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2006 QB in Review

Posted by Chase Stuart on March 14, 2007

Over the summer, we looked at the worst and best passers since the NFL merger. With 2006 in the books, a supplement to those blogs became necessary.

As a group, NFL QBs averaged 5.825 adjusted yards per attempt in 2006, which is in line with prior data. For those needing a quick refresher, here's how we score each QB. Adjusted yards per attempt is calculated by taking a QB's passing yards, subtracting 45 yards for every INT, adding 10 yards for every passing TD, and dividing by total pass attempts. Then we take the difference between the individual's adjusted yards per attempt and the league average, and multiply by total attempts (this is because a great QB that throws 500 times is more valuable than a great QB that throws 400 times.)

Here's a list of how many points each QB scored last year (only those with 100 attempts shown here):

1058 Peyton Manning 7.72
956 Drew Brees 7.55
756 Marc Bulger 7.11
716 Donovan McNabb 8.09
701 Carson Palmer 7.17
545 Tony Romo 7.44
524 Philip Rivers 6.96
522 Damon Huard 7.96
233 Kurt Warner 7.21
224 Jeff Garcia 7.02
223 Tom Brady 6.26
175 Mark Brunell 6.50
112 J.P. Losman 6.09
110 Tim Rattay 6.91
68 Jay Cutler 6.32
33 Daunte Culpepper 6.07
26 David Garrard 5.93
-23 Chad Pennington 5.78
-31 Jake Delhomme 5.75
-44 Jon Kitna 5.75
-56 Steve McNair 5.71
-62 Byron Leftwich 5.49
-74 Ben Roethlisberger 5.67
-79 Jason Campbell 5.44
-79 Matt Leinart 5.62
-110 Drew Bledsoe 5.17
-129 Seneca Wallace 4.91
-146 Trent Green 5.09
-171 Michael Vick 5.38
-199 Derek Anderson 4.13
-214 Matt Hasselbeck 5.25
-238 David Carr 5.29
-245 Alex Smith 5.27
-273 Rex Grossman 5.26
-316 Brett Favre 5.31
-328 Jake Plummer 4.79
-337 Chris Simms 2.64
-343 Aaron Brooks 4.04
-346 Vince Young 4.86
-367 Eli Manning 5.12
-392 Brad Johnson 4.93
-486 Andrew Walter 4.07
-494 Charlie Frye 4.56
-565 Bruce Gradkowski 4.10
-579 Joey Harrington 4.33

Jay Cutler played better than Jake Plummer, yet some people still pin the Broncos lost post-season hopes on the mid-season switch. I maintain that the real error was not making the switch soon enough.

Damon Huard had an incredible year, while Trent Green was below average. Tony Romo played better than I remembered. The Eagles three QBs (1091) actually topped Manning, who was the only Colts QB to throw a pass in 2006. Jason Campbell wasn't half bad, but Mark Brunell was better. Matt Leinart wasn't as good as Kurt Warner, and Alex Smith was only good compared to his 2005 version. Rex Grossman, Brett Favre and Eli Manning are polarizing figures, but all of them were below average passers in 2006. And Joey Harrington is still terrible (more on this later).

Changes to the All Time list
Peyton Manning now has 5,985 career points of value, vaulting him from 7th to 4th all time. Kurt Warner and Trent Green flip-flopped, and Warner is now 8th and Green 9th on the career list. Brett Favre continued his free-fall, from 15th to now 20th on the list; conversely, Marc Bulger jumped up from 31st to 21st. Donovan McNabb leaped from 52nd to 29th. Matt Hasselbeck was 28th and Drew Brees 81st before the season began; now they're 42nd and 43rd, respectively. And Carson Palmer snuck into the top fifty.

On to the negative side: Mike Vick dropped to below average for his career with a bad 2006. Drew Bledsoe continues to slide, and is at -574 for his career. Charlie Frye (-671), Alex Smith (-809), Eli Manning (-850) and David Carr (-988) have some work to do to resurrect their careers.

Jake Plummer (-1425), Kerry Collins (-1461) and Jon Kitna (-1495) continue to produce below average work but are always given another chance. At least Kitna was just about average last year.

And then there was Joey. After another miserable season, Harrington now stands as The Worst QB Of All Time (-2,953). This was Harrington's third season of negative 500 points or greater (fewer?). Rick Mirer, you have been surpassed.

2006 Notables, under 100 pass attempts: Charlie Batch (+233), A.J. Feeley (+151), Kyle Boller (+125), Chris Weinke (-94), Tarvaris Jackson (-157) and Kerry Collins (-235) all had significant impacts despite limited playing time. And Brodie Croyle (-108) got into the triple digits on only seven pass attempts; he was 3/7 for 23 yards with two interceptions.