FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

by Danny Tuccitto

We're back with Part II of our 10th anniversary series detailing the best and worst individual performances since 1991 according to DVOA and DYAR. A few days ago, I'm sure most of you did pretty well on our pop quiz. Except for Wade Wilson having the best DVOA season since 1991 (well, with a minimum of 100 passes), there were few surprises; Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Michael Vick were obvious answers that also happened to be correct.

Today's foray into the worst quarterbacks also yields a predictable cast of characters. In the comments section of Wednesday's piece, impeccably named reader John Courage foresaw a ton of Bears and Cardinals on our list of worsts, and it turns out he was rather clairvoyant. (There's even a Bears-Cardinals game!) However, after reading this, you will probably come away with the belief that four quarterbacks of the past 22 years sit feet and ankles below the rest. One of them may actually be starting for his team in 2013. Oh, and rest easy, there won't be a pop quiz today. There will be enough schadenfreude to start your week off right, though.

Jumping right into the stats, our first category is "worst DVOA seasons ever by a quarterback." The envelope please...

Worst Pass DVOA, Season, 1991-2012 (min. 100 passes)
Year Player Team Comp% Yards TD INT Fum DVOA
2005 Alex Smith SF 51.2% 696 1 11 10 -88.6%
2004 Craig Krenzel CHI 46.8% 542 3 6 7 -85.4%
2011 Caleb Hanie CHI 51.5% 474 3 8 1 -78.6%
1992 Kelly Stouffer SEA 48.4% 678 3 9 10 -72.7%
1998 Bobby Hoying PHI 51.1% 763 0 9 6 -68.2%
1995 Bubby Brister NYJ 55.4% 605 4 7 4 -65.8%
2001 Spergon Wynn MIN 50.0% 338 1 5 3 -64.9%
2009 Keith Null STL 62.0% 482 3 8 2 -63.7%
2008 J.P. Losman BUF 63.0% 465 2 4 5 -62.3%
2009 JaMarcus Russell OAK 49.0% 1,081 3 10 9 -62.0%

What a difference that seventh offensive coordinator makes. In a near unprecedented tale of redemption, Alex Smith has undergone the following career transformation:

It's a good thing he was able to extract $9 million in guaranteed money from Kansas City this offseason because, in addition to the three percent cut reserved for his agent, another 33 percent should go to Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman. In the six seasons before their arrival, Smith had never ranked higher than 27th in DVOA. The past two seasons, he ranked 14th and 10th. As we'll see later, Harbaugh and Roman essentially saved Smith from being discussed as one of the worst quarterbacks since 1991.

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To really appreciate how much Smith improved under Harbaugh and Roman, however, we have to look at the details of that disastrous 2005 season. For instance, he completed 50 percent or fewer of his passes in four of seven starts, averaging 4.3 yards per attempt. In 2012, he completed 70.2 percent of his passes and averaged 8.0 yards per attempt. With six more attempts, he would have qualified for the official NFL rankings, and those two stats would have finished No. 1 and No. 5, respectively. In addition to perceiving Smith as a highly accurate quarterback these days, we also perceive him as highly conservative with the football, almost to a fault. Well, back in 2005, his 11 interceptions and 10 fumbles in 194 pass plays translated to a turnover rate of 10.8 percent, which remains the highest in our database to this day.

Of course, Smith is an exception to the rule with the worst quarterbacks in DVOA/DYAR, as he actually got an opportunity to redeem himself. Almost all of the worst performances over the past 22 years involved players who didn't throw many passes in a game or season, and didn't have very long careers. In other words, the survivor effect is on full display. At one point, these guys may have been on Team Upside, but they quickly became XFL Wannabees. And in a few cases, they were forced to look back on their forgettable performances as "The First, The Last, My Everything."

For instance, in the above table, JaMarcus Russell was the only quarterback with 224 pass plays during the season in question, and you have to go 33 rows before you reach an NFL-qualifying bottom 10. The quarterback with the least efficient season over 300 or more pass plays was Akili Smith in 2000 (-51.4% DVOA); the record for 400-plus and beyond was David Carr, franchise cornerstone (-47.4% DVOA in 2002). Meanwhile, Craig Krenzel and Keith Null made the worst of their opportunities, each posting bottom 10 DVOAs during the only season they ever saw the field.

Below is the table showing the 10 least valuable DYAR seasons by a quarterback since 1991. You'll notice that, unlike our foray into the best quarterbacks, we're only showing pass DYAR. That's because a list of worst rush DYARs would end up doubling as a list of quarterbacks with the most fumbles on attempted handoffs. Don't worry, we'll include rush DYAR for the purposes of career total DYAR rankings at the end of the piece. Anyway, the envelope please...

