FanPost

Air Yards Statistics Spell Doom For Ponder

This is my first ever fan post, and I don't' quite know how to properly format it, so I apologize for not making it aesthetically pleasing. I realize that what I'm about to say might cause 10,000 angry Skoldiers to light their torches, but here it goes anyway :)

As we all know, alot of Ponder's passes last year came on bubble screens and other types of passes around the LOS where the bulk of the yardage was created through YAC. How many times did we see a quick bubble screen to Harvin turn into a 20-yard pass play? Alot. This often times caused Ponder's stats to not be very indicative of how well he actually threw the ball, but rather how well the play was executed by the offense as a whole. Now obviously this isn't Ponder's fault, as he has to run the play that Musgrave calls in, but there was still countless opportunities last season where the play-call allowed Ponder to attack the 2nd and 3rd levels of the defense, but he instead checked it down and didn't pull the trigger.

So I thought to myself, "How would Ponder's AY/A stack up against the rest of the league if I removed the YAC from the passing yardage totals?". Well first of all, the term for passing yardage without the YAC is referred to as "air yards". Using the information at SportingCharts.com, we can see that 1222 of Ponder's 2935 passing yards last year came through the air. That means that a whopping 58.4% of Ponder's passing yards were created by YAC, which lead the NFL. He also averaged a horrific 2.53 air yards/attempt, which was dead last among the 39 qualifying QBs. What these stats are telling us is that we have a QB here in Minnesota that not only was one of the worst QBs in the NFL moving the ball based on the regular AY/A formula, but he actually looks even worse once you break down how those yards were obtained.

Bubble screens, play-action rollouts to the flat, and checkdowns are basically nothing but glorified hand-offs. The number of actual NFL level throws we saw from Ponder last year were as few and far between as any QB in the NFL. It's one thing for a QB to put up bad numbers, but it's quite another for the QB to do it while not even consistently testing himself. Ponder may have been able to work out of he had an offensive coordinator that forced him to test his limits and allowed for the largest opportunity for growth and development, but we obviously aren't seeing that with Musgrave. I'm sorry fellow Vikings fans, but I think the writing is on the wall with Ponder. He's doomed.

Formula: (air yards + 23 * passing touchdowns - 67 * interceptions) / (pass attempts)

Adjusted-Air Yards/Attempt

1. Colin Kaepernick: 5.17

2. Peyton Manning: 4.77

3. Aaron Rodgers: 4.57

4. Robert Griffin III: 4.53

5. Russell Wilson: 4.40

6. Tom Brady: 4.30

7. Alex Smith: 4.09

8. Ben Roethlisberger: 3.93

9. Drew Brees: 3.92

10. Eli Manning: 3.88

11. Matt Ryan: 3.82

12. Joe Flacco: 3.59

13. Kevin Kolb: 3.56

14. Tony Romo: 3.46

15. Cam Newton: 3.41

16. Matt Schaub: 3.37

17. Josh Freeman: 3.17

18. Andrew Luck: 3.14

19. Sam Bradford: 3.00

20. Jay Cutler: 2.94

21. Matthew Stafford: 2.93

22. Ryan Tannehill: 2.78

23. Andy Dalton: 2.68

24. Carson Palmer: 2.65

25. Blaine Gabbert: 2.64

26. Michael Vick: 2.51

27. Jake Locker: 2.47

28. Philip Rivers: 2.39

29. Chad Henne: 2.27

30. Nick Foles: 2.22

31. Mark Sanchez: 2.10

32. Christian Ponder: 1.72

33. Brandon Weeden: 1.35

34. Matt Cassel: 1.00

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 <em>community</em>, that view is no less important.

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