Arif Hasan’s mid-season review (Wide Receivers)

Off to a quick start, I’ve already knocked down my evaluation of quarterbacks and am on to wide receivers. Given that our quarterback situation remains resolved (not necessarily solved, but the question has certainly been put aside for some time), we’ll need to know what his weapons are. I think the Wide Receiver position is one of the better known "need" positions for the Vikings this year, particularly someone with the capability to "stretch the field." While Ponder finds himself with a good receiver corps, we don’t have anyone great and our deep ball % is pretty low (higher with Ponder than with Donovan, though).  After looking at the numbers, is this true? Do we need a receiver who can stretch the field? Well, almost definitely, yea. But not as much as you might think. Our top 2 have been very impressive and would be world-beaters at the WR2 and WR3 positions. But that's not what they are and they've been curved appropriately. I think.

Also, this one is longer, at just below 6000 words. Heat something up.


We’ll start off with the WR we are most familiar with, who also happens to be the most difficult to evaluate. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.

WR: Percy Harvin – Dynamic Go-To. As we left the shambles of the 2010 season, our questions at WR were plentiful, and justified. Will we keep Sidney Rice? Will Percy Harvin remain healthy? If we lose Sidney, does that hurt Percy? Are chiropractors properly classified as medical professionals? Most importantly, when we have him (Percy, not a chiropractor), how do we use him?

 Luckily for us, we seem to be experiencing a lull in Percy’s migraines while we experience an unusual uptick in our own headaches. Unfortunately, Percy’s ribs seem to be a nagging problem, but they could perhaps be remedied in the BYE week.

 Percy Harvin has taken only 56% of his snaps in the slot position this year, as opposed to 61.2% last year, and a defining 94% in 2009, then playing more snaps in the slot as a percentage of play than anyone else who played at least 100 snaps.

The combination of limited depth in our receiving corps and his many talents, Percy Harvin has been called upon to serve a variety of roles, eschewing the singular role he played so well earlier in his career (4th most receiving yards from the slot, 23rd most receiving yards per slot reception. Mike Wallace was first in this category, answering the question "Why the hell would you waste Mike Wallace in the slot?").

So, first question – how often do Vikings QBs trust Percy and how often does he pay that trust back by getting open? Well, out of 233 attempts, Harvin has been targeted 43 times. This is particularly impressive given the fact that Harvin has been on the field for 160 pass plays. Less than Michael Jenkins, Visanthe Shiancoe, and Donovan McNabb, who hasn’t seen the field in 9 quarters. He was particularly limited in week 7 and week 1, where he ran routes in 18 and 25 plays, respectively. 29% of the time Percy Harvin is on the field on a passing down, he has been targeted, ranking 4th behind Wes Welker. Out of people who’ve been in over 100 snaps, the highest is Andre Johnson, who has been targeted 31.7% of the time he’s run a route. 2nd is (inexplicably) Antonio Brown, who has been targeted 30.6% of the time he has been involved in a passing down. This is absurdly high. Compare to Newton favorite Steve Smith, who is targeted on 20.9% of his passing snaps or Calvin Johnson at 21.3%. Generally top receivers not named Wes Welker or Andre Johnson will see about 1/5th of their on-field pass snaps turn into targets. Usually because they know how to get open. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Antonio Brown and he wasn’t on my radar before now. Maybe people don’t think to cover him. In this league, that’s unlikely (PPR sleeper pick? Although, people in PPR leagues have to have heard of this guy). Sadly, Michael Crabtree rounds out the top 5 at 28.8%. He of course has paid back this generosity by being a thoroughly average receiver.

 So how has Percy handled this trust and responsibility once he gets open? Well, he’s Pro Football Focus’ 11th ranked receiver and advancednflstats’ 9th ranked receiver, so he’s doing something right. He’s the only player in advancednflstats’ scoring-biased (this bias isn’t a bad thing, necessarily) system to rank in the top 30 and not record a single reception touchdown – and he’s ranked 9th. And he’s the only receiver in PFF’s system in the top 15 to do the same. So, if he’s not scoring on his receptions, why do these guys rank him so high?


