How well did Zach Wilson perform against the Atlanta Falcons beyond the box score?
Throughout the 2021 season, I will be running a weekly series of breakdowns in which I analyze Zach Wilson‘s performance by grading every single one of his plays on a 0-to-10 scale.
My goal with this grading system is to capture the true quality of Wilson’s performance. Box score statistics can be misleading, as they do not account for a variety of factors that determine whether a quarterback performed well or poorly on a given play.
After re-watching each play on the All-22 film, I grade them on a 0-to-10 scale and then take the average of all plays to form a 0-to-100 overall score with 50 being approximately league-average (based on my studying of numerous other quarterback performances across the league).
Here are just a handful of the primary factors that are taken into account in the grading of each play, and a basic description of what I’m looking for:
- Decision-making (Did the QB choose the best available option or did he leave a better play on the field?)
- Throw difficulty (Clean pocket or pressured? Wide open or tight window? Stationary or on the move? More difficult throws are more valuable.)
- Accuracy/placement (Even if the pass is completed, was the ball placed in the best possible spot or did the receiver have to make an extra effort to catch it?)
- Game situation – score, time, field position, down and distance (Good decisions based on the clock/situation are crucial. Playing the sticks is also important – it is not a good play to throw a 5-yard out on third-and-10 while a 15-yard dig is open, but a 5-yard out on third-and-2 is good.)
Ultimately, it’s all about context. Not all 40-yard completions are created equal. Not all interceptions are created equal. You need to watch a play to understand whether the quarterback did a good or bad job. The raw result of a play cannot give you that answer.
When we analyze every play on film multiple times and grade the quarterback’s individual effort independent of his surroundings or the on-paper outcome of the play, we get a much better estimation of how well he actually played.
Of course, keep in mind that these grades are subjective. They are but one man’s opinion and are not gospel. Feel free to let me know your takes on my grades for Wilson’s performances.
Let’s dig into everything that went into my 0-to-100 grade for Wilson’s rough trip to London.
I am already very concerned. He was over-aggressive to reckless at BYU, and I’m not sure that’s something a player just gets “coached” out of them. Combine that with the accuracy issues that clearly stem from his mental problems and I say it’s already time for worry. I have said this a few times, it’s not that he’s still making rookie mistakes, or that he takes careless shots with the ball that concern me, it’s that I can’t point to one thing he’s improved on in 5 games and that’s a problem. If he were still throwing INTs but he was completing passes or he is still holding the ball too long waiting for the big play but he’s making the easy reads, I could live with that. This is something else now, and it HAS to look better/different vs. NE. He HAS to show some progress after a bye week. If there is none it’s time to sound the alarm.
PS. Note to Mike LaFleur…did you see the Cowboys flood the field with WR’s vs. NE and rack up more yards than anybody against a Sleazechick defense? I don’t want to see a day full of TE’s on the field.
Yep, gotta see some substantial progress in different particular areas throughout the post-Bye stretch or it will be fair to come out of his rookie year feeling very concerned about his future.