From CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: Mastering check-downs supercharging passing games
Hit the jump for the highlights.
Brees and the Saints excel at [the checkdown]. So much so that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent part of this offseason studying Brees and his ability to get big plays from the check-downs.
“He’s as good as it gets throwing those passes,” Ryan said. “It’s such a big part of their offense. I wanted to see how he does so well. I noticed how accurate he is with the passes.”
When Ryan came into the league as a rookie, he had a long talk with longtime NFL quarterback Rich Gannon about a variety of topics. During that talk, Gannon told him how important the check-down pass — and the accuracy associated with it — would be during his NFL career.
Ryan said he winced at that thought.
“The more I think about it now, it was brilliant,” Ryan said. “He was right on.”
More from Ryan:
“You’re throwing to a guy in traffic who doesn’t catch the ball for a living like a receiver,” Ryan said. “That makes it tough. You have to hit them at the right time to make it an explosive play. You hit them on the run when they’re running away from a defender or where they can turn away from the defender, make somebody miss, and then they have nobody within 25 yards. The accuracy of the throw is huge.”
That’s why Ryan studied Brees so intensely. He excels at hitting backs on the run in the right spot.
Can’t argue with the results.