Ok, fine. I got bated into watching this package.
Bottom line up front: this was a BAD BAD BAD game from an NFL perspective for McCarthy. This convinces me more than ever we're getting a massive sell job, because between this and the Ohio State game, I come away thinking McCarthy is an average college QB on a fantastic team with none of the traits needed to be an NFL QB. It's possible I'm missing something, but if we select this guy, I'm going to be scratching my head.
So, I guess now I have a more clear opinion. I used to have basically none, because I watched one college game the entire year while drinking beer. Now I've watched this package fairly closely. So my opinion has changed from not having an opinion to "not this guy. Pick somebody else." Maybe he develops and is the next GOAT. But nothing I saw leads me to think that would be the case.
- He holds the ball.
- Throws high a lot.
- Most of his successful throws travel 4-10 yards to an open receiver.
- Average arm strength at best. Has zip on short throws. Driving the ball to the outside, ball looses velocity quickly.
- Did I mention he holds the ball?
- Does not seem to recognize 1:1 matchups pre-snap.
Yech. That was awful.
Look below for play by play analysis.
Play 1: After the play fake has a guy WIDE OPEN at the 30 for an easy completion, holds the ball, keeps running, and then throws a ball in the general direction of the sideline. He might have been trying to get it out of bounds, or he didn't see the guy who picked it off. Play grade: F-.
Play 2: Quick screen to the short side of the field. NOTE: the has is MUCH closer to the sideline in college than the pros. In the pros, that throw is another 10-15 yards. Good velocity and accuracy on the throw, but it's a throw a D-1 college QB should make 10 times out of 10. Pay Grade: C. But couldn't be higher because of the play.
Play 3: Incomplete pass. Throw was late. If he throws it when his back foot hits, it's a completion. This is an easy concept, where he's reading to his left, both receivers are immediately covered, the TE is wide open running right to left, and he's late. You could argue he should have known the quick game to his left was going to be covered based on pre-snap read, the CB was taking inside coverage on the outside receiver. The receiver who came in motion and went to the slot at the snap was going to run directly into the zone of the nickel corner. That route combination was dead at the snap. If he had recognized that, he could come to TE 89 immediately and it's a completion. Pay Grade: D.
Play 4: He had 2 receivers open, the deeper one was at the "M" on the field at the 42 yard line. I honestly can't tell what happened because the resolution isn't great. It looks like he threw the ball to the feet of the near receiver. I'm going to grade this as an incomplete because I can't tell what he was trying to do. Having said that, this should have been a 10 yard minimum completion to the deep receiver who was open by 8 yards and it was an incomplete, so something didn't happen correctly.
Play 5: Quick screen to the right, the ball traveled from one hash to the other. Everything I said about Play 2 holds here. Play Grade: C. But it couldn't be any higher.
Play 6: QB Keeper. His athletic ability is not in question. Play Grade: Not grading designed running plays.
Play 7: Scrambles to his left and then throws late on the sideline. This was overly complicated. If he throws on time to his outside WR on the left, he has a TD. The receiver has inside leverage, and runs right by the CB, and the safety is caught going the other way. And he was staring right at it. But he's late on the read, bails the pocket. He gets an upgrade for making a throw in the scramble drill. Play Grade: C. Made something out of missing a a read for a sure TD.
Play 8: TD. This was a TD to the RB who leaked out late and Alabama completely lost him. It was a 9 yard throw to a player who didn't have a white shirt within 10 yards of him. And McCarthy didn't have a white shirt within 4 yards of him either. Play Grade: C. But it couldn't have been any higher.
Play 9: This is the first "good" play! But it's still late. He waits until his receiver breaks to throw the ball. In the NFL, you've got to throw that ball out there before the receiver makes his break so the ball is on him before the CB has time to react. Difference between college and pro. The receiver was wide open. Play grade: B.
