The Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones Thread

simplyeric

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Yeah. These massive variances in advanced stats for Mac’s game yesterday is only showing their limitations.

It’s kind of ridiculous that we’re having a debate over whether the pass to Meyers was lucky or intentional, irrespective of whether it was, you know, complete. Or whether Mac should get credit for the first TD pass to Bourne. I feel like this is a situation where the old Bill Parcell line “you are what your record says you are” is better than trying to divine intent.

Mac obviously missed the pass to Henry. Sometimes I might argue that the receiver wasn’t in the right place, but in that case Mac seem to have plenty of time to adjust even if he wasn’t. So that credibly should be on him. Other than that, he seemed a little less sharp, possibly due to the cold, but not that much. Thus, the VEF (Van Everyman Focus) grades him out at purple (our third highest rating).
Not sure if I’m thinking of the same play, but I thought when Mac released the ball it was at/before Henry’s break to the right, and Mac thought he was going to break towards the endzone and he didn’t.
but I mean seriously…purple? Is that eggplant or mauve? We need CMYK values!
(Or are we doing projective stats, so it needs to be RGB?)

I haven't seen all the PFF grades for the Titans game, but it sounds like they're dinging Mac some for his first TD throw to Bourne. I would question that, if that's true.

0:45 mark of this highlight reel

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agmDF7U1TVg



It's 3rd and goal from the four, a chip shot field goal is nearly a certain make. The last thing you want is a turnover here, so Josh dials up a play to get a receiver in isolation away from the muck of the middle of the field.

The ball is thrown about 35 yards in the air (doing the geometry from where Mac throws it to where it's caught, given the dimensions of a football field), released just as Bourne is starting to make his break. 35 air yards later, it's thrown to a place where only Bourne can get it. The defender maybe could have knocked it away if he got lucky, but his back was turned to the pass, which Mac knew even as he released it. It was thrown to a spot where it could either have been a TD or an incompletion. Virtually zero chance of a turnover. The play, and Mac's throw, was designed so that it would guarantee the Pats points even if the pass fell incomplete.

It was also thrown to a guy who has shown he can make contested catches like that.

So it was the right throw to the right receiver in the right place at the right time. It was thrown 35 yards in the air to a teeny tiny window that offered a reasonable chance at a TD but reduced the chance of a turnover to virtually nil. And thus it virtually guaranteed that they'd walk away with points.

Could the throw have been five inches better? I guess. But it was one hell of a throw, and obviously a great catch, but that was the play design, for Bourne to make that kind of play.

Run that exact play 100 times with a random assortment of NFL QBs throwing it. How many times does the QB throw it better than that? What even would "better than that" look like? Not much different than what actually transpired. I'm not saying it was a *perfect* throw, but it was a damned good one. If PFF somehow dinged Mac for that simply because Bourne had to make a superb catch, well, their grading system needs some work.
I do think that ball was really nice, but a little underthrown. Nitlicking but that ball could have been like two feet higher and would have been safer. It would have had to have been a phenomenal play but if the defender has half a step more it might have hit him in the head, amd a Malcolm butler type or prep with one more step and turns around that’s a pickable ball.
I’m definitely picking at the decimal points…it was still a good throw.
I was also impressed by the play right before that on the reel. I’m dumb on the jargon…is that a draw play? But anyway, McCorkle stands in and delivers that ball as two titan Titans bear down on him. He’s staring down the barrel of the professional NFL level rush and seeing it through.
 

joe dokes

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Don't forget to throw out all the pitches the pitcher makes against the bottom of the lineup hitters who suck as I'd consider that an "expected pitch" so those really don't count. The Patriots run a ton of high % pass plays like screens and as Lazar pointed out and those are "expected throws" and don't count in PFF world. If you throw a high number of "expected throws" and fewer "normal throws" a single mistake are two are magnified in their ratings vs teams who run a more aggressive offense.
I hadn't even considered that (mostly from my limited knowledge of PFF's methodology). I was thinking more of the fact that a trained observer can spot a good curveball if the pitcher is alone on a mound 60'6" from a brick wall *or* in a game if the hitter simply managed to make a great swing on a great pitch. Just a lot fewer variables in determining what that same sequence would ordinarily look like than with a completed or incomplete NFL pass.

And we dont have to look very far (last year, in fact) to see what it looks like when a QB does not make even the "expected" or "normal" throws very well.
 

Super Nomario

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It's not really cherrypicking so much as pointing out that he's very much improved over the course of the season. It's not like I'm removing three bad games spaced out throughout the season. It's clear he's been playing GREAT - not just great for a rookie, but great for an NFL starter - since week 4.
This isn't cherrypicking, but it is arbitrary end points.

Run that exact play 100 times with a random assortment of NFL QBs throwing it. How many times does the QB throw it better than that? What even would "better than that" look like? Not much different than what actually transpired. I'm not saying it was a *perfect* throw, but it was a damned good one. If PFF somehow dinged Mac for that simply because Bourne had to make a superb catch, well, their grading system needs some work.
I don't think they "dinged" him (in the sense of giving him a negative grade); I think it's that they view it as more of a great play by Bourne than a great play by Mac. I thought Mac did a hell of a job just to get it out there with a free rusher, but I do see PFF's point that it could have and maybe should have been broken up by the defender.

