Quarterback watch: Anthony Richardson wows vs Utah

September 3rd, 2022 | Written by Rob Staton

Anthony Richardson impresses

It was hard to know what to do with Richardson going into this season. For someone with only 64 pass attempts to his name, he was getting a lot of attention in the media. Mel Kiper, for example, was projecting him as a first round pick.

It’s impossible to project a quarterback that high when they’d done so little in college. Especially when his stat-line — six touchdowns to five interceptions — was mediocre.

However, Kiper often relays what he’s hearing rather than seeing. Thus, it felt like the league had their eye firmly on Richardson.

Today, it was obvious why. This was a particularly impressive opener.

The game overall was terrific. It had a bit of everything. Explosive plays, creative quarterbacks, hard-nosed running, big defensive plays and ebbs and flows throughout.

It was hard not to be drawn to Utah tight end Brant Kuithe. He had nine catches for 105 yards and a touchdown — excelling against the top-level SEC athletes on Florida’s defense to consistently get open. He is a name to watch going forward.

Yet Richardson stole the show with four quarters of mature, composed, explosive football.

Billy Napier has introduced a modern pro-style offense to Florida. There’s a lot of misdirection, motion and play-action. It’d be easy, in the first game, for a young quarterback to be a little overwhelmed and make basic errors — especially against a tough opponent like Utah.

Richardson’s processing was virtually flawless with the exception of one blip. He showed total control in play action and was calm and collected in the pocket. He knew when to take off and the specific coverages that would afford him space to run as the play broke down.

He throws with real velocity and punch. He completed several comfortable throws over the middle, going to a second read, to move the chains. He managed the game how it needed to be managed.

When he needed to be creative he produced magic. This included a spectacular 45-yard touchdown run where he weaved his way through the Utah defensive line then turned on the jets to sprint to the end-zone. It was part opportunism, part understanding of the coverage Utah were playing and the space he was running into.

On a vital two-point conversion late in the game he spun away from an attempted tackle with almost a majesty — creating the time and space to fire into the right corner of the end zone. Without that play, Utah probably kick a game winning field goal shortly after.

He also had a terrific scramble play earlier in the drive on 4th and 3 to make a conversion.

Richardson clearly possesses great physical tools. Arm strength, speed. He’s 6-4 and 232lbs. He can improvise. He extends plays and is a real threat with his legs. You’d like to see consistent evidence of accurate touch throws to complement the tools but hopefully that will come as he plays more games.

What he showed here, however, was maturity. This was — it has to be said — a game for a ‘Pete Carroll’ type of quarterbacking performance. It wasn’t a three touchdown, 400-yard game. It was a stay on time, produce in the moment and be the difference maker.

The only time it almost went south for Richardson was an ill-advised scramble on 3rd and 11 with 5:18 left in the third quarter. He had a misread on an open receiver, scrambled away from heavy pressure and forced a bad throw into coverage that should’ve been intercepted. It was a let-off — but the only time in the game you could say he made a serious error.

He finished the game 17/24 for 168 yards, adding 104 rushing yards on 11 carries and three rushing touchdowns.

Based on this performance, he does have legit first round talent.

He will face some interesting challenges coming up. Next week he goes head-to-head with Will Levis and Kentucky. He also has a three-game stretch against LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M at the end of October.

One game isn’t enough to make any bold declarations and we need to see more. He’s in the conversation though and one to monitor. In recent years, Joe Burrow and Zach Wilson looked great early in the season and ended up being a #1 and #2 pick.

If Richardson keeps playing like this — in a pro-offense — he will appeal greatly to the NFL and specifically to Seattle.

Carroll will want an explosive, exciting player who can help the running game with his mobility and speed but also have the mental capacity to manage key situations. We all know he wants a point guard who doesn’t turn the ball over. It’s hard to play that way and still be explosive. Richardson at least has the physical potential to pull it off — and this game was evidence he has the mental processing to match.

This was a good start and the sky is the limit for Richardson if he keeps it up.

Other notes

— C.J. Stroud had a very C.J. Stroud type of performance. He is a very up-and-down player. Once Jaxon Smith-Njigba left the game early with an injury, the offense stuttered. Suddenly he didn’t have his three key receivers from a year ago. He became jittery and inaccurate. At one point he was 11/13 for 82 yards on underneath throws (-10 yards) and 1/7 for 21 yards on +10 yard throws. He threw high, he threw behind, he threw late. Yet he also flashed at times. He threw a nice touchdown down the seam to take a lead Ohio State never lost. He threw especially well on the run — contorting his body to throw from challenging angles, twisting to generate velocity. He’ll no doubt be able to pull off that pro-day throw everyone loves throwing against the grain in shorts. So the physical tools are there — he’s just streaky.

