So I've spent the last while reading into a lot of David Garrard bashing and talk about a desperate qb concern. I feel the urgency at the qb position is the one of our fewer issues offensively. I've spent the last while on my free time compiling some offensive stats of interest. I've been saying for awhile now that this team's issue is the receiving core, but not only the receiving core. More specifically, the true wide receiver core. Bare with me as I throw these stats out.
Firstly, lets address the qb issue and David Garrard. Many are familiar with aspects that make up the formula to determine a qb rating. For those who forget exactly, its the qb's pass comp %, avg. yards per/attempt, pass touchdown %, and interception %. Garrard's stats were as follows:
13gp 90.8qb rating 64.5 pass % 2734 yards 23 TD passes
Garrard is ranked 13th in qb rating. Trailing behind Brady, Rivers, Rodgers, Vick, Roethlisberger, Freeman, Flacco, Cassel, Schaub, P.Manning, Ryan, and Brees. He achieved a higher qb rating than qb's such as: Orton, Cutler, E.Manning, Palmer, Mcnabb, Bradford, etc.
Garrard is ranked 7th in pass comp %. He trailed the likes of Brees, P.Manning, Brady, Kitna and Rodgers, while surpassing the likes of Schaub, E.Manning, Flacco, Vick, Ryan, Palmer, Roethlistberger, Cutler, Bradford, Orton, etc.
Garrard ranked 13th overall in TD passes trailing Brady, Brees, P.Manning, E.Manning, Rivers, Ryan, Rodgers, Cassel, Palmer, Freeman, Flacco, and Schaub, Surpassing the likes of Cutler, Vick, Orton, Bradford, Sanchez, Roethlistberger, etc.
Garrard also ranked 4th in rush yards by a qb at 279 yards on 66 attempts.
1. M.Vick 676 yds 100 att.
2. Freeman 364 yds 68 att.
3. Rodgers 356 yds 64 att.
4. Garrard 279 yds 66 att.
5. Fitzpatrick 269 yds 40 att.
Garrard ranks 3rd in TD rushes with 5 as well.
Of course the most obvious and haunting stat to most Jags fan is the lousy 2734 yards posted by Garrard. I agree it certainly seems alarming but after doing enough investigation into it, I've been able to determine that those numbers are not entirely Garrard's fault, it's this lousy receiving core. Bare with me as I go through stats to prove my point. It just doesn't make sense to me that a quarterback could put up such lousy numbers in the air, while at the same time posting such a high qb rating, pass comp %, TD passes/rushes, and rush yards.
Jacksonville ranked 26th in receiving yards with 3356. Teams ranking below are as follows:
27. Minnesota 3327
28. Tennessee 3278
29. Arizona 3264
30. Cleveland 3203
31. Kansas City 3189
32. Carolina 2635
Lets do a quick qb comparison between the teams here.
26.Garrard 13gp 90.8qbR 64.5 comp% 23 TD 2734 yds 66 att. 279 yds 5 TD
27.Collins 10gp 82.2qbR 57.6 comp% 14 TD 1823 yds
28.Favre 13gp 69.9qbR 60.6 comp% 11 TD 2509 yds
29.Anderson 12gp 65.9qbR 51.7 comp% 7 TD 2065yds
30.McCoy 8 gp 74.5qbR 60.8 comp% 6 TD 1576yds 28 att. 136 yds 1 TD
31.Cassel 15gp 93.0qbR 58.2 comp% 27 TD 3116yds
32.Clausen 13gp 58.4qbR 52.5 comp% 3 TD 1558 yds 23 att. 57 yds
Now lets compare Garrard with some teams ahead of them.