Also, we have no idea who each pass play is really designed for. Say Jones drops back and has a small window available for a chunk play downfield, but there’s risk involved. But there’s pressure so he decides to take the short receiver for a 7 yard gain to set up 2nd and 3.

Was that a good play by Mac or not? Who knows. Mac seems to take the safe route a lot and there was a bunch of criticism that he wasn’t taking shots.
I agree with this, and I think this is where PFF falls down a little bit. I understand them saying that throwing the open short pass doesn't really require any skill, but the skill is making the right read over and over again. It's probably too soon to tell to what extent Mac has that ability, but the Patriots offense is designed to function if the QB just does his job, reads the defense, and finds the open guy. Excellence comes from doing that consistently.

The optimistic view is to see Mac's low PFF grade as a positive reflection on the rest of the offense. They had objectively tremendous results, PFF is saying, without the QB playing particularly well, because they were able to consistently scheme open receivers and because the receivers made great plays at the catch point and after the catch. That's good, and maybe/probably more sustainable than asking a rookie QB to play lights-out every week.

I realize we are all debating the application of a non-transparent methodology, which is itself problematic. But. The implication of what you suggest here would be that a QB like Mac won't rate will in this system, which I think is false - the Mac has been rated highly by PFF thorughout the season until this one game.
Yes, over the course of the whole season PFF has been significantly higher on Mac than per-play stats like passer rating, Y/A, ANY/A have been.

Your point about "transparency" is an important one, I think, and a particular frustration for me with PFF (and also with, say, Football Outsiders' DVOA). The fact is that 90%+ of the time PFF, DVOA, and conventional stats are going to line up and so PFF, DVOA, etc. don't tell us anything we don't already know. And the problem is for that remaining 10% or whatever, we don't have any insight into how the sausage is made that might suggest how or why PFF is saying something different or whether or not it figures to be more predictive in the future.

However, I think any QB rating system is going to run into problems. I would guess that PFF did not ding Mac for Meyers' error of setting up with his feet on the line, a mistake that led to Mac's pass being ruled an incompleteion and that probably cost the Pats an FG. A more objective stats based system probably dings Mac for failing to complete an easy pass.
This is a good point. None of these stats are great or able to truly dis-aggregate QB play from supporting cast, coaching, defense, etc. Conventional stats ding Mac for the Jonnu drop INT vs the Saints; PFF is at least making an effort to solve those sorts of problems, though surely they are creating some other ones.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The baseline for discussions of any of these ratings or modeling systems---whether it is PECOTA, DVOA, or PFF---is in my mind two things:

1. Does it, in terms of predicting future outcomes, do better than raw counting stats?
2. What insights does it give us which are different than raw counting stats?

I haven't seen statistical analysis of 1 for PFF QB stats; we have lots of analysis of various baseball models and defensive evaluation systems (which, because many of them have a subjective element, are probably closer to what PFF is doing) and there are many models that seem to do better than just "counting errors, assists, and fielding percentage" to stay with the defensive model.

The lack of transparency creates challenges on 2, as SuperNomario noted. PFF may well have some nuggets of insight that emerge from what they do, but without knowing where the numbers come from it's tough to extract them which is unfortunate.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The optimistic view is to see Mac's low PFF grade as a positive reflection on the rest of the offense. They had objectively tremendous results, PFF is saying, without the QB playing particularly well, because they were able to consistently scheme open receivers and because the receivers made great plays at the catch point and after the catch. That's good, and maybe/probably more sustainable than asking a rookie QB to play lights-out every week.
This is a great point.

None of these stats are great or able to truly dis-aggregate QB play from supporting cast, coaching, defense, etc. Conventional stats ding Mac for the Jonnu drop INT vs the Saints; PFF is at least making an effort to solve those sorts of problems, though surely they are creating some other ones.
To me, this the bottom line. All measures of QB play are flawed so having different perspectives, including a more subjective play-by-play grade, is useful in thinking about a composite picture, as long as we stay attentive to the limitations and pitfalls of each measure. Many people would point to ANY/A as the best "objective" measure of QB performance and Jared Goff, a bad quarterback, led the league in ANY/A one year.
 

ManicCompression

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With the discussion around Mac's success over the last couple of months, I've been thinking about the term "system QB" and why it's a silly to use it as a derogatory term.

The first reason is that every QB, on some level, is a "system QB." Lamar Jackson is definitely a system QB - he wouldn't be as effective doing what Mac Jones is doing. Pat Mahomes is a system QB - if he didn't have a stable of super fast, athletic receivers doing motion before the snap and improvising when the play breaks down, his stats wouldn't look nearly as good. As other people have said, Jones' success is in part due to a marriage of good coaching and good talent acquisition, but I'd add it's also on the QB to find their place in the system. Completing the tasks that the system asks of them is a skill in and of itself. We've seen several other QBs - I mean, just think of all of the other failed draft picks in the Brady era - in this same system and they haven't done nearly as well, outside of Garoppolo (and I'd say he's shown himself to be better and more durable than JG).

