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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Weighted Quarterback Rating
"It hasn't been one thing," Ponder said Wednesday morning. "Again, it goes back to execution. We've got to do a better job. We've been seeing a lot of pressure. I have to do a better job of getting the ball out of my hands. I think teams have realized that."  After Nineteen (19) starts, how is it that our franchise is unable to face what is apparently an undeniable fact.  Could it be that Christian Ponder is incapable of executing at an elite NFL level?  It is one thing ... one undeniable fact ... one incapable component ... and that one NON-PRODUCTIVE-UNIT (NPU) is Christian Ponder.  If I were Percy Harvin I'd be screaming too but on the other hand I've been screaming since before we drafted Christian Ponder ... water under the bridge.

No, there are not allot of guys out there that have two (2) masters degrees from a Florida State but again Florida State is neither Stanford or MIT.  I'll concede to you that there aren't many with two masters degrees however that doesn't guarantee that Christian Ponder will ever become an elite quarterback.  In his first nine (9) games in 2012 Ponder had ten (10) passing TD's, plus one (1) rushing TD with eight (8) interceptions.  To put this in perspective, Rodgers scored six (6) TD's in one game against the best team in the AFC ... the Houston Texans. 

So, you might want to grasp onto Ponder's quarterback rating which is 81.98%, which is heavily influenced by a 64.08% completion percentage & a whole bunch of tough Percy Harvin yards after catch.  Can you recall how far many of those Ponder completions traveled?  Allow me to be the first to tell you that the quarterback rating is highly overrated where the quarterback rating itself is tragically flawed.  All it includes is attempts, completions, passing yards, passing TD's  & interceptions.  What does completions have to do with a quarterbacks rating as it is a measure of the receivers ability to catch a ball?.  On the other hand, it might reflect whether the quarterback threw a catch-able ball rather than a searing bullet that no one could catch.  Now consider Fran Tarkenton where in his day he was a threat to run the ball into the end zone any time he was near the goal line however this is not apart of a quarterbacks rating as somehow it is assumed that you must be a substandard quarterback if you cannot pass the ball into the end zone.   

The quarterback rating is far from telling the whole story in regard to achieving the proper evaluation of a quarterback.  Every quarterback rating should be weighted by the quarterbacks ability to orchestrate scoring drives and the overall effect that each drive has on his team.  With this stated, the two most important factors of a comprehensive quarterback rating include "RED ZONE EFFICIENCY" & "DRIVE EFFICIENCY".  To get a proper quarterback evaluation both factors should be included, as weighted multipliers applied to the well established NFL quarterback rating, to achieve a comprehensive quarterback rating.  These weighted factors are as follows::

Red Zone efficiency:  Every time a quarterback reaches the red zone, his quarterback rating should be weighted by a multiplier regardless of who scores or how they score.  In other words, the quarterback should be rewarded based upon orchestrating any touch down drive regardless of who or how they scored the touchdown.  In other words, utilizing all his tools rather than just his arm.  The weighting factors for each Red Zone drive are awarded as follows: 
  1. When no points are scored, use a multiplier of 0.6.  There are only a finite number of drives in a game.  If you miss your opportunity to score, it should carry a heavy rating penalty reflecting the inefficiency of your quarterback.

  2. Use a 2.0 multiplier for any touchdown scored.

  3. Use a 0.9 multiplier for any field goal scored.  Although a team can win by scoring field goals, they can also lose games by scoring field goals by forgoing your teams opportunities.

  4. Use 1.0 if a score is achieved where you never break into the red zone. 

Example 1: In the red zone only, if the offense was stopped twice, scored 2 TD's and 3 field goals, the multiplier would be 0.6*0.6*2.0*2.0*0.9*0.9*0.9=1.05.  In other words, an above average afternoons work.  On the other hand someone that has 5 field goals, 0 TD's, and 3 stops would have a multiplier of 0.6*0.6*0.9*0.9*0.9*0.9*0.9=0.21.  Keep in mind that the Vikings last Sunday had only ten (10) offensive possessions. Although a team can win with 15 points in this league, the failure to convert on missed opportunities would accurately reflect that this quarterback had a fairly lousy offensive day.   Don't believe me, then have a day like this versus Aaron Rodgers.  Get the picture? 

Drive Efficiency: For every drive, the quarterback is assigned a 0.85 rating.  For every first down achieved thereafter, not including the initial first down, the 0.85 rating is multiplied by 1.05.  For a pick 6, divide the drive results by 2.  For every 3 & out, this in fact puts enormous pressure on the defense as they just came off the field where short rest periods affect defenses adversely.  On the other hand, if the quarterback has 3 first downs on a drive, his rating for that drive is 0.85*1.05*1.05*1.05 = 0.984.  In other words, he probably didn't hurt the team whatsoever. After three first downs the team might be in field goal range or at the very least the ball should be in a good position to punt deep inside the opponents 20.  In short, a very efficient quarterback that is playing for field position.

