When answering a question on QB play on the Marvin vs TO post this is the question that I was struck with.
As I scanned down the QB DYAR/DVOA list for the QB throwing to Marvin in his early years (having already found TO's QB for those years, Steve Young, atop the list) before reaching Harbaugh, both years, I hit IND, P. Justin. Who is this backup QB for Indy with higher DYAR (total value not per play) than the starter?
Justin threw less than 400 passes over his career and didn't see a single snap until 5 years after being drafted (in the 7th round by the Bears) but in his two seasons with more than 100 passes he was the most productive QB on his team (with less than half the attempts) and one of the most efficient QB's in the league.
In 1996 DVOA gave the 4 most productive QBs on a per play basis as Brett Favre (4th), Steve Young (3rd), Dan Marino (2nd) and Paul Justin (1st). The next season Justin ranked 3rd in DVOA and was again in the top half of QB production beside throwing less than 160 passes.
So what were the raw totals that DVOA saw as marvel of QB effeciency.
Nothing looks all that special until you get to the end, ANY/A (or ANPY/A) as Mgrex03 showed takes into account nearly everything a QB does and so wields some pretty substantial descriptive and predictive power.
Jim Harbaugh topped 5.5 ANY/A just once in his career (in 1995 and received a Pro Bowl bid for that season), Peyton Manning failed to top Paul Justin's 5.8 ANY/A mark in 3 of his first 5 seasons in the league.
How did he do it?
It's right in front of you in the line stats but even I didn't notice it because of the way line stats are examined. Interceptions are compared to TD totals mentally and automatically. 7 TDs to 5 INTs doesn't sound impressive or like a QB that avoids picks. By more appropriately comparing INTs to attempts we see that over his 96/97 seasons Justin threw INTs on less than 2% of his passes. Peyton Manning only has 2 of his 11 seasons with an INT% under 2% ('03 and '06).
Oftentimes QBs that avoid INTs do so by taking sacks. This gives them high comp% and QB Ratings, which don't reflect their actual skill levels (see David Carr and Charlie Frye). Justin took his fair share of sacks (6% of his dropbacks), but it was here that he really seperated himself from Harbaugh, who did a good job avoiding INTs those two years, but was sacked at a David Carr-esque rate of 9.7% of his dropbacks.
Paul Justin outperformed Harbaugh by throwing for a few less picks and taking significatly less sacks while throwing for similar yards per attempt and he did it against a harder schedule. In both 1996 and 1997 the D in DVOA and DYAR adjusts Justin's rates up and Harbaughs down. The standard stats support the FO stats assessment of Justin's harder schedule. Justin threw 30 passes in 4 games for Indy, 3 of them were against top 6 scoring Ds. 3 of his 8 starts for over 1/3rd of his attempts were against the top 5th of the league in defense.
Justin appeared to be a good quarterback that never got his chance because he was good at "hidden" aspects of QB play and by the bad luck of getting his chance to start against an unusually tough schedule.
Paul Justin's days in Indy were over before the greatest show on turf led by local hero Kurt Warner drew a pre-teen shake n bake into the world of the NFL, so I know nothing besides the stats about him. I know some of you are older and/or got into the league younger. What do you remember about the great Paul Justin.