The NFL season is coming down the home stretch, and any potential QB MVP candidates have little time left to make their move. In a year where a wide receiver might break 2,000 yards receiving (Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill), a singular QB season that will end all doubt has yet to materialize in the popular narrative. But what do the metrics say? Let’s take a gander at the current QB STEW.
For the uninitiated, QB STEW is a metric amalgamation I concocted in an attempt to have the flaws of one metric accommodated in the formula by the presence of another metric.
You can find the original article with reasoning here.
It’s a shame that wins matter in the MVP race for quarterbacks
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen isn’t likely going to win NFL MVP this season. The Bills could feasibly win out while Allen dominates, have the Dallas Cowboys, Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers lose out while their quarterbacks play like garbage. But that scenario feels unlikely. Despite remaining in the top four of quarterbacks in QB STEW and having a chance at finishing the year at the top of the heap, the Bills’ overall season and win-loss record will likely keep Allen from being considered strongly for the award.
It’s just another reason why wins should not be considered quarterback statistics.
From a metric standpoint, Allen is a boringly top-five quarterback in all metrics save for passer rating and ANY/A, both of which are influenced heavily by the raw number of interceptions thrown. So given what we know about those metrics, this tracks as to why they’d be the outliers. The actual EPA impact of those interceptions is actually less than that of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, which is why Allen is third in EPA per play while Tua sits at fourth. Allen’s penchant for making a number of absolutely ridiculous throws every game pushes him up the rankings in PFF grade, which is simultaneously exhibited by quarterback Brock Purdy (whom many have criticized as being a game manager) being 12th in that same metric.
Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins can’t escape each other, but Dak is gaining steam
It’s beautifully poetic that Dak Prescott is in the MVP race and in the top two of QB STEW the exact same year where Kirk Cousins was playing completely out of his gourd before suffering an Achilles injury. The two have long been compared to each other and similar raw stats over their careers have kept that comparison alive.
Prescott is top six in every QB metric outlined here and has been on a heater in the last month. In addition, he doesn’t have the “game manager” label placed on him the way that current number-one spot occupier Brock Purdy does. That’s in part because the NFL community doesn’t have the same level of reverence for the play calling on Mike McCarthy as they do for Kyle Shanahan.
If the season ended today, I’d bet that this would be the first since the inception of STEW that it wouldn’t accurately predict a quarterback MVP. I think it would go right now to Dak Prescott over Purdy for the reasons outlined.
C.J. Stroud isn’t good “for a rookie”; he’s just good
Stroud has maintained his place in the top half of the league STEW rankings for a long-enough sample size to conclude that he’s just flat out playing well. Having CPOE as an outlier in your STEW metrics has historically correlated to a QB getting help from the system (and Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik is likely and rightfully going to get head-coaching looks this offseason). But being top 10 in PFF grade and top five in passer rating means he’s playing well within the system and minimizing his mistakes — but also making good throws. Film junkies have noted that Stroud’s ability to make awkward and off-platform throws on naked bootlegs has really allowed the Texans’ offense to thrive even in situations where the defense has an optimal play called to counter.
It’s certainly looking like the Texas have their guy for the future.
...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan with Buffalo Rumblings. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @BruceExclusive and look for new episodes of “The Bruce Exclusive” every Thursday on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network!