Which goes to number two - if it's so easy for Mac to do his job ("dinking and dunking" with his pea shooter)... why wouldn't every team who's struggling on offense or has a less than elite QB do the same thing? The Jets, Jaguars, Bears etc. can all watch film and copy what the Patriots are doing. It's not like some great mystery, so there must be something in the way Mac can pick up what's required of him and then implement it that is better than most other QBs. If that's not the most important trait a quarterback can have, it's close.

And the last thing is - we like Bourne, we like Meyers, and we like Henry, but a majority of the board and broader Pats Nation has been asking for better talent at receiver for like, what, ten years? A better TE since Gronk's injury issues started? Jones doesn't have Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill at his disposal, he doesn't have a Davante Adams, or Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, or Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, and as good as our backs are, they're not Alvin Kamara or Aaron Jones or Dalvin Cook or Derrick Henry or CMC. The Patriots have some depth at WR, TE, and RB, but no talent that stands out as top ten or top twenty at their positions in some instances (WR). So is he really getting propped up by talent, or is he making the most of what's at his disposal? How many offensive pieces would need to get injured in order to prove that, yes, he's responsible for many of the good things that are happening for this offense?

A long screed, but I think we should turn "system QB" into a compliment. He's a QB thriving in a system that so few other teams can replicate and so few other QBs can execute and he has them as the second seed in the AFC with a puncher's chance of the one seed in his rookie season. It's fucking great.
 

BaseballJones

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The optimistic view is to see Mac's low PFF grade as a positive reflection on the rest of the offense. They had objectively tremendous results, PFF is saying, without the QB playing particularly well, because they were able to consistently scheme open receivers and because the receivers made great plays at the catch point and after the catch. That's good, and maybe/probably more sustainable than asking a rookie QB to play lights-out every week.
Yes but a lot of YAC is on the QB. I remember watching Donovan McNabb play (love him as a Syracuse alum). He hit receivers with regularity, but he didn't have ideal ball placement. So he would complete a pass, but in doing so, the receiver had to stop his route or slow it or reach back or whatever. It limited YAC. Mac, by all accounts (players were saying this just a day ago), throws an extremely catchable ball, and we knew from his time at Alabama that he often "throws players open". So on a number of passes the other day, he hit guys right in stride to allow them a great chance for YAC. Now we can say the YAC is on the receiver, not the QB, but I'd say that the QB can really help a receiver get YAC due to excellent ball placement.

In basketball, you can throw the ball into the post and let that guy make something happen. Or you can throw it right into a spot that leads him to an easy basket. In both cases you get the assist, yay. But in one case, the basket was made WAY easier because of how and where you threw him the ball. Same thing in football.

Mac has the ability to put the ball in a great spot for his receivers to catch it and do something with it. No clue how much PFF takes THAT into account, or if they attribute all YAC to the receivers.

(To be fair, while he threw a nice ball to Bourne to help him get YAC on his second TD, Mac shouldn't get "credit" for the great individual efforts made by both Bourne and Meyers on that play.)
 

Bowser

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As other people have said, Jones' success is in part due to a marriage of good coaching and good talent acquisition, but I'd add it's also on the QB to find their place in the system. Completing the tasks that the system asks of them is a skill in and of itself. We've seen several other QBs - I mean, just think of all of the other failed draft picks in the Brady era - in this same system and they haven't done nearly as well, outside of Garoppolo (and I'd say he's shown himself to be better and more durable than JG).
This is really well said. One of the things that separates Mac from the other rookie QBs -- and many of the vets, like Baker Mayfield, among others -- is that he seems to be able to diagnose very quickly where his best matchups are likely to be, even accounting for post-snap rotations -- and he goes to them. Sure, at times he misses opportunities elsewhere, but it's rare that he's fooled ... or makes an objectively poor decision.
 

Euclis20

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And the last thing is - we like Bourne, we like Meyers, and we like Henry, but a majority of the board and broader Pats Nation has been asking for better talent at receiver for like, what, ten years? A better TE since Gronk's injury issues started? Jones doesn't have Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill at his disposal, he doesn't have a Davante Adams, or Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, or Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, and as good as our backs are, they're not Alvin Kamara or Aaron Jones or Dalvin Cook or Derrick Henry or CMC. The Patriots have some depth at WR, TE, and RB, but no talent that stands out as top ten or top twenty at their positions in some instances (WR). So is he really getting propped up by talent, or is he making the most of what's at his disposal? How many offensive pieces would need to get injured in order to prove that, yes, he's responsible for many of the good things that are happening for this offense?
I've been beating this drum with anyone who talks about Mac like he's the weakest link in an offense that would be competitive with anyone at QB. None of their skill players will sniff the pro bowl (maybe Henry, if he gets to double digits in TDs). You don't have to be a pro bowl level talent to be a very good skill player (Edelman and White would be very helpful this season), but this is still a below average group overall. The offensive line is above average when healthy, but their 6 main guys (Andrews/Wynn/Mason/Karras/Onwenu/Brown) have all of 1 pro bowl appearance in a combined 25 seasons entering 2021. Mac Jones is the single most important piece of this offense, and that's before being graded on a curve for being a rookie QB.
 

