The Mechanics of Carson Wentz: Quarterback Sequencing

Carson Wentz has struggled the past two years with the Eagles. A contributing factor is the deterioration of his mechanics. In this series, we will dive into those mechanics and break down why they are so important.
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Carson Wentz has seen his fair share of struggles over the past two seasons. While many of the issues can be attributed to the Philadelphia Eagles, some of the blame does fall on Wentz as well.

One area where Wentz has had constant struggles over the past two years, and for most of his career, is in his mechanics. His mechanics peaked in 2017/2018 under the tutelage of Tom House and Adam Dedeaux.

After 2018, Wentz wasn't able to work with House or Dedeaux in Philly. The result was the deterioration of his mechanics, and him reverting back to bad habits. So, in this series we will be looking at the details of Wentz's mechanics and where he needs to improve to be a more efficient passer.

Our second topic of the series involves quarterback sequencing. Sequencing is the fluid motion of the quarterback's body to generate the best power and accuracy needed to make a pass. This is yet another area where Wentz has struggled mightily over the last two seasons.

What is Sequencing?

The simplest way to describe sequencing is that it is the natural, or preferred, transition of power through the body to generate power and accuracy.

Aligning the sequence of a quarterback's body is a major coaching point for QB Guru Tom House and 3DQB, where Wentz has trained in the past and who he is currently working with (per Albert Breer).

Here is a video of House breaking down what he describes as Kinematic Sequencing. For House, the natural sequence is moving energy through the legs to the hips to the shoulder and then out the arm to implement.

QB Coach Tony Racioppi, who has worked with the Manning Passing Academy and has helped train many NFL quarterbacks individually such as Gardner Minshew, described the natural sequence of the body to me as well this week:

"If I’m sequenced up, I should step slightly left and I should close my shoulder at the same time." he said. "My hips should rotate/my elbows should get up, and then I should throw the ball."

This sequence is vital for quarterbacks to get the most power and accuracy behind the ball as possible. Without proper sequencing and alignment, the quarterback is disjointed and relying completely on the upper half to do all the work.

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The Sequence is Similar to a Baseball Hitter

When quarterbacks are compared to the sport of baseball, the comparisons typically center around pitchers. When looking just at the natural sequence of movement with the body, quarterbacks are strikingly similar to how a hitter moves in the box.

"It’s very similar from the small steps. You keep your hands back, use your hips, turn your back foot." said Racioppi. "You are never really going forward when you are hitting a baseball. You are turning. Throwing a football is similar, it’s a turn through a sequence."

QB Coach Dub Maddox, who was featured heavily in the first article of this series, broke down the relation between quarterbacks throwing the football and a baseball hitter:

You throw like a batter in baseball. In baseball, the first move that initiates is that lower body and that front foot. What good hitters do is called dissociation. In dissociation, it allows your body to carry efficient power through your body.

Keep your hands on the ball and don’t move your hands until you feel that forward foot strike the ground. It creates a coil effect that builds up spiral spring tension in the core that can release as you separate your hands.

That is why Aaron Rodgers looks so effortless throwing the ball down the field. It is all about his sequencing.

 For a visual representation of this point, let's look at a baseball swing a bit closer. Power is generated in the base and starts the transition up the body as the front foot hits the ground. From there, the energy is sequenced up through the hips then to the shoulders and arms to create the max power needed on the swing.

Now let's look at one of the best quarterbacks in the league at sequencing in Aaron Rodgers. Notice the similar movements from the footwork to the hip rotation and the finish. Power derives from the base and works through the hips, just like how a hitter in baseball produces power.

Where Wentz Struggles

Wentz has a major issue with opening the gate too early and swinging open his hips before the power begins to transition up his body. This causes his body to be disjointed and the result is a loss in accuracy and power.

"Carson (Wentz) usually opens his hips too soon, which is a very common thing." said Racioppi. "What you want to do, when you step, is close it. His body is going in a different direction from his lower half."

This clip from 2019 is a great example of Wentz's sequencing issue. Notice how he opens up his body before his front foot touches the ground. This causes him to swing open his hips before the ball is at the release point, which causes a loss of power and accuracy.

When Wentz does this, he has to overcompensate in other areas to regain that power. What he does on this play is step too hard on his front foot, and the result is a low throw away from his receiver.

Here is another great example of Wentz opening his hips too early. If you stop the video as his shoulders are both facing forward, you will see that the ball is still in his hands. This means that he is not using his hips in the throw because the power isn't naturally moving through the body in a correct sequence.

The result is Wentz having to use more of his arm, instead of his entire body, to throw and this loses desired touch and accuracy.

How Can Wentz Fix This?

Luckily, sequencing is an extremely common issue in quarterbacks, and most quarterback coaches have their own drills and techniques to fix this concern.

As I've mentioned in this article, Wentz is working with Adam Dedeaux (of 3DQB) this offseason and I am almost positive that they are working to correct this with various drills.

The way that Racioppi works on fixing sequencing is with his midpoint drill.

"I have them start in their base and I have them do steps, small steps, slightly left of their target. I do this so they have to get their front foot down and close their shoulder at the same time." he said. "A lot of times just on where the front foot lands, where their weight is, and where their front shoulder is, you see the issues right away."

Here are examples of Racioppi's midpoint drill with various NFL quarterbacks:

While it may seem like a fairly simple drill, it is perfect for identifying where a quarterback struggles in their sequence. Once Racioppi is able to identify the problem, from hips opening too early to weight transfer, he can help the quarterback work on eliminating that issue.

This is probably not the exact drill that Wentz is working on with Dedeaux and 3DQB, but it is an example of a simple drill that can help fix this issue.

Final Thoughts

Much like with setting the hallway, sequencing is an issue that is completely correctable. The key component to fixing it, though, is how dedicated the quarterback is to this problem area.

"I think it is 100% something you can clean up and fix." said Racioppi. "It's a muscle memory thing, though, and not something you can learn in just five throws."

When it comes to Wentz's issues, I believe that he just lost the fundamental aspects of throwing from a clean pocket over the years. Racioppi actually had a great quote to sum this up in our conversation:

"The problem with some guys is they become so off-platform that they lose the foundational part of the throw."

I firmly believe this is the case with Wentz. With his hero-ball mindset, he lost the art of the fundamental throw over the years. If he can get back to the basics and fix this totally correctable issue, his accuracy can make a notable jump in 2021.

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