Dallas Cowboys Micah Parsons: How Opposition QBs Might Try to Avoid Cowboy Bags

No matter how well you dash your passes, if your opponent’s QB can get the ball out in less than two seconds, you probably won’t kick him out. Unless the offensive line completely forgot to block Micah Parsons – which it does!

So it makes sense that if you want to avoid being sent off, get the ball out quickly; “One, two, go!”

But not all QBs can do this, not all plays allow it, and not all schemes are designed for it.

It’s still early in the 2022 season, but two games have already been played, and we now have “pocket time” for those two games for all of the NFL QBs. Pocket time measures the average time QB spends in the pocket between a sudden hit and a ball throw or a pressure that collapses the pocket, in seconds.

And this pocket time number, even if it changes as more games are played, indicates that there may be three levels of QBs in the NFL:

  • “Red” QBs that take the ball out in less than 2.4 seconds on average and can be difficult to drop.
  • “Yellow” QBs that take out the ball in 2.4 seconds, which is the average value in the NFL.
  • “Green” QBs that hold the ball for longer than 2.4 seconds which may provide opportunities to include stats for passers.

Here’s the full list, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com:

Rk player It was completed PktTime Rk player It was completed PktTime Rk player It was completed PktTime
1 Cooper Rush DA 2.0 T10 Ryan Taneyhill ten 2.4 T23 Tree Lance SFO 2.5
T2 Josh Allen BUF 2.1 T10 Baker Mayfield Sentences 2.4 T23 Jeno Smith Sea 2.5
T2 Joe Borough CI 2.1 T10 Aaron Rodgers GNB 2.4 T23 Marcus Mariota ATL 2.5
T4 Tom Brady Complete 2.2 T10 Jacobi Brisset Total 2.4 T23 Lamar Jackson Pal 2.5
T4 Davis Mills the new 2.2 T10 Galen Hurts PH 2.4 T23 Russell Wilson The 2.5
T6 Duck Prescott DA 2.3 T10 Jared Goff The 2.4 T23 Matt Ryan IND 2.5
T6 Mac Jones king 2.3 T10 Trevor Lawrence jax 2.4 T29 Kirk Cousins minute 2.6
T6 Mitchell Trubesky pit 2.3 T10 James Winston Nor 2.4 T29 Carson Wentz I was 2.6
T6 Matthew Stafford LA 2.3 T10 Patrick Mahomes able to 2.4 T31 Daniel Jones NYG 2.7
T10 Derek Carr LVR 2.4 T31 Justin Herbert Latin America and the Caribbean 2.7
T10 Keeler Murray AR 2.4 33 Justin Fields chi 3.0
T10 Toa Tagoviloa MIA 2.4
T10 Joe Flacco New York 2.4

The Cowboys have already faced two “red” QBs in Tom Brady (2.2 seconds) and Joe Burrow (2.1 seconds) and collected two sacks against Brady and six against Burrow.

And that may bode well for the rest of the 2022 schedule, at least from an impulse standpoint. The remaining 15 games only feature other “red” QBs in Davis Mills (2.1) and Matthew Stafford (2.2).

Using the red, yellow, and green mapping, here’s what the remainder of the season could look like from the perspective of the Cowboy Passover adults:

week QB Team PktTime
3 Daniel Jones NYG 2.7
4 Carson Wentz I was 2.6
5 Matthew Stafford LA 2.3
6 Galen Hurts PH 2.4
7 Jared Goff The 2.4
8 Justin Fields chi 3.0
10 Aaron Rodgers GNB 2.4
11 Kirk Cousins minute 2.6
12 Daniel Jones NYG 2.7
13 Matt Ryan IND 2.5
14 Davis Mills the new 2.2
15th Trevor Lawrence jax 2.4
16 Galen Hurts PH 2.4
17 Ryan Taneyhill ten 2.4
18 Carson Wentz I was 2.6

Of course, opponents may expect a strong rush to pass the Cowboys, and come up with a game plan with lots of quick throws. But this can be a double-edged sword.

The fast-throw game plan necessarily favors the short pass over the long pass, thus also reducing (though not eliminating) the big play threat. Also, if you’re thinking of changing your game plan just to protect against the rush of passes, you might as well decide to keep an extra blocker to help protect (maybe doubling Micah Parsons with extra TE?), leaving only four men in offense to run the roads.

If the Cowboys can only hold QB with four passes (and that’s been the key to success in both games thus far), you’ll probably have seven players drop in coverage to defend against four runners, and this match will favor defense every time.

As an opposing attack coordinator, do you trust your offensive line to protect against the Cowboy passing rush, do you base your game plan on a faster passing game, or do you avoid the passing dash entirely by just running the ball a lot? How the rival teams answer that question will be fun to watch this season, starting with the Giants football team Monday night.

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