2011-2012 QB Breakdown

**These are my 2011 breakdowns cobbled together from various posts on forums, just as a reference. The beginning is the breakdown for the “Tier 1” QBs and then there are charts comparing all of the QBs and commentary on the tier 2 QBs.

What I wanted to do was breakdown some stats and give a numerical backing to some of the things you see when you’re watching the tape of these top 4 quarterbacks. The numbers are definitely meant to compliment what you see, not replace it. Essentially what I’ve done here is take 4 games each from Luck, Griffin, Weeden, and Tannehill, and chart every throw they made within those games. I noted what formation they threw the ball from, the outcome (did the receiver catch it, did he drop it, was it a fluke interception..etc), and the distance of the throw.

It’s important to note that in order to limit this to the quarterback’s ability, I noted only where the receiver caught the ball. I’m going to give some charts and then a little commentary.


These are obviously the completion percentages for each quarterback and the various depths I assigned. Again, these depths are only where the QB threw the ball and the WR caught it.


These are how often each QB threw to each zone, thus Weeden threw screens 22.46% of the time and Luck threw 1-5 yards 36% of the time

Here are some of my thoughts and a little summary of this data:

Andrew Luck:

  • Only 8.1% of Luck’s throws were screens, but an unprecedented 36% of Luck’s passes were 1-5 yards from the Line of Scrimmage. The QBs, on average, threw 25.1% of their passes in the 1-5yd range
  • While he threw a ridiculous amount of passes in 1-5yds, he also completed them at an 85% rate, better than any percentage at any position or depth, except for screens
  • Out of the 4 passers, Luck went deep the least, only opting to throw past 20 yards 10% of the time, for a comparison RGIII threw deep 19% of the time


  • The thing that sticks out at me for RGIII is the fact that he throws the various distances pretty evenly. the range of how often he throws the different depths is between 16% (screens) and 24% (1-5yds)
  • We all know the lore about his deep ball, but here’s some numbers to back up the ridiculousness. He throws the deep ball (20+) 18.8% of the time and completes it 60% of the time. Luck only completes the deep ball 42% and Weeden 52%
  • He also has the highest completion percentage for the 11-20 yard pass at 68% (Luck 46%, Tannehill and Weeden 56%)


  • With Justin Blackmon at receiver, the mention of Oklahoma State’s offense conjures up images of big plays and deep throws. 22.5% of Weeden’s throws were screens (side note: when I did Matt Barkley, an amazing 25% of his throws were screens)
  • Weeden doesn’t have the top completion percentage at any of the depths, but is very solid at all of them, with a good 52% completion rate at 20+ yards, he can hit the deeper passes pretty well
  • Strangely, from my sample, the percentage of his total throws at 1-5 yards and 11-20 yards were exactly the same, choosing to throw at those depths 24.06% of the time


  • As you can tell by my stats, I’m a big fan of completion percentage as a key predictor for college QBs, if that holds true – color me unimpressed with Tannehill
  • He throws deep 15% of the time, the second most of the QBs, but completes them at a paltry 32%, the worst of the QBs
  • 21% of the his throws are screens, and out of all the depths for him – he throws the 6-10 yard ball the most at 23%
  • While the other QBs have a overall completion % for the season at around 70-72%, Tannehill is lucky to hit 63%

If you’re up for it, I went a little bit deeper, creating two of my own metrics.

PRR- Perfect Receiver Rating, I just took out drops here, essentially trying to eliminate the impact of talent level, at least on a basic level. These had to be flat out drops, not the receiver could have caught it, but he had to have it in his hands and then drop it.

Adjusted Completion Percentage – I like this stat a lot, the idea is to see what would happen if you took RGIII and subbed him in for Andrew Luck in the game. This started when I was doing Matt Barkley (before he announced he was staying), because he had a completion percentage being driven up by the ridiculous amount of screens he was throwing. I wanted to see what his overall completion percentage would be if he had to throw less high percentage passes (screens/1-5yds) and more low percentage passes (deep balls). Thus on this one, I averaged how often they threw each depth to make a standard percentage for each distance, here’s how it came out:

Screen 16.76%
1-5 Yards 25.71%
5-10 Yards 21.42%
10-20 Yards 22.24%
20 + Yards 13.88%

So when you average out how often they all threw the screen, it comes out to 16.76% and so on. Then using their completion percentages, I made them all throw passes at this rate to see what their new overall completion percentage was (their completion percentages at each depth would be the same)

I then combined these metrics to see what would happen if they all threw the same depth of passes to the same receivers.

Here’s the PRR (taking out drops) completion %s:


I will say this is probably skewed towards Weeden a bit because I used the Stanford and Texas games and his receivers had 12 drops in those two games. But still interesting.

When you use those completion percentages with the Adjusted Completion %, here’s what you get:


RGIII has the highest overall completion % at a whopping 75%, Weeden came in at 74.3%, Luck at 72% and Tannehill at 67%

Griffin is definitely helped by the fact that the AdjComp% gives him more high percentage throws like screens and 1-5 yd throws and take away some of the inaccuracy of the deep ball (even if he throws it well, it’s still fairly low percentage

Luck isn’t helped a whole lot, just because it takes away the weight of his crazy accuracy in the 1-5 yard range

Tannehill gets some bump too, just because it ensures that he throws less of his god awful 32% deep ball.

Tier 2 QBs




Aside from the low percentage of screens thrown, Wilson had the most evenly distributed throw chart – even out of all 7 QBs I did – he threw to each zone between 20 and 26% of the timeWilson:

  • Both Wilson’s 1-5 Yard and 11-20 Yard completion percentages at 93% and 68% are impressive, they lead the other Tier 2 QBs and all of the Tier 1 QBs as well
  • He does go downfield, in the 20+ Yard range22% of the time, only competing 35% of those passes – not blowing anyone away but his extreme accuracy at other depths compensates for it


  • I see Cousins as a jack of all trades, master of none – or just average across the board. His completion percentages at each level are good, not great. You could spin that as consistency as well- I don’t know, that’s for you to decide
  • He goes deep far less than all other QBs, his choice to go deep only 9.5% of the time is lowest among all the QBs I did – he does however complete them at a reasonable 46% rate – maybe he chooses to go deep only when he knows he has a good shot
  • His 11-20 Yard completion percentage is mediocre at 42%, worst among all QBs


  • By far threw the most screens out of all QBs at 25% of his throws, and that’s not even counting laterals that don’t count as passes
  • He loves to go to the 11-20 Yard depth, choosing to throw 1/3rd of his passes there, his completion percentage at that level is respectable at 53%
  • Conversely, hates going past 20 yards with only 11% of his passes going there, between all three of these QBs, I felt like the deep ball just wasn’t accurate or wasn’t getting thrown a lot

Wilson is helped in the 6-10 Yard level, it’s not really skewed towards anyone because all three had receiver drop rates of around 5%
When you use those completion percentages with the Adjusted Completion %, here’s what you get:

Surprise, surprise Russell Wilson wins. There is a definite edge in these charts, at least in the accuracy to Russell Wilson. He’s helped tremendously in this because the Wisconsin offense didn’t throw a lot of screens, this gives him more high percentage throws with more screens and ups his completion %.

Osweiler is knocked down a bit because it takes away some of his high percentage of screens.

One Response “2011-2012 QB Breakdown” →
  1. This definitely shows that there is something to these stats. Everyone now knows that Russel Wilson should have at least been drafted 3rd overall these stats were and early indicator of that.


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