Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 May 2017

Adjusted Interceptions 2016

by Vincent Verhei

As we do every year, it is time to look back at the charting data of last season, and see which quarterbacks threw the most interceptions -- and which should have thrown the most. Some passers benefitted greatly from butter-fingered defenders, while others just couldn't buy a break.

Before we get into the math, let's explain again how we arrive at our adjusted interception statistics:

  • We start with each player's actual interception total. Philip Rivers led the NFL in 2016 with 21 interceptions.
  • We then add plays where the quarterback threw a ball that could have or should have been intercepted but was not, either because the defender outright dropped the ball (which we have been tracking in game charting since 2007), or he had it knocked out of his hands by an offensive receiver (a "defensed interception," which we have been tracking since 2012). These are listed as "Drop/Def INT" in the table at the end of this page. Ben Roethlisberger led the league with 12 such passes.
  • Next, we subtract those interceptions that were tipped by receivers into the hands of defenders. Russell Wilson was the victim of three such plays last year, more than anyone else.
  • Finally, we subtract Hail Mary interceptions, as well as interceptions thrown in desperation on fourth down in the final two minutes of a game. (We're flexible on these definitions -- we also counted an interception thrown by Trevor Siemian on fourth down with 2:06 left in the game and Denver trailing 30-20.) These are listed as "HM/End Q4" in the table. Jameis Winston threw an NFL-high three such interceptions last year.

In the past, we have also tracked plays which bounced off a receiver's hands before being dropped by a defender, to make sure they weren't double-counted. There actually weren't any of these plays in 2016, so we have removed this column from the table this year.

When we started running these numbers, we had to get the data from our own in-house volunteer game charters. For the last two seasons, we've had access to data from both Sports Info Solutions and ESPN Stats & Info, and were able to take the time to cross-check for errors where they disagreed on plays. Determining whether or not a defender should be charged with a dropped interception will always be subjective on some plays, but you can rest assured that all the obvious calls have been counted here.

Those of you who have purchased Cian Fahey's Pre-Snap Reads Quarterback Catalogue should know that the numbers in this essay are different from the "interceptable passes" written about in that book. As Fahey explains, "An interceptable pass is any pass that should be intercepted because of something the quarterback did. If the quarterback throws an out route too far infield to the point that it hits the defender in his chest, that’s an interceptable pass. If the quarterback misreads a coverage and throws the ball to a spot where the defender has an opportunity to run underneath it, that’s an interceptable pass." Because the numbers in that book were based on the research of a single observer, Fahey was able to use much more subjectivity in his statistics while still maintaining consistent standards. Adjusted interceptions include fewer such judgment calls, and ask only whether a defender should have caught the pass, not whether he should have been in position to do so in the first place.

With the methodology explained we can finally get into the results, and thankfully those results are far more interesting than they were last year. In 2015, every quarterback finished with about as many interceptions as he should have. In 2016, however, some were much luckier than others.

We'll start with Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers quarterback officially threw 13 interceptions, tied for 13th in the league. However, as we mentioned earlier, Roethlisberger threw a dozen more passes that could have been intercepted, but were dropped or broken up by his receivers. Adding those passes to the 13 that were intercepted leaves us with 25 adjusted interceptions for Roethlisberger. There are no other adjustments to make in the quarterback's numbers -- he didn't have any Hail Mary-esque interceptions, nor any that should have been caught by his receivers in the first place. That gap between 25 adjusted interceptions and 13 actual interceptions was the highest in the league last year. Even if we account for Roethlisberger's 524 pass plays (a number that does not include spikes or defensive pass interference calls, but does include things like sacks and intentional groundings), we end up with an interception rate of 2.5 percent, but an adjusted interception rate of 4.8 percent. That's the biggest gap in the league. In second place: Roethlisberger's contemporary from the 2004 draft class, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, who was second behind Roethlisberger with 11 throws that should have been intercepted, but were dropped by defenders. Manning's 26 adjusted interceptions were most in the league; Roethlisberger's 25 ranked second.

At the other end of the spectrum we find, of all people, yet another 2004 first-round quarterback. While defenders dropped 12 of Roethlisberger's passes and 11 of Manning's, they dropped just one would-be interception from Philip Rivers, even though with 21 actual interceptions he gave them plenty of opportunities. (There was a fourth quarterback drafted in the first round in 2004, but J.P. Losman hasn't thrown an interception, adjusted or otherwise, since his last NFL season in 2011.) Taking those 22 plays and subtracting two Hail Mary interceptions, and another that should have been caught by his receiver, and Rivers finishes with 19 adjusted interceptions -- still high, but tied for eighth instead of leading the NFL.

