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Practice Squad

Posts : 4
: November 16, 2006, 10:49:49 AM

With all the debate on the QB postion lately, I thought this would be a good read...


(Nov. 15, 2006) -- Quarterback is the most important position in football, and right now it's more volatile than in many years.

It's easy to get frustrated when you watch your favorite team and walk out of the stadium after a loss and conclude the QB has to go. Every day on my radio show at Sirius, I hear from fans who get emotional about their teams' QBs, so I thought I would put some information out there to understand what is going on with the signal callers.


The biggest complaint I hear from fans is their QB doesn't throw enough deep balls -- or when they do, they don't complete enough of them. Before I take a look at a few of the deep-ball statistics, let me point out that throws over 30 yards are what I consider the definition of deep-ball passing. In the NFL, the completion rate for passes over 30 yards averages 23 percent. The reality is that deep passing is a risk/reward business that is necessary, but some of the rewards don't appear as completions. The best way to get a defensive coordinator's attention is to throw the ball deep.

Here are a few good examples of perception and reality when it comes to the deep-passing game. Most Vikings fans think of Brad Johnson as a guy who doesn't throw the deep ball. When the team loses, the first reaction is his arm is weak and he's in a dink-and-dunk West Coast offense. Not true! Brad has thrown 23 passes over 30 yards this season (by my count) and that puts him one behind the league leader in deep-ball frequency, Donovan McNabb. The Manning brothers each have 17 attempts over 30 yards. Full-time starters like Drew Brees, Steve McNair and David Carr are down near the bottom of the league in deep attempts, but are successful in completing deep passes. In fact, it looks like the Saints should let Brees throw more deep balls because he has completed 5 of 10 for three touchdowns.


Getting passes knocked down is partially the QB's responsibility, and his release is part of the equation, along with good protection, and the ability to read coverages and get the ball out of his hand quickly. Brees is tied with Peyton Manning for the league lead with only 20 passes blocked. On the other hand, the three starters with the most passes blocked are Charlie Frye (56), Jon Kitna (54), and Brad Johnson (50). Andrew Walter (49) and J.P. Losman (47) are right behind them.

As one defensive coach said to me, "A blocked pass is more than an incompletion. It lets the QB know we're reading his release and he might have to alter his mechanics."


Everyone knows its money time on third down and fourth down if a team decides to throw it. The top three quarterbacks in the area of "clutch" passing are Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Brees. Those three entered Week 10 as the only three in the league who have completed over 50 percent of the "clutch" pass situations. What is amazing is how well Rivers, a first-year starter, is doing because the rest of the young starters like Losman, Bruce Gradkowski, Matt Leinart, Alex Smith and Vince Young are all down at the bottom of the league (around 28 percent) in the money situations.


The last thing a QB wants to expose to the defensive coordinators around the league is that he can't handle pressure packages. Defensive coaches will turn the heat way up if the QB looks like a deer in the headlights. If the signal caller shines under pressure, then the blitz schemes go away.
As Archie Manning once said to me when describing Peyton, "He's kind of like a hunting dog looking for the blitz." The numbers bear out the fact that the hunting dog sees the pressure coming and defeats it. Peyton Manning has a 99 passer rating this season when defenses attempt to pressure him. The average overall passer rating in the NFL is 89, and the average rating against heat is 49. Bring the heat!

The most amazing QB right now against pressure is Chad Pennington. Here's a guy with a QB rating in the 80s in normal situations, but when teams send pressure, his rating goes up into the 90s.

Young quarterbacks don't fare well under pressure, and that's why defensive coaches send people all day long. I hope Jason Campbell plays well as Washington's new starter, but I assure you the blitz calls will be the flavor of the month. Take a look at a few young quarterbacks with their non-pressure rating and their pressure rating right next to it.

    * Charlie Frye (76/30)
    * Vince Young (56/40)
    * Matt Leinart (74/43)
    * Alex Smith (85/58)

In time, they all will see the pressure better and know where to go with the ball, but the truth is reacting to pressure schemes is a learning experience. You just hope they don't get seriously injured while learning to deal with heat.


When all is said and done, the QB calls the right play, the protection doesn't break down, the receiver gets open and the ball is thrown, the most frustrating thing is a dropped pass. It gets recorded as an incompletion, but the truth is the QB didn't do a thing wrong. Here are the teams that lead the league in dropped passes heading into Week 9.

    * Philadelphia (24)
    * Green Bay (24)
    * Miami (18)
    * Tampa Bay (18)

The NFL average for dropped passes by a team is about 13 at this point in the season, and no team does a better job of holding on to passes they should hold on to than the St. Louis Rams. Right now, they have had four drops all season.


It is amazing what a yard here and a yard there will do for a quarterback's success on third down. The difference between third-and-6 vs. third-and-7 can be the difference between being a successful QB and a guy the fans are trying to run off the field. Obviously the QB is only part of the reason that creates the third-down situations, but he is judged on how well the team does to move the chains. For example, the Saints (6.15 yards per third-down attempt), Bears (6.27 yards per third-down attempt) and Chargers (6.39 yards per third-down attempt) are three of the best teams in the league, and it really helps Brees, Grossman and Rivers.

The Ravens, Cowboys and Seahawks all are playoff contenders, and they average closer to 7.7 yards per third down. Sooner or later, it will catch up with the quarterbacks.


Hall of Famer

Posts : 2245
#1 : November 16, 2006, 10:59:54 AM


In the NFL, the completion rate for passes over 30 yards averages 23 percent.

the NFL average is fairly low, I wonder what a first year rookie usually achieves. ?

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Pewter Report  >>  Boards  >>  The Red Board (Moderators: 3rd String Kicker, PRPatrol)  >>  Topic: QBs: deep balls, batted passes, etc... « previous next »

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