Quick Reads
The best and worst players of the week according to Football Outsiders stats.

Week 5 Quick Reads

New York Jets QB Joe Flacco
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Good evening. We are gathered here today to discuss the failings of New York Jets wide receiver Jeff Smith, and the failings of the Jets franchise as a whole.

Some of you are no doubt reading about Smith for the first time today. Smith was a quarterback at Clearwater Central Catholic High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, who played collegiately at Boston College. He started three games as a freshman in 2015 and looked terrible -- he threw 82 passes, completing less than one-third of them for a 3.1-yard average gain with two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Eagles made other plans at the position for 2016, while Smith had another position in his plans. He moved to wide receiver, where he proved to be a valuable multi-purpose tool. He finished his career with 72 catches for 1,078 yards and nine touchdowns; he scored another nine touchdowns as a rusher, with 136 carries for 902 yards (including a 72-454-6 statline in his one season as a quarterback). The highlight of his Eagles career was probably his 80-yard touchdown run against Notre Dame in Fenway Park in 2015.

Smith was not invited to the NFL combine in 2019, but as the crew at Gang Green Nation point out, he put up some stellar numbers at the B.C. pro day; his 4.34s 40, 4.06s short shuttle, and 6.87s three-cone drill would have been the best numbers for any running back at the combine that year, and in the top five among wide receivers as well. That same Gang Green report, however, noted Smith's "awful hands" at Boston College, which explain why he went undrafted and was available to sign with the Jets in free agency. He played in just one game as a rookie, catching one pass.

If you were savvy enough to purchase Football Outsiders Almanac 2020, you may remember what we said about Smith there, which was literally nothing. His name does not appear in 500-plus pages. The top Jets wide receivers were supposed to be Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and second-round rookie Denzel Mims. Our Going Deep section included notes on Braxton Berrios, Josh Doctson, Quincy Enunwa, and Vyncint Smith. What happened to that crew? Doctson opted out of the season due to COVID concerns. Enunwa was released in August, his career ruined by neck injuries. Mims has yet to play after suffering injuries to both hamstrings; Smith has also missed every game thus far after undergoing "core muscle surgery" in August. Desperate for help at the position, the Jets signed Chris Hogan (who had eight catches in seven games with Carolina in 2019) in August to play alongside Crowder, Perriman, and Jeff Smith, but each of those players has already missed time too. Crowder missed three games with a hamstring issue. Perriman also missed games with ankle and hamstring problems. Only Hogan has played in every game so far … but he was carted off the field on Sunday with a high-ankle sprain and is unlikely to return any time soon.

Smith, meanwhile, missed the first three games of the year with a shoulder injury. He made his debut in Week 4 against Denver and played well enough, catching seven passes for 81 yards in nine targets. It was one of the better games any Jets offensive player has had this year, and it earned Smith an even bigger role in the offense in Week 5 against Arizona. That was going to be an interesting game for the Jets, because quarterback Sam Darnold was out with a shoulder injury, and Joe Flacco was going to get his first start since Week 8 of last season, when Flacco's Broncos lost to the Colts 15-13.

The Cardinals game got off to an ominous start for the Jets. On the very first offensive snap, Flacco faked a handoff and rolled to his right, where he had a very wide-open Smith in front of him for an easy first down … and completely whiffed on the pass, throwing far behind Smith, who could barely reach back to even get a finger on the ball. That was not the last bad pass Flacco tried in Smith's direction. For the next three quarters, he threw multiple passes at Smith's feet or over his head. He threw wide receiver screens that the Cardinals sniffed out and knocked away with no hope of a completion. Smith's first catch was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10, and even on that simple quick out, he had to dive back to the line of scrimmage on a woefully underthrown ball.

Mind you, Smith's performance left a lot to be desired on its own. Remember those "awful hands" mentioned in the Gang Green Nation scouting report? They were on full display against Arizona. New York's first drive was a three-and-out that ended when Smith dropped what would have been a first down on third-and-2. On his last target of the day, Smith got behind Dre Kirkpatrick and Flacco dropped a perfect pass right in the bucket for what should have been a 27-yard touchdown, but the ball bounced off Smith's chest and fell to the turf.

When the smoke cleared, Flacco had thrown 11 passes Smith's way, and Smith had caught three of them for a total of 23 yards. Those three completions: the aforementioned 4-yard gain on first-and-10; an 11-yard gain on a give-up shallow cross on third-and-20; and an 8-yard gain on a slant on second-and-6, Smith's only first down of the day. That all adds up to -61 receiving DYAR, which is a terrible day -- only A.J. Green in Week 2 has been worse this year.

But Smith wasn't just a receiver on Sunday. Remember how he found success as a gadget-play passer in Boston College after switching to receiver? Adam Gase tried to exploit that skill on Sunday, and given the struggles of his offense, more power to him for trying something creative such as a wide receiver pass. Less power to him, however, for calling back-to-back end around plays. Trailing 24-10 early in the fourth quarter, Berrios took an end around from right to left for 13 yards and a first down. When Smith took an end around from left to right on the very next play, the Cardinals were not fooled.

