This is my first post on this forum. It's something I actually made on a different forum a few days ago, and have just copied and pasted here, so forgive me if some of the language (such as "last night") is a bit off. I thought I'd post if over here to see if you guys agree with this. Also, I hope when I post this that the pictures actually show up, rather than just random links. So forgive me on that as well lol.
John Beck seems destined to be the Washington Redskins starting Quarterback week 1 against the Giants. We finally had our first opportunity to look at him in a game environment (albeit pre-season against the Colts, who have little to play for and are notoriously not great in pre-season). Lets have a look at who will, in all likelyhood, be our starting QB this season. This is an unbiased (as much as I can) breakdown of some of his throws and his play in general, so brace for a long post.
His first throw, 1st and 10 from the Colts 20 after that huge gain from Hightower, was probably one of his best. The Redskins lined up in an off-set I formation. Gaffney and Moss the WR's, Davis at TE, Young the FB and Hightower at RB.
I've put the routes in on that picture, as well as the check-down order. What I like most about this play, we see Beck's knowledge of the system. He looks for Moss, see's it isn't, comes across the field and comes back to Gaffney. What I also like is that he instantly makes the throw, regardless of Trent Williams being bull-rushed back into him by Freeney. He didn't let the pressure get to him and kept calm when his first route wasn't there. His footwork is good for the most part, and his release is actually very quick. There's plenty of zip on the ball to get it to Gaffney. The only negative I have about this play is that the pass doesn't quite hit Gaffney in stride.
You can see there, that Gaffney has to pull up slightly to catch the pass. If the ball had been thrown to where the black circle is, and hit Gaffney in stride, it would have given Gaffney a chance to hit the safety with momentum, potentially breaking a tackle and getting a TD.
So overall, an encouraging start for Becks first throw. A lot of positives to take from it.
2 plays later, Beck had another attempt. This time it was a play-action pass to Sellers, which fell incomplete. I love the play call, play-action on the goal line is the best way for this offence to score as we aren't a power run team, we wont beat many defenses on strength blocks. We line up with no WR's and Young, Hightower in the backfield.
Sellers runs a crossing route, and I believe it was Logan Paulsen who chips a defender, then runs an out route. The first thing I noticed, and something I noticed throughout the game, was that Beck doesn't sell the play-action very well. There could be reasons for it, such as he hasn't had much time to get used to fake hand-offs with the new RB's (particularly Hightower) or it could simply be he's rushing himself to get to see the field, or he could just be being lazy and not getting anywhere near the RB, have a look:
He's a good yard away from the RB, and that's just not going to fool anyone. I've marked with the black circle where it would ideally be, and he's absolutely nowhere near that. Anyway, onto the throw. The good aspect of the throw is that he realized if he threw it out of Sellers break, the LB covering the zone would have had a chance to pick it off (only a very very accurate QB, Rodgers or Bradford for example would have been able to fit it in that gap safely). But that's about the only good thing about the throw. Once he waits for Sellers to be out of the LB's zone, the DB had made up the yard that Sellers had gotten on him out of the break and was able to make the play (by the way, this next screen shot, I'm over the moon I managed to get it as clear as I did lol).
The other thing you can see from that image, is that Paulsen was the safer option. Yes, the man covering him had turned around after he noticed the ball had been thrown. But Paulsen had a yard or two on the defender and Beck could have thrown a little touch throw into Paulsen's stride for a TD.
The next play of note was on 3rd and 8. The first play of any real pressure on Beck, he has to get 8 yards or its 4th down and his offence is off the field. 3 WR's, Armstrong, Moss in the slot and Gaffney. Davis is in at TE, and I believe that Hightower in the backfield as an extra blocker.
This is a really nice play by Beck. He trusts his receiver (Armstrong) to get out of his break on time. Beck does a nice job of not giving away his primary target until he goes to throw the ball. He keeps his helmet straight downfield, using his eyes to watch Armstrong. He then makes the quick throw while under pressure from the pass rusher who's got off the line better than Jammal Brown. Armstrong makes the catch in stride, and gets the first down. May look like a standard play, but it was the first of any real pressure both mentally (need to get a 1st down) and physically (pass rusher nearly beating Brown).
The next play I'll look at is 2nd and 13 on the Colts 22 (4:32 left in the first quarter). What I like about this play is that it was a very heavy blitz from the Colts (as you'll see below, they sent 6 guys), but they had deep zone coverage behind it. Beck knew he had the perfect play to counter it.
What we have is Armstrong and Davis on 'clearing routes', meaning the purpose of their routes is to run go routes and clear the space behind them. You'll see in the next frame, Davis has the only LB that is in man coverage, who should really be in a middle zone to cover the underneath routes. It leaves a huge gap for first Moss in the slot, and then Gaffney if Moss is covered for whatever reason. Beck realises this before the snap, and he shows excellent composure to just stand in the pocket, trust his Oline and Hightower to pick up the blocks long enough for him to get a clean throw off to Moss. Which he does.
I've marked the big hole in the defence, which Beck realises and hits Moss in stride. Its a good play from Beck, and it also allows Moss to go and get the first down himself.
The final play I'll do for now, is a play-action bootleg to Beck's left. This particular one happened on 1st and 10 on our own 17, with 32 seconds left in the first quarter. But I feel that if gives a good summary of most of his bootleg plays.
First thing I'll note is the point I made earlier, he gets nowhere near the ball carrier on the fake hand off. Have a look.
Now here's a great example from Sam Bradford in the Rams/Titans game the other night. First play of the game...
Here's another view of it from behind the QB:
He sells the defence completely! Look at how much room his WR has (also, hell of a throw from the kid, hits the WR in stride on a good 60-70 yard throw)
The receiver has a good 10 yards on the closest DB, purely from a very well sold fake hand-off. Something Beck needs to work on.
Anyway, back to the play at hand. After the fake, he immediately locks his eyes on Austin, ignoring (I think its Stallworth)'s crossing route who has a huge open space to run into (which I've marked on this image).
The other thing that irritates me about this play, is that Beck takes forever to make the throw. The moment he locates Austin, he's on his own 8 yard line, he waits until he runs to the 11/12 to throw the ball, by which time, the play-action has been recognized and defenders have gained some of the yards back. By the time he releases the ball, Austin's space to run into is getting smaller and smaller. And I cant really see any reason for him delaying the throw, as he never looks to check for Stallworth's crossing route (who, as you'll see in the next image, has tons of space to run into). Note, the ball is also thrown behind Austin.
At the end of the day, Austin got 9 yards from the play, and gave us a bit of breathing room from out own end-zone. It also gave us a second and 1 the next play and takes pressure off getting the 1st down. But this is something we'll have to get used to with Beck. He's going to manage us up and down the field, lots of short passes and a run heavy offence. Which is good enough to get us to around 8-8 probably. But a better QB will get their head up and check the crossing route for the bigger play, and get rid of the ball quicker. All you have to do is look at Bradford's TD pass last night, or any Aaron Rodgers Bootleg play.