Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Dec 2011

MMQB: Quarterbacks and Health

In this week's Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King touches on the comebacks of some AFC West quarterback, Ray Rice, and Peyton Manning's status. He also writes about SI's forthcoming special report on the current health of the 1986 Cincinnati Bengals 25 years later, which is something I'm very interested in reading. Bill Belichick's adherence to Jimmy Johnson's draft pick strategy is also mentioned.

Posted by: Tom Gower on 05 Dec 2011

39 comments, Last at 01 Jan 2012, 9:35pm by Dana87


by Eddo :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 12:58pm

"Stat of the Week
Jay Cutler's last 27 drives before leaving the lineup with an injured thumb: six touchdowns, six field goals, 10 punts, one interception.
Caleb Hanie's first 27 drives as starting Chicago quarterback: two touchdowns, three field goals, 12 punts, six interceptions."

6 + 6 + 10 + 1 = 23
2 + 3 + 12 + 6 = 23

Come on, Peter.

by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:21pm

4 end of half drives apiece sounds pretty plausible.

by The Zeb (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:44pm

maybe a fumble or turnover on downs as well

by Ben Stuplisberger :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 4:48pm

They only add up to 23 because he ran out of body parts to count on.

by Dr. Respect for the Opponent (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:05pm

I'm a Steelers fan, but A. J. Green has to be an automatic selection on any offensive rookie of the year list.

by Alexander :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:36pm

Agreed. QBs are highly overrated in all these selections, but it is IMO a race between Newton and Green.

by 0tarin :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:48pm

I was going to say the same about Von Miller. Perhaps he hasn't been as consistently game-changing, but I thought he merited a mention more than DeMarco Murray, at least.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 3:34pm

If there was an overall "Rookie of the Year" award* Von Miller wold be the brain-dead obvious choice. But there're separate defensive and offensive awards. King only listed his offensive choices.

* Okay there's that Pepsi one if you want to count it.

by 0tarin :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 5:57pm

Reading comprehension: I don't has it. Thanks.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 6:25pm

I only noticed it because I did a double take not seeing Miller listed as well. Reread, reread, "Oh!"

by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:29am

There is no race, it should be unanimous. One rookie has set an all-time record for rushing TDs by a QB and may break the yardage record as well. He's already established himself as the top player on his team at its most important position. Green probably edges Julio for top rookie WR and Miller looks to be the top LB to come out since Patrick Willis. Credit to Andy Dalton as well. But Newton on the ground is a unique threat and he can throw better as a young guy better than any running QB since McNair. He has one year as a starter in college and less than a season as a pro - what happens when he learns to play football?

by Flounder :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 9:22am

I'm not saying Newton shouldn't be ROY, but I have never understood the "think about how good he'll be at future time X" argument for awards. What in the world does that have to do with anything? And what in the world does his experience coming into the season have to do with anything? What in the world does anything outside of his performance on the field this season have to do with anything with regards to a rookie of the year award?

by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:31am

Why would anyone vote for Von Miller over Newton?

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:15pm

If you're talking about the hypothetical scenario in which you compare offensive and defensive rookies against one another for the award, then you'd probably one would probably vote for Miller because he's had a significantly better season than Newton. One might vote for Newton over Miller because he plays a more noticeable and impactful position, but if you go by comparison with his positional peers it's a pretty easy decision.

by tuluse :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:28pm

King raises an excellent question. Why did the Rams let Robinson go? Is there a reason I don't know about, or is this just an indictment on the Ram's talent evaluation?

by Dean :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:30pm

Can't make the club in the tub.

by Tom Gower :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:54pm

Robinson was (a) not healthy and (b) not good last year. I liked him in Atlanta, thought he could really make an impact with the Rams, but he couldn't stay on the field, couldn't get open when he was on the field, and couldn't catch the ball when he was open.

by GlennW :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:38pm

"Aside from the option bonus, the cap cost won't be prohibitive if they keep Manning and draft a quarterback with the first pick in the draft; Indy would have to pay Manning and the rookie QB a cap charge of about $21.2 million, with the rest of the roster earning about $100 million."

Isn't this a contradiction? Okay, maybe $21.2m/season (over four remaining years) isn't extremely "prohibitive" under normal circumstances, but it's still a hell of a cap hit if Manning can't play close to his normal standards, or is not able to play at all over some of that period.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 2:50pm

"i. Jermichael Finley's not in the class of Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, in my mind. Drops too many.

Why do people think Graham is in the same class as Gronkowski? They're probably similar as receivers, but Gronkowski is a drastically better blocker, and therefore, a much better TE.

by ammek :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 3:00pm

Finley had the lowest drop-rate of all the Packers' receivers in 2009-10. This season, he has the highest. I'd expect a sportswriter to note both of these things. Alas….

by Joseph :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:55am

Here's why, esp. in the eyes of somebody like PK:

Gronk: 65 for 928 (14.3), 13 TD's (+ that rushing TD). #1 in DYAR (325), #3 in DVOA (50.7%).
Graham: 75 for 1046 (13.9), 8 TD's. #2 in DYAR (266), #9 in DVOA (30.5%).
Note: traditional stats are through Sunday's games, while DYAR & DVOA are through week 12 games.
It also doesn't hurt that they play in similar offenses with future HOF QB's and were both drafted 2 years ago.

