The statistical world of NFL seems to be best represented by FootballOutsiders.com. Today they have an analysis of quarterbacks based upon their game-by-game, play-by-play breakdown of the 2006 season. The article today deals with drops and completion percentages based upon both drops and short passes. Here is the website.
We have our own count of dropped passes, thanks to the game charting project. By our count, Miami led the league with 46 drops, followed by Seattle with 43, Philadelphia with 40, New Orleans with 39, and Green Bay with 39. Buffalo had the fewest charted drops, just 12, a bit of a surprise since they picked up drop machine Robert Royal before the 2006 season. The book goes into further detail about which players had the most drops, but today we’ll look at what drops mean for quarterbacks.
Interesting that Dallas did not fare so badly in drops. Tony Romo comes out looking really good with 65.3% completion on all charted passes and 69.5% completion counting drops as completions. In the NFL that ranked him 4th in both cases. Drew Bledsoe not so well as he ranked 52.9% and 58.7% listing him 43rd and 42nd among the 45 quarterbacks with over 100 passes attempted. (I should add that Jason Campbell was 45th!).
Of course, the top quarterbacks in completion percentage are not necessarily the most accurate quarterbacks in the league. We know that David Carr and Charlie Frye had high completion percentages because they were throwing a ton of screens and dumpoffs. What happens if we adjust completion percentage based on the types of throws each quarterback was making?
In the book, we separate passes into four categories. I took each category and determined the league-average completion percentage, including drops as complete passes:
* Short (5 yards or less): 80.5 percent
* Mid (6-15 yards): 65.0 percent
* Deep (16-25 yards): 52.0 percent
* Bomb (26+ yards): 33.6 percent
I then adjusted each quarterback’s completion percentage based on how his completion percentage on passes of each distance compared to the league average, and added back in all the passes that don’t fall into these categories: balls thrown away, tipped at the line, and so forth. Once again, I included dropped passes as completions.
This analysis moved Tony Romo up to 2nd (78.8%)behind Drew Brees and just barely aheaad of Peyton Manning. Drew Bledsoe rises slightly to 38th with 58.7% completion. (Jason Campbell is still 45th).
His third table adjusts by removing short passes entirely. These short dump off passes account for a surprisingly large share of Drew Brees', Charlie Frye's and Tom Brady's passes. Romo is 4th with 71.9% completions behind Rattay, Brees and Peyton Manning and Brett Farve is dead last (thanks from Campbell) with 37.2%.
Perhaps the most interesting player when it comes to this "adjusted completion percentage" statistic is Tom Brady. When we include all passes, Brady has an adjusted completion percentage of 69.2 percent, just outside the top ten. When we take out the short passes, Brady drops to 22nd, with an adjusted completion percentage of 54.1 percent.
Finally I want to note that only 2 quarterbacks in the entire league scored in the top four for all of these tables. Peyton we know is the best and Tony Romo is the other. Don't you love it? The Drew Bledsoe apologists have long ago slunk away to lick their wounds and most have embraced Tony Romo. As for the Redskin fans.....hard to be them.