OTD Improvement Project – Part 2: Passing

Mike Clay continues his series on opportunity-adjusted touchdowns (OTD) with a look at the quarterback position.

| 3 years ago
peyton-manning

OTD Improvement Project – Part 2: Passing


peyton-manningYesterday, I released part one of my series on the tweaks I made to improve our opportunity-adjusted touchdown (OTD) statistic. I also recapped and discussed recent rushing OTD numbers.

In Part 2, I’m going to flip over to passing OTD. I covered receiving OTD throughout the 2013 season, but this is the debut for passing OTD.

If you’re new to the stat, be sure to check out my initial introduction. The OTD metric weighs every carry/pass/target and converts the data into one number that indicates a player’s scoring opportunity.

Click here for my piece on receiving OTD.

Note: Remember that passing OTD is based on the receiver’s distance from the end zone when he is targeted — not the line of scrimmage. This allows us to better weigh throws into the end zone.

Passing OTD

Rk Passer Aimed TD  OTD  Diff
1 Peyton Manning 640 55 38.9 16.1
2 Matthew Stafford 595 29 30.5 -1.5
3 Tom Brady 598 25 29.9 -4.9
4 Ben Roethlisberger 550 28 29.5 -1.5
5 Drew Brees 612 39 28.7 10.3
6 Andy Dalton 547 33 28.1 4.9
7 Matt Ryan 611 26 27.4 -1.4
8 Joe Flacco 583 19 27.2 -8.2
9 Carson Palmer 539 24 26.3 -2.3
10 Tony Romo 512 31 25.7 5.3
11 Philip Rivers 510 32 25.2 6.8
12 Andrew Luck 534 23 24.6 -1.6
13 Jay Cutler 331 19 22.3 -3.3
14 Eli Manning 516 18 20.2 -2.2
15 Alex D. Smith 473 23 20.1 2.9

Our first chart shows the Top 15 quarterbacks in terms of Passing OTD during the 2013 regular season.

In what should be a surprise to no man, Peyton Manning paces the league by a massive margin (8.4 to be exact). Manning tossed 50 passes into the confines of the end zone, which trailed only Matthew Stafford (51). Of course, Manning converted an NFL-best 26 of those throws, which was seven more than Stafford and one more than second-place Andy Dalton.

A glance at conversion rates on throws into the end zone is quite interesting. Among all quarterbacks with 20-plus tries in the category, Nick Foles had the most success with a rate of 64 percent (16-of-25). Colin Kaepernick (54 percent), Manning (52 percent), Mike Glennon (52 percent), and Dalton (50 percent) round out the Top 5.

On the other side of the coin we have the players who didn’t fare as well on end zone throws. Interestingly, Andrew Luck is dead last in the category. Luck completed only eight of his 34 tries (23.5 percent). Additional research will be required to determine if this is quarterback-, receiver-, or luck-dependent, but Luck did struggle in this area last year, as well. He was only slightly better at 28.2 percent (11-of-39). Rounding out the Bottom 5 are Matt McGloin (23.8 percent), Chad Henne (24.2 percent), Tom Brady (29.3 percent), and Geno Smith (30.4 percent).

One more random note here before I move on. Cam Newton somehow only completed five of 32 (15.6 percent) end-zone attempts in 2012. He improved by a massive margin to 15-of-31 (48.4 percent) in 2013.

Rk Passer Aimed TD  OTD  Diff
1 Peyton Manning 640 55 38.9 16.1
2 Nick Foles 291 27 16.2 10.8
3 Drew Brees 612 39 28.7 10.3
4 Philip Rivers 510 32 25.2 6.8
5 Russell Wilson 377 26 19.3 6.7
6 Ryan Tannehill 548 24 18.6 5.4
7 Tony Romo 512 31 25.7 5.3
8 Andy Dalton 547 33 28.1 4.9
9 Aaron Rodgers 261 17 12.7 4.3
10 Cam Newton 435 24 19.9 4.1

Our next chart shows the quarterbacks who exceeded their expected touchdown total (aka their OTD) by the largest margins.

Considering the efficiency of both Manning and Drew Brees, it’s no surprise to see them near the top. Foles had a big sophomore season, but considering that he attempted fewer than half the passes Manning or Brees did, it’s quite interesting to see him second on this list. We mentioned his outstanding production on end zone throws earlier, which really pushes him over the top. In addition, Foles attempted four passes to a receiver standing at the 1-yard line. Three were converted into scores. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Philadelphia offense trailed only Denver in offensive touchdowns, providing Foles with plenty of scoring opportunities.

Rk Passer Aimed TD  OTD  Diff
1 Joe Flacco 583 19 27.2 -8.2
2 Chad Henne 461 13 19.7 -6.7
3 Tom Brady 598 25 29.9 -4.9
4 Geno Smith 405 12 16.3 -4.3
5 Matthew McGloin 197 8 12.2 -4.2
6 Matt Schaub 330 10 14.1 -4.1
7 Jay Cutler 331 19 22.3 -3.3
8 Brandon Weeden 242 9 11.7 -2.7
9 Robert Griffin III 428 16 18.7 -2.7
10 Josh Freeman 139 2 4.6 -2.6

Finally, we have the quarterbacks with actual touchdown totals significantly below their expected marks.

Joe Flacco had a rough year and OTD shows some of why that is. The Ravens’ franchise player connected on only 14 of 38 (37 percent) end zone attempts. Even worse, he tossed 39 passes to receivers standing within 10 yards of the end zone. He completed only three (or 7.7 percent).

Rk Passer Aimed TD  OTD  Diff
1 Matthew Stafford 1907 90 101.2 -11.2
2 Tom Brady 1785 98 95.5 2.5
3 Drew Brees 1861 128 92.9 35.1
4 Matt Ryan 1733 87 84.3 2.7
5 Andy Dalton 1514 80 77.8 2.2
6 Ben Roethlisberger 1450 75 76.6 -1.6
7 Eli Manning 1568 73 76.0 -3.0
8 Joe Flacco 1591 61 75.9 -14.9
9 Tony Romo 1633 90 73.3 16.7
10 Philip Rivers 1517 85 72.9 12.1
11 Peyton Manning 1200 92 69.7 22.3
12 Aaron Rodgers 1255 101 68.4 32.6
13 Cam Newton 1370 64 64.8 -0.8
14 Carson Palmer 1386 59 60.5 -1.5
15 Ryan Fitzpatrick 1356 62 60.3 1.7

Our final chart doesn’t require much analysis. It’s the same as our first chart except that it includes the last three years of data. What’s really interesting is how well the top of the “Diff” (or +/-) column passes the eye test. Brees (+35.1), Aaron Rodgers (+32.6), and Peyton Manning (+22.3) are clearly three of the best in the business.

Possibly even more interesting are the names toward the bottom of the list. We have seemingly overrated players in Flacco (-14.9) and Stafford (-11.2), poor players in Chad Henne (-11.3), Blaine Gabbert (-8.9), and Brady Quinn (-5.3); and inconsistent producers in Andrew Luck (-7.2) and Jay Cutler (-5.5).

Examining the relevance of +/- will be a project for another day, but, at first glance, the data is very interesting.

In Part Three of my series, I’ll take a look at the most interesting of the three OTD categories: receiving.

Follow Mike Clay on Twitter: @MikeClayNFL

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