So I had this idea last week to write an article giving five reasons the Colts could still make the playoffs (Mr. Editor can confirm, lest you think this is a reactionary piece following an emotional victory; I’m above such things of course), but on that Monday we were informed of Coach Pagano’s diagnosis and football suddenly seemed unimportant.
Well, after that big win I won’t look quite as smart now (but still pretty smart) as I give you my five reasons the Colts could still make the playoffs this season. You know what, screw that, equivocating is for cowards and politicians, and I’m certainly no politician. Here are the five reasons the Colts WILL make the playoffs in 2012. That’s right, I said it, and I stand by it. Call me crazy, optimistic, or a homer, but I for one believe it’ll happen. In order of ascending magnitude.
It’s quite unfortunate that the Colts were unable to close out the game against Jacksonville, 3-1 would help me out, but even so, being 2-2 given the teams we’ve faced is no small accomplishment.
Chicago, now 4-1, has proven that their defense is still a dominant force (leading the NFL with 18 sacks, 13 INTs, and 5 defensive TDs), while Minnesota, assumed by many to be a powder-puff team, is itself sporting a 4-1 mark after wins over the 49ers, Lions, and Titans the past three weeks, not to mention a top 10 defense.
I need not remind you what Green Bay has done the past two seasons (though I will anyway), winning the Super Bowl in 2010 and going 15-1 last season. They’re off to a less than stellar start this year but were a blown call away from 3-1 heading into yesterday’s contest with the Colts (I know, revisionist history, but it helps my argument, so just go with it).
That’s a 9-2 mark against teams not from Indianapolis. The only “bad” team the Colts have faced is Jacksonville and they’re a division foe who always plays us tough (and a game we should have won 5 different times).
Not too shabby. From here the schedule gets a bit fluffier. Next week we face a Jets team minus their two best players, Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes; a winnable game to be sure. Here’s our next five games on the schedule.
- @ New York (2-2)
- vs. Cleveland (0-5)
- @ Tennessee (1-4)
- vs. Miami (2-3)
- vs. Jacksonville (1-4)
Doesn’t get much easier than that. If we can go through that stretch 4-1 (6-3) or even 3-2 (5-4) we should be in great shape heading into the back half of a schedule that gets significantly harder.
4. The Pagano factor
I don’t really know how to quantify this other than to say that what we witnessed yesterday was something amazing. The Colts came out flat in the first half, no doubt pressing a bit in an effort to do the improbable and upset the Packers for their ailing coach. But what transpired in the second half of the game was nothing short of magical.
Facing a 21-3 deficit the Colts came out and played inspired, shutting down the Packers vaunted offense to the tune of 6 total points in the second half, 5 sacks, and 3 drives netting negative yardage. To put it mildly, the Colts dominated.
On the other side of the ball they demonstrated an incredible faith in their young quarterback, running a no huddle offense for much of the second half, resulting in 27 points and only 1 punt. Their 16 point third quarter more than quadrupled their entire season total of 3 points heading into the game.
After the game players admitted that, while they had been deliberately downplaying it during the week, the motivation to win for their coach was constantly on their minds. Words like destiny and fate get thrown around a lot in sports, generally to diminishing effect, but what the Colts have on their side going forward is not destiny, it’s simple human psychology; the team with the greater desire usually wins, and I don’t think the Colts will be facing many teams with a stronger will to win than their own or a better cause to fight for. It’s about more than football for them now, and that shouldn’t be underestimated.
It’s an intuitive and generally held belief that young teams tend to improve at a much faster rate than do their veteran heavy cohorts (assuming the coaches know what they’re doing). While the Colts are actually only the 18th youngest team (surprising I know), you have to consider that the primary nucleus is quite inexperienced.
Players like Reggie Wayne (34 in Nov.), Dwight Freeney (32), Cory Redding (32 in Nov.), Robert Mathis (31), Mewelde Moore (30), and Adam Vinatieri (40) tip the age scale a bit, the Colts are relying on many young players in key positions.