That's a sack for a loss of 16 yards and -21 passing DYAR for Smith. Add that to his -61 receiving DYAR (and accounting for rounding errors) and you get -81 total DYAR, and that's one of the worst wide receiver games in our database going back to 1985. If it's any consolation to Smith, it's a list that includes many Jets.

Worst WR Games, Total DYAR, 1985-2020
Year Player Team Rec Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Rec
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Total
DYAR
Week Def
2018 Stefon Diggs MIN 8/15 33 0 -74 -11 -86 7 NYJ
2018 Chris Godwin TB 1/10 13 0 -85 0 -85 14 NO
2020 Jeff Smith NYJ 3/11 23 0 -61 0 -81 5 ARI
2010 Andre Roberts ARI 4/11 23 0 -78 0 -78 17 SF
2018 Randall Cobb GB 4/11 23 0 -75 0 -75 3 WAS
1995 Vincent Brisby NE 0/11 0 0 -74 0 -74 6 DEN
1998 Mikhael Ricks SD 3/10 16 0 -74 0 -74 11 BAL
2018 Nelson Agholor PHI 5/12 26 0 -72 0 -72 4 TEN
2000 Dennis Northcutt CLE 4/13 23 0 -71 0 -71 9 CIN
2016 Brandon Marshall NYJ 1/11 16 0 -71 0 -71 15 MIA
2014 David Nelson NYJ 3/7 20 0 -70 0 -70 3 CHI
1996 Tony Martin SD 1/13 18 0 -70 0 -70 12 TB
1993 CarlPickens CIN 0/12 0 0 -70 0 -70 14 SF
2004 Billy McMullen PHI 2/12 19 0 -69 0 -69 17 CIN
2008 Justin McCareins TEN 3/13 36 0 -73 4 -69 15 HOU
2014 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 3/11 40 0 -68 0 -68 5 CHI
2001 Joe Horn NO 4/17 48 0 -71 2 -68 3 NYG
2016 Tavon Austin LAR 4/12 13 0 -66 -2 -68 1 SF
1991 Flipper Anderson LAR 0/11 0 0 -68 0 -68 17 SEA
2019 Parris Campbell IND 5/8 25 0 -67 0 -67 4 OAK

All the usual caveats apply -- opponent adjustments and league-wide baselines can and will fluctuate throughout the year, and Smith's game could still move up or down this table. There is a slim chance this will be the worst wideout game on record when all is said and done. There is a much better chance this will be the worst wideout game of 2020.

Again, however, Smith is somewhat a victim of circumstances. It's not Smith's fault the Jets signed Joe Flacco when so many better options (Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Nick Foles, etc.) were available. It's not Smith's fault that Flacco played a bad game by his own standards. It's not Smith's fault that Gase called a play that sent him headfirst into a Budda Baker blitz with little hope to escape. And it's not Smith's fault that four other wide receivers on the roster were missing due to injury by the end of the game.