Cellar-Door

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With the discussion around Mac's success over the last couple of months, I've been thinking about the term "system QB" and why it's a silly to use it as a derogatory term.

A long screed, but I think we should turn "system QB" into a compliment. He's a QB thriving in a system that so few other teams can replicate and so few other QBs can execute and he has them as the second seed in the AFC with a puncher's chance of the one seed in his rookie season. It's fucking great.
Yeah, system QB is a dumb phrase, all QBs who have success do it in part because of the system. I think some people like to use it to denote guys who can only be really successful in one system, but... I don't think even that is accurate. Like Mac... there are some systems that yeah, he probably would struggle in, but there are plenty he can succeed in. Same with Lamar, he's a freak and can dominate games, but you're not going to have the same success if you ask him to make 5 quick reads on option routes and get the ball out on time on target, that's not his skillset.

If your system isn't a match for your QB's skillset, you should be getting a new system or a new QB.
 

johnmd20

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Mac is taking fire from everywhere.

Meanwhile Russell Wilson is basically the worst QB in the NFL for the last 6-7 weeks. Either injured or, worse, actually playing and being really ineffective. The discourse can get a little tiring after a while. Mac is helping the team win games and the Pats are on a 6 game winning streak. Burn him at the stake because Bourne made a nice play running down the sideline.
 

Big McCorkle

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Just a reminder that Brady's 2nd or 3rd best season, the unanimous MVP year, he was like 16th in PFF QB rating.

While it serves a purpose it's like looking at political polling 14 months before an election. No stat is perfect, but honestly just raw passer rating does a better job than PFF a lot of the time. EPA > any/a > qbr > passer rating > pff. EPA has him about 10th overall, but 2nd yesterday, and 1st since week 5. I'm not sure how to split passer rating in that way but I'd imagine it's similar.

I think you could reasonably say Mac Jones has been a top 12-15 QB on the league by whatever assessment you want
Brady was fourth or fifth in 2010 depending on whether or not you count Romo's 200 or so dropbacks, not 16th, and there wasn't that much of a difference between him and the guys ahead of him.

Regardless, the sort of fatal problem with what you said here is that PFF Passing Grade is more highly correlated with/predictive of future EPA than actual EPA. It's something than can be quibbled with--I certainly strongly disagree with how they seem to have graded several of Mac's throws on Sunday even if their justification isn't exactly ridiculous--but I don't see how one can say that they're not doing something right when their approach is demonstrably more predictive of production than production itself.

Capture.PNG

The baseline for discussions of any of these ratings or modeling systems---whether it is PECOTA, DVOA, or PFF---is in my mind two things:

1. Does it, in terms of predicting future outcomes, do better than raw counting stats?
2. What insights does it give us which are different than raw counting stats?

I haven't seen statistical analysis of 1 for PFF QB stats; we have lots of analysis of various baseball models and defensive evaluation systems (which, because many of them have a subjective element, are probably closer to what PFF is doing) and there are many models that seem to do better than just "counting errors, assists, and fielding percentage" to stay with the defensive model.
See above for how well it predicts future outcomes.
 

Saints Rest

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Yeah, system QB is a dumb phrase, all QBs who have success do it in part because of the system. I think some people like to use it to denote guys who can only be really successful in one system, but... I don't think even that is accurate. Like Mac... there are some systems that yeah, he probably would struggle in, but there are plenty he can succeed in. Same with Lamar, he's a freak and can dominate games, but you're not going to have the same success if you ask him to make 5 quick reads on option routes and get the ball out on time on target, that's not his skillset.

If your system isn't a match for your QB's skillset, you should be getting a new system or a new QB.
Steve Young was a guest on the Michael Kay radio show yesterday and basically said the same thing. He referred to Mac as being an "organizational success." That no QB succeeds or fails without a large measure of the credit or blame going to those around him, both on the field and coaching.
 

Saints Rest

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Mac is taking fire from everywhere.

Meanwhile Russell Wilson is basically the worst QB in the NFL for the last 6-7 weeks. Either injured or, worse, actually playing and being really ineffective. The discourse can get a little tiring after a while. Mac is helping the team win games and the Pats are on a 6 game winning streak. Burn him at the stake because Bourne made a nice play running down the sideline.
Meanwhile the NYC sports radio discussions are about how much the Giants shoudl give up to get RW.
 

TomTerrific

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Mac is taking fire from everywhere.
Amusingly, in contrast to the poor PFF grade on Mac, FO has him as 2/32 starting QBs this past week in DYAR with 134 (Carr was 1st with 203), which is his best performance for the year. Before you ask, he was credited with 125 DYAR for the CLE game.

Meanwhile Russell Wilson is basically the worst QB in the NFL for the last 6-7 weeks. Either injured or, worse, actually playing and being really ineffective.
Wilson last night was a mixture of really terrible and pretty good at times. Overall, I would put him at average. But you're right, the previous two weeks he was pretty, pretty bad, especially the GB game. And before that he was injured.
 

simplyeric

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With the discussion around Mac's success over the last couple of months, I've been thinking about the term "system QB" and why it's a silly to use it as a derogatory term.