 Percy performs well in situations where you need to know the down and distance marker. 46.5% of all of his targets go for a first down. With half of the snaps of many of the other high-performing receivers in the league, Percy has 20 reception first downs to his name.

 Also, he ran for a touchdown, so that helps his WPA and score with advancednflstats. More on that later.

 We know that Harvin is a bit of a slot specialist and we expect him to perform there. In the slot, his catch rate has been 73.9% in a year where the top 40 slot receivers are averaging 63.75%. This is why he’s targeted the 5th most of any receiver in the slot and has the 12th most yards in the slot (No surprise that Wes Welker beats him in both categories). Out of receivers who have 0 drops in the slot, he ranks second in total targets (I’m a little suspicious about this "drops" stat, and I’ll expand on that when talking about a … different receiver).

 Like many good slot receivers, his high catch rate and high target rate are tempered with a relatively low yards per reception. The league average is 13.99 and Harvin brings the ball in for an average of 11 yards, even. Of course, if we measure QBs by Yards Per Attempt, we should probably measure receivers by Yards Per Target. Here Percy Harvin rates alright, checking in below league average (8.65) at 7.95. This is an alright statistic, and from what I can tell, and doesn’t bias against deep-threats vs. possession receivers. I don’t like how it treats slot receivers, who are undervalued here just a little for doing their job just as well as anyone else. Naaman Roosevelt leads these rankings, but he’s only taken 11 snaps in the slot (a total of 81% of his snaps), so we can comfortably throw him out. The top 5 here are Jordy Nelson, Mike Wallace, James Jones, Steve Smith, and Greg Jennings (so much green here, I could throw up). You have to get to Victor Cruz in 8th before you get to a receiver you can reliably say is a "slot receiver," and then 15th, when you get to Doug Baldwin. Also troubling, Wes Welker ranks 23rd. That can’t be right.

 I also don’t have a method of filtering out which receivers are unfairly credited for uncaught passes as a result of a throwaway, so I’m limited.

 Seems to me that targets are a function of both the receiver getting open and him being on the field. That’s not something that Andre Johnson, Percy Harvin, or most receivers have any control of. They all want to play as often as possible, but only get time when they get time.

 So perhaps a better evaluation of receivers is how many yards they get per receiver attempt, not per quarterback attempt. That is, how many yards, on average, do receivers get on routes they run?

 Well, Andre Johnson ranks highest, with 3.24 yards per route run. Only 3 other receivers exceed the 3 YPRR mark – Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, and the sadly derailed Kenny Britt. Looking at that list alone, you can tell that deep threats (Johnson), slot receivers (Cruz), and possession receivers (Britt), all rank highly in this system. Dynamic receivers (Jennings) also rank highly, making this the perfect evaluation metric for Harvin’s receiver responsibilities. This system does cheat up a little bit for slot receivers, but that’s OK given that Harvin has had more snaps in the slot than anywhere else on the field. Where does he rank? 9th, with 2.33 yards per routes run.

 I’m willing to admit that I’m mischaracterizing Cruz a little bit, by the way. He goes deep from the slot route an unusual amount of times. 85% of his snaps are from the slot position, but he has been targeted 19% of the time for intended gains of 20 yards or more.

 We all know Harvin is not a deep receiver. He has had 2 of his 41 targets go for a deep ball, and no receptions. They are listed in several databases as uncatchable, and I’m willing to believe that. Either he doesn’t get open deep (somewhat likely) or we don’t send him on deep routes (very likely). I think the second is true because the first one is true – he doesn’t have the height (5’11) for it (he certainly would have the speed though – 4.41 40!)

 He knows how to keep plays going, too. His targets are often for much shorter yards than other Vikings (or indeed, other receivers). He took more screen passes early in the season, too. He’s 13th in the league in yards after the catch, and 3rd among slot receivers, with 7.5 yards after catching the ball. The league average is 4.86, but this really does bias against some receivers – league average is not the greatest method of evaluating this particular stat. It sure is something I can appreciate.