Those two big drops? Those were Smith's fault. And that's probably why he won't be getting much of a chance to redeem himself when the other Jets wideouts get healthy … assuming that day ever comes.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
22/28
350
3
0
2
196
187
9
SF
Fitzpatrick was the league's best passer in ... well, lots of categories. Deep passes: 5-of-7 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 22-yard DPI. Passes to the outside: 18-of-22 for 284 yards and two touchdowns, plus two DPIs for 38 more yards. Passes to running backs: 7-of-7 for 71 yards. You get the idea.
2.
Derek Carr LV
22/31
347
3
1
1
146
146
1
KC
Carr was the league's best passer on throws to his right, where he went 13-of-18 for 288 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 19-yard DPI. Really, though, his value came on four straight passes in the second quarter: 59-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor; 23-yard completion on second-and-9 to Alec Ingold; 5-yard touchdown to Darren Waller; 72-yard touchdown to Henry Ruggs. Take away those four plays and he falls out of the top 10.
3.
Kyler Murray ARI
27/36
380
1
1
1
128
103
25
NYJ
Murray gets 25 rushing DYAR for his six carries for 35 yards and a touchdown. He excelled at digging the Cardinals out of bad spots, leading the league in passing DYAR within his own 20, where he completed all six of his passes for 94 yards. He also led all passers in fourth-quarter DYAR, going 4-of-5 for 97 yards and a touchdown. Weirdly, he did not throw a single pass in the red zone.
4.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
27/34
239
3
0
1
114
114
0
PHI
Roethlisberger was the league's best passer on third/fourth downs, when he completed each of his 13 passes for 158 yards. Nine of those completions picked up first downs, including two touchdowns. The four that did not were part of his 12 failed completions, tied for most in the league.
5.
Teddy Bridgewater CAR
27/37
313
2
0
0
88
95
-8
ATL
It appears that Matt Rhule's offense does not use the tight end very much. Bridgewater had only one pass to a tight end (an incompletion to Ian Thomas) in this game, and only 14 on the year. (Nick Mullens, in only 73 passes all year, has targeted tight ends 22 times.) This may limit the Panthers' ability to attack the deep middle of the field. Bridgewater only threw six passes down the middle against Atlanta, all within 6 yards of the line of scrimmage. He completed three of them for 18 yards, which doesn't sound like much, but all three of those completions picked up first downs. Bridgewater threw for 17 first downs, tied for most in the league this week.
6.
Deshaun Watson HOU
25/35
359
3
2
1
84
76
8
JAX
Watson loses a league-high 36 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was at his best on throws to his left, completing 13 of 15 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
7.
Jared Goff LAR
21/30
309
2
1
1
77
70
7
WAS
Goff led the league in DYAR on passes to tight ends. He completed all six of his passes to Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett for 102 total yards. He was also first in DYAR on passes down the middle, going 7-of-9 for 123 yards and a touchdown, plus a 15-yard DPI -- and only one of those throws went to a tight end. Goff's average completion gained 9.1 yards after the catch, most in the league.
8.
Patrick Mahomes KC
22/43
340
2
1
3
52
61
-9
LV
The Raiders did a good job taking away Kansas City's screen game. On passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, Mahomes went 4-of-10 for only 25 yards.
9.
Kirk Cousins MIN
27/39
249
2
1
3
34
30
4
SEA
Cousins threw for 17 first downs, tied for most in the league this week. He started the second half ice cold, completing a pass for a 5-yard loss, throwing two incompletions in a row, then giving up sack-fumble and interception on back-to-back dropbacks. Then he caught fire -- on Minnesota's next two drives, he went 10-of-13 for 104 yards and two touchdowns. That put the Vikings up by five with about seven minutes to go; the next time he got to throw, they were down by one with 15 seconds to go.
10.
Justin Herbert LAC
20/34
264
4
0
3
30
42
-12
NO
11.
Carson Wentz PHI
20/35
258
2
2
5
30
29
0
PIT
Wentz's game was one of contrasts. He led the league in red zone DYAR (5-for-5, 40 yards, two touchdowns) ... but he was last on DYAR within his own 20-yard line (2-of-9 for 25 yards with a sack and two interceptions). He was first in DYAR on passes to wide receivers (17-of-25 for 233 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, plus a 26-yard DPI) ... but he was last in DYAR on passes to tight ends (1-of-6 for 6 yards with an interception). Wentz's average pass attempt traveled 13.7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, most of any quarterback this week ... but his average completion gained only 2.9 yards after the catch, fewest in the league.
12.
Drew Brees NO
33/47
325
1
1
2
25
18
8
LAC
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/32
217
3
1
4
16
-3
19
MIN
Wilson gets 19 rushing DYAR for his five carries for 58 yards. Last week, he was the league's worst passer in the third quarter; this week, he was the best, going 8-of-10 for 93 yards with two touchdowns. And it's a good thing, because he failed to pick up a first down in any of his last nine dropbacks of the first half. In that stretch, he completed all five of his passes for only 20 yards, while losing 27 yards on four sacks. Wilson was also the worst passer without a huddle, throwing incompletions on all four of his passes.
14.
Andy Dalton DAL
9/11
111
0
0
1
9
22
-13
NYG
Dalton loses 13 DYAR for his one running play, a 2-yard loss on a fumbled snap. He came into the game with the Cowboys up 24-23 in the third quarter. He only gained one first down in his first nine dropbacks, but then threw for three in a row -- for gains of 15, 19, and 38 yards -- to set up the winning field goal.
15.
Tom Brady TB
25/41
253
1
0
3
7
19
-12
CHI
Brady threw a dozen failed completions, tied for most in the league. That's partly why he had a bad day on third/fourth downs. He completed eight of 15 passes for 82 yards, but only picked up four first downs, including one touchdown.
16.
Kyle Allen WAS
9/13
74
0
0
2
-3
-12
9
LAR
Allen's average pass attempt traveled 3.2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, least of any quarterback this week. In second place: Allen's replacement, Alex Smith, at 5.7 yards.
17.
Joe Flacco NYJ
18/33
195
1
0
2
-6
-11
5
ARI
Flacco only had one conversion on third or fourth downs, when he went 3-of-8 for 28 yards with a sack.
18.
Dak Prescott DAL
14/21
166
0
1
1
-11
-4
-7
NYG
With Prescott out for the season, Andy Dalton is going to need a lot of help from his running backs. Hopefully he gets more help than Prescott got -- for the second time in three weeks, Prescott was last in the league on passes to running backs, going 1-of-3 for 14 yards with a pick-six. Of course, in between, he was the league's best player on passes to running backs, so this may all be random noise.
19.
Gardner Minshew JAX
31/49
301
2
0
3
-12
-11
-2
HOU
Minshew was in the top six in DYAR on passes to wide receivers (17-of-24 for 208 yards and two touchdowns), but in the bottom six in DYAR on passes to backs and tight ends (14-of-20 for 93 yards).
20.
Baker Mayfield CLE
21/37
247
2
2
1
-33
-32
0
IND
Mayfield had the league's worst DYAR on passes down the middle, going 4-of-8 for 29 yards and two interceptions.
21.
Nick Foles CHI
30/42
243
1
1
3
-34
-34
0
TB
Foles gains a league-high 36 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was first in DYAR on short passes (29-of-36 for 219 yards and a touchdown), but last in DYAR on deep passes (1-of-6 for 24 yards with an interception, plus a 19-yard DPI).
22.
Daniel Jones NYG
20/33
222
0
0
2
-35
-26
-9
DAL
Jones had a terrible day on first down, completing 6 of 12 passes for 56 yards with a sack-fumble-six. Two of those plays picked up first downs; three lost yardage.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
C.J. Beathard SF
9/18
94
1
0
2
-40
-40
0
MIA
Beathard came into this game in the second half with San Francisco trailing 30-7. He only picked up one first down in his last 12 dropbacks, going 5-of-10 for 36 yards with two sacks and a fumble.
24.
Lamar Jackson BAL
19/37
180
2
1
1
-45
-37
-8
CIN
Jackson had the league's worst DYAR on passes to wide receivers, completing eight of 17 passes for 94 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
25.
Matt Ryan ATL
21/36
226
0
1
2
-63
-63
0
CAR
You may have heard that Ryan has struggled to throw touchdowns. With seven scores in 204 passes, his touchdown rate of 3.4% would be his lowest since 2015, and the second-lowest of his career. In a related note, Ryan was last in the league in red zone DYAR this week. This is particularly impressive because Ryan only threw three passes inside the Carolina 20: two incompletions and an interception.
26.
Philip Rivers IND
22/33
243
0
2
1
-77
-77
0
CLE
Rivers falls to last place if you remove the DYAR every quarterback lost on sacks. He had the league's worst DYAR on short passes (18-of-27 for 155 yards with a pick-six). But he was the best passer without a huddle (4-of-5 for 51 yards).
27.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
7/17
77
0
2
3
-128
-128
0
MIA
After the game, Kyle Shanahan said he took Garoppolo out of the game "to protect" him, because the quarterback was still dealing with lingering effects of his ankle injury. Maybe coincidence, maybe not, but Garoppolo's game (which wasn't very good to start with) completely fell apart after his sack-fumble on San Francisco's fifth drive. He threw seven passes after that, completing none of them, while two were intercepted by the Dolphins.
28.
Joe Burrow CIN
19/30
183
0
1
7
-161
-160
-1
BAL
Burrow had the league's worst DYAR in the first quarter, completing two of eight passes for 40 yards with an interception and a sack.
29.
Alex Smith WAS
9/17
37
0
0
6
-164
-158
-6
LAR
Smith came into the game with Washington losing 20-7 in the second quarter. He threw for a pair of first downs to set up a field goal before halftime, but failed to throw for a single first down in the second half, going 4-of-11 for 2 yards (not a typo -- two of those completions went backwards, and the longest gained only 4 yards) with five sacks that lost 27 yards. He was the league's worst passer on third/fourth downs, where he failed to complete any of his four passes while being sacked five times with a fumble.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
19
91
2
1/2
14
0
57
54
3
NYG
Elliott's longest run gained only 12 yards, but a league-high seven went for first downs, and only two were stuffed for no gain or a loss.
2.
Alexander Mattison MIN
20
125
0
3/3
24
0
50
36
13
SEA
Mattison ran for six first downs of his own, including five runs of 10-plus yards, the longest a 25-yarder. He was only stuffed twice -- but one of those was on the fourth-and-1 play that could have iced the game, a play that cost Mattison 7 DYAR. He added another first down as a receiver.
3.
Todd Gurley ATL
14
121
1
4/5
29
0
48
36
12
CAR
Gurley ran for six first downs in his first seven carries, but failed to gain any in his last seven. Four of his runs gained double-digit yardage, the longest a 35-yard touchdown. He did pick up a first down as a receiver in fourth quarter.
4.
Mike Davis CAR
16
89
0
9/10
60
1
46
27
19
ATL
Davis only ran for three first downs, the longest a 15-yarder, but 11 of his 16 runs gained at least 4 yards, while only three were stuffed. He had four first downs as a receiver, the longest a gain of 23.
5.
Kareem Hunt CLE
20
72
0
3/4
21
1
43
28
15
IND
Hunt's longest run gained only 10 yards, but he picked up four first downs while being stuffed just twice. He had two more first downs as a receiver -- a 2-yard touchdown on third-and-goal and a 13-yard gain on second-and-9.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
19
91
2
1/2
14
0
57
54
3
NYG
2.
Alexander Mattison MIN
20
125
0
3/3
24
0
50
36
13
SEA
3.
Todd Gurley ATL
14
121
1
4/5
29
0
48
36
12
CAR
4.
Jonathan Taylor IND
12
57
1
2/3
17
0
32
33
-1
CLE
All 12 of Taylor's carries gained at least 1 yard and four resulted in first downs, the longest a gain of 10.
5.
Kareem Hunt CLE
20
72
0
3/4
21
1
43
28
15
IND

