It’s signature stat time! You know, that time of the week where we look at one of those Pro Football Focus stats we’ve created by using the unique data we spends hours and hours toiling away with to accumulate.
Well what would it be this week? Last week I spent an age talking about protection on the offensive line, and the week before Sam Monson had his Elusive Rating generate some discussion. So this time I’ve decided I want to look at the most important position on the field.
But what to look at? Well I ran a series of articles in the summer looking at different aspects of play, and the one that received the most attention was looking at how quarterbacks performed under pressure. Thus, today we’re going to be looking at how quarterbacks perform under pressure.
To add some context to everything, let’s look at which quarterbacks are getting pressured the most. A kind of logical follow up to our Pass Blocking Efficiency piece from last week. It won’t be a surprise to see someone like Michael Vick topping the charts. It’s not just that his offensive line hasn’t been great (Philadelphia currently rank 24th in our Team Offensive Line PBE rankings), but Vick is the kind of QB who just invites pressure because of his desire to sustain plays. Instead, the most telling name is that of Sam Bradford. Last year he was pressured on 34.1% of plays, and this season that has jumped up to 44.2%. Something isn’t working with the Rams new offense, and nothing highlights this as much as the table below.
Passing Under Pressure - Pressure Percentage
|8||Alex D. Smith||SF||128||48||37.5|
What should be noted from looking at which guys are pressured the least, is that the bottom three have a combined record of 9-3. So teams that are keeping their quarterback pressure-free are winning. Of course, this isn’t always the case, with both Andy Dalton and Matt Cassel (as well as Mark Sanchez) fairing well in this regard. We’ll get to why that might be ever so shorty, but before we do, how about we look at which quarterbacks are letting the highest amount of pressure turn to sacks.
It won’t surprise many to learn that Jay Cutler is the quarterback leading this list. He narrowly beats out Alex Smith, and both Tarvaris Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger. All four men have been known to hold onto the ball a tad in order to either make a play (see Roethlisberger or Cutler) or avoid making a mistake (Smith or Jackson).
Passing Under Pressure - Sack Percentage
|2||Alex D. Smith||SF||48||29.2|
Down the at the bottom, credit goes to Jason Campbell, Colt McCoy and Michael Vick, with McCoy and Vick especially showing a tremendous ability to shake off oncoming defenders and get rid of the ball. Though as much credit as they need to take for that, we’ll examine what it does to their accuracy percentages.
Ah yes – the accuracy percentages. Those are what really matter right? To give a fairer reflection, we’ve counted drops as completions, and ignore throw aways. And who is top? Well, normality is restored as a Manning leads the way. Only this time it’s Eli with the top mark at 71%, narrowly beating out Josh Freeman.
Passing Under Pressure - Accuracy Percentage
|5||Alex D. Smith||SF||34||18||2||1||0||65.60|
When we look at the bottom of the rankings it will surprise nobody that Mark Sanchez is dead last given his struggles start the year. He remains the guy who is holding the Jets back more so than any other and really needs to step up.
Of course with all these stats you need to take a look at how they work in context, and in comparison to each other. Sure Matt Cassel has a high accuracy percentage when pressured, but he’s also taken a sack on a quarter of the plays with a man closing in. That’s why we always say to look at our gradings over any stats, and that’s why I’ll cheap plug our premium package to find out all the extra goodness that comes only with that.
That’s our Signature Stat for this week. Get in touch with the main twitter feed if you have some suggestions for future signature stats given the incredible amount of data we have at our hands.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled … and be sure to follow our main Twitter feed: @ProFootbalFocus . .