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» Four Downs: NFC South

Our offseason Four Downs series continues with a division-by-division look at each team's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. Does anyone in the NFC South have any pass rushers? Well, the Bucs might, but they still need more players to catch the ball.

07 May 2015

2014 Incomplete Pass Breakdown: Passers

by Scott Kacsmar

The 2014 NFL season was another historic year for passers. The league-wide completion rate climbed to 62.6 percent, breaking the previous record of 61.2 percent set in 2013. That's the largest percentage increase to break the record since year three of the "Blount Rule" took place in 1980. Not only did the ball hit the ground at a record-low rate, but last year's defenders intercepted a record-low 2.52 percent of passes thrown.

Vincent Verhei recently looked at adjusted interceptions, but today we are looking at all types of incompletions for passers from the 2014 regular season. The only types of plays we are setting aside are laterals and spikes. If you were curious, Ben Roethlisberger had a league-high nine of the season's 72 spikes, and yes, most were probably ill-advised decisions. Spike efficiency may be a topic for another day.

Thanks to our game charting and data from ESPN Stats & Information, we have a category for every incomplete pass. For instance, we know there were 33 intentional grounding penalties last year, with one declined and two negated for offsetting penalties. Listing these would make for a pretty dull table, since no quarterback had more than two grounding penalties.

That is why for the purposes of this study we will be combining as many incompletion categories as possible. For this column, those intentional grounding plays are counted as throwaways by the quarterback. This is why the data presented here may differ slightly from what we publish in the future in places like Football Outsiders Almanac 2015.

For another example, this year we tracked Dropped/Defensed plays, which are drops by a receiver caused by a defender's contact. The best example of this type of play is what Sterling Moore did to Lee Evans in the 2011 AFC Championship Game. For this study, we merged these drops in with regular drops. One Dropped/Defensed play turned into a completion from Derek Carr to guard Gabe Jackson after Marcel Reece lost control of the ball on a big hit. While Reece should get a drop there, we are just looking at this as a (crazy) completion in this article.

There were 14 passes that were tipped at the line, but still caught by the offense in 2014. Alex Smith even gained a touchdown on such a play to Anthony Fasano against the Jets. The defender gets credit for the tip, but we are just marking these plays as completions for this particular study.

To save space, there are a few categories that won't be included in tables here.

Hail Mary: In an obvious Hail Mary situation, why focus on a quarterback's accuracy when he's really just throwing into a mass of humanity? We charted 14 such incompletions and only Cam Newton (two) had multiple plays.

Release slipped: These are rare and awkward plays. Sometimes the quarterback just loses his grip on the ball and it comes out funny. These plays fall somewhere visually between accidental spike and intentional grounding. There were only three of them last season with Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson the guilty parties. So it's not something that just happens to bad players.

Tipped by teammate: Another rare play, this is when a pass hits a teammate who was not the intended receiver. This could be a quarterback hitting his lineman with a pass on accident. This only happened seven times last year to seven different passers.

All tables presented here only rank the 36 quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts in 2014. Generally, the rankings are from best (first) to worst (36th) for each category. A high drop rate is still a positive for a quarterback, because it means he's hitting his mark. A high rate of overthrown passes is not a good thing.

Overthrows & Underthrows

While it's true that a receiver can always adjust to and catch a poorly thrown ball (for evidence of this, watch any Terry Bradshaw highlight reel), that is not the norm in the NFL. Everything tabulated here for overthrown and underthrown passes relates only to incompletions. We combine the two totals together to calculate a "Bad Pass" percentage.

Quarterback Passes Overthrown Pct. Rk Underthrown Pct. Rk Bad Throw Pct. Rk
Drew Brees 653 44 6.7% 2 25 3.8% 3 69 10.6% 1
Robert Griffin 214 14 6.5% 1 12 5.6% 20 26 12.1% 2
Matt Ryan 623 63 10.1% 7 27 4.3% 8 90 14.4% 3
Ryan Tannehill 589 70 11.9% 18 16 2.7% 1 86 14.6% 4
Ryan Fitzpatrick 311 30 9.6% 6 16 5.1% 15 46 14.8% 5
Tony Romo 434 48 11.1% 11 17 3.9% 5 65 15.0% 6
Jay Cutler 561 53 9.4% 5 32 5.7% 21 85 15.2% 7
Alex Smith 464 36 7.8% 3 35 7.5% 31 71 15.3% 8
Andrew Luck 616 73 11.9% 16 24 3.9% 4 97 15.7% 9
Aaron Rodgers 520 47 9.0% 4 36 6.9% 28 83 16.0% 10
Philip Rivers 569 63 11.1% 12 28 4.9% 13 91 16.0% 11
Ben Roethlisberger 599 62 10.4% 8 35 5.8% 23 97 16.2% 12
Derek Carr 593 65 11.0% 9 32 5.4% 18 97 16.4% 13
Teddy Bridgewater 397 55 13.9% 30 11 2.8% 2 66 16.6% 14
Russell Wilson 451 54 12.0% 19 21 4.7% 10 75 16.6% 15
Eli Manning 600 71 11.8% 15 31 5.2% 16 102 17.0% 16
Andy Dalton 481 64 13.3% 27 20 4.2% 7 84 17.5% 17
Geno Smith 366 47 12.8% 23 18 4.9% 12 65 17.8% 18
Quarterback Passes Overthrown Pct. Rk Underthrown Pct. Rk Bad Throw Pct. Rk
Mike Glennon 202 24 11.9% 17 13 6.4% 25 37 18.3% 19
Shaun Hill 229 30 13.1% 25 12 5.2% 17 42 18.3% 20
Tom Brady 582 64 11.0% 10 43 7.4% 30 107 18.4% 21
Mark Sanchez 309 42 13.6% 28 15 4.9% 11 57 18.4% 22
Peyton Manning 595 76 12.8% 22 35 5.9% 24 111 18.7% 23
Carson Palmer 224 29 12.9% 24 13 5.8% 22 42 18.8% 24
Austin Davis 282 39 13.8% 29 14 5.0% 14 53 18.8% 25
Kyle Orton 445 50 11.2% 13 36 8.1% 33 86 19.3% 26
Joe Flacco 548 72 13.1% 26 36 6.6% 27 108 19.7% 27
Matthew Stafford 599 74 12.4% 21 46 7.7% 32 120 20.0% 28
Josh McCown 323 48 14.9% 33 18 5.6% 19 66 20.4% 29
Drew Stanton 240 29 12.1% 20 21 8.8% 34 50 20.8% 30
Nick Foles 310 45 14.5% 31 20 6.5% 26 65 21.0% 31
Cam Newton 446 76 17.0% 36 18 4.0% 6 94 21.1% 32
Colin Kaepernick 478 80 16.7% 35 22 4.6% 9 102 21.3% 33
Blake Bortles 474 69 14.6% 32 33 7.0% 29 102 21.5% 34
Kirk Cousins 204 24 11.8% 14 21 10.3% 36 45 22.1% 35
Brian Hoyer 437 65 14.9% 34 42 9.6% 35 107 24.5% 36
NFL AVG - - 12.2% - - 5.8% - - 18.0% -

New Orleans may have drafted his successor, but Drew Brees was pretty damn accurate last season, with the second-lowest rate of overthrows and third-lowest rate of underthrows. Matt Ryan was the only other quarterback to rank in the top 10 in both categories. Brees' "demise" has been a topic of interest at Football Outsiders, because the numbers continue to show he was still very good last season. He just made some very costly mistakes in high-leverage situations that cost the Saints dearly. Those always tend to stand out more even with a high volume of quality plays.

