Ryan Mallett under pressure

March 18th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

When people criticise the play of Ryan Mallett, they often point to his footwork under pressure and how it affects his ability to make plays. ‘Universal Draft’ has compiled a 12-minute video of plays where  the Arkansas QB is under duress:

It makes for interesting viewing and certainly highlights some of the issues people have raised. It also proves that Mallett isn’t a complete lost cause when facing a pass rush – as witnessed at the 5:34 point when he sidesteps an Alabama defensive lineman to make a good completion. Generally though it is a legitimate concern regarding his footwork and mobility and it’s something a team will have to live with and work around at the next level.

There’s also a section on play action and roll outs nine minutes in. As much as Mallett’s footwork (and therefore accuracy) is impacted by pressure, he’s adept at play action. Despite not being the most agile athlete, he’s also very good on roll outs and creating that extra time and space to diagnose the field and progress through his reads.

18 Responses to “Ryan Mallett under pressure”

  1. Kip says:

    I’m impressed by his ability to feel and sidestep pressure. I’d go so far as to say its at least above average.

    It looks like his main problem is two things: split second decision making and improperly setting his feet on quick throws. He has to learn to trust his arm a little less and be willing to throw the ball away more. I think with time he can be coached into setting his feet properly before making a throw, and that will greatly reduce the number of throws that make you think “wtf?!” His footwork seems decent normally, but sometimes under pressure he hurries through the motion and botches it a bit. That’s going to effect his accuracy.

  2. Matthew Baldwin says:

    I’m glad you brought this up Rob. This is far more valid/relevant than the unsubstantiated character rumors floating around.

    Mallet is horrible under pressure. I didn’t even watch the clip. I’ve watched enough of his games (not scouting just betting on SEC games) and I’ve always thought/known this.

  3. Dude says:

    Mallet did seem to have a good side step. He rolled out pretty well too.

    You would like to see the decision making be a little better. He did force some throws, but other times found the open receiver. I think a good veteran receiver in the NFL would make Mallet look a little better by coming back to more balls. Some of the throws, however, should have just been thrown away. I think that is teachable.

    His footwork is also a concern. Not so much while rolling out, but after the sidestep. I think this too can improve.

    I do think Mallet can work in Pete’s roll-out offense. He is worth a gamble at 25. He can make all of the throws and I don’t think his character concerns are that big of a deal. He will be gone by 57.

    Mallet is an upgrade over Whitehurst. They are really pretty similar QBs. If Locker falls, I think he gets the nod over Mallet.

    • Kip says:

      I agree with almost everything but I don’t think Mallett is similar to Whitehurst. Mallett’s best attribute his ability to make progressions on his reads contrasted with Whitehurst who is a 1 read QB that frequently locks onto a single WR. Mallett is also slow on his feet whereas Whitehurst has good mobility.

      If there was a QB I’d comp to Whitehurst, it would be Christian Ponder.

  4. KLAUS says:

    Matthew Baldwin: You didnt watch the video and then say he is terrible? the video shows mallett is not terrible under pressure you fool. all these memes about mallett cant throw under pressure drugs, etc are most likely being disseminated by that horrible bust american fantasy blaine gabbert’s agent with his fake wonderlic scores.

    dont equivocate your gambling idiocy with scouting and may you rot in that sodom las vegas.

  5. ETM says:

    Hey Matthew Baldwin,

    You should watch the video!

  6. HawksFanatic says:

    The Seahawks need a solid receiver that can catch the ball in all weather conditions.

    This kid Mark Dell out of Michigan State looked awesome at MSU’s Pro Day a few days ago. I heard the Hawks Reps were impressed. He only had two weeks to prepare for the Pro Day, after a knee surgery and he looked great. Check out Mark Dell’s Pro Day Workout at:


    Take a look at his 2010-2011 Highlights at this link: http://www.markdell.net/2010_-_2011_Highlights.html

  7. diehard82 says:

    So you’re saying he has Hasselbeck’s mobility but with an accurate cannon arm? I’ll take him!

  8. Zeke says:

    I am exceedingly impressed by your diligence. Without question, you have invested time and energy into your account and I respect the effort. Unfortunately, I – and I would hazard many others – do not believe the accumulated evidence (which is partial, does not include sacks, and carries no specific threshold for “under pressure”) supports your conclusion.

    Ryan Mallett’s woeful inaccuracy and failure to perform under any sort of duress — including expectation of simple competency under television scrutiny — is FAR from a myth. When pressured by defenses, or the need to just not shoot his team in the foot, he comes up short with alarming regularity by combinations of not getting the ball out, delivering it well off target, or delivering it to the other team: typically in the most back-breaking manner imaginable.

