...Quick release or Check down to the Underneath Route
I read most everything, but don’t post often. However while watching yesterday’s game against the Bills I would like to come back to the question of why we so rarely use short/quick passes. I’m not a big fan of the man-love showered on Peyton and Phillip by Chris Collinsworth, but they had a great piece around how quickly Peyton releases the ball (like 1.77 seconds). Granted it got ugly (and faster) as Indianapolis’ OL (also piecemeal) play went down hill. Clearly, getting rid of the ball faster and looking for short throws is how Peyton (who I do consider an excellent OC or at least play caller) adjusts to a week OL in front of him. Some of this kind of adjustment has to come from BA, but a good deal of it lands squarely in Big Ben’s hands.
Toward the end of the 4th or in overtime on a third down and medium yardage Big Ben threw a 20 yard pass to the back shoulder of Heath who’s defender was glued on him. The announcer said it looked like Ben was trying to draw a pass interference call (which was probably deserved, but not called). However, as Ben’s eyes were (as usual) focused 20+ yards down the field, an underneath route (about 6-8 yards) was wide open. No one was within 10 yards. I can’t recall who the player was, but they would have easily made the first down and kept that drive alive by "moving the chains." Sometime I think Ben likes the feeling of extending the play and making an impressive play/pass (and frequently stalling a drive) then being a "robo-passer" and grinding out
yardage with short quick passes, thus extending drives and continuing to allow the defense to rest on the sidelines. That seems to me the biggest difference between our early season wins with Dennis and Charlie: they used the system which was heavy on running and moving the chains (when necessary by throwing the ball). Don’t get me wrong as I credit Ben as a huge part of our last two rings. (We couldn’t get to the show with a phenomenal system and mediocre QBs under Cowher-who I also highly respect). However, not every 3rd and 6 is it necessary for a play maker like Ben to try (interpret as try-to-hard) and make a play. Sometimes, I would like to see him just "move the chains."
The question becomes (as the title suggests): how do you train an instinctual play-maker like Ben to accept dinks and drop-offs as important/useful or is the big play pay-off worth the inconsistency and tight games like yesterday’s against the Bills?