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Antonio Gibson WAS
11
27
0
5/5
24
0
-35
-24
-11
LAR
Gibson only had one successful completion: an 18-yard gain on first-and-10. His other four catches gained a combined 6 yards.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Antonio Gibson WAS
11
27
0
5/5
24
0
-35
-24
-11
LAR
Gibson failed to run for a single first down. His longest run was a 6-yard gain on first-and-10, one of three successful carries he had on the day. He was stuffed three times.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Chase Claypool PIT
7
11
110
15.7
3
57
PHI
Claypool's totals include 45 DYAR receiving, 12 DYAR rushing for his three carries for 6 yards and a touchdown. Three of his catches went for touchdowns, and three others went for first downs. He had five targets on third downs and converted every one of them, catching five balls for exactly 100 yards and two touchdowns.
2.
DeAndre Hopkins ARI
6
7
131
21.8
1
53
NYJ
Five of Hopkins' catches produced first downs, the longest a 45-yarder. The other was a 13-yard gain on first-and-25, which still counts as a successful play.
3.
Preston Williams MIA
4
5
106
26.5
1
52
SF
Three of Williams' catches produced first downs; the other was an 8-yard gain on third-and-10. He also picked up 22 more yards and another first down on a DPI.
4.
Travis Fulgham PHI
10
13
152
15.2
1
46
PIT
Fulgham had a league-high nine first downs against Pittsburgh. His only catch that was not a first down -- a 7-yard gain on second-and-10 -- stil counts as a successful play.
5.
Henry Ruggs LV
2
3
118
59.0
1
46
KC
You only need two catches to make this list when those two catches go for a 46-yard gain on third-and-10 and a 72-yard touchdown on third-and-2.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jeff Smith NYJ
3
11
23
7.7
0
-81
ARI