Rivers was one of three quarterbacks to finish with fewer adjusted interceptions than actual interceptions in 2016, along with former teammate Drew Brees and Case Keenum of the Rams. And here is where things start to get weird. We looked at historical trends in this piece last year and found that the quarterbacks with the worst interception luck since 2007 were … Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Meanwhile, the quarterback with the best interception luck in that timeframe was Carson Palmer. In 2016, Palmer had the fifth-largest gap between actual interceptions and adjusted interceptions, behind Roethlisberger, Manning, Cam Newton, and Andy Dalton. Perhaps, at the extremes, we are measuring something more than luck here. Perhaps there is something about Rivers and Brees (or, more likely, the opponents they face) that makes it unusually easy for defenders to hang on to the ball.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Jay Cutler's replacements couldn't have had any more disparity in their interception numbers. Officially, Matt Barkley threw 14 interceptions in 216 passes, a rate of 6.5 percent that would have been worst in the league by a wide margin if had thrown the 224 passes needed to qualify for the NFL's leaderboards. (For the record, if Barkley had thrown eight more passes, even if none were intercepted, his rate would have been 6.3 percent, still much worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick's "league-worst" 4.2 percent.) Barkley also finished with 14 adjusted interceptions, in 222 pass plays in our methodology. Whichever system you prefer, it's obvious Barkley was a turnover machine in 2016. His counterpart, though, was a model of ball security. Brian Hoyer shattered the record books with precisely 200 passes without an interception -- 73 more throws than any quarterback had ever thrown before without delivering one to the other team. And that total doesn't change in adjusted interceptions. Hoyer had no throws that were dropped by defenders, or broken up by his own receiver. In fact, hardly anyone came close. Malcolm Jenkins tipped away a pass intended for Kevin White in Week 2, and Julius Peppers batted down a pass in Week 7. That's it: those were the only plays when defenders got their hands on a Hoyer pass all year. Hoyer also had the NFL's second-lowest adjusted interception rate in 2015, but threw more interceptions than usual in each of his prior NFL seasons.

Hoyer was one of three qualifying quarterbacks to not benefit from a single dropped interception. Andrew Luck (13 adjusted interceptions) and Tyrod Taylor (six) were the others.

The following table lists adjusted interception numbers for all quarterbacks with at least 200 non-DPI pass plays in 2016. Players are sorted from most adjusted interceptions to fewest.

Adjusted Interceptions, 2016
Name Team INT HM/
End Q4
Tip INT Adj INT Pass Att
(no DPI)
10-E.Manning NYG 16 1 11 0 26 620 2.6% 4.2%
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 13 0 12 0 25 524 2.5% 4.8%
1-C.Newton CAR 14 0 8 0 22 543 2.6% 4.1%
17-B.Osweiler HOU 16 1 7 1 21 535 3.0% 3.9%
3-C.Palmer ARI 14 0 8 1 21 643 2.2% 3.3%
14-R.Fitzpatrick NYJ 17 1 5 1 20 423 4.0% 4.7%
3-J.Winston TB 18 3 7 2 20 603 3.0% 3.3%
17-P.Rivers SD 21 2 1 1 19 615 3.4% 3.1%
11-C.Wentz PHI 14 0 5 0 19 641 2.2% 3.0%
5-J.Flacco BAL 15 1 5 0 19 700 2.1% 2.7%
5-B.Bortles JAC 16 0 3 2 17 662 2.4% 2.6%
8-K.Cousins WAS 12 0 4 0 16 626 1.9% 2.6%
17-R.Tannehill MIA 12 1 6 1 16 419 2.9% 3.8%
9-M.Stafford DET 10 0 6 0 16 628 1.6% 2.5%
14-A.Dalton CIN 8 0 9 1 16 605 1.3% 2.6%
3-R.Wilson SEA 11 0 7 3 15 592 1.9% 2.5%
12-M.Barkley CHI 14 1 1 0 14 222 6.3% 6.3%
Name Team INT HM/
End Q4
Tip INT Adj INT Pass Att
(no DPI)
9-D.Brees NO 15 2 1 0 14 694 2.2% 2.0%
12-A.Luck IND 13 0 0 0 13 586 2.2% 2.2%
13-T.Siemian DEN 10 2 6 1 13 516 1.9% 2.5%
4-D.Carr OAK 6 0 6 0 12 575 1.0% 2.1%
8-M.Mariota TEN 9 0 2 0 11 474 1.9% 2.3%
11-A.Smith KC 8 0 3 0 11 518 1.5% 2.1%
12-A.Rodgers GB 7 1 6 1 11 644 1.1% 1.7%
17-C.Keenum LARM 11 1 1 1 10 345 3.2% 2.9%
2-M.Ryan ATL 7 0 5 2 10 573 1.2% 1.7%
8-S.Bradford MIN 5 0 4 0 9 589 0.8% 1.5%
16-J.Goff LARM 7 0 3 2 8 230 3.0% 3.5%
7-C.Kaepernick SF 4 0 3 0 7 366 1.1% 1.9%
4-D.Prescott DAL 4 0 3 0 7 483 0.8% 1.4%
5-T.Taylor BUF 6 0 0 0 6 477 1.3% 1.3%
6-C.Kessler CLE 2 0 1 0 3 218 0.9% 1.4%
12-T.Brady NE 2 0 1 0 3 446 0.4% 0.7%
2-B.Hoyer CHI 0 0 0 0 0 202 0.0% 0.0%