Now, you could make the case that Gronk is even a better receiver if you wanted too. However, I am willing to bet that a big portion of the DYAR & DVOA difference is the TD's. Also, Graham is on pace for 100 catches for almost 1400 yds and 10/11 TD's. Those are unreal #'s for a TE. (Gronk's aren't bad either.)
BTW, Graham is over 100 DYAR ahead of 3rd place this year. They will finish the year #1 & #2 in DYAR.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:41pm

They're both very good receivers. Gronk is a tremendous blocker. Graham is not.

by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:42am

How does being better as a blocker make you a 'much better TE'?

How often is Gronkowski even asked to block? It's not as if that's 50% of his impact on a game as a TE. He's almost never blocking on pass plays and how many more yards would the Pats gain on the ground by having him block instead of Graham? It's not as if the Pats are going to gameplan around the difference in run blocking prowess.

In the modern game you want a TE who is a weapon in the passing game, especially if you're the New Orleans Saints or New England Patriots. That's why both guys got drafted.

by horse racing fan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:33am

Just look at how hard it is to cover and bring down these giant TE's. Game is evolving away from running. In NE they preach balance but continue to pass.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:22pm

Blocking makes you a much better TE because blocking is the primary responsibility of a TE. If, as you claim, Gronkowski is not asked to block as much then that's an even bigger mark against him because it's value he is not adding and his passing stats are a result partially of relatively more opportunities. I'm not saying you have to use a TE as a blocker to be doing the right thing, but most TEs block an awful lot, and if you're measuring the comparative value of TEs you have to consider it.

Imagine considering the value of a RB solely based on blitz pickup, an FB only on yards per rush, or a nose tackle on sacks. Valuable and important skills at those positions all, but secondary and certainly not the full story.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:39pm

Gronkowski is asked to block a significant amount of the time. Jimmy has absolutely no idea what the hell hes talking about.

He's the sort of player who never comes off the field. He definitely blocks on more plays than he runs routes.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:58pm

I haven't seen enough of his play personally, but I've heard that from enough Pats fans to believe it.

by Eddo :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:42pm

That seems a bit extreme. Blocking is still an important part of being a TE, but in general, the position has morphed into one that is much more receiver-oriented than ever before. I'd put it around 50/50 at this point.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 4:02pm

Maybe. I agree that TE is become ever more route oriented. I also think that people tend to pay a lot more attention to a TE when he's catching a pass than when he's blocking, which makes people pay more attention to route-oriented TEs, which skews our view of what TEs spend their time doing. I suspect if you look at all the TEs across the league you will still find considerably more plays where the main responsibility is blocking than route running (and you will also see plenty of plays where a TE blocks then releases).

by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:05am

Okay, but is the difference that significant that it impacts the game? A TE can be the teams best receiver and offensive weapon, a guy you can build a gameplan around. If your TE is your best blocker you have real problems and I'm not aware of any pro offense which tries to feature Lombardi-era Packer sweeps as a significant part of its gameplan.

I think there is a huge difference between these guys as receivers and your average TE. Big enough for DCs to commit time and resources to how they're going to cover them. I think if you replace Gronkowski with an average blocking TE thats not going to impact much in terms of playcalling or defensive adjustments compared to how teams approach the passing game.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:26am

Yes the difference is significant enough that it impacts the game. You don't notice it as much because the types of play differ in character. If your offensive guard couldn't block would it impact the game? Oh yeah it would. The blocking of a TE is as important on those plays were his role is to block.

by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 3:10am

But an OG only has one job. The TE used to be about blocking, but it is very much a secondary consideration these days. If a team is looking to build a team that runs TE may be important but those guys are simply not valued in the league.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:43pm

Do you even watch football?

"almost never blocking on pass plays"

No, you clearly don't.

The patriots don't gameplan around Gronkowski's blocking? Seriously?

by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:07am

No I don't watch football. Clearly. That's why I can't appreciate the subtle dominance on the Pats ground game. Far more important than setting any silly touchdown record.

by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 11:57am

You may watch football, but you don't watch the Patriots very much if you need to ask how much Gronk blocks or why blocking would improve the value of a player.

by Dana87 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/01/2012 - 9:35pm

If your top tight ends get hurt, who do you have play TE? Is it a WR or a lineman.

When Aaron Hernandez got hurt, the Pats brought in Nate Solder. Why because blocking is extremely important to the running game. Think about it, if you run a two TD offense where both TEs are good at blocking and receiving, what do you defend? If you have TEs that are just receivers you would defend as if it were a 3WR/4WR set, but with TEs that can block well, now you have to defend the run. They don't have to declare which side they are running the ball because both guys can block competently.

It's a moot point though because Gronkowski has the most TD and receiving yards by a TE in history so he's the better receiver too,

by Sam P (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:59pm

It looks like PK is about to commit an act of journalism! Is that... allowed?!?

by Dean :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:35pm

He's actually much better at journalism than he is at analysis. Better this than him trying to explain football.

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 6:03pm

Or beer.