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Statistics 101: The QB Edition

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Someone get open. OK. Seriously y'all. Not funny. Please?!?! Someone!? Anyone!? Oh man ...
Someone get open. OK. Seriously y'all. Not funny. Please?!?! Someone!? Anyone!? Oh man ...

In this series, we're looking at some of the commonly-used and less-commonly-used foozbah statistics available over the interwebs. Last week we discussed the wonderful world of TE statistics. And this week we're taking a closer look at QB statistics.

Sometimes I forget that we didn't have a franchise QB three years ago. And then Mike Zimmer makes me hate Bobby Petrino again.

Some people laud Ryan's maturity. Others question his happy feet. I just thank Visnu that he doesn't fight dogs, smoke pot on road trips, or get sued for his really embarassing shenanigans.

If you're ready for some hokey pokey and don't mind being turned all about, then join me after the jump.

Aside from "intangibles" (whatever those are) and pure physical ability, there are seven things I look at when judging a quarterback. Spoiler alert: TD total is not one of them.


(1) Passer Rating

Somewhat archaic and very complicated. Passer rating is something we're probably all familiar with, but I'd bet most of you have no clue how it's calculated. Heck, before I wrote this article, I had no idea how it was calculated.

This is the formula (found on Prime Computing's website):

a = ((Comp/Att) * 100) -30) / 20
b = ((TDs/Att) * 100) / 5
c = (9.5 - (Int/Att) * 100) / 4
d = ((Yards/Att) - 3) / 4

a, b, c and d can not be greater than 2.375 or less than zero.

(a + b + c + d) / .06 = QB rating

Ryan's passer rating after weeks 1-6 is 85.3, tied for 17th (out of 33 eligible QBs) in the league. His '09 (80.9) passer rating was worse. And his '08 (87.7) passer rating was better. But it's only week 6. So we'll see where he ends up. 

According to the sortable QB stats on, the QB with the highest passer rating in weeks 1-6 is none other than Ronald Mexico Mike Vick. If that doesn't give you some concerns about the reliability of passer rating, I don't know what will.


(2) TD/Int Ratio

TD/Int Ratio is fairly easy to calculate. Just divide the # of TDs by the # of Ints. Ryan has thrown 9 touchdowns this year. And he's thrown 4 picks. He therefore has a 9/4 (2.25) TD/Int Ratio.

Peyton Manning's TD/Int Ratio is 6.5. Joe Flacco's TD/Int Ratio is 1.16. Jimmy Clausen's TD/Int Ratio is .33. 

If you take away last week's tipped-passed-turned-interception, Ryan only has three picks in 6 games this year. 6 games into his '09 campaign, Ryan had 6 picks. Not really a noteworthy difference, to be honest.


(3) Passing Yards and/or Passing Yards Per Game

Ryan has thrown for 1,415 yards this year, the 11th highest total in the league. He's averaging 235.8 yards/game.

Passing yards and passing yards/game, like many stats, won't tell you everything. Perfect example: the return of Jenkins. If Jenkins played in weeks 1-6, it's not all-that-kooky to think Ryan would've thrown for 200ish more yards. 200 more passing yards would make his Passing Yardage total 1,615 yards. 1,615 yards would be the 5th highest Passing Yardage total in the league.


(4) Completion Percentage

Poor receiver/line play - most of the time - leads to a low completion percentage. Solid pass defense - most of the time - leads to a low completion percentage. Keep those caveats in mind whenever you employ completion percentage.

Ryan's weeks 1-6 completion percentage is 60.3, which is tied for 20th in the league. Ryan's completion percentage was 58.3 in '09 and 61.1 in '08.

Quick little FF (fun fact): The NFL QB with the highest career completion percentage (minimum 1,500 passes) is Chad Pennington. Yikes.

At the end of the day, a 60.3 completion percentage is not - by itself - a HUGE red flag. Some of the truly great NFL QBs, in their best seasons, managed higher completion percentages. Manning in '04 (67.6 percent) and Young in '94 (70.3 percent) are examples. But some of the truly great NFL QBs, in their best seasons, managed lower completion percentages. Cunningham in '90 (58.3 percent), Unitas in '63 (57.8 percent), and Theismann in '83 (60.1 percent) are examples. 


(5) DYAR and DVOA

Ryan's DYAR is 298, ranked 11th in the league. His DVOA is 8.4%, ranked 18th in the league.

Still unclear about what DYAR and DVOA represent?

Read all about DYAR here.

Read all about DVOA here.


(6) Completion Average

Ryan averaged 6.5 yards per completion in weeks 1-6 (22nd highest in the league). He averaged 6.5 in '09 (21st highest that year) and 7.9 in '08 (4th highest that year). Because Roddy has been - for all intensive purposes - his only real deep threat (especially this year), it's not surprising that his yards per completion isn't/hasn't been higher.


(7) Effective Yards

Effective Yards puts DVOA into a yards per attempt figure. It can be found (along with DYAR and DVOA) here. Ryan's weeks 1-6 Effective Yards total is 1,623 (208 more than his Passing Yardage total). Because his Effective Yards total is higher than his Passing Yardage total, we can assume he's played better than his Passing Yardage total would otherwise suggest.


Bottom Line: To be honest, I'm just not sure what to think about Ryan's 2010 campaign thus far. He's throwing the ball A LOT. He's amassed a respectable passing yardage total. He's actually putting the ball in-the-receivers-hands at a decent clip. And, of course, I'm happy he's not throwing picks left and right. But there's something that's just not right.

I'm willing to give him some room to grow, at least for now. But I'd like to see him turn the corner (so to speak) too. Soon. What do y'all think? Are Ryan's numbers troubling? Or will he use mind bullets to systematically destroy the Bengals D this Sunday?

Next week we'll discuss defensive line stats. In the interim though, GO FORTH AND BE STATISTICAL!