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 Post subject: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:16 am 
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I have been very impressed with Ryan. I still hope to see him improve in certain areas, and always worry that he might need to be able to rifle it in there in the red zone a bit more, but I'm loving his positive traits being overwhelming enough that his negatives seem to diminish.

I'd always planned on looking at the last half of the year as what should be roughly representative if he was progressing rapidly (the first 8 games of a season not being indicative for a rookie). As he's progressed more rapidly than I expected, I wanted to see what it would look like just taking out the first four games, in which he was a caretaker.

As of now (post first four games):

Completions: 131
Attempts: 205
TD: 9
INT: 4
Yardage 1749

Completion percentage: 63.9
YPA: 8.5
QB rating: 97.4

If he can keep up that rate, that's all your QB needs to do. That's on track for about 3800 yards per year with a high nineties QB rating and a low interception percentage.

Interestingly and importantly here, is his YPA is quite high for a rookie.

The only real holdback to his rating is his TD percentage is low, which many might guess due to our red zone issues and that seeming to be the last thing to "figure out."

Just pulled these up for myself and thought you guys might be interested as well. Please feel free to check my stats.


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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:33 am 
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Yeah, Ryan's development has certainly been ahead of schedule. You can basically say since the Packer game he's been lights out, playing like a bonafide starting NFL QB. He's just not a rookie, so the rookie standards are thrown out the window. Who would have thought Ryan would be playing a Pro Bowl level this year (definitely not me)?

One stat that is very interesting to me:

The Falcons are 1-3 in games in which Ryan throws an INT, and 6-1 in games that he does not. And while that stat probably wouldn't shock you, I think the disparity and significance is that when Ryan throws picks, they usually come at critical points in those games.

Also our conservative style offense, turnover margin tends to be more important. For example, the Saints are 3-1 in games where Brees doesn't throw a pick and 3-4 in games where he does. Obviously still a disparity, but the difference between winning 75% vs. 43% of your games for the Saints, and 86% vs. 25% for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:34 am 
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Nice stuff there. I do question the first 8 games of a rookie not being indicative of their play. In Ryan's case he's on the way to the Hall if we take those first 8 games. It would be interesting to see how Ryan matches up to the greats in his first 8 games. I guarantee you Ryan tops them all,...except Marino, even Roethlisburger,...and both of them had monster O-lines and defenses.

The TD pass percentage is not a big factor, imo, when you can run the ball into the end zone.

Great post! It looks like the young Ryan has "figured out" more than we expected, and it has become a delight. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:55 am 
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Ryan's performance has been exceptional for an NFL rookie QB, no matter how you look at it.

Mark Bradley recently made the case that Ryan may be having the best rookie season of any QB in the history of the NFL.

Most QBs who sarted as rookies after joining bad teams have struggled (e.g. Aikman, Manning(s)).

Those who have played well and won as rookies have done so after joining Chmpionship calibre teams (Marino, Big Ben).

Ryan joined a terrible team with a crappy line and he is already playing like one of the top 10-15 QBs in the league, running the no-huddle offense, leading 4th quarter comebacks, and posting a 7-4 record.

Rookie QBs just don't do that in the NFL. Ryan is a true franchise QB. By year 3 he figures to be one of the top 5 most feared QBs in the league.


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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:43 am 
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Well we'll see how he finishes the season. I was only a few months old when Marino had his rookie season, so beyond what some "old timers" say :lol: or looking at the stat sheets, I have really no basis to compare.

But I would say he's outperforming Big Ben from his rookie year. But I'll point out that it depends on how he finishes. Roethlisberger hit a rookie wall back in '04 around Week 10 or 11. Teams had figured him out, and he was just OK pretty much the rest of the season and into the playoffs. The Steelers continued to win because of their strong defense and Bettis really picking up his play in the 2nd half of the season (6 100-yard games in the last 8 games).

So I can't speak of Ryan vs. Marino, but at this point he's outplaying Ben, but we'll really know if he can continue to play at this level for the next 4-5 weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:54 pm 
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When I ran numbers about 2 weeks ago, Ryan was ahead of Marino in pretty much of every category except for TDs, over the same number of games. Seeing as how Marino didn't play a full season, Ryan should end up with the best rookie season ever, in pretty much any category you might want to name.

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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:17 pm 
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Marino played fantasic as a rookie, but look at the supporting cast he had: the Dolphins were loaded: they had just been to the Super Bowl with David Woodley at QB. If you say "David who?", I say "exactly!".

Likewise with Big Ben as a rookie - he was solid and won a lot of games (though he didn't start right away) but the Steelers had just been to the SB with Neil O'Donnell as QB.

Ryan is playing lights out on a team that was a long way (almost as far as you can get) from the SB last year. Rookie QBs just don't do that.


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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:51 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Yeah, Ryan's development has certainly been ahead of schedule. You can basically say since the Packer game he's been lights out, playing like a bonafide starting NFL QB. He's just not a rookie, so the rookie standards are thrown out the window. Who would have thought Ryan would be playing a Pro Bowl level this year (definitely not me)?

One stat that is very interesting to me:

The Falcons are 1-3 in games in which Ryan throws an INT, and 6-1 in games that he does not. And while that stat probably wouldn't shock you, I think the disparity and significance is that when Ryan throws picks, they usually come at critical points in those games.

Also our conservative style offense, turnover margin tends to be more important. For example, the Saints are 3-1 in games where Brees doesn't throw a pick and 3-4 in games where he does. Obviously still a disparity, but the difference between winning 75% vs. 43% of your games for the Saints, and 86% vs. 25% for us.



I agree with these points. I think it also points to how much we rely on this rookie QB. I do think the fact that some of those INTs are in the redzone heighten their importance.

