Friday, December 16, 2011

Assessing the Broncos

Aka, the most talked about 8-5 team with a negative point differential in team history. I'm doing this post because I was talking about Tebow and Cam Newton over at the Stadium Rejects forum and thought I would put my thoughts down here.

The first thing that jumps out to me is the number of pass attempts Tebow has, 198, which is the 32nd most in the league. That's a big reason he is 6th in TD% and 1st in INT%. I say that because the more you throw the ball the more likely you are to throw an INT. But he just isn't throwing the ball that much. And when he does its mostly going for an incomplete pass, as seen from his 48% completion %. That's also why is YPA is 27th. Though his AYPA is 12th because of the aforementioned TD and INT rates.

He is averaging 117 passing yards per game. That's unbelievably horrible. Though he does run more than many QBs. So you have to add that in. But that only adds another 47 yards per game. So in total he is barely over 150 yards gained per game. Again, horrible.

Taking sacks into account, his NYPA is 29th. But his ANYPA is 18th, again because of his great TD and INT rates. And using stats from AdvancedNFLstats.com, he is still in the negative in WPA and EPA. So what's the picture these numbers are painting?

The Broncos are 31st in passing yards gained. That's not a surprise considering Tebow isn't completing even half of his passes. I'm actually surprised they aren't the worst in the league. But at least he isn't throwing the ball to the other team. Though I think part of that is due to his running ability, Willis McGahee, and the Broncos defense.

The Broncos don't have to throw the ball much to keep games close. In fact, they are last in pass attempts. But they are 2nd in rush attempts and 1st in rush yards. Tebow has given them 500 rushing yards and McGahee has about 900. The Broncos defense has had a few terrible games since Tebow took over, Detroit and Minnesota. But aside from those games they have given up on average about 14 points. Even with those two bad ones they are averaging about 20.2. And they were 1-1 in those games because Tebow threw the ball well, they got a pick 6, and the Vikings threw an INT in their own territory in OT.

Basically I'm seeing a team that runs the ball great, throws the ball horribly, and plays good enough defense most of the time to keep it close. And through a lot of luck, they win the games they keep close. In today's NFL where passing is so easy this is an unusual way to play. But as we have seen, it can work in spurts. I'm extremely skeptical this can work over the long term. And at some point Tebow will regress to the mean during the 4th quarter. Broncos fans better hope that when that happens he has improved his performance during the rest of the game.

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