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15 Feb 2018

Failed Completions 2017

by Scott Kacsmar

The NFL's 2017 regular season came to a close shortly after a familiar sight: Joe Flacco checked down on fourth-and-14 to tight end Benjamin Watson for a 13-yard gain to end Baltimore's comeback (and playoff) hopes against the Bengals. That is the ultimate example of a failed completion, which includes any completed pass that fails to gain 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, or 100 percent on third or fourth down. You can see last year's study on the subject here.

Flacco's final toss was the league's 2,877th failed completion of the season, which isn't a new record (there were 2,894 failed completions in 2015), but overall completions were also down in 2017. The rate of failed completions league-wide was 26.5 percent, and that is the highest mark on record, beating out the 2015 season (25.1 percent).

So even though the postseason did not provide any glaring examples of failure in this manner, 2017 was indeed The Year of the Failed Completion. Besides Flacco, who were the biggest offenders, and who avoided checkdowns like the plague?

We compiled our annual study of failed completions for quarterbacks, receivers, and defenses for the 2017 regular season. The total number of completions is slightly higher than the official NFL total since Football Outsiders includes backward (lateral) passes. Not every failed completion is created equally, but for this article we make things binary, simply summing up successes and failures. For the purposes of DVOA, there are fractional points involved; for example, a 7-yard completion on third-and-10 would generate some partial success, especially in field goal range.

Quarterbacks

In the following table, the 35 qualified quarterbacks are ranked by ascending failed completion rate (FC%). We also included failed completions as a percentage of attempts (very little change in the rankings) as well as the average ALEX (all downs) for the season.

Quarterbacks, Failed Completions, 2017
Rk Player Team Passes Comp. Failed FC% FC%ATT Rk ALEX Rk
1 Jameis Winston TB 439 282 50 17.7% 11.4% 1 1.8 1
2 Deshaun Watson HOU 202 126 24 19.0% 11.9% 2 1.8 2
3 Matt Ryan ATL 526 342 71 20.8% 13.5% 5 0.1 8
4 Carson Wentz PHI 440 265 56 21.1% 12.7% 4 0.9 3
5 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 557 360 78 21.7% 14.0% 7 0.2 6
6 Aaron Rodgers GB 237 154 34 22.1% 14.3% 8 -1.3 28
7 Tom Savage HOU 222 125 28 22.4% 12.6% 3 0.1 7
8 Blake Bortles JAX 522 315 71 22.5% 13.6% 6 -0.9 20
9 Tom Brady NE 581 385 87 22.6% 15.0% 11 0.4 5
10 Carson Palmer ARI 267 164 39 23.8% 14.6% 9 0.1 9
11 Case Keenum MIN 481 325 78 24.0% 16.2% 19 -1.4 30
12 Jared Goff LAR 475 296 72 24.3% 15.2% 12 -0.8 18
Rk Player Team Passes Comp. Failed FC% FC%ATT Rk ALEX Rk
13 Russell Wilson SEA 550 340 84 24.7% 15.3% 13 0.5 4
14 Cam Newton CAR 489 291 72 24.7% 14.7% 10 -0.5 14
15 Philip Rivers LAC 573 360 91 25.3% 15.9% 16 -0.6 16
16 Marcus Mariota TEN 452 281 73 26.0% 16.2% 17 -0.1 10
17 Derek Carr OAK 514 323 85 26.3% 16.5% 21 -0.9 21
18 Matthew Stafford DET 565 371 99 26.7% 17.5% 26 -1.1 26
19 Jacoby Brissett IND 466 276 74 26.8% 15.9% 15 -1.5 31
20 Andy Dalton CIN 495 297 80 26.9% 16.2% 18 -0.6 15
21 Eli Manning NYG 571 352 95 27.0% 16.6% 22 -1.0 25
22 Kirk Cousins WAS 540 347 94 27.1% 17.4% 24 -1.0 24
23 Trevor Siemian DEN 349 206 57 27.7% 16.3% 20 -0.3 12
Rk Player Team Passes Comp. Failed FC% FC%ATT Rk ALEX Rk
24 Tyrod Taylor BUF 420 263 73 27.8% 17.4% 23 -0.7 17
25 Jay Cutler MIA 430 267 75 28.1% 17.4% 25 -0.9 22
26 Drew Brees NO 534 387 110 28.4% 20.6% 32 -2.4 35
27 C.J. Beathard SF 223 123 35 28.5% 15.7% 14 -1.8 32
28 Dak Prescott DAL 488 308 88 28.6% 18.0% 28 -0.4 13
29 Alex Smith KC 504 341 99 29.0% 19.6% 31 -1.0 23
30 Josh McCown NYJ 394 269 82 30.5% 20.8% 33 -1.2 27
31 Brian Hoyer 2TM 212 124 39 31.5% 18.4% 29 -1.3 29
32 Brett Hundley GB 317 192 61 31.8% 19.2% 30 -0.8 19
33 DeShone Kizer CLE 476 256 85 33.2% 17.9% 27 -0.2 11
34 Joe Flacco BAL 546 352 127 36.1% 23.3% 35 -2.0 33
35 Mitchell Trubisky CHI 329 196 71 36.2% 21.6% 34 -2.3 34

