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Pro Football Focus: NFL Quarterbacks Going Deep in 2010

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A couple of days ago, I came across an article on Pro Football Focus that took a look at how well NFL quarterbacks threw the football down the field last season. To be considered for the rankings, a quarterback had to of attempted at least 30 passes over 20 yards. Fortunately for Cleveland Browns fans, Colt McCoy just barely reached the minimum threshold with 32 attempts. How well did he do?

Side note: No updates to DBN were posted on Wednesday because I was unable to get my computer monitor to come on. After going through several steps, I resorted to trying a different video card. Thankfully, I had a spare one of decent quality, and voila, I got it work in the early AM morning of Thursday.

There were three separate categories. For each category, I'll list the top ranked player, where McCoy was at, where Aaron Rodgers was at (since he just won the Super Bowl), where Sam Bradford was at (due to his Pat Shurmur connection), and the worst ranked player.

Completion Percentage on Deep Throws (+20 Yards)

1. Vince Young - 45.71% completion rate
10. Aaron Rodgers - 38.37% completion rate
17. Sam Bradford - 32.50% completion rate
21. Colt McCoy - 31.25% completion rate
31. Matt Cassel - 24.56% completion rate

Deep Throw Percentage of Total Attempts (20+ Yards Throws/Total Attempts)

1. Vince Young - 22.44% of his attempts were 20+ yards
2. Aaron Rodgers - 18.11% of his attempts were 20+ yards
14. Colt McCoy - 14.41% of his attempts were 20+ yards
31. Sam Bradford - 6.78% of his attempts were 20+ yards

Interceptions on Deep Throws

1. Colt McCoy - 21.88% of deep passes were picked off
13. Sam Bradford - 7.50% of deep passes were picked off
16. Aaron Rodgers - 6.98% of deep passes were picked off
31. Kyle Orton - 2.74% of deep passes were picked off

The article also has some comments about McCoy:

The above [deep throw % of attempts] shows that you can win in the NFL without attacking vertically all that much, but if you don’t have the right personnel throwing and catching, forcing it can hurt.

Take Colt McCoy for example. A revelation for the Browns in year one, he was also guilty of making some bad downfield decisions. An incredible 21.88% of his passes longer than 20 yards ended up as interceptions, far higher than Cutler (12.5%) who finished second, and Rivers, Garrard, and Jason Campbell who together finished third with 11.76%.