Worst Pass DYAR, Season, 1991-2012 (min. 100 passes)
Year Player Team Comp% Yards TD INT Fum DYAR
2002 David Carr HOU 53.3% 2,108 9 15 18 -1,130
2011 Blaine Gabbert JAC 51.1% 1,888 12 11 10 -1,010
1998 Bobby Hoying PHI 51.1% 763 0 9 6 -962
2005 Alex Smith SF 51.2% 696 1 11 10 -866
1992 Kelly Stouffer SEA 48.4% 678 3 9 10 -837
2009 JaMarcus Russell OAK 49.0% 1,081 3 10 9 -834
2010 Jimmy Clausen CAR 53.0% 1,295 3 9 6 -760
2000 Akili Smith CIN 44.7% 998 3 6 10 -700
2007 Trent Dilfer SF 52.6% 983 7 11 6 -681
2004 Craig Krenzel CHI 46.8% 542 3 6 7 -676

Because DYAR is a measure of total value rather than value per play, this list has several high-volume seasons, including the two I just mentioned. So, it's at this point where we can start really making fun of awful quarterbacks and the coaches who kept calling their numbers over and over. For instance, let's exhume the remains of Bobby Hoying, whose seppuku in 1998 led to the just-ended Andy Reid era in Philadelphia. If Alex Smith throwing only one touchdown in 194 dropbacks as a rookie was a statistical Hindenburg, then Hoying's zero touchdowns in 265 dropbacks as a third-year pro is what produced the Chicxulub impact crater. All at once, it ended his own Eagles career, and was bad enough to send Dana Bible back to college after his first and only season as an NFL offensive coordinator. As with the dinosaurs, Ray Rhodes' head coaching career was lucky enough to survive the initial impact, but died a short time later. Other organisms, like offensive line coach Juan Castillo, were resilient enough to survive the entire mass extinction.

Of course, 1998 wasn't just Hoying's last year in Philadelphia. With only seven attempts in the subsequent two seasons, it also marked the ostensible end to his NFL career. On that count, he has plenty of company in the table. Kelly Stouffer, Russell, Trent Dilfer, and Krenzel never threw another pass in the NFL (although Russell's trying to change that). Akili Smith played only three more games. Technically, Jimmy Clausen is still an "active" member of the Panthers, but his arm hasn't been active in a game since 2010. That leaves Carr, Blaine Gabbert, and Alex Smith as the only quarterbacks who had any semblance of a career after their all-time bad season, but all three were rookies drafted among the top 10 picks in the draft. You might say they failed forward fast.

Gabbert is getting one final shot to be the Jaguars starting quarterback, and there's one thing he can hang his hat on in comparisons to Carr and Smith -- well two things, but the second one comes later: He has yet to have one of the 10 worst games according to pass DYAR. Those winners are below. (Click on the game week to see the box score; asterisk means the team won in spite of their quarterback.) The envelope please...

Worst Pass DYAR, Game, 1991-2012
Year Week Player Team Comp% Yards TD INT Sack Fum DYAR
1994 4 David Klingler CIN 33.3% 115 0 3 7 1 -302
2006 6* Rex Grossman CHI 37.8% 144 0 4 2 2 -284
1998 14 Donald Hollas OAK 38.7% 152 1 6 8 1 -273
2001 17 Brian Griese DEN 50.0% 151 1 4 5 1 -272
2003 15 Tim Hasselbeck WAS 23.1% 56 0 4 1 0 -268
2005 5 Alex Smith SF 39.1% 74 0 4 5 2 -263
2002 2 David Carr HOU 24.0% 87 0 2 9 1 -258
1993 6 Craig Erickson TB 44.8% 122 0 4 3 0 -257
1998 3 Ryan Leaf SD 6.7% 4 0 2 2 4 -256
2003 1 Kordell Stewart CHI 41.2% 95 1 3 5 2 -256

(UPDATE: I profusely apologize to Browns fans who were hoping to see one of their own here. It turns out Brandon Weeden's -284 pass DYAR in Week 1 of last year should be No. 3 on the list. If you would like to relive it, here is a paragraph from Vince's Quick Reads column and here is the PFR box score.)

This is my favorite table of the day. There's a certain amount of haphazardness that goes into having a horrible season, but performance variation becomes theater of the absurd when we magnify things down to specific games. The only thing more entertainingly random would be if Catholic Match Girl re-emerged to take me back after seven years apart.

To my doe eyes, I have no idea how Carr's slapstick in Week 2 of his rookie year wasn't one of the worst five games since 1991. Ryan Leaf's implosion against the Chiefs is another possibly underrated game, but he only had 15 pass plays in that one, and two interceptions was nowhere near the depths to which Mr. Wonderful's heel-turning could sink. Carr's game, on the other hand, included 25 dropbacks, and he was either sacked or threw a pick on nearly half of them; ditto Alex Smith (nine sacks or interceptions on 23 pass plays). Meanwhile, you also have to admire the confluence of factors that emerged in Landover, Maryland in December 2003. Tim Hasselbeck at quarterback, Steve Spurrier's offense, and a 14-0 halftime deficit gave us 2.2 yards per attempt and almost as many completions to Cowboys defenders (four) as there were to [Redskins] receivers (six).

