Zach Wilson, NY Jets, Stats, PFF Grade
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

How well did Zach Wilson perform against the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Throughout the 2021 season, I will be running a weekly series of breakdowns in which I analyze the performance of the New York Jets’ quarterback(s) by grading every single one of their plays on a 0-to-10 scale.

My goal with this grading system is to capture the true quality of the quarterback’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 complete 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 these performances.

Let’s dig into everything that went into my 0-to-100 grade for Zach Wilson‘s performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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1 year ago

These glimpses is why I down-voted your hypothetic Russel Wilson trade yesterday. If this kid is really getting it now (and I think these next two games could be instructive), no one would make that trade for where this young team is. He would be on his way to becoming a bonafide good to potentially elite QB for us, and we haven’t had one for close to 40 years. If in the NFL he can get to the comfort level he matured into by year 3 in his college system, we will be competitive for the next 10 years.

1 year ago
Reply to  Psi

Me too. If we were to trade Z. Wilson and he were to become a franchise QB in Seattle the only way I’d get over it would be if R. Wilson delivered at least one Lombardi and more than Zach managed to accumulate.

1 year ago

The average negative was 3.4/poor and the Jags could have had three picks were it not for a bit of luck on the throw to Mims and the interventions of Fant and Kroft. What did you make of those plays and what effect would they have had on the rating if they’d resulted in turnovers?

1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Thanks Michael, that seems a perfectly reasonable way to evaluate those plays. Despite what could have happened on them Wilson has protected the ball well since the first few games and better than any of our other rookies of the last 12 years. Eight interceptions on his first 110 attempts (7.3%) and three in his last 220 (1.4%).

1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Yes, I agree. I cheated a bit in the numbers I posted above by adding the first five passes of game 4 (Tennessee) to the first sample. In that way I added another interception to it and ended up with the nice 2:1 split but even without that statistical legerdemain there’s been a clear improvement. For a long time I’ve had a sense of gathering dread every time one of our rookie QBs has dropped back to pass but that may finally be dissipating.