The Contrarian View Of QB Matt Barkley

As noted in the NFL Data Consultants prediction of the Philadelphia Eagles QBs, both Nick Foles and Matt Barkley have analytical comparisons to Pro Bowl Quarterbacks using our comparative analysis methodology. For Nick Foles, the comparison is Aaron Rodgers, who was afforded some development time behind Brett Favre. Foles has undertaken a very different development track, but the same upside remains and one game shouldn’t decide his fate, whether it was the poor performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 or the record breaking performance against the Oakland Raiders in Week 9. The key is using an analytical approach, not an emotional approach is to understand the upside, potential, or lack of it for a Quarterback and to understand measuring his development; this allows an objective approach when a single game may just be an outlier in either direction. (Example: The Nationally Televised MNF Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Yorks in which Geno Smith threw 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a 147.7 QB Rating. To date, that is the only game in which he has a positive touchdown to interception ratio with 9 games played, and his current QB Rating of 71.0 is in the low 70s, which is in the range of Geno Smith’s analytical prediction.)

With that introduction, I want to show the contrarian view of Matt Barkley. This is an analytical comparison you will see no where else, and you must buckle down with an analytical mindset and take in all the facts before you emotionally sound off. Out of nearly 900 QBs included in this analytical study, Matt Barkley only has one other Quarterback in his group, meaning it is a very well defined group. That other quarterback? Peyton Manning. If you take the emotional approach, you are probably exiting now before even seeing the data and analysis. You see where Peyton Manning is now and assume he has always played like a super star. Peyton Manning had his share of very tough games as a rookie (similar to Matt Barkley).

At this point, Matt Barkley has thrown 49 attempts, and I wanted to chart his start to the first two starts of Peyton Manning’s career, which includes Peyton Manning’s first 70 passes in the league.


Was that a lot closer than you would expect? Peyton Manning was taken 1st overall in the NFL Draft, thus the Indianapolis Colts committed to him and let him progress and develop. Peyton Manning has lost arm strength since his neck injury, but his game is not predicated on arm strength, but on the mastery of his offense and pre-snaps reads, and adjustments. Matt Barkley’s arm strength will improve as he has entered the league with a shoulder injury, but his arm strength will never be his calling card. If Peyton’s career progression is any indication, Barkley will need about 600 pass attempts to reach his next level and has the upside to reach a very high level. With the analytical comparison and play of Nick Foles, it will be very difficult for Matt Barkley to get those reps as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Thus stated in the original prediction, it would serve the Philadelphia Eagles better to go with Nick Foles and Matt Barkley for the long term and to get Matt Barkley reps when blowouts or injury make it possible. This was similar to the approach suggested for the Houston Texans Quarterbacks with Case Keenum and Matt Schaub, although Case Keenum’s QB group was not as strongly defined as Matt Barkley’s and Keenum needed reps for evaluation due to the massive upside of his group. Needless to say, the evaluation of Quarterbacks by the Philadelphia Eagles in the past two NFL drafts has been stellar, as they have loaded the position with massive talent and upside using only 3rd and 4th round picks in the NFL Draft. Kudos to the Philadelphia Eagles scouting department and General Manager, Howie Roseman.

An Extensive Analysis On The Houston Texans Quarterbacks: Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, And Case Keenum

This article is in place to demonstrate the difference between an emotional and analytical approach. Fans often have an emotional approach, and the Quarterback situation for the Houston Texans verifies that. NFL Data Consulants will show clear data that will show a much clearer analytical picture. I will highlight the analytical outlook of Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, and Case Keenum.

Matt Schaub has a lot of Texans fans upset, but that is because they don’t see the full picture. Schaub has posted seasonal Quarterback ratings of 92.7, 98.6, 92, 96.8, and 90.7 leading up to this year. Since Quarterback Rating differential correlates highly with wins, it is obvious that these are very good QB Ratings for the offensive side of the equation. The question then becomes, is the 78.8 this season his reality or is it an outlier? As stated in the New York Jets analysis of Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, this analysis is performed using a combination of analytics and neural network/machine learning methodology. This allows for groupings of very similar characteristics and football DNA that the human eye cannot see. It also absolves the human bias. Using nearly 900 QBs and only using data before entering the league, I have been able to establish Quarterback groupings that provide a picture of a Quarterback’s future. What will be amazing is just how close Schaub’s career Quarterback Rating is to his analytical group.