Here's a look at adjusted interceptions in prior seasons.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 23 May 2017

54 comments, Last at 01 Jun 2017, 1:38pm by Guest789


by dharrell :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 4:58pm

The Brian Hoyer stat about passes without an interception is a little misleading... there are multiple longer streaks of passes without an interception (I think Tom Brady is the current record-holder with like 300-some, I know Jake Plummer had 200-some back in the 2005 season). Brian Hoyer just sets the bar for total passes in a season without an interception, which is mostly a small-sample-size thing.

In general though, this is great stuff - thanks for the hard work!

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 05/25/2017 - 2:16am

I thought it was clear what they were saying, and what they weren't

by theslothook :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 5:16pm

Of the three qbs taken in 2004(the good one's anyway); how would we rank them given the information we have now. I think most people put Big Ben easily at number 1 and probably even on this site, most readers would put Eli at 2.

Maybe I'm a rivers apologist and a big ben hater, but I always felt Rivers was the best of the group - he just had the misfortune of going to the Chargers. Not only was AJ Smith a lousy GM in terms of pr, but the post AJ Smith regimes were notoriously weak in terms of both talent and ability to stay on the field.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 5:24pm

I would posit most FO readers would have Rivers > Eli. I certainly do, and don't see any truly convincing arguments for Eli that don't boil down to Teh Ringz.

Agreed on Ben being #1 at this point.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:32pm

I agree. Rivers > Eli by a fairly wide margin.

What do people thing about Rivers being a potential hall of fame? Eli probably has a much higher chance of making it than Rivers.

by theslothook :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:40pm

I would be very surprised if Rivers made the hall of fame - he simply wasn't in the playoffs enough. This is what will be thrown on Romo too.

Would he make my hall of fame? I could see it - hes not on the level of Brady, Manning or Brees, but he's been a really good qb for a very long time and unlike Romo or even Big Ben, he's been healthy and durable for that period.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 5:58pm

I wonder how many people who booed Eli for forcing his way out of San Diego would look back and admit he made the right decision.

by theslothook :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:13pm

I'm a bit more surprise the Mannings' did this with San Diego but not with Indianapolis when they had the number 1 pick. AJ Smith must have really pissed off Archie for them to pull this move.

by Eddo :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:33am

There was a very good chance that, had Peyton done everything he could have to avoid Indianapolis, he would have wound up in San Diego (who, of course, drafted Ryan Leaf with the second pick in 1998).

by ChrisS :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:30am

I don't understand those people. Perhaps they over-identify with the the team and saw this businees decison as a personal affront. I am all in favor of players taking a stance and saying "you run your team in an unaccepatable way and I will not be a part of it". It seems like one of the few available tools to try to force crappy frnachises to improve. I think the consensus is that the trade worked out well for all parties, except maybe Rivers who likely would have had more sucess with the Giants.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:47am

People have strong moral intuitions that were developed for an environment very different than society in 20XX AD. Group loyalty was important for survival for a very long time, and turning your back on on a group to which you "should" belong was a very dangerous proposition. Same reason exile was considered as bad as death in a lot of ways. Moral intuition is a terrible guide to life in a modern market economy though.

