Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 May 2013

Mandatory Monday: The Average Quarterback

Oops! Forgot to link up Mandatory Monday! I am writing the Bengals chapter of Football Outsiders Almanac this year, and after putting the rough draft together, I assembled this piece on Andy Dalton from the research. So, halfway between "sneak preview" and "time saver," but you get your Bengals on. Also, stop by the Tailgater blog for Bengals wide receiver Top Fives (lots of Isaac Curtis), and specials on RG3's wedding registry, Rob Gronkowski, and that fugitive from the Seven Soldiers of Victory, DR. JESSE JUPITER.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 20 May 2013

35 comments, Last at 26 Jan 2014, 9:32pm by LV Monogram Vernis Veske


by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 7:54pm

Dalton's last game vs. the Texans was such a stinker it's hard to get that out of my head when thinking about him. I don't know if he's going to improve his deep ball, he has limited physical skills, that's why he was a 2nd round pick. It seems like he came into the league as a very smart QB who can read defenses, but he may have already maxed out his potential.

by MJK :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 10:52pm

Hmmm, limited physical skills, not a great deep ball, wasn't physically talented enough to be a first round pick, but is a very smart QB who can read defenses. Sounds kind of like that Tom Brady guy in 2002...

by dryheat :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 5:17am

And Greg McElroy, Andrew Walter, Shane Matthews, Jim Miller, Eric Zeier, Brian Brohm, etc.

by drobviousso :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 12:01pm

And Joe Montana, so what. Most players fit into similar archetypes, and most archetypes have lots of stinkers a few great players.

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 11:57am

In other words, you completely disagree with Tanier's painstaking argument, without refuting any of his specific points.

by JimZipCode :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 9:08pm

Where do I find the top 5 list of Bengals WRs?

by JimZipCode :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 9:08pm

Also, why do I trigger the spam filter?

by Nathan :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 11:25pm

Romo and Cutler are average in the way that a person with one hand on the gas grill and the other in the freezer is comfortable.

Good line, Mike.

by Bobman :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 4:01pm

Yes. I was just about to copy and past the same line. Outstanding simile. Must steal it some time.... Classic Tanier turn of phrase. (This week's Runner-up: "The 16th most beautiful woman in the world -- Olivia Wilde, according to Maxim -- could dispel logical thought from your brain with a glance.")

by bpeterson (not verified) :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 12:45am

Very good analysis. As a Seahawk fan, I am very glad Russell Wilson was there in the third round.

by theslothook :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 1:04am

To me, there's above replaceable and replaceable. The difficulty, which was really Mike's overarching theme, is that talent around you can go along way to determining what you are. I would still submit that no stat currently does a good job of this.

Still, all things considered - I wouldn't consider dalton average. At his current level - hes replaceable. I suppose the definition of replaceable to me is - put him on the jaguars and do they end up drafting his replacement next year in all liklihood? I think the answer is yes. Tony romo on the jags? No. Jay cutler on the jags? No. Those 2 are definitely above replaceable.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 10:35am

Good metric. I wonder how Flacco does in it...

As Mr. Sloan always says, there is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "i" in meat pie. Meat is the anagram of team... I don't know what he's talking about

by CBPodge :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 4:22am

There's an alarming correlation emerging between QBs being asked whether they think they are elite, creating some sort of storm when they say they think they are because they clearly aren't, then winning a Super Bowl and being judged elite.

I'm waiting until this year's inevitable controversy happens, then plonking all of my money on that team to win the Super Bowl.

by IrishBarrister :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 12:35pm

Are there fans out there that want their team's QB to say that their not elite?

Reporter: "Do you believe you are an elite QB?"
QB: "Elite? God, no. I'm the laughing stock of the NFL. My fellow starting QBs can manage an offense better than I've ever dreamed. Anyone with vision or intelligence has long escaped my swirling vortex of incompetence and misery. I'm just collecting a paycheck, man."

Actually, it might be refreshing to hear Sanchez say something like that ...

by Perfundle :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 2:05pm

Reporter: "Do you believe you are an elite QB?"
QB: "I don't concern myself with rankings like that. My main goal is to improve myself and improve my team as much as I can."

It's not exactly a difficult statement to make.

"My fellow starting QBs can manage an offense better than I've ever dreamed."
Sadly, Sanchez would be lying if he'd said that last year.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 2:10pm

I always think the same thing whenever there's some made up controversy about Chris Johnson saying he's going to get a bazillion yards, or some 2nd stringer on the Jaguars says they're going to the Super Bowl. Of course these statements are stupid, but do you like the truth any better?

