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  1. #1
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    Florida Atlantic

    Default Football Outsiders: Adjusted Comeback Efficiency

    Campbell ranks 54th out of all QBs with at least 30 game-winning drive chances since 1998, among the likes of Joey Harrington, Quincy Carter, AJ Feeley, and Elvis Grbac (and others).

    One graphic that sometimes pops up late in NFL games is "number of game-winning drives," which is implied to be a metric of clutch quarterback ability. However, this figure is meaningless out of context, and raises a number of questions. How many opportunities did the quarterback have to lead a game-winning drive? If the quarterback leads his team on a drive to take the lead with one minute left, and then his defense subsequently surrenders a touchdown, shouldn’t he still get credit for that drive? What if the quarterback leads the team on a long drive to the 5-yard line, only for the kicker to miss the game-winning, chip-shot field goal as time expires?

    The purpose of the Adjusted Comeback Efficiency (ACE) Rating is to provide a comprehensive figure for measuring a quarterback’s performance in potential game-winning or game-tying situations. First, the methodology of the ACE rating will be briefly explained. This is followed by an analysis of the results. At the end, the methodology calculations are shown in greater detail for those that are interested.
    Basic Methodology

    The ACE rating compares a quarterback's outcome in a given situation to the expected or average outcome in that situation. Adjustments were made for four factors: starting field position, time remaining in game, deficit (how many points behind), and outcome (no score, field goal attempt, touchdown). For example:

    Quarterback A: after an interception return, he starts at his opponent's 5-yard line down by one point with two minutes to go

    Quarterback B: after a kickoff, he starts at his own 20-yard line down by 8 points with 30 seconds to go

    Quarterback A has a much easier scenario than Quarterback B. Therefore, the ACE rating gives more credit to Quarterback B for a successful comeback than Quarterback A, and penalizes Quarterback B less than Quarterback A for failure. A touchdown is worth more credit than a field goal in most situations (one exception: overtime). If the offense attempts a field goal, it is irrelevant for the ACE rating whether the kicker makes it or misses it. Instead, the quarterback gets credit based on the average success rate for that distance of field goal, such that a short field goal attempt receives more credit than a long field goal attempt.

    There are some more adjustments, but the concept is simple: The ACE rating calculates how efficient a quarterback is in potential comeback situations, taking into account the level of difficulty of the situation.

    Quarterback Rankings

    This list includes all quarterbacks with at least 30 qualifying drives from 1998 to 2009 (including playoffs). For some quarterbacks, this means that this data set only captures part of their career (e.g. Dan Marino at No. 43 from the last two years of his career, 1998-99). At the bottom, I have listed some noteworthy young quarterbacks that have not yet reached the drive threshold, although caution should be exercised with such thin data. For each player, we also provide the NFL's QB rating for comparison purposes.

    1 E.Manning 1.55 66 28 42.4% 79.2 32 31
    2 B.Roethlisberger 1.44 78 34 43.6% 91.7 8 6
    3 P.Manning 1.40 145 62 42.8% 95.2 4 1
    4 P.Rivers 1.36 51 22 43.1% 95.8 2 -2
    5 A.Rodgers 1.33 32 13 40.6% 97.2 1 -4
    6 M.Schaub 1.33 38 14 36.8% 91.3 9 3
    7 J.Cutler 1.32 55 21 38.2% 83.8 20 13
    8 T.Green 1.31 105 37 35.2% 86.0 16 8
    9 T.Romo 1.31 45 15 33.3% 95.6 3 -6
    10 D.Brees 1.31 88 36 40.9% 91.9 7 -3
    ...
    51 D.Anderson 0.76 36 8 22.2% 69.7 56 5
    52 Q.Carter 0.76 34 8 23.5% 71.7 54 2
    53 E.Grbac 0.73 52 11 21.2% 78.2 37 -16
    54 J.Campbell 0.72 54 12 22.2% 82.3 26 -28
    55 A.Feeley 0.70 33 8 24.2% 69.6 57 2
    56 J.Harbaugh 0.70 36 8 22.2% 72.2 53 -3
    57 K.Boller 0.66 42 10 23.8% 70.6 55 -2
    58 J.Harrington 0.60 50 11 22.0% 69.4 59 1
    Click link for the rest of the article.
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    Florida Atlantic