For me, though, easily the most inspiring performance in the table is Rex Grossman's. It was a message to young quarterbacks everywhere: "Kids, one day you might play about as badly as any quarterback to have ever put on a helmet and pads, but football's all about the team. You can still win that game, and you can even call the media ignorant right before you start the Super Bowl three months later." Of course, on that specific day in October 2006, it was another reactor who beat Grossman to the meltdown. And like the sad tales of other NFL careers going the way of the dodo in no small part because of horrible quarterback play, Dennis Green's lasted only 10 more games.

Finally, let's move on to the career lists. As I mentioned earlier, this is the only place where we're including rush DYAR. And as I did for the best quarterbacks, I'm presenting three different measures: a simple sum of total DYAR, a weighted sum of total DYAR, and total DYAR in the quarterback's six best seasons (asterisk means the quarterback's still active). One last time before this turns into the 2002 Academy Awards, the envelope please...

Worst Total DYAR, Career
(Debuted 1991 or Later)
Player Years DYAR
Ryan Leaf 3 -1,440
Blaine Gabbert 2* -1,310
JaMarcus Russell 3 -1,204
Akili Smith 4 -1,126
David Carr 10* -1,106
Josh McCown 7 -1,104
Trent Dilfer 13 -1,031
Rick Mirer 8 -1,027
Chad Hutchinson 3 -976
Craig Whelihan 2 -966
Player Years DYAR
John Skelton 3 -955
Andrew Walter 3 -942
Bobby Hoying 5 -922
Kyle Boller 8 -914
J.P. Losman 7 -867
Alex Smith 7* -859
Heath Shuler 3 -847
Mark Sanchez 4 -808
Jimmy Clausen 1* -805
Chris Weinke 5 -801
Bruce Gradkowski 7* -797
Tim Couch 5 -774
Worst Total DYAR, Weighted Career
(Debuted 1991 or Later)
Player Years DYAR
Ryan Leaf 3 -1,346
Blaine Gabbert 2* -1,257
JaMarcus Russell 3 -1,112
Akili Smith 4 -982
Craig Whelihan 2 -939
John Skelton 3 -905
Chad Hutchinson 3 -898
Andrew Walter 3 -860
Josh McCown 7 -851
Jimmy Clausen 1* -805
Player Years DYAR
Heath Shuler 3 -784
Rick Mirer 8 -739
Bobby Hoying 5 -724
Spergon Wynn 2 -711
Craig Krenzel 1 -684
Mark Sanchez 4 -673
Chris Weinke 5 -667
Kyle Boller 8 -634
J.P. Losman 7 -632
Donald Hollas 4 -631
Tim Couch 5 -622
Mike McMahon 5 -610
Worst Total DYAR, Six-Year Average
(Debuted 1991 or Later)
Player Years DYAR
Ryan Leaf 3 -240
Blaine Gabbert 2* -218
JaMarcus Russell 3 -201
Akili Smith 4 -188
Chad Hutchinson 3 -163
Craig Whelihan 2 -161
John Skelton 3 -159
Andrew Walter 3 -157
Bobby Hoying 5 -154
Heath Shuler 3 -141
Player Years DYAR
Mark Sanchez 4 -135
Jimmy Clausen 1* -134
Chris Weinke 5 -134
Josh McCown 6 -133
Tim Couch 5 -129
Spergon Wynn 2 -122
Donald Hollas 4 -120
Mike McMahon 5 -120
Joey Harrington 6 -118
David Klingler 6 -116
Brady Quinn 4 -115
Craig Krenzel 1 -114

All three tables agree on one thing: Leaf, Gabbert, Russell, and Akili Smith are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse when it comes to NFL quarterbacking since 1991. If you asked me which horseman is which, I'd say Gabbert's flowing blonde locks make him Ric Flair, Russell and Smith are the Anderson brothers, and Leaf is Television champion Tully Blanchard. And since Bob Bratkowski coached Gabbert and Smith to truly offensive displays, he has to be James J. Dillon.

Leaf's career has been the subject of at least one mockumentary (ironically directed by a guy named Carr), so let's focus instead on Gabbert. I said earlier that there was a second thing that set him apart from fellow horrible rookies Carr and Alex Smith. That something is the fact that Gabbert easily had the worst second year of the three. Carr actually performed above replacement level in 2003 (122 total DYAR) and Smith "improved" to -147 total DYAR when he had the good fortune to play for offensive coordinator Norval Eugene Turner, one of the least fortunate head coaches in NFL history. In contrast, Gabbert's -264 DYAR last season put him nearly twice as far from replacement level heading into Year 3.

