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Rex Ryan vs. Rookie Quarterbacks

Evan Habeeb

The Raiders have not yet named a starting quarterback for Sunday's Week 1 matchup against the Jets. There is a possibility rookie quarterback Derek Carr will get the call.

Lots of people relish the thought of a Rex Ryan defense going against a rookie. Rex's defense is so complex that it will likely show blitz and coverage concepts the rookie has never seen before. The possibility for game-changing mistakes maximizes.

I wanted to find a way to test how Rex's defense has performed with the Jets against rookie starters to see whether this pans out. I wasn't looking to reinvent the wheel. I only wanted to look at this in a broad way so I chose to look at ESPN's QBR stat. It rates quarterback play on a scale from 0 to 100. I looked at both the QBR rated against the Jets and the QBR of the quarterback over the entire rookie season to get a feel for how much better or worse than usual each quarterback played. I did this because if the quarterback posted a terrible 20 against the Jets but was at 10 over the entire season, there really was no Rex effect.

I didn't include Ryan Tannehill's second start against the Jets in 2012 since he left the game in the first quarter with an injury.

This was calculated by hand.

Quarterback Season QBR vs. Jets
QBR for Season
Josh Freeman 2009 1.3 26.7 -25.4
Colt McCoy
2010 42.0 44.4 -2.4
Ryan Tannehill
2012 42.9 50.4 -7.5
Andrew Luck
2012 35.6 65.2 -29.6
Russell Wilson
2012 52.2 71.7 -19.5
Ryan Lindley
2012 3.1 9.3 -6.2
EJ Manuel
2013 30.3 41.2 -10.9
EJ Manuel
2013 76.2 41.2 35.0
Matt McGloin
2013 54.2 49.5 4.7

  • On average, rookies see their QBR drop 6.8 points against the Jets.
  • In seven of the nine games the rookie posted a QBR lower than his season average.
  • Four posted a QBR at least ten points lower than their average while only one posted a QBR at least ten points above average.
  • The two quarterbacks now widely acknowledged as legitimate franchise quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson saw their QBR's lowered by 29.6 and 19.5 respectively.

You can poke holes in this, but all I'm trying to do is provide a broad analysis. It does appear there is some effect a Rex defense puts on young quarterbacks, although it is perhaps more modest than one might expect given the quality of Jets defenses during Rex's tenure.