 So he does some damage in the slot, and some damage on the outside on slants, curls, ins and screens. What else does he do? Well, he’s a kick returner (but that’s another article) and a rusher. In fact, he has 100 snaps from a halfback/rushing position.

 How good is he at it? I hardly need to tell you, but the stats say just as much as we see. He ranks 7th out of receivers with 100 HB/run snaps in yards after contact, and second in average rushing yards overall (behind Denarius Moore). Knowing that our offensive line has only stepped up the run blocking game recently (I’ll get into that later), it seems as if much of this has to do with the fact that Percy has more yards before contact than most receivers – running reverses and seeing holes far better than some NFL starting running backs, including Tim Tebow. He ranks second in yards before contact, as well.

 I should also add that he’s one of only two receivers that have had more than 10 rushing attempts, so he and Brad Smith (who is better than average, but is blown away by Harvin) are the only ones who have a reasonable amount of attempts. Teams generally expect to see Harvin run twice a game, but Denarius Moore has only attempted to run 3 times.

 So why would you line up Denarius Moore or Wes Welker in the HB position? Presumably to call play-actions, block, or confuse defensive coverage (those that run man schemes, anyway). There is also the possibility of running an unconventional route, too. I don’t know how often LBs will bite when someone besides Harvin runs up the middle for a play-action fake, so that doesn’t seem likely.

 Setting up in the HB position, then would at least be good for blocking and interesting routes. I think there’s a perception that Harvin is quite a good blocker, based on his performance in the Arizona game. Outside of that game, his run blocking has been OK. His blocking was probably worst in the San Diego game, he released some blocks early (particularly early-to-mid game) and our runs to the right sideline, where Harvin generally lines up, average the lowest of all of our runs, despite consistent and excellent run blocking from the RT position, generally by Loadholt (pass blocking and penalties are another story, and I’ll get into that in another article). Naturally, we’ve had some problem with pulls, too. His performance blocking in the Arizona game was stellar, though. Screens to AP have generally performed better on the opposite side of the field of Harvin, by about 5 yards, although the sample size is extraordinarily small to draw any real conclusions from. There’s only 4 or 5 good blocking receivers in the NFL, and with the exception of Emmanuel Sanders, they are all over 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. Percy is about 20 pounds short of that. Mike Thomas does well given his frame, but they generally line him up to block appropriately sized DBs on runs. I’d say that out of all receivers, Harvin’s blocking is slightly better than average, but given the number of snaps we give him (and therefore his "eliteness"), his blocking is slightly worse than what we should expect.

 When Harvin has lined up in the backfield (and not as a split end), he has run 11 times, for an average of 6.6 yards per run out of the backfield. This high total has much more to do with good blocking and the unexpectedness of a Harvin run than anything else – he has averaged 1.9 yards after contact out of this position. AP has averaged 3.3 yards after contact, just to give some context. Runs as a wide receiver (generally reverses) have been exceedingly successful. He averages a whopping 13.2 yards on these plays, with 5.1 yards after contact. He can make DBs miss, apparently. Other receivers who have been involved in run plays include another return specialist (Ted Ginn, with 5 carries), another slot receiver (Nate Burleson, with 6 carries), and someone who’s only seen 71 snaps (Brad Smith, with 14 carries, a surprising 19.7% of his snaps being carries). They average 7.4, 7.2, and 5.1 yards per run, respectively. Harvin is averaging 9.3. Ginn and Burleson are gaining 4.33 and 4.2 yards after contact and Brad Smith is averaging 2.57 yards after contact. All of Ted Ginn’s and Nate Burleson’s runs have been from snaps where they line up as a receiver and all of Brad Smith’s runs have been as an HB/Wildcat (11 as a wildcat, 3 as an HB). Oh right, this dude is also apparently a quarterback, if you believe his wikipedia page. He, like Christian Ponder, has an MBA. He has 3 pass attempts, and 0 completions.

