My favorite measure of quarterback play is Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. For new readers, ANY/A is simply yards per attempt, but it includes sacks (both in the denominator and with those yards lost deducted from the numerator) and adjustments for touchdowns (20-yard bonus) and interceptions (45-yard penalty).
I am going to use a modified version of that formula today, by basing my formula around yards per dropback rather than yards per attempt. The only difference? Spikes are discarded, scrambles (and yards gained on scrambles) are included, but those are both improvements to the formula.
With that said, here is Joe Flacco‘s modified ANY/A average in every game of his career, plotted from his first game in week 1 of 2008 through week 7 of 2016. I have made the data points that represent playoff games larger and in yellow. The four dots next to each and relatively high on the graph represent, of course, his Super Bowl run in 2012.
But given the amount of noise in a game-by-game dataset, let’s instead take a look on a rolling 10-game basis. In other words, I have reproduced the graph below, but added a black line that shows his average modified ANY/A on a trailing 10-game basis:
This helps bring some trends into focus: he peaked in the 10-game sample that included that Super Bowl run, then peaked again in the early part of 2014 (remember that insane game against Tampa Bay?), but has been on the decline ever since. However, these numbers are less useful in the abstract: how do they compare to league average?
In the next graph, I have put the NFL average modified ANY/A, on a trailing 10-game basis, in a red line.
Flacco is spending a lot of time below that red line, particularly of late. In some ways, it’s hard to see how poorly he’s done using that graph, because the Y-Axis is so expansive due to the randomness of each game. But so far this season, the Ravens rank 29th in modified ANY/A, ahead of only the Jets, 49ers, and Texans.
Where do we think Flacco goes from here? Does he rebound into an average QB? Does he continue on this downward trajectory and loses his job? Does he return to being an above-average quarterback? Will he ever again play like a superstar QB? What do you guys think?