Joe Flacco and ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating

October 26, 2011|By Matt Vensel

Remember that new quarterback rating stat ESPN made up? How does it apply to Ravens QB Joe Flacco?

Seven weeks into the 2011 season, the fourth-year quarterback ranks 21st in the league in Total Quarterback Rating. QBR is a confusing stat that measures the quality of quarterback play that ESPN invented because the NFL’s traditional passer rating system was in itself a confusing stat measuring the quality of quarterback play.

QBR is even more confusing than that last sentence.

Flacco trails such quarterbacks as Cam Newton (a rookie for the Panthers), Chad Henne (a fellow 2008 pick who is now on injured reserve), Matt Cassel (who is no good) and Kyle Orton (who got benched for Tim Tebow).

His 45.2 rating (out of 100) is slightly better than Donovan McNabb, Andy Dalton and Rex Grossman.

In case you’re wondering how QBR is calculated, which is a perfectly natural thing to wonder, here’s a brief rundown from the Worldwide Leader in Sports: “Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a quarterback's contributions (passing, rushing, sacks, fumbles, penalties) to his team's scoring and winning and summarizes them into one number on a 0-100 scale, on which 50 is average.”

Aaron Rodgers ranks first with an 86.5 QBR, followed by Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Hasselbeck and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick are also in the top-10 in Total Quarterback Rating. So there is definitely a correlation between QBR and the general public perception of the league’s top QBs.

Oakland’s Kyle Boller had a 0.8 rating in Week 7, so the other end of the spectrum seems accurate, too.

(By the way, if the standard NFL passer rating is more your thing, Flacco is 26th in the NFL with a 76.2 rating.)

"We're a young football team," Flacco said Tuesday. "We need some time. Like I said, we got to win while we start gelling and we're really inconsistent right now. That's part of what's good about this. We're going to learn week-to-week and you'd like to learn while you're winning football games and thus far, we've done that. Just [Monday], we weren't able to do it. As the year goes on, we're going to get better and better."

And if the Ravens do, Flacco’s ranking in the quarterback stat ESPN made up will get better and better, too.

Figuring out why exactly that is will probably still be confusing, though.

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