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Thread: Should QB's be assessed by the won-loss percentage of their team?

  1. #1
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    Should QB's be assessed by the won-loss percentage of their team?

    The top ten teams defensively at this point in the year are as follows:

    Baltimore, Miami, Chicago, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Diego, New England, Pittsburgh, and Carolina, in that order.

    I assessed how every starting QB performed against the above teams using the imperfect but still useful passer rating of the QB for the given game and matching that with whether the team won or lost. The premise that a QB is responsible for a teams victory or defeat and that the best QBs somehow overcome the best defenses to win deserved further exploration.

    A couple of interesting statistics that emerged from the analysis:

    1. The vast majority of QBs, whether top shelf or mediocre, play below their own average against top 10 defenses, some by as much as 20-25 points (see Rothlisberger and Rivers, for example) One had more than a 30 point drop (see Grossman). A few remain at around their average ( see Brady and Harrington), and a few others actually do better against top defenses (see Vick, Brunell, Plummer and Alex Smith).

    2. The assessment of a QBs performance should take into account the number of top ten teams he has faced during the year. The stock of guys like Jake Plummer (six games against top 10 defenses), Losman (6 games), and Palmer (seven games) should improve to respectability or higher excellence (Palmer) when taking into account the challenges they faced. On the flip side, some QBs have had quite an easy ride. Delhomme (2 games) P. Manning, Vick, Brees (3 games), McNabb and Romo (one game).

    3. There are a surprising number of games ten so far - that have been lost, despite strong or excellent QB performances (85 passer rating or better), and an equal number ten that have been won despite QB ratings of less than 70.

    Losses with 85+ QB rating:

    Brees 110.5 against Carolina
    Brees 99.5 against Pittsburgh
    Pennington 85.1 against Pats
    Johnson 103.3 against Chicago
    Smith 92.7 against San Diego
    Palmer 131.1 against San Diego
    Bulger 91.2 against Chicago
    Bulger 109.1 against San Diego
    Vick 86.8 against Baltimore
    Frye 89.1 against Pittsburgh

    Wins with 70 or less QB rating:

    McNair 58.0 against Oakland
    Plummer 62.2 against Baltimore
    Grossman 64.9 against Minn
    Grossman 1.3 against Minn
    Smith 54.7 against Minn
    Carr 56.3 against Oakland
    Rivers 44.2 against Oakland
    McNair 65.7 against San Diego
    Plummer 66.0 against Oakland
    Carr 65.5 against Jacksonville


    4. The records of QBs often parallels the overall fortunes of their teams. Teams with great defenses and multiple weapons should be expected to win even when their QB is playing an average or worse game. Grossman is the prime example of a QB who has performed miserably against top 10 defenses (32.6 passer rating) yet managed to come out with a 2-2 record. We all know that is not because Grossman was marvelous at the right time, but that he has one of the best defenses in the league to keep his team in the game. Drew Brees, on the other hand has faced three top ten defenses, averaged 95.5 against them, and lost all three. Jake Plummer has averaged 70.5 in overall passer rating, but against top 10 teams he has risen to 76.0 still not even good, but his winning record is 5-1. Is Plummer the reason for those Denver victories, or did Denver rely on a parsimonious defense and Tatum Bell? What about Steve McNair: he averaged 60.8 against top ten defenses, but had a winning record of 3-1. Was it McNairs magic, or that potent Baltimore defense that made the difference? Rivers is 3-1 against top 10 defenses, but his passer rating for those games is 75.1, more than 20 points below his average. Bulger has an 84.7 rating against the top ten, but is 0-3. His fault? Or a dismal defense. Vick is an interesting case. In his three games against top ten teams he raised his passer rating 20 points above average to 93.2 and won 2 out of 3. That at least hints at the example of a QB who rises to the occasion and plays better against good teams. But that is the rare exception. Most QBs do what one would expect against a strong defense they make more mistakes and their failure rate increases.

    5. The bottom line is that it is nave, to say the least, to use won/lost percentages as a measure of a QBs performance. It may be more valid in the instance of win-or-out playoff games where fortunes of a season can turn on a single series performance with less than two minutes to play at the end of a game (i.e. the Brady/Montana paradigm). But that is the exception rather than the rule. There are certainly a range of other statistics and intangibles beyond passer rating that would help define "quality" performance in a QB. Passer rating is a decent tool, but not by any means the most accurate measure. If passer rating is only adequate as a measure, then what possible value could won-loss percentage of the entire team be, when it involves a ton of variables that don't include the QB at all? The stats don't lie: football is indeed the ultimate team sport.

  2. #2
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    No, IMO

    Look Brees didn't do very well in SD because of their defense.

  3. #3
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    50% of Joey Harrington's wins this year have come against top 10 defensive teams.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX
    50% of Joey Harrington's wins this year have come against top 10 defensive teams.
    from my tally, he played five top ten teams (Chicago, Jax, Minn, and NE twice), so that would be a difficult percentage to have... He is 3-2. His passer rating against the top ten is 71.3, a point and a half below his season average. Chad is 2-3, by the way, with a 68.2 rating against top ten. That's 10 points below his season average. Chad and Harrington look pretty similar....

  5. #5
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    No they should not be evaluated by records. They are not starting pitchers. They should be evaluated on what they do on the field. How often they put their team in a position to win. Their ability to bring a team back from a deficit of more than one score. Leadership. Game changing plays. QB's that kill drives with INT's, Fumble snaps or when sacked, or turn the ball over for scores don't last very long in the NFL.

    We should stop comparing Chad to the elite QBs and compare him to the mediocre ones. Who would give the Jets a better chance to win games right now out of the following:

    Harrington
    Lossman
    McNair
    Plummer
    Green
    Jeff Garcia
    Alex Smith
    David Carr
    Mark Bulger


    These are the guys that are in Pennyboys category. If that makes you comfortable fine. Not me. I don't have to have Manning or Brady but I would like a Palmer, Rivers or Brees.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by long island leprechaun
    from my tally, he played five top ten teams (Chicago, Jax, Minn, and NE twice), so that would be a difficult percentage to have... He is 3-2. His passer rating against the top ten is 71.3, a point and a half below his season average. Chad is 2-3, by the way, with a 68.2 rating against top ten. That's 10 points below his season average. Chad and Harrington look pretty similar....
    I'm not doubting what you're saying, but QB rating is usually a pretty ineffective way to judge the performance of a QB, unless their performance really stands out (Grossman's 1.7-ish, Brees' 100+).

  7. #7
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    It's also important to weigh in the immeasurable... the QB's intangibles, how well he interviews and how much he's liked, is he a nice guy? etc.

    That way Chad Pennington can be ranked 14th in the league above more deserving, less mistake prone candidates:

    ESPN's/Scouts Inc QB Ratings


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