Here's another issue for Gabbert's future. You might recall the draft efficiency series I did earlier this offseason. The final installment identified the worst draft picks since the merger, and it turns out that Gabbert's fellow horsemen were three of the worst five. Because he was drafted 10th overall instead of first, his career so far wouldn't rank anywhere near theirs, but that's probably cold comfort for Jaguars fans who were expecting him to be at least as mediocre as David Garrard.

Can Gabbert resurrect his career like Carr and Smith did? Stranger things have happened. Is it likely? No. As I alluded to earlier, the most remarkable thing about all of these tables is how the vast majority of these quarterbacks got just enough rope to hang themselves, but not enough to miraculously pull their lifeless careers out of the gallows. Players like Carr, Dilfer, and Alex Smith are massive historical outliers: The mean outcome is for a neophyte quarterback as bad as Gabbert to be swinging in the wind by Year 4. Just look at the table on the right. For the best quarterbacks, only one of 22 had played fewer than six seasons. For the worst quarterbacks, though, only three of 22 played at least six seasons. In that context, Gabbert's almost as likely to become a United States congressman or end up in the new United States Football League as he is to become the C-list star of America's new pastime.

In closing, I'll offer two more observations. First, Josh McCown may have "beaten" almost every other quarterback for worst career of the past 22 years, but I bet he can't beat Final Fantasy IX in one sitting. Second, as much as I've said about Gabbert, I can't fumble away the opportunity to make Mark Sanchez the butt of at least one joke. Here goes: His career has really hit rock bottom.

That's it for me! Good night, everybody! Next time, our celebration continues with the best running backs since 1991.


126 comments, Last at 22 Jan 2014, 2:41pm

1 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I still think Carr could have been an average starting QB if he had landed on a decent team instead of starting off behind the atrocity that was the expansion Texans' O-line. Sacked 76 times his rookie year and somehow managed to make it through 16 games - I don't blame him for developing happy feet, he was trying to stay alive.

4 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I was quite surprised at what I saw when I watched Carr after he arrived in San Francisco. Knowing the pounding he had taken I had expected a shell-shocked wreck, a quivering tangle of nerves that balked and jumped at the slightest sound, ran from bright lights and cried openly for no known reason.

What I didn't expect to see was a guy with such a ropey throwing motion, an ineffective side-arm push. I hadn't watched much of those Texans (who could blame me?) But I had assumed from his lofty draft status that he must have a strong arm and the sort of textbook release that causes scouts and general managers to fall in love with a prospect's prospects.

My query for Texans fans is, did he have the golden arm and lose it through attrition or was he just badly overrated coming out of college?

10 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Not a Texans fan, but I do remember there being some discussion about Carr's throwing motion when he was coming out of college.

I beleive he was generally regarded as the best QB prospect in his class, but he was not seen as a can't-miss superstar. He had the good fortune (or not, depending on your point of view) of being the top QB prospect in 2002, a year with an expansion team determined to draft its franchise QB. He probably would not have been the top pick in 2001 or 2003 (especially not 2001).

53 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

He never had the full-on Laser Rocket Arm, but he had a fairly good one. His biggest strength was actually that he threw an excellent deep ball (I believe KC Joyner rated him the best in the NFL on deep pass accuracy in 2004, when the stats here said he was roughly league average overall - 321 combined DYAR, -3.2% DVOA, both 18th in the league). Whatever broke in David Carr, it broke in 2005, not 2002. He certainly did always hold the ball too long, and certainly was responsible for many of his own sacks, but he did also play behind very poor offensive lines with atrocious receiving options outside of Andre Johnson (and Carr only got two years of healthy, non-rookie Johnson).

19 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Nobody takes 76 sacks unless they just don't know what they're doing.

In 2006, the Texans started (left to right) Salaam, Pitts, Flanagan, Weary, and Weigert/Winston. They allowed sacks on 8.2% of passing plays.

In 2007, the Texans started (left to right) Salaam, Pitts, Flanagan, Weary, and Winston. They allowed sacks on 4.0% of passing plays.

The sacks were David Carr's fault. He held onto the ball longer than any QB I can remember, including Jamarcus Russell and Rob Johnson. Carr was not capable of identifying open receivers on a timely basis, and that is the story.

It's almost certainly a mistake to look for explanations for why people "ruined" quarterback prospects. That urge comes from a Lake Wobegon view of the draft, where every player is above average.

Carr was the best quarterback in college football in 2001. Scouts and casual fans agreed that he was a bit better than his peers - Joey Harrington, Ken Dorsey, Rex Grossman, Luke McCown, Rohan Davey, Patrick Ramsey, Kliff Klingsbury, and Byron Leftwich.

