FanPost

Stafford's Deep Ball Accuracy

I have not posted a fan post in a while and in all honesty this is not the one I was expecting to post. (Delusions of grandeur and what not) But gothicpurple on one of his periodic visits to us here on POD posed the question about if Stafford would be accurate enough on deep balls to hit a drop prone receiver like Darius Hayward-Bey. (Link to the thread) I found myself agreeing with the sentiment that Stafford really is not that accurate and remember all the over throws and missed chances on some deep balls. As a result I hoped over to ESPN and did some research and the results were somewhat surprising.

I defined a deep ball as one that travels more the 20 yards in the air. Here are Stafford's stats on those throws for the past two years. (From ESPN)

BY PASS PLAY CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG LNG TD INT SACK RAT ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2011
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 11 29 366 37.9 12.62 56 4 2 0 96.6 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 6 21 243 28.6 11.57 47 1 0 0 91.2 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 5 13 259 38.5 19.92 73 3 0 0 125.8 0 0 0 0 0
2012
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 12 43 365 27.9 8.49 40 2 3 0 48.9 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 1 14 39 7.1 2.79 39 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 6 11 303 54.5 27.55 57 2 0 0 139.2 0 0 0 0 0

We see a few interesting things focusing just on his completion percentage.

  1. Stafford was much more accurate last year than this year. (Duh)
  2. Stafford struggles with the 31-41 yard pass plays their split being his lowest % of completions in the last two years

These numbers don't mean that much unless we compare them to others so I went and took a sample of QBs to compare Stafford to on the deep balls. I took three highly accurate QBs in Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and three "gun slingers" in Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, and the one and only Brett Favre. For each of these players I took their best statistical years so Brady's 2007 year, Manning's 2004, Brees' 2009, Farve's 2009, and 2012 for both Cutler and Flacco. (Yes I know Cutler technically had a better year in 2008 but he was more accurate this pass year)

BY PASS PLAY CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG LNG TD INT SACK RAT ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
Brady 2007
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 15 39 490 38.5 12.56 69 7 3 0 93.8 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 6 13 256 46.2 19.69 63 3 2 0 92.6 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 7 17 366 41.2 21.53 65 5 0 0 128.1 0 0 0 0 0
Manning 2004
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 19 46 660 41.3 14.35 80 8 2 0 110.1 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 11 21 400 52.4 19.05 52 8 1 0 117.6 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 39.6 0 0 0 0 0
Brees 2009
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 22 32 814 68.8 25.44 75 6 2 0 125 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 7 14 256 50 18.29 53 5 1 0 105.7 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 2 11 79 18.2 7.18 40 2 1 0 58.7 0 0 0 0 0
Flacco 2012
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 11 45 345 24.4 7.67 74 3 2 0 62.7 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 2 17 63 11.8 3.71 37 1 1 0 37.6 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 5 16 235 31.3 14.69 56 2 0 0 119.8 0 0 0 0 0
Cutler 2012
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 9 31 239 29 7.71 34 3 1 0 78 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 4 13 151 30.8 11.62 39 2 1 0 83.7 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 2 8 98 25 12.25 56 1 1 0 78.1 0 0 0 0 0
Favre 2009
Pass Thrown 21-30 yds 11 29 323 37.9 11.14 43 4 0 0 119.7 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 31-40 yds 6 16 269 37.5 16.81 51 1 0 0 106.3 0 0 0 0 0
Pass Thrown 41+ yds 4 7 189 57.1 27 58 1 0 0 141.4 0 0 0 0 0


I think the most interesting thing is that Stafford throws just as many 41+ yard passes as anyone and within his past two years was as accurate as anyone even with double the amount of throws in some cases. Where the big difference once again lies is Stafford's accuracy in the 31-40 yard range where he is only comparable to/better than Flacco. On the other hand in his best year (2011) he is in the ball park for the 21-30 yard throws of everyone but Brees, who was a beast throwing 68.8% completions in 2009. I think this past year the combination of a lack of an outside speed threat, all of our slot receivers getting injured and Pettigrew's struggles lead to a drop in completion percentage for Stafford in the 21-30 yard range. So assuming that Stafford can get back to being in the high 30% range he will be in elite company for long ball accuracy for two of the three ranges. I think this should make us think of Stafford as near elite if not elite for Deep ball accuracy, especially when we take into account that I am comparing him to some of the best seasons by quarterbacks in recent memory.


As to the Megatron issue, yes I am sure throwing to Calvin Johnson does not hurt but it is not like others on this list were throwing to bums. Manning had Marvin Harrison, Brady had Randy Moss, Cutler has Brandon Marshal and Favre had Sidney Rice in a year that made many think he was a #1 WR.

So what do you guys think? Do the stats pass the eye test? Is Stafford an elite deep baller? maybe just close? Or does he still have a long way to go?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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