 I want to say that Harvin is the best running receiver in the NFL, I really do. But… it doesn’t matter if he gets this designation. Receiver runs are so exceedingly rare in the NFL, that you’ll never get a good enough sample size to properly evaluate the "running receiver" subset. Reverses are generally gimmick plays that are not repeated again. So I think it is more to Percy Harvin’s credit that he creates runs as a viable option for real yardage than it is to his credit that he runs "better" than other receivers. He can create runs from the split end, flanker, and slot positions as well as the backfield. He is the only receiver in the NFL right now that I think can credibly claim they can do this, so he gets more points for that than his yards per carry.

 He is not the best receiver in any particular role or position on the field, and he’s not the most physically gifted receiver in the NFL either. But he’s the best receiver in the NFL and fulfilling multiple roles, including one that isn’t filled by any other receiver. And he’s extremely impactful.

 Grade: A- after extra credit from providing defensive coordinator frustration and adding running ability.

 But damn, Wes Welker and Andre Johnson are really, really good. And who knew Victor Cruz was that good? Imagine if he was consistent…

 Also, to answer Ted’s question of what a Preston Parker is: it apparently is the only receiver in the NFL with over 85 snaps to play all of his snaps in the slot receiver position (all 206 of them). He is catching 69.7% of the balls thrown his way.

 WR: Michael Jenkins – Our "Deep" Possession Receiver.  When we picked up Michael Jenkins, I had no idea who he was besides a "possession" receiver. I gather this to be a receiver who slants or runs routes in with route discipline and can be counted on for a high catch rate. Sometimes they will line up in the slot and are asked to make the difficult catches.

 Well, he has had 0 drops since the beginning of 2008. Again, I will stress my skepticism at the "drops" stat here, but it is nevertheless impressive.

 So how do we evaluate this role? Catch rate is pretty intuitive, but that apparently has much more to do with the quarterback than the receiver. We know that YPRR is a good evaluation metric for all receivers, regardless of role, and is in the receiver’s control more than the quarterback’s, so we can start there.

 Michael Jenkins ran 213 routes clocks in at a completely average 1.7 yards per route run. Completely average. For receivers in the WR1, WR2, or WR3 role, the average YPRR is 1.73 yards. But out of all active 2nd receivers, Michael Jenkins ranks 15th. He ranks behind 3 #3 receivers and ahead of 3 #1 receivers (Cleveland’s Massaquoi, San Francisco’s Crabtree, and the Jets’ Holmes).

 I don’t want to get away from catch rate, though. It does tell us a little bit about a receiver’s ability to bring the ball in. Only three receivers have had over 35 targets this year and a 100% catch rate on "catchable" passes. I don’t know if I agree – I was pretty sure Jenkins dropped a catchable pass on the sideline in the Carolina game (not an easily catchable pass and not a "drop" by traditional measures), and I think it’s only fair to include very difficult passes, or you start penalizing average deep threats and over-rewarding receivers expected to make deep catches (giving points for success but not taking them away for failures). Still, it’s encouraging.

 He’s also a bit of a swiss-army knife. We send him deep and line him up in the slot. His catch rate deep is 42.9% and has been targeted 7 times, 3 deemed "catchable" by various databases. He caught all 3 of them for 120 yards. 17.9% of his targets are while he is running the deep ball. We don’t think of him as a traditional deep receiver. He’s fast (4.54 40), but not a burner. He’s tall (6’4) and physical (220), but he’s not sent on deep routes or targeted as often as traditional deep threats. DeSean Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, AJ Green and Jacoby Ford all get 30% or so of their targets on deep routes. Torrey Smith apparently gets 56.3% of his targets on deep routes. Could he be the deep receiver we feel we so desperately need to stretch the field? Probably not – I don’t see him boxing out great cornerbacks on high passes or getting the jump balls that Jackson and Johnson do so well.

 He’s run 23.1% of his routes on the slot, catching 77% of the balls thrown his way in this position, against a league average of 63.75%.

 To be fair, McNabb has been 71% on passes over the middle between 0-9 yards, and my arbitrarily chosen average QB, Flacco, is 70.49%. Freeman, another QB having an average year this season is 75.5% in these same situations. Obviously slot play isn’t just passes over the middle for short gains – the will often go for 10-15 yards, but it does give us some perspective. League average for slot performance might still be what we’d expect from our 2nd or 3rd best slot receiver.