Non Red Zone TD's are quite controversial.  Does a bomb reflect upon the efficiency of a quarterback or was it a low percentage fluke or a blown coverage or mistake made by the defense?  What if the TD occurs on yards after catch (YAC).  It's hard to consider Randy Moss career a fluke however it was a mistake for Daunte Culpepper to rely on it game after game.  In short, in cannot be counted to evaluate a quarterback however an additional 1.05 multiplier, like achieving a first down, is warranted.  Keep in mind that if it is a passing TD, it will show up in the NFL quarterback rating.

Now you might think that the drive efficiency actually hurts a quarterbacks ratings if the ball is recovered deep within the opponents territory, like at the opponents 35 however when you multiply the drive efficiency by the red zone efficiency of each drive, the result should be apparent.  If they score a field goal on a short field, with no first downs, quite frankly ... the quarterback screwed up and wasted a precious opportunity.  No score and its like putting a gun to the teams head, and a touchdown indicates a very positive result.  Always remember that the total number of possessions is about equal for both teams, which begs the question, why didn't we attempt an NFL record 68 yard field goal at the end of the first half on Sunday?  The kid might have nailed it.

To achieve a your QUARTERBACKS COMPREHENSIVE RATING, you multiply the flawed NFL quarterback rating by both the RED ZONE EFFICIENCY & the DRIVE EFFICIENCY. 

The net effect of this method is to differentiate your quarterback by something other than a completion percentage which tells you nothing about the true efficiency of your quarterback and what he is doing to your team.  Both an efficient and inefficient quarterback will be exposed using this new system.  If this new system had been in place, rather than to rely upon the NFL quarterback rating, Ponder & his coaches would be focused on racking up red zone & efficiency points rather than trying to force more Ponder failed quarterback rating opportunities.  Was I the only one asking, "Why did we stop running the ball (especially with Toby Gerhart in reserve)?"

For example, on November 5, 2012 versus Seattle, Ponder & Wilson's quarterback ratings where 37.2% & 127.3% respectively.  An indication of Ponder's poor performance for his fifth consecutive start and that Wilson had a rather good day.  On the other hand, when we look at the weighted factors that include RED ZONE EFFICIENCY and DRIVE EFFICIENCY, the numbers are astounding.  Ponder and Wilson's COMPREHENSIVE QUARTERBACK RATINGS (See attached) were 52.3 and 1,222.3 respectively.  For those that can do math that's a factor of 23.37 times greater. 

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What does this tell us?  It indicates that Pete Carroll definitely has something in Wilson, which is why he was chosen in front of all those other quarterbacks.  On the other hand it also indicates that Leslie Frazier & Rick Spielman have absolutely nothing in Christian Ponder.  When Christian Ponder says that we've got to get better what that means is that he alone is the one that has got to get better.  After nineteen games he has clearly indicated that he is absolutely incapable of getting better regardless of what Fran Tarkenton might say or do to convince us otherwise.

This new system doesn't just focus on Christian Ponder.  If you were to look at Tony Romo, he also has an excellent career quarterback rating however when you apply these same weighted ratings, it becomes clear that the NFL quarterback rating is drastically flawed, giving a false sense of security, where the comprehensive rating indicates something very different.   

A Look INSIDE THE COMPREHENSIVE QUARTERBACK RATING numbers: Up to Ponder's 4th drive, he was doing quite well with both his DRIVE EFFICIENCY and his RED ZONE EFFICIENCY due in great part in utilizing Adrian Peterson.  It was only when he started to impart his impressive self and his abilities into the game that things fell apart.

So, what's ailing the boy?  Sure Ponder's a smart kid, but when you stand in line and are given out the brains, your also standing in line for common sense and a whole bunch of other things.  The common sense part is in Ponder realizing that he's never going to be an elite caliber quarterback in this league.  As for the other things, was I the only kid in the school yard lot that understood that it wasn't the smart kids that were dominating the games.  The games were dominated by the ones blessed with god given talent.  The smart kids weren't the do-ers ... they generally speaking were the watchers.  Why?  Because their brains tried to process everything rather than to have that care free Brett Favre's gun slingers mentality of trying to fit it into a crease that doesn't really exist.  Favre cared about his players but didn't give a crap about anything else.  Ponder cares about everything else but doesn't give a damn about his players.  All those excuses ... which cannot be taken back now ... clearly lay that out for everyone to see.

Let's see, Ponder's mentor was "You weren't open enough Donovan McNabb", were I can teach you how to not throw and interception (Guess Ponder wasn't listening that day).  Joe Webb's mentor was the gun slinger by the name of Brett Favre.  It's hard to differentiate the youthful demeanor between the both of them ... you know ... the type of youthful demeanor that wins championships.

Once again, you don't get to select the hero's of this game.  The hero's of the game are molded by the gods and if you are lucky, a player like Joe Webb is thrust upon you so that this franchise can win its first NFL Super Bowl championship.  It's time to move on.

Wasn't it odd listening to the commentators talk about Joe Webb coming into the game with about 7 minutes left, mentioning what they saw in Washington less than a year ago.  You could see, feel & hear all that youthful enthusiasm ... about to be crushed under the heal of Viking Management.  OUCH!  Earth to THE ZIG MAN ... Hello!

Why have you forsaken me?  Why have you forsaken us all?

The Viking Ghost Writer
November 6, 2012