The first reason is that every QB, on some level, is a "system QB." Lamar Jackson is definitely a system QB - he wouldn't be as effective doing what Mac Jones is doing. Pat Mahomes is a system QB - if he didn't have a stable of super fast, athletic receivers doing motion before the snap and improvising when the play breaks down, his stats wouldn't look nearly as good. As other people have said, Jones' success is in part due to a marriage of good coaching and good talent acquisition, but I'd add it's also on the QB to find their place in the system. Completing the tasks that the system asks of them is a skill in and of itself. We've seen several other QBs - I mean, just think of all of the other failed draft picks in the Brady era - in this same system and they haven't done nearly as well, outside of Garoppolo (and I'd say he's shown himself to be better and more durable than JG).

Which goes to number two - if it's so easy for Mac to do his job ("dinking and dunking" with his pea shooter)... why wouldn't every team who's struggling on offense or has a less than elite QB do the same thing? The Jets, Jaguars, Bears etc. can all watch film and copy what the Patriots are doing. It's not like some great mystery, so there must be something in the way Mac can pick up what's required of him and then implement it that is better than most other QBs. If that's not the most important trait a quarterback can have, it's close.

And the last thing is - we like Bourne, we like Meyers, and we like Henry, but a majority of the board and broader Pats Nation has been asking for better talent at receiver for like, what, ten years? A better TE since Gronk's injury issues started? Jones doesn't have Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill at his disposal, he doesn't have a Davante Adams, or Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, or Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, and as good as our backs are, they're not Alvin Kamara or Aaron Jones or Dalvin Cook or Derrick Henry or CMC. The Patriots have some depth at WR, TE, and RB, but no talent that stands out as top ten or top twenty at their positions in some instances (WR). So is he really getting propped up by talent, or is he making the most of what's at his disposal? How many offensive pieces would need to get injured in order to prove that, yes, he's responsible for many of the good things that are happening for this offense?

A long screed, but I think we should turn "system QB" into a compliment. He's a QB thriving in a system that so few other teams can replicate and so few other QBs can execute and he has them as the second seed in the AFC with a puncher's chance of the one seed in his rookie season. It's fucking great.
He's a "logistical pragmatist QB"
rolls right off the tongue.

He's generally pragmatic, doing his job, taking care of business, takes some limited risks now and then but nothing too crazy.

Pragmatism not idealism...
 

BaseballJones

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BB's #1 requirement of a QB is taking care of the ball and making smart decisions. And though he obviously isn't mistake-free, Mac Jones does a great job in this area. He may not be flinging it all over the field like a gunslinger, but obviously the way he's playing is working. The Pats have averaged over 33 points a game in their last 8 matchups. Even taking out the defensive TDs, they're still averaging 31.4 a game.
 

joe dokes

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BB's #1 requirement of a QB is taking care of the ball and making smart decisions. And though he obviously isn't mistake-free, Mac Jones does a great job in this area. He may not be flinging it all over the field like a gunslinger, but obviously the way he's playing is working. The Pats have averaged over 33 points a game in their last 8 matchups. Even taking out the defensive TDs, they're still averaging 31.4 a game.
And this dovetails with what McD said above about getting points out of 3rd and 20. Not all drives that end in FGs are bad outcomes.
 

Super Nomario

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Brady was fourth or fifth in 2010 depending on whether or not you count Romo's 200 or so dropbacks, not 16th, and there wasn't that much of a difference between him and the guys ahead of him.
He was sixth at the time (not including Romo); if he's fourth now, it's because they've updated historical numbers at some point in the interim, which is something they've been known to do (Jack Conklin's rookie season is a dramatic and notable example). Which is of course a reason to be very skeptical of PFF generally and very, very skeptical of anything they do correlating their grades to future results.
 

jacklamabe65

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Unlike baseball, I depend on the eye test solely in football. Consequently, When Mac goes back to pass, I am totally confident as a Pats fan. I also felt that way when Parilli, Plunkett, Grogan, Bledsoe, Garoppolo, and Brady threw the ball. My heart was in my throat otherwise. It's been a long ride.
 

Big McCorkle

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He was sixth at the time (not including Romo); if he's fourth now, it's because they've updated historical numbers at some point in the interim, which is something they've been known to do (Jack Conklin's rookie season is a dramatic and notable example). Which is of course a reason to be very skeptical of PFF generally and very, very skeptical of anything they do correlating their grades to future results.
Sorry, he was fourth excluding Romo in passing grade and sixth (again excluding Romo) in overall grade. Seems like they didn't particularly find in favor of Brady's contributions when running the football.
 

