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Carson Wentz Stat Tracker: Week 1

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)

For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season.


HOW WELL?

Well, that was horrible.

Despite being pressured most of the day, Carson Wentz managed a +0.07 epa per drop-back. That ranks 20th of the 30 QBs that have played through Sunday night. It’s much worse than Philip Rivers 2020 week 1 ( +0.21 ) and better than Jacoby Brissett’s 2019 opening day ( +0.01 ).

Wentz also managed a 13th best 53.3% Passing Success Rate, but a good portion of that, as well as his epa efficiency, came in 4th qtr garbage time. So there’s that.

These next charts are week over week trends, so they are pretty bare for now. In addition to the above mention epa numbers, it also shows his 20th ranked 1st down conversion rate (lower left 31.8%) and his 22nd ranked net yards per drop-back (lower right 5.6).


HOW FAR?

It started out good, but then it was not good.

The distance on both attempts (5.7 yds) and completions (4.1 yds) was extremely short, each ranking 27th (left chart).

The chart on the right compares the below-average depth of target against the below-average epa/d.

Short passes are OK as long as receivers get good yards after the catch and the completion rate is high. In week 1, the Colts’ receivers provided the 10th highest avg yac and the 9th most yac over expected. Unfortunately, too many incompletions diluted that impact, ending up with the 22nd ranked yards per attempt (6.6).


TO WHO?

Since it is week 1, the top (weekly) and bottom (season to date) receiver graphs are the same.

The running backs were the leading receivers. That’s rarely a good thing.

These next two graphs are also the same data for Week 1, but they have different scales (weekly vs. season to date).

The good news is that our wide receivers were targeted on deeper passes (right of the vertical green line), which wasn’t the case early on in the last 2 seasons. The bad news is you want your receivers above the green horizontal line as that is league average receiving value.


HOW ACCURATE?

A 65.8% completion rate may sound good, but given such short attempts, it was actually 4.3% below expected (20th ranked cpoe).


HOW FAST?

This was my biggest complaint against Wentz this week. He held the ball 2.92 seconds on average which is the 5th longest. For someone who didn’t have time to throw, he sure took a long time to throw.

Historically, with a 2.92 second time to throw, a QB can expect to be sacked or forced to scramble on 13.6% of his dropbacks and Wentz ended up with exactly that (6.8% sack rate, 6.8% scramble rate).

I’m not saying our O-Line wasn’t bad (it obviously was), but no O-line can consistently hold off pressure if the QB holds the ball a long time. If Wentz, can’t get rid of the ball quicker in the future, then look for more of the same, pressure-wise.


This is one of the dashboards that I use that ranks selected stats relative to other QBs. All ranks are of 30 QBs.

The 5th longest time to throw (ttd) with the 27th ranked depth of target (adot) means Wentz was either not seeing open receivers or he wasn’t throwing to them.

Sack (sk%) and scramble rates (scr%) are commensurate with a 5th longest 2.92 time to throw but they are higher than what I was hoping for, as the O-Line was allowing Brissett and Rivers to significantly beat expected sack+ scramble rates in the previous 2 seasons.

YAC numbers are good with a +0.2 yac over expected (9th yacoe), which is something Wentz has not had in the past 3 years, so that is encouraging.

Poor accuracy (20th cpoe ) caused low yards per attempt and the already mentioned high sack rate contributed to the dismal 5.6 net yards per dropback (22nd) all of which is related to pressure/protection.

The 0% turnover rate ignores the Wentz/Kelly fumble as that was a designed run play and not a drop-back. A technicality to be sure, but I am only measuring pass plays here.

GLOSSARY

opd: The epa/d given up by opponent defenses in all games other than the QB/team being measured

ed%: The % of plays on early downs(2) that are QB dropbacks.

wrsr: The % of designed carries that earn more epa than the median league value in similar game situations (down, distance, field position etc.), adjusted for 4th qtr game script and weighted by result (TD, first down, other)

ttd: The average time from snap to the point when a QB throws, scrambles or is sacked.

pr%: The % of dropbacks where the QB was pressured (per Pro Football Focus)

adot: The average air yards thrown per attempt.

20+: The % of attempts >+ 20 air yards

ay/c: The distance between the line of scrimmage to the point of reception.

cpoe: Completion % over an expected amount based on game situation (air yards, down, distance, field position etc.)

yac: The distance between point of reception and the spot of the football at the end of the play.

yacoe: The yac over the league average yac for a given game situation (yards thrown, down, distance, field position etc.)

ypa: Yards per Attempt

aa%: The % of dropbacks that result in a throw-away, sack or scramble.

ta%: Throw Aways as a percentage of dropbacks

scr%: Scrambles as a percentage of dropbacks

sk%: Sacks as a percentage of dropbacks

to%: Interceptions and QB lost fumbles as a percentage of dropbacks

ny/d: Net Yards per dropback. (Passing Yards - Sack Yards + Scramble Yards) / (Att + Sacks + Scrambles)

1st%: Passing first downs as a percentage of dropbacks

td%: Touchdown as a percentage of dropbacks

rze: Expected Points Added per dropback in the red zone

orze: Expected Points Added per dropback outside of the red zone

20+e: Expected Points Added per dropback on passes >=20 air yards

psr: The % of dropbacks that have epa> 0

epa/d: Expected Points Added per dropback.