Now that we have seen Matt Schaub’s group, there is two things to note. First, Philip Rivers was in a two year slump himself. Second, that is a fine group to be associated with and Schaub has lived up to the comparison group with his career performance.

So, when the fans were cheering the Matt Schaub injury, just what were they getting with T.J. Yates. Lets look at his comparison group.

Wow, now look at the difference between that comparison group and the comparison group of Matt Schaub. It is night and day. The Houston Texans have no business replacing Matt Schaub except for injury. We have to look at the Case Keenum group to get a good comparison to see which Quarterback should be playing in the event of injury.

Case Keenum’s comparison has a mixed bag that includes high upside, but also a first round bust and an undrafted QB that left the league to go coach before ever playing a down in the NFL. Because of the upside, Keenum needs to be the #2 Quarterback on the depth chart. While the Scouting Department should be congratulated for landing his upside at such as steep discount, QB Case Keenum should be playing only under one of these three circumstances:

1) Matt Schaub is injured or

2) The Houston Texans have been eliminated from the playoffs or

3) The Houston Texans are in a blowout game (ahead or behind)

Head Coach Gary Kubiak and the Houston Texans Coaching Staff have gone with the right Quarterback with Matt Schaub set to miss time with his injury. The analytical approach is pretty strong and clear on who should be taking the reigns when Matt Schaub is not available. The Houston Texans organization has a lot of class, and it is an organization that I respect very much.

NFL Data Consultants Post NFL Week 1 And Cut Down Day Notes

Cut down day and Week 1 have now come and gone so it is time for further updates. NFL Data Consultants had identified 4 key waiver wire gems among the cuts and all four them ended up with NFL organizations very quickly. Only one of the them ended up with an organization that does not have an analytics department, while 3 of them landed with organizations that do use analytics.

  • One of the oddest decisions of Week 1 was the inactivation of DE Vinny Curry of the Philadelphia Eagles. In the preseason, he was practically unblockable and applied constant pressure on the quarterback. With the fast break offense of the Eagles, the organization should have confidence that it will be in the lead and thus in a situation where pass rushers should be on the field.
  • New York Jets QB Geno Smith ran a little bit ahead of his QB Rating, going 24 for 39 with 214 yards passing and a touchdown and interception. His QB Rating was 78.6, a little better than the low to mid 70s upside he is projected at. Now he will be challenged with a short week and the New England Patriots.

An Evaluation Of The Pass Rush Potential Of Houston Texans OLB Trevardo Williams Versus OLB Sam Montgomery

When the Houston Texans drafted OLB Sam Montgomery with the 95th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, they left value on the board.  When they drafted OLB Trevardo Williams with the 124th overall selection in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they made a much better decision.

Trevardo Williams meets the essential analytics that are common among good pass rushers in the league.  Sam Montgomery does not. It does not mean Sam Montgomery won’t have a better career, but when doing a risk assessment and analysis, the odds are against it. Football analytics should be used to tilt odds in your favor for long term success.

Trevardo Williams has the potential to be a very good pass rusher. He not only meets the analytic metrics that correlate with success, but he brings production to the table. It isn’t merely the production, but the consistency of it combined with his analytical profile that suggests he will be able to be a productive pass rusher in the NFL. The prediction here is that OLB Trevardo Williams will have more career sacks and pressures than OLB Sam Montgomery. Trevardo Williams will also likely win a starting job at outside linebacker within his first three years in the league.

The Flying-20 On Trial: An Indicator Of Success For Wide Receivers?

