Andy Dalton and pre snap reads

PFF just posted a really interesting article on their website that dives into average time to throw, average time until sack, amount of times one throws quickly, ect it. Give it a read, highly recommended read.

What I wanted to do is discuss my interpretation of this and how it pertains to Dalton. Feel free to disagree with me as I'm sure several of you will but I think it's an interesting topic worth talking/thinking about.

Dalton's average release time is 2.59 seconds. If you compare that to some other elite QBs:

  • Brady is 2.49s
  • Manning is 2.51s
  • Eli is 2.59s.

On the opposite end of the spectrum (ie: not elite), you have:

  • Palmer at 2.57s
  • Hassleback at 2.5s
  • Gabbert at 2.58s
  • Fitzpatrick at 2.57s.

The key thing to note is that both elite QBs and non elite QBs get rid of the ball quickly. Aaron Rodgers is the only elite QB who gets rid of the ball on average longer than 2.75s.

The second bit of data goes to average time to sack. Dalton's is 3.02s, a clear half second difference from his average throw time. A couple other things to note here.

  • When Manning gets sacked, it's because the rush was too fast. So only when the line is completely beaten does he get sacked. He doesn't get hit with coverage sacks.
  • Palmer, Gabbert, Ryan, Brees, RG3, Rivers all get sacked on average, faster than Dalton does.
  • Rodgers, who gets sacked more than any other QB in the league, has an average time of 3.62s. This clearly shows that he holds on to the ball far too long.
  • Fitzpatrick has an average time of sack of 3.61s but if you compare that to how fast he gets rid of the ball, you see it's a full 1s longer than his average time of throw. That means he's getting rid of the ball WAY too fast.
  • Tom Brady's average sack is 3.26s, significantly longer than his average time. So if he wanted, he could hold the ball longer but chooses not to.

The next bit of interesting data is that Dalton gets rid of the ball within 2.59s 62% of the time, 2nd highest in the league. For comparisons sake, Brady is 59% and Manning is 55%.

Finally, Dalton's QB rating drops by 18 pts the longer he holds the ball, whereas Brady's improves by 6% and Manning by 3%.


Obviously none of this data is conclusive of any specific thing, but there seems to be some clear trends.

Dalton has elite ability to get rid of the ball quickly. This is a really good thing. His QB rating when getting rid of the ball fast is 93. Compared to Brady, Manning, Brees, Ryan and Rodgers who all have their QB ratings in the 100s when getting rid of the ball within 2.5s. Other fast releasers like Palmer and Hassleback have ratings in 80s. So while he's making relatively good decisions when he gets rid of the ball quickly, he's needs to get better at his pre-snap reads if he wants to be elite.

Second, Dalton is significantly worse when holding the ball. This is only 37% of the time, which is the 2nd lowest in the league. He needs to increase this percentage by 5 or so percentage points while also improving his ability to read progressions/check down. As we all know, Dalton seems to lock onto his first read, so while he generally has an additional half second before he's sacked, Dalton isn't using that time to find the open man (if he is, the WRs aren't doing a good job of getting open which is definitely possible) or checking down. This is why his QB rating drops significantly when he holds the ball longer than normal.

Anyway, I see some promising trends in this data but at the same time, I see some really clear room for improvement if he plans on becoming elite. And I think that comes with time and experience. Pre-snap reads and progression reading all comes from experience and familiarity with the offensive line, WRs and offensive system. I don't expect him to be elite this year, I never have, but it's still early to tell if he'll become elite like Manning/Brady (ability to diagnose and read a defense) or average like Palmer/Hassleback (other vet QBs with quick release times).

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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