Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Sep 2006

FO on BSMW: Do The Elegant Young QBs Pass?

This week's Football Outsiders feature on the Boston Sports Media Watch site takes a look at how quarterbacks in their first season of significant action perform whilst on the road.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 08 Sep 2006

14 comments, Last at 11 Sep 2006, 8:58pm by Bill Barnwell


by Darrel Michaud (not verified) :: Fri, 09/08/2006 - 10:38pm

Shins reference for the win!

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/08/2006 - 11:30pm

What's the point of this article? Are there even any rookie QBs starting this week? I guess it means we can't dismiss what happened to Loseman on the road last year as some sort of rookie jitters.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:08am

I think 3 "As you can see"s were too many.

by centrifuge (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:54am

#2: It's not just rooks. It's any passer who is in his first season with at least 160 passes. I would guess Losman falls into that category (provided he doesn't get hooked before hitting that threshold).

by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:57am


He was looking at young quarterbacks in their first year of more than 160 pass attempts. Off the top of my head, the only (likely) starting QB's that fit that description are Rivers and Grossman. Both teams play on the road in week one. As a Chargers fan, I'm happy to see that River's performance shouldn't suffer. Of course, he could be equally crappy at home as well as on the road, but let's hope that's not the case.

by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:01am

Damn, #4 beat me to it. But Losman, with 228 attempts last year, is beyond the threshold. Frye, with 162 attempts last year, is also just beyond (although not enough to be significant).

by Dave (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:21pm

I think just Rivers this week. But it seems likely that some others will this year. Grossman joins Lossman and Frye in the not-much-beyond-160 camp.

#2 QBs (according to the depth charts at ESPN.com) who haven't thrown 160 passes are:

Leinart (AZ)
Shaub (Atlanta)
Cassel (NE)
Romo (Dallas)
Cutler (Denver)

Rodgers (GB)
Rosenfels (Houston)
Sorgi (Indy)
Jackson (Minni)
Lorenzen (NYG)

Clemmens (NYJ)
Walter (Oakland)
Whitehurst (SD)
Wallace (Seattle)
Young (Tenn)

So about half of the #2 guys in the league would qualify if they end up making a spot start due to injury (certainly some of them will) or the starter ends up being benched for one reason or another (which again, is certain to happen for some of them).

by B (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:16pm

7: Right, so wouldn't this article have more relevence later in the year when some of those guys are making thier first start on the road? I'm not saying the article is bad, and it's useful information later in the year, but I'd think there'd be more interesting things to talk about.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Sun, 09/10/2006 - 2:59pm

Something not considered by the author:

First-year guys are worse at home, on the road, early in the season and late in the season. First, part of this is selection bias - guys who are TERRIBLE probably dod't go much past that first year, or at least they only throw passes in case of extreme team desperation. thus, they stop watering down the averages.

Second, just to play satan's attorney, let's imagine that there is a certain threshold where the ratio of performance by the QB to the winning percentage of the team drops off the right side of the curve like a stone. Say, for example, that the QB has to be able to average 57% completion and 6.5ypa for the team to have a reasonable chance of winning the game, barring some other on-field miracle. In that case, first-year starters would be able to work out reasonably at home, and vets would work out at home or on the road, but first-year guys would get eaten alive on the road, just because their performance dropped below the suckitude threshold.

I don't believe this myself, but hey, I've heard much dumber theories floated by guys who are actually being paid to write about football.


by Bill Barnwell :: Sun, 09/10/2006 - 5:06pm

Not considered and not mentioned are two different things. There is, of course, a natural selection to QB playing time. Young quarterbacks see more time later in the season because the older ones are hurt and/or losing teams want to build for the future. Guys who are terrible in their first season generally don't get more playing time, at least as a starter.

While you don't espouse it, the fact that Kyle Orton won - well, the Bears won with Kyle Orton - last season should be a pretty strong indicator that the devil's advocate theory you propose doesn't exist.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 09/10/2006 - 6:42pm

It seems to me that teams are less willing to start rookies in the begining of the year then they had been a few years ago. There's a real belief that letting rookies sit and watch for a year helps out. I think the success of Carson Palmer and Tom Brady has given that theory more traction. Well, that combined with Alex Smith's struggles.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 09/11/2006 - 1:39am

I don't think it really helps or hurts the quarterback's overall development to put him in during his rookie year. He will be terrible, and then if he's good, he'll improve his second year. If you're like the 1998 Colts, then a rookie Peyton Manning is going to be your best option anyway, so you start him immediately. Sitting him a year wouldn't make him any better or worse.

by TGT (not verified) :: Mon, 09/11/2006 - 11:19am

At the end of that article, I was expecting Bill to compare the "rookie" bad weather games with rookie non bad weather games during the same weeks (9-16) to single out the bad weather variable. Is there a reason this wasn't done? Was this supposed to be an exercise left open to the readers?

by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 09/11/2006 - 8:58pm


Didn't realize you'd want that data too - apologies. Below:

Bad W 9-16 102 1679 2982 56.3% 18825 6.31 112 98

Good W 9-16 384 6177 10839 57.0% 72063 6.65 420 375