Since this time two years ago, we've all heard the adage about Jake Locker being more accurate from outside of the pocket than inside. I wanted to take a look at his throws on the outside and inside from the 2012-13 season, so I watched and recorded them all. I found a few numbers that at least I thought were interesting, not only about Locker inside and outside of the pocket, but other numbers that tie in with Dowell Loggains, Chris Palmer, and more.
From Inside the Pocket vs. From Outside the Pocket: This surprised me a little bit. Going into this, I thought that Locker would be significantly better from outside of the pocket than from inside. Before I watched any of his throws, I wrote down my guesses, and I assumed that Locker would be at least 60% from outside of the pocket, and that from inside the pocket he'd 54%. I was off by a solid amount on both of these guess. From inside of the pocket, factoring out throwaways, I found that Locker completed 59% of his passes. Halfway through, I'd realized that I forgot to factor drops out as well, so I somewhat regret that, but that could have ended up becoming a little too subjective. From outside of the pocket, again factoring out throwaways, I have Locker down for completing 57% of his passes.
Running the Football: This is a category where I'd like to see some change next season. Locker had 38 rushing attempts by my count, factoring out kneels. Of those 38 attempts, only 9 were from designed runs, meaning that only 24% of Locker's rushing attempts were designed runs. One thing I did notice however was that there were significantly more designed runs under Loggains than Palmer. Hopeully that trend continues next year, as I think given the correct situations designed runs for Locker can be very effective, like we saw in the New York Jets game.
Palmer vs. Loggains: I compared a few things when it came to Loggains and Palmer. I thought that Locker attempted a lot more passes outside of the pocket under Loggains. When I went back and looked, the numbers were pretty even--one more throw outside of the pocket under Loggains. Completion percentage wise, combining throws from both inside and outside of the pocket and factoring out throwaways, Locker was only 53% under Loggains, while he was throwing 59% under Palmer.
Against Divisional Opponents: I just did this one for fun at the end to see how he performed against the division last season. I had him completing 54% of his passes against the division. Against Houston, he was 44%. He only had one game against Indianapolis, and he completed 63% of his passes there. Against Jacksonville, he was 58%.
As always, the context of certain plays make some numbers harder to read into than others. For example, there were a number of back breaking incompletions that Locker absolutely had to complete. He missed high on a pass to Nate Washington against New England where there was no one around him in sight, on a crucial third down. He did the same on a pass to Lavelle Hawkins against New York, we can't forget the Taylor Thompson play against Green Bay, and there were a lot more. However, there were also a lot of dropped passes that professionals absolutely must catch. I noticed a good number of drops by Jared Cook and Nate Washington. Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt had their fair share as well. So, while it is definitely important to consider the context, you also have to assume that a lot of plays that would increase his percentages really just even out with with a lot of the plays that would decrease it.
After watching Locker again, it confirmed some of my initial beliefs. He has a lot of work to do. While a lot of blame can be placed on coordinators and offensive line play, he just absolutely needs to be more accurate with a lot more of his passes. Also, he needs to get more air under his deep balls. I was pretty disappointed regarding his deep ball accuracy this season. The Titans can build around him as much as they want, but it is up to him to make that next step accuracy wise if he wants to become a playoff quarterback.