Comments

50 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2020, 12:11pm

1 There is a slim chance this…

There is a slim chance this will be the worst wideout game on record when all is said and done. There is a much better chance this will be the worst wideout game of 2019.

That's when you know how bad 2020 is: even the games taking place there wish they could go back in time and associate themselves with a different year.

2 Did Smith look at an…

Did Smith look at an eligible receiver and make an attempt to pass? I could split that hair either way.

It's amusing reading the written rules for scoring a sack. Every time a GB QB hands off and does that fake throwing motion and the back is tackled for a loss? Supposed to be a sack.

 

8 He did seem to look…

He did seem to look downfield. It may be a matter of opinion, but I think that was not a second consecutive end around, but a fake end around pass, cashing on the success of the first. That, at least, would make some sense from a play-calling perspective.

7 It wasn't quite as bad on a…

It wasn't quite as bad on a per-target basis, but I can think of a young receiver who had a day just about as miserable as this one sounds and still turned out to be pretty good:

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2015/week-10-quick-reads

Adams was thrust into a role he wasn't ready for after Jordy Nelson got hurt and played through nagging injuries all season on top of that, but still. Good players can have games like this too - there's a handful of others in that table, too, and not necessarily before or past their prime.

13 Which intuitively makes…

Which intuitively makes sense, as usually a truly bad receiver won't get thrown to often enough to hit the DYAR table.

This also highlight the discussion from a week or two ago, about the impact of who else is on the field on receiver DYAR calculations.  Not just the quality of the QB, but the quality of the other receivers, which impacts how often the QB forces the ball to his best option, even if that option isn't really open.  

That Smith is the go to guy for Flacco at QB says a lot about the Jets right now.  Maybe Gase deserves a hug, too?

5 Sometimes, bad teams can be…

Sometimes, bad teams can be fun to watch. The dolphins last year were an entertaining car crash. Ditto for the winless browns.

 

This Jets team was depressing even before Flacco. Inserting old man Joe Flacco onto this Jets roster paired with this Jets head coach is the perfect recipe for an endless coma.

6 You can't tell from the gif…

You can't tell from the gif if Smith misplayed the ball and last minute angled himself into a tough catch vs the ball sailing outward forcing Smith into a last second adjustment.

 

Either way the drop is bad but I respect guys who get open.

9 2018?

What was going on in 2018 that 4 of the 8 worst games in DYAR history happened that year?

12 Because levels are…

In reply to by FrontRunningPhinsFan

Because levels are normalized, the explosion of passing means poor performances are scored worse than equivalent performance in prior years.

14 Randall Cobb

I remember that game against Washington.  This is a situation where the numbers don't do justice how bad he was in that game.  But then Cobb had lots of company.  The secondary played awful.  The run defense did not get off the bus.

