With NFL free agency steadily approaching, the search for the Las Vegas Raiders’ next starting quarterback is heating up. Due to his ties to the New England Patriots, Jacoby Brissett is perceived to be an option for the Raiders’ next signal caller.
Since Deshaun Watson was suspended for the majority of last season, Brissett logged 11 starts with the Cleveland Browns and had a good year, completing 64.0 percent of his passes for 2,608 yards and 12 touchdowns to six interceptions. He also finished sixth among quarterbacks (minimum 167 dropbacks) with an 82.6 PFF grade and was just outside of the top ten with a 4.5 percent ‘big time throw’ rate.
The former Brown and Patriot also isn’t expected to break the bank on the open market — projected to receive a two-year, $16 million contract via PFF — so he could be a great stop-gap option in Las Vegas. Plus, as mentioned above, it doesn’t hurt that he has some familiarity with head coach Josh McDaniels’ playbook.
So, what can Brissett potentially bring to the Raiders? Let’s turn to the tape!
Jacoby Brissett holds Fitzpatrick in the middle of the field and throws a dart to Cooper for a TD pic.twitter.com/LhkoNJ6P60— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2023
Our first clip is honestly best seen from the end zone view to show off the eye manipulation Brissett uses to make this look like a fairly routine pitch and catch for a touchdown.
Immediately after getting the snap, he finds the safety and sees the Steelers are running Cover 1. He stares at the safety — No. 39, Minkah Fitzpatrick — for an extra half-second to hold Fitzpatrick on the hash.
Once Brissett hits his depth on the drop, he finds Amari Cooper — No. 2 — running a slant in the slot against off-coverage so he knows Cooper will be open. The quarterback pulls the trigger and fires a bullet at the wideout who splits the two defenders for six points.
That’s a great job of holding the safety with his eyes and delivering a strike to keep the ball away from one of the best ball hawks in the NFL and put points on the board.
Jacoby Brissett snaps his head around and throws a rope to Njoku in the back of the end zone pic.twitter.com/Nn1MmPhov7— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2023
The red zone was a frustrating area of the field for the Raiders over the last few years as they struggled to put the ball in the end zone. One theme you might notice throughout these clips is Brissett is a pretty impressive passer in the red area and this is another great example.
Pittsburgh is playing a goal-line version of Cover 3 here and Brissett is going to start his read to the left. Like the last rep, he uses his eyes to keep the safety in the middle of the field and snaps his head around at the top of the drop.
That’s when he finds David Njoku — No. 85 — who is running the seam route against the corner playing outside leverage. Side note, shoutout to Njoku for working wide on his release to force the corner to stay honest and not cheat on the seam.
Brissett once again rears back and fires the ball this time adding a little touch to get it over the linebacker and put it high where only his guy can get it. Excellent safety manipulation, ball placement and an absolute rope to beat coverage.
Great pocket presence by Jacoby Brissett, and he takes a hit while pushing the ball down the field for a TD pic.twitter.com/qOuU5mfoFk— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2023
In this play, the Bills are playing Cover 1 with a six-man pressure. That means all of the defensive backs on the field are locked in man coverage with a wide receiver except for the safety, who is going to try and read the quarterback’s eyes and help play the ball in the air. The Browns counter by leaving the running back in the backfield for a six-man protection scheme, so this play is about as mono-a-mono as it gets.
The route concept is a variation of smash where the two inside receivers are running deep corners and the outside guys are running whip routes toward the sideline. In other words, it’s a long-developing pass play that can be dangerous with nothing but one-on-one blocks up front.
Brissett anticipates pressure and sidesteps the linebacker as the running back, Nick Chubb, No. 24 — washes the backer wide. Nothing is open on the left side so Brissett snaps his head to the right and sees Cooper has his man in a trail position with inside leverage and no safety help since it’s single-high.
The pass isn’t perfect with the pressure coming, but Brissett puts it up and gets it down the field to give Cooper a chance to highpoint the ball and win. That’s another great job of Brissett working the entire field to keep the safety in no man’s land and impressive arm strength to push the ball 30 yards down the field while taking a hit.
Jacoby Brissett gets hit but still delivers a nice ball in the endzone for an...incompletion... pic.twitter.com/W8xctp07z9— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2023
Here, the quarterback starts his read on the single receiver side but with Buffalo playing two-high, he comes off of it since he won’t have a one-on-one as the safety is in position to help the boundary corner.
So, Brissett works back to the right and recognizes that the linebacker or middle-hole defender took the cheese with Chubb running the short curl out of the backfield. That leaves Harrison Bryant — No. 88 — wide open in the middle of the field on the dig route, but the pressure starts coming since the right guard gets beat off the snap.
Brissett rears back and throws a dart with two defensive linemen in his face, so it’s not going to be a perfect ball and Bryant should come down with this for a touchdown. I didn’t end up including the clip, but the next play was pretty similar only Brissett wasn’t facing pressure and dropped a dime in the bucket for another touchdown opportunity. However, a different tight end dropped it...that’s a tough couple of plays, lol.
Nice dime from Jacoby Brissett pic.twitter.com/8fQqaiY59F— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2023
We’ve seen a couple of reps where Brissett wanted to target the single receiver side but came off of it because the Bills were playing a two-high coverage. This time, Buffalo stays in single-high and Brissett can finally exploit a one-on-one matchup.
Post-snap, he keeps his eyes on the safety to hold the safety in the middle of the field and, simultaneously, give Cooper enough time to win at the line of scrimmage and get some separation on the go route. Once Brissett hits the top of his drop, he finds Cooper, sees his guy won and drops the ball right in the bucket so there’s nothing the corner can do to defend it. Great eye manipulation and ball placement.
Browns down in Q4 but driving and Jacoby Brissett delivers a beautiful back-shoulder ball to put them inside the 10 pic.twitter.com/JUQFKkv0UG— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2023
We’ll end with a late-game drive where Cleveland was trailing about halfway through the fourth quarter.
Buffalo is playing Cover 1 and the safety is cheating over to the three-receiver side against this three-by-one formation from the Browns. With the ball on the hash, the quarterback doesn’t have to manipulate the safety as much since the safety is already in the middle of the field to cheat to the passing strength/three receivers.
Brissett sees all of that and looks to go to Donovan Peoples-Jones running the go route as the single receiver in the boundary. The Bills’ corner has pretty good coverage and even turns his head to locate the ball in the air, but Brissett delivers a beautiful back-shoulder pass to throw Peoples-Jones open and the Browns are in striking distance of the end zone. Also, shoutout to Peoples-Jones for the toe-drag swag.