PFF: Joe Flacco's time to throw

Andy Lyons

Pro Football Focus takes a look at the time to throw.

There's a reason I stopped taking math after high school. But it isn't a Pro Football Focus piece if my head isn't spinning. The numbers themselves point to a specific ranking, of PFF Grade, for every quarterback that saw playing time last season. Just to reiterate what I'm sure many of you know, the PFF Grade is defined thusly:

PFF Grade is a good indicator of how well the quarterback actually performed in a given situation. Whether they throw an accurate pass that was dropped, or perhaps an inaccurate one that should have been intercepted and the defense dropped, the PFF grade will account for those situations with a positive and a negative grade respectively while QB Rating will simply reflect the 0-for-1 passing.

With this in mind, let's us look at what these numbers mean for our favorite (boooo put Tyrod in!) Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco. The first significant piece of data that I noticed was in the less than 2 seconds time frame. Flacco, who ranks toward the bottom of nearly every category, grades out here at a -1.2, with 158 drop backs, no sacks, 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. This is the only bracket in which Flacco threw for more touchdowns than interceptions and the only one where he took no sacks. The sacks make sense - it's tough for any rusher to get to a QB in under 2 seconds. Likewise, these numbers seem to indicate that Flacco produces more accurately (75.8%) and more efficiently when he is able to release quickly.

Though, it also may point to line trouble. The players ranked highest in this range, and saw a significant amount of snaps, feature a higher "time to pressure" than "time to throw," indicating the line gave an appropriate amount of time for the quarterback to make his read. Flacco on the other hand is subject to the opposite. This is perhaps a factor in accuracy as well. Especially when considering Flacco's average drop back depth (7.0) is higher than the average (6.3), the speed in which pressure was getting to Flacco on those deep drops could indicate porous line play.

Flacco's numbers in the mid-range 2.1-2.5 seconds to throw are, well, mid-range. His 2.30 seconds to throw and 2.09 second to pressure are the exact averages for all QB's.Unsurprisingly, as the sacks increase, Flacco's accuracy goes down, until reaching the greater than 3.6 seconds time frame.

Joe's worst rating (-7.7), which is good for dead last in the league in that bracket, comes in the 3.1-3.5 seconds to throw range. His worst accuracy rating comes in here as well as a terrible 25.7% success rate. This suggests that Flacco's worst play comes on mid-range throws. A factor in this could be his general trust of his receivers, but the low accuracy level is hard to ignore. It should be noted that Tom Brady ranks lowly in this bracket as well, and only 3 places ahead of Flacco. Take that as you will.

Unsurprisingly, in the greater than 3.6 seconds time, Flacco both increases his accuracy and positioning (he is known for his deep balls) but also his sacks (30). Joe holds the balls longer than the NFL average in these situations (5.09 to 4.79) and much longer than other pocket passing quarterbacks. He is also pressured slightly above the NFL average (2.89 to 2.80).  This tells us what we have known for some time. The line last year was below average and Joe holds the ball too long. Flacco also receives his highest PFF grade for this category, with a 1.7 - his only positive score.

These numbers suggest many facts about Flacco and the Ravens that we already know. He is often pressured to quickly and should be getting rid of the ball sooner. He is at his best, statistically, when he is throwing deep. However, there is also indication that Ozzie's desire for a third-down, chains-moving receiver could be a huge benefit in many ways to Joe. There is a reason to believe Flacco's numbers on quick throws could improve significantly with time and help over the middle. Likewise, as is the case with Brady, a new stable of weapons may increase those poor numbers in the middle ranges.

What do you guys think? What do the numbers tell you about Joe and the line? How do you think Gary Kubiak's offense and Steve Smith, Sr.'s presence may help?

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