Time to pass the ball

Interesting statline.

In 2022: When Dak threw the ball in 2.5 seconds or less, he had a 77% completion rate, 8 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions with a 99.3 passer rating. When Dak held onto the ball longer than 2.5 seconds, he had a 57.8% completion rate, threw 20 touchdowns, but also 14 interceptions with a 87.5 passer rating. These numbers include the playoffs last year.

In 2022, Dak averaged 2.7 seconds holding the ball per pass attempt.

Some take-always: Kellen Moore’s system was modeled on the Air Coryell model. Coryell was all about being aggressive with long-developing plays thrown farther downfield. Moore’s system required Dak to hold onto the ball longer, which also meant that the defense was anticipating the throws more, which led to a big increase in interceptions.

Also, McCarthy’s historical strength as a play caller is his use of the play action pass with quick short throws that carve up the defense with routes under 15 yards.

If McCarthy can provide an adjusted scheme, which has Dak throwing more short, quick passes to receivers running in stride, then Dak can carve up defenses with a high completion percentage, and much lower turnover rate.

This plays to Dak’s strengths, and also leads to fewer sacks from an Oline group that is transitioning to new personnel (3 new starters in last 3 seasons, and maybe a 4th new starter this season.

The key seems to be the time it takes to get the ball out of Dak’s hands. Keep it under 2.5 seconds and he’s among the best in the league. Over that, Dak begins to force balls into defenses that are waiting for him.

So, I think McCarthy, who recently hired an analytics guru for his staff, is going to create a scheme more friendly to Dak, and get the ball out more quickly. All the talk about running it more may or may not happen. But McCarthy is setting up the league to EXPECT more running so the play action passing game he’s so good at calling will work.

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