The Keys to Geno Smith's 2013 Success - The Story of Pressure

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

There has been a lot of debate about Geno Smith's 2013 season lately, especially surrounding the three morbid games after the bye week, and his end of season success. People are hunting for deep flaws or shining potential, so I thought I'd look at - and gather - the data from all his games and see if there are important trends in how the season unfolded, perhaps trends that may give us a clue to what a 2014 Geno Smith season might be like, if he wins the starting job.

Some people may hate all this data graphically presented, but I tried to break some of it down into more isolated graphs for digestibility. Part of why I'm presenting it here too is so others might be able to extrapolate interesting things beyond what I see. I give my two cents as well. Some of this will be obvious stuff but worth thinking about.

First, here is all the data of all the games. Green shaded games are wins, losses are not shaded. You can click on any photo for an enlargement:


click to enlarge

No P Rating = QB rating without pressure

P Rating = QB rating under pressure

blizt Rating = QB rating when blitzed

P Dropb % = What percent of dropbacks occurred under pressure (sack, hurry, hit - unweighted)

Dropbks = Total Dropbacks for the game

Comp % = Geno's Completion percentage

Deep % = percent of attempts thrown Deep

Runs % = percent of dropbacks run

Pass to Run = percent of pass plays to runs (game totals)

pass D = the rank of opponent in DVOA pass Defense (end of the year)

The Importance of Pressure


I put forward the most significant correlation. When Geno was pressured over 40% of his dropbacks the team generally lost the game. That's the red-dotted line above. 1-7 was their record, the lone win coming in the first Buffalo game where he was pressured just over 40%. This doesn't necessarily mean pressure from blitzes, in fact a good deal of pressure came from standard rushes.

This is a notable issue considering how little it appears that the Jets have improved their protection (on paper). Geno is likely to struggle against pressure again, and he likely is going to be pressured again. The question is to what degree. Considering that this was such an important factor it is pretty disappointing that the Jets did not really invest here.

In the above graph the end-of-year DVOA pass defense ranking also is shown. Geno was 1-3 against top of the league pass defenses, and 3-0 against poor pass defenses (making up 2 of the last 4 wins). Makes sense to some degree, though it suggests that Jet fates were somewhat tied to Geno's passing.


The above shows the same % of pressures, the same 40% mark, this time juxtaposed with the pressure QB rating. One can see perhaps why the 1st Buffalo game was an exception, he had a huge game under pressure (I don't remember the plays).

Below I include the three QB rating data lines with the same Pressure % line, in case others can see something more in the data:


Pass to Run Ratio - 50% Mark


This is the 2nd most significant correlation. I for one was someone who wanted Geno to throw the ball. I wanted him to get in rhythm, attack deep, and sling it a bit to get comfortable. But, when the Jets threw the ball 50% of plays or more they were 1-7. Now some of this data is skewed because in games were they threw a lot, they were behind, but it does seem striking that wins were almost exclusively games where they (relatively) took the ball out of Geno's hands. The way that games played out, the Jets won when they ran the ball more, and lost when they didn't. The lone exceptions were the first game against TB which they almost lost, and the game against Baltimore where the more conservative approach did not save them.

Deep %, Pressure % and Run %

these are less insightful data pictures, but I include them because deep passing and running has been talked about.


The above is Deep % in relation to the percent of Dropbacks that where pressured.


The above shows the percent of runs by Geno (runs + pass attempts / runs), and his yards per carry and reflects the end of season devotion to the run by the Jets, especially in the last two games.


There is probably more in this data. For me the biggest issues shown by correlation were games with pressure over 40% of dropbacks, to some degree the quality of pass defense and passing more than running. While we can imagine that Rex will continue to try to restrict pass attempts, and dial up the run, the biggest question will be how the Jets will protect the quarterback. And the issue was not just the OL. The backs were among the league worst in picking up the blitz, and the TEs were quite poor in protection as well. We've added a pass catching TE, an only moderate pass blocking back, and the OL looks to be weaker in pass protection. Geno does have more weapons --- though it should be noted that Winslow was a particularly effective short yardage converting target, and may be missed if Geno is pressured.

Hopefully other people can find other interesting correlations or trends in the big graph.

There is a lot of hand gathering in these stats, there may be errors. Also, the 1st Miami game data is somewhat compromised because game total data had to be used in some categories.

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