David Garrard and the Deep Ball

Where does Jaguars QB David Garrard rank with the deep ball? Pro Football Focus recently released an article detailing the importance of the deep ball in the NFL today. If you’re not familiar with the website, PFF studys every play that every player in the NFL makes. I read that it involves roughly 10 hours of game study per game. They rank all of these players in various ways throughout the season. The work seems exhausting but makes for a great read.

As far as the deep ball, here is their criteria:

We broke down every pass from the 2010 season, and dropped them into numerous categories and sub categories. One of these was passes thrown longer than 20 yards. Which brings us to the point of this article. A look at who threw downfield the most and who did it most efficiently. 30 deep attempts was the qualifying mark to be considered.

There were 31 qualifying quarterbacks. Where do you think Garrard finished based off completion percentage? I bet second behind Vince Young wasn’t your first answer. Matt Schaub, of the Texans, finished third followed by Phillip Rivers (Chargers) and Drew Brees (Saints).

Jaguars fans aren’t accustomed to watching Garrard throw a deep bomb. Unfortunately, he can’t escape the comparison to Colts QB Peyton Manning. Manning. This time, Manning couldn’t escape the comparison to him. Manning completed 29/95 deep balls for 30.53% complete. Garrard, on the other hand, completed 23/51 with 45.10% complete. WHAT? Really.

Now, before you go on and doubt that these numbers are worth looking into, let me point out that it is based off completion percentage. There is a legit argument that Garrard has an increased percentage due to attempting just over half what Manning attempted, but he did complete that high of a percentage. The counter-argument is that Garrard was robbed of opportunities and hasn’t been able to show the league how well he really can throw the deep ball. Then again, Vince Young was at the top of the list, so maybe we should ignore it, but it’s the dead-zone, we gotta talk about something.

Remember John Broussards 47-yard catch from Garrard week 1 vs the Titans, 2008? I guess despite all the criticism, Garrard may have a good deep ball. Let’s hope we get to see it in 2011.

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  • Adam Stites

    It’s such a weird conundrum. My eyes have told me over the years that Garrard doesn’t throw the deep ball often and that when he does it’s not that great. When numbers completely disagree with what you’ve seen the first reaction is to try to rationalize the numbers so that both what you’re seeing and the numbers make sense. I’m not sure I’ve found the rationale yet.

    • thehof

      I know what you’re saying Adam, when Garrard throw “the bomb” where he loads up and puts all he has into, that’s what triggers “deep ball” in my mind and often, those are ugly. But look at Garrard’s 48 yard throw to Jason Hill ( – that’s a “bomb”, but he has enough protection to throw with good mechanics and not force it. Or check out this pass to Mike Thomas for 26 yards, which qualifies as a “deep ball” ( – again, good protection, good mechanics, and that looks completely effortless. The guy can win games and if our offensive line stays healthy and our playmakers are there for him, I expect him to hover around the top 10 this year.

  • Brandon Clark

    it’s weird right?

    The story of Garrard is that he could’ve been great. The offensive line let him down for years and the WR’s were absolutely at the bottom of the NFL for years

    It’s too bad that he will really never have that true opportunity. The team will be good when he is gone.

    I hope my new favorite player, Blaine Gabbert, does aweseom! :)