Robert Griffin did not seem to make many good plays last season, but throwing accurate passes was not his problem. He averaged 7.9 yards per attempt and completed 68.7 percent of his passes. The problems were that a third of his completions were unsuccessful plays, and he struggled with sacks and turnovers behind a bad offensive line.

Playing in an offense similar to Griffin's in his rookie year, Brian Hoyer had the highest Bad Throw rate at 24.5 percent. He was really the anti-Brees: third-worst in overthrow rate, second-worst in underthrow rate. His reliance on deception to generate big plays was exposed as the season wore on and film and injuries accumulated. Kirk Cousins was next in line in Washington thanks to his league-high rate of underthrown passes. Guess it's pretty hard to overthrow DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Note that Griffin had the lowest rate of overthrown passes and Colt McCoy (not featured) similarly had a 6.3 percent overthrow rate.

Things are a little different when the receivers are big and slower and the quarterback is not very accurate. Cam Newton overthrew 17 percent of his passes, the highest rate in the league. Some may cite the injuries he suffered last season for this, but a healthier Newton in 2013 was at 15 percent overthrows -- which would have been the third-highest rate in 2014. Carolina added another big target in the draft with Devin Funchess, but that might not be the type of receiver Newton needs more of with Kelvin Benjamin already there.

Just based on this one season of data, there was very little correlation -- less than 0.100 -- between overthrow and underthrow rates. Should there really be something stronger (and inverse) there? If we're being honest, it makes a ton of sense that Alex Smith rarely overthrew receivers but was one of the leaders in underthrows. However, someone like Ryan Tannehill, who had the lowest underthrow rate, was dead average in overthrows last year. One theory is that some quarterbacks tend to miss in one manner far more often than the other, but we need some more seasons to test that better or find those players. Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and Teddy Bridgewater all overthrew the ball at least 10 percent more often than they underthrew it. The overthrows have been a common criticism of Bridgewater in his young career, and the other two passers have been known for letting the ball rip as well. Maybe adding players like Mike Wallace (Vikings) and Torrey Smith (49ers) can help in that department in 2015.

A Bit of the Randomness

The following table has four categories of incompletions that are not very frequent, but we chart them and need to share this data somewhere.

Quarterback Passes Hit in Motion MISCOMM OOB RECTRP
Josh McCown 323 12 4 2 1
Drew Brees 653 8 1 0 2
Mike Glennon 202 7 1 4 1
Matt Ryan 623 6 1 2 2
Andrew Luck 616 6 5 1 2
Tom Brady 582 6 12 0 1
Joe Flacco 548 6 5 2 5
Matthew Stafford 599 6 8 0 1
Nick Foles 310 6 3 0 0
Ryan Fitzpatrick 311 5 4 2 2
Ben Roethlisberger 599 5 8 3 0
Derek Carr 593 5 14 2 2
Austin Davis 282 5 0 0 1
Jay Cutler 561 4 3 4 1
Alex Smith 464 4 4 2 2
Philip Rivers 569 4 8 0 1
Eli Manning 600 4 7 4 1
Andy Dalton 481 4 2 1 2
Quarterback Passes Hit in Motion MISCOMM OOB RECTRP
Shaun Hill 229 4 3 1 0
Blake Bortles 474 4 2 0 1
Ryan Tannehill 589 3 1 2 2
Teddy Bridgewater 397 3 0 3 2
Geno Smith 366 3 0 0 1
Kyle Orton 445 3 5 1 2
Drew Stanton 240 3 2 1 0
Cam Newton 446 3 3 4 0
Brian Hoyer 437 3 5 1 0
Aaron Rodgers 520 2 10 3 2
Russell Wilson 451 2 2 1 1
Robert Griffin 214 1 1 1 0
Tony Romo 434 1 6 1 2
Mark Sanchez 309 1 4 1 1
Carson Palmer 224 1 3 0 0
Colin Kaepernick 478 1 3 1 1
Kirk Cousins 204 1 0 0 1
Peyton Manning 595 0 4 1 2

Hit in Motion: This is when the quarterback is hit during his throwing motion. Any hit after the ball was released does not count. This is the terrifying stat for Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston fans, because last year's two Buccaneers quarterbacks had 19 of these plays on 525 passes. Notice that Peyton Manning did not have a single one, and even Washington only allowed three with Cousins and Griffin behind center. Tampa Bay's offensive line truly was horrible, but hopefully a few draft picks will change that.

Miscommunication (MISCOMM): Obviously a very subjective call, we try to note when there was confusion between the quarterback and his receiver. These plays can be deadly since they could result in easy interceptions when someone runs a route completely different from where the quarterback was throwing. So it might make sense that rookie Derek Carr had a league-high 14 of these plays with his insignificant receiving corps, but how do you explain Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers as the other quarterbacks in double digits? How do you explain rookie Blake Bortles and the youngest offense in the league having two such plays? It's just a bunch of "my bad" randomness.

Out of Bounds (OOB): When a receiver catches a ball out of bounds, we add it to this category. Sometimes the throw could be fine, but the receiver fails to get his second foot in bounds. Sometimes the throw led the receiver out of bounds, so it's more on the quarterback. That's why this is grouped together with miscommunication, because there is likely some shared blame to be had on these plays. No one had more than four of these plays last year.

Receiver Tripped (RECTRP): Sometimes the receiver just falls on his route and the quarterback has to hope the pass is not intercepted. Sometimes you play on a crappy field and this may be more likely to occur. Joe Flacco had five of these incompletions last year (10 percent of the league total) while no one else had more than two. For the record, none of Baltimore's "receiver tripped" plays happened at Heinz Field.

Throwaways

Out of all the categories of incompletions, I would expect the rate of intentional throwaways to show some of the highest year-to-year correlation. This is part of defining a quarterback's playing style. How often does he want to take a risk?

