You should never read too far into numbers that come out of minicamps and practices, but sometimes they reveal the expected. ProJo’s Mark Daniels has offered the most concrete passing statistics from camp as he has been tracking every attempt from Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett.
Back in June, Daniels provided the completion rates of the quarterbacks in team drills during minicamp:
Tom Brady 88/113 (77.9%)
Jimmy Garoppolo 88/116 (75.9%)
Jacoby Brissett 75/104 (72.1%)
Now it’s important to note that these camp drills aren’t at full speed since this is about getting players involved in the playbook and ensuring that everyone knows where they have to align and run. But the trio are roughly grouped together in descending order by NFL experience.
Daniels has the numbers from the public practices during training camp, and they paint a different picture:
In 11v11s, in 16 practices, I had Tom Brady 148/213 (69%); Jimmy Garoppolo 160/238 (67%) and Jacoby Brissett 68/119 (53%)— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2016
These contests have been at a higher speed and will align more closely with expectations in live action (although they are certainly still inflated). Brady and Garoppolo saw a decline of 9% in their completion rates as the speed and activity increased, while Brissett plummeted 19%.
The scouting reports were that Brissett struggled with accuracy and while under pressure, and had the worst deep ball in the entire draft. His team suffered from serious injuries in his final campaign, which explains part of his statistical struggles, and he is viewed as a great leader.
I have to restate that we shouldn’t look too far into these practice numbers, but Brissett’s 7 of 13 for 63 yards performance against the Saints didn’t do much to quell initial concerns.
Brissett went 4 of 6 on passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage (cmp: 1, 4, 1, -4 yards down the field; inc: 2, 4), and 3 of 7 on passes 10+ yards down the field (cmp: 19, 12, 11; inc: 10, 10, 10, 40). There were no passes between five and 10 yards down the field. All three 10+ yard completions were to tight end A.J. Derby.
This is an extremely small sample size, but the touch on the short passes weren’t great and took some yards after the catch off the field due to their placement. Defenders also got their hands on and broke up the three incompletions that were 10 yards down the field. Brissett is going to have to greatly improve his mid-range game to succeed in the NFL.
And there is plenty of time to develop. Brissett was selected because he would have a full year in the system to adjust before stepping up as Brady’s top back-up in 2017. There is no reason to panic or to call the pick a bust.
We have three more preseason games to watch Brissett evolve as a player, and he will likely play the entire fourth preseason game against the Giants. I’m still interested to see how he performs with the 2nd team offense, instead of the 3rd and 4th stringers that we’ve seen in camp.
There’s clear potential with Brissett. We’re still just scratching the surface.