By John Shirley
Here at Sports Info Solutions our video scouts chart many things within each NFL game, including multiple in-depth data points pertaining to quarterback accuracy. Our in-depth quarterback accuracy is charted on three scales:
- Whether the pass was Completed
- Whether the pass was Catchable
- Whether the pass was On-Target (Includes throws that are over/under thrown and ones that are in-front/behind the receiver)
While all three measure a similar concept, by differentiating them, we can begin to separate the value between quarterback and receiver. By comparing completion percentages on throws that were deemed Catchable but Off-Target, we can look at which quarterbacks were bailed out the most by their receivers. These throws, which are Catchable but Off-Target, are ones in which the receiver has a chance to make the catch but would require significant adjustment to complete the catch. In essence, think diving or leaping catches that you would see in highlight reels.
The list of quarterbacks who were bailed out by their receivers the most features the faces of this year’s free agency class and Giants rookie Daniel Jones.
New Colts quarterback Philip Rivers was helped quite a bit by his receiving core in Los Angeles last year, as he led the league in Off-Target Completion% with 59%. This does not bode well for him in Indianapolis, as he will be without trusted receivers Keenan Allen (8/13 on Off-Target Throws), Mike Williams (4/8), and Hunter Henry (4/8) to help him out on off-target passes. Also, last year, the Colts ranked only 18th in Off-Target Completion% at 37%.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the quarterbacks who were rarely bailed out by their receivers.
Jaguars rookie, Gardner Minshew, ranked last among the 32 quarterbacks who threw at least 15 passes that were deemed Catchable and Off-Target. He received little help from his number one option DJ Chark (2/11 on Catchable Off-Target passes) and running back Leonard Fournette (1/6).
Analysis such as this is a simple way to see which quarterbacks were helped quite a bit by their receivers and which were not. This also shines a light on why metrics such as On-Target% are better barometers of success for quarterbacks than Completion%. Completion% is not a bad metric, but it is a simple one that can lead to the wrong conclusion of how accurate a quarterback is.
As shown above by analyzing Off-Target Completion%, completions and incompletions are not always on the quarterback.