Freeman, Schiano Must Learn “ABCs” Of QB PlayMarch 23rd, 2013
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.
By JEFF CARLSON
Quarterback Coach Greg Schiano (I thought he was a defensive coach — did anybody check his NFL passing statistics to see if he could have an opinion?) diagnosed Josh Freeman’s mechanical problems recently and came up with interesting observations, some which are correct.
Here’s how Schiano spelled it out for TampaBay.com.
“When you watch a quarterback, when his feet are not in synch with his upper body, there’s two things that make that happen,” Schiano said. “One is pass rush and two is decision-making. Now all of a sudden your brain is either ahead or behind your feet because the platform with which you throw the ball dictates 80 percent of your accuracy. And if you don’t set your platform correctly, you don’t have a chance.
The concepts are correct in his analysis, but there are more than two things that can be happening to create a synch problem between the upper body and the feet.
One big reason Freeman is out of synch on many plays is that when his brain says throw the ball, his body isn’t ready. His platform may be balanced, but his hips and knees are too stiff (straight up), so that when his mind starts throwing the ball and his upper body starts the throwing motion, he hasn’t bent his hips and knees enough to get the lower body in synch. So the upper body goes first and comes off target, while the lower body plays “catch up” and you see Freeman lock out his front leg so often and his back leg comes off the ground, making him off-balanced on many of his pocket throws.
Schiano says the platform dictates 80 percent of accuracy. I disagree and say that it is important, but proper Alignment, Balance, and Control all play relatively equal parts.
I call this the A, B, C’s of perfect mechanics.
Without proper alignment, consistent accuracy is very difficult. Good balance before, during and after the throw is critical, but good QBs make accurate off-balanced throws all the time.
The third piece of perfect mechanics is Control, and Josh does not do a good job of controlling his elbows or wrists, which would go a long way to improving his overall synching of upper and lower body.
He carries the ball low, which means his elbows are down at his sides but should be pushed forward, raising the ball and getting it in a position to synch faster with the lower body. With it low and behind his body, the ball is late to the release point, a reason he throws side-armed.
If Freeman controlled his wrists better and kept them “straight,” he would get “over” the ball and improve the flight of the ball in the air, but he throws from “under” the ball almost always.
Schiano is right; Freeman is “out of sync.” And improving his comfort level with the offense and reducing the pass rush will help a lot, but his throwing mechanics specifically can go a long way to improving his accuracy, but Freeman needs to learn his ABCs first.