Luck (R), Hilton (R), Allen (R), Fleener (R), Freeman (1), and Castonzo (2), are all first or second year players still working through the NFL learning curve, their full potential hidden behind uncertainty and hesitation as they adjust to the speed of what must feel like a whole new game.
As they gain experience, learn from their coaches and veteran teammates, and begin to fully understand the schemes, we should see rapid improvement as the season goes on, that hidden potential being replaced by on field production (just in time for the hardest stretch of the schedule).
2. Andrew Luck
Simply put, Luck has been incredible through 4 games. His 302 yards per game is 3rd best in the NFL, his ESPN total QBR of 77.6 puts him 4th, and the guys over at Advanced Football Stats put his win probability added at 2nd behind only Ben Roethlisberger.
That’s all well and good, but as diehard fans we have seen every snap the young prodigy has taken and there’s very little doubt that he’s extraordinary beyond all our expectations. While he’s 25th in traditional QB rating (mostly due to that outlier in week 1 against the Bears), his propensity to make plays at the biggest moments has thrilled and confounded us in equal measure.
Through 3 games most of us knew that we made the right choice in the draft (arm strength be damned), but after what happened yesterday against the Packers there’s little doubt we have the next great quarterback. How many years did it take even Peyton Manning to master the no-huddle offense? Luck was doing it in his 4th game (perhaps not yet on the level that Peyton ran it) and it’s only bound to get better with time.
1. The rest of the AFC wild card teams
With Houston looking like a world beater it’s highly unlikely that the Colts win the AFC South, but with a dearth of quality teams in the middle of the AFC there’s a more than reasonable chance that they could snag a wildcard spot.
I think most pundits will peg in one of the two powerhouse teams in the AFC North, Baltimore or Pittsburgh, with the 1st wildcard, we will assume that’s the case as well. This leaves one spot for everybody else. Houston and New England appear to be no-brainers to win their divisions, so let’s look at who that leaves.
- Cincinnati (3-2) - possibly the Colts biggest obstacle. They have a good young QB, a great young WR, and a defense that is solid but not outstanding. The primary issue for Cincinnati is their division. With each team facing the others twice a year it is very difficult for three teams from the same division to make the playoffs, it will be tough for the Bengals to reach 9 wins.
- New York Jets (2-2) - Rex Ryan has shown that he can produce winning football teams, taking the Jets to the AFC Championship his first 2 seasons as head coach, but when your QB is Mark Sanchez, a player who seems to be getting worse not better, there’s only so much you can do. Barring some kind of crazy turn around I doubt highly that the Jets win 8 games.
- Denver (2-3) - Denver or San Diego will win the AFC West (Oakland and Kansas City a combined 2-7), but what the other does may determine the Colts playoff chances. Denver has Peyton Manning, and as we all know very very well, the man doesn’t lose more than 7 games a year, he just doesn’t. I know Denver is fading fast as a Super Bowl contender in most people’s minds, but their schedule has been brutal and Manning is still rounding into form (his last 2 games have been spectacular). I have a hard time seeing anything worse than 9-7 for the Broncos.
- San Diego (3-2) - San Diego on the other hand is a tough nut to crack. They’ve been a thorn in the Colts’ side for many years and may prove to be so again in 2012. So far they have beaten Oakland, Tennessee, and Kansas City, teams that are a combined 3-11, while losing to the 5-0 Falcons and 1-4 Saints. I don’t pretend to know what SD will do going forward but their schedule might be the easiest of the wild card contenders. I hate Philip Rivers, and Norv Turner is a joke, but this is a team that every year is picked to win 12 games, and every year they fail miserably to reach that goal. Here’s hoping 2012 is more of the same, 8-8 is my prediction.
So there you have it, incontrovertible proof that the 2012 Indianapolis Colts will be in the playoffs. Don’t even bother arguing against it, my case is iron tight. If the Colts can win 9 games they are in, a feat they I find not only possible but likely (yes, I understand the ramifications of the jinx I just created by typing that sentence, consequences be damned).
Good luck proving me wrong (I did go 11-3 in the staff picks this week, so you know, I’m pretty smart).