There is understandably a lot of inexperience with three of the bottom four quarterbacks. Brett Hundley had a rough go of things in trying to hold down the fort for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, while Mitchell Trubisky and DeShone Kizer were rookies without much help around them. Trubisky finished last in FC% (36.2 percent), which is the seventh-highest such figure for a single season since 1989.

Highest Failed Completion Rate Since 1989 (Min. 100 Completions)
Rk Player Year Team Comp. Failed FC%
1 Nick Foles 2015 STL 190 78 41.1%
2 Anthony Wright 2005 BAL 164 65 39.6%
3 Tim Couch 2000 CLE 137 54 39.4%
4 Jared Goff 2016 LAR 112 44 39.3%
5 Brady Quinn 2012 KC 113 44 38.9%
6 Drew Brees 2003 SD 205 75 36.6%
7 Mitchell Trubisky 2017 CHI 196 71 36.2%
8 Bruce Gradkowski 2006 TB 177 64 36.2%
9 Joe Flacco 2017 BAL 352 127 36.1%
10 Bernie Kosar 1993 2TM 115 41 35.7%
11 Trent Edwards 2009 BUF 110 39 35.5%
12 Blaine Gabbert 2015 SF 178 63 35.4%

Yes, newly-minted Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is still the only player to have a FC% greater than 40.0 percent (minimum 100 completions), but that was with the 2015 Rams, which means it was a moribund Jeff Fisher offense. Jared Goff is another Fisher survivor -- he had horrific numbers as a rookie with Fisher's 2016 Rams before head coach Sean McVay and better offensive talent really helped him improve his game in 2017. Goff moved up from dead last in FC% a year ago to 12th this season. This is the first of many times this offseason that I will mention that Matt Nagy will try to have a McVay-like impact on Trubisky in Chicago after taking over for John Fox. However, Goff's statistical improvement was so large that no one should expect that type of leap. Nagy also comes from a Kansas City offense with Alex Smith that was still no stranger to failed completions. Even in his best overall season yet, Smith finished 29th in FC%.

In addition to the inexperienced quarterbacks crowding up the bottom, there's also that two-time highest-paid player in NFL history in Joe Flacco, who smashed the record a year ago with 144 failed completions. His 127 failed completions in 2017 are the second-most in a season. Flacco's 14 failed completions in Week 11 against the Packers were the most of any quarterback in a 2017 game.

Seasons with 100+ Failed Completions Since 1989
Rk Player Year Team Comp. Failed FC%
1 Joe Flacco 2016 BAL 436 144 33.0%
2 Joe Flacco 2017 BAL 352 127 36.1%
3 Matt Ryan 2013 ATL 439 120 27.3%
4 Sam Bradford 2016 MIN 395 116 29.4%
5 Drew Brees 2015 NO 429 113 26.3%
6 Derek Carr 2014 OAK 348 112 32.2%
7 Joe Flacco 2013 BAL 362 111 30.7%
8 Eli Manning 2016 NYG 378 110 29.1%
Drew Brees 2017 NO 387 110 28.4%
10 Drew Brees 2010 NO 449 109 24.3%
11 Carson Wentz 2016 PHI 379 108 28.5%
12 Drew Brees 2013 NO 447 107 23.9%
13 Derek Carr 2016 OAK 357 105 29.4%
Ryan Tannehill 2015 MIA 364 105 28.8%
Peyton Manning 2002 IND 392 105 26.8%
Philip Rivers 2015 SD 438 105 24.0%
Drew Brees 2016 NO 472 105 22.2%
18 Sam Bradford 2010 STL 354 104 29.4%
Drew Brees 2014 NO 456 104 22.8%
20 Jay Cutler 2014 CHI 370 102 27.6%
21 Ryan Fitzpatrick 2011 BUF 354 101 28.5%
Matt Ryan 2014 ATL 415 101 24.3%
23 Matt Hasselbeck 2011 TEN 319 100 31.3%
Sam Bradford 2015 PHI 346 100 28.9%
Kirk Cousins 2015 WAS 379 100 26.4%