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    Campbell had 54 opportunities to tie or win a game, and tied or won 12 of those games - a ratio of 22%. I think this reaffirms the claims of many Redskins fans, that he is just not clutch.
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    I'd like to know what 12 games they are talking about. I went back throughout JC's career to see how many 4th quarter comebacks he had and I only came up with 3. I cannot say I was using their standards, but 3 was all I could come up with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    I'd like to know what 12 games they are talking about. I went back throughout JC's career to see how many 4th quarter comebacks he had and I only came up with 3. I cannot say I was using their standards, but 3 was all I could come up with.
    "The set of data includes all drives where the game is tied or the team is behind 1-8 points in the fourth quarter or overtime from the regular season and the playoffs from 1998 season through the conference championships of the 2009 season. Drives with no offensive plays (i.e. return touchdown) and kneel-downs before overtime were removed."

    Using this criteria, Jason had two drives in the Saints game alone (and failed on both of them). Now, I wonder if they include drives where another player ends the drive, such as the Sellers fumble against the Saints in overtime.
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    Virginia Tech

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    Not sure how their criterea works, to be honest. In the scenario above, for example, what happens in a game where a QB does take his team down the field to score after his team was "tied or behind 1-8 points in the 4th qtr or overtime," but then the other team drives right back down to score a winning FG as time expires? Or scores with maybe 30 seconds left, leaving your QB with no realistic shot?

    And as Lanky points out, what do they do about qualifying when another player blows a drive? Or conversely makes a sick individual play to win the game (say Moss taking a WR screen, then weaving his way 80 yards down the field in an individually brilliant effort)? Even in the Sellers fumble example, if you go back and watch the play, you can easily make the case that JC was a good second late getting him the ball, which allowed the defender to close and be on top of Mike before he could secure the ball. Is that on Mike alone, or does JC get some of the "blame" for a failed drive?

    All that said, there has to be some criteria, so I guess theirs works as well as anyone's.

    Thing is, unless you've watched most or all of the game in question, you really have no solid basis on which to judge how key a role the QB himself played down the stretch. On a team with a good OL, good receivers and good coaching it stands to reason a QB would have a better chance to lead a game-winning drive. On a team with a crappy OL, average receivers and average coaching ... maybe not so much.

    So there's plenty of wiggle room in both directions.

    In Jason's case, I think those of us who have watched him game in and game out have a good sense of just how productive or "clutch" he himself is in big situations. We've seen enough to know that he just is not the kind of guy who's going to "make it happen" on his own--he just isn't. Certainly not late in close games.

    Seems to me the body of evidence is strong enough for us to "know" that in our guts when we see him take the field in a potential game-winning-drive scenario. Our confidence in those situations is not high. I think I speak for the large majority of Redskins fans when I say that.

    Which is a drag.
    Last edited by Om; 02-03-10 at 04:10 PM.
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    Florida State

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    OM, you speak for me when you say it. One of the pieces you wrote during the season supported my assertion that he lacks the "it" factor in a much more descriptive manner than just going on my gut instinct. I was having the discussion with Mike about his ability to win close games in a comeback so I half-heartedly went back to his introduction as starter when he took over for Mark Brunnell and simply researched how many 4th quarter deficits we overcame. I can remember 2 off the top of my head and if memory serves me right, there were only three where he had a deficit in the 4th quarter and the Redskins ended up winning the game. That was all I based my research on so I know it is limited to the number of variables involved. But I still think I only discovered three comeback victories.

    The two I remember off the top of my head were the Saints last year and the Giants toward the end of the season he replaced Brunnell. That's why I was curious where they got the number 12.
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    Elephant, they are talking about DRIVES, not games. With Campbell under center there have been only four games in which we were behind at any point in the 4th quarter, and won.