They were right. In the NFL, as in college, he was a bit better than his peers.

20 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I look back and laugh when I think about ESPN message boards in 2002, where Lions fans and Texans fans used to acrimoniously argue back and forth about whether David Carr or Joey Harrington was the better quarterback.

In retrospect, it seems equivalent to arguing over whether Somalia or Afghanistan is the better vacation spot.

70 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I think something which gets forgotten in looking back at David Carr is that he wasn't the first first pick of the Texans. They selected Tony Boselli with the first pick of their expansion draft and he wound up not playing a down for the Texans and retired due to injury. Their plan was to have Carr protected by a line anchored by a potential HOF'er. Maybe Carr fails to develop because he was never as good as his draft status implied, but there was a plan in place which never had a chance because the Texans' first player never panned out.

120 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Opponent adjustments I'm guessing. Looking back at Lindley's 2012, his 5 starts came against Chicago (#1 in defensive DVOA), Seattle (#4), St. Louis (#7), NYJ (#9) and Detroit (#24). Tough sledding. Still, his numbers are monumentally bad: 89/171, 4.4 Y/A, 0 TDs, 7 INTs, 12 sacks, 3 fumbles.

What is the NFL record for career passing attempts without a TD?

6 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I remember watching the 05 Colts/49ers game (Alex Smith's game in the worst DYAR table). Rest assured, it was brutal.

That said, I think Leaf's 1-for-15 masterpiece was worse. There's just something about only completing 1 pass, for 4 yards, in an entire game. And for those that don't remember, that really was an entire game's worth of work -- he was not benched. It probably doesn't rate as highly due to only having 2 INTs, but that doesn't capture the utter futility of it all. Imagine trying to win a game in the NFL when you literally cannot pass!

7 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

In the "Bears are who we thought they were" game, Grossman had a lot of help from Edgerrin James. Based off the expected points in the football-reference box score, James cost his team 23.69 points.

27 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

There was a playoff game in the 2000s where a starting running back had 30 yards on 25 carries.

It came to no surprise to me that it was William Green, the team was The Browns and the coach was the immortal Butch Davis.

I haven't gone back to see if he had like a -12 yard reverse or something, but that is about as bad as it gets.

32 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

No single huge loss, but there were a lot of horrible plays like "William Green rushed up the middle for -5 yards". How is that even possible? It's the Browns, that's how.

Oh, and he had a 23-yard run. So other than that it was 24 carries for 7 yards (including a 1-yard TD, so there's that).

And they blew a 17-point 2nd-half lead to the unstoppable - Tommy Maddox? The only comfort is that the Giants crapped all over themselves even more spectacularly the same day to provide the Browns some media cover. Thanks, guys!

Here's a link to the Browns/Steelers PBP for those who care:

34 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

That was a crazy Wildcard Sunday, one of the most fun single days of watching football in my living memory (but poor Trey Junkin).

That is mind-boggling about Green's day. I took a glance at the play by play. It's not like the Browns were simply trying to run out the clock. Green had the bulk of of his carries in the first half. Butch Davis had plenty of time to realize that running wasn't working, yet he stubbornly persisted.

97 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

To be fair, Green was superb at Boston College and significantly better than Portis was at Miami, playing in the same conference. But yeah, passing on Reed was devastating.

8 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

As an irrational Panthers fan, my biggest fear is that the franchise's best ever player (Steve Smith) will narrowly miss out on the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he lost two potentially productive seasons. Smith missed 15 games in 2004 with a broken leg, which he suffered on his very first catch on opening day. However, he also had to play with Jimmy Clausen for 16 games in 2010. That one season with Clausen is a HUGE outlier in his career.

Smith could be pretty close to 900 catches and 14,000 yards, if not for those two lost years.

13 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

When PFR used to have blog, they had a good argument that a highly drafted QB who completely flames out and crashes does far less damage to their franchise than one who plays merely below average, thus forcing their team to waste multiple seasons hoping they'll get better (Mark Sanchez, Joey Harrington, etc.), instead of cutting their losses and moving on. I bet the Jaguars would have done that if this year's draft had any good prospects.

Speaking of Gabbert, I could not have come up with a better cover pic for this article than him looking dejectedly at the ground.

42 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Sweet googly moogly, that has to be some of the worst card play I have ever seen. He wasn't short-stacked against his opponent, he was raising pre-flop with a weak drawing hand, basically it was the weakest, amateur hour crap I have ever seen. It's just trying to bluff an opponent of a pot with chips. I did the same thing in my first game of poker I played for money, learned my lesson and haven't been so stupid since. Cheers for the link.

It isn't even a weak drawing hand till you see the flop, what was he thinking?

46 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

He was simply bluffing. I wouldn't be that hard on him. It only looks stupid because his opponent has both of the other kings. And most of the time that won't be the case.