Have you ever looked at the single-season leaders in assists in NHL history? Wayne Gretzky dominates that list in absurd fashion. Gretzky has 11 of the 13 seasons with 100-plus assists, including the top eight marks. If the Ravens continue to let Flacco play the way he has post-Rahim Moore post-Super Bowl, he's going to end up dominating this leaderboard of failed completions with all the determination of Gretzky, but none of the skill since this is of course a bad thing. It's especially bad when Flacco's rates are getting higher. Drew Brees frequently resets the record for total completions and appears on this table six times, but his FC% has never hit 29 percent. Baltimore has continued to switch offensive coordinators and has acquired intermediate-to-deep receivers such as Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, and Jeremy Maclin, but this still remains one of the most checkdown-dependent offenses in the FO era. Hint to soon-to-be Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta: you don't need to pay a quarterback much money to run this kind of offense.

One quarterback not featured that is making a ton of 2018 money: Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco. His FC% was 16.7 percent, which would have led the league if he had one more game's worth of passes to qualify for our rankings. That's probably another line you will frequently read in our quarterback studies this offseason. Garoppolo also would have had the highest passing DVOA (39.2%) if he had qualified for that statistic, so don't fret about his touchdown-to-interception ratio. He was creating successful plays at a high rate, and the placement of C.J. Beathard (27th) and Brian Hoyer (31st) in this table in the same offense shows just how big of an impact Garoppolo had late in the year. He should be a very good fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense.

From The Handsome One to The Bombardier, the book is starting to fill out on Jameis Winston's playing style. He loves to throw down the field; he has ranked in the top three in lowest FC% in each of his first three seasons. While his 2017 season was not a smashing success, he did quietly finish 11th in passing DYAR despite missing three full games.

Of course, a lot of quarterbacks missed time this year, including Deshaun Watson, who finished with the second-lowest FC% with an aggressive approach similar to Winston's. Winston (1.8) and Watson (1.8) were the only quarterbacks with an ALEX above +1.0 on all downs. The Texans tried to sustain some of that with Tom Savage, who finished seventh in FC% and ALEX, but obviously his passes were not as successful.

Carson Wentz was another one of the casualties to injury this year, and he finished fourth in FC% after finishing 26th as a much more timid rookie. Some of the usual suspects (Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady) in passing proficiency rounded out the top 10.

The future Hall of Famer who did not shine so much in this table is Drew Brees, who ranked 26th in FC% and 32nd as a percentage of attempts. Notice that Brees also ranked 35th in ALEX, so he was throwing short of the sticks more than anyone in 2017. It makes a little bit of sense with the way that running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram contributed so much to the offense as runners and receivers, but it's still really surprising to see Brees this low.

Looking at someone like Brees by down is also useful. The next quarterback table compares FC% to ALEX (all passes) by down, with third and fourth down grouped together. Rankings are from best (green) to worse (red), and the darker the color, the more standard deviations that quarterback is from the average.

Failed completions obviously matter more on third and fourth down. A 4-yard gain on first-and-10 isn't a big failure, but a 4-yard gain on third-and-10 is rarely helpful. From this table, you can see how someone like Jay Cutler (Retired Miami Version) padded his stats with a very high FC% (78.9 percent) on money downs after being more aggressive on early downs. Hoyer was very similar in San Francisco with good success on first down, but the worst checkdown habits on third and fourth down. Someone like Flacco was very conservative on every down, while Winston was very aggressive on every down.

