QB Pressure Profiles: NFC East

The NFC East's quarterbacks are next up in Steve Palazzolo's QB-by-QB look at performance under pressure.

| 4 years ago

QB Pressure Profiles: NFC East

We’re back at it again with a deep dive into the PFF Database as we continue to reveal a plethora of numbers regarding pressure and its effect on the quarterback. To recap, in the last few months we’ve looked at pressure’s impact on the passer from different angles and from that data, drew the conclusion that the left tackle might be overrated. From there, we broke it down by quarterback and revealed the league’s best and worst when pressure comes from different places. Now it’s time to take the next step and look at “pressure profiles” for every quarterback in the league.

As always, sample size caveats apply in some cases, but the numbers draw from our five years of data going back to 2008. There are certainly trends for some quarterbacks, while others are a bit more scattershot in their performance when pressure comes from different angles.

When looking at the numbers, keep in mind that the PFF Grade is the best indicator of a player’s performance, as we isolate the quarterback’s impact on every single play. If he throws a wide receiver screen that goes for an 80-yard touchdown, the numbers will look pretty, but the QB is credited with the same grade he would earn if it was stopped for no gain. Similarly, a perfectly thrown pass that should be a first down but is dropped and intercepted will likely earn a positive grade despite the ugly INT in the stats. All of the stats are nice to get some perspective, but PFF Grade always trumps as more reliable.

With that said, let’s take a look at the quarterbacks from the NFC East and how they fare under pressure. (You can check out the previous stops here: AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West)

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Strength: LT
Weakness: Interior Pressure

It may be surprising to see  Romo near the bottom of the list of quarterbacks when pressured, but that’s where he finds himself and he’s particularly poor when pressure comes from the interior. He’s not nearly as bad against tackle pressure, and his +0.3 grade when it comes from left tackle is his only positive among the offensive line positions. Romo is one of the league’s best when given time to throw, but the numbers don’t back up his public perception as a playmaker under pressure.

PressureDrop-backsComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knock-down%PFF GradeQB Rating


Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Strength: LG
Weakness: LT, C, RT

Another quarterback whose blindside and front side protection are of equal importance. Vick struggles when pressure comes off either tackle and, like most quarterbacks, he struggles when it comes through the center as well. The Eagles invested in first-round OT Lane Johnson who is projected to start at right tackle and if he lives up to the hype, they’ll have solid bookends with the return of LT Jason Peters. Interestingly enough, Vick’s best work comes when pressure comes through left guard, but Evan Mathis’ strong pass protection makes that a rare sight.

PressureDrop-backsComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knock-down%PFF GradeQB Rating


Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Strength: Interior Pressure
Weakness: Edge Pressure

Foles shows more of a trend in his pressure numbers, though he has only 292 drop-backs in his short career. To this point, he’s shown well against interior pressure and posted negatives when under heat through the tackles. Perhaps even more importantly, Foles didn’t take full advantage of his opportunities in a clean pocket where he graded at only -0.9.

PressureDrop-backsComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knock-down%PFF GradeQB Rating


Eli Manning, New York Giants

Strength: Left side pressure
Weakness: Middle, right side pressure

Perhaps the poster child for the exaggerated importance of left tackle, Manning excels when pressured from the “blindside” but things take a turn for the worse when he faces it from right tackle. No quarterback shows as drastic a difference in performance in this area and it certainly flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Manning’s trends go beyond just the tackles as he grades positive against left guard pressure while pulling a negative when it comes through center and right guard. Right side pressure is the way to get to Manning.

PressureDrop-backsComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knock-down%PFF GradeQB Rating


Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Strength: C, RG
Weakness: RT

As was the case with some of the other rookie signal callers, Griffin showed veteran poise when pressured and was one of the few quarterbacks to grade positively in such situations. Though he faced only 14 pressures through center and right guard, he posted a near-perfect QB Rating and  a +5.4 PFF Grade. His most glaring weakness came through right tackle where, coincidentally, the Redskins’ biggest offensive line weakness also resided in Tyler Polumbus. Griffin faced 33 pressures through right tackle, compared to 41 from all other line positions, and posted a -2.0 grade and QB Rating of 28.5.

PressureDrop-backsComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knock-down%PFF GradeQB Rating


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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Nathan

    Romo has more interior pressure then about any qb in the league. And interior pressure is the hardest to deal with because its quick and the qb can’t step up in the pocket. All when qb know when there is a glaring weakness in the online then it creates more pressure for the qb. That’s why Tom Brady see’s “ghosts”. Cowboys online has been atrocious and any qb would struggle with the pressure and especially the unique interior pressure the cowboys allow.

    • Steve Palazzolo

      Romo faces less interior pressure on a per-snap basis than every QB on this list other than RG3.

      • Guest

        I would think that would have a lot to with the fact we had a solid interior line the first few years of this study. The last few years our interior has been less consistent. Would like to know the stats on that the past say two years

  • Kevin Ganaway

    The numbers are faulty…You have to look at the quality of the blockers…if they were all playing behind the same OL then this might have some validity. Manning, for instance had quality play on the left side for years including All Pro Chris Snee at LG but had a unrtestricted FA on th right side at tackle and when he went down an injured 14 year old vet taking his place.

    • Steve Palazzolo

      The point of the article is to show how each QB fares when pressured from certain points, not necessarily how often. Aaron Rodgers has faced more pressure than anyone from right tackle and he has been exceptional in those instances.

    • Bob

      or it could be that Eli and Romo can’t handle “In their face” pressure, but if the pressure is off on their blindside, they’re oblivious to it and can just slice and dice.

    • Dude

      Chris Snee has been at RG for every snap he’s taken in his NFL career.

    • JR

      LOL. Snee has never been a LG. He’s been a RG for every snap. Also, David Diehl was a LT or LG for some of those years and he was horrible at both.

  • Jonathan Kowarski

    I’m seeing a trend and I was wondering if there is any validity to it. It seems like quarterbacks perform systematically better when pressure is allowed by better lineman. It makes me wonder whether all pressures are equal or not, or whether pressures allowed by Evan Mathis are less of a problem than pressure allowed by lets say Ramon Harewood.

    • LG

      Of course they’re not all the same, let alone the fact that it’s very subjective whether it was even a “pressure” at all. PFF manages to take what little objective stats there are and “subjectify” the crap out of them. It’s not even the same rater from one team/game to the next.
      In addition, PFF loves them some Manning.