Based on your description, I thought he was going to call or re-raise when the guy with four kings finally raised.

Mind you, that's not how I would play. But it doesn't really matter whether the low cards are 7-2 or 10-5 or something like that. That's a hand where a player is trying to win by being aggressive. It works a lot of the time.

49 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I can see where you ate coming from but you have to know when you are beaten and in this case anyone with an eight had him. You couldn't tell from the footage where he was positioned with regards to the blinds, so there we can't judge entirely. I was probably a little harsh. On the other hand, when the guy you're bluffing deliberately splashes his chips and looks shifty that would worry me at that level.

83 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Yeah seconded what RIckD said. The guy hit 4 kings on the flop, so it was basically game over and everything after felt like digging one's grave. But if your the 7-2 guy, that flop probably looked pretty harmless. The odds that he had a king at that point was pretty low and being able to posture in that position is pretty strong. Overall, I liked the aggression. I wouldn't have the guts generally to do what he did, but if you have a strong read on someone, it can be quite rewarding.

89 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I hate the min-raise by the Kings-holder on the turn. It looks like it's just begging for a call. Why not just call again, and give him another chance to hang himself on the river?


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

106 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I still don't know why you think it was a moronic move, as you would say. People bluff all the time with basically nothing. Many times it works. I wouldn't call this a total misread because no one goes in assuming the person will hit quads on the flop alone. Again, i feel like the fact that it was a 2-7 is irrelevant. Watch this link and tell me, before they show, exactly what you think each player has and whether this was a good move or not, before the fact.

43 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Sweet googly moogly, that has to be some of the worst card play I have ever seen. He wasn't short-stacked against his opponent, he was raising pre-flop with a weak drawing hand, basically it was the weakest, amateur hour crap I have ever seen. It's just trying to bluff an opponent of a pot with chips. I did the same thing in my first game of poker I played for money, learned my lesson and haven't been so stupid since. Cheers for the link.

It isn't even a weak drawing hand till you see the flop, what was he thinking?

52 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Now that we've had our fun, I'll pull the rug out by adding a significant detail. That night, they were spicing things up with a 7-2 prop, so dude had extra incentive to mess around with it. Not "mess around to the tune of $117k," mind you, but that hand wasn't your typical PF auto-fold situation. (If I remember correctly, winning with 7-2 only earned $500 each from the other players at the table, so uhhhh, yeah.)

p.s. Here's how it's done correctly (another 7-2 vs. KK hand PF under 7-2 prop conditions).

15 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

The jump between JaMarcus Russell and Akili Smith looks fairly big to me. I'm more inclined to consider the three musketeers of the apocalypse and their protege.

16 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

In addition, Smith may have stunk, but he didn't even manage to do that with any sort of spectacular flair. He didn't have a "lethargy addiction" or an unfortunately awesome nickname like JaWalrus. He didn't explode at coaches on the sideline like Ryan Leaf. He wasn't even the only QB bust of his draft class. He had Tim Couch to deflect some blame. He played, was terrible, got benched, and got out of the league, but managed to do it all fairly quietly.

24 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I don't know - currently, The top-4 in each category are the same, in the same order, for all three career categories, and the numerical differences between them are not especially great. If we scale it with Leaf as the zero level, the rankings look like this:



The #5 tends to be closer to Smith than Smith is to the others, but the gap between Smith and Russell is less than the gap between Russell and Gabbert in every case. I think we need to wait a year to see what Gabbert does, and how it affects the totals.

ETA: On the other hand, Smith had one extra year on them; the DYAR/year is considerably smaller than the others. I'm leaning towards agreement then.

21 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

It gives me chest pain to think about how the big story line during the Lions' 2002 training camp was a quarterback controversy between Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon.

51 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Here are the 10 worst pass DYAR games for a winning QB (box scores linked; overall rank in parentheses):

1) Rex Grossman -284 (2), 2006, Week 6, CHI 24 @ ARI 23
2) Kelly Stouffer -254 (11), 1992, Week 13, SEA 16 vs. DEN 13 (OT)
3) Bobby Hoying -248 (13), 1998, Week 10, PHI 10 @ WAS 9
4) Todd Collins -244 (16), 2010, Week 5, CHI 23 @ CAR 6
5) Bernie Kosar -226 (23), 1993, Week 3, CLE 19 @ RAI 16
6) Trent Dilfer -213 (46), 2000, Week 16, BAL 13 @ ARI 7
7) Jake Delhomme -211 (50), 2008, Week 10, CAR 17 @ OAK 6.
8) Craig Krenzel -204 (64), 2004, Week 10, CHI 19 @ TEN 17
9) Erik Kramer -200 (71), 1992, Week 12, DET 19 @ CIN 13
10) Rex Grossman -196 (79), 2006, Week 13, CHI 23 vs. MIN 13

