarron. McCarron spent that period conducting his training with QB Country, a training and development company that analyzes a quarterback before creating a plan to improve his accuracy, anticipation and arm strength. The company’s based in Mobile, Alabama and the fifth-year passer has worked with them before. In the brief hiatus from minicamps to training camp, players typically cap off their offseason training.
Some training footage was released of McCarron’s training on Twitter and when looking closely, it’s easy to get an idea of what he and his coaches were working on. In this footage, McCarron executes a play-fake to his right, hit the top of his drop, before gathering his balance and throwing the ball back across the field – a difficult pass to his left hitting a moving target.
This is a pass where the quarterback needs to generate a good amount of velocity as the play fake allows the receiver to cover some ground in the opposite direction. Therefore the throw will need to cover some distance horizontally but at the same time must be thrown with velocity as the target is running full speed away from the passer. It is a throw where the quarterback’s mechanics have to be clean. He must set the hallway correctly, open his hips and transfer the power from his legs up through his core to his upper body in order to generate velocity.
As he makes the throw, I just want you to take note of those ‘gather’ steps and how he appears to generate a lot of the velocity from his core and not his legs.
I mention this because I am curious how the quarterbacks are being coached to execute the footwork as they get to the top of their drop, all the way through delivery. AJ McCarron appears to be focused more on the release point and trajectory more than the velocity on the throw.
The training clip from A.J McCarron immediately make me dive into some film, as I’ve seen this play beore. But the mechanics looked different in the clip from McCarron’s. Flashback to week 2 of the 2016 NFL season, Brian Daboll’s final season as the Patriots tight end coach. The Patriots send out 21 personnel (Two RB, One TE) on 1st-and10 and call a play action pass to tight end Martellus Bennett.
Patriots’ quarterback Jacoby Brissett executes the play fake to his right, takes a similar gather step in order to open his hips to make the throw to his left.
Take a look at the distance the ball had to travel, the eloticity on the throw and how Bennett had to slow to wait for the ball. Did Brissett’s footwork, or gather steps – and, or velocity affect this pass?
In Week 17 that year, Tom Brady was at the helm On another 1st-and-10, New England runs a similar play out of a Twins formation.
Fullback James Develin motions across the formation and Brady takes the snap. Brady carries out the play fake. But pay particular attention to his footwork; he doesn’t take any gather steps. When the future Hall of Famer hits that back foot, he plants, loads that back leg and smoothly opens his hips and transfers that momentum to make the throw to the left.
He exhibits good balance and transfer of his weight in order to efficiently generate the torque needed to make the throw. The throw is not only accurate but on schedule and Bennett is able to turn up the field.
As I mentioned, I am not sure how the coaches are teaching the footwork of this particular play to AJ McCarron but you can see how much more efficient and accurate Brady was.
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger mentions it here: