Brock Osweiler - Evaluating his performance against Houston

Bronco Mike
SB Nation

Last week Brock had his poorest showing of the preseason going 4-11 for 43 yards and an interception. Here's a deeper look at what he did well and what he struggled with.

Drops don't help

By my count, Broncos receivers dropped four of Brock's passes.  That is the difference between him finishing as a 36% passer, and a 72% passer.

Oz_hou_inc_latimer_drop_medium
Oz_hou_inc_latimer_drop_medium

I like the design of this play.  The double TE set clears out the field for Latimer who is running a crosser.  It appears as if Brock's first read is in the flat but once he sees that receiver covered, he snaps back to the middle of the field and delivers a laser right to Latimer's hands.  Latimer drops the pass which is unfortunate because he had a lot of YAC in front of him.  Nice blitz pickup on the corner by CJ Anderson.  I don't think Oz read the blitz because if he did he would have identified the one on one matchup with Latimer on the Mike LB from the beginning.

Oz_hou_inc_to_hardin_drop_medium
Oz_hou_inc_to_hardin_drop_medium

In the 2:00 drill, Brock looks for Hardin on the short out.  Normally I wouldn't mind the low ball placement away from the defender, but Hardin had to leave his feet.  Why this is important, had Hardin held onto the ball, he would have been touched down in bounds.  It is still a pass he could and should have caught.  These are the little things Brock needs to keep in mind when he's on the field.  High and outside gives his receiver the opportunity to get out of bounds and save those timeouts.

Oz_hou_inc_clay_drop_medium
Oz_hou_inc_clay_drop_medium

This is one of the reason why Brennan Clay is no longer on the team.  This is a simple checkdown that needs to be caught.  On the surface it appears as if he has the TE in the flat wide open, but notice how the rush end (91) has pushed back the RT and is in position to clog that passing lane.

Oz_hou_inc_to_fowler_4th_down_medium
Oz_hou_inc_to_fowler_4th_down_medium

Brock did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket as Michael Schofield was completely beaten off the edge.  The DB makes a leap for the ball but the trajectory doesn't actually change until it reaches Fowler's hands.  This is a ball Fowler must fight for especially on a 4th down.

One ball could have been placed better.  One other thing I can mention about Brock in regards to the quick crossing route/check down plays, if he takes a little bit off the delivery, perhaps the receivers have an easier time catching the ball.  Catching a ball from Peyton and Brock are two completely different things.  Still, these are plays that the receivers need to make.

Counting the first two games, I have counted 7 passes that Broncos receivers have dropped with Brock Osweiler under center.

The Good

Oz_hou_scramble_8_yd_gain_medium
Oz_hou_scramble_8_yd_gain_medium

The pressure pinches the edge and makes Brock step up.  He actually has more time than he knows, but without the benefit of eyes in the back of his head, His decision to pull it down and scramble seems ok here.  I think originally Oz is looking to throw to Latimer on a deep comeback but at the last moment sees the Mike LB has drifted into a deep zone.  This was a good decision not to throw the ball as it was likely to be intercepted.  Brock has two checkdowns that appear to be open and though it would take some serious effort to convert the 1st, he should choose these options over giving his opponents an open shot on his large frame down the field.

Oz_hou_17_yd_to_latimer_medium
Oz_hou_17_yd_to_latimer_medium

The Texans sell out here.  They Bring 8 blitzers against 7 blockers and player Cover 0.  Brock had some trouble this game identifying the blitz, but in this instance he reads it, adjusts the protection (Cornick misses his man terribly), and lobs a pass to Cody Latimer on a quick slant.  The only thing to nit pick here is the pass itself, but Brock had absolutely no time to set and throw from a firm foundation.  In the end, even off his back foot, Brock is able to give his receiver an opportunity to make the play.

Oz_hou_read_option_medium
Oz_hou_read_option_medium

I'm very skeptical as to whether or not this play is in the Broncos playbook.  Here's the deal.  Brock is not viewed as a running quarterback.  Yes he's mobile, yes he can run.  But teams are not going to play him the same way they play a Colin Kaepernick.  When you go back and look at his shotgun handoffs, you see without fail that the end always crashes down to take the running back.  I chalk this up to good awareness by Brock to tuck the ball and also execute a good slide in the open field.  This is much like a Peyton Manning bootleg.  You're not going to see it all that often, but when you do it's going to work.


Oz_hou_7_yd_to_palmer_medium
Oz_hou_7_yd_to_palmer_medium

This should have been called holding on Cornick, who despite help with a double team flat out gets beat by the Texans' rush end.  Brock does a nice job of stepping up into the pocket, going through his progressions (in this case outside-in) and hitting Palmer for a first down.  This is also a nice stop and go route by Palmer who is able to shake the nickel corner.

The Bad


Oz_hou_pressure_inc_fowler_medium
Oz_hou_pressure_inc_fowler_medium

I'm going to nitpick here, but this is the only way Brock will make it to the next level.  In a vacuum he does fine.  He alludes the blitz, buys some time, and delivers a strong (albeit ugly) pass down the field as he gets hit.  The Problem is he never saw this blitz coming and he should have.  This is just a standard overload bringing the corner and safety.  If Brock is able to recognize this presnap, he can change out of the stupid playaction bootleg that almost gets him hammered.  On 2nd thought, I don't like the pass either.  Could easily have been intercepted.  This is just an example of bad presnap recognition by Brock compounded by a bad decision to try and make a play downfield.

Oz_hou_sack_medium
Oz_hou_sack_medium

This is an example of live and learn.  Brock knows the blitz is coming, what he doesn't know is that this is a zone concept where the corner is going to peel off and cover the RB out of the backfield.  Brock thinks this is his hot read when in reality it is Latimer's crosser over the middle.  The more he sees these things the better he will adapt.

Oz_hou_inc_hardin_sideline_medium
Oz_hou_inc_hardin_sideline_medium

The decision isn't all that bad, he wants to attack the sideline, but the ball placement is terrible and carries his receiver out of bounds.  Even if the ball had been more in the field of play, these are types of passes that are going to get receivers killed.

The Ugly

Oz_hou_int_pre_medium
Oz_hou_int_pre_medium

I don't like when Peyton throws back across his body into traffic.  I don't care how strong Brock's arm is.  I don't want to see him throw back across his body into traffic.  There is one guy who has permission to throw back across his body into traffic (John Elway) and he's been retired for about 16 seasons.  The more and more I see Cornick play, the more and more I want to cut him.  Garland and Montgomery get beat easily as well.

There were two more passing plays that I analyzed but both were mundane WR screens that any quarterback should be able to throw.  Nothing to see good or bad there.

Time to Throw 2.8 seconds

Pass

Drop

Time

Throw on Time?

Throw accurate?

Target

Route

Result

1-

3

2.4

Yes

Yes

WR Latimer

Cross

INC (Drop)

2-

3

---

---

---

---

---

8 yd scramble

3-

?

4.2

No

No

WR Latimer

dig

INT (tip)

4-

3

2.2

Yes

No

WR Latimer

Skinny post

17 yd

5-

---

---

---

---

---

---

9 yd run

6-

---

4.1

no

no

WR Fowler

---

INC Fowler

7-

3

2.9

Yes

Yes

WR Palmer

Cross

7 yd

8-

3

(2.1)

---

---

---

---

---

9

2

1.6

Yes

Yes

WR Fowler

Screen

No gain

10

---

2.0

Yes

Yes

WR Fowler

Screen

19 yd

11-

3

2.3

Yes

Yes

WR Hardin

Out

INC (Drop)

12-

3

3.2

Yes

Yes

RB Clay

Checkdown

INC (Drop)

13-

3

2.7

Yes

No

WR Hardin

Go

INC

14-

3

3.4

Yes

Yes

WR Fowler

---

INC (Drop)

Totals

---

2.8

9/11

7/11

---

---

---


Brock faced much more pressure this game and as a result his time to throw was the highest it has been at any point this preseason.  Remember he started at 2.6 seconds in the opener and improved that to about 2.2 seconds against San Francisco.

Final Analysis


Something I've noticed now that I've analysed three of his games is that Brock does better as a rhythm QB.  Quick short throws, easy decisions just to get the offense in sync.  He's very similar to Manning in that way.  This game offered almost no opportunity to get into sync.  The 2nd string Bronco offense didn't see the ball until very late in the 3rd quarter.  They went three and out, then Brock threw his interception on 1st down of the 2nd drive.  It wasn't until the 3rd drive where they started to gain some momentum, and it resulted in a missed FG after a Bibbs facemask penalty nullified a redzone opportunity.  Their final drive was the two-minute drill where receivers dropped three of the four targets.

What we saw against Houston was not a regression by Brock.  The Texans simply brought a lot of blitzes that he has yet to deal with in live action, and it shows up in his presnap decisions.  One of the areas Brock had started to gain some traction in games 1 and 2 was his presnap decision making, and that just wasn't there this game.  The solution?  More study and more experience.  It isn't anything he can't comprehend on a mental level, and it sure isn't anything beyond his realm of athleticism to produce.  Romeo Crennel threw a lot at the young QB and he failed his first time out.

Upon further review, the game wasn't as bad as it came across live.  He made his share of nice plays, but the amount of mistakes and miscues were far more in number when compared to previous outings.  This does not scream to me one step forward and two steps back as far as his progression.  This performance was a bump in the road.

Things to improve against Dallas

- Better rhythm from the start.  This has to do as much with playcalling as it does with execution.

- Better presnap reads.  Brock needs to put on his thinking cap and expand his understanding of defenses and their presnap cues.  It's still hit and miss against more exotic blitz schemes.

- Better ball placement.  Brock has proven he can be accurate but I want him to maintain a higher level of accuracy when things are not going as scripted.  Being accurate also means knowing when to take some off the ball if receivers are struggling with the heat.

- Better decision making.  Sometimes it's better to take the sack rather than risk a duck floating over the middle of the field.  Sometimes it's better to throw the ball out of bounds rather than try to thread the needle in traffic.

GO BRONCOS!!!

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