The reaction to yesterday’s post was pretty strong, not here really, but over at BGN. I realize that type of breakdown is far from perfect, but I thought it was a good illustration of the overall point I was trying to make (after seeing the data):
Yes, Vick is “inconsistent”. However, a lot of QBs that are considered “good” are also just as inconsistent if not more. I hope to take a look at the standard deviation of performances to get a better sense of things, but the fact is, QBs, in general, have many more bad games than most fans realize. Case in point:
Tom Brady, over his career, has recorded a passer rating of less than 80 in 31% of his starts. Consider that for a moment. Tom Brady is one of the best QBs of all time (if not THE best). Still, nearly one of every three starts of his can be considered a “poor” performance (Rating less than 80).
Among the most often cited counterpoints to yesterday was the issue of Vick’s propensity to fumble. That’s a fair point, so today I took a look at the data. Again, it will surprise you (in a good way).
Here are the active leaders in QB Fumbles (besides Peyton Manning, who’s not included for reasons that aren’t really important here):
Vick, as expected, leads everyone with 87 fumbles (stats are from Pro-Football-Reference.com and, I think, only represent Fumbles Lost, not all fumbles). However, look at the complete rushing stats.
In context, things look a lot better for Vick. Yes, he’s fumbled more than anyone else. However, he has also provided a LOT of additional production on the ground. Looking at the stats a little differently, we can see the differences more clearly:
This is an admittedly simplistic view of things, but it provides necessary context for the whole “Vick fumbles so much” debate. I feel like I need to remind everyone here that I’m far from a #TeamVick member. I still think Foles makes more sense. However, the Vick-Haters have gone too far. As you can see above, Vick’s fumbles, while damaging, are not necessarily “worse” than any other QB’s. In his career, he has run a LOT more than almost any other QB in NFL history and provided a lot of offensive production with his legs. AS a result, he should be expected to fumble more.
We can certainly argue over how much “production” is necessary to counteract the negative value of a fumble. Unfortunately, our data isn’t nearly as granular as it needs to be to provide a definitive answer in that respect.
What happens, though, when we view it purely in terms of TDs and TOs?
Again, simplistic but informative. Here is a table showing a selection of QBs with their Rushing TDs, Passing TDs, INTs, and Fumbles. I’ve also totaled the TDs and TOs and provided an overall TD/TO ratio.
I included McNabb just to remind everyone how good he actually was. We’re concerned with the active players though.
Vick does, in fact, come in at the bottom of the list. However, look at his ratio (right-most column) compared to guys like Cutler and Manning. My sense is that a lot of Vick-haters would jump at the opportunity to trade him for Eli Manning or Jay Cutler. I wouldn’t. In fact, the more a did into QB stats, the worse Eli Manning looks.
The point, of course, is that complaining about Vick’s fumbles may sound right, but if we put it in context, his “problem” isn’t really that bad. He runs more than any other QB, he should be expected to fumble more. His fumbling rate is higher than most QBs, but he also produces a lot more rushing production; perhaps we should judge his fumbling rate as though he were a RB.
Also, consider the following points:
– Vick’s TD/TO ratio with the Eagles is 1.05, the same exact ratio as Joe Flacco.
– Vick’s more than 5500 rushing yards presumably led his team to a number of field goals, meaning there’s additional upside to his rushing that isn’t accounted for here.
Hopefully that shed some light on the whole “fumble problem”. Yes, Vick fumbles a lot. However, focusing on that without accounting for the corresponding rushing production is an incomplete (and unfair) view.
Vick isn’t a great QB. It does appear, though, that he’s good enough.
Finally, no posts for the rest of the week (school orientation). 4th Preseason game should be fun, but relatively inconsequential as far as the team’s 2013 performance goes. Things to watch: Nick Foles (of course), Matt Barkley, and the DBs.