Cellar-Door

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So I don't have a paid PFF subscription, but they did an article about the Patriots scheme, the free portion is mostly about how we have basically unique fullback usage.
I note it in this thread because the author noted on twitter that one thing he forgot to put was that the Patriots see very few 2 deep looks, and that can sometimes skew QB perception. He notes Kirk Cousins as a comp for a guy that is really hard to grade/assess and that he thinks Mac Jones is going to be similar (Cousins interestingly was one of the most common upside comps for Mac in the draft process).
It's an interesting thought about the limitations of grading/assessing QB performance. He notes that 2 deep looks have been how teams have tried (and at times succeeded) slowing down Mahomes and Allen this year.

Edit- Cousins is interesting in that I don't think anyone thinks of him as an elite QB (even PFF who tends to rank him outside the top 10 in their subjective columns) but PFF grade has him consistently as a top QB. He is 2nd this year, I think he has like 3 or 4 seasons in the top 6. His game lends itself to their grading system, and it is likely Mac, who has a lot of similarities will be the same.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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So I don't have a paid PFF subscription, but they did an article about the Patriots scheme, the free portion is mostly about how we have basically unique fullback usage.
I note it in this thread because the author noted on twitter that one thing he forgot to put was that the Patriots see very few 2 deep looks, and that can sometimes skew QB perception. He notes Kirk Cousins as a comp for a guy that is really hard to grade/assess and that he thinks Mac Jones is going to be similar (Cousins interestingly was one of the most common upside comps for Mac in the draft process).
It's an interesting thought about the limitations of grading/assessing QB performance. He notes that 2 deep looks have been how teams have tried (and at times succeeded) slowing down Mahomes and Allen this year.

Edit- Cousins is interesting in that I don't think anyone thinks of him as an elite QB (even PFF who tends to rank him outside the top 10 in their subjective columns) but PFF grade has him consistently as a top QB. He is 2nd this year, I think he has like 3 or 4 seasons in the top 6. His game lends itself to their grading system, and it is likely Mac, who has a lot of similarities will be the same.
I don't really understand his argument about the two high (or quarters) coverages. Obviously those types of coverages are designed to pose different kinds of problems (and create different kinds of opportunities) for QBs than single high looks. But I don't quite get why that makes it difficult to grade a QB. If anything, I've always thought that a single-high safety tends to put more pressure on a QB to throw into tight windows, to correctly read the other safety that is often moving down into the lower middle of the field to cut off certain routes, and seize shot opportunities when they arise. It seems to me that a guy like Mac, whose strengths are reading defenses and throwing accurately in the short to intermediate areas, would eat pretty well against two high and more zone.

If mediocre QBs could play far above their true skill level simply because they were facing a lot of single high and not verymuch two high....then one assume defenses wouldn't be playing so much single high against them.
 

ManicCompression

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He notes that 2 deep looks have been how teams have tried (and at times succeeded) slowing down Mahomes and Allen this year.
Aren't those 2 deep looks slowing down Mahomes and Allen because they're not patient enough to take the underneath stuff? I'm not sure why this would skew perception. If you have a team with a vertical passing offense, you go two deep to prevent it from working. Then the offense adjusts to throw short/intermediate stuff, forcing the defense to adjust, and so on.

If anything, Mac going up against defenses designed to take away a short passing game and still succeeding at it is a good sign.
 

Soxy

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I haven’t read the article but I think it’s pretty obvious what he’s getting at. Teams play single high against the Pats because the threat of the running game. They play 2-deep against KC and Buffalo for the opposite reasons.

A lot of the time when a QB checks from run to pass or vice versa, all they’re doing is reading the safeties. Two deep means you check to a run, single high you check to a pass. All about numbers in the box.
 

Cellar-Door

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Yeah---did they explain *how* it could skew perception?
Not totally, but I think he was referring getting less doubles in certain parts of the field, and that you get more single coverage on the underneath routes
 

Eddie Jurak

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Edit- Cousins is interesting in that I don't think anyone thinks of him as an elite QB (even PFF who tends to rank him outside the top 10 in their subjective columns) but PFF grade has him consistently as a top QB. He is 2nd this year, I think he has like 3 or 4 seasons in the top 6. His game lends itself to their grading system, and it is likely Mac, who has a lot of similarities will be the same.
Kirk Cousins started 9 games and threw 407 passes during his first 3 years in the NFL. Completion percentage of 59%, 18 TDs against 19 interceptions. Rating of 77.5.

During his 3rd year he played more than he did in the other two. Started 5 games, competed 61.8%, 10 TDs, 9 INTs, passer rating 86.4, QBR 52.0. Not enough playing time to meet a minumum threshold for rates starts, but his rating and QBR put him right around 20th in the legaue had he qualified.

It was in year 4, at age 27 in 2015, that he took a step forward. Started 16 games, completed 69.8%, 29 TDs, 11 INT, passer rating 101.6, QBR 67. Some superficial similarity to Mac (rating 97.1, QBR 52) , but Cousins clearly better if you compare him to his peers. Mac is 14th and 15th in the league in rating and QBR, whereas 2016 Cousins was 5th and 6th. Since then:

Year: Rating/QBR ranks
2015: 5th/6th
2016: 7th/6th
2017: 12th/16th
2018: 10th/15th
2019: 4th/13th
2020: 8th/18th
2021: 3rd/12th

Compared to peers, Cousins was never quite as good as he was in 2015-16, though he has been consistently good. But those were his age 27 and age 28 seasons. He's 33 now. He barely played as a rookie (48 attempts).