Play 10: QB Draw. Looked designed. Not grading designed QB runs
Play 11: Got a completion over the middle for 7 yards on 3rd and 9. What he did was fine. He had a 1:1 matchup on the left side he didn't even look at. If he had, he would have seen his receiver chucked the DB basically on his ass and he would have had the first if not a TD. I can't tell who that WR is, but DAMN that was a good chuck. Play Grade: B-. Got a completion, but should have recognized the 1:1 coverage on a WR on 3rd and 9 and not immediately gone to the checkdown.
Play 12: This is a good college play and an incompletion, and would be a pick-6 in the NFL. Throws somewhat late to the right side. It's a 30 yard out which is thrown with a lot of loft on the ball. The receiver has to go up to get it. It isn't driven to the spot. In this case the ball was over the head of an open receiver. Play grade: C-. Ok in college. Disaster in the NFL.
Play 13: I'm going to give him a pass on this play. He sprints and throws the ball with velocity on 3rd and 6. This was essentially a 2 receiver route and both were covered. By rolling right, he cut the field in half. When both of those guys are blanketed, not much you can do. Play Grade: B for not doing something dumb.
Play 14: Throws over the middle to the TE in timing, but behind him. Play Grade: B-. Right read, bad throw, but got a completion.
Play 15: TRICKERATION! Backwards pass to the right, ball thrown back to McCarthy, who then completes the ball down field. This was madly impressive. The throw back to McCarthy was awful, and he had to jump up to get it. Then he had a guy in his face, and managed to organize himself well enough to throw the ball down field. Play Grade: A.
Play 16: Short completion to TE on a crosser who's wide open. Good protection. A little late on the throw, but not too bad. Play Grade: B+
Play 17: Escaped the pocket and threw it away. He had #9 if he threw it immediately. Protection broke down quickly. Play Grade: C+. He could have had a completion, but he didn't take a sack and got out of trouble.
Play 18: Bad throw late to a wide open receiver who fell down because he had to contort himself to make the catch. Play Grade: C. Got the completion, should have been a lot more.
Play 19: Quick throw. In time. Terrible throw high. Play Grade: D.
Play 20: Quick throw. Open receiver. Led him too far. Play Grade: D.
Play 21: Hit as the threw off of Play Action. Play Grade: Not-graded.
Play 22: This is an interesting play. It's 3rd and 9. He has a guy running wide open 4 yards down field when he hits the top of his drop. Looking right at him. He turns it down and evades to his right. Which might be ok, if you're looking for something deeper. But then he tries to hit another guy 4 yards down field while on the run and it's incomplete. If you're going to turn down the layup because he's going to get tackled before the 1st, then don't just throw to another guy who's going to get tackled. Play Grade: D.
Play 23: This is a really great play design. The guy running the jet sweep turns into the receiver. Alabama completely loses him. McCarthy hits this in time. Good play to a wide open receiver. Play Grade: B.
Play 24: Quick WR screen. 7 yard throw. It was fine. Play Grade: C. But it couldn't have been any higher.
Play 25: Quick WR screen. From one hash to the next. It was fine. Play Grade: C. But it couldn't have been any higher.
Play 26: 3rd and 2. Rolls immediately right and then throws a ball into a lot of traffic that gets batted down. Very odd playcall. Play Grade: C. It could have been a disaster.
Play 27: 4th and 2 which followed the 3rd and 2 odd play-call. Alabama completely loses the RB, and it's an easy completion. Play Grade: B. Easy completion to a wide open WR. But it was 4th and 2.
Play 28: QB keeper. Not grading designed QB runs
Play 29: Possibly my least favorite play of the game. Maybe. He HOLDS the ball so long, then throws high. It's complete for a big gain. In the NFL, the WR is being escorted to the blue tent at best, or it's an INT, or both. When you throw late and high in the NFL, only bad things happen. Play Grade: F. Even thought it was a completed pass for a big gain. Awful play.
Play 30: Great play design. TD pass. The ball traveled 4 yards in the air. Wide open. They snuck a receiver from the right side behind the line, Alabama didn't notice, and McCarthy could have underhand tossed the ball to him. Play Grade: C. But it couldn't have been higher.