Still, Brees stands out here since he was 34th in ALEX on first down, which is usually first-and-10 for everyone. The only quarterback below him was actually Aaron Rodgers, and we saw a similar trend with Hundley's numbers. This looks to say more about Mike McCarthy's coaching than the quarterback play in Green Bay this past season. Despite that early-down conservative play, Rodgers still did what he always does on third down in attacking beyond the sticks. He easily had the best FC% (10.7 percent) and highest ALEX (+4.3) on third and fourth downs. That's where things get a little concerning with Brees, because he was still 30th in FC% and 33rd in ALEX on late downs. He'll be 39 this season and has an ungodly number of attempts on his arm. You can add "Father Time" as a weekly opponent for the Saints this season too.

Jumping back to Trubisky, he'll only be 24 this season and has plenty of time to grow. You can't put his failures entirely on the coaching staff, since Fox did watch Matt Barkley go bombs-away a year ago in his offense. In 2016, Barkley had the lowest FC% for each down and was always high in ALEX. Trubisky was bad on every down at avoiding failed completions, but the league's lowest ALEX on second (-4.7) and third or fourth down (-2.2) is the most troubling omen. Again, there was the Goff example last year, but we'll have to see if the Bears can add to a supporting cast that looks to feature Cameron Meredith, Kendall Wright, Josh Bellamy, and a pair of running backs discussed next that actually fueled a lot of Trubisky's conservative output.

Receivers: Failed Receptions

How about the players on the receiving end of these plays? I looked at the failed receptions for everyone with at least 30 receptions. The following table excludes running backs since they dominate these lists with all the short passes they catch. Chicago's rookie back Tarik Cohen led all running backs with 35 failed receptions and also had the highest FC% at a whopping 66.0 percent. He flashed some great talent at times, but may have been a crutch for Trubisky that the Bears will have to correct this year. Notice that teammate Jordan Howard and Flacco's main back Alex Collins joined Cohen as the bottom three backs in receiving DYAR last season. The checkdown tendencies for Flacco and Trubisky add a lot of context to those numbers. It's not that these players are bad receivers, but they are often put in hopeless situations to succeed with the ball in their hands. Hey, that sounds like a certain wide receiver's career.

Most Failed Receptions (WR/TE) Lowest Failed Reception Rate (WR/TE) Highest Failed Reception Rate (WR/TE)
Receiver Team Failed Receiver Team Rec. Failed Pct. Receiver Team Rec. Failed Pct.
J.Landry MIA 31 S.Watkins LAR 39 2 5.1% A.Seferian-Jenkins NYJ 50 20 40.0%
L.Fitzgerald ARI 30 M.Goodwin SF 56 3 5.4% M.Bennett 2TM 30 11 36.7%
G.Tate DET 28 M.Evans TB 71 4 5.6% T.Smith PHI 36 13 36.1%
R.Cobb GB 23 H.Henry LAC 45 3 6.7% C.Patterson OAK 31 11 35.5%
J.Doyle IND 22 M.Jones DET 61 5 8.2% C.Davis TEN 34 12 35.3%
J.Crowder WAS 21 A.Jeffery PHI 57 5 8.8% R.Cobb GB 66 23 34.8%
B.Watson BAL 20 C.Godwin TB 34 3 8.8% A.Hooper ATL 49 17 34.7%
A.Seferian-Jenkins NYJ 20 J.Jones ATL 88 8 9.1% T.Gabriel ATL 33 11 33.3%
T.Kelce KC 19 D.Hopkins HOU 96 9 9.4% B.Watson BAL 61 20 32.8%
N.Agholor PHI 19 K.Cole JAX 42 4 9.5% G.Kittle SF 43 14 32.6%
A.Thielen MIN 18 R.Gronkowski NE 69 7 10.1% J.Maclin BAL 40 13 32.5%
M.Thomas NO 18 K.Stills MIA 58 6 10.3% E.Ebron DET 53 17 32.1%
Minimum 30 receptions.

Another year, another smorgasbord of failed receptions for Jarvis Landry. Sure, he led the NFL with 112 catches, but he also led all wide receivers and tight ends with 31 failed receptions. Landry became the first wide receiver in NFL history to catch 100 passes in a season for fewer than 1,000 yards. Landry's FC% was 27.7 percent for the second season in a row. He has had multiple coaching staffs and starting quarterbacks use him in the same manner, so it will be interesting to see what that new contract looks like. Miami may end up paying him big just because DeVante Parker has not developed as planned, and the team traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. There's not a real star in this offense right now, so Landry continues to be fed the ball.

