It’s All In The Mind

The biggest challenge for many of the developmental arm talents is the ability to master an NFL offense and to then go out on the field and execute with consistent accuracy and speed. Ta’amu did show some nice things from a processing point of view, occasionally working across the field:


And executing variations of basic concepts, such as this read on the outside corner:


But a lot of what Ole Miss did from a schematic point of view was so simplistic, judging Ta’amu in this regard is highly difficult. Their offense involved a lot of pre-set reads:


And many “reads” were more likely nothing of the sort, given that the decision bore little to no dependence on what the defense did – the ball was often coming out before he had a chance to even read the field:


Oh, and then there were the times when he was asked to just throw 40 yard fades:


Given the simplicity of the Ole Miss offense, it is even harder to ignore the times when Ta’amu struggled to work through the reads he did have, often staring down receivers:


And only progressing to second reads when forced to drop his eyes by pressure:


Add to this his tendency to try and take off when early reads don’t come open:


And you have the makings for some serious concern. It should come as little surprise based off this that there are some really ugly interceptions on tape:


Plus a total disregard for what defenders other than his primary read were doing:


Even that simple outside corner read from earlier created some issues:


It’s never a great sign when everybody else is running a different play from you:


Or when you slide a yard short of the first down on third-and-6 with 30 seconds left in the half:


And the fact that he waited to watch receivers open is never a great sign:


However, as much as the mental side of Ta’amu’s game is a massive red flag, this red flag does come with the potential caveat that Ole Miss’ offense was completely insane. A huge number of their plays either had no reads or one read – with the second option being for Ta’amu to take off and run. This might look like a heave due to the defensive offsides, but when you look at the other receivers you realize this was actually the play call:


This is a third-and-10 against pressure – with all receivers running vertical for the first three seconds of the play:


And this is a 15-yard curl on fourth-and-21:


It would be easy to just bash Ta’amu for the lack of consistently good decision making, but in the offense he was playing in, it is hard to imagine what that would actually have looked like. If a team really likes Ta’amu, they’ll need to work him out in the film room in order to separate him from the offense in which he played.




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
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