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Fun With Numbers: Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo

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A look at Tony Romo's season using advanced stats.

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Last week I looked at our wide receiver corps using some of the advanced stats as tracked by Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. This week I want to look at the season Tony Romo is having. Please remember this is mostly for fun; small sample sizes and my choice in music as I write this (Dr. Horrible's Sing A-Long Blog Soundtrack) means we'll probably see some numbers that don't really mean anything but are fun to talk about. One last bookkeeping item; we're only using numbers from QBs that have taken at least 50% of their team's snaps.

  • Let's talk about volume versus efficiency stats. There has been a ton of talk this year about Romo having his best season despite not putting up the spectacular numbers we're used to seeing. Over at Football Outsiders they measure both volume and efficiency using two stats DYAR and DVOA. As Football Outsiders puts it, "The simple version: DYAR means a quarterback with more total value. DVOA means a quarterback with more value per play."
  • Tony Romo is currently 9th in DYAR (total value) and 5th in DVOA (value per play).
  • Tony Romo throws a catchable ball; he leads the league in drop percentage at 2.6. The only other quarterback below 3% is Nick Foles.
  • PFF have their own version of passer rating that takes into consideration drops, spikes and throw-aways, as well as what a receiver does after the ball. Romo ranks third in PFF's modified passer rating, and 2nd in the normal version.
  • 58.6% of Tony Romo's passing yards come through the air (not YAC). That's 5th in the league. Peyton Manning is right above him with 58.8%.
  • 10 of Tony Romo's TD passes have traveled 20+ yards in the air. That's tied for third in the league.
  • Speaking of the long ball, 14.2% of Romo's throws have traveled 20+ yards, good for 6th in the league. He's completed 46.3% of those throws, good for 7th in the league.
  • Tony Romo has only been pressured on 29.3% of his dropbacks. Russell Wilson by contrast has been pressured on 46.1%
  • Unfortunately, Romo has been sacked on 23.1% of those pressures, the third-highest rank in the league.
  • Pressuring Romo is a double-edged sword; he's third in the league in completion percentage when under pressure.
  • Only 17.6% of Romo's passes come on play action. 24 QB's have a higher percentage.
  • That 17.6% is the highest percentage since PFF has tracked the data. In 2013 Romo only used play-action on 14% of his dropbacks and in 2012 a jaw-dropping 10%.
  • Tony Romo just doesn't seem to be a good play-action QB. His passer rating falls 10 points when using play action (from 112.2 to 102.0). He's also thrown the same amount of interceptions on play action (four) as he has when not using play-action...on 269 less attempts.
  • Tony Romo loves to hold the ball. He's second in "time to attempt," the amount of time from the snap to the pass attempt.

Well there you have it! There's some interesting stuff here, particularly in regards to play-action and the deep ball. What do you think fellow BTB'ers? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and up next; the defensive line!