First, let me apologize. Even though I've only typed a few words to this point, I'm anticipating this being long.
That said, let me state my purpose. I'm going to try to quell some concerns about our QB situation. See, I'm objective (or I try my best to be, at least) and I too have concerns about Stafford's early game cold streaks/jitters. But in an effort to see the grand scheme of things, I wanted to compile as much data as possible to provide the most objective analysis possible in regards to our beloved #9. That said, grab your beers, take a leak now, and strap in. I typed all this before researching so we're all about to go on a fantastic voyage.
Let's start with the most frequent complaint I hear about Stafford: he's erratic.
In my mind, this alludes to the slow starts, the missing wide open receivers on occasion, the questionable decision making all followed by some crazy Blue Jesus miracles where he could suddenly put out the flame of a matchstick by throwing a football while blindfolded. So I'm going to break this part into 2 sections; his completion % and td/int ratio in all 4 quarters (if I can find that info), while taking into account dropped balls.
1.) Completion % by quarter
- 1st Quarter: 89/159 - 55.9%
- 2nd Quarter: 109/172 - 63.3%
- 3rd Quarter: 87/130 - 66.9%
- 4th Quarter: 150/266 - 56.4%
- Total Completion % - 59.8 (45 Dropped passes, so adjusted Completion % - 62.3)
So, for item 1 it can be confirmed that our dude gets off to a slow start. His worst completion % comes by far in the 1st quarter. Ironically, though we view him as a 4th Quarter dynamo, he's almost as bad in the 4th as the 1st. I'll cut him some slack though, as he attempted nearly 100 more passes in the 4th quarter than any other since we were often playing from behind. What really blows me away is I didn't realize that after halftime Stafford goes nuts. I thought he predominantly worked his magic in Q4 but it seems the 3rd Quarter is his time to shine.
Also keep in mind that he had his team lead the league in drops in 2012. If you adjust the team's dropped passes from the league high of 45 to the league average of 29 (I was going to say the league low but that seemed to be perversely skewing the stats in the hopes of a more favorable outcome, so the league average seems fair), his Completion percentage goes up to 62.3%. So while some of this isn't great news, it's not all on his shoulders either. I honestly wonder how much play calling and the lack of WR depth hurt.
1.) TD/Int by quarter
- TD/Int: 1st Half - 7/12
- TD/Int: 3rd Quarter - 4/2
- TD/Int: 4th Quarter - 9/3
I couldn't find anything for specifics on the 2nd Quarter, so the 1st half it is. Yet again it supports the theory that Stafford is less effective to start games and seems to get better as the game progresses. Whether this is the rhythm thing, play calling, defensive adjustments/schemes, I don't know.
As much as I'd like it to read otherwise, the stats back up that Stafford does indeed start slow. I'll let someone who's better at evaluating game tape take it a step further if they'd like, but for now this is what we have. I'd be happy to research some other things/complaints if you guys would like in the hopes that it'll bring the truth to light (I'm still very pro-Stafford, for the record). As of right now though, my brain is fried and I can't think of what other information would be pertinent, so suggestions are welcome.