There are still plenty of traditional pocket passers in the NFL today, but mobile quarterbacks have become much more common in recent years. And coaches are building their offenses to take advantage of their athleticism with designed runs and read options.
The Los Angeles Rams will certainly be tested by mobile quarterbacks in 2023, facing some of the most athletic quarterbacks during the upcoming season. With Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray all in their lineup, the Rams will have to contend with some of the best double-double quarterbacks in the league.
Among all quarterbacks in rushing yards, Jackson ranked second (764 yards) in just 12 games, Hurts ranked third (760), Jones was fourth (708) and Murray was sixth (418) despite playing only 11 games. Geno Smith also finished seventh with 366 rushing yards, averaging 21.5 per game. So the Rams will face five of the top seven rushing quarterbacks based on yardage last season.
However, the list does not stop there. Anthony Richardson, the fourth overall pick in the draft, rushed for 654 yards at Florida last season — and that includes sacks. Trey Lance, who was injured in Week 2, is averaging 29.4 yards per game in eight games over two years.
Deshaun Watson was limited to six games last season, but he had 175 yards on the ground, averaging 29.2 yards per game — just 9 yards less than Murray’s average. Joe Burrow, who doesn’t get enough credit for his mobility, had the 11th-most rushing yards of any quarterback last season (257) and found the end zone five times on the ground, the fourth-most of any quarterback .
Even Kenny Pickett (237 yards), Jacoby Brissett (243) and Dak Prescott (182) are considered mobile quarterbacks who can make plays with their legs when needed. All three of them will be on the Rams’ roster in 2023, along with the quarterbacks mentioned above.
Really, the only traditional pocket passer the Rams will face is Derek Carr. Jordan Love isn’t a burner, but he ran a 4.74 in the 40-yard dash and can move when the play breaks down. The Packers simply won’t call many runs designed for him. Sam Howell, if he starts over Brissett, is a bit more of a mystery, but he could also move.
There’s a difference between being mobile and a legitimate driving quarterback. Pickett is mobile, but he isn’t necessarily considered a running quarterback like Jackson, Hurts, Murray or Jones. Those four quarterbacks will have at least a few designed runs called every play. Pickett probably won’t.
It’s the running backs who will test the Rams’ edge rushers and inside linebackers this season. They will need to be disciplined when rushing the passer, not going too far down the field to open up running lanes. Leonard Floyd had plenty of experience facing the likes of Murray and Russell Wilson in the NFC West, which helped the Rams when it came to defending the run. You will surely miss him in this regard.
The other challenge of dealing with athletic, hard-working quarterbacks is preparing for them. The Rams previously had Bryce Perkins, who was one of the best athletes at the position, to emulate players like Murray. That responsibility could fall to Stetson Bennett in 2023, because the Rams will definitely need someone to run the scout team during the week before they face a mobile quarterback.