26. Jacksonville 3356
25. Buffalo 3371
24. Chicago 3397
23. New York J. 3420
22. Oakland 3471
21. St.Louis 3512
20. Seattle 3536
QB comparison between the teams now
26. Garrard 13gp 90.8qbR 64.5 comp% 23 TD 2734 yds 66 att. 279 yds 5 TD
25. Fitzpatrick 13gp 81.8qbR 57.8 comp% 23 TD 3000 yds 24 att. 145 yds
24. Cutler 15gp 86.3qbR 60.4 comp% 23 TD 3274 yds 50 att. 232 yds 1 TD
23. Sanchez 16gp 75.3qbR 54.8 comp% 17 TD 3291 yds 30 att. 105 yds 3 TD
22. Campbell 13gp 84.5qbR 59.0 comp% 13 TD 2387 yds 47 att. 222 yds 1 TD
21. Bradford 16gp 76.5qbR 60.0 comp% 18 TD 3512 yds. 27 att. 63 yds 1 TD
20. Hasselback14gp 73.2qbR 59.9 comp% 12 TD 3001 yds. 23 att. 60 yds 3 TD
When you look at the quarterbacks stats from teams above and below the Jags, it's almost alarming to see the difference in qb success compared to teams ranked below them in receiving yards. It's even more alarming to see Garrard leading most all categories to quarterbacks with receiving yards ranked ahead of them. The only difference in the team's with receiving yards ranked ahead is that the quarterback is putting up more yards. This is what I see compared to other teams though:
The only team that had remote success with receiving yards below the Jags was the Kansas City Chiefs (3189 yds). Cassel was also the only other quarterback in that group to compare with Garrard statistically.
Garrard 13gp 90.8qbR 64.5 comp% 23 TD 2734 yds 66 att. 279 yds 5 TD
Cassel 15gp 93.0qbR 58.2 comp% 27 TD 3116 yds 33 att. 125 yds.
These two guys match up pretty close. If Garrard had played the extra two games, averages would say he'd end up with about the same amount of yards and pretty close in touchdowns. Obviously Garrard has better mobility on his feet and a bit more accurate with his passes. So why did the chiefs have success then? Other than an obvious advantage on the defensive side of the ball. Well for one, they had an extremely effective ground game. The tandem of the young explosive Charles and more than reliable backup Thomas Jones allowed for the chiefs to make huge gains on the ground. Not knocking the Jags ground game whatsoever as they were right behind the chiefs. The Chiefs also managed to pickup more yards after catch ranking 21st with 1635 yards. The Jags ranked 27th with 1529 yards after catch. There's a definite personnel difference on these rosters. Garrard's weapons depended upon Jones-Drew, Thomas, Lewis, Sims-Walker, and to some degree Jennings and Hill. Cassel was working with a true #1 receiving in Bowe (even though he had a rough prior season), which the Jags do not have, although some may argue Sims-Walker fits that roll. Charles, who like MJD not gets yards on the ground, but in the air as well. He had 468 yds compared to MJD's 317. The Chiefs also have promise in two other receivers, Chris Champers, and the young highly drafted Dexter McCluster. Otherwise, the Chiefs don't have the same type of presence in the tight end slot. I feel the difference in these teams, and these quarterbacks is simply the weapons they have to work with. Cassel uses more of the same guys passing to his top for receiving players more than 75% of the time. Garrard is forced to work with more guys, expected to develop more chemistry, and it's simply not attainable.
Plain and Simple folks, if anything Jacksonville overexceeded in the numbers it put up in the last season receiving wise when you look at this team. If it hadn't been for Garrard, this receiving core could have easily been among the worst in the league. Just imagine what would happen if you stuck a rookie quarterback into this situation with such little offensive tools to work with. Jimmy Clausen proved just how horrible a team's receiving stats can get with a rookie quarterback. And we're talking about a team that has an all-star receiver already in Steve Smith.
When you look at the stats comparing Garrard to the team's ahead of him in receiving stats. One thing immediately jumps out at you, and that is the elevation in passing yards. Not only that, but some team's who had a lot of success this team.
