Barnwell: Fitzpatrick played as expected, maybe a little better... but really isn’t very valuable fo

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by Nimo, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Nimo

    Nimo Member

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    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/starting-quarterback-texans-bucs/

    Let’s start with that logical decision. Houston benched Ryan Fitzpatrick on Wednesday, turning the reins of the offense over to untested backup Ryan Mallett, who the team acquired from the Patriots at the end of training camp for a conditional draft pick. The move brings an end to the Fitzpatrick era in Houston after nine games. I don’t think anybody would suggest that Fitzpatrick has been great, but has he really been worse than what the Texans could have expected when they signed him to a two-year, $7.25 million deal this offseason? Here are Fitzpatrick’s career numbers heading into the season and his rate statistics from this year:

    Year Cmp% Y/Att INT% Sack% Rating
    2005-13 59.8% 6.5 3.6% 6.0% 77.5
    2014 61.8% 7.7 3.1% 7.3% 87.1

    If anything, Fitzpatrick has been better than the Texans could have hoped. It’s fair to assume that some of that rise in yards per attempt comes from extra work done by DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson after the catch, but Fitzpatrick’s passes have produced an average of 5.2 yards after catch this season, which is 20th in the NFL. QBR should adjust for that and keep Fitzpatrick’s passes themselves as the primary measure of performance, and his QBR has stayed virtually the same; he had a 45.5 QBR through the 2013 season1 and has a 45.3 QBR this season.

    The biggest problem for Fitzpatrick has come on third downs. Houston’s above-average running game tends to leave Fitzpatrick in a pretty reasonable spot on third downs; his average third-down pass has come with 7.54 yards to go, the 10th-lowest figure in the league and virtually identical with Dallas (7.57 yards to go). The difference between the two? Dallas picks up a league-best 50.6 percent of its third-down conversions when it throws the ball. Fitzpatrick’s Texans moved the chains only 32.1 percent of the time when he threw on third down, the sixth-worst rate in the league. Only the Jaguars, Browns, Seahawks, Buccaneers, and Titans (a league-low 27.5 percent) have been worse.

    OK. The third-down conversions are bad. And I know from watching Texans coaching tape that there are a few passes per game when Fitzpatrick either throws to a receiver in coverage, misses an open receiver with a throw, or doesn’t even see an open receiver downfield. I thought Fitzpatrick was going to be good enough for the Texans to be competitive, but he’s not an easy one to watch. He’s still the same quarterback who is responsible for my favorite post-interception reaction ever and one of my all-time favorite GIFs:


    [​IMG]

    So, why make the switch now if Fitzpatrick has basically been the quarterback who was expected? Because that quarterback really isn’t very valuable for the Texans. Houston is 12th in rushing DVOA and 13th in defensive DVOA, even without first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney for most of the season, and it’s still just 4-5. If Houston had pulled out those close losses to the Cowboys and Colts and not blown that 13-0 lead on the road in Pittsburgh in a matter of minutes, it’s 7-2 and Fitzpatrick is just good enough to be a solution.

    Instead, with a mediocre known quantity at quarterback, the Texans are on pace to go 7-9. The Texans are better off reaching for a higher-variance option, a quarterback who will either be so bad that they finish 5-11 and end up with a better draft pick, or so unexpectedly good that Houston finishes 9-7 and competes for a wild-card spot.

    Mallett, who threw just four regular-season passes during his time in New England, is variance incarnate — an almost totally blank slate. His preseason performances have no predictive value. The Patriots valued him as worthy of a 2011 third-round pick after his limited college career, which saw Mallett throw 955 passes over three seasons at two schools. Crucially, Mallett completed just 57.8 percent of his passes over that time frame, a figure that at least raises red flags about how accurate he might be at the professional level.

    Mallett is in the final year of his rookie deal, so his performance over the next seven games could be worth millions of dollars to his future. The difference between a viable young quarterback about to hit free agency and a big-armed guy who played poorly in a half-season sample is, oh, maybe $10 million in guaranteed money.

    The Texans were linked to Mallett incessantly after they hired Bill O’Brien, his former coach in New England, but rightfully held off on acquiring Mallett until the Patriots had no leverage and could only deal him away for peanuts.

    In a way, that was both the right move and the wrong one. The Texans surely paid less for Mallett than if they had traded for him in March. On the other hand, while Mallett already knew some subset of O’Brien’s system from his time in New England, by not arriving in Houston until the end of August, it undoubtedly took him some time to become familiar with Houston’s scheme and receivers. If he arrives in March, maybe Mallett beats out Fitzpatrick in camp and wins the starting job. Or, alternately, maybe Mallett proves in August that he’s not the right choice and the Texans realize Fitzpatrick is the lesser of two evils. In any case, I can’t fault Houston for what they did, both then and now.
     
  2. Summer Song Giver

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    Fitzpatrick has, for the most part, been better than expected. His gunslinger reputation preceded him and that, by most accounts has been reeled in.

    IMO he is playing closer to his ceiling than he is his floor, this is the very reason why other options must be explored.
     
  3. Francis3422

    Francis3422 Member

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    Fitzpatrick is better than Romo!
     
  4. IronTexan93

    IronTexan93 Member

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    I don't care how much you hate the Cowgirls. That was utter stupidity.
     
  5. mick fry

    mick fry Member

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    Not even with a broke back is Romo that bad.
     
  6. PhiSlammaJamma

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    There was really nothing in his past that would have given ownership an inking of success. This was a leaky stop gap from the get go.
     
  7. REEKO_HTOWN

    REEKO_HTOWN Contributing Member

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    But but O'Brien is a QB Guru!!!!
     
  8. sammy

    sammy Contributing Member

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    That's why he played as expected, maybe a little better?
     
  9. kevC

    kevC Contributing Member

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    We're not in tank mode. We're in "high variance" mode.
     
  10. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

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    Well Fitz is having his best year ever.
     
  11. HTown_DieHard

    HTown_DieHard Member

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    i hope this is a reflection of BOB's coaching, so when he gets a bonafide QB he can get the most from him.
     
  12. Downtownbrown

    Downtownbrown Member

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    We can all at least respect his ability to extend plays and go full nose dive for first downs.
     
  13. Wattafan

    Wattafan Member

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    Great effort on the op dude - I'd rep you but I don't have that privilege.
    One way or another, I hope they play Mallett the rest of the season to give us a decent sample size.
    Personally, I think he is an immediate upgrade over Fitz.
     
  14. Buck Turgidson

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    Did nobody expect differently from Fitz? .500ish and frustratingly average play?

    I truly hope that the "well, Mallet can't be worse" crowd is right. Because someone else can always be worse.
     
  15. josephnicks

    josephnicks Member

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    if you keep trying you might eventually top this comment proving how clueless you are about sports..

     
  16. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Mallet will play one horrible game and Savage will take over.
     
  17. Wattafan

    Wattafan Member

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    Even if he has a really nice game prior to it?
    Texans game plan will likely be very similar to what we have already seen with the exception that Mallett will actually be able throw a 50 yard completion.
    The running game should get a boost with teams being less willing to stack the box in respect of Mallett's arm.
    Alfred Blue could really benefit from a bit more space - as will of course Arian Foster.
     
  18. REEKO_HTOWN

    REEKO_HTOWN Contributing Member

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    Maybe in 10 years your comeback might make me look clueless!
     
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