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David Garrard and the Deep Ball

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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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