QBs in Focus: Matthew Stafford

Detroit's Matthew Stafford is the latest target of Steve Palazzolo's "QBs in Focus" breakdowns.

| 3 years ago

QBs in Focus: Matthew Stafford

qb-month-staffordThough 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.


Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford (2)

Matthew Stafford (3)

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


•  Graded at +10.1 on third down
•  Showed well on 2nd-and-long (+5.4), 3rd-and-10+ (+4.0), and 3rd-and-short (+4.2).
•  Third-highest grade on passes in the 1-to-10-yard range (+10.3).
•  Graded at +3.0 on passes in the 31-to-40-yard range.
•  Third-highest grade on passes between the numbers at +16.3.
•  Fifth-highest grade in a clean pocket at +23.9.
•  Ranked second in non-blitz situations at +19.3.
•  Consistent across all drop-back types: 4-6 yards (+5.5), 7-8 yards (+7.0), 9 yards or more (+5.7).
•  Graded best in 2.6-to-3.0-second range (+6.4) and 3.1-to-3.5-second range (+5.4).
•  Second-highest grade when throwing to outside WR (by alignment) at +21.0.
•  Third-highest grade when throwing to slot WR (by alignment) at +12.9.
•  Among the league’s best when throwing to tight ends (all alignments) at +7.3.
•  Showed well on outs (+6.4), ins (+6.8), hitches (+6.0), and post routes (+8.5).


•  Graded at -2.8 on passes thrown at least 20 yards in the air and -3.2 on passes thrown at least 40 yards.
•  Graded at -4.3 when pressured, including -6.3 against blitz pressure.
•  Graded at -3.7 when pressure came in two seconds or less and -2.0 on pressure that came in after 3.6 seconds.
•  Worst routes were quick outs (-0.2) and comebacks (-0.4).


•  Fifth-highest percentage of drop-backs from the shotgun or pistol at 85.5%.
•  Faced pressure on only 28.9% of drop-backs, fourth-lowest in the league.
•  Blitzed only 25.1% of the time, fifth-lowest percentage in the league and faced third-down blitzes only 27.7% of the time, third-lowest in the league.
•  Highest percentage of throws between the numbers at 61.7%.
•  Above the league average with 30.1% of drop-backs ending in two seconds or less and third-highest percentage in the 2.1-to-2.5-second range at 31.6%. Only 9.3% of drop-backs lasted at least 3.6 seconds, fourth-lowest in the league.
•  23.7% of passes went to running backs, above the league average of 19.6%. 3.9% of passes went to running backs in the slot, third-highest percentage in the league.
•  Threw, by far, the highest percentage of slants at 13.9%, fourth-highest percentage of post routes at 9.2%, and the fifth-highest percentage of in routes at 8.1%.
•  Threw the second lowest percentage of out routes at 5.9% and the fifth-lowest percentage of hitches at 11.1%.


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.

  • Jason Pevitt

    Any chance we could see the splits from first half vs second half of the year?

  • Kirt Alan Stevens

    Definitely two different seasons! 1st half and 2nd half. Would be cool to see how statistically different the two halves were last year.

  • nathan detroit

    guess I am not that much of a stats guy…is there a glossary to explain the column headers?