I’ve been on record even after his great game against the Cowboys two years ago that Brunell was not an NFL QB anymore. And most people agree after last year. But there are still a surprising number of people in the blogosphere who like Brunell. When the rumor came out that we might trade him to the Falcons, there were actually people advocating that he is too valuable to trade.
Anyway, I like Brunell. I think he’d make a great coach, but some fabulous data from Football Outsiders shows me that the man should never throw another ball in the NFL. Breaking down data from every ball thrown last year, the outsiders were able to record every over throw, every under throw, every tipped pass, etc. They broke those numbers down to show a lot of different things including accuracy and ability to get rid of the ball before a sack.
Before I lay into Mark, it should be pointed out that Brunell lead the entire NFL in a very interesting category. If you take the number of times Mark either threw away the ball or was sacked, Mark led the league in being sacked the fewest times by percentage. The positive way to spin this is that he used a superior pocket sense to avoid trouble.
But here’s the problem. 9.7% of the time Brunell dropped back to pass he was hit while he threw, the ball was tipped at the line, or he was forced to throw it away. This was the 7th worst in the NFL only better than such luminaries like Chris Simms, Aaron Brooks, David Carr, and J. P. losman. In other words, nearly 10% of the time Brunell dropped back to pass he didn’t even give his team a chance to move the ball forward. By all accounts Ben Roethlisberger had an off year and yet his percentage was 5.6 which was only good for 10th in the league.
Obviously the o-line has something to do with this. For instance, both Bucs QBs were in the bottom ten. But we have a very good line, and a way of seeing that it is not merely the line is to compare Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo. The Cowboys started the same five guys at o-line all 16 games last year. Bledsoe was at 9.2% and Romo was at 4.4%. The article doesn’t give Campbell’s stat.
It does give one important Jason Campbell stat though. For those worried that the rookie will make more mistakes, Campbell was also in the top 10 of percentage of balls thrown away versus sacks. And the good news he was not in the bottom ten of being hit/balls tipped/thrown away. A good sign.
Some other random fun data. Tonoy Romo and Eli Manning were both in the top 5 of percentage of balls overthrown. Landry and Taylor should enjoy that. Interestingly, Manning also was in the top 10 of balls underthrown. That Manning accuracy skipped him apparently. He was second in the league in overall “bad passes.” Sadly Campbell was 3rd.
Campbell also had an usually large number of passes defensed. This is probably standard rookie “locking in” on a target. By all accounts, his accuracy has improved in the offseason (though that changes against a defense) and with more experience he won’t lock in as much. Just small improvements combined with continuing to avoid the sacks would make him very valuable.
Anyway, there’s a lot of fun stuff to look at. Enjoy.