My observations of this list:

1) 7 of 10 were wins by 7 points or less.
2) 8 of 10 were road wins.
3) Grossman's games are old friends who sit on their park bench like bookends. Time it was, and what a time it was. It was a time of innocence, a time of confidences.
4) Grossman's -196 pass DYAR beat Brad Johnson's -219 that day. Kramer's -200 beat Esiason's -219 that day. Those are the only instances where two of the 100 worst passing performances since 1991 came from opposing quarterbacks in the same game.
5) Here are the only other four games in the worst 100 by QBs who made the Super Bowl that year:
--Eli Manning -224 (31), 2007, Week 12, NYG 17 vs. MIN 41
--Jim Kelly -219 (34), 1991, Week 13, BUF 13 @ NE 16
--Rex Grossman -217 (40), 2006, Week 17, CHI 6 vs. GB 27
--Stan Humphries -216 (42), 1994, Week 8, SD 15 vs. DEN 20
6) Yes, that means Grossman made the Super Bowl in a season where he had 3 of the worst 80 QB performances since 1991.
7) Lest we forget Trent Dilfer was Grossman before Grossman was Grossman.

Other non-list observations:

1) Anderson's 2009 game at BUF isn't even in the bottom 300. (That's as far as my list goes.) What's more, it wasn't even in the bottom 20 of 2009 nor was it even the worst game by a Browns quarterback that year. (That was Brady Quinn's -185 pass DYAR in CLE's 16-0 Week 10 loss vs. BAL.) The reason is that, despite his horrible completion percentage and yards per attempt, Anderson only threw 1 INT, was only sacked once, and did not fumble.
2) Rivers will be happy to know that Luke McCown checks in with the 44th-worst game (-215 pass DYAR) and Josh McCown checks in with the 212th-worst game (-161).

31 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

When you toss in Cade McNown and Chad Hutchinson, the Bears might want to consider the inadvisability of ever starting a qb again whose first name begins with the third letter of the alphabet.

47 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I'm surprised it took this long to see a reference to Cade McNown. Any list of atrocious Bears QBs of the past 20 years (which is a very long list) is incomplete without McNown. Henry Burris also is on that list.

The last game McNown started for the Bears stands out for me for his utter ineptitude. It was the second to last week of the season in 2000. The 49ers beat the Bears in San Francisco, 17-0. Here is the boxscore for that game: As you can see from the boxscore and play-by-play, McNown played the entire game and the Bears did not cross midfield the entire game. I repeat, the Bears did not cross midfield the entire game! It seems nearly impossible, but it happened and I remember it very well. McNown was so awful and so unprepared for that game, which his teammmates angrily noted in their postgame comments. They demanded that McNown be benched, which he was. He didn't start the last game of the year, but he played in relief of starter Shane Matthews, who I believe was forced from the game with an injury.

I also remember that game against the 49ers game as the day that Terrell Owens broke out as a big star. He wasn't yet known as TO. He had a then-record 20 catches for 283 yards and a TD.

90 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Henry Burris played a few years for the Calgary Stampeders, actually won an MOP (most outstanding player, basically MVP but we Canadians HAVE to be different) award and a Grey Cup, but my dad and I would always joke about his unique "end-over-end" spiral on his throws.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

35 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

The guy bringing up the rear of the Patriot's QB depth chart didn't make the list? I thought he was the worst QB to ever play the game. How close did his 2011 season come to making the 10 worst list?

38 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

There were six quarterbacks worse in DYAR and ten worse in DVOA that season alone. Tebow's completion percentage and sack rate that season were off-the-charts bad. However, he didn't throw many picks, and his completions, though rare, did pick up big chunks of yards. Overall, he was a very bad passer, but nowhere close to Gabbert levels.

40 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I'm impressed that Ryan Leaf had a game where he had more turnovers than yards.

The only other game I can think of where that's happened to a starter is, unfortunately, Super Bowl XX.

48 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks


let's see... it's happened in 16 games in NFL history, based on yards versus interceptions. There aren't great stats on who fumbled in some older games, so there's another two possibilities, based on QB fumbles.

For some added fun, there are a bunch of games here where two QBs may have managed it simultaneously.

Recent ones:
PFR doesn't have it, but Leaf fumbled three times.

There are two doubles in that list!
2004 Cleveland -- McCown was net (-3) yards with 2 TOs, and Jeff Garcia was net 0 yards with 1 TO.

2009 Tennessee -- Collins was (-7) yards and 2 TOs, and Young was 0 yards with 1 TO. Both managed to run for a loss of yards, too!

That 2009 NE-Tennessee game might have been the worst ass-kicking in NFL history, although Cleveland-Pittsburgh 1989 is pretty close.
Amazingly, two of these crushings occurred in the playoffs.