There's really not much of a comparison between Garrard and Fitzpatrick other than the fact that Fitzpatrick threw for 300 more yards. Fitzpatrick also had four dependable receivers to throw to. Buffalo's top four receivers were all true wide receivers. Stevie Johnson actually caught for over 1000 yards. True wide receivers caught for 2789 of their total yards, equaling to over 80 % of the total yards. Jacksonville's true wide receivers only caught for 53.96% of total yards. Cutler and the bears had success in both the season and playoffs. There's an obvious defensive difference between the team's here, as the Jags weren't the one's who finished 2nd against the run at the end of the season. Cutler is similar to Garrard, a bit inconsistent, sometimes you just want to strangle him because you don't understand his thought process. Not knocking on my boy Thomas because I think he's a good player, but to have a weapon like Devin Hester returning punts for you is simply a gift. He's an incredible talent that helps tremendously to move the ball up the field before the offense even takes the field. The difference between the qb's is that Cutler has shown he has the ability to put up huge numbers in the air. Like Garrard though, he is limited a bit because of what he has to work with. In Denver, Cutler was relied on to move the ball in the air a lot more. Chicago, certainly has the better true receiver crew in Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, and Devin Aromoshodu. 3 of the 4 top receivers were true WR catching for nearly 75% of all yards. True WR also made up for over 65% of total yards. This theme continues with teams ahead of the Jags in receiving yards so I'll skip and get to the next stats.
I mentioned earlier about yards after catch totals. I wanted to let people have a look at the league stats:
Tot. Yds YAC
1. San Diego 4746 2372
2. Dallas 4208 2315
3. Detroit 4001 2311
4. Houston 4370 2136
5. Green Bay 4355 2132
6. Washington 4261 2124
7. New Orleans 4636 2109
8. Philadelphia 4215 2076
9. New England 4022 2049
10. Indianapolis 4700 2003
11. San Francisco 3613 1968
12. St.Louis 3512 1913
13. Oakland 3471 1928
14. Denver 4307 1869
15. Cincinnati 3988 1721
16. Minnesota 3327 1697
17. Tampa Bay 3564 1690
18. Pittsburgh 3890 1686
19. Baltimore 3629 1671
20. New York G. 4002 1645
21. Kansas City 3189 1635
22. Seattle 3536 1608
23. Chicago 3397 1583
24. Miami 3755 1565
25. Cleveland 3203 1553
26. Buffalo 3371 1531
27. Jacksonville 3356 1529
28. Atlanta 3725 1433
29. New York J. 3420 1431
30. Carolina 2635 1354
31. Arizona 3264 1193
32. Tennessee 3278 1164
When I think about the factors that make up yards after catch, it goes as follows: Yes the quarterback has the sole responsibility of who he decides to pass to. Some may say the difference between the great quarterbacks is their ability to find players in the open. When I think about yards after catch, I think about the receivers ability to not only separate himself to make space for the catch but his ability to make plays once the ball is in their hands. A qb with talented receivers who make their own space, have the ability to make the quarterback look better. I compared Garrard with the 12 lowest receiving teams. Of those 12 teams, 3 were in the top 16 in yards after catch. 8 of those 12 teams finished ahead of the Jags in YAC.
The bottom 12 ranked teams in true WR yardage is as follows:
20. New England 2252
21. Chicago 2232
22. Tampa Bay 2226
23. New York J. 2184
24. Baltimore 2132
25. Minnesota 2029
26. Detroit 1985
27. Kansas City 1857
28. Jacksonville 1811
29. Cleveland 1760
30. San Francisco 1708
31. Carolina 1672
32. Oakland 1653
I've totaled up the yards by the top 4 true WR on each team, the bottom 12 teams are as follows:
20. Tennessee 2089 (K.Britt, N.Washington, J.Cook, J. Gage)
21. Detroit 1985 (C. Johnson, N.Burleson, B. Johnson, D.Williams)
22. Seattle 1984 (M.Williams, B.Obamanu, D.Butler, B.Stokley)
23. St.Louis 1959 (D.Amendola, B.Gibson, L.Robinson, M.Clayton)
24. San Diego 1864 (M.Floyd, P.Crayton, L.Naanee, S.Ajirtotu)
25. Tampa Bay 1848 (M.Williams, A.Benn, M.Spurlock, S.Stroughter)
26. Kansas City 1741 (D.Bowe, C.Chambers, D.McCluster, T.Cooper)
26. Jacksonville 1741 (M.Thomas, M.Sims-Walker, J.Hill, T.Underwood)
28. San Francisco 1700 (M.Crabtree, J.Morgan, T.Ginn Jr., D.Ziegler)
29. Minnesota 1640 (S.Rice, B.Berrian, P.Harvin, G.Cammarillo)
30. Carolina 1632 (S.Smith, D.Gettis, B.Lafell, D.Clowney)
31. Oakland 1548 (L.Murphy, J.Ford, D.Heyward-Bey, J.Lee Higgins)
32. Cleveland 1431 (M.Massoquoi, C.Stuckey, B.Robiskie, J.Cribbs)
Looking at this list, you gotta determine which teams numbers are low solely because of the qb, and not a lack of receiver targets. As well, determine which teams may be solely a receiver issue. Or is some cases an issue with both.