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2012, an executive for the 49ers, Parag Marathe,  brought up a metric called the Flying-20.  This is the last 20 yards of a 40 yard dash.  He exclaimed that it is a metric that can be used to predict success, citing Jerry Rice as the example.  Whether Jerry Rice had a fantastic Flying-20 or not is irrelevant in this study.  What is on trial is the validity of the Flying-20 by looking at some of the best Flying-20 scores over the last few years.


Flying-20: 1.71

WR A.J. Love and WR Rondel Menendez

Undrafted out of South Florida, Love was waived twice by the Vikings this offseason and failed to catch a pass in preseason.

Menendez (Eastern Kentucky) had a leg up on Love in that he was drafted at #247 in the 1999 draft by the Atlanta Falcons.  Even so, Menendez never had a reception.

Flying-20: 1.72

Tyrone Calico and Eron Riley

Calico ran a tremendous 4.34 out of Middle Tennessee State and was drafted by the Titans in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft.  He played in 27 games, starting 8 and netting 42 catches for 501 yards and 4 TDs.  I would say that it was mighty fine production from a 2nd round pick with such a good Flying-20 score, but I don’t have a sarcasm font available to me.

Eron Riley was undrafted out of Duke and signed with the Ravens after the 2009 draft.  He never played a game for them, lasted 5 days with his next team the Panthers, spent a little time on the Broncos practice squad, and was released in December of 2011 by the Jets.  Just like the WRs with 1.71 Flying-20 scores, Riley does not have an NFL reception.

Flying-20: 1.73

Jeris McIntyre

McIntyre was selected in the 6th round in the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs after playing college ball at Auburn.  His Flying-20 score and SEC roots were not enough to net him any catches at the NFL level.

We have just looked at the five fastest Flying-20 scores in my database and among the 5 WRs, the average NFL stats are 8.4 receptions, 100.2 yards, and .8 TDs.  That is not a per game stat… that is a per career stat.

Flying-20: 1.74

Trindon Holliday, Ben Obamanu, and Isaiah Jackson

Another SEC player, Trindon Holliday was taken in the 6th round of the 2010 draft by the Houston Texans.  He has shown some dynamic return ability, but he has 6 fumbles to 2 receptions in his career.

Ben Obomanu was a 7th round pick in the 2006 draft by the Seahawks after playing his college ball at Auburn.  In five seasons, he has 87 career receptions for 1,209 yards and 7 TDs.

Isaiah Jackson was undrafted in 2012 out of Central Arkansas.  Although he did put up great workout numbers in his Pro Day, Jackson has not garnered much attention.

Flying-20: 1.75

Darrius Heyward Bey, Troy Williamson, and D’Andre Goodwin

Heyward-Bey was taken 7th overall in the 2009 draft by the Oakland Raiders after playing his college ball at Maryland.  Taken this high, and with one of the best Flying-20 scores, he has to be a shoe-in for success, right?  In 4 seasons, he has caught 140 passes for 2071 yards, and 11 TDs.  That turns out to be 2.5 catches and 37 yards per game.  I am starting to wonder if Marathe was just trying to bait teams into taking the high Flying-20 WRs if they didn’t do their homework.

Troy Williamson was also taken 7th overall in the 2005 draft by the Minnesota Vikings.  He lasted 3 seasons with the Vikings before being traded for a 6th round pick and played 10 games for the Jaguars, netting 8 receptions.  In all, Williamson had 87 catches for 1,131 yards and 4 TDs.

Goodwin went undrafted after the 2011 draft and has yet to catch a pass.  Do you think he is the one likely to break this trend?

In Conclusion:

Now that we have looked at the top 11 Flying-20 scores in recent years, and have very little to show for it, one must be highly skeptical that the Flying-20 is a legitimate metric to evaluate WRs.  In fact, you would have to go 13 deep before you found a WR that made a Pro Bowl roster.  That was Devin Hester, and he made it as a return man.  There is an answer on how to find quality WRs at a fraction of the cost, but it does not appear to be the Flying-20.