Bruce Schneier's book Liars and Outliers covers this really well.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:54am

You could easily argue that over the course of his career, Rivers had better teams than Manning did.

In 2006, if Marlon McCree just drops the damned ball, SDG is up 7, with the ball, at mid-field, with 6 min left. Does Rivers win a title that year instead of Manning?

by theslothook :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:07pm

Eh...I actually disagree. The colts were built in a flawed way, but they had talent. They had good receivers and strong pass rushers. That formula can win a lot of games, even if it has no margin for error when things go wrong.

In SD - outside of 06 and 07 - the chargers became a one sided team and then eventually not even good on that side either. After Vjax left and Merriman got hurt, the Chargers basically had antonio gates and Rivers as their only good players of note.

by KAO22 :: Mon, 05/29/2017 - 8:39pm

theslothook Yup.

by Scott de B. :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:23pm

Eli chose New York. That's always worth a booing, regardless of what the alternative is.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:10am

I'm a die hard black and gold fan, and I put Ben and Rivers neck and neck for 1 and 2, with Eli a distant third, though still good enough to be a good #1 overall pick most years. Ben generally ranges from very good to phenomenal when he's on the field and healthy, but he misses too much time and plays like dog food too much because he plays through too many injuries or comes back too early. Things like this game (https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Big-Ben-gets-a-bi...) really stick out (yes, I know that 2010 turned out pretty OK for the Steelers).

by theslothook :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:08pm

This is my biggest issue with Big Ben and the one reason I never put him in the elite category. He's simply too inconsistent and the Steelers have way too many off games for an offense THAT talented.

Some people(person?) blames that on Tomlin and maybe it is Tomlin's fault, but some of that is on the qb too.

by Guest789 :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 2:04pm

Careful, if you say that Head Coach's name three times... you-know-who will appear.

by theslothook :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 2:27pm

Its a good thing I only wrote it twice....

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Thu, 05/25/2017 - 9:17pm

you could at least have the guts to post that under a normal account not your alt.

you forgot to call me a racist though. troll better next time, bro

The standard is the standard!

by SFC B :: Tue, 05/30/2017 - 8:01pm

Wait, seriously, you think you're worth making multiple accounts for? Sorry dude, I think your off-the-rails obsessive dislike of Mike Tomlin has a racial component to it, and I'll tell you that to your cyber-face.

by jtr :: Wed, 05/31/2017 - 7:52am

HE has made multiple accounts over his Tomlin obsession, so it's only natural that he assumes other folks would make multiple accounts over his Tomlin obsession.

by Guest789 :: Thu, 06/01/2017 - 1:38pm

Yeah... this is my only account, and I just checked - it's been active for 5 years and 23 weeks. If I made an account to troll you, it'd be something like "Tomlin is a solidly above average NFL head coach"

by KAO22 :: Mon, 05/29/2017 - 8:34pm

KAO Couldnt agree more. Eli made a great call not getting traded to SD pathetic organization. Phillip deserved better in his career, ultimate competitor.

by Theo :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:18pm

What about plays that bounce of receiver's feet?

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:42pm

Unfortunately (and fortunately), there is only one Blake Bortles, and therefore not enough data to build an effective statistical model based on his uncanny, Schaub-like ability to throw pick-sixes.

by theslothook :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 2:00pm

I have to admit - I found Schaub's pick six contagion hilarious. The fact that it persisted to his stint in baltimore is even funnier.

But its also kind of sad. Its all he will be remembered for and worse - most of his career is basically becoming an afterthought. At his peak, he was a pretty good quarterback. You could even make the case for top 10.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 3:35pm

Agreed on all points, and it seems much more appropriate that Blake Bortles is going to in all likelihood be the Historical Pick Six King rather than Schaub, who really had some solid years as a QB, and had the misfortune of having to play in the same division as Peyton for all those years. Schaub would ideally be remembered as a guy who played really well for a pretty long time.

