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QB Progression - The Value of Experience
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[UMN]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: QB Progression - The Value of Experience Reply with quote

In an effort to determine just how long it takes for a QB entering the league to reach his prime, and then to fall off to mediocrity, I decided to look at the QB rating of every QB in the league for every year of the last decade, and sort them by experience. To be eligible, each QB needed to have had 100 passing attempts during the season, so as to have a fairly reliable QB rating.



As you can see above, rookie QBs face a tough learning curve, and it takes 3 years for QBs to really get the hang of things. They then continually to progress until they hit their prime in the 5th-8th years, and then slightly decline for the remainders of their career. I stopped after 15 years of experience because only Brett Favre and Vinny Testaverde played more than 16 seasons during this last decade (and both played 20+ seasons). The one outlier year was 12 years of experience, with Rich Gannon in 2000, Brett Favre in '03, Todd Collins in '07 and Peyton Manning in '10 all posting QB ratings above 90. However other than that year the curve is pretty well defined

I also then looked at the average length of a career for an NFL QB, by tracking the number of QBs who had significant playing time (>100 attempts) per years of experience.



As you can see, many QBs sit for the majority of their rookie year, however if they haven't proven anything by their 3rd year they probably won't stick around. The number consistently and noticably drops every year after 3 years of experience, with only the best sticking around. The fact that the average QB rating continues to decrease with experience even though only the best QBs hang around for their later years just shows the severity of the degradation of play.

I have the stats for every eligible QB for every season for the last decade compiled, so if there are any other trends you would like to see, let me know.
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Grachuus


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this stuff. Nice work.

I'd like to see both TD% and INT% expressed over career experience. They are components of QBR but the declining skill set can be covered up by pumping YPA numbers up and/or comp numbers a bit while not having enough zip to get TDs.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




As you can see, over the last ten years the average QB rating for rookies is growing at a faster rate than veterans. The sample size for rookies isn't very large, but it is interesting nonetheless.
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RodgePodge


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice graphs, they really illustrate what seems to be the trend. Nice work.
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drd23


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff [UMN]

Like Grachus, I'd like to see some other efficiency metrics (like ANY/A in addition to what he has already suggested if you have it) plotted against QB experience.

Logic would suggest that they should also show a similar trend but it would be interesting to see if the numbers show that
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[UMN]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




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Grachuus


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TD/INT isn't as useful as each compared to attempts because you get huge skewing numbers like Brady's 9:1 season and such that create huge inequity and outliers.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[UMN] wrote:



As you can see, over the last ten years the average QB rating for rookies is growing at a faster rate than veterans. The sample size for rookies isn't very large, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Interesting that Rookie QB rating is increasing at a more rapid pace - it makes much sense given the success young QBs have had over the past few years - though that approximation isn't particularly good.

Also, how are you doing QB rating? Like is it average quarterback rating, or are you adding and sticking everything into the QB rating formula?
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[UMN]


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steferfootballd wrote:
Also, how are you doing QB rating? Like is it average quarterback rating, or are you adding and sticking everything into the QB rating formula?

I am just using the average. I thought about re-calculating the rating, but with this large of a sample size I think the average is close enough to the actual rating that it isn't worth calculating. I can do it if you want, but I don't think much with change.
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RAVINGMADD


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think rookie QB rating going up is partly because the only QB's that are allowed to start in their rookie year are more ready for the NFL than guys who were thrown into the fire in years before. There are no guys like Joey Harrington and David Carr starting as rookies anymore. The only guys that have started as rookies lately have seemed to be fairly ready for it. Also it seems there are better QB's in the league overall so less rookie QB's are starting and the trend toward better QB play in general shows to me that QB's are just better prepared to face defenses than they were in years past whether they be rookies or veterans. The QB's are getting better in general 1) because of the trend towards more pass oriented offense and 2) because of the rule changes that facilitate a passing offense. Really good job with this, man.
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Waldo


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it possible to examine rating vs. age instead of experience?

Here's why:

A 23 year old QB is a 23 year old QB. Whether a rookie or 3rd year player. Chances are the last time he threw a pass to a HS receiver in a game was 5 years prior. HS was really the last time that they weren't able to significantly alter their experience or training based on the quality of their play. Every prospect faces choices, whether the system/school/coach they choose, how quickly they start in college (RS year or no?, while coaches say who starts, their decision making in school selection plays a role in how fast they start), and when they turn pro.

We treat QB's like babies. That is the day they are drafted or picked up as an UDFA, they are "born" more or less, nothing before that counts, and they are placed on equal footing and expected to reach milestones at the same rate. People too often like to count years in the league for young QB's instead of age (around the late 20's things switch over to age).

For example, when people are comparing Freeman vs. Ryan, it often isn't mentioned that Freeman in 2011 will be the same age as Ryan as a rookie, 23.

Aside from a few notable examples (see Marino, Dan), in general peak performance years seem to be an age related function moreso than an experience related function.

The QB athlete seems to be in his prime at roughtly 27-31 years old. The football mind gets better as the body declines (aside from a very early career rise in physical ability). QB's are probably in their physical peak at 25-30 yr old just like all other positions, whereas it is assumed that they mental game rises throughout their career, offsetting some physical decline, allowing them to play much longer than say a running back.

Most QB's peak years (career years) occur in the 27-31 window. Career years before 27 yr old are very rare. After 31 career or up years do happen, but typically you are seeing efficiency peaks which can be mistaken for overall play peaks. Despite Favre's 2009 being an up year with great efficiency, he was not the overall QB he was when he was 27, and had just learned to work with his old man limitations.

I'd like to see if your data supports that a QB's best play typically occurs when they are 27-31 yr old.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waldo wrote:
Is it possible to examine rating vs. age instead of experience?
I'd like to see this too. Think you could upload the raw data as well?
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steferfootballd


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[UMN] wrote:
steferfootballd wrote:
Also, how are you doing QB rating? Like is it average quarterback rating, or are you adding and sticking everything into the QB rating formula?

I am just using the average. I thought about re-calculating the rating, but with this large of a sample size I think the average is close enough to the actual rating that it isn't worth calculating. I can do it if you want, but I don't think much with change.
I doubt there is much of a differece too, I was just wondering.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grachuus wrote:
TD/INT isn't as useful as each compared to attempts because you get huge skewing numbers like Brady's 9:1 season and such that create huge inequity and outliers.


That's only an issue if your doing averages like it appears he is.

If he just plotted all QB's individually the best fit curve would account for such an outlier.
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