For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. Yes, O-Line, receivers, and play-calling impact these numbers but they are primarily QB measures. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)
NOTE: All references to rankings are of the top 32 QBs by dropbacks through the current week.
In part 1, I showed you some stats I used to analyze Trevor Lawrence’s 2022 season. I wrote that the individual stats are not as important as much as how they relate to each other and the greater picture that forms when they are combined.
At one point in The Matrix, the character Cypher says about the matrix, “You get used to it. I don’t even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, redhead”. That’s basically how I feel about the stats. I see the inter-related story they tell more than the individual numbers.
To recap part 1, this is what I see for Trevor Lawrence.
Wait. . . hold on . . . OK, This is what I see:
Against tough opponents, he got rid of the ball quickly on short accurate passes that gained more than expected YAC. His quick throws minimized pressure, but when the play did break down, he utilized his mobility to avoid taking sacks. This resulted in very good yardage efficiency that was driven more from minimizing negative outcomes than it was from being a good passer. He was careful with the ball and moved the chains well with his arm, but that didn’t translate to a lot of TDs. Despite that, his overall value per play and succesful play quantity easily made him a top 10 QB last year.
I like to track a trailing season’s worth of games, to look for consistency in key stats. Here are 4 key stats that are displayed in the dashboard but broken out by week.
As you can see, there is a lot of variance in the numbers but the overall story is that Lawrence is significantly above the mean line more than he is below it.
I also look to see if the games are trending in a certain direction and with Lawrence there is no signficant trend in these stats. Looking at the 5 game rolling average line (dotted line), he was getting better in some of these, but it’s not dramatic.
I also like to look for trends and variance in passing/completion depth. The dashboard already told us he threw short and completed short but these breakouts show the week to week changes. As before, there is lots of variance but no real trend leading into 2023.
Some QBs unfairly catch grief for throwing short passes. This next chart breaks apart Yards per Attempt into the portion that is just passing depth (dark green). The light green portion could be considered the YAC portion, although it is technically YAC per attempt instead of per completion (so not true YAC).
I also like to break TDs out by depth of pass and position on the field. This gives an idea of who the “dangerous from any depth” QBs are. Trevor Lawrence’s TD depth is about average and it doesn’t rely on a lot of YAC to make the end zone, so no real issues here other than TD volume (size of dot).
I would worry about any QB that averages TDs from very short, but no one in 2022 really fit that bill.
This section breaks out the receiving stats. Lawrence’s #1 recevier was Christian Kirk, who eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2022. Zay Jones and Evan Engram had a close battle for #2 and #3. This tells me that Lawrence isn’t relying too much on a single receiver and can spread the ball around.
This next chart plots depth of target against the actual value of those targets. You want your wide recivers to have large depth and large value, which is the upper right quadrant. RBs will typically have short depth but can still have high value (upper left).
This is a good receiving spread for Lawrence, as all but one player has higher than average value and the passing depth is good (expected) relative to their positions.
Completion rate (top left chart) is not as good a measure of accuracy as Completion Percent Over Expected (CPOE bottom left chart). They tend to be correlated with each other as higher CPOE will cause higher cmp%, but CPOE accounts for variables that CMP% does not.
This shows me that while there is high week to week variance, Lawrence is more often above average in accuracy than below and there is no clear trend showing improvement or deterioration.
The graph on the right is the passing depth in 5-yard buckets and shows Lawrence’s completion rate against league averages (gray bars). Since the buckets already adjust for distance, this is a decent measure of accuracy even though it uses CMP%. This chart tells me that Lawrenve had trouble beyond 25 yards, but between 21-25 yards he was crazy good going 11 for 19. Between 0 and 15 yards, which is the bulk of his passes, he was much more accurate than the avg QB.
The top left chart tracks Time to Throw while sack volume is in the bar chart below that. This tells me Lawrence consistantly throws quickly and that his sacks don’t seem to be related to changes in TTT.
In isolation TTT doesn’t have much meaning, which is why I have the chart on the right that plots avg TTT against avg passing depth (ADOT). QBs above the trend line are taking “too long” to throw relative to other QBs. This tells me that Lawrence does not have that problem as he is getting rid of the ball much quicker than average even when adjusting for passing depth.
This breaks out his attempts by area on the field. The right hand column is just by depth, the bottom row is just by side of field and the central area is broken out by both. This measures his EPA per attempt in each area against NFL averages and color-codes the result.
This shows me that Lawrence prefers the right side of the field (44% of att) and does well there with an EPA/att above league average (+0.23 vs +0.13). Distance-wise, his relative success comes more from passes withn 10 yards, but he is still above average past 10 yards.
Hopefully this gave you some insight into Trevor Lawrence that you did not have before.
I will be posting these stats each week before the game for opposing QBs and after the game for Anthony Richardson (or whoever the Colts QBs was).