If we are going to compare the two, the fact that one guy didn't become a regular statrter until year 4 at age 27 needs to factor in. Mac is better this year than Cousins was in his limited playing time as a 3rd year vet.
I don't really understand his argument about the two high (or quarters) coverages. Obviously those types of coverages are designed to pose different kinds of problems (and create different kinds of opportunities) for QBs than single high looks. But I don't quite get why that makes it difficult to grade a QB. If anything, I've always thought that a single-high safety tends to put more pressure on a QB to throw into tight windows, to correctly read the other safety that is often moving down into the lower middle of the field to cut off certain routes, and seize shot opportunities when they arise. It seems to me that a guy like Mac, whose strengths are reading defenses and throwing accurately in the short to intermediate areas, would eat pretty well against two high and more zone.
Yeah I don't follow this. Presumably you play two high to avoid getting beaten deep, so if you don't believe the QB can do that you don't play it, and focus more resources on shorter routes. If they are doing that with Mac he is, to some degree, beating them anyway.
 

Cellar-Door

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Compared to peers, Cousins was never quite as good as he was in 2015-16, though he has been consistently good. But those were his age 27 and age 28 seasons. He's 33 now. He barely played as a rookie (48 attempts).

If we are going to compare the two, the fact that one guy didn't become a regular statrter until year 4 at age 27 needs to factor in. Mac is better this year than Cousins was in his limited playing time as a 3rd year vet.
It's more a stylistic/athletic comp. And no we don't really, because we aren't comparing their stats or their paths, we're comparing their abilites. Football players don't have linear growth patterns, and sitting doesn't necessarily benefit a player more than playing, nor does age usually make a huge difference with QBs.

[QUOTE="Eddie Jurak]
Yeah I don't follow this. Presumably you play two high to avoid getting beaten deep, so if you don't believe the QB can do that you don't play it, and focus more resources on shorter routes. If they are doing that with Mac he is, to some degree, beating them anyway.
[/QUOTE]
You play two high usually to get more guys in coverage downfield, and increase your ability to double anyone on the field. You can play cover two with an intent to smother underneath routes too, it isn't strictly to cover deep. You usually play more Cover 1 when you want to get an extra run defender into the box. I would guess that's his point (and the Cousins comp where teams load up on Cook, Tannehill when Henry is in too), that when you play against a lot of heavy boxes and less chances for doubles, you get more 1v1 looks.
 

SteveF

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Yes. I think the argument is simply about defensive resource allocation. Split high safety concepts are allocating more defenders to stopping the pass than single high safety concepts.

I'd also point out that using ordinals is a mistake here. The difference in cover 1/3 vs cover 2/4/6 usage for the guy who sees the least cover 1/3 and the guy who sees the most cover 1/3 might be misinterpreted. As an example, in 3rd and 4+, the coverage Mahomes sees most is cover 1, followed by cover 3, cover 2 and cover 4 in that order. More than half the snaps are cover 1/3. (29 snaps single high, 23 snaps split safety).

Edit: Well, maybe not the guy that sees the least cover 2/4/6. Lamar Jackson exists.
 
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Eddie Jurak

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Football players don't have linear growth patterns, and sitting doesn't necessarily benefit a player more than playing, nor does age usually make a huge difference with QBs.
This seems absurd on its face. Not as a statement about Mac specifically but as one about QBs in general. Goos time to sell on the other rookie QBs?
 

Cellar-Door

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This seems absurd on its face. Not as a statement about Mac specifically but as one about QBs in general. Goos time to sell on the other rookie QBs?
age usually matters less than experience, 20 year old rookies and 24 year old rookies don't show massive differences, and non-linear growth goes both ways, it's why being really bad as a rookie doesn't mean you can't get much better, while at the same time good or bad as a rookie you may not get significantly better. Guys who sit as a rookie don't show significantly better careers than guys who start from day 1, either approach can work or not, success has more to do with surrounding talent usually than "sitting and learning" or "learning by playing"
 

Eddie Jurak

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age usually matters less than experience, 20 year old rookies and 24 year old rookies don't show massive differences, and non-linear growth goes both ways, it's why being really bad as a rookie doesn't mean you can't get much better, while at the same time good or bad as a rookie you may not get significantly better. Guys who sit as a rookie don't show significantly better careers than guys who start from day 1, either approach can work or not, success has more to do with surrounding talent usually than "sitting and learning" or "learning by playing"
This seems less a theory of QB development and more an excuse to believe whatever one wants about whichever QB one wants.
 

Cellar-Door

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This seems less a theory of QB development and more an excuse to believe whatever one wants about whichever QB one wants.
I think it's an acknowledgement that there are no hard and fast rules to QB development and that there are few strong correlations. Assuming there is a pattern or path without evidence is a mistake.

