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Get rid of the damned ball! NFL QBs and sack statistics

When you think about all of the different circumstances that can cause a QB to be sacked, there are several different scenarios that can occur: Too many blitzers to be picked up, coverage sacks, the OL breaking down, and the QB holding onto the ball too long, just to name a few.

Several NFL QBs constantly get criticized for holding onto the ball too long- not knowing when to just throw it away.  Our own Jay Cutler has certainly been one of those accused of this offense.  But, we also know that perception is not always reality, and sometimes people tend to lean towards hyperbole rather than be objective.  So, what if there happened to be statistics on every sack in the NFL last season, and how long the QB held the ball before hitting the turf?  Turns out, one guy did the research.

We all remember the number: 52.  Cutler was sacked 52 times last season, which was way more than anyone else in the league (Roethlisberger came in 2nd with 40 sacks).  How many times did people yell at Cutler for holding onto the ball too long?  Probably more times than we care to remember.

But, according to these numbers, 33 of Cutler's sacks came within 3 seconds of the snap.  33!  That also led the league.  Check out the chart here.

Looking at those numbers, Cutler's 33 sacks before ever hitting the 3 second mark outnumbered the Panthers Claussen, the Redskins McNabb, and the Chargers Rivers.  

Sure, Cutler's 19 sacks beyond the 3-second mark was third in the league, but consider how long some of Mike Martz's plays are 7-step drops that take way longer than 3 seconds to develop.  

These numbers are just another justification of revamping the offensive line.  We used to watch Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton run for their lives many times before a shotgun snap would ever reach their hands.  33 sacks before the 3-second mark in 2010, and we can still draw the same conclusions.

What do you think about these numbers, and do they surprise you?