 

Getting back to Cobb Randall himself said he played terrible. 

16 Big Ben

The 12 failed completions is a large part of what drives me nuts about Fichtner's offense- so much of the passing game involves sideways passes that don't do anything but gain one yard and boost the completion percentage.  

17 What better options?

Cam signing with the Jets to back up Darnold rather than signing with the Pats? No Way.

The Jets trading for Foles? No Way.

Jameis deciding to back up Darnold rather than learn from Payton/Brees and be in pretty good position to start for the Saints next season? No Way.

Dalton deciding to back up Darnold on the Jets rather than Prescott on the Cowboys? Well, not No Way, but I'd certainly think the Cowboys' backup QB job was much more attractive than the Jets'.

Given that the Jets ofcourse ofcourse ofcourse were committed to Darnold for this season, none of the four listed were really options. Myself, I can't think of any "etc." options either. To quote the Great Emancipator, you can't give me "Anybody but McClellan/Flacco". You must give me "Somebody".

19 Best argument against Vince…

Best argument against Vince's argument that those options were better: Dalton and Foles also played on Sunday. Their performances were essentially interchangeable with Flacco's - Dalton's a smidge better, Foles noticeably worse.

I'd disagree on Newton - he definitely would've been worth throwing a decent amount (~$5-10M) for a single year at, which he likely would've leveraged to a higher contract offer with the Patriots (so there's some evidence that they might not've gone after him). But we don't know what happened behind the scenes there, and given the Patriots' offer the entire rest of the league basically thought the same, so can't fault the Jets a ton.

Plus, again... Flacco was replacement level. That's what you expect from a backup. And he was replacement level with the Jets offense. This week was actually the second highest Quick Reads for a Jets QB all year!

24 To me, Flacco makes sense as…

To me, Flacco makes sense as a backup on a good team. When you need replacement level services in the time your starter goes down. Bad teams should pursue the high variance strategy, ie - take a shot at Jameis or Mariotta or some developmental qb. I think Jameis might have even preferred the Jets given hes more likely to start on the Jets than the Saints(assuming Brees didn't get hurt). Maybe you get lucky and Jameis has a rennaissance year in a fresh environment. 

33 the other way around

To me, it makes sense the other way around. The Jets' backup should be at Flacco level.

What makes a QB backup job desirable?

1), you may get to drive the car. Outplay the starter, and you get to go in instead. Not gonna happen here. The Jets are absolutely Darnold's team all the way through this season.

2), if you do get to drive the car, due to injury or what not, you're gonna enjoy the ride. Not gonna be the case here. In Dallas, Dalton's got a lotta weapons and a clear path to the playoffs if he just plays OK. He's fallen into something really, really nice, all things considered. The Jets? Oof. A hopelessly bad team, and yet weaker on the offensive side of the ball.

3), after a full year sitting on the bench at this place, other teams will figure you're a better prepared QB now than you were a year ago. Describes perfectly what Jameis has signed up for. It's worked that way for a number of Packer backups also through the years. Learning from Adam Gase?? Uh, sure.

I suspect the Jets' backup QB job is the most undesirable such a job in many an NFL season.

35 Let's say your jameis…

Let's say your jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. You fashion yourself a starter and a potential franchise QB. This situation is not entirely similar but could be said for Ryan tannehill as well. 

You can either go to the Chiefs or the Seahawks or you could go to a horrible team like the Jets. which situation is more likely to rehabilitate your career? The obvious answer at first blush is going to the team with better coaching and weapons. but you have to remember you're unlikely to get a starting shot unless the starter suffers some injury. And outside of a few freak incidents here and there that's almost never the case. 

Whereas going to a bad team with a shaky starter is likely to give you a reasonable chance to start. And note, you don't have to play like a star to rehabilitate your career; just need to look competent. 

That's how Brock osweiler and Teddy Bridgewater landed starting gigs and new contracts. 

40 ???

Umm ... the opposite, actually. Exactly so. Osweiler landed a big contract after filling in on the Super Bowl winning Broncos. Teddy Bridgewater filled in on the Saints last year. The 13-3 Saints.

42 He filled in on a horrible…

In reply to by BigRichie

He filled in on a horrible offense. Hard to say he did much other than look better than Manning's corpse. Also Teddy got lucky to start. Prior to last year,  Brees' hadn't gotten injured for 10 + years.

44 But the argument was whether…

But the argument was whether you had a better chance of getting a good gig backing up for a good team or for a bad team. Osweiller and Bridgewater clearly did it by backing up for a good team. And even though Osweiller was awful, he still got paid big money to start for another team, so there's that. On the other hand, backing up a shaky QB is how Tannehill got his current job, so it can go both ways. But I agree that being a backup in a good team is a better way to get a contract above your ability.

 

 

45 So you are betting on…

So you are betting on starting again via the hopes that the incumbent gets injured and you play well via a good supporting cast(which Denver did not have btw) vs going to a bad team where you have a reasonable shot at starting?

