Statistics let us remove emotional stimuli and focus on the hard truth of what happens. But we need to place statistics into their environment to gain context and understand what’s really happening. Geno Smith having 60% accuracy doesn’t tell you any information, but 60% accuracy throwing against man coverage gives you something to work with. That’s the purpose of this season-long project.
Let’s get this out of the way, these numbers aren’t completely objective. There’s a lot of subjectivity involved with interceptables, drops, single vs full reads, and even what the coverage faced is. This is still a subjective analysis. It’s just adding numbers to that subjective analysis.
I’ve been adamant for a long time that Geno Smith is a better quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick. After running context stats between them for their last full seasons (Geno Smith’s 2014 and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2015), I became certain that this was the truth. Unfortunately, an injury took away the chance to solidify that. However, that doesn’t change this: Geno Smith outplayed Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday.
Geno Smith showed that he didn’t spend all his time on the bench doing nothing. In fact, Geno Smith had the best mental play of any Jets QB so far in 2016.
Yankee concept, vs C-3. Geno sees safety rotated away from post, comes back- sees safety go there, comes back to Marshall in mid. Dropped. pic.twitter.com/EgCZMaT9d9
— Edward Gorelik (@edwardgorelik) October 25, 2016
This is a yankee concept and in simplified terms that’s a vertical stretch on the safety. The play-design forces the safety to make a decision between covering the deep post route or deep in as they cross his face.
At the pre-snap, Geno sees both corners playing off and in a zone stance while the safeties are hinting cover-2. After the snap, the safeties rotate with the bottom safety going single high as this turns into a cover-3. When Geno sees that safety roll away from the post into the middle of the field, he turns towards it. That turn baits the safety into chasing down the post. Geno then switches to Marshall, takes a read step and fits the ball past a linebacker in the middle of the field. Marshall drops it, but you can see how Geno’s eyes cleared a massive space for Marshall to run through.
From watching Fitzpatrick, one of two things would’ve happened had he been the one doing this. He’d have thrown the post after hitting his dropback and bet on his man catching the ball between two players, or he would’ve pre-determined the throw to Marshall and failed to move the safety out of the middle. How you can tell the difference between the pre-determined throw and a read is that moment wherein the QB turns to the target, processes the information, and THEN throws. An immediate turn into a throw is a blind throw on a decision that was already made.
Beyond this, Geno’s day wasn’t anything new for him. He took a bad sack that led to injury, another sack that should’ve been a throwaway and made correct decisions again and again off his pre-snap reads. One of those turned into Quincy’s big touchdown, which wasn’t special from the quarterback’s perspective but it was a quick decisive play.
Fitzpatrick’s day on the other hand…
Ryan Fitzpatrick played a whatever game. Despite some media crediting him with “saving the game”, most of the yardage gained by the Jets was on handoffs and extended handoffs like screen passes.
Fitzpatrick threw four middle screens in this game, which combined for four completions, 52 yards (13 YPA) and a touchdown. Geno, on the other hand, had one go for a yard on a shovel screen the Jets still haven’t realized doesn’t work.
Like Geno, he managed to avoid any terrible plays but still took some sacks; two he may have been able to avoid, one he had no choice on. His best play on the day was a throw to Robby Anderson late in the game that sealed the win.
one FItz play for an article. Fitzpatrick is the guy who has no mental game and just throws poor deep balls at random, not geno. pic.twitter.com/rnzA9qha8O
— Edward Gorelik (@edwardgorelik) October 27, 2016
Ravens show blitz on the pre-snap with a potential cover-2 man. One safety is heavily shaded to the right and the other is in the box double teaming Marshall. At the snap, the linebackers drop out but the playactios holds them long enough to disrupt their timing. Fitzpatrick stares down Anderson for the entire play but Anderson’s post still gets him into open space because the safety moved way too far to the outside before the snap. Fitzpatrick correctly throws a high ball for Anderson in between double coverage and Anderson comes down with it. This is more of an Anderson highlight in reality, but it’s the only play in this game from Fitzpatrick that stood out at all.
Beyond these two plays and the two context stats tables shown, neither QB had enough of a sample size to make the rest of the stats give any detail. The only thing left to say is Fitzpatrick only suffered one drop for two air yard lost while throwing two inaccurate passes; and Geno Smith suffered two drops for 24 air yards lost while throwing one inaccurate pass.
The rest is noise.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com