Several factors play a role in the success of quarterbacks in the NFL. One of those factors is pocket time. Pocket time is defined as the average time in seconds before a quarterback throws the ball or has pressure.
For the most part, quarterbacks who have more pocket time are more successful but that’s not always the case. If an offense is designed to get the ball out quickly the pocket time will obviously be shorter than the average. With that said let’s take a look at the pocket time for quarterbacks so far and point out some interesting facts.
|Russell Wilson (DEN)||2.7||26||22||23||100|
|Jalen Hurts (PHI)||2.6||19||16||32||95|
|Patrick Mahomes II (KC)||2.6||10||35||35||95|
|Bryce Young (CAR)||2.5||22||19||19||83|
|Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)||2.5||13||15||5||77|
|Ryan Tannehill (TEN)||2.5||19||20||3||72|
|Jordan Love (GB)||2.5||14||16||17||81|
|Zach Wilson (NYJ)||2.5||23||27||35||74|
|Kenny Pickett (PIT)||2.5||17||27||22||81|
|Lamar Jackson (BAL)||2.5||20||13||11||103|
|Kirk Cousins (MIN)||2.5||17||45||21||103|
|Joshua Dobbs (MIN)||2.5||17||35||10||83|
|Matthew Stafford (LAR)||2.5||19||22||14||83|
|Justin Herbert (LAC)||2.4||15||20||17||96|
|Dak Prescott (DAL)||2.4||17||16||6||95|
|Baker Mayfield (TB)||2.4||11||18||21||90|
|C.J. Stroud (HOU)||2.4||15||21||25||95|
|Geno Smith (SEA)||2.4||14||22||33||92|
|Sam Howell (WAS)||2.4||41||32||18||90|
|Brock Purdy (SF)||2.4||14||19||21||103|
|Gardner Minshew II (IND)||2.3||14||12||18||86|
|Josh Allen (BUF)||2.3||12||21||29||101|
|Jared Goff (DET)||2.3||15||31||24||98|
|Desmond Ridder (ATL)||2.3||25||20||18||86|
|Derek Carr (NO)||2.3||19||16||13||92|
|Tyrod Taylor (NYG)||2.2||10||8||14||68|
|Mac Jones (NE)||2.2||16||18||26||78|
|Joe Burrow (CIN)||2.1||17||26||7||87|
|Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)||2.1||11||11||16||108|
|Trevor Lawrence (JAC)||2||19||20||26||95|
In the chart above I took out quarterbacks who played less than 7 games. This way we get a good sample size of games played and can focus in on starting quarterbacks. I also kept in sacks, hurries and knockdowns to analyze if a reduced pocket time led to more quarterback pressures. Finally, I kept in passer rating to see if more pocket time led to a better overall rating. Let’s now focus on the quarterbacks that stick out to me.
Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence
Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence headline the bottom of this list with the least amount of pocket time. These two quarterbacks have their teams at the top of the AFC despite the least amount of pocket time. How are they so successful? Well for one the Dolphins offense is built on motion, misdirection and getting the ball out quickly. These play designs are built perfectly for Tagovailoa who doesn’t have to sit back in the pocket and absorb pressure.
In the case of Trevor Lawrence he is one the best at getting the ball out quickly and to his playmakers. Like Tagovailoa the Jaguars run a lot of RPO plays but their ADOT (Average Depth of Target) for wide receivers is 6.9 yards which is towards the bottom of the league.
Sam Howell and Patrick Mahomes
Next, let’s look at sacks and the two quarterbacks who are at the top and bottom of this category. Commanders quarterback Sam Howell has been sacked a massive 41 times so far this season but how many of those sacks are on him? Howell has an average pocket time of 2.4 seconds which is towards the top of the league. The problem with Howell is he at times holds on to the ball too long looking for the big play.
In contrast, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has only been sacked 10 times this season and has the 2nd highest pocket time at 2.6 seconds. Does that mean the Chiefs offensive line is that much better? Not necessarily as Mahomes is the best in the NFL at pocket movement and buying time with his legs. It will be fascinating to watch how these pocket times change in the 2nd half of the season for these quarterbacks and the ones that make the playoffs.