I mean, I guess there are flavors to this. Everyone looks bad on the Jets, but going to Chicago would seem like a better play than going to the Seahawks. Should Jameis have chosen the Seahawks or the Chiefs instead of the say the Washington Football Team or the Broncos

50 Yeah, there clearly seem to…

Yeah, there clearly seem to be different flavors. A team like the Saints is ideal because they're both good and the starter is old, while the Chiefs or Seahawks would be terrible choices.

But I still think you're missing one of the main points of the argument. It's not that Denver had a good supporting cast, it's that they won a lot of games: that winner juice is what helped Osweiller get another shot at starting elsewhere for good money, not anything he did on the field.

36 Flacco seems a perfectly…

Flacco seems a perfectly reasonable backup to me, but yes, a bad team should really be exploring younger options with higher upside.

The Jamies signing with the Saints was a strange one. It's only a one year deal, so he's probably not going to be there if/when Brees retires. And they've got a significant commitment (and infatuation) with Taysom Hill anyway. Seems odd that he wouldn't want a clearer route to playing time. Unless he had no other offers. Or he's just not that ambitious, and is happy to settle for a career as a backup.  

43 Assuming you're going to end…

Assuming you're going to end up in a competition for a starting QB position, I'm not sure you can get a better situation than competing against Hill.  If you can't outcompete him for an open spot, who are you going to outcompete?

18 Two things I found…

Two things I found surprising:

  1. On the list of all-time lowest DYAR games for a receiver, an 8/15 day was worse than multiple 0/11 games, as well as an 0/12.
     
  2. Given their personnel, you would expect Wentz's outcomes with WRs and TEs to be reversed. I wonder if this was a product of some particular schematic approach by the Steelers.

20 Lowest DYAR games

Perhaps they had a fumble or two? Perhaps, some of those completions were for 2 yards on 3rd and 10+?

Also, if some of those 11 or 12 targets without completions were either bombs, or 1st and 10 in lower leverage situations, that means that those incompletions don't hurt as much as an incomplete on 3rd and short in the red zone.

22 Yeah, my assumption is that…

Yeah, my assumption is that the 8/15 game must have involved a lot of failed completions (Diggs averaged less than 4 yards per reception!), and fumbles wouldn't surprise me either. Good point about the value of incompletions depending on game situation.

25 Feedback

What was going on in 2018 that 4 of the 8 worst games in DYAR history happened that year?

As mentioned, offense has been skyrocketing in recent years, which makes the rare bad games even worse in comparison. As I recall, there were also a ton of WR screens that year as offensive coordinators fell in love with their shiny new toy before realizing it was a crappy new toy.

Best argument against Vince's argument that those options were better: Dalton and Foles also played on Sunday. Their performances were essentially interchangeable with Flacco's - Dalton's a smidge better, Foles noticeably worse.

Career ANY/A:

Winston: 6.30

Foles: 6.11

Dalton: 6.06

Newton: 6.01

Flacco: 5.65

Flacco has been the worst passer of the bunch over their careers, and his 5.29 ANY/A in Denver last year was below his career average. And he's 35.

On the list of all-time lowest DYAR games for a receiver, an 8/15 day was worse than multiple 0/11 games, as well as an 0/12.

From Diggs' player comment that week (before full opponent adjustments kicked in and we realized it was the worst game on record): "Diggs' totals include -58 DYAR receiving, -9 DYAR rushing for his two carries, a 6-yard loss and a 1-yard loss. Two of his catches also lost yardage, which means in 16 combined attempts to get Diggs the ball, he totaled just 26 yards and gained positive yardage only six times. He had only one first down, a long catch of 10 yards, and failed to convert on four plays with 6 yards or less to go for a first down."

26 No one really doubt Winston…

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

No one really doubts Winston's top end. He's certainly explosive. He's just explosive like old nitroglycerine. It might be you that explodes.

28 Winston is weird. It's…

Winston is weird. It's really hard to compare Winston's stats with anyone else, because with tons of interceptions you can usually point to some mitigating factor. Late in the game do or die, tipped ball, receiver ran the wrong route, etc. Some are the QB's fault, but for "stuff happens" reasons, like "got fooled by a defense." Others are "jittery mechanics due to pressure," etc.

So many of Winston's interceptions last year were like "holy hell WTF." Like, he'll throw to a receiver with a defender right there. Or his pass will just be completely wrong, or he'll do something wacko like the "jump throw" pick. Plays where you go "no, that's totally all on Winston."

That's why it's so hard - I can't imagine Winston ever having a 16-game year with under 10 picks, because while some of those go away with good luck, you're never going to get rid of the crazy ones.

27 "Flacco has been the worst…

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

"Flacco has been the worst passer of the bunch over their careers, and his 5.29 ANY/A in Denver last year was below his career average. And he's 35."