    To wit, you discarded the sacks. This appears to be part of your model and is not inherently prejudicial but, short of an interception or intentional grounding, it’s as bad an outcome as you can obtain when operating through the air. Mallett gets sacked approximately once per seventeen pass attempts and the impact on his stats is mitigated due to the manner in which sack losses are calculated in college (calculated as rushing losses).

    This directly removes his yardage culpability in those situations where he is under the MOST pressure: where he, typically, holds the ball much too long (i.e., “is questionable). Added to the litany of attempts where he did manage to get the ball out but flat missed an open receiver, threw a meaningless checkdown, or an interception? The picture is much more complete: Ryan Mallett does NOT perform well under pressure.

    • Justin says:

      he had close to the same amount of sacks taken last year as jake locker and blaine gabbert

      sure he isnt as effective when under pressure, but who is? his performance under pressure is greatly overstated…the video shows that

    • Card1 says:

      Good points, but the game of any QB suffers under duress, it’s hardly a problem specific to Mallett. I think it would help to see a comparison of how he performs in these situations, against the performances of Newton, Gabbert, and Locker in similar situations. For all his perceived immobility, Mallett was sacked only twice more than Gabbert or Newton (25 for RM, 23 for both CN and BG). It seems like his biggest “weakness” on the field isn’t really that much of a weakness in comparison to other guys. (Not saying it’s a GOOD thing, I just don’t understand that this particular thing is what he’s singled out for). His team did finish the regular season 10-2 against stellar competition, and in the Auburn loss, he was knocked out of the game early. The Alabama loss did absolutely come down to poor decision-making under pressure, but (except for Newton) every QB in the draft has had a bad decision cost his team the game. You can’t throw for the yardage he did, with a 65% completion rate his Sr year in what most consider the best conference, and be THAT terrible. I also read that his receivers had more dropped passes last year than any other receiving corps in America. I don’t know that that’s true, and it may come down to the fact that they were thrown more passes as well, evening things out.

      He’s by no means perfect, but I don’t see that any of the points made (good or bad), make a lot of sense unless you take into consideration how the other 3 top guys perform in the same situations. Locker and Gabbert have made similarly poor decisions, and Newton basically just ran if his first receiver was covered (which certainly worked for him in college, at least), so there’s probably not a lot to compare there. Picking any QB is always a giant risk.

      • Scott says:

        If you are going to compare Mallett’s sack totals to Gabbert and Locker, then you are forced to compare what happens when they pull the ball down and scramble vs. Mallett.

        And for anybody high on Mallett after watching this video, watch the Kaepernick vid by the same guy right after. I’m not touting Colin for Seattle’s quarterback, but he is WAY better than Mallett under pressure.

        I think Mallett panics. And I don’t think he can unlearn that habit.

        • Card1 says:

          That’s what I’m sayin’, any QB is a risk. You have to evaluate what it is you’re looking for, and compare that skill-set between the guys available. If you want somebody who has the ability to scramble when pressured, you do not want Mallett. Kaepernick (or Locker) would be the better choice (Newton will be gone @25). But if all you need is a guy who’s able to make the first defender miss and deliver a strike, Mallett is the guy. (as far as RM is concerned, I haven’t decided if his bad decisions are panic or too much confidence) All the top guys have something to offer, I like Kaepernick as well, he’s a little more raw than RM from what I’ve seen, but he’s very athletic. Honestly, Blaine Gabbert is the one I don’t get. He seemed to appear out of nowhere around January. While Locker and Mallett dropped, he shot to #1 after no more football was being played. IDK if the media was just late to the party on Gabbert, or it’s all just hype. To be honest, I haven’t followed him.

          • Scott says:

            Gabbert drew almost all the top teams to his pro day, so it isn’t all hype, though his rise did seem puzzling. I too have asked that question, Why Gabbert?

            I don’t like Mallett as a prospect. I think my reasons are very good, and am puzzled as to why others just don’t seem to see them. Is his big arm that intoxicating? I think it is.

        • Justin says:

          well im not sure how much of that stuff kaepernick would have been able to pull off had he played in the SEC though

  9. Justin says:

    found an interesting stat btw

    “Unlike most QBs, Ryan Mallett isn’t some wilting daisy when pressured. Against the blitz this season, Mallett is hitting on 77% of his passes, averages 10.5 yards per attempt and has four TDs and no picks. Wow. Careful Tigers.”

    that was before the LSU game last season

  10. mike says:

    heyyyyyyyyy– arrogant -drugged -wigger- slow footed-whatever other slander u got -i’d still take this kid with my first pick-get me some o line and go to work.