Monday, September 26, 2011

QBs in the pocket

Eagles QB Michael Vick was injured for the second week in a row.  Last week it was a concussion; yesterday he broke his right hand.  (Luckily, it was not his throwing hand.)  The injuries have led to a lot of discussion about the Eagles offensive line, the amount of time Vick spends in the pocket and what happens when he leaves the pocket.  I received several questions about what the pocket is.

I’ll explain.

The pocket is an imaginary rectangle on the offensive side of the ball between the left and right offensive tackles and back behind the quarterback.  The offensive line works to prevent the opposing defense from getting to the quarterback, so he can throw the ball.  When the offensive line is not successful in doing this, the quarterback will attempt to avoid being sacked.  Many times he will scramble, or run out of the pocket.  If he throws the ball to an area on the field where there is not an eligible receiver, the offense will be penalized for intentional grounding.  This also applies if it was thrown to an eligible receiver who could not realistically catch the ball.  An eligible receiver is a wide receiver, running back or tight end.

Michael Vick is the best in the league at scrambling and escaping defenses.  He led the league last year in number first downs achieved by scrambling with 23.  Now you should be able to notice quarterbacks who move out of the pocket like Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan and those who stay in the pocket like Ben Roethlisberger.

Tonight MNF features a huge, divisional rival.  The Washington Redskins are visiting the Dallas Cowboys.  I’ll be at the game!  Follow me on twitter @heelsnhelmets to know what is going on at Cowboys Stadium.  The game kicks off at 8:30 pm on ESPN. 

Heels & Helmets

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