As the esteem Jim Mora once said, Playoffs, Playoffs. Can't we all just be a realist for once. I love the Colts but this is still a bad team. I'm still looking at 4 wins and we may get up to six. The Colts only won one game this past Sunday.
@silentkmantab Who's to say what's realistic? Personally I find your prediction of a 2-10 finish to be unrealistic. Realistic or unrealistic is simply a matter of perception, suppose the Colts go 14-2, an outcome that seems unrealistic now but if it were to happen obviously wasn't. Sure, it's possible they finish 2-10, and it's possible they make the playoffs, but in the NFL predicting is an exercise in choosing which things to emphasize and which to ignore, it's inexact, subjective, and ultimately always wrong (in one way or another).
I choose to look on the bright side, could I just as easily write an article titled "5 Reasons The Colts Lose 10 Games"? Sure I could, just off the top, 1. Injuries, 2. Inexperience, 3. Loss of HC, 4. Run Defense, 5. Offensive Line; and the list could go on. Both sides of the story are valid, I simply choose the one that I find most interesting and most likely, after all, football is entertainment, it's a game we pay to watch for our own amusement. The success or failure of my predictions will not impact the quality of my life, but what they will do is increae my enjoyment of the game, and that, in the end, is what it's all about.
@Colt_FollowingI understand your point, but I think the team is moving in the right direction. I just don't see it with this OL how the Colts can get pass the six win mark. The Donald Brown injury does not help at all.
@silentkmantab @MarcusDugan My bad man, didn't mean to lump you in the "negativity for negatitivies sake group", that was more a commentary on some local bloggers in particular (though I will say, predicting a 2-10 finish is perhaps a bit pessimistic, though if that's what you see, that's what you see, nothing wrong with that at all).
When there are only 16 games it's hard not to swing back and forth with each one, especially since you have a week to talk about it and write about it. I just don't like the folks who will look for the most overtly negative narrative to take from each game, up to and including playoff/Super Bowl wins (and yes, even winning a Super Bowl can be painted negatively in the right person's hands, I've seen it done). I apologize if I mixed you in with that lot, I don't know you well enough to make that judgment one way or the other, but I don't think you've been demonstrating that in this discussion.
@silentkmantab @Colt_Following No problem, man. Thanks for reading and sharing. Please tell people what nice guys we are and that they should visit this fine site :) You have a legitimate opinion (I think Josh does too). The team at a crossroads where they could go either way, and we'll either be impressed and hopeful after a promising, though losing season, or excited about a possible winning season.
Meanwhile, it looks like Davis is questionable for the Jets game (that's from 3 hrs ago. There isn't some breaking news on the guy, is there?)
Here's Yahoo Sports' injury update:
@Colt_Following @silentkmantab We'll put it this way. They're weak along both lines (mostly) with the possibility of improvement from the OL and weak in the secondary. But they're strong at LB and offensive skill positions. If they can play near average in their weak areas, their above average areas should make them look really good. Hopefully, in a few weeks, this playoff possibility will still be a hot topic.
@silentkmantab The offensive line has been bad, you won't get an argument from me on that, but it's also been incredibly injured. Even with the injuries and constant changes, they were ever so close to a 3-1 start against teams that are much better than what we will be facing in the next 4 games. The offensive line is only going to get better as guys come back from injury and continuity is maintained (how could it honestly get worse, they've been starting guys straight off the practice squad).
@silentkmantab A valid point (but this may be our only chance to get this excited). One of my worries is no one steps up when a team figures out how to take away the option of Reggie Wayne. While a good QB can make a bad team look good (see 09-10 Colts), This is mostly hope right now. We need to make sure we don't feel like this team has failed if it goes the other way. If you're in the mood for a more objective look, Here's my link to Nate Dunlevy's take (for the AFC South Blog, so not fan writing) http://www.coltsauthority.com/links/articles/dunlevys-indianapolis-colts-state-of-the-union-quarter-season-review.html
@MarcusDuganI finally watch the game on NFL network last night and Wane was targeted 20 times. Your point on Reggie is spot on. I can't see the Jets letting that happen. My only goal this year is to see improvement every week and for Luck to make it out alive. Back to reaserch on the OL.
