The ability of a quarterback to use their feet, peripheral vision, and awareness of pressure to navigate the pocket to find or create throwing lanes is what is referred to as pocket mobility. If the quarterback feels pressure off the edge, he could climb the pocket to avoid the outside pressure. As the pocket may not maintain its integrity based on the efforts of the defense, the quarterback may need to move off their spot at the top of their drop and move in a variety of directions to avoid pressure and to find a throwing window to deliver the ball. This is not the same as athletic ability and does not refer to the quarterback’s ability to make plays outside of the pocket.
An example of a quarterback displaying pocket mobility is shown below featuring Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are facing a 3rd and 11 on the 50-yard line against the Pittsburgh Steelers, trailing 18-16 with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
At the moment the ball is snapped, the two inside linemen for Pittsburgh open up outside while the inside linebacker executes a stunt toward the middle. While all this is happening, Prescott has his eyes downfield. As he continues to look downfield, he feels pressure from one of the linebackers crashing into the pocket. Prescott then evades that area to a new pocket and a clearer throwing lane, as he continues to look downfield. He sets and throws the ball to Dez Bryant leading him to the end zone for a touchdown.
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Derek Benson wrote this entry. Follow Derek on Twitter @derekdonald91.
Film courtesy of NFL Game Pass.