QBs in Focus: Intermediate Passing

Moving on to the intermediate pass range, Steve Palazzolo breaks down the 2014 QBs.

| 2 years ago

QBs in Focus: Intermediate Passing

QBs-in-focus-intWe had some fun last summer breaking down quarterback play from every angle, so we’ve decided to dig into the database again to review the 2014 season. One of the beauties of collecting data on every play of the season is the ability to then isolate each player’s strengths and weaknesses. This series will take a look at how quarterbacks performed in various situations, looking beyond just the overall grades that are posted on the site.

As always with PFF grades, it’s important to remember that we are isolating the quarterback’s role in the play from everyone else. We are evaluating the decision making and the throw, not necessarily the result. A great pass that gets dropped by a receiver receives the same credit it would have if the pass was caught, while an ill-advised pass into coverage that is dropped by a linebacker is downgraded as if it was intercepted. It’s important to remember this distinction when diving into the grades.

Following our previous look at short passing, here’s how quarterbacks fared in the intermediate passing game in 2014.

*Minimum 200 drop-backs to qualify
*Playoffs Included
*All grades are normalized so that the NFL average is 0 for each category.

QB 1120 pct

– No QB threw a lower percentage of intermediate passes than Robert Griffin III at 12.2%, though teammate Kirk Cousins was right around league average at 21.9%.

– Both Rams quarterbacks, Shaun Hill and Austin Davis, came in right behind Griffin.

– We saw Drew Stanton near the bottom of the list of short passing throwers as a percentage, but he led the league with 29% of his throws at the intermediate level.

QB 1120 grade

– Despite the “early demise” concerns about Drew Brees, he still dominated the intermediate range in 2014.

– Alex Smith threw the sixth-fewest passes in the intermediate passes (18.7%), but showed well in that range.

– Eli Manning showed well in the 11-20 yard range in the Giants’ new offense.

– After his strong showing in relief in 2013, Josh McCown really struggled in the intermediate range last season.


Follow Steve on Twitter: @PFF_Steve



| Senior Analyst

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

  • Learn some Football

    PFF: Where a bunch of Europeans try to (and fail) break down football. This ain’t soccer folks.

    • Steve Palazzolo

      Not exactly

    • Chris


  • LightsOut85

    Just to check – these %s are based on total *aimed* passes, correct?

    • Steve Palazzolo

      Yes, percentage of targeted passes.

  • Jack

    Fair to say Peyton is done? He is in the red for both short and intermediate passes and that is his bread and butter at this stage of his career.

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    • Sam Doohan

      That remains to be seen really. These are numbers averaged across the whole seasons including the playoffs and last season really did have two pretty distinct halves for him. Early in the season he seemed to be his old self and then he fell into a horrible slump where he looked really below average. Maybe that was age or maybe that was an injury (depending who you ask) but just seeing that he was below average on the whole season doesn’t really tell you anything about next season. Something definitely changed for him, and we won’t know until next season if it’s permanent or fixable or what.

  • Steven Macks

    Is it improper to sum these grades against different categories? For instance, if Brees is +19.7 from 11-20 and +2.0 from 21-30, is he then +21.7 from 11-30?

  • Dave T

    Are the totals from short, intermediate and long supposed to add up to 100%? Because for Aaron Rodgers it only comes to 88.5%? I’m looking to use this to demonstrate to my flag QBs that the best QB’s get the ball into the hands of their receivers, and don’t just pump it downfield, and making sure I understand/get the stats right would make my case better!