Dennis Waszak penned an interesting article looking at how Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is using “smart football” with private coach Jordan Palmer to shorten his throwing motion.
Palmer set up receivers in different spots on a field and had Darnold throw to them to see what distance Darnold lowered his arm more than normal.
”He didn’t do it on every throw,” Palmer said. “We determined around 32 yards was when he felt like he needed to rip it, so he would drop the ball a little bit lower.”
Meanwhile, the Wilson football was gathering results from four data points: spin (RPMs), spiral efficiency, velocity and time of release — when Darnold’s left hand came off the ball as he was starting to throw to when the ball left his fingertips.
Sam Darnold used "smart" footballs to address his elongated throwing motion. Now, the #Jets quarterback and QB guru Jordan Palmer are working with Wilson to develop the next-generation technology. More from @DWAZ73: https://t.co/0v8nP9rKO7 pic.twitter.com/j91sgQYv0Z— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) May 9, 2018
Every Draft prospect has strengths and weaknesses. Darnold has a lot of strengths, which is why the Jets were so excited to land him. Having a quick release was not among them.
I think there are points where people get too fixated on mechanics. Not every player is going to have perfect mechanics. If you start changing too much, it can make the player do things that aren’t natural and reduce performance.
I don’t get the sense that is the case with Darnold’s throwing motion. It seems like there was some wasted motion on his college throws that didn’t make him more accurate as a passer or add zip to his throws. If you read the article, the smart football seems to prove that. If Darnold can quicken his release without giving up accuracy or velocity, it will be a big deal. A fraction of a second is the difference between success and failure on an awful lot of NFL plays. Every little increment of time helps.