After reading a few sack based articles I had a look at how long it took on average for Foles and Vick to get sacked last season along with a quick look at timings when throwing interceptions, completions and incompletions.
Generally speaking the average time it takes from the snap to a sack being initiated in the NFL is 4.3 seconds. Like-wise a throw (complete or incomplete) happens at around the 2.7 second mark leaving the QB with two seconds of breathing space.
That will vary from team to team and naturally the Eagles figures are a little out in some areas.
For the sacks I timed every single sack from 2012 this was done from the point of the snap to when I thought the sack was initiated, for the throws I only took into account two games for each QB (Foles: Washington & Carolina, Vick: Saints and Lions) so whilst those figures won’t include the entire year it still gives you a good idea of how long they held onto the ball for.
In terms of a throw both Vick and Foles came in around the league average. Vick threw the ball every 2.7 seconds and Foles 3 seconds.
Completions came quickly to our QB’s Vick managed one every 2.4 seconds and Foles just ahead every 2.3 seconds. As for incompletions Vick threw one every 2.6 seconds and Foles every 3.2 seconds.
Foles already showing a bit of a deviation, force him to hold onto the ball for an additional second and more than likely it seems he would throw it away. There are numerous reasons for this; I noticed he got pushed out of the pocket a lot and when that happened he rarely threw towards a legitimate receiver. Also in the ‘Skins and Dallas game he did have a tendency to under-throw short passes and many hit the turf or at least forced the Receiver to stop, fall to the floor and hope it didn’t hit the ground.
The only reason Vick’s number is so low at 2.6 is that if he got pushed out of the pocket or was forced to hold onto the ball he seemed to do one thing… run. I need not remind you how many of these ended with fumbles but that seemed to be his way out when his first read was covered instead of just throwing it away.
Timings rise further still when it comes to interceptions. Foles threw his int’s on average 3.4 seconds after the snap and Vick was 3.1. Now if it took an opposing defence 4.3 seconds to reach the QB you’d argue that perhaps they could have held onto it for a further second, sadly our QB’s didn’t have that luxury.
In terms of Sacks it took an opposing Tackle, Guard, End, Linebacker, Safety or Cornerback 3.2 seconds to reach Foles and 3.7 seconds to reach Vick.
Foles’ figure is over a second under the NFL average so you begin to realise why he threw INT’s every 3.4 seconds. Once he reached the three second mark and saw no one open you can imagine that his thoughts would then turn to ‘I’m about to get hit’. Panic ensues, he forces a pass hoping for his receiver to break free and generally he throws it to the opposing DB.
I read a lot of comments and posts in the off-season about Vick holding onto the ball for too long, but did he really? Whilst Vick got a bit longer in comparison to Foles he was still generally hit a lot quicker than most QB’s. How can a QB hold onto the ball for too long when he’s hit around the three and a half second mark every snap?
When extending the play he did hold onto it for a little bit longer especially when fumbles were involved but can you really blame him. He’s got in reality about 3 seconds to find an open receiver… that fails and the pocket is collapsing due to an inferior offensive line, break out of the pocket and run, hope for positive yardage and not a fumble. That was Vick’s solution to the ever present issue of the opposing D-Line getting to him very quickly. I would prefer for Vick to hold onto it rather than throw it away at the risk of an INT, at least if his ball security wasn’t such an issue.
Let’s be honest it also brings home the main point of attack by opposing D’s. Every DC in the land knew we had a terrible offensive line, so what is their gameplan, overload the O-Line as much as humanely possible and it quite obviously worked.