    2006 Panthers - down 13-10 won 17-13
    2007 NY Jets - down 17-12 won 23-20 in OT
    2008 Saints - down 24-15 won 29-24
    2009 Broncos - down 17-14 won 27-17

    One thing to look at is QB rating during come-from-behind drives. Campbell ranks 26th in this category, right between Bulger and Delhomme. Another interesting tidbit is that his differential (the difference between his comeback percentage ranking and his QB rating ranking) is -28, the highest differential amongst active QBs. Here's what the Outsiders say:

    Among active players, the quarterback with the biggest negative differential between his ACE rating and QB rating is Jason Campbell. He has an average QB rating, but his terrible ACE rating (0.72, 54th) places him in dubious company, including Quincy Carter, Elvis Grbac, and A.J. Feeley. After Campbell, the players with the largest negative differentials are two superstars with reputations for big mistakes in big moments: Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre. McNabb (0.94, 39th) and Favre (0.93, 40th) both have ACE ratings that confirm their below-average performance in clutch situations.
    Not sure what that all means, but it is interesting.

    Having watched Campbell play, I agree with the consensus that he just isn't a clutch player. Which is, indeed, a drag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    Seems to me the body of evidence is strong enough for us to "know" that in our guts when we see him take the field in a potential game-winning-drive scenario. Our confidence in those situations is not high. I think I speak for the large majority of Redskins fans when I say that.

    Which is a drag.
    My confidence in these situations isn't high but it isn't Campbell that has me in that situation...it's the team itself. Since Gibbs left the first time this team has been great a snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Campbell is certainly part of the problem as he is part of the team but he is only one of 11 guys on offense. What I know is that if Campbell does his job perfectly, someone else on that offense will screw it up with a penalty, dropped pass, fumble or something else right out of Murphy's bag of tricks.

    Does have Campbell have more chances to screw it up? Sure, he handles the ball on every play but I would love to see an ACE chart for all 11 guys on our offensive unit in this situation. I promise you that you would see some ugly numbers from every guy on the unit.

    So while I may not consider Campbell Mr Clutch, I attribute at least part of that other guys not doing their part in the ultimate team game.
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    Neo, obviously there are other factors involved in Campbell's performance. However, I'm of the strong opinion you could put Peyton Manning on this team, and they'd instantly improve by 4-8 games. The Jets completely shut down Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, and it was no big deal. He just threw almost 20 balls for 200+ yards and a couple TDs to Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, two guys you would have never heard of, if not for the Colts picking them up.
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    I wish I shared your confidence, Lanky but I have seen too many dropped balls and dumb penalties to believe that Manning would make that much difference on this club. He can't block for the line, he can't catch for the receivers and he can't manage the clock for the coaches.

    For nearly two decades this club has been plagued by systemic failures that even a HoF QB could not fix by himself. Make better? Probably a bit. Likely just enough to break all our hearts though and he would likely get hurt in the process.
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    You could put Payton Manning on any team in the league (with maybe one or two exceptions) and they'd be 4-8 games better. Saying Campbell isn't Manning isn't saying much. Very very few players are.
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    That Rams/Pete Kendall game is one indication of how skewed this data can be. Jason did a great job of driving down to give us the lead at the end of the game. Unfortunately, the defense let Donnie Avery get open deep and we blew one that would have given Jason a come-from-behind victory and, perhaps, a lot of confidence.

    I agree that he doesn't have the "IT" factor but sometimes I think Defenses can help a QB develop it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    He can't block for the line, he can't catch for the receivers and he can't manage the clock for the coaches.
    No, he can't do those things....but he CAN get rid of the ball without holding it too long.....he CAN move in the pocket better to gain more time.....he CAN throw a pass that's accurate and doesn't make the receivers have to leap and make a spectacular catch every time.....and he CAN manage the clock from the field general position.

    I've been watching the NFL films pieces on Hulu.com of late. I've been struck time and again at how accurate Theisman, Williams, Rypien and others have been. Now, Rypien wasn't always that way on the short/midrange stuff, but he did have the deep ball down pat. Campbell can't seem to get any of them down. He throws the deep ball out of bounds, even on a hail mary.....he throws the short stuff into the turf.....and the midrange stuff is either too high, too behind or to ahead of the receiver.

    Still, maybe it'll all just "click" for him this year....but I'm just not too hopeful.

    I honestly think you can plug almost anyone in there, provided they have ACCURACY, and you will see a dramatic improvement.

    HTTR
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