Projecting Joe Flacco's Statistics For 2013-2014

Larry French

Could Joe Flacco's numbers next season possibly earn him a seat in the ranks of the "elite"?

Over the course of his brief NFL career, our franchise quarterback has caught a bit of a flack (pun entirely intended) for putting up "average numbers". In football's current age of fantasy football wins counting more than real wins, Joe Flacco is regarded as "meh" in the eyes of the general sports-media because of his lack of "Rodgeresque" statistics despite his consistent ability to win games (63-30 record including playoffs).

Regardless of how frivolous I think it is to judge a QB solely on his statistics, in this article I will attempt to determine whether Flacco's performance in 2013-2014 will be enough to join the ranks of the "elite"; a meaningless term, but I digress.

A Tale Of Two Coaches:

Following Week 14's 31-28 loss to the Washington Redskins and a string of mediocre offensive performances, the Baltimore Ravens relieved Cam Cameron of his Offensive Coordinator duties and named Jim Caldwell as his replacement moving forward. Here's a comparison of Joe Flacco's statistics before and after the promotion of Jim Caldwell (including play-offs):

*Please note that in Jim Caldwell's statistics I excluded Joe Flacco's performance from Week 17 due to the fact that he was pulled after the second offensive-series, making it an outlier.

2012-2013 NFL Season Passing Attempts/Game Passing Yards/Game Yards Per Pass Attempt/Game Touchdowns/Game Interceptions/Game
Under Cam Cameron 34.38 247.69 7.36 1.38 0.69
Under Jim Caldwell 33.67
283.83 8.71 2.50 0.17
%Increase/Decrease -2.07% +14.59% +18.34% +81.16% -75.36%

As you can see, Joe Flacco's statistics improved significantly under Jim Caldwell while attempting a lower percentage of passes!

Playing The "What If?" Game:

What would happen if we were to take Joe Flacco's career averages (excluding play-offs) under Cam Cameron's and apply the percentages of change Joe experienced under Jim Caldwell to them?

Pass Attempts/Season Passing Yards/Season Yards Per Pass Attempt/Season Touchdowns/Season Interceptions/Season

Career Averages (under Cam Cameron)

481.00 3407.20 7.12 19.60 11.00
Adjusted Career Averages 471.0 3900.00 8.43 35.5 2.76

I got these number by taking Joe Flacco's career averages under Cam Cameron and increased/decreased them by the percentage of change Flacco experienced under Jim Caldwell (I realize that 2.76 interceptions/season is a completely unrealistic number)

Rates Of Deviation

As we all know, a player averages a certain stat-line over the course of his career but will perform either better or worse than those averages during any given season: this is called deviation. Below is my attempt to figure out the possible performance of Joe Flacco next season based on his average rate of deviation for each statistic in his career averages under Cam Cameron applied to his adjusted career averages:

Pass Attempts:

Throughout Joe Flacco's career under Cam Cameron, Joe Flacco experienced a standard deviation of about 40 pass attempts. So let's take a look at how many possible passes Joe Flacco will be attempting next season.

Range Of Flacco's Possible Pass Attempts In 2013-2014:

Pass Attempts
Maximum Decay 421
Maximum Growth
511

Passing Yards:

Throughout Joe Flacco's career under Cam Cameron, Joe Flacco experienced a standard deviation of about 266 yards. Let's take a look at what kind of passing yardage we can expect from Joe Flacco next season.

Range Of Flacco's Possible Passing Yards In 2013-2014:
Passing Yardage
Maximum Decay 3634

Maximum Growth

4166

Yards Per Pass Attempt:

Throughout Joe Flacco's career under Cam Cameron, Joe Flacco experienced a standard deviation of about .28 yards per pass attempt. So how many yards per pass attempt can we expect from Joe Flacco in 2013?

Range Of Flacco's Possible Yards Per Pass Attempt In 2013-2014
Yards Per Pass Attempt
Maximum Decay 8.15
Maximum Growth 8.71

Touchdowns:

Throughout Joe Flacco's career under Cam Cameron, Joe Flacco has experienced a standard deviation of about 3.6 touchdowns. Considering a player cannot score a tenth of a touchdown, we'll round that number up to 4. Here's how many touchdowns we can expect from Joe Flacco next season.

Range of Flacco's Possible Touchdowns In 2013-2014
Touchdowns
Maximum Decay 31
Maximum Growth 40

Interceptions:

Throughout Joe Flacco's career under Cam Cameron, Joe Flacco has experienced a standard deviation of roughly 1.3 interceptions. Again, considering a player cannot throw for a tenth of an interceptions, we'll round the number to 1. Since Flacco's adjusted average for interceptions is completely unrealistic, we'll apply this number to his regular career average for interceptions:

Range of Flacco's Possible Interceptions In 2013-2014
Interceptions
Maximum Decay 10
Maximum Growth 12

Summary

While I am well aware that there are more factors to a player's total performance than mathematical projections, such as a player's health, whether or not he gets benched the final one or two games of the season, etc., I am fairly confident in my math and (barring injury or other setback) that Joe Flacco's statistics will fall in the ranges I have stated above.

As Ravens fans, however, we all know that even if Joe Flacco performs to these standards the sports-world will still find some way to not view him as "elite". Oh well, such is life.

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