X's & O's with: Eddie Mason

A lot of people point at Mark Brunell for when he missed throws, but he's had guys in his face. The whole deal with Mark is that he's been hit so much he's now just like Patrick. They ruined Patrick last year and they're on their way to ruining Mark.

If you watch Mark in the pocket, when he goes back, whether it's three steps or seven steps and his receiver's not there, he gets happy feet. He's not setting into his throws.

Take the one time he overthrew Laveranues on the in-route. When Mark threw the ball he whipped it, but when he came through his head wasn't even up. He wasn't even looking at the receiver he was throwing to. His head went down because he whipped into it and was like, I hope it gets there. And that's because he knew he was going to get hit.

Look at Brett Favre. We got pressure on him on the throw he made to Javon Walker. Marcus Washington was in his face, but you know what Brett said? 'I may get hit, but I'll step into this throw.' His head stayed with the ball in his release. That's a guy who's confident in his blocking and who says I'm not going to shy away from contact; I'll tough it up and make the throw and go on to the next play.'

As a linebacker, you see the QB's head down you go to the coordinator on the sideline and say, 'This guy is uncomfortable in the pocket. We need to bring it.' Green Bay's defense was horrible all year long until Sunday because they saw that pocket presence like everyone else. They know fi they get pressure in Mark's face that sooner or later he'll throw one or two. It's not Mark's fault. If I'm him and I'm getting hit like that I'd have happy feet too. And Mark has been doing things all year to buy them more time in the passing game. If Patrick were in there Sunday, they would have had five or six sacks.

When a QB is confident in the pocket it's because he knows he's not going to get hit. A strong pocket presence comes from knowing I can drop back and I have two or three seconds to set my feet and release the ball and I know I'll have decent throwing lanes. That's how you build confidence in a guy.

The interior of the line is the problem. That's where all the pressure comes from. And it's easy to see why. With the center, it's about talent; with the left guard it's about being young; with the right guard it's about being overrated. They need help there.

ED note: Eddie Mason is the co-founder, along with James Thrash, of M.A.S.E Training, which seeks to train athletes both physically and spiritually. For more information visit masetraining.com


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