Lions QB Jeff Driskel tosses conventional wisdom out the window
Allen Park — There are certain rules you're taught in your early days of playing sports. In hockey and soccer, you're not supposed to make a pass in front of your own goal. In baseball, it's a cardinal sin to make the final out at third base. And for quarterbacks, you're taught not to throw across you body.
It's not that this was never explained to Detroit Lions quarterback Jeff Driskel. It's that he doesn't care. In the two games he's filled in for starter Matthew Stafford, Driskel has attempted at least three throws across his body, while on the move no less, and he's had success doing it.
Lions coach Matt Patricia said even though that's what players are taught growing up, you're seeing more of those types of plays in today's game because of the athleticism of the players playing the position.
"Look at these guys that are just that athletic, that are threatening the defenses so much with their athleticism when they get out of the pocket that they draw actually so much attention now that those lanes are actually open," Patricia said. "As opposed to maybe the pocket passing quarterbacks that scramble out, trying to extend the plays, that I think the defenses know eventually at some point the ball is going to come out from that standpoint. The guys that you’re worried about running, you’re perusing harder as a defense, and I think some of those lanes are actually open.
"You don’t like them because they’re dangerous still," Patricia continued. "In your mind you’re kind of like, ‘You have to be careful there,’ but I think you just see it a lot more right now in today’s game than maybe what we did before."
With Driskel, it appeared he ad-libbed two cross-body throws against the Chicago Bears in his first start with the Lions two weeks ago, while a successful deep shot to Kenny Golladay in last week's loss to Dallas appeared to be designed.
“Yeah, you never want to make a habit out of doing that, and it’s not just (me) out there flinging, it’s definitely calculated," said Driskel, who will start again Sunday in Washington with Matthew Stafford ruled out again. "It’s definitely something that you don’t want to live in, but every once in a while, it comes up during the game and sometimes you just have to make a play as well. There is a fine line of being reckless and making plays."
Driskel's mobility has been a real asset in his two starts. In addition to being able to make tough throws on the move, he's avoided several sacks while racking up 88 rushing yards on 13 attempts — a mix of scrambles and designed zone reads.