Rk Quarterback Passes Throwaway Pct.
1 Russell Wilson 451 36 8.0%
2 Geno Smith 366 24 6.6%
3 Robert Griffin 214 11 5.1%
4 Philip Rivers 569 25 4.4%
5 Colin Kaepernick 478 21 4.4%
6 Shaun Hill 229 10 4.4%
7 Eli Manning 600 26 4.3%
8 Austin Davis 282 11 3.9%
9 Derek Carr 593 23 3.9%
10 Nick Foles 310 12 3.9%
11 Matthew Stafford 599 22 3.7%
12 Alex Smith 464 17 3.7%
13 Carson Palmer 224 8 3.6%
14 Andrew Luck 616 22 3.6%
15 Teddy Bridgewater 397 14 3.5%
16 Andy Dalton 481 16 3.3%
17 Aaron Rodgers 520 17 3.3%
18 Joe Flacco 548 17 3.1%
Rk Quarterback Passes Throwaway Pct.
19 Josh McCown 323 10 3.1%
20 Drew Brees 653 20 3.1%
21 Ryan Tannehill 589 18 3.1%
22 Mike Glennon 202 6 3.0%
23 Tom Brady 582 17 2.9%
24 Kyle Orton 445 12 2.7%
25 Tony Romo 434 11 2.5%
26 Matt Ryan 623 14 2.2%
27 Kirk Cousins 204 4 2.0%
28 Cam Newton 446 8 1.8%
29 Jay Cutler 561 10 1.8%
30 Mark Sanchez 309 5 1.6%
31 Ryan Fitzpatrick 311 5 1.6%
32 Brian Hoyer 437 7 1.6%
33 Blake Bortles 474 7 1.5%
34 Drew Stanton 240 3 1.3%
35 Ben Roethlisberger 599 5 0.8%
36 Peyton Manning 595 4 0.7%

Russell Wilson had four times as many throwaways as Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning combined. That might be a little surprising for Wilson, but he has led the league in scrambles three years in a row. He plays out of the pocket as much as any quarterback in the NFL. Based on my own past research, the bottom makes sense. Roethlisberger hates to give up on a play and Manning always thinks he can find a receiver to target without taking a sack or running. We also see Philip Rivers waddle his way to the fourth-highest rate of throwaways, which is something he commonly does with as little athleticism as possible.

Batted Down & Defensed

The next grouping focuses on plays where the defense gets a hand on the football. "Batted" is for passes batted at the line of scrimmage, while "defensed" plays happen anywhere else on the field. This is a very gray area for the blame game. Sometimes the pass gets batted at the line because the lineman doesn't block his assignment properly. Some passes are defensed because the receiver lost the one-on-one battle, but other times the quarterback throws a poor pass that should have been picked off.

Quarterback Passes Batted Pct. Rk Defensed Pct. Rk
Shaun Hill 229 6 2.6% 30 8 3.5% 1
Alex Smith 464 16 3.4% 35 17 3.7% 2
Tom Brady 582 11 1.9% 20 22 3.8% 3
Russell Wilson 451 9 2.0% 22 23 5.1% 4
Joe Flacco 548 8 1.5% 14 29 5.3% 5
Kyle Orton 445 5 1.1% 8 25 5.6% 6
Geno Smith 366 11 3.0% 33 22 6.0% 7
Aaron Rodgers 520 6 1.2% 9 32 6.2% 8
Ben Roethlisberger 599 10 1.7% 17 37 6.2% 9
Ryan Tannehill 589 19 3.2% 34 37 6.3% 10
Tony Romo 434 4 0.9% 5 28 6.5% 11
Teddy Bridgewater 397 8 2.0% 23 26 6.5% 12
Andy Dalton 481 10 2.1% 24 32 6.7% 13
Colin Kaepernick 478 6 1.3% 11 32 6.7% 14
Carson Palmer 224 3 1.3% 12 15 6.7% 15
Austin Davis 282 3 1.1% 7 19 6.7% 16
Kirk Cousins 204 4 2.0% 21 14 6.9% 17
Robert Griffin 214 4 1.9% 19 15 7.0% 18
Quarterback Passes Batted Pct. Rk Defensed Pct. Rk
Philip Rivers 569 5 0.9% 4 40 7.0% 19
Eli Manning 600 6 1.0% 6 43 7.2% 20
Peyton Manning 595 10 1.7% 18 44 7.4% 21
Jay Cutler 561 14 2.5% 28 42 7.5% 22
Blake Bortles 474 18 3.8% 36 36 7.6% 23
Mark Sanchez 309 2 0.6% 3 24 7.8% 24
Matthew Stafford 599 9 1.5% 15 47 7.8% 25
Brian Hoyer 437 12 2.7% 31 36 8.2% 26
Drew Brees 653 15 2.3% 26 54 8.3% 27
Andrew Luck 616 13 2.1% 25 51 8.3% 28
Josh McCown 323 4 1.2% 10 27 8.4% 29
Mike Glennon 202 1 0.5% 2 17 8.4% 30
Ryan Fitzpatrick 311 8 2.6% 29 27 8.7% 31
Nick Foles 310 0 0.0% 1 28 9.0% 32
Derek Carr 593 14 2.4% 27 54 9.1% 33
Matt Ryan 623 9 1.4% 13 61 9.8% 34
Cam Newton 446 7 1.6% 16 44 9.9% 35
Drew Stanton 240 7 2.9% 32 31 12.9% 36

There's a great study to be done if someone wants to look at height versus batted pass rate. If we don't get around to it, I'm sure someone else will. Nick Foles was the only primary quarterback not to have a pass batted at the line last year, but Mike "El Gigante" Glennon had the second-lowest rate. Mark Sanchez was third, which suggests Chip Kelly's flyswatter techniques are working in practice as he doesn't believe height is a factor in batted balls. Rookie Blake Bortles had the highest rate of batted passes behind an overwhelmed Jacksonville offensive line.

Even as the founding member of the Shaun Hill fan club, I'm not sure what we really learn from his league-low rate of defensed passes. Is this really the "put the ball in play with some risk" stat it sounds like, or do we need to break defensed down into more categories? Perhaps we could say passes were defensed because they were underthrown (PD/Underthrown) or overthrown (PD/Overthrown). We actually have some entries like that in the main charting file, but categories were simplified for this study.

We see some of the quarterbacks associated with a safe "dink and dunk" approach near the top here like Alex Smith, Tom Brady, and Kyle Orton. Then we see some gunslingers like Geno Smith and Joe Flacco right there with them. One thing is certain: once you get to the Manning brothers, you start to see a steady stream of quarterbacks known for taking chances with the ball. Based on our interception study, it's no surprise to see the lucky Drew Stanton as the only quarterback above 10 percent defensed.

Looking at which receivers most often get involved in defensed plays may help clear this up tomorrow.

The Drops

Drops would be (should be?) an official NFL stat if they weren't so damn subjective. As a charter, I like to use the standard of getting two hands on the ball for a catch. If a guy makes a one-handed stab at a pass, that's not a drop. We came up with 791 drops for the 2014 season, but I'm sure you could hand this project over to any other group and they would find different results. That is why drops will continue to be an unofficial stat.

This table displays the number of Dropped/Defensed plays, and the drop rate is based on total drops.

