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Ball Velocity: Does It Matter?


Jetdog16
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1 hour ago, Impreza178 said:

 

Sorry that’s all I got for ya IC

I can agree that you want to avoid players on the extreme low end of the spectrum- especially early.    That’s true with most measureables.   

 

But beyond that-  there are many more important characteristics than a difference in velocity only noticeable by radar gun.   Would be more useful to have a velocity number on say...an average of 5 passes of each type.   Like 10 yard outs for example. 

 

Respect your opinion as always.  

 

It would be nice if we had some video of what this event looks like...I would like to know what throws they're making during the velocity measurement or if it's based on a chip that is in the ball during the qb drills we see on TV.

 

I do like the measurable just because it's another data point.  I thought your comment about the eye test was interesting because I wouldn't consider Flacco middle of the road in arm strength, but for some reason the measurement has him there.

 

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1 minute ago, Iron-cock said:

 

It would be nice if we had some video of what this event looks like...I would like to know what throws they're making during the velocity measurement or if it's based on a chip that is in the ball during the qb drills we see on TV.

 

I do like the measurable just because it's another data point.  I thought your comment about the eye test was interesting because I wouldn't consider Flacco middle of the road in arm strength, but for some reason the measurement has him there.

 

It's measured with a radar gun and not a chip.

 

According to the following link, in 2017 they started recording velocity for throws to the right and left side of the field:

 

http://blogs.ourlads.com/2017/03/16/quarterback-ball-velocity-at-nfl-combine-2008-2015/

 

I also did some digging and here's a post from Scout.com's message board regarding changes to the Velocity testing:

 

 

"They appear to have made some major changes in how they measure over the last two seasons.

The numbers coming out now are no longer apples to apples over what came out before.

It used to be one number, now it's a left/right thing. Further, last year two sets of numbers came out, a max speed and a left/right, and those numbers weren't anywhere near the same.

For example, Jerod Evans max velocity was 55mph. But his left/right were: 50/51.

Whatever is going on, these left/right numbers are not the same as the past.

So they cannot be used in the same way.

Unless / until the apples-to-apples numbers leak, there are no real conclusions to draw here"

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12 minutes ago, Jetdog16 said:

It's measured with a radar gun and not a chip.

 

According to the following link, in 2017 they started recording velocity for throws to the right and left side of the field:

 

http://blogs.ourlads.com/2017/03/16/quarterback-ball-velocity-at-nfl-combine-2008-2015/

 

I also did some digging and here's a post from Scout.com's message board regarding changes to the Velocity testing:

 

 

"They appear to have made some major changes in how they measure over the last two seasons.

The numbers coming out now are no longer apples to apples over what came out before.

It used to be one number, now it's a left/right thing. Further, last year two sets of numbers came out, a max speed and a left/right, and those numbers weren't anywhere near the same.

For example, Jerod Evans max velocity was 55mph. But his left/right were: 50/51.

Whatever is going on, these left/right numbers are not the same as the past.

So they cannot be used in the same way.

Unless / until the apples-to-apples numbers leak, there are no real conclusions to draw here"

 

Great context.  Looks like they are attempting to make this metric more valid.    A qb who throws a great deep ball (Flacco) won’t necessarily be able to rifle a 10 yard out.    

 

 

22 minutes ago, Iron-cock said:

 

It would be nice if we had some video of what this event looks like...I would like to know what throws they're making during the velocity measurement or if it's based on a chip that is in the ball during the qb drills we see on TV.

 

I do like the measurable just because it's another data point.  I thought your comment about the eye test was interesting because I wouldn't consider Flacco middle of the road in arm strength, but for some reason the measurement has him there.

 

 

yeah, a good example of why velocity doesn’t always equal “arm strength”.  We can see he has a rocket and throws maybe the best long ball in football.    

Edited by Impreza178
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The best arm in the outfield doesn't mean he can throw harder from the pitchers mound and vice versa.

 

Something to do with levers and rapid motion. More arm speed equals short distance speed/velocity while a longer lever can while slower in motion launch a longer distance.  