 At any rate, Jenkins is averaging slightly below league average on Yards Per Slot Route Run, with 1.02 (League Average is 1.2). For reference, Percy Harvin is 5th in this stat with 1.92, with Brandon LaFell in 4th, Nate Washington in 3rd, Wes Welker in 3rd, Greg Jennings in 2nd, and … Victor Cruz again, in 1st. I swear, that dude has the biggest difference between his real value and his fantasy performance. That sucks, he’s on my team.

 Finally, he’s a possession receiver – he needs to get first downs. He’s 19 for 40 targets on first down percentage – 13th in the league, with 47.5% of his targets turning into first downs. He’s 8th among wide receivers. That’s pretty good. Certainly performing that role well.

 Run blocking? Not good. He’s a big, heavy guy, but he’s easy to slip on blocks. He’ll often need help or make holes too small. It’s odd, he’s fine when a corner jams him, but he can’t seem to create appropriate seams with his run blocking. He knows when and where to make the blocks, which is certainly great, but only half the battle. He’s perhaps one of the worst run-blocking receivers with regular snaps right now. He had an alright outing against Arizona, but these last two games, he’s slipped up. You know that ankle tackle that always prevents AP from 50 yard gains? Sometimes Jenkins is That Guy on the play. Jenkins doesn’t give up, but he might be too afraid of the holding call or angle his blocks incorrectly. Could be that he doesn’t get low or know how to use his knees. He was a little less than passable in blocking in our KC, Detroit, and Tampa Bay games, but performed ok in San Diego and, like I said, in our Arizona game. Certainly he can improve – in fact, I heard he was significantly better last year. As we move more into the run game and short dumpoffs, I want to see more out of blocking from this guy.

 Jenkins is our 2nd receiver when our 1st receiver isn’t on run duty. He’ll catch catchable balls, and he’ll make them count. Not a lot of variability in his play – not many huge gains after the catch, but also fairly consistent receiving option. He runs disciplined routes and lacks just a few big wide receiver skills. He’ll play physically and holds on to the ball. His presence on the field is valuable, but there are a lot of receivers in the league with more value. He does what we need him to and not much more.

 I like his first downs, I like his hands, but he’s got significant room for improvement. This grade hurts to give, especially with his first down value, but he needs to tighten up in other areas of the game.

 Grade: C+

 Also, Massaquoi is Cleveland’s #1 receiver. Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty are plagued. Something tells me that this isn’t Colt McCoy’s fault.

 WR: Devin Aromashodu – Chicago’s 2nd Specialty Deep Dish… er.. Threat. Fast talent out of Auburn, he has been signed with 7 teams in 5 years, including a 2 year stint in Chicago. And I mean fast – 40 time of 4.38. So why does this journeyman keep getting signed? One word: potential.

 We’ve sent him on a few deep routes, but we’ve had trouble creating good, reliable separation. His route discipline is poor and he is reportedly behind on the playbook, not comfortable with the entire volume of plays as of right now.

 We have him on about half of our pass plays and he’s been targeted 21% of the time he’s run a passing route. At least 7 of those targets were for 20 yards or more. He’s caught 2 of them, but none of the other 5 targets have been deemed "drops," although I feel like several of them are his fault because of his route running and inability to create proper separation when the time comes.

 We like to think of him as a deep receiver, or at least a replacement for what should have been a deep receiver, and we’re mostly using him in that role. He’s a flanker or a split end, for sure, as he has zero passing routes from the slot, and his 7 deep targets were 29.2% of his total targets, the rest generally going for 10-15 yard gains in the air.

 Our offensive line gives up a significant amount of pressures (6th worst in the league), so I’m willing to bet that our deep game is more affected by line play than it is receiver play. Nevertheless, Aromashodu has alright hands and great speed, but needs to be more disciplined in his routes, handle his coverage better, and prove that he’s no Bernard Berrian. On that note, he has 2 drops on 9 catchable passes. Oof.