Quarterback Passes Drops DROP/DEF Pct. Rk
Andrew Luck 616 38 7 6.2% 1
Alex Smith 464 28 0 6.0% 2
Tom Brady 582 32 4 5.5% 3
Brian Hoyer 437 24 7 5.5% 4
Geno Smith 366 20 2 5.5% 5
Derek Carr 593 32 5 5.4% 6
Mike Glennon 202 10 2 5.0% 7
Ryan Tannehill 589 29 3 4.9% 8
Carson Palmer 224 11 1 4.9% 9
Mark Sanchez 309 15 1 4.9% 10
Blake Bortles 474 23 2 4.9% 11
Eli Manning 600 28 4 4.7% 12
Jay Cutler 561 26 2 4.6% 13
Drew Stanton 240 11 2 4.6% 14
Ryan Fitzpatrick 311 14 0 4.5% 15
Aaron Rodgers 520 23 4 4.4% 16
Colin Kaepernick 478 21 2 4.4% 17
Joe Flacco 548 24 2 4.4% 18
Quarterback Passes Drops DROP/DEF Pct. Rk
Andy Dalton 481 21 4 4.4% 19
Drew Brees 653 28 5 4.3% 20
Kyle Orton 445 19 1 4.3% 21
Cam Newton 446 19 2 4.3% 22
Ben Roethlisberger 599 25 2 4.2% 23
Peyton Manning 595 24 3 4.0% 24
Josh McCown 323 13 3 4.0% 25
Shaun Hill 229 9 0 3.9% 26
Kirk Cousins 204 8 1 3.9% 27
Matthew Stafford 599 23 3 3.8% 28
Teddy Bridgewater 397 15 1 3.8% 29
Robert Griffin 214 8 1 3.7% 30
Russell Wilson 451 16 0 3.5% 31
Austin Davis 282 10 1 3.5% 32
Matt Ryan 623 21 0 3.4% 33
Nick Foles 310 9 1 2.9% 34
Philip Rivers 569 16 1 2.8% 35
Tony Romo 434 12 1 2.8% 36

Andrew Luck and Brian Hoyer had the most Dropped/Defensed plays with seven each. Luck had the most total drops and the highest rate of drops. He also had eight dropped interceptions, so he's pretty good at putting the ball in a position to be caught by a human.

Tony Romo had a career year in Dallas, but it helps when your teammates are playing at a high level too. Romo had the lowest drop rate in the league. Chalk it up to an odd coincidence, but 11 of the 12 quarterbacks with the lowest drop rate played in the NFC while seven of the eight highest were in the AFC.

Remember the Titans

Tennessee fans may have been bored since none of last year's quarterbacks reached 200 pass attempts, hence none have been featured in any of the tables. Maybe that's a good thing if you are excited about Marcus Mariota and want to forget that last year's holy trinity of Charlie Whitehurst, Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker ever happened. But I made one big table for those three players (click here to enlarge) so you can check out how they stacked up.

Tomorrow we will look at the incompletion breakdown for receivers.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 07 May 2015

73 comments, Last at 15 May 2015, 9:16pm by chemical burn

Comments

1
by theslothook :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 5:52pm

There should be an adjustment for distance. I think it was PFF? that looked at how accuracy suffers by distance - which intuitively makes a lot of sense. I also wonder how much of overthrows come on deep bomb passes.

17
by Paydro :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 9:57am

Yeah, that's a substantial problem here. You can "miss" a short throw without it being awful enough that the charters call it an "over" or "under" throw, while on bombs that's less likely.

So it's not surprising to see someone like RG3, who never throws the ball downfield, doesn't screw up his short throws, while someone who does (Flacco, Stafford, Newton) have more.

Probably an easy adjustment to make, FO already has the distance categories, just compare each QB rate to the average and voila.

28
by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:43pm

The depth of passes is an issue, but every incomplete pass gets a reason, whether it's overthrown, underthrown, dropped, whatever.

So if a quarterback misses a short throw and the pass is incomplete, he'll get an underthrow/overthrow.

2
by Bobman :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 5:55pm

Great stuff. I'd love to see a table of dropped INTs, since you bring it up for Luck.
Promising for him, I guess, that in his best statistical year he led the league in drops; there's room to do better (statistically) even if his performance remains the same. And if he gets a Romo-esque alignment of great year with strong support from receivers... yahoo for him.

6
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:28pm

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2015/2014-adjusted-interc...

We should have linked that in the story where it was mentioned. I'll add that now.

7
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:29pm

Wait. It is linked in the story, in the second paragraph.

3
by jwmclean :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:21pm

Does 'Receiver Tripped' include any defensive pass interference plays? I'm thinking about Joe Flacco's league-leading 5 in that category, and whether it has any connection the pass interference calls generated by Torrey Smith.

5
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:27pm

No. Pass interference plays are not counted in this story at all.

8
by Scott Kacsmar :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:57pm

Just to add to that. DPI isn't included, but uncalled DPI could be the reason why the receiver tripped. But charters are told not to chart missed penalty calls even though we know they do happen.

41
by Intropy :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 12:37am

I think he's probably suggesting that the receivers "tripped". Baltimore is pretty notorious for soccer style flopping in order to get DPI calls. They have so many trips because on some occasions when the flops failed to yield calls, you ended up tallying it as RECTRP.

4
by blumsha :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:24pm

<< but how do you explain Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers as the other quarterbacks in double digits [in MISCOMM]? >>

Perhaps their offenses make greater use of option routes and other post-playcall route adjustments that other offenses might not even attempt.

20
by ChrisS :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:09am

Perhaps they read the hot reads/options better or more sensitively than other QB's so they execute them at a higher rate and their miscomm% of total hot reads is not an outlier?

23
by jtr :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 12:36pm

I'm thinking that a QB like Rodgers or Brady who is trusted to change the play a lot simply has a lot more opportunities than other signal callers for an audible to be not heard or misunderstood. Although it is kind of strange that Rodgers would have misunderstandings considering the continuity that team has had in coaching and receiving.

I wish we had these numbers a few years ago just because I'm sure the miscommunication column for the Giants would be hilarious. "Receiver runs one option route, Eli throws another" was such a staple of the Gilbride playbook.

9
by mehllageman56 :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 7:23pm

Are throwaways included in bad passes? Also have to comment that Geno Smith shows up closer to the top in these charts than I would have thought.

11
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 7:49pm

In the first table? No. "Bad passes" there is simply the total of underthrows and overthrows.

10
by Sporran :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 7:26pm

I wanted to look at the 2013 report, but it seems like the site's search engine isn't working.

14
by Scott Kacsmar :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 9:08pm

I don't think there was one for 2013 like this.

12
by Jerry :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 8:12pm

So between this and catch radius, Scott will have looked at every pass thrown in the NFL last year. That's quite a commitment to research.

13
by Scott Kacsmar :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 8:45pm

Well not quite all 18,000+, but several thousand for sure. Ideally it would be every play, but there's only so much time in the day. That's why you take ambitious ideas, start your own company and teach the employees to follow your vision and track everything for you. If I won a lottery jackpot, that's what I'd do.

15
by Ben :: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 9:19pm

That last table is at least a partial answer to all the "why the heck did the Colts spend a first round pick on a WR?" questions.