— It was an easy start for Miami and Tyler Van Dyke as they despatched Bethune-Cookman 70-13. TVD finished 13/16 passing for 192 yards and two scores. Job done in week one for a very impressive player who should be on your first round radar.

— Will Levis had a couple of hairy moments including a red-zone interception but Kentucky ended up comfortably beating Miami-Ohio 37-13. Levis finished 21/32 for 303 yards with three touchdowns and one pick. He suffered a number of dropped passes. He needs to keep the interception numbers down after 13 last year. There’s so much to like about his physical tools though. This little flick looks easy but it isn’t. He has sky-high potential.

— It was a predictably easy day for Bryce Young and Alabama. They hammered poor Utah State 55-0 with Young scoring five passing touchdowns (18/28, 195 yards) and one rushing touchdown (5 runs, 100 yards).

— I like Dorian Thompson-Robinson at UCLA. Not for round one but certainly someone who deserves more attention. He had a spectacular 68-yard touchdown scramble in a 45-17 win against Bowling Green. He finished 32/43 passing for 298 yards (two touchdowns, one pick). The brilliant Zach Charbonnet ran for 111 yards on 21 carries, also scoring a touchdown.

— I think Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson is being overrated by a lot of people but he had a solid opener against Cincinnati — going 18/26 for 223 yards and three scores. He also ran for a touchdown. I don’t see him as a likely first round prospect.

— At no point have I ever been convinced Spencer Rattler is a first round prospect — even when the hype was out of control a year ago. Today he made his debut for South Carolina and threw two interceptions against Georgia State. He trusts his arm way too much and just cannot process. He completed 23/37 for 227 yards and had only one passing touchdown.

— Tanner McKee was also a bit underwhelming with a 22/27 for 308 passing yards stat-line against Colgate. He had two passing touchdowns and one interception. He had a really nice game against Oregon a year ago but there’s a lot of bad tape out there too.

— BYU’s Jaren Hall — another player I think is a bit overrated — completed 25/32 for 261 yards against South Florida. He had two touchdowns and one pick.

40 Responses to “Quarterback watch: Anthony Richardson wows vs Utah”

  1. Hawks4life says:

    Can we please fast forward to the 2023 draft

  2. Chawks1 says:

    Excellent recap on Anthony Richardson. He really does tilt the field. He looks like a better version of Cam Newton.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Well, let’s remember that Cam Newton was a Super Hero playing for Auburn and led an undefeated season, winning in Alabama and then claiming the National Championship.

      Anthony Richardson has beaten Utah

  3. cha says:

    Sorry Rob. Check your email again.

  4. Rob Staton says:

    Updated the article with CJ Stroud notes.

  5. Peter says:

    Charbonnet picking right up from last year. Awesome to see.

  6. CaptainJack says:

    Michael Penix jr. For uw looks great.

    Add him to the watchlist

    • Rob Staton says:

      He played Kent State

      He is not a serious NFL prospect

      • CaptainJack says:

        Premature statement.

        Long season ahead. Let’s see what he can do

        • Rob Staton says:

          No, it’s not premature.

          He had four years at Indiana before this season. Last year he threw seven interceptions and four touchdowns before getting injured again

          He’s had two ACL injuries in his career and a shoulder separation

          He is not remotely close to being considered a pro quarterback option.

          I’m glad he played well yesterday. But every quarterback who has a good game is not a pro prospect. Especially when they play well against Kent State.

          • CaptainJack says:

            I hear you

            But if Eason and browning are both bouncing around the league still,

            Penix jr. Has a career as a journeyman / backup at least. Was impressed more by him last night than I ever had been by browning or Eason

            • Rob Staton says:

              Browning led Washington to the playoffs and still went undrafted and has no NFL future (and never really had a NFL present either, he’s a camp body)

              Eason was the top QB recruit in his year and went to Georgia — and had the physical skills

              Pennix Jr had four years at Indiana as a middling recruit and last season threw almost twice as many interceptions as touchdowns

              Come on Jack, are we really having this debate after a win against Kent State?

