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Old 01-20-2013, 08:13 AM  
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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Geno Smith: A Tale in Accuracy

Geno Smith: A Tale in Accuracy
By JayhawksNChiefs on Jan 10, 4:04p 422

http://www.arrowheadpride.com/2013/1...le-in-accuracy

Justin K. Aller

I’m not going to sit here and say that I can predict the future, because I can’t. But I’m pretty sure what the talk on AP will be about for roughly the next three months. There will be an endless discussion (which will end in 3 months) on what the Chiefs are going to do with the number 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. While perusing through the limitless comments on AP, one voice prevails through the masses. That voice says, "Draft Geno Smith."

The numbers are impressive. In his career, Mr. Smith threw for 11,662 yards, tallied up 98 touchdowns to only 21 interceptions, and completed 67% of the passes that left his hand. But, many believe those impressive stats are a result of the system he played in. Short screen passes and two explosive receivers that warrant draft talk of their own undoubtedly could inflate any QBs success.

After going through the AP scouting process (YouTube), many can form their own opinion of what they like and don’t like. Depending on the observer, things like arm strength, footwork, poise, accuracy, release, and pocket awareness can all be discerned from prospect to prospect. Opinions are formed and debates ensue on exactly what each prospect can offer.

It was my attempt, in this post, to stray from this type of analysis. I wanted something more objective. You can show 10 different people tape of Geno throwing the ball and you will get 10 different opinions. Some may be similar, but all will vary in one degree or another.

Specifically, I wanted to tackle the debate on Geno’s accuracy. As stated earlier in the post, Geno has a very impressive career completion percentage, one that he was able to increase every year as a starter. Also stated earlier, this percentage is said to be due, in large part, to the short and "easy" passes that he was asked to make.

To explore this idea, I observed 8 games from Geno’s 2012 campaign. Those games were Texas, Texas Tech, Maryland, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Kansas. I used the YouTube videos of Geno Smith vs. insert opponent here in my research. The goal of this research was relatively simple. One comment in particular sparked the idea when a user stated that, "90% of his passes were screen passes." Well AP, were they?

I present the following chart:


via i1257.photobucket.com

As I watched the games, I charted where each completion and incompletion were in regard to the line of scrimmage. It didn’t matter where the receiver ended up, all that mattered is where he caught it or attempted to catch it. After completing 8 games and 300 throws, I felt I had an adequate and representative sample size.

The double lines running down the middle of the chart can pretty much be thought of as the hash marks on a football field. With the exception, for example, that sometimes the ball can be located on the right hash pre-snap and a pass will be completed with the receiver going over the middle. The receiver might catch it outside of the hash marks, but for all intents and purposes it was a pass over the middle. I thought this better represented the types of throws that he was either missing or hitting.
The “NLOS” (Near Line of Scrimmage) is any pass that is generally within 3 yards of the LOS (i.e. screens, swing passes, and maybe a few shallow drag routes). The “4 to 9” section refers to passes that were completed/attempted within 4 to 9 yards of the line of scrimmage (usually outs, ins, and slants). The farther up the chart you go, the farther the passes were from the LOS. From there, I think most get the idea.

To give an example on how to read the chart, the bottom left section describes that Geno completed 41 of 46 passes (89.1%) that were directed to his left and were near the line of scrimmage. The far right column gives totals for each “level.”
Interesting Notes:
  • Feel free to take all of the screens away from Geno’s game. He completed 131 out of 213 passes that were 4+ yards past the LOS for a completion percentage of 61.5%.
  • 28% of his pass attempts were NLOS, 33% were from the 4-9 range, and 24% were from 10-20 yards past the LOS.
  • 36% of his pass completions were NLOS (not quite 90%), 32% were from the 4-9 range, and 23% were from 10-20 yards past the LOS.
  • 42% of his passes were directed to the left side of the field.
  • Geno completed 18 out of 43 passes (42%) that were 21+ yards past the LOS.
  • Geno is deadly accurate over the middle, check out that middle column. He had 6 of 9 passes that were 31+ yards down field completed, impressive. Geno’s completion percentages in the left, middle, and right were 70%, 72%, and 66% respectively.
  • Cause for concern? Completing 10/21 for a 48% completion percentage on passes that were 10 – 20 yards downfield and on the right side of the field.
  • Reason for optimism? Completing 19/28 for a 68% completion percentage on passes that were 10 – 20 yards downfield and on the left side of the field.
These last two notes were of particular importance to myself when doing this evaluation. NFL quarterbacks are separated by what they can do 10 to 20 yards downfield and outside the numbers. I’ll give you a math problem. How far does a ball travel from a quarterback that drops back 5 yards from the LOS, throws it halfway across a football field that is 53 yards wide, and the ball travels 15 yards past the LOS? My buddy, Pythagoras, told me that 15 yard completion is actually about a 33 yard pass. Is he right?