16
by Noah of Arkadia :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 9:46am

I understand why you might think adding Wallace could help Teddy. But I bet most Tannehill overthrows were to him. I don't want to blame it all on him, but he certainly doesn't provide a lot of effort on deep throws, let alone good hands.

------
Who, me?

18
by Paydro :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 9:57am

Error

19
by IlluminatusUIUC :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 10:28am

I understand he falls below the threshold, but did you run the numbers on EJ Manuel?

48
by Dr. Mooch :: Sun, 05/10/2015 - 12:40pm

I was hoping for this, too, since Orton looked so bad, and the WR uncatchable numbers for the Bills receivers reflect it. Clearly one would expect those numbers to be known, since a comment on them would be a nice part of, say, the Bills writeup in the next FOA.

59
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 1:31pm

EJ Manuel

0.8% batted
9.2% defensed
1.5% dropped
1 hit in motion pass, 1 miscommunication
16.2% overthrown (very high)
5.4% thrown away
6.9% underthrown
23.1% bad throws (over + under; would be highest behind Hoyer and Locker)

Bad throw rate for QBs with 50-199 attempts
Colt McCoy - 14.1%
Matt Cassel - 18.3%
Charlie Whitehurst - 18.7%
Zach Mettenberger - 20.7%
Derek Anderson - 20.8%
Michael Vick - 21.0%
EJ Manuel - 23.1%
Ryan Mallett - 23.3%
Chad Henne - 24.4%
Jake Locker - 25.3%
Case Keenum - 27.3%
Ryan Lindley - 35.5%

Lindley, that passes the eye test.

21
by tuluse :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:27am

Pretty insane how accurate Cutler is most of the time compared to his production.

22
by duh :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:47am

Keep in mind though there was a piece last week indicating that Cutler had the 5th shortest distance for his passes last year and, as was said upthread, you'd expect QBs to be more accurate on short throws.

See comment 19 in this thread
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2015/2014-adjusted-interc...

24
by Coaldale Joe :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 1:19pm

In terms of bad throw % Tom Brady = Mark Sanchez < Peyton Manning < Nick Foles. So Sanchez is right where everyone would have expected him to be :)

Foles is among the worst in bad throws, passes defensed and had a very low drop rate. Sanchez had fewer bad throws, fewer passes defended and more drops. Maybe this is why Foles is a Ram now. The only thing Foles was better at was throwing the ball away, Sanchez perfers to hold onto it and make a dumb decision under duress.

25
by Southern Philly :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 2:43pm

Foles made more than his fair share of dumb decisions, they just didn't always come under duress and often resulted in him needlessly scrambling and just throwing the ball away. So not surprised by these results, they match the eye test.

Interesting that both Foles and Sanchez did exceptionally well in batted balls, which is something Chip Kelly emphasizes. Seems to be a coachable skill, though it's possible it's not and they already had that ability.

26
by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:07pm

Comparing Foles and Sanchez in 2014 is always tough because 9 different linemen started in front of Foles and only 6 in front of Sanchez. Sanchez also faced a slate weaker pass defenses (hence Foles getting a boost in DYAR vs. YAR and Sanchez dropping) and Sanchez faced slightly fewer teams with a decent pass rush (2 in the Top 10 versus 3 for Foles), which accounts for some of the discrepancies in the numbers. It's easier to be more effective behind a healthier (less suspended) o-line against weaker pass defenses and worse pass rushes. That's not even accounting for the difficult/vague task of accounting for two rookies with significant roles (Huff/Matthews) adjusting to the pro game and otherwise giving a passing attacking that lost its far and away best wr time to gel.

Anyhoo, now that Foles is in St. Louis I have no real interest in him - I just wish there was some info on Bradford, but obviously he was injured as is his perpetual state. The hopeful part of these number is that Kelly seems to have brought out some positive aspects in Sanchez's game. Now that's he's married to another terrible QB (and Sanchez yet again), that's at least some reason for hope. Bradford does throw short an astounding amount, so (in the context pointed out above about short passers excelling in these numbers) his numbers in these categories could be extremely excellent.

27
by Southern Philly :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:42pm

The Falcons and Chargers offensive lines were less talented and far more ravaged by injuries than the Eagles, and yet Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers did very well in this measurement.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2015/2014-adjusted-games-...

30
by tuluse :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:55pm

I don't think chemical burn or anyone rational claimed that Foles would be expected to be as good as Rivers or Ryan (both of whom are top 10 in DVOA last year and would probably be expected to be top 5 in talent going into next year as Brady/Brees/Manning all get a year older).

31
by Southern Philly :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 4:01pm

chemical burn thinks Foles is great, so it should be fair game to compare him to Phillip Rivers and Matt Ryan.

33
by tuluse :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 4:38pm

He thinks Foles has played great in the past (backed up with production) and has the potential to again. He also thinks he's clearly better than Bradford.

That does not mean he believes Foles will be Matt Ryan good next year.

39
by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:13pm

The thing I find weirdest about all of this is how quick so many fans are to 100% discount that year of insane production. I do think he has the potential to be good (why wouldn't he?) and that he is better than Bradford (because by every measure he has been - the 2014 year that got him shipped out of town would count as Bradford's second best season and was nearly as good as Bradford's very best year.)

There are real and open questions of "how did Foles' 2013 happen?" as well as "what will his normal level of production be?" Both of those are absolutely unresolved. The idea that Kelly's system is entirely responsible for Foles' 2013 production (the argument I used to hear) is incorrect: Vick, Barkley and Sanchez were all terrible as passers in Kelly's system. The idea that Foles' 2014 production (a not-awful 20th by DVOA) is his normal level of production and has no mitigating factors is also wrong: they had the worst 8 game stretch of o-line health/suspensions of any team in the league and their RB had more runs for a loss than any other for starters. That's not even touching the value of a Qb who regularly performs around 20th in DVOA.

I've literally never seen a QB get written off faster. Here's a list of QB's who were in the Top 3 by DVOA under age 25 and then traded by the end of the following season:

Foles.

There's literally no one else. You can expand it to Top 10 and add Jay Cutler... a trade made by a coach determined to destroy his franchise. And Denver got a haul in exchange for Cutler, they didn't give up a 2nd rounder for the privilege of getting rid of him.

The closest comparison I can find as far as a franchise quickly giving up on a young QB is Josh Freeman, who got 2+ more seasons after ranking 9th in DVOA in 2010. The following years he ranked 31st, 24th, and then 42nd (in the Minn/TB split season.) If Foles ranked 31st in 2015, I would have had no problem letting him walk... but for comparison Freeman was named TB's starting QB again in 2013, even after two bad years. QB's (especially ones who are insanely cheap) just don't get their plug pulled so quickly. If you believe Foles told reporters he was healthy and ready to play in December last year, then he didn't even get a full season as the starter after putting up those numbers. (Feel free to reject that idea, nothing about this argument hinges on it.)