When I look at the list, I don't see a lot of teams in worse condition at the receiver slot than Jacksonville. Some may obviously argue that point of view. Teams like Tennessee, St. Louis, San Diego, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Carolina, Oakland and Cleveland. Teams like St.Louis and San Diego have their franchise quarterbacks in place. Other teams like KC, Seattle, Minnesota and to some degree SF have decent receiving cores, but are just lacking a quality quarterback presence. When I look at the bottom teams top 4 true WR, I honestly don't see the Jags being much better quality wise. We just hope for sunshine, but prepare for rain. I think this season was sadly our sunshine for our receivers. The rain is yet to come, and these numbers could drop tremendously lower. Especially if Sims-Walker doesn't come back.
Garrard is simply relied on far too much to make chemistry with too many different players. Given some of it is caused by injuries. I feel a lot of it is that inconsistency to find receivers on this roster. How we can expect any qb to thrive in this environment when he's only using true WR's 53% of the time. I'm not pleading or asking for an amazing receiving core. Lets face it, this team's strength is it's ability to move the ball on the ground. But effective offenses must also be able to depend on its passing game. The more offensive weapons you put out on the field, the more you make the defense have to think. The defense is going to be forced to give guys like MJD a little more space because the QB has a couple receiver threats to the outsides. If there's one thing I've learnt playing sports through my life, yes defense is very important when it comes to all sports. But the ability to win in the end comes from the offensive side. Just look at Seattle this season with their terrible defense. It wasn't a pretty win versus New Orleans but they got the job done. I think a lot of people lose sight of that sometimes in football.
I'm not exactly sure what it is I'd like to see the Jags do to improve this receiving core. They have options. Having a guy like A.J Green, or Julio Jones slide down in the draft would be amazing for this team I think. Otherwise, there should be some players available on the open market. A couple bigger names, even some smaller names that could probably make a nice fit. Maybe the Jags could even snag a dynamite prospect in the 2nd round of the draft, I don't know. All I really know is that something has to be done. There's not a whole lot people can say to convince me that this receiving core has potential talent and could emerge even better. This team is hampered with a mix of injury-prone receivers, mediocre-talent, or players who would be on other team's practice squads. Let's assume the Jags do resign both Lewis and Sims-Walker. This team needs to do something via free agency or the draft to make a splash at improving this receiving core with at least one new piece. As for the QB concern, unless your scouting finds a great talent in the 3rd round or lower, then I say let Garrard keep playing out that $60m contract and wait till next season, where you have a new crop of prospects and possibly free agents. Garrard's numbers were not that bad at all. Give this guy some more consistent guys to work with, and some more true WR's, and I bet he puts up a lot better numbers. People are going to say this this year's crop of qb prospects may be the best ever, or so I've heard. At the same time, a lot of team's could be looking for a qb. Why not wait till next season to draft one, because something tells me the qb position could be the least concerning for teams come next years draft, especially if there is as much talent in this years draft as they say. Like I said, I don't know what I want them to do exactly, other than addressing this weak receiving core.