Pocket Presence, Or Lack Thereof

The 49ers brought a lot of pressure on Sunday, and there were a number of times when there really wasn’t much Kyle Allen could have done:



However, there were also a number of times when Allen really didn’t help matters. In particular, when put under a little initial pressure, Allen seemed to just drop everything and start running. Take this play for example:


Now, let’s freeze it at the point where Allen starts to break the pocket:

Yes, Allen probably can’t just stand where he is forever and expect everything to be alright, but the only defender within five yards of him is on the turf with two offensive linemen standing over him and the other three rushers are all being blocked. In fact, the worst place he could run is outside left where the edge defender has leverage against the blocker. The receiver falling really didn’t help Allen on this play, but he made it a lot worse by breaking the pocket.

There was a similar story on another later incompletion:


Let’s freeze this again at the point where Allen starts to break the pocket:

Again, there aren’t any obviously open receivers – but there is just no need for Allen to break the pocket and, once again, in doing so, all he does is make things easier for the edge defender to get to him by providing a leverage advantage against the offensive linemen. This is something that has been a real issue for Allen so far this season, and this is likely to continue to make far more of an impact than a couple of missed throws:


What’s more, when he does scramble, he has shown a real tendency to drop his eyes and fail to use that added time to allow routes to get open:


One more time, let’s freeze the play as he breaks the pocket:

Yes, Allen is once again under some pressure, but he also needs to have some awareness of what’s going on downfield; in this case, that meant having a receiver wide open on the roll side of the field with only one defender on his side of the far hash. Yes, you can’t just fling the ball anywhere and expect it to be a touchdown, but if Allen puts the ball inside the receiver, he would have an excellent chance of coming down with the ball.

Again, this isn’t a case where one individual play should be used to damn Allen, but there is certainly a trend of him scrambling out of pockets prematurely and failing to keep his eyes downfield when he does so.


Up Next: The Mental Game


Vincent Richardson on Twitter
Vincent Richardson
Analyst at Riot Report
Astrochemist, bartender and jazz drummer; I also watch a lot of football. Areas of interest include play design, player evaluation and data-driven analytics. Twitter: @vrichardson444