There aren't too many surprising names here. Dennis Pitta led the league with 31 failed receptions in 2016, but with his playing career over, Flacco turned to veteran tight end Benjamin Watson to pick up the pace with 20 failed receptions. That was as many as Austin Seferian-Jenkins had for the Jets in a season where he averaged just 7.1 yards per catch. ASJ turned in the league's highest FC% at 40.0 percent. It's also not surprising to see Martellus Bennett in second place (36.7 percent) after a miserable season with the Packers and (briefly) the Patriots.

The placement of the three main wide receivers in Philadelphia is interesting. Nelson Agholor was the slot receiver, so his high number of failed receptions makes sense since he was often a screen-play target. Alshon Jeffery had the second-lowest FC% in 2016, so it's not surprising to see his downfield playing style carry over to the Eagles where he ranked sixth this year. Torrey Smith is an odd choice for the highest FC% by a wide receiver at 36.1 percent, but with Jeffery available, Smith was more than just a vertical receiver in Doug Pederson's offense.

Other great players who work down the field had some of the lowest FC% numbers again, including Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski, DeAndre Hopkins, and Mike Evans. Jeffery and Evans are the only players to rank in the top 12 in each of the last two seasons for lowest FC%. We also see Winston's influence on these numbers with third-round rookie Chris Godwin at 8.8 percent. Sammy Watkins (Rams) and Marquise Goodwin (49ers) also had effective debuts in the NFC West, with the two lowest FC% rates.

If you had to guess which player had the highest FC% on 10 to 29 catches, would you have guessed it was Tavon Austin? He only had 13 catches all season, but 10 of them were failed plays for a FC% of 76.9 percent. Part of Sean McVay's great debut was realizing that it just isn't worth throwing the ball to Austin, who is a likely candidate to be released.

Defenses

Finally, let's look at the defenses' ability to create failed completions, with a comparison to how these units fared in 2016.

Defenses: 2017 Failed Completions Compared to 2016
Rk Team Comp. Failed FC% 2016 Rk 2016 FC% Diff Rk
1 HOU 321 97 30.2% 4 28.5% 1.7% 15
2 OAK 361 109 30.2% 23 22.2% 8.0% 2
3 CIN 336 101 30.1% 10 27.0% 3.1% 12
4 NYG 347 104 30.0% 2 30.4% -0.4% 24
5 MIN 324 96 29.6% 20 23.5% 6.1% 6
6 WAS 307 89 29.0% 24 22.0% 7.0% 4
7 LAC 329 95 28.9% 22 22.3% 6.6% 5
8 CHI 343 99 28.9% 18 23.7% 5.2% 8
9 PHI 363 104 28.7% 7 28.2% 0.5% 21
10 CLE 360 103 28.6% 17 23.9% 4.7% 9
11 BUF 371 105 28.3% 29 20.2% 8.1% 1
12 DET 366 102 27.9% 6 28.3% -0.4% 25
13 LAR 324 90 27.8% 9 27.2% 0.6% 20
14 JAX 289 80 27.7% 1 31.6% -3.9% 31
15 MIA 339 93 27.4% 12 26.6% 0.8% 19
16 DAL 371 101 27.2% 15 24.7% 2.5% 14
Rk Team Comp. Failed FC% 2016 Rk 2016 FC% Diff Rk
17 SEA 325 88 27.1% 11 27.0% 0.1% 23
18 BAL 334 90 26.9% 14 25.3% 1.6% 17
19 ATL 362 97 26.8% 25 21.3% 5.5% 7
20 NO 329 87 26.4% 32 18.8% 7.6% 3
21 ARI 343 88 25.7% 3 29.4% -3.7% 30
22 PIT 298 76 25.5% 8 27.6% -2.1% 27
23 TB 371 94 25.3% 21 22.4% 2.9% 13
24 CAR 352 87 24.7% 19 23.6% 1.1% 18
25 NYJ 329 81 24.6% 16 24.2% 0.4% 22
26 GB 349 84 24.1% 31 19.7% 4.4% 10
27 IND 320 76 23.8% 30 20.1% 3.7% 11
28 SF 344 79 23.0% 26 21.3% 1.7% 16
29 DEN 294 67 22.8% 5 28.3% -5.5% 32
30 NE 367 83 22.6% 13 26.2% -3.6% 29
31 TEN 369 73 19.8% 28 20.4% -0.6% 26
32 KC 327 59 18.0% 27 20.6% -2.6% 28

