How well did Zach Wilson perform against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
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 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Was this the 22-year-old’s best game as a pro?
Another really encouraging week and the improvements he made were a lot more tangible than in some of the earlier post-injury games. As you suggested previously, a calmer mind has translated to improved mechanics and I think we should approach this off-season as if Wilson is a true franchise QB. For all the holes on defense we need to invest at least equal resources to building up the offense around him.
I just hope he can have at least a solid game against the Bills, and perhaps a win (if NE lose), to further the sense that we might actually have this position figured out for once.
Thanks Michael, really awesome analysis.
Awesome review. Loved the clarity on the grade. Zach is just getting better and better. The key as you noted is that he is reading defenses at a high level with improved pocket presence which is the key and most noteworthy aspect of his recent performances. Thanks as always for a great season of information!
It’s fun to watch the growth. Thanks for reading!