Adding another layer to the Browns QB situation, Brian Hoyer picked up a shoulder injury Sunday. Will be evaluated day to day— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 22, 2014
#Browns Pettine said rookie QB Connor Shaw will get lot of reps with starters. Also looking to bring in another QB.— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) December 22, 2014
Tyler Thigpen has signed with the #Browns, source says. One more QB to the mix— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 23, 2014
So, Manziel is out. Hoyer is uncertain. Shaw will get first team reps and start vs. Baltimore if Hoyer can't play. Thigpen was signed in a backup role. Since there's a good chance Connor Shaw will start vs. Baltimore, let's take a look at what he brings to the table.
What does his maximum zip on the ball look like? Here he uncorks one to the far sideline. He loses control in the attempt to get more power on it and struggles to keep the ball down, but he gets it there with power behind it.
This throw is an example of top velocity on a throw where he maintain his proper mechanics and accuracy. He doesn't have a cannon but this is more than adequate.
On throws to the sideline, he needs to focus on driving through the ball. If he overdoes it, he may lose accuracy but that's way less dangerous than hanging the pass like this:
I would say that Shaw's velocity is adequate though unspectacular.
Some quarterbacks panic with pressure in their face and fail to step into their throws. Other quarterbacks appear to draw a blank when rushers are bearing down. Shaw doesn't have these problems. When pressured, Shaw has a tendency to force throws. Sometimes he forces them to unopen receivers. Sometimes he forces the throw before he can get his body turned or feet properly set. It doesn't look like panic but rather stubbornness and determination to make a play.
Here he has an open man but forgets to re-set his feet, throws off a wide base, and doesn't stride into the throw. It falls short.
Escapes the pocket and throws up a 50/50 ball. Not bad this time.
This is a good one. He resists temptation and throws the ball safely away.
Another good play here. The pocket is collapsing around him and the ends have contain. He has no rush lanes, so he smartly tucks the ball and tries to minimize the loss.
One of Shaw's biggest weaknesses is what I like to call "tunnel vision". By this, I mean that his attention is very tightly zeroed in on a narrow focus and he is unaware of other things going on around him. In other words, he's not a multitasker that's aware of what he's doing as well as several other things going on around him in the background.
This comes into play twice on the following play. For one, once he drops his eyes to evade the rush it's rare that he'll look downfield to attempt a pass. Instead, he tucks the ball and runs.
Additionally, he doesn't read multiple defenders at once and sometimes this delay gives defenders time to close the window or break on the ball.
Below is what he saw over the middle on the above play. His receiver has a step on his man and Shaw has a completable pass if he can fire the ball immediately, with zip to lead his receiver. He hesitates because he knows a linebacker is there out in front but didn't see yet that his back is to the ball. By the time he sees that, the potential completion isn't there anymore.
Here he is reading the defense and then notices the pressure. He drops his eyes and scrambles to evade. He doesn't survey downfield again until he's well outside the pocket.
Some quarterbacks are able to continuously pay half attention to the pass rushers without losing focus on the receivers and defenders downfield. When the rushers penetrate into the pocket and demand more attention, these quarterbacks can still keep track of where their receivers are down the field. Connor Shaw is not one of these quarterbacks (Johnny Manziel happens to be one, maintaining his awareness of his receivers while he's scrambling and juking like a rabbit was one of his greatest strengths in college).
Here Shaw leaves a big play on field because he doesn't notice the tight end come open down the seam after moving on from him in his progression:
According to NFL Draft Scout, here's how Shaw compared to Manziel at the combine:
Shaw Manziel 40-yard 4.62 4.63 10-yard 1.64 1.63 20 shuttle 4.33 4.03 3-cone 7.07 6.75
He and Manziel have nearly identical straight-line speed and quickness, but Manziel has better lateral quickness and agility. In college, Shaw was not nearly as much of an evasive escape artist as Manziel was, but he was a big threat on called runs, option plays, and taking off and running when his receivers weren't open.
Speaking of option plays, Connor Shaw has extensive experience running an option offense, unlike Manziel or Hoyer. He has familiarity and comfort with it and his understanding of when to hand the ball off and when to keep it are second nature.
Part 1 Overview
- Connor Shaw has adequate but average velocity for an NFL quarterback.
- He is poised under pressure but has a history of forcing dangerous throws and needs to focus on staying disciplined rather than trying to win the game on every play.
- Shaw suffers from tunnel vision, likely relegating him to simplified progressions, especially early in his career.
- He has the athleticism to be a threat running the ball and has plenty of experience running the read option.
Take a look at Part 2 for a further breakdown of Connor Shaw's ability as a passer.