The Quarterback Controls Week 10


With the coming game between the Jaguars and the Texans, it is important to realize how and why the two teams may win or lose.  In this matchup, the outcome relies entirely upon David Garrard and Matt Schaub.  Both of the quarterbacks play in considerably different offensive schemes, and both have different margins of error as a result.  Whether the Jaguars’ approach of run first, throw when needed comes out on top relies on David Garrard completing a large percentage of his passes and ensuring that the ball is not turned over too many times to a Houston team with the offensive weapons to easily capitalize.   The Texans’ approach to throw as much as possible and run to keep the defense honest relies on Matt Schaub being a moderately efficient passer that manages to make big plays in crucial moments.  We’ll take a peek at how this could play out after the jump.

Let’s start with the efficiency of both quarterbacks:

David Garrard is currently 101 of 149 (67.8%) for 1098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven picks.  Matt Schaub is currently 170 of 267 (63.7%) for 2006 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven picks.  Despite having almost 1000 more yards than Garrard, Schaub’s stats show that, on the whole, he has been a less efficient passer. For each completion the Jaguars collect 9.1 yards compared to 8.4 for the Texans.  Yet the Texans have a much more potent offense.  This is due, in part, to the willingness of the Houston system to commit to the pass and their reliance on big plays, from big play makers like Andre Johnson, to compensate for their decline in efficiency from previous years.  Meanwhile the Jaguars have an almost pedestrian feel to their offense that can struggle to score points against even moderately ranked defenses.  This is due mainly to the drop off in productivity from the running game (As compared to years past).  But when speaking about the Jaguars there is a tendency to imagine the team as a running based team.  Instead, due to the lack of productivity on the ground, the Jaguars have become heavily reliant on David Garrard.  Despite having limited yardage this season, Garrard’s efficiency shows that when he plays well the Jaguars will succeed.  He has been picking up where the Jaguars’ running game has left the offense.  So, despite being a more efficient passer, Garrard has a smaller margin of error than Schaub for their matchup this week.  Which leads to the next point:

Pace of the Offense as Compared to One’s Own Defense:

The Texans have an interesting situation.  They, unlike many teams that are hyped by the media, are mainly powerful on the offense but desperately lack any credibility on the defensive side of the ball.  Currently the Texans allow more yards per game (399.5) than any other team, almost all through the air (ranked 32nd).  In order to compensate the team has developed a top flight offense.  But, due to the defense’s inability to stop opposing offenses, Matt Schaub is forced to throw more, and make riskier throws, in order to compete with the teams that easily march the field against them.  Their offense has become, out of necessity, a production machine, when they run plays as they are designed.  As shown in the efficiency section, Matt Schaub could be more efficient, but he manages to compensate through big plays instead.  In contrast, the Jaguars have developed an offensive pace that relies on steady movement of the ball.  But, their defense has been unable, as of late, to halt opposing offenses (ranked 28th in yards allowed per game).  This means that the Jaguars must move the ball through their short gains (No runner on the team has a 4.0 yard average or higher) and must make the most of every play in order to sustain long, time consuming, drives that limit the amount of time their defense is on the field.  The two teams have styles that are complete contrary to each other.

To summarize:

The Texans have a horrendous defense.  The team compensates by trying to score quickly through big plays and hope to outscore the opponent, like in a shootout.  Matt Schaub is allowed to be less efficient in this system so long as the offenses productivity surpasses the shortcomings of the defense.

The Jaguars have an underachieving defense.  The team compensates by trying to move the ball methodically and take time to score on their drive through consistent (albeit short) running and relying on the defense to occasionally make a stop.  Under this system David Garrard is forced to be superbly efficient and play mistake free football or else the team will lose.

I believe that the Jaguars can pull it out this week.  But it all rests on David Garrard.  Without the quarterback playing well, the team has little shot at actually succeeding.  For, despite the woes of the Texans, the Jaguars have very little room for error.

– Luke N. Sims