QBs in Focus: Ponder & Cassel

| July 4, 2014

qb-month-ponder-casselThough we certainly miss football during the offseason, it’s always a good time to take a step back and analyze our plethora of data.

We’re often so busy grading and collecting data during the season that we’re unable to put a lot of the information to good use. With that said, we’ve decided to declare June as “QB Month” as we break down NFL quarterbacks every which way.

We’re going to examine quarterbacks from a number of situations before looking at each of them individually. The grades and numbers should reveal each quarterback’s strengths and weaknesses from the 2013 season.

As we go through this series, it’s important to understand the relationship between QB Rating (NFL’s version) and PFF Grade.

While QB Rating is obviously supposed to be a QB statistic, it’s actually a better gauge of what the entire offense did in a given situation. This is the type of information that is actually extremely valuable to our NFL team customers as their game planning efforts must go towards stopping an entire passing offense, not just the quarterback.

If the quarterback throws an easy dump off pass to the RB who then weaves through the defense for the touchdown, it’s certainly not a great indicator of quarterbacking skill as it is the running back and defense accounting for the majority of the work on the play. Of course the QB Rating will look quite shiny in that situation.

On the other hand, PFF Grade is a good indicator of how well the quarterback actually performed in a given situation. Whether they throw an accurate pass that was dropped, or perhaps an inaccurate one that should have been intercepted and the defense dropped, the PFF grade will account for those situations with a positive and a negative grade respectively while QB Rating will simply reflect the 0-for-1 passing.

It’s important to distinguish between QB Rating and PFF grade, though there’s a good chance they’ll match up in most situations.

After taking a look at the entire league in various situations, it’s time to break down each quarterback individually.

 

Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder (2)

Christian Ponder (3)

All categories with a * are normalized so that the league average is 0.0.

Positives

•  Graded well on 3rd-and-Long at +2.5.
•  Graded at +1.3 with a 135.4 passer rating on throws in the 21-to-30-yard range and graded at +2.2 on passes in 31-to-40-yard range.
•  Threw best to the right, outside the numbers at +1.0
•  Posted a positive grade when pressured from a blitz (+1.9).
•  Graded at +4.0 on passes lasting 2.6-3.0 seconds.
•  Best routes were out routes (+1.9) and post routes (+1.1).

Negatives

•  Struggled on first down (-5.8) and 3rd-and-10+ (-2.8).
•  Graded at -5.9 on passes in 1-to-10-yard range and -6.0 on passes in the 11-to-20-yard range.
•  Posted poor grades on passes to the left (-4.6) and middle (-3.0).
•  Graded at only -6.2 in a clean pocket, including an odd split that saw him post a -4.7 grade when blitzes did NOT lead to pressure.
•  Graded at -2.2 on 7-to-8-yard drop-backs and -3.1 on drop-backs of 9 or more yards.
•  Posted negative grades on passes lasting two seconds or less (-5.1) and 2.1-to-2.5 seconds (-3.3).
•  Struggled when throwing to slot wide receivers (-3.9).
•  Graded at -2.4 on comeback routes and -1.3 on corner routes.

Tendencies

•  Third-highest percentage of drop-backs from under center at 39.5%.
•  Used play action 33% of the time, second-highest in the league.
•  Threw 3.6% of passes beyond 40 yards, highest percentage in the league.
•  24.1% of drop-backs last at least 3.6 seconds, seventh-highest in the league.
•  Threw 55.6% of passes outside the numbers, second-highest percentage in the league.
•  10.8% of targets were quick outs, second-highest in the league.
•  Only 5.8% of targets were out routes, lowest percentage in the league.
•  9.9% of targets were WR/TE screens, fifth-highest in the league.
•  Only 1.8% of targets were RB screens, fourth-lowest in the league.

 

Matt Cassel

Matt Cassel

Matt Cassel (2)

Matt Cassel (3)

All categories with a * are normalized so that the league average is 0.0.

Positives

•  Graded at +4.3 on second downs including +3.3 on 2nd-and-Long.
•  Best range was 11-to-20-yard range that saw him grade at +2.4.
•  Graded at +1.8  on passes outside the numbers to the left.
•  Graded at +2.6 against the blitz, including +2.5 when it was picked up.
•  Threw well to the slot (+1.3) and to tight ends (+2.7).
•  Showed well in in routes (+1.6) and corner routes (+2.3).

Negatives

•  Struggled on third downs (-7.6) including -3.0 on 3rd-and-10+ and -3.5 on 3rd-and-Short.
•  Graded at -5.1 on passes in the 1-to-10-yard range.
•  Struggled on throws in between the numbers (-4.0).
•  Graded at -7.9 against a traditional rush.
•  Posted -2.9 grade on passes in the 3.1-to-3.5-second range.
•  Graded at -1.6 on passes to outside wide receivers (by alignment).
•  Worst routes were slants (-0.8) and post routes (-2.5).

Tendencies

•  Sixth-highest percentage of drop-backs from under center at 36.7%.
•  Used play action 26.3% of the time, eighth-highest in the league.
•  38.4% of drop-backs came against base defenses (league average: 28.6%).
•  10.3% of targets were WR/TE screens, fourth-highest in the league
•  Only 1.7% of targets were RB screens, third-lowest in the league.
•  9.0% of targets were post routes, fifth-highest in the league.

 

 

For the entire set of “Quarterbacks in Focus” posts, click here.

 

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  1. Wyzel says:

    So musgrave is now with the eagles, coaching foles, Sorry Eagles fans, I had hope for Foles, but not anymore. Hopefully chip kelly never lets this guy call a play, either.