Week Seventeen Quarterback Rankings

Table with the Week Seventeen Quarterback Rankings

Semi-Random Thoughts on Week Seventeen

Rex Grossman has had his ups and downs this season. Back in week thirteen he posted a -8.63 QB Score per play, the worst mark by a signal caller to that point in the season. The previous low was a -7.12, posted by the same Rex Grossman in week six.

In the final week of the season Grossman – before he was sent to the bench – only completed five passes. Two of these were to players on his team, the other three were to players playing for the Green Bay Packers. His QB Score per play for the game was -14.53, which is easily the worst performance of the year. Fortunately for Grossman there is a loophole in the rankings. To qualify you must attempt at least 14 passes. Grossman only attempted twelve, so he did not qualify for the weekly rankings.

Of the players who did qualify, the two worst were Aaron Brooks – of the Oakland Raiders — and Brian Griese, Grossman’s back-up with the Bears. For a Raiders quarterback to finish towards the bottom is not a surprise. Except for week eleven, a quarterback for the Raiders has finished 19th or lower every week this season. As for Griese, his placement in the rankings is not good news for Bears fans. Many Chicago fans hope that Griese can come off the bench and rescue Chicago in their run for a Super Bowl title. What he did against the Packers, though, was not encouraging.

Of course Griese was a bit rusty. The last game was the first time Griese qualified for the weekly rankings this season. He joined four other quarterbacks who made their season debut in the rankings the last week of the season. Of these five signal callers, Griese was easily the worst. The best was A.J. Feeley, who was the second highest rated quarterback in week seventeen. Other strong debuts were posted by Quinn Gray and Matt Schaub. Gray’s first NFL game was the final contest of 2005, where he would have posted a 2.22 QB Score per play except he lost a fumble (which dropped his mark to -0.56). This year he avoided turnovers and posted the 7th best mark of the week. For his career Gray has a 2.23 QB Score per play, which must place him among the all-time great quarterbacks. In contrast, Schaub — who Joel Witmer hopes might someday start for the Cleveland Browns – only has a career mark of 0.84 (which is below average).

It’s important to note that Schaub has only seen serious action in five games. So our sample is quite small, though not as limited as what we have seen of Gray. He is only playing the last game of each year, which means Gray will have to play until 2246 to play in as many games as Brett Favre.

Speaking of Favre, if this was his last game he went out on a high note. His QB Score per play of 2.14 was the 15th best performance in week seventeen. For the season he finished with a per play mark of 1.o, which is an improvement over the 0.04 mark he posted in 2005.

Table Reporting the Consistency of Quarterbacks in 2006

The Consistency Story Again

In 2004 Favre posted a QB Score per play of 2.50, but as we note in The Wages of Wins, he was quite inconsistent from week to week. This year we see the same story. In 2006 Favre ranked in the top 10 three different weeks. In six other weeks, though, Favre was ranked in the bottom 10.

Inconsistency is not unique to Favre. There were 29 different quarterbacks who played at least 10 games in 2006. Except for Joey Harrington and Andrew Walter, every quarterback offered at least one performance in the weekly top 10. And except for Drew Brees, every quarterback was in the bottom 10 at least once.

The most top 10 performances were offered by Peyton Manning (12), Drew Brees (9), and Mark Bulger (8). Donovan McNabb, who is not listed because he only played nine games, was a top 10 quarterback eight times (and like Brees, never in the bottom 10).

After Manning, Brees, Bulger, and McNabb we see a surprising name. Rex Grossman, who offered some of the worst performances of the year, was also a top ten quarterback in seven different games. Yes, Grossman is inconsistent. But as we detail specifically in The Wages of Wins, Griese also has a history of inconsistency.

So who should the Bears start in the playoffs?

In football (unlike basketball) predicting the future is very difficult. It’s hard to know whether Griese or Grossman would play better over the next few weeks. We do know that whoever the Bears do play, if the team loses, then that was the “wrong” decision. If the Bears win, whoever plays would be the “right” decision. And we also know at this point, before the games are played, we don’t know the “right” decision (at least I don’t).

The Overall Rankings

Hopefully I will get a chance to post (and offer a few comments) on the overall quarterback rankings of 2006 tomorrow. In addition, I hope to offer a few thoughts on the top running backs in the NFL.

As for basketball, requests have been made for analysis of the Wizards, Cavaliers, and Raptors. I also wish to comment on Steve Nash’s performance this year as well as the resurgence of the Utah Jazz. Hopefully I can get to these stories in the next week as well.

– DJ

QB Score has been discussed previously in the following posts:

Football Outsiders and QB Score

Consistent Inconsistency in Football

The Value of Player Statistics in the NFL

Simple Models of Player Performance