MMQB: Devin Gardner Sees Trust Building Between Patterson and Peoples-Jones

Former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner joins Inside the Huddle’s Michael Spath to break down Saturday's game.

QB Shea Patterson has a receiver he can rely on in Donovan Peoples-Jones, Devin Gardner shared on WTKA Monday. You can hear all three segments here, here and here.

Devin Gardner on Shea Patterson’s standing in the pocket to make throws:

That was impressive. Not only is that good for us on that play, but for the future, for camaraderie of the team, and just the team knowing we’ve got a guy that’s going to fight for us and doesn’t care what happens. He’s going to give it everything he has.

"That’s so important for the team and moving forward when we play this Big Ten schedule that’s very tough. I’m excited to continue to see him develop and like I said in the beginning, the development that he’s showing is amazing. He’s really getting comfortable back there. He sat in there and he delivered a ball.

"People are going to say ‘inferior competition,' they’re going to keep saying that, but that’s a 300-pound man, a 295-pound man, that hit him right in the face, so I don’t care what team he plays for. Kudos to him for making sure that he’s letting everybody know ‘I can roll left, I can roll right, I’ll stand in the pocket, I’ll take a shot.’ I’m excited about that.”

Gardner on the art of the deep ball and a back0shoulder touchdown to Peoples-Jones:

“The deep ball as a whole, when it’s throwing fades, or you’re throwing a deep ‘go’ down the field, the key is you want your receiver to see it first. If your receiver gets a chance to see the ball before the [defensive back] does, they’re at an advantage. Now, instead of a 50/50 ball, it’s 80/20, 70/30 depending on how good your receiver is. The fact that he’s able to get the ball up, get it high, so the receiver can see it first is phenomenal.

"The back shoulder in the end zone was very well placed. A lot of people think the back shoulder is a called play. It’s not a called play. It’s a reaction by the receiver and the quarterback. That’s why it’s so impressive. We have to see that at the exact same time and execute the play, and they did a great job of it.

"Donovan Peoples-Jones felt like he wasn’t going to get to the back of the end zone, Shea saw that, he put it on his back shoulder, and the rest is history.”

Gardner on Patterson’s performance:

“He played well. He threw the ball well in every way. There’s not much you can point to and say, ‘man, I wish he’d do this better right now’. He’s playing really well. He’s going into the game and leaving the game with like, two or three incompletions, four incompletions. That’s a lot to ask and he’s doing it flawlessly. His yards per completion I’m pretty sure was up. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it was pretty high. He’s doing well.”

Gardner on the flaws of the completion percentage statistic:

“I think completion percentage is well overvalued a lot of the time because the completion percentage doesn’t take into account when he makes a great play and throws the ball away. That’s an incompletion, even though it shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t get marked down for making a phenomenal play on 2nd down when it’s going to be a 15-20 yard sack and you throw it to the third deck. That’s why I think incompletions and completion percentage is kind of overrated. You can also pad your completion percentage by doing a little shovel pass. I don’t think you should get yards for that, but you do.

"What is the eye test? Is he playing well or is he not?”

Gardner on Patterson’s first-quarter interception:

“Is Shea completely absolved from the blame? Absolutely not. But is it his fault? He’s getting a guy to come back, the tight end sees him, so there’s no mistake there, and then [TE Sean McKeon] stops as if he’s not being covered.

"And at this point, it’s just a trust factor, ‘ok, I’ve thrown you the ball a few times, you didn’t jump to get the one last week, the week before, I was intercepted and you didn’t fight for me.’ I’m pretty much playing perfect at this point and I throw an interception.

"It’s not like McKeon meant for it to happen. It’s just the football awareness you have to have.

"Shea’s weighing the option, ‘ok, I throw this ball, it’s either going to be a completion to my receiver or it’s going to be an incomplete pass because it’s going to be bang-bang, they’re going to hit at the same time.’ The tight end makes it where it’s not going to be either of those. It’s going to be an interception and that’s frustrating for a quarterback and I’m pretty sure the receiver was equally frustrated.”

Gardner on Peoples-Jones' crossing route touchdown:

“That play was designed to get [Peoples-Jones] the ball. You’ve got guys running off the coverage and then you’ve got the play action and then you’ve got [Peoples-Jones] coming underneath from the other side of the field. He’s one of our better receivers and the coaches have made a point to continue to try to get him looks.”

Gardner on the trust between Patterson and Peoples-Jones:

“You throw three completions to [Peoples-Jones] and it’s three touchdowns. That creates a sense of, ‘I can trust this guy’. Now, when you’re off-schedule, you’re like, ‘where’s Donovan’? You’re rolling out, you’re doing your thing, ‘where’s Donovan? I’m going to give him a chance because he’s going to make the play’. That’s when the comfortability comes, and it turns into, ‘now I’m looking for him, where is he? I know he ran this route. He should be in this area.'"

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