The Battle of #2's
In the last post I introduced the QB Positive Impact Factor (PIF)™. Reader @LSUChadP (follow him on twitter), who runs the blog Here We Geaux, wanted to know how the Positive Impact Factor translates to the NFL.
I will take a look at two successful college QBs who have had vastly different pro careers, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Ryan and determine their PIF for both college and the NFL.
JaMarcus Russell (currently unemployed) had a miserable time on the field in Oakland for the Raiders and a much more enjoyable experience as the QB of the LSU Tigers where he went 25-4 as a starter and is in the top 5 of every passing stat recorded by LSU. Russell became the no. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft as a result. Matt Ryan guided the Atlanta Falcons to the playoffs as a rookie and although he missed the playoffs in year two, the Falcons did wrap up back to back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history (that's 44 years worth folks). Ryan was 25-7 as a starter at Boston College and, like Russell, is among the leaders in his school's history in passing stats. Ryan was selected 3rd in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Let's look at college PIF first:
JaMarcus Russell racked up 936 touches (797 passes, 139 rushes) during his career, 365 of those were negative plays (304 incompletions, 11 fumbles, 50 sacks taken). Russell had 56 TDs for an extremely positive play number of 6.0. His extremely negative plays (6.9% INT/incompletion, 5.8% Fumbles lost/attempt) give him an extremely negative play number of 25.4. His total negative play number was 63.5. When his extremely positive plays number is added to the baseline total of 36.5, JaMarcus Russell's LSU PIF was 42.5.
Matt Ryan had 1515 touches (1345 passes, 169 rushes, 1 reception), with X negative plays (539 incompletions, 8 fumbles, 52 sacks taken). Ryan did have a combined 67 TDs for an extremely positive play number of 5.0. His extremely negative plays (6.9% INT/incompletion, 5.8% fumbles/attempt) work out to 25.4. Ryan's total negative play number was 64.9. Therefore, he had a baseline total of 35.1 before extremely positive plays were added in. Matt Ryan's Boston College PIF was 40.1.
Amazingly Russell and Ryan had identical extremely negative play numbers, but Russell made more extremely positive plays on average and that gave him the slight edge over Ryan overall 42.5 to 40.1.
And for the pro numbers:
Russell had 720 touches in his Raiders career (680 passes, 40 rushes) with 421 negative plays (326 incompletions, 25 fumbles, 70 sacks taken). Russell had a mere 19 TDs for a paltry 2.6 extremely positive play number. His extremely negative plays (7.1% INT/incompletion, 37.5% fumbles lost/attempt) work out to an astronomical 89.2. His baseline total is then 147.7. With his extremely positive plays added in, JaMarcus Russell's pro PIF is quite possibly the worst in history, a NEGATIVE 44.9. The difference from his college career is over 100 points of difference. Simply astounding.
Matt Ryan has accumulated 970 touches as a Falcon (885 passes, 85 rushes) with 404 negative plays (357 incompletions, 11 fumbles, 36 sacks taken). Ryan's extremely positive play number is 4.1% based on his 40 TDs. His extremely negative plays (7.0% INT/incompletion, 3.5% fumbles lost/attempt) work out to 21 with a total negative play number of 62.6. His baseline total was a 37.4. Ryan's extremely positive plays bring his PIF to 41.5. Matt Ryan was actually able to improve his PIF in the NFL over his college days by lowering his fumbles lost percentage. The decrease in extremely negative plays made up for his decline in extremely positive plays.
PIF does translate to the NFL. In the case of two very different QBs, their similar college PIFs diverged very rapidly in the pros. Russell's negative Positive Impact Factor is clearly rooted in his inability to hold on to the football. He fumbled the ball away 15 times out of 40 attempts. Any QB who can't hold on to the ball will suffer severely when it comes to PIF because the attempts of a pro are much fewer than their college attempts. And as we just saw with Ryan, he was able to improve his PIF by holding on to the ball. His other stats were pretty similar to his time at Boston College. One final note, Matt Ryan's TPPI did not change from college to the pros, holding steady at 2.8%. Russell's increased from 2.6% at LSU to 3.4% for the Raiders.