Over the past few weeks, I went back and looked at each of Jake Locker's drop backs this year. This post will begin a series where we breakdown Locker's performance from 2011. We'll look at specific areas such as direction thrown, distance thrown, types of drops, route variety, and targets. In fact, the specific posts will likely mirror those exact topics. And, as we get into each of those topics, we will then break down the performance statistically and, as best I can, mechanically.
When I initially began this process, my first thought was that I'd gather the information and lump it into one or two long posts. As I've gotten into it, however, I've realized that there's too much information to discuss in just two posts. There's so much going on in Locker's game that it'd be a shame to try and graze over topics that were worthy of further analysis. And, if we've got anything, it's time. So, over the coming weeks, or longer, we'll really start getting into Locker's play his rookie year. For the purpose of this post, I want to give some perspective of my opinion of Locker heading into this analysis.
I think it's important that MCM understands my thoughts on Locker heading into this breakdown mostly because I think it mirrored that of most fans. I thought: Locker's the future. When he comes in, he makes big, game changing plays. He's not afraid to attack deep. He seems unconcerned with the BS surrounding being a franchise QB, and appears committed to putting in work and earning his teammates respect. He doesn't want to be given anything and has the qualities of a natural leader. Locker doesn't get rattled by big hits, and his poise in the pocket is uncanny for someone his age. His athleticism is horribly underrated and he uses it as a weapon, not a crutch. He is capable of making throws only a few in this league can make.
All of the above is still true. Here's where I got it wrong: Locker's accuracy isn't that big of an issue. He was thrown into situations where he had to force the ball down field which lead to a skewed completion percentage. Further, he's fluid in dropbacks, so footwork doesn't appear to be a glaring issue. Even if there are some tweaks, he's still great with the deep ball.
There's some half truths in there, but, for the most part, these things were real problems, which I hope to effectively point out over the upcoming series of posts. If there are specific topics you'd like covered in this series, put it in the comments.