Grover Stewart, Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce, plus Anthony Richardson’s mobility

Grover Stewart, Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce, plus Anthony Richardson's mobility

Trey Blanks, Fort Wayne, Ind.: Indy has never had a mobile quarterback and I am wondering how that will effect the offensive line which struggled at times last year and is still looking for continuity. Does it put more or less stress on the line knowing that your quarterback is capable of scrambling and has options to run the ball?

JJ Stankevitz: Good question here. First things first, I think the O-line has good continuity – the starting five of Bernhard Raimann, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Will Fries and Braden Smith practiced together for the majority of the preseason – and new position coach Tony Sparano Jr. seems to have had a positive impact on that group.

Richardson’s mobility mostly takes pressure off the O-line to know they don’t have to be perfect every time he drops back to pass. Of course, they’re striving for perfection, but Richardson’s pocket poise and feel for evading the rush – in addition to his strength and speed on the run outside the pocket – are assets that help him avoid taking sacks.

“We saw this in college and it was one of the things that I got excited about him, his poise and his feet in the pocket and how he kind of feels pressure and moves,” assistant general manager Ed Dodds said in August. “That’s that natural instinct that he has that some others don’t. These offensive linemen see it when they’re watching tape of practice and they know they don’t have to be perfect all the time. Obviously, he’s big, he’s real big and he’s real fast. I’m not talking about the running, but just the subtle movements in the pocket.”

The flip side is offensive linemen will need to have a feel for when to disengage with a defensive player to avoid getting flagged for holding when Richardson gets outside the pocket. I chatted with Raimann about that in August – it’s not easy, but it’s something every offensive lineman who plays with a mobile quarterback has to deal with. And it’s certainly not a bad problem to have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *