Neil’s NFL Daily: May 20, 2013

PFF's Neil Hornsby uses our unique data to reveal which QBs bring the most pressure on themselves by holding onto the ball, and which thrive when forced to extend the ...

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: May 20, 2013

Friday and the weekend brought a few items of note, including the anticipated Dwight Freeney signing by San Diego. I commented on this on the back of Melvin Ingram’s injury last week so will only just reiterate, I don’t think it’s worth getting too hung up on the 3-4 part of the equation. Another pass rusher in the news was Seattle’s Bruce Irvin and I’ll take a moment later to go through the implications of that, but not before I provide you with some information on one of my favourite topics — quarterbacks playing under pressure.


Monday, May 20th

Quarterbacks Responsible for Taking Sacks

I had a mini-glut of correspondence last week on quarterbacks who brought the most sacks on themselves or, to put it another way, those players who took too long to throw and got taken down or simply ran straight into a defender when other options were available.

Four seconds is the time over which we say the QB takes responsibility, but this excludes instances where they were pressured within that limit, had to take evasive action with no opportunity to throw the ball away, but got taken down after it.

As requested, here is the full list of “QB Responsible Sacks” which includes the playoffs (minimum 300+ drop-backs), and to add additional value I’ve also included the number of hits and pressures which we have logged as being down to that player too.


Quarterback Responsible Sacks

RankNameDrop-backsSacks% SacksHitsPressures
1Jake Locker38782.1%10
2Russell Wilson591101.7%310
3Jay Cutler52981.5%42
4Aaron Rodgers775111.4%36
5Andy Dalton65991.4%13
6Christian Ponder58271.2%50
7Michael Vick43451.2%30
8Colin Kaepernick37230.8%00
9Robert Griffin III51140.8%14
10Mark Sanchez53040.8%12
11Matthew Stafford80160.7%21
12Ryan Tannehill56740.7%21
13Brandon Weeden57840.7%11
14Cam Newton58840.7%01
*NFL Average0.7%
15Philip Rivers61940.6%02
16Matt Cassel32920.6%30
17Tony Romo72840.5%03
18Matt Ryan77840.5%02
19Andrew Luck81340.5%03
20Sam Bradford63830.5%22
21Matt Schaub69330.4%22
22Ben Roethlisberger51020.4%22
23Tom Brady80830.4%20
24Ryan Fitzpatrick58420.3%02
25Nick Foles31310.3%03
26Josh Freeman63220.3%11
27Blaine Gabbert33510.3%01
28Peyton Manning69620.3%00
29Drew Brees72520.3%12
30Joe Flacco75620.3%32
31Eli Manning60810.2%10
32Carson Palmer62500.0%10
33Chad Henne37200.0%00


A word of warning though, being near the top of this list isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certain players, like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, have a penchant for hanging in under pressure until the last second and beyond, and weigh the risk of the sack against the reward of the play.

What I thought would be interesting was to see if that holds any weight by looking at only plays in which the QB took over four seconds. Would some of the guys at the top of the list also be those who did the best? As QB rating is a blunt instrument at the best of times (never mind on smaller sample sets), though I included it, on this occasion I ranked players using our un-normalized ratings per drop-back.


Quarterback Rank When Throwing After 4 Seconds (minimum 20 drop-backs)

RankQuarterbackDrop-backsAtt.Com.YardsTDINTQB RatingTotal PFF RatingRating/Drop-back
1Andrew Luck11667264412071.820.50.177
2Jake Locker6526132501180.610.50.162
3Kevin Kolb321791590085.25.00.156
4Russell Wilson17189407445379.026.50.155
5Colin Kaepernick8539152851251.813.00.153
6Peyton Manning2822131380158.54.00.143
7Aaron Rodgers169107487627283.223.50.139
8Matt Cassel4624121630154.76.00.130
9Blaine Gabbert22106580076.32.50.114
10Nick Foles5440203382095.66.00.111
11Robert Griffin III12262244113171.413.00.107
12Ben Roethlisberger9466294434367.910.00.106
13Alex D. Smith451451540147.94.50.100
14Brady Quinn32103750058.33.00.094
15Matt Ryan6738162010059.26.00.090
16Matthew Stafford9159214621255.98.00.088
17Carson Palmer4229131293092.53.50.083
18Joe Flacco6849223842177.35.50.081
19Drew Brees6755223601161.25.00.075
*NFL Average0.075
20Ryan Fitzpatrick5216434020.03.00.058
21Chad Henne2681-60039.61.50.058
22Christian Ponder843610108149.34.00.048
23Ryan Tannehill6946173310244.73.00.043
24Josh Freeman8253173872256.13.50.043
25Jay Cutler7435162102260.42.50.034
26Sam Bradford6941161762068.82.00.029
27Cam Newton11259202850236.33.00.027
28Andy Dalton10357182661053.72.00.019
29Michael Vick9241122742340.71.00.011
30Matt Schaub5749151832056.80.50.009
31Tom Brady6147111363060.90.50.008
32Tony Romo7856224705377.20.50.006
33Eli Manning40239980216.2-0.5-0.013
34Brandon Weeden6546162100232.0-1.0-0.015
35Philip Rivers61363241225.7-4.5-0.074
36Mark Sanchez5032121500313.8-4.0-0.080

My first reaction when seeing the results was to think there will be some people out there asking, “is this just another way to show Mark Sanchez at the bottom of a list?”. OK — I get it — but making him look good is a lot trickier than it sounds, and not something I’d attempt at home without an adult auditor supervising operations.

On a serious note, what this suggests is, of the Top 5, Jake Locker, Wilson and Rodgers seem to have a reasonable balance of taking sacks on extended plays and making good things happen, while Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton may wish to reconsider their strategy.


Bruce Irvin Suspended Four Games

Another day, another Adderall suspension in Seattle. With all the pass-rushing firepower the Seahawks pulled in, this doesn’t have quite the impact of Arizona losing Daryl Washington for four games, but it will hurt. Michael Bennett has a torn rotator cuff and, while he should be fine this season, it’s difficult to predict the outcome. Chris Clemons is questionable for the season opener after tearing his ACL in the Wild Card Game and that puts a real onus on Cliff Avril to get back to his superlative form of 2010. After grading +23.7 that season he slipped to +5.9 in 2011 and -0.4 last year.

Many laughed at the Seahawks’ selection of Irvin in the first round last year because he is a “pure” pass rusher, and it’s true that when Clemons was injured and Irvin had to play more against the run he was often manhandled. That said, as a pass rusher he was probably better than advertised, although he did wear down toward the end of the year. His Pass Rushing Productivity rating of 10.5 (42 QB disruptions, 324 rushes during the regular season) was good enough for seventh among 4-3 ends.

On the basis he was going to “kick-on” from a good, if not great, rookie campaign this is something Seattle could certainly have done without.


Other editions of Neil’s NFL Daily can be found HERE


Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil


| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • JacksKnack

    Nice analysis. As a jags fan, this supports Tony Kahn’s analysis and gives me some hope for Gabbert

    • Grant Hembree

      same here…

  • Izzy

    As a Seahawk fan, it hurts to see my team ran through the dirt because of the actions of a few. Gonna miss Irvin but the whole situation will become moot if Clemons can be ready for week 1, which i’m cautiously optimistic about.