QBs in Focus: Geno Smith

Another AFC East rookie gets the "QBs in Focus" treatment from Steve Palazzolo.

| 3 years ago

QBs in Focus: Geno Smith

qb-month-smithThough 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.

After taking a look at the entire league in various situations, it’s time to break down each quarterback individually.

Geno Smith

Geno Smith

Geno Smith (2)

Geno Smith (3)

All categories with a * are normalized so that the league average is 0.0.


•  Among the league’s best on third down at +7.8, including an impressive +6.4 grade against third down blitzes.
•  Graded at +3.8 on passes in the 21-to-30-yard range.
•  Showed well on drop-backs of at 9 more more yards (+1.5).
•  Graded at +7.3 on drop-backs lasting at least 3.6 seconds.
•  Graded at +5.9 on passes thrown to tight ends.
•  Showed well on out routes (+4.6), hitches (+3.5), and corner routes (+3.9).


•  Struggled on first down at -13.7 and second down at -9.1.
•  Graded at -14.4 on passes thrown in the 1-10-yard range.
•  Graded at -11.3 on passes thrown in between the numbers.
•  Posted a -16.4 grade when pressured.
•  Struggled on drop-backs in the 7-to-8-yard range (-13.6).
•  Graded at -9.3 on passes lasting two seconds or less and -9.8 on passes lasting 2.1 to 2.5 seconds.
•  Struggled when throwing to outside wide receivers (by alignment) at -8.7.
•  Graded at -7.6 on in routes and -1.7 on post routes.


•  Used the shotgun or pistol 83.0% of the time; eighth-highest in the league.
•  8.9% of drop-backs were designed rollouts; fifth-highest in the league.
•  Broke the pocket on 9.3% of drop-backs; also fifth-highest in the league.
•  Threw the highest percentage of passes in the 21-to-30-yard range at 10.9% of attempts.
•  Faced pressure on 42.0% of drop-backs; fifth-highest in the league.
•  On 5.2% of drop-backs, pressure got home in the 3.1-to-3.5-second range; second-highest in the league.
•  Faced blitzes on 42.9% of drop-backs; highest in the league. Also ranked second facing 52.9% blitzes on third downs.
•  Only 18.2% of drop-backs lasted two seconds or less; fourth-lowest in the league.
•  24.2% of drop-backs lasted at least 3.6 seconds; fifth-highest in the league.


For the entire set of “Quarterbacks in Focus” posts, click here.


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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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.willie.509 Joe Willie

    the easy passes the kid had problems with–more playmakers and another yrs experience could rectify that. Geno is a hardworking, good kid with talent and smarts–a breath of fresh air after mark “Glee” sanchez. Geno will throw for 30 tds this yr.

  • Steven Windeler

    Look at the ratings for the WRs, TEs, and RBs he was throwing to. Impossible to separate them. This year will be a breakout year. Also only the 2nd year for the team in the WCO so it’s not like anyone was there to help this kid out.