 

But in either case the less time it takes the ball to get there reduces the reaction or recovery time for the defense. You can be able to throw a moon shot 80 yards but if it hangs in the air too long the defense will be able to get position and make a play on the ball. Still has to have a certain pace give the receiver an advantage.

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On 4/2/2018 at 11:57 AM, howlin' 2 said:

The best arm in the outfield doesn't mean he can throw harder from the pitchers mound and vice versa.

 

Something to do with levers and rapid motion. More arm speed equals short distance speed/velocity while a longer lever can while slower in motion launch a longer distance.  

 

But in either case the less time it takes the ball to get there reduces the reaction or recovery time for the defense. You can be able to throw a moon shot 80 yards but if it hangs in the air too long the defense will be able to get position and make a play on the ball. Still has to have a certain pace give the receiver an advantage.

 

Sir Isaac Newton is rolling over in his mf'ing grave. 

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A base level of arm strength is probably required for NFL success.  But with adequate arm strength, accuracy and timing become paramount.

Edited by SharkSwimmer
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11 hours ago, predator_05 said:

One off readings don't mean a whole lot. I'd be more interested in seeing how a QB's arm-strength changes as the game goes on.

 

 

 

This is something I've been thinking about -- there's a very good reason we think of Andy Dalton as noodle-armed and we don't think of Russell Wilson that way, even though they threw about the same speed at the Combine.  And the answer is that it's all well and good to time their throws with a radar gun on an empty field, but in a real NFL game there are 300 lb. monsters running at them.  And we've seen over and over again for years that when the pressure comes, Dalton makes poor decisions and can't get off his best throw, whereas Wilson has spent most of his career running for his life behind a weak offensive line while still finding a way to throw the deep strike.  The raw velocity number doesn't tell us whether the QB can actually throw at or near that speed in a real game situation, because they're not throwing in a vacuum.  The velocity probably varies a lot throughout the game for QBs who don't perform well under pressure.

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On 4/1/2018 at 10:06 AM, Jetdog16 said:

Over the past 2-3 seasons I've been hearing more and more analysis over QB prospect's ball velocity. Some of these measurements really intrigue me, such as Deshaun Watson's pathetic 49 MPH velocity. That was the sixth lowest mark in combine history according to the following:

 

http://www.pass2win.com/ball-velocity-exposing-the-power-qb.html

 

Going into the 2017 draft I was concerned about it. Those concerns ended up being unfounded as he led the NFL in Average Intended Air Yards in his rookie season. According the above link it's still rare for a low velocity QB to be successful. Most of the guys hovering around 50MPH have never started more than 1-2 games in the NFL. Only two of these guys have had any success in the NFL.

 

 

Shane Carden, Eastern Carolina, free agent, 52
Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech, Bengals - 52
Seth Russell, Baylor, TBD - 52
Graham Harrell, Texas Tech, free agent - 52
Pat White, West Virginia, free agent - 52
Kellen Moore, Boise State, Cowboys - 52
TJ Yates, North Carolina, free agent - 52
Michael Kafka, Northwestern, free agent - 52
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma St., free agent - 52
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, free agent - 52

Josh Dobbs, Tennessee, TBD -51
Jerry Lovelocke, Praire View A&M, free agent - 51
Christian Ponder, Florida St, free agent - 51
Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech, free agent - 51

Matt Flynn, LSU, free agent -- 50
John Skelton, Fordham, free agent - 50
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa, free agent - 50
Tyrod Taylor, Va Tech, Bills- 50
Connor Cook, Michigan, Raiders - 50
Connor Shaw, South Carolina, Bears - 50
Nick Marshall, Auburn, Bengals - 50

Deshaun Watson, Clemson, TBD - 49
Michael Glennon, North Carolina State, Bears - 49
Josh Johnson, San Diego, Giants - 49
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, TBD - 46
Cooper Rush, Central Michigan, TBD - 46
Blake Sims, Alabama, free agent - 42 

 

 

So, does ball velocity matter? We may not have enough data yet. But the small sample size over the past 10 or so seasons would seem to point to Velocity being fairly important.

 

Yes, I think it matters but it is NOT the end all be all.  Especially depending on what division you play in. 

