Tuesday, December 20

Browns QBs

It's not a gigantic secret that the Browns have been, well, unstable at the QB position since their return to the NFL in 1999, one of the many reasons why they've so seldom found themselves in the win column over those 13 years. But I wondered: among the motley lot to stand under center for the Brown and Orange since the reincarnation, who's been Browns Good, Browns Mediocre, and Browns Bad? With that, I give you the below chart of Passer Rating, by season, for any Browns QB to start four or more games in a season from 1999-2011, of which there have been 13 lucky fellows (sorry, Spergon Wynn and Bruce Gradkowsi). Click on the photo to enlarge. As a reminder, Passer Rating (not QB rating) measures QB's in the areas of completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD's thrown, and INTs not thrown. The maximum is 158.3 (of course it is) and the league average in 2011 is currently 82.3. For something to aspire to, Drew Brees is currently sitting on a 109.1 while Aaron Rodgers has an absurd 120.1, only the second-best EVER.

That we've lacked an elite QB is clear, but there's a lot more to unpack on this chart than just the obvious.

- Four times, we've had a QB start more than four games and post a passer rating below 60. All incompletions, by the way, is a 39.6. Not good.

- Ken Dorsey, my goodness.

- One of those four clunkers was submitted by none other than the mighty Derek Anderson, whose gray circles show a remarkable decline from 2007 through 2009. DA's 2007 was the best season by a Browns QB since the return, as he started 15 games and posted a 82.5 passer rating, largely abetted by Braylon Edwards catching a lot of badly thrown balls. Say what you want about Braylon, and I have, but he made some extremely difficult catches and often did so in the other team's end zone. Anyway, let me recontextualize what I just said about the Browns' recent quarterback situation: the single best season they had from a quarterback in 13 years yielded a passer rating not quite three percent better than league average. Unbelievable.

- Man did DA ever fall off, though. From that 82.5 he quickly declined to 66.5 in 2008 before being injured and plummeted to a comical 42.1 (recall once again: all incompletions is 39.6) before Brady Quinn replaced him in 2009. Bye, DA.

- Seneca Wallace, you know what? Kinda good. He only started four games last year, but his 86.8 is tops for anyone starting at least a quarter-season for the Brownies since '99. His 102.1 in limited duty this year hasn't hurt that at all. His career mark of 84.0 is, not to put to fine a point on it, still better than the best single-season (or partial season) submitted by any Browns quarterback in the past 13 years.

- I almost ran out of colors.

- All those outliers and part-timers aside, it's kind of amazing how consistently mediocre the Browns' main signal callers have been over all these losing years. Look at Tim Couch's red circles - all five of his seasons fell between 73 and 78, which is almost hard to believe. Holcomb, Garcia, Dilfer, Frye, McCoy, all squarely within that 70-80 zone during their tenures with Cleveland. McCoy's rating this year differs from last year's by all of 0.1. Twelve of the twenty-one circles on this chart lie within 70 and 80, a testament to the steady mild effectiveness of the Browns' passing game over the years. That number would be even higher if you averaged DA's 2007 and 2008 and tossed out the third-stringers (McCown and Dorsey) pressed into regular duty; that leaves you with 14 of 19 right there in the meaty part of the curve.

Someday, hopefully, we'll get our own Brees, Rodgers, or Brady and I'll find another color for his points to lie well above the vaunted 90 mark. It's just interesting to see how over the years how tightly and mediocrely distributed our QBs' passer ratings have been and how the Cleveland Browns' offense seems stuck in neutral year after year.

1 comment:

Figgs said...

Well done, Andy.

Surprised to see Wallace so effective. I'd definitely like to see him finish out these last two games, regardless of McCoy's health. If he can be at least semi-productive we can throw out the McCoy excuse that he doesn't have any weapons and start looking for a new colored dot.

Jesus, Ken Dorsey. I don't know what his QB rating was his senior year at Miami, but I'll tell you how many National Titles he won that year - zero.

We all knew how much DA digressed from first being thrust into the starting QB gig and finally being run out of town, but to see it layed out like this really brings the point home. Boy did he suck.