How Peyton Manning compares to Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers from 2009-2013

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost I want to recognize the work of Football Outsiders' Scott Kacsmar. He provides the basis for this post.

There are a lot of ways to compare QB's out there. Yet another is to see how each utilizes their receiving threats. Scott broke down reception information so you could see how each has succeeded and failed within their respective offenses.

Click to embiggen.

Tom Brady 2009-2013

Group

Targ

Comp

%

YDS

YPA

TD

TE

664

456

68.7

5938

8.9

68

Slot WR

958

667

69.6

7407

7.7

38

RB

431

297

68.9

2824

6.6

10

Outside WR

775

419

54.1

5995

7.7

43

There is no doubt that Rob Gronkowski has been the biggest reason behind the Pats success on offense the past five years.  No other weapon has caught more TD passes than Gronk (42) during that time.  No other receiver has averaged more yardage per target than Gronk.

Outside of that, we have a real-consistent short and intermediate game with the slot WR's and RB's who also split wide under certain circumstances.

Where we see a real drop-off and should be an indicator of both shaky accuracy and high turnover is that outside WR spot.  Brady has failed to complete at least 60% of his passes to any outside receiver since 2009.  Some will blame the talent, others the player.  When you have trouble with guys like Moss, Lloyd, and Johnson, I'm willing to place more of the blame on the trigger man.  I was also there at the AFCCG this past January and saw Brady misfire downfield several times, this isn't his forte anymore.

Drew Brees 2009-2013

Group

Targ

Comp

%

YDS

YPA

TD

TE

742

487

65.6

5716

7.7

57

Slot WR

927

624

67.3

8367

9.0

65

RB

839

665

79.3

4935

5.9

34

Outside WR

518

323

62.4

5381

10.4

36

For as big a reputation as the Saints have for pushing the ball downfield, Brees relies a lot on his checkdowns to keep the chains moving.  What we do see is a fairly equitable distribution between TE's, Slot WR's, and RB's.  His slot WR's and Outside WR's boast the biggest yards per target average.

When comparing Brees and Brady on the deep ball, Brady throws them much more, but Brees is far more productive averaging about 3 yards more per target.

Peyton Manning 2009-2013

Group

Targ

Comp

%

YDS

YPA

TD

TE

578

409

70.8

4144

7.2

39

Slot WR

430

296

68.8

3280

7.6

38

RB

316

250

79.1

2096

6.6

6

Outside WR

1071

679

63.4

9349

8.7

73

For all the belly-aching about arm strength, no one utilizes his outside receivers more than Peyton Manning.  These are the guys he takes shots too and we know that if opposing defenses are going to cover them man to man, Peyton will throw the ball to them every day of the week.  The TD total itself is testament to that.  We also know that these receivers are called upon in the screen game frequently and also are adept at gaining YAC.

His RB's though utilized in the slot are usually just checkdowns, and his slot receivers and TE's are used as possession receivers in the middle of the field to keep the chains moving.  Something we've seen re-emerge are the downfield shots with Julius Thomas at TE.  It does not appear like the RB is a vital part of the passing offense in the redzone with only 6 TD's on 316 targets.

Aaron Rodgers 2009-2013

Group

Targ

Comp

%

YDS

YPA

TD

TE

450

306

68.0

3562

7.9

26

Slot WR

742

488

65.8

6502

8.8

62

RB

303

244

80.5

1929

6.4

7

Outside WR

738

480

65.0

7392

10.02

59

Rodgers makes it work with his receiving corps whether it be from the slot or outside.   His efficiency to the TE's and RB's keeps defenses honest.

Rodgers most closely resembles Peyton Manning with his usage of RB's as the checkdown, and Drew Brees with his efficiency down the field.  He has probably had the least amount of star talent at the TE position, but with the usage of 3 and 4 WR sets, it really hadn't been a focal part of his game until the last season or so.

Awards and Monikers

Given this study of numbers from the four so called "Elite" quarterbacks in the game, there must be some funny names that come along with them.

The Bronco Mike award for "Tomfoolery in the Art of the Deep Pass" goes to Tom Brady.  Without your continued ineptitude downfield, your team would likely have won a Super Bowl in the past five seasons.

The Bronco Mike award for "Making checkdowns cool" goes to Drew Brees who utilizes his RB's to kill linebackers and safeties on opposing defenses.

Peyton Manning's new slogan should be "My arm may be limp, but it will still tax that ass" for his prolific usage of outside receivers to woo the honeys and castrate the opposition.

The "Discount Double Check" award goes to Aaron Rodgers for his Hefner-like productivity to both the slot and outside WR's.

And because I like making fun of Tom Brady...we all now know why Giselle wears the pants in the family.....Tommy Boy struggles with the long ball if ya know what I mean...Ba-dum-ching!

GO BRONCOS!!!

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