No team has ever won a game in which they had more TOs than yards passing, but a couple of have come close.

This may have been the worst game in NFL history:

Denver had 8 yards net passing, which was only 56 behind 0-11 SD's 64.

Denver's won a couple of these crapfights.

Chicago had less net yardage than net penalty yardage.

45 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I'm curious to see how much this changes as we go back to the 1970's and 80's and start comparing these players to luminaries such as Kim McQuilken and David Whitehurst.

50 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

No Tony Banks? No Eric Zeier? No Stoney Freaking Case? Not one MENTION of the Anthony Wright Experience?

Did you folks forget that Baltimore was in the league, again?

56 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

The strangest thing about Grossman's 2006 season is that through 5 games, his stats were great, at least before opponent adjustments. Here were the five stat lines:

C - A - Y - TD - INT






That's 63% completion percentage, 13 YPC, and 10/3 TD/INT. There was an NFL ad sometime in there in which Grossman and Muhsin Muhammad say to each other: "I'll vote for you if you vote for me [for the Pro Bowl]". Also remember, this was Grossman's first healthy year in the league. As a Bears fan, I was completely willing to believe that the light had gone on, and we would be getting competent QB play until Rex got hurt again, and if he stayed healthy, the Bears were obviously going to cruise to a Super Bowl win. It all fell apart pretty quick, but it was heady there for a while.

57 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I'm pretty surprised that Joey Harrington doesn't feature more prominently on those career lists. I remember Chase Stewart had a blog post in which he found that Harrington had the most negative total career value in history. That's what comes of being a failed high draft pick and then winning the backup lottery twice (replacing Culpepper in Miami and Vick in Atlanta).

66 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Harrington was never really flat out awful like Jamarcus Russell, Akili Smith, etc. He was merely bad as a rookie, then slowly improved to below average, and then stayed that way for his entire career. That's why his career seems like it was so short. He just hung around, staying below the radar for a long time.

115 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

That pretty much sums up david carr's career too, a perpetual three n out machine but didn't throw ints. Its actually the kind of unthinking praise that people give tim tebow.

I am curious, is it worse to have a mad gunslinger who causes turnovers but also gets scores, Or the guy who won't turn it over but hamstrings your offense?

69 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

there's a super bowl winner on this list!

You can win it all and stink - I've seen it with my own eyes. If Trent Dilfer can do it, anybody can!

73 Catholic Match Girl

I started reading FO post-Catholic Match Girl. I must know. Surely someone has a picture.

82 Re: Catholic Match Girl

Huh, so that's her. OK then. Mystery solved. Time to eat a Scooby Snack.

And yeah, it links to a Four Downs article from May of 2011. Someone mentions Catholic Match Girl in the comments.

102 Re: Catholic Match Girl

The mention of CMG brings a smile to my face. Takes me back to my golden days on FO, when I won the GM challenge and a free copy of PFP. Good times.

84 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

I'm surprised the post-Warner Cardinals QB carousel of suckitude isn't better represented - at least in the worst games category, I suppose they swapped in and out so frequently no one of them can get on the worst season list, or worst career list (besides Skelton).

From a glance, it looks like Cardinals QB 2012 would be near the top of the list for worst season by DYAR if you combined everyone who played QB for them that year. Any other teams that were just depressingly hopeless no matter who was under center?

87 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

Since people keep asking about the 2012 Arizona quarterbacks, here's the worst game for each of them last season (in PASSING ONLY):

Ryan Lindley: Week 13 vs. the Jets (a 7-6 shootout loss): 10-31-72, no TDs, 1 INT, two sacks, -156 DYAR.

John Skelton: Week 14 vs. the Seahawks (a 58-0 nailbiter): 11-22-74, no TDs, 4 INTs, one sack, two fumbles (including an aborted snap), -222 DYAR (almost made the worst games ever list).

Kevin Kolb: Week 6 vs. the Bills (16-19 overtime loss): 14-26-128, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks, -104 DYAR.

Brian Hoyer: Week 16 vs. the Bears (a 28-13 loss): 11-19-105, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 1 fumble, -53 DYAR.

96 Re: FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks

As much as I think Sanchez sucks, it appears that he has enough playoff DYAR to negate at least half of his regular season career suckitude. Those were real games against real opponents, after all.

Obviously, including playoffs is less important in this list than in the "Best Quarterbacks" list. But even here there is at least one player whose career DYAR needs to include his playoff performance to get the full picture.

I wonder, is there anyone else on this list who would be affected much by including playoff DYAR in the career total?

I know you don't have the playoff stats compiled in a way that makes this feasible. But it's an interesting question, don't you think?

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126 bamsest

In my home when I get bored, afterward I just ON my computer and open YouTube web site FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | FO 10th Anniversary: Worst Quarterbacks to watch the YouTube video clips.