This is a tricky stat for defenses since exceptional play would preferably lead to an incompletion instead of any type of completion. For example, the Jaguars were No. 1 at forcing failed completions in 2016, but fell to 14th this season for the second-largest drop of any defense. However, the pass coverage and ability to get sacks was much better, so Jacksonville's overall defense improved to No. 1 in the league. Meanwhile, Denver fell the farthest of any defense, dropping from No. 5 to No. 29 after a rough first season for head coach Vance Joseph. It was just a few seasons ago when the Broncos beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 after their defenses ranked first and second in FC%. This year, only the Vikings and Eagles made the playoffs while ranking in the top 10 in FC%.

So is it odd that the top four defenses all had losing records? Those teams had plenty of offensive issues as well, but the Bengals (17th), Texans (23rd), Giants (24th), and Raiders (29th) all ranked in the bottom half in defensive DVOA as well. The Giants and Texans both finished in the top four in FC% for the second year in a row, but the bottom three teams (Patriots, Titans, and Chiefs) all made the playoffs in the AFC.

Buffalo also finally made a return to the AFC playoffs, albeit a short-lived one. Still, new coach Sean McDermott could take some pride in seeing his defense have the largest increase in FC% over Rex Ryan's 2016 defense. The Saints, Redskins, and Chargers also saw big improvements, which matches up with the overall improvement found in those units this season. Anything that has the Saints out of the bottom three looks good given their past standards.

Finally, take note that five of the bottom seven defenses in 2016 were also five of the bottom seven defenses in 2017. The Colts finally fired head coach Chuck Pagano, while veteran defensive coordinators Dick LeBeau (Titans) and Dom Capers (Packers) were also put out to pasture. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are keeping Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator after another playoff letdown, and the 49ers are sticking with first-year coordinator Robert Saleh.

Of course, the area of focus for those teams in 2018 will be on the other side of the ball with Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo officially taking over as franchise quarterbacks. It's still largely about the quarterback, isn't it? Foles was named Super Bowl MVP, and he produced some pretty stellar play in the two title games. Had he pulled a Flacco on third-and-7 in a 33-32 game instead of the touchdown to Zach Ertz in the Super Bowl, then the final outcome may have gone much differently.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 15 Feb 2018

19 comments, Last at 27 Feb 2018, 4:19pm by The Ninjalectual

Comments

1
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 02/15/2018 - 2:49pm

The John Fox/Dowell Loggains offense was so painfully conservative that I don't know if any conclusions about Trubisky can be drawn. That's part of why I was upset that he wasn't fired midseason.

Also, not only are Meredith, Wright, and Bellamy all free agents yet to be signed, but if the season starts with the Bears "looking to feature" those three then there should be pitchforks and torches outside Ryan Pace's office. Meredith played well enough before getting injured to make me think he could be a great #3 or maybe even #2, but Wright is just a guy and Bellamy is quite frankly bad and I have never understood why the Bears have been so attached to him. Whether it's through the draft, free agency, or a combination, the Bears need to add 2 new receivers who are credibly #1/#2 guys.

4
by Eddo :: Thu, 02/15/2018 - 4:42pm

Meredith, should he come back 100% from his ACL tear, would be a good #2 (and could pass as a #1 if you had a strong receiving TE, but shouldn't). I also like Wright as a slot guy; he's above-median there, so if they can sign him to another similar deal, I'd be fine with that.

That said, they absolutely have to address the WR position. As long as they don't take Calvin Ridley at #8 or sign Jarvis Landry for the contract he'll get, I'm OK with that. A flyer on Watkins or Allen Robinson would be very interesting.

10
by jtr :: Fri, 02/16/2018 - 2:19pm

The Bears had the fewest passing attempts, fewest passing yards, lowest ALEX, and highest failed completion rate. Fox fought harder than any other coach in the league to prevent his offense from trying to make a play. Not only is it impossible to have any idea how good Trubisky is right now, it's hard to say he's even any further along now than he was last offseason when he was held back so hard.

2
by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 02/15/2018 - 3:09pm

Said it before and will undoubtedly say it again; while Jameis Winston can be frustrating to watch, he's always entertaining. I do tend to think that his inability to throw a go route maybe tells me he should be either aiming for somewhat shorter passes, or, you know, learning to throw a @#$!! go route.

