QBs in Focus: Pass Direction
Though 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.
Left: Outside the numbers to the left
Middle: Between the numbers
Right: Outside the numbers to the right
• Rivers dominated most major categories when throwing to the left, including PFF Grade (+18.9), QB Rating (140.4), success percentage (55.8%), accuracy percentage (80.5%), and completion percentage (73.5%).
• 16.5% of Russell Wilson’s passes to the left came off rollouts, by far the highest percentage in the league and an extremely high number for a right-handed thrower. It really shows his ability, and the Seahawks’ willingness, to roll both ways in the passing game.
• Brady always seems to throw the ball better to the left side and the grade backs that up. He was a fourth-best +11.8 throwing to the left compared to third-worst throwing to the right at -4.3.
• Henne tied with Peyton Manning for the most throws to the left, but he finished with the lowest grade at -7.2.
• Rodgers led the league with an 87.6% Accuracy Percentage while ranking second in QB Rating at 123.8
• Foles led the league in QB Rating (131.8) and yards/attempt (11.9), but also benefited from the most YAC/completion at 9.1
• Stafford ranked third with a +16.9 grade, but his 37 drops led the league by a wide margin.
• NFL QB Rating is 94.5 on throws to the middle compared to 90.6 to the right and 87.5 to the left.
• Tannehill took a step forward on throws between the numbers as he graded at +15.0 in 2013 compared to +5.1 as a rookie.
• Roethlisberger’s best numbers come over the middle where he graded a sixth-best +14.7.
• Peyton Manning showed few weaknesses in 2013 and he tops the chart throwing the right while coming in second on both throws to the left and middle.
• Russell Wilson ranked in the Top 3 in both passes to the left and the right, but throws to the middle were his clear weakness at -0.1.
• Some interesting differences in average depth of target when throwing left vs. right:
• Deep throws to the left (left/right):
Brady 12.1/8.9; Brees 11.7/8.7; Griffin 11.0/8.0
• Deeper throws to the right (left/right):
Ponder 6.9/9.6; Kaepernick 9.6/11.7, McGloin 10.6/15.1
For the entire set of “QBs in Focus” posts, click here.
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