The stadium in which the Denver Broncos play is outdoors. I know, mind-blowing, right? So it would make sense to sign a free agent quarterback who is at least as good outdoors as he is inside of a dome. You wouldn’t want to sign a guy who has historically only been good in a dome to play here. Right?
So imagine my surprise when I looked up Case Keenum’s career splits by stadium type.
Case Keenum has a career 17:4 TD:INT ratio is domes and a career 23:23 TD:INT outdoors. (Retractable roof stadiums are difficult to parse because the roof could be opened or closed - so make with that data what you will.) Of course this includes his 2018 games, which are all outdoors, so prior to this season he had an 18:16 ratio.
That is atrocious. Why? Because league-wide TD:INT ratio was 1.72:1.00 last season. In other words, the average NFL QB should throw two touchdowns for every interception.
Maybe it is just a function of him playing poorly outdoors early in his career and much better last season. So let’s see how he played when he was outdoors in 2017.
In 2017, Keenum was better than he had been outdoors relative to earlier in his career, but it’s still scary just how closely his stats so far this year (where every game has been outdoors) match his career outdoor performance stats.
So all of this deep diving on Keenum’s career stats led me to another scary revelation. He has not thrown the ball well during his career when the offense needed 10 or more yards for a first down (this would include throws on 1st-and-10 as well as throws on 2nd- or 3rd-and-10 or more). In fact his career stats on throws where 10 or more yards are needed are eerily similar to Trevor Siemian’s stats here (try not to barf).
This could be another case where Case (see what I did there?) played much better in 2017 than his career numbers. Let’s compare his performance in this situation in 2017 to his career stats:
|passing when O need 10 or more||Cmp||Att||Cmp%||Yds||TD||1D||Int||Rate||TD/INT||Y/A|
He was better last year than he had been during the rest of his career. Just for reference I am going to show what elite quarterbacks do in this situation for their careers just so we can know what it would look like if we were getting elite quarterback play again in Denver (something we haven’t seen from a Broncos QB since 2013 really).
So there you have it. The free agent quarterback that was supposed to take the Broncos offense from the dumpster-fire that it was last year to at least average:
- historically (and even last year) is/was much worse outdoors
- and has stats eerily similar to Trevor Siemian
If we compare Keenum and Siemian by distance to gain, here are the stats:
|QB||Yards to go||Cmp||Att||Cmp%||Yds||TD||1D||Int||Rate||Y/A|
It is here that we see where Keenum is an upgrade over Siemian - looking at their comparative stats on throws with 1-3 and 4-6 yards needed to gain. Keenum has been decidedly better. Interesting on throws where 7-9 yards are needed, while Keenum has a much better completion percentage, his TD:INT ratio is comparable to Siemian.
So maybe Dove Valley did its due diligence, but it sure looks like it bought a pig in a poke at this point in the season.