This article takes a look at how Quarterbacks compared to the performance of their offensive line as a whole. Data was gathered from 2009-2018 and compared the rankings of QBs based on the quarterbacks’ QBR rating to the teams’ overall rankings of their respective offensive lines. The hope was to look at all the data and identify players in some capacity who play “above the line,” so to speak. Essentially looking at qb play in a little different light, more so identifying the quality of play versus a standard rather than simply a comparison of quarterbacks to each other. The second purpose was to see if there were general patterns that emerge from the data.
The methodology was simple: Take the team’s offensive line rank and compare it to the quarterback’s QBR rank for each of the seasons from 2009-2018. This comparison would generate a positive or negative number for the quarterback. Example QB rank 4, Offensive Line Rank 10 = QB+6.
The Fault: QB’s with good offensive lines have a harder time posting a high positive number. So it should be considered that posting a small negative number is not necessarily an indication of poor play if the QB plays on a team with a good offensive line.
I can’t possibly evaluate every QB’s performance for this article, no one would want to read all that, but if you are curious about a particular player, I can list it them in the comments. There are way too many pages of data to show everyone, and the format would be almost unreadable so I will just summarize a portion of it. And try to break down some players.
Tom Brady: Brady is good, you probably already knew that, what is interesting is that 6/10 years Tom had a top 4 offensive line, 5 of the those 6 they were top 3. He posted 3 seasons with a negative grade but they were minimal -1,-3 and -5. The years his offensive line was not as good he posted he +3, +20, +18, and +8. He appears to deliver on his end regardless of circumstance. But he has only had a line that ranked in the bottom half twice. His overall average is +3.9, Average line Ranking 10.6, Average QBR 4.8.
Drew Brees: The interesting thing with Brees is he has never played with a below average offensive line, 2010 was his worst line and they were ranked 14. 6/10 years he has played with a top 10 line, and the other three years they ranked 11, 11, and 12 respectively. He has been very consistent though, his best year was +7 and his worst year was only -2. Average +3.3, Line Average 7.9, QBR Average 4.7
Aaron Rodgers: He seems to be the hardest one of the studs to pin consistency on, and has played with some up and down lines along the way. During the 2009-2012 seasons his lines ranked 22,12,11, and 21 and he far exceeded his offensive lines posting +15,+6, +10, and +15. Since then his lines have ranked 10,4,7,5,13 and 7, meanwhile his performance has been pretty middling at -3, 2, -7, 1, 2, and -12 for 2018. Average +2.9, Overall Line Average 11.2, QBR Average 8.3
Phillip RIvers: He is a God under these criteria, this guy never gets enough credit. Only one season out of the 10 did he have a line that was ranked in the top half of the league and that was at number 15. Only twice did he have a line in the top 20. 5/10 seasons he had line ranked 28th or worse. Meanwhile, his performance never saw a season with a negative grade, and he had 5 seasons where he was +15 or better. Average +14.1, Overall Line Average 25.4, QBR average 11.3
Russell Wilson: This guy has also been crazy good, in his 7 years he has never had a line in the top half of the league, this years was actually the best at 18. His Numbers were incredible his first 4 years at +17, +21, +13, +22. Not quite as good his last 3 years but still very good at +16, +14 and +7. Average +15.7, Average Line Rating 24.7, Average QBR rating 9.
Some other guys to “Ponder”.
Mathew Stafford has had a very average line, throughout his career, their average rating is 15.8, Stafford has played to an average of -1 compared to his line and has a career QBR ranking of 16.8.
Cam Newton: Mr. MVP has only played to 2 positive grades in 8 years has an average value -2.25. His line has been better than you probably expect averaging 13.8 overall ranking. His MVP season his line was ranked number 2 and his QBR was 9. His overall QBR average is 16.9
So I am not really going to call out individual players here, I am going to use this more to make generalizations. Any season in which a quarterback played to a +10 grade compared to their offensive lines should be considered good/very good quarterback play regardless of where they finish in terms of QBR. From the 10 seasons spanning 2009-2018 a quarterback played to a +20 or better grade exactly 11 times. To tie this back to the players at the top Wilson did it twice, Roethlisberger twice, Brady, RIvers, Eli, Ryan, Favre, and 2 other guys (Bucs, Chicago).
The reason I am bringing it up is because it is very hard and very unlikely that you will get top 10 quarterback play from a bottom ⅓ line. Look at 2018 only Rivers managed to get in the top 10. 3 guys got to above average, the other 8 could not get past 23.
Bottom 12 Offensive Lines:
Line Rank QBR Rank
30 7 (Rivers)
23 14 (Watson)
Ok, so I have to just mention this in case you are a Joe Flacco fan, 9 seasons I did not count this year. Zero seasons with a positive grade compared to line rankings, average -6.7.
Favre: Had one of those miracle seasons, I mentioned earlier in ‘09 with a +21 his line ranked 25th and his QBR of 4.
Ponder: Hard to actually put a number on him he played so few games. 2012 the only full season he played was -7, 2011 the Vikings were -22, and 2013 the Vikings were -17. But he played in 11 and 9 games respectively in those two seasons.
The age of Teddy: In 2014 his line ranked 21 and he finished with a QBR rank of 19. In 2015 His line ranked 14 and his QBR was 18th ranked so a +2 and -4 overall. He did show promise.
Sammy Sleves: He did fine behind and atrocious line, I don’t want to talk about him.
Keenum: He was close to the 20 point miracle at +19 last year behind a line ranked 22nd he posted a QBR of 3. One hit wonder? Probably, nothing before or since suggests he would keep up that level of play. Just for reference this season with the Broncos he had a line ranked 24th and posted a QBR rank of 27.
Cousins: His first season that he played in Washington he had a line that ranked 12th and a QBR rank of 31 for a -19 grade. Following that his lines ranks 11, 7, and 21 with Washington and posted QBR’s of 2,6, and 18 for grades of +9,+1, and +3. This season for the Vikings the line ranked 29 and he had a QBR rank of 15, for a +14 grade. His career numbers would be Average Grade +1, Average Line 16, Average QBR rank 14.4. If you eliminate his rookie season and just look at his past 4 the numbers break down this way, Average Grade +6.75, Average Line 17, Average QBR 10.25 There is reason to think that he will consistently outplay the performance of his line and can be a top 6-10 quarterback if the line can improve.
Final Thoughts and Stats:
Pretty Strong Correlation Between These Two Things:
Since 2009 accounting for all seasons the overall line rankings would be:
Since 2009 Top QBR would be:
12.Cousins 14.4 (10.25 without rookie season)
This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.