To a comment below, I think the first 8 games mean something, it's just if you look at rookie QBs, and you're wondering how they're going to do in the second year, it's typically better to look at the last 8 games of the first year than the entire first year. You're looking only at the games that came after they "got up to speed" so to speak.

I too find TD% to be the least useful of the criteria in QB rating. I've always maintained YPA and int% tell you a lot about a QB. However, you can tell we'd be better if Ryan could gun it in in the redzone and teams were really worried about his crossing routes and fades. We're not a good redzone passing team right now, and I think it's because Ryan hasn't quite gotten used to the tiny throwing lanes and spaces in that area yet.

Now, on to how much it affects him. If Ryan had 15TDs in the last 7 games (by just being used more in the red zone) with all other stats being equal, his QB rating jumps to 107. That's pretty ridiculous. That means your rookie is playing like a top 5 veteran, and with a few more TDs, is playing like a true pro bowler.

Impressive.


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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:08 pm 
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SteveH wrote:
Marino played fantasic as a rookie, but look at the supporting cast he had: the Dolphins were loaded: they had just been to the Super Bowl with David Woodley at QB. If you say "David who?", I say "exactly!".

Likewise with Big Ben as a rookie - he was solid and won a lot of games (though he didn't start right away) but the Steelers had just been to the SB with Neil O'Donnell as QB.

Ryan is playing lights out on a team that was a long way (almost as far as you can get) from the SB last year. Rookie QBs just don't do that.

Big Ben's rookie year was 2004. O'Donnell took the Steelers to a Super Bowl in 1995. He's about as relevant to Big Ben's rookie year as Chris Chandler is to Ryan's. It was Kordell that had taken the Steelers within a game of the Super Bowl in 2001.

And when you're judging QBs from different eras, you got to adjust for era. And you do so by looking at what sort of numbers the average QB put up in that time.

For example, Ryan completes 60% of his passes this year, while Marino completed 58% in 1983. But the league average in 2008 is 61% completions and in 1983 was 57%. So while Ryan has a higher completion % than Marino, Ryan technically is below average while Marino is above in regards to that.

Here is how they stack up against the league averages in their prospective years in the comparable categories. I bolded the guy that is further above the league average:

Completion Pct: Ryan (-1.3%); Marino (+1.5%)
TD Pct: Ryan (-0.5%); Marino (+2.2%)
INT Pct: Ryan (-0.9%); Marino (-2.2%)
Yards Per Attempt: Ryan (+1.2); Marino (+1.0 yds)
Adj. Yards Per Attempt: Ryan (+1.6); Marino (+2.2)
Passer Rating: Ryan (+6.2); Marino (+22.9)
Net Yards Per Attempt: Ryan (+1.4); Marino (+1.6)
Adj. Net Yards Per Attempt: Ryan (+1.7); Marino (+2.7)
Sacked Pct: Ryan (-2%); Marino (-4.7%)

So once you look beyond the surface, Marino had the better year, at least statistically.

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 Post subject: Re: Passing since the first quarter of the season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:49 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Big Ben's rookie year was 2004. O'Donnell took the Steelers to a Super Bowl in 1995. He's about as relevant to Big Ben's rookie year as Chris Chandler is to Ryan's. It was Kordell that had taken the Steelers within a game of the Super Bowl in 2001.

LOL, sorry about that - old timers like me should always look stuff up before posting :oops:

I was actually thinking of Tommy Maddox leading the Steelers to a 10-5-1 record in 2002.
Yes, they dipped down to 6-10 in 2003 but that was an outlier for the Cowher era. There
is no doubt they were a solid franchise loaded with talent and well coached when Ben arrived.
It's a bit harder to make that case about the Falcons team Ryan took over :-)

Quote:
So once you look beyond the surface, Marino had the better year, at least statistically.

From memory, I actually would have thought Marino was easily superior to Ryan statistically.
The argument in Ryan's favor is not particularly his statistics - it's that he has put up solid numbers
and had a huge impact on a really crappy team, dramatically improving his team's winning percentage.
Marino literally joined a Super Bowl team, under a Hall of Fame coach.

For old time NBA fans, you might compare Ryan's impact this year on the Falcons to when
Larry Bird joined the Celtics and turned them from a 50 loss team to a 50 win team as a rookie.
Other NFL QBs have helped turn teams around (Brees in NO) but not as rookies, and apparently
never as a rookie who started in week one. :shock:

Here's Mark Bradley's article where he makes the case that Ryan may be the best rookie QB ever.
(I'm not quite sure I'm ready to say he is, but it's a pretty decent argument)
Quote:
http://www.ajc.com/services/content/pri ... adley.html

Tom Brady threw three passes his rookie season; Brett Favre threw four. Bart Starr and Joe Montana each started one game as rookies. Troy Aikman had to be benched midway through, having gone 0-11 as a starter. Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions his first season. John Elway completed 47.5 percent of his rookie passes, Terry Bradshaw 38.1 percent.

Joe Namath was 3-5-1 as a lavishly salaried —- he was making $400,000 —- rookie. Fran Tarkenton was 2-8 as a first-year starter; Johnny Unitas was 4-3, Bob Griese 3-7. Ben Roethlisberger was 13-0 as a rookie quarterback on a loaded Pittsburgh team but didn’t start until Week 3. Sammy Baugh made All-Pro as a rookie but threw six more interceptions than touchdown passes. Bob Waterfield was league MVP as a rookie but started only four games. (Doubtless he got bonus points for being married to Jane Russell.)

Dan Marino is considered the gold standard of rookie quarterbacks, but his first start only came in Week 6, and he joined a team that had reached the Super Bowl the previous season.


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