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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Joey Elliot

Joey Elliot, the quarterback for the 1 Cigar rated Purdue Boilermakers, will face lower expectations than almost every signalcaller in the Big 10. Here's why:

  • First year coach Danny Hope isn't going to get fired for only winning 4-5 games with a team that lost all its offensive playmakers to graduation. It's a building year.
  • The offense is evolving, as Smart Football points out here. Joe Tiller's Bball on Grass featured a lot of no back spread formations, while Curtis Painter ran a Purdue O with slower developing reads and a running back always by his side. Gary Nord, the new OC, will depart even more from the original Tiller Spread. And you can't jump on Elliot or Hope for the struggles of a new offensive system.

But even with these lowered expectations, Elliot will be under pressure from the West Lafayette faithful to perform better than Curtis Painter did in his horribly disappointing 2008 season. So let's take a look at the throwing motion and pocket presence of this senior QB. I realize this is a hard process to do for someone like Elliot, but his mechanics have been pretty consistent throughout his Purdue career.

Joey Elliot (Purdue)

Snap (B-):

  • Security/Ball Placement (C+/B-): In the past, has fumbled a couple in-game snaps. I attribute that more to being a backup and coming in after Painter got hurt. In the Spring Game, fumbled once on a play action fake, but overall looked comfortable in the shotgun.
  • Retreat Speed (A-): Doesn't bounce or rush his steps when retreating, takes his three steps confidently.
  • Footwork (B): The shotgun offense doesn't demand flawless footwork and neither does the version of Purdue's offense that Elliot ran in the Spring and during the regular season. Moved around decently in the pocket.
  • The Fakes (B-/B+)Not entirely comfortable on the play action fake, probably because he's faced instant pressure during his regular season games. Does have a killer pump fake though. Pumps hard and always downfield.
  • Adaptation (B-/Incomplete): Didn't handle pressure well in limited regular season play, letting the ball go quickly for incompletions. Keep in mind he was getting rocked by defensive linemen. Looked much more confident during the Spring Game, scrambling away from pressure and throwing to third option wide receivers. Elliot's good arm strength helps with throwing on the run.

Release (B+):

  • Survey (B-): Keeps his head up smartly and doesn't telegraph throws to receivers going downfield. Degree of difficulty, survey wise, has always been low in Purdue's quick throw spread. During the regular season, checked down a lot because he didn't have the patience to wait for his receivers to get open downfield.
  • Stance (A-): His good size (6'2'', 216 lbs) helps here. Elliot holds the ball high and close to his body. Doesn't bend unnaturally or lose any throwing power with wasted motion.
  • Step (A-): Another strength for Elliot is his step. Unlike the smaller Forcier, Elliot doesn't have to overextend his lower body to make challenging throws. He rears back quickly and with little motion, flicks his body through. Less motion here equals better mechanics.
  • Wrist/Throw (A-): Looks good to me - the standard flick from a high release leads to pretty throws on the slant or the sideline route.

Overall: B

[Editor's Note: I used Spring Game film from above and here, as well as live game footage from here and here to complete this evaluation.]

Big Ten Report Card:

  1. Ben Chappell (B/B+)
  2. Daryll Clark (B+)
  3. Tate Forcier (B-)
  4. Ricky Stanzi (A-)
  5. Terrelle Pryor (B+)
  6. Joey Elliot (B)