It’s impossible to create an article about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stats in context without also making one for Geno Smith. Well, now everyone’s getting their wish. It’s important to look at players within the context of their situation to separate their issues and strengths from their teams. While stats never tell the full story, adding a numerical value lets us remove the emotional highs and lows to fully process what occurred. It also allows us to quantify events in order to battle narratives and myths…
This second helping of Context Stats has evolved from the first, so some things have changed.
But first, let’s add the background. Outside of Eric Decker, the 2014 teams most often used players were generally limited talents. David Nelson, Jeremy Kerley, Greg Salas, and Jeff Cumberland offered little in saving inaccurate passes or even gaining separation. Salas however was a magician when it came to YAC, so he had a saving grace. Somehow despite that he was seldom used in favor of David Nelson, who offered nothing. Jace Amaro was barely used throughout the year as the Jets favored Cumberland over him. Eventually, Percy Harvin joined the team and brought a much needed full field threat who was actually skilled.
This all occurred behind a shaky offensive line that would sometimes demand Cumberland face elite edge rushers one on one (Seriously). Marty Morwhinweg’s offense tried to do what it could with this team but lacking resources didn’t help. Given a choice to save the OL or the WRs, he chose to save neither. The WRs were placed in stressful situations to get themselves open on longer developing routes while the OL was stressed with longer protections. This put even more stress on the QB.
This article will look at Geno Smith’s context stats alone, not in comparison to Ryan Fitzpatrick. That will come at another time.
Let me explain how the context stats work. The “%” column looks at success from the QBs perspective, not completion percentage. Drops and defensive penalties are removed from the equation and the QB isn’t penalized. So, 4/7 with 1 drop and 1 DPI is actually 6/7. YPA and QB rating ignore them entirely, turning that 4/7 to 4/5. INTable measures whether or not a pass could have been intercepted regardless of whether it was finished. However, it requires that the QB throw the ball under his own power there, so a ball that is tipped and then intercepted doesn’t count, unless the tip itself was interceptable. Drops also take account difficulty of catch, so an off target throw that the WR fails to save isn’t a drop.
Not included in these stats are touchdowns lost. Geno Smith lost four in total, including the Green Bay timeout fiasco. Geno’s rushing isn’t quantified either, this focuses strictly on passing performance.
But before you go, here’s an addendum that wasn’t in that article.
Geno Smith/Percy Harvin Split
I did some extra stat splitting to compare Geno’s stats once a viable 2nd outside target joined the team. See, before Harvin was there the #2 spot was taken up by a mix of David Nelson and Greg Salas. Nelson is awful, and Salas is okay but drop prone. Harvin on the other hand actually adds things to an offense.
The cutoffs are Week 1 to Week 7 (Thursday Night vs New England) for the before Harvin split and Week 8 to Week 17 (starting at the BUF meltdown) for the after Harvin split.
Geno’s interceptable rate didn’t move nearly at all after Harvin joined, stressing the point that Geno has his own issues that he has to work through regardless of supporting talent. However, he had a full 2.1 YPA gain along with 4% higher success rate after Harvin came onto the team. All of his stats in this section took significant jumps in efficiency.
Again, more improvements across the board. The most obvious of which come in the Man, Pressured, and Movement sections. With Harvin on the team, there was finally another player other than Decker who could actually get open against Man, and having him force coverages respect opened more space for everyone else. The gain in movement off spot (which measures when the QB is forced to make major moves in the pocket due to either pressure or a potential collapse) is massive. a 42% increase in success rate along with 10 yards per attempt is beyond reasonable.
The Vertical route had one of the biggest increases in efficiency but still had an equal Interceptable rate after Harvin joined. I’ve said it too many times that despite my belief in Geno Smith’s ability to lead the 2016 Jets, his deep ball isn’t special. It’s not even good. It’s okay. People holding onto the belief that it will be the big game changer in this offense are doing it off of hope, not experience. It will be better than Fitzpatricks but it will still be pretty weak.
Beyond that, it’s a mix and match of routes getting better and worse. One noticeable stat is a lowered amount of Improv throws from 8 to 2. Once Harvin entered the offense, plays didn’t have to be extended as often which allowed Geno to work inside the system more efficiently. When he’s given too much freedom to roam, he tends to make some very bad decisions.
Finally, distance. These practically speak for themselves, as all I can do now is repeat what I’ve already written.
Harvin was a necessary part of the 2014 Jets team and it’s unfortunate the Jets couldn’t pick him up far sooner. Without him, a group of Decker/Nelson/Kerley/Cumberland (and sometimes even worse than this) took the field and lacked the ability to stretch it in all directions. Three of those four players could barely separate against the coverage they faced and only two of them could adjust to imperfect throws (Decker and Kerley).
Harvin added a full field threat that wasn’t there before, dynamic playmaking, all while showing off his ability to save bad throws. Why Jets fans were sour on Harvin before Marshall came along, I don’t understand.