2013 wasn’t Joe Flacco’s best performance, that much is well known. The reasons why vary, some obvious and some possibly not so obvious. While we can only go by game film and pure statistics, some are more telling than others. And thanks to Pro Football Focus, we have some incredibly useful statics that can better help us understand what went wrong last season.
First up is dropback type. Flacco used a standard dropback 88% of the time, which ranked 28th among quarterbacks. Tops in that category is Tom Brady, who used a standard dropback 98.5% of the time. Neither are big on rollouts or scrambles, for obvious reasons. Neither of these guys is Russell Wilson (14.5% rollouts, tops in the NFL).
Flacco took snaps out of the shotgun formation 86.6% of the time, which was 3rd among quarterbacks. That is a telling statistic, and one that exemplifies the pressure he was facing last year.
The Ravens only utilized play action with Flacco 13.3% of the time, which ranked 36th. Not too surprising since they couldn’t seem to establish a running game. It’s still kind of disheartening that this number is so low.
Flacco dropped back 7-8 yards (considered an intermediate depth) 60.9% of the time, ranking 4th. Recent analysis has revealed that he struggles with short drops, and the numbers from last year support it – Flacco only dropped back 1-3 yards 0.1% of the time.
He may have been dropping back further in part due to pressure as well. Flacco only had more than 3.6 seconds to throw on 17.1% of snaps. Most of the time he had between 0-2 seconds.
Another telling statistic is Flacco’s pass depth. 50.1% of the time his passes travelled 1-10 yards, which is above the NFL average. He did rank 5th in passes over 40 yards, however, at 3.3%. This shows us that Flacco still has the arm to wing it downfield, on the rare occasions he has had time to do so.
Of those passes, by far his favorite route was the halfback non-screen which he utilized 15.4% of the time. Flacco also threw a lot of crossing routes (13.4%) and go routes (12.5%). Comebacks came in at a minuscule 0.3%, which was 39th among quarterbacks.
Looking at these statistics, it’s easy to affirm some things we already knew – Flacco was under duress far too often and the running game was virtually nonexistent last season. It appears that the team tried to compensate by ditching play action, utilizing the shotgun formation, and trying to complete short throws to keep the chains moving.
What do you think about the statistics? How differently do you think they will look after this season?