People want there to be an easy A+B=C or... players who do this will in the future do XYZ because previous player did. But that's not true, nothing really supports that. QBs are too small a sample and there are way too many other factors in play to do that.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I think it's an acknowledgement that there are no hard and fast rules to QB development and that there are few strong correlations. Assuming there is a pattern or path without evidence is a mistake.

People want there to be an easy A+B=C or... players who do this will in the future do XYZ because previous player did. But that's not true, nothing really supports that. QBs are too small a sample and there are way too many other factors in play to do that.
I'd be shocked if the data suggested that no trends can be detected among rookie QBs (or first year starting QBs to expland the sample) who go on to have NFL careers - that they are all equally likely to regress as progress or remain the same. I don't expect data to show that a rookie with a rating of 87.4 will be up to 93.2 by year 3 or anything like that.
 

Cellar-Door

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I'd be shocked if the data suggested that no trends can be detected among rookie QBs (or first year starting QBs to expland the sample) who go on to have NFL careers - that they are all equally likely to regress as progress or remain the same. I don't expect data to show that a rookie with a rating of 87.4 will be up to 93.2 by year 3 or anything like that.
I'm not saying that, I'm saying that there doesn't appear to be a pattern on things like Sitting v. Starting as a rookie, and there is no indication that players tend to improve at any set rate. Certainly there is no indication that say Mac Jones is likely to be more successful or less than Cousins because he started and played well as a rookie while Cousins sat behind a star. You were arguing that you can't compare QBs with different rookie experiences, and that seems to have no weight, there is way too much variability in how rookies perform, and the rate at which those rookies improve in future years to do that. Having a better rookie year, or more importantly, playing as a rookie vs. sitting have no real correllation to overall career paths.
 

simplyeric

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I'm not saying that, I'm saying that there doesn't appear to be a pattern on things like Sitting v. Starting as a rookie, and there is no indication that players tend to improve at any set rate. Certainly there is no indication that say Mac Jones is likely to be more successful or less than Cousins because he started and played well as a rookie while Cousins sat behind a star. You were arguing that you can't compare QBs with different rookie experiences, and that seems to have no weight, there is way too much variability in how rookies perform, and the rate at which those rookies improve in future years to do that. Having a better rookie year, or more importantly, playing as a rookie vs. sitting have no real correllation to overall career paths.
This has been stirred around previously in this thread but:
Starting in a rookie year probably has more to do with who’s in front of a player than how good that player is. I mean, sortof. McCorkle is starting because he had Cam Newton and stidham in front of him. There are certainly other qb’s he would have beaten in camp, but I don’t know how many.
if a QB is starting in his rookie year, it likely means his team sucked last year. That would typically continue to effect him this year…isn’t rare that a top notch QB is drafted to a team that is well built and well coached, or a team that could suddenly be well built in between sucking, high draft pick, and the start of a season?
we all talked about the somewhat fortuitous situation McCorkle was coming into this year. His performance is his, but it’s also absolutely affected by the team and coaching around him.
In order to be really predictive about a pattern of ‘starting rookie’ you’d have to isolate out those effects, no?
 

DJnVa

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Mac was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month. He completed nearly 77% of his passes, had 854 yards, 7 TDs and 2 INTs, with a rating of 117.2.
 

tims4wins

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This whole Mac / PFF discussion cuts both ways. For instance:

The Pats only punt of the game came with about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. It was the drive immediately after the long Foreman run where JCJ punched it out and Mills recovered. The drive ended when Mac was sacked on 3rd and 8 on a DB blitz.

But on 2nd and 8, Mac hit Meyers right in the hands for a 20 yard completion - and he dropped it after contact. 23-32 310 becomes 24-32 330. It was a near perfect pass, and it was dropped.

These types of things tend to even out, I would think - drops vs great catches. And I am sure PFF takes these types of plays into account. But to me it points to an example of why micro dissecting each play is a little silly.
 

pokey_reese

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Isn't '% of throws into tight windows' going to have a very complex relationship with defenses and WRs? You would want to throw out blown coverages obviously, but great receivers who get wide open more often (like at least Brady and Mahomes have) are going to allow the QB to make more throws into less tight windows, no?
 

Cellar-Door

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I feel like tight window % isn't really a nuanced stat enough to mean anything. I would guess you want to be ABLE to make tight window throws downfield, but not to make them when you can achieve the goal by making a more open throw.

I also think Lazar's "haters say" comment is the worst of twittering, because... "who are the haters?" but also, saying you make easy throws doesn't necessarily translate to wide windows. If I said a guy only took easy throws, I wouldn't mean he took wide only open throws. You can make hard throws downfield that aren't "tight windows".

I don't think Mac only makes easy throws, but also I really doubt that people who do think that are saying "he never throws into coverage" they are arguing that the Patriots give him simple/easy throws, rather than running more aggressive downfield stuff. I would guess those people care less about tight window% than things like Air Yards to the Sticks, etc.

The whole.. "he only makes easy throws" thing is dumb, but this is Lazar taking a stat that doesn't really mean what he's saying it means and tweeting about it so that he can list a bunch of good QBs and compare Mac to them. If you're going to do the terrible journalism move of taking what some random nobody on twitter said and responding to it, at least use data that actually addresses it.