Right on. I'm sending you an email.
@MarcusDugan I like to think I am relatively objective, it's the negative nancies who are the biased ones, but I get your point. I'll take a look at those articles.
@Colt_Following I gave him a link to an objective post if he wants to read it. Meanwhile, as you said, if they can beat most of this string of junkers on the schedule, they might have the confidence to knock off a couple of the big dogs (besides the Packers) as the season progresses. btw, check out Kacsmar's articles on CHFF and BR if you have the time. He has a similar outlook based on, of course, Luck.
@MarcusDugan @silentkmantab For sure, I don't want to suggest that we should EXPECT them to make the playoffs, it's more just a fun exercise in "what if?", and one I don't think is completely ridiculous. 6-10 is still probably the most "realistic" projection, but then again, maybe not. I get where you're coming from though, I'm not trying to implant unrealistic expectations as a way of disappointing people down the road. I just find negativity for the sake of negativity to be obnoxious and unfair, and there's plenty of that to go around, so I provide the counter-balance.
@Colt_Following @silentkmantab Josh, I still agree with you. I'm just hoping they don't find a way to limit Reggie. I think the team has the weapons to make up the difference if Cromrartie or anyone else manages to slow him with safety help. I just don't know if some of those guys will be consistent enough. I'm hoping they are, and I think Indy has an actual shot at the playoffs this year. This is a quarterback league, and we've seen what a difference a franchise qb can make. I honestly believe with even average quarterback play last season, the team could've one 7 games.
That being said, if it doesn't work out. If we see more of the team that showed up in the first half, or if these young guys makes a few big mistakes in close games; I don't want anyone thinking they've failed.
The jets are a mess. Cleveland is Cleveland, and so on. Don't let my concerns take away the optimism.
@silentkmantab @MarcusDugan Sure, Reggie was targeted 20 times (when you pass it 50+ times there are going to be a lot of targets to go around), but he was also being defended by Charles Woodson on many of those, a corner that is better than any player the Jets currently have available to them, and still managed 13 catches and 212 yards. It's easy to say "take away Reggie Wayne" just as I am sure it's easy to say "take away Calvin Johnson", but actually doing it requires the personnel to pull it off, something I don't think the Jets have (nor many of the teams the Colts face in the next 2 months).
Even supposing they managed to shut Wayne down, the other options on the Colts have proven, in my mind at least, that they are capable (Avery, Allen, Hilton, and Fleener have all had big games this season at one point or another), though certainly not the most consistent yet. It’s a concern, no doubt, but I also think that they are only going to get better, not worse, and the schedule is so soft for the next 5 weeks that they have some time to figure it out.
I think DEN pulls away in the AFC West. After next week's Charger game, that schedule gets really, really easy (NO, CAR, CIN, TB, KC twice, CLE, OAK all still to come). The Chargers, I think, are the best of that remaining lot. I don't trust the JEts and Bills. Really, the competition is between Miami, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and us in my mind. No idea what it takes, but 9-7 should put the COlts in a good spot.
@dmstorm22 I tend to agree with you, though like you said, Chargers schedule is very easy, not so much for Denver.
@dmstorm22 I think the NFL needs to institute a "Head-to-Head First Half Preseason" tiebreaker in case it comes down to the Steelers and us.