Hey, Jobber Linebacker X, what do you think of the team's chances this year?
"Oh, we'll probably go about 3-13, maybe 5-11 if we're lucky. We're solidly below average, probably one of the worst 2 or 3 teams in the league. I'll probably be cut by mid-season as we churn the bottom of the depth chart in a fruitless search for more talent. I look forward to that, as I could probably get more playing time in the Arena League."

by nat :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 2:30pm

Sure. It would go something like this...

Reporter: Do you believe you are an elite QB?
QB: Elite? Really? You'd be amazed on how not on my radar that is. We're already working on improving my game - our game - for next week. Coach has already let us know that there's plenty to improve, I can tell you that. If I'm healthy, play well, and we win that will be "elite" enough for this week.

Heck, even Mark Sanchez could say that.

by Bobman :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 4:15pm

I vote for this

QB: Elite? I don't even know the meaning of that word! (then he turns away from the reporter to resume practice)

Implication is that he's a football player, not a linguist. It's a pop-culture/media-generated nonsense term and he's focused on technique, mechanics, communication, film study, buying more Papa Johns or rubbing sunscreen on his supermodel wife. Of course wags like us would look at it and say (if he's not one of the unassailables), "See? He has no idea! That's precisely his problem."

These poor guys can't win (so to speak). Probably because it's such fun to kick them when they're down.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 9:43pm

QB: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

by Ulrik (not verified) :: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 10:13am

Now that's an interview I want to see.

by Led :: Tue, 05/21/2013 - 11:16pm

Elite? Well, now let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means. I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it's just a made up word, a pundit's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I good at what I do? There's not a day goes by I don't try to be the best player I can be. Not because I'm ranked in the middle of some list, or because you think I should. Elite? It's just a bullsh*t word. So you go on and write your column, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell
you the truth, I don't give a sh*t.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:18am


by David :: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 4:08am

Which would inevitably be reported as: QB says "I don't give a shit about being elite"

by CBPodge :: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 1:52pm

Or, if it was Tony Romo, "I don't give a shit".

by Jimmy :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 12:41pm


by shah8 (not verified) :: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 10:37pm

Arm strength.

It matters.

by zenbitz :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 11:57am

Reporter: Do you believe you are an elite QB?

QB: I firmly believe I am one of the top 16 QBs in the world.

by VIciousChickenOfBristol (not verified) :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 1:51pm

Here is a question. Would Dalton be considered even average if AJ Green wasn't in the equation?

My money is on no.

by Dean :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 3:23pm

I suspect you're wrong, but right now it's just a matter of opinions. If someone were to calculate Dalton's numbers on plays when AJ Green is A) not the intended receiver and/or B) not in the game, it might give us some insight. Common sense dictates that the team would do worse when their best wideout isn't playing, but just how much worse might be more insightful than our opinions.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 6:55pm

Look at all of the recent Arizona QBs who stank despite having Larry Fitzgerald to throw to. Even a star receiver needs at least an average QB to be productive.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 05/24/2013 - 10:47am

Good point. You'd at least need your QB to keep butt fumbles to a bare minimum.

As Mr. Sloan always says, there is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "i" in meat pie. Meat is the anagram of team... I don't know what he's talking about

by ViciousChickenOfBristol (not verified) :: Wed, 05/29/2013 - 4:20pm

But on the flipside, you could also look at the QB's who looked good with elite receivers and below average without them.

The Moss-less Culpepper comes to mind.

Matt Cassel, Derek Anderson, hell even Kurt Warner kinda fell off the map between Holt/Bruce and Fitzgerald/Boldin.

I'm just saying that being a steelers fan I have watched the Bengals play quite a bit (though admittedly less than many) and I get the impression that it is the AJ Green show there and Dalton is just a backup singer.

AJ Green has the look of a once a generation talent...like a young Randy Moss.

by mansteel (not verified) :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 11:13pm

"Now rattle off the youngsters with buzz and sizzle: RG3, Luck, Russell, Kaepernick and (let's say) Cam."

I think Tanier meant Wilson instead of Russell. Unless he meant sizzurp instead of sizzle.

by LV Monogram Vernis Veske (not verified) :: Sun, 01/26/2014 - 9:32pm

Det er egentlig s