How Inconsistent is Vick?

Occasionally, I start to write a post with an end-point in mind, only to find out that what I expected to be the case was actually far from reality.  Today is one of those occasions.  I was hoping to provide an illustration of Vick’s “Boom-or-Bust” nature.  Indeed, I have done that, but I also found some very surprising results when I compared him to other prominent QBs, albeit with a serious caveat that I’ll explain at the end.  First, let’s look at Vick by himself.

Here is a chart showing Vick’s QB Rating by start.  I’ve only included games from his Eagles career (34); he simply isn’t the same player from his Falcons days (mostly a good thing).  All numbers are from Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 1.00.08 PM

 

To make things easier, look at this table:

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 1.08.01 PM

Before we talk about that table, we need some context.  Last year, Tony Romo finished 10th in the league in Passer Rating with a rating of 90.5.  Also, last year the median Rating for starting QBs (does not include spot-starters) was 84.

In light of those stats, I’m going to define “Good” play as anything about 90.  Anything less than 80 will be defined as “poor”.  Everything in between is mediocre.

See any issues?  Vick, in his time as the Eagles’ starting QB has delivered Good (or better) play 56% of the time.  However, he’s played poorly 35% of the time.  Interestingly enough, he’s had “mediocre” play in just 9% of his starts.

That’s about what I expected to find.  I assumed Vick would provide a higher percentage of Good and Poor starts, with a very low percentage of Mediocre starts.  While that appears to be the case on an absolute basis, comparing him to other QBs leads to some huge surprises.

Here is the same table (I’ve combined the 90-100 and 100+ lines), but with several other QBs included.  To keep the comparison fair, I’ve only included starts from the 2010-2012 season (between 46 or 48 games for each other QB).

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 2.02.48 PM

Looking at Vick’s “consistency” in context with other QBs, we can see some very favorable comparisons.  During Vick’s time with the Eagles, he has delivered “Good” performances more often and “Poor” performances less often than Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, and Tony Romo.

Vick has similar numbers (slightly worse) to Matt Ryan.

Lastly, I just want to highlight the remarkable play of both Brady and Rodgers.  That’s what having an “elite” QB gets you.  75% of the time, you know you are getting “Good” play from the position.  Also note Rodgers’ incredible avoidance of “poor” performances.  This is probably the subject for another blog post, but Aaron Rodgers might be quietly putting together the greatest QB career ever…

Summing things up, it seems as though Vick’s “inconsistency” is somewhat overblown.  On an absolute basis, that may be true.  However, it’s also true that, since coming to the Eagles, Vick has delivered “Good” QB play in an impressively high percentage of his starts.  Outside of the true top-tier of QBs (Brady, Rodgers, Brees, P. Manning), Vick compares favorably to his competition.  Additionally, looking at QB Rating ignores Vick’s rushing stats, which can only help his case in comparison to most NFL QBs.

Alright everybody, back on the bandwagon…

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13 thoughts on “How Inconsistent is Vick?

  1. This article provides great insight into the Vick “consistency” debate. I was wondering whether your excel data set would allow you to provide us with the average (and SD) for each of the seven quarterbacks for each performance category (i.e. when Vick has a bad game, how bad is it and how much do his bad performances fluctuate). My thinking is this: Vick may be inconsistent in how bad his bad performances truly are; he may have a few games just below 80 and some where his rating is around his jersey number. I would prefer a QB who has bad games of 78, 78, 78, 5, 23, and 75 (56.1 avg) to a consistent one of 56, 56, 55, 57, 57, 60 (slightly higher average) because it means that while Vick sucks sometimes, he is generally fairly good in a bad kinda way (you get what I mean). What do you think?

      • Thanks. BTW the reactions on BGN are priceless. Using mathematics on that site is akin to introducing native Americans to blankets, mirrors and gunpowder. Add in Vick as the topic and you might as well be distributing small pox…

  2. Does fumbling affect QB rating or just INT’s? This could factor heavily on the ‘him running makes him more valuable’ argument. Though a great article either way!

      • As for rating, with Chip at the helm, we might not see an increase in 90+ games, but I’d be willing to bet that a decent amount of that 35% might redistribute to the 80-90 category. Regardless, it’s hard to say how much his fumbling contributes to losses (behind the LOS or beyond it) and that might be the factor that truly separates him from the ‘elite’ group as QB rating does not reflect this. At any rate, Philly writer’s are selling on a guy who just threw for 65%, 8 y/a and ran 7 times for 53 yards. It’s not the line from the 1st two games but its quality production. I’ll take it.

  3. not succumbing to confirmation bias, great

    this analysis, awesome!

    this comment
    “Thanks. BTW the reactions on BGN are priceless. Using mathematics on that site is akin to introducing native Americans to blankets, mirrors and gunpowder. Add in Vick as the topic and you might as well be distributing small pox…”

    priceless …

  4. Vick’s “inconsistency” is roughly equivalent to Foles’s “lack of arm strength” in terms of being overblown. Neither issue is nearly as bad as the detractors bleat repeatedly, but there is truth to both of them. Vick is clearly not elite in his ability to consistently execute a gameplan, just as Foles is clearly not elite in his arm strength. Expecting either one of them to be more than they are in these areas is a longshot . Luckily, Vick appears to have enough to win at the NFL level, so long as the rest of the team is well above average, and the team gets lucky/hot at the right time, based upon comparisons to Flacco and Eli (neither of whom have been paragons of consistency themselves). I’m not sure the Eagles will have that team for another couple of seasons, but I guess it’s possible for Vick to lead that team in 2015.

    • Well said. I’ve highlighted it before, but it bears repeating: There are, by definition, only 3-4 truly “elite” QBs in the league at one time. However, you do NOT need one to win a SB. You just need a good QB (Flacco and Manning are perfect examples).

      Quarterback is such a visible position that it draws an inordinate amount of coverage. Admitting that you just need “good enough” doesn’t lend itself to a lot of talk/column material.

      Vick is definitely good enough to win a SB. I think theres a not insignificant chance that Foles is also. It’s very unlikely to happen this year, but that’s because the defense will be so weak, though I’m sure that won’t stop people from pointing to the QB.

      On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM, Eagles Rewind

  5. Pingback: The Thing About Vick - British Eagles

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