Ok, here's my post consisting of a dash of cold water, then a ray of sunshine:
Cold water: Everyone's being too glib about the Jets and the Phins. I feel the specific matchups in the NYJ and MIA games will be problematic for the Colts. First off, going by the Cold Hard Football Facts stats, Miami rates painfully high on the "Defensive Hog Index" (Gawd, I hate that stat's name, even though I love what it measures). That means that they're pretty successful at pressuring the passer. That's offset to a degree by Luck's poise and awareness, but that still puts him up against the entire blitz, because he'll get little help from his offensive line. The Jets place dead last in that category (thank GOD!), but the next CHFF stat is still worrisome: Defensive Passer Rating. It's a bit harder to describe that stat, but it basically sets the defensive unit as a whole up against what the opponents quarterback accomplishes. Right now, Miami's 9th in that measure and the Jets are 11th. The Defensive Real Quarterback Rating is similar: Miami's 9th and the Jets are 12th. Anyway, my point in bringing up all that is to illustrate the matchup problem: When you look at the "Why" behind the stats, you see that both teams have relatively competent defenses that can generate pressure and disrupt offensive drives. They're not necessarily dominant, but when you put that up against Indianapolis's marginal-at-best offensive line, you have the potential for real trouble. And that's why I'm saying people are too glib about Indy's chances against those teams: The matchup itself must be evaluated; no one can judge simply by win-loss records how the games will turn out.
Does that mean certain doom for the Colts? Of course not. What it does mean is that those games are definitely in question and slanted against the Colts because of the bad matchup with the lines. Much will depend on certain units rising above themselves like they did against Green Bay last Sunday. If Luck manages to escape the rush (and he's been doing awesome at that so far), if the O-line doesn't have any massive breakdowns, if the receiving targets simply hold their own (or even break out, as I feel both Fleener and Allen are just waiting to do), and if Brown manages to just be competent enough at stoning the blitz, then Indianapolis can win. They won't have to face offenses with the firepower of Green Bay's when they face Miami and New York, so they just have to overcome those defenses. BUT, it's an uphill battle. All because of the O-line deficiencies.
But now, the ray of sunshine: In all those stats, where did Green Bay rank? Above Miami and New York. In each one. Minnesota - who the Colts beat - ranked above all 3 in Defensive Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, and was not too far off in the other stats. And it's not like Green Bay imploded when the Colts played them; that was a genuinely earned victory. The point is that despite the bad mismatch between the lines, Indianapolis has proven they could beat a team - Green Bay - superior to both Miami and New York in the specific measures I'm worried about. The offense is still growing, and the defense is showing signs that their past performances are not indicative of their true capacities. Indianapolis has shown that their potential is higher than what we've all given them credit for so far, the only question is whether they play up to it. If Chapman comes back after game 6, that changes a LOT about the defense right there, especially against a between-the-tackles rushing team like Jacksonville. If Angerer comes back, that just helps the entire linebacking corp. If Fleener and Allen start to be targeted more, that should improve an already better-than-expected offensive passing unit. Despite my points above, it's not impossible for the Colts to sweep the next 5 games. And even though I'll be concerned about the O-line deficiencies for the rest of the year, if the other Colts units continue to improve, then they can definitely produce a good season.
This year's Colts are flawed, no doubt. But they've got Luck under center, and they've shown the ability to play above themselves. There's much reason for hope, even though there's also much reason for worry. It's what will make this season exciting to watch.
@AJ_ I don't necessarily disagree with most of what you're saying, and of course in the NFL nothing is assured (the Colts could theoretically go 0-5 in this stretch and make me look real silly), but like others have mentioned Revis is out, and that dramatically impacts the Jets coverage unit. Additionally, the Jets have been SOOO bad stopping the run (giving up 172 yards per game) that it makes sense that teams wouldn't be passing a lot against them (using the 2011 Colts as an example, who ranked 15th in passing yards last season despite being awful). True, defensive passer rating is an efficiency stat and not a volume stat but when teams aren't passing a lot the numbers are going to tend to skew lower, as that volume increases with the absence of Revis I expect those numbers to come up.
As to Miami, you may be right that I didn't give them enough credit (not even including them a possible wild card contender), their defense is solid and they have been surprising people with a relatively competent offensive attack (20.6 PPG just behind Indy at 22.8). Miami could cause problems for us offensively, and maybe this is a personal bias I need to examine, but when it comes to close match ups (which I think that is) I will always favor the better QB, in this case, despite a surprisingly good start for Tannehill (254 ypg), I will take Luck in that game all day long (Tannehill's 6 INT to only 2 passing TDs is not a great ratio, and he's actually below Blaine Gabbert in passer rating right now).
