Quantifying Quarterbacks Review: Jacoby Brissett, Instinctive without Precision


Jacoby Brissett is the most exciting quarterback in the class. Jacoby Brissett is also not a smart quarterback by any stretch of the word. Instinctive when a play breaks down, yes, but Brissett lacks any sort of nuance to his passing.

By: Derrik Klassen

Rhythm, timing and footwork are unexplored areas of football for Brissett. He’s casually walking himself back, settling himself in the pocket like your uncle settles into the couch after Thanksgiving feast, and throws up a prayer. Brissett has the arm talent to make this work far more often than most other quarterbacks would get away with, but that will only be true at the collegiate level. NFL defenses will play on his lackadaisical style of play and run him out of the league. That said, there may be too much natural talent in him to completely write him off.

Brissett doesn’t fear anything. Not a single thing. Not spiders, not killer clowns, and most certainly not pass rushers. Brissett can stand in the pocket and have pass rushers slap/grab at his shoulder pads without losing an ounce of focus on what he is looking at down field. If they get a little too close for comfort, Brissett has no resistance to bailing the pocket and looking for an alternative ending to how the play should have gone on the whiteboard.

Brissett isn’t the most mobile of quarterbacks, but he has that Ben Roethlisberger-like stability to his chunky 6’4”, 231 pound frame that allows him to bounce around like a pinball and somehow manage to stand upright again to get a throw off. These usually aren’t reckless throws, either. Brissett has an uncanny ability to fix broken plays. Though, somehow, Brissett struggles much more when things are more cut and dry.

Not only does Brissett struggle with structure, he seems to resist it quite often. He pulls the ball down to run quite early on a handful of passing plays per game. It is likely a designed check in NC State’s offense, but he has tired it out. He is like the kind of overweight kid on the playground who plays quarterback because he thinks he can take on the entire other team by himself. When you are a “Planet Theory” athlete like Cam Newton, by all means, take the game directly into your own hands as often as you’d like. When you are soon-to-be 4.87 40-yard dash Jacoby Brissett, trying to make plays with your legs time after time without entertaining the idea of throwing the ball is asking for disaster.

On the other hand, Brissett makes a lot of cringe-worthy mistakes as a passer. THat would normally mean that he throws a lot of reckless interceptions, but really, his problem is the opposite of that. Instead of forcing a lot of tough throws, Brissett passes over or fails to identify some of the easier throws that the defense gives him. If there is an “alert” throw that comes open, it’s a safe bet to say Brissett did not even glance at that side of the field because he did not notice it pre-snap.

Likewise, if Brissett thinks he sees man and the defense flows into zones, he doesn’t process that diff routes in the route combo will be open at different times, if at all. Brissett’s arm masks some of these lapses as he completes the less favorable throw regardless, but banking on that mindless style of play is not sustainable at the pro level.

The conundrum continues with Brissett, though. It’s easy to like him for his rare poise, but it’s just as easy to be disgusted by him because of his inability within the structure of the offense. To restart that cycle: it’s easy to fall in love with Brissett’s physical tools. His frame, as mentioned above, is going to keep him upright in the pocket and will allow him to sustain a the beating that NFL defenses dish out a weekly basis.

His arm, while it isn’t elite, has a combination of velocity and arc manipulation. Brissett has the zip to fit any window, as well as the ability to add some bend to his pass’s flight to get it over the top of defenders. There is always the argument that he will never get anything out of these tools if he can’t function mentally, though. While that is entirely true, keeping players with tools that defenses can not defeat through scheme is a nice luxury for successful teams.

With a few years under a stable franchise (quite the stretch, I know), Jacoby Brissett’s middle-ground as a player is going to feel a lot like Jason Campbell. In the off-chance that Brissett takes his development time and makes massive strides in his nuance, one lucky team may have a special player on their hands.

Of course, that is highly unlikely and for Brissett to even reach his middle ground would be impressive. Brissett is going to take a lot of patience if a team wants anything out of him. If said team buys into him and instills confidence, he could be who we desire him to be, but until then, Brissett is not much more than a toolsy passer who won’t function well in a more precise NFL environment.


Interesting Data (from 266 snap sample)

  • 25/266 (9.40%) of Brissett’s snaps were taken under center.
  • When rolling out (to either the field or the boundary), Brissett is 24/43 (55.81% of completion).
  • Brissett is 19/33 (57.58% of completion)  in the red zone.
  • On crossing routes, Brissett is an astonishing 15/19 (78.95% of completion).
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