Steve Beuerlein in 1991 might be another comparison - but he was 26, on his second team and earned his #3 ranked DVOA in spot duty before being shipped out to the Cardinals after not starting a single game for the Cowboys in 1992. I think you can see the difference: Aikman had almost as high of a DVOA (he was a close 5th - Vick was 24th to Foles' 2nd for comparison) and was, you know, a highly drafted young player already on the roster and performing at a Pro Bowl level when the decision to let Beuerlein go was made. You can also find a similar sort of thing with Elvis Grbac in 1995 being excellent in relief of Steve Young and then being shipped out of town by the end of 1996. If the Eagles had Aikman or Young already on their roster, by all means, let Foles go.

Here's Andrew Luck's DVOA ratings by year: 19th, 16th, 11th. That's versus Foles' 30th, 2nd, 20th. Those are Foles numbers in comparison to the greatest QB prospect since Peyton Manning. Here's Cam Newton's: 16th, 15th, 19th. Foles' weak rookie year is the only thing that makes him look like a worse prospect - and the #2 ranking makes him look a much, much better one. QB's to rank in the Top 3 by DVOA are almost exclusively highly regarded players. The worst QB's I could find to finagle their way into the Top 3 were David Garrard, Damon Huard, Derek Anderson (no, in 2014 in Carolina!!!) and somebody named Paul Justin who was #1 by a comfortable margin in 1996 (but didn't play much and was 18th in DYAR.)

There are definitely Garrard/Anderson/Huard/Paul Justin/Josh McCown/Mike Tomczak/Jay Schroeder types who suddenly have high DVOA season late in their otherwise mediocre careers. I think it's perfectly reasonable to believe those late seasons to be a fluke - you have plenty of proof they are a fluke. If a guy suddenly has a high DVOA season in his while in 30's like those guys, it's fine to make a quicker judgement as to if they are Rich Gannon or Kurt Warner or simply Wade Wilson in 1992 or Dave Kreig in Detroit in 1994. I mean, I understand the Vikings not losing their minds because of Jeff George having a fine season for them in 1999. And Steve DeBerg in KC only got the hook to bring in the greatest QB of All-Time. If Foles was 29 like David Garrard or 33 like Damon Haurd in their high DVOA seasons, then I wouldn't have objected much to trading him. Of course, the risk you run there is being the post-Garrard Jaguars or pre-Alex Smith Chiefs at QB (i.e. just the very worst.)

Older guys who hang around as journeymen occasionally have a Top 3 by DVOA season - that's fairly common. But the only guys to make it into the Top 3 in DVOA early in their career (under age 25) are Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Nick Foles. That's it.

Manning, Roethlisberger and Foles.

It just doesn't happen. And every other QB who has done it has been as good as you can be in the NFL. To be that good, that young just doesn't happen and the only other guys to do it are surefire lock HOFer's.

Of course, I am well aware that this guarantees nothing for Foles - if you up the age limit a little, guys like Carson Palmer, Colin Kaepernick, Tim Ratty and Brian Griese begin to pop up. Though, I do think there is an important distinction between age 26 and age 24 (and that Sam Bradford would have to improve by a massive amount, by giant loping leaps and bounds to be as good as Palmer and Griese. And another thing that obviously does separate Foles from Rattay, Josh McCown, Paul Justin and Derek Anderson is that his DYAR was 5th, where none of them cracked the Top 15, so it's not even as open of an issue in terms of sample size.)

And these are all my attempts to find the DOWNSIDE to Foles. These are the WORST comparisons you can make to his breakout year. The lists of the Top 3 in DVOA by year are dominated by names like Young, Montana, Marino, Manning, Rodgers, Favre, Aikman, Manning, Brees and Brady. It's much more common that if you do what Foles did you will have a career like those guys than not. Again, I'm not saying it is more LIKELY that Foles would have a career like Dan Marino, just that it is more common for a guy whose name pops up in the Top 3 by DVOA to be Steve Young than Steve Beuerlein.

It's inarguable that both Foles' performance and the Eagle's handling of a promising young QB are HUGE historical outliers. The tossing out of Foles like trash is an outlier that is very tough to justify. And "eh, he just didn't look that good, no sir, he did not pass my eyeball test" is an explanation that is appallingly weak. Teams quite simply just DO NOT give up after less than a season on 24 year old QB's who have performed at his level. The Eagles confirmed they were shopping Foles back in November. That's crazy. It's unprecedented as far as I can tell. And it's unprecedented because QB's with similar performances are by and large legends. The risk of giving away Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer far outweighs the problem of giving Josh Freeman another year to prove himself.

And the Eagles gave away a 2nd rounder so desperate were they to get rid of him.

52
by Grendel13G :: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 12:34am

Very cogent analysis. Like many others, I assumed the 2nd rounder in the deal was from the Rams to the Eagles. The other way around is... insane, as your post clearly articulates.

61
by chemical burn :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 1:48pm

Yeah, now that Foles is gone, the lack of historical precedence for letting him go REALLY stands out. Young QB prospects just don't perform that well (again, it's him, Manning and Roethlisberger) and when they do, teams definitely don't even consider letting them walk out the door. This doesn't mean the Eagles are wrong on Foles... just - wow, holy crap, nothing like this has EVER happened.

I have no real idea how good he is and there's a big part of me that believes he's on some level another Andy Reid product at QB like AJ Feely, Kevin Kolb and good Michael Vick - if he follows those dudes' post-Reid career path, it won't totally shock me. If Kelly ever gets a QB to perform at Foles' 2013 level, though, I will be stunned.

34
by Coaldale Joe :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 4:40pm

I'll take the risk of putting words in his mouth. I don't think Chemical Burn thinks Foles is great, I think he thinks there is a non-zero chance he might be great/very good based on his 2013 numbers, and most NFL QB's have a zero or close to zero chance. He also thinks Foles' chance of being great/very good > the chances of Bradford/Sanchez/Tebow/Kinne being great/very good.

35
by Southern Philly :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 4:44pm

"Personally, I think Foles is great and will prove it without Kelly there to undermine his rep. This is a phenomenal move from any angle for the Rams."

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2015/news-breaks-again-ram...

36
by Coaldale Joe :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 4:48pm

Looks like I was wrong, he's driving the Nick Foles fanboy bus...

38
by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 8:20pm

Ha - I think at this point, I agree with the words being put in my mouth in this thread, but I've also had varying degrees of faith in foles at other times obviously! Hopefully, bradford will be great, foles will be terrible and I will be 100% wrong - that's the best case scenario...

I think if now that the dust has cleared you made me guess how Foles will perform in St. Louis, I would say it depends on how that RB they drafted works out and if their o-line isn't a disaster. I would guess somewhere he'll be somewhere around 12th-16th in DVOA in things go well and then down at the 20th he had under Kelly in 2014 if things go kinda badly - and even worse if things go as badly there in term of RB and o-line as they did in Philly in 2014.