@AJ_ forgot about chapman. that could be a big lift.
@AJ_ Good stuff. Damn, that water's cold. But let's not forget that the Jets are without Revis now. He has helped on that defensive passer rating. They also have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. The Dolphins are a bit scary to me, even being young. But you are right about overlooking these teams. Dang it.
I just realized that this comment might have been better suited for Todd's "Optimism vs. Reality" post. Oh well... when you start writing, the words just flow.
Playing coulda woulda shoulda isn't too helpful, but you guys mentioned it last night too: Even with as good as he's been, Luck has left probably about six completions for, say, 250 yards and 3 touchdowns on the field by over or underthrowing wide-open guys deep on busted coverages. Avery must be dying right now; as much trouble as he has getting separation on routes, he has DUSTED safeties at least once a game and all of the throws to him have been JUUUUST off.
When Luck starts connecting on those it's gonna get crazy.
@Coltsheadben I'm on my phone so I can't look it up but I remember seeing an advanced stat that showed Luck as the 3rd or 4th highest deep ball percentage in the NFL right now, something like 36% of his completions have come on passes of 15+ yards. I know, very informative; I'll look it up later and get back with you.
@Colt_Following @Coltsheadben The corner, post, and deep out routes are clicking, no doubt. Really, he's been hitting all the routes except the 9; my point was this offense is a couple of slightly overthrown balls from making the leap from "solid offense" to "world-beater". And I have no reason to think those go routes aren't going to start paying off sooner rather than later.
I remember one of Luck's picks in Chicago was a double move that Avery ROASTED Jennings on, only to be underthrown. BA said afterwards that Luck needs to be overthrowing, not underthrowing, those balls, and I think Luck took that very seriously. If he dials it back half a notch he's going to be hitting some beautiful, beautiful home runs (like we saw to TY Hilton in the Vikes game).
@Coltsheadben Yeah, I don't disagree with you. The stat I was referring to (looked it up) is actually just % of pass ATTEMPTS that 15+ yards, so it doesn't actually account for how many are completed, just a general indication of who is throwing it deep. He's actually 6th, 24.3%. I would love to see some of those long balls hitting more consistently as well, and like you said, it's been there, just have to connect.
@Coltsheadben Yeah, I was also glad to see Luck recover and keep moving the sticks after missing Avery on that deep ball on Sunday. That was almost a certain TD.
I saw the title last night, but it was unpublished so I couldn't view it - hence, it was the #1 article I was looking forward to today, and did not disappoint ... also, look at ESPN's power rankings. We're playing 6 of the 8 'Worst Teams in the League' during the remainder of the season.
@LouPin Too. Much. Love. Seriously though, thank you for the words of encouragement. I was kind of hoping people would argue with me so I could show off my internet debating skills (they're legendary if you didn't know), but so far everyone is being too agreeable.
@Colt_Following Okay - for the sake of argument - you forgot to include that the Colts clearly have the football gods on their side. Wayne's one handed catch? The field goal at the end, somehow curving worse than Vanderjagt's cut against Pittsburgh in the '05 divisional round? Supernatural, clearly.
@zgs1288 I thought about adding an honorable mention for injuries regressing to the mean (we've been incredibly injured the past 2 seasons, and the start of this one), but the damn thing was already 1,600 words and I figured hey, why use up all the good material right?
@Colt_Following Yeah, we have to hope a few key guys stay healthy: Luck, Wayne, Bethea, Costanzo are irreplaceable. And it would also be tough to lose Mathis, Powers, Freeney, or Brown for an extended period.
@Colt_Following Name's Patty Tanager, the Caddy Manager. Yeah, it's rhymes, big whoop, wanna fight about it?
Fantastic. I'm sold. Things are going to come together faster, I believe, than we might have thought. It's hard not to get carried away after such a big win but this team looks like it has the potential to be a contender. I'm officially going to allow myself to get carried away.
