Dec 9, 2018; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) walks off the field after the Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
In an NFL that’s constantly coming up with new ways of picking apart defenses, having a quarterback that can make accurate and sometimes game-changing throws to all regions of the field is essential to a team’s success. It’s no use having a signal-caller that can connect with the rare 70-yard bomb but will overthrow a simple bubble screen, just as it is useless to have a quarterback that can hit three-yard crossers but will struggle to find anyone more than 15 yards downfield. That’s why looking at a quarterback’s performance by each section of the field is a vital resource in the evaluation process.
At PFF, we chart virtually everything that occurs on an NFL football field, which means that we have an expansive database filled with all sorts of information that cannot be found anywhere else. Today we’re going to take a deep dive into our quarterback data and take a look at the league’s best quarterbacks not only by the range of attempt (short, intermediate and deep) but by field section (outside the numbers and over the middle of the field).
[Editor’s Note: To view more of Pro Football Focus’ advanced stats on passing directions, check out our Premium Stats 2.0. All ELITE subscribers already have access to these stats, and for those who don’t, you can subscribe today!]
Short range of the field (1-9 yards past the line of scrimmage)
Outside the numbers (left)
One of Allen’s strongest areas as a rookie was outside the left numbers to the short range of the field. Last year, the former Wyoming signal-caller completed 21-of-24 attempts there for 129 yards and one touchdown, and one of those three incompletions was the result of a drop by his receiver. His adjusted completion percentage of 91.7% on these throws ranked second among quarterbacks with at least 20 attempts, while his positively-graded throw rate of 29.2% ranked first.
Between the numbers
To say that Watson was good on his short throws over the middle of the field would be an understatement. Last season, the second-year signal-caller completed 102 of his 124 short pass attempts across the middle, and he compiled 1033 yards and seven touchdowns while doing so. He ranked first among quarterbacks with at least 25 attempts in positively-graded throw rate (29.4%), and he ended the year with a passing grade of 91.7 to this section of the filed, which is tied for the third-best single-season mark that we’ve ever given to a quarterback.
Outside the numbers (right)
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