I like some of these “Next Gen” stats the league is generating nowadays. They’ve got tracking chips on all the players, and that allows them to compile numbers that weren’t possible in the past.
With quarterbacks, for example, they’ve got a number showing aggressiveness on pass attempts. That’s the percentage of pass attempts that went to a player who had a defender within a yard of him.
On that one, Josh Rosen ranks No. 1 among quarterbacks who started at least half of the season. Almost 22 percent of his throws went to receivers who had defenders nearby. So no wonder that he tended to finish with fewer completions, yards, touchdowns, etc.
|TB||• Ryan Fitzpatrick||20.7%|
|BAL||• Lamar Jackson||17.6%|
|PHI||• Nick Foles||14.9%|
On the chart above, I’m showing all quarterbacks who started at least half of the season. I also tossed in three others (tagged with black dots) that I thought you’d want to see.
There are various factors to consider, of course. If receivers aren’t getting open, that would be a contributing factor. And sure enough, one of Rosen’s starting receivers (Chad Williams) graded out with the 2nd-worst separation number, trailing only Kelvin Benjamin. Other plays no doubt involve poor decisions, with quarterbacks not seeing players who are open and instead going to the wrong area. Throws can be made late – where the receiver would have been open had the ball arrived a half second earlier. And a poor offensive line can contribute to throws being made before receivers are open.
While Rosen had the high number in 2018, of course, doesn’t mean he’ll be the same quarterback going forward. He’s got a year of experience now, and he’ll be playing in a new offense with a bunch of new teammates. Jared Goff had a league-high 26 percent aggressiveness number as a rookie, and he’s been at 14 and 13 percent the last two years. Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson both lowered their aggressiveness numbers in their second year.
Carson Wentz had an aggressiveness number similar to Rosen as a rookie: 21 percent. He oddly went up to 25.7 percent in his second year (when he was helping Philadelphia finish with the best record in the NFC). Wentz was aggressive but very effective that year. Wentz stabilized at a more reasonable 16 percent last year.
The league is also now tracking how long quarterbacks hold the ball. On this one, you set aside sacks and look only at the actual throws.
Only four quarterbacks, on average, are holding the ball for over 3 seconds on pass attempts. They’re all guys who’ve had issues with taking sacks – Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson.
Nine quarterbacks have tended to get the ball out of their hands faster than 2.65 seconds per play, and they’re all guys who don’t tend to take sacks.
The most notable name here, I think, is Andrew Luck. Earlier in his career, he was holding the ball and taking a lot of sacks. They got him down to 2.63 seconds per pass last year, and defenses weren’t able to hit him often.
|SECONDS PER PASS ATTEMPT|
|TB||• Ryan Fitzpatrick||2.64|
|PHI||• Nick Foles||2.68|
|BAL||• Lamar Jackson||3.10|