With Cory Redding and Reggie Wayne stepping up as leaders for this young team, I hope to see the team begin to really come together and focus on what they can accomplish this season for themselves and Coach Pagano.
Luck has been fantastic and I have every reason to believe he will get better. Did anyone see the ESPN QBR comparison between Luck's first quarter of the season and the other No. 1 picks before him? Here, check it out: http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/52907/total-qbr-proves-its-not-luck-hes-good
@bradicus18 Ride the wave, why the hell not? Expectations were NIL for this team, especially after getting demolished week 1. I'm dusting off the Super Bowl or Bust banner. I'm gonna savor every dropback and BELIEVE IN BLUE again.
Feels good man.
@bradicus18 Hey Bradicus, yeah, I did see that article, it's quite interesting (even if the NFL refuses to recognize total QBR). The way I look at it is why not ride the wave? No point dropping atom bombs of negativity when the universe is sending us anti-missile systems of positivity (it's a poorly thought out metaphor, I admit).
Anyway, nobody remembers when you totally get it wrong right? Right?
@Colt_Following Exactly. I'm all about riding the wave at this point. Luck is proving that he is worthy of the hype and that was my biggest concern going forward.
I know lots of people aren't believers in the QBR metric but I feel it is just another tool to use in addition to the others, such as traditional passer rating, to help get a better picture of a QB's performance.
Oh, and I like the metaphor.
@bradicus18 @Payton Pretty sure their big TQBR reveal special included that 2007 season and Peyton Manning was their highest rated QB over that stretch from 2007-2010, like 7 points higher than Brady if I'm not mistaken. I suppose I could look it up but I am too lazy. Obviously their stat doesn't go back to 2004, but that would be an interesting comparison.
@Payton @bradicus18 I agree with you in principle, though I would have to assume there's pretty rigid guidelines based on down and distance, position on the field, etc., but ultimately it's a judgment call if that scramble was a run attempt or a sack, or if that pass was thrown off target or intentionally behind his receiver, etc. I would imagine that these sorts of things are weighted by ESPN's system and cannot, by definition, be completely uniform, someone has to make those decisions.
That's certainly not ideal, but neither is QB rating which just throws a bunch of stats in a formula and kicks out some seemingly arbitrary number on a 158.3 scale. It doesn't account for running (a major part of NFL quarterbackinging in the NFL these days, as we all know, and a stat Luck has excelled at according to ESPN's TQBR, his run EPA of 11.2 being first in the NFL by a wide margin, Rodgers second at 7.9), fumbles (ask Eagles fans how much that matters for a QB), dropped passes, and context (i.e. a QB throwing a bunch of garbage time yards and TDs; something that always drove me crazy during the Manning era when he would sit out 4th quarters).
@Colt_Following @bradicus18 @Payton Ah! That makes sense. Valid point. Again, not a perfect metric but it seems to "confirm what the eyes see." I think it is good in that it spurs discussion...such as this. When objective stats fail to prove that Kevin Kolb is really not that good (89.7 passer rating), a subjective stat can help to paint a little more accurate picture (41.7 QBR).
I totally agree that it would be nice to be able to confirm the value of QBR and better understand how ESPN weighs each situation and result. However, I don't think the metric is useless.
@bradicus18 @Payton I think he meant "it would be better if it WASN'T* both proprietary and subjective." I. e. ESPN has too much influence in how it ends up being calculated and it's not an objective stat, meaning it can't be replicated by other people to confirm its value. I think is what he meant.
@Payton @Colt_Following I'm not sure I understand what you are advocating. I think ESPN has made some attempt to add subjectivity into the equation. I don't think a perfect metric exists (I don't think you do either) but I think QBR is a good additional tool and I do think that it proves to be useful. I also like the traditional passer rating and DVOA metrics as well.
I might be missing your point here. Help me out.
@bradicus18 Not to mention that it predicts winners 86% of the time (according to ESPN), more than traditional QBR, turnover differential, and of course total yards (which is generally a crap stat anyway). Interestingly, total points scored predicts winners 100% of the time.