Just when you thought the folks from Football Outsiders had put together just about all the statistics they could possibly create, they've come up with another metric for measuring quarterbacks. Fans of the Minnesota Vikings are probably going to like this one. . .at least for now. . .as it shows their young quarterback as performing significantly better than the boxscore jockeys out there would likely give him credit for.
The statistic is what Football Outsiders calls "passing plus-minus," and the description that they give for it is this:
Passing plus-minus estimates how many passes a quarterback completed compared to what an average quarterback would have completed, given the location of those passes. It does not consider passes listed as "Thrown Away," "Tipped at Line," or "Quarterback Hit in Motion." Player performance is compared to a historical baseline of how often a pass is completed based on the pass distance, the distance required for a first down, and whether it is on the left, middle, or right side of the field. Note that plus-minus is not scaled to a player's total attempts.
So, what does this new stat say about quarterback Teddy Bridgewater? Well, the returns thus far seem to be pretty good.
Bridgewater put up a passing plus-minus of +20.6 in 2015, the fifth-highest such figure in the league according to Football Outsiders. It's also one of the top 50 seasons they've tracked for the statistic, using data that goes back to the 2006 season. Scott Kacsmar, who wrote this article for Football Outsiders, seems to be pretty impressed with Bridgewater, all things considered.
Teddy Bridgewater is likely to be a focal point in several of our quarterback studies this year. He did not fare well in Expected Failed Completions, looking like one of the league's more dink-and-dunk passers. But when it comes to plus-minus, Bridgewater has been quite good, ranking 15th as a rookie and fifth this year. Even on passes thrown 10-plus yards, Bridgewater still ranked 10th in plus-minus (+5.2) in 2015. While Bortles and Derek Carr each threw more touchdowns in 2015 than Bridgewater has in two seasons, the gap in passing efficiency is definitely in Bridgewater's favor. When we get around to looking at performance with pass pressure in 2015, you may be even more impressed by Bridgewater.
It's always nice to see something that puts some of the praise on young Bridgewater that he doesn't seem to get from a lot of the other outlets out there. He's already shown himself to be an incredibly accurate passer in his first two seasons. If his offensive line can give him some more time in 2016 and allow him to do some more things, he's going to put up a lot of impressive numbers going forward.