If you made me guess how Bradford is going to perform in Philly, I am fairly confident he will do what the other QB's apart from Foles have done under Kelly and that is perform comparably to their career efficiency numbers - so he will be hanging out somewhere in the 20's in DVOA if he stays healthy (which may or may not happen.)

The big worry with Bradford is that he'll have career numbers in terms of volume (which many players have had under Kelly) but his typical DVOA and the Eagles will sign him to a big new contract just because he had 4,000 yards and 20 TD's but mediocre DVOA.

32
by duh :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 4:08pm

I'd also note that Foles' sack rate went way down last year which might be why his throwaways were high.

37
by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 8:18pm

Yeah, my "eyeball test" on Foles was that he was coached or decided to risk more interceptions and forced throws in exchange for far fewer sacks. The numbers back that up. Anyway, he certainly a player who is almost impossible to judge based on his three years in Philly.

42
by duh :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 12:41am

Just a thought that if he wasn't being coached that way it might have something to do with why he isn't there anymore.

43
by chemical burn :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 1:18am

Ha - absolutely. Although Kelly's lack of commitment to foles dates back to 2013, so I'm not sure it is entirely related.

29
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:45pm

"This is the terrifying stat for Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston fans, because last year's two Buccaneers quarterbacks had 19 of these plays on 525 passes."

Oh, please. Tampa fans are used to this sort of thing, we're kind of numb at this point. Winston is the one who needs to be terrified here.

40
by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 12:10am

Instant karma is gonna get you.

44
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 7:46pm

How do you define throwaways? A QB may throw a ball at a receiver's feet if the receiver is well covered.

It would also be interesting to compare the rates of bad throws to QB pressures.

45
by Scott Kacsmar :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 8:18pm

If it was really obvious I think it'd go down as a throwaway in that situation.

I copied the pressure data with this and thought about using it, but I decided to maybe save it for the pressure study to come.

47
by chemical burn :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 10:59pm

The pressure data would be super interesting - finding out how QB's are affected by pressure would be amazing...

51
by LionInAZ :: Sun, 05/10/2015 - 11:51pm

Thanks. I hope the pressure study looks at this, too.

46
by Paul R :: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 10:52pm

Interested in that "Miscommunication" stat. It might be useful to see a week-by-week graph.
Brady, for example, has a lot, but I would be willing to bet that most of those came early in the season. Many times it looked like he was throwing the ball to where the receiver was supposed to be, regardless of where the reciever was. I got the impression he was teaching them a lesson: "I know what I'm doing. The ball will be there. Make sure you are, too."
With a good, well-coached- passing game, one would expect to see miscommunications declining steadily as the season goes on.

49
by gomer_rs :: Sun, 05/10/2015 - 5:36pm

There is no ongoing open thread so I'm going to post a supposition here.

In professional poker when somebody receives a great pre-flop/pre-betting hand, say Ace/Ace or Ace/King they often attempt to push the pot to a decision immediately. I'm thinking about this in relation to QB contracts. If you have Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson negotiating their second contract why not "go all in" so to speak and offer them $200 million guaranteed over 20 years?

Under a $200 million guaranteed contract you could structure it as something crazy like 2,3,4,5,6,6,7,8,9,10,14,15,16,17,18,14,13,12,11,10. This would result in the QB making average annualized less but would in exchange be guaranteed to make $200 million. Also, from the QBs perspective if he had a very low cap number through the peak of his career he could make a lot of money from endorsements by being on the best team.

The downside for the team would be being locked into the player in the middle term, long term, and beyond the playing life of the QB. However, in the NFL it is so hard to find top quality QBs that having dead QB money when you don't have top QB to pay could be seen as no real loss.

If your QB gets hurt and then washes out you've sunk the franchise, but if not you've given your team the best possible opportunity to win multiple super bowls in a single decade.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

50
by chemical burn :: Sun, 05/10/2015 - 7:21pm

Does the NFL have any regulation of improbably lengthy contracts? I'm thinking of that NHL contract a couple years ago where somewhere tried to sign an older player to a back-loaded 18 year contract and the league stepped in to void it. I'd imagine the NFL regulates that sort of thing they way they make it illegal to trade first rounds picks a certain distance into the future. Also, I know NFL contracts are not guaranteed, so I'd imagine that there's language in the CBA governing that issue.

I think the reality of injuries in the NFL just makes that sort of thing a terrible idea - Manning and Brady's health I think have disguised there fact that NFL players really don't hang around for 15 years performing at a high level. I think it would be a really dumb bet for any of these teams to make - particularly in the case of those two QB's who have both been good, but not as good early as Manning, Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer were. You don't want to pay that much money guaranteed to someone with Wilson's passing numbers. You don't want to risk Pete Carroll retiring, Lynch leaving, the defense declining and being on the hook to for Wilson to continue putting up a passing DVOA that's worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick's until 2035.

54
by tuluse :: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 12:29pm

I believe the longest contract a team can offer is 6 years.

57
by Travis :: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 3:55pm

Donovan McNabb signed a 12-year contract in 2002. I think the longest contracts signed under the current collective bargaining agreement have been 8 years long (Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Tyron Smith).

As far as I can tell, the only provision in the CBA restricting the number of contract years is the "Deion Rule" (explained here), which prevents spreading signing bonus accounting beyond three years of when the CBA expires. The Colts could still sign Andrew Luck to a contract through 2030, but the signing bonus could only be prorated among the 2015-2023 seasons.

53
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 12:23pm

I don't know about the lengthy contract issue. My understanding is before Brady did his new deal recently his contract was essentially guaranteed. My understanding is that contract guarantees are simply up for negotiating, but teams hate them because of injury and retirement risks.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

58
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 12:01pm

My impression from reading Barnwell's stuff at Grantland is that the disadvantage is all of the guaranteed money accelerates onto the cap if the player is cut or retires.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

60
by chemical burn :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 1:41pm

I also think you're trying to address a non-issue: how many times in the past 20 years has an Andrew Luck/Russell Wilson type hit the free market against they teams' wishes? Teams have figured out a fine structure to keep those guys around as long as they want them. Manning and Favre only hit the market because they had gotten old, they had some injuries and their teams already had a replacement in-house. The Seahawks will be able to keep Wilson for twenty years if they want him that long without signing him to a potentially disastrous 20-year contract...

62
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 6:30pm

Here's my thought. Teams are going to keep their star QBs as long as they are good enough to be star QBs. Off the top of my head since 1990 only three teams have managed to replace franchise QBs with franchise QBs. Montana -> Young, Farve -> Rodgers, and Manning -> Luck. The best chance to win a Super Bowl is franchise QB + Talent.

So, if you're going to keep your franchise QB for as long as possible, and you're probably not going to find a franchise QB to replace your franchise QB. Why not move the cap cost of the QB into those years where you do not have franchise QB?

This allows you to have the most general talent in the years when you have the QB talent to win.

_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

63
by tuluse :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 6:48pm

A few more I could think of.