3
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/15/2018 - 3:44pm

It seems like a low FC% and a high ALEX indicates either you have really good WRs who can free themselves for first downs on short throws, or you are throwing slot guys open.

Rodgers and Keenum are the outliers here.

There are some guys who are low ALEX but high FC%. Perhaps this is low-quality receivers?

Kizer, Prescott, and Siemian are the outliers there.

------------

Failed completion count seems hard to make sense of. You need to be prolific, but also at high failure rates. For all we laugh at Flacco's seasons, Brees has more top-12 appearances than Flacco does, and that list is full of MVP-type QBs (Brees, Ryan, Rivers, Mannings the Elder and Younger). Taken with ALEX, the indication seems to be that it's an offense that passes a ton but has shaky line play -- although even that doesn't fully explain Brees, who generally has had solid lines in his career. The other indication might be of a very lateral offense. Darren Sproles has played for a bunch of these teams.

This actually goes to your hockey reference. Two guys dominate those lists. Gretzky and Lemieux. All occurred between 1982 and 1993, and 9 of the 10 occurred for Edmonton or Pittsburgh. These were structurally similar teams who played in the same (high-offense) era; I think Paul Coffey played on every one of these teams.

The point being, you have a stat that shows Flacco and Brees as having similar tendencies. I don't think you can argue both that they are vastly different and that the stat is useful. Either they have large structural similarity, or FC% doesn't tell you all that much.

------------

I'm not sure low FC% is a sweet-spot. This could just be QBs who hang onto the ball too long. Of the lowest-6 in FC%, Winston, Watson, Wentz, and Rodgers all missed multiple games with injuries, and #5 on the list was Roethlisberger.

6
by Scott Kacsmar :: Thu, 02/15/2018 - 7:59pm

I think sorting that table by FC% would show you the difference between Flacco and Brees.

18
by Bobman :: Tue, 02/27/2018 - 4:23am

I'm pretty sure that if you can fog up a mirror you can tell the difference between Brees and Flacco.

5
by D :: Thu, 02/15/2018 - 5:25pm

Interesting that despite poor Alex and Failed Completion numbers (normally indications of dinking and dunking), Brees still managed to lead the league in Y/A. Must have been getting good YACs.

7
by Megamanic :: Fri, 02/16/2018 - 12:31am

Nice work as always Scott.

I'd be interested to see what happens if you extend the definition of "qualified" down to 185 passes so we can see how Garopollo stacks up. Do you mind doing that? Thanks.

8
by Scott Kacsmar :: Fri, 02/16/2018 - 5:19am

I have it in there as Garoppolo at 16.7 FC%. Or did you mean the splits by down? I'd have to look at that tomorrow.

Also, did anyone notice that we're going with LAC, LAR and JAX now?

9
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:21am

"LAC" will always read as "Los Angeles Clippers" in my head.

I guess that makes sense. They moved from San Diego, too.

11
by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 02/18/2018 - 4:52am

I think E.Ebron should be listed at 29%, not 39%?

12
by greybeard :: Sun, 02/18/2018 - 8:19pm

What’s the point of singling out failed completions when you also have incompletions? Especially given that a failed completion is still better than an incompletion.

13
by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 02/19/2018 - 4:35am

Because it's interesting to measure and analyze different styles of players, not just different qualities of players.

16
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/20/2018 - 6:28am

Plus, it provides a more nuanced context for understanding all passing stats, especially from a quarterback's/playcaller's perspective.

14
by garion333 :: Mon, 02/19/2018 - 1:39pm

Since the Ravens are stuck with Flacco at least another year I assume we can expect another year of Flacco Completions, which means going nowhere fast. Is another year with Flacco on "top" enough fuel to the fire to name an award after him a la Alex Smith?

15
by MC2 :: Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:32pm

FaiLed Attempts on Completed CheckdOwns?

17
by garion333 :: Wed, 02/21/2018 - 10:13am

Well done, I approve the use of the FLACCO (FaiLed Attempts on Completed CheckdOwns).

19
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/27/2018 - 4:19pm

Or a stat only looking at 3rd/4th downs:
Frustratingly Low Air-yards on Continued ball-Control Opportunities