PFF Focuses on Redskins QBs RGIII and Kirk Cousins

PFF has been looking at QB performances this month, and now puts the spotlight on the Redskins starting QBs from last season.

Pro Football Focus enjoys a love/hate relationship with many NFL fans.  A lot of their analysis comes into question due to the fact that they don't know the specifics of the plays being called, and individual player's responsibilities.  Their grading system is very subjective and leads to head scratchers like Will Montgomery being named a competent Center, or the Redskins having a top 5 Offensive Line last season.  Many people ignore their analysis and just focus on the stats that they track and publish.

PFF has spent the month of June looking at the performance of NFL QBs for their QBs in Focus series.  This week, they looked at the 2013 performances of the two starting QBs for the Redskins in 2013, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.  Griffin was notably off in his performance, confidence, and mechanics in his comeback from an ACL injury.  He was benched for the final 3 games of the season to "protect the franchise" and Cousins was tasked with finishing the death march to end the season.  How did they fair in an abysmal season, and what did they each do well?  PFF tries to answer those questions. Visit the link to see more detailed information charted out for your analytical amusement.

The quarterbacks were opposite on a lot of different stats.  RGIII was better throwing to the outside than over the middle, Cousins was the exact opposite.  Griff was best at short range passes last season, Cousins struggled there in his limited playing time.  Cousins threw 31.5% of his passes in the 2.1-2.5 second range, while 23% of RGIII's dropbacks lasted 3.6 seconds or more.  What else stood out to you from these numbers, and what did they miss, get wrong in their analysis?

Robert Griffin III:

Positives:

•  Throws best to the right (+4.3).
•  Handles blitz pressure better than most (0.0).
•  Showed well on shorter drops (4-6 yards) at +2.6.
•  Among the league’s best on throws between 5-10 yards (+7.9), including an above average Accuracy Percentage of 80.7%.
•  One of the league’s best on third down at +9.5, particularly 3rd-and-Medium where his +6.2ranked fourth in the league, and showed well whether blitzed (+3.0) or against traditional rush (+6.5).
•  Best grades came while throwing to outside wide receivers, including +3.2 when throwing to a tight end that was split wide.
•  Best route was post routes (+6.3), including +2.3 on play action

Negatives:

•  Graded at -4.0 on passes in the 11-20 yard range.
•  Among the league’s worst on throws of 20+ yards (-7.1), particularly the 21-to-30-yard range (-4.0).
•  Below average on throws to the left (-1.3) and over the middle (-2.0).
•  Struggled against traditional rush at -7.0, particularly when pressured (-10.2).
•  One of the league’s worst on 9+ yard drops at -3.8.
•  After a strong showing as a rookie, Griffin was one of the league’s worst on play action at-5.3, including -9.0 on first down.
•  Graded poorly on crossing routes (-1.5) and go routes (-1.4).

Tendencies:

•  Led the league with 148 drop-backs in the pistol, 27.9% of his total drop-backs
•  55.8% of passes came in the 1-to-10-yard range, second-highest percentage in the league. 33.9% of his passes came in the 5-to-10-yard range to lead the league.
•  Threw 58.9% of his targeted passes in between the numbers, well above league average.
•  24.1% of passes went to the right compared to only 17.1% to the left, one of the highest right-left discrepancies in the league.
•  Faced the blitz 31.7% of the time, right around league average.
•  22.5% of drop-backs in the 4-to-6-yard (3-step) range, one of the highest percentages in the league.
•  Only 15.8% of drop-backs in 9+ yard range, one of the lowest percentages in the league.
•  23% of drop-backs last at least 3.6 seconds, one of the highest percentages in the league.
•  Used play action 30.2% of the time, fourth-highest in the league including 44% of his first-down drop-backs, also fourth in the league.
•  Only 13.6% of targets went to running backs, second-lowest in the league.
•  15.7% of targets were out routes, second-highest percentage in the league. Also threw the second-highest percentage of post routes at 11.4%. When using play action, threw a league-high 19.3% post routes.
•  Threw the lowest percentage of go routes at 4.7%.

Kirk Cousins:

Positives:

•  Sample size is small, but Cousins completed four of his 11 attempts on throws of 20 or more yards, including his only attempt over 40 yards.
•  Graded at +1.1 on his 19 drop-backs against blitz pressure
•  Graded at +1.0 on 7-to-8-yard drop-backs

Negatives:

•  Graded at -7.4 on first downs
•  Struggled on passes between 1 and 10 yards, grading at -3.7 including -4.8 on passes in the 5-to-10-yard range.
•  Was average throwing outside the numbers, but -6.3 over the middle.
•  Graded at -7.0 against a traditional pass rush
•  Graded at -8.5 when taking a drop of 9 or more yards. Threw four of his seven interceptions.

Tendencies:

•  8.0% of his drop-backs were designed rollouts, above the league average.

•  Attempted 59.0% of his passes between 1-10 yards, would have led the league with more attempts.
•  Threw 65.3% of his passes to the middle of the field, also would have led the league with enough attempts.
•  Threw 31.5% of his passes in the 2.1-to-2.5-second range.
•  Only threw screens on 4.2% of his passes, well below the league average of 9.7%.
•  Most commonly thrown routes were crossing routes, slants, and hitches.

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