Brees -> Rivers (admittedly strange circumstances)
Bledsoe -> Brady

65
by chemical burn :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 6:59pm

Bledsoe was traded - meaning he didn't hit the open market. The Pats wanted to get rid of them - he was under contract when he was shipped out.

Brees is also different (as you mention) because he was both not demonstrably a franchise QB in SD and had lots of injury problems. Again, the issue is about keeping your franchise QB, right? The Chargers moved on from Brees - a longterm contract wouldn't have helped keep him around because they didn't want him there at all.

Teams don't LOSE their franchise QB's in free agency in a way that the longterm contract would benefit. And the cap acceleration if they had to be cut would utterly sink a franchise for years on end.

In real terms, I'm very open to hearing what QB's this kind of deal would make sense for - Wilson and Luck have been suggested, but I don't see any advantage to the back-loaded 20 year deal over the big signing bonus, front-loaded 7 year deals they are going to get.

68
by tuluse :: Wed, 05/13/2015 - 3:34pm

The question was teams that moved from one franchise QB to the next, not how they let them go.

Favre was a trade too.

Brees had just come off back to back top 10 DVOA seasons. If that's not demonstrably franchise level I don't know what is.

69
by chemical burn :: Wed, 05/13/2015 - 3:48pm

Well, he had come off one good season when they picked Rivers is what I was thinking. But you're right - they traded him when it was pretty clear he'd be good.

My only point is: what problems does the 20 year back-loaded contract solve? It doesn't solve the problem of losing Brett Favre or Drew Brees (or being unable to surround them with SB-caliber talent) - those teams sent those guys out the door, they didn't get put in some kind of financial bind that would have been solved with the 20 year contract.

Bledsoe comes closest where maybe the Pats would've kept him around as insurance if his contract were back-loaded. Maybe? I mean, they sorta would've been forced to with a contract like that and because of the financial downside of cutting him they might have been forced to cut Brady instead. But the Saints, Colts and Packers didn't want their guys on their roster any longer, they didn't lose them.

70
by tuluse :: Wed, 05/13/2015 - 4:09pm

I doubt you can keep a franchise QB when you move onto the next guys because it either means the franchise guy is toast and you moved on out of necessity or the franchise guy's ego just wouldn't be able to take being a back up.

Brees might have been the one here where the Chargers would have controlled his future and could have waited out his surgery and then traded either him or Rivers.

71
by chemical burn :: Wed, 05/13/2015 - 4:47pm

I agree - but again, I'm talking about all this in the context of the 20 year (versus normal 7 year) contract. The 20 year doesn't help keep two franchise guys on the roster, does it? Maybe that's what it would help? Again, though, I think no player would go for that - a shaky, backloaded deal where he's not guaranteed a starting job? You think Rodgers OR Favre would've stuck around for that?

72
by gomer_rs :: Fri, 05/15/2015 - 1:54am

I actually think that a QB with a 20 year back loaded deal would understand at some point he'd be being paid a semi-starter level and backing up. Maybe as a player-coach type position.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

73
by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/15/2015 - 9:16pm

I think you're wildly overestimating players' willingness to take any role for the best of the team. I mean, look at rivers in sd right - guys want to start, they want to start on their own terms and notoriously play years after their skills have declined. You're not offering this deal to christian ponder,, you're offering it to cam newton or Andrew luck. Anyway, this is all absurd, it's not going out on a limb to assert that the kind deal you are proposing well never, ever happen under the current cba. Never.

64
by chemical burn :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 6:49pm

Well, no owner is going to go for that, for one - it essentially puts a financial/cap burden on the coaches and players you hire to fix the problems caused by the guy you just fired. You'd need a perfect storm of QB and coach to warrant even making a 10 year bet on any player/coach combo. And again, if Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson don't make sense for his kind of deal (and I don't think they do) then who does? As an owner, you don't want Chuck Pagano's replacement paying for 15 years for the financial mistakes made under the Chuck Pagano regime - and you absolutely can't be sure Pagano will still be your coach even two years from now. Or that Luck doesn't stagnant as around the the 10th best QB by DVOA in the league (what he's done so far) and fail to warrant that kind of longtime, potentially disastrous marriage.

Obviously deals that look more like the one you propose get made in baseball and hockey all the time, but that's mainly because those players have longer, more stable careers in general. Individuals in football are so much more dependent on their teammates and coaches that you just can't pretend like your promising young QB is Peyton Manning in terms of production independent of teammates, health and longevity. Wilson's DVOA has tracked downward, getting worse each season he has been in the league - a reasonable explanation is his wr's and o-line have gotten worse each year, but what if he's just getting worse? Why set a time bomb to go off and destroy your franchise in 2022, especially if there's a chance (and there is) that such a contract won't have sunk you as early as 2018?

Also, what player in the world would agree to those terms knowing that the salary cap has expanded significantly every couple years. Guys like Joe Flacco get money Peyton Manning would have never gotten earlier in his career just because the cap has expanded. If Wilson has any belief in his viability, he'll try to get three contracts in his career (rookie deal, first deal, late veteran deal) and have the late veteran deal be the beneficiary of an expanded cap.

66
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 9:17pm

It's gambling, but the whole thing is gambling. Teams that have found they're franchise QB will keep the QB and toss coaches. Finally, when the QB is done you can dump a bunch of talent to get cap space, have a REALLY terrible team, and then let him retire to take all the cap hit in one year.

Just last year the Raiders had $60 million in cap space. Instead of using that cap space on retreads not worth it a team could dump it all into a QB that's had them competing for a decade and a half.

It's gambling big that you have the right QB, but if you're right, you do have the right QB for a smaller cap hit then Matt Flynn.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

67
by chemical burn :: Wed, 05/13/2015 - 2:06am

I just literally don't see any QB in the league who is worth the gamble. Luck and Wilson would be the best gambles, but the normal way (the way they still will be signed) is smarter. I just don't see enough of an advantage to warrant intentionally blowing up your franchise (and that's what the back-loaded, cap-accelerated deal would do almost definitely.) It's a small, maybe gain for for almost definitely disaster. You can gamble, but you will lose all your money quickly if you bet winter in Buffalo won't be colder than summer in Atlanta.

Also, again, no way the players go for it.

55
by eggwasp :: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 12:37pm

I'm going to read this table as very positive for Carr and confirms what those of us watching him, rather than doing near-standard statistical analysis on his numbers are saying. Basically this data says he under/overthew rarely (certainly for a rookie), but his receivers dropped the ball, got beat out by defenders, ran the wrong routes and didn't get open - meanwhile rhe line couldnt open up throwing lanes hence a lot of batted balls. He also threw the ball away rather than take sacks. This is evidence for his maturity and decision-making, which Raiders fans & coaches saw in operation. This is also despite the worst (by far) running game in the NFL last year, and playing from behind, so defenses could overplay the pass.

Hopefully Cooper and Crabtree solve some of these issues this year. And as its May, you can't stop me being optimistic - until the second week of September anyway.

56
by Duke :: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 1:08pm

You call that Raiders optimism?!?!

Raiderjoe, show 'me how it's done!