There are a number of different habits around the league that players use, despite their apparent negative impact on performance. One such habit is quarterbacks patting the ball before releasing it. This not only takes extra time to do, it also gives defenders a visual queue the ball is coming out.
Brandon Weeden saw a league high 21 passes batted, even though he's not a short guy at 6'4". Weeden is now working on kicking the habit of patting the ball, and he thinks that will help with batted passes.
"You really can't work on it," Weeden said on NFL Network of batted balls. "It's something that if you think about it all the time, it will probably create more problems. I think there are a lot of reasons they happen. One being me patting the football, which I've talked about is one thing I've worked on this offseason to get rid of the habit of patting the football before you release it. That just gives those guys an extra half a second to jump up and bat it down."
"It's just a part of taking three-step drops from under center, as well. When you are under center you are not very far from the line of scrimmage and you are trying to throw over guys that are (6-foot-4), (6-foot-5), with long arms. You got to throw it through the windows. Unfortunately, it happened last year. I don't know why, but I'm going to do my part, whatever I got to do to throw around those guys to make it happen."
Quarterbacks completely breaking bad throwing habits is a rare thing. They often appear to have broken the habit until a stressful game scenario pops up, and suddenly, they've reverted to their former habits. That being said, patting the ball seems to be something that Weeden could break. The good news is that it's not a detrimental habit like a poor throwing motion is. Some great quarterbacks have patted the ball without huge, negative implications. Drew Bledsoe, for instance, had a very quick release despite patting the ball.