              • CaptainJack says:

                Is Kent State really any worse than Miami of Ohio? Or Bethune Cookman? You can only beat who you play. I didn’t watch any tape of Penix Jr. from 2021 but he had some amazing games in 2020. Injuries are a major red flag, sure. For me, there is no excuse for this uw team to not at least make the pac 12 championship, where they’ll likely play USC (Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams). Penix jr will have plenty of chances against proper competition.
                I mean, you called Haener one to watch a year ago after a season under Kalen DeBoer. Penix Jr. has better size and a bigger arm. He showed better decision making last night than I’d seen from a uw qb in forever. He made throws browning just didn’t have the arm or football mind to make. He made some scramble plays you’d never see stiff as a board Eason make. Let’s wait and see. Remember in 2020 Penix came within a touchdown of beating Ohio State and had a chance to tie the game right at the end, threw 500 yards and 5 tds in that game also (with Indiana talent (ie much of nobodies) around him. He’s not bad

                • Rob Staton says:

                  Oh FFS

                  1. We’re not judging Will Levis on one game against Miami of Ohio or Tyler Van Dyke on one game against Bethune-Cookman. I’ve watched all of their 2021 games and done big breakdowns on both. It’s staggering that you’re comparing them to one game of Michael Pennix Jr against Kent State.

                  2. I did not call Haener one to watch in the slightest. This is literally what I wrote about Haener, the full report:

                  We need to be realistic about what these players are. Haener is an accomplished college passer and the system at Fresno State suits his skill-set. He can play within structure and he shows a tremendous amount of grit — bouncing back from big hits and playing through the pain barrier. He is what he is though — a 6-1, 195lbs passer who will be in his mid-20’s as a rookie and lacks the physical tools to warrant anything like a first round grade. He doesn’t ‘wow’ you in any way. His arm is decent but not great. His accuracy is inconsistent at times and there are some concerning misses on tape. He doesn’t handle pressure that well and he gets antsy in the pocket too often — bailing on plays too early or setting off when he just needs to sit and wait. College football produces players like this all the time and how many go in the first round? Seeing people project him in that range is a major head-scratcher for me. I just don’t get it. And that’s nothing against him. I’ll watch a Fresno State game and enjoy it, mainly because he’s a fun, competitive player. But there’s a difference between that and being a high draft pick for the NFL.

                  3. I’m not interested in fans — be it Washington fans, Ohio State fans or any other fans letting their fandom take over this discussion. This is all about who the Seahawks could draft to play QB. Pennix Jr is not going to be an option.

    • Ben says:

      He’ll be in an NFL camp next year if he’s healthy, but based off yesterday I don’t think his arm is enough. Should be pretty great for the huskies though. Love the quick release and touch so far.

  7. samprassultanofswat says:

    It looks like the Seahawks might intriguing have some options in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  8. Palatypus says:

    Another excellent carrier landing by Rob “Call Sign: Bob” Staton. A quick debriefing from the deck video.

    “It was hard not to be drawn to Utah tight end Brant Kuithe. He had nine catches for 105 yards and a touchdown — excelling against the top-level SEC athletes on Florida’s defense to consistently get open. He is a name to watch going forward.”

    In Brian Bosworth’s book, he described the Big 10 in his era as “The big two and the little eight.” Sadly, due to big money, that is even what the SEC is now. Forget about how ravaged the PAC-? is. The Gator fans in my writers group here in Pensacola have been on suicide watch for a long time. As sad as I am to see the PAC-? get punched again, at least some of my friends are not suffering as much. Top level SEC athletes at Florida? Not so much.

    Still better than most of the country by billionaire design.

    And damn that was fast Rob. You’re eyes must be spinning like that plant cat in the labyrinth before Katy Perry’s childhood self goes Mike Tyson on Prince…Edward?

    I need some more Woodinville Whiskey.

    Semper Paratus RAF

  9. pugs1 says:

    Great write up on Richardson. He will be a fun watch all year. I’m also keeping an eye on Hendon Hooker at Tenn. It’s going to be a fun class to scout.

  10. Trevor says:

    Week #1 Hawks QB target rankings based on weekly performance. Plan to post each week taking into account weekly performance as well as total body of work this year only. Would love to hear others rankings as well. See where we end up heading into the off-season.

    1) Anthony Richardson- It’s only one game and way to early to say he will even be a first round pick but these rankings are based on this season only and he looks like the perfect QB for the Hawks and Pete Carrol. Maybe him and Billy Napier could come as a package next off season 🙂

    2) Will Levis – Blog favorite and mine as well. Couple of mistakes but showed at the incredible physical talent to become and NFL star.

    3) Bryce Young – Almost flawless and certainly the most polished QB by a pretty wide margin. Looks NFL starter ready day 1 when he gets drafted. Just can’t get my head around his frame. How does a guy that size make it through 16 NFL games?

    4) Tyler Van-Dyke- Hard to rate him based on who is playing but the size and skill set still showed.

    5) CJ Stroud- Is he Justin Herbert unable to really show his NFL skill set because of the offense they run and Ohio St or is he Justin Feilds looking like a star because the of the offense. After week #1 more Feilds than Herbert.

