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The numbers behind how long the Arizona Cardinals QBs have to throw

I know, a no brainer, but there are actual numbers to tell the tale.

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Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Well, if you have watched any game that the Arizona Cardinals have played, one thing that will stick out is the fact that their quarterbacks are under pressure a lot. They have been sacked more than anyone else in the league. What we now have, thanks to Pro Football Focus, are some numbers to tell exactly how little time they have had.

The numbers show that John Skelton averages 2.64 seconds of time from the snap to either when he throws the ball, gets sacked or runs. Kevin Kolb averages 2.84 seconds. In contrast, the guy that gets the ball away the quickest is Tom Brady at 2.5 seconds.

What does this mean? In part, it means that Kolb holds on to the ball longer. He also extends plays.

How quickly do their sacks come? For Kolb, they come fast. He has the shortest amount of time before a sack with 2.28 seconds on average. That would cause one to think that he sees a lot of blitzes where there are unblocked rushers, which does happen. Of course, there is also the protection breakdowns we have seen. The telling quote:

"...nobody warrants your sympathy more than Kevin Kolb who was not helped by a pass protection unit that saw his average sack coming within 2.3 seconds of the ball being sacked. That's a ridiculous number that explains how helpless Kolb often was."

What about Skelton?

This is actually very interesting. Skelton's sacks come later. His sacks come at an average of 3.85 seconds, which lends one to think that the sacks come as a result of his holding the ball too long. However, knowing that teams are not blitzing hardly at all against him, it also tells you that he is getting more time.

This is where the two different quarterbacks reveal a little more about themselves.

PFF gathered numbers about how the QBs do within 2.5 second and how they do after that. what you will find is that Kolb is much better at making plays when he has to extend them. Skelton has one of the biggest disparities in numbers. If he can get a throw away within 2.5 seconds, his completion percentage is 13.3 points higher and his QB rating is 32.8 points higher as well. He simply does not do well when he has to wait for something to develop. It also supports the notion that not blitzing him helps the defenses against him.

Kolb? He isn't much different with more time. His completion percentage only goes up 1.4 percent and his QB rating actually goes down 5.6 on throws within 2.5 seconds. It makes sense. If you can make a play with more time, it is likely going to be a bigger play, which would mean a higher QB rating.


Kolb...when he gets sacked, it is fast. He is more likely to make a play with more time. He can make plays when things change in front of him. We also know from comments a year ago that he likes when plays are extended and he can make big plays. As a result, he holds the ball a little longer because he is able to read what is in front of him.

Skelton...he has to make a quick play or he is not effective. If a play is extended, it makes it less likely something good will happen. This again supports what people are saying -- don't blitz him. Make him make a play with more time because he doesn't do it well. It also tells us that he is not as good when that first read goes away.

Does any of this surprise you? The only thing that surprised me was the time before Skelton gets sacked. He gets sacked more often because of holding the ball too long or because there is nothing open down the field and less because of protection breakdowns. Kolb? He gets mauled by bad protection.

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