The overall results of the research seem promising. Initially, I defined 15 parts of the field. I had 5 levels of the defense separated by 3 sections. Through my evaluation, Geno was able to effectively attack each of these 15 parts. Not all equally, but he made the defense account for the whole field. Do the screens inflate his completion percentage? Yes, but those passes are hardly a given… cough*Matt Cassel to Eric Weddle*cough. The percentage of those he completes is beyond impressive by itself (88%). And those passes can travel around 20 yards in the air, at times. The only way those plays work are to get the ball there very quickly and very accurately, which Geno does nearly robotically.

I was a Geno Smith fan before I put this together, and this did nothing but confirm my thoughts on him. I have nothing to compare these numbers to, so I’m thinking about doing a similar evaluation on a couple of the other quarterback prospects. In the end, I hope people find this interesting and can find a way to use this information in their own evaluations.

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Old 01-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sully View Post
I'm in the Geno camp for now. I have a couple of problems with conclusions drawn in the article, but it's well done. I think he's missing on a point, though.
NFL accuracy isn't just about completing the pass, but also about where he puts the ball on the receiver. I'd like to see a breakdown of that, and see it compared with other QBs. The "dreaded" (yeah, I know... Doesn't make sense as an argument against) YAC bodes well for this, though.
Thats exactly where the 'OMG THEY HAD X YAC' argument comes in. People like to use that as an argument AGAINST Geno. (LOL!) Yes his guys had lots of YAC (don't all good QB's do that?) If your guys have good YAC that shows right there you are putting the ball where they can make a play after the catch.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:26 PM   #32
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I wouldn't mind Tavon coming to KC too and bringing that sweet YAC with him as well.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:27 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by hometeam View Post
Thats exactly where the 'OMG THEY HAD X YAC' argument comes in. People like to use that as an argument AGAINST Geno. (LOL!) Yes his guys had lots of YAC (don't all good QB's do that?) If your guys have good YAC that shows right there you are putting the ball where they can make a play after the catch.
It might say that, but not definitely. Bubble and tunnel screens don't necessarily tell that. Passes to seams of zones don't necessarily tell that.
I think it's good evidence, but not necessarily proof of that type of accuracy.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:30 PM   #34
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The thing about YAC when it came to Geno was that he did have one of, if not the most electric YAC WR in the nation this year and during his career. Tavon Austin was always there. WV used plenty of slip screens and underneath routes to get Austin open in space. What OC wouldn't want to just get the ball into the hands of Austin?

As good as Austin and Bailey were, Geno also did his part, and his OL was pretty poor this year. One thing I'm interested in seeing is what Geno can do with a big 6'2 or 6'3 WR in the NFL. He's never had a a big guy to throw to so he's had to be a little more accurate with his ball placement.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:31 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Sully View Post
It might say that, but not definitely. Bubble and tunnel screens don't necessarily tell that. Passes to seams of zones don't necessarily tell that.
I think it's good evidence, but not necessarily proof of that type of accuracy.
Its anecdotal evidence certainly. I dont think there is a good way to tie YAC and ball placement together scientifically, just because of the variables involved in catching and running. From ball position/height/rotation/angle/air speed/defender position/receiver speed/hand size/ on and on and on.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:35 PM   #36
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This is why Geno should be drafted. I think people make off base comparisons to this guy and that guy... but really what sets Geno apart is his accuracy. You put him in a system that plays to his strengths and do it well, he is remarkably accurate.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by tk13 View Post
This is why Geno should be drafted. I think people may way too many off base comparisons to this guy and that guy... but really what sets Geno apart is his accuracy. You put him in a system that plays to his strengths and do it well, he is remarkably accurate.
Exactly. WCO is all about short/mid routes with some over the top stuff to mix it up. Geno is perfect for us.. its DESTINY
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #38
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Its anecdotal evidence certainly. I dont think there is a good way to tie YAC and ball placement together scientifically, just because of the variables involved in catching and running. From ball position/height/rotation/angle/air speed/defender position/receiver speed/hand size/ on and on and on.
I think that's exactly what NFL scouts will spend hours looking at. On a fade, is he putting the ball high outside? One a short slant, is the ball low in front? Where on "the clock" is the ball and how consistent is he at putting it in the right place.
His decision-making seems great. His arm seems average to a hair above average. Leadership/smarts and that type of accuracy are going to be, IMO, what separates him.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:45 PM   #39
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I think that's exactly what NFL scouts will spend hours looking at. On a fade, is he putting the ball high outside? One a short slant, is the ball low in front? Where on "the clock" is the ball and how consistent is he at putting it in the right place.
His decision-making seems great. His arm seems average to a hair above average. Leadership/smarts and that type of accuracy are going to be, IMO, what separates him.
I think his arm is pretty big. You can tell on his deep balls that he consistently puts the ball in the right position. When you have less arm not only does the ball take longer to get there, guys have to push it down the field so it gets under or overthrown. (see Cassell) I'm not sure how much of the film and gifs you have looked at, but his ball placement is as good as any college QB and leaps and bounds above the rest of the top QBs in this class.