I suspect Bortles will not be remembered in the same way.

by smilerz :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:26pm

There is something seriously wrong with that PFR query. It lists Rodger's longest in season streak at 28 (he went almost 2 months last year without an INT) and Brady doesn't even make the top 100!

by smilerz :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:37pm

Hoyer wasn't even the most last year.... Aaron Rodgers threw at least 241 passes in the regular season without an INT from game 10-16. His next one came in the Divisional Round at Dallas.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 7:02pm

It's not consecutive passes without an interception, it's total passes in a season with no interceptions. So if you threw one interception that year, the season doesn't count.

by smilerz :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 9:01am

Ahhhh - thanks for the clarification.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 05/28/2017 - 10:25am


by Afrocomb :: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 6:57pm

Sorry, but the use of Adj INTs to compare Barkley & Hoyer is just ugly. Hoyer avoided sacks by barely throwing the ball. He averaged 5.37 air yards per completion, He might as well have been shovel passing. It meant he crawled the team down the field before flunking badly time after time in the red zone when the number of low risk pass options becomes reduced, he was a red zone disaster.

In comparison Barkley averaged 8.12yds per completion in the air, 52% further than Hoyer. His was a passing game compared to Hoyer's pseudo rushing game. All 14 of Barkley's interceptions came when the Bears were losing. 10 of the 14 in the second half of games. He screwed up trying too hard to win. Hoyer stayed in the same gear no matter how the game was doing. Once the Bears were losing by more than one score you could take that loss to the bank. In five starts the Bears only took the lead from a losing position once under Hoyer.

by Eddo :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:34am

I didn't see anything in the article suggesting that Hoyer actually played well last year - just that he somehow managed to throw no interceptable passes.

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 1:24pm

Yeah, I don't think the article is making any claims about overall quality of play. But in general, I think that fans (especially Bears fans) go too far in their logic that if turnovers are bad, then a QB who doesn't turn the ball over must be good. Hoyer's season last year was a perfect illustration of the fact that good quarterbacking is about a lot more than avoiding turnovers.

by JoeyHarringtonReigns :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 3:02am

I think everyone including the Bears know that Hoyers "efficiency" was moot. It's still fascinating that he didn't throw a pick all season though. Barkley on the other hand threw 6 INTs in one game, forgive me I forgot who it was in week 16. I started him in the fantasy championship-so it must have been a palatable​ matchup. (Okay just looked it up it was the Skins)

Oh and by the way he still ended up with positive fantasy points...14 to be exact. Lol. I still lossed the fantasy matchup, but Barkley wasn't to blame explicitly.

by BobbyDazzler :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 8:14am

Would it be possible to get a bit more analysis on Brees and Rivers having the worst interception luck, rather than just a throwaway comment that it must be down to the teams they face?

It's well known that Brees throws a very accurate ball, and therefore surely a very catchable / interceptable ball, so would QB accuracy (or accuracy over certain pass attempt distances) have any effect or explanation here?

by jtr :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 9:32am

Shouldn't dropped/defensed INT's be counted less than just straight-up dropped INT's? A QB who puts the ball somewhere his receiver can break up has a) made a more accurate pass than one that his receiver can't get to and b) made a pass that's less likely to be intercepted than one his receiver can't get to. It seems to me that these should be counted as half of an adjusted INT. Considering the ball skills of the average DB, I would imagine that less than half of potential INT's actually get caught when the receiver has an opportunity to break it up.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:59am

How many of Ben's defensed INTs are jump balls on a fly route where the WR can either catch it (or generate a DPI), or defend it if not catchable. If it's those, I'm less inclined to be critical of them. Those aren't plays likely to end up as a positive result for the defense.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:51am

a "dropp(able)ed" interception to me indicates a pass that

1) the QB made a terrible read/decision
2) a pass where the receiver was open but the QB lacked the arm strength (or accuracy sometimes) to execute the pass
3) a phenomenal play by a DB on a good to great pass
4) a WR(or RB/TE) who runs the wrong route/fails to screen the DB, falls down in route, mistimes his jump etc on a pass that has no right to be an INT
5) the DB made a nice illegal move and got away with it

I wonder which one(s) contributed the most to BigBen in 2016

I'm also curious, when a LB gets coverage on a TE or RB (or a 5th WR), a QB can probably "gamble" that even if he gets in space to intercept a tight pass, he will probably drop it. Wonder what the #s break down to on that.

The standard is the standard!

by Eddo :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:36am

I like your last point - I wonder if there are enough non-DB dropped interceptions to break them down by position.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 1:28pm

This brought up a couple of interesting questions, so I went into the database.