    • UkAlex6674 says:

      Re Bryce Young – Drew Brees says hold my beer

      • Rob Staton says:

        Aren’t many Drew Brees’ and Russell Wilson’s though

        And Brees and Wilson aren’t about 185lbs

        • Trevor says:

          Wilson and Bree’s both have thick frames and lower body along with 10” + hands. They were both short but big guys in every other way.

          • Rob Staton says:

            Precisely

            The problem Young will have, and you will hear this in the media eventually, is teams will be scared by his tiny frame

            There aren’t any players like him in the league

            Kyler Murray isn’t a comp either. Murray is a unique freak of nature

  11. Trevor says:

    One of the things I love most about the blog and your analysis Rob is you are not tied to an opinion or scouting report. If a player shows something different or improves / regresses you write what you see. It is so refreshing in todays social media world.

  12. Tyler A Jorgensen says:

    Last line of the article could use an edit:

    “He had two interceptions and one pick.”

    Good write ups in general, as always appreciate your stuff

  13. Sea Mode says:

    Awesome! The more QB prospects in play in R1, the better chances we could go BPA with the first pick and then QB with the Broncos’ pick (possibly trading up if necessary).

    • Rob Staton says:

      You can’t risk it

      If there is a QB you like enough to draft in R1 you have to pull the trigger

      The only exception is if you pick like first and fifth and like multiple QB’s

      • Sea Mode says:

        I don’t know. It also depends how the rest of the league sees the guy you like. Of course, not every RW is going to last until R3, but if there are multiple QBs (as there well may be this year) your guy lasting somewhere into the teens seems to be quite possible (ala Mac Jones, for example).

        Of course, it’s hard to predict before we get there without knowing how many QBs there are, how highly they are rated, how many QB-needy teams are ahead/able to move ahead of you, etc.

        Say the Denver pick ends up around #20, then you could still look to trade up to around #10 ala Mahomes. I think it all just depends. But if a potential “surefire” star like Will Anderson is staring you in the face when you’re on the clock in the top 3, do you really pass on that for a QB you have rated later in R1?

        • Rob Staton says:

          Why risk losing out on the QB you want though, to then have to trade up and get him, just to take someone else?

          Again, unless it’s Will Anderson and the #1 pick that just doesn’t make any sense for me. You have to get your QB when you can

  14. Looking Forward to Seahawks 2023 says:

    Recently found your blog and enjoy your objective takes.

    What are your thoughts on Stetson Bennett? He is surely undersized for NFL scouts to seriously consider and has no real college recruiting pedigree. But going back to late last season–and against Oregon–he seems to play well over and over against elite defenses (unless Oregon is just horribly overrated).

    Curious because QBs like CJ Stroud receive so much hype, but then he looked super suspect yesterday in game play.

    Despite Bennett’s outward negatives, any chance he starts getting meaningful draft consideration as the season progresses?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Personally, I think Stetson Bennett will probably be coaching West Virginia in about 10 years

      Not a pro-prospect but clearly committed to the game with a natural flair. Won’t trouble the NFL draft but has enough to knit Georgia into a powerhouse again.

  15. […] If you missed my notes on Anthony Richardson and a host of other quarterbacks yesterday, click here. […]

  16. Seattle Person says:

    I didn’t see the game but watched the highlights. Some things I noticed from Richardson:

    – The arm is real and he can spin it. He’ll rip it through the wind. I didn’t really see too many deep balls so we’ll see how accurate he is with touch deep. The mechanics are also clean. The lower body and the upper body worked as one. Good mechanics as he threw on the run as well. He can improvise and is not a statue back in the pocket.

    – I really like the footwork within the pocket. He doesn’t get happy feet or choppy feet. It’s pretty relaxed and fluid most of the time. Saw evidence of him climbing the pocket. Saw evidence of him manipulating his eyes and/or working through progressions. (The long TD run was a good example). A.R knew Utah was in man or match zone and he was reading that LCB to see if he trailed his man or if he turned up with the deep WR. He also used his eyes to freeze the defenders to stay on the weakside before he took off. Some pretty good stuff.

    – Like Rob mentioned; really composed and mature playstyle on the field. A few blips because of his vast superior athleticism. I hope as the season continues he shows more constraint to go headfirst into a pile of tacklers or drifting to wait for a play to emerge.

    – Overall: Great showing. Really improved from last season. He had Pete’s and John’s attention for sure.

  17. bk matty says:

    please Seahawks, go 1-16. I beg you. Please. we must get the top pick this year.

  18. […] breaking down Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud at the weekend, now it’s time for Will Levis and Tyler Van […]