Joe Flacco and passing depth

Jason Miller

PFF took a look at quarterbacks and their passing depth. From 1-10 yards all the way up to 40+ yards. We'll look at where Flacco ranked in those metrics and then we'll talk about what the stats really mean.

PFF took a look at quarterbacks and their passing depth. From 1-10 yards all the way up to 40+ yards. We'll look at where Flacco ranked in those metrics and then we'll talk about what the stats really mean.

1-10 yards

While Flacco ranks towards the bottom of the league according to PFF's grade, if you look at some of the stats that make up that grade, you'll see something interesting. First is that Flacco has an accuracy percentage of 78.8%. Given Flacco's troubles with getting chased around last year and having a career high 48 sacks, that is a good percentage to have and it ranks him in the upper third of all quarterbacks measured.

Second, is looking at the YAC which Flacco has 1027 yards after the catch on passes thrown between 1-10 yards. That ranks second on the list right behind Peyton Manning. What that really means is that the balls were thrown effectively and effeciently enough to allow the receivers time to make a play with it in their hands. With guys like Marlon Brown, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones last year, the Ravens could and should have utilized more quick passes to let their athletes do what they do best. With the addition of Steve Smith and a healthy Dennis Pitta along with the quick firing Gary Kubiak scheme, the Ravens will likely fire more short, higher percentage passes this season in order to take the heat off of Flacco and utilize the speed the Ravens have at the receiver positions.

Lastly is that Flacco has 10 of his career high 22 interceptions at this range. The interceptions are likely mostly from batted balls, the 19 drops and pressure, but that is a stat that the Ravens would definitely want to get down a lot further.

5-10 yards

Looking at PFF's spreadsheets, you'll find Flacco sitting 11th right above Drew Brees in a rather comfy position given PFF's grades. Flacco's accuracy goes down a little bit to 74.2% but overall, he is in good company with guys like Tom Brady (73.7%) and Drew Brees (75.4%). The YAC goes down significantly as well to 316 yards and you'll notice that Flacco has 6 of his interceptions at this depth as well.

11-20 yards

This is really the point where Flacco falls off completely. Going from a mid to high 70% accuracy on shorter throws, Flacco falls all the way down to 52.9% which is one of the lowest in the league at this depth. While Flacco's QB rating is at a high of 91.3, he attempted far too many of these passes for his own liking apparently with 119 attempts. Flacco's yards per attempt is a rather low 8.3 which really means that in addition to not completing very many, the yardage wasnt worth these attempts. Likely a lot of these were the 3rd-and-longs that the Ravens were put into by a terrible run game, which help account for the 47.9% completion rate.

21-30 yards

Here is what we know about Flacco and the Ravens... The Ravens LOVED to throw deep last season and with targets like Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones and Flacco's cannon arm, it makes sense to do so when the matchup is there. However as we see from Flacco's abysmal completion percentage and the second to lowest grade from PFF, Flacco rarely had the matchup. Flacco's completion rate hit a terrible 26.1% which ultimately drags down the rest of his performance and gives him the all around Flacco we see statistically. For 46 attempts (second most in the league), he only completed 8. Meanwhile, he had 0 touchdowns but 6 interceptions for his effort. Truly, the Ravens should just scrap every play from the playbook that has throws of 21-30 yards because the team just can't pull it off.

40+ yards

Again, Flacco finished as one of the worst in the league at these passes. His 21.1% accuracy rate and the most attempts in the league only helped drag Flacco down. For the 19 attempts, Flacco only completed 4 of them with 1 going for a touchdown and 1 going for an interception. At this depth, Flacco was statistically worse than Terrelle Pryor and Brandon Weeden.....

If you take a look at the stats, you can see that while Flacco has the arm strength to heave the ball deeper than just about anyone else in the league, those throws are so low percentage that it only detracts from where Flacco really shines. Given the protection problems in the past, it makes more sense to put in a west coast style system where Flacco fires the ball out quickly and lets his weapons make something with it in their hands. That scheme also lines up well to the speed and agility out on the field with Jacoby Jones, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice and the toughness of guys like Steve Smith, Marlon Brown and Dennis Pitta.

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