Dalton's a better choice. That I don't disagree with. Plus the comment on Dalton's DYAR isn't fair anyway as he didn't play the whole game. So yeah. Jets should've signed Dalton. Totally fair. Hard to know if they could've.

Newton would've been a better choice too, except for the injury. The injury has to factor in, especially if you're thinking about a backup.

Winston's just weird. It's been 32 years since a QB's thrown 30 interceptions in a year. Heck, it's been over 5 years since a QB's thrown over 25. It's all well and good to say "interceptions are worth X" but when a guy's throwing over 2x the league average, not sure that it makes sense to keep that up.

The remaining other option's Foles, and you're really overselling him. Foles's career ANY/A is lifted primarily by his 2013 Eagles year, and it'd be much lower if he had been forced to play those years when he was a backup (or continued to play the years he was benched). He was a backup/benched for a reason. That 2013 year is a total WTF year. Really, Foles and Flacco are super-similar, except for that 2013 year. Foles's ANY/A without 2013 is 5.55. Pull out Flacco's best year as well and it's basically the same.

I mean, really, Foles and Flacco are both backup-level, Newton's got injury concerns and Winston apparently lives on another planet. The only decision you could really criticize them for is Dalton.

31 Foles' career totals are…

Foles' career totals are more influenced by his lost year with Jeff Fisher than his Pro Bowl year in 2013.

He's had 3 seasons above his career ANY/A. He basically looks good in a Reid-based offense and bad in whatever the hell it is the QB purgatories in Saint Louis, Jacksonville, and Chicago were running.

37 ANY/A *by year* is affected…

ANY/A *by year* is affected by volume: one of those "above his average" years was on 55 pass attempts in KC. Small statistics.

And the downward pull from the Fisher STL season is *not* larger than the upward pull from 2013. The 2013 season has the largest pull of any season on his ANY/A. That's easy to see: his STL ANY/A is closer to his career value, and the attempt+sack numbers in the two seasons are very close. The difference is quite large: the pull from STL is around *half* of the 2013 year.

32 waitta second here

You guys are totally missing the point here. Why would CAM sign with the Jets rather than the Pats? Why would the Jets TRADE any draft pick for Foles? Why would JAMEIS sign with the Jets (it's Darnold's job for sure) rather than Payton and the Saints? Why would DALTON want to back up for the Jets rather than in Dallas?

Exactly like saying 'the Jets should've signed Burrows to back up Darnold rather than sign Flacco'. Uhh, technically yeah, and I should've dated Debby Boone 40 years ago rather than, well, ummm ... never mind.

46 Winston would almost…

Winston would almost certainly have gotten more playing time with the Jets than on the bench as backup to Brees. Unless he figures that he'll end up a better and more valuable QB learning from Brees and Payton.

30 Yeah, Tuesday Night Football…

Yeah, Tuesday Night Football is really messing with the typical slate of Tuesday articles. I've noticed that half of the sites that do weekly power rankings are doing them today, and half are waiting until tomorrow.

38 Philip Rivers was atrocious,…

Philip Rivers was atrocious, it's hard to imagine we aren't witnessing the last rites of his career. 

It's funny; I've watched the Browns the past two weeks and I'm almost more pessimistic on their outlook, in spite of them winning both weeks. Basically, Mayfield has shown me nothing. He did very little in either game, and still looks the same frenetic player we saw last year. I'm extremely unconvinced he is ever going to be able to run an efficient down-to-down offence.

39 I didn't see this game. In…

I didn't see this game. In fact, despite being a serious Colts fan, I haven't seen any game up to this point because the NFL has taken a sledehammer to my old ways of watching the Colts.

A word on Rivers. I simply don't understand why the Colts felt like he would be worth bringing in. He was falling apart physically and by the end of the year he was completely cooked. This wasn't a year where the coaching staff and gm were on the hotseat and had to grab the quickest quick fix they could find. I wrote all the way back into last offseason, this only delays the inevitable. Total waste of time.  

As for Baker, I was very curious to see how he would do against a real defense like Indy at home. His numbers looked good but Pff basically said he was pretty terrible in this game and hasn't been that great all year. Baker is an interesting case because I don't think we've ever seen a player have such a sublime rookie year, follow it up with a terrible non-injury year despite getting an upgrade in weapons. This third year I think has sort of played out in such a way that shows he's probably at best going to end up like Kirk Cousins(not a bad thing), but more likely than not headed for bustville. 

 

 

 

48 "sublime rookie year" …

"sublime rookie year" ....

The team pass DVOA was 21st in 2018 and 19th in 2019 (yes, I know that  Baker didn't take all of the 2018 snaps. ) I think people forget that Baker had some real clunker 2018 games (@PIT, @OAK, vs SD,) as well as some good 2019 ones (MIA, BUF) and they don't always account for defenses faced.

I think Baker makes more sense if you look at him as having been in the average tier of QBs all along, with the potential to take the next step still being very much there at age 25 and finally being in a system that will probably stay stable.