QBs in Focus: Tendencies
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.
This piece will give a slightly different look at quarterbacks from the previous entries in the series as the focus is solely on quarterback and scheme tendencies. Which QBs like to throw the ball down the field? Who throws the highest percentages of screens? Which route is each quarterback’s favorite?
It’s all here. Let’s have a look. (click table images to enlarge)
• Russell Wilson had the highest percentage of designed rollouts, or bootlegs, at 14.5%. Christian Ponder ranked second at 11.0%.
• Terrelle Pryor led the league with 16.6% of his attempts coming from a scramble. Tom Brady had the lowest percentage at 0.7%.
Shotgun vs. Under Center vs. Pistol
• 75.1% of NFL drop-backs came out of the shotgun or pistol.
• Shotgun stats include pistol for this exercise.
• Carson Palmer had the highest percentage of his drop-backs come from under center at 42.4%
• Robert Griffin III had the highest percentage of his drop-backs come out of the pistol at 27.9% with Case Keenum ranking second at 23.5%
• Russell Wilson used play action a league-high 34.1% of his drop-backs. Ben Roethlisberger used it a league-low 11.6% of the time.
• Colin Kaepernick used play action on 46.2% of his first down drop-backs to lead the league.
vs. Blitz, Pressure
• Geno Smith faced the blitz a league-high 42.9% of his dropbacks. Peyton Manning faced blitzes a league-low 23.6%, just below rookie E.J. Manuel who is a bit of a surprise entry as the quarterback facing the second fewest blitzes at only 24.0%.
• Despite the high sack totals, Ryan Tannehill faced pressure 33.6% of the time, below the league average of 35.5%.
Vs. Third-Down Blitz
• Conventional wisdom says to avoid blitzing Peyton Manning on third down and most of the league adheres as he faced the blitz only 26.8% of his third down drop-backs.
• Manuel’s blitz percentages rises to 34.7% on third down, showing that he rarely faces the extra rushers on early downs.
• Eight of the Top 10 quarterbacks facing the highest percentage of blitzes on third down were in their first or second year in the league.
Vs. Blitz, 4-Man Pressure
• This chart shows how often pressure got to the quarterback in blitz and non-blitz situations, first as a percentage of total drop-backs (first four charts), then as a percentage of total opportunities (last two charts).
• Geno Smith faced pressure from a blitz on 22.1% of his drop-backs.
• Terrelle Pryor faced pressure 57.9% of the time he was blitzed, a league high.
• All four quarterbacks that faced the highest percentage of pressure from the blitz were essentially in their first year as starters (Pryor, Keenum, G. Smith, Glennon).
• Blitzes pressured Peyton Manning only 26.9% of the time, a league low.
More breakdowns on Page 2: drop-backs, time to throw, and target locations…
• Aaron Rodgers led the league with 38.0% of his drops in the 4-to-6-yard range (generally a 3-step drop). Rogers dropped back to at least nine yards a league-low 6.1% of the time.
• Brandon Weeden led the league with 48.2% of his drop-backs going 9+ yards
• Philip Rivers had a league-high 76.6% in the 7-to-8-yard range.
• Robert Griffin threw 55.8% of his passes in the 1-to-10-yard range to lead the league. Nick Foles ranked last at only 36.8%.
• Foles led the league with 18.9% of his throws traveling at least 20 yards and 7.9% of his passes going at least 30 yards.
• Philip Rivers threw a league-low 2.0% of his passes at least 30 yards in the air.
Time to Throw
• Aaron Rogers had a league-high 42.9% of his drop-backs end in two seconds or less. He had the lowest percentage in the 2.1-to-2.5-second and 2.6-to-3.0-second ranges, and the third lowest percentage in the 3.1-to-3.5-second range.
• Peyton Manning had only 4.4% of his drop-backs last at least 3.6 seconds. Terrelle Pryor had the highest percentage at 39.5%.
Time to Pressure (How fast does pressure get there?)
• Carson Palmer faced pressure that got there in two seconds or less a league-high 15% of the time. Russell Wilson ranked second at 14.7%
• Peyton Manning ranks last in percentage of pressure faced in every category other than the <=2.0 second range.
• Terrelle Pryor faced pressure that came in <=3.0 seconds on 43.9% of his drop-backs, a league high.
• Ryan Tannehill faced pressure lower than the league average in the <=2.0 second and 2.1-2.5 second ranges.
• For the purposes of these charts, “middle” refers to the area of the field between the numbers while “left” and “right” refer to outside the numbers on their respective sides.
• Chad Henne led the league with 32.1% of his passes going to the left.
• Among the quarterbacks throwing more to their left than their right: Henne, Fitzpatrick, Glennon, Rivers, Cutler, Ryan, Brees, Romo. Is the right tackle more important in their respective schemes to protect their “blind side?”
• Colin Kaepernick threw 58.8% of his passes outside the numbers to lead the league while Matthew Stafford led with 61.7% of his throws going between the numbers.
Page 3 takes the breakdown even further, showing QBs by targeted routes and positions…
Throwing to WR
• These charts are based on players aligned out wide, regardless of their designated position (TEs and RBs included).
• Ryan Tannehill had the highest percentage of passes going to players split wide at 81.9%.
• Sam Bradford tied with Andrew Luck with a league-high 37.3% of passes going to the slot.
• Jake Locker threw to outside wide receivers a league-high 56.0% of the time while Drew Brees ranked last at 31.4%.
Throwing to TE
• Brees threw a league-high 28.1% of his passes to tight ends while Josh McCown and Terrelle Pryor tied for last at 14.5%
• Case Keenum threw 20.2% of his passes to inline tight ends while teammate Matt Schaub ranked third at 16.1%.
• Matt Ryan threw a league-low 3.1% of his passes to inline tight ends but he ranked fifth with 14.2% going to tight ends in the slot
Throwing to RB
• Brees also threw to running backs more than any other quarterback (32.2%) including 24.0% of his passes to RBs lined up in the backfield and 6.9% of his passes to RBs in the slot.
• Ryan Tannehill threw a league-low 11.7% of his passes to running backs.
• A league-high 13.9% of Matthew Stafford’s passes were slants while Nick Foles ranked last at 3.1%.
• Jay Cutler threw hitches a league-high 25.7% of the time while Tom Brady and Peyton Manning ranked last at 8.4% and 7.3%, respectively.
• Jake Locker had the highest percentage of both out routes (16.6%) and comebacks (8.0%).
• Carson Palmer and Robert Griffin III threw the highest percentage of post routes at 11.5% and 11.4%, respectively.
• Mike Glennon threw a league-high 18.6% of his passes to running backs in non-screen situations.
• Nick Foles threw screen passes on a league-high 17.5% of his drop-backs. Glennon ranked last at 3.7%.
• Chad Henne threw the highest percentage of wide receiver screens at 11.3% with Ben Roethlisberger just behind him at 11.1%.
For the entire set of “QBs in Focus” posts, click here.
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