Russell Wilson led the league last year in passes marked as "dropped interception (defensed)." He had four of them. Three of them were passes to Jimmy Graham. The defenders in question were B.Hager (a linebacker), E.Reid (safety), and L.Ryan and J.Bradberry (cornerbacks).

No other quarterback had more than two such plays, although Roethlisberger and Manning were among the quarterbacks with two.

There were 39 plays marked as "dropped/defensed interceptions." 23 involved cornerbacks, 12 safeties, and 4 linebackers.

The most frequent intended receivers on dropped interceptions -- all of them, not just "defensed" -- were:

5: Mike Evans, Eli Rogers, Kenny Stills
4: Odell Beckham, Kelvin Benjamin, Marvin Jones

Evans, Stills, and Beckham suggest maybe we're talking about the 50-50 jump ball thing here, but that's definitely not Eli Rogers' game.

by Dales :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:34am

"Perhaps, at the extremes, we are measuring something more than luck here. Perhaps there is something about Rivers and Brees (or, more likely, the opponents they face) that makes it unusually easy for defenders to hang on to the ball."

Can you perhaps expand on why you believe it is "more likely, the opponents they face?"

The reason I ask is that I find it less likely to be that. If it was that, wouldn't there be a similar effect for the other QBs in their division? They mostly play the same teams?

I feel like I have to be missing something.

by Dales :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:53am

As a Giants fan, I obviously am curious about Eli. Hasn't he had something like 38 interceptions adjusted up since 2011? So, you have Rivers and Brees on one end of the continuum, and Eli on the other.

Rivers and Brees are known for their accuracy-- of giving receivers a nice, catchable ball. That's not Eli's reputation.

My suspicion is that this is tied into how consistently a quarterback gets good spin on the ball. A perfect spiral is going to be following a more steady trajectory and therefore easier to catch, for a receiver or for a defender. Eli can throw a real pretty spiral at times, but other times it seems he gets the ball near where it should be with good velocity but a less-than-stellar spiral.

But it is just a guess, based of off my observations which may not be completely objective.

by Eddo :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:15pm

I'm not sure about Brees, but Rivers seems to put more touch on his passes and have a weaker arm relative to his peers. This could lead to his passes being easier to catch by anyone, which probably has a more pronounced effect on those who are not selected for catching ability (defensive players) than those who are (WRs and TEs).

by Dales :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 7:47pm

Yes, I thought about this too. I think Brees came into the league without a cannon but has developed arm strength and the according rifle. But, he is getting up there, so maybe?

Eli still seems to have his arm strength, but as we know...

Every post now Captcha'd. *shakes tiny fist*

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 2:38pm

The reason I ask is that I find it less likely to be that. If it was that, wouldn't there be a similar effect for the other QBs in their division? They mostly play the same teams?

This is a good point.

Unfortunately we are in book mode now and won't have time to study this until later this summer at the earliest.

by Dales :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 7:45pm

Oh, no hurry. Besides, it's good to spread content out. Revisit next year or similar.

added- boy the spam filter has really taken a shine to me today. Completely ate an earlier post and just redirected me to a Captcha.

Maybe some combination of age-of-account and number of forum comments would get one whitelisted?

by Aaron Schatz :: Thu, 05/25/2017 - 2:06pm

Actually, it is supposed to. We'll look into it.

by Dales :: Thu, 05/25/2017 - 6:18pm

Thanks Aaron.

by MEVK :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 6:48pm

This is very interesting stuff. I'm thinking that combining the interception numbers with a risk/reward measure for passing performance (maybe ALEX) could be useful. It's a lot different to airmail a screen pass on 2nd and 8 than to just miss the window on a 3rd and 20 pass to the marker.

by Joseph :: Thu, 05/25/2017 - 1:19pm

I understand your point. However, I think that the FO numbers try to separate this effect out some with the Hail Mary/end of 4th Q column. Also, there really isn't a "good time" to throw an INT. There are times when it is acceptable--hence the Hail Mary column--or where it serves in place of an (almost assured) punt. But even in that situation, a small gain of positive yardage with a punt to follow is probably better than an INT. Sure, the punt could be shanked/blocked/returned for 15+ yds., where the INT (with no return) would be better for field position.
Either way, measuring what is worse is hard, because all discussed actions are negative.

by Dales :: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 7:43pm

-removed; threaded wrong