QB Pressure Profiles: NFC North

The QB Pressure Profiles series rolls on, stopping today for a look at the quarterbacks of the NFC North and one of the game's best pressure passers.

| 3 years ago
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QB Pressure Profiles: NFC North


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 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 North and how they fare under pressure. To see the Qbs covered previously, click here: AFC EastAFC NorthAFC South, AFC West, NFC East.

 

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Strength: RG, LT
Weakness: LG, RT

Cutler doesn’t really have any trends in his game, though his grades — both positive and negative — are fairly extreme. He’s among the worst in the league when pressured from left guard and right tackle, but he’s the league’s best when pressured from right guard and among the best when under heat from left tackle. Cutler has a chance to improve in all areas against pressure if he takes to new Head Coach Marc Trestman’s offensive system, which generally relies heavily on the running backs in the passing game.

PressureDropbackComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knockdown%PFF GradeQB Rating
ALL266760.13%172027.2109826.0%12.4%22.283.1
NP175064.11%124007.381500.0%0.0%43.989.6
P91750.50%48026.9283217.3%36.0%-21.767.1
LT13958.10%8037.64316.5%34.5%5.783.2
LG6848.15%2775.1148.8%26.5%-6.138.9
C2855.00%1467.30117.9%28.6%0.757.5
RG7156.60%4408.35211.3%26.8%9.399.6
RT16746.97%9627.33615.0%36.5%-9.660.2
TE3948.28%2879.91115.4%33.3%3.780.7
RB5744.44%3157.01119.3%24.6%-0.166.4
QB2620.00%282.80053.8%76.9%-11.239.6
MUL16348.18%6966.351028.2%46.0%-9.445.9
UNB15952.48%8486.0849.4%34.0%-4.778.0

 

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Strength: C
Weakness: Edge Pressure

Detroit heads into the 2013 season with unproven commodities at the tackle positions, which might not bode well for Stafford who struggles with pressure off both edges. Second-year OT Riley Reiff takes over for retired Jeff Backus at left tackle after grading at +2.6 on his 162 pass block attempts last season, while the right tackle position is up for grabs after OT Gosder Cherilus signed with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency. OT Corey Hilliard appears to be the favorite for the job, but he hasn’t played extensively since Week 3 in 2011. Protection all across the offensive line will be of utmost importance for Stafford whose numbers under pressure are the main culprit for his -10.2 career PFF grade.

PressureDropbackComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knockdown%PFF GradeQB Rating
ALL204959.92%132086.983564.3%11.2%-10.283.2
NP150865.07%107377.368390.0%0.0%21.990.9
P54142.02%24715.8151716.5%42.3%-32.156.4
LT10633.33%3083.54410.4%31.1%-6.840.8
LG5348.94%4609.8425.7%34.0%-0.994.3
C2933.33%1305.40110.3%27.6%1.235.1
RG6453.85%4117.90114.1%37.5%-1.471.9
RT8351.52%3936.03316.9%38.6%-6.366.0
TE1327.27%756.8007.7%61.5%-2.155.5
RB2027.78%894.90010.0%45.0%-0.947.7
QB1611.11%414.61037.5%68.8%-4.783.1
MUL7346.34%1874.60139.7%63.0%-7.349.5
UNB8440.85%3775.33513.1%47.6%-2.843.0

 

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Strength: Edge Pressure
Weakness: QB

It’s rather absurd how efficiently Rodgers handles pressure compared to the rest of the league, particularly when it comes off right tackle. His +23.8 grade is by far the highest of any quarterback when pressure comes from a particular position, and his +39.4 grade against all edge pressure might make defenses re-think how they attack the Packers’ signal-caller. He’s brought back down to Earth a bit when pressure comes from the interior, but it’s his holding onto the ball too long that’s been Rodgers’ most common undoing to this point in his career. He’s graded at -12.5 on plays where pressure is solely assigned to him, and he’s taken 29 sacks on such plays.

PressureDropbackComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knockdown%PFF GradeQB Rating
ALL332565.91%236828.2188506.6%12.7%210.7105.5
NP234670.94%191448.6157360.0%0.0%181.8113.6
P97949.02%45386.8311422.3%43.1%29.078.1
LT18351.28%8747.54123.5%42.1%15.783.8
LG7257.69%4498.60223.6%44.4%3.270.1
C4950.00%1786.40120.4%36.7%-0.755.4
RG6352.27%2946.70015.9%39.7%0.173.5
RT20360.93%13669.07313.3%31.5%23.897.7
TE1644.44%323.61031.3%50.0%0.891.0
RB3448.00%1937.74023.5%38.2%6.0113.8
QB4426.67%513.41065.9%79.5%-12.563.5
MUL13743.08%3164.96143.1%62.8%-7.782.6
UNB17837.11%7854.9865.6%36.0%0.454.6

 

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
Strength: LG
Weakness: Unblocked

Ponder is another quarterback who has to take better advantage of his opportunities in a clean pocket, as he’s only graded at -0.3 in such situations. He’s closing in on make-or-break status as the Vikings’ future as they continue to add more weapons to the passing game. It’s also odd that his reputation in the short passing game and his athleticism haven’t served him well against unblocked pressure, as he’s grading at -8.2.

PressureDropbackComp%YdsYds/AttTDINTSack%Knockdown%PFF GradeQB Rating
ALL89759.17%47886.231256.7%13.7%-24.377.1
NP60066.78%39336.926150.0%0.0%-0.391.0
P29738.46%8554.151020.2%41.4%-24.039.2
LT3143.48%1225.30316.1%32.3%-2.920.8
LG2945.00%1185.90113.8%48.3%0.243.3
C1214.29%101.40025.0%41.7%-1.539.6
RG3644.44%1294.81116.7%41.7%-0.155.9
RT3740.74%1094.01121.6%35.1%-2.249.8
TE50.00%00.0000.0%20.0%-0.739.6
RB2823.53%513.00021.4%28.6%2.739.6
QB1616.67%50.80250.0%81.3%-8.70.0
MUL3247.06%814.80143.8%59.4%-2.536.6
UNB7140.00%2303.8318.5%35.2%-8.261.1

 

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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.

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