Still, this evidence is anecdotal. But, when you are talking about something that is an extremely complex art form, open to interpretation, that is really the best you have to work with.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:48 PM   #40
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I think his arm is pretty big. You can tell on his deep balls that he consistently puts the ball in the right position. When you have less arm not only does the ball take longer to get there, guys have to push it down the field so it gets under or overthrown. (see Cassell) I'm not sure how much of the film and gifs you have looked at, but his ball placement is as good as any college QB and leaps and bounds above the rest of the top QBs in this class.

Still, this evidence is anecdotal. But, when you are talking about something that is an extremely complex art form, open to interpretation, that is really the best you have to work with.
I'll trust that you've watched far more of him than I have. The little I've seen does have me question his big arm. Not saying he's Pennington-weak, I just felt it wasn't a huge arm. But I won't die on that hill, and defer to folks who have spent more time studying him than me.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:57 PM   #41
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I appreciate the effort of the OP, but he does not tell me which passes were defensed effectively and whether it was or was not a result of poor placement by the QB. To me, those are very important pieces to the eval and that is what makes Geno attractive to any pass offense, is his consistency in getting the ball right where it needs to be for his WR's.

I've watched enough on Geno to see he is going to need to adjust his reads a bit in the NFL because defenders are much faster, more creative in coverage and will jump routes on some passes he'd normally get away with in college. But this is true of any QB -- college is one thing, the NFL is something else.

He does have some issues he will need to improve on right away, and some of them are his footwork. It's been said, he does look down his guys sometimes too, he will need to become better at "hat str8, eyes moving". Not a big deal.

Now the one thing he needs to get better at is pocket awareness -- he tends to lose track of pressure at times. This one is big. He doesn't have the natural footwork to ascape easily and that can be dealt with using your scheme/play calling during certain situations where you know the defense is going to pin their ears back and go at him. But he's a tall guy, has that high release and I think a good coach can help him handle himself better as a QB under pressure.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:58 PM   #42
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I think his arm is pretty big.
THIS
He throws a better deep ball than a lot of NFL qbs let alone this class.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:22 PM   #43
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I appreciate the effort of the OP, but he does not tell me which passes were defensed effectively and whether it was or was not a result of poor placement by the QB. To me, those are very important pieces to the eval and that is what makes Geno attractive to any pass offense, is his consistency in getting the ball right where it needs to be for his WR's.

I've watched enough on Geno to see he is going to need to adjust his reads a bit in the NFL because defenders are much faster, more creative in coverage and will jump routes on some passes he'd normally get away with in college. But this is true of any QB -- college is one thing, the NFL is something else.

He does have some issues he will need to improve on right away, and some of them are his footwork. It's been said, he does look down his guys sometimes too, he will need to become better at "hat str8, eyes moving". Not a big deal.

Now the one thing he needs to get better at is pocket awareness -- he tends to lose track of pressure at times. This one is big. He doesn't have the natural footwork to ascape easily and that can be dealt with using your scheme/play calling during certain situations where you know the defense is going to pin their ears back and go at him. But he's a tall guy, has that high release and I think a good coach can help him handle himself better as a QB under pressure.
ya, coaching will be important. Every QB coming out will have certain things that needs work. I'm sure even Andrew Luck got coached up a bit. I wouldn't expect an immediate playoff berth, but that's what everyone is going to expect since Luck, RG3 and Dalton have their rookie seasons. They see that and will think that every rookie QB has to make the playoffs or they suck.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:29 PM   #44
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I'll trust that you've watched far more of him than I have. The little I've seen does have me question his big arm. Not saying he's Pennington-weak, I just felt it wasn't a huge arm. But I won't die on that hill, and defer to folks who have spent more time studying him than me.




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Old 01-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #45
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Now the one thing he needs to get better at is pocket awareness -- he tends to lose track of pressure at times. This one is big. He doesn't have the natural footwork to ascape easily and that can be dealt with using your scheme/play calling during certain situations where you know the defense is going to pin their ears back and go at him. But he's a tall guy, has that high release and I think a good coach can help him handle himself better as a QB under pressure.








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