 He’s averaging 1.37 in total Yards Per Route Run, which is great for a #3/4 receiver. We don’t seem to trust him enough to give him those snaps, however. I think that’s warranted, given that he needs more familiarity with the playbook and there are other problems that need to be addressed. Out of teams whose 3rd wide receivers who merit attention (over 100 snaps in passing routes), Aromashodu ranks 5th in YPRR.

 On the other hand, he literally has the worst catch % in the NFL, behind Bernard Berrian, with 29.2%. I don’t know how many of those targets were throwaways, but none of the passes he missed were deemed "catchable," which to me just means he’s not burning it up when he needs to or getting separation when he should be.

 His blocking has been pretty good. His run blocking in the Arizona game could have used improvement – whiffing on a key block or so by missing the blocker (not by failing to hold them back once identified) he needed to get, but overall well. He was pretty good on run plays in the Carolina game and could have done better but also much worse in his other two games. He’s not on the field much for these, but when he is, he’s our best blocking receiver. Which isn’t saying much – he’s slightly better than average with a small sample size.

 He’s clearly got potential, but I don’t know how much of it can be unlocked. His pass patterns will generally not be as complex, and once he figures out how to handle harassment from DBs, he could be explosive. As of right now, I might generally agree with the Football Outsider’s analysis (which does not take into account blocking) that he’s slightly below what you would consider the best "replacement-level" player. I did like that touchdown of his, though.

 Grade: C-

 WR: Greg Camarillo – Too Ambitious for This Project. Greg Camarillo has been in on 32 passing routes. He has been targeted 6 times. He has been neither bad nor good in the run blocking game, with room for improvement against Arizona and an alright showing against Green Bay. If his performance in those 32 routes repeated consistently throughout the season, he’d be our 2nd best receiver. Do you believe it? Maybe. I like that he and Ponder seem to have chemistry. None of his routes were deep, they were down-and-distance type catches and they did the job they needed to do. He had 3 catchable balls and he caught them.

 Grade: I

 WR: Bernard Berrian – He’s Got Running from the Vikes Speed. Something you and I can pretend is that Bernard Berrian only had 1 drop this season. If we pretended that, Bernard Berrian had 91 yards on 8 catchable targets. He has run 135 routes and his "QBs don’t like to throw to him," resulting in only 20 targets, resulting in a Targets Per Route Run of 14.8%, the seventh lowest in the league of anybody with over 70 snaps. So, on that note, he is correct. He is also correct that on many of his plays, he has been open with no target.

 But we were just pretending that he only had 1 drop this season. In fact, two other databases maintain the same myth. I’m pretty sure a third one does, too, but I’m not paying to get into it to find out.

 One of the reasons I was hesitant about "catchable" passes and drops was because I had no idea if the person marking drop/catchable pass (these are not official NFL stats) had a good idea if the receiver was at fault on a pass and therefore "dropped the ball" on a play targeted to them. I checked out Bernard Berrian’s drops and right away knew something was wrong. He had more than that many drops in the first 2 games of the season!

 One of the reasons I like yards per route run is that it calls on the receiver to get open and run good routes, while also developing a trust with the quarterback that he won’t mess the next target up. Yards Per Target aborts this process and therefore a big portion of receiver play (which incidentally also means that the importance of an accurate QB goes up in determining the stat, because it decreases the amount of QB-independent events).

 Bernard Berrian DOES beat Aromashodu in catch %, but Berrian is 3rd to last in the NFL in that category, anyway. He has been a little too lazy getting to the ball and can be jammed extremely effectively. My flawed memory tells me that Aromashodu had a worse catch % than Berrian, but also was at fault for fewer plays, which is why he’s beating Berrian in total yards – 91 to 153.

 Berrian’s blocking has been average – nothing to write home about. No uniquely bad performances (although he did struggle just a little bit in the Cardinals game).

 Grade: D-

It was hard not giving him an F. He ranked amongst the worst in the league in some key metrics, but... he WAS getting open and my database says he had fewer catchable balls than the fanbase believes. Really what tipped me was that he was definitely trying on run blocking plays and generally succeeded. Not an all-around failure, but perhaps one who doesn't even deserve his restructured contract.

WR: Stephen Burton - The Ghost in the Machine. No seriously, he's not in my numbers. I'm am an amateur numbers enthusiast, not a scout. I have no idea how good he is compared to my admittedly subjective evaluations of where he should be.

Grade: I ... have no clue

 QB Addendum: I mentioned in the comments section of my QB post that I would like to see if there is a difference in yards after the catch for Ponder and McNabb, which would imply two things 1) that one QB is better at hitting receivers in stride and/or 2) that one QB may be engaging in more dump-offs, checkdowns, and screen passes. One may be more significant than the other. Christian Ponder has 324 yards in the air (without drops), while totaling 554 yards. 58% of his yards came as the receiver caught the ball, 42% after. Donovan McNabb had 569 yards in the air and 1026 total yards. 55% of his yards came as the receiver caught the ball.  This is not a significant difference. I know I’ve seen Ponder hit his receivers in stride more, so what is it? Well, my understanding is that we’ve also been running many more curl routes and Ponder is much more willing to hit the checkdowns – McNabb’s passes generally have more potential to have high yards after the catch, but Ponder’s passes generally enable it more. This isn’t something I’ve found in the stats, it’s what I see. Also, McNabb is much, much less likely to throw the deep ball. He is likely to throw the deep ball (defined as 20 yards in the air or more) on 9% of his attempts (less than 1/10th of the time), and Christian Ponder will do that 17% of the time, or more than 1/6th of the time. This means McNabb has likely been throwing shorter routes and more screens and check-downs then the rookie he’s grooming. Odd, for sure.

 Somebody wanted to take a look at performance under pressure. If you DO NOT get rid of throwaways (which is significant), Ponder’s QB Passer Rating has been 55.5 under pressure and 89.3 without pressure. Under pressure, he’s at 19% and without pressure at 64.3% in completion percentage. YPA of 3 under pressure and 8.8 without it. Knowing that he’s had 7 throwaways this year, I can take those away, and I’ll assume all of the throwaways occurred under pressure. His passer rating rises to 69.34, his completion percentage is 28.6% and a YPA of 4.4.

 Donovan McNabb (excluding sacks) is nearly identical under pressure and without it. With pressure: 85.8 Passer Rating, 6 YPA, and 55.6% completion percentage. Without it: 81.4 PR, 6.9 YPA and 62.7% completion percentage. Take away throwaways, he’s at 87.38 PR, 6.13 YPA, and 56.6% Comp Pct.

 Joe Flacco, my almost random selection of an average quarterback is closer to Ponder than McNabb on the pressure split. With Pressure: 44.5 PR, 5.5 YPA, 41.5% Comp Pct. Without it: 89.5 PR, 7.2 YPA, 59.4% Comp Pct.


Three Rookie QBs – one spectacular, one better than average and one abysmal (Newton, Dalton, Gabbert):


Newton: Pressure – 73.9 PR, 7.6 YPA, 52% No Pressure – 91.7 PR, 8.6 YPA, 63.7%

Dalton: Pressure – 79.1 PR, 5.3 YPA, 46.3% No Pressure – 83.6 PR, 7.1 YPA, 66.1%

Gabbert: Pressure – 51.4 PR, 4.6 YPA, 38.6% No Pressure – 65.4 PR, 5.4 YPA, 48.1%


Looks like you can generally expect a 10% dropoff in completion percentage under pressure, although potentially more. YPA generally seems to drop a yard or so. Ponder’s splits from pressure certainly seem unusual. This needs to be fixed. Especially with our line.

 Maybe coordinators will blitz us more on third down. Ponder needs to perform better under pressure – yes, other rookie QBs are similarly hurt in their overall performance in high pressure situations, but Ponder needs to step it up significantly, as his gap is prodigious. This may also be a side effect heightened peripheral awareness – the increased likelihood of detecting pressure that isn’t necessarily dangerous.

 Wow, that was a lot of work. Next is going to be something easy, like Running Backs. See you soon and keep commenting!

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Daily Norseman

You must be a member of Daily Norseman to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Daily Norseman. You should read them.

Join Daily Norseman

You must be a member of Daily Norseman to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Daily Norseman. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.