I've never been terribly good at math. When I was in school, English and History were really more my thing. Part of the reasoning behind that is the fact that. . .well, math is hard. Well, I think math is hard. But sometimes it's relatively easy to interpret, even in the world of football.
Such is the case with an article presented today by the folks over at Five Thirty-Eight that they've called "The 10 Types of NFL Quarterbacks." What they've done is taken all of the NFL quarterbacks with at least 10 starts over the past two years or 50 career starts since 2006 and plotted their QBR ratings on a curve. Their findings showed that the 45 quarterbacks they rated fell into 10 different categories.
The study placed current Minnesota Vikings' quarterback Teddy Bridgewater into a group called "The Second-Tiers," which sounds like it would be a heck of a band name if it isn't already taken. Here's how Five Thirty-Eight described this particular group:
Each quarterback in this group had more bad games and fewer exceptional ones than the Brady/Manning/Rodgers set, but he posted more strong games than poor ones over his career.
Bridgewater is in this group with what would appear to be a fairly eclectic mix of quarterbacks. . .one that, on the surface, includes two good-to-great quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Tony Romo), one very up-and-down quarterback (Colin Kaepernick), and one quarterback that has really fallen off the face of the earth (Matt Schaub). I was surprised to see Schaub there, but the data that Five Thirty-Eight uses goes back to 2006, when ESPN (their parent site) started using the QBR metric, and there was a stretch of time where Schaub was a very good quarterback.
Since Bridgewater has only one season worth of data to look at, we can check what his QBR was for each game he played. They are listed below from highest QBR to lowest.
|14||vs New York||72.4|
|8||at Tampa Bay||71.7|
|3||at New Orleans||47.4|
|12||vs Green Bay||40.2|
If we figure a QBR of 50.0 to be the dividing line between "good" and "bad" (since the scale goes from 0 to 100), Bridgewater had seven "good" games and six "bad" games. He had a couple of real clunkers, but for the most part, as the rating for the "Second-Tiers" implies, was good more often than he was bad. That seems to be the case with the other four quarterbacks in the same area, even Schaub (again, if we remember that this goes all the way back to 2006) and Kaepernick (who looked spectacular at times prior to this season, where he seemed to struggle a lot).
Seeing such numbers from Bridgewater this early in his career shouldn't be surprising, and he should continue to improve as time goes on. At this point he seems to be significantly better than his fellow rookie quarterbacks, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, who were both included in a group ignominiously named the "Uh-Ohs."
Among NFC North quarterbacks, there is one that's listed among "The Elite" (take a guess who that is), one that's in a group labeled "The Bell Curves" (Matthew Stafford), and one that's in a group known as "The Mixed Bags" (Jay Cutler). Though Bridgewater's sample size is significantly smaller than either Stafford's or Cutler's, it's kind of nice to see Bridgewater (apparently) rated more highly than they are at this point in his career. I know I wouldn't trade Bridgewater for either of those two guys, and I'm pretty sure there aren't many that would.
If we have any math savants in the crowd, feel free to check out the article and add some more insights to it in the comments section. I'm just expressing what I got out of the data.
I think. Math is hard, after all.