I became fascinated over the last couple of days by the repeated calls for Denver to start throwing the ball deep. I've seen persuasive arguments both for and against emphasizing long throws in our offense.
The on-going discussion piqued my curiosity to the point that I decided to take a look to see what the tendency in the NFL is, when it comes to throwing the long ball.
For the sake of this study, I defined "long" as a pass which was thrown for 21 or more yards. I looked at the following statistics for each of the 32 starting quarterbacks: Attempts, Completions, Yards, Touchdowns, and Interceptions. After the jump, we'll take a look at the data.
When we look at how Denver stands in relationship to the rest of the league when it comes to throwing the long ball, we find that:
1)In terms of attempts, we are slightly below average -- 21 attempts vs an average of 24.4.
2)In terms of completions, we are right at the average -- 8 completions vs a 7.9 average.
3)In terms of yards, we are slightly above average -- 276 vs 264.2.
4)In terms of touchdowns, we are right at the average -- 2 vs 2.5
5)In terms of interceptions, we are below the average -- 1 vs 2.9.
Whether we agree or disagree with the decisions being made by McDaniels and Orton in regards to throwing the long ball, we can see that the results of our plays put us in the middle of the pack with the notable exception touchdowns. The most glaring issue, then, may lie more in the realm of finishing off drives with touchdowns, rather than field goals, punts, or turnovers.
I've laid out each quarterback's stats for the five areas in the table below.
|Brady (NE)||24||6||221||4||2||Romo (Dal)||78||36||900||6||3|
|Sanchez (NYJ)||19||7||245||2||2||McNabb (Phi)||14||6||276||5||0|
|Edwards (Buf)||19||5||174||2||3||E Manning (NYG||37||15||499||5||3|
|Henne (Mia)||16||2||80||1||1||Campbell (Was)||16||3||139||2||3|
|Palmer (Cin)||20||4||196||0||2||Favre (Min)||29||11||389||5||0|
|Roethlisberger (Pit)||23||12||439||4||3||Cutler (Chi)||26||9||301||2||4|
|Flacco (Bal)||27||9||281||5||1||Rodgers (GB)||34||11||420||4||0|
|Anderson (Cle)||18||4||126||0||5||Stafford (Det)||20||3||102||1||1|
|P Manning (Ind)||38||10||339||5||1||Brees||32||19||615||6||3|
|Schaub (Hou)||25||11||434||5||3||Ryan (Atl)||19||6||197||2||3|
|Garrard (Jax)||30||11||321||0||0||Delhomme (Car)||22||6||207||1||4|
|Collins (Ten)||16||1||57||0||2||Johnson (TB)||11||4||128||1||1|
|Orton (Den)||21||8||276||2||1||Warner (Ari)||15||4||116||1||3|
|Rivers (SD)||33||12||474||1||0||Hill (SF)||24||6||132||3||1|
|Russell (Oak)||31||2||85||1||6||Hasselbeck (Sea)||12||3||93||2||1|
|Cassel (KC)||18||2||54||1||2||Bulger (SL)||13||4||139||0||1|
I leave it up to all of you to make any further observations regarding the data. I have simply tried to described what has happened in the first nine weeks of the season, without attempting to predict or project what these figures might mean for the rest of the season.
A few, further observations, added after the original post:
eams that have thrown the deep ball 30+ times:
2)42-23 combined record
3)5.25-2.75 average record
4)3 Division Leaders (Dallas, New Orleans, Indianapolis)
Teams that have thrown the deep ball 20-29 times:
2)51-38 combined record
3)4.6-3.4 average record
4)4 Division Leaders (New England, Cincinnati, Denver, Minnesota)
Teams that have thrown the deep ball < 20 times
2)36-68 combined record
3)2.7-5.3 average record
4)1 Division Leader (Arizona)