 

People cite Watson as the example that it doesn't matter.   I considered him undraftable by the Browns given that they play in the AFC north where you have bad weather and wind from November on.   Watson ended up on the perfect division for him.   Nine dome games a year and at Jacksonville (Which admittedly can be windy at times).

 

Note that tyrod has a rather low velocity number.   A couple of things I want to point out here:

- low velocity DOES NOT EQUAL a poor deep ball thrower.  Which we also saw with Watson in small sample sizes last year.   Throwing the deep ball is about anticipation and arc as much as arm strength.

- also note how pathetically bad Tyrod was in high wind vs Jax in the playoffs.  That's the weather you face in the AFC north more often.

 

With a weaker arm there are certain throws you can't make as consistently.   We've seen tyrod struggle in certain areas of the field throughout his career.   We'll see after defenses adjust to Watson if he can overcome possible similiar limitations. 

 

Arm strength can be improved with mechanical improvement (incorporating your lower body better which is what Lamar needs to do) and/or a lot of core work.  Brees and Brady (both known workout fanatics) both had stronger arms as pros than they did in college. 

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On 4/4/2018 at 2:39 AM, fakespike said:

 

Sir Isaac Newton is rolling over in his mf'ing grave. 

You obviously haven't spent much time playing ball or observing players.

 

From a stationary position some pitchers & QB's can generate greater arm speed  without winding up. Thus they can get the ball to a designed short distance quicker while others with the aid of a bigger windup can throw it greater distances faster.Also being bigger, heavier & longer arm span (i.e. lever) can get the ball 65-70 yds downfield without having to put as much air/arc under it.

 

Ron Guidry could touch high 90's from the stretch position but didn't have the arm from the outfield that a Reggie Jackson or Andre "The Hawk" Dawson  had in making a throw to third base from the right field corner. 

 

Drew Brees can make a snap throw between LB's as quickly as almost any QB in the game. But he can't come close to throwing a ball 50+ yds downfield on a line like a Stafford or Cam . Stepping up into a throw or on the run is different than two feet planted with no room to move forward . Therefore Brees needs to throw a higher trajectory which YES...takes a longer time to travel the 50+ yds same distance. Drew can get it there but not as quickly.

 

 

Sir Isaac may or may not agree but I've witnessed it on the field over & over. We used to do it all the time. Stand on the 50 yd line w/o taking any steps I could almost hit the goal line. Same as my brother's and a couple of buddies that all played QB in high school and college. But if we did drop back and then the standard two-three steps up into the throw they could hit 60-65 yds while I was lucky to do much more than 55. They were taller, heavier (especially in the legs & trunk) @ 6'2" or better while I was barely over 6' and under 200lbs.

 

Reminds me of an old baseball story where in the early days some pundits said the curveball was more of an optical illusion. Dizzy Dean in an interview with one such pundit told him to go stand a few feet behind a tree that was straight between them and Dizzy would hit him in the head with his "optical illusion" .

Edited by howlin' 2
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For me, the only thing I'd check for is fluctuations from what I've seen on tape.  Same as the combine.  If I see a guy and think he is blazing fast but runs a 4.7 at the combine, I might recheck the tape, and investigate why he ran slow and then reevaluate.

 

If a guy has a cannon for an arm from the scouting report and what we see on tape, and then suddenly has the lowest velocity in the group I'd double check for injury or a reason. 

 

Other than that, an interesting stat that doesn't carry much weight.

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If you lack velocity, you've got to have a different way to create open throwing lanes and windows.

 

A Deshaun Watson doesn't "disprove" the value of velocity.  He opens up throwing lanes and windows by being a rushing threat.  This freezes/draws safeties, and allows receivers to operate in more open spaces.  (It also puts him in physical jeopardy, which makes QB's that operate this way electric, but unreliable over the long run.)  More open spaces necessitate less ball speed.

 

Likewise, coaching and system can be used to create opportunities that don't require plus velocity.  Montana operated in a Walsh WCO system that was unique at the time, and was full of quick slants, crosses, etc., that were essentially extensions of the running game.  That system was far more about timing and accuracy than velocity, and Joe (like Brady, today) used the sheer frequency of these short throws to force defenses to commit to stopping the short game, which opened things up deep from time to time, allowing more leeway in the windows downfield.  Take Brady today: you don't have to throw a rocket to get the ball to Gronk down the seam when the safeties are keyed on Edelman and Lewis coming out of the slot and backfield and Gronk is isolated with an overwhelmed LB thirty yards downfield.

 

What velocity does is grant you flexibility in how you design an offense.  It's absolutely necessary if your goal is to run a vertical passing game out of the pocket, unless your running game is absolutely dominant, a la 90's Cowboys.  (Aikman didn't need a cannon to find Alvin Harper over the top -- he needed Emmitt, Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Erick Williams, et al to draw 8 man fronts reliably.)  Most coaches do it the other way, because great OL's and running games are tough to build.  They like a rocket armed QB and a target or two who can wreak havoc downfield so they can take the top off the D, opening things underneath for an otherwise less-than-stellar rush game.

 

That last bit is what Cleveland will be hoping for out of their QB.  The biggest open "window" on the field is often behind the defense.  But that's true if, and only if, you have a QB who can sling, and a few targets who have the downfield skills to take advantage of that.  To run that kind of O, you need velocity.

Edited by GawainBloom
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1 hour ago, GawainBloom said:

If you lack velocity, you've got to have a different way to create open throwing lanes and windows.

 

A Deshaun Watson doesn't "disprove" the value of velocity.  He opens up throwing lanes and windows by being a rushing threat.  This freezes/draws safeties, and allows receivers to operate in more open spaces.  (It also puts him in physical jeopardy, which makes QB's that operate this way electric, but unreliable over the long run.)  More open spaces necessitate less ball speed.

 

Likewise, coaching and system can be used to create opportunities that don't require plus velocity.  Montana operated in a Walsh WCO system that was unique at the time, and was full of quick slants, crosses, etc., that were essentially extensions of the running game.  That system was far more about timing and accuracy than velocity, and Joe (like Brady, today) used the sheer frequency of these short throws to force defenses to commit to stopping the short game, which opened things up deep from time to time, allowing more leeway in the windows downfield.  Take Brady today: you don't have to throw a rocket to get the ball to Gronk down the seam when the safeties are keyed on Edelman and Lewis coming out of the slot and backfield and Gronk is isolated with an overwhelmed LB thirty yards downfield.

 

What velocity does is grant you flexibility in how you design an offense.  It's absolutely necessary if your goal is to run a vertical passing game out of the pocket, unless your running game is absolutely dominant, a la 90's Cowboys.  (Aikman didn't need a cannon to find Alvin Harper over the top -- he needed Emmitt, Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Erick Williams, et al to draw 8 man fronts reliably.)  Most coaches do it the other way, because great OL's and running games are tough to build.  They like a rocket armed QB and a target or two who can wreak havoc downfield so they can take the top off the D, opening things underneath for an otherwise less-than-stellar rush game.

 

That last bit is what Cleveland will be hoping for out of their QB.  The biggest open "window" on the field is often behind the defense.  But that's true if, and only if, you have a QB who can sling, and a few targets who have the downfield skills to take advantage of that.  To run that kind of O, you need velocity.

 

Watch the SEA game last year if you errantly believe Watson lacks the velocity to beat an elite secondary deep. 

 

Its a worthless stat. There is obviously a certain minimum velocity needed to be a great NFL QB, and afterwards it's fairly meaningless except in rare situations. 

 

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On 4/17/2018 at 7:06 PM, NYR Fan 116894 said:

 

Each draft since 2008

 

This chart seems to show that there is almost zero correlation between velocity and how good a QB is overall. I guess someone could bother to graph it against passer rating and/or QBR to further prove (or disprove) that point. But it seems pretty obvious from the chart without doing so.

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25 minutes ago, Fiveohnine said:

 

This chart seems to show that there is almost zero correlation between velocity and how good a QB is overall. I guess someone could bother to graph it against passer rating and/or QBR to further prove (or disprove) that point